All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.
`Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on ``I am not too sure''.' -- H. L. Mencken.
Recent search referers:
Fri, 30 Jan 2004
The Orkut Ruby community doesn't have any chicks! What a gyp.
I've created a wiki page for configuring Linux on the Gateway 200X and XL laptops.
Many thanks to Greg, who is putting a ton of work into this.
vodka + smoked salmon: good combination. very tasty!
angel: what is it about this show that makes it so good?
directfb: frickin' pain in the ass to get working with mplayer. i absolutely would love to get ruby-sdl working over this though. ruby seems like the coolest thing ever.
it does seem silly that getting all the framebuffer stuff to work with hardware so ancient you can't even buy it new any more (matrox g400) is so difficult.Mon, 26 Jan 2004
And while I'm busy making unsupported generalizations, I've been developing a theory about living in Boston. It goes like this: the longer you live here, the more you treat
I'll talk to someone who just moved here, and I'll be like, "Hey, that was a nice conversation I just had." Then I'll talk to someone who's been living here for years and they will just go on and on at maximum volume, ignoring my desperate interruptions and completely overriding anything I try to say until, n minutes later, they finally pause for breath. Then I'll try to say something and before the third word is out of my mouth, they're off again about some other tangentially related topic, leaving me to struggle like a fly transfixed on the needle of their cold steel wit.
I know this isn't a strictly Boston-area thing, but I've definitely noticed a correlation between the length of time you've lived here and your tendency to treat people as empty buckets that need filling.
Is it just me, or is every PHP program written by people who are just learning how to program? It's like the VB of the web... once you learn how to actually program, you quickly move on to something else.
Just another uninformed opinion.Fri, 23 Jan 2004
… that are on Mondays are just plain evil. You guys are killing everyone's weekend!
Being half-(South) African myself, I can't say I haven't thought of the same thing, especially since college scholarships and the like are so lucrative:
Jeez, I guess making decisions and classifications based on these completely ill-defined race groups is a bad idea? Why don't you just come out and say that it's all about skin pigment? Or is that just another thing you can't say?
This is a great old country song. There was a
I was dancin' with my darlin to the Tennessee Waltz When an old friend I happened to see...
Way cool. Chords and lyrics here, though the versions I know don't use all those lyrics and don't do all the 2-5 stuff either... damn fancy pants.Thu, 22 Jan 2004
I suppose I need to explain my previous post, which has generated some amount of misunderstanding as to the exact nature of my enthusiasm.
For the past eight or nine years I have been focused on being a researcher and a scientist. That's what I figured I wanted to do. And for the past two, I've been basically idling on that front, waiting for some kind of grad-school-inspiring idea to force me to take the next big drop down the dank dark hole known as academia. And I'm waiting and waiting, wondering why there's no one idea or field of research that seems to really speak to me.
Then one day not too long ago, thinking about my job, I realized that the times when I was happiest, most excited, and most eager at work were not the research itself. They were when I had a fun perl script or something to write. Yes, Argentina, it's the coding I enjoy. Not the actual pushing of the buttons itself, obviously, which main just hurts my hands, but the act of creating useful and well-composed bits of software. I.e., regardless of their ultimate purpose. In fact, the research aspects of it were, while not entirely tedious, often simply a convenient pretext for justifying the code, if not an outright obstacle.
And as the years passed by I have had a constant nagging doubt at the back of my mind that I'm not a particularly good scientist, anyways. I'm not especially curious. I'm not driven to explore things or to push the boundaries. I don't get an endorphin rush from understanding something new. I suppose I like learning stuff, but mainly, I like building. I like creating programs that people will use. I even like writing papers, because it's a creative act. I like generating cool graphs that pack a lot of information in a small space.
I guess I realized that the research aspect of it is ultimately just a means to an end, for me, no matter how many years I've spent trying to convince myself that I should be a scientist. Which is a funny thing to find myself saying, because historically I have espoused the typical "Dammit Jim, I'm a scientist, not an engineer" doctrine and kind of looked down upon those who were but common artisans to my honorable scholarliness.
But I don't really identify myself as an engineer, either. My limited software engineering experiences have been sufficient to convince me that software engineering is a fast trip down a short road to some kind of horrific Phantom Tollboth-style Doldrums of Computer Science Land. The mind-shattering ideas that this essay instilled to me, whether by accident or by design, were that:
There's no immediate plan of action suggested by these ideas. They are merely food for thought at the moment—albeit food for a starving man. Bills have to be paid, and I'm probably in one of the better positions for being able to write fun code and get paid for it. I just understand myself a little bit better now, and am fooling myself a little bit less.
And no, I'm not somehow suddenly entranced by a bizarre cultish romantic hacker ideal after reading that essay. I am extremely familiar with the complete lack of social life and graces that so naturally springs from being a computer geek. I know there's nothing romantic about it, so fuck you and your flashbulbs. If I could get excited about something that would get me chicks, or that more than .001% of the population could even fucking understand or appreciate, or that wasn't going to leave me blind and with crippling arthritis in my fucking hands at age 40, you can bet the fucking farm I would fucking be doing that instead.Sat, 17 Jan 2004
Holy shit. I have just seen the dilemma that has occupied my mind for the past two years—which started as a nagging doubt once I left college, only to grow like a fast-spreading fungus to become my daily angst—what I thought was my own personal, bizarre hell—described on paper, in lucid and exacting detail.
Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham.
Every single sentence in this essay is like the tolling of some great Bell of Truth in my head.
Identity crisis: resolving, slowly.
Paul Graham has written a fantastic essay called What You Can't Say about taboo topics within society. He pulls together, in a elegant and cohesive manner, several ideas that I (and, I'm sure, many others) have had about at one point or another about taboo topics: the historical constancy of their existence within society, the fact that every generation invariably considers itself
He discusses how one might discover the taboo topics of one's own generation, and how, more often than not, these topics are the ones that that society has mistaken beliefs about.
I think one of the things that really reverberated in me about this article is the fact that I know I'm more aware of these things than most people, and Paul Graham is too, and for the same reasons. We are both nerds:
And we are both (god help me) scientists:
See, I can tell he's a scientist from this note:
Anyways, it's definitely worth a read.
Bruce Schneier, once again, comes through with insightful and clear-thinking commentary on the allegedly
The whole essay is worth a read. He concludes:
Looks like we'll be back at the ol 'tab this Tuesday warming up the main band. Starting at 8:30 or 9 and going until they kick us off around 10. Come see us!Wed, 14 Jan 2004
A day in the life of a People's Daily web editor. It seems that China's 15-year news blackout on the Tiananmen square massacre was let up briefly yesterday, albeit apparently inadvertently. Very amusing.
(from A Better Tomorrow, who happily happens to be a tea enthusiast like xiao de zhe.)Tue, 13 Jan 2004
Now that I am regularly seeing hard drives at 50 cents/gig, I have finally been spurred to taking on a project I've been devoting some thought to recently: building a Linux-based digital media jukebox/PVR.
People have been building homebrew TiVO-style devices using Linux for a while now, using software like Freevo. The idea here is basically the same, except that I want to have a LOT of storage space and I will probably use it for playing music more than they do, and recording TV less.
Now TiVO sells for $350 for the box plus $300 for a lifetime subscription. I'm willing to bet that, even using off-the-shelf components, I can build something way better than TiVO for that price.
I want to be able to:
And I want to spend at most $650. I think I can do this, though it's going to require a lot of Freevo hax0ring.
(The other inspiration for this is a recent offer, from a friend, of a 120GB music collection that he and six musician friends created by pooling their collective collections. Sweet.)
Here we go.Sat, 10 Jan 2004
As jwz points out, the high bit in time_t flipped at 8:37:04 this morning. When that thing rolls over one more time, I will be 60 years old, aka dead.
Watch the precious grains of William's life drop away, one by one, in the hourglass of his impending mortality by typing this:
See that bit on the far left? That's me.
You know how people are like,
If it were just regular freezing cold, I would be wandering around in a t-shirt and boxer shorts, screaming obscenities at passers-by like a typical Friday night. But no. After approximately 20 seconds of me wearing every single possible layer of my warmest clothing, I was crying icecubes like a frozen baby. If there had been another living organism around, like a cat or something, I would gladly have killed it for the warmth of its carcass. But no.
Cold.Fri, 09 Jan 2004
Comcast, which provides the All-Thing with cable modem access, called me a few days ago, out of the blue, to say that, in some kind of bizarre airline-style price-fixing scheme, if I add basic cable, then my total bill would go down by $5 a month. Which is completely nonsensical, but in this day and age of foiling terrorists via nail-file-breaking and duct-tape-buying, I have long since abandoned my foolish attempts to believe that the world conforms to the antiquated notions of
Of course, they fuck up the installation, and internet access is suddenly gone. I have to call to request someone else to re-fix it. I was half expecting them to tell me it would take two weeks, which I would have answered with the sound my seppuku dais being dragged into place, but they had someone here within 24 hours, and, to Comcast's credit, he was completely professional and knowledgeable and fixed things within 15 minutes.
Apparently the change that the first guy was supposed to make he did at the house box, rather than at the pole box where it should have been, presumably because it was too cold out, and didn't bother to check that it worked...
(I should have just said to them in the first place: how about you just charge me $5 less and not install the tv stuff and we'll call it even.)Wed, 07 Jan 2004
My kind of humor.
The entire strip is worth checking out.
Found a bug with BigRat. Reported it, submitted a patch, and within an hour there was a new version on CPAN ready to go.
Now that's fucking open source software for you.Sat, 03 Jan 2004
That is all.
Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good. -- Samuel Johnson