happy cycling

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5455483584/” title=”girlonabike by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5140/5455483584_2c7558d3b4_o.jpg” width=”1124″ height=”1576″ alt=”girlonabike” /></a>

I realised it’s been a while since I put a picture up here of a saucy oriental dame, so here is one. It’s spilling out over the side of the blog, but to reduce the size of the picture any more would be to lessen the sauciness which just isn’t on.

The tour de france is on at the moment, although from where I’m sitting, you wouldn’t know it. I suppose I haven’t really tried, but there doesn’t seem to be much opportunity for us here to get a look at it. Apparently there’s almost none of the top names in there this year anyway. I was dragging myself (cycling) up a hill yesterday and got to thinking that maybe they should let all the druggies back in.

return

I had an exam last Monday. I was over on the east coast for the last couple of days taking a much needed break from it all. I’d forgotten what unpolluted air tastes like. Sometimes my patience grows short with the people here and I got to think it was koreans – that was the problem, but I’m more inclined to think it’s actually cityfolk. Could be any huge city like this — people tend to be more in a hurry, more pushy and rambunctious, more likely to stick their nose in.

I was staying in a small seaside hamlet. See flickr for fotos. I walked past an unattended fish place, the kind that has tanks out the front with various live sea creatures stocked for eating. There was a fish flipping on the asphalt. It’d jumped out of its tank and was suffocating in the air. I walked around the place to see if one of the people was there to tell them that one of their fish had jumped out but there was nobody to be had.

I stood for a good minute or two debating what to do. Had the fish jumped out on purpose? Was it nobler to die on the tarmac than in a cooking pot, on the way to being eaten by someone? I got to wondering what Captian Picard would do eventhough I haven’t watched that show in <em>years</em>. In the end I decided it was better to do what I could to prolong the fish’s life now and if it ended up getting eaten later that day it was out of my hands. I put if back in the tank but maybe it was out too long because it was ‘swimming upside down’ as they say.

I’d forgotten how much people out there like telly. Everyone was watchin telly all the time. Dramas mostly, sometimes a little baseball, sometimes christian telly. It made me wonder what all the folks out there, out in the remote villages, the satellites, the two-bit one-horse towns — what do they think of yankee beef and the FTA? I don’t know, I couldn’t talk to them.

erm…

What else are saturday night for except posting nerdy bits?
Has anyone one else noticed how google gmail have just decided to bring on the Technological Singularity all by themselves? Sometime today the size-o-meter on my mail storage thing started increasing and it hasn’t stopped. It’s up to 2050 megabytes and still going.

I wish it was five minutes before yesterday

Basically, it’s a downgrade – me going to the laptop. Half as much RAM, 6gig hard disk instead of 40 and probably hardest of all, back to 800×600 screen resolution from 1156by864 or whatever it was. All a bit cramped and I apologise to others who’ve been looking at SBreaks in 800by600 because it’s that bit too wide. I’ll fix that.

I didn’t realise how sensible the old desktop was physically set up. I’ve been getting crampy soreness in my neck, hands and wrists because of all the bad posture. I used to use laptops and sat like this all the time — hunched on the couch over the coffee table or cross-leged on the bed. It was a bad idea to get the small ‘laptop’ sized mouse; it’s uncomfortable to use and why the hell did I get one with blinken lights in? I have to throw a shirt over it at night so it don’t disturb sleep.

There’s been several to many-a-time when I’ve mentally bemoaned the deficiencies of Linux as an OS, mainly to do with plugins / multimedia support, and hardware compatibility. But over the last four years of using it I’ve found a lot of programs I can’t hardly stand to be without. The file structure’s logical, it’s got user prefs up the ying-yang and it’s very money-cheap.

There are good things about Apple’s OS X, like the way iTunes has the radio bit built in, and the way it starts up iPhoto as soon as I plug the camera in — also I’ve been able to watch the .mov multimedia add-ons that come with a couple of music CDs I have; Amon Tobin’s Out from out where, and Skalpel’s eponymous release.
But it cost 60 bucks to get the disks, which is 50 more than Linux with heaps less functionality and only a little more smoothness (given that it’s a bulky OS on an older computer — slow slow slow!).

I can’t say I’m much of a Safari fan. Of all the applications where familiarity counts for everything, it’s web browsers. Safari won’t open Gmail, doesn’t give those tool-tip indicators of where I’d be off to when hovering over a link. Most times I don’t want to visit a link, I just want to see where it goes.

The partial solution is Fink, which will run Linux apps on OS X. I want GIMP among others, although it’s having to download a shitload of stuff to get it run, and I’m already pressed for space.
I intend to get an up-to-date apple laptop when I get some moola together.

Stay in your homes. Remain calm.

Dear Valued Reader, please note that the place where to be emailin’ me at has changed and I’m giving the gmail thing a go. Thanks to Quanta for offering it, I probably wouldn’t have bothered otherwise. At some poiint just about everyone has a whinge about spam and for the most part I’ve thought what’s the big deal? I’d get one, maybe two a day. Then I made that change of server a couple of months back and felt the full brunt of meaningless, confusing folly that is 98% of what was sent me. The thing that gets me is that while the subject line offers some kind of product, the content is a bunch of random words with no link to what they’re pushing. Anyway, I sure did start missing the filters that the other (otherwise flakey) webhost had. And maybe this new mail arrangement will fix that. Would it be a reasonable trade for everyone to use the same email system (gmail) if they could defeat spam completely? No way Hosé.

Google could be as benevolent as god itself and I still wouldn’t like the idea that so much of the storage and indexing of public (and now private) information is in their hands. It’s not really the immediate and much-talked about privacy issue that concerns me because let’s not be naive kids, The Man was already using gigantic computers to funnel all your electronic based communications through anyway. Echelon? The name isn’t important, it’s way bigger than US + UK based and I’m sure they’re interested in much more than repeated use of words like ‘bomb’ and ‘aeroplane’.

I think it’s interesting how much attention Google pay to the task of coming off as goodie-goodies. Why?
One comment in a thread re: their IPO stuck in my mind — if they don’t [want to] be evil, then why do the IPO at all? Greed, fear, evil. From what I’ve read they were already making plenty of clams out of their existing set up, certainly enough to fund whatever R&D they were interested in. Besides, the pot of gold isn’t gold, it’s ideas — and they’ve already got the biggest drawcard for getting more ideas = the highest concentration of pointy-heads on the planet. Money will only lure a certain amount of nerds, most want to work with other top-notch nerds.

mandrake 10.0 review

The community edition of mandrake’s latest offering was on the May LinuxFormat mag. DVD. I got it and plunged headlong into another irreversible clean install.
It’s like stumbling into the house, blurry eyed and seeing that someone’s rearranged all the furniture, smashed up your favourite chair, ate all the porridge except for one bowl which was smashed against the far wall. With all bits of oats and dried milk draining down the wallpaper.
And then jerked off on you bed and they’re still in the bed, snoring…

The community edition of mandrake’s latest offering was on the May LinuxFormat mag. DVD. I got it and plunged headlong into another irreversible clean install.
It’s like stumbling into the house, blurry eyed and seeing that someone’s rearranged all the furniture, smashed up your favourite chair, ate all the porridge except for one bowl which was smashed against the far wall. With all bits of oats and dried milk draining down the wallpaper.
And then jerked off on you bed and they’re still in the bed, snoring…

I think it’s the last time i do things that way. It’s like the longer there is between a new install, the more I get things just the way I want them, and the more I forget of how to fiddle things into order.
But i did want to enlarge the partition it was all on because of the ever-growing music collection.

Back in the old days there were people who wouldn’t touch the .0 release of a distro because there wes bound to be a lot of bugs in it — better to wait for .1 they’d say. The way mandrake do things (grabbing the newest of everything and shoving it into the next distro) you’d think there wouldn’t be a difference between a ‘new’ and a ‘revision’. But there was because once I’d installed, there was over 700Mb of updates (bugfixes, security updates and general updates) waiting to be d/loaded — which is a lot through a dial up.

– the evolution mail client is broken. Lucky it’s not my choice for mail.
– whatever new version of XMMS doesn’t have the hotkey ‘S’ to turn on/off the shuffle feature. Damn.
– Konqueror as a web browser is getting better (Kde 3.2, and this is the one that has the Apple Safari offerings incorporated) but for me at least still wasn’t rendering pages in a consistent way. Also, there needs to be some way of seperating some of the settings out from the file manager / web browser components.

– For the first tew days XMMS was broken, so I used Kde’s Noatun, which still sucks. It’s ugly and when the CPU got busy it’d mess with the continuity of a song.

– As a seperate issue, I gave Opera 7.50b a spin but it’s still really half-baked and had this stupid way of spreading the google text-ad window right across the browser frame.

— Neat things are: in Konqueror there’s this thing that’ll render images in a folder as an HTML page complete with thumbnails, which can be easily saved and shoved on the web.
– a screen saver I hadn’t seen before that will randomly show images from a file of jor choosing.

– connectiong to the Penguin Liberacion Frente via urpmi is a must for any ‘drake enthusiast.

the google ipo

I hadn’t bought any computer magazines for ages but saw this copy of Wired with google plastered all over it the other week. I got a 4000 word assignment coming up next month

I hadn’t bought any computer magazines for ages but saw this copy of Wired with google plastered all over it the other week. I got a 4000 word assignment coming up next month

and it’s got to be on some communications company and maybe google would be interesting.
I’m no business economics guru but the vibe i was getting from the article about how Initial Public Offerings go was that it sounded like a huge pain in the arse to be part of.

It’s funny — a while back I was thinking there’s almost no chance that I’ll ever be absurdly wealthy because I’m reluctant to get into a) fucking people over or b) fucking the environment over — and essentially all major enterprises do that in some form. This of course only leaves c) winning tattslotto … and I never buy a ticket.

But I was trying to pin down how it is that Google, as an enterprise is exploiting people or planet, and essentially they’re not. They treat their staff well — or at least this is the impression that pervades. Apparently their hardware philosphy is many and cheap boxes, so maybe they’d have to look into a friendly way to recycle or dismantle the machines when their time is up. But this is way-small fry.

So why is it that this one company can be so successful outside of the mainstream way of doing things? What do they have?
Answer = Good ideas. Some in the form of code – their PageRank system. The only weakness with ideas being your capital is that someone might possibly come up with a better idea.

I was wondering why they’d have to have an IPO at all. If it was me I’d be inclined to take the money and split — who’d want to go to all those stock holder meetings? Anyway, I read this today. Very interesting. Of course people will still throw money at them like crazy. I thought the little bit – a clause they wrote in, “don’t be evil” apt to what I’d been thinking.

Google adsense is a really amazing kind of development too when you think about it. Probably worth a whole post itself, but essentially, if communists were going to have advertisements then they’d probably look like those little text ads.
I mean – all things that are screwed up about advertising are removed – the way it denigrates people, and presents unrealistic representations of people, makes you want things you don’t need and screams in your face. You could say it takes all the art of it out too, but I can live with that.

There’s not even the option to be briefly wordy-clever. The text ads are just stating the ‘facts’. Maybe then the lying is done by the actual website that the ad. links to though.

L.A.M.P. and CMSes etc.

20040423_RAIN

Well I must say it’s nice to be setting this site up on an apache server — a L.A.M.P. set up no less. This is going to be a nerdy entry, you’re warned.
Yup, Linux, Apache, MySql and Php. The first year of spouting on the internet was on a unix server, but it was Zeus – and poorly maintained. And then, most recently – a microsoft server which has a lot of disadvantages. The other day I was able to set up an .htaccess file and put an end to hotlinking of images. Goodo!
Eventhough it’s only been a week or two that I’ve been using this new server, why spoil a fine record of opining on things way before time. I’m impressed with the unchangingness of the SmartArtist serving behaviour — it’s always there so far which is actually pretty good in these procrastination-filled times because I’m clicking through several times a day.

[Addendum to entry; 15/12/04. I’m not vindictive, but I think it necessary to add to this entry if people are going to google SmartArtist to here. My end personal experience with SmartArtist was that, while thier servers were reliable, they failed miserably in the customer service dept and were not true to their word.]

Stretched out on a RAQ, it all is, with a little picture raq

Was a little miffed at Nukulus, because I did my database backup just like I was supposed to before the move and then when it got to business here, I find out from the lads down at R&D *that backing up with Mozilla doesn’t work*, which is preposterous really when you think about it.
So I’m slowly dragging my way through hand cut n’ pasting 400 entries back into shape. I’ve done this kind of thing before — there’s actually this unhealthy little bit of my head that likes doing it. But it’s heaps worse this time because some MySql quirk means that everytime I did “this” or contracted a word, it stuck dreaded ‘s next to the inverted commas.

On the upside I had a little fiddle with pivot 1.10 and was rather impressed. Truth be told, Pivot was another of those things that didn’t cope very well with the MS server. But it set up smoothly and I tried out its conversion tool, switching over the other 400 entries from movable type to Pivot without any problems at all. So even though the archives are still split between two CMSes, at least I’m finally rid of all those movable type hyperlinks. It converted comments, tracbacks no probs.

And nucleus eXtreme Edition looks interesting. Just tried it out on the internal server and even though I don’t like the slickness and bland ‘skins’, some of the plugins it has configured are neat. If it’s not extreme or monster these days it’s nothing, am I right? I think I dislike the misappropriation of the word ‘skin’ re: the oter surfaces of computer programs even more than I find the word ‘blog’ reminds me of sitting in the toilet.

‘we’re nothing but the nerds they say we are’

For the last 12 months I’ve been using the internet service provider TPG and it’s coming up to when I fork over for another 12 months — I pay that way because it’s easier since I don’t have a credit card. And it’s still easily the most economical plan around.
I envisioned myself writing a little note to stick in with the money order that was gushing in nature about how they’d done such a good job at doing what they do, considering there’s so many other gigantic scuzzballs in the same bidness who can’t get it right. And also I was going to say that a good definition of success in implementing a service/technology was that the user (ME) tends to forget that they’re even using it — it’s just part of the whole …um thing. Anyone who knows me properly will know that I have serious hang-ups with 1) receiving praise, 2) giving out praise. Yet I was going to.

But then, the service in the last couple of days has been really dodgey, and dang that funny old recency effect, I just don’t want to write that little note now, despite the other 360 odd days being fine.

It only takes a couple of episodes where I’m sitting here staring into the void at 39 bits a second before I start to think about lugging all this nothing-coloured, plastic-shelled junk out to the footpath and then writing another kind of little note:
“Digital Age,       [notice I didn’t say ‘dear’]
come and get me when you’ve got those problems sorted out.
YS”

and I’d go back to writing ridiculous poetry and taking to pre-appointed public venues to read it out to people who I’ve been assured will clap quietly, quite politely — no matter how bad it is.

It’s just like 4000 years ago when sandals were just getting off the ground. They’d break down — straps would rip, soles would fall off at the most inconvenient of times. When was there a convenient time for your shoes to disitnegrate? Certainly not when you’ve got a mob of angry Essenes chasing you.
Only the intrepid wore sandals into mission-critical situations.

As a matter of fact, the whole Gnostic sect got started due to same basic sentiment mentioned above. With that wavery “I’m so close to losing it” sound in his voice, Simon proclaimed loudly to his posse, while pointing to small island yonder, “Right. We’re going over there. No. shoes. [swivels arm back to point at general population] YOU don’t come there with shoes.”
Then the Gnostics split.

Yet, here in the 21st century we’ve pretty much got the shoe construction thing licked and it’s rare that I think about all the trial and error that went into keeping my shoes together.

I’ve had this digital camera for 4 or something months now and still haven’t done a review of it. There’s still a lot of things I still haven’t tried with it too.

Here is my first effort as a motion pikkachure guy. I’d never bothered to try the motion-shot function at all, and even here I hadn’t either. It was an accident the dial was set to that function.
So it’s just of a big picture I saw in an op-shop, probably from some italian house — and only a couple of seconds but is 2Mb. I don’t know what the deal is there. I might have to read the manual.