Friday, July 29, 2005

I gave my boss a Knoppix 4.0 DVD and a Knoppix 3.7 CD today. He was a little *nix-curious. I also read a lovely article on Honestly, I'm not sure how much I like the writing style overall, but that having been said, it certainly has it's good sections...

"Unix, in short, is the wheel. As in “don’t reinvent the wheel.” Its design is rich and primal. It comes from a time before mice you could plug into a computer, before computers could make sounds greater than a single tone of beep. Before icons, before graphics entirely.

Only words.

When I finish the first draft of this essay, instead of dragging a sheet of dog-eared paper from a floppy disk to a hard drive, I’ll type:

cp /mnt/floppy/geek.txt ~/words/crunchable/

And the end of the world is only one sentence away:

rm -rf /

The commands are obscure and sleek, the way poetry is. If you want pictures of pieces of paper and hard drives, there is software that will give them to you. But the words at the core of Unix will never be erased. Because of that, the pictures eventually feel like vanity.

"But I also like it because its spartan nature is a boon, in a strange way. I can’t really browse the Web very well with it, and shooting people on the Internet would be more slide show than massacre.

In other words, I can only do things with it that matter.

I can write.

Geeks ask a lot of their computers. We learn about new uses for computers and immediately want to try them out ?�� we want to make our machines do things they never even thought of wanting to do before. We want more than the reasonable. We want five kinds of fantastic all happening at once.

Typing these letters on this computer in the dark is different. There are no distractions. Nothing teasing me away from my thoughts.

Only words.

Operating systems are just like anything else in this world. They come in different materials, and different qualities. In windows, everything may be shiny and it may even work sometimes, but it's all made out of plastic, the same as everything else served to consumers in this country. There's always the threat that if you push it or pull it or bend it or press it, it will break, and there's nothing that you can do about it.

OS X feels like aluminum to me. It has a light feeling, not the heavy steel that made up OS 9. It's strong. There's always the assurance that if you want to break something, you're going to have to work damn hard. OS X is sturdy.

Linux is, and will always be my favorite, though. Linux is like deep, rich wood. It's something that you can work with. Don't like a section? Shave it off, round the corners. Make a completely new replacement section. It doesn't always come out right, and it's a lot of work sometimes. You can get a version that's already nicely polished and varnished and ready to be used. But nothing compares to the joy of doing it yourself.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

So today. Carnival of the Godless is up. That's always fun. Built a computer with Alex. That was fun. Oh, yeah, lan party last night. Fun. Fourteen people I think. We blew a couple of fuses, and my room was sweltering, but other than that, it went off without a hitch. We should be having a couple more in the next month. They will be bring your own fan events.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Waiting for the LAN party tonight. If you're not coming, you should be.

In other news, more bombings in London. I talked to a kid at work about them. Apparently, his opinion was that they were particularly horrid because they were out of sheer hatred, as opposed to political reasons. I just want to be clear on two things. One, when you blow the crap out of someone, chances are you hate them. State-sanctioned hatred is actually worse in most cases, it's just something we've gotten used to. Two, Islamic fundamentalists may be assholes, but they have their own political reasons as well. They don't hate our freedom, they hate our decadence, ignorance, and corruption. Oh, and they think we worship Satan. I guess the point is, religious extremists are assholes, but we should try to understand why we piss them off so much, too.

Or something.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Microsoft coders to "get started on" Longhorn.

"Longhorn looks like a really neat project." Samuel Tartle continued, "I mean, there's nothing really that 'new' about it. But it does pull together some of the most recognizable parts of todays greatest operating systems in one package. A lot of times people like to claim that Microsoft doesn't really innovate, they just copy the successes of others. But let's face it. There are features that people want. What's Bill supposed to say, "Looks cool, but we're not going to do it unless we did it first."

Samule Tartle is the project leader for Microsoft's new OS, currently named Longhorn.

"Last month, Bill [Gates] sat all the developers down and told us about his ideas for Longhorn. New API, new security features, and some additional "corporate strategy" features that we expect to keep people locked into Windows with. Hell, he even said that we'd finally be updating our terminal. God that old one is sad. I tried to do some system repairs with it the other day, nearly had a stroke.

"Personally, I'm really pretty confident that we can get it all ready by the beginning of 2006. I mean really, what's there to do? Getting the new terminal is going to be a breeze, we're just taking the bash and changing the names of some commands. God I love that thing." Tartle turned back to his workstation. "I do most of my coding in Ubuntu lately. I used to use Red Hat, but it just felt too corperate. Anyways, we're adding journaling to the filesystem. That should take a couple days I guess. Then some more eye-candy. That's gonna be the big one. OS X is kicking our ass. But we can just take some of those free downloads for skins and use them. I think someone did a Windows to Mac gui conversion over at Engadget that we can copy.

When asked about the recent Longhorn beta, Tartle replied, "Phfff... 'beta'. Hey, Alice, come over here for a second, would you?"

"Alice did the construction for the beta last week as I remember."

"Yup. It was fun, actually. I started by reskining XP to look a little more modern. Did that over lunch Wednesday, I think. I changed the BSOD to RSOD too. I always hated that old thing. Then I hacked together a little port of Nvidia's transparency package, changed the icons, and Poof! New OS. Kind of. Took three days in all."

"The highups thought it would give us some more time to relax before people really expected a new release. They don't like to work us too hard."

Padme said it all...

"So this is how liberty dies. To thunderous applause."

So the house just voted to renew the Patriot Act. Apparently for the next ten years. Sucks. Ass.

In normal, everyday life, the Patriot Act doesn't represent a very grave evil. But it still represents a removal of liberties for the American people, and we should not be so quick to let it stay, especially not for such a long period.
Huh. So I made $4000 today. I got a scholarship for doing research. It was kind of random, but I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Directions and Obligations
Also note that we would appriciate anyone who could bring folding chairs or the like. And everyone should bring a couple of bucks for food.
See you soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ooops. Still haven't gotten the hang of this new client. Anyway, now that the cat's out of the bag, LAN party at our house on Saturday night! ~20 people! We're really excited. We might even have a girl or two!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Ooh, i think I like this concept. Now I can post blog updates through gaim. So awesome. It's a plugin called gaim-blogger that essentially adds my blog as a Buddy on my buddy list. Check it out, and make yourself a blog or something. :)

So in other news, I have a new computer! Neato. Lan party happening at the pad soonish. Life is going well.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Whoot! New computer coming tomorrow. Mildly excited. I plan to compile gentoo on it. My first gentoo box....what a moment. So ya, I'll try to keep the list of issues and features updated here. I'm actually really excited to be able to use updated/bleeding edge packages. I love ubuntu, but I tried installing a hex editor the other day, and it said that I didn't have the newest version of mono. I don't really want to uninstall mono, and eveything that depends on it, and then reinstall from source, so I didn't do it. And that's not cool.

Gentoo does it right from what I hear. Packages are source code, meaning they take very minimal time to update. So awesome.

Other news, the Micro$oft Longhorn beta was released just a few minutes ago. Slashdot storm going up. Catch you on the flipside.