Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Now less nerdy!

So I got to campus a bit later than normal today. The State Highway Administration was doing something on 212 at this rickety old bridge that made it so we got to go by one lane at a time. I made it to my classroom at 10:55, still before class. As it turned out, I guess everyone showed up for class today, including this assbag who tends to sit next to me (and I mean next to) and drum on the table while sitting as far askew in his chair as possible. It's a complete intrusion of space, basically, and I hate him enough for that. Well today, he sat in my space. I always sit in the same place in that class... fourth row from the front, first seat right of the centerline. Everyone knows this; on many occasions, Dr. Gaston has called me The Cable Guy (not to be confused with The Cat's Meow) and I've had to force my way out behind all the shitheads that sit as far back in the aisle as possible. It's like they're trying to disrupt the learning process. Anyway, he sat in my space and I was angry because the seat next to him was being made useless by his aforementioned sideways posture (you know, ass on one edge of the seat, back on the other). Fine, okay, I'll sit up there. One row back, other side of centerline. Except nobody in that row wants to let me in. Idiots. Dr. Gaston shows up, and of course the projector's stuck on some setting that doesn't exist. I have to get up and go down there, again dealing with everyone's sloth. Get back up to the top, and he starts teaching.

Assface in my seat isn't even paying attention.

He showed up, as far as I can tell, to listen to music on his filthy iPod, sit so far askew as to be pissed off at the person that actually had to sit next to him, and review notes from some class dealing with types of evidence.

Go home, stupid. Go waste your money somewhere else. I want to come to class to learn, especially when the instructor is as weathered and knowledgable (and entertaining, even) as Dr. Gaston. It's not every day you'll have a chance to take a course from the man who ran Rikers Island. Types of evidence... sigh. Bet you'll fail that class, too.

I hate college students so much. At least the view to the left was much less wholly angering.

Monday, April 25, 2005

On Freedom and Free Software

For those of you who don't care about the nerd laden aspect of my life, please stop reading now, or don't. I warned you.

Linky Link link link.


I like what RMS has done for the world at large. I draw a great deal of hobby from the challenge of getting things to run on my mac that a lot of other people wouldn't think to run. Well, not a lot, necessarily, but I like doing things by hand instead of by fink, especially since fink forces me to rely on people to do package updating for me, which I believe to be a time consuming enterprise, which is why the packages aren't updated very quickly (as a brief example, gaim-stable nonssl is sitting at version 1.1.4; I run gaim 1.2.1). Were it not for the open source nature of packages like GTK and its dependencies, all the way down to the software that comes from the GNU project, I wouldn't be able to do that. Yes, it takes a lot of time and involves some degree of physical pain, but the rewards are great: I have software that only I can accept blame for not working right, and I gain that much greater an understanding of how all this nonsense under my pretty graphics works.

As such, I can't argue with the idea that free software is liberating: it gives me the ability to use my computer the way I want to. I guess that's the dream behind the free software movement, or at least it seems to be from what I've read.

I'm sure my position's been taken a thousand times before, as it doesn't seem that hard to accept as plausible. I believe free software and proprietary software can peacefully and successfully coexist. My setup works that way for me every time I sit down, and that's before I start accounting for /usr/local. As you are probably aware, Mac OS X is a pretty apple interface perched aboard an apple services saddle, all of which rides a GNU/BSD horse, replete with standard tools and GCC. I may not have total access to the inner workings of the things I see, but that doesn't affect my ability to use the computer how I want. I can edit text files using textedit, I can edit text files on the command line using emacs, vi, or pico. I can compile other applications, like nedit. I can download other free and open source programs in many places online. I can buy things like Microsoft Office, or I can download and install from binary or source packages OpenOffice or NeoOffice.

What I really don't understand is why Linux developers using BitKeeper was such a horrible stumbling block to the freedom of the community. Stallman repeatedly states (along with about everyone else speaking out against the apparent travesty use of proprietary CODE MANAGEMENT software would seem to be) that using a proprietary tool, even if free as in beer, is a mortal sin and we should learn that proprietary software is harmful to the community. The only harm I see as having come from use of BitKeeper in kernel code management is Andrew Tridgell (go do a search on Slashdot if you want details, but he pretty much agreed with Stallman and, against the author of BK's will, reverse engineered its protocol [which is far more unethical than using proprietary CODE MANAGEMENT software]) engaging in actively pissing off someone upon whom the Linux community, for better or worse, depended upon.

Why do I emphasize code management? Simple: the words I type in pico are the words I type in Microsoft Word are the words I type in Text Edit are the words I could write by hand using a pen and paper. The important realization in this statement is that the tool I use to direct my creativity has no bearing on my creativity. Apply that mold to the Linux kernel. The source code, which is the important thing here, and is open no matter what, could be managed using BitKeeper, subversion, CVS, or God knows what else I don't know exists. The upshot is that, as long as the code is and remains free, the tool used to keep track of it matters not one bit. If the software allows the developers to use their computers the way they want, then our freedom hasn't been abridged. In fact, what good is Tridgell's open source replacement for BitKeeper if its featureset is dictated by the need to interoperate with a proprietary tool? You can't very well force BK's developers to add features you'd like.

The proper solution to this problem is twofold. First, staunch F/OSS supporters need to come to terms with the reality of proprietary software. Some people wish to receive compensation for their knowledge and efforts. This is perfectly reasonable, given the nature of the society we're forced to live in. Change is gradual, yes, and it won't occur without impetus; however, open source software is, at this time, not strong enough to be that. I agree that freedom in computing is important and that should be an eventual goal among the worldwide community of developers. This is not, however, even a remote possibility today or any time in the near future. The userscape simply isn't well-formed enough to support such an environment. Interoperation is a key element to success; as long as windows exists, for example, free and open source software will have to exist alongside it, for better or for worse. That requirement isn't hindering GNU/Linux or any other open source project. Linux does many things better than Windows for many people, just the same as Windows does many things better than Linux for many people. "Use the right tool for the right job" is a mantra that could really stand to be accepted more widely than it is.

More importantly, though, and certainly instrumental in my desire to share these thoughts with you, is the idea that simply copying the featureset of a proprietary product in an open source implementation doesn't free anyone from anything. The real way out of that bind is to conceptualize, develop, and deploy a set of software that does the job better than the proprietary software package you don't want to use. If the feature set is important and compelling enough to you to warrant effectively breaking the license you agreed to by downloading it, why not duplicate it on your own time, improve it, and pitch it to Linus and the other developers on its own merits? Simply stealing the work of others, proprietary or not, is wrong no matter what. Again, as long as the code remains free, the tools used in turning that code into software remain free, and the final result remains free, it doesn't matter what tools you use to simply keep track of that code. If the way you want to use your computer doesn't fall within the license agreement of proprietary software, don't use that software. If you're gifted enough, come up with your own solution. Most of the people that have problems with proprietary software are talented enough, so even if you weren't, propose it to a newsgroup and agree to lead the project. Just don't reverse engineer things against the license agreement and ruin the way that dozens of other people want to use their computers.

Personal freedom doesn't mean you get to abridge the freedom of others.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sorry for the delay

I have nothing worth saying, except for what I said with my hands just now.

LISTEN TO ME!!!1

I apologize, but you may want to turn your speakers down on this one, I recorded using my microphone and it picked up a lot of other noise. But then again, I'm four beers down!WOOOOoo.

sigh.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Status Report

So... I made a few changes "under the hood."

I've become sick of looking at source code, so I haven't made any progress on my other project. My hopes for the future are as follows:

Move the bulk of my website to my home machine. This really has one and only one advantage: I get to use PHP/sqlite to run the site, allowing me to cut way back on the amount of maintaining necessary to bring you a "quality" web experience. What will this mean to you? Well, it's my intention at this point to keep all text and small images on my home machine. Reducing my dependence on wam will be a good stepping stone to doing what I want with the internet, instead of the internet doing what it wants with my content.

Continue serving media on my tech fee's shoulders. WAM gives me 100 megabytes, and that's it. Between the textual portion of the site, my picture thumbnails, the myriad MP3 files I've uploaded, and all of the preferences that every damn computer on campus insists upon storing on my server space ensure that space only goes so far. Moving half of that away will make ... well, something.

Have a full and working GTK+ 2.6 X11 environment working. Since I have to sell my iBook, I need to have a way for me to get work done while I'm here or there. The easiest and most painless (in eventuality; my knees and hindquarter are practically screaming at me for having waited through Firefox building in X11 mode) way for me to do this is to enable a web browser, IM client, and editing software usable either via VNC or SSH tunneling. I'd prefer VNC, but I'm not keeping my hopes up for the realVNC supplied x tree patch doing its thing correctly, much less the software working well with x.org's 6.8 release. Anyway, to be able to serve applications remotely to myself is my eventual goal here. I am, I believe, about 80 percent of the way done with this. Firefox is almost done, gaim is almost ready to go (waiting on Firefox's nss libraries, as I understand it) and I have dynamic DNS updating installed. Anyone willing to donate a small USB flash drive? Bogarthlet (the cruzer micro my dad gave me for Christmas) was laid to rest by an airport xray machine, and apparently you're not supposed to put things that shouldn't be shorted out by those sorts of things through security, anyway. I need a replacement to keep an ssh client, an sftp client, preferably an scp client, and a VNC viewer or X11 client. Not likely any time soon, I realize.

Continue being happy. I am now the student coordinator for the College of Arts & Humanities Academic Computing Services/Classroom Support Services Equipment Loan Program. This means, among other things, I finally am working a meaningful position that requires me to do database redesign. Oh boy. The promotion, though, means apparently I get to "live" though, and hopefully when I have less to worry about as far as paying rent goes, I won't have to deal with needing to do stupid crap like wasting money and then having to sell my laptop.

Anyway, that's that. I'm going to try to work out my php scripts tomorrow and at least have the new address up and running half-time so you can become acquainted with it. I'm looking to either next weekend, two weeks from now, or three weeks from now as when I do my migration. I will be trying to include all blogger posts along with all of my old handcoded content. Ambitious, I know, but my hope is that I can just dump the two in somewhere and start anew with PHP and sqlite.

ugh, 4:17am. Later!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

My Browser can beat up your browser

My page header should look like this:
go css dropshadow
Safari renders those... no other browser does. Actually, I went to this site with Mac IE 5.2 and it was retarded enough to ignore a good portion of my positioning code, so I'm terribly sorry to anyone using windows IE <6.0.

I'm in School!

here is woops! click for larger versions!!1``13

I lost my head.
I lost my head.

Power of tangent circles?
Tangent Circles.

I can't even pay attention in the class I love.
I drew my hand.

This is a gomper, apparently.
Gomper

I moved into a chinese take out box.
Ugly? or Uglied?

I thought you deserved a break from the inanity.
Lighting

At some point earlier in the term, I thought a ferret in a tank would be a good idea.
Battle Ferret

... would you eat yourself?
if you were a hot dog...

Summon me a dead fish.
Wizard

This fish is messed up.
Puzzleded

I stacked some caps and then started drawing them.
Bored with bottlecaps

Jeff did this to the EMC's whiteboard once. We got yelled at for the monkey business, so jeff later drew a monkey next to the words monkey business. Too bad I don't have that one, too.
Deal with it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Status Update

I'm not dead. I'm obscenely busy, but not dead. Thought you should know.

One of my many projects in the near future is to transfer a goodly portion of this site to my box at home, allowing me to start learning at least PHP, if not perl, and more importantly, opening my Jabber server to the world at large, allowing me easy file transfer at long last.

In due time.

Monday, April 4, 2005

The Downwardly Adjacent Renter is an Ass...

... or, how you too can be yelled at for beating on the floor to request a reduction in bass emissions.

See, the apartment I live in is kind of crappy. The walls are thin, the floors squeak, it generally lives like it's been built out of cardboard and chicken wire. That said, we try to keep things quiet in here. I walk gingerly throughout the apartment, I take care not to run my amplifier too loud after 5:00 (and even then nowhere near the 450 watts it's rated for), I don't listen to loud music at all hours of the night.

That obviously isn't why I'm writing.

Jeff walked into the apartment this evening and immediately started beating on the floor due to the obscenely loud subwoofer operation in the apartment below us. Good old 89, prior known for its knack for running music entirely too loud for entirely too long entirely too often. Usually on Sunday, usually starting around 11 or 12 and lasting until whenever in the evening they had apparently gone deaf and needed to sleep off their hearing loss.

Not surprisingly, this didn't stop them; it never does. I say "never" meaning "in the three or four times we've resorted to that, it hasn't worked." It was actually so bad last year, I had to go to the office to figure out what the procedure for noise complaints was. They told me, "We don't handle that, you're going to have to call the police." We eventually found a correct phone number for "hoco popo" non-emergency calls, although by that time, they had cut back on the bassfest.

Until this week.

Whenever that was that they did thumpthumpthump in the last seven days, they did it until 11:45 or so. At night. We were like, "this is some shit right here" and then it stopped. Think nothing more of it?

Then today. Jeff beat on the floor, and what happens? Nothing.

Then... Knock Knock.

The asshole actually has the nerve to come up here and become offensive with me simply because we've beaten on his ceiling a few times. I explained to him that "you run the bass loud enough for us to hear it and feel it through the couch, you've run the bass until 11 or 12 at night on several occasions, and we actually suspect that you were the impetus behind the people that live down there [note: staggered terracing means we have a half neighbor] moving out." He said "No, you say past midnight, except once that's a lie, it's lies." He said "Those people, they move out and [unintelligible, not? do?] complain to management, that's bullshit, you come down here and knock and I'll turn it down but I can't help it how this place is made, how you hear, you know you guys we can hear you walk and we don't complain."

I don't get it. I don't get how us walking is akin to you playing your arhythmic shit bass for hours on end. Walking is necessary for life, bass isn't. I live in a damn apartment, not above a concert hall, so keep it to a dull roar, alright? The only shame about the way I handled myself (aside from the fact that apparently I hold absolutely no "cred" with [expletive deleted] who live below me) is that I should have explained to him that the only way you get to complain around here is by calling the cops, and that's what the management says, so it's not something we're making up. Be glad we didn't do that."

Sigh... I hate living here. Nobody around here is at all aware of the people around them. It makes me sad and fills me with desire to go back to my small mountain town with stories of the intolerant ways of the city.

Sunday, April 3, 2005

Go Sudafed

I'm totally high on cold medicine. Apparently I thought you should know this.

Who is you? I was wondering earlier and don't seem to care enough right now to withhold the question: does anyone actually read this when I get around to updating? I understand I don't have a lot to say, but you know, the curiosity gets to me sometimes.

I watched parts of the Storytellers that was on VH1 last night, what with its Green Day nature. Seeing them in that situation made me a little sad, but they're still good times. All it really did was make me want my old VHS copy of their Live at the 10 Spot show that aired on MTV in like... 1998? I think... anyway, yeah being forced to do somebody else's show doesn't work real well for them. It's when they can goof around and do what they want that ... you know what, never mind, I'm sick of being pretentious about music. I don't have the facilities for it right now. Back to Van Wilder.