Older blog entries for decklin (starting at number 55)

Aren't we all...

I've realized that I'm much younger than I thought. Not because of committing another stupid blunder, but because I've failed to fully grok something that I "knew" in an intellectual sense. And this is it: people will believe that any sort of metaphysical-sounding bullshit is intelligent.

Maybe a week or so ago, someone (I've forgotten the name, my apologies) posted a link to Peter Suber's Nomic page (as a snippy but well-deserved jab at the Debian voting process), which I read with great interest (unlike most of what happens on -vote, but back to the point). I wrote a paper for my economics course based on comparing a memetic view of economic modeling and Nomic. And it was complete bullocks. I made vague generalizations, swept theory under the rug, and filled up pages with "look at me, I'm smart" circumlocutions. The whole thing vaguely made me want to vomit, but I am cursed with a inability to fill blank space on a deadline and I tend to take what I can get. So I go to class today, and not only was the paper handed back to me with a perfect grade, but the majority of the lecture was based on stuff I said. It's depressing.

Somewhere in the middle of all this, a friend of mine wrote some very interesting literary stuff in her online diary (elsewhere). I hadn't had a real discussion with her in a while, and she's one of the few people left these days who seems to actually care about this stuff, so I just went off on how I saw A Clockwork Orange and associated things through Barth and Snow Crash and my own (lack of) religion and whatnot. I tried to be honest, because I rarely have the chance to, even (especially) to myself, but it still felt far too dense and wrapped up in metaphysical indirection (or perhaps $20 vocabulary). And in responding she flattered me just enough to really get my goat. She says I treat here like she's more intelligent than she is, but I feel like it's closer to treating her like she's dumb enough not to see through me.

The third thing that got me thinking about this topic was an article forwarded to alt.music.jungle by Lee Stoiser. I know, unfortunately, that there are very few if any people here who feel the same kind of connection to this culture that I do, so I can't imagine anyone will experience the same sort of disgust watching someone ripping into it for the sake of their own mental masturbation. But I read it and I said to myself, "This is what you are doing, however much it's exaggerated. And you should be ashamed." I know that it's the content pissing me off as much as the form, but still.

Maybe I'm developing an ____-complex? (oh, fill in the blank yourself, you know who I mean.)

Been listening to: Outkast, Pet Shop Boys, Seba. Some things are still good...

Elsewhere

It was a day for clipping and saving. argent wrote:

The problem is: the Internet is overflowing like a septic tank full of rotting condoms, and every day more and more people standing there with their finger in the dike are realising that the thing on the other side isn't the sea.

The horrid thing is, it's true. Not necessarily of any specific place, even -- of everywhere. But I still feel guilty. At any rate, his presence will be missed.

Then I read the school's newspaper today and found out that someone I "knew", but didn't actually know, died. And I remembered when I was still in high school and he showed me around the place, and how impressed I was with the spirit and individuality that he was able to maintain. I said to myself, "there must be something good about this place if he can thrive like that, if it hasn't burned him out the way my milquetoast suburban town has done to me." I decided to come here, but I never found an excuse to talk to him, never went out to the place he lived off campus, or anything. I didn't see him around very often, but every time I felt that I should have thanked him. And I feel guilty.

It's funny how what you do, and what you don't do, are often flip sides of the same cowardice.

"Once you hear music, it's gone, in the air. You can never listen to it again."

I had this funny thought today. I said to myself, "you know, I bet that looking back, today will be seen as some sort of tuning point. Maybe people won't think of today's date, but they'll notice something." Then a little while later, I remembered that today was the .us election. "Hmm, I suppose that adds to it a bit, doesn't it?" I must be going a little loopy.

(I voted in absentia a couple weeks ago. Anyway...) Today I went on a quest to remove TO_ from my .procmailrc. The proliferation of different mailing list headers out there has restored my faith in rugged individualism somewhat. :-) I also decided that I have accumulated too many web comics, and went through that perennial rite of geek passage, Writing A Program To Download All Your Comics Before You Get Up. I'm suprised it took me so long to get to this point...

Did some boring software updates. Not too sure why I feel "bored", but I've resolved to pull Teach Yourself Scheme in Fixnum Days out of the dusty part of my bookmarks and actually read it. That and someone posted it Crackmonkey today, giving me a reminder that it actually existed. Should be good for some new ideas.

and finally, in the Scary Things department: I actually turned down an offer to see a movie at 2AM yesterday because I had to get up for class. I feel ooooold. The class was canceled.

27 Oct 2000 (updated 27 Oct 2000 at 22:34 UTC) »

Is it really Friday already? Can't be. Went home last weekend and finished some aterm work -- I actually thought about switching over for a minute but then I came to my senses. At least the people who have sent in bug reports against my code (ptooey!) will be happy.

Went down to the library yesterday and ended up getting engrossed in this silly little code-sharing problem for about 4 hours straight. I've got mostly everything worked out now except for an unrelated nasty race condition.

Got some email about Thinice... if anyone here is artistically inclined, throw some throbber ideas my way. My current one is the product of about 30 seconds with Script-Fu. It's very much a "look, we all know what a throbber is supposed to do, here's a suitable abstraction. Fill in the ephemera yourself." type thing. I tend to have this attitude in regards to most sorts of eye-candy for some reason. Hmm, postmodernism is out of fashion, isn't it...

In search of more Barth. I was even more impressed by the rest of the stories than I was last time. In other media, I downloaded Dylan's remix of "Go", and I had to pinch myself. Shirley you're not serious?

Finally finished my mixtape! (email me if interested). I need more free time or something. Time to smack the people who are supposed to be getting our station on the net.

Somebody needs to remind me to decide where I am going to apply to for next year before I start acting reckless and fatalistic regarding personal relationships and how much I really want people to know about myself. Or something.

Random Meta Note time: I see there's another big inter-diary thread going on today. I'd like to encourage people to make articles on the front page to hold this sort of discussion. While one can't go and move things after the fact, it's always a good option to keep in mind.

16 Oct 2000 (updated 16 Oct 2000 at 16:05 UTC) »
Re-Approaching Normalcy

Wget is evil. I mean eeeeevil. I woke up this morning and found out I had downloaded 3 gigabytes of data. Twitching nervously and looking over my shoulder.

Recent Gaim changes are quite nice. A few rough edges, but i've been getting very quick turnaround on sending in patches.

I'm still wondering what big site linked to x.themes.org. I noticed this week that my downloads shut up from maybe 1 or 2 hundred to 1000 in a single day. Scary. Copied over some rules to use my -moz-field color to Classic, since I was lucky enough to catch a bug filed on it. No response yet. I'll be glad when this shipping nonsense is over and done with. I feel slightly guilty for only caring about Mozilla and not the people funding it, but not much.

Death of Community Predicted, Film at Eleven

Today I noticed that if you go and try to certify someone as "Observer" it doesn't actually decrease their certification. "Well, shit," I elaborated.

I apologize for not having the time to make this shorter; it's stolen from an email (hi craigbro). I always plan to do far too much... Skip to the end, if you don't like hearing people whine about their personal lives.

How To Dissapear Completely

Well, I have my computer back. Here's the whole story...

Apparently last week some senior was working on a project and needed a DHCP server. So he started it up, but didn't configure it properly. Suddenly, the whole network grinds to a halt as people plugging their Win98 laptops in get DHCPOFFERS back from him with already-assigned IPs and non-existing DNS servers.

Here's where the bogons suddenly align themselves and impact into some administrator's skull. "Oh no, what do we do? Quick, scan the network for anything odd and cut it off!" Well, I had rather stupidly decided to expiriment with Samba that week, because the "domain controller"[1] wouldn't recognize me and set up an entry in DNS like it would for everyone else's Win98 setup. (I was trying to get this because (a) it was a pain changing my IP with NickServ and eggdrops all the time on various IRC networks, and (b) master(.debian.org) wouldn't let me log in unless I connected indirectly through some less-strictly-configured machine.)

So there the clueless-administrator-monkeys are, sweeping through our whole subnet. They hit on my machine and notice that the "windows version" is being reported as 4.2. "Oh my God! That's not possible!" (from what I was told, apparently no one knows about Samba.) Obviously whoever set this thing up is Evil and Must Be Stopped. Fortunately for them, I made a rather stupid mistake setting samba up, and put "Decklin" in the comment field. Phone calls ensue. "Do you have a student, named, uh, *squint* Decklin?" "Yes..." A few hours later I find security guards at my door.

Now, you would think that *someone* involved might have had the intelligence to contact me, ask me if I knew anything, ask me to disconnect until they figured it out, something. Fat chance. As far as they were concerned, it was perfectly acceptable to barge in and forcibly seize my equipment. I was at least handed a "warrant", which turned out to be completely full of false information. I am still trying to track down the legality of that with some other college people.

In Limbo

Naturally, the first thing I ask is when I can even find out what the hell I'm being subjected to this confiscation of property for. I'm told that I will have to wait until Monday to even make an appointment, and that the dean is out until Tuesday. Keep in mind this is Friday evening. So I run up to Res Life and find the assistant dean, who is still there but packing up to go home. "Ah *yessss*, the computer. You'll have to call me on Monday. Here's my card."

Two days pass... I get homework done far into the future and make my way through an entire Sunday Times for the first time in the semester.

Idioteque

So I make my appointment, finally see Assistant-Dean-guy, and get sent back to Network-Wonk-guy ("this is technical stuff, I don't understand it."). It takes quite a bit of waiting to actually *find* him. Now things get interesting. I should point out that this guy is not simply an underpaid MCSE but a senior CS professor. I hear the whole story about what happened just before I was raided. He goes on to ask me why I'm running Linux, as that's a "server" operating system, and running "servers" is specifically[2] prohibited.

I give him the 60-second version of why I will not allow any closed-source software to touch my desktop, ever. I list every open port on my box from memory and explain what they do (and don't do, without my password). This is pretty much like talking to a wall. Yeah, that's all well and nice, but it's a *server*! It could do *bad things*! I at least get him to admit it was wrong to take my property without even figuring out if I was behind the disruption or not. It's not like it takes a genius to read an IP off of DHCP packets.

Perhaps the worst part was telling him that the computer science department should be *encouraging* students to run a free operating system. He said, roughly, "well, that's probably true, but it should be disconnected from the network or behind a firewall or something." I let him know that I was very offended. Open source is not some toy or something I occasionally dabble in; it's what runs my network-life 24/7.

At this point I am offered a "deal". If I, or anyone else, wants to run Linux or *BSD or whatever, we will have to sign up, get a static IP, list exactly what daemons will be running, and leave our phone number and physical location. Of course, I thought this was completely absurd. So I said, "Fine. Just give me my property back" -- I wasn't really in a position to argue with them keeping my hardware. "Oh no, I think we'll keep your computer locked up until we have this policy written." Here I just blew up and told him in no uncertain terms that there was no fscking way that they could keep my property when I wasn't responsible for the offense on my "warrant". He gave in pretty easily. I still can't connect to the network, though.

So on monday evening I finally have my computer back. I floppy whatever's important back and forth. The ridiculous part is that my school-issue laptop has been online all weekend. No one could possible tell the difference from outside, except perhaps that port 7101 is open (and useless) on the laptop since I haven't installed XF4 yet. However, I'm not about to assume the Gestapo won't barge in at random.

Now that they couldn't twist my arm with the locked-up computer, I wrote a very strongly-worded email to Network-guy (CCing my professor, who seems to be the only one on my side, but doesn't have final word in the department). The gist of it was that I am being unfairly discriminated against, and there is no such thing as a "server" operating system -- I know exactly what I'm running and I could easily download a Win32 proxy/DHCP server/whatever and wreak just as much havoc as any Linux user.

Wednesday (the next day after), I was able to catch up with my professor, and explain myself further. He calls the other professor and I finally

get permission to connect to the network. I spent a really long time going over why I feel that having to do *anything* special just because I'm running a different OS is unfair. I'm told that the line from those who want to set up this new policy is that a "large" proportion of students and admins have screwed the network over using non-Windows operatings systems, but relatively no Windows users have done so. (Well, no shit, 90% of the people with Win98 laptops don't install software themselves).

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the kid who installed the DHCP server has had network access the whole time. And didn't have his computer stolen.

Optimistic

So now I'm just waiting for the policy so I can formally complain and/or threaten to sue. I'm composing a message to go out on the school spam-list in the hopes of organizing some of the people running other servers. And regardless of what happens, I will not be paying this school tuition any longer. (Yes, looking for a school the first time sucked, and I wasn't even happy with my results at the time. Looking for a place to transfer to still sucks, and I have my horrid first-semester grades hanging over me.)

[1] See, I know this is the real MS phrase, but it helps a lot if you do it like Dr. Evil says "la-ser"... ;-)

[2] Read: vaguely. In a section of policy with the heading "Web Servers".

Everything In Its Right Place

In software news, I have become extremely frustrated with the amount of important Moz chrome stuff that lives inside packages (which I don't want to rewrite or try to work on in the tree, until I dust off the minimal-browser project again) and skins (which I can muck around with). Just reorganizing files is driving me up the wall. Also started a few more aewm fixes including (finally) forking properly. The amount of bad WM_SIZE hints out there is staggering. I have actually considered adding something like -DSTUPID_TOOLKIT_KLUDGE that ignores any PSize of 200x200.

Trying to think up of a clever and/or bizarre way to implement wc for class.

The National Anthem

I still think it's incredibly amusing that I had 4 people sent into my dorm for computer-related "offenses" and not one of them recognized the DeCSS source code printed out on my door.

Just Like Rage

Well, there's not much to say really. The administration has seized my computer. This is apparently how they are now dealing with any suspicious network activity -- forget about being contacted or even merely losing network access. Never mind that I am here to learn and not be terrorized. Talk to someone about it? Sorry, we arranged to take your computer on Friday afternoon and the dean will be gone until Tuesday. I wish I was at a state school so that due process and the 4th amendment actually meant something. I will not continue to pay these people (and fund this sort of fascism) any longer than I need to. Hopefully I will not need another semester before transferring.

Of course, I know that everyone has heard this story a zillion times and doesn't particularly give a fsck about some kid getting his MP3s, so what can you do? I never paid much attention when it happened to someone else. I say "I am sick with this" to myself all the time, but it usually doesn't concern concrete events. And so I'm left with just sucking it up.

'Round Your Skull...

Started "Lost in the Funhouse" by Barth. Very good.

Kid A is still in the mail. Someone took the promo already so I haven't heard it. Stereolab and Photek are good though. Did some calculations and figured I have spent $100 on music in the past 3 weeks. $12 for Love is Not a Game alone... sending vinyl overseas is not something I can pay for frequently.

Sometimes I wonder if I come off the wrong way. Certain exchanges are so mired in the the usual "relationship" cliche that they seem to obliterate whatever used to be there. No, I'm not making any sense.

Spot the connection between my headlines and I'll give you a cookie. Make that a cookie and a deleted MyPlay locker, because the sample won't be getting cleared...

16 Sep 2000 (updated 16 Sep 2000 at 03:47 UTC) »

Oh. My. God. I'm exhausted. My life has just been school, school, school lately. I wonder how other people have actual social lives and all that.

I can't even remember what coding I managed to do, but there is one thing I wanted to ask for feedback on here - some patches for the GTK+ Thinice engine. Most of these things have been bothering me for over a year. I need to email these people and ask if they're really still maintaining it.

Patched some actual C++ from Mozilla today; previously I'd just been tweaking XUL or JS here and there. It's on npm.gtk if anyone's intrested (yup, more Thinice-related issues). I don't predict it getting in very soon, since the CSS names need some editing and everyone's busy gearing down for M18/beta3.

I still have a ton of mail to answer... yeesh. Remind me not to go 10 days between entries again.

I feel particularly incoherent. I went back to my non-public diary and it's been showing up a lot more there. I bumped into someone on IRC who said I was their 'favorite Advogatan' so now I'm particularly self-conscious and gawky.

I wonder if what I really dislike is:

  • C++
  • the way I'm being taught it
  • object orientation in general.

Everyone raise your hand if you get annoyed when people say "you should be teaching this class." Ok, thanks.

I really wish I was at this Renegade Hardware party and not listening to the netcast. I want to get out. (Not to be confused with "I need to get out.") Rock the house, rock the house, rock the house...

I think I'm more scared of people who get upset if evolution is called a 'theory' than I am of most creationists.

Moving is tiring. I did it yesterday and I'm still exhausted. Today was my birthday and I got to celebrate by starting classes... :-/ Actually, I don't think I can complain -- class was at 2:30 and we only spent half an hour there. Just 6 people too.

Various trivial software updates:

  • I had a silly typo in the aewm .deb.
  • patched gaim to fix some font-color problems.
  • hyatt keeps moving XBL under from our feet... ;-) fixed the bindings in my skin to reflect the new syntax.

Time to do some non-computer stuff...

Packing up for school. Physically this involves moving around boxes and getting sweaty. Mentally (virtually?) I released aewm 0.9.16 and made sure all my debs had Build-Depends. Emotionally, it was time to salvage notebooks for next year's courses. I tried to start a journal several times last year. Here is something from 10/23-24 that I felt the need to type before ripping out used pages.

I think the essential conflict is between the peice of paper or what-have-you as a loose network of scribbles, and as a clear and orderly representation of the idea itself. Whether narrative and symbolism are placed above or below ourselves, in a way. Are we supposed to lay out meaning, or just a few short incomplete notes in the hopes of letting someone else find their own? Where does language reside in all of this, and can we ever really figure it out...

There's something about words themselves, about capitalizing sentences and using "whom" appropriately and all that. A sort of romanticized notion of longing and reverence for the filter that linguistics places between us and the person we are speaking to. A world in which the immediacy of speech and lucid typing are not there yet, where we still have time to live and think. Telecommunications is shrinking the world, and pushing us all to far into eachother's personal space.

macricht: you are not alone on the life thing.

Procrastinated by making a gqmpeg skin that I actually find pleasing to look at. I've been using my old one for at least a year and I never liked it much. Need to get it on red-bean as response time from the maintainer is slow. Bleh. I am evil. I'm a skin person now. I'm using -DMWM_HINTS on my aewm binary. The mind reels.

Oh yes, now playing: Gescom's minidisc. This is just amazing... more Panasonic-ish than Autechre-ish really. Sort of like giving the part of your brain that hears a good scrubbing.

Skud: azz sent me these:

  ; grep lava .Xresources
lavaps.shaped:                          False
lavaps.geometry:                        200x200

Suffice it to say lavaps was a big pain in the butt while I was hacking on shaped window support, and I thank azz for pestering me about it, as I don't use it myself. :-) (P.S. other window manager people will note that there's something fishy here, but I'm too tired for that rant tonight.)

Maybe it's just me, but I seem to be getting a lot more emails lately which consist of "I'm on vacation, I'll reply later" auto-responses sent back to mailing lists lately. A sign of the impending apocalypse? For example, last weekend every bounce from xchat-discuss got diverted to me instead of the list admin. And then there was the mail loop at forwardbound...

rcassin: Yeah, I haven't seen you in #mozillazine all day. Hope you're not deluged with homework.

4 days of freedom left, whee. Need to start packing. Today was very stressful. Saw the shrink and almost broke my hard disk again.

I'm not going to say anything about... er. Forget it. I'll just wink at craigbro. (p.s. sorry I didn't get back to you... your answer was NIL ;-))

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