11.44.00 - Mark
Ambrosia Software, one of, if not the best Macintosh Game Developers/Publishers has released a new game.
Haven't played it yet, but can't wait to. Check out Darwinia
There's a windows version as well. (They're the publisher, not the primary developer)
09.58.00 - Mark
While I don't think I've blogged it, after a certain local fiasco involving blogs I guessed that it would only be a matter of time before the schools in the area made an attempt to band blogs. They never did, at least to the best of my knowlege (thankfully I'm no longer in that system).
However there is a school that's trying to ban blogs, however its not because of "school concerns" but rather worrying about stalkers.
Frankly I'm not worried about it. My phone number, full address, and several photos of me are online and aside from a slight increase in SPAM (which I blame on the CAN SPAM act) I've never been worried about it. I don't post my exact address here, and I'm usually vague when posting locations and other events. Thats true, to a lesser extent, on pretty much all of the local blogs I read.
Personally I think blogs are a great tool for nearly all aspects of life. In school they help improve typing skills, though processes, spelling, and serve as a tool for distributed editing. I know a few people who post essays and other work online, in personal blogs. While I don't do that with my english assignments, despite having it encouraged by several englsih teachers, I have thrown up code and websites for inspection.
I think more schools and teachers should encourage blogging and incorporating other interactive and multimedia tools into education. My generation, as well as a large part of the one before me, have grown up with interactive materials. The web video games, etc. These venues engage us, something schools should attempt, but often fail, to do.
08.59.00 - Mark
Robotics is one of those many things I have wanted to get into but never have, so I'm admiring these guys all the more.
Little to no funding, no experiance, just hard work and research. The underdogs beating out everyone else - including two dozen MIT students.
Recently I've been noticing a lot of these underdog stories, either from sources like the Wired article linked to above, or from The Art of Intrusion by Kevin Mitnick.
Some of these stories are amazing on their own. They're more amazing when you realize that these are minorities that have a hard time existing in the low income bracket, but they just jump the tech gap and become more skilled than 99.99% of the rest of society.
It bugs me to no end that people hate the homeless summing them all up as bums, they hate hispanics because "they're taking our jobs" or hate convicted felons "'cause they're bad people"
There are smart, really smart homeless, or rather nomadic, individuals out there. Here's one, which is one of my favorite blogs. Adrian Lamo is another (falls under a felon as well)
Same with hispanics, as noted above. Convicted felons are no different. Look at chapter three of The Art of Intrusion. Hell look at the Author
I'll admit that just because there are a few shining examples it in no way means all felons are good, or that all homeless are capable of standing on their own feet, or that hispanics rightfully deserve American jobs. All I'm saying is that there is too much crap in this world to create more of it. Give people a break. We all need them.
10.34.00 - Mark
Blogger has been fixed. I went in search of the blogger status page. They've been doing upgrades, and as all techies know upgrades never go as planned. So I don't feel so bad about crappy service for a couple of days. I'm not the only one who noticed how messed up blogger was, I noticed complaints in a few of my feeds and there are a number of complaints when you browse technorati for stuff about blogger.
10.59.00 - Mark
Google needs to sink some more funds into blogger, cuz its been slow and buggy recently. Over the weekend the homepage reverted to posts from sometime in May 2003 or 2004. It's also damned near impossible to post anyting in a single shot anymore. I had to load it tice to et the last post up, and I've tried about half a doen times to zap the accidential double post I made on Sunday, but blogger just doesn't want to cooperate and spits out 500 internal server errors.
I still like the system, even if the geek in me wants to upgrade to a more powerful system or better yet code my own. Plus I don't really want to fight with converting 1000+ posts and loosing the traffic thats pointed at the blogspot subdomain.
I don't know. All I want is to post stuff fairly easily from damned near anywhere.
Also I hate spyware. The system I'm typing this out on is infected with one of those nasty search engine hijacking spywarez and its anoying the shit out of me. Its thowing in random links into the HTML and with many of the sites I visit that may or may not be normal posting habits.
I love how the Mac is (so far) unaffected by viruses, spywarez, and other heavily exploited secutiry problems.
01.43.00 - Mark
I hate telephone companies. They are slow arrogant organizations that fight change with a passion and give a rats ass about their customers. It doesn't just apply to the land line monsters either. Cellular dealers are just as bad.
What really has me this time is the DSL service I'm supposed to be subscribed to. DSL is supposed to be fast? Yeah right.
Anymore I'm lucky if our connection can pass 10 KB/s into the LAN I've set up - and I know the LAN isn't the bottle neck. I can pass GBs of data in very little time.
Despite how cheap bandwidth really is, telcos are the only tech industry that hasn't created exponential growth.
Since 1994 land lines haven't topped 56kbps modem. Since DSL really started taking off in 2000 it hasn't really grown past 512kbps for most and really the greedy telcos limit it to 256kbps. Cable is a little better but not by much.
And this problem isn't a major problem for other countries. Many European, and even a number of Asian nations are talking Mbps, not kbps. So what's the hold up? Why are we stuck in a bandwidth black hole - especially given the vast amounts of dark fiber laying under our feet?
Only the telcos know that - but its probably protecting an artificial profit margin. All I know is that I need more bandwidth - lots more.
21.27.00 - Mark
My Spring Break is over. Frankly I don't care. I mean all I did was make a half-assed attempt at picking up some AppleScript, a slightly less brain dead attempt at rewiring the house's phone and ethernet networks (wireless is good, but its slow as shit), cleaned some of the crap off my laptops hard drive (6GBs!), and helped Matt build something that looks remotely like the gateway to china town. Aside from that all I really did was drive people places and sleep - lots of sleep - so much sleep that I managed to correct and screw up my sleep cycle in a single week.
Then there's easter. I don't give a damn. I don't buy into the Jesus thing, and at the same time I don't hold nothing against those who do (except those who try and convert me). Hell I side with some of the better followers who have a distain for commercialization the holiday has suffered. xmas is about really big gifts, St. Valentines day is about getting laid and eating chocolate, St. Patricks day is about getting drunk, and Easter has something to do with eggs, rabbits and chocolate. I frankly don't care. There's a thing of Easter candy somewhere upstairs that has been set aside for me but I don't give a damn. I mean I still has some of the xmas candy, pretty much all of the valentines day junk food, and if I take the easter stuff its going to show up sometime on October 31st.
Who the hell needs a few dozen pounds of chocolate? A month?
There's a reason America is filled with fat, rude assholes dying of cancer. We're all too fucking concerned with eating chocolate and taking in tobacco.
19.45.00 - Mark
19.35.00 - Mark
Good Argument against using feedburner (I use feedburner to convert blogger's atom over to RSS with podcasting enclosures)
I'll admit I use a lot of free services, and yes I've been burned in the past. Frankly I'm not sure why I even bother using feedburner. I think I'm the only person on this site who uses RSS or Atom, and my reader supports both.
Maybe I'll take it down. Won't hurt anything...
19.16.00 - Mark
Sometimes I'm blown away by this state. In addition to the Chapel Hill Blogger con, the Piedmont bloggercon last year, and possible sequel this year, and the Charlotte one coming up in September, Dave Winer and others are planning a Podcastercon to take place in Chapel Hill. No date set, but could be cool to attend. I remember really enjoying the podcasting lunch group I joined as part of the Chapel event, so if even part of that is transferable to a larger event I'd say the organizers are looking at a successful event. I suppose I'll see as they get more organized.
And I need to create more audio. Its fun, but it takes time to create content. Maybe I can do something with the ideas I can't seem to type out, like why people have problems with Creative Commons and the Open Source Movement.
17.33.00 - Mark
Stupid shit is piling up in my life, and I don't like it. I've got a bastard of a conflict coming up this weekend, and part of the decision on which item gets priority depends on another fucked up conflict brewing for this summer.
It fucking sucks.
01.35.00 - Mark
Wil Wheaton Wins it, at least on the government side.
Personally the media does not need to be covering this screw up. The government does not need to intervene. Frankly I don't want to hear about it. I'm not a doctor, I've never been (and never hope to be) in this sort of situation so I'm not going to make a public opinion on the subject, except to say I feel sorry for the husband.
He's waited 15 years, turned down tens of millions of dollars, has every red state resident accusing him of of being an euthanizing bastard pig, despite the fact that he's turned his life around since the incident and has become a medical professional. This guy should be honored for having stronger morals and ethics than those that accuse him. All he's doing is trying to honor his wife's choice, as best he understood them.
At least I know where my parents stand on this issue, so my brothers and I shouldn't have to deal with this sort of crap should the unfortunate happen.
01.29.00 - Mark
Some guy has implanted an RFID chip into his left hand, posted a write up, and stuck a photo set up onto flickr. I'm pretty sure he isn't the first pesron to do thise, but almost certainly one of the first homebrewer to do so.
12.41.00 - Mark
I've always loved science, and I know part of that is due to watching Bill Nye the Science Guy early on Saturday mornings (in additions to the less memorable other network spin off that had the ugly fat guy in the rat suit - Beakmans World? I just remember the dumb rat who always lost bets and was the source of lots of physical gag humor) But The show was great, always a lot of fun.
Bill Nye has an amazing take on science - namely there is no way you can not make science entertaining, a truth too many science teachers choose to ignore. Mainly because they aren't supposed to be teaching science. Still there are some out there, and I've had some. All of my great science teachers had a crazy element to them (no its not one found on the periodic table) Like Rathe (who was crazy enough to let me work with $10,000 (well - then $10,000) SBIG astronomical camera - BTW Jason did you guys ever get that to work?) and McGuinity (fireballs on school property), and Wortman ( (clean) lab equipment as beverage containers)
Anyways to drag this back on topic, Bill Nye is back with a new program, The Eyes of Nye which is going to focus on an older audience. I just ran across a Wired interview with him (058.04.2005). There aren't many people would could work Bees, PB&J, Lewis Carroll's Though the Looking Glass, and Sex into an interview and still make their point. Sadly it isn't set to launch on my local PBS station, not that they get much of anything anyways - I mean they had the balls to preempt Red Green in all shapes and forms (which in Iowa is a form of high treachery). Maybe someone will bittorrent it. I hope someone bittorrents it.
12.19.00 - Mark
A windows Mashup
Considering how bland and/or obnoxious the sounds are in windows the mashup is pretty cool. (its a flash animation, but its pretty cool anyways)
22.59.00 - Mark
The North Carolina Blogosphere is chattering about the Charlotte Bloggercon, since they announced a date today. I know I'll be trying to keep September 17th open.
There's also some talk of organizing another conference in Greensboro. I agree with the sentiments that it could get dull and repetitive, but for those of us who can't make the meet-ups they've organized since the Chapel Hill deal, it would be nice to peek into the more connected NC blogosphere. However keeping the ideas fresh presents a problem, especially since the largest discussion points are politics and the blogger vs journalism thing, which bugs me. I think Charlotte is looking more into business blogging. Chapel hill was journalism. I think it would be nice if there was a middle ground, something geared more towards the people who aren't covering the news and aren't trying to make money (aside from operating costs) People looking more at creating content as opposed to recycling it (journalism) or selling it.
While I dip into politics here, thats not the focus of this blog. I'm also not a journalist. Anyone who thinks I'm trying to cover the news is a poor delusional sob and seriously needs mental help. If anything this is a scratch pad. A bastardization of boingboing and slashdot's hey look at this format and an editorial page. I throw in the noisy personal diary stuff on occasion, but its hard to say my blog falls in there. I try to create a signal albeit not a particularly strong one. I'm in the mid right section of the long tail So in the blogging tradition of creating-new-terms-because-I-feel-like-it I'm deeming this a Scratchpad Blog.
01.44.00 - Mark
A taser (movie file)
Remember jackasses aren't humans, they're donkeys. Not that that argument would stand up in court very long...
01.26.00 - Mark
Yep, its time again for More Idiotic Legislation from the Halls of Raleigh, North Carolina.
This time they're trying to remove games from all the windows boxes in the state. Frankly they may as well try to remove internet explorer. Or maybe just the entire system itself.
Noone really plays solitare on the desktop anymore, not when they have a plethra of gaming choises on the internet. Then there are those that bring in their own games, I know one of the history teachers I had while at a North Carolina high school daycare had a well known habit of playing Deer Hunter 5 on his in room confruiter - during class. I can verify that one too. One I saw him playing it and two he brought the computer down to the computer repair class after they upgraded him to windows XP and I was given the task of finding out why Deer Hunter wouldn't load (everyone else was too busy downloading crap from KaZaa) and while he claimed it was a personal system, it was clearly marked as a school computer.
Not that anyone under the employment of North Carolina government really does anything anyways. The DMV is more than proof of that.
22.29.00 - Mark
Wow. I haven't checked my RSS feeds in over 3 days. Since I first started pulling feeds I don't think I've gone more than two days before checking the feeds. Its both overwhelming and relieving. Its relieving because its a welcome break from the norm, and overwhelming because I've missed so much, but over a weekend it isn't as bad.
Then there's my hard drive. On the laptop I managed to bottom it out. I really hate seeing "no room left on drive" errors. I really really hate them I mean they fuck up all sorts of stuff. So last night/this morning I cleared out about 3, maybe 4 GBs of data and the worst part is I'm already down under 1GB. Holy shit. I remmeber the bad old days when I though 80MB drives were wicked cool. Here I am 15 years later thinking 40GBs is enought for a laptop. Guess not.
Holy shit I'm pulling down Gbs of data every day? How the hell am I doing this. I guess I really need to get the network back up so I can use my G3 (with its sort of spacious 150GBs of stoarge) as a file server and download box. Tho' I may need to get a 200 GB drive and build up another server, as my G3 is filling up pretty quickly as well. I honestly can't believe I'm filling up drives this fast. I mean a few months and I may be in need of a Terabyte or two.
Anyways I've got 1200+ feed items to read (thankfully feeds max out after a point) maybe one of them has a really cheap hard drive.
11.57.00 - Mark
I don't like walmart. There are lots of reasons, like driving small businesses out of business, the fact that they leech so much off of the communities they invade and give nothing back. I don't like the fact that they get away with shit companies aren't supposed to get away with. I relish in the fact that once the price of gas gets high enough the pillars of walmart are going to collapse. And I know this goes against my generally Libritarian positions.
The most recent frustration was when Matt and I went out to get some CDRWs so he could back up his system, since we were there we looked in the ever famous DVD bin, and they must have received a new shipment since they had some good stuff in. So we grab a few, most of them rated R.
Now forwhat ever reason this state takes the movie ratings way too seriously and to touch anything R you need to be 18. First the guideline says 17, and secondly the ratings are set by a group of 10 people, all parents, all from California, all done in this shroud of mystery.
No one really knows how they rate movies, just that they do. The thing was created to avoid government imposed ratings, almost seems pointless ince now they are all but government imposed. And walmart imposed
When Matt and I picked up the DVDs we knew they were R, and like always Matt didn't have ID (not that he's over 17 anyways) and I'm eternally low on cash. So the deal is I flash ID and Matt pays. Usually works. Except some clerk started being a corporate drone. Citing policy. Apparently we can't do this. We tried arguing a couple of situations, like whats the matter, we're family (which should have worked), or what if we pull cash from the ATM (which did work). and a few others. It was just plain stupid but she just cited policy until we gave up and had her remove the DVD from the purchase.
But we did want the DVDs so we did goto an ATM and we did got back. I went back in, to the same clerk, and got the DVDs. She didn't say anything, so the so called policy is really pointless. It doesn't stop anyone, just a pointless deturant. I mean I've heard of people getting paid off to get a DVD or video games for minors. There's no bite to the mutable bark. I doubt there is even a real bark, I think Walmarts policy is just echos of a fraction of society who refuses to face the fact that life is vulgar.
Its vulgar, obscene, crude, mean, destructive, profane, and often unpleasant. And while it may be wonderful and clean part of the time it is far uglier than it is pretty and comfortable, at least from a worldly perspective, and it boils down to perception. If you want to fight the evils, you live in a world of evil. if you accept the fact that this is a chaotic reality and blank out the things that irratate you rather than fight them, the world is a lot more enjoyable.
The fanatical religious sects and the corporations that cater to them (like walmart) choose to fight. Walmart is supposed to listen to its customers, they are not supposed to impose their morals on society in general (its brain dead economics people). I feel sad for the music, movie and video game industries, who have to deal with the tyrannical walmart bureaucracy when releasing products.
In any case I can see myself *&^%ing with walmart sales staff in the near future, because its too tempting not to.
20.58.00 - Mark
Forget the stupid copy-wronged slogan, Life is good. The SxSW Music torrent I've been downloading for the last week and a half finished up when I was in winston salem. And we got lots of nice stuff, mostly out of need.
I've needed new shoes for a few weeks, so I have a new pair of trail shoes and a new pair of casuals, both of which are better than the pairs I have now. I need to break in the new trail shoes over the next couple of weeks because I'm finally going to go camping (real camping, no fixed structure stuff most people around here thing is "camping") which means I also get to air out my gear. Its been a solid 2 years since i've set it up, which is pretty sad. Ended up getting a couple new shirts as well. Nothing printed, just plain, comfortable, colored Ts. Didn't really need them but they were cheap.
Matt needed a new stereo so we went into target to get that. He's more than happy with it and we ended up getting a Flogging Molly, which goes well with the celtic music I've been picking up most recently.
Also picked up a couple books, the new Kevin Mitnick book, The Art of Intrusion, and the first Charles Stross novel Singularity Sky. Stross is in the same scifi sub genre (singularity fiction) as Cory Doctrow, one of my favorite authors. I also, almost got a moleskine notebook, which I've been salivating over for about two weeks now, but Barnes and Noble didn't have a large version in anything but squared line, and I want plain pages, or possibly lined, but not squared. So I passed. There is however, no way i am not getting one now. While I didn't write in one, I love the way they feel. The weight, the paper. I can see why they have attained playful cult status.
Lastly just ate one very good meal. There'e nothing like a nice thick swiss cheese burger with saut»ed mushrooms and onions chased by a cold cream soda. Now I'm watching U-571. Sub movies rock.
Yes life is good.
01.40.00 - Mark
Adhesives are hardware hackers best friends. Sometimes there's a task that you Just-Can't-Do (tm) with hardware and glue is the best method to make something work. Of corse there lots of glues to choose from.
Fortunately thistothat.com steps in and offers glue suggestions and tips to get the best solution.
04.55.00 - Mark
How long does it take for me to set an alarm clock? About 2 hours.
Recently I've been using my iPod and headphones as an alarm clock, it works pretty well, but isn't exactly the best solution. My real alarm clock is exactly worthless. (I'm a very sound sleeper) so out of boredom I started messing around seeing about making my iBook an alarm clock since its doesn't go to sleep (usually DLing bittorrent files), and its pretty loud. It also has the same files as the iPod It also gave me an excuse to mess around with Apple Script, which is one of those things I've been meaning to do since, umm, around System 7.5 (just this side of forever) I also wanted to mess around with the cron function of the *nix underpinnings since I've gotten pretty bad about backups, and cron is one of those useful tools that will do it in the background on a regular basis.
So basically here's how I set my clock:
tell application "iTunes"
set volume 7
set sound volume to 100
play playlist "Current Favs"
set full screen to true
set visuals enabled to true
this basically tells itunes to start up, set the system volume and iTunes volume to max (its weird that Apple is still using the same system wide volume definitions (4 bit) as they did with OS 4 in OS X.3 while iTunes is using percentages) it then starts playing my designated playlist (don't even ask what's in it) it then does something that my iPod can't - turn on fullscreen visuals.
That's the pure code which is now saved as an application. Then I went into cron (I cheated and used a GUI toolset - hey it is 5 AM) and set up alarms based on Monday - Thursday and Friday to Sunday.
Anyways, now that I've wasted 2 hours setting my alarm (and 4 hours before that rewiring my DSL connection), I'm going to go to sleep so tomorrow I can work on reconnecting the LAN and possibly work on more applescript (cuz its fun, almost exactly like the psuedocode we're doing in programming and logic)
/me goes off to sleep wondering if he can make an applescript to read and control the temperature of the fridge mac though the serial port of a laptop...
10.56.00 - Mark
Sort of. Happy St. Patty's day. Did luck out with one of these pointless two hour delays (the *&^%ing k12 schools are all out for the day) so I got two hours of extra sleep. Rushed into school and still ended up being a little late, but listened to great episodes of Slacker Astronomy and Geek Fu Action Grip on the drive up. Would have liked a cancelation (insta-vacation extention) but can deal with it. There's crap to do that may as well get done now as opposed to later.
So I just need to get though dreamweaver and engrish then I can go home and start my spring break. (We've got snow on the ground and I'm starting spring break go figure)
Anyways I like St. Patty's day. Its about the food. Irish know good food and good beer (and I'm too young for beer) For a holiday named for a religious figure, its a very unreligious holiday, not that I'm complaining. I'd much rather be eating lots of food, watch people get inebriated en mass, listen to cetic music, and do crazy things like dump green dye into a river, as opposed to what the real Saint Patrick did (convert a nation to a certain religion)
14.36.00 - Mark
Microsoft feels CSS 2 is a "flawed" standard
I'm not really surprised they feel that way, considering that their "complaint" CSS support isn't, at least not completely (see my posts about coding Majdelene.com). Sort of sad considering they have a say in the standard with their W3C membership.
22.42.00 - Mark
Its completely pointless to try and hold a conversation in my family. Rather its futile to attempt verbal communications with Matt. For one, he's an egotistical maniac who knows he's right about everything and he has an amazing ability to lump tone and volume together, so unless (and probably even if) you speak in a barely audible monotone voice he'll claim you're yelling at him. He also seems to have been appointed supreme and all knowing master of the known and unknown universe, since you aren't entitled to say what you want. Somehow the constitution doesn't exist in his world, because he tries to strip away my 1st amendment rights.
Every night this week he's driven my dad out of the house as soon as he was sitting down to dinner, he's woken my mom up twice, and me, well I'm to the point where he'll try his stupid tricks and I'll piss him off. I'll usually walk away and while he claims a victory I'll be laughing my ass off becuase he's so fucking arrogant.
So trying to have a reasonable conversation with him is a complete waste of time.
I really ought to find a better use of it, like learn applescript or PHP.
08.41.00 - Mark
I love the Slacker Astronomony Podcast. Its an enjoyable bastardization of Family Guy and Mr. Wizard. I guess it could be considered a Bill Nye sort of podcast, but willing to throw more jabs at pop culture and politics.
Everytime I've listened to it I've had to laugh at it. Is a fun waste of a few minutes and its very well produced. There's a nice streamlined back and forth conversation that works well for the podcast. I only wish it was more than once a week, that way I could make sure I get more than one fix of endorphins a week.
In anycase its up there with geekfuactiongrip and Evil Genius Chronicles as favorite podcast.
And I'm thinking of lifting their slogan, or at least sticking it into the quotes page:
-- "This is a volunteer project for fun, for you, for the voices in our head."
23.23.00 - Mark
My Business writing class is driving me nuts.
Its not a case where I can't apply it, and it isn't entirely the instructor (how ever, she isn't helping it - she's pretty dull), its the subject matter. Its just hard to write.
Business writing has one goal. Convey information in order to make profit.
The way I write, and generally tackle assignments, is approach them from a real life stand point. It usually works pretty well, and it sometimes lets me cut ahead of others, since I can already apply the knowledge. Most of my wiser instructors appreciate it as it means I can either simplify concepts or bring that real world problem into the fold.
In the engrish class, I can't do that, or rather my paranoid alter ego won't let me.
For example, I need to write a proposal, I could potentially write it on XYZ business idea, but the way I work, XYZ idea is potentially profitable, and if its profitable I shouldn't be forking over cash to write it and surrender it to someone who isn't covered by No Damned Announcements, and don't tell me you forget things you read. If its interesting you remember what you read, and you stew over it, and if its really good you act on it. You generally don't remember where you read it, which means I could get ripped off and you know what. I don't like getting screwed over. So my nature is to avoid the potential danger.
Which means I need to BS more than I'd like to. It means I need to develop and research another idea, and when I already have more ideas on my plate than I'd like, it gets messy.
01.36.00 - Mark
Sometimes, most of the time, I think I'm too wired. A mildly dyslexic, somewhat anti-social, all around high tech geek. Other times, I'm reminded that I'm at the tail end of a group that remembers the bad old days of analogue.
Plastic, especially debit cards surpassed paper payment methods for the first time last year. As my generation gets into the post school era I wonder how many of my peers will remember managing a checkbook. I had my first checkbook several years ago, balanced it as it was stuffed with receipts and blocking up checkout lanes making some small purchase the type of which could only be important to a tweenage twit.
But when I opened my second checking account about two years ago I didn't get checks. Still haven't. Matt is pretty much the same way. I know that many people still don't accept the digital mediums my generation is growing up with, but in 2, 5, 10, or 20 years how many people are going to remember computers before the internet, or paying for things before debt cards were accepted everywhere, who among my peers are going to remember TVs and VCRs without remotes? Not many.
I've always felt more mature and advanced than my peers (and have confused many people with my maturity and memories of the old analog tech) but when I see some of these news articles I really get to feeling old - and I can't even legally drink yet.
(plays The Who - My Generation)
01.14.00 - Mark
Is a 60GB iPod not quite big enough for you?
Well, following these instructions you could potentially make a 300GB iPod Ginormous.
23.15.00 - Mark
By my count (which is a bastardized hybrid of blogger's numbers and my correctional counting) this is my 1000th post. (Actually I need to stick up one that is currently a draft)
One thing I wanted to do last month, and neglected for too long, was make a podcast/audiopost to celebrate my two year bloging anniversary, as I started this blogger account on February 15th 2003, so about 25 months later I've written 1000 posts, comprising of more than 100,000 words and over 900 links.
An average of 10 posts a week, but realistically, I've missed maybe one week in those two years, with a few weeks where I only made a post or two (summer).
This certainly puts me into the minority of bloggers, many of whom maintain a blog for a few weeks and go on.
I could (and almost feel like) go into the blogger vs mass media thing, but I won't. Its a bull shit subject that only further proves people screw mannerisms when going on line, and become little more than drain bramaged donkeys. So I won't, not here at least.
No this is just saying i reached the 1000 post mark, and I think its pretty amazing.
22.30.00 - Mark
Three weeks, four doses of caffeine.
No I'm not kicking the habit for good (I've got too much good stuff in the house), but its one of those can I do this things.
I bug people about smoking. Its a sick habit and I can't stand it, same for nearly any form of tobacco intake. Spit bottles are nearly vomit inducing and smoking? What sort of stuck up prick thinks that's stylish? I loose all sorts of respect for people who smoke. I know I claim to be a libertarian, but I'm sorry I don't want assholes smoking in public. Private - fine - if a business chooses to let patrons smoke in their establishments, again fine but don't expect my business. Recycling the business comment - lots of people agree with me. Smoke free restaurants do better business, proven fact.
So since I bug people about their regular drug intake I though I should be able to stop mine. This for that. Admittedly there's a difference, but I still quit, cold turkey, my regular caffeine intake on February 21st. Since then I've had exactly three Cokes, and one Mountain Dew, most of them at movies, one at a resteraunt. In those three weeks not much has really happened.
- My throat and mouth have been dry for a day or two after the caffeine intakes
- My sleep cycles have been seriously screwed up (I think this may have more to do with my 32 hour internal clock and substituting couches for a good office chair than for just kicking the caffeine habbit)
- I'm feeling better in general and think I'm a little sharper mentally
I think I'm going to stay at the low/no caffeine level for another week, week and a half, but after that I'll likely start picking it up again, although much more moderated than in the past, especially since I've rediscovered Cream Soda. Wish there was Barq's root beer here tho' all the root beer brands available here all taste pretty generic. Barqs was a little stronger and still mass market, however even that can't compete with the really good stuff, like Millstream Root Beer (gotta get some of that shipped) or The Breghoff microbrew (microbrews are our friends)
Enough of this. You probably deemed me nuts back in the first paragraph.
19.16.00 - Mark
Caribbean (almost) islands are surprisingly cheap.
I want one, maybe two (what self-respecting evil genius doesn't have a secret lair in or around a private island)
16.49.00 - Mark
Recently I've been helping a number of people with websites and web presence. Its rewarding, in more than one way. The people are nice, polite, and provide me with a good reason to leave the basement on occasion.
Unfortunately they are somewhat disillusioned with the world wide web.
I blame mass media.
Because of them people think that setting up a website is easy, any and all graphics can be used freely, everything on eBay sells, everything that sells on eBay sells for lots of cash, and so many other things, none of them really trivial or easy to explain thanks to mass media.
I probably shouldn't venture here but I wonder if some of them think that the President reads all his mail personally? or if XYZ news agency finds news on their own.
it just doesn't happen that way, and I keep telling myself I'm going to take a big sample of news articles and watch which ones are recycled constantly. It does happen, and it takes forever in net years. Sometimes as much as a month or two. The long tail theory covers part of it, but sometimes it seems like its more of a roller coaster than exponential decay
Today I was talking with one of the people I'm developing a site for, and he's questioning me on selling some of his pretty much unknown work on eBay. I spent time trying to explain that the duct tape iPod cover didn't just seep into the media, the guy had to work hard to get so many sites to pick up on it , and even then it was more of a goof off scheme that was bid up to unreasonable amounts that were ever paid.
Occasionally you get something like that, but its rare, and not something you should count on.
Before you can do the unsane, you need to build up. It takes more than luck and a few quick schemes to make lots of money, you need a place to launch from. I'm trying to help people establish a base. There are exceptions (like the Vigrin Mary Grilled Cheese Sandwich) but those are special cases, dumb luck.
I don't know what I'm ranting about, I may be over thinking this and making myself out into a depressed pessimistic moron, but you shouldn't count on lady luck, she's probably rolling her own dice in a high rollers lounge somewhere in Las Vegas. If I was as lucky as her I know that's where I'd be.
14.52.00 - Mark
Dark City came out in 1998, before The Matrix, which is similar in a lot of ways such as ideas, character types, and even sets. I think the first time I heard of Dark City was when I heard about the Matrix and checked out Roger Ebert's review of the Matrix, where he mentions Dark City about half a dozen times. I think I may have rented it, but don't remember watching it for some reason.
In any case it popped back into my mind recently, and when I saw it in the $5.50 walmart DVD bin of chaos I grabbed it. I'm not disappointed, I even like aspects of it more, much more, than The Matrix (especially considering the blow shit up goooooood sequels)
The Matrix just took off, and Dark City didn't, but there are lots of great films that go unapperciated in leu of crap (insert junk hollywood film with a half life of 4 months here) If you get a chance to see Dark City, do. You won't be disappointed (unless you have a 5 second memory, in which case you're now struggling to remember the title of the film that I'm trying to convince you to see)
23.57.00 - Mark
I just wrote that title in, and all of a sudden I knew what I was going to write about. In the last day or two I've realized how much audio essays I'm taking in. Its strange. Audio has some strange power over me. Yes I still skim over my 1000+ RSS items a day, but audio is different. With audio I listen to subject matters I would never pick up on if it were text. Some of the weird things I've listened to have included combining Buddhist meditation with "traditional" modern psychology (read drugs) discussions on string theory, drug law enforcement, the dangers of "post-feminism" with regards to women's rights, and reality show like ramblings on a pop-type band.
Some people don't like audio because you don't know what you'll get, but I feel exactly opposite. I love audio because I don't know what's going to pop up. It seems more natural than the written word, which isn't to say I'm forgetting text-based sites I can't and I'm not. But in terms of my favorite delivery method, its easily audio.
Passive and active at the same time, and so much more flexible than the written word, with a toolbox of tricks that help convey the message.
I really need to record more audio.
01.32.00 - Mark
In the North, we had the joys and privileges of snow and ice sculptures. I always felt snow forts were cool (no pun intended - as they could get fairly comfortable if you built it right), but apparently anything I ever dreamed up is nothing compared to this project
12.16.00 - Mark
I get ideas in weird places. Really weird places, places I would have never expected an idea to occur if I was picking places where I had my ideas.
As such I never go anywhere anymore without some sort of writing device and some sort of dead tree product, aptly named my hackers notebook (people with stigmas against hackers usually go for solutioneer's notebook). That's been true for, I don't know, 7 or 8 years now.
It used to been pencils and a book of graph paper, but notebooks of graph paper are large and fairly bulky. Perfect for sketching but they got to be unwieldily.
Then I had a series of regular sized notebooks the 8.5 x 11 ones with an assortment of bindings. Those metal sprials always crimped together making it hard to easily flip though a book, the glue based ones always loose pages. (remember I carry these things nearly everywhere)
Then about 9th grade I found these sweet 5.5 x 8 spiral bound notebooks with pockets. Love them. Small enough to throw into nearly any bag, have pockets for the loose stuff, and easy to hold in one hand. The better ones have a heavy plastic cover and a stiff cardboard back. Nearly perfect - but they come with perforated edges and still have the metal spiral binding, both of which fail as noted above.
Still they've been better than pretty much everything else I've tried (bar a folded up piece of printer paper in the wallet which is always a good backup) and very distinctive. I lost my current one for one day last summer, really had me down as I've made a lot of project notes in it. Thanks to its uncommon size I found the sticky fingered asshole that picked it up with barely a second glimpse (he wasted about 2 dozen pages in little under a day) I'm sold on the size, but not the assembly.
I'm now getting to the point where I need to retire my current notebook and get a new one, and thanks to 43 Folders I think I may have found the perfect medium for my next hacker idea log - a large moleskine notebook.
Much more expensive than what I have been getting, but I think the extra $10 is potentially worth it. The construction seems much better and the people who own them swear by them.
We'll see. I need to get the hosting thing under control first, but I am a sucker for high quality products.
23.15.00 - Mark
Too many people lurking around here methinks.
Brad has a post about his frustrations with cheap pencils I think it mimics my earlier post on notebooks.
/me grabs PokingStick2000 and starts prodding the site underbelly
any lurkers down there?
08.52.00 - Mark
I don't like working in groups, at least at school. Its nothing against the people in my classes (OK, maybe it is in engrish) but grup projects are well boring. I'm just on another level. I know that seems a little egotistical, but it seems to be true.
The class may be talking about theroy of site structure, but I already know about it and put it into use nearly every day. I've got my own rules and ideas of how to accomplish the task, and considering I get 20 to 30 visitorsa day who view several pages each I'd say I'm not screwing up too badly.
In a class discussion its easier to bring that into the fold. I'm only elaborating on concepts, putting them into real world context. In groups it isn't. Its not that I can't apply the same knowlege - its that if I do, I get to do all the work. I'm here to learn, others should be to, and if they can't put concepts into practice themselves I shouldn't have to drag them behind me. If there's one thing wrong with being skilled, its that you attract leaches, and contrary to what they may tell you in high school, the leaches don't go away. In high school its the brain damaged jock who wants to copy your homework. In the real world it seems like the whole *&^%ing planet.
My engrish class is really bugging me in this context. We just finished up midterm, and are starting on the next project, which - oh joy - we have to do in groups. Bleh. We need to go though doing a proposel, jumping though hoops like corporate lemurs. Its the same problem. Most of the people in the room are going to forget this crap the moment the walk out of the final exam. A fraction of them are really going to use this again. Some of us, like say me, already use this and don't like being told we're wrong about it. Everything in life is getting the job done, and in the real world I'm not catching slack about how much (or little) I'm writing while getting work done. I'm just getting the work done.
23.14.00 - Mark
Spent most of today listing to the backlog of podcasts then creating a new one just as quickly (yet I've still managed a net loss) Having mindless work do to makes it easier to clear them. If I get back into the habit of walking I'll be in better shape (most of the backlog was from the longer podcasts I was saving for walks) I'm probably overloading on podcasts but I don't mind, much. I'm resolving myself not to load too many more feeds for a while. The main reason I dumped more in today was that so many of the ones I was listing to died away, so its an equal trade, and I always clear the shorter ones quicker (daily commute to and from classes - perfect for 20 - 26 minute podcasts)
On a related note I like how far the iPodder lemon project has come. I upgraded to the latest release client and I like it alot. plenty of new features that make it a little more useful, like multiple downloads which has been my main bug. I really like open source software. The developers do a really good job fixing it in a hurry. The only downside is that once I get some money (another problem altogether) I'm going to invest in NetNewsWire Pro and MarsEdit. Between podcasts and RSS news feeds I'm sampling close to 200 sites anymore, and Netnewswire pro seems to be the only thing that can manage what I need. Comes down to cash flow tho'
I really need more web hosting. Yeah 3 domains isn't enough apparantly. I have several people asking me if I can host sites for them. The sad news is I can only manage thee at the moment and, they're all filled up. I should add a domain booster pack, or get a higher end package. Unfortunately I think I'll have to kludge it and sign up again as a new user for the same deal I have now ($10 for the first year) then move to a higher end package in 10 months or so when the first package runs out. Now to see about a prepaid credit card (hey, ya gotta spend money to make money, and I know how to keep my costs low)
15.50.00 - Mark
Been loading up on music again. I seem to really dig up new tunes every 3 or 4 months and its that time again. Last time I sprawed out at garageband.com, this time its more iTMS stuff and stuff I found in podcasts. Just downloaded about half a dozen songs by Harvey Keene though itunes, its folk rock stuff, sort of like CCR or Dylan. Also snatched some Jill Sobule, who has an amazing voice and a decieving ability to make positive songs downers and give the more serious lyrics a happy upbeat tune (she has free samples at her site, as well as songs at iTMS) I'm thinking of getting some Michelle Malone too, but still deciding on her stuff. I've also got some neat tunes buried inside of podcasts that I'll probably extract, like celt-6 from James Richmond and Let the Motor Run by The Markks (also streamed at garageband.com, but not for download)
Lastly I'm one of the many people out there downloading the 2.6GB legal torrent (link goes to actual torrent file) for the SXSW music festival, even though I'm not going. Something like 750 MP3s in all, from the various groups playing at the festival. Really cool stuff and combined with seriously pad out my collection. Can't wait for it to finish downloading so I can start listing to it (its 2.6GB compressed)
Finding new artists is by far my favorite thing about podcasts, and since most of them are independent I don't feel bad about paying for their music, its really easy to avoid the RIAA crap (who would love to sue me for having more than 1000 songs on my hard drive)
12.36.00 - Mark
I've already posted my feelings about the yellow ribbon magnets. What I have not posted about (recently) is my utter distain for Americas arrogance. I'm rallied to comment on this by a commercial created by the United Nations (you know - the big group of nations whose aim is to spread world peace and all that - the one we helped found) will not be aired in the States because, well there is no real because.
"Kickoff," a 60 second PSA won't air in the United States Period
Wonder why? Maybe because we're a country that elects brain dead politicians who choose to monger war than to work for peace.
The United States is one of the few holdouts that has not signed the primary anti-landmine treaty out there, is the only nation to skip out of the missile defense treaties out there, and who really knows what else our leaders have refused to sign - sometimes against the public's will.
Face it our nation is led by a bunch of war mongering hicks who thing they're on some *&^%ing jihad. And we don't care how we screw other nations. Sure past presidents haven't been great about it, but the current redneck in office isn't trying to do one bit of good, at least Clinton managed to sign some of these treaties.
You watch the ad, and you let me know if you stand for land-mines. If you want to sway my opinion, be prepared to convince me why you should be able to own an AK-47 for rabbit hunting at the same time.
If you're an ignorant wad who feels this is just a bunch of bullshit UN propaganda, I'm sorry but you're elected dumbo stripped the UN of any power it may have had in the past when he opted to invade Iraq. To get you attention they need to resort to blowing stuff up. If you don't like seeing childeren killed and mamed then maybe you aren't alone in the world. Maybe, rather than complain about how much you (ignorantly) hate the UN you should stand up and do something about it, and I don't mean support hastily written reactionist "decency" laws either, go support organizations like this one. Its no wonder we think we're a nation of morals and ethics - we get the make them up as we go along - and aside from the occasional 747 crashing into a building thing no one is going to stop up. :/
sorry if the facts and rants are intertwined. It really disturbs me that our government, a government of the people for the people by the people, is so willing to ignore the people. Even writing elected officials seems like a useless endeavor since they return you a nice pompous letter explaining why you are wrong and why their experiences in the world make their opinions worth more than yours
21.37.00 - Mark
That's about my relation with mass media anymore.
20.51.00 - Mark
I hate stupid laws. I hate how some people get these "brilliant" ideas that are really just idiotic suggestions that fail to solve problems and just serve to irritate the public they claim to be protecting. This bill in the Minnesota house is one of those idiotic laws. The way to solve alcohol abuse isn't by keeping it at bay for another 8 hours it for opening up its exposure by several years
The problem is not binge drinking at 21, its not trusting people to live their lives. America is basically the only country with widespread drinking problems, due in large part to the fact that the only legal experiences a person can have with alcohol is after 21 years on this rock. Most other countries allow some sort of exposure in the youth, many at 18, others well below that with some restrictions. For those countries it isn't a big deal and while binge drinking undoubtedly exists it does not present the same widespread problem. People in those countries understand that alcohol impairs their judgment, and learn to use it carefully.
Many of Americas problems exist because rather than focusing on the original ideals of our nation the population is allowing legislation that prevents life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If you make something a big deal and over hype it by flashing the stories in the news people will want to experience it. It happen to Napster an p2p, it happens just as much, if not more, to drinking and smoking.
If it isn't a big deal you won't see the problems. So lower the drinking age, at least on Wine and beer, spirits can come a few years later but beer and wine are where the problems lay. Lower the drinking age, in some way or form, and I feel you'll see the problems decline.
10.21.00 - Mark
Boing is a nice term to be unsane to, and right now I want to be a little more unsane than usual. This stream of consciousness brought to you by my programming and logic class. I have nothing against programming or logic, I like them both, but weeks have gone by and we're just now getting to Boolean logic. That really bugs me since I know and more importantly understand logic. I remember when you didn't have plain text search engines like Google around - I remember getting the crash corse in boolean logic in the bad old days when Altavista was the top dog of search engines. If you wanted to get anywhere you know boolean operators by heart.
So she (the teacher) keeps talking about logic operators and knowing where to place the AND operators to accomplish XYZ goal. Got it the first time, move on, please. Sure she has an easy on the ears southern accent, but I want to get somewhere in this class and frankly I know alot of this already. Please - lets get into the perl stuff.
I don't know. Don't know about the class, don't know why I'm so bored, don't know why I'm stream of consciousnessing this onto the web where it will live forever.
I do know I want to sprawl out on the couch at home and be mindless for a few hours.
23.50.00 - Mark
Some insurance companies are starting to offer better coverage to their more religious clients.
That's bullshit. Religious values have no bearing on how good a driver may be, in fact I know some people who are reckless drivers who claim to be very religious, then again you'd have to be to go 40 down residential roads in a heavy snow storm or like to go speeding past police stations.
02.38.00 - Mark
Boing Boing is instigating an international crisis by linking to some North Korean Flash animation, but the North Koreans don't want to share their bandwidth. Guess they aren't communists after all - I mean wouldn't a real communist want to share? Thats supposed to be the major idea of the gift economy that helps form the basis of communism?
(posting late because the basement floor that lets me get into my room is covered in wet paint for the next half hour or so)
21.47.00 - Mark
Sci-Fi doesn't just get it they really get it In addition to the wonderful things I mentioned last week, they are now podcasting commentary I'm gonna have to download the last episode off bittorrent just to try it out.
Wonder what they'll be doing next week - rolling all this up into one ball and sticking torrent files into RSS enclosures?
18.06.00 - Mark
Guess the insurgents need better cellular service.
I'm really not surprised that cell phones are being used as IED (improvised explosive devices) detonators, I once explained this in detail to some asshole who wouldn't stop pestering me in a drain bramaged history class (he stopped soon after that talk) - and that was 5 or 6 years ago. The detonator above is pretty close to what I envisioned, then again it isn't rocket science, just some basic electronics.
21.02.00 - Mark
I don't like the yellow ribbon magnets, the made in Asia ones that say support our troops and are slapped onto the back of some gas guzzling SUV in any odd position.
I don't like them because of their mixed message.
I support our troops. I have no problem with our troops, and when I run into someone who says they got back from service I always respect them and I try to say thank you. I may not be adopting a sniper or sending care packs to J.I. Joe but I have some very good friends who have entered into the military after graduating from high school.
I still don't like those support are troop magnets because they aren't just saying support our troops. Once the war is over the magnets will disappear, and Support our troops will become a lost phrase in the last chapter of a high school history book (you know - the one that no one ever gets to) and a question that will be included with the Millennium edition of Trivial Pursuit (which will probably be released in 2014) and no one will want to support the troops that they sent body armor to during the middle of the second Gulf War.
The middle class trash that are sporting those magnets won't give a fuck, and will be too concerned futilely trying to electing Condoleeza Rice as president and pushing their own brand of "morality" to keep supporting our troops - the ones physically and mentally damaged from protecting a nation from a threat many of them are not sure exists.
Those magnets, which are primarily sported by the die-hard right, don't say "Support our Troops" they say "Shut up, support our President - the all knowing George W. Bush - and while you're at it support our troops" the later just didn't fit onto the small magnet.
08.01.00 - Mark
Majdelene.com seems to be fixed, at least under Win 2k. I'll have a better idea if its really finxed in a while (another class another computer lab)
I really need a game and testing box, no just a testing box. I don't have the time to blow away obcessing over the latest PC games. Maybe I'll get around to building that *nix media station I've been wanting, 'cuz I'm time shifting enough TV to make it work for me.
18.08.00 - Mark
It's official, I like burning books
(I'm not apologizing to any christians who lack a sense of humor about this post)
15.52.00 - Mark
I really like the Query Letters Blog very funny stuff. The fans of it suck, they seem like a bunch of stuck up wannabe hollywood yes men. So read the posts ignore the comments, and yes I suppose there is hope for hollywood yet - they are rejecting that crap...
13.46.00 - Mark
There are hints in the North Carolina blogosphere of another bloggercon, this time in Charlotte.
It'd be cool to go to another one, I'm hooked on the conference thing now, so aside from scheduling I don't think there's much that could stop me from going to another 'con. Right now that means if they can pull something together by June, which is entirely possible, I'd probably attend.
10.13.00 - Mark
Thank you Firefox for being good and supporting standards
Thank you Safari for being good and supporting standards
Thank you OmniWeb for being good and supporting standards
Thank you unnammed browsers for being good and supporting sandards
Thank you Microsoft, for populating the earth with a rancid piece of shit web browser that takes all the good, understandable web standards and throws it out the window as if they were devil incarnates.
Just got around to checking majdelene.com with Internet exploder under windows. Its not horribly mangled, but it isn't doing what the style sheets say, and ruines the desired layout. *&^%ers. Maybe its a simple solution and all I need to do is use the box model CSS hack out there.
To any sick monkeys viewing this with IE on windows
Go download Firefox!
08.36.00 - Mark
The main reason I didn't post much over the weekend was that I was working on a website for a local author, and while not finished it is up and in usable shape. The design is one of my cleaner ones, and it felt really good getting my hands dirty with raw CSS and HTML. Its been too long (and too much of the Dreamweaver junk - I'm sorry but I've developed the tools on my own, there's no need to pay hundred of dollars to pay for a copy of the CSS and HTML specs, a half assed web browser and a text editor)
Anyways you can see it as it is now at Majdelene.com. The text isn't that long, but its not bad, and reading it wasn't the worst hour I've ever spent on anything.
So Yeah. Thats what I've been working on recently, fun little project to add to my portfolio, and to pick up some more disposable income. Now to go waste time with dreamweaver.
20.03.00 - Mark
In my mind Million Dollar Baby won best film hands down. The Aviator was really good, and the directing was possibly better (but not much) than Eastwood's. The acting was good in both films - even DeCaprio wasn't terrible. In the end tho' you feel so much more for the characters in Million Dollar Baby, its easier to relate to them and there's far more to take in (more characters loose something important) Its a little hard to associate with a megalomaniac schizophrenic obsessed with a flying football field, but it is fun to watch, a whole lot of fun.
Both films hold their own, but compared to one another, Million Dollar Baby has to take it. Its a lot deeper than the Avaitor. I came away from it wanting the entire state of Florida to see it, the Avaitor, well some things go boom, some people go nuts, and the only people I want to see it explicitly are the neat freaks I can (and do) ignore so easily.
In related news I now know the best time to see movies. Weekday matinees. Yesterday there were a dozen people in the theater with me, but it was a snow day. Today was not a snow day and there was noone in the room I didn't pay with.
To any Mount Airy resident who has been in the new cinema knows it a big place. Now imagine it empty. Pick a seat and watch a movie. Private showings, however they're conducted, rule. If you have an afternoon to waste and there's a good (read: intellegent) movie in, go to a weekday afternoon showing with a friend or two.
The new place is very reasonable as well, on par with the what the Downtown cinema costs. So it was a good winter afternoon. Think that's it for now, May go see the Incredibles this weekend, but thats a few days off. After that I should have this movie thing out of my system