Monday, December 11, 22:47 CST
Ars Technica: The Complete System Building Guide. Looks like a good place to start.

It seems quite likely that I won't be updating this page for the rest of the week, with finals and all. I'm debating hauling the ancient and venerable computer home over Christmas break, since we're not allowed in the dorms (!) 'til classes start again.

Guess it depends on whether or not I decide to dive in and start building the new system I've been dreaming about for, oh, 4 years or so...

p1k3 / 2000 / 12 / 11

Sunday, December 10, 15:02 CST
NASA Contacts Oldest Spacecraft on 35th Anniversary. Something about this story just warms the cockles of my geeky heart. I think needs to go on the list of sites I check semi-regularly.

Did little of anything much this weekend. Watched X-Men with the parents and one sister last night. Went to church, and then decorated the Christmas tree. Sometimes, a general lack of eventfulness is not a bad thing.

Finals week is here at last, which probably means I should be studying right now instead of typing this and arguing with Eric about interface design...

p1k3 / 2000 / 12 / 10

Saturday, December 9, 14:14 CST
A rather awful (though nowhere near as awful as I'd intended) piece of fiction written for a lit class.

Saturday, December 9, 1:42 CST
Just got done watching Pitch Black, which was good - a little better than I'd remembered, even - and Rules of Engagement, which was, well, iffy at best.

I think maybe I'll sleep now.

p1k3 / 2000 / 12 / 9

Wednesday, December 6, 19:27 CST
Well, the third and final installment of the Dune miniseries was last night.

Some day, someone will create the definitive film rendition of Dune, a production that will, somehow, encompass the sheer coolness that is the novel, and do so with a visual power that is awe inspiring.

This, pretty obviously, was not that production... But still, all in all... Not bad. It veered between Really Cheesy and Genuinely Cool from time to time, and there were some questionable decisions made, but in the end I'm far happier with this version than I ever expected to be. And the last half hour or so was carried off about as well as I could've hoped for.

(There's a bit of Dune commentary over on Lake Effect, along with a link to piece about an earlier failed movie attempt that would probably have been as bizarre as any film ever made.)

Wow. Opera's going to an advertising driven model - use the software no charge, and put up with ads, or register and get rid of them. I'm torn on how practically workable an idea this is - as far as I can tell, banner ads *just don't work* - but regardless, it does seem to indicate that they're having a hard time making money with their current shareware model. Not surprising - how many people are really willing to pay for a better browser? And of course they're sort of shooting themselves in the foot, expecting people who've registered once to pay again for major upgrades... There's a good chance I'll wind up paying for the Linux port, simply because it's good software I use a *lot*, but I've got to be in the minority here.

The way I see it, of course, the best revenue model would be one that opened up the code and somehow generated profit, but I'm not sure what that would be. How much money can you possibly make doing support for a web browser?

The one complaint I most often see levelled against free software (which, in point of fact is very nearly all the software I ever use, and the only kind I can ever see creating) is that you can't make money doing it. This is pretty obviously false (well, it seems obvious from where I sit), but it is a vast oversimplification / restatement of the simple fact that it's harder to make money on something that people don't have to pay for (something which, in point of fact, discourages people from paying for it in the traditional sense). Of course, since it's also pretty obvious from where I sit that commercial software costs too damn much and that the vast bulk of the consumer software industry is built upon an artificial, self perpetuating scarcity, this isn't really a *bad* thing. It's just that people creating (good, useful) software need and deserve compensation for what they're doing ("The spice must flow!"), and it's not always easy to see how to make that happen.

Not like I have a clue what to do about it. Here's hoping that a lot of people smarter than I am figure things out sooner or later...

p1k3 / 2000 / 12 / 6

Monday, December 4, 15:22 CST
Ahhhhh, finally. My natural ability to ignore every deadline, obligation, requirement and mutually exclusive demand upon my finite time and limited mental capacity until I'm trapped in a collapsing series of miniature crisis points for weeks on end has reasserted itself... The suspense was killing me.

Old habits die hard, it seems.

So, what's happened lately?

Went to a Lorie Line Christmas concert in Omaha with my family last Thursday. Not the kind of music I usually listen to, but it was good. An amazing amount of talent there.

Definitely time to expand my musical horizons.

Music Plug of the Day: Ever seen High Fidelity? If not, you should. At any rate, the soundtrack contains some excellent stuff. Been listening to the Beta Band obsessively for the past couple of days - search your filesharing service of choice for "Dry the Rain" or "Needles in my Eyes". Definitely on the Actually Going to Buy This Music list.

(There's a URL scheme we could use. Some standardized way to link to searches for media files...)

Also managed to hit a bookstore Thursday, and picked up a copy of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle. It was excellent, in that weird and not at all what I'm used to way. Need to read more PKD... Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was good, and "Second Variety" is one of the most effectively creepy things I've ever read.

I watched (of course) the first installment of Sci-Fi's Dune miniseries last night. And here's the amazing thing: It Didn't Suck.

It was far from perfect, and of course they've still got 2/3 of their alotted time left with which to botch the whole thing, but so far... Not bad. Not bad at all. More on that later, I'm sure...

p1k3 / 2000 / 12 / 4