log  ->  quadium.net

Sat 2001-06-09 - 00:56

<vsync> i have a printer
<vsync> in the year i lived in san francisco i never unpacked it
<sch> my employer has many printers. I actually do have one, but I don't think it works anymore and it's not hooked up to anything.
<jwz> I have a printer, but the last time I used it, it seems the ink cartrige had turned to dust
<vsync> i was sadly amused by the shock this brought to people's faces

I've been in Colorado for a little over a week now; got in on 31 May. In between searching for a job and hanging out with Felisa, I've been hacking some Lisp and just kind of unwinding from the whole stressful job thing. I started out doing my now routine (yay for me) daily running thing, but I've been riding the bike around a lot lately. The thought process goes something like this:

Hmm, I don't feel like heading back to the house quite yet... I'll take the long way back. Oh look, that's a trail. Wow, I'm in the Big Dry Creek area. There sure are a lot of trails. I'll go this way. There's so much green in this grass. This street is interesting. Look, a park. I'll get to the end of this street and backtrack to it. Oh, I've seen this road before. I'll go this way. Wow. I can't be at the lake yet, can I? Guess I can. So many bugs out. These clouds are great. This weather is great. I'll just ride to the other end of the lake. Is that rain? Rain is great. Is Besa home? Can I come over? I'll be right there. Look, this field turned into a marsh, and my shoe is in it. Am I lost? I think I'm lost. No, I'm not lost. I've been here. Yay!

I really do think it's the perfect time to be here. There's so much spring about.

Why do people enjoy using bad software? I've met a number of people, at work and elsewhere, who have issues with their current browser. And so I suggest that they use Mozilla.

Me: Why don't you use Mozilla?
Them: I tried Netscape 6.
Me: Netscape 6 is just an old buggy version of Mozilla with branding on top to slow it down and take up screen space.
Them: I tried Netscape 6.
Me: See how your browsing experience is sub-optimal? Look at this.
Them: Wow, I like that. What is it?
Me: Mozilla.
Them: But Netscape 6 is the official version. It's what they say to use.
Me: Haven't we learned our lesson about Netscape yet?
Them: Why do you have to be so arrogant?
Me: Can we please just try a Mozilla nightly?


Them: Wow, this browser is good. I really like it. I think I'll use it now!

...some time later...

Them: Your page looks like garbage.
Me: Why are you looking at it in Netscape 4? We installed Mozilla.
Them: I'm used to it.
Me: But it's horribly buggy. You can't expect a perfect experience with a broken browser.
Them: Why do you have to be so arrogant?

Tue 2001-06-26 - 03:54

it hurts when things are this simple

So ever since I've been in my family's basement with my laptop I've been having problems loading certain sites or sending files via scp, causing me no end of pain when doing things like job searching or editing my site. I suspected this was due to the whole broken MTU path discovery thing (if you're an admin, see this to learn how to stop gratuitously screwing up my life), but there were some quirks.

First, my normal route add default gw mss 536 didn't fix anything. Second, Netscape seemed to have far less problems than Galeon in terms of Web browsing, which was really confusing because the problem isn't at the application layer.

So I nuked Debian from the laptop in favor of slackware-current, because Debian was causing other weirdnesses, such as not being able to bring the laptop up from suspend with the same IP (I suspect it had something to do with ridiculously long ARP cache timeout values). Also Debian, while quite elegant and nicely organized, really tends to annoy me for personal machines, at least when I installed a bare-bones potato and everything I want is in sid and there are a million dependencies and I'm on a modem link where apt-get has problems due to the aforementioned MTU troubles. The -current Slackware is quite nice, and it fixed the IP address reuse problem, but the MTU weirdness was still going on.

I had pretty much given up on using Galeon until the DSL gets set up. (And the sad thing is, we have DSL, but it's broken. The blinky green light comes on and becomes a solid green light, but then the Cisco 678 (neat little device, btw) just says that it's "Training" and mentions offhandedly that the line quality is 0. Which is sub-optimal.) And then a few minutes ago I sighed, logged into fred, and typed on a whim:

ifconfig ppp0 mtu 1500

And lo, everything works. Please do not laugh at me. Somewhat over a year ago, when I was originally setting up the network for my family, I tried this, and it did not work. I think Dimensional was locking the MTU at 576, which was annoying, but setting the MSS seemed simpler than bothering them at the time.

So I can access the Internet in all it's productivity-sucking glory, I have a working -current system with all the latest goodies, and everyone is happy, including the idiot admins who block ICMP because "the hackers will get us!@".

i'm going to use whatever lisp system i feel like, thank you very much

I've gotten some more done on Twizzle (1 2 3), mainly involving the CLOS-based Tcl/Tk interface and abstracting out some things into macros and initialize-instance before-methods, where they belong. I think I'm about ready to begin tying the bits and pieces together into an actual application, which is always a bit scary and intimidating.

I'm actually having real fun hacking for the first time in a long long while. Coding for money isn't fun. I suppose it doesn't have to be miserable, if one has a benevolent and interesting employer, but in my experience it sucks my enthusiasm, my energy, and my desire to do anything with computers but sit on IRC and whine. Now my only problem is that I have no income and I'm in my parents' basement. I need somebody to give me a grant.

This laptop is great for productivity because I can take it to Panda Express, get my girlfriend to bring me food, and sit there for hours typing and getting free refills. At Wego, I was only really able to get into the zone on trains or planes, and I got a lot done then, except my beautiful Vaio had a battery life of about 45min. Feh.

And Felisa's back from Albuquerque. Having my girlfriend in the room makes me productive. Yay for girlfriends.

it stealses our precious vision!

There's been a lot of whinging about Micros~1's latest Innovation, with talk of the horrible nerve they have to "re-edit anybody's site, without the owner's knowledge or permission, in a way that tempts users to leave".

Aside from the usual Micros~1 practice of claiming others' technology as their own, and the icky ripoff of the Aqua GUI in their screenshot (What is with this fascination with white or almost-white backgrounds? GUIs, Web pages, everything. White backgrounds are too harsh and make reading difficult. One of the more significant advances between Win3.1 and Win9x was the death of the horrible white background everywhere, and now they're doing their best to revive it.), I see this as a good thing.

For once, they seem to be behaving somewhat responsibly in the integration of new functionality (although I wonder how true this would be were the specter of an antitrust breakup not looming over them). Smart Tags are quite visibly different, both in appearance and behavior. They aren't including any tag packages with IE (although I have no doubt they'll plug their ad-pimping package as much as they possibly can). All processing is done locally, which saves bandwidth and prevents a list of all the URLs you visit being sent to Redmond ("What's Related", anyone?).

Smart Tags scare Web "designers" to no end, because they exploit the most fundamental and useful feature of the World Wide Web: hyperlinks. Hyperlinks scare them for 2 simple reasons:

  1. Their sites are boring.
  2. They lie to their readers.

Obviously, these can't be used as arguments against the introduction of these tags, so instead they complain about how their sites are being edited behind their backs. But this is a lie and everyone knows it. Their pages are still stored on their server in exactly the same pattern of bytes as before. What frightens them is that the reader might be given the option to go read something else, and this is not right.

What they don't realize is that they never had the right nor the ability to control the presentation of their site. From the moment their pages are posted on a public server, I have the right to do anything I want with them. I can view the source. I can critique their site and their product. And I can disable their grotesque colors, their unreadable fonts, and their gratuitous JavaScript. I can see if their site contains any value to me, and if not, I can leave. A browser is not a television for them to flash pretty images on. It is a tool for me to explore publications, and as such I expect it to provide me with cross-referencing features.

There is public documentation on creating Smart Tag packages. Anyone can write their own annotations and distribute them to friends or the world at large. Of course, this ability is only useful to "the hate groups, the spammers and the junk marketers on the Web". I want to see Smart Tags in Mozilla. I want to see widespread grassroots dictionaries, references, and commentaries. And I want a great big red override button to instantly crush the arrogance of any "designer" who thinks he can dictate what I do with the words he tries to force me to read.

Wed 2001-06-27 - 04:16

Behold. Phase 1 is complete; Phase 2 is at hand.

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Last modified: Wed Jun 27 04:17:11 MDT 2001