July 20, 2002

Rasterman on the Linux Desktop

In this interview, Rasterman (the found of the Enlightenment project) talks about Linux on the desktop and how it's already dead in the water. He also discusses Linux in the embedded market, GNOME and KDE, etc.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:01 AM

July 19, 2002

China to build own version of Windows 98

Sounds strange, but according to The Register:

China has kicked off a development programme intended to produce a home-grown operating system with equivalent functionality to Windows 98, and with compatibility with Office 2000 and Word, reports The People's Daily this morning.


Posted by jzawodn at 01:16 PM

A Challenge to Microsoft

I've used Microsoft operating systems for a long, long time. I've used Linux and Unix for nearly as long. I'd like Microsoft to build an operating system that doesn't require me to reboot the computer each time I install a piece of their software. Office is about the only non-trivial Microsoft install that doesn't seem to need a reboot.

How sad. They try so hard to convince us that their operating system the best it can be. But then you run into crap like this. I don't want to reboot. I have 7 applications running.

The only time I ever reboot my Linux or FreeBSD boxes is to upgrade the kernel (or to change/move the hardware).

Posted by jzawodn at 12:24 AM

Perl 5.8.0 is out!

Woohoo! Here's the official announcement. Hopefully this will make life easier for those who must deal with character encodings in Perl.

Posted by jzawodn at 12:05 AM

July 18, 2002

OSCON: The Insanity Begins Soon

Well, I have some last-minute adjustments to make for my presentations at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention.

I'm officially crazy. I have a 3-hour tutorial and two 45-minute talks. And now I'm apparently doing one (maybe two) lightning talk too. Guess I better get cracking. And triple-checking my equipment.

So, who else is going to be there? I'm virtually certain that Jon, Ask, and Derek will all be there. But I'm sure there will be others who run across this entry. Lemme know. Or stop by and say "hi". I'm hoping to meet some blog folks this year.

I'm looking forward to a great conference. There are a ton of good talks again this year. And I'm on the team that will win the quiz show for the third year in a row. Plus there will be a lot of new folks to meet and chat with.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:25 PM

July 17, 2002

How crazy are the devout Mac fans?

I ran across this article yesterday in someone's blog. It's an excellent rant on how crazy you must be to be one of those really, really die-hard Mac fans.

Don't get me wrong, I like Macs. I have a TiBook that I use a lot. But it's pretty amusing.

Posted by jzawodn at 03:15 PM

Amazon API + Google UI

This is too cool. It's like having the Google folks to a makeover on Amazon's site. What cool use for the new Amazon web services.

Posted by jzawodn at 02:36 PM

Blog template updates...

Thanks to the excellent tips on diveintomark (day 27 and day 26), I've made some adjustments that make Lynx, Links, w3m, and Google happier. And IE/Mozilla users won't notice much unless you view the source.

One of these days, I'll apply the other 25 days worth of lessons to make my site all spiffy and accessible.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:40 AM

July 16, 2002

Amazon.com RESTs (and SOAPs) it up!

As reported here, Amazon.com has launched a new suite of Web Service API (both REST and SOAP) that allow you do a number of interesting things.

Their site, http://www.amazon.com/webservices/ allows you to download a ZIP file containing the docs, sample Java and Perl code, WSDL files, and so on. Neat stuff. (Just like Google, Amazon requires that you apply for a unique key.)

However, after scanning the API, I've noticed a missing feature. You can add items to a wishlist but there's no way to search for, query, or download the contents of a wishlist. Send a note to webservices@amazon.com if you'd like that feature.

Note that this is all in addition to their existing Amazon Associates XML imitative. (Wonder how long until eBay and Yahoo! Shopping do something similar?)

Posted by jzawodn at 03:24 PM

Advertising, Media, and Big Business...

So I was reading a thread on slashdot about pop-up ads on television. A co-worker passed me the link because it was supposed to reinforce an idea that he's been trying to get into my head. It didn't work. But while reading the thread, I came across a post (attributed to an unknown author) that really sums up the way I feel somedays about our little capitalist hell hole.

I would just link to it, but I know it will vanish someday. So here it is, thanks to the magic of cut and paste...

I've been targeted right out of the market.

I've had it. I can't take any more advertising. Television, radio, magazines, billboards, even the Internet for Christ's sake. Everywhere. Why do they keep targeting me? I never did anything to them. I don't even buy anything! They're wasting their time! Fast food makes me feel like shit, soft drinks make me dizzy, candy is disgusting, chips make my stomach hurt, I don't smoke, and any band that has ever been advertised anywhere sucks unequivocally. I eat tortillas and vegetables, I drink tap water. I ride my $40 bike for entertainment. I buy a new pair of Dickies at the army navy store every year and I get all my other clothes at Costco in 3-packs. My car works fine, I use my Internet connection for long distance, I've had the same boots for three years and re-sole them when they wear out. As far as booze goes, well, as long as it's wet...

So why do they keep attacking me? Why are they filling every square inch of every available space in my life? Above urinals, on concert tickets, underneath the ice at hockey games, on blimps, in video games, as props in movies, plugs in rap songs, on shitty Web Sites (No, I will not visit your motherfucking sponsor. If you're not in it for the love, and you can't figure out any better way to pay for your site than by slapping some ugly, corrupted banner across the top of your pathetic work, then fucking close up shop, kill yourself, and leave the Web to non-polluters). They'd advertise on the backs of my eyelids if they could get away with it, and I can't hack it anymore. They win. I lose. They succeeded. I failed. Like Brian Wilson, I just wasn't built for these times. I fold. Here are all my cards. Keep the pot, keep my ante, keep the goddamn jacket on the back of my chair for all I care, I can get another at Costco. I'll be out in the parking lot getting drunk and yelling at cute girls because I can no longer stand the taste of tentacles. Marketing has poisoned everything worthwhile under the sun, so I'm giving it all up. Everything.

But the way I figure it, there's no real loss. I've seen all of the episodes of the Simpsons 200 times each. Most of the good writing was done 100 years ago. I haven't listened to FM radio in years. I could play all my records beginning to end alphabetically and I'd be 76 years old when I got to the Zeni Geva. Online culture is a fucking yawn, only good for buying stuffed goats on Ebay and getting cracked copies of $1000 software. Movies always end up at the 99 cent video store across the street eventually, and you can fast forward through those commercials. My girlie's cute and the corner bar has Pabst on tap. What else matters?

True, by shutting myself off to everything, I'm probably limiting my future potential as a 'community building' or 'bleeding edge' cog in someone's nightmarish vision of Internet profitability, but fuck, a simple read through my writing should've cured that anyway (Note to potential employers: The bidding starts at $120,000 a year with full dental).

So I'm out. No more.

I just feel bad for those of you I'm leaving behind. You'll be wearing your Slave Labor Nikes, sweating under a Third World Vest, listening to Everqueer or Fratboy Slim, your hair styled stupidly with gasoline and aborted pig placentas, trying to choke down a Double Meat Fuck Splattered Cow Testicles On The Slaughterhouse Floor Pus Coagulated Lactacious Secretion Yellow Dye #2 Deluxe. Man, will you be looking dumb. It makes me want to cry. You poor, oversugared demographic you. You're filling your apartments, your bodies, and your minds with useless junk. You stagger under your own weight, throwing money in random directions until you collapse and die, buried by a bunch of people who you failed to create meaningful human bonds with, who forget about you on the way home from the funeral.

Maybe I'm just oversensitive, but I actually feel those fingers reaching out at me - cute little girl fingers, feeling at my face like a bind man, pulling at the loose threads all over my brain, trying to find a sensitive one, one that tweaks me. Desires to be successful, attractive to the opposite sex, spiritually satiated, or conversely, the fears of disease, dismemberment, of being outcast, of repressed homosexual desires. Herd mentality as dictated by herd mentality. A gas mask of soiled wool, worn in a steaming shower of chlorinated pond water. A lumbering culture created by profit motive, existing as window dressing to disguise the brutal cynicism of the architects, the brassy checks and balances of accountants bleating commands to the flunky tastemakers on the production line. The subversion of anything subverting. The conversion of something dangerous into something profitable. The gutting of the lion and the championing of the taxidermist. And the puffy vests, my god, the puffy vests....

I give it one more shot.

I hit that little "on" button, and immediately this little red dot appears on my forehead. I feel the barrel rising on the other side of the glass as some powersuited executive attempts to get me in his sights. His scope is the best money can buy, but my nausea and skittishness mark me as difficult prey. I make a sprawling leap over a pile of books, spilling a glass of wine and sending my cats scattering. The TV takes a shot at me. It misses, but after the smoke clears, there's a shimmering can of Pepsi on the coffee table, seductively held by a well manicured (but severed) hand. Then the Taco Bell dog is outside, scratching at my window, singing "That's Amore", the secret code that alerts Col. Sanders and Ronald McDonald to get their tumor inducing grease guns at the ready. "We have a resistor! Alert Cap'n Crunch and Mrs. Butterworth. Tell Hogan to pull that Subaru around!" And then, as the entire posse of 1-800-COLLECT goons attempt to joke their way through the front door, a helmeted uberyouth does a backflip on rollerblades against the window, almost crushing the Taco dog, thankfully getting tangled in the iron jungle of security bars designed for such a moment. The severed Pepsi hand launches itself across the room onto the stereo, turns it to HOTROCK 99.5 FM and starts dancing suggestively on the turntable. Warm, gooey songs ooze from the speakers, blurring the lines between commercial and product, product and art. The walls are running with honey, blood, and Gatorade. Limp Bizkit tries to sign me up for the Rap Metal MasterCard, but is outvolumed by a chorus of creepy NY Gap models, dead eyed and Children of the Damned style, singing nostalgic 80s songs with cool detachment, trying to sell me vests. Close inspection reveals UPC codes on the backs of their beautiful necks and a legion of bulimic girls behind them, mascara mixing with puke on ten thousand toilet bowls. Budweiser frogs are crawling out of the toilet bowls. A one-eyed, mutilated Asian girl holds a pair of new Levi's against the window with a thin, purple arm and starts screeching "It's a Small World After All" at the top of her lungs. Magic, The Old Navy dog, is sniffing butts with the Taco Bell dog, who had since bit the Asian girl on the leg and now yelling something about Gordidas. A waifish beauty suddenly appears on my bed, vying for my attention, trying to talk me into a new car, her hand slowly unbuttoning her blouse, batting her doe-ishly brown eyes, "C'mon Mark. It's only a test drive. No one ever has to know."

Realizing my one escape, I yank my battered wallet out of my back pocket and pull out a twenty dollar bill. The entire scene freezes. All eyes are transfixed to the damp, smelly piece of paper. Andrew Jackson snickers and you can almost smell the cannibalized Indian on his breath. A miraculous cross breeze flows through my apartment, and I let the money go. It catches an upward draft, a hot air thermal, and is gone out the window.

And then, something even stranger happens. The spokespeople, animals, models, body parts, and corporate whores all disappear in a anti-climactic 'puff' of yellow smoke, leaving a slight smell of perfumed intestine twisting through the air. My twenty freezes in mid flight about thirty feet above the ground. A helicopter drops out of the sky, and lowers a rope down to the cash. A man in a business suit slides down the rope, commando style, and captures the money in his mouth, gives a contemptuous snort, mumbling something like "sucker" under his breath. And then the helicopter is gone, vanishing somewhere behind the radio towers spiking the top of Queen Anne Hill. Everything is quiet again.

I didn't just turn that TV off. I unplugged the motherfucker.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:28 AM

July 15, 2002

Ethernet on the last mile?

Nice. This makes me drool over what we could have in a few years. Mmmm. True broadband.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:30 PM

July 14, 2002

RealPlayer for OS X. Where is it?

I just sorta figured it must exist. But a visit to real.com has proven otherwise. In the "Select OS" dropdown, Mac OS X not an option. Is there an alternative player that can play back RealAuido streams for OS X?

Posted by jzawodn at 08:00 PM

More MySQL Practices

When running through my web traffic stats, I noticed a link from Tony Bowden. He has a blog entry up that comments on my comments on the "10 MySQL Best Practices" article from a few days ago. It's too bad Radio users and MovableType users can't use TrackBack together (yet?).

Anway, other than agreeing with me, he goes on to make several good points about storing binary data in MySQL, using ANSI SQL (and the problem of premature portability), normalization, AUTO_INCREMENT fields, and more. Good stuff. Give it a read.

Update: I appear to have hit upon a popular topic. Here's Kasia's take on it, and here's what Brian Jepson has to say.

Posted by jzawodn at 01:27 PM