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weblog 2002

Monday, December 30, 2002

warm and fuzzy about look and feel
in this article about redhat there is more talk about the look and feel and desktop linux. i think there is way too much emphasis placed on look and feel. the new mac os, windows xp, even the war of the linux windows clones. all this look and feel nonsense is setting the stage for the hail mary of linux plays: the corporate desktop.
the corporate desktop is the holy grail of operating system development. this would be a great accomplishment, and snazzy desktops are the calling cards of mandrake and the various windows clone war distros like lycoris, lindows, and xandros. the idea of a user friendly linux is at once cool and scary, especially in the corporate desktop setting. here is why:
  • the corporate desktop is littered with people who can't use computers:
    anyone who has worked desktop support can tell you that a real user in a nontechnical position (i.e. not a dev, not a network, system, or tech support type, and certainly not a geek) won't know a right click from a double click. most of these flapjacks can't find MS Word if it isn't clearly marked on the desktop. i have seen users panic over the drastic change from WIN95 to XP. what will happen when you put them in front of a mac os or linux machine? a home user has to buy or be given a computer. they may not be as savvy as the computer literate corporate user, but they have to freedom to choose to use or not to use a computer. if your job requires you to use your computer, then you don't have a choice in the matter. this leads many corporate users to think they should have a degree of control over their systems. in a way they are right, after all if you have to sit in front of it for 8 or more hours a day it should fit you and your working lifestyle. in a way this thinking is also wrong. after all, the computer isn't theirs, it's the company's. you can't use it to do what you want, you have to use it to do what the collective expects of you. this leads me to my next point.

  • the corporate desktop must be rigidly controlled:
    people hate to hear this, but it's a sad truth. as much as i hate telling people they can't have or do something with their computers, a corporate desktop is too important an instrument to let the livestock handle. i may sound like a hypocrite, since i take it upon myself to trick out every computer that i use regularly with my favorite tools and whatnot, but the fact is that if you do a bunch of non-standard stuff to a computer, then you can't expect someone else to support it. i am the sole source of support for all of my systems, so that gives me license to do what i want with it.
    this is the logic that drives most IT shops. they have no real power to say "you can't do that." it's not like installing a text editor or an FTP client is against the law or anything. and if you are an itinerant tech at the bottom of the food chain, you can't tell a manager in another department (who is higher on the food chan even if he/she means nothing to you) "you can't do that... you're not allowed." but an itinerant tech at the bottom of the food chain can say "i/we don't support that." which is a lame way of saying "i can't tell you not not to shoot yourself in the head, but i can tell you the results are disasterous."
    the name of the game in corporate desktops is sameness. the same hardware platform, the same OS, the same versions of the same apps, the same of everything. surprises are bad and individuality is worse. there is nothing worse than having to fix some oddball application which is the only one of it's kind. especially when the company that makes it has gone out of business and there is no website or tech support line to help you make sense of it all.

  • linux lets systems be locked down and still gives the user control: since linux is built on the unix way of doing things, each user can really only affect his or her home directory. unless you are root or some other priveleged account, you can't really break anyhting on the system that doesn't belong to you. the majority of the desktop affecting settings are kept in the home directory and can change from one user to the next. if the user's home directory is an NFS mount, then his or her home directory can follow him or her from one computer to the next. if the entire system runs from the network, like with the linux terminal server, then everything the user has can follow her from machine to machine. this means that if your computer breaks, all you have to do is move to an empty cubicle and start working again. as an added plus, broken terminals just need to be swtiched out for working ones, so walt the janitor could do all of your deskside support.

  • linux may still not be ready for the desktop, but it's getting there, fast. the latest versions of KDE and gnome are getting better looking with each release. i still rely on BSD/linux for my server type needs. this website is hosted on an openBSD box that i log into on a daily basis. in the past i have used linux boxes for a number of tasks. i have read a couple of articles where linux guys use tibooks for their desktop needs and linux or BSD for their other needs.
    posted by chris 11:42 PM

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

ranting and raving about open source
i am a confirmed open source guy. i think that open source software represents a real alternative to commercial software for a number of reasons. i read this collection of rants about the ignorance and arrogance in the open source community. while i am sure that while the open source community isn't deviod of ignorance or arrogance (it is full of developers, after all) there probably isn't any more or less of it than any commercial project or development effort.

having worked for a company on the bleeding edge of technology, and after trying to work with a company in a similar situation i can say one thing about technology, and money and above all, software:

  • many open source people are zealots: many of the more vocal people in the community are very passionate about open source and they tend to wave the flag a little too hard when dealing with people of dissenting opinions. sometimes i think that hurts the credibility of the community in the eyes of regular people. it makes us all look like desocialized geeks that are in desperate need of girlfriends.
  • many people think that OSS needs to beat MS to be successful: MS is in business to make money by selling software. they sell lots of other stuff too, but for the most part software is still the big money maker. the motivations behind open source are as varied as the people who make up the community. success for any open source project is hard to define, so let's just assume it's about making software. with those two assumptions the following must be true:

    1. MS will be successful as long as it continues to sell software and make money.
    2. OSS will be successful as long as it produces open source software.
    3. since the goals of both MS and OSS are not mutually exclusive, both can succeed or fail independant of the other.

  • Some peole claim that OSS is the silver bullet to solve the world's problems: while is would be nice to change the world, OSS can't adequately solve every computing problem. it can provide a good starting point for a great number of solutions, however.
  • many people still think OSS means you can't make money: at the risk of sounding like a relationship expert or talk show therapist, you can't make money by giving your product away. while you probably won't get rich bu selling OSS, here are some other ways to make money using open source software:

    1. sell something other than software: free/low cost software is a good way to dress up a product or service that you would like to sell. webhosts and hardware vendors like to do this.
    2. add value to OSS: do something with OSS that is so cool that people will pay for it, like the graphical installers from many linux distros, or the monitoring packages for running servers.
    3. use OSS to power your product/service: free/low cost software is a good building block for a product or service. Tivo is a good example.

posted by chris 12:12 AM

Monday, December 16, 2002

the shopping quandry

i don't like shopping. i do it on occasion, especially with the holidays coming up. i especially hate shopping for clothes because i am so finicky about what i wear. this may come as a shock to people who know me since i often look like a complete slob. i hate spending lots of money on clothes too, since i am always spilling things on my self, fighting with laser printers, wrestling with a dog, or some other thing that spells doom for my clothes.

like a lot of heterosexual males, i don't know or care where my clothes come from. i am very satisfied to buy clothes from walmart so long as they fit comfortably and are plain enough to not require a lot of thought when i get dressed. i hang on to my clothes for as long as i can because finding clothes that meet my rigid secifications are hard to come by.

i was forced to buy a coat tonight because the one i had disappeared. perhaps i lost it, maybe it got stolen.. who knows why it's gone, it's just gone. i put off shopping for a coat this weekend for a number of reasons, one of which was i wanted to give my coat a chance to return on it's own. often when i replace a lost article of any kind, it turns up shortly after it's been replaced, as if it wanted to see if i really would buy another coat or if i would just freeze to death, wondering why i didn't appreciate it while i had it. if a person did steal my coat, then they are in for a rude awakening. that coat refused to stay clean for any measure of time. someone's cat would take a nap on it, or someone would spill something on it, or whatever. just after you wash it, the stupid thing would get dirty again.

my coat wasn't particularly expensive... i probably bought it at the same place i bought groceries that week. but i had the coat for a couple of years because it was just right. it was heavy enough to keep you warm in the dead of winter, but not so heavy that it was tough to carry around or too hot to wear inside for a little while. so some criminal who probably molests barn yard animals has taken my perfect coat and forced me to shop for another.

when i went to the store i couldn't find a coat that i liked. i saw one that was made of PVC, but it was kind of heavy. in the end i bought two synthetic fleece sweatshirts that i can wear separately or together for a number of functions. the cost was less than an actual coat, and my hope is that the layers will be warmer than a single thicker layer would be. hopefully this will trick the universe into letting me have my coat back.
posted by chris 10:49 PM

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

why the new look?

well, i was tired of the old treatment, and while this one lacks color, it is easier to read in my opinion. i am in the process of ripping out the rant section. some lameoids were using it to hawk their porn sites. what a bunch of weasels, maybe a half dozen people hit this site monthly, advertise someplace else you losers! all that's left to do now is edit the image map on the splash page and make a new logo for the top.

i'd like to replace the rant board with something a little more sophisitcated, like phorum or phpbb, but i need to sweet talk bilbo into giving me rights to mysql first. it may not even be installed.

and finally, i got rid of the third column so now it's just a two column table, just like every other site i've ever designed :-)

posted by chris 9:46 PM

phone companies suck
i managed to get DSL installed and everything, but it's not as cool as my DSL was in seattle. you have to log in thru your browser (what's up with that?) and the guy who installed it made it so you can only have the DSL modem on the one jack that he installed it on. this torches my whole wireless plan since i wanted to use cables to connect one machine (my linux box) to the DSL router, and wireless any additional boxes. but since you can't move the DSL from the room it was installed in, (which is not the room where my linux box lives) i'll have to run cable to my linux box anyway, thus defeating most of the reason for wireless. on the plus side, i did manage to run the cable and only needed to drill one hole. i hate using powertools... i just know that i'm going to kill myself or something important.

and so despite the trials and tribulations, i am online once again!
posted by chris 2:58 PM

Thursday, October 17, 2002

it's been a while since i've written anything here, so i thought i should. i have been working as an IT grunt again, which is at once sort of uplifting and sort of depressing. the depressing part is that it's pretty low rent work, it's totally short term and not exactly incredibly technical. i install PCs and do the all the desk side support stuff that comes with it. the uplifting part is that i am doing what i know how to do again, rather than learning as i go which i was doing at agital, the start up company that i was working at before it went under. i can do the job with my eyes closed. it's also cool to be helping users again... i had forgotten how great it is to save the day for a person who can't work. for every stupid user strory i have there is probably two or three grateful user stories... so that's good stuff. the final plus is that it's at a children's hospital, so my work, how ever indirect it may be, is helping sick children.

i am working system support in yet another icky mixed environment. NT and novell, mainframes, the works. i so hate configuring terminal emulators and trying to find servers on novell trees. it's no secret that i am not a big supporter of microsoft and it's questionable legal practices, but i am still very much a dyed in the wool NT sytems guy. novell is cryptic at best... all you can ever browse to are printers... if you're not sure what you're looking for (the whole point of browsing) you can't really see what's out there. and i thought that novell was supposed to be so great for file and print services. i'd rather be dead than red :-) i hate setting up mainframe sessions too. on the client end, it always works, but there is always something wrong on the mainframe side. i have worked for three companies that had mainframes and the results were the same: users who think that i can't set their sessions up cuz something on the back end doesn't work. most mortal humans don't get that somethings happen from windows, like screen prints, and somethings happen on the mainframe, like all the crap that comes up on the screen. i set up the client, so i fix the stuff that breaks in windows, but since i'm not a dinosaur farmer, the stuff on the mainframe is out of my hands. to the average user, all they know is that their app doesn't work and i can't fix it.

in other news, i finally got DSL. i have two boxes to get onlne, and i can't really wire them together (can't punch holes in walls to run wires), so i'm gonna do the wireless thing really soon :-)

posted by chris 6:05 PM

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

getnews is back!!

yep, we have updating headlines again thanks to bilbo installing the wget package, so you can now have all the news that's fit to parse in the news section.

when i say we, i really mean me. no one else comes here but me and the one or two people a month who take a wrong turn onto this site, and all i do is read the news :-)
posted by chris 7:39 PM

Monday, September 02, 2002

getnews is busted for the time being, some changes on the backend have put that portion of the site offline. there's plenty of headlines, but they won't be updated until further notice. i whined to bilbo, so he'll fix us up. he always does.

posted by chris 6:14 PM

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

i have been staying with my parents while i find a job and a place to live. i am languishing without high speed internet access. i have been reduced to checking my mail using my mother's computer and dialing in to AOL. oh how the mighty have fallen.

in other news, i saw a blurb on some news show about a known terrorist who was found shot dead in his house. now, the guy's name excapes me at the moment, but here's the interesting part: the guy's home was in bagdhad (the capitol of iraq). i think it's great that someone has finally taken some guerrilla action against global terrorism. we'll never know who did it, or why. BTW, if it drops from the news immediately and is never emntioned again, that means the US or israel was involved. the fact that a terroist was killed isn't the big news. the big news is that it happened in iraq, on iraqi soil. when you match that with the iraqi embassy takeover in berlin, and the release of the tapes to CNN from al quaeda, you can see that the next stage of the war on terrorism is on the horizon. will we invade iraq? probably. i hope we do.

here is a little message to the rest of the terrorists out there: playing with chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction will get you killed. there are lots of countries in this world with nuclear capabilities, but only one country has ever used them, and that's the united states. the japanes learned a hard lesson in american warfare. so go ahead and video tape yourselves playing with chemical weapons cuz you're just raising the stakes. i said it before: if you campaign for an ass kicking, sooner or later you're gonna get elected.
posted by chris 12:56 PM

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

ok, it's been a while... i know. here is the deal, i had to leave seattle and move to ohio. it's a long and tragic story, but suffice it to say that divorce, cross country travel, and the united states postal service all suck.

that's right ladies and gentlemen, i drove from seattle to cincinnati. it took me ~4 days, i stopped once at a hotel in denver and crashed at rest areas in idaho falls and east st. louis. my odyssey across this great land of ours has taught me a few things:
1) the united states is way too big. we should donate all that empty land in the middle to some one. that would be a good place for a fundamentalist muslim state, right there next to utah :-)
2) montana is a cool place to drive thru. i took a couple of turns in the mountains at 110 MPH (in a honda civic no less).
3) you really shouldn't talk to people at rest stops, especially at 3AM. i ended up giving my sweatshirt to a guy who was on the run from the FBI and the ATF (did i mention that he was also really drunk?). he was traveling with a group of apache outlaws. it's a miracle that i am alive today.
4) i don't really know what makes a person an apache outlaw.
5) there is absolutely no civilization between denver, colorado and junction city, kansas.

that was the longest drive i have ever made. it was also the longest time i have gone without internet access in years. i was almost reduced to using the wireless web on my phone to check my email. thankfully i was able to regain control before i did something rash.

posted by chris 7:41 AM

Monday, June 24, 2002

just like i always do, today is monday morning and i talk about what i watched on TV this weekend. i saw a series of ads from apple this weekend about people switching from PCs to the Mac. i think that is a very gutsy move on apple's part, picking a fight with MS like that. i am by no means against the apple, there is a real sense of style in their products that i kind of like, and anything that will compete with microsoft to drive prices down is great in my opinion. i hope that apple does manage to get some converts, like during the crusades and the spanish inquisition. my friend pointed out that he thought we were past the "choose my hardware plaform over theirs" point. appearantly we aren't.

if apple is hurting for business, why don't they make a version of mac OS x for the x86 platform? i would think that it could win them a ton of new converts, since there are millions of geeks out there who already own i386 hardware and love to dabble with operating systems.
posted by chris 10:51 AM

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

technology is no place for wimps
i read this article about this guy who is trying to chronicle his first linux experience. at first i thought that this would be a good thing, but in the end i was wrong. i should tell you now that i still carry the scars from years of working at a help desk and supporting regular people and their computing problems. in other words, i am known to fly off the handle when people demonstrate technological illiteracy. in the great wrestling match of information technology, the author in question is a 90 pound weakling. now, i am not the most technical guy in the world, in fact when it comes to development i am still pretty wet behind the ears. i live in seattle and i know some pretty hardcore developers, and i know what it's like to feel technically out classed. in the immortal words of dennis miller: "i don't want to go off on a rant here but..." this journalist shouldn't be writing for a technology publication. sports writers know stuff about sports, which is why they write about it, the same with people who write for medical publications. if you can't use your windows PC then why on earth would you install linux on it? if anyone expects to use the linux operating system, then they should learn something about unix first. being able to surf the web and write letters to your mom does not prepare you to command a multi-user operating system like linux. our journalist picks a pretty serious distribution, redhat, not the toughest to set up in the world, but certainly not the easiest. if he is a desktop guy who knows nothing about unix why isn't he using one of the desktop friendly distros like lycoris, lindows, or mandrake? these distros are meant to help people ease into linux and have very strong user friendliness.

sometimes i think that people forget what computers really are, which is complicated delicate machines that require certain amount of skill to operate. i didn't use a computer seriously until i was 19, in the apex of windows for workgroups, just prior to windows 95. until that point i had tinkered with computers as a child, and i even took an introduction to programming class in highschool, where we played around with ancient versions of apple computers. i din't like computers at that time because they were hard to use and there was no "cool factor" associated with them. in fact, i hated computers. especially printers. they always jammed and never printed straight.

now that everyone in the free world has a computer, there are millions of ordinary people using them. now we have a computer tv network and everything, there are even unix based PCs available from walmart now. the folks at apple and microsoft would have you believe that computers are cute, cuddly and friendly now, but just below the surface computers are still complicated and unforgiving. you hear me talking, techno-weenie newpaper boy?
posted by chris 6:28 PM

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

the second horseman of the apocalypse
here it is folks, appearantly walmart is selling PCs with linux preloaded. yep, the world is ending, soon. the day is rapidly apporaching when i will need an alpha, a sun, or an amiga just to stay geeky.

posted by chris 11:04 PM

Thursday, June 06, 2002

i have started slipping in my blogs... what a shame.

i have seen the trailer for minority report way too many times, now that it's every other commercial on tv it's driving me nuts. like other movies that have been way over publicized (like arlington road or A.I.) i now have no desire to see it. i first saw the trailer when i went to see resident evil. which is now something like 6 months ago. i hate when movies are hyped like that because it makes me groan whenever i see an ad for it. i never saw A.I. and i only rented arlington road out of video store desperation.

the last two films i have seen in the theater, spider man and attack of the clones, have been great. i have been tempted to see spider man again... i saw lord of the rings twice in the theater, and i saw attack of the clones twice as well. lord of the rings will be out on DVD soon, and i am very excited about that. i like going to the movies, especially really good movies. i have seen most of my favorite movies in the theater, like the matrix, pulp fiction, and fight club. i didn't see office space in the theater, but i did rent it as soon as it came out. office space is very popular among all of my friends, so i have seen it a lot. some films that i have seen on video, grow on me in time. i really liked the replacements, and for a while it was on twice a day on HBO, so i have seen it a lot.

i have seen a couple of bad films in the theater, like eyes wide shut. that film was so bad it made me angry. nicole kidman got semi-nude, and that couldn't save it from being awful. in fact, even the satanic group sex rituals weren't enough to save the film. i think the thing i hated most about the film, other than the fact that it never seemed to end, was the music. the same 4 piano keys over and over again. i am a big stanley kubrick fan... i loved clock work orange, full metal jacket, and 2001. i even liked dr. strangelove, which is in black and white, and i normally steer clear of black and white films after seeing eraserhead. so i was looking forward to it being a good film, and it wasn't.

sometimes i get pretty emotional during films. schindler's list (which i saw in germany of all places) left me feeling sad and angry, and it made me see why the us does what it does in the world. saving private ryan was also pretty emotional. the opening scene with the beach landing was very difficult for me to watch (i'll probably never watch it again for that reason), and the part where private ryan says he won't leave his brothers was one of those heroic moments that bring tears to my eyes. i was talking with a friend about the concept of the macho tear-jerker. normally, i hate watching deliberately depressing films. spending two hours watching someone die from cancer is not my idea of good fun. but sometimes in a film there are moments of heroism or great fatherly moments that make me cry. i call these macho tear jerker moments, because they are at once a very masculine and very emotional moment. blackhawk down was full of those moments, and there is one one those mements at the end of best of the best 1 (when deyhan apologizes to tommy for his loss) and hook (when jack tells his father that he believes in him).
posted by chris 10:33 AM

Friday, May 31, 2002

there have been a number of articles in the past week on unified linux. for those of you who haven't heard Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE, and Turbolinux are working togehter to make a standards based linux distro in an effort to compete with redhat's hold on the linux market. at the risk of starting a holy war, i think that this is a good idea, but since it's all the little players in the linux community, it's not that big of a threat to redhat. also, i hope that this doesn't degrade into the same kind of war that AT&T vs Berkely ended up being, since it's a waste of energy trying to one up a very similar competitor. competition is good it makes products become better and keeps prices low, wasting time and money on lawsuits is not good because it diverts resources from innovation and raises prices.
posted by chris 10:19 AM

Monday, May 27, 2002

i have spent the better part of this weekend putting up a roleplaying webpage in celebration of my return to role playing. you can see it here. it will probably get a little more of my attention in the coming months, but like a cat does with all things it catches, i will grow tired of playing with it and bite its head off.
posted by chris 1:10 AM

Friday, May 17, 2002

in an article i just read, meta and giga have parted views on mainframe linux. i am by no means a maiframe guy, i am barely a UNIX guy. i am a PC guy tho, and i think that linux will bring balance to the force between the PC world and the Mainframe world.

there are basically two religions in this space: those who share processing, and those who distribute it. the ibm approach, which is to consolitate all your needs onto a single god-like machine, advocates sharing disk, memory, and processor resources. the other religion, the PC approach, is to give each person his/her own inexpensive processor so that they don't have to share, and when you absolutely must share, then each shared resource should also have it's own processor as well.

here is the shared processing scenario in the extreme: xyz inc. has 500 employees all plugged into a single $500,000 god-like system (true mainframe guys don't think computers that cost less than a million should be called computers). the employees all have thin clients that use browsers to connect to the system at a nominal cost ($750 each) and there are 10 networked printers. the IT department is made up of 5 dinosuar farmers that never leave the computer room (dinosuar pen) for any reason, except to replace burned out terminals and printers. some users require more resources than others, and some applications require more resources than others but everyone dips into the same pool. everyone gets the same equipment, applications, and peice of the collective processing pie.

in the extreme distributed processing scenario, xyz inc still has 500 employees, but now each one has a $1500 personal computer and 25 servers valued at $10,000 each to provide all the shared resources the company needs. there are still 10 networked printers, but some employees have scanners or special purpose printers that are not shared. the IT department is a platoon of technicians and phone jockeys that travel to and from the data center and user's deskst for all manner of problems. each user is an island unto itself, with it's own unique equipment, applications, and tiny little processing pies.

in the shared example, each user is easy to set up, and maintain and update. problems are easy to identify and fix unless the mainframe itself is down, then everyone is offline at once. if you hire 150 new employees, hopefully you can scale the mainframe up to meet the demand, if not you need to replace it with a new one. in the distributed example, each user is difficult to support, repair and maintain, but if they are offline, the remaining users probably won't be too affected. if you hire 150 new employees, all you have to do is buy 150 new PCs and possibly another server.

both models work failry well, both have their drawbacks. the PC types are trying to share more with new tecnologies like clustering, distributed filesystems, grid computing, and peer to peer, distributed processing is trying to make better use of idle cpu and disk on multiple PCs. terminal servers and application servers more closely resemble the shared model. the mainframe types are trying to distribute more by trying to "virtualize" servers, or slice thier mainframes up into spearate but still shared pieces.

thanks to linux, you can use one operating system to support both religions, whether you want to put it on a single monlithic mainframe or a thousand little celerons.
posted by chris 6:16 PM

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

in keeping with my excitement about starwars, here is a cool little thing my friend TomD sent me.

sammuel l jackson as a jedi didn't surprise me. my one complaint about lord of the rings was that hugo weaving played the elf king. hugo was great in the matrix, but he looked and acted too much like agent smith as the elf king. to the point that he said "the ring must be destroyed" in the exact voice he used in the matrix to say "find them and destroy them." the only thing he was missing in lord of the rings is the sunglasses.
posted by chris 9:48 AM

Monday, May 13, 2002

all right, 3 posts in 4 days, if i keep this up... well, nothing will happen.

writing to my blog makes me feel like peggy hill with her musings. especially when i write at length about nothing in particular.

i saw a bunch of startwars stuff this weekend, including a fan film awards show on the sci fi channel. i felt so elite when i saw the troops film which i had seen a thousand times on the internet. star wars is my favorite geeky film series. i have never been a star trek guy, at least not any of the new star trek stuff. i used to watch the original star trek reruns after school when i was a kid. i always admired captain kirk's ability to sleep with and/or beat the crap out of any being in the universe. i never got into battle star galactica or buck rogers, but star wars was definitely for me. my father took me to see the first film when i was like 4 years old. the great thing about reviving old things from my childhood is that i can now share it with my kids, like spiderman, star wars, and the lord of the rings. for the record, i didn't take my 6 year old to see lord of the rings in the theater since i though it might be too scary for her. i haven't taken her to see spider man yet, since there were a few parts with the green goblin that might be a little too much. watching either of them on DVD is no big deal since we can turn it off and she can watch cartoons if need be.

this fan fare surrounding star wars is pretty cool. with the rise of the internet, and geekiness becoming more accepted and even encouraged, it is ok to camp out for tickets, bring your lightsaber to the movies, and even wear your xwing pilot costume if you want to. imagine this buzz in the 80's, when nerds were targeted by bullies and what not. i saw episode I the night it opened with the folks in their darth maul costumes and everything and i thought it was great, of course i did comment on the fact that anyone who wore such a costume may have come with friends, but no one came with their girlfriends/wives. i think i only made a couple of jokes about those folks being 30 year old virgins :-)

i love geek pride, it's the only sort of culture or ethnicity that i have. plus, it's fairly well accepted in corporate america. being a geek is almost cool, thanks to ultra rich geeks like bill gates. maybe some punk rocker will become the world's richest man, or jello biafra will be elected president, and punk pride will take off. i could spike my hair again and everything. wouldn't that be cool?

the thing i loved most about working for a startup software company was the respect that the geeks got there. our marketing and sales guys were your typical business guys, good looking, out going, sociable, the whole bit. our engineers were your typical engineers, spastic, geeky, argumentative, and basically the antithesis of our business guys. the engineers were traeted like gods, becuase they made the product. as a program manager, i had to represent the engineers when dealing with the business guys, and represent the business guys when dealing with the engineers, but at the end of the day, i was in the R&D department, and not BizDev, so i was still on the winning team.
posted by chris 11:51 AM

Saturday, May 11, 2002

i watched a re-run of a show about nostradamus. the first time i saw it, i must have been 9 or 10 years old, which means it was probably made in the early 80's or possibly the late 70's. it was narrated by orson welles and had some fairly cheesy dramatizations of nostradamus and his prophecies. this would have been the apex of the cold war, and the height of the arms race. it scared the crap out of me then. in the years of desensitization that i like to call my teenage years, i grew immune to blood, gore, explosions, and even sex on tv. to this day, the only things on tv or film that truly scares me is stuff about nostradamus, and stuff about the kennedy assassination.

now that the nostradamus film is 20+ years old i am impervious to it's effects now. i am, however, amused that the dates the "astronomers" said these things would occur. appearantly, the late 80's was supposed to be the beginning of the end. perhaps it is. one interesting thing, was the great big war that is supposed to last 27 years, beginning some time between 1994 and 1999. the middle east would start it by attacking new york. at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, 9/11 could be it, two years late. thankfully it wasn't a nuclear strike.

as you may know, i have lived in washington for a little over a year now, after moving from ohio. i experienced my first earthquake at seatac airport and i was not impressed. as much as i like the west coast, i miss the security of living in the middle of nowhere. in all of the scientific worst case scenarios, from a nuclear holocaust, to killer volcanos, to giant eathquakes, to the melting of the polar ice caps, nothing ever happens to ohio.

the biggest difference between cincinnati and seattle (other than the weather) is the people. the people in seattle seem to live in a fog of some sort. maybe they are all coming down from thier espresso highs, or perhaps their prozac dosages are too high. it's almost like they aren't self aware, the way they drive and the way they share the oddest details of their lives with total strangers. it is a refreshing change from ultra-conservative cincinnati.
posted by chris 12:46 AM

Thursday, May 09, 2002

ok, i was lying to myself when i said that keeping a weblog would help me keep my website up to date. i did some work on the site using PHP. php is good stuff, at least as good as ASP, maybe even better. soon, i will replace the rant board with some kind of PHP message thing and i will add a post card thing. i though about calling the postcards kill-o-grams, unless of course i can find a name that's even cheesier. i have the sample code that i will hack to suit my needs, i just need to sit down and do it.

redhat will soon release version 7.3, which is an odd move, since i don't think they have ever released a .3 version. i have been a fan of redhat since the 5.1 days, and to my knowlege they usually do .0,.1 and .2 releases. does anyone know why? are they holding their 8.0 release number in case the AOL purchase goes thru?

speaking of unix, i saw freeBSD for sale at office depot. that my friends, is the first horseman of the apocalypse. the world is now officially ending, and unix has offically become passe. the day my parents (mom + dad @ aol) ask me to install freeBSD, i will have to go buy a sun box or an amiga in order to remain l33t ;-)

i have been using windows XP professional, and i am at once impressed and disappointed. just like when i moved from NT4 to win2k pro, i have to dig around to find stuff that i need to change (like adding cygwin to my path so i can use unix commands instead of dos) and there are times when i simply would not let me delete shortcuts and stuff. and the defualt desktop theme is awful. it's just too cute and cuddly for my taste. just like active desktop, it's the first thing i shut off. as far as being impressed, there are some nice additions, like the fact that i was able to use all of the PCMCIA network cards and wireless cards that i happened to plug in to it. this is a game that you play with your wireless friends, using different wireless cards as you visit their networks. having a neutered version of terminal server is handy for a number of reasons, so i like that a lot. i have always grudgingly moved form one version of windows to the next, and i will grudgingly move to XP pro. i am a laptop user, and laptop linux still has some issues. until the day that those are solved, i will stick with win2k server for my laptop computing needs :-)
posted by chris 10:15 AM

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