Ken Liu reminded me that a comment feature on this blog would be useful. Yeah, I have in fact a fully functional comment facility for JSPWiki lying around my hard drive right now, but I haven't yet decided what to do about it. It's a bit awkward... I'll open up a bit of discussion at JSPWiki:CommentingIdeas.
BTW, I submitted a paper to BlogTalk. We'll see what happens =).
Something strange: after an intensive game, I forget sometimes which side I played on. I can (mostly) replay a game from memory these days, and I can certainly quote you the result ("black wins by 2.5 points"), but I can't tell whether I played black or white.
How's that for a selective memory?
I would like to continue yesterday's rant. What I think that it is amazing that the Linux kernel driver management still looks like a ghost from the 1970s. Would it really be that difficult to define a common ABI for drivers, so that drivers would at least be compatible with a major version of the kernel?
I mean - why do I have to recompile a bunch of modules just because I am bumping the kernel revision from 2.4.18 to 2.4.20? Why is there an arcane command-line interface like "insmod" and "rmmod"? Why, oh why, there is an /etc/modules.conf? Why can't I just drag-n-drop a driver in a certain directory, and have it work automatically? BeOS did this - so did AmigaOS - and the latter was developed in the early 80s...
I know that the current approach in Linux does allow a great degree of flexibility and customization (if you don't need something, then just don't compile it), but as Linux becomes more mainstream, someone's gotta make this thing easier. You can't expect the distro owners to do all the work for you - when a problem arises, someone's gonna call your friendly neighbourhood geek and ask him to make it all right again. But the problem is, you can't really train people in the subtle intricasies of module management, unless they really want to, so the geek is going to have to do it again, and again, and again. Teaching someone to double-click a driver installation package is much, much easier than teaching them to recompile a kernel.
Grr. People do buy new hardware, and even if a manufacturer would like to support Linux, they cannot - even if they wanted to - provide a simple-to-install driver package. Can you imagine what kind of trouble that gives to the tech support? ("Hello, I would like to install your new scanner. But it says that I have to recompile the kernel? What is a kernel? Is it in the vegetable or the frozen goods section at k-mart?) Why would any H/W manufacturer to support Linux... Unless they get their HW supported by Linux kernel. Which means that everyone has to recompile, yet again, when they get their new device.
Have you ever noticed that when you start to recompile the Linux kernel in the evening, something always goes wrong and you just have to work for hours and hours into the night to get the system running; but when you do it during the day, it always goes through without a hitch?
(I just wanted to get ACPI running properly, but all I managed to do was to lose my sound and my graphics card drivers for X. Which was to be expected.)
$799 for this. Cheap like soap (and runs KDE from the looks of it =). Seriously, this is pretty much what I've been looking for (except that it's not a Mac). Where can I buy one in Europe?
Well, yes, I hate Swing. I think it is an overengineered monstrosity that has been spawned by some evil elder god to be unleashed upon the fragile little minds of innocent geeks.
Read more at the Blogging Roller. While the story's truthfulness is congested, it does summarize my feelings nicely =).
Phew. What a weekend. In short order: Entertained guests from US, shopped for stuff (which I didn't find), played go (alas, only a little), released a beta of JSPWiki (calm down, I already blogged this), went to two house-warming parties (thanks to the hosts: 'twas fun), chased three chess clocks around town, introduced a door, some duct tape, and a late Christmas present to each other (don't ask), learned how to play Chinese Chess, checked out a new "restaurant", socialized, socialized a bit more (but with different people), watched The Two Towers again (it actually gets better on second viewing, but I kept wondering which parts have been cut and which we're going to see in the upcoming extended edition), watched Eddie Izzard yet again (Circle is not his best, but good fun nevertheless), drank extremely good sake (yay!), and had fun in general.
The only thing I didn't do was the document I was supposed to write this weekend. :-)
Oo, ObLink: Rami found this very nice site of political satires in Flash.
I just put together a new release of JSPWiki, v2.0.32. I am still calling this a beta, since it has not yet received any testing. If it turns out to be stable enough, I will make a stable release next.
I know, I know. The documentation still sucks, and there are unit tests that are failing, but we'll probably have to ignore those if we ever want to get this thing released. It's not like they're fatal or anything.
As usual, Slashdot contains deep insight into how to pick a programming language appropriate for the task.
My personal favourite is, of course, INTERCAL, a true GOTO-less language. But it does have a COME FROM statement, and the compiler will reject your program if it is not polite enough...
The enemy of all geeks, the Sun seems to have remembered the existence of Finland after six months. This is bad for two reasons:
- It bugs the hell out of me to be indoors at work with this kind of weather with everyone else on winter holiday, and
- it shines directly on my monitor, which is very annoying. During summer the Sun is much higher up in the sky, and thus can't bother me...
(Grr. To anyone out there having the winter holidays: have fun. Grumble.)
Update: This ties in nicely with Janka's season classification.
Aw, crap. Just as I discovered that launching rockets is fun. It's not like it's going to impact me in the immediate future, but still...
However, I am probably not entirely mistaken if I claim that guns and gasoline are far more dangerous things than model rockets.
Again, via Dave Barry: http://www.inflatablechurch.com/.
Where *do* people come up with these stuff? And more importantly - why?!?
I am trying out NewsMonster for an RSS aggregator. It integrates very nicely into Mozilla, and has some quite cool features. However, the documentation is not very good at the moment, so a lot of configuration is guesswork for now. It also is Java-based, which means that you need to have plenty of memory available...
Update: How on earth do I make this thing refresh the "Most Recent Articles" list? It fetches new stuff quite ok, and individual channels work fine, but the main list does not work :-/.
We've had some problems here at ecyrd.com - our memory and swap space seems to constantly run out, when rampant Java processes eat away all available memory. I am currently increasing swap space, so perhaps things will be a bit better from now on. However, two JVMs running concurrently is not a good idea...
The coolness of the whole thing is, is that I am reconfiguring our filesystems - splitting and formatting a new disk - 10 kilometers away. And still able to blog at the same machine. Hooray for SSH and Linux :-).
Via Dan Gillmor: Google buys Pyra Labs, one of the ur-blogging companies.
This is big news in the blogging world... Seriously. Google and weblogs have had a lover's relationship for a couple of years now, and this finally confirms Google's interest in the media.
KDE 3.1 seems to have landed in Debian unstable. It seems to be quite a lot faster, too, and it imported all of my preferences from KDE 2, with the exception of the saved session. But that's not really a problem.
I don't like the default icon set, but otherwise KDE 3 seems quite an improvement. Oh yeah, and Konqueror 3.1 still can't cope with UTF-8 properly :-(.
...you catch yourself walking out of the apartment door wearing nothing but t-shirt and briefs.
The tournament is now over, and I can finally relax. Well, almost - the financial issues need still to be sorted out (I have so far paid personally for all of the prizes from my own pocket), and we seem to have lost one board, but otherwise it's done.
The games were extremely tight - the final positions were finally solved by one game that was going on in the lower tables; and then the result was a tie. Those who play go know that this is quite rare - the usual ways of solving the winner are almost always adequate. Oh well, it was very exciting nonetheless... Plenty of prizes were distributed, most of them to the right people, and even the other organizers got a bit of something (me excepted, of course :-).
I can't remember feeling this tired since Ropecon. It does not feel as good as expected, though people seemed to like the tournament. Could be the tiredness, or could be something else. Dunno. We'll see how it goes.
Whoo, the tournament has started. Panic is slowly subsiding. Will blog more once get my head straight :-)
Update at 13:43: Things getting better, no major problems yet. Everyone is having lunch, I'll need to wait until the next round starts.
Sitting here at work, nobody else around, listening to hand-picked music (Solas by Ronan Hardiman, if you insist - currently playing "Communication") - it makes me feel as if I had the entire world at my fingertips. It is as if I was a small part of something incredibly big. I am connected to the world in ways that could not be fathomed a few years ago - I can skim or go deep, read or exchange thoughts with millions, distribute things I have created with equal ease to someone in Australia, or sitting beside me. I can give freely, and I can freely enjoy the countless things that others have created. No restrictions, no boundaries.
It is a wonderful and a scary feeling. I know that in a few minutes it passes, and I am again reminded by all the evil and trouble in the world. But to be able to feel something like this once in a while is exhilarating. It is a part of the flow.
Do ravers feel the same thing? How about athletes? Is this nothing else than an endorphine buzz? Can you teach yourself to release them at will?
Yesterday, pub Amsterdam celebrated their one-year anniversary. They had a nice band, and free beer. Good free beer, not the kind of crap that would go untouched for weeks even in a student house. Nice.
In a totally unrelated matter, an unusual amount of people seem to be complaining about hangovers this afternoon. Hm. Strange.
"The universe is 13.7 billion years old (accurate to 1 percent), composed of 73 percent dark energy, 23 percent cold dark matter, and only 4 percent atoms, is currently expanding at the rate of 71 km/sec/Mpc (accurate to 5 percent), underwent episodes of rapid expansion called inflation, and will expand forever."
Merten and Tommi (whose permalinks seem to have broken; links are also in Finnish - sorry) wonder about why people care about their ranks on the Pinseri top blogs list; and overall, why do people read blogs.
Two points: Yes, it does not matter really how much readership you have, except perhaps when you consider your responsibilities. And attempting to inflate your readership numbers will drive you down the tabloid path - anything for ratings. But what does matter, are links. People who link to you either think you're saying something worthwhile, or think you're weird, or evil, or just plain stupid. But regardless of the cause, they think your ideas are worth directing other people to - they have gone through the trouble of letting other people know about you, and have put their "seal of approval" (or "seal of disapproval" as the case may be) on you. And this is how networking works.
Second point is: There is a distinction between a blog (short for WebLog), and a personal web diary. Originally, a WebLog was just that: "a log of the web". The first one was a CERN web site, which catalogued all of the new WWW sites as they appeared in the infancy of the web. So, a WebLog links to all around the net.
The web diaries are then the transformation of paper diaries to the web. They take a very personal view point, and are mostly about what is happening in the author's life. Some of them can be very intimate, some of them just work as a place to vent out, and some of them are something else. But they are, regardless, personal, and talk about personal issues.
Of course, the distinction is not clear. Many (I would say most) mix these both kinds of content to the extent that everything between a "real" weblog and a personal diary is now known as a "blog", and all of the authors are "bloggers". OK, no big deal - people have different needs to publish, different itches to scratch, and we all still fit under the same umbrella. But this does bring me to the second point: Why to read blogs?
Reading a real weblog usually means that you are after information. Or at least I am. I subscribe to ~20 RSS feeds, all of them giving me a filtered view of the web. This allows me to choose the way I see the content by subscribing to people whom I know to be experts in their field, or well networked, or something else I appreciate. Weblogs are a way to distribute and filter information in a collaborative way; and also a way to create new things by allowing ideas to flow freely.
Personal diaries are a different thing. Reading them means that you are either interested in that person, his life, or you are trying to get a piece of his fame *evil grin*. And, while some of that activity falls under the generic, dubious category of social pr0n, I think it just shows a healthy interest in how your friends are doing. Up to a point, of course. Perhaps laziness plays a part in it, too: it's too easy to check how the others are doing, and you don't have to talk to them :-).
But as I said, most blogs are somewhere between the two ends. Most of the blogs I follow tend to hover nearer the "real" weblog end of the scale, with the exception of the blogs of a few friends or other interesting people. I guess that makes me an information junkie, then :-).
And to conclude this rantish thing, I would like to remind everyone that content is crap.
(Update: Merten, perhaps I was a bit unclear: Orava linking to you does not validate his points; it validates your points. That, or my sarcasm detector is broken again :-)
Horror! I have been deserted. One of my gorgeous ten readers - not counting googlebot - has decided to dump me! Aaarg. I am devastated and torn by feelings of disillusionement, inadequacy, and loneliness. How terrible.
(I just happened to spot the URL in my referrer logs. This sort of explains some of the talk that I have heard. Do we really need a way to compete in how popular our weblogs are? These are, after all, just the stuff we want to publish about ourselves, filtered versions of the truth - isn't ranking blogs roughly the same thing as ranking who's the best liar?)
Grbbmlmmubmle. More tired than an 18-wheel truck. Jokes are getting so stupid even I can't laugh at them. Unable to start sentences properly.
Been talking all day, giving presentations and having last minute panic attacks concerning next weekends' tournament, and arranging my own, very small part of my sister's wedding. Slept very thinly as well; and now I need some tapemarkerfoodcleaningcar...
Mikki tells us in his eloquent way why nobody likes spam. Nobody likes spam, and he does not really say anything new, but it is always a pleasure to read his rants :-).
Wil Wheaton is fed up with idiots, and takes a break from weblogging.
With the upcoming Finnish parliament elections, it does not really surprise me that some of the candidates are running their own weblogs (or web diaries, to be exact - I am still a bit of a purist in that matter). For example Karoliina Kaita (an old friend, incidentally) and Anneli Jäätteenmäki (our former Minister of Justice) seem to be documenting themselves for the voters.
My guess would actually be that by the time of the next election, quite a lot more of the candidates will be running a weblog. In fact, I would wager that even some of the current politicians would keep running blogs throughout their term - I would certainly subscribe to them. Seriously. That would be a real way for the politicians to publish their views without media filtering, through a direct channel to the people. I do not know really how much of a problem this is to the current politicians, but it might certainly help some of those who have been "shadowed" by their more loud or prominent colleagues.
LZip, the best compression utility there is. The algorithm is truly advanced, and the file size reduction is incredible, up to 85% and more.
The only thing that worries me slightly is their license, which is not GPL compatible. For example, it says: This product comes with absolutely NO WARRANTY. It also comes without meat, for those on a restricted diet.
Saw the movie. Highly, highly recommended for everyone - it is a movie that makes you laugh, cry, and feel very somber about certain things; and asks a lot of important questions.
I managed to drag a couple of friends I had not seen in ages to see the movie with me. Afterwards we sat in a nearby cafe and talked for hours. A good conversation, and it made me wonder what really is the connection between User Interface design and ExtremeProgramming. A lot of XP folks do not understand design, or UI design in particular, but I think the problem lies with seeing XP as the tool instead of a philosophy. You can't really force UI design into the XP mold; instead, you have to take XP and apply it into UI design - in effect, form XUID - eXtreme User Interface Design. Just do what XP did to programming: do only the good stuff, and do it in extreme ways (code review is good; so use pair programming to do constant review, etc). The same principle should be applied to UI design - just take the good stuff, and do it in an extreme way. It should work.
XUID should also solve the problem of providing good user stories to XP programmers; once you have the UI design in place, the user stories are there - all of the use cases, and ready-designed user interfaces should provide you with enough user stories to start planning. And a good UI designer accompanying the client should be able to articulate the real user needs much better than just the client.
From Jeremy Zawodny: The Joy Stick.
Yesterday, took my parent's dog to a long, long walk, went to sauna, ate well, watched Survivors (one more episode to go, yay! Very exciting...), and slept well.
I am feeling more relaxed than in quite some time - which probably is a good thing considering next week is going to be busier than your average Japanese shopping mall. Apologies to anyone who has been waiting for a stable version of JSPWiki: I have only a couple of critical patches to apply before the code base is good enough for distribution.
Unfortunately, the documentation needs serious reworking... Perhaps it's still better if I just release this version asap. I'll worry about documentation later on.
(I think that for weblog use, an Image-plugin would be a good idea. Something that would allow a bit more positional control than the current, simple way of inlining images.)
Err... Run a Linux desktop in your browser? What?
See what kinds of cool stuff open technology allows you to do?
After an incredible amount of confusion, we ended up watching Pahat Pojat. Despite all the media hype, it turned out to be a pretty good movie, with some strong performances. And most of the fellow audience was (for once) behaving themselves.
I could rant a long time about loud noises and how there are certain places that they don't really belong to, but I am a bit tired having taken the early train this morning to my parent's place. I would've slept, but there were a bunch of guys in the same cart playing cards - loud. :-/
(Oo, the power of GPRS :-)
Belgian beer is good. Far too good. It also does have a tendency to make you very tired the next day. Hanging out with friends is better, though; but the combination of these two is a killer :-). Incidentally, blogging right now does not feel like a very good idea either. Perhaps later.
Anyhoo, I see that Bowling for Columbine has finally arrived here. This appears to be a must-see.
Sparked by the discussion around the previous entry:
- The problem of the common man today is that he does not know what he wants to hear. That, and the fact that beer is somewhat expensive. -- Tsumu the Philosopher
Hm. A quick survey in a local IRC channel: "What do you think of Americans?"
- "Stupid". "Fools." "Idiots". "Morons". "Big country can accommodate all kinds of people." "...with a stupid president". "Religious and overly patriotic".
Same noise, different people.
I have to say that this does not feel very constructing. Dissing others is perhaps a nice pastime, but at this point I have to say that it is going past light-hearted entertainment and becoming perhaps a bit too deeply rooted - on both sides.
Yap. It's an interesting phenomenon, definitely. The usual social relationships of your everyday life do not translate 100% to the blogosphere - and why should they? Most of the people in my blog roll (right) I have never met, but I think they are people that are a) worth listening to, and b) worth to direct additional users to. And it takes time to determine whether what you say is good or not.
My own AmphetaDesk aggregation list currently consists of 18 entries. Some of them are links I don't want to put on my blog roll (such as the BBC news feeds), or just entries that I haven't made up my mind about yet.
Of course, being on someone's blog roll is a good thing, and getting link love is even better - it just means that you are saying something that someone wants to hear. Perhaps it is because that you know him but never have the time or the opportunity to talk to. Or perhaps it is just that he infuriates you so much that you love to hate him. I wouldn't worry about not ending up on someone's blogroll - I would worry about ending up on everyone's blog roll :-).
There is a difference to being a good friend, and being a blogosphere hub...
- The Internet was made for two purposes: porno and stalking; and blogging was made for one purpose: unlimited, uncensored bitching and moaning, 24-7. Not your business? I'll make it your business. Just one right click, one Control-V, and I have pasted my catharsis into a Moveable Type entry and shared it with the universe. --Avocado Couch, link via Jeremy Zawodny
Weird experience: You sit alone in your living room, watch TV and have your laptop handy. Then you and your friends across Finland comment on the same frigging TV program, because everyone on the same IRC channel is watching it.
I am sure this is common to many people, but it's actually a firster to me. While this is so extraordinarily geeky that words cannot even transcribe the geekiness factor, I have to agree that this is probably the sign of the times to come. It is as if we were all in the same living room, but it's just less noisy. You can freely ignore others, or partake in the conversation as you wish. You can look up the movie data from IMDB, or look for the actor's web site, or just idly converse about other things that interest you in the movie. But it is not disturbing in the same sense as when you have a room full of people, all chatting and commenting wildly, which - at least for me - tends to be a concentration-and-enjoyment-ruining experience.
Even if IRC (and other IM systems) are a visual media, and to follow the conversation you need to look at your computer screen instead of the TV, it distracts you a lot less than audio, because you can ignore the monitor at will. But you can't ignore people who talk - there is really no way to selectively listen to the movie only (and making everyone wear headphones is kinda stupid).
We want to be connected, but not disturbed. We want the power to choose who to listen to, and who to ignore. Perhaps this is why weblogging is so popular - it allows you to tune in to only those people you care about. The rest of the world you can forget.
And this is an easy sentiment: weblogging was created and popularized by busy people. People with low tolerance towards bullshit. People with the need to network, and to weed out the stuff that is not interesting. If you look at the new technologies, like RSS, they are also geared towards more efficient networking, and filtering of information, and most importantly, to share things with the people you value and care about.
Hm. Perhaps there is something deep in all this - these are just the obvious surface thoughts that I quickly skimmed. Need to meditate on this some more.
Grr. I like to read RSS feeds instead of the actual weblogs, since that way I can get them nicely on a single screen.
But some people like to put ALL of their blog entry text on the RSS feed. Which means that it'll take AGES for me to scroll through the text. It's even worse if they have included pictures, which tend to explode the size even more.
A good example is the RSS feed of Russell Beattie's weblog. He's a nice and smart guy, but his RSS feed is currently 16 screenfuls of text and pictures. (On my font and resolution, obviously).
JSPWiki blog limits the RSS entries to roughly 1000 characters. Some software uses the old 512 character limit from older versions of RSS. Some use just the headline, but I think it's very hard to know whether you really want to read the article or not based on the headline only - it's better to include the first paragraph or two.
This sort of echoes this earlier article. If RSS is to be the main way of distributing updates, there is something to be said about too much data as well :-).
Jeremy Zawodny: Let me explainify the war against Iraq a little bit in Texas terminology. I agreed with this centiment.
Conviniently, this man does not want to release his photographs of the Columbia breakup. I am sure someone will find this as "proof" that UFOs or some other weirdness was involved.
For some strange reason, I woke up at nine-ish this morning. Couldn't sleep, so I spent most of the day vacuuming, arranging closets, washing clothes - I even managed to get a painting hung, which had been waiting for at least four months or something. Then four hours of going through Shusaku's games and cooking. It is a good time to spend the afternoon, laughing at moves that seem completely obvious once you see them played out, but are incredibly difficult to find on your own. If only I could play such go myself... =)
On second thoughts, the previous entry I just put up seems a tad cheesy. Doing B5 references upon this serious event does not seem very proper. Even though what JMS says is completely true.
~DaveNet: Moon Missions. He echoes quite a lot of the same sentiments I have on the subject. Space exploration is too important, too big, to be given up. And if the American's won't do it, the Chinese will.
As J.M. Straczynski says in sci-fi classic Babylon 5:
- Reporter: "After all that you've just gone through, I have to ask you the same question a lot of people back home are asking about space these days. Is it worth it? Should we just pull back, forget the whole thing as a bad idea, and take care of our own problems, at home?"
- Sinclair: "No. We have to stay here, and there's a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics - and you'll get ten different answers. But there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on: whether it happens in a hundred years, or a thousand years, or a million years, eventually our sun will grow cold, and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us, it'll take Marilyn Monroe, and Lao-tsu, Einstein, Maruputo, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes - all of this. All of this was for nothing, unless we go to the stars."
I forgot my Palm to work yesterday. I did realize it immediately as I had walked out of the door, but since I have forgotten my PIN code, I couldn't get back in. I even missed my tram. :-(
As I was walking home (not a good idea, since it was over 20 degrees below zero and somewhat windy), I realized that I am not really that annoyed by the loss. First of all, I don't really expect to need it too much over the weekend, since my phone holds the most important phone numbers anyway, and second of all - I have a backup on my home computer.
I have been jokingly (I hope) accused of attaching emotional value to gadgets, but that is not quite true. I do place emotional value on the data that is in the computers - emails, programs I've written, the amount of effort I've put into tuning my system, and the connection it gives me to wonderful people around the world. But not the computer itself. It's just a tool - something that allows me to do nice things, and keep them stored. Sort of a hammer-cupboard combination, with radio :-).
I wouldn't terribly mind if someone even stole my Palm. The value of the data in it is much bigger than the monetary value of the device itself (which would probably be mostly covered by insurance anyway), and while the trouble of getting a new one is annoying, I would probably moan quite a lot more if all of my harddrives were suddenly and completely wiped out.
But then again, hasn't this always been the case throughout the civilized ages: people attach much more value to abstract things like education, or freedom, or social relationships rather than pure, physical objects?
We got a nice new venue for the Takapotku tournament. Phew. Another catastrophe foiled. Thanks to Jaakko for the tip.
Perhaps now I can go and finally get some work done. I already have overloaded myself with sugar and caffeine in preparation for the tasks ahead :-).
Jeremy Zawodny complains that people don't use good titles in their RSS feeds. It's not that clear-cut though - sometimes a cute headline can draw in people as well. The tabloid magazines do this well: their headlines draw you in, even if you would never read the actual article.
Obviously, the whole thing depends on your target audience as well... But a bit of variety is good, methinks.
For some strange and unfathomable reason, my Debian box started to run again - as if nothing had happened.
Perhaps threatening it with OSX helped...
From Slashdot: How to be a programmer. Surprisingly, some of the comments on that story are actually useful and insightful.
And my sound just disappeared somewhere as well - no error messages, no nothing. Just total silence. (And yes, I suspect it is because that for some totally incomprehensible reason ALSA likes to mute all channels by default. Why, oh why can't they restore your settings as well if you upgrade to a new version?)
apt-get upgrade-and-destroy X apt-get upgrade-and-destroy sound
I don't recall issuing those commands.
(How did I notice this? I was trying to watch new trailer of Matrix that was shown in SuperBowl.)
...like now. They did something to X configuration, and now I can no longer log in: KDM runs, but when I attempt to log in, X restarts immediately and I am back to KDM prompt.
Fuck. JSPWiki development is halted until I can get this fixed, since I have no windowing system and very little web browsing ability.
I am too busy and tired for this shit. I've got better things to do.
...but I seem to be Slackware Linux:
New York Times asks: If a Machine Creates Something Beautiful, Is It an Artist?. Perhaps.
Takanohana retires. Sad, he was always my favourite.
(A bit of a Finnish follows: a good link to a site explaining why the age of the Compact Disc is over. Sorry to all non-Finns, but I think this rant is a good read for those who understand the language.)
I have to say that I agree - I have not bought a new CD for the past six months or something. Haven't downloaded any music either, legally or illegally. I don't like to be treated as if I were a criminal, and my music listening habits are easily catered for with my existing collection anyway. And the radio still works.
Bit of a problem burning in my mind now: The tournament I mentioned yesterday was larger than expected. And now the tournament that we have scheduled in three weeks is looking to overflow badly. This means that we have to find a new place with good tables and room for 40+ people, and pronto, or face the unfortunate task of leaving out people that would really like to come.
The Kani6 tournament is finally over. It was good fun, and I won 3 of my 5 games - with one very near miss: a simple overplay cost me a few points, and so I lost by 1.5 points. Grr. But it feels good to know I played OK, and all those fast games have not completely destroyed my ability to concentrate.
(Update: another terminal, where I can find the bar. So I can link now: but the link is in Finnish, though =).
You know... there has been something that has been bothering me in the while weblogging business-thingy. You obviously already have nodes and hubs; people who are at the edge and those who are at the "routing points" of the weblogging world, respectively. The "hubs" see what else is out there, read other blogs, see what's good on them, and then links to the good ones. And since everyone else reads the good hubs, then those opinions and ideas are quickly spread throughout the blogosphere.
However, this makes me wonder: what is the social responsibility of those "hubs"? They are, after all, pretty much in control (unwillingly and perhaps not consciously) of much of the information flow that happens here. If they don't like your ideas, you won't get linked to in a big manner; and if they do like you, then you get instant fame. And this is totally fine - this is how any social network works.
But have those people who are at the hubs really thought about what it means to be one? What is their responsibility towards the people who link to them and read their weblogs every day? Even though it is nice to imagine that all people are smart and capable of clearly separating good and bad; right and wrong - there are and will be those who are not, or are willing to accept anything because it "comes from someone who knows better".
I don't know, really. Is this a problem?
Apple has released an official X11 port for OSX, though they are not making any noise. The platform is looking more and more interesting each day...
What is there not to like? UNIX-like functionality without all of the config hassle... Something that I've grown to loathe in my 12+ years of UNIX experience. Configuration of things. Different formats, different places, and nothing ever works straight out of the box. I've grown pretty good at doing it, but only through necessity - I hate configuring stuff outside the absolute minimum necessary.
Had a really good discussion today. Two in fact. Things ain't still good, but at least I got to offload some of my worries, and got some thoughts organized. Never a bad thing.
Jeremy Zawodny: Weblogs vs. Centralized Message Boards.
Good riddance to message boards. I've always found their interface to be clunky, and it is very difficult to follow the discussion flow. Especially since most discussion boards to not remember which items you've read before and will still display them. And they are not at all configurable.
I recall someone saying that "the web took us back 10 years in UI design", referring to the extremely limited capabilities of HTML forms. I think WebLogs and WikiWikis are also a new form of UI design... Sort of UI libraries on top of clunky HTML, much like current UI libraries lie on top of line-drawing primitives.
We blocked all access from crawler1.crawler918.com to the www.ecyrd.com site. They don't respect /robots.txt, so we don't respect their efforts (whatever they are - they have no web site, nor an URL in the referrer logs we could check). Checking the robots.txt would be polite, you know...
Wikipedia celebrates their 100,000th article! They are probably the largest WikiWiki in existence, and the only public Wiki used by non-geeks :-). I think the Wiki format suits an encyclopedia really well, perhaps the first real usage outside company intranets or documentation wikis. Sensei's Library is another example of a wiki-gone-encyclopedia.
We are truly moving towards a collective intelligence.
Gotta blog this: The Fly User Interface. A perfect little story, including the headline. How many times in your life do you get to use the word "fly" in three different meanings at the same time? :-)
In a comment on Simon Willison's weblog, L.M. Orchard suspects that Dave Winer sees all in the blogosphere. Let's test that and mention his name here, in a rarely read blog and see how long it takes for Dave to find this entry :-).
The clock starts now.
In 0xDECAFBAD, L.M. Orchard writes: Basically, I don't want to give up my openness, but I want to deflect the barbarians.
I may be just Harmless so far, but to me this sounds like the natural question every single society has to ask themselves: Where are the limits? How much do we allow our citizens to express themselves and behave freely, and and which point it becomes too damaging to the society?
So far, everyone creates their own laws in their own part of the Blogosphere state. But we have little or no ways of enforcing those laws.
Finally got rid of a really annoying error in JSPWiki: With JDK 1.4, migration from ISO-8859-1 to UTF-8 in pages would not work, and there had been a couple of unit test cases for months that I could not get to run. But I did some serious reading and experimenting on the terribly underdocumented java.nio.charset.Charset class, and managed to mount a JDK 1.4 solution to the whole problem. It took a bit of headbanging to get the multi-JDK code running as well, but now all of our unit tests finally show green.
It's nice to learn new things. Even though it is far too late in the night.
(If you need a sample how that to use the 1.4 Charsets and decoders, see the com.ecyrd.jspwiki.~FileUtil14 class in JSPWiki 2.0.21 or onwards.)
Edward Said, Al Ahram Weekly: An unacceptable helplessness. A cry out to the Arab world to solve their problems on their own instead of a script dictated by Americans. A good read.
Here is also an interesting UPI blurb about Israel mounting assassination operations in USA and other allied countries.
Released no less than three versions of JSPWiki today. Sorry to everyone who has been using an 2.0 beta, but we had to change the way ~BasicAttachmentProvider saves attachments on disk: first of all, it could not handle files that had non-usascii characters in their names; and second, it could not handle a trailing "." as the last character of a file name on Windows.
So we boldly break compatibility. Hope nobody is terribly inconvinienced.
Slept very late and went to a Japanese cooking class. We learned at least three different ways to cut fish (the names of which I promptly forgot), made sashimi, nabeyaki udon, and I finally learned how to make uramaki rolls. It's a clever little trick =). "Oishii...", he uttered, as he settled on the sofa, unable to move.
(For Finns near Helsinki, the ~PalacenRanta restaurant has a Japanese theme week next week.)
~ComputerWorld: Spam is getting more sophisticated.
Well... My spam filter removes any email that has been sent in HTML format, so I haven't really noticed any of those tricks that spammers use. But I've noticed that I have started getting emails with topics that say 'get wonderful secks'. Which is obvious spam. People I know can spell, you see. :-) I hate spam as much as anyone else, but I've got it down to a manageable level now, and it is kinda interesting to see where this arms race is going next...
What an exhausting week. I think I slept an average of 5 hours a night or something? Hard to say, because even though it's only early evening, I am already ripe for bed. Even this morning I had to wake up early for the funeral.
Strange. There was a nice lunch after the funeral (not exactly a wake, but close), where people looked at old photographs and talked. Which was actually quite nice. People were enjoying themselves, laughing (not very loudly, of course - this is Finland), talking to relatives you haven't seen in a while...
Perhaps it is the thought of death that brings people closer, and reminds them that it is important to laugh and enjoy the company of friends and family, while one still can. And as long as that happens, we're still doing okay.
(To any JSPWiki hackers out there: ~WikiProviders will break soon with page deletion being added. Prepare.)
CNN: Spammers Busted. Yay! Unfortunately, spamming is still not illegal :-(.
Artifical nipples sweep USA. OK. Fine. Great. Consumer demand and all that jazz. But could someone please explain the following comment from a happy user?
I love to look sassy and I love to be in charge of my compliments. Thanks to Bodyperks, I can do that.
- Paula, 27
St. Paul, MN
"In charge of your compliments." What the fuck does that mean? You actually like men to walk by and go: "Hey! Great nipples!" "Thanks!" "No worries."?
New York Times (free reg. reqd): Nineteen percent of Americans say they are in the richest 1 percent and a further 20 percent expect to be someday. This explains quite well why any program targeted against the rich 1% is quickly shot down...
(Thanks to Aula for the link, to which I can't link to directly because they don't know how to make permalinks available to their entries... :-)
Been busy. First, a 9-hour day at work, then quickly to the Post office, to pick up a nice package from amazon containing, among other things, Eddie Izzard's The Circle. Then to the movie theatre, to watch Spirited Away again. All this, and more, on four hours of sleep.
Spirited Away really is a good movie. The bird and the mouse steal the show again, and a second viewing allowed me to enjoy the background paintings, since I was not so spellbound to the plot and foreground events as when I first saw it. I don't remember any other animation that really was so entrancing since Aladdin.
Eddie is also doing what he can do best: Do you get... erm... Do you folks even know that there other countries?
For some reason, I've never liked stand-up comedy. It always felt so ... artificial. But perhaps I only like middle-aged transvestites. :-)
As I was mentioning, there have been some burglaries in the neighbourhood, one even very near. Same building, one floor below in fact. So I got myself fortified a bit - a lock smith dropped by and now I have a brand new safety lock. And a peephole. And some extra bolts. So that's safe, then.
However, my dad called and asked me if I was going to be at home on Friday. I told him I was planning to go see my brother: "Why?" He tells me he is coming in for the funeral and would like to stay over.
"What funeral?" I ask.
"Your grand-aunt's", he answers.
"She's dead?" I ask, feeling kinda surprised.
"Yeah, she died a while ago. The funeral's on Saturday. Didn't anyone tell you?"
May she rest in peace.
"The other factor that helps quality emerge in weblogs is personal ownership. Although webloggers participate in a community, the contents of a weblog is not a communal space; it is under the sole responsibility of its editor."
This perhaps points out the key difference between a WikiWiki and a WebLog. A Wiki is most often a communal resource, where anyone can contribute, whereas a WebLog is always a personal viewpoint. However, they are technologically very similar: both emphasize speed and ease-of-use; they both give control to the user. By hiding unnecessary technical detail (like HTML) they are both optimized for production and storage of content.
Interesting: WebLogs have started off big-time as a new media for gaining 15 minutes of publicity, but WikiWikis are considered tools. Boring tools, like hammers. But the author's personal viewpoint cannot really be the distringuishing factor, since there are many blogs that are communally edited. Places such as slashdot and Aula are thriving, even though almost anyone can contribute...
Perhaps it is the personality of the weblog rather than the personality of its author that make them more interesting.
From rec.games.go: How said one mine friend from Russia : when you are solving problems it isn't important solve you problem or no, - important not forget the solution !
Q: What is the sound of a head thudding against a keyboard? A: tfgrgtfyfgtvgfvgfhgbgtyhfgvvfd rft.
Zzz. Must go home and grab some.
(Were blogs created by memes so that they could spread faster?)
Jeremy Zawodny: Drink frist, write second.. Dunno, but around here it has always been an established truth that people are at their most creative after two beers. Above that you start to lose your coherence, but two beers are just enough to lubricate the mind to its fullest capability.
Though it is quite probable that this is the reason why so many great authors were also alcoholics.
Also, it seems that a dan-level go-player's game does not suffer very much as a function of consumed alcohol. As someone said: "His [referring to a dan-player] hands stop moving before his brain." This is probably somehow related to this article in Nature. Experience rules over intellect. Hm. Perhaps I should test this...
Any Finns looking at this blog might be interested in http://www.koulukaverit.com, a site where you can enter your old schools and (possibly) be able to track down some of your old class mates.
A bit of coding again, a nice social dinner, and watching Survivors. I'm so totally hooked on that series. Of course, saying that out loud in public is probably a very stupid thing, because then everyone is going to look up who won and spoil it for me. Thanks guys, I really appreciate that. Not.
From Slashdot: Guerrilla News Network has posted a great 11-minute "clip show" of different speeches from different politicians at http://www.gnn.tv/redux/. It is sad, funny, and frightening at the same time, and while it is not exactly hiding its bias, it should be able to raise a few thoughts, whatever your viewpoint to the whole US-Iraq war is.
Just returned from the housewarming party of the Mikki and Anne Living Arrangement. It was a good party I guess, had a couple of interesting conversations and catched up on people whom I had not met in a while. I also managed to put faces on a few names I had heard before, or talked to over the 'net.
Sometime in the early evening, there was a discussion on people, and observing them. I didn't think much of it then, but towards the end I got sort of detached from the whole party thing, sat on a chair and listened to people, not contributing anything, not being a part of any spontaneous social circle (which was probably something everyone appreciated). I suddenly started to observe small things: a small pot belly here, a slightly receding hairline there, clear wrinkles on the face, discussion about house loans, and so on; and I sort of realized how people I have known for a long time have started to grow older. The same enthusiasm is still there (perhaps a bit muted), they still look the same, but there is something different altogether. Quite a lot of those folks were people I actually physically meet only few times a year, so perhaps that is why I picked it up: the old mental image does not match with the reality anymore, and there is no gradual change to dull your senses. It's just a "BANG! You're old!"
I don't know why this bothers me. I don't even know if it bothers me. Perhaps I've just become sensitive to change itself.
I released 2.0.14 under a beta label. There are still some odd windows issues that people keep digging up, and they're kinda hard to test, since my only real Windows computer is a 64 MB Windows 98 laptop... Which is not exactly the most comfortable environment to code in.
Whoops. Fixed a very nasty bug in JSPWiki that had become apparent when we moved to Tomcat 4. I'm amazed that nobody had caught it before. Either people don't like to use FindPage, or they just simply can't be bothered to give bug reports. I'd wager the latter.
Just got a note from the house manager: It seems that there have been several break-ins in this area within the past few weeks, and one in this house even. A burglaried house would not be a pleasant thought - it's not the monetary value, but the trouble that you'd have to go through to get equivalents for most of the stuff you have.
As I was saying earlier, the calendar at the right side needed a bit of meditation. So what I did was that I enabled plugins to also be able to access HTTP parameters, and made the weblog plugin able to pick out the start date from the URL. This means that now you can access this page, add "weblog.startDate=ddmmyy" to the URL, and see the weblog as it was on that day. Obviously, the calendar works like that, too.
If you did not understand anything from the paragraph above, that's okay. It just means that you still have hope.
The Abuse-a-tron: "You get health care from a veterinarian, you shallow-brained, cat litter munching, goat discomfiting, churlish descendant of Barney the Dinosaur's greasy, tick-plagued loins."
Thanks also to Henri for luring unsuspecting folks to my web :-).
(It seems that ebu managed to install Tomcat 4.x onto this web server. Hopefully it makes things a bit snappier.)
Now I am just tired.
There's this advertisement in the subway where two middle-aged persons, a man and a woman, proudly show their new automatic blood pressure measurement devices. This haunts me for some reason; perhaps because the advertisement shows 21st century technology as if it were 1980s technology. They've also got exactly the same, slightly pained, expressions on their faces. It sort of looks as if they were trying to convey of a feeling: "Things are not well, but thanks to these things, we are okay now". They fail miserably, though. The whole thing looks so antiquated, and burlesque - I wouldn't dare to touch those devices... But then again I am not exactly in the target group either.
"Vituttaa", as the Finns say so concisely. In English the concept takes a bit more words to explain, and I am not up to it right now. I'm feeling too asocial to even to talk to the computer. You can think of that as a symptom of "vitutus".
I slept through the alarm clock, and got to work far too late, still feeling tired. Got off work far too late, too, and skipped our weekly Thursday night go. Both of which suck.
Even sauna did not help.
I've been looking for a new laptop lately. My trusty Sharp Actius has so far been quite good (weight 1.3 kg, but the battery life is practically zero now), but I could use something new as well. So far the requirements have been "weight under 2 kg", "no fan". This new 12" thingy from Apple is nearly there. The 17" version would even have a lit keyboard.
The geek in me drools.
You may notice the tiny calendar on the right side. This is a new CalendarTag that is now with JSPWiki 2.0.12.
Currently it can only link to the first entry of the day, so I'll need to think of some way to make this thing better, so that you can actually go through the different entries. Perhaps a NextLink/PreviousLink tag pair? But if they're tags, they seriously limit their use in general weblogs. If they're plugins, then you have to put them on every page.
Must meditate on this.
(As a sidenote, people are finding bugs from JSPWiki 2.0.12 at an alarming rate, and the ideas-page is growing, too. While this is a good thing, it does sort of tear me apart; on the other hand it's cool and exciting to work on the JSPWiki, and I got a responsibility too; but on the other hand, I would also like to watch the pile of DVDs gathering dust in my living room, play go, and do a trillion of other things.)
From BBC: German faces jail for 'ironic' remark.
This is a kind of problem that is really hard to avoid:
- Irony is easily lost on the Internet.
- There are plenty of morons on the Internet.
- In addition to morons, there are also lots of people on the internet who just are overly sensitive to anything you might say. And have no sense of irony at all.
- The police has to investigate every complaint, even anonymous ones.
- Germany has strong laws against hate speech (considering their history, who can blame them).
Each and every point is justifiable or just simply true in many good ways. It's just their combination that gets people into these kinds of situations.
Plenty of destruction and mayhem yesterday, with some kinematic stunts attached. Exploding cars (two to be exact), bullets flying in slow motion... yeah! The game was Feng Shui, a new acquaintance; and a not at all a bad one.
The real world damages were luckily limited to a lamp, GM's vocal cords, and possibly his budding relationship with their new neighbours.
Some totally hilarious translations from a bootleg copy of The Fellowship of the Ring:
Worked a few hours on JSPWiki, and added a couple of features that certain persons have been asking for very loudly.
The good thing about having a nice constant 20 degrees C below zero is that you get to ventilate all of the mattresses, pillows, and what-have-you. Kills all bugs, too. I've filled my small balcony with all kinds of things I could pry loose, and put them outside with the small hope that a storm does not suddenly arise and sweep all of my stuff away...
I wonder what will be life's inevitable backlash.
(For any Finns near Helsinki: Pikkulintu in Puotila Mall is an excellent place to pursue your elitist desires, if you like beer or malt whiskeys. They have 100+ different kinds of Scotch over there...)
New York Times (a free registration required, sorry) reports a terrible problem: The European Copyright on recordings is only 50 years, whereas in the US it's up to 95 years. Simply put, this means that recordings from the 1950s are becoming public domain in Europe.
Why bring up this issue now? Because people still listen to music from that era, Elvis most notably... And so there is still money to be made from it.
But the sad truth is, that the record companies only care about 1% of the recordings from that era. And all of the other great and not so great music can disappear, as far as they're concerned. But as copyrights expire, it means that people can share this stuff freely, and perhaps start a whole new 50s craze. And then the one who's got good copies of all of the records is going to win big time...
Come on guys, the copyright was agreed to be 50 years, and everyone thought then that was a good idea. And it's still a good idea. Elvis is dead, live with it.
[#1] However, the actual music copyright still stands at 70 years from author's death.
Do not pour hot liquids on your computer. You'll save yourself from a lot of grief and heart pounding.
Cold liquid is much better, since it does not burn your hands when you are desperately attempting to dry the puddles with inadequate amounts of tissue paper. However, note that liquids with high sugar content tend to make things stick together. Which may be an issue or not, depending on whether your keyboard was among the victims.
I updated a new version of the software. The format of the permalinks was changed, so that they are now valid WikiNames. The RSS feed is now also rendered in HTML instead of Wiki markup.
- There are far too many smart, educated, talented people operating at quarter speed, unsure of their place in the world, contributing far too little to the productive engine of modern civilization. There are far too many people who look like they have their act together but have yet to make an impact. You know who you are. It comes down to a simple gut check: You either love what you do or you don't. Period.
Dork Tower reminds us again about the essentials of weblogging.
Come on, Life. I'm waiting for you. Give it your best shot.
The US TV companies produce a lot of crap, but there is still an enormous amount of creativity left over there. And sometimes, the will to produce good things. I'm especially impressed about the fact that The Band of Brothers has not been designed around commercials, unlike practically all other TV these days - 2.5 minutes of ads every 10 minutes, and a compulsory small "cliffhanger" before every break to keep people from running away to other channels. TBB has a totally different kind of intensity.
This is the so totally wrong way to start the year (said he at 3:42 in the morning). New Year resolution: Get to bed earlier. Turn back the old internal clock to something resembling a European timezone...
It is so cold, that when you inhale, the snot in your nose freezes immediately.
Private comments? Drop me an email. Or complain in a nearby pub - that'll help.
|"Main" last changed on 10-Aug-2015 21:44:03 EEST by JanneJalkanen.|