Saturday, August 03, 2002

$8/3/2002 11:40:30 AM

DEFCON X is going on right now. Unfortunately, because of lamers, the forums are down. Hmmm:

At DC 9 we grew the coverage of the wireless network to cover most of the Alexis Park. We operate an 802.11b wireless network with a gateway to the net. It is a wide open network with no WEP security, assigning addresses by a DHCP server. Yes, people mess with the DHCP server, but all in all it works well.

NEW for this year: DEF CON will continue to grow the network, as well as provide some dedicated servers for attendees to use. For example we will have a web/ftp server set up where people can upload pictures they have taken in order to share them with the rest of the con attendees. DEF CON will also have a limited amount of 802.11a access points for Really high speed access. While all this great bandwidth is limited by our net connection, it will be great for people on the local network to swap pictures and data.

Me personally, I would be way too terrified to have my wi-fi turned on at DEFCON. But that's just me.

Friday, August 02, 2002

$8/2/2002 10:33:25 PM

I was searching around the Trillian site for some compact skins and found a good one called Microscopic. What sets it apart is that while it's very small, you can also set the options so you can view avatar icons. That's good. Also, there's a little customization utility which will make setting up the skin easier. While I was looking around, I also found nikebball87's skins. I remember Dervish from years back when I was using that skin on ICQ. Currently, I'm using his port of the Geek skin.

One thing that's interesting is that both Microscopic and Geek both have alternate contact list modes (Trillian Bar as it's known apparently). I had no idea this existed and had to do a search. You can switch to it on the skins that support it via Preferences, in the Contact List panel at the bottom. I'm not sure how useful it is (although w/ it rolled up, you can keep it on top of everything), but it sure is nifty.

$8/2/2002 09:04:15 PM

One of my friends was working on the new He-Man cartoon concept a while ago at Mattel. Looks like it's finally hitting the airwaves (and more importantly, I suppose, the toy shelves). Here are a bunch of clips from the San Diego Comic-Con.

While I was looking for some links, I found this great list of The Ten Strangest Masters of the Universe Figures Ever!. There are some hilariously bad ones in there.

$8/2/2002 04:54:17 PM

Arggh. This is probably my current biggest annoyance with Mozilla as a user - the mail client always brings down my entire browser. Worse yet, Total Recall isn't useful because it doesn't remember tabs. Therefore I lose everything I'm browsing whenever some malformed foreign-language spam rolls in. Would it be that hard to simply allow multiple instances of Mozilla?

Thursday, August 01, 2002

$8/1/2002 10:31:51 PM

Heh, TouristofDeath.com has a Rate my Domokun page. I don't know why, but I find this one just to be completely hilarious. Must be the Bert is Evil nostalgia or something.

fluffy grue has a k5 diary entry that traces through the backstory behind some of the in-jokes, but he misses one of them. Although more obvious in say, this image, the other images are also play on the jesus images (in addition to the domo, Sex Kitten and goatse.cx)

$8/1/2002 10:16:24 PM

$8/1/2002 07:01:23 PM

Starved for Food, Zimbabwe Rejects U.S. Biotech Corn - on the face of it, this seems like a problem with genetic engineering, intellectual property, greedy corporations and the whole blah blah, but digging a bit deeper, things seem slightly more complex. The Zimbabwe "president" Robert Mugabe, a one time freedom fighter (and apparently formerly well respected guy), has reportedly been using famine as a tactic to incite unrest (having already crippling Zimbabwe's agricultural industry—Zimbabwe was once the region's breadbasket).

Some numbers from a recent Economist article, From breadbasket to basket case:

In all, 95% of commercial farmland has been slated for “redistribution”. Some 60% of commercial farmers must halt work immediately. Another 35% have only received preliminary notices of confiscation, and so may carry on farming for a while longer. The remaining handful have so far escaped, either through the incompetence of their persecutors or because they have friends in government.


Mr Mugabe says that his “fast-track land reform” will redistribute wealth from rich whites to poor blacks, from whose families the land was stolen in colonial times. At a recent conference in Rome, he called the programme “a firm launching pad for our fight against poverty and food insecurity”. But since the land is usually handed out to ruling-party loyalists, rather than skilled farmers, the result so far has been the opposite. Cereal production in Zimbabwe has fallen by 67% since 1999-2000, according to the WFP, and looks set to tumble further.

Mr Mugabe does not seem to care. After stealing a presidential election in March, his chief concern has been to punish those who dared to support his opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai.

... And starving peasants who are suspected of having voted for him are denied food aid in areas where the ruling party controls its distribution.

$8/1/2002 06:40:02 PM

Hmm, a lot of people are writing CSS haiku over at Consolation Champs. It's rather amazing how ghastly some of them are.

$8/1/2002 06:35:49 PM

File one under "geek in-jokes": MachV's bugs are filed under a tracking bug entitled GO GO Speed Racer!

$8/1/2002 01:22:18 AM

Mike Mignola has drawn up a Hellboy movie teaser poster of Ron Perlman as Hellboy. It's cool as all get out and 2004 of these are being handed out today at the San Diego Comic-Con. I would so be there, except for you know, this whole work thing. The poster image is currently up online at hellboy.com. The last thing I need is more bits of junk in my apartment, so maybe it's all for the best. I also managed to resist the "Super Summer Sale" last weekend at Golden Apple. (20-90% off everything and gazillions of 10 cent comics—last sale I spent over thirty bucks, getting almost the whole run of sandman mystery theater, and the books of magic. Those are all sitting stacked in the corner of one of my closets right now.)

$8/1/2002 12:51:32 AM

OSCON audio cleanup has ground up to a halt mostly because 1) things are crazy at work; it's August already (jeez where does the time go?!?) and site need to go up before school starts at the end of the month—it's going to be nuts, and 2) I've been busy after work. Tonight I just got back from doing some car shopping and learning car stuff from my cousin. Monday night I went out with my brother and some of his friends and watched a screening of Pedicab Driver at the Egyptian. Sammo Hung was there and did a QA afterwards. He was pretty funny and had some great stories, including a great Bruce Lee story.

/. has had quite a few interesting stories the past few days, really makes me wish I had more time to dig through messages. Lots of crap, but the good ones make it worthwhile (in some abstract way I suppose. I mean, it's still a huge time sink).

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

$7/30/2002 09:34:09 AM

Scientists reveal the secret of cuddles

Scientists have discovered why being cuddled feels so good - human skin has a special network of nerves that stimulate a pleasurable response to stroking.

$7/30/2002 12:05:43 AM

ATI and Massive render The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring in real time in Linux - wowza.

MARKHAM, Ontario - ATI Technologies Inc. (TSX:ATY, NASDAQ:ATYT) and Massive today announced that they will be rendering Academy Award® winner, "The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Rings," in real time at SIGGRAPH. This demonstration will be taking place in the ATI booth (#13097) and Massive booth (#5112) using ATI's FIRE GL™ workstation graphics technology.

Monday, July 29, 2002

$7/29/2002 12:57:37 AM

Apparently Jesse feels really strong about the title attribute issue. He wrote a bookmarklet to turn them into parentheticals (which admittedly is pretty nifty) <-- phbbbtt! take that! Hmm, I wonder how hard it'd be to write a sidebar 'bookmarklet aggregator'...

Sunday, July 28, 2002

$7/28/2002 09:37:13 PM

Apparently, I'm ranked third for 'esdrec command line' because of my earlier post on my esd / lame / tibook stuff. It looks like I'm note even on the radar for oscon 2002 mp3s. Is that a good thing?

$7/28/2002 08:58:04 PM

Audacity is a simple GPL'd cross-platform sound editor that has VST plug-in support. I originally found tihs while I was looking for tools to do real time recording/encoding, but I saw it linked from tools.komlenic.com it just occurred to me I could have used this for editing at OSCON. Oops. There's also a free editor for OS X called Spark ME that also has VST plug-in support.

Free VST plug-ins:

Non sequitur: JesseR cites a blog entry of mine as an example of how not to use the title attribute. And while perhaps it isn't the best thing to do, I don't think it's wrong by any normative scale, certainly not by the w3c recommendations. My use of title tags are generally for annotations, additional comments, and non sequiturs. These would otherwise break the flow of the narrative and sentence structure, and IMO would be more harmful to not be in title tags. Now, perhaps one can argue that in that case I should simply edit myself and simply leave it out, but well, then why bother typing anything at all?

$7/28/2002 06:01:15 PM

Sam Ruby presents REST+SOAP. Paul Prescod makes some comments.

Paul also has some worthwhile (and well reasoned) short opinion pieces on his page, like his thoughts on the role of gov't, financial inequality, and moral equivalence.

He also has a little piece entitled Why I Promote Python, and he elaborates on his complexity complaint in a followup, Is Perl Difficult? Of course we all know the answer to that question. Still, while Perl is complex and in some cases bizarre (and probably not particluarly accessible), for people who program it day in and day out, Perl does translate into actual power and saved programming time. Worth the trade-off? I don't know.

$7/28/2002 05:33:24 PM

PHP Benchmark tests - along the lines of Jeff Greenberg's Javascript Optimization tests. Note, that some of these tests aren't quite as thorough as they might be. For example, I ran some tests a while back on single quote vs double quote speed and came to very different conclusions (there was a significant penalty for using double quotes and I changed my coding style accordingly. Perhaps this has changed since then). My results are appended as a comment/correction at the bottom of the page to Nathan Wallace's PHP: Hacker's Paradise article.

$7/28/2002 04:23:27 PM

Hyatt write about tabbed browsing's usefulness not as MDI, but as a tool for grouping/organization, which is especially true with the advent of bookmarking groups of tab. Now, of course, one of the problems that this suffers is that the longer you browse, the more likely that your tabs will start getting mixed around and disorganized (especially a pain when you're trying to bookmark groups of tabs). I think the best way to solve this problem is not through more interface clutter at the context-menu or main browser chrome, but to have a separate 'tab manager' window that allows reparenting of tabs. I've submitted this as an RFE (159853). Hmm, I wonder if this suggestion will get me flamed by mpt. Lord knows he sure loves tabbed browsing sooo much.

Perhaps this could be done as a separate XUL project, although the reparenting aspect of it could get pretty hairy. Speaking of XUL, Ian Oeschger mentioned Bugxula at the Mozilla BOF session at OSCON. While having a XUL interface to Bugzilla is an improvement, I don't think it's going to solve the fundamental usability problem with Bugzilla. It just slows to a crawl too much when people are grinding away on complex queries/reports. I still think that there should be a better search interface on static pages when people just want to search/view bugs. I think that'd fix a lot of the problems with so many duplicate bugs (as it's such a PITA to search). As a bonus, Bugzilla probably also wouldn't have to worry so much when it gets linked from /.

$7/28/2002 03:11:45 PM

New to me:

In other news, just doing some random Google searching, and this site has finally taken the top spot for leonard lin from my (inactive) resume page. I'm currently first for random foo and randomfoo (apologies to random foo pictures) and ranked 4th for foo. All this of course is rather pointless, but I need to do something w/ my time while I wait for audio to process.

$7/28/2002 02:36:56 PM

I am Googlebot. I control the Earth. - Paul Ford writes about Google and the Semantic Web. Also good: Internet Culture Review, and ReichOS, the latter which has unfortunatele, become increasingly relevant and likely:

Networks, because they can track your motions, can just as easily be used as tools to manipulate and control individuals, to abridge freedoms, to catch people. It's important, to me, to remember that the decentralized nature of the Internet is a side-effect of its technical and design goals, not an innate feature placed there so that 20-somethings can build data havens off Singapore. The freedoms allowed by this medium were an accident, a by-product of the needs of the government and the defense industry. A calculated move, a well-placed bill in the US House and Senate with European support, a sniffing and monitoring system plugged into all our wires, all put together "for the good of the people" by government and industry, could abridge our sudden, surprising networked freedoms - to publish as we see fit, to read what we will, from many parts of the world, to use the network protocols we choose - in moments, and those freedoms need never come back.

People used to say that the Internet would re-route around these changes. I think empircal evidence has by and large silenced most of those voices. It's not a lost cause, but the best time to act is yesterday. Now will have to do, I suppose.

$7/28/2002 01:08:33 PM

More audio:

$7/28/2002 01:00:15 PM

I was following one of Aaron's links and got to a post Peterme made a month ago about the term blog entering the OED. I missed that he's apparently also going to be writing a book on blogs. Which is good, since he coined the term. ;) While I don't get too involved in this whole new vs old blogger thing, it does irk me a little when latecomers come in and act like they invented the thing. Well, that happens with every

Random: Doing audio recording and clean up now has sparked my inner audio-engineer nerd. I did some searching, and apparently, with some readily avaliable parts from Digi-Key, it's possible to build some good and cheap mics. Here's a 1994 post from the DAT-Heads mailing list on making a stealth microphone from a mic capsule, resistor and capacitor. Who knew it was that easy? (Multimedia Bluffer's Guide to Microphones is a good round-up of microphone types and terminology)

Random #2: I've abandoned my silly ideas of getting a new car, especially since I'd be paying almost as much on insurance as on car payments. Looking around at used cars, it looks like I can get a '96-'98 VW GTI VR6 for $6000-8000. I could practically pay for that out of pocket (I've been saving pennies in the cookie jar). That's cool!

$7/28/2002 11:13:07 AM

I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most athletic guy ever. In fact, I don't even like most sports, and definitely get bored watching most of them and I don't hold the highest of opinions for most of these professional athletes. Having said that, I have been following Cycling News a little. (big spoiler warning on the ending, right?)

Earlier this month in The New Yorker entitled The Long Ride. It's a great read and does a lot to convey who Lance Armstrong is and what drives him. For me, it really resonates and an amazing and awe inspiring story.