Older blog entries for mirwin (starting at number 203)

2 Dec 2005 (updated 2 Dec 2005 at 12:47 UTC) »
Component Test

I powered up my brand new 900 watt Briggs & Stratton field generator ($500 from their web site last year) last night in the dark with a flashlight. Used it to light up one 100 watt light bulb (auto garage style) and my space jam board. Got a nasty ~60 hum feed through out of the key board so I played a couple of lackadaisical scales and shut it all down.

If I had been thinking clearly, getting the most data out of the capital funds expended for feuling flight operations to collect useful engineering data, I would have plugged in my two ups's and attempted to use a multi-meter to measure something useful instead of having to restart the generator for another test data run. However, what exactly I need I am not sure. What guarantees that enough of the harmonics are being filtered out to avoid damage to my laptop even if enough get through that it is occasionally unreliable and crashes?

I guess I better backup up the data .... it has some of my partially completed scifi concepts and operational scenarios, which means somehow I have to get a net up with portable talking to one of the two other Windows machines in the house with a cd burner, before I can proceed with testing my backup power supply for local grid, automation, or robot components and processes. Which is bad because I just found out that I can get Wireless at DSL speeds for about 50 bucks/month from local member of the Oregon Rural Internet Consortium (who have grandiose plans of repeaters on every useful hilltop for {among other things} reliable beacons, bugs, and handheld communicators to allow local tourists, criminals and citizens communicate effectively with each other and the local authorities and vigilante groups.

Anyway, 2 power sources, 2 paths (2 dsl, one dialup, 3 services, might all depend on local phone company fiber ... must check on paths out of County to Portland and San Francisco or maybe Boise))2 wire protocols ... talk to cd about independent radio digital relay.

The point is that I can start designing a data processing facility that I can operate responsibly (redundant diverse power and data transmission access) at my home cottage manufacturing site in the background when it is not busy doing engineering calculations, background scientific data crunching for philanthropic or Wikiversity purposes, or running an automated or robotized microfactory ... say laser etching glass or producing turing machines parts.

Anyway, I guess I better start learning how to use EBay. A friend of mine at the local flea market is selling an antique Multimeter for seven dollars. I wanted it bad, it was similar to models used in Electrical Fundamentals; labs that I labored through burdened with foreign language teaching assistants. I squeaked through with B's by glomming onto an effective studier whose only demand for allowing my participation on his efficient lab team was informing the ladies that they were not welcome in our lab groups. This turned out to be even more costly than I anticipated later as the lady in question was gorgeous, brilliant and ended up sitting next to the two of us in Engineering Economics. She was also witty and friendly, apparently interested, in one us anyway. I had extreme fantasies about asking her out (a major reason among quite a few for refusing to apply for the Air Force Academy despite generous salaries {they pay you instead of you paying them} was I was determined to learn how to interact with girls. How one can be a valedictorian in a school with sex education and a grid iron star (selected for East West Shrine Game, cost me two week pay but since I was on Air Force ROTC scholarship at the time I had to decide it was a relatively painless decision, even though I was eager to be done with football. I had decided that for me college was about studying Aerospace Engineering, not football and not becoming a military officer. Actually that came later when I could not get a straight answer about what my obligation was and when it was finished from my freshmen CO and ROTC unit.) without learning how to talk to girls and date? I do know. Idiot savant I guess. I am still single and inept but only 45, so with any luck I still have a few years to try learning some effective social skills. In a pinch I guess I can convert to Islam from Christianity and earn an interesting afterlife .... or buy a playboy fantasy CD and devise my own sinful demise. Bible tells us that we are what we think and choose and the wages of sin and refusing to choose redemption is ultimately permanent and final death.

I think she regretted that neither my buddy or I ever overcame our shame at our shabby discrimination against her and took a chance of getting turned down by asking her out. I wonder if she has put any scratches, dents or large holes in stainless steel cubicles? I would wager she is doing well somewhere, somehow; if not now then soon; as she certainly had her act together and the talent and loving willingness to forgive necessary to take her far .... unless she got tired out or worn down by another 500 slobs like me and my criminal crony wherever she chose to pursue a professional engineering career. Tonight I think I will pray for forgiveness and ask God to reallocate some of my good fortune her way in compensation for the valuable lessons and examples she patiently lavished on me and my buddy for an entire term after we had sinned grievously against her at what had to be a difficult time breaking into the male dominated engineering field in the U.S.A. An equal opportunity society filled with equal opportunity employers. Maybe God already has and it will not cost me much to admit my guilt, accept forgiveness from Jesuses blood sacrafice on my behalf, and get on with living a joyful creative life loving God and my fellow people while I explore some immediately accessible pieces of the universe, internal and external.

Anyway, the multimeter might make me some quick cash if other engineers my age find it worthy of refurbishment and collection (or purpose a museum or gift for an engineer somewhere?), could be reutilized as breadboard components, or at worst I can get my money's worth back from the investment by using it as a case study in liquidation of assets or creation of salvage value when attempting to phase transition from one project/company to another. I think I will buy it if it is still available as it is only seven dollars and I got an extra hundred in from an unanticipated partime task helping fix a roof.

Tomorrow I have to burn some Abbiword CDs, GIMP CDs, and looking for a simpler cut paste business graphics design tool ... you know, cards, letterhead, presentation, that sort of thing. Had a customer mention his requirements. He might show up again.

Friend of mine asked me if I had bought any tools yet applicable to casting some alimunum. I incorrectly told him no. I got some serious rock grinding tools that could be used in forming optics components, various jewel and machine parts or molds for commercially viable gizmos or simple forms ... like say belt buckles or ornaments or aluminum parts interchangeable with the dollar store's tiny hot wheel buildables ... not exactly open source cars yet but given Walmarts cheap supplies of radio controlled vehicles, robots.net summaries of compenents and sources, and the fact that local stores will not give me a nickel for crushed aluminum cans (so far I have been giving the crushed ones to Dad, they accept his count when returns his recyclables) I think I might grind a couple of forms. Power up the blow torch. And do some microcasting within a few months. Maybe I can cast a quarter's worth of tot's toy parts out of those stolen nickels that Oregon's recycling laws require local venders to refund. The law was written most carefully ... actually I need to read it for myself again before I discuss the failure to remunerate with local store managers or file a complaint with the DA's office for non-compliance.

Probably easier to just cast the can into Mickel Nickels commemmorating some local sports championships and sell them for a dime apiece to the local kids and booster clubs for resale at local school functions. Expand the market volume a bit by selling similar line simultaneously to guest's fans. Maybe encrypt and lasar etch some secret public data like the bottling laws they have locked up in the local law library that nobody can use and allow local activists, saboteurs and citizens demanding their rights to read the actual law via homemade microscopes. I guess maybe I should donate some money this month to Oregon Public Broadcast Corporation ... their kiddy programs seem to be helping me remember stuff I used to know. Like how to love myself and others effectively while having fun learning something useful and potentially profitable. Maybe I am finally arriving at the future potential points I invested so much work trying to achieve recognition so somebody would give me a chance or permission.

</a>

Wikiversity

Looks like it might be finally happening. About 200 of a little under 300 validated voters (Wikimedia Foundation project participants in good standing) (69% reported in favor) supported the proposed Wikiversity that many of us hinted at or requested years ago. Unfortunately this is not binding upon the Board, which long time readers will remember was allegedly stacked initially by the benevolent Owner/God King/Founder with business partners and cabal members in good standing. Since all of Wikimedia Foundation's sponsored projects have been frequently limited and/or negatively impacted by insufficient internet infrastructure capacity there is a good chance that some government or corporate or dot.com funded entity will step in to act as an effective global focal point. Too bad we did not plan for success after agreeing/choosing to GPL/FDL all the software and data goodies developed or donated by "community" volunteers and philanthropists.

Should governments ever get serious about this I doubt they are going to wait a few years or decades for Wikiversity to get its act together. However, governments are notoriously slow and unreliable, so perhaps there is still time for motivated collaborators to shine helping establish the first best world class free online university while accomplishing personal goals such as: learning new software languages, augmenting personal studies, using convenient online reference texts, developing newly identified features and utilities critical to online learning environments and peer based distributed grids.

Personally, I am investigating whether I can grandfather into Oregon's recently proposed regulation of Systems Engineers or whether I am going to have to retake the EIT (the one I passed at graduation in 84 expired sometime 2001) so I can take the Oregon P.E. in some appropriate engineering discipline. Combat engineers brushing up on necessary skills for any contemplated current or future revolutionary activities are extremely welcome. Be subtle and discrete. Maintain appropriately arms length tradecraft. One of the alleged founders spends a lot of time shouting troll at me any time the concept of financial planning comes up or any suggestion that others in disagreement with the cabal may not actually be entirely troll like and therefore irredeemable within the scope and parameters of our published mission statements, goals, and charters.

Note also the attempts to divert professional journal publishing and other traffic to wikicities.com which is allegedly associated somehow with members of the stacked board of the Wikimedia Foundation. Of course Florida is notoriously beneficial to corrupt capitalists so perhaps this is not actually an apparent conflict of interest resulting in slow rolling promising projects ... or even if it is, it probably does not matter to any applicable authorities.

Interestingly .... freepedia.org has been put online apparently by a for profit entity earning income from advertising by relaying content requests to wikipedia.org. No doubt someone is selling books via Amazon off of Wikibooks.org while the primary communities creating the content put up with service delays and downtime due to lack of funds for equipment, bandwidth and professional staff support. Well to paraphrase what our mentor Heinlein has noted god, girls, and governments are all mysterious and it is not given to mortal to truly understand their ways.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Directors allegedly has gods, kings, girls and is authorized by another government so it is [{(Mysterious-MYsterious)X(mystERious)^2}(Mysterious/50)^FTC}]convolved with several nationalities regulated via the WTO agreements regarding internet content and various standing armies enforcing anti terrorist and anti peasant uprising regulations locally .... seriously murky if not outright opaque. Solivy.

I sure hope something like this or some of the emerging globus grid components and/or utilities turn out to be useful at distributing workload in case the Board decides a free online university is too challenging in terms of explosive demand growth upon the overstrained Wikimedia Foundation's server farm. It would be cool if it turned out a properly implemented Wikiversity Grid could scale with each new serious participant's loan of a few meg and gig via a screensaver until they needed. Even better if it turned out that accounting systems could prioritize and allocate dynamic resources preferentially to past contributors ... gnunet ready for alpha, beta or omega yet?

I sure hope some participants manage to kick our Wikiversity:School of Computer Science and our Wikiversity:School of Informatics into critical mass pretty soon. Where are our founding all stars seeking fame, fortune and fun study buddies available from being in on the ground zero? We are probably going to need to honor them before launching any serious projects within the Astronautical or Space Physics Engineering Departments. It seems that every rocket engineer and future space settler wannabe that I have met knows that software is cheap, easy, and free to develop while rocket feul has real opportunity costs.

You know ... I think somebody may have forgotten to establish the School of Hackers or the Hacker Hangout or whatever your dudettes decide you should call it ... I am not going to coordinate or do it. I spent too many years pulling hair out trying to get precise answers out of software engineers, systems analysts, and technicians regarding fuzzy customer requirements to be visibly associated with a horde of chaotically creative evolutionaries. It would totally destroy any future ability to rest on my laurels in a cushy corporate or government project management job and coast to retirement. Later lovers.

Sound Tracks

Robot communication with music This might be interesting. Funny if have to deceive Mozart first before tackling Turing.

Entrepreneurial self study Dug out the Tricky Nuts microfactory I created last year, unfortunately after Halloween. Last year after I prototyped it on a pound of Walnuts there were no longer whole wall nuts available in Coos County. All the retail outlets I checked were selling machine shelled walnuts incredibly cheap. So I packed the microfactory up and did not bother to document the buiness model. This year I negotiated a deal with my mom to shell out about 3 pounds of nuts for her cooking purposes. Hopefully once I complete this business cycle I can write it up along with digital photographs and post it as a suitable economic endeaver for children looking to make a few bucks or parents looking to allow children to earn those few bucks or allowances. Ideal for kids to small or young to safely run a lawn mower or legally bag groceries. Once I get the writeup done and posted to an FDL site somewhere ... probably bizplan/world.org .... actually I need to look that site over. It has been a year or two since I looked at it and you never know when someone might have sold out and the new owners subvert/corrupt the original business model and site goal from the perspective of some users with specific goals and limitations in mind.

Flea Market Sold a couple of open source Urquan Masters</b> disk (ported from $50 commercial Star Control II I played extensively about 5 years ago) for three dollars. One came back because kids already had it on their nintendo or something. Could have salvaged $.50 revenue by trading a $5.00 texas hold em set I assembled from prefabs but chose to insist on $4.00 rather than list of $5.00. Customer did not wish to spend $4.00 rather than $3.00. None of the other scrap games I had with me were suitable subs. I wanted $5 for old Command & Command, Age of Empires, etc. Finally lost the sale. Probably goofed, the customer did not go away happy. Should have earned the $.50 (I thought I had $3.00 into construction of Texas Hold Em disregarding my prototyping time .... however should have subtracted one deck of cards which was split out into a separate $1.00 item at 100% markup; and had a satisfied customer happily spreading word regarding my goods and services .... hopefully I will do better next time. I almost managed to trade him an alpha Virtual Airport Operations CD (my own product .... I may open source it in a few months to help establish a web site or I may finish it off and sell it to a toy company to market ... situation once again fraught with possibilities) but he wanted it for an XP system and I have not yet successfully got the compatibility wizard to run. Something is screwed up on my system and XP will not dedicate 3 MB of virtual memory to the Director Projector (main executable that calls and interpretes the Macromedia Source Movies and Multimedia pieces) so it will not operate.

Almost sold a VAP disk to another customer but he decided he wanted the clip art studio packaged with my Incredibles DVD instead. I guess I should have had it priced higher since it was unique in my stock and looked more commercial.

abiword Downloaded source and installation files for Abiword. This week I am creating an installation disk tested on win98, win95, and winxp so I can burn and sell CDs at the local flea market for $3.00ea. Found this link by chasing their sponsor's link from abiword's homepage. Lab on a Polymer Chip

Life</a>

Learning to play the keyboard. Turns out my mom had six years of piano lessons as a child. She wants me to fix her organ so I guess we could have some holiday jam sessions. Will not be the same as space jam with Brian (combat engineer down the street retired from managing the grounds of a UC campus .... died of an aneurism while I was in the mental hospital last time .... life. What happens or passes you by while you are stuck in a cage of your own devising. Stuck in neutral or park. Fuck forward, put it in reverse and back out of this hole. When I get some money I may buy a good guitar and carve Brian's initials in it. Or maybe I will buy some sheet music ... Brain's Song Theme Music ... Hopefully some of his other mentees are around somewhere and might be interested in life support or microecology hydroponics and control/management systems.

Found some robot parts, or at least materials for future parts, while strolling and picking up litter along the intergalactic bypass over our local sewage mitigation microecology.

Wikiversity

I am rejoining Wikipedia while I wait to see if the Wikiversity project will be supported/initated by the Wikimedia Foundation. I intend to propose a more participatory quasi-democratic/participatory government since public donations now fund the servers and bandwidth. I am just not convinced that the sole figurehead is the best way to get started. It is good enough (I guess, who knows?) once reach global focal status ... after all what God King who does not keep his henchmen, stakeholders, and various populations of other soverereign authorities happy lasts long? How much influence can a TINC really hold on to with millions of effective participators? Incompetence will obviously be dealt via forks at the whim of some unsatisfied customers and some people will migrate. Best fork wins by definition ... or leads for a while once in while anyway.

I suspect we will eventually end up with multiple forks to serve slightly different populations via slightly different methods to enourage rapid evaluation. Everyone who participates effectively seems to come to at least partial agreement that at least some of us Terrans really need this Wikimedia technology (and other forthcoming wonders of the information age, such as the global internet, gridlock, and autononous factories, vehicles, processes, and friendly AI seeds) to do some neat things ..... such as allow humpback operation voice operated word processors via various SOSUS lines.

They (actually we I guess ....) have come a long way in the last few years. Check out this article on Total Quality Management which points to an excellent online summary: Refresher/Intro TQM into Education and Learning

Looks like a nice intro to the subject and pointers to quality online material available elsewhere around the net. Be cool when a couple of pointers to study teams and environments as well as course materials, scientific studies, software packages to aid one person internet entrepreneurs with implementation, and a full range of books (all of the above free materials) can be added.

Maybe NASA's CEVs and Mars Missions (or at least my lunar settlement or mobile factory/homestead) will be able to talk to Mother Terra's public grid without experiencing the blue screens of death via script kiddie or NSA misinfo attack viruses.

Placeholder

2 Nov 2005 (updated 3 Nov 2005 at 23:34 UTC) »

Placeholder - non thing to see here yet.

Interesting cooincidence. I met a guy at a local fishing hole while acquiring some raw materials (lead tire rim weights, gas engine to tear down for educational purposes --> recycling center or dremel resources pile, and of course semaphore nickels). We discussed economic weather factors and he advised me to checkout ebay.

Later that evening I stumbled across http://www.ifccfbi.gov/strategy/2004_IC3Report.pdf wherein they cite online auction fraud as 71.2% of all online fraud complaints while Nigerian scams, identity theft, and other fraud are all under 1% of processed complaints. Clearly people have resigned themselves to spam that is obviously scanning globally for victims. I guess everybody assumes the victim will be somebody else's significant others and the actual victims (if many) are too embaressed to file complaints.

On the verge of a firestorm at a Wikipedia TQM discussion page. "No original work.!" --- "TQM is not limited in its application." Ed Poor asks "who says?"

It is obvious and self evident .... gravity is not limited in its application ... oops. It only effects particles with mass. TQM only effects anything effectable by math .... religion. Maybe TQM is limited with regard to religion .... Let us see ... King James Version Bible is widely respected and used by protestants ... IIRC because King James assembled all his best scholars and commanded that they would translate the bible accurately without putting their personal biase or slant on [[The Word]] or face execution if he caught them probably via tattle talers engaged in faction warfare ... I might need to look this up and cite sources. [NPOV]] like anybody? That Jimbo god guy smart honcho in cahoots with Larry Trollster ... A P'hd engaged in ad homineminim disquised as shaming .... That looks like quality management by covert misinformation. TINC. So if we can count something it can affect someones thoughts if we can threaten them with the information and also find out when defects or noncompliance occurs ... we think therefore we matter to matter (and also perhaps neutrinos) when directing nanotechnogly to create and store antimatter .... have we affected everything yet? Perhaps TQM can be stopped by the boundary of a singularity black hole .... if a person can isolated themselves behind thought filters very very tight and self defending perhaps they can resist their lovers attempts to play with them .... so perhaps TQM cannot be used to improve private information ... except no real privacy except in your gray matter. Except most mammals read body language and eye contact pretty good so must hide from preying eyes, noses, and ears. So to continue if we refuse to watch and count ourselves then TQM does not apply to our own thought patterns so it would not apply to things that we thinks about ....

Ed, I cannot find a limit yet, therefore I say it. Feel feel to quote me until we can find a more authoritative source with credentials ... I read a whole bunch of TQM books once upon a time so someone probably said it. Deming, Ishikawa, et. al. certainly meant it as a comprehensive philosophy of life cycle of communities involved in economics even if they did not use the exact words anywhere as conclusion of a mathematical proof.

There was a quantum mechnanics study group threatening to startup soon at Wikiversity so perhaps we can find a bright grad student to us find something that it does not apply to in the physical universe. We might also consult [[Larry Sanger]], co-founder. He might be able to help us figure out how it does not or does apply to private, public, proprietary, secret, government, perverted, etc. thought processes. If he too busy maybe he can point at some current thinking in philisophicaly circles. We can fire up the email machines. If we Socratically ask the proper questions of the proper people perhaps we can generate some good press while in communication with some of the leading scholars around currently interested in philosophy and thoughts. [[user:lazyquasar]]

2 Nov 2005 (updated 2 Nov 2005 at 18:20 UTC) »
Power Glitch I was torqued this morning when I lost 2 hours of work reviewing the recentlog, creating reaction notes, and doing some practice combat planning.

I need to develop better work habits: 1. Edit in an editor or word processor that saves periodically so when my XP crashes or I lose power I can usually recover most of the work. 2. Get my power backup systems allocated properly between work stations, servers, and prototypes.

If I get back to it I will recreate some of the good work here later. It was not totally wasted. Analysis and planning is always improved a bit second time through if one is in a good productive mood to constructiviely criticise own work. Probably like sex, better if you can arrange a walkthrough with someone else rather than masturbating but what to do if there nobody around interested in your stuff? 1. Change format 2. Change venue 3. Change careers 4. Change lattitude or altitude or attitude & -->LA Review formal logic and electrical engineering basics, e fundies. Getting pretty bad when cannot play base letter games with electronic logic.

Found some goodies, old portable TV, old lawn mower, some lead weights. Coincidence a Nomad I chatted with a bit encouraged me to experience E-Bay? I think not, when rotating layers of patterns intersect in someone's perception are we seeing shadows of the almighty or some fundamental principle of the universe? One of these days I need to get back to chaos theory. Interesting applications in sociology where some research indicated that strong outliers are critical to establishing stable zones and effective borders or transition zones.

Recreation goes below here:

Applicable recent log. Lots of excellent stuff! You are all interesting impressive people.

2 Nov 2005 mirwin (4.3) (Journeyer) » [Edit]

Power Glitch I was torqued this morning when I lost 2 hours of work reviewing the recentlog, creating reaction notes, and doing some practice combat planning.

I need to develop better work habits: 1. Edit in an editor or word processor that saves periodically so when my XP crashes or I lose power I can usually recover most of the work. 2. Get my power backup systems allocated properly between work stations, servers, and prototypes.

If I get back to it I will recreate some of the good work here later. It was not totally wasted. Analysis and planning is always improved a bit second time through if one is in a good productive mood to constructiviely criticise own work. Probably like sex, better if you can arrange a walkthrough with someone else rather than masturbating but what to do if there nobody around interested in your stuff? 1. Change format 2. Change venue 3. Change careers 4. Change lattitude or altitude or attitude & -->LA Review formal logic and electrical engineering basics, e fundies. Getting pretty bad when cannot play base letter games with electronic logic.

Found some goodies, old portable TV, old lawn mower, some lead weights. Coincidence a Nomad I chatted with a bit encouraged me to experience E-Bay? I think not, when rotating layers of patterns intersect in someone's perception are we seeing shadows of the almighty or some fundamental principle of the universe? One of these days I need to get back to chaos theory. Interesting applications in sociology where some research indicated that strong outliers are critical to establishing stable zones and effective borders or transition zones.

Recreation goes below here:

2 Nov 2005 shlomif (10) (Journeyer) »

New Music CDs

Today I decided to buy two Music CDs: "Elephunk" by the Black Eyed Peas, and "Obscured by Clouds" of Pink Floyd. I wanted to buy "Elephunk" because I liked many of the tracks from it and wanted to get the rest, and I wantd to buy "Obscured by Clouds" because someone on IRC let me download the song "Childhood's End" from it, which I liked and because I also listened to it during the Perl hackathon at gaal's apartment, and liked what I heard.

So I took some money and went to the local shopping center. Try as I find, I could not find a music store there. I ended up asking my barber about it, and he said that there isn't one anymore. So I decided to go to Dyonon at Tel Aviv University instead. I bought a bottle of mineral water at McDonalds, and walked all the way there. When I got there I looked for the CDs, but none of them was available.

The Ramat Aviv Mall is close to Dyonon, so I walked there by foot, and looked for the Music CD. I went upstairs, and then asked directions from people at a café, which pointed me at the records store. There, with the help of a salesperson, I was able to find both CDs. Each one costed 60 NIS (about 12 USD) , which was much less than I expected to spend on them. I bought them both, and then walked all the way back home.

At home, I ripped Elephunk into 96 Kbps oggs using grip. It required some experimentation, but I was finally able to. I prefixed the filenames with the track number, so I can listen to them in order. Many of the songs there, which were previously unfamiliar to me are very nice, and I also found some new arrangements of the mp3's I do have. Highly recommended.

I didn't get to rip and listen to Pink Floyd's album yet, but I'm going to.

New BitKeeper Essay

I wrote a New BitKeeper Essay titled "The BitKeeper Ghost" over at the Better-SCM Site. It discusses the side-effects of BitKeeper and BitMover concerning the recent departure of Bryan O'Sullivan from the Mercurial development team.

Another New Essay

I translated to English the essay titled "The GPL, The BSD License and Being a Sucker". It aims to dispel the common belief, especially prevalent among Israelis, that people who write code under BSD license are "suckers" (or "Frayerim" in Hebrew) because they permit incorporating their work into proprietary software.

New Community for my Home-Site

Instead of manually including my home-site news on the HTML of my sites' front page, and later on the old news page, I decided to create community for it on LiveJournal, and just place the feed as new entries on my site. This will also allow people to comment on it, and for me to receive more feedback. At the moment, anyone can post there, but I need to approve the posts. Comments are unmoderated.

New Essay: The Case for File Swapping

There's a new essay on my web-site titled "The Case for File Swapping". It explains why file swapping is ethical and moral, and why it should be legal, and also discusses some related arguments and refutes some common arguments against making file swapping legal. Comments and corrections are welcome.

Language Wars

publius_ovidius has written a great entry about Language Wars.

Diet

I've lost some weight lately. Right now, a pair of pants that used to barely fit me, now fits much more easily. What's my secret? First of all, I exercise quite a lot. I bike for over one hour everyday, and I also take one or more walks during the day. Aside from that, I'm taking Maimonides' advice and I'm eating according to the stomach and not according to the eyes. I.e: I stop eating once I feel that I'm full.

So far I've been waking up quite early and go to bed late, and yet feel very energetic and focused during the day. I feel great. Hopefully, this situation will last, but I wouldn't mind returning to my stay-in-bed-until-late-in-the-morning situation again.

Aside from that I'm still naturally refraining from consuming overly-sugary-foods, Caffeine and Alcohol, and of course don't smoke or do drugs. I'm talking to other people who claim they cannot function without their morning coffee or who drink a lot, and I must say that I don't have these problems, and yet am very productive. I recommend that anyone will quit doing all these aphrodites, as they have negative short-term and long-term effects.

Subversion News

Ben Collins-Sussman now has a blog and is starting to work for Google. He will be the third Subversion Developer to work there after Greg Stein, and Brian Fitzpatrick.

That put aside, I always knew Ben Collins-Sussman was Jewish, but now it turns out Karl Fogel, who used to work in the same office as he is, is also Jewish. I felt a bit embarrassed when I leared that.

Shell Readline Goodies

Check this post in Linux-IL about various shell tips and tricks that I collected by going over the Bash man page.

See this item in the shlomif_hsite (= Shlomi Fish' Home Site) community for information about what's new on my homesite from 15-October till today.

Please join the shlomif_hsite community if you are interested in my site and you hadn't done so already.

Joke - GNU Visual Basic

The following joke about GNU Visual Basic was once published on Freshmeat.net, but has since been misplaced. A Freshmeat editor I contacted sent me the text of it (without the comments) and I've placed it on my site. Enjoy!

Movie Recommendation: "Eight Days a Week"

I don't watch Television regularly, but sometimes I see something that makes me watch it till the end. This time it was Eight Days a Week which I saw on the cables' "Hot Fun" channel, which is dedicated to comedy movies. This is a teen comedy sort of, about sex and love and stuff. It's very funny and entertaining. It stars Keri Russel and Joshua Schaefer, which strangely enough hasn't acted since, and there's little information about him on IMDB.

Updates to Perl for Perl Newbies

I went over the Perl for Perl Newbies series and updated it. What I've done so far is made the entire slides validate as XHTML 1.0 Strict, fixed many problems in the text (typos, spelling, grammatical or syntactical), and also fixed the wrong or misleading content. My understanding of Perl was not as good when I wrote the slides as it is today, and so I had to fix quite a lot of inaccuracies.

There are still some things that I want to change there, but as a general rule, everything is much better now.

New Release of Freecell Solver

When I went over the entire comments in the OSNews coverage of "When C is the Best", I read this comment. It mentioned two bugs in Freecell Solver, which I fixed by releasing Freecell Solver 2.8.11. I would have missed them if I didn't go over all the comments.

Apparently Mac OS X does not have a malloc.h header file. OS X never ceases to surprise me.

Joel's Back!

After a small lull, Joel Spolsky is back with a very nice article and some very insightful and amusing weblog entries. I hope this trend goes on.

Testing a Two-Domain Website

See this post I made to PerlMonks about how to test the local copy of my two domains' (www.shlomifish.org and vipe.technion.ac.il/~shlomif/) web-site on my local machine.

Configuring Xkb to have a Compose Key and Hebrew Keyboard

I wanted to have a compose key so I can have them Über-cool accénts. But naturally, I still needed the Hebrew keyboard. After playing a bit with Xkb, I got to the following configuration:

Option "XkbModel" "pc105" Option "XkbLayout" "us,il" Option "XkbCompat" "" Option "XkbOptions" "compose:rwin,grp:switch,grp:alt_shift_toggle,grp_led:scroll" Option "XkbVariant" "lyx"

Énjoy!

2 Nov 2005 drzap (Observer) »

bleh bleh

2 Nov 2005 gicmo (3.3) (Master) »

Schrödinger's cat and OpenGL So I had the feeling that I didn't learn any new stuff in the Computer Science field for a long long time. At the beginning of this semester I had the very strong feeling that this had to change. I though learning OpenGL so I could help Soeren putting cool new eye candy in metacity (and the rest of the desktop) would be a good new "thing". So I ordered the famous redbook 2 weeks ago and I already made some good progress. And you know what? Doing all that linear algebra is real fun. I kinda missed that. Really. Scary at the same time!

I have 5 philosophy classes this semester including ones about political philosophy of early modern times (Hobbes, Lock, Rousseau), asian philosophy (buddhism, daoism, ...), economics and ethic, Nietzsche (ohh you gotta love him ...) and last but not least relativism (inspired by our all pope's critics of relativism). Everything very interesting. It's a bit scary how many things I learned in school about Hobbes and Co. were just wrong or at least half true. Oh well. Much reading ...

Ohh and this picture of Schrödinger's cat made me laught a long time. :)

2 Nov 2005 ncm (7.5) (Master) »

In case I never mentioned him before, Terry Bisson is never short of amazing. He wrote the "They're Made Out of Meat" story that went around the net a few years ago. Now he has a new book out, Numbers Don't Lie.

raph: Shouldn't recentlog.html, at least, be mentioned in /robots.txt? (Any of you-all mentioning spammer accounts, by the way, please don't link to them. That's what they want you to do, it bumps their age-pay ank-ray.)

chalst: I'm sorry to have missed you... I'm back in California already.

Here's my cranky but improbably beautiful Mars picture of the week (NASA/JPL/Arizona State University). It's an infrared shot from the night side; blue is dust & sand, red is rock (olivine, they say). In the caption, NASA insists (rather endearingly) that those ditches and pits are collapsed lava tubes. Can you imagine a lava tube with a ceiling two miles across? No wonder they collapsed. :-) Also on the subject of crankiness (my own), I've found some really fascinating Arxiv papers by Martin Lopez-Corredoira:

* Research on candidates for non-cosmological redshifts * Observational Cosmology

1 Nov 2005 ensonic (10) (Master) »

Suse 10

On two of my systems at home I still run SuSe Linux. After the next weekend it probably will be only one left. Both were running 9.3 and after an online update that brought a new kernel, one system had kernel panic when loading the network driver (realtek). Uhm no net - what to do.

I've downloaded the DVD for version 10.0 and run the update. And its getting worse. The gstreamer-0.8 packages are broken - they run gst-register and not gst-register-0.8, which in my case means running gst-register-0.9 :(. The xorg install corrupted my xorg config. Looks like they changed the refresh-rate, as when x comes up I see noting (have an LCD). Okay this can be fixed. But running the system in fail-safe mode it hangs or even reboots while starting lircd (what ever that is).

So my last resort is using a bootable CD. If I can't repair it, I'll install Gentoo there too.

As a sidenote - the grub theme and the bootgfx look a bit too bright (bonbon colors). Is it made by children, for children?

1 Nov 2005 elanthis (10) (Journeyer) »

Coding Again

I decided to skimp on studying today and instead break out Vim and GCC and do a little work on AweMUD.

It's been two months to the day since the last commit to AweMUD. Certainly feels like it's been two months. I just haven't had time for coding. It's really refreshing to be doing it again, even if it is tedious stuff like making small API cleanups and then fixing the thousands of lines of code that the change affects. :-/

I still need to get the final releases of the new stable AweMUD and Scriptix released. The two weeks with no problem reports is well more than over. Guess I need to wait for the website to come back up first, though.

#

1 Nov 2005 nymia (10) (Journeyer) »

Regarding Customer Satisfaction

It has been awhile since I wrote about CS. It seems that customers are more likely to live with a peeve provided there is a discount amount attached to it. To me, this has been the most important factor in Customer Satisfaction, that you can hold on to the customer even after they had a bad experience. Of course, it may not hold for all cases and there are customers who will jump, wave and walk away. Those are definitely considered lost and may never come back.

Ajax

It looks like Ajax will be part of the toolbox. The $BOSS made several good remarks after seeing a demo and may likely approve Ajax for the current project.

Fun With JS

Played around with JS code. Nothing much to write about except more code has been added.

About The PowerMac G5

To say this baby is fast is an understatement. I'm definitely blown away by the Dual Thingie it has. If I had more, I would have bought the Quad Thingie, though. But that's the way the cookie crumbles. Capitalism is great if you have it.

1 Nov 2005 fxn (4.7) (Master) »

Algorithm::Combinatorics

I have been playing around with the Perl API via Inline::C. This is for my new pet module Algorithm::Combinatorics (work in progress).

Algorithm::Combinatorics is a generator of (lazy) combinatorial sequences written in XS. Having all the looping implemented in C speeds the iterators up by several orders of magnitude compared to the pure Perl Math::Combinatorics.

As of today I have chosen the interface, implemented combinations, combinations with repetition, and variations with repetition, as well as a handful of tests.

1 Nov 2005 dion (Observer) »

Hmm. I'd love to update the AeroMail project, as I developed AeroMail 2, but I don't seem to be able to do so.

Guess you guys have to know me first...

1 Nov 2005 lethal (10) (Master) »

770 Notes

pycage, while MPU-side decoding is the easiest way to go, DSP-side will still be beneficial (albeit somewhat more complicated). Whether the benefits are worth the effort is another matter. The tools that you need to roll your own codecs are available, and you can do this mostly in C without having to resort to too much tms320c55x assembly. The biggest issue is likely familiarizing yourself with the DSP kernel, the socket node interfaces, and so forth. Most of this is documented pretty well at the dspgateway page.

For the adventurous, there's still an unused mailbox line between MPU and DSP on 1710 in the current implementation that could probably be round-robin'ed pretty easily. We also presently don't make use of hardware page table walking, which makes the exmap interface a bit clunky (essentially wiring TLB entries by hand, but at least they're pre-faulted).

It would also be interesting to see how the FP-driven codecs compare to the integer-based one under EABI with a soft-float toolchain. ogg123 might even be usable out of the box with soft-float (though at likely higher than the CPU utilization numbers that have been quoted). On another note, it's also pretty easy to figure out DSP load average through the sysfs interface, so it may be worthwhile to profile some of that, especially if the DSP ends up getting more heavily loaded.

1 Nov 2005 Burgundavia (Observer) »

There is no I in Canada, but there is an I in America.

1 Nov 2005 salmoni (5.8) (Journeyer) »

Written a new UI article about dialogs and how they could be done (maybe) a bit better. Still working on Infomap (as a user and trying to find bugs too.

All else is well. Waiting for the Wales v New Zealand match on Saturday. Cardiff will be heaving. Not sure what anyone is doing - probably quietly watch it at home and get some work done afterwards. Not sure if Wales can do this one - after all, the AB's are the best in the world, but there is an optimistic air around the city (with a feeling of apprehension). Fingers crossed that home advantage will count for something!

1 Nov 2005 follower (9) (Apprentice) »

Planet NZTech Planet NZTech aims to aggregate the blogs of New Zealanders or New Zealand residents who are doing stuff in the tech industry. Read some New Zealand tech blogs.

1 Nov 2005 wingo (8.8) (Master) »

So Google released a set of performance-measuring tools as free software. There's a really fast allocator, a heap usage profiler, a cpu profiler, and some other goodies.

The CPU profiler is touted as being able to correctly profile multithreaded applications, which sounds excellent. Unfortunately it seems to be only for LinuxThreads, the threading library used with pre-2.6 kernels, which is really old. Because threads had different PID's under LinuxThreads, it was easy to do per-thread profiling via setitimer(2). Each thread would get its own timer signal because it was seen as a separate process (I think -- could be wrong here).

However as it is the google profiler is mostly useless for profiling multithreaded applications on modern systems. Furthermore I couldn't get it to work at all on my x86-64 machine, either via LD_PRELOADing the library or via real linking -- it caused segmentation faults, and the processing script complained about my 8-byte pointers.

There are more gotchas with the other tools. All of the voodoo is implemented for i386, some of it for x86-64, a tiny bit for ARM_3, but nothing else. They don't know which direction a ChangeLog is supposed to go, and there's no CVS.

I feel like there must be a funny tension at Google. On the one side there is the desire of the hackers there to be professionals, sharing information with their fellow hackers for the advancement of their field. On the other hand there is a rigid information flow policy whereby the brains that Google bought (converse: brains that sold themselves?) contain knowledge that is proprietary to the company, which the company does not want shared. Surely the professional desire is fulfilled somewhat via internal recognition, but there is more to be desired. Hence the perftools code drop, although still a gesture on Google's own terms.

My reaction at this point is twofold, one that I wish that Google were investing in the modern toolchain instead, and two that I am a lucky fellow to hack free software for a living. It would suck to code from within a fortress.

#

1 Nov 2005 pbor (6.2) (Journeyer) »

Performance Work

Inspired by the recent performance love day and by the awesome work of Luis Menina and Federico about the slowness of 'replace all' in gedit, yesterday evening I decided to give it a look myself.

Federico explained in detail the first big offender (setting the sensitivity of the 'find again' menu item on every match), however once fixed that issue, 'replace all' is still fairly slow, so we need to continue our quest. Next thing showing up in the profile is the statusbar code: the cursor position on the statusbar is updated every time the cursor moves, but that means that during 'replace all' the statusbar text changes on every match without need!

That said, I didn't feel like hacking on the old gedit codebase: note that these issues do not affect the new_mdi branch in the same way, since we changed our internal search api. The code there is not yet finalized there is no point in optimizing it yet, however these findings are very useful and will teach us to avoid making the same mistakes.

So I looked what was next in the profile... things started to become a bit less evident: if I was a serious person I should have fixed the statusbar issue and remeasured in order to get a better signal to noise ratio, but... ;) Anyway, I spotted gtk_text_iter_forward_to_line_end taking up a few percents, which looked a bit strange. The first question was: "what has forward_to_line_end to do with search and replace?". It turned out that GtkSourceView uses it to deal with line markers: fair enough. So the next step was coming up with a simple test case: the easiest thing to do was taking a GtkTextBuffer, put a line of text in it and move an iter to the end of the line in a loop 5000000 times (where 5000000 is the number of iterations that made the test case take about one minute). Such a stupid test case worked surprisingly well: profiling it with the awesome sysprof clearly showed the two major offenders: _gtk_text_line_char_byte_to_offset and gtk_text_iter_backward_chars. Both functions need to deal with obtaining an offset in bytes given an offset in number of characters (each character may be more than one byte in utf8) and both functions used a loop to calculate it: guess what? glib has a function that can do that for us, called g_utf8_offset_to_pointer. Such a simple change, which is just a code cleanup, makes the test case take 40 seconds instead of 67 (according to /usr/bin/time). I am sure that things could be optimized further or maybe, even better, we could try to speed up g_utf8_offset_to_pointer since it's used in many other places, but this example shows that you don't need to be a guru to improve things :)

Apropos of performance... I stumbled in this page on apple developers pages which suggests using fts_* functions (see man fts) to traverse file hierarchies: has any of the nautilus/vfs guys ever looked into them?

770

I forgot to mention that I got a Nokia 770 some time ago: the device is awesome, especially the screen, though I have one dead pixel in the bottom right corner :( Fortunately is only noticeable when playing marbles fullscreen ;) I played a bit with the device (xterm, ssh and all the various stuff all other people have already talked about). I also installed scratchbox and whipped up a quick port of glightoff: developing with maemo it's easy and fun, the only problem I enocuntered was that the svg graphics didn't work. I need to find some more time to play with it some more.

31 Oct 2005 pycage (7.1) (Journeyer) »

More Ogg

After spending some time on threads-tweaking, I finally got a reasonable CPU load between 15% and 30% for Ogg Vorbis playback on the Nokia 770. Two ring buffers are doing a great job decreasing the CPU load and ensuring fluent playback. :)

My Ogg player is currently just a simple GUI without much functionality except for opening a file using the file chooser. But now that the threading stuff looks fine, I will work on the GUI. Maybe I can get out a first release before the weekend.

Btw, my Ogg player is only meant as a temporary solution until the Nokia 770 will be able to playback Oggs using its DSP. Rumour has it that Nokia is working on this. The player is just a good exercise for me to learn developing for the maemo platform.

31 Oct 2005 badvogato (10) (Master) »

i very much neglected working on my own garden. but now

Summer is long gone and leaves fall dead on cold ground. Will you be mine, dear winter time?

31 Oct 2005 apenwarr (10) (Master) »

Roadblock Analysis and the 80/20 Rule

I've written down this theory a few times in a few different places, but I still don't think I've explained it clearly. Here's another try.

For years people have been talking about the magical 80/20 rule of business: that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers, so you should find out who that 20% is and focus your attention on them. When you do, you magically make more money.

Nobody, of course, has ever offered me any evidence of this; only, "Wherever you look, it always turns out to be true. It did for us." This is suspicious, because it implies a selection bias, in which people have a natural tendency to only look for evidence that supports the specific thing they're trying to prove. For example, in the 80/20 rule, the 80 and the 20 measure different things; they don't have to add up to 100%. The 80/30 rule or the 90/40 rule are just as plausible as the 80/20 rule, lacking any additional evidence.

But I'm willing to accept a weaker formulation: the majority/minority rule. The majority of your revenue comes from a minority of customers. There are all sorts of reasons this might be true, most obviously the fact that most customers are small and therefore a few larger customers add up to more money than a few smaller customers.

Roadblock Analysis

I recently learned a rule, obvious in retrospect, that is critical to understanding business. Let's define a "roadblock" as a convincing reason not to buy. In that case the following must be true: no customer will buy your product until you eliminate all of his roadblocks. How do I know? If you invert the statement, it's obvious: if there remains a convincing reason not to buy, the customer will be convinced not to buy, by definition, and so will not buy your product.

This is important: if you solve 90% of the roadblocks for 100% of people, you don't have 90% of people buying your product; you have 0% buying your product. "Roadblock analysis" is my name for a process that I certainly didn't invent: the process of identifying a group of people (a "market segment") and the complete list of their roadblocks.

Now, in reality, people's needs are distributed randomly, and your features are distributed randomly, so some people will have their roadblocks solved just by random luck. But not most of them.

Note that roadblock analysis, unlike the 80/20 rule, is not magic: it's just a simple, logical statement. If you do eliminate all the reasons not to buy your product (remember, many of these reasons are non-technical, such as "I've never heard of your product"), then they will buy your product.

Why 80/20 Works

Once you understand roadblock analysis, you can understand why following the 80/20 rule (whether it's precisely 80% and 20% or not) actually helps. It's like this: the current customers who actually make you the most money are the ones who currently have zero roadblocks for many of their situations. The others are the ones who currently have more than zero roadblocks, at least for most of what they do.

People known to have more than zero roadblocks might in fact have lots of roadblocks; maybe hundreds of them. Who knows? But people who already have zero roadblocks in many cases probably have near-zero roadblocks for a bunch of other related things. It just makes sense; they probably do a lot of similar things, so if there are many situations where your product fits, and some situations where it doesn't, you can probably improve just a few things and solve those problems too. Not so with the other 80% of customers; for those, by default, you should assume you're nowhere close.

80/20 is a Random Process with Convergence

Repeatedly following the 80/20 rule causes you to converge on the closest market segment to the randomly-selected customers you originally chose.

That is, you start off by spamming the market with a technology-driven product that does something cool; you find out who buys it; you optimize it for those people; you find out which of those people buy it; you optimize it for those people; and so on. This is a feedback control system which will eventually converge on the local maximum market segment. Notice how the 80/20 rule, by focussing on a smaller and smaller subset of customers each time through the loop, decreases the "hop size" each time. This is a well-known technique for guaranteeing convergence. As we know from calculus, this kind of method works pretty well: but the local maximum is often very different from the absolute maximum.

Characteristics of 80/20 Solutions

The 80/20 rule is a major management fad at the moment, presumably because it works much better than completely random guessing about which customers are important, which is what most companies would resort to otherwise. After all, a simple mathematical method that gives a very high probability of making an existing product even more profitable is nothing to sneeze at.

But 80/20 solutions will show some very specific tendencies, which you can see all around you by looking at your favourite companies.

- The tendency to annoy about 80% of customers by ignoring or mistreating them. (In this case, the 80% is real, because companies define their strategy by literally choosing the 20% of customers they will care about.)

- The lack of new customers. By focussing on very specific existing customers and never implementing features someone else might want, you limit your ability to attract new ones and slowly get further and further away from other market segments.

- The irresistable tendency to move "upmarket." The one thing this algorithm guarantees is that when you have one big company and one small company as a customer, the big company will always win. There's no way any one small customer can land in the top 20% of your revenues. So you get more successful only as you serve fewer and fewer bigger and bigger customers.

This leaves a badly underserviced 80% vacuum at the low end, which in the software industry is basically the "small business" market.

The Missing Markets

Roadblock analysis is a more general method than 80/20 for finding and servicing a market, based on one important insight: there might be a huge market that you completely cannot serve right now because you left all of the customers in that market with a few, actually rather simple, roadblocks. These customers aren't in your top 20%, because all of them have problems.

The roadblock analysis method is much more risky than 80/20, in fact, because it's hard to know the list of all roadblocks you have to solve. It might look like there are only a couple of them, but after solving those, you might discover a dozen more. 80/20 gives you a virtually guaranteed path to expansion, albeit at an unknown pace; roadblock analysis guarantees nothing, but offers higher potential gain.

The Best of Both Worlds

Finally, the good news: if you explicitly choose a market segment using roadblock analysis, you can then use a variant of 80/20 to improve your performance inside that market segment.

In math, this is like choosing a better initial value for your convergence algorithm; if you give your algorithm a clue where to start from, it's more likely to converge on the "right" local maximum.

So there you go - no more magic.

31 Oct 2005 gary (8.6) (Journeyer) »

My most notable act of recent days has been the compilation of a list of methods that are documented as throwing SecurityExceptions.

31 Oct 2005 zhaoway (4.8) (Journeyer) »

a wonderful scim-anthy howto.

30 Oct 2005 DaveGoehrig (Journeyer) »

San Francisco Beware! I'm back in the Bay Area and moving into an apartment on Pine St. atop Nob Hill. My flatmate this time is going to be an achomplished Linux Kernel hacker, and all around good guy. My latest venture is a small startup to do online games, our newst product should launch shortly at iHomeGame.com. We've begun alpha testing, and hopefully our beta will be ready before X-mas.

SDL Perl is soon approaching release 2.2.0, which will include a number of new modules, and provide a way to distribute actaul applications. I've got Mac OS X support running on my PB12", and am working on getting some form of cross-platform application bundle support built.

And for my super secret crazy ass language project of the lifetime Firth is taking shape once again. It is either ML on acid, or Haskell on strung out on opium and zen koans. Everything is a function, defined by operators, it isn't particularly object oriented, but has classes that resemble mix-ins and are entirely property oriented, and types that are entirely structural in nature. Classes have derived methods, and resemble interfaces.

I'm also working on a couple novels that may one day see completion and self-publication. Anything to get me off this crazy drug called programming.

30 Oct 2005 zeenix (7.3) (Journeyer) »

Life is changing, I am changing

When i arrived at Finland, I was getting quite bored because no one liked to talk about politics and philosophies, if they talked at all. But then i realized that there are no real big problems with these people, so it's natural for them to be like this. The problem was that i wasn't habitual of such a society. After almost 3 months in Helsinki, now i have started to be involved in the life i have and to improve it, rather than the life i can only imagine. although I still feel very lonely most of the time, especially at my home. Got to get a GF soon! :) The problem in achieving this goal is that i don't get to meet a lot of girls and the few i meet are already booked. Otherwise, I would have got a lot of girls, i am sure. :)

Regarding Monogamy

I was wondering about the rationale for Monogamy but I couldn't find any. I realized that it's just a method to satisfy feelings of insecurity and jealousy. With this realization, I got more curious regarding this as it's taken for-granted even in (relatively) free countries, such as Finland. So I asked two Finns separately of what they think of Monogamy. Their immediate reaction was the suspicion that I am interested in their partners. After i told them that thats not the case and it's just pure curiosity, they could only say 'Well.. it works', but that is certainly not a satisfactory answer. They told me that it's just a choice and you can just not follow it if you want, but I don't agree with that since that requires the potential partners to also not follow it.

I think we really need to learn much from our distant relatives, chimps. In a chimp tribe, children don't know who their father is. This is because every male in the tribe have sex with almost every female in his tribe. The result is that every child is treated as a son/daughter by every male member of the society. This reminds me of Plato's "Republic". Plato was no doubt a great genius.

Moreover, through an unreliable source, I have come to know that medical sciences declares polygamy as better than monogamy. Can anyone confirm?

Understanding the Finnish women

Last night I was at famous night club in Helsinki, called onella (AKA 'mating place'). It was quite fun as I was able to find some new friends even though i went there alone. I met a guy who could predict if the woman is interested in him or not, very accurately. Then i met his friend, who was with his GF. Since many of the woman didn't even bother to have a chat with me, I ask his GF if the Finnish woman don't like Asian-looking man like me. In reply to that she did something unexpected: she hugged me and said what if say that i am all yours and kissed me just to prove that Finnish girls like me. After a few hours, when the club was to get closed, another blonde told me to watch her drink while she is away and when i said 'yes, of course', she started to kiss me. While kissing she another unexpected thing: she bit me really hard on my tongue.. ughh..

The next morning, my conclusion was that Finnish women are quite unpredictable. But when I told Anna what happened, she said that it was just that they were quite drunk. I am so silly, I didn't consider that.

Gstreamer's RTP plugins

I have been working on the Gstreamer's RTP plugins and it seems that we are soon going to have a very working RTP implementation for gstreamer ready. I am working together with the farsight and tapioca-voip teams on this. Although, much of the work on this front has lately been done by a crazy canadian student, Philipe Khalaf of the farsight project.

30 Oct 2005 rat02 (Observer) »

Making money .. You can develop some programmes You can sell some programmes You can work for some programmes You can support some programmes

All of way goes under some programmes bah..

30 Oct 2005 robsta (7.6) (Master) »

User interfaces with a twist

er, a tango.

Was amazed to find out that the recently announced tango project not only produces neat icons but also experiments with windows. That inspired me to merge some of that stuff into my pet project's user interface. See screenshot.

Update: Played around some more until I'm now more or less satisfied with that one.

29 Oct 2005 mbanck (5.5) (Journeyer) »

Systems 2005

Another year, another Systems. This year, however, sadly the first time without Jens, so organization was harder than usual. C&L again provided an Open Source area where we had a booth along with GNOME, KDE, the several BSDs, PostgreSQL and some smaller Open Source projects. As we were not able to build up the booth on Sunday already, there was only a pretty bad location left on Monday, facing towards the wall. Roland Stigge provided a huge 1,5 by 1,5 metre Debian swirl banner, which we mounted in the vicinity of the (too small for that) booth. Michael Ablassmeier brought a Shuttle PC and a TFT display so we could show visitors around the Debian desktop and point them towards further information on the internet. Credativ again kindly shipped posters and flyers. We sold the former and distributed the latter to passing visitors. Unfortunately, Credativ did not receive any LinuxTag DVDs this year, and we were unable to obtain some from other people (apparently they are spared for LinuxWorldExpo in Frankfurt next month, though most visitors there should know Debian already I guess), so we only had about 30 DVDs, which were left from the pack I took back from LinuxTag myself. We sold those for 2 EUR, and later distributed some shiny new Breezy CDs the GNOME booth acquired on Thursday and had some Sarge CDs pressed at a nearby CD production booth which we sold for 2 EUR as well.

After some initial doubts on whether we would be able to properly man the booth, it turned out that the local Debian community was enough to guarantee presence except for Friday morning. Michael Ablassmeier, Erich Schubert, Simon Richter, Roland Stigge and Rene Engelhard manned the booth besides me. So we were in the fortunate position that we had two people at the booth most of the time while shuffling around personnel, while most other booths were operated by the same one or two people throughout the week.

This year, almost all people I asked (I usually offered a flyer and asked "Do you know Debian already?" to all passing visitors, unless they quickly tried to run through our territory) knew about Debian at least somewhat, and surprisingly many people said they had Debian installed and were happy with it. Thanks to the Sarge release and the almost-official amd64 archive (the respective lack of which were by far the most prominent questions last year), we had almost no recurring questions to answer; probably the most frequent question was about Ubuntu and our relationship with it, but those were pretty scarce and I expected much more of that. Likewise, only very few people were unhappy about Debian (far outweighed by the happy bunch), and most of that seemed to be due to specific technical issues rather than any general reservations about the Debian development or community processes. Most of the remaining questions were pretty specific, e.g. people having issues installing Debian on their hardware or trying to do some exotic stuff.

To summarize, it was a nice having a booth again and getting in touch with visitors and users. I did not see much else of Systems this year due to being busy with university as well, but I do not think it would have been worth it anyway. Murray Cumming and Joerg Kress (who were managing the GNOME booth) helped me dismantle the booth and carry back the hardware and leftovers on Friday evening and we decided to have dinner together at a nice pub in Munich.

29 Oct 2005 cinamod (7.6) (Master) »

Luis, that's why I (tried to) framed the bulk of argument around RTF and not DOC :)

I don't buy your "more competition around open standards" argument as presented. To use your examples, there aren't more viable Web Browsers vying for my HTML-viewing marketshare than there are office suites capable of consuming RTF. There aren't loads of Gimps and Photoshops competing for my JPEG editing needs. There is competition around JPEG with digital cameras, but that is just an interchange format for the internal, proprietary RAW representation, just like RTF is in the Word Processing arena.

There's roughly the same order of magnitude of competition around all of these aforementioned standards, be they open standards or de-facto ones. Open Standards are good. But when they reinvent the wheel, they're somewhat less-good.

29 Oct 2005 davidw (7.9) (Master) »

This is kind of cool:

http://www.frappr.com/advogato

29 Oct 2005 pcolijn (7.4) (Journeyer) »

Stupid Country

So normally, even though I am in a rather stupid country led by a rather stupid leader, things aren't too bad since northern California is one of the most liberal areas of the country, and Googlers tend to be pretty forward-thinking too (sorta comes with the territory).

However, every once in a while something happens to remind me that this country really is incredibly fucked up. This evening, I'm biking home from work, like I always do. I happen to have laundry with me, because we do that at Google. All of a sudden I get stopped by a cop.

He explains to me that there's been a burglary near by and he just wants to ask me a few questions. Fine; I show him my driver's license, my work badge, explain that all that's in my backpack is laundry and let him look through it. Then he calls another cop, who arrives and asks me the same questions again. Then, out of the blue, they become very interested in my shoes. Then a third cop comes to examine said shoes. At this point I'm doing everything I can to contain my laughter. Here are 3 cops, looking at my fucking shoes at 1am, while the actual robber (if indeed there was one) is long gone.

But what's even worse is that cops around here actually do crap like this. This is the third time I've been stopped because there has been a "robbery near by." It just seems so bizarre to me that the cops have nothing better to do than drive around the office parks of Mountain View, CA protecting random companies from buglaries. I mean, isn't that what people buy insurance and install security systems for? Meanwhile, across the bay there are probably people shooting each other in Oakland. Like I say, fucked up country.

28 Oct 2005 lloydwood (6.7) (Journeyer) »

I worked with Eskimos to bring you SaVi live.

This shook out a couple of bugs in SaVi and added a couple of minor features; the two-line-elset handling code is now slightly better thanks to Tom's diligent testing, but still needs much more work. The modifications needed to SaVi to force texturemapping on without Geomview, decrease CPU use, and set defaults correctly in this installation turned out to be minor. The coverage texturemap is converted by ppmtogif, which is exactly how our old satellite footprint generator generates its plots.

In a rare publicity coup, one of my fashion designs has now graced Guido van Rossum... and it's not even valid Python. Perhaps it can be seen as a criticism of some other languages?

Now that we're finally appearing on bearded hackers rather than on the traditional attractive models you'd expect, we've broken into the target demographic. We've got it made... if only we can make some more shirts.

(It's surprising that Advogato, of all places, does not allow the <code> tag)

28 Oct 2005 Bopon (Observer) »

test

28 Oct 2005 harshy (6.9) (Journeyer) »

Busy busy busy! Was on vacation last week and spent most if not all that time just relaxing with friends and family. Went up to New York City last weekend and had a good time. We went up there to visit colleges for my sister who plans to move up there after she graduates High School this year. Will post pictures and videos later on.

Probably will be silent the next two weeks as work needs me there for almost 12 hours each day. It will be nice in the money factor, but not so much in the fun factor. Hopefully once that is said and done, Bryan will have most of the Coaster stuff done for me to start munching on.

28 Oct 2005 mjw (9.7) (Master) »

Eclipse 3.1 and OpenOffice 2.0 hit Debian unstable

Happy to see both eclipse 3.1 and OpenOffice 2.0 hit Debian main.

Fun with small devices

Found some interesting things people do with GNU Classpath these days:

* OSGi on the Slug (using GNU Classpath and JamVM) * Compiling JamVM from source and running OSGi on it

28 Oct 2005 ravidgemole (Observer) »

grng Spent some time last night reworking grng code. Today I released v1.1, which is just some code reworking (streamlining, cleanup, etc.). I hope to put out another version by Monday that will support ARGs. Maybe write some better HTML stripping.

OFTC My application to OFTC to become a NetRep was voted and accepted last night. Very excited. To quote some extras in Almost Famous, "It's all happening!"

28 Oct 2005 ingvar (4.6) (Journeyer) »

"Not dead yet!"

There's been some progress on fixing bugs in Gatlopp. The map problem (hotfix in my previous entry has been incorporated. The shearing underneath the main character when moving on a scrolling map has improved (it's not gone, unfortunately, I can't seem to sync the update of the two window backgrounds and the moved window close enough to make the shearing go away. I fear there's "looking at XSHAPE" in my future).

The "key repeat bug" under MacOS X will, alas, have to stay, until I can figure out a good-enough way of low-pass-filtering the key-down state (I was considering that as a fix, when the problem initially surfaced, but...). I guess one option would be to simply switch to "move mouse around" (possibly by placing the mouse in the right nonant and using the mouse buttons to fire and such-like, that'd even give me some more action buttons). In short, I feel this is a bug in MacOS X, not in Gatlopp. :/

Other bugs? Yes, there's been a few reports. One I haven't been able to reproduce and one should be fixed (the "rays" repoducing on top of their grilles and getting stuck on top of each other), taht was down to some seriously dodgy logic to see if the ray could move off its spawn-grille safely (hint, if you need to have an offset from a centre-point and adjust everything for it, do NOT add in the adjustment when you check if thing's changed, it's already been accounted for...).

27 Oct 2005 robocoder (6) (Journeyer) »

In my experimentation with xajax, I crafted a little web utility that returns what a given web page's position is within a search engine's results (for some specified search). Obligatory disclaimer: it only examines the top 100 search results.

Demo: What's My Web Page Rank?

To make the UI appear a little more responsive, I chained requests to return intermediate results and added some animation for visual feedback. It's quite an eclectic mix of javascript, php, and perl.

Coincidentally, this month's issue of "Canadian Business" (Oct 24-Nov 6, 2005) has an article on Web 2.0, "BIG PICTURE: Hype and Hoopla 2.0". I chuckled at these claims (?) by the author, Paul Kedrosky:

* [Blogs and RSS feeds] are major technological changes that should not be cynically dismissed. * It is cheaper to build an online company than ever. The software is often free, teams of Indian programmers can be had for less than $15,000 a person, and marketing online via Google AdWords is a fraction of the cost of building out a worldwide distribution network. * [...] more entrepreneurs experimenting with more technologies is like more monkeys with more typewriters.

27 Oct 2005 maihem (Observer) »

Must. Go. To. Sleep....

27 Oct 2005 cactus (7.5) (Master) »

Creating your CV via XSL:FO

As promised, here's a step-by-step guide for using simple XSLT templates to create your resume in HTML and PDF from a common XML source.

Guikachu: New menu editor

With valuable input from GNOME's #usability iRC channel, I am now implementing this UI for Guikachu's menu editor. A key point of the interface is using D&D for reordering menu items. This requires me to write my own Gtk::TreeModel, which is soomething not really documented. It's coming along nicely: I've got it mostly working, only the implementation of the D&D interfaced needs some cleaning up.

As an interesting coincidence, several threads have started these last weeks on the GTKmm mailing list by people who are implementing their own TreeModels.

Maybe it's the new fashion.

27 Oct 2005 jarod (Apprentice) »

A long time no? I'm working now eith PHP and MySQL development at Ministério das Cidades, in Brasília, Brazil.

And now, i'm learning Lua ;)

27 Oct 2005 faw (10) (Apprentice) »

Long time without post, time to a quick (happy!) post and to try to keep it up-to-date again! In fact, I'm keep saying that I should try to get advogato more up-to-date, I need to get a lot of stuffs more up-to-date, but I'm working on this. :o)

[Debian]

Yeah! Today I received mail from katie (Debian Archive Kit), luk uploaded translate-docformat it is now in incoming and soon will hit unstable. I adopted from Luk after he requested an adopter. He is going to "sponsor" me in the mean time (someday I'm planning to subscribe to NM). I also sent a couple of days ago a new package for lifelines, I'm waiting until Christian Perrier upload it (he is my sponsor). :o) I'm also working on another packages that I plan to upload soon.

In the l10n field I started a discussion with the idea to split the pt and pt_BR translation efforts since we have different areas of interests and we are putting hard work on different places. Looks like that DebianPT translators agreed with me. I hope we can find a nice solution to get both languages in Debian infrastructure. We are also working a lot with WMLs and the demand to update potfiles and manpages. Lots of work!

27 Oct 2005 Fruitwoot (Observer) »

voici le site de Gentoo, c'est la distro que j'utilise pour linux :)

27 Oct 2005 jds (3.1) (Journeyer) »

Google is Microsoft, 20 years later

From a principled view, Google is another Microsoft. They made the same leap forward that Microsoft made back in about 1980, and though we love 'em now, they fully intend to harvest from us for a very long time, and they will.

i'm not too happy with the way google completely assumes that i want to have a contacts list; there is no way to turn it off. for example, i learned not to keep them in the late 1990s when major email viruses were taking advantage of email client contact lists to propagate themselves. it's a matter of habit now, and one which i like, as i'm forced to rely more on memory techniques. anyway, google won't let me configure this. each email that comes or goes accumulates to the gmail contacts list. but i tolerate it, because i like the rest of gmail. i clearly see that this decision on google's part is perfectly in accord with attracting me to store all of my personal knowledge on their servers. i'd like to see more of an ethical commitment from them before i dive in so willingly. as it stands, i just periodically truncate my contacts list out of wise habit, and commend google to others for their good intentions.

The third iteration, which I expect in about 2015-2020 or so, will be the most liberating and most subtle of all. This is just a hunch from a hunchback.

27 Oct 2005 mathrick (7.1) (Journeyer) »

The pain of creation

Inkscape is double-plus neat, but it's so incredibly, unbelievably, painstakingly slow it's not even funny. Seriously. Yes, I know that perhaps using nightlies for Win32 isn't exactly the recipe for fast, but even using native linux builds of stable version is good way to get some new wrinkles whilst waiting for results. Oh, and I thougtlessly tried new ``Effects'' menu in the nightly -- oops. Now I know the meaning of slow. And there doesn't seem to be any way to remove the effects, and undo seems strangely ineffective. Double oops.

#

27 Oct 2005 mjcox (5.7) (Master) »

770

I've had my Nokia 770 for a little over a week. On Monday evening I managed to pry it out of my girlfriends hands for long enough to try running one of the first old GDK C apps that I wrote. Although the app worked fine in the development environment it failed on the device itself due to assumptions about having 24 bit colour depth.

A simple source code change from using gdk_pixbuf_render_pixmap_and_mask(a,b,c,d) to gdk_pixbuf_render_pixmap_and_mask_for_colormap(a,gtk_colormap_get_system(),b,c,d) solved it.

The unit is very cute and got a lot of attention when I showed it off last weekend; but there are a few niggles - the biggest is a lack of a docking station. It's also far worse at picking up the weak wireless signal in the house than the Orinoco pcmcia cards.

27 Oct 2005 titus (7.5) (Journeyer) »

Post-modern programming

I confess, I am a post-modern programmer. But Python makes it so easy...

twill publicity

Grig pointed out this short article at oreillynet.com: Web App Security Testing Using twill.

(who knew that writing documentation was such a good idea? ;)

cucumber2

As part of another project, I finally committed to a rewrite of cucumber (as I'd hoped to back in January). Announcing... cucumber2!

cucumber was a getattr-based object-relational mapping system for Python/PostgreSQL that used PostgreSQL's table inheritance to map objects into SQL tables without impedance mismatch.

cucumber2 is a more robust rewrite of cucumber. cucumber2 is based on new-style classes, metaclasses and properties, which means that things like inheritance (including multiple inheritance) work easily and directly.

cucumber has long been my pet project: an immensely useful little tool that I never got around to properly releasing. cucumber2 is much prettier in many ways, and I look forward to using it in several projects now that the package is cleaner.

At any rate, I'm making a very young cucumber2 public. For anyone who is interested, there's an overview available that's probably the place to start.

A few random musings:

* First and foremost, metaclasses are wicked cool.

* Guido's 2.2 changes are very, very nice and put lots of power in the hands of the developer.

* Metaclasses are a very convenient way to do code generation. (I learned this trick from Daniel Arbuckle at a socal-piggies presentation.)

* nose Just Works.

* Strive for simplicity. It's in there somewhere, and when you find it, it's worth it.

--titus

26 Oct 2005 e8johan (4) (Journeyer) »

Swedish politics below, ignore if you're not interested.

The current Swedish government has misunderstood the difference between ability and doing. I have to examples that are highly relevant today:

#1 maturnity leave. When having a child, the government wants the father to take a bigger part of the leave. All good this far, but they want to force this on the parents by reducing the time that the mother is allowed to stay home (with pay, that is). The problem is that the opinion is against them, and the two most common reason for fathers not staying home longer is the difference in income (the father earns more, thus loses more from staying home) and/or the mothers wants to spend more time at home when the kids are really small (we're talking about the first year here). So, the real issue is that a) people don't want this and b) the difference in pay. The latter is a completely different problem that needs to be solved in other ways. This is just reducing the symptoms, not treating the problem.

#2 The ruling side in Gothenburg (2nd largest city of Sweden), which is the same as the national government, provides a card that provides cheaper exercise - for girls. This is because girls are not training as much as boys. What they fail to see is that a) this could be because boys and gilrs have different interests and priorities and b) because the things considered training is more compelling to boys. Since all have the same choice and ability to try, there is no need to try to change the current situation. Nobody is disadvantaged in the current situation.

Phew... nice to get that off my mind. And remember, the important this is to provide the freedom of choice, not to make sure that the utilization is completely even.

26 Oct 2005 zanee (4.2) (Apprentice) »

Still busy but there are a couple of things that I've been playing with lately.

Xcompmgr Cool, highly unstable but cool. However, E17 (Enlightenment 17) is looking very nice and its surprisingly fast.

Work The 3ware driver (5-9) seems to be broken in 2.6.14-rc*. Wrote an install routine for the distro. One should never try this in perl, not even for kicks. Even though it's led me to believe one should actually create a nice perl module that can access low level routines for stuff. That person should probably be me! Or I could just do it in C; meh.. whatever. Hadn't used perl seriously for anything.. it was fun; granted; verbose.. but fun. Nonetheless, found that I wouldn't use perl for anything serious.

Ubuntu Xchat 2.4.4 packaged in Breezy has a 2 gig file limit even on 64bit archs. Fixed in 2.4.5; will be in whatever branch opens up for ubuntu or whatever fabbione said when I was on irc.

School Still attending, haven't really learned anything yet. Don't expect to learn anything. I learn alot from old acm papers and mailing lists. I'd probably pay for it.. oh wait. I do pay for the acm. It's alot cheaper than school though.

Bedstuy.org I have one more week to get it back up and guess what? I've got much to do.

Vgraf Nothing this week.

GnomeMeeting Nothing this week.

Ideas I'm very fond of Dashboard in OS X. Why have a bunch of widgets displayed that you rarely use. Sure i'd like to know the weather but do I really need to have a weather applet sitting in my panel?

Probably not. I thought about doing this for myself by just breaking the widgets I use most out into a program and showing/hiding the widgets as need be, binded by my choice of key combo.

Ramblings You know why people have an afront to computers? It's because they don't work. They press print and the computer doesn't print. They select "close" and things open. Today while I was having a bout with the nvidia drivers in ubuntu hoary (crashing the kernel with the latest kernel update I suspect; there's some sort of issue with the driver asking for a 2.6.11 upgrade but ubuntu hoary only ships out 2.6.10 or whatever, that might not be the issue. I'll investigate tomorrow) it dawned on me. Through out the week how often does one reboot, have a program crash or any odd number of things that happen oh so often with computers. People expect computers to fail, they expect software to fail. So then, why do computers fail? 9 times out of the 10, if it isn't just software thats written poorly, its the drivers.. if those aren't written poorly, its the hardware. With so many gates of failure and so many different modes and types of failure possible. Its amazing anything works at all. So, from now on i'm going to write shit that isolates for as much failure as possible from the top down (i'll keep it balanced). Things, shouldn't fail. When a user presses the print button. It should print, under any conditions that dont affect the hardware and the underlying operating system. If it can't print due to hardware or unforseen failure then it should say why in a manner the user can understand. When all else fails it should dump out as much info as possible and inform the user of where they can get help.

This is how most other quality engineered products are built. I've gotta start holding myself to higher standards. It always happens; you think no one is crazy enough to do X. 2 mins later you get the call.

26 Oct 2005 mikerx (Observer) »

RESTagra

What RESTAGRA Does Not Do RESTAGRA does not cure API dysfunction. It is a treatment for API dysfunction. RESTAGRA does not protect your server or your business partner from getting viruses. RESTAGRA is not an aphrodisiac. If you find RESTAGRA functioning as an aphrodisiac, consult a psychiatrist immediately. How To Take RESTAGRA Take RESTAGRA about one hour before you plan to perform web services. Beginning in about 30 minutes and for up to 4 hours, RESTAGRA can help you become idempotent when someone accesses your endpoint. If you take RESTAGRA after a high-fat transaction (such as a WS-* transaction), the medicine may take a little longer to start working.

RESTAGRA is not for newborns, children, or women. Do not let anyone else take your RESTAGRA. RESTAGRA must be used only under a doctor's supervision.

Possible Side Effects Like all medicines, RESTAGRA can cause some side effects. These effects are usually mild to moderate and usually don't last longer than a few hours. Some of these side effects are more likely to occur with higher doses. The most common side effects of RESTAGRA are headache, flushing of the face, and blogorrhea. Less common side effects that may occur are temporary changes in reasoning (such as trouble telling the difference between GET and POST or quoting Roy Fielding for no particular reason), being more sensitive to criticism, or blurred worldview.

In rare instances, servers have reported idempotency that lasts many hours. You should call a doctor immediately if you ever experience idempotency for more than 4 hours. If not treated right away, permanent damage to your server could occur.

Denial of service attack, irregular network activity, and the Blue Screen of Death have been reported rarely in servers taking RESTAGRA. Most, but not all, of these servers had problems before taking this medicine, such as running Microsoft software. It is not possible to determine whether these events were directly related to RESTAGRA.

26 Oct 2005 mazurek (Observer) »

Brain-computer interfaces. Neuroscientists and engineers are developing technologies that allow the brain to interact directly with computers, from chips that could enable amputees to control prosthetic limbs to devices designed to enhance brain function. How will these new technologies influence daily life?

26 Oct 2005 grey (10) (Journeyer) »

OK, fucked up and posted this as an article instead of in my diary, never noticed that option before, now I know why. Anyway, here is the write up:

http://advogato.org/article/860.html

3 entries suppressed at threshold 3.

[ Home | Articles | Account | People | Pr

apenwarr's rules These appear to neglect buyin, collective agreements, and other forms of teamwork. Perhaps the uncertainty principle applies somehow to your quantization premise. If no person is an island then perhaps individual responsibility and social actions cannot be perfectly quantized. Perhaps a script kiddie is not totally responsible when he/she paralyzes millions of corporate American desktops via a few keystrokes .... perhaps the hacker who made the base virus pattern easily obtained public domain information, or the Microsoft collective that chose to release incredibly insecure software to end users, or the IT and other executives who choose to stick with known defective desktop standards are entangled somehow with the quantum of personal responsibility.
coding

Have finally settled on Java as my best compromise choice for learning some specific coding and design skills potentially useful in future job opportunities while exploring some specific ideas for an online business.

After reading one entire online book "Thinking in Java" and some online tutorials I managed to get a couple of java classes and instantiated objects to compile and run correctly in Netbeans.

Unfortunately I find most of the modern IDEs rather complex and confusing. It is possible I should drop back to just an editor and stick with slight tweaks to some simple java files while I slowly but surely internalize the nuances of the language.

web server

Way behind schedule here. Got bogged down in installing Debian over and over via different methods. The core kernel (CD one of sixteen) installs well regardless of which options I use for initial installation. However, I have been unable to convince the apt utilities to use either my local cd sets/archives (flipped through for indexing on demand from the installation routines) or online sources via my adsl connection (which successfully picks up vender assigned IP addresses and allows pinging the vender's router/DNS server). Exhaustive forced review of the 7 or 8 unix commands sufficient to bring me through the ghastly 90s (IRIX application support required by engineering clients) not to mention review of apparently applicable online literature, user manuals, and man pages desperately seeking --fizbin switches; have not yet yielded results beyond verification that all the configuration files seem to be present and loaded appropriately.

I am tempted to trademark a new paradigm acronym DNWTRTFM. (Do Not Waste Time Reading The Fucking Manuals). This could be entered into a FAQ explaining to novices the good ol RTFM gag they will inevitably run into within the open source communities online as an initiation rite on various mailing lists, bulletin boards, private flames, etc. Half-seriously, when was the last time you understood anything presented in an alleged Unix manual that you did not already understand? Sort of an inverse recursive inside joke: man is not unix manual.... or ... Not unix manual, not user training system. (NUMNUTS)

The apt man entry is particularly lovely. Dated 92, it clearly states it is not done yet. Does however provide some lovely links to other utilities possibly of service to previously educated users or accomplished master hackers. Somebody will be tempted to say write it yourself if it needs to be updated or written. I suppose I could take notes on all the different ways I have found that apt refuses to work on my current configuration but I am not totally certain anyone will find that very useful. Most people are usually attempting to get stuff to work, not prove that it does not in a specific case. Besides, careful online research seems to imply that apt-get et. al. simply works for everone on the planet except me and an occasional clueless computer scientist who has been restricted to area 51 DARPA superconductors isolated from the internet since 1953.

Its enough to provoke suspicion that somebody flipped an embedded bozo switch upon detecting my download of Debian ....therefore, I hereby sincerely and humbly request permission to apologize abjectly and profusely to any master hackers, influential users, or NSA assholes I may have inadvertently offended with my atrocious attitudes freely projected while playing around locally with the advogato trust metric. Except for kelly. If this apparently successful denial of service attack is a result of the kelly/cert war I absolutely refuse to concede defeat. There are after all other distributions available and I can always revert to Red Hat 7.2 or some other commercially available distribution previously purchased but prematurely abandoned due to misplaced ideology.

Life ... Scheduled tomorrow for dental surgery to remove some wisdom teeth.

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