Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

30Nov/06Off

At Least They’re Working On It

There's an interesting write up on the work being done on the Linux port of the Flash Player which not only summarizes the work they're doing on the actual application but also talks about some of the aspects that make it so difficult to get right. If you've had the misfortune of trying to deal with Flash under Linux you're already familiar with this pain and all of the stupid tricks you have to employ, like running the browser under aoss, in order to get sound working with most distributions. There is also the crazy, crazy concept that perhaps 87% of a modern processor paired with gigs of RAM should be more than sufficient to render a piece of animation. I also love that Firefox builds are making something already complex into an utter train wreck. I mean, aim high, developers, aim high.

As out of character as it might seem I really do hope that the developers manage to rein in the cross platform wackiness of Flash especially given the popularity of YouTube and other sites where it's an essential component. Any work is good work.

29Nov/06Off

Social Networking Will Unbreak Complex Socio-Political Situations By Helping Those Unfortunate Children Form Groups And Tag Things

Sweet mother of fuck. I've seen frequent mention of the OLPC Human Interface Guidelines but hadn't actually gotten around to reading it until tonight. It really does look like a hybridization of marketing pap for some Web2.0er and the Ubuntu idealization of the terminology of the generalized other as serving and understanding. It's a little embarrassing when the alleged goal is to promote computer literacy for third world children who may not have access to any other technology. How best to teach children about technology? Apparently by making it arbitrarily different and assuming that those poor little starving brown children aren't bright enough to figure out the desktop interface that shows no sign of going away. I've always thought that this project was a fabulous idea with godawful implementations and that was a fairly predictive observation. Oh well, I'm sure it made some people in the industry feel better.

28Nov/06Off

We Built This City On Discounted Shit

Okay. So I admit that technology hasn't really been altogether interesting lately. Part of that is undoubtedly the rapid release of so many new trinkets that I am not interested enough in to fight lines of surly gamers or spend a third of a monthly paycheck or any of the other worshipping of golden calves necessary to be cool for like two weeks. I only buy game consoles when they become cheap and the games that run on them become cheap and plentifully available in the 'used' flavor. The Wii is marginally more interesting but I haven't been a Zelda fan since the original Nintendo console.

When nothing is interesting in the world of blinking lights and shiny things I end up looking around for things that have a little more depth. It's sort of a temporary meander into white trash cultural studies land that lasts a little while and helps to scour much of the marketing crap out of my brain. One thing that I did find really interesting reading over the past couple of days was actually a review of a book about the evolution of the American department store as a sort of cultural bashing of the snooty bulwarks of upper crust boutique style shopping that preceded them. It's really fucking interesting and does what a book review should: points out the interesting stuff, the not so interesting stuff, and makes me actually want to read it myself rather than chuckle at a few funny anecdotes in a summary and move on. I had never really thought about department stores being the clear predecessors for the Wal-Mart (no point using plurals in this case) in terms of driving out small businesses and providing a sort of cultural leveling by providing ample opportunity for the less solvent classes to indulge in some consumerism that was largely out of reach before then.

The 'experience' factor is a little more obvious as shopping malls were heavily invested in this venue in the 1980's. What to do? Hang out at the mall. Duh. One thing that had definitely never occurred to me before was that department stores became the staging ground for all sorts of social interactions like the Santa Claus during Christmas and other events like it. They're all of course geared towards either driving some sales or luring the curious in where they will be quickly overcome by the heady clouds of gratification drifting through the conditioned air. The difference here is that department stores were generally concentrated in downtown areas which is a vast difference from the current mega-plexes and acres of strip mall that line the suburbs.

Weird to think that the loss of something as traditional and transparently commercial as mall Santas would seem like a sad loss of commonality. I guess it's the sort of downer everyone needs while we go staggering into the holiday season. I'm definitely going to buy the book, though, so I guess there is a slight upside to the melancholy reading this review evoked.

28Nov/06Off

First Sub Par Twitch For Opera

I finally discovered something that will make Opera crash pretty consistently. And what is the mystery web site? Gmail. Sigh. I'm actually going to test this out a little further on a couple of different platforms and with different accounts but this is the gist:

1. Log into web interface for Gmail
2. Open spam folder
3. Choose 'delete all spam' option
4. Pop. Opera crashes without comment, at least on OS X.

This is labeled 'Don't forget' so that my tired ass doesn't forget to test it out on a few other machines and file the appropriate bugs in the appropriate places. It is bafflingly consistent, though, which is a little bit of a concern for me since I lean pretty heavily on whichever browser I'm using at the moment.

25Nov/06Off

Garbage In, Garbage Out, Garbage In, Peer Review, Garbage Out

I've never agreed with any of the schools of literary criticism entirely. It's a pretty easy conclusion to come to -- when you're not grinding any interpretive axe into a molecule thick cookie cutter through which you'll see the entire universe, these things become a bit like a little pepper spray in a crowded room. When the author is actually hung up on whatever thing it is more a matter of being a balancing act between writing on topics that you're familiar with and avoiding beating those idiosyncrasies to death and also a matter of your own interpretation as a reader. Bukowski had booze, Burroughs had junk, and so on and so on. Most writers approach things with more subtlety than either of the aforementioned but there are a good number of near-canonical writers who wrote the same damned thing again and again with situational differences being the only thing that distinguishes the old from new thematically. Herman Hesse is who I think of immediately. I can forgive the authors of books though.

Anyway, obsessively myopic literature is ingrained into the pop culture consciousness in the United States; it is expected of writers the same way that erratic behavior is expected of painters or alcoholism is expected in journalists. Those habits become harder to bear when used by critics. Reading a research paper length analysis that completely disregards original context will make you want to dismember that critic as much for wasting their own time polishing turds as for wasting your own reading and trying to make sense of it. What I always neglect to consider when tearing my hair out over some utterly horrendous piece of criticism that contacts the subject at all the wrong points and seems more like smirky parody than honest engagement with a written work is that there other forces at work here.

This article about criticism in the Sunday Times made a number of scarcely used gears whir in my head. The gist of it becomes more interesting when you consider the critics bemoaning the sensationalization and duh-cultural interpretation of their own writings into headline fodder. There is some mega meta going on here and it is pretty satisfying reading for me at 2 am while fighting a gut full of leftover turkey sandwich sleep poisons. When you can't bring yourself to sleep quite yet it is trivial to sink deeply into meta-critical examinations like this as it is scathing at times and traverses familiar territory for me in terms of sheer provocation. I suppose I have an inappropriate reverence for things literary (naturally excluding science fiction and horror from the former category) that makes me cringe when an author's life is dissected for supporting arguments about the intended meaning of a text. Paris Hilton is a public figure who offers little reason for the press to pay much attention to her unless she is behaving scandalously. There is a little Art Puritan in me that believes against all rational argument that authors must be elevated slightly above this fray. The Puritan in me might be reacting to the use of the same tone and depth of analysis used for either the socialites trashing hotel rooms or the people writing books. That feels utterly wrong. Go read the whole fucking article. It made me feel a whole lot better in general about the possibility for balance between analysis and interpretation. Whether that is the intent of the author or not is not my problem at two in the morning.

24Nov/06Off

An Extremely General Comparison

Via a post over at OSNews (imagine that): there is a fella trying to make a thorough comparison between the 2.6.18 kernel and the Windows kernel. I'll grant that it is interesting if only for the purpose of figuring out how people think about a modular arrangement of kernel modules in comparison with the more opaque Windows architecture. I think that a more precise comparison of enabled defaults in a commercial distribution against a specific Windows configuration would be more useful. Trying to do this between all versions of pre-rolled kernels and all the iterations of Win32 is a little crazy. If you've ever tried to use SELinux features with a kernel intended for use in the desktop realm you will understand this almost immediately. It's a great idea on the server and an incredible headache on the desktop. Still, check it out if you haven't as it is interesting trivia if nothing else.

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23Nov/06Off

A Reluctant Nod In The General Direction of Holiday-ness

One thing that really upsets me about our Thanksgiving this year is that I will not be swilling cheap beer and eating deep fried turkey. For as much 'oh-noeeee'-ing as most news sites are doing about the dangers of frying turkey you would think that a person or two would have:

a) actually eaten fried turkey before which is delicious and makes that sliceable pile of rubbery sand that is the oven cooked turkey look like the culinary tumbleweed that it really is. If you're not a fucking idiot (an unsafe assumption I acknowledge) you exist by eating some foods that are not fried and can actually eat something that isn't without having a heart attack in midst of forkful. If you can't tear yourself away the television while eating Cheez Whiz with a spoon then fried turkey may not be the dish for you.

b) Frying turkey does indeed involve a large vat of very hot peanut oil and could be dangerous if you're a fucking moron. Thanksgiving closes the banks but it does not postpone or cancel physical laws. You're going to do this to eat not to burn alive or simulate the Pompeii experience so move that shit away from things that might catch on fire if spattered with hot oil. This also means that you should be a responsible pet owner and/or parent and keep your little idiots away from the bubbling cauldron of red hot death for the stupid. This seems like it ought to be common sense. Obviously you're not going to heat gallons of oil to 375 degrees inside your house. Duh.

That bitterness vented, I will not be taking part in the fry fest this year as we're doing a more traditional T-day this year with family. I have decided that in the future when doing the fried turkey and cheap beer disaster in the future that doing things unsafely should be mandated. I'm thinking of requiring frozen turkey free throws from at least ten feet away in order to facilitate the danger that everyone enjoys harping on so much.

Update. Sort of.
My friend Tony mailed me about this post over at Jalopnik about how to fry a turkey without killing yourself and involving some of those expensive tools/toys. The advice given comes from folks who have, I know this is crazy, actually fried a turkey before. They get bonus points for using crazy big machinery that normally would hoist an engine block. Awesome.

21Nov/06Off

Missed The First Time Around

I don't know how I managed to miss the existence of Slashfood for so long but this is no longer the case. I'm filing this post under the 'Don't Forget' category because I care enough about Thanksgiving to wade through all of the legion of stuffing recipes and turkey roasting tips but I'll probably spend more time checkin out all of the stuff emanating from here in January when food press takes on a decidedly less annoying tone.

19Nov/06Off

Thanks To The Company Responsible

This makes me so fucking happy. It's equally rewarding for so perfectly portraying the obnoxious cell phone asshole. Hats off to Kyocera for plunking down cash for this morality play.

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19Nov/06Off

Done, Done, And Done

After too many inexplicable crashes in Firefox I've decided to quit fucking using it. This is kind of sad since I've run it since it was called Phoenix and didn't work really well. I was willing to put up with all of its quirks and shortcomings simply because it was fast as hell and primarily stayed out of the way. FF has suffered from explosive memory usage since it became FF (that is the first I recall having to stop the browser two or three times a day at least to free up some memory) and despite the fact that I experience the same behavior on clean installs the developers have found the penultimate scapegoat with extensions and given up on anything other than public relations spiel. This frustration has gone on for a long time and seems to correlate with the success of FF. This makes me look like a dick who hates everything the moment it becomes popular. Fine.

The issue that finally drove me over the edge was memory usage. I have 2 GB of RAM installed in this machine which is the maximum. As a 1.83 Macbook Pro it is no longer the new, new sexy but I'm thinking that it should be capable of running a web browser without routinely bringing the system to its knees. I've watched its usage routinely spike over the 76% marker when I have a couple of tabs open (no Flash crap on any of those tabs either) for more than twenty minutes. If I walk away from my machine for more than a few minutes I pretty much have to start the application again. In the past I'd laid most of the blame for this sort of misbehavior on the magical combination of Linux and Flash but the abuse of resources follows me across platforms and environments. I'm worn out and tired of making excuses to myself. So, I've going to quit Firefox completely with the intent of doing so permanently.

Safari just isn't an option as I'm not a fan of many of its quirks. I don't exactly have problems with it but the few times that I have used it I wasn't happy with its performance. Camino falls into a similar category as its configuration just isn't um configurable enough for my tastes. I settled on trying Opera full time for a while. The only thing I'm really lacking (other than StumbleUpon) is the hojillion saved passwords and login names that I've entrusted to FF in the past. That transfer will take time and cause frustration but I need to shelve FF until it stops being marketed and starts being developed again. Onward and whatever-ward...

18Nov/06Off

When Painted Into A Corner Shoot Yourself In The Foot As A Measure Of Defense

I'm probably not the only who thinks that a plan to use popular media to form a bottleneck for the flow of information is a measure of desperation. The modest proposal is here and actually uses the term 'embargo' as part of the argument. This would all be fine and semi-understandable if the majority of newspapers produced more content than redistributed AP/Reuters/blah blah blah to fill up column inches around advertising. What lacks the ability to compel isn't the dead tree format but the fact that most sources of news don't offer anything distinct from any of the other sources. The eventual outcome of this might be something akin to what Wal-Mart has done to the department store market. You cannot hold things back from potential buyers and count on this strategy to protect your product forever. There is always a player with deep pockets waiting in the wings to pick up the folks you left behind and feed them slickly wrapped crap for less than you can possibly afford to give up for. There are always faster gunfighters and there are always cheaper whores. While the irony would be satisfying the creation of a mega-USA Today doesn't hold very much appeal. Remember what newspapers were like before the emergence of USA Today? I'm guessing not but it was a hell of a lot more impressive and diverse.

I intended to give some credit to whoever pointed this bit out but I didn't write it down. Oops. I guess I won't be cashing in on the faux-journalism door prize anytime soon. The problem here, above all of the other screamingly obvious problems, is that it equates scarcity of access to information with access being valuable. Make the information worth some trouble to obtain it and maybe (big maybe) people will follow through but when you simply lock the same shit behind some new doors you're inviting disaster.

18Nov/06Off

Saturday Is Usually Better

Taken with the shitty iSight built into this machine so it was a bit of a feat to even balance my laptop correctly. He is still sleeping in this exact position though so I did something right.

Filed under: General, Photos 1 Comment
18Nov/06Off

Sometimes Writing It Down Is A Little Like A Mental Garbage Disposal (Minus The Spoon Perpetually Stuck In It)

A bunch of years ago I put out a zine called (oddly enough) Goneaway that lasted for a single issue unless you count the much longer and much less wasteful issue that I finished, printed a couple copies of (and when I say print I mean duplexed the fuckers on a laser printer and stapled together), and promptly forgot about until we moved into this house. I was packing all of the crap that I perpetually drag around with me and found a copy of the second issue. Although nearly all writing becomes an embarrassment after the passage of time I actually liked quite a bit of what I wrote for it and wasn't sure exactly what to do with all of those ideas if not the actual written content.

None of the old writing is by any means stellar and I'm not even sure that the idea re-reading it spawned is more valuable than a half-assed exercise for some creative writing class at some community college. I did get excited by the idea of trying to write detailed recollections that didn't strive for accuracy and lapsed into fiction whenever it was convenient for the telling or more interesting in its construction (mostly for me) and just running with them until I either tired of the idea or the story was over. This is, of course, pretty obvious as things nearly identical to it fill those obnoxious "Write Your First Novel In 16 Hours" books as advice for the wannabe writers of the great American novel. Fuck it. That is not me. It sounds interesting so I'm going to try to do a little of it on a completely separate WordPress install that isn't connected with Team Murder in any sense other than living on a sub-domain of it. When this will actually happen is an undefined point in the not-so distant future but I wanted to blab about it a little because it sounds a lot more fun than most of the things I'm doing at the moment. Details when I've thought of them and babble with nothing concrete to back it up until then. When there is something to mention it will appear here and in a new entry.

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15Nov/06Off

Beware Lest The Marketing Poop Howl Triumphantly Over The Inert Corpse Of Your Credibility In Sweet, Sweet Victory While All Of Your Friends Hate You And/Or Sleep With Your Significant Other

I'm glad that other folks are being diligent about warning others when they encounter social networking sites with sketchy functionality and/or requirements but what really bothers me is that people who should know better are giving away user names and passwords to sites that, at least when you're doing the initial sign up, are an unknown quantity. Seriously, most registration forms for networking sites ask for information pretty liberally and you should be aware of what you're giving away to a potential spammer or identity thief. The author of this post took corrective action afterward and posted information on how to remove Gazzag profiles but the damage has already been done. This site essentially uses your identity without your permission to lure your friends into signing up in a sort of pyramid scheme. You've loaned out your credibility as a clickable friend to assholes. In many cases a little investigation prior to handing out passwords would save embarrassment and the spread of more fucking spam because really what we need is more fucking spam. Oh, and more social networking.

Another good point that she brings up:

There are real implications to emails being sent from a user’s address. In my case, messages went to my boss and colleagues who are in much higher positions than me. Those are people whom I think carefully about emailing, and I would never send them an invitation to a general social network. Messages also went to a couple of my exes. People do not actively remove connections in social networks, so a person’s list of friends will often contain people who are not friends any more. It implies something to delete a friend, so most people avoid it by just doing nothing. When a site like Gazzag comes along and emails all those people, it carries a lot of social implications that users probably don’t want to make.

if you're going to going to expose yourself to potentially bad people (it kind of correlates with doing research on a topic unless you're Pollyanna) you should probably keep your contacts/friends current. Your name gives credibility to things and, although that is in some respects terrible if only because it is so persuasive, allows some company with dreams of tall Google dollars stacked up to the moon to stuff their marketing poop in your mouth. It sounds awful because it is awful. I recommend pasting that shit into a text file where most villainous applications (this includes our pals worms and viruses) aren't as inclined to search. When I say 'shit' I mean contacts that aren't used with the frequency and familiarity that would perhaps forgive an offer to swallow some marketing poop dumped into their inbox. That is probably more than a little paranoid but I'm more than a little paranoid.

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15Nov/06Off

My Teeth Are Fine But Otherwise I’m A Fucking Mess

After a little bit of self censorship that is probably in the best interest of self preservation I deleted a longish post about the total apathy that I feel towards work. The absence of any feeling other than relief when it is over each day is becoming bothersome.

My teeth, on the other hand, aren't looking quite as nasty and volatile as they were just a few weeks ago. It looks like I'm going to keep all but the wisdom teeth which is swell because I wasn't really going to pay for implants.

This is where my head is at for the moment and will probably be deleted when I'm feeling less irritable, restless, and like time is rushing right by me while I slowly decompose into a fertilizing mulch while slumped in a hand me down chair answering stupid questions and being chastised when I try to give honest answers.

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14Nov/06Off

It Is A Victory But Does It Really Matter

People have been celebrating the release of Java under the GPL which is understandable since Sun seemed really resistant to the idea for a really long time. The question that has finally bubbled up through my subconscious is whether this really matters to most Java developers or people who've avoided the language before for whatever reason. Java isn't the sexy new resume fodder that it once was. As someone who routinely trawls IT job listings I've seen the number of positions that have Java in the title remain pretty steady for the last year or so without any real increase or decrease on par with the patterns I've seen with .NET developer listings. It seems 'stable' which you can extrapolate to mean either 'stagnant' or, uh, 'stable' dependent on which way your antennae is bent. Mine points away from Java because although I've tinkered with it when required I've never really been terribly interested. I bought a couple of books of varying usefulness and ran through an asston of tutorials but didn't pursue it further mainly out of lack of interest.

For me, Java will be more interesting when people who formerly railed helplessly against its shortcomings and missing features begin pounding on it. I'm hoping that the standard libraries will be more efficient and useful (ie. works with you instead of forcing you to change to fit the tool you're using) and that a 'diet' version of the language will eventually evolve for people who like aspects of the language but can't deal with the bulk of the current setup. It's nearly impossible to predict what direction Java will really take post-announcement because it is, after all, an announcement for the present.

I do hope that opening development will result in a more useful language but it may just piddle out with a bunch of people who love to tinker spending time tinkering with the innards until something more interesting to fiddle with comes along. Is the re-license too late? I dunno but I wasn't an adherent of Java anyhow once it became obvious that it wasn't the panacea for all programming problems that it was hyped as. If nothing else it will serve as an interesting sociological study to give us a glimpse into what happens when the code that people clamored after for so long is finally opened up. I'll admit that it has bolstered my interest in Java in a way that simple design decisions or library additions never could have. Is that worth anything? Probably not to Sun.

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11Nov/06Off

Support Is Pretty Key…

I read this article about how Red Hat's support works a couple of days ago and didn't really think that it was necessarily worth mentioning as I've dealt with RH phone support in the past (think 6.0 days with the broken gcc version and you may as well sit tight for my fossilization stories which follow) and generally found it to be nothing short of amazing. People there were more than willing to answer my stupid questions and actually gave me more information than they necessarily needed to. I imagine this is a result of having people that are actually taken care of and trained well. I'm still not a huge fan of the Fedora distribution or the RHEL methodology for assembling a distribution but if you've ever dealt with Oracle support without being a two bazillion dollar a year customer you'll realize that the support RH offers for relatively small players is stellar when compared with the Kafka-esque ordeal you're forced to endure with Oracle in order to simply ask basic questions.

I think that when you're already a large corporation that has embedded itself in areas entirely separate from operating systems (unless you count the elaborate reconfiguration administrators will have to do in order to run your software) getting beyond the toe wetting stage in the operating systems business is going to be incredibly painful. Doing support of any kind totally sucks and doing intricate support of things other than your cash cow product is going to be so horrible that it will end seeming more like a bad sit com than a business decision. Then again, Oracle has pretty deep pockets so they may be able to shove enough dollars into the hole to make it sort of work. I'm cautiously pessimistic but I'll have to wait and see.

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10Nov/06Off

The All Purpose, Generally Adaptable Geek Movie (For All Occasions)

There are plenty of disparaging comments posted below this video on YouTube (trolls? Really!?!) but it cracked me up which is pretty difficult by the time I've staggered through an entire work week on five hours of sleep per night. One of the things that is most amazing is how little fudging the editor had to do. There aren't a whole lot of instances where things are just wedged in there. Good work and good work deserves some sharing:

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6Nov/06Off

Might As Well Bite Someone…

I'm a pretty big advocate of the Free Software Foundation as I think most of the work that they do is important not only to Linux development but also to making free software better and more widely available on more platforms encumbered by restrictive licensing as well. When criticism devolves into cheap shots at the motivations and character of someone who provides a pretty invaluable resources as I believe is the case with this rant my sympathy with the usual set of conditions ends and the annoyance begins. I wonder if the fact that Ladislav actually addresses that very issue (it's a substantial chunk of text but worth reading) rather completely escaped the rant author completely or if he simply read column headings and went off on his merry crusade way assuming that he was smiting yet another enemy of the cold blooded killers of (software) freedom with half finished thoughts and spontaneously generated vitriol. I guess it was the idea that you could simultaneously like a distribution and take advertising from the company that produces it that generated so much ire:

Now before somebody accuses me of being bought by Mandriva, there are still two areas that I think the company needs to address before the distribution regains its former respectability.

The first one is somewhat difficult to quantify, but it revolves around the standards among Mandriva's developers. I recently talked about the infamous blog posts by two Mandriva developers (one full-time employee and one volunteer contributor), who went public with their beliefs that "Linux was not ready for the desktop". One of them, the employee, even called the Linux kernel developers idiots. Now, you are welcome to disagree with my views here, but I think this is mighty immature by any standard.

Firstly, the statement that Linux is not ready for the desktop is clearly wrong. Secondly, it frightens me to imagine that the said Mandriva employee goes home after work, switches on his computer and boots into - what? Mac OS? Or, heavens forbid, Linux XP? Is his job at Mandriva just that - a job that pays the bills? Where is his pride? Where is his passion for the work he has chosen to do? Does Mandriva hire people purely on the basis of qualifications? He might be a talented coder, but if he doesn't take pride in his work and lacks passion for all things Linux, then he doesn't belong in a Linux company!

This sentiment was also mirrored by another experience of mine - dealing with the package maintainer of the Liferea RSS reader. Although not an official part of Mandriva Linux, an unstable build of Liferea 1.1.x was made available in the contrib directory on Mandriva's mirrors. Unfortunately, this version turned out to be a total disaster - it crashed several times per hour and even corrupted my RSS feeds on the way out. In frustration, I emailed the maintainer asking him why, oh why, he chose to package a version which is clearly labelled as unsuitable for production use, instead of the stable Liferea 1.0.x.

Although polite and helpful, his reply was hardly satisfactory. In his view, all open source programs are essentially beta versions, so it didn't really matter whether he packaged the supposedly stable 1.0 or the development 1.1 version. He tried 1.1, it looked good on his system and decided to package it for Mandriva 2007. The same maintainer also packaged GIMP 2.3.x, the development version (with too many obvious bugs, even though I've only used it for light image editing so far), instead of the stable GIMP 2.2.x. I strongly disagree with this view. After all, wouldn't the developer of the software be in a better position to judge its "stability" than a distribution's package maintainer?

Based on these experiences I came to a conclusion that the quality of some (not all, I might add) Mandriva developers is just not up to the usual high standard found in many other open source companies. The lack of correct judgement is something that a developer can learn with time, but lack of passion and love for Linux is inexcusable. If a Mandriva developer is not ashamed to state on a public forum that he will never use Linux on his main desktop, then he shouldn't be working for Mandriva. Or any Linux company. That's what I believe, so flame me if you think that I am wrong.

My second major gripe with Mandriva Linux is its collection of websites. Many things have been said about the company's web infrastructure, but you'll be hard pressed to find anybody who finds visiting the company's web presence, including its paid-for Club pages, a satisfactory experience. There are just too many annoyances to list, starting with the missing "remember me" option when logging in, to non-existent features and hard-to-find information. I don't know if the entire Club thing is about to fold or whether there just isn't enough money to pay an experienced developer to fix these pages, but this is another example of a missing vital ingredient. Suddenly, the lack of pride and passion comes to mind again.

The funny part is that some of his criticisms of Mandriva are pretty damning and also reveal that being happy with a new distribution (unless of course you came up using GNU Hurd and will enter Heaven directly after collecting $200 and passing 'Go.') can be tempered by the epiphanies you will have about the design philosophy of a distribution after using the distribution for more than a few days. Most reviews that I read, favorable or not, mainly consist of installation and next to nothing else. If you're really going to give opinions on using a distribution why not actually fucking use the distribution? Crucifying a reviewer for noting that options you don't like exist in the package base of a distribution is just crybaby bullshit.

Free software has enough momentum behind it to stand on its own without resorting to guilt baiting people into toeing the party line. It really does nothing to strengthen the case for the uninitiated and pisses off people like me who purposely try to avoid dogmatism. Free software doesn't need to apologize for advocating the use of software and licensing that doesn't hover in the 'I'm going to be a millionaire' unicorns and lollipop lala land but at the same time no one owes FOSS (okay, I admit that was kind of mean spirited) folks excuses or apologies for making their own choices. This allegedly is the thrust of all of this anyway, right? Morally superior is pretty insular kids.

Like you needed more irritation on a Monday...

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5Nov/06Off

Pick An Image, Any Image

Another great exhibition of lack of artificial intelligence from Google News unless it was temporarily taken over by some Fox News bot eager to draw parallels between the Democratic Party candidates and fruity coffee drinks:

Fuck. Nevermind
My mistake. This image was actually linked to a story at Patent Baristas and used their masthead image as the image for the news link. Context free but still a little more sensible than what I'd originally thought.

4Nov/06Off

Upgrade In Progress

If anything breaks for the next couple of whiles: this is the reason. Usually WordPress upgrades are pretty smooth but perpetually knocking on wood isn't nearly entertaining enough.

As Expected
The upgrade was seamless. I wish more pieces of software were like this and by 'this' I mean working.

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3Nov/06Off

Where Is My Cut?

While I'm happy that Zango is finally getting something they deserve though a federal ass pounding prison should be included in this settlement somewhere I'm also wondering where the fuck my check is at. When I think about all of the wasted hours I spent manually removing Hotbar which ranks high on my 'holy fucking christ! this adware was obviously crafter in hell by angry and spiteful damned souls because it is next to impossible to cleanly remove' I would like some money. Generally I would like some money but it would also be nice to actually compensate organizations that were blighted by this and the other products of Zango. Maybe when this is all sorted out in a court ordinary citizens like you and me will be able to line up to personally cock punch one of their executives. Yeah, I'd settle for a simple cock punching festival in this case but when wouldn't I?

2Nov/06Off

So Rare

This photo was taken during the 15-45 second period during the day when Pig manages to stay still for longer than fractions of a second. His efforts to prevent me from putting on shoes each and every morning are exhausting enough to make me want to go back to bed. Then again I feel the same way about eating a bowl of Grape Nuts in the morning.

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