Older blog entries for trow (starting at number 29)

We really have a great bunch of candidates for the GNOME Foundation board. Picking just eleven to vote for was not easy.

Hacking

As Evolution finally makes the 1.0 mark, I've been recovering from the final mad dash with a just-for-fun weekend hacking project that I dropped into Gnome CVS a few minutes ago: GnomeChart (CVS module 'gnome-chart') is a little app that grabs stock data from Yahoo! and displays it chart form using libguppi. Give it a try! (Warning: I'll probably make another Guppi release soon, but until then GnomeChart requires guppi3 CVS.)

I'm off to Boston tomorrow for a few weeks "in residence" at Ximian.

Idiocy Abounds

Well, I finally met a person who believes that the WTC attack was a conspiracy by the Mossad to create a pretense for war against Islamic countries. I knew these people existed, but I hadn't encountered any of them in the flesh until this weekend.

Interestingly enough, the conspiracy theorist in question was not a Muslim; he is a young Eastern European Catholic who has lived in this country for a few years. His "reasoning" was rather interesting: he asserted that crashing the planes into the towers was an act of aeronautical skill that only "a few top pilots in the world" could accomplish. "Who has those kinds of pilots? The Mossad!"

I saw no point in getting into an argument with him (who I'm somewhat acquainted with, and who is otherwise a perfectly nice and seemingly rational fellow), so I just smiled and nodded. He comes from a rural area in one of those countries that may not have liked being overrun by the Germans, but which enthusastically participated in the liquidation of their Jews... so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that he soaked up a certain amount of Zionist-Bankers-Rule-The-Worldism that may still be sloshing around in the culture there.

But that doesn't make it any less depressing.

Guppi & Gnumeric Play Nice

We've got primitive graphing working in gnumeric now. Yes, we had primitive graphing working in gnumeric a long time ago, but now for the first time we can also:

  • Load and save graphs in .gnumeric files.
  • Import some graphs from XL (or so Jody tells me).
It isn't much, but it is a beginning. There will probably be a dual Guppi/Gnumeric release within days.

I just noticed that DSL backwards is LSD. Makes you think, doesn't it...

My DSL went away on Monday, due to bankruptcy of whoevers wires my data was travelling on. Today my new DSL came to life, and is three times faster than it was before. Five days of dial-up was enough for me.

This Diary Entry is 100% Taliban-Free

I've been having some problems with my main development machine, so I'm upgrading to a 2.4 kernel to see if that will solve some of my problems. Here is the proof that I'm getting old and crotchety: I used to enjoy fiddling with system, but now it just seems like a drain on my time.

Still, I'm eager to see the extent to which SMP performance is better. And for the first time I've got DRI working; now all I need are some OpenGL apps...

Just Say No

Just to go against the trend and say something good about the Taliban: it was fairly widely reported earlier this year that the Taliban cracked down on opium cultivation, banning it on the grounds that it is "un-Islamic". This link contains a copy of the NYT article that has favorable quotes about the Taliban's drug policy from the DEA officials and Colin Powell.

I've heard a number of "talking heads" on TV, including a few senators, talk about the Afghanistan/Heroin link over the last week. But while the Taliban obviously have a number of fairly awful policies, this doesn't seem to be one of them.

Rwanda

A few recent diary entries have mentioned Rwanda in one context or another. Most people probably don't realize that a huge amount of blame can be assigned to the mind-blowingly awful policies of the French government. For example, see this link. (I'm not sure what axes this author might have to grind, but his account basically matches what I've read in other places.) An excellent book about Rwanda is We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch. I recommend it highly.

In all fairness, the U.S.'s role in the tragedy in Rwanda is nothing to be proud of. In March 1998, during his trip to Africa, Clinton said:

"All over the world, there were people like me sitting in offices who did not fully appreciate the depth and speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror."
(Source: http://www.alternet.org/story.html? StoryID=9494. This analysis in this link may be biased, but I'm assuming that the quote is accurate.) This statement by Clinton is demonstrably false: the Hutus made very little attempt to conceal what they intended to do. Most of the world just didn't want to know.

Efficient Use of Resources

I think most people agree that we need to greatly increase the amount of money and manpower devoted to law enforcement in order to investigate terrorist threats and to provide additional security on airplanes, at airports, at government buildings, and at other public places. Let's stop wasting our resources on the idiotic War on Drugs, and instead apply those efforts to actually protecting American lives and property.

Reading some of the more off-the-wall comments about yesterday's tragedy, I was reminded of Richard Gid Powers' comments in the introduction to Daniel Patrick Moynihan's book Secrecy:

As the original political intent behind the search for government secrets slipped from memory, what survived of the politically rooted plot conventions might be called post-modern secrecy mongering. Balzac said that the fundamental principle of popular writing is that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Postmodern popular culture holds that behind every great political career lies a great scandal -- a formula that provides the catharsis of discrediting the powerful, thereby vicariously empowering everyone else.

. . .

Postmodern secrecy mongering is part of what might be called postmodern paranoia, an aesthetic preference for "alternative" modes of thought that leads to a playful interest in conspiracy theories about government secrecy just for the hell of it.

. . .

The history of secrecy has finally reached a point where people choose to believe in conspiracy theories -- and even concoct their own -- to satisfy aesthetic criteria, to purge themselves of personal demons, or just to have something to think and talk about.

What. The. Fuck.

In my previous job, I visited to the World Trade Center many times for meetings and presentations. I've stayed at the hotel right across the street, which is also now reported to have collapsed. I know plenty of people who work there.

It is impossible to imagine that the entire thing is now nothing but a pile of rubble.

20 older entries...

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!