Friday, 28-Feb-03 18:44
Blog Talk

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 =).

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 26-Feb-03 18:04
Random thought about go

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?

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Wednesday, 26-Feb-03 16:30
Mathematics, the art

Math World contains all sorts of cool, geeky math stuff. I could spend days there :-). For example, see Recreational Mathematics for illusions and puzzles.

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Tuesday, 25-Feb-03 18:28
Device rant

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.

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Tuesday, 25-Feb-03 01:42
Thought for the darkest hour

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.)

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Monday, 24-Feb-03 14:51
The new Lindows laptop

$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?

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Monday, 24-Feb-03 14:42
Swing and why I hate it

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 =).

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Monday, 24-Feb-03 02:20

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.

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Saturday, 22-Feb-03 00:43
New version of JSPWiki

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.

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Friday, 21-Feb-03 16:18
How to pick a programming language

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...

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Thursday, 20-Feb-03 16:50
Cuteness overdose warning: Japanese dogs.

From Visa Kopu: Japanese Dogs

(I seem to be blogging quite a lot today.)

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Thursday, 20-Feb-03 16:35
What is that bright thing?

The enemy of all geeks, the Sun seems to have remembered the existence of Finland after six months. This is bad for two reasons:

  1. It bugs the hell out of me to be indoors at work with this kind of weather with everyone else on winter holiday, and
  2. 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.

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Thursday, 20-Feb-03 16:27
Model Rocketry in problems

Via Slashdot: Due to restrictions imposed by the rather broad Homeland Security Act, the Estes Model Rocket is now firmly on the endangered species list.

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.

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Thursday, 20-Feb-03 11:48
The World's Only Inflatable Church.

Again, via Dave Barry:

Where *do* people come up with these stuff? And more importantly - why?!?

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 19-Feb-03 16:55
Change of aggregator...

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 :-/.

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Wednesday, 19-Feb-03 13:20
Diet by God

Via Dave Barry: The One and Only Diet. Want to lose weight? Listen to God!

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Tuesday, 18-Feb-03 16:23
Agent Frank

Les Orchard is up to his usual tricks again... This time with Agent Frank. Looks interesting, though I'd have to actually go and install it to see what it really does :-).

"Infovore". Nice word. I like it.

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Tuesday, 18-Feb-03 15:37
Power of Tux

We've had some problems here at - 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 :-).

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Tuesday, 18-Feb-03 13:40
Interview with Deep Junior's author

Picked up this interesting interview from a comment in Slashdot: interview with the author of Deep Junior, the chess program that played a 3-3 draw with Kasparov some time ago. It's nice to hear that side of the story as well.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Monday, 17-Feb-03 13:58
Google buys Pyra

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.

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Monday, 17-Feb-03 11:54
Debian gets KDE 3.1

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 :-(.

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Monday, 17-Feb-03 11:17
You know you're too tired, when... catch yourself walking out of the apartment door wearing nothing but t-shirt and briefs.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Sunday, 16-Feb-03 23:54
Over and out

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Saturday, 15-Feb-03 13:43

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.

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Friday, 14-Feb-03 19:02

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?

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Friday, 14-Feb-03 16:57
Free beer

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.

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Friday, 14-Feb-03 16:16
Free electronic music

Kobaïa: publishes free electronic music using only free formats, such as Ogg Vorbis.

Whoa, good stuff. And a well-encoded Vorbis stream at something like 120-140 kbps sounds incredible.

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Friday, 14-Feb-03 10:12
From human relations to cosmic relations

"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."

Astronomy Picture of the Day.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Friday, 14-Feb-03 09:47
Blogging crisis in Finland

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 :-)

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Thursday, 13-Feb-03 17:21
On the subject of ratings

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?)

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Thursday, 13-Feb-03 17:11

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...

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 12-Feb-03 23:52
...but more spam

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 :-).

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 12-Feb-03 20:28
No more blogtrolls

Wil Wheaton is fed up with idiots, and takes a break from weblogging.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 11-Feb-03 23:43
Election coming up - so are blogs

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 11-Feb-03 14:24
The ultimate compression utility

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 11-Feb-03 01:45
Bowling for User Interfaces

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Monday, 10-Feb-03 15:49
Gaming experiences

From Jeremy Zawodny: The Joy Stick.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Sunday, 09-Feb-03 12:34
The normal things

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.)

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Saturday, 08-Feb-03 14:08

Err... Run a Linux desktop in your browser? What?

See what kinds of cool stuff open technology allows you to do?

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Saturday, 08-Feb-03 13:43
Personal update

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 :-)

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Friday, 07-Feb-03 18:02
Miscallaneous ramblings.

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Thursday, 06-Feb-03 10:34
CVS-to-RSS tool?

Has anyone written a CVS-log-to-RSS-feed tool? I would love to offer one for JSPWiki - just subscribe to the RSS feed and get notification of any CVS commits, complete with commit messages.

More discussion at JSPWiki:CVSToRSSFeed.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 05-Feb-03 15:22
Today's thought.

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
By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Wednesday, 05-Feb-03 15:03
Anti-Europeanism in America

Via Aula: Anti-Europeanism in America by Timothy Garton Ash.

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 04-Feb-03 16:15
Roller Blogger

Gotta link to these guys: They use JSPWiki as their wiki engine :-). And the blogger seems cool, too... (Thanks to Merten for the link.)

(They wonder how to combine JSPWiki with Roller... Might work - at least JSPWiki engine can be used to provide Wiki functionality to this WebLog :-).

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Tuesday, 04-Feb-03 14:10

Janka: So, I want again to point out that the link list there is not a list of my friends, not even a list of those of my friends who have a web diary. It's a list of weblogs I actively read.

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

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Monday, 03-Feb-03 23:26
MST3k in your living room?

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.

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Monday, 03-Feb-03 18:04
Please, check your RSS feed length!

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 :-).

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Monday, 03-Feb-03 12:52
Explainifying the Iraq war

Jeremy Zawodny: Let me explainify the war against Iraq a little bit in Texas terminology. I agreed with this centiment.

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Monday, 03-Feb-03 10:36
Let the conspiracy theories begin...

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.

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Sunday, 02-Feb-03 22:36
Today's social porn

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.

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Sunday, 02-Feb-03 22:22
Show must go on

~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."
By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Sunday, 02-Feb-03 01:08
Shuttle disaster updates

A good place to follow what is going on with the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia is the Spaceflight Now Mission Status Log.

Radar image of the shuttle disintegrating

By AnonymousCoward  Permalink  Comments? (0)
Saturday, 01-Feb-03 13:42
Sake to be soar, great to be sneeve

Another batch of bootleg Lord of the Rings translations, this time from the Two Towers.

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Saturday, 01-Feb-03 13:05
Value of information

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?

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