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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 28

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 27

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.

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.

Ok, I feel better now.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 26
tags: topics/technical

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 24

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...

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 23

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 22

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 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 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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 20

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 19

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.


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

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 16

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

  • A Wired News article on encryption, and another.
  • A piece on Microsoft, OEM's, and monopolies.
  • There's at least one new Dear Mynx column since the last time I mentioned it.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 11

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 6
tags: topics/technical

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 4

Wednesday, June 3, 13:50 CDT
It's been no secret for quite a while now that 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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 3

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

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 2

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 6 / 1