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Older updates yet - 1998

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Older updates - 1999

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Oldest updates of all - 1997

December

Thursday, December 31, 1:56 CST
Oh, but this is sweet.

I got all sorts of cool stuff for Christmas, and a couple of things are worth linking to:

My Aunt Connie has been trying to introduce some Culture (tm) into my life for quite a while now, and this year she bought me a couple of CD's. Copland: The Music of America (Beef: It's What's For Dinner!), and Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2, Holberg Suite are both excellent. I've been playing Hall of the Mountain King repeatedly at high volume.

For those times when you're forced to write on actual paper, nothing beats a Pilot Rolling Ball. I could go on at great length about how much I love writing with these pens. And I got a box of 12, which means I'm set for the rest of the school year. Ok, yeah, so I'm a geek.

Wednesday, December 30, 11:41 CST
Well, I'm back.

I read Hackers, by Steven Levy recently. Though by no means complete or objective, it's a fascinating history of the early years of the computer revolution, and Levy explains what "hacker" really means (as opposed to the mass-media's "evil people who break into computers and do terrible things we don't really understand" BS) better than any other mainstream author I've read. I noticed after reading it that it's referenced in The Jargon File.

There's been a new issue of Phrack out for a while. Something I always enjoy skimming through, despite my near total lack of comprehension.

Thursday, December 24, 23:50 CST
Wow. Christmas Eve already.

Happy Holidays out to LWQuestie, Saalon, Gurney, Gulthek, kitten, FoolsRun, Data, Annakie (*thwack*), Vash, RifRaf (boom!), moon, Ruxandra, Capper-Deluxe, Axquat, MlitiaGrl, GaretJax, MeanStreak, Hawk, Wyrdrune, tvb, Cornjob, Zach (or is that with a k? I can never remember...), Maples, Bronweg, Xandar, Journeyman, DrMarcus, JohnLennon, Swooop, cat, wombat, Arial, Donna, Ben, and everyone I'm no doubt forgetting. :)

I saw Enemy of the State last night. Enjoyed it quite a bit. On top of being a pretty good action flick, it's an attack on the people who're doing their best to turn this country into a police state. Sure, it has its fair share of computer/technology BS, but it's more than made up for by all the little (and not so little) digs at the NSA & company. (And hey, we could all use a little more paranoia in our lives, right?)

I'm heading to Kansas with my family first thing tomorrow morning, so no updates for several days, but after that I'm going to do my best to start updating every day (I've never let a lack of content stop me before), and hopefully I'll have time over the vacation to actually get some stuff done (cleaning up this site, a big chunk of the Daemonsong tech bible, maybe even some homework...).

In the meantime, Merry Christmas all! (All 2 of you who read this ;) )

Saturday, December 19, 16:10 CST
Well, I saw The Prince of Egypt last night.

To make it short, go see this movie.

Why? Hands down, the best animation I've ever seen, an incredible cast, and a faithful and powerful retelling of a great story.

Sure, I could quibble - I wish Dreamworks had resisted the temptation to make a musical, and it should've been longer - but in the end, The Prince of Egypt is one of the best animated films I've seen, and I hope we see more like it.

Tuesday, December 15, 23:48 CST
Well, I finally installed Debian, after which getting PPP to work took all of 30 seconds. Nearly as painless as Win95's dial-up networking, and far more convenient once it's set up.

All in all, I think I prefer Debian to Red Hat, though from what I can see they're both quality distributions. Now if only I could get my video card to do 16 bpp at 800x600 under X...

The Daemonsong site has received an overhaul (no more JavaScript), and I'm told episode 202 will be out shortly.

I scanned another piece of non-art a while back.

[lotr.gif (21.7k)]

Is this, you ask, worth even the relatively tiny amount of bandwidth that transferring it would waste? Probably not. Then again, that applies to the rest of this page. :)

Thursday, December 10, 18:50 CST
Ok, so I lied. It's been more than a couple of days. I should really learn not to make statements like that.

Anyway, a bunch of stuff to ramble about here...

I finally watched the last episode of Babylon 5, "Sleeping in Light". A powerful episode, and a fitting end to one of the greatest series I've ever seen. The naysayers can gripe all they want - despite the obstacles it faced, B5 managed to redefine SF tv, and be entertaining and involving in the process.

I've been messing around quite a bit with Linux since I first got it installed (not that I have much choice - I don't even have a Win/DOS partition at the moment). I'm still clueless, but I think I'm hooked.

The command line is powerful and flexible, and there're tons of cool text based apps to play around with (is it me, or is not being forced to use a GUI a wonderful thing?). The GUI, when I want one, is stylish, functional, and somehow just plain refreshing to use.

On the downside, I still don't have PPP working, but I understand that's a weakness of Red Hat. Maybe it's time to give Debian a try. :)

I noticed on Gurney's page that there's a tidbit over on Ain't It Cool News about the possibility of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein, being filmed. TMiaHM is among my favorite Heinlein novels, and it's probably the most filmable. In fact, I've often thought that with the right director, a good screenwriter, and a big enough budget, it could make a truly great movie.

But we all know that's not going to happen.

I'd rather wait for a time when RAH's work can be reproduced faithfully on screen by people who really care (even if it takes a few decades) than see another Starship Troopers. *sigh*

On the plus side, at least Verhoeven (may he spend eternity in one of his own films) didn't get his hands on this one.

I also see Gurney's working on a real-time strategy game. As crowded as the RTS genre is with lame C&C and Warcraft clones, it sounds like he's got some pretty good ideas. (Most of them collected from rec.games.design.)

Saturday, December 5, 22:39 CST
Well, I've been messing around with it all day, and I finally have a working Linux installation (RedHat 5.2).

I haven't the faintest idea what I'm doing. I've been reduced to the status of clueless newbie.

This is too cool for words.

More updates tomorrow or the next day. I'm off to watch MST3K.

November

Monday, November 30 17:58 CST
I saw Pixar's A Bug's Life Thursday night. Enjoyed it immensely. Excellent animation, a decent (if predictable) plot, and good voice work. Everyone's comparing it to Antz (for obvious reasons) and Life is definitely the better film, but (IMO) Antz was written for an older audience, and it does succeed on that level.

They also ran the short Geri's Game, which was quite good, though some of those chess moves were questionable...

I picked up a bargain rack copy of MechWarrior 2, a game I've been wanting to play for quite a while. You wouldn't think KB Toys would be that great of a place to find software, but it's amazing what you can find lurking behind the lame console ports.

My RedHat and Debian CD's finally arrived today, though it may be a few days before I install either of them - There's a WWII era music thingy at school tonight (attendance is mandatory), and the district one act play contest is (joy) here tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 25, 15:10 CST
I'm heading to Kansas with my family for Thanksgiving, so no updates for a while. Mmm, Thanksgiving food...

(Happy Thanksgiving everyone, BTW.)

Jon Katz wrote a piece over on Slashdot titled The Netscape Tragedy. It pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Sunday, November 22, 21:20 CST
I just saw a link over on Slashdot to an article about AOL trying to buy Netscape. This is just plain scary. The article talks about how the acquisition would put AOL on a more equal footing with Microsoft. Forgive me if I don't see a positive side to this.

Saturday, November 21, 1:04 CST
I just got back from seeing Rugrats (yeah, you heard me). A friend of mine demanded we go see it. Pretty good children's movie, although I almost fell asleep at one point.

At any rate, they ran the Star Wars Episode 1 trailer, which was the reason I went to a movie tonight in the first place.

I admit I had my doubts. Star Wars has become a bloated franchise, corrupted by a legion of writers who care only about the profits they can milk from it, and by "fans" who don't seem to care what sort of pathetic drivel they buy and read as long as it bears the SW name.

I wasn't sure Lucas could do it again - it has after all been 20 years. I wasn't sure if a new cast could really bring back the magic.

I needn't have worried. This is the real thing.

It's gonna be a long wait.

Thursday, November 19, 19:30 CST
If you've been reading Slashdot lately, you've probably noticed that Jon Katz (formerly of HotWired) has written a few pieces for them. Katz has his flaws, but overall I like his stuff. His biggest problem is that he tends to over-analyze and generalize about his subjects, but I'm guessing time spent on Slashdot will correct that to some extent (if the "Katz is a pompous blowhard" posts don't run him off).

The late registration deadline for the December ACT test date is tomorrow at midnight. Fortunately, you can register via their site, which is far less annoying than filling out that bulky paper registration packet and mailing it in. Highly reccommended if you're taking the ACT any time soon. I should probably stop procrastinating and get it done myself...

Wednesday, November 18, 18:37 CST
Well, I'm back. I know you're all thrilled. ;)

I finally got my new hard drive about a week ago, a 6 gig Quantum Bigfoot TX ordered from Necx. After a relatively easy installation, my computer is once again up and running.

For the moment I'm running Win95/DOS, but I ordered a couple of Linux distribution CD's (Red Hat 5.2 and Debian 2.0) over at Linux Central, so I should be running Linux before too long. I'm also thinking of giving FreeBSD a try... It's great to have this kind of choice.

Speaking of choice, I've been using the latest beta release of Opera 3.5 as my sole web browser since I got my computer running. Although it's a beta, it seems more stable and far less prone to random glitches/hangs than previous versions. They've managed to implement most of CSS 1 and get Java working (through a plug-in). And it still fits on a single floppy. IMHO, Opera is easily the best browser currently available for Windows.

The latest episode of Daemonsong, 201, has been out for a while. This show keeps improving, and I'm proud to be a part of it, however small. (Oh yeah, and the staff promises no more 4 month waits between episodes. Well... Maybe "promise" is too strong a word, but we're going to try.)

I'm going to do my best to resume regular updates to this page, and as soon as I get a decent sized chunk of free time, I'm planning to do some major work on the whole site.

October

Sunday, October 18, 12:20 CDT
I must (once again) apologize for the lack of updates lately. I'm still without a working computer of my own, and updating from the Mac is something of a pain. Regular updates should resume once I get a hard drive installed. Anyway, on to the ramblings...

I saw Antz last weekend. Overall I liked it. The plot's weak, but the animation and voice acting are both good. I'm guessing A Bug's Life will be the better CGI insect movie, but Antz is still worth seeing.

I downloaded Bolo the other night. If you haven't heard of it, it's a popular multiplayer tank game for the Mac. It has a deceptively simple appearance, and the gameplay is an odd combination of action and strategy. I haven't spent much time with it yet, but it looks like a lot of fun. If I can get a low lag game (or find a local opponent), it might even be worth the $25 registration.

Books I've read lately:

More updates when I get back on my own machine. Soon, I hope.

Friday, October 2, 16:10 CDT
Looks like I'm stuck using the Mac for a couple of days... The hard drive on my computer is dead. The sneaking suspicion that my good luck couldn't last much longer seems to have been correct.

I saw Rush Hour last night. Enjoyable flick. Extremely light on the plot, but it succeeds as action/comedy.

Seems I forgot to link to BBEdit the other day.

September

Tuesday, September 29, 20:20 CDT
Well, I'm using a Mac. A G3 266 mhz w/32 megs of RAM, to be more specific. We're leasing it through the school for $35 a month (hey, it wasn't my idea). It's one of the ugliest computers I've ever seen - an all-in-one case, with a top that's something like a translucent plastic cheese grater, and an overall shape that my mom likens to the head of some hideous B-movie alien.

That said, it's not a bad machine. Although I personally dislike Apple's entire design philosophy (stuff like the single button mouse, and the lack of a disk eject button and monitor controls), the one thing really holding this computer down is the Mac OS. Version 8.1 is, in all fairness, a vast improvement over previous efforts; it's far more stable, multitasking is actually a possibility, and its looks have improved greatly. Nonetheless, long overdue stability and a fresh coat of chrome do not a modern OS make.

I'm looking forward to installing MkLinux or LinuxPPC, and testing my theory that all this machine really needs is a decent OS. In the meantime, I've found some pretty cool Mac software -

On a completely unrelated note (what, you're still reading?), we've probably all heard by now that Star Wars: Episode 1 is going to be titled Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. Some people are theorizing that it's a decoy. IMO, it's just a cheesy title. I won't much care, if the movie lives up to its potential. Lucas had really better come through on this one...

Anyway, I'm off to do homework (yeah I know, bad habit to get into).

Tuesday, September 22, 20:34 CDT
I just finished re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring. It's been years since I first read The Lord of the Rings; I'd forgotten how good it really is.

If/when the LotR movies turn out badly (though there is some faint hope - see the recent images over on Ain't It Cool News), I think I'll stand outside the local theater and hand out paperbacks...

Sunday, September 20, 21:40 CDT
Added a bit of ASCII (non) art I did a while back to my Non Art page. I really need a better name for that page.

I picked up a copy of Ultima VII on CD for $5 US. I'm ashamed to admit I've never played it, but I'm looking forward to correcting that. Gotta love bargain bin software... :)

Well, I'm off to study anatomy. (Can anyone out there tell me *why* the zygomatic process is on the temporal bone, and the temporal process is on the zygomatic bone?)

Friday, Septempter 18, 16:06 CDT
My apologies for the lack of recent updates - Hardlink was down over the weekend, and I just haven't had much time during the week. I've noticed that homework takes up signifigant time when you actually do it, and I've got more of the stuff this year than ever.

I scanned the backs of a couple of scribbled-upon notebooks yesterday. I hesitate to call it "art", but on Gulthek's suggestion, I've put together a seperate page for this sort of thing.

I'm going to be gone 'til Sunday night, but I'll try to update again with some real content when I get back.

Wednesday, September 9, 20:15 CDT
I played around a bit with a Power Mac G3 all-in-one at school today. Seemed like a decent piece of equipment in some respects, although still crippled by the MacOS (among other things). The school is planning on leasing a huge number of these things to people in the community, and we might be getting one. Not a computer I would normally consider purchasing, but if we do have one around, I might as well mess with it. I'm betting a Linux installation would be cool... ;)

At any rate, if we do get one, I'll do a full review/writeup type thingy.

Hmm... I meant to have that IRC log turned into a story by now... Ah well, I'll get it done one of these days.

A couple of links to stuff worth reading:

And now, I'm off to do homework. I can already feel all motivation draining from my body.

Tuesday, September 8, 23:45 CDT
Well, I had a great weekend. Borrowed a Proxima video projector that's been sitting in my dad's office, and set it up to project on the side of our garage. Had a couple of friends over, watched Blade Runner (great film), played a few Playstation games, and watched Willow. Went to bed around 7:00 yesterday morning...

Why anyone would waste something this cool on a spreadsheet is beyond me.

If you haven't yet seen Blade Runner, it's excellent. More evidence that it's possible to make a great (or for that matter, watchable) Science Fiction film, despite Hollywood's repeated attempts to prove otherwise. I've added Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? to my to-read list; sounds like a good book, although quite different from the movie.

Sunday, September 6, 1:00 CDT
Gurney has a well written opinion piece over on his diary page, sparked by a recent incident in which a student was suspended for criticizing his school on his personal web page. Well worth a read.

Speaking of reading (so it's a weak segue, I apologize), you might get a few laughs out of this IRC log from earlier tonight. I'll probably have it edited into a short story some time later today.

Speaking of today (I won't do it again, honest), don't forget there's a Trivia Blitz tonight at 8:00 PM Eastern.

Thursday, September 3, 21:33 CDT
Check out this Wired News article, about the possibility of water ice on the moon. Seems there could be about 10 times as much as was originally thought. This is, in case you haven't noticed, way cool.

Wednesday, September 2, 23:31 CDT
I see User Friendly has its own domain now, as well as a re-design.

Updated my links just a bit.

Tuesday, September 1, 17:32 CDT
Well, I got wiped out in Sunday's trivia game on irc.graffiti.com. No big surprise there. :)

Does anyone out there have any use for a couple of 4 meg FPM SIMM's? I know it's not likely, with RAM as cheap as it is these days, but if you could use 'em, e-mail me.

Moved the August updates to the old updates file.

August

Saturday, August 29, 21:59 CDT
I was bored in study hall yesterday so I wandered down to the art room, where there's a flatbed scanner, and scanned the back of a notebook I've been scribbling on lately. The resulting .jpg is 345k, and I can't imagine anyone wasting that much download time on it, so I converted it to a black-and-white .gif, which is about 32k.

[scribble.gif (32k)]

Ok, I finally have my links page back up. It's pretty sparse, since I decided to just upload it and add stuff to it a little at a time. My SF and IRC pages should be back up soon as well.

Wednesday, August 26, 1:24 CDT
There's a disclaimer back up at the top of the page. I don't like how much space it takes up, but it's a necessary evil, I guess. Perhaps I'll write a few more, and set up a simple Perl script to rotate them, just for a little variety.

Tuesday, August 25, 18:36 CDT
In one of those wierd little coincidences that my life seems to be full of, I was thinking last night about how incredibly cool a well done film version of The Lord of the Rings could be. And what do I find upon checking Slashdot? It's actually going to happen. And as a trilogy.

I know I shouldn't be optimistic about this. I fully realize that a truly great work of Science Fiction or Fantasy has never survived the translation to film. I've seen Dune. I know that to really do LotR justice would require at least six films, all with massive budgets.

And yet, I can't help myself. Maybe, just maybe, it can be done. And just think how awe inspiringly good it could be... I can dream for a little while, anyway.

As always, there's all sorts of good stuff to be found over on Ain't It Cool News. Harry Knowles seems really optimistic about this one, which is a good sign.

Monday, August 24, 21:15 CDT
Yeah, I know, I still don't have my links 'n stuff back up. I'll get it done some night this week. Really.

I won a $6 book in the SF trivia contest last night on irc.graffiti.com. The next contest is Sunday @ 20:00 EDT (8:00 PM for those of you who're still using 12 hour time), and the prize is a bag of peanuts.

<Annakie> Hey no comments from the peanut gallery! ;)

Saturday, August 22, 13:09 CDT
I finished Startide Rising, by David Brin, several days ago. Excellent book, though not quite what I expected. A ton of interesting ideas, and they mesh well. The characters are even well developed. Not an easy feat, when you consider that most of the protagonists are genetically engineered sentient dolphins. I'm definitely planning to read the rest of the Uplift novels.

Friday, August 21, 15:19 CDT
I see Gurney has his own domain now, over at www.other-space.com.

Thursday, August 20, 19:00 CDT
Well, school started here today. The begining of another fun-filled and enriching year at Laurel-Concord High School. I suppose I should put up some sort of disclaimer now that the Library Nazis are back out in full force.

Two more years...

Wednesday, August 19, 22:11 CDT
My Great Aunt Annie passed away last Sunday morning. She was a wonderful and unique person, and she always lived her life to the fullest. She'll be missed.

Saturday, August 15, 11:32 CDT
I saw Saving Private Ryan last night. It's an intense, moving, and disturbing film. One of the best war movies I've ever seen, and the questions it asks are worth serious thought. I don't think I could write a review that would do it justice, so I'll just say that if you haven't yet seen it, do so.

Thursday, August 13, 1:20 CDT
Hmm... So much for daily updates. I'll try and get back on schedule soon.

I uploaded another minor piece to the Dæmonsong Tech Bible. It should grow over the next couple of days, and get a little easier to navigate. I'd also like to add a timeline, somewhere or another.

7 days 'til school starts... Time to initiate a panicked scramble, I guess.

Friday, August 7, 17:26 CDT
I noticed Gurney has some pictures up over on the Con-events-ion page.

I took down my links, sf, and IRC pages, as they were really outdated. Hopefully I'll be able to get them overhauled and back up within a couple of days.

Thursday, August 6, 11:18 CDT
I was skimming through Blue's News earlier today, and came across a link to User Friendly, a daily comic that's worth checking out. It's computer/Internet humor, and it's actually funny.

I have a theory that the web will save the comic strip as a medium. It's fairly obvious that newspapers are dying. And most continue to shrink their comic sections into anemic little black-and-white postage stamps. I'm just waiting for someone to come up with a service that puts together a customized comic page in an easily printable layout.

Wednesday, August 5, 12:12 CDT
I finished Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson yesterday. Not quite as good as Snow Crash or The Diamond Age, but still entertaining. And unlike The Diamond Age, it has a real ending.

Sunday, August 2, 23:08 CDT
I noticed that Stick Figure Death Theatre now has its own domain. Ain't gratuitous animated .gif violence great?

Sunday, August 2, 17:24 CDT
Just a reminder, there's an SF/Fantasy trivia contest tonight at 8:00 EDT in #TriviaBlitz on irc.graffiti.com. IIRC, the prize is a $6 book.

Sunday, August 2, 16:51 CDT
There's been a lot of noise in the media lately about the Modern Libary's list of the "100 best novels of the century". Mostly this is because it's a lousy list, and everyone seems to disagree with it. A quick scan through the list shows that it almost totally ignores SF, along with pretty much everything written in the past quarter century.

Any attempt to list the best novels of this century that leaves out works like The Lord of the Rings, Dune, and Stranger in a Strange Land is an obvious failure. Or in this case, a lame publicity stunt. Bleah.

At any rate, if you're looking for a reading list that's actually worth something, there are quite a few good ones on the 'net. I've listed some of my favorite sources of recommendations below. I don't claim these are balanced (my tastes lean heavily towards SF), but at least they're worthwhile.

Saturday, August 1, 20:18 CDT
I see over on
Gulthek's page that he's building a computer. Looks like it'll be a nice machine. This is what I plan to do with my next 'puter, which at this rate I'll probably be getting sometime early next millenium. ;)

I moved the July updates to the old updates file. (Man, this year is going by fast...)

July

Thursday, July 30, 12:47 CDT
I'm downloading mIRC v5.41 as I type this. It's just a bugfix release, but it looks to be worth getting.

Wednesday, July 29, 22:53 CDT
I noticed that a mIRC script I started, a simple artillery game called mIRC Tanks, was still sitting there unfinished. I spent a couple hours on it, and it's pretty much done. I just need to add some multiplayer stuff, and I'll post it here.

Amazing how I put most of the stuff I planned to do this summer off until the last three weeks before school, ain't it?

Tuesday, July 28, 23:40 CDT
I woke up this morning with a vague sense of dread. At first I thought it was just lingering from that dream wherein my house was invaded by aliens (a la Aliens), and I wound up battling them with only a shotgun and a rapidly dwindling ammo supply. Then I remembered that school starts in three weeks.

I can feel the boredom building up already... *shudder*

Monday, July 27, 23:50 CDT
Finally got that review written.

If you happen to have some free time next Sunday evening, and enjoy SF trivia, stop by irc.graffiti.com around 8 Eastern. Gurney's running a trivia contest in #TriviaBlitz, with an actual prize(!), and it's gone well so far. (Notice how I've completely abandoned the pretense that someone aside from people I chat with might ever read this?)

I coulda won that last one, if I hadn't missed a round and a half of questions... Came out tied and was defeated by a Lord of the Rings question. Which book, I am reminded, I really need to read again.

Saturday, July 25, 14:01 CDT
I just finished A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge. It's a great read, chock full of Big Ideas and interesting characters. Well worth a read, especially if you're a fan of galaxy-spanning space opera.

I'll write a full review here in a bit.

Friday, July 24, 22:02 CDT
The Amazon.com Associates Program, if you haven't heard of it, is a brilliant piece of marketing. It lets people link to books on Amazon, and if someone happens to follow one of their links and buy a book, they receive a small fraction of the sales.

Obviously the only way anyone (aside from Amazon.com) will make any money on this is if they have a reasonably high traffic site, and put some real effort into selling books. Which of course means there's not much reason for someone like me to join, since there's not the faintest chance anyone will ever buy a book off this page.

I joined anyway, mostly because I think the idea is pretty cool, and because it's nice to be able to link directly to a book.

Sunday, July 19, 21:13 CDT
Episode 115 of Dæmonsong, "Labyrinth of Shadows", is out. This also happens to be the season finale, which means DS has been online for around a year.

Thursday, July 16, 23:56 CDT
Everything, from the folks that bring us Slashdot.org, is one of the coolest ideas I've seen in ages. It's something like a cross between a message board (think a web version of USENET) and a database (think the IMDb), with a healthy dash of Darwinism thrown in.

Like the new color scheme? I'm just playing around with it, so it'll probably change considerably before I settle on something. The nifty thing is, I only have to edit one file. I love Server Side Includes.

Wednesday, July 15, 15:19 CDT
There's a new issue of Phrack out. Actually, it's been out for a while, I'm just a bit slow.

Tuesday, July 14, 17:29 CDT
Uploaded the first section of the Dæmonsong Tech Bible yesterday, after a couple of false starts. There's not much there yet, but it'll grow with time.

Got rid of that projects page, as it was out of date and wasn't really serving any purpose. I also split the software section of my links off into a seperate page.

Saturday, July 11, 12:33 CDT
I've been playing through Dink Smallwood, a shareware RPG for Win95 that was on the PC Gamer CD this month. It's reminiscent of some of those old top-down Nintendo RPG's, but with decent graphics and sound. Perhaps better described as an adventure game. The registered version also allows for a remarkable degree of customization, which means this could be the Quake of shareware RPG's.

At any rate, it's worth checking out, though it is a sizeable download (14 megs). The stated requirements are a p100 w/16 mb RAM, 70 mb hard drive space, and DirectX 5, but it seems to run ok on my p75. This definitely goes on my Shareware I Really Oughta Register list.

Friday, July 10, 14:29 CDT
Just remembered to move the June updates to the old updates file.

Friday, July 10, 14:24 CDT
A few links to Stuff Worth Reading:

There were quite a few old events.scifi.com regulars in #World'sEndTavern on irc.graffiti.com last night, and we got to talking about the possibility of a second Con-events-ion. It's tentatively scheduled for June of '99, in Dallas. Considering that there were three people at the first one, this doesn't strike me as terribly realistic. OTOH, given a minor miracle, you never know what could happen...

Thursday, July 9, 0:40 CDT
Well, I'm home, after driving for most of today. Got home and installed the 64 megs of RAM I ordered before leaving, so it's been a pretty good day. Perhaps I've mentioned this before, but if you're in need of more RAM, now is a very good time to buy.

Tuesday, July 7, 21:11 CDT
I'm in St. Charles, IL. I'll probably be getting home sometime tomorrow night.

Gurney's written up an account of the Con-events-ion, and he should have some scanned pics up shortly, as well as a copy of the 3D tic-tac-toe game he wrote in QBasic (it's a long story).

There's a new episode of Dæmonsong up. On a related note, I'll probably be putting the first small portion of the new DS Tech Bible up on the site in a few days.

Saturday, July 4, 22:10 EDT
I'm sitting on the steps of the Freer Gallery (on the Mall in Washington DC) with my family. The fireworks ended a while back, and we're waiting for the flood of people heading home to abate. We'll probably be here for hours.

The Con-events-ion, such as it was, is officially over. Gurney and Hawk just headed East in search of a way onto the Metro. All in all, we had a good time, especially considering that there were only 3 of us (ahem).

June

Sunday, June 28, 22:16 EDT
Greetings from Gettysburg, PA. I spent today walking/driving around the battlefield, listening to my sisters whine. Obnoxious siblings aside, it was well worth it.

I downloaded mIRC v5.4 today. Haven't actually used it yet, but I played around with a few of the features offline and read through versions.txt. Some minor but welcome additions to the UI, such as the ability to re-position the switchbar, and improvements to the address book. And of course there are a good number of scripting fixes and additions.

Saturday, June 27, 22:25 EDT
I spent today walking around Colonial Williamsburg. Actually some interesting stuff, and not quite the cheap tourist trap I expected. Of course, the effect of a restored 18th century town is pretty much destroyed by the hundreds of overweight tourists in bright clothing walking around with cameras.

Friday, June 26, 21:33 EDT
I'm in Williamsburg, VA. Irrelevant, I suppose, but so is most of this page.

Well, as the entire world knows by now, Windows 98 is on sale. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've no intention of paying $100 US for what's basically an upgrade to Win95. Actually, I'm planning on installing Linux. It's an excellent OS from everything I've seen, and its very existence is an act of defiance against Microsoft.

<RANT>
I know it's somewhat fashionable at the moment to dislike Microsoft, but there're real reasons for that. Microsoft has more power than it's safe to allow any one individual or institution, and it consistently abuses this power. And how many people are really doing anything about it? Sure, some will grumble, but they'll still shell out $100 for Win98, or in the case of a manufacturer, acquiesce quietly to whatever demands Gates makes. The mainstream media will continue to give Microsoft all the free publicity it wants, ignoring whatever alternatives exist, and leaving the sheep we refer to as the general public believing that there aren't any alternatives.

Read, for example, this article on ZDNet. Bill Gates' sheer arrogance shines through every word he says. He knows that OEM's will install Internet Explorer, and be grateful for the privilege, and he knows that Win98 or its successor will dominate (read: gain a crushing stranglehold on the market), just as Win95 does now.

The question of whether Microsoft is a monopoly is laughable. ("So, in your opinion, is Microsoft a monopoly?" "Well, let's see, they have a 90% or better market share, and use this to instantly crush anyone who might represent competition... Nah...") Whether it's illegal or not is another matter. I cringe every time I see the US government come anywhere near the computer industry (witness what's happening to encryption), but it's clear that Something Needs To Be Done.

It's not as if I'm saying anything original here. The simple truth is that Microsoft has too much power, and that too few people care - or know there's anything to care about.
</RANT>

Ok, I feel better now.

Wednesday, June 24, 22:39 EDT
Seems Mirabilis has released another version of ICQ... Doesn't yet seem to have been tainted by AOL. As long as they don't call it a "buddy list", I'll probably keep using it.

Tuesday, June 23, 17:18 CDT
We're in St. Louis (well, Granite City, IL actually). Not sure that matters to anyone, but I felt like mentioning it.

Just checked my mail, and noticed an announcement that there's a new version of mIRC out, v5.4. I haven't downloaded it yet, since I can't seem to find a local dial-up, and 800 number charges add up rapidly (have I mentioned AT&T makes a lousy ISP?).

I saw a note on Blue's News that it's been two years since the shareware release of Quake. Hard to believe; I can remember all the pre-release hype, checking sites like Quake Will Rule The Cosmos and Stomped religiously, and practically drooling every time even a little bit of information leaked out of id. ("Spooge" - now there's a word I haven't heard in a while...)

Tuesday, June 23, 14:54 CDT
Ahh, the joys of using a laptop in a vehicle. The glare off the too-dim LCD screen, the feel of the too-small keyboard sticking, the threat of second degree burns from the battery pack, and the sneaking suspicion that you're going to wind up sterile after holding the damn thing in your lap...

Oh well, life would be boring without *something* to complain about. At least I'm not totally cut off from civilization. Now if I can just find a phone jack...

Monday, June 22, 8:47 CDT
I'm leaving today with my family, we'll eventually arrive at the Con-events-ion, such as it is. Doesn't look at this point as if there'll be more than a few people there, but it should be fun anyway. Next time, remind me to argue against scheduling anything on the weekend of July 4 in Washington DC.

I'm taking my dad's laptop, so if it matters for any reason, I can still be reached by e-mail, and possibly ICQ. I'll also try to update this page with my usual inane ramblings occasionally.

Saturday, June 20, 23:19 CDT
Dæmonsong episode 114, "Exodus of Faith", is out. This is probably the best episode so far, despite (or perhaps because of) a lack of action.

Saturday, June 20, 1:40 CDT
Saw a link over on Slashdot.org to an article on Salon Magazine about the "obsolescence" of computers, and the perceived need to buy a new one every few years. I don't agree with everything the author has to say, but he makes some excellent points. The Slashdot.org discussion is also well worth reading.

Saturday, June 20, 1:19 CDT
Reset my counter, for no particular reason. It was at something like 950 hits, I think. Woohoo.

Saturday, June 20, 0:14 CDT
Sounds like the folks at Hardlink, my shell account/web space provider have been having some problems lately:

6/18/98 - Flooded again!  We just had close to a foot of water come in
          again.  Seems like the end of the world.  Has not stop raining
          in almost a week here. :(

My sympathies... The few inches of water that've been in our basement for months are bad enough; I can't imagine dealing with a genuine flood. They've done an admirable job keeping things working.

Friday, June 19, 14:25 CDT
You'll notice (if you've been here before) I ditched the frames. They did offer some advantages, but after thinking about it for a while, I decided it wasn't really worth it. I also got tired of typing target="_top". There're probably some broken links around here now, but I should have them fixed shortly.

I'm planning on coming up with a new color scheme (I like black, but it's time for a change), and re-doing some other misc. stuff. Hmm... I wonder if there's anything wrong with using a Server Side Include for a <BODY> tag.

I added a bit more lame ASCII art.

Tuesday, June 16, 21:41 CDT
I was channel surfing last night (well, early this morning), and happened to stop on USA. At first I thought they were running an ad for The Net, then I realized to my horror that it was far worse than another showing of a truly awful movie. They've converted it to a series. A series starring a Sandra Bullock look-alike, and (one assumes) loaded with all the pathetically misguided computer BS they can crank out.

*shudder*

Tuesday, June 16, 17:12 CDT
I finally got around to writing that review of Pegasus Mail v3.01a.

Thursday, June 11, 12:29 CDT
Some articles and stuff that're worth reading:

Saturday, June 6, 0:30 CDT
I picked up a copy of Ultimate Doom off a bargain bin the other day. I've discovered I'm still as bad at the game as I remembered, but it does bring back some pleasant memories. Anyway, since id released the Doom source code a while back, people have been releasing versions with added features and optimizations. Stuff like mlook, SVGA, 32 player support, translucency, .mp3 and CD music...

Among the best of these ports are DOSDoom, and Doom LEGAGY. A lot of good info can be found at DoomWorld, where you can also find links to Win32, Linux, and Amiga ports.

If you've got a copy of the game gathering dust somewhere, it's definitely worth loading up again. This is Doom as it was meant to be played: at 640x480, with mlook on, and your favorite deathmatch music playing in the background.

Thursday, June 4, 23:59 CDT
I saw Bulworth yesterday. It was different, to say the least. The kind of movie (er, I mean "film") that's going to upset a lot of people, and probably be ignored by the rest. IMHO, it was worth listening to Warren Beatty rap. Anyway, rather than try to write a review, I'll just link to the IMDb's entry, where you'll find a ton of them.

Wednesday, June 3, 13:50 CDT
It's been no secret for quite a while now that events.scifi.com is dying. Most of the regulars are gone, and I can't say I blame them. Events just isn't the same anymore, and I doubt it ever will be again. I stuck around as long as I could stand it, but the time has come to move on.

Tuesday, June 2, 23:40 CDT
Added some stuff to my links.

Monday, June 1, 13:40 CDT
Phil Hartman murdered, Pakistan and India doing their best to incite a nuclear war, still more homicidal psychopaths murdering classmates... Maybe the world really is going straight to hell. (Sorry. Every time I pay attention to what's going on in Real Life (tm), I get depressed.)

Saw Godzilla Friday, wrote a quick review. The X-Files trailer looked extremely cool, despite my not having watched more than a couple of episodes of the series.

Speaking of reviews, quite a while back I said I'd write one of The Neutronium Alchemist, the sequel to The Reality Dysfunction. After reading the first half (they split it into two paperbacks), I didn't really feel inclined to pay for the second. To be honest, it was a big disappointment after TRD, and I don't have much hope for the series.

Another month... Moved May stuff to the older updates file.

May

Thursday, May 28, 16:33 CDT
Yep, definitely going with 24 hour.

I recently switched from Eudora Light to Pegasus Mail 3.01. I'll get a review/comparison up after I've used it a bit more, but at this point I do have to say it's worth checking out.

Thursday, May 28, 12:43 AM CDT
I think I like 24 hour format better. Oh well.

I've been thinking of doing a bit of a re-design of this site. Trying to decide whether or not I should get rid of the frames. On the one hand, they're not really necessary, and I've come to dislike most frames for this very reason. On the other hand, I do like the navigation they provide (at least on capable browsers), and they look ok. On the gripping hand, I'm too indecisive to actually make up my mind, so I'll probably just flip a coin.

Tuesday, May 26, 20:46 CDT
I'm trying to decide whether I should have seperate entries here for different times in a day, or maybe just a seperator between them. And should I use a 24 or 12 hour format? What do you think? Does anyone even care?

Saalon has set up a mailing list for Dæmonsong. If you read DS regularly, it's worth subscribing to. It won't be a very high traffic list, and it's probably going to be used to distribute the episodes in plain text. Just e-mail "subscribe daemonsong" (minus the quotes, of course) to requests@talklist.com.

Speaking of e-mail subscriptions, Need to Know is a great weekly mailing described as "*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK". High-tech and a warped (that is to say British) sense of humor... What more could you ask for?

Tuesday, May 26
Removed the disclaimer that was up there for a while. You know, this one:

Warning: If you're unfortunate enough to be using a library computer at LCHS, do yourself a favor and hit the back button. It's not that I don't appreciate your visit, but you know as well as I do that within a few minutes Mrs. Knudsen will be standing behind you and telling you that you have to get off the computer.

I'll probably stick it back up when school starts and students are again under the power of the library nazis.

Monday, May 25
It seems all sorts of stuff happened while I was gone over the weekend. No big surprise.

Unreal is out, and early reviews seem quite favorable. Another great looking game for me to drool over from a distance... For actual news, head over to Blue's. (What is this thing with unintentional rhymes, anyway?)

The Dæmonsong site has a new look, coinciding with the appearance of DS ads in a couple of print magazines. I still don't much like JavaScript rollovers or .gif text, but it's been done with restraint, and I have to admit it looks nice.

Thursday, May 21
Another Con-events-ion update. Gurney's leaving in a week or so, and won't be back until around June 25, which means you need to contact him if you're planning on going, and send your $15 for the rental van. I know there're more than three of us that plan to be there, but nobody's doing much about it... In other words, if you haven't done so already, MOVE! (Did that sound desperate?)

A disgusting bit of news: America Online has purchased Mirabilis, the company behind ICQ, for an obscene amount of money. I've been wondering for a while how Mirabilis was ever going to generate any sort of profit, but I hoped they'd find some way other than being swallowed whole by a company like AOL or Microsoft. (Here's the news.com article.)

There's a fairly well written editorial up on Slashdot, about computer education in K-12 schools. I've been meaning to write something like this myself, not much of a surprise someone would beat me to it.

Tuesday, May 19
I saw a link over on Stephen's Home Page to a nifty program for Win95/NT called Home Planet. It's got an impressive list of features, including an Earth map that shows day and night regions, a star map that's viewable from any location on Earth, and options to track satellites, comets, asteroids, and the moon. The full download is over 7 megs, but the "lite" version is a much easier to swallow 1.34 mb.

Mirabilis has released a new version of ICQ, 98a v1.26 (at least I think that's the version number). Rather than wade through the confusing morass that is Mirabilis' site, you can just use this Download.com link. If you haven't tried ICQ yet, it's at least worth giving it a shot.

My ICQ number, incidentally, is 1408149.

Monday, May 18
I did a bit more (pathetic) ASCII art.

I noticed a link on Blue's News to a Quake movie called "Apartment Huntin'". It's simply hilarious. If you've got Quake, head over to the Ill Clan page. It's worth the sizeable download.

Although it says it requires WinQuake, the demo runs fine in DOS Quake, you'll just need to type "quake -nojoy -nocdaudio -game apthunt +playdemo opening" instead of running apthunt.bat. (Or you could edit the .bat file. Whatever works. In point of fact, if you're going to be watching this movie, you don't need me to tell you these things. I'm rambling again.)

Sunday, May 17
Congratulations to my cousins Beau, Rachel, and the other Rachel, along with everyone else who graduated this weekend. Not like they'll ever read this, but what the heck. :)

Five days of school left...

Thursday, May 14
6 days of school left. You know, I can't really say this school year has gone quickly; in fact, it's been long, dry, and boring. Still hard to believe it's almost summer, though.

There's an interesting article on XML (eXtensible Markup Language) up on WebMonkey. Although it's not really anything we haven't heard before, it does emphasize the fact that XML is almost certainly destined to take over the web within a few years. And here I am still coding in HTML 3.2...

Wednesday, May 13
If you are/were an events.scifi.com regular, you probably know about the Con this summer. (If not, well, there's a get together in Washington DC. See the below linked con page.) If you plan to attend, you should contact Gurney as soon as possible. He's got a decent sounding hotel lined up, although the first one bailed out on us. It'd be a good idea to get reservations ASAP. July 4 isn't really all that far away, and I imagine rooms are filling up fast. You can find hotel and travel info on the official con page. Hope to see you there...

Monday, May 11
About last Friday's update; I know a little more than I did, and I'll probably write something up about it at a later date, but for the moment I don't feel like stirring things up. My original statement stands. (Thanks to Gulthek for the support.)

Wow... Only 11 more days of school. I should be able to give this page (among other things) a lot more attention once school's out, so there'll be some changes/improvements.

[Ok, not actually 11 more days of school; 11 days until school's out, counting the weekend. Hate it when I do something like that, but that does mean 2 days less than I thought.]

On a completely unrelated subject, the May All Basic Code Packet has been out for a while. I haven't done anything in QBasic lately, and I'm not likely to in the future, but I'm still fond of the language, despite its obsolescence. I'll always maintain that Microsoft could have done a lot of good by releasing QuickBasic 4.5 as freeware back when they abandoned it as a supported product, but it's a little late now. (I'll stop rambling.)

Anyway, you can snag a copy of the May ABC packet over at The PowerBasic Archives.

Friday, May 8
Today in school (that wonderful font of learning and knowledge that is Laurel-Concord High School), I was approached by the principal, who proceeded to tell me that he'd "been having some problems" with my page. Apparently, if I don't remove several links, I'll lose Internet access through the school. This would present a large problem for me, since there simply aren't any local ISP's in my area.

I want to make something absolutely clear here. I pay for the space that this site is stored on, as well as using a long distance connection to a commercial ISP to upload any changes or additions to it. This site makes use of no school resources, and it does not, as I imagine certain people will say, "go through the school's internet".

In short, I can link to whatever I bloody well please. I've taken pains to make sure of this. If the offending link is what I suspect it to be (the principal not actually having told me what was objectionable), then the owner of that page is free to do with it what he wants.

Now I realize my little corner of the web isn't much, and it certainly doesn't get much traffic, but I'm fond of it; maybe even a little proud of it, my ego being what it is. At the very least, it points the way to other places that're worthwhile (or a good waste of time). I will not be bullied into sanitizing it.

Monday, May 4
I finally got around to registering Opera yesterday. I love this browser. (Review)

Dæmonsong episode 111 is out, right on schedule. (If there had been a schedule, that is.)

Saturday, May 2
I've been lurking for a while on alt.ascii-art, and I finally decided to try doing some of my own (ASCII art, that is). If you're looking for some good ASCII, try Joan Stark's Home Page, where you'll find some of the best ASCII art around, and plenty of good links.

Here's a list of links to stuff I've read lately and thought I should pass on to my loyal reader(s).

It being May, I moved all of the April updates to the older updates page.

April

Monday, April 27
Dæmonsong episode 110 is (finally) out. It's a two parter, and the second half should be out soon. (Honest.)

Sunday, April 26
If you're not a regular on events.scifi.com, you can skip this.

If you've been on events lately, you probably know Gurney's leaving, and why. If not, here's his explanation, and here's the log of the chat between Merlyn and shred.

I agree with Gurney about the incident that started all of this. I don't think Journeyman did the right thing, but I can understand why he did it. Dealing with that sort of idiocy gets old fast, and I would probably have done the same.

I don't think Gurney's making the right decision in cutting off all contact with the SFC; this incident has done far more damage than it should have. Shred should have been approached directly, and he should have offered an apology. None the less, I respect Gurney's decision to leave, and I'm not going to try to talk him into staying. Even back in January I would have felt differently, but things have changed.

I've had great times on events, and as Saalon said, I wouldn't trade them for anything. But the server has been going downhill for a long time now, and the community that was events is mostly gone. When you think about it, it's amazing how long it lasted. A lot of good has come out of that little community, and I'm proud to have been a part of it for so long. In short, it's about over, but it sure has been one helluva ride.

(* Gurney winces)

We're gonna miss you Gurn.

Sunday, April 19
Saw a link on Slashdot.org to a hilarious piece on InfoWorld.

Tuesday, April 14
I decided to write up a list of things I'm working on. Nothing earth shaking, or even mildly interesting for most people. It does sort of make it look like I'm doing something, though.

I stuck a table of contents on my SF link page.

Saturday, April 11
I doubt it's news to anyone reading this page, but the Babylon 5 spin-off series, Crusade, is official. There's an announcement on TNT's site.

Sunday, April 5
Daylight Savings Time sucks.

I saw Lost in Space yesterday, and wrote a quick review.

The WWW Cell Biology Course is a great educational resource... If you happen to be learning cell biology, check it out.

Thursday, April 2
Among the better April Fools jokes I saw yesterday were an article on HotWired, and this game review. There's a huge list of jokes on Blue's News, as well. You know, the number of April Fools gags probably says something about the nature of reality on the 'net...

I've been meaning to post this for a while... Monospace is one of the best QB/QBasic games I've ever seen. It's a side scrolling shooter of the "fly along in a little ship and shoot stuff" variety. A nice recreation of older arcade games, and quite fun to play. (You'll need QBasic.)

Wednesday, April 1
Well, the Mozilla source has been released. Should be really interesting to see what happens in the next couple of months.

Stick Figure Death Theatre has been updated. While I don't think The Axe quite lives up to the earlier classics, it's none-the-less quite entertaining.

Noticed a link on Slashdot.org to an interesting editorial on GUI's, user friendliness, etc. Makes some pretty good points.

Moved all the March updates to the old updates page. Hmm... I should really try to update more frequently.

March

Thursday, March 26
Ever noticed how dropping a potted plant on your head can cause a really vicious headache?

Wednesday, March 25
I just read a downright frightening article on Wired News, about a proposed requirement that schools which receive federal funding use 'net filtering software. This is pretty obviously an attempt to circumvent the ruling against the CDA. After all, who's going to object to "protecting our children"?

The truth is, everything I've seen leads me to believe that this kind of legislation would do far more to needlessly restrict students than protect them.

Sunday, March 22
Ahhh, spring. My dog is sitting outside watching geese fly North, and daring them to come just a little lower. I get the impression that she doesn't like them using her airspace without permission. Or maybe she just wonders what goose tastes like...

I saw Good Will Hunting last night. Great movie. If you haven't seen it yet, I'd recommend doing so. Maybe I'll get a review written later today or tomorrow.

I see that version 2.8 of Lynx is out. There are pre-compiled Win32 and DOS versions available. (Lynx is an excellent text based web browser, available for most OS's.)

Thursday, March 19
Greetings to Erin and Eric, who mailed me from Disney World... I've been wondering where you two went. :)

I just spent an hour or so tweaking stuff... All my link, vlink, and table background colors are slightly different, and I redid the navigation bar that's now on every page (Server Side Includes rock!). Amazing the amount of time one can waste on things that don't really matter.

Monday, March 16
I can't really say I'm part of the Quake community any more. I haven't played online in months, and Quake II, along with most other first person shooters, has left my computer in the dust. (I'm not complaining. When I get off my lazy posterior and get a job, I'll eventually be able to save up and buy a new one, or upgrade this one.) After thinking about this for a while, I've removed my Quake links page, and put all of the links that're still relevant on my misc. links page. After all, I do still check Blue's News every day...

There're a few very minor changes to the IRC Moron FAQ.

Saturday, March 14
Bought a couple of books this weekend. Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card, and part 1 of The Neutronium Alchemist, the sequel to The Reality Dysfunction.

Maps in a Mirror was excellent... Aside from the Ender Saga, I hadn't read any Card, and it provides an excellent cross section of his work. I highly recommend it, especially since it's about the only place to find much of the included material.

I'll withhold opinion on The Neutronium Alchemist until I've read part 2 and can review it in its entirety. (Somebody please tell me why they persist in splitting these books in half and selling them as low quality paperbacks...)

Tuesday, March 10
I tried out a relatively new search engine today, Northern Light. I was impressed. It has a simple, clean design, and from what I saw, it's very powerful.

Monday, March 9
Another snow day... I could really get used to these 3 day weekends. And the boys' basketball team is going to state, so we'll get out of school Thursday and Friday as well. It's shaping up to be a good week.

Webmonkey recently started a mailing list devoted to web design, HTML, etc. It's a very high traffic list, but there's a digest version (collects all of the daily traffic and sends it as one e-mail) that makes it easy to stay on top of. A lot of the discussion is centered on JavaScript (myself, I hate JavaScript), and I wouldn't recommend it for beginners, but I have learned a number of things.

On a related note, A List Apart is worth subscribing to. It's described as "A Moderated Daily Digest for People Who Make Websites. From pixels to prose, coding to content."

Wednesday, March 4
There's an interesting article on Webmonkey, talking about Netscape releasing the Communicator source, and how it might affect the industry. Definitely worth a read.

Monday, March 2
I love snow days. Incredibly enough, this is the first one we've had all year. There's not really much snow, and I'm sure we could have had school, but I'm certainly not going to complain.

February being over, I moved all the February updates to my old updates page. If anyone cares...

Got the April PC Gamer today. Usually a good magazine, but it's to the point where I have no hope of running most of the games (p)reviewed. Oh well, I can read it and dream.

I see that Deja News has a new look.

February

Sunday, February 22
Ok, Dæmonsong episode 109, "Story Time", by Zach Wilson is out. This one's definitely a departure, Dæmonsong's first humorous episode (and yes, it's funny). Be sure to post to the message board when you're done reading, and tell us what you think.

Thursday, February 19
Well, I'm slow, as usual, but Dæmonsong episode 108, "And Dream My Time Away", by Brent P. Newhall is out. Episode 109 should be out this coming Sunday. We're right on schedule, and it looks like we might stay that way. Of course, I have no idea when the DS Tech Bible that I promised will be out...

If you don't already know of it, Slashdot.org is an impressive news site, with "News For Nerds on the Stuff that Matters".

Sunday, February 15
I've been using Opera for a while now, and I finally got around to writing a review. I won't pretend it's a good review, but it's there.

Updated my links and SF&F pages a little.

Sunday, February 8
Episode 107 of Dæmonsong is up. Go. Read. You know the drill. :)

Here's the latest version of The E-mail Checker, a useful mIRC script by Gurney (aka Brent P. Newhall).

Thursday, February 5
I've been watching Babylon 5 since it started running on TNT. It's a great show, and probably the best thing currently on American TV. I recently followed a link from Stephen's Home Page, and found The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5, which is an excellent site.

Sunday, February 1
I split my older updates into two files, one for 1997, and one for 1998.

If you chat on events.scifi.com, the next several items should be of interest -

Check out Aeinroth. It's a shared world we're working on. It'll be for role playing, writing stories, and just generally messing around in. While it's hard to say whether or not this'll get off the ground, I certainly hope it does. There's a ton of potential there.

Axquat has done a major overhaul of the Official events.scifi.com Dossier. It now loads much faster, and even uses the ICQ instant pager to let you send messages to everyone.

Also, if you haven't been to STL News yet (or in a while) you should take a look. It's even available in RealAudio.

January

Saturday, January 24
Update on the Hotmail situation: When I wrote the below rant, I wasn't aware of all the facts, so it's not entirely accurate (well, it is after all a rant). It's become obvious that Hotmail, at least for the time being, will remain blocked. I still think the situation was handled poorly, but there's little that can be done to change it now.

The best course of action that I can see is to try to get the block temporarily lifted for a few days, so that everyone who has a Hotmail account can deal with any messages they have waiting for them by this time, close their account, and sign up with a new service (or get an account through the school).

For what it's worth, every message I've ever received from a Hotmail account has a header named X-Originating-IP, which contains the IP address of the machine that the message originated from. This isn't foolproof, but AFAIK, it provides a means of tracing most Hotmail messages.

There's a new version of mIRC out, v5.31. No big changes this time, just some bug fixes.

Wednesday, January 21
<RANT>Why is it that school authorities always have to overreact to anything dealing with the net?

For a little bit of background, I live near a small Nebraska town, where the only way to get a net connection without paying per-minute charges is through the local high school. They offer several dialups to the community, and most students are able to use the net at least a little at school (on crippled Macs, with constant "supervision", but that's another rant...).

A lot of people who were unable to get an e-mail address signed up with Hotmail (there are a lot of free e-mail providers, but Hotmail is the most popular, for some reason). The school has since started offering e-mail accounts, but a lot of people kept their Hotmail accounts.

Recently, one of the less intelligent people I know decided that he would send some remarkably offensive mail to another student. He used Hotmail, thinking that this would provide anonymity. He then decided to send a message asking if the first e-mail had been received - Using a school account.

The result? Rather than being satisfied with punishing the individual responsible, our superintendent decided to have access to Hotmail blocked. For everyone, and without any sort of warning.

I don't use Hotmail, and I'll probably never have reason to. It just strikes me as ridiculous that a large number of people should lose access to a service they depend on because of the moronic actions of one individual. What if someone was caught in the act of searching for something "offensive" on Yahoo? Would they decide to block access to directories and search engines? Why does this sort of thing always have to snowball?</RANT>

Yes, I did take out those proxy addresses... Self censorship is worse than the standard kind, but I can take a hint, and posting them here was a (rather stupid) mistake in the first place. (Sure, rationalize it. That'll make it all better...)

Sunday, January 18
I got rid of the JavaScript on my contents page. While I don't really mind OnMouseOvers, it's nice to be able to see where you're going when you follow a link, and this way I can say that my pages are completely JavaScript free (for whatever that's worth).

I've been looking for a good freeware telnet client lately. Here's what I've found so far -

EasyTerm -
Simple, easy to use, and there're some nifty features. On the downside, it lacks a good set of copy & paste commands; all you can do is copy the screen. It's definitely worth the tiny 40k download. (Technically, this isn't freeware, it's CareWare... It's a great concept, and the CareWare page is worth reading.)

Tera Term Pro (zip, 740k) -
A decent interface, and there're some nice features. It allows for Japanese and Russian character sets (not that I'll ever use them, but it's nice to know they're there), it has a built in scripting language, and the copy & paste features work well.

Windows95.com Terminals and Telnet Clients -
One heckuva lot of telnet apps.

Wednesday, January 14
Episode 106 of Dæmonsong is out. Definitely the best episode so far. If you found 105 to be something of a disapointment, this more than makes up for it.

If you don't know what Dæmonsong is, read this.

In the interests of journalistic integrity, I must point out that I'm now on staff. Of course, it hasn't affected my judgement in any way. (Wait a minute... I'm not running a news page here... The hell with journalistic integrity.)

Tuesday, January 13
I should have mentioned this earlier... The All Basic Code packet (a bimonthly collection of BASIC programs, code, and tutorials) for January is out. You can get it at any of the following locations:

The ABC Home Page also mentions a Windows version of the ABC reader, though I've no idea how soon it'll actually be there.

The Dominion (the Sci-Fi Channel's site) has put up a Java IRC client at http://www.scifi.com/chat/chatnow.html. It seems to work fine on Netscape 3, and it's actually fairly useable. The biggest nuisance is that it beeps when you hit enter. I've mailed them about it, and I imagine it'll be fixed sooner or later. (I mention this because it'll probably have an effect on events.scifi.com.)

Monday, January 12
I just noticed that Mirabilis has released a Macintosh version of ICQ (as well as versions for a number of other OS's).

I downloaded Opera 3.0 yesterday. It's a web browser with some very interesting features. The biggest difference you'll notice between this and other browsers is that it uses a MDI (multi-document interface) instead of the one page per window approach. In other words, multiple pages are opened as windows inside of the main Opera window... And a lot of them. I've had as many as 20 different pages open at once, which I somehow doubt you'd be able to do with Netscape or IE.

Opera is currently only available for Win 3.x, 95, or NT, but they're apparently working on a project to port it to quite a few other operating systems. This one is definitely worth checking out. It might even be worth paying for...

Saturday, January 10
Updated my IRC page.

Friday, January 9, 1998
Notice the spiffy little menu at the top of this page? I suppose this will make it easier to navigate. Or maybe it just takes up space. One way or another, it's there.

I updated my SF Links page slightly.

Older updates (1997)


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