Sunday, July 30, 23:51 CDT
Just got back from seeing X-Men again with a friend. Would've been home sooner, but about 10 minutes in, the film jammed (well, looked like it jammed) and melted. Impressive effect... Never actually seen that happen. They took their own sweet time getting it fixed, but at least we got free movie passes out of it.

Saturday, July 29, 12:05 CDT
Interesting proposal on freshmeat, suggesting that distributed file sharing be integrated into web browsing as a way to share the load on web servers. Pretty cool idea, even if there are probably a billion things standing in the way of its implementation. Looks like they're serious about doing it, at any rate.

Hrm. An AICN bit that mentions Fox doing a Stainless Steel Rat movie. I love the Rat books (well, up until The Stainless Steel Rat Joins the Army, at any rate), and there's no reason they couldn't make good movies, but I have a terrible suspicion that if it does get made, it's going to suck.

Thursday, July 27, 21:20 CDT
I meant to go to sleep at a sort of reasonable hour last night, but instead I read The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle. Good book. Fairy tale, but aware of it... The kind of book I'd call the best kind of fantasy, except that I like the other kinds at least as much. If that makes any sense.

Less than a month left now before I'll be starting college... Weird.

Read a couple of interesting Napster / music distribution related pieces on Salon today. Why the music industry has nothing to celebrate, which isn't exactly news to a lot of us, but well written anyway, and Courtney Love does the math, which is a surprisingly good (and surprisingly clued in) rant from an artist's perspective about the music industry, 'net distribution, and all that good stuff.

(Hmm... Yet another distributed file sharing system. But this one appears to have a well thought out design and actual security. I think I'd like to try running this, once I have an always-on connection.)

Surfing freshmeat, I stumbled across gentoo, a graphical filemanager for Linux that uses a two-panes with buttons at the bottom design. I suppose the interface is sort of hideously cluttered, but it seems efficient and has some cool features. Maybe more purely useful than GNOME's included version of the GNU Midnight Commander, or at least a good complement to it.

One thing that sort of bothers me is that gentoo has its own huge internal list of filetypes, display characteristics and icons for them, and actions to take on different kinds of files. I'm not knocking this - it's an impressive amount of work, and the filehandling is pretty sophisticated. It can group things not just as .jpg's or .gif's for example, but as subgroups within the category of "images". Nifty, and actually kind of useful.

What bugs me is how much duplicated effort is involved here... It seems like every different free filemanager and desktop project, not to mention countless different applications, go to the effort of coming up with a set of filetype data and ways to deal with it. "Files with an extension of .html should be edited with such and such, and viewed in Netscape... Files with an extension of .jpeg should be edited with the GIMP and viewed with xv..." etc., etc. Why isn't there some kind of open, cooperatively maintained set of file data usable by anyone, with maybe some kind of library that would allow everything from textmode apps to flashy graphical desktops to take advantage of it? Use XML and some other buzzwords, and make it usable on pretty much any platform... I'd think it'd benefit a lot of different projects, especially KDE and GNOME, in a big way...

I'm probably just being totally ignorant here, but I *think* I see something where free software could take a pretty big step forward if someone with far more skill than I and an actual understanding of the situation did something about it. (Heh. Why do none of my ideas ever amount to anything, anyway?)

Wednesday, July 26, 18:51 CDT
Just uploaded my full-length X-Men review.

Wow, I'm slow at writing these things.

Tuesday, July 25, 23:23 CDT
And, once again, not much has happened lately.

I saw X-Men Friday. I'm pretty sure it's the best comic book film adaptation ever made. It was pretty much everything a summer blockbuster should be (and almost never is).

The Coming Age of Calm Technology is one of the better interface related pieces I've read lately. Lavaps, a process tracking tool inspired by the concept of calm computing, is one of the coolest things I've installed lately. It uses lava-lamp like blobs to display the state of all the programs you have running, which both looks cool and is somehow actually useful. First time I've ever left any program like this running for an extended period of time and felt like it was a good addition to my interface.

I found both of those links in an interesting piece on Advogato about the potential for free software to create the Anti-Mac Interface.

In turn, I stumbled across Advogato, which I'd seen occasionally mentioned but never actually bothered to look at, in a Salon article referenced in the last NTK.

I think it's going to storm... Or maybe it'll pass us by to the east, but that looks like a lot of cloud...

Wednesday, July 19 (posted later)
Well, I justed watched the 49th and final episode of Gundam Wing on Cartoon Network. I actually managed to see most of the series this time around (if you're going to understand what's going on at any time, you pretty much have to see everything from episode one on), and it was definitely cooler the second time around. Despite the repetitive action, the constant blathering about pacifism, the way that the English dub probably doesn't do it justice, and the fact that the main characters are pretty boys with bizarre physics defying 80's glam haircuts, I like this show.

It's got badass giant humanoid robot war machines, an unbelievable amount of plot/backstory that's actually decent military/political SF, and stuff blows up real good. In short, it's well worth your time. Keeping in mind that if you miss so much as 2 episodes in a row at any given point, there's a pretty good chance you'll lose complete track of the plot.

One of these days, I'll get around to writing (maybe as a collaborative effort) some kind of lengthy review of the series.

Meanwhile, I posted a Chicken Run review to POV.

Tuesday, July 18 (posted later)
Just posted a short review of Neverwhere to POV.

I've got to admit I'm impressed by GNOME. As happy as I was with my old windowmanager setup (Window Maker), there's a lot of coolness here. Didn't really expect to be using this for more than a couple of hours to play with, and I think I may be hooked.

Maybe I'm just happy that my OS can do the whole desktop thing. Little icons, cute pictures, file managers and overly configurable dock/taskbar/menu thingies... And it doesn't suck.

Friday, July 14, 1:28 CDT
Jerry Doyle for Congress. 'nuff said.

The 11th Hour has an interview with Doyle where he talks about the possibility of a new Babylon 5 related series. (Please, please let it happen. And let it not suck. Is that so much to ask?) And it looks like the Sci-Fi Channel is going to be showing B5 in letterboxed format. I didn't even know a letterboxed format existed. Coolness. Noticed this stuff on the ever-nifty Lurker's Guide, which easily ranks as one of the top 3 or 4 obsessive fan sites ever.

Thursday, July 13, 16:32 CDT
Well, I'm running Helixcode's GNOME distribution. They have it all nicely packaged for a number of Linux distributions, including Debian. (GNOME, if you don't know, is one of the big free software desktop projects.)

I don't know how long this is going to last. There's undeniably some cool stuff here, and I do prefer Sawfish to Enlightenment as a window manager, but sooner or later I imagine I'm going to wind up back with my old setup, occasionally using some GNOME program or another. Especially since there's still just a little too much bloat here for the whole system to run as smooth or load quite as fast as I'd like it to.

Ok, that's not really fair. When new software seems sluggish on your 5 year old machine, you probably shouldn't complain all that loudly. I do anyway, of course, but at least I know I shouldn't.

I suppose I should try a full KDE install on this machine, just to see what it's like. After I spend some more time evaluating GNOME, of course. (That's what I'm doing. Serious evaluation. Messing around aimlessly? Wouldn't dream of it.)

Wednesday, July 12, 0:50 CDT (posted later)
I'm downloading the Helixcode distribution of GNOME, so I might as well write an update while I'm waiting around...

My flight on Friday wound up being delayed, but otherwise the trip went smoothly. I even got reseated into first class on one leg of the flight. Got into BWI a little before 6:30. (Or 7:30? Time zone changes never fail to confuse me somewhere along the line.) Met Brent at the gate, and we drove to his house (nice place).

The weekend was generally cool, though there's not a whole lot to write about here. Gurney/Brent, Saalon/Eric, and I basically spent most of the time talking, 'net surfing, watching anime, and talking. Think live-action IRC session. Brainstorming is fun, as is just getting to interact in Real Life (tm) with people you normally communicate with purely by text.

Watched some anime I'm going to have to attempt to review.

Did you know NASA has a cable TV channel? The content appears to be 90% or better views of Earth recorded by various shuttle crews. Bizarre, but oddly hypnotic.

Got on the plane around 2:00 Monday, and made it home with little incident. Not much has happened since then.

A really intense storm just went over. The kind where the thunder is just a steady roar, and once it passes over you can see almost continuous lightning. Like some kind of ongoing explosion, almost. We had a largeish chunk of tree come down on a power line, which means I get to reduce it to firewood in the morning. Fun.

Sleeeeep...

Thursday, July 6, 19:54 CDT
Updated ye olde software page a bit.

Spent last night setting off a meager supply of fireworks at my Aunt & Uncle's house, then watched some really impressive lightning to the South (these weird multi-tiered clouds where you could see the lightning travel through and out into open sky). Not a bad way to spend an evening.

I'm leaving tomorrow @ around 9:00, getting home Monday evening. Probably won't update this until then, but it's not like a 3 day gap is all that unusual around here.

Wednesday, July 5, 14:52 CDT
It's one of those summer days where it thunders and spits rain for hours, without ever building up to a big storm. There's blue sky in the South, sooner or later it'll clear off and turn hot and muggy.

Then again, that thunder seems to be getting louder. Probably an indication I shouldn't have the computer on...

I did a whole lot of nothing yesterday (belated happy Independence Day, all), not even the traditional running around and blowing stuff up, which was depressing.

Did go see Chicken Run with my family. Not bad at all, IMO. I love the "Great Escape with chickens" idea. I should probably write up a review.

Sunday, July 2, 1:29 CDT
I've been looking for a good GUI Unix/Linux IRC client (there's a mouthful). Started using a recent version of X-Chat, which seems pretty cool. It's still no mIRC (which I can actually run under WINE now), but with some tweaking of settings it's not half bad.