Older blog entries for beldon (starting at number 3)

Looking for a few good projects
I'm looking for a project or two in which to get involved. Anyone, anyone?

Since my coding skills currently rival those of your average keeshond, I could perhaps be best put to use on documentation. You have here some examples of my writing, so e-mail me if you think I could be of assistance.

Just got news today that an old friend and mentor of mine died on July 12.

"Dear Rob,

You introduced me, when I was 12, to the concept of computers, programming, logic circuits, and mathematics. I fell in love with all but the last of these at that young age as you were discovering them.

You immediately went into the sciences and I went more into music. As time went on, my love for computers and tech things never left me and I was able to teach myself most of the technologies I now use today.

I know you were a great supporter of Linux and Free Software. I know you had a number of DC LUG members working with you and encouraged the use of Linux on the basis of its technological strengths and open philosophy.

I've always looked up to you-- a true "Geek Big Brother" that I needed at a very vulnerable time in my life. I remember you teaching yourself Integral Calculus over a summer between your Junior and Senior year in High School. For fun, even!

Perhaps ironically, your death occurs at a time when I'm starting down the path you trod years before me. I begin calculus (well, pre-calc) this Fall semester in preparation for finishing my comp-sci degree. Strange to see that I've discovered a love of mathematics in reviewing my College Algebra.

And what eulogy would be complete without a list of regrets? I'm sorry I couldn't visit you more often this past year. I'm sorry we had that long period of non- contact. Mostly, I'm sorry that you won't be around anymore.

Even when we were out of contact, you always were-- and will still be-- a mentor and model for me to look up to.

I wish you peace on your journey, and hope we will meet again somewhere, somewhen.

With much love and great admiration, your friend


Much to my surprise today, when I logged into Advogato today, I was certified as an apprentice! Kewl! (thanx miniver, lilo, and mobius!)

Haven't had much time to study with work being as busy as it is. for some reason this year everyone wants everything done by September 1. Usually this is a quiet time-- or so I'm told. I've only been at this company for six months. It's still a pain that I've been averaging one server build per month, and in July I had five.

I use the spare time in work to learn *nix techniques. Currently, I'm running through the Unix CD Bookshelf from O'Reilly. I'm doing Sed and Awk as a precursor to PERL as a precursor ro C or some such 'real' language.

Co-worker of mine is taking a course in Intellectual Property and all everyone is talking about in the class is Napster. good. we need more people who at least know enough to discuss this intelligently. For what it's worth, the overwhelming consensus is that the record companies (all four of them) really missed the boat on this one. If they were as interested in capitalizing on a new opportunity as they have been on protecting their monopoly, they could have been a part of the revolution instead of becming a casualty.

And I hate the self-righteous assholes who insist on writing articles about how Napster just feeds people's selfishness. Napster (and it's related technologies) are the answer to what has always been the real desire of music fans and musicians since the first cave-person hit a stick in rhythm with another cave-person's stick hits. Freely available music, with fans paying for what they want rather than what some marketroid wants them to buy (by depleting the supply of everything but "signed" (i.e. corporately-owned) music.

In all the ruckus, I'm surprised no one's looked at the artists' organizations (BMI and ASCAP in the US) for a possible compromise. Right now, these organizations colect money from Radio stations, night clubs and other venues. They also survey radio, tv, muzak, clubs where cover bands play, etc. Based on how much play a song gets, the artists receive a share of the fees collected. It's all based on a pretty complicated structure (market size, etc), but it works. The companies are set up as non-profit organizations, so 100% of the money after operating expenses goes to the artists.

Why can't these organizations (or some other similarly-structured organization) do something similar with Napster-like sites? Napster could pay fees to these artist organizations and keep track of what gets downloaded. Then the artists get paid out of that fund.

Maybe. I don't know. It just seems like with all the lawsuits going on, no one is lookig at what can be done, as opposed to what someone or other wants to prevent.

Your humble and obedient.

The form said it wouldn't do me much good unless I contributed to Free Software. I disagree, at least in my case. This diary will, hopefully, become a journal of my journey to learn enough to start contributing.

I start school again, to finish my Comp Sci degree. I have an associate's that I earned in the Air Force, but NJIT (where I want to go) won't even talk to me without some calc, so-- it's pre-calc this fall. In took the prerequisite for this course seventeen years ago, so I've bought a book to brush up. It's called "Forgotten Algebra" and is a really good review. I remember most of what I'm reading-- but I'm glad I bought the book to dredge up the remains of my math. It's not like I've spent the past 17 years actually using what I did learn!

Meanwhile, Ive been occupying myself learning sed & awk as a precursor to learning PERL. Scripting languages appeal to me right now (as I'm a DBA), and PERL addresses some issues I feel will be affecting my day job within the next year or so. I found jumping into PERL first a little disorienting so, since it gre out of sed and awk, I decided to learn them first. I'm glad I did and I highly recommend anyone else who's thinking of learing PERL and isn't too familiar with bash or *nix at all start there.

In the future, I think all programming students will learn sed and awk the way all physics students learn Newtonian laws to start with.

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