Sunday, July 25, 23:48 CDT
This is too cool. A telnet based BBS for readers of User Friendly. Complete with message boards and games, and stuff.

Having lived in small town and rural areas most of my life, I pretty much missed out on the rise and fall of the BBS, an institution that's always appealed to me for some reason. Even (or maybe especially) these days, with ever more widespread Internet access, I'd love to see a local board. Someone with a couple of phone lines and an old Linux box could probably manage something pretty cool...

If I had the resources, I'd love to try running one. Unfortunately, phone lines (the lack of a few spare ones being my biggest obstacle) cost money, which is something I don't have much of. And I have a hard time imagining finding more than a couple of people who'd be interested in using it anyway.

At any rate, telnet BBSes are cool, and I'm going to have to try my hand at TradeWars 2002.

Looks like the parts of Gandalf and Bilbo for the LotR movies have been cast. I've still got nagging doubts *anyone* can pull these films off, but right now it's looking like they'll rock (as movies), even if the story they tell isn't quite the same one. Which may be the best we can hope for. Don't get me wrong - Tolkien's work is wonderful beyond my power to express, and I want to see a faithful screen version, but if what we get is a great set of films that at least convey the spirit and tone of the books, we're doing pretty well IMO.

I tried installing a few different files on my Palm, and discovered that only a specific few cause the HotSync prog to perform one of those pesky illegal operations. I can only assume they're corrupted, or something.

I found a handy web based tool that converts HTML to the Doc format, for easy reading on a Palm. It worked well on this page... Think I'll learn more about creating Doc's, and see what other formats are available. It'd be cool (for no particular reason) to offer what little is here for handheld devices.

The latest issue of TBTF contains a number of disturbing items of interest to people living in the US. The national I.D. card especially worries me, though it's not as if this hasn't been coming for a very long time. Maybe I should start exercising my right to engage in futile protest and write some letters to politician types.

Saturday, July 24, 13:17 CDT
Ahhh. Heat, humidity, and bugs. Gotta love Summer in the midwest.

(No, really.)

Only a month left before I return to high school for a final year of playing stupid mind games, all so I can wear a cheesy looking gown while some guy in a suit hands me a little piece of paper and bad music plays.

And then, I suppose, it's off to college.

Friday, July 23
Well, I've run into a bit of a snag with my Palm usage - went to install a few short stories in Doc format that I found on MemoWare, and shortly thereafter, the Windows HotSync software died on me. Tried again, and it did the same thing. Messed around with various combinations of .prc files to install, and while I can sync up data, actually trying to install anything leads to a crash.

I'm sure there's a logical explanation for this (more logical than "#%@!ing Windows!"), but I haven't yet taken the time to figure it out. Maybe I should just try setting up some Linux software and an organizer, and see if it works. (In which case, "#%@!ing Windows!" will be good enough for me...)

I spent most of last night at a local Christian youth camp that's been run by the family of a good friend and neighbor of mine for around 10 years now (this was their last year). Had quite a bit of fun. I'm left with a couple of questions, though - why aren't games like capture-the-flag recognized as real sports? And is it actually legal to guard your flag by sitting on it?

Thursday, July 22, 13:21 CDT
Yikes, it's been a while. Where to start?

I would have updated around 1:00 this morning, but I got embroiled in a debate over Linux and Free Software. One 'o these days, Eric, I'm going to learn not to take the bait...

My Palm IIIx finally came last Friday, right after I had a couple of teeth pulled. Sort of a mixed day. Anyway, after using the Palm for a while, I wrote a pseudo-review with some first impressions. (Mostly positive, with some quibbling.)

There're some very cool little (well, little is sort of a requirement) apps available for the various Palm devices. Mostly shareware/demoware, but there's a growing selection of good free stuff as well. A few links to what I've found so far:

  • CSpotRun is a simple but effective DOC reader. This format seems to be a standard on the Palm platform, and there're a ton of documents available in it.
  • Some great stuff here: Diddle is a cool little GPL'd sketchpad. Its close relative DiddleBug lets you set a countdown, and have whatever you've drawn pop up accompanied by an alarm. Great for quick reminders, and so forth.
  • Gary Lorensen has done a nifty tank game, which I've managed to kill some time with, and a version of Battleship.

Palm Gear H.Q. seems like a good place to find stuff, and palm.eisenbach.com lists a good selection of free apps.

One of the first things I did was download CSpotRun and an e-text (in DOC format) of A Princess of Mars. To my pleasant surprise, the Palm is actually an excellent platform for reading e-texts. And I must admit I really enjoyed A Princess of Mars. I do believe I'll read some more of Edgar Rice Burroughs' stuff. Fortunately, most of it seems to be available as an e-text, from one source or another.

Well, there's more I should write here, but I don't really have time at the moment. I'm going to attempt to get back to updating daily, but we all know how that goes...

Tuesday, July 13
I just finished reading Feet of Clay, by Terry Pratchett. I've been thinking for a while that I should try one o fhis Discworld novels, so I picked one off the shelf at random (well, there were only 3 to choose from). I wasn't disappointed - it struck me at first as moderately amusing light fantasy, but by the end I was having a hard time not rolling out of bed laughing (what, like you never read in bed until 3 AM). And there was a real message in there, too.

I'm sure it would help to have read at least a few of the preceeding books - this is, after all, a pretty well established universe. And I don't have any idea how Feet of Clay compares to the rest of the series, but if the others are anything like this, I'll certainly be reading more.

If you happen to be looking for a way to offer telnet access to something for people who can only run (or only know how to use) a web browser, check out The Java Telnet Applet. It's a telnet client and terminal emulator that runs as a Java applet embedded on a web page. It's remarkably easy to configure, and can also run as a standalone application. The first *useful* use of Java I've really seen on the web, and an impressive attempt to make more of the 'net accessible.

Sunday, July 11, 1:30 CDT
Finished that brief review of Tarzan.

I ordered a Palm IIIx last night, after some waffling. There are a ton of cool looking little PDA/Palmtop devices out there, but at this stage of the game (and given my budget), a Palm looks like the best bet. Some stuff at the Gadgeteer, among other cool sites whose URLs I don't have at the moment, helped me make up my mind. Guess I'll post more when I actually get the thing and see how I like it.

Of course, in a few years, we'll probably all be able to carry gadgets as powerful as the average desktop machine around in our pockets, which should make things interesting...

Hmm... What else...

I downloaded and compiled (with some difficulty, but it finally worked) Cooledit yesterday. It's not as if I really *need* another text editor (Linux is rife with them), but this is a pretty nice one. It's got a kind of retro look to it, and feels a bit like the better Win/DOS editors I've used. (I gather it's actually based on the editor in Midnight Commander, for whatever that's worth.) It's got some nice features - on-the-fly spell checking, syntax highlighting, Python scriptability, and the like. Overall, I'd recommend it if you want a nice GUI text editor, but don't want to learn something like XEmacs.

Sunday, July 4
Ahh, (American) Independence Day.

Ok, sure, it's a little hard to be proud of this country at times, and the sad reality is that we haven't exactly been the good guys during a lot of our history... But, well, it ain't all bad.

And, hey, it's a great excuse to blow some shit up. Which, political correctness and recent paranoia aside, is one of the great pleasures in life (IMHO). And somehow, it seems appropriate, given the holiday.

I was just thinking about a year ago at this time... Definitely an interesting experience

Thursday, July 1, 23:13 CDT
Well, the Crusade ep last night ("Paths of Sorrow") was probably the best so far, if flawed. I'm really starting to like Galen as a character. And "This is where I get off. Metaphorically, metaphysically, and literally." is one of the better lines I've heard lately.

I'm still not sure about this show, but the potential is definitely there. I keep thinking about Babylon 5's first season. What's sad here is that we'll never really find out what Crusade could have become. Or even what these first few eps could have been without moronic interference...

Is it petty and childish of me to wish for WCW Monday Nitro's ratings to plunge like an overweight wrestler diving from atop the Empire State Building, so that TNT can flounder around desperately searching for real programming? Probably, but I find it hard to care.

(I should mention The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. Excellent site.)