Tag Archives: geek stuff

What The Hex? is a game where you guess the colour based on the hex-triplet for the RGB value.

Oregon officially recognizes marijuana for medical value – "The Oregon Board of Pharmacy voted to change marijuana from what’s known as a ‘Schedule I controlled substance’ to a ‘Schedule II.’" only 49 more state governments and 1 federal government to go… 😐

Titan’s atmosphere oddity consistent with methane-based life
also
‘Grow-your-own’ organs hope after scientists produce liver in lab from stem cells – more evidence (if you needed any) that the “christians” are wrong, wrong, wrong!!

Whale Poop Cleans the EnvironmentThe Sea Shepherds are probably already figuring out ways to use this against the japanese, politically and as a potential projectile. it also makes me wonder about how whale poop would do cleaning up the gulf oil spill…
Visualizing the BP Oil Spill Disaster – it couldn’t possibly make it any worse…

沰⅘ – ⅂ℐℵΚℨ & stuff

Microsoft hides mystery Firefox extension in toolbar update
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Cyber War: Microsoft a weak link in national security – this is why i don’t use windoesn’t: I should be the one to decide whether or not to install software on MY computer, regardless of how “important” or “necessary for correct functioning” it is. the fact that microsoft thinks it can get away with installing something that i don’t know about, on MY computer is insulting to my intelligence and very definitely goes to show how evil this company really is. i would expect nothing less from a virus, and microsoft is – supposedly – better than that. 😑 and, the fact is, originally, microsoft didn’t intend for its software to be used on “critical networks” and was (and to a great extent, still is) only in the software business for the money, not caring to ensure that their software actually works the way it is supposed to. this was driven home to me a few years ago, when i was working as a “vendor” at microsoft (i had access to microsoft facilities to work on microsoft projects, but i was actually working for another company, so my microsoft-issued ID card had “V-” in front of it), testing windows XP. not a single bug that i logged (and there were a lot of ’em) got fixed during the 9 months that i worked there. needless to say, most of them are still out there on your windows XP computer, and will never get fixed – because microsft “isn’t supporting” windows XP any longer. 😑

and, speaking of evil companies, the latest word is that BP buys Google ads for search term “oil spill” – so that it can attempt to “direct internet users to its website as it attempts to control…” flack from detractors, who are just about everybody these days. they should listen to Buzz Aldrin’s Answer To The Gulf Oil Spill

i’ve had people tell me that i should really have a more positive attitude. i say Does a positive attitude make you more motivated to learn from your mistakes? and i find, like the researchers (at the Journal of Organizational Behavior) did, that a negative attitude is more conducive to learning from your mistakes. so i’ll keep seeing the dark cloud, and leave the silver lining to others.

and, from there, directly into the random, things-that-make-you-say-WTF category…

Quantum Jumping? – “Quantum Jumping is the process of ‘jumping’ into parallel dimensions, and gaining skills, knowledge, wisdom and inspiration from alternate versions of yourself.” what… the… fuck?!? he seems to be about as random as gene ray, but somewhat more commercially oriented.

Prefixes & Words Based On Latin Number Names – now you know what it means to say “for the duoquadragesimary time, learn these things!” πŸ™‚

Testing the flotation dynamics and swimming abilities of giraffes by way of computational analysis – the latest, up to the minute research on the problem of whether giraffes can or cannot swim. according to this research, apparently they can. what do you know…

finally, Chinese internet addicts stage mutiny at boot camp – you WILL NOT survive an attempt to control geeks in need of internet.

TARFU!

i have always been under the impression that there were three acronyms that were comparitve and superlative to SNAFU, which were comparitive FUMTU and superlative FUBAR, but it turns out that there is a fourth abbreviation, TARFU, which doesn’t appear to have a place in the heirarchy, despite (or, possibly, because of) it’s similar provenance. more investigation is necessary.

urk, kleep, pumg

i booted up my computer this morning and firefox told me it had an update for one of the addons, so i let it install, instead of starting firefox, it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for a moment and then crashes with no explanation. tried it a number of times in different ways, and no firefox. so i used another browser (konqueror) and i upgraded firefox (it’s supposed to tell you when there are updates, but it never has for me). now it looks like it’s going to start, flashes a white screen for two and a half moments, and then crashes with no explanation. i updated my software sources and updated my system (something which i haven’t done in about 2 months) and, lo-and-behold, there’s a new firefox in the updates, but it still doesn’t work.

i tried my mac, and it said “oh, look… there’s a firefox update. you want to install it?” to which i answered “yes” and it’s now installed, running, and works fine.

as much as i like linux, there are times when it can be really frustrating. i only hope that bill (my older, brain injured helpdesk client who is also running linux) doesn’t have the same problems i am having.

i tried running firefox from the terminal, and it gives me a whole bunch of UNKNOWN and ABORT errors that probably mean something to someone, but only indicate to me that i’m going to have to dig deeper to get to the source of the problem. 😐

i ran firefox -safe-mode from the terminal, and disabled all of my addons, and firefox started right up. i think it was the thing that looks up the flag of the country where the server lives, but it was a good excuse to dump a whole bunch of themes that i don’t use any longer, and a few addons that i used once and have been hanging around ever since version 2, and that sort of thing.

i got email from my router this morning, which says “TCP Packet – Source:63.245.212.23,54375 Destination:216.162.193.190,8081 – [DOS]”… i don’t know what it means, but judging by the fact that it says “[DOS]” (which i take to mean “Denial Of Service”) and there’s only one of them, i’m not going to worry too much about it. the drizzle guy said that IP space belongs to mozilla, so i am officially not going to worry about it.

regarding the NYC Musical Saw Festival, i actually got email from the Saw Lady, who is, apparently, the motivating force behind the musical saw festival, and i pointed her towards my saw case pictures. she said she’d add my name to the invite list, so that, on the off chance that i’m actually in new york city, and have my saw, i can come to the festival.

miscellaneous

yesterday i went to moe’s friend diane’s sheep ranch in woodinville and picked up a chest freezer that diane didn’t need any longer. now we’ll be able to get lamb from diane, when she has lambs for sale, later on in the year. moe is a currently a vegetarian – although i have seen her eat bacon recently – and i have been a vegetarian in the past (and i’ve been the rabid rabble rouser who knew all the reasons why you shouldn’t eat meat, so cool it with the rhetoric, because i’ve been through it all, already), but at this point, i figure God is perfect, being an omnivore is more likely to ensure my survival in the event of a global catastrophe, and besides all that, lamb just tastes so damn good… and because of the fact that i actually know where it’s coming from, i’m getting a lot closer to eating real meat than i would be if i ate the anonymous, corporate beef that most people eat most of the time.

but this is all, undoubtedly one big excuse to make me feel better because i’m sinful and eat meat, despite my claims to being a hindu. i know a bunch of american hindus who eat meat, and they don’t worry about it, so why should i… especially when lamb just tastes so damn good… 8)

today i went to a place very close to the hospital that i was housed at shortly after i had my injury (and was amazed at how much new construction was going up since i was there) and got a bed to put in what was the office, and is now the guest room. now we have a room for people to sleep in when people come to visit… which, apparently, we’ve got a few of coming up later this year, including my mother-in-law within the next two weeks or so (i’m still not exactly sure when, though).

i got an email list set up for the fremont players, which is exactly what wouldn’t have happened if i had stayed with the old host provider, whose “tech support” goon specifically said that i was “kicked off” their server for having – although he also, specifically, said that he was the one responsible for having me kicked off their server, because “he didn’t like me”… πŸ˜›

i’m having some trouble with my email, and i’m not sure whether it’s my email client, or my new router. it seems like, sometimes, i don’t get any email, but when i reboot the router, i get hundreds of emails from the past three days or so, and other times, i don’t get any email, and when i reboot the router, nothing happens, but when i restart the email client, or reboot the computer, i get hundreds of emails from the past three or four days. either way, it doesn’t happen with enough regularity to make it very obvious what the culprit is, although it doesn’t appear to happen as frequently when i turn my computer off, rather than leaving it running all night. i seem to recall drizzle saying something about having me on DHCP, despite the fact that i have a static IP address, so maybe that’s got something to do with it.

i had a whole bunch of links that i was going to dump, as well, but my browser crashed and when it came back, i chose to start a new session, because i think one of the links crashed my browser, and i don’t want to foist any of that nonsense on to anyone else. one of them was more stuff about how google is really evil, though…

prophylaxis!

i figured that, since i got paid(!) for the panto, and i got paid(!!) for first night, i would arbitrarily do something for both my wife and myself, keeping in mind that we have both fought valiantly in the battle of several computers recently, and we have both bought (or are buying) new computers recently, so i went out and bought a 2 terabyte USB hard drive, and i’m going to start making regular backups of all the computers in the house, so that the next time one or more of the computers goes tits up, we won’t have to run around like the proverbial chicken.

i hope you don’t mind sweetie, i did this without checking with you first, but i’m sure you’ll agree that it is $150 well spent, and Hybrid Elephant paid for it.

but while i’m at it, i want to marvel in awe, once again, at the place we’ve got to, technologically. i was raised around computers that talked in bits and bytes, before anyone ever dreamed of a personal “hard disk”… the first actual hard disk i ever worked with was an 80 megabyte monster, easily four times as big as the model currently on my desk, with a fraction of the capacity, and at the time, i was under the impression that it was an electronic “black hole” into which i could throw data forever, and never fill it up.4GB memory i remember when i couldn’t afford more than 16 megabytes of RAM (on a mac LCII), because it was $150 for a 1MB SIMM chip, which was about the same size as my cell phone… and now they make things like the one seen on the right, which is a four gigabyte memory chip that goes in my cell phone. when i was working at openwave, a few years ago, i worked on a solaris machine with a 4 terabyte hard disk array, which was a box about a quarter of the size of my desk, and sat in a corner of the santa barbara office (i logged in and worked remotely, from an office in bellevue), and this 2 terabyte disk i just bought is the size of a small book.

i’m not gonna claim that this is an electronic black hole, but i can’t imagine how i will fill up a 2 terabyte disk, except for backing up multiple computers, multiple times, for several years…

FEZOROCITY!

fezthe first of two fezzes arrived in the mail today, which is surprising considering how large it is and the fact that i only won it on tuesday. it is, however, everything that it was advertised to be, and a whole bunch more: it comes with a support which is a gadget to keep its shape when it’s not being worn, and a rain cover(!)… and it’s from peoria! i’m not 100% certain of this (and, at this point, the only person who would know is my mother, to whom i have not spoken in 5 years, at her request), but there’s a very strong probability (≈95%) that my grandfather was a member of the mohammed shrine. it doesn’t have my grandfather’s name in it, but it’s not too difficult to pretend, especially when you have a hole in your skull to begin with… πŸ˜‰

i now own two fezzes, and soon i will own three fezzes! it just goes to show you what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it… and have internet backing you up… 8)

also, i realised that my being #32 in the order of the fez is just another confirmation of the law of fives, which is the discordian concept that all things happen in fives, or are some how, directly or indirectly, related to the number five. i’ve always thought that Tina Chopp and Eris are good friends, if not two different names for the same being…

demons

i have probably always been a computer geek, although for a long time i resisted being labeled as such because i was too interested in music, but my father has been a professional computer geek electrical engineer for as long as i have been around. one of the first “computers” i ever played with was actually a “dumb terminal” that had a big foam recepticle on the back of it to plug the phone reciever into so that it would do stuff more than just look and act like a selectric typewriter.

i saw my father at the Seattle Art Museum the other day. i was there for a performance of La Banda Gozona – where the consul general for mexico in seattle gave a long winded speech in spanish that i couldn’t understand – and i saw my father taking pictures. i was wearing my reading glasses, so i didn’t get a good look at him, and he disappeared before i could switch to my distance glasses, but i’m sure it was him. i find it very odd that, in spite of our differences, my parents haven’t spoken to me at all since my injury, and didn’t come visit me in the hospital when there was a chance that i would die… but i digress.

anyway, when i was first actively learning about computers, back in the late ’70s, i would frequently ask questions of my mentor, jim, and every now and then i would ask him a question which doesn’t really have an answer. questions like “why is it that when i tried X process, it failed, but when you tried exactly the same X process, it worked?” or “why is it that i send an email to X address and it never gets there, you send an email to X address and it takes two weeks to get there, and someone else sends an email to X address and it gets there immediately?” obviously there is some answer to questions like that, but often they are technical enough that even the experts might have difficulty explaining it, especially to someone (like me) who doesn’t understand.

when i would ask jim a question like that, he would get all quiet, look around mysteriously, and whisper “demons”…

he could have easily said “i don’t know” or “go look it up” or any one of a number of other perfectly rational responses, but that wouldn’t have made anywhere near the impression on me that blaming all my unknown computer problems on “demons” would have.

of course, i later learned that the electronic mechanisms that make things work inside computers are called “daemons”, but my impression is, even now, when i have wholeheartedly embraced the label of “computer geek”, that it still makes a fair amount of sense.

fast forward to a few days ago. i have just completed what i hope will be my last host provider switch for a LONG time, but i still have to figure out why the control panel on the new host works slightly differently than the (exact same) control panel on the old host: i set up a subdoman – przxqgl.hybridelephant.com – which, when you hit it with a browser, loads pages found at hybridelephant.com/przxqgl. it used to be that when you looked at the browser, you saw przxqgl.hybridelephant.com, but now, when you point your browser at przxqgl.hybridelephant.com it automatically redirects to hybridelephant.com/przxqgl and when i remove the redirect in the control panel, my browser gives me a “redirect error”.

so i wrote to tech support. he wrote back to me almost instantly, saying that he had gotten it to work, and that i didn’t need the redirect in the control panel.

… wait, what?

anyway, it works… and i keep thinking about jim and his “demons”…

a sigh of nostalgia…

i backed up, reformatted and reinstalled my os9 mac, and i realised that i may have just shut down mac os9 for the last time ever this evening…

i’ve been a mac head ever since the term was coined, way back when. my first experience with a computer that wasn’t running some form of UNIX (yes indeed, i am that old) was with my father’s trash-80, the year i graduated from high school. i got pretty good at manoevering around the proto-DOS interface and programming in BASIC, but my first experience with the technology with which i actually made money for a significant portion of my life was with a Lisa – the proto-mac. the first computer job i had was typesetting for kwik-kopy printing in bellingham with a mac plus, a floppy disk drive and an 80 mb hard disk which i thought was an electronic black hole into which i could throw documents forever and not fill it up. that was back before the operating system used Hierarchical File System – HFS – it used MacFS instead, which meant that you could only have one window open at a time, and no files larger than 20mb. it was back when the mac os was free, and you could get the latest version by taking 4 floppy disks to your local mac dealer. i remember being one of the first geeks in my group to figure out that the mac was more than just a platform, and that it would be an ideal thing if you could get the mac os to run on anything. it still hasn’t happened officially, of course, but it’s closer now than it has ever been before. it wasn’t more than 5 years ago that i was working at essentially the same job, only with a much more modern computer.

so i installed os 9.2.1 on my aqua G3 desktop with a G4 upgrade, and shut it down, and i believe that it could be the last time i ever shut down a mac running os9.

the end of an era… 8)

a few miscellaneous items

the word “fire” is one syllable. not two syllables, not one and a half syllables (whatever that means), one syllable. people who use it as two syllables are simply stupid. it appears in my rhyming dictionary in the list of one-syllable words that includes ire, byre, dire, gyre, hire, lyre, mire, pyre, spire, quire, choir, squire, sire, shire, tire, Tyre, tyre and wire. also, my prosody dictionary (which is more concerned with form than it is with metrics) doesn’t have anything specific to the word “fire”, but what it does have (definitions of ictus, secondary accent, division, foot, iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, spondee, pyrrhic, amphibrach, tribrach and amphimacer) seems to indicate that if “ire” is recognisably one syllable, then “fire” is also, recognisably, only one syllable.

Alien Hand Syndrome is a video of a woman who is in recovery after having an AVM rupture, very similar to what happened to me. i am surprised by how similar her experiences are to mine, especially when she says “let go” and had to get her right hand to get her left hand to let go of the wires. this is exactly what i have experienced on a daily basis since my injury, although i have to get my left hand to get my right hand to stop doing stuff it’s not supposed to be doing.

bellingham tomorrow