Thursday, September 28, 19:12 CDT
Just watched "Soul Hunter". Good ep, even though I pretty much hate the soul hunter character design...

The waterfight out in the hall seems to have escalated. I hear splashing.

Should really do that physics homework... Especially with that test coming up and all.

Thursday, September 28, 15:29 CDT
Well, I just spent something like 3 hours reading rec.arts.sf.written... I've been making one of my periodical doomed attempts to keep at least slightly caught up on the group. It's a little easier now that I have a permanent connection, but it's the kind of time-sucking activity that I'd probably be ill-advised to get too heavily into right now, even if I *could* keep up with it. And I'm just lurking... Forget about actually participating in the discussion.

(Actually, pretty much every time I've ever posted to usenet, I come off looking like (at best) a jackass. I'd use DejaNews to demonstrate this, but (perhaps mercifully), their archives now only go back to May '99.)

Wednesday, September 27, 19:31 CDT
Watched "Midnight on the Firing Line" on Sci-Fi a little earlier...

B5 in widescreen is cool. Actually, B5 is just plain cool. I had forgotten how much I enjoy this show.

Of course, I'll probably enjoy the sometimes mediocre, and once or twice downright awful, first season more knowing both how much better it gets, and where it's going (how many shows do you know of that foreshadow things that'll happen 4 seasons later in the *first* episode?).

Commercials and squashed sped up credits are annoying (though at least the SFC has promised to run the credits for episodes where it actually matters unsquashed).

Wednesday, September 27, 17:43 CDT
Reading an article on freshmeat about software packaging for Linux distros. Surprisingly, though a lot of the comments are essentially .deb vs. .rpm, it's actually a pretty thoughtful discussion about the topic (rather than, say, a juvenile flamewar).

Personally I pretty much love Debian's package system. It's obviously not perfect, but I'm pretty sure they're on the right track, and most of the time installing/upgrading stuff couldn't be easier, even on a Mac or Windows box.

instmon, a shell script that tracks stuff you install. Looks useful for keeping track of things you compile from scratch rather than install from a binary package.

Wednesday, September 27, 16:16 CDT
dircproxy looks interesting - an IRC server proxy that keeps a connection to a server open for you, and lets you connect with a standard IRC client from anywhere.

I sort of wonder if anything's being done these days to adapt or expand IRC... Why, for example, shouldn't it be able to function well in the instant messenger space?

(Ok, I know that's a complex question and that there're fundamental differences... It's a question stemming from the simple fact that, put bluntly, most instant messaging services suck in a variety of ways, whereas IRC is IMO actually good.)

Tuesday, September 26, 21:52 CDT
Well, KDE certainly seems cool at first glance. Except that it took forever to load, and it's being painfully sluggish for some reason, this is definitely worth checking out further. Looks to be ahead of GNOME in a number of ways, lagging behind in others. At least initially, there's definitely more of a feeling of cohesiveness to the whole thing, and a more complete set of basic apps and config tools.

(It's officially in Debian now, BTW. apt-get install task-kde, and away you go.)

Abrupt random subject shift (now there's something HTML needs a tag for): Gotta link to the The Annotated Dennis Miller.

Some tweaking of settings makes KDE a little more responsive, but not nearly enough.

Wow, do I really need to be studying for a history test.

Tuesday, September 26, 15:37 CDT
Would someone explain to me why most of the spam I've been getting lately is advertising bulk e-mailing lists?

How effective can it possibly be to market your product to the people it serves to harass on a daily basis?

Tuesday, September 26, 14:36 CDT
Think I use too many ...'s?

Ellipsis
El*lip"sis, n.; pl. Ellipses. L., fr. Gr. ? a leaving, defect, fr. ? to leave in fall short; ? in + ? to leave. See In, and Loan, and cf. Ellipse.
1. (Gram.) Omission; a figure of syntax, by which one or more words, which are obviously understood, are omitted; as, the virtues I admire, for, the virtues which I admire.
2. (Geom.) An ellipse. Obs.

Er, anyway. I just went to the W3C site to make sure I remembered how to do a definition list (like the one above). Noticed once again that there're all sorts of nifty HTML tags that get less use than they should. Stuff like <abbr>, <acronym>, and <cite>. I should really redo this page in something other than HTML 3.2... XHTML, maybe?

Tuesday, September 26, 1:28 CDT
Well, I'm downloading KDE... I've been using GNOME considerably longer than I thought I would (and mostly liking it), so I figure I might as well give the other desktops a chance.

Some genius just wedged a little stack of pennies in between a door and a doorframe down the hall, which (interestingly enough) keeps the door from unlocking. Juvenile, yes, but good to know...

Really ought to find some kind of rope ladder or something that could be lowered from our window. Just in case.

Listening to a CD of Aaron Copland music... Good as this stuff is, I *still* can't help thinking Beef... It's what's for dinner. every time I hear it.

Monday, September 25, 19:00 CDT
Spent last night compiling a new kernel. Well, actually several of them... Finally got it right on the 3rd try, I think. I've got sound working now, which is cool - and was surprisingly easy, what with the nifty GUI configuration tool. I'd probably only have needed to go through it once, if I'd remembered to configure it for the network the first time.

Now I just need to figure out how to get ALSA working right. And it'd be cool to be able to access stuff like the shared printers and drives on this network. I think the kernel's configured properly for it, I just need to figure out what other software I need...

Sunday, September 24, 20:19 CDT (posted later)
Ahh, the Linux console. Refreshing, once in a while, after all those flashy chrome-heavy GUIs... Sometimes you just want a little text.

I'm back at the dorm, after spending another uneventful weekend at home.

Spent some time helping my dad cut down a (big, uncooperative, you might even say vengeful) walnut tree this afternoon... He bought all the walnuts in a grove about 20 miles from home, with the intention of getting as much lumber out of them as possible, and then (this is where it gets vague) somehow realizing a profit on the whole deal. We're better than half done, but I suspect we'll be working on it for quite a while. Then there's figuring out something to do with the wood... Furniture? Roll-top desks?

There's something oddly satisfying about running a chainsaw. A satisfaction which probably stems partly from the fact that I haven't yet managed to inflict grievous injury on my own cherished person with one. Despite being perhaps one of the clumsiest individuals alive.

Have you ever thought about how much havoc a small group of determined people with chainsaws could wreak? Forget bad horror movie chase scenes with screaming coeds and nutjobs in masks. Picture phone and electric lines downed, trees dropped across roads... Throw in a 4 wheel drive pickup, some log chain, a pair of wire cutters, plenty of gas, maybe some black powder or TNT...

What, like *you've* never indulged in a little idle speculation about waging small scale war against civilization?

Thursday, September 21, 10:36 CDT
How is it possible to reduce something as varied and fascinating as the entire scope of human visual art to a mind numbing lecture on focal points and balance?

How about the way every introductory computer course I've ever been exposed to seems aimed at completely obscuring everything mysterious and wonderful that first drew me to computers behind an impenetrable wall of unspeakably bland BS?

I would rant further, but I've got Intro to Computer Information Technology in 10 minutes...

Wednesday, September 20, 15:35 CDT
It's the 20th of September. I've been here 5 weeks... How'd that happen? Am I permanently afflicted with a disorder that prevents me from perceiving the passage of long periods of time? Or is it just that there's so little actual change in my day to day existence that everything blurs into a single memory?

("Guess I'm stuck in a dream, surrounded by colored leaves on the ground...")

This is one of those days you can tell it's getting on towards Fall. Chill, windy, can't quite decide whether it should cloud up and rain, leaves blowing around... People walking slightly hunched over, hands in pockets, the way that says if it wouldn't look so undignified they'd break into a run and get somewhere warm.

It's time to start burning stuff... Piles of leaves, sticks, firewood, whatever.

Hot beverages, pots of excessively hot chili, crisp air and wood smoke, dead leaves, burning stuff, smoking cheap cigars and drinking cold beer while burning stuff, short days and nights cold enough to justify sleeping under 50 pounds of blankets, that certain quality in the angle and tone of the light that tells you it's Fall, even on those days when it's hot enough to be mid-July...

It's almost enough to make up for the end of Summer.

Tuesday, September 19, 19:56 CDT
The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord is either one of the funniest things I've ever read, or good practical advice.

Monday, September 18, 19:01 CDT
Curious about the kind of info crumbs your browser is leaving scattered in access logs across the web? iPiD can be educational.

A friend and I were trying to figure out the author/title of a story we'd read for a highschool English class... Turns out it's "The Most Dangerous Game, by Richard Connell. Would make a decent movie, if it hasn't already been done. (The plot has certainly been used often enough.)

Gotta love the Gallery of CSS Descramblers. Talk about making a point and hammering it into the ground...

Monday, September 18, 17:20 CDT
I hate Mondays.

At least I'm done with classes for the day.

Sunday, September 17, 17:36 CDT
Cool. Just got back from eating to discover we've got a rug and a dorm fridge... This place is steadily becoming more livable. (More full of junk, sure, but how else would you define "livable"?)

The SFC had a decent little chat with Jeffrey Willerth, the guy who played Kosh on B5, which they're going to be airing starting the 25th, in widescreen... Can't wait.

A Storm of Swords is out in the UK... Time to re-read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings in preparation...

I watched The Boondock Saints last night... *Excellent*, IMO.

Thursday, September 14, 17:36 CDT
Well, turns out eGroups just sticks a 5 line (including the dividers) text ad at the top of each message. Possibly tolerable.

I'll look for other alternatives (such as shelling out the few bucks a month for one free of ads), but this seems like it'd be worth a shot.

Of course, I have no idea how well the concept of a family mailing list will work. Might fall completely flat, but why not try it?

(CarolAnn, if you happen to be reading this, e-mail me at bbearnes@hardlink.com. Don't have your address.)

Thursday, September 14, 14:11 CDT
I've been thinking about setting up a mailing list of some sort for my extended family on the Bearnes side, since it seems like most of us have access to e-mail these days... Not really sure how to go about it, though.

eGroups is tempting - they basically provide a free list server with the option to access (as well as moderate) it via their web site... Of course, you know there has to be a catch... You can't just provide a service like this on a huge scale out of the goodness of your heart with no business model. (A catch other than it appears Yahoo just bought them out...) I assume they're working on an advertising model, which might or might not be worth the trade off. Just depends on how intrusive the advertising would be, I suppose - do they send separate e-mails, or append ads to every message sent through their service? Or maybe just depend on the banner ads on their web site? (I'd think that'd be risky.)

Note that it doesn't say *anything* about advertising anywhere on their site, that I've been able to find.

Ahhh, here we go. "Check the boxes to receive special offers about your favorite interests!". I'll give them bonus points for not having any of the checkboxes pre-selected. But you know you'd regret the decision to let them spam (ok, legally I suppose it would constitue solicited commercial e-mail and therefore not quite spam, but either way it'd suck) you... The question is, do they give the same option to everyone who joins a list?

Argh! Of course they require cookies, and I'm running junkbuster... Ok, so add egroups.com to the domains allowed to send me cookies...

Guess I'll give this a shot.

Wednesday, September 13, 21:11 CDT
Just finished reading The Subtle Knife, by Philip Pullman. Um, wow. This trilogy (His Dark Materials) is going places I never expected... Which in this case is good. *This* is the sort of thing fantasy should be doing.

(Some thoughts on fantasy, if I haven't linked to this before: Beating a Dead Horse: elvesndwarves)

Wednesday, September 13, 18:46 CDT
"Hmm... we're the de-facto gateway between Usenet, essentially the truest surviving bastion of the Old Net and an unbelievably rich stream of diverse and in-depth content, and the Web, essentially the closest thing the Internet has to a unified interface and the only part of it familiar to millions of users... How can we best capitalize on this?"

"I know! Let's obscure all connection to Usenet, drop the part of our name that gives it any meaning, and become a portal site! We can be about, um, e-commerce!"

"I like it! Now we just need a slogan..."

"I've got it... 'We help you decide what products to buy and where to buy them.'"

"Yes! Let's do this, people!"

(Ok, to be fair, they do have a more direct Usenet service up at dejanews.com these days. I wonder if intelligence might one day prevail and see them change their focus again... [Addendum: Considering that their massive archives of everything prior to 1999 are still missing, it seems unlikely. Stupid people shouldn't be allowed to make decisions like this.])

Tuesday, September 12, 12:47 CDT
Courtesy of AWAD, one of the best quotes I've seen recently:

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -Niels Bohr, physicist (1885-1962)

(So I'm contributing to a culture where all wisdom is distilled into sound bites and one-liners or disregarded... So what?)

Monday, September 11, 22:21 CDT
How many of the IMDb's bottom 100 movies have you seen?

If you're much interested in pen & paper gaming or free software, this interview and the stuff at opengamingfoundation.org are interesting, to say the least.

Monday, September 11, 20:21 CDT
Maybe things are back to normal now...

Ever notice how if there's something you really want to do on the Unix command line, there's almost certainly already a way to do it, provided you can somehow figure out which obscure little switch or what syntax to use?

Monday, September 11, 19:59 CDT
Now I *know* I'm wasting bandwidth...

Oh well, this *is* pretty nifty. Should save me all sorts of messing around with FTPing stuff.

Granted, it's nowhere near as good as redesigning the site and building some kind of real backend for it, but how soon am I going to get that done anyway?

Somewhat depressing to note that this is pulling in a bunch of hits. Do I *really* want people's first (or only) introduction to my writing to be badly written Quake fic?

Monday, September 11, 19:42 CDT
Playing with weex, an FTP synchronization tool that basically makes a remote directory match a local one. So, for example, you just stick a copy of your web site in a local directory, edit it there, and run weex when you want to upload it.

I think I'm wasting quite a bit of bandwidth in the process, but somehow I just can't bring myself to feel terribly guilty.

D'oh!

Just deleted everything in my cgi.bin directory... No problem, I can re-upload. Must be because I told it to ignore the local copy. This ain't exactly what I'd call intuitive.

Grr. I'll bet all those permissions are reset.

Sunday, September 10, 21:27 CDT
Just attempted to play a little basketball... The less said about that, the better, I think.

Nifty Linux desktops to try: XFce

Themes.org is an enjoyable way to kill time... Not to mention one that looks pretty nifty in a graphical browser and acceptable in textmode.

Worth a read: "The evidence of our hollowing out as human beings".

Should go study for a history test...

Saturday, September 9, 18:15 CDT
Just watched Nebraska beat Notre Dame... All sorts of fun, football nut that I am. ;)

Actually, that was way too close a game. Especially for my er, excessively tense room mate.

S'pose I could start following this stuff, just so as not to stare blankly ahead whenever someone mentions a score, ranking, or statistic.

Just uploaded a brief, badly written review of Hollow Man to POV.

Saturday, September 9, 11:17 CDT
You'd think it'd be easy enough to update this on a daily basis. Oh well.

Finally moved some old updates off this page. I should really break that down by month and automate it somehow or another. A 70k file with 8 months worth of updates is probably not especially good design.

I went to a highschool football game in Laurel last night... First game they've played on the new (I don't even want to speculate on how expensive) field (complete with track, bleachers, press boxes, big lights, and insufficient parking). It was depressing as hell, for some reason.

Read a little bit of The Decameron for a topics in lit class.

Wednesday, September 6, 23:52 CDT
Woo!

It's amazing what can keep me amused.

Turns out you can stick a cgi exec in a file you're including, and it'll still work fine... Server Side Includes are fun. (And just think, I could have spent that time reading a textbook... Good thing I have my priorities straight.)

Wednesday, September 6, 23:25 CDT
Dumb & Dumber... Intellectually stimulating it ain't, but hey, it's entertainment.

Figured out the counter thing. Sort of. Every time I tackle even the smallest scripting problem, I remember how truly lacking my skills are. On the plus side, that means that solving utterly trivial problems gives me that "I am a genius!" feeling for a good 5 minutes.

Anyway, now I can put my puny little counter script on every page here and start collecting statistics to further my insidious plans. Cue evil laughter. Hmm... Wonder what would happen if I stuck the counter script inside the little nav bar that I include in all these files...

(Ever get the feeling that I'm talking to myself here?)

Wednesday, September 6, 20:51 CDT
Messing with lame hacked up counter script... Thinking about getting all ambitious with this site... [error occurred while processing this directive]... Grr. Maybe if I... No, but why wouldn't that... ARGH! Ok, so I'll just take the easy way out and... Whaddya mean "Making HTTP connection"? You've been making a connection for 5 minutes... Frustration setting in...

Roommate's going to watch a movie. Good idea. Drink a pop, relax, come back to this later.

Pop machine eats change.

Things are just not going my way lately...

Wednesday, September 6, 16:31 CDT
You never know when something like a Glossary of Postal Terms is going to come in handy...

Tuesday, September 5, 20:25 CDT
Posted a review of Highlander: Endgame to POV. Next up, Hollow Man: The kind of film that makes you wish you had the power to inflict physical pain on writers and directors.

Just occurred to me I need to write a lab report thingy for physics before tomorrow. Good thing I'm not out having a life or anything...

Wish I could connect to Hardlink's servers to post this or check my e-mail...

Monday, September 4, 11:29 CDT
Wow, my hands are sore. Waaay too much Quake last night. Especially since I couldn't figure out how to get my mouse working with svgalib...

If you set up the traditional WASD scheme, use the right and left arrows to turn, and the up arrow to fire, you can get sort of decent control with just a keyboard, but it's hard on the hands and you still don't get any control over vertical aiming. The mouse is the only way to go.

Remind me not to ride a bike in LA.

My first couple weeks of college have been pretty much entirely uneventful. Not exactly surprising, I guess. Nor is it terribly surprising that this campus is completely empty today... People leave on the weekends anyway, and with today off, I think there might be all of 20 people scattered around here... Suppose I'll go home for a while.

Theoretically, POV was supposed to go "live" today, which probably means I should be writing some content for it. Think I'll go do that.