no additives or preservatives

kacked.com



Converting Phpnuke to Blosxom

Spent a good part of the day working on a script to convert the posts in my old phpnuke site into blosxom posts. It's not as hard as I thought it was going to be. Kind of cute --running sql queries from a bash script. I didn't know you could do that before today. Kind of goofy too, never heard of anybody else doing it.

It's working though, but having some trouble with windows newline characters. In windows each line is terminated by \r\n. Unless you're using wordpad, which uses just \r. This stuff is getting piped right into my blosxom posts so I'm converting it to html.

A little complicated, a little easy. Maybe later I can do some database cgi on the web server using bash... talk about goofy.


The Network is the Document

The way I use my computer or rather, the way I relate to computers in general is changing. Used to be that computers were some kind of desktop publishing thing. Using a computer meant creating some document or report that would ultimately be printed out. A good computer would be one that had a nice printer and a suite of desktop publishing software installed. Like Microsoft Office.

At some point someone realized that you really didn't need a printer for every PC. Especially in a work environment, you could have a bunch of PCs (and even Macs) that would share a community printer. Productivity in this case would consist of creating your document and then waiting around watching to see when your print job would come out of the printer.

The other day my friend pointed me to an article about OS X that included a point about how "Microsoft would never release a version of Office for the Linux OS", and that because of that Linux would never be a viable option as a desktop platform. There are probably many reasons that Microsoft would not release a version of Office for Linux. Because of the rise of the Internet and the interconnectedness of all computers (the ones that count are on the internet anyway, as a matter of definition) the desktop platform has evolved into more of a means of communication --the computer, and the network itself have become the document. To a degree larger than I had realized till recently this has made desktop publishing environments (like M$ Office) irrelevent. The network has become the document. It dawned on me the other day that I haven't used my printer --or even had it hooked to my computer for almost two years. When I need to read over some document (who really likes to read web pages while sitting at there computer?) I just sync it to my Visor and read it offline. Right now there are a couple of fiction books, several complete technical manuals, and many, many articles from various web sites on my Visor. I don't read stuff on there because it saves trees (that is a benefit though.) It's just a hell of a lot faster to sync something in there than it is to print it out. I don't have to worry about pages getting out of order, I can search on text, and it comes with a built in light source that I use to read at night. Paper is nice and I still like reading books, but in many ways it's hard to beat reading stuff on your pocket computer and back to the point I'm trying to make --the document hasn't left the network of computers that I use.

It doesn't make sense to have a suite of office applications on my Linux desktop. In the first place it goes against the *NIX philosophy of using small applications that work really well at one thing. The real reason though is that because the network has become the document it no longer makes sense to work in an environment where you are constantly looking at what you are working with as if it were just about to be printed.


Historical Artifacts

Figured out a way to start importing my old content into the weblog I'm using now. Didn't really feel like writing anything or doing anything creative on my web site so...

But now here I am writing anyway. So, there's a good chunk of stuff to read from 2002. I got content laying around all over the place. There's a buttload of it still to be found and imported from the phpnuke site I had. Should be a database dump of that stuff around here somewhere...


A Step in The Right Direction

Hopefully, this one is more cross browser compatible than the last. Still have to integrate the comics and chat portions of the site. The image bar that shows in the art section is actually the one for the comics, but it works for now. Still basic problems like link color, color scheme and logo still need work. A step in the right direction.


Internet Explorer... Bah!

Went to fix some problems the redesign had with rendering in Internet Explorer. Turns out the problems were more numerous than I realized. I've been redesigning and reviewing my progress using the browsers I have available on my linux box --Opera, Mozilla, Firefox, Konqueror, etc. Problem is, most people use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view my site.

When I checked out how my site looked using my brother's windows box (gasping in horror) I realized it was going to take more than a few minor tweaks. So now I've gone and installed Internet Explorer on linux, and I'm previewing the site as I go along. In all the browsers I can get my hands on --including IE.

And yeah... while I'm doing this I'm susceptible to all the IE security vulnerabilites. Worms, viruses and what-not. But only on the fake windows install. And when I'm done, I'll just delete the folder...


TV Dinner (Michael Moore Speaks)

I'm sure many people see the success of Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" as reflecting a rising tide of political awareness. I think an equal if not greater influence has been that people are just getting tired of the steady diet of pablum --both from Hollywood and the news media.

Michael Moore interviewed on Charlie Rose, aired July 1, 2004:

Charlie Rose: "What's in the air that makes these kinds of films so compelling for audiences?"

Michael Moore: "I think people are looking for something different...

Unfortunately a lot of movies it's just the same old thing, it's the same thing happening again and again and there's a sequel to the sequel of the sequel, and now let's make a movie based on a tv show...

I think the audience is hungry to have a great movie going experience.

That's why people like to go to the movies.

You like to be surprised. You like to be moved in some way, you like to ah...

you don't want to go to the movies and sit there and look at something where you know what's going to happen in the next five minutes."


Fahrenheit 9/11 (just the facts...)

I thought it would be interesting to take a random sampling from a bunch of reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11. Not actually reading them --just searching quickly for the word "facts". Just what are the facts about the facts?

Here's what I found (click on facts to read the reviews):

James Berardinellia: ...Moore does much of his preaching with a paucity of facts, relying on circumstantial evidence and insinuation to make his points...

Jonathan Rosenbaum: ...Moore's most important achievement is delivering to American moviegoers many facts about George W. Bush and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that our TV news has downplayed or ignored. (Sure, it's manipulative and slanted -- but transparently so, unlike Fox News or CNBC.)...

Mark Keizer: ...Throwing all pretense of impartiality to the wind, he bombards us with facts, figures and footage to support his one and only contention: Bush bullied the world into an immoral war in Iraq. Fans of the Flint native will have no interest in questioning anything their hero says, while those who would appreciate even the tiniest shred of context, objectivity or fairness will just have to suffer...

Rob Vaux: ...Important facts are overlooked -- such as a sequence mocking the "coalition of the willing" that conveniently ignores significant contributors such as Great Britain...

Kevin Carr: ...sloppy presentation of the facts even before the credits roll on something we should all remember, I can't help but wonder how accurate or truthful the rest of the film is...

Pete Vonder Haar: ...widespread criticism of his techniques and accusations that he plays fast and loose with the facts to support his arguments...

Tim Merrill: ...The right is forever accusing Moore of playing fast and loose with facts (as if the Rush Limbaughs and Jerry Falwells of the world would never dream of such a thing!)...

Adam Suraf: ...he began collecting facts about Bush, 9/11, the war in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Bin Laden family, oil, Halliburton, Dick Cheney, etc and started to see a pattern forming; he could literally draw a line from one to the other and connect the dots. Many have already noted how these dots are connected with blinders on...

Steven Harding: ... there will be debate whether these facts support the conclusions that Michael Moore suggests. Ultimately, Moore is just offering some ideas that previously have been limited only to people who read...

Chris Dashiell: ...Fahrenheit 9/11 is having an impact because it does present facts concerning the Bush administration that are very ugly. I don't know which facts might be wrong or inaccurate, or even if there are any (the complainers are usually so vague and general that I can't tell), but my own reading confirms that most of them are true, and that's a very serious concern...


The "No Gui Challenge"

I've decided to challenge myself not to use a window manager of any kind for one month. Guess this is why I'm in such a hurry lately to finish up my web site redesign. I don't want to be half done with it forever --like before.

Anyway, I keep toying with the idea of using more command line tools. On the one hand I really like doing my mail using mutt, but then I cling to the graphical irc client xchat like my head would explode if I used anything else. I have been intending to switch most of my desktop from gui to console apps, so I can multi-task a bunch of stuff using gnu screen (thanks robb!), but like before, I'm finding myself slow to adopt new tools --like when I switched from Windows to Linux... It wasn't until I decided to use Linux exclusively for one month and formatted all my Windows hard drives that I was able to really force myself to explore the alternatives. There always seemed to be something I could only do using Windows. We just get too comfortable doing things the way we've always done them.

I've already adopted ratpoison as my window manager of choice. I really like the way it limits what's on the screen to only one thing at a time. I'm still using gui tools for stuff that I could easily be using console apps for though. Who knows? Maybe I'm even switch over to using emacs. Na...

Wired: Computing Made Good, Easy

"If only people would change. Computing has changed, but people remain the same. We're using computers designed for printing, when we should be using computers designed for networking."

The Antidesktop

"At any moment, my screen is devoted to only one thing. As I type this, all I see is XEmacs showing this buffer. Since I can only see what I'm working on at this moment, I have to make the choice to go to something else. I can't be distracted by text in an X-Chat window behind this one, or by buddies appearing and disappearing in the Gaim window in the corner. If someone messages me, centericq will play a sound; I don't need to watch IM obsessively. If I'm distracted, it's because my mind is distracted by a thought of something else, not because of a flash of color in the periphery of my vision."

The Command Line - The Best Newbie Interface?

"It was noted by the users that the CLI was less confusing because "not everything is on the screen at once". The CLI allows the user to concentrate on one task at a time and they were happy not to have interruptions from other tasks. The users reported that with a GUI they were always getting distracted by having to swap between the mouse and keyboard and click carefully less they bring up the wrong window and interrupt what they were doing."

The Linux Distribution Game

A friend of mine accepted the challenge: "Boot into your Linux partition and stay there for one month. Do everything you normally do with your computer and report back on your experience. You are not allowed to boot into Windows during that month." The friend called me 10 days later: "My Windows partition is gone!" I frowned, expecting a round of troubleshooting over the telephone. "No, don't worry, I deleted it voluntarily..." He continued, his voice full of excitement: "I don't need Windows any more. I can do all my office work with StarOffice and Gnumeric. The Galeon browser is such a gem - I can hardly believe all the features it has. I didn't think I could play encrypted DVDs in Linux until I tried Ogle - even menus work perfectly! I can burn CDs and listen to Internet broadcast. And as for my web site, it was hard at first without Dreamweaver, but once you get used to Quanta Plus, you can do things just as fast!" His final words were: "It is all in the way you work. Changing your routine is not easy at first, but after a month, I have adjusted completely. I am removing Windows from my computer!"


Closer and Closer...

Wow!... tired, but I made good progress on my site redesign today. Still lots of stuff to fix but the basic ideas are all there, and the more I work on it the easier it gets. At first working with stylesheets was harder than doing things the old way, but now it makes it so much easier to change things on the site. Separating content from form... who's idea was that? I have a big kiss for them.

You can see what I have in mind by clicking on the knoppix link in the menu bar at the top. The colorscheme, page background and flavor bar (images along the top) will change depending on which part of the site you happen to be in --right now it's just the page background changing but the rest is easy. Well... at least the mechanical aspect of it is easy. Honestly I'm finding it difficult to come up with color schemes that I think look good. I may have to study some color theory before I can finish this part of the project. Or maybe I'll just look around till I find some I like, and snake them...

Added a dynamic image replacement feature today. The logo, ad spoof (kacked is good food, etc), titles, etc. are all replaced by images dynamically. From truetype fonts on the server (is that cool or what? hehe.) I'll check later to see if this is a big hit on load time. I think it's managable. The big hit right now is the flavorbar image collage. I'll have to work on making that a smaller file since I plan on changing it depending on which part of the site you happen to be in.

Wasted some time looking for "the right" fonts but did find a few good ones. This would go faster if I could pull back and look at the "big picture" more often. Tend to get caught up in the details. Maybe more frequent breaks -as in taking a break at all.

I think that menu bar along the top would work better if it was underneath the image bar. That would break up the text better between the logo stuff and menu stuff. What do you think?


Look Ma! No Hands!

Not so much a redesign as just finishing up what I had in mind in the first place. Kinda got half way and tuckered out. This is a lot closer to what I had in mind. Still a little messy but should be easy enough to clean up over the next few days --the basic ideas are in place.


Watch This

My brother took me to lunch couple days ago. A soup and salad place here called "Sweet Tomatoes". Kind of like "Soup Plantation" back in Los Angeles. They usually have at least one vegetarian soup, and I can eat the salad and stuff like that. As you can imagine it's hard finding vegetarian fare here in Houston Texas...

The thing about eating buffet style is that I feel like I'm getting ripped off if I don't walk out of there stuffed. I was getting some more soft serve ice cream and this little kid tells me:

"HEY! that's your second bowl of ice cream!"



Nullam elementum neque a ante. Vestibulum sed urna hendrerit nibh egestas adipiscing. Ut gravida. Vivamus ut dolor. Mauris molestie elementum magna. Maecenas scelerisque feugiat erat. Sed nec risus. Phasellus eu nunc. Curabitur purus. Ut nonummy. Etiam sit amet mi quis felis suscipit tempus. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quisque tincidunt ullamcorper massa. Duis elit.

Phasellus viverra dolor. Sed nulla dui, pharetra ut, faucibus ut, tempor sit amet, elit. Sed ut dui. Nunc quam nisl, sodales ut, molestie sit amet, tristique sit amet, pede. Donec ornare massa nec ligula. Morbi eget nunc in lectus vestibulum porttitor. Integer nec mauris mattis nibh elementum facilisis. Praesent wisi. Nullam eros sem, fringilla nec, venenatis non, ultrices nec, turpis. Curabitur et erat id mi auctor pulvinar. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus tempus, orci congue tincidunt ornare, felis libero tempor lectus, et lobortis eros lacus vitae lacus. Etiam tempus nunc quis wisi. Duis elementum blandit mauris. Etiam malesuada lorem et sem.

Nullam elementum neque a ante. Vestibulum sed urna hendrerit nibh egestas adipiscing. Ut gravida. Vivamus ut dolor. Mauris molestie elementum magna. Maecenas scelerisque feugiat erat. Sed nec risus. Phasellus eu nunc. Curabitur purus. Ut nonummy. Etiam sit amet mi quis felis suscipit tempus. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quisque tincidunt ullamcorper massa. Duis elit.

Phasellus viverra dolor. Sed nulla dui, pharetra ut, faucibus ut, tempor sit amet, elit. Sed ut dui. Nunc quam nisl, sodales ut, molestie sit amet, tristique sit amet, pede. Donec ornare massa nec ligula. Morbi eget nunc in lectus vestibulum porttitor. Integer nec mauris mattis nibh elementum facilisis. Praesent wisi. Nullam eros sem, fringilla nec, venenatis non, ultrices nec, turpis. Curabitur et erat id mi auctor pulvinar. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia Curae; Phasellus tempus, orci congue tincidunt ornare, felis libero tempor lectus, et lobortis eros lacus vitae lacus. Etiam tempus nunc quis wisi. Duis elementum blandit mauris. Etiam malesuada lorem et sem.