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 -

  • BetterTelnet is an improved version of NCSA Telnet. A very nice little telnet prog (probably beats anything available for Win32), and it's distributed under the GPL.
  • I've been hearing good things about BBEdit, a popular text editor, for some time. The full version with all the nifty features is rather pricey, but BBEdit Lite, which I'm using to type this, is free.
  • IRCle is one of the better IRC clients I've tried, and by most accounts it's the best on the Mac platform. It's no mIRC, but hey...
  • MacLynx, the Mac version of everyone's favorite text-based web browser, is far superior to the Win32 version.

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).

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 29
tags: topics/sfnal, topics/technical

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...

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 22
tags: topics/reading

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?)

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 20

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:

  • The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce - Hilarious, and a classic besides. The same site has copies of some other classic (and public domain) literature, including The War of the Worlds and Beowulf.
  • Our Own Standards - I found this pretty amusing, and the Lightweight Markup Language doesn't strike me as all that bad of an idea...

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

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 9
tags: topics/technical

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 8
tags: topics/sfnal

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 6

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 3

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 2

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.

p1k3 / 1998 / 9 / 1