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Before Somebody Else Mentions It - "Story of Linux" Video For Linux's 20th Anniversary

Date/Time Permalink: 04/07/11 12:15:44 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

The actual anniversary isn't until August of this year, but heck, making noise about Linux throughout spring and summer doesn't sound like a bad idea. So the Linux Foundation made this nifty little dry-erase animation...

Cute! I like how the "these radical ideas" part is represented by an '80s punk with mohawk, goatee, and "rad" piercings surrounded by cans (beer? Red Bull? Generic food from the set of Repo Man?). Alright, which one of you found my high school year-book photo?

Annoying Ideas I Have About Linux's 20th Anniversary:

  1. That's 20 years of Microsoft trying to kill us, and we're still here. NYYAAAAAAH!!! penguin going nyah
  2. Heck, by the time Microsoft was 20, it had Windows 95. Now do you all see why I say that Linux trumps Windows usability?
  3. Good to see the Linux Foundation has a new member with a bit of audacity. Linux has suffered the same problem that the Democrat party in the USA has had: All of the compassion and good ideas, but constantly stuck apologizing for existing. Good ahead, Zemlin, shoot off you big bazoo and don't stop!
  4. This blog is now exactly one-fourth of Linux's age. (maybe not so annoying)
  5. Linux has, and always will, belonged to the world, not to the US. Eventually the US will have the same position towards Linux that it has towards the metric system.
  6. I'm pretty sure that Tea Baggers hate Linux with a passion.
  7. Microsoft will eventually release its own Linux distro. It'll be the Microsoft interpretation of the idea and be botched up like topsy (see Oracle), but it will be a Microsoft-produced Linux distro.

Isn't that last bold prediction a hoot? Never mind arguing with me about it. I'm either right or wrong, history will prove out. No, I don't know how I know. It came to me as a vision this morning in a bowl of cornflakes.

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The Twagic Tweets of Twitter

Date/Time Permalink: 11/19/10 09:22:39 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

Meh, why not burn a post just to give a shout-out to the nodes on my Twitter network? There's lots of interesting connections made to and from my account.

I'm on eight lists so far. Lists went into a flurry of activity for about two weeks after they announced the feature, and then nothing has happened with lists since. Some lists flatter me - Skypost109-Bloggers describes itself as "Blogs I try to keep track of, funny yet right down snarky at times." Hey, thanks, now I know I'm hitting the mark I was going for. Others are disparaging - BoycottBoys is for "BoycottNovell shills and minions." I guess I must be one of those simply because I use Linux, and so does Roy, Q.E.D.!

Followers really say something about what it appears I'm about. I love this motley crew!

  • dozykraut - Anybody with "rock 'n' roll production manager" and "Linux sysadmin" on the same resume gets a gold star in my book. Probably following me because I'm one of the few who shares both interests.
  • PeterUrbak - Passion for "linux and indie music," too.
  • cfajohnson - The whole thing says, "Shell programmer and author, web developer, cryptic cruciverbalist, chess teacher." There, is that enough brainy pursuits in one line? Plays chess, oh no no no, he teaches chess. I had to go look up what a 'cruciverbalist' is; it means he makes crossword puzzles. How anybody that smart has time for what I say is unfathomable.
  • WonderousHavok - A Chiweenie, which, in case you didn't know, is half-Chihuahua / half-Dachshund. Maybe someday I'll start a Twitter account for my cat and they can play together.
  • Yoko Ono - Yoko's account in on auto-follow-back - you follow her and she automatically follows you, which must make things awfully noisy on her end. Oddly enough, I'm both a Beatles fan and a Yoko fan, because I am a Velvet Underground fan: Both Velvet-member John Cale and Yoko Ono studied under John Cage, so they're all members of the post-war avant-garde art movement out of New York. What, you thought it was all nothing but random hollering?
  • jberlako - Has his own geeky blog.
  • Skypost109 - Another Iowan! Also has a blog. Dear heaven, wired Iowans seem to be a rare breed.
  • malodix - An OLD-SKOOL geek, an ANSI artist and demoscener from Denmark. how cool is that?
  • thenixedreport - Lest we fall into the misconception of thinking that follower = friend, the guy who runs *NIXED REPORT has basically made it clear that he hates my guts. He's probably just keeping an eye on me.

That's a few of the more interesting ones. I just find it amusing to look at the interests of the people following an account, because then you get a composite picture of what you tend to talk about the most. To explain the music interest... One of my freelance writing gigs is working for Songfacts - there I am on the contributor's page. This is going on two years of music study and research and getting the facts hashed out from the fallacies in rock 'n' roll history, so it's really stimulated a music obsession in me to go alongside the technology obsession.

It's the most fun work you could do, but it's had the side effect of turning me into the most insufferable sort of music snob! My tastes are getting so hopelessly eclectic... If you noticed that I put a Playlist widget back on the front page of my site, and no, I'm not kidding about having The Chantels right next to Napalm Death. I really do like both Doo-Wop and Death Metal. And Crunkcore and Country Pop. And Chiptunes and Easy Listening. People are learning not to bring up the subject of music around me, because I could bore the ears off a cornrow about it.

Anyway, Y'all feel free to link your Twitter Twacks in the comments, and anybody else interesting you think I'd like or other readers here would like...

FOSS blogging for Dummies

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Who Do I Write Like?

Date/Time Permalink: 07/15/10 04:55:38 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

I'm playing with this gizmo that analyzes your writing style, called I Write Like. Discovered from this Boing Boing link. Here's some results from various stuff I've clattered up:

Three recent blog posts:

"God, I Hope Webcomics Don't Go the Way of Print Comics" - David Foster Wallace

"What Science Fiction Would Be Like If Science Fiction Writers Had Sense" - Douglas Adams
Makes sense. Funny essay about science fiction.

"Did You Know Deer Will Let You Get This Close?" - Stephen King

Other, unpublished pieces I have lurking around my hard drives (works-in-progress and whatnot):

A Wikipedia-type definition of copy-writing - Margaret Atwood

An essay entitled "Elitism is Good!" - Kurt Vonnegut
Yay! I was going for Papa Kurt!

An essay entitled "The Hacker as Archetype" - William Gibson
Logical enough.


An old Python command-line poker program I wrote - Bram Stoker!
That's about right for how I code.

The complete source to my Flash Drop-A-Block game - David Foster Wallace

My current .emacs file - David Foster Wallace

I kept getting a buttload of DFW. On like every two blog posts I tried. The Boing-Boing commenters also remark that DFW pops up a lot. So this thing seems to not be too scientific. I'm sorry, but I never heard of this Wallace bird before, and he doesn't really impress me as somebody to emulate.

But at least I didn't get one Dan Brown!

Update 7/17/10: Apparently it "went viral" now, according to the write up over at Huffy-Poo.

the magic of open source

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Where Blog Comment Spam Comes From...

Date/Time Permalink: 06/14/10 09:35:29 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

Saw this ad today while browsing online bid-request ads and thought I'd snap it, just to show what's behind those pain-in-the-ass spams we have to delete every day (assuming your blog has open comments like mine does)...

posting for blog spamming job

Note that this won't be a bot job - there need be no automation at this rate. 100 spam comments at US $30 is thirty cents per comment. Sadly, you'll find plenty of people even in the industrialized world willing to work for that rate, considering that they can copy-and-paste the content from a file and visit 100 blogs they have bookmarked. All the CAPTCHAs in the world won't stop them. The job has four bids so far.

And note, #4 "no spamming comment" is bunk. That is what posting 100 links for the purpose of site promotion is, is spamming. It doesn't matter how you try to whitewash it.

I know I could report this to the site, but it's like pulling up a dandelion. I see an average of about five per day lately. The account name on this one is "prince11," with zero past ratings, obviously a brand new account. The poster is from India. How's that for irony? India can now afford to outsource to the US, and considering that it would be about an hour's work, can offer a very competitive wage!

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Why You Should Be Careful Outsourcing Your Logo Design

Date/Time Permalink: 03/25/10 04:13:09 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

A familiar logo

Hmmm. Found recently at, a clear copied use of Tux, the Linux logo. It brings to mind a number of scenarios:

  • Intentional, because some aspect of their equipment uses Linux embedded somewhere. Possible, but I find no mention of the word "Linux" anywhere on their site.
  • Intentional, but they're aware that the license for Tux is somewhat loose, so they said "Why not?" I'm also kind of doubtful here. There might be a clip-art collection with Tux in it somewhere.
  • Unintentional, because some people are confused as to the origin of Tux. There was that Penguin Army video a while back, for instance, so maybe they were going for an obscure statement about global warming.
  • Unintentional, they hired a freelancer online who ripped Tux, threw in a hat and props, and sold it to them. I consider this the most likely, because I see this happen constantly. HVAC & Refrigeration Experts, Inc. might never have even heard of Linux.

If they get calls about it, they might want their logo redone, or they might just release their own distro!

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The Most Awesome Acoustic Guitar Song About Web Development You Will Hear Today

Date/Time Permalink: 03/02/10 12:04:06 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

IE is being mean to me

Oh, you've heard web developers complain about IE before, but not like this. Presenting IE is Being Mean to Me. Somebody sign this guy to a label!

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Firefox Manga Fan Art

Date/Time Permalink: 02/13/10 07:07:53 am
Category: LINKS and Lists

Firefox manga illustration 07

Firefox manga illustration 27

Firefox manga illustration 76

It's gone beyond simple browser-tans. Firefox manga art has gotten to be its own franchise, and is wandering into kemono territory. From this Firefox art collection.

Yeah, some of it's kind of disturbing. While we like seeing people love open source, we're not sure we meant it that way. I don't dare speculate if there's any Rule 34 on Tux the Linux Penguin out there, do I? I'm scared to search.

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My Own Ten Old-School Linux Programs That I'll Never Forsake

Date/Time Permalink: 01/28/10 12:15:06 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

Jack Wallen over at Tech Republic just posted 10 old-school Linux tools I refuse to let go of, and of course I have a warm place in my heart for anyone who puts the command line first (and he isn't even a programmer! - see #3 on his list). Anyway, this sounds like good meat for a fun meme, so what are the programs that will never be replaced on my menu?

As I see it, the point of this exercise is not to rant about your favorite programs, but to make fun of yourself for being so old-fashioned. And I'm deliberately picking different programs from Wallen, even though there's overlap (command line, nethack, man pages, and cron).

Emacs - Emacs, like Zen, is something you either get or you don't. I rave about Emacs on this blog all the time, so I won't bother to explain more here. I'll just say that ultimately, Emacs has something unique that appeals to me - personality.

dc - Isn't this hilarious? I have desktop calculator programs installed all the time. I never use them, because it's still faster to just dive to the console and bang out the dc line. I've gotten to where I actually think about math better when I'm writing it as a dc command. No, really, if I'm away from a digital device and doing math in my head, I've discovered that I mentally type the reverse polish notation - complete with the leading "dc -e!"

Shell tools (sed, grep, cut, etc.) - Important thing to know about me: I am the epitome of laziness. If I can do something with 15 keystrokes instead of 20, I'll do it that way. And the command line text editing tools are fun! Yes, I get more kick out of figuring out some wicked-clever for-loop solution with filters than I do actually solving the problem.

Angband - Like Nethack, Angband - in the console - is just the dungeon crawler grind that never goes away. I'll go off and play the latest 3D amazing impressive whiz-bang game, and when I'm done with it, I'm back to Angband again. I must be broken.

SoX - If 'dc' didn't cement my place as a dinosaur, this will do it. The 'play' command is still how I listen to MP3s. Hey, it gets the job done, takes up the least resources, and I wrote a jukebox script which auto-plays my music file library on shuffle. I can just turn it on with one command and go back to what I was doing - instant custom radio station.

Image Magick - This isn't so much an anachronism as it is the only solution for batch image processing. Remember, I'm lazy. I can't believe there are people out there who will wait for Gimp to start (and nobody uses anything but Gimp ever, right?) and load up an image just to do some monkey-task like resizing, cropping, or transcoding. What, does time grow on trees? But then I also like inventing bizarre toys in it.

Tcl/tk/wish - It's strange that I still use this. When I need a fast desktop GUI solution, whipping off a quick 'wish' (the windowing shell extension) script is still the easiest way I know. If it hadn't been for wish, I would have never gotten into Tcl. I actually hate Tcl.

Lynx - Before you laugh, my daily browsing is in Firefox. Instead, I find Lynx indispensable for a number of cases: (1) To quickly view a web page chock full o' stupid, where I don't want to have to turn off ads, Flash, Javascript, Java, images, CSS, and sound all at once, (2) To script - Did you know you can script Google queries and store the results in a text file, for instance?, (3) To view web pages when my desktop is otherwise occupied (such as a game running full-screen).

ANSI art - Not a program specifically, but still very old-school. The associated programs are tetraview, aaview, and the caca library. I do have a whole category on this blog devoted to it, after all.

less - Still the fastest way to view any text file stored on my own machine. 'Nuff said.

It's raining geek!

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Your word for the day is "Syzygy"

Date/Time Permalink: 12/31/09 07:42:25 pm
Category: LINKS and Lists

Syzygy, a word guaranteed to tickle the fancy of crossword puzzlers and Scrabble players, is defined in Wikipedia as "a kind of unity, especially through coordination or alignment, most commonly used in the astronomical and/or astrological sense."

And that's exactly what's happening right now, with the blue moon on New Year's Eve. The solar and lunar years have ground through the gears to end up in the same groove. Celestial clockwork is beautiful.

This is an occurrence so rare, it hasn't happened since 1990. And I'm kind of hoping that it's a good omen for new beginnings. Yes, it's silly and superstitious, but sometimes otherwise impossible things become true just because people expect them to.

Oh, yeah, and for Europe, Africa, and Asia, they're even getting a New Year's blue moon eclipse. An event so rare, we're going to have to bring back the Mayans just to write a new calendar to calculate it. More than you'll ever need to know about lunar eclipses at NASA's site.

a blue moon of text

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suddenly the moon