Thursday, January 28, 19:35 CST
Gurney's latest project is Papyrus, a web based SF mag. He hopes to publish professional quality SF on the web, and eventually to be supported entirely by advertisers. Ambitious, yeah, but you never get anywhere if you don't dream.

I was skimming Freshmeat (extremely cool site, if you don't already know) the other day, and came across AtDot, a free (free beer *and* free speech) web-based e-mail service that lets you use your current e-mail account. The site is simple in the extreme (a good thing, IMO, when you're talking about an e-mail service), and the software that runs the whole thing is GPL'd. All in all, a pretty good alternative to Hotmail and the like.

I'd like to see ISPs using software like this to offer web-based e-mail to their subscribers as a standard feature. It's certainly useful when, for example, the public school you attend has an administration so painfully misguided that they've forbidden the use of telnet.

I see Yahoo just acquired my old web host, GeoCities, for the standard obscene amount. Is it just me, or has this whole "portal" thing gotten a little out of hand?

("What does this mean to you as a GeoCities Homesteader? Well, first of all, GeoCities will remain better than ever. Much better than ever!" - I can't wait until NTK gets ahold of *this* one.)

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 28

Tuesday, January 26, 22:44 CST
Well, Linux 2.2 is out. I haven't installed it yet, but I'm planning on doing so as soon as I get the time to download it (and whatever packages I need to upgrade first).

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 26

Sunday, January 24, 1:01 CST
I just got home from seeing The Thin Red Line. I have very mixed feelings about this one. In a lot of ways, it's one of the best war movies I've ever seen - nearly as good as Saving Private Ryan (to which comparisons are inevitable). The camera work is incredible - this is a movie filled with images both beautiful and disturbing. The cast is strong, and the acting superb. It may be the closest thing I've ever seen to a novel on screen.

The biggest problem is that it's just too censored *long*. Beautiful (and important to the central theme of the movie) as all those images of nature are, they just take up too much time. I wouldn't mind the 3-hour running time, if more of that time was spent telling the story. As it is, it could easily be 30-45 minutes shorter.

That said, it's worth seeing in a theater.

Anyway, other stuff...

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get anything scanned over the past couple of days. Ah well, suppose I'll do it Monday. Not like it's a great loss.

There's been a petition started up to protest the shutting down of the International Lyrics Server. One hopes that it'll get a good number of signatures. Not that it'll do a whole lot of good - if the people responsible really cared about doing the Right Thing, or even what's good for musicians and fans, they wouldn't have taken such action in the first place.

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 24

Wednesday, January 20, 23:17 CST
I subscribed to Analog a while back; my first issue came today. Seems like a pretty cool publication, with a nice blend of fact and fiction.

I've got a few more things to scan for my Non Art section. Should have them up by tomorrow, if I remember to use the scanner while I'm at school.

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 20

Tuesday, January 19, 20:25 CST
There's a thought provoking editorial over on Slashdot, called The Two Towers. It brings up some excellent points for anyone dreaming of "world domination" for Linux (or open source software in general) to consider. In the end, it's far too easy to become that which you destroy - or seek to destroy.

On a depressing note, The International Lyrics Server has been shut down, and the guy who runs it is facing all sorts of legal trouble. Bastards.

The Daemonsong site (I can never remember what number that little ae character is) has received another overhaul; expect some big changes there over the next couple of days. (And hopefully episode 202 soon.)

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 19

Monday, January 18, 14:10 CST
I won a copy of The Lions of Al-Rassan, by Guy Gavriel Kay, at last Sunday's TriviaBlitz. Finished reading it early yesterday morning, at around 4:00. It's set in a world that I understand is based on medieval Spain, on the brink of a holy war and the collapse of a civilization. It's the kind of book that defies easy classification - it's not quite a historical novel, and it's not really Fantasy - but however it gets labelled, it's excellent. (Thanks to Stephen for the recommendation, BTW.)

Maybe I'll write up a longer review a little later on.

Speaking of the TriviaBlitz, there's one tonight at 8:00 EST, on Assuming I can make it, I should be there...

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 18
tags: topics/fantasy, topics/guy-gavriel-kay, topics/reading

Thursday, January 14, 21:45 CST
I've been feeling like I ought to learn a "real" text editor lately, and vi scares me, so I started playing around with Emacs. I'm writing this in XEmacs, with syntax highlighting turned on (I've been looking for an editor that can do this right for a couple of years). I may possibly have stumbled across the king of all text editors.

It's amazing to think that some form of Emacs has been around considerably longer than I've been alive...

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 14

Monday, January 11, 23:40 CST
I just finished reading Neuromancer, by William Gibson. It took me a while to get into, and it was a bit rough around the edges, but... Wow. Definitely a classic. (Not to mention being the book that gave us the word "cyberspace", much to the idiotic delight of the buzzword-loving mainstream press.) I'll have to read more Gibson in the future.

I see that User Friendly has hit a real newspaper. One only hopes there'll be more to follow.

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 11
tags: topics/reading

Sunday, January 10, 13:25 CST
I spent yesterday at a Quiz Bowl (basically a trivia contest) competition at a local tech school with the team from my school. It was (mostly) fun, and we did pretty well. The only problem being a surplus of the obnoxious types who take this sort of thing *way* too seriously. (Oh yeah, and the presence of the Evil Janitor From Hell in the cafeteria.)

Went to Patch Adams last night. I liked it quite a bit, and it made some good points about the medical profession and life in general. It's also got some excellent lines ("Yeah, but you suck at it."). On the downside, they did lay on the syrup a bit thick at times.

I watched Aliens again on HBO (or maybe it was Cinemax) after getting home. Truly a great flick. Would someone please tell me why, if Starship Troopers was doomed to be an action movie, James Cameron couldn't have directed it?

(Notice I've started linking to movies on the IMDb...)

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 10

Friday, January 8, 23:59 CST
So much for "tomorrow".

I bought a copy of Linux Unleashed, 3rd Edition last night. It seems to be a decent beginner's reference in most respects, but it suffers from trying to cover too much ground in one book, and the author never seems to have made up his mind exactly what audience he was writing for. I'd have preferred something with more depth and a somewhat more restricted scope. (For example, there's a section on HTML. Why?) That said, I'll probably still get quite a bit of use out of it.

An e-mail announcing mIRC v5.5 just hit my inbox. I'm downloading it now. Too bad I'll have to reboot into Windows to try it out. (I actually got mIRC working under WINE at one point; discovered shortly thereafter that I'd somehow fragged my Windows directory and had to re-install Win95 yet again. Haven't messed with it much since.)

Some time later...

mIRC v5.5 has some nifty new features. The option dialog has been reorganized into a hierarchical tree (think Explorer), which is a big improvement over those clunky tabs. And you can now click on directly on URL's and nicknames, which makes a channel feel quite a bit more interactive.

mIRC is easily the best IRC client I've used on any platform... A better client may exist, but I haven't found it yet.

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 8

Tuesday, January 5, 0:22 CST
I came down with the flu Saturday evening. Not surprising, since everyone else in my family had already been sick, but I was hoping to escape it. Pretty much destroyed my plans for the remainder of the weekend.

A real update tomorrow...

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 5

Friday, January 1, 23:49 CST
Happy New Year everyone!

I've made a few changes here, though nothing major. Got rid of my feedback page for now, as it was still using a GeoCities script.

Moved the December updates to the old updates page.

p1k3 / 1999 / 1 / 1