Older blog entries for amars (starting at number 326)

When Open-Source Software goes wrong... OR Why PostNuke Sucks: The Saga Continues
I would like to further re-iterate the fact that PostNuke is a horrible abomination upon the world of PHP.

pnUserGetAll() works in pnadmin.php in a module i'm (reluctantly) writing without a problem. I cannot, however, use pnUserGetAll anywhere else. So, I RTFM. Apparently one should nhot use pnUserGetAll because it is to be deprecated in favor of pnModAPIFunc('users','user','getall');

After some clever grepping and database querying, no code anywhere exists to support pnModAPIFunc('users','user','getall'). Furthermore, pnUserGetAll() isn't formally used in postnuke, not even Member_list uses it.

The next step was to walk through the code to see why it worked in pnadmin.php and nowhere else but that yielded nothing. The conclusion was that it *should* be working, but it wasn't.

The solution was to copy/paste the code from pnUserGetAll and run it locally, and it worked. So, i copy/pasted with some modifications to a local .api.php file as part of the module and called it saneGetAllUsers() and it all works. Go figure.

So, instead of getting some much needed work done this evening, I spent 3 hours debugging postnuke and "fixing" it to do what it's supposed to. Having to explain why this particular project is late is not going to be fun.

Malcom X
In one of my classes we were talking about defense mechanisms and were asked to give two examples of defense mechanisms. For some reason, i felt the need to explain some serisouly significant irrational acts i nterms of ego defense mechanisms. The first was a shameless "attack" on our foreign policy, which now seems to be shoot now, take names later. The second was on racism. I used Malcom X as an example and in the process made myself sound as soem crazed racists lunatic. Malcom X said that the white man hates the black man because of the guilt they feel towards the black man. Taken out of context, that can be taken the wrong way. Basically, I should have rephrased it by saying that racism can be a Reaction Formation defense mechanism, or possibly even projection or displacement. A person who feels guilty will avoid those negative feelings by passing the blame on to the victim through hatred. For example, a neonazi hating a Jew because of the guilt he feels for the persecution of Jews thoughout history. Or how a homophobe may be homophobic because of the shame they feel for secretly being homosexual.

Either way, the way I quoted Malcom X made me, a young white male, look like a crazed hippocritical radical living in the past.

Speaking of which, I was able to watch the first half of the Malcom X movie on BET. I was dissappointed. There was alot of key imnportant events from the autobiography that were skipped over or ignored in the movie which would have helped to put things into better context. It completely ignored his childhood and his relationship with his half-white mother. The first half of his life was literally summed up in five minutes, and briefly touches on his life of crime which led to his incarceration which was so important in making him who he became. There was no mention of Roxbury or harlem, or how he was a drug dealer or his role in prostitution, nor did it talk about his friendships and popularity in harlem before he was put into jail. His life as a street thug is probably what made him so successful as a speaker as a muslim in Harlem. He could relate and talk to the people where others couldn't becuase he talked the talk and walked the walk. It also left out alot of the narrative criticism from the first part of his life which is so important in understand his background and why he felt the way he did.

I didn't see the last half of the movie, but I doubt it could make up for everything that was left out of the first part of his life. What I saw of it was over dramatized and didn't accurately portray was was said/written in the autobiography.

It was just downright frustrating to say the least. I would have to recommend that anyone/everyone should read the book instead. As ironic as it may sound he's probably one of the historical figures I admire most and it's a shame that he, for the most part, is absent from the textbooks and that the most people will know of him will be from that movie and what people say, which is rarely accurate.

Interesting that raph brought up the topic of Saddam actually going into exile like the US and others have demanded. I was thinking about it recently. Based on my totally unsubstantiated personal opinion and having not actually verified any facts, should Saddam actually go into exile, he would pose more of a threat to the US, Allies, neighboring arab world, etc...

Saddam, being the dictator that he is, starves his people and has become rich in the process, supposedly through selling oil on the black market by his sons. An exiled Saddam would presumably take his money, family and "regime" with him to a friendly nation. Saddam, obviously a power hungry, evil man, without a country to run and millions (billions?) of dollars at his disposal could presumably become a seriously legitimate international terrorist threat.

So, I find it ironic that while the US is fighting a war on terrorism, largely focused on another rich arab exile, is demanding a course of action that could result in *another* serious terrorist threat as a solution to the Iraq situation. The "Iraq situation" admittedly part of our war on terrorism through pre-emptive strike.

While I have mixed feelings as to the justifications of the Iraq situation, one thing is clear, Saddam's exile is not the solution. If we are going to go through with this, Saddam must come out of this either dead or as a tried war criminal.

One thing I am sure about is that alot more people could be helped (both domestically and internationally) with the amount of money that is being devoted to killing others than by waging war half-way around the world.

I also wish people would stop with this oil business. There are better, cheaper ways of getting oil out of Iraq. Not to mention the fact that we get a significant, if not most of our oil from outside the middle east, like Venezuela, which with it's current political situation and oil crisis has been largely ignored by the US.

It's the subtle differences in OS X that give satisfaction in not using a Microsoft OS. Apple has adopted a "disk image" mentality to provide a method for distributing software. Which, in itself, is not a new concept, but... this is Apple.

The obvious advantage, of course is that the users associate a disk image with, say, an external drive, CD, floppy disk, hard drive, etc... so there's some familiarity in dealing with it from the user end. They are put on the desktop like any other media and they can be ejected (unmounted) when no longer needed and when "installing" software, one just copiess information from the mounted disk image to the local drive, most often by dragging the main bundle to the Applications fold, which is easy to do because of the shortcut in the finder toolbar.

Safari is set up to automatically mount images that are downloaded. So, there's no confusion about "where" it is, it's on your desktop, ready, waiting for you. For command line based apps, it's a matter of opening up Terminal.app and cding to /Volumes/<image name>/ for as long as the image is mounted.

Disk images are nothing new to linux, but from the user standpoint it's just a pain in the ass to deal with. Memorizing the mount command and remembering to mount it to a consistent place is not something the average user does.

In windows, it's a foreign concept.

</shameless OS X plug>

Perfect. The Animtraix DVD coincides with my 21st birthday. Unfortunately, I won't be around to enjoy it because I will be hiking in the Smoky Mountains.

More "Switching" going on. After several unsuccessful attempts at an elegant solution to sharing a printer across a network with Windows, Linux and OS X clients, we turned my B&W G3 into the generic shared box. It now shares the printer as well as files via FTP, Samba or HTTP, and will soon enough be a mail server. Could also technically be used as a guest computer for when people need to check their email or something from the dining area.

There's still hope for Linux yet as I could install MythTV o nmy other computer and have a tivo like setup... finally.

One could easily put together a comic strip satirizing what I have to deal with for work. It's hard to take these people seriously when they, well, erm, can't be taken seriously. The next time someone uses a particular buzzword with me, i feel like saying "You have no idea what you are talking about do you."

George W. Bush does not speak for me.

Back from "Spring Break" to a world of stress. I had a good time at home and in Austin. The Molotov show at SXSW was great, they just released a new CD and as big as they are getting in Mexico, it was fun to be able to see them at a venue that supports less than 1,000 people. I ended up in the mosh pit for awhile until i found my way up to he front, almost losing a shoe in the process. Also managed to see a band called Libido, which apparently has gone triple platinum in Peru, in a very short period of time.

In a situation unrelated to Spring Break, i'm beginning to ask myself if it's better to regret something you've done or to regret something you have not done.

12 Mar 2003 (updated 12 Mar 2003 at 23:08 UTC) »
Interesting things are happening. A successful prosthetic hippocampus would spark the beginning of an era of cybernetic beings. In my honest opinion, the limbic system is what forms our personality, it makes us who we are. The hippocampus, part of the limbic system is responsible for essentially "routing" new memories into long-term storage. The scientific world would benefit in at least two areas. First, naturally, it would benefit patients who have lost the ability to form new memories (like in "Memento"). Secondly, a functioning silicon hippocampus that works in a real human being could be used in an artificial being and be the start of the first true artificial intelligence i.e. a human brain can be simulated in software and could actually gain consciousness, which ultimately would result in mechanical brains with consciousness i.e. androids.

Anyways, successful or not, it would make for some good science fiction. Imagine a big brotheresque world in which memories are implanted to alter the past.

[UPDATE] looks like the story has been picked up by both slashdot and boingboing, the comments by bloggers and slashdotters will be entertaining, to say the least.

This weekend I will be going to Austin to visit a cousin and check out SXSW, i'm hoping to catch the molotov show if possible. If not there are plenty of others i would like to attend.

7 Mar 2003 (updated 7 Mar 2003 at 06:49 UTC) »
IRC woes
Why do i get the feeling that all IRC daemons are the unholy spawn of BIND and sendmail when it comes to configuration and services. I'd kill for a modern (but very basic) IRC daemon that works with minimal configuration and has basic services. For my application, i don't even need the ability to link to other servers. Every time i try something, i produce a working daemon that, once started, lets me go in and create channels and chat as expected, but it is by no means configured properly to allow /oper and i can never get any of the services working, period.
deekayen: Actually, I just might have one you can borrow to see what all the fuss is about. After i got my powerbook, my G3 has been collecting dust. It's pre-Y2k and is slow, but it runs Jaguar. Let me know if you're interested.

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