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Did I mention there's great medical possibilities inherent in nanotech and genetech?

The gene is delivered by an injected "nanoparticle" that targets only the new blood vessels that tumors sprout in order to thrive and spread. Cancer researchers have long sought effective ways to stop this new blood vessel formation, also known as angiogenesis. The hope is to essentially starve tumors to death.

  posted by Gregory @ 8:33 PM



But how will this stop the "I just e-mailed you a virus" problem? How does this stop my personal information being sucked out of my PC using cookies? It won't. Solving those particular problems is not Palladium's real purpose, which is to increase Microsoft's market share. It is a marketing concept that will be sold as the solution to a problem. It won't really work.

Palladium assures that whatever hardware is running on the network of 10 years from now, it will be generating revenue for Microsoft.

I don't know what scares me more sometimes -- the idea that Microsoft might get the US government to use Passport as a national ID system, or that Microsoft might get to have digitally encrypted controls on all my data.

Wait, no, I know. The second one. The first one can be dealt with in its own way; the second one's just flat-out wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

Nobody should be able to have access to my data. Not Bill Gates, not you, not anybody. Period. Data should be an inviolable right for a human being; sort of a superset of free speech, press, and thought.

Allow me to spell my thought on the matter out explicitly:

If you don't control your data, you don't have real freedom.

I mean it. If you don't control your data, then someone else does -- someone who can manipulate you. Look at Tass, the government-controlled newspaper, or the Chinese router situation.

It becomes increasingly clear that data makes the world go round. That's why communication is such a big damn deal -- it increases your possible data sweep. You can collect much more data with more communication.

I have this little hope in me that says, "Even if Microsoft did this, it wouldn't matter. Open Source would still exist; the technologies would still exist, and routers would still exist that wouldn't interoperate with MS's new protocols. There would still be a free Internet, and there would still be free software. It's a can of worms nobody can possibly close."

But I'm still sad that it's even being attempted. Sadder still that it might -- improbable though it is -- it might succeed.

  posted by Gregory @ 8:31 PM


"Texas state law now requires a link on our homepage to an informative page on blocking and filtering software for web browsers. Please follow this link for further information." -- from the IOCOM home page

I was curious about this, so I did a little Googling around the problem, and found said Texas law. Sigh. More stupidity to clutter the net up. "Make it more legal! MORE! MORE LEGAL!"

I hope someone comes up with a freeware filtering solution specifically designed to be easy to circumvent. Me, I'm thinking of a web browser that has big, cartoonish buttons, and bright pretty colors. It would be called Mack Morton (and any similarity between its initials, MM, and another famously child-oriented cartoon star is purely coincidental.) It comes with directions for the parent:

"Remove links to other web browsers. Place a link to Mack Morton on the desktop. Instruct your children to use Mack Morton from now on."

Not only would it provide an insult to the child, but it would immediately turn that little light on in their heads: "If I just use some other browser, then this thing won't matter!"

And when they start using Internet Explorer instead, their parents will attempt to remove it...find out they can't...and then you'll have the censorship Nazis thinking Bill Gates is the enemy. Perfect. I can just see my secret plan coming into effect now, wher-

Uh, you never saw any of this.

  posted by Gregory @ 8:17 AM

What, you may ask, bothers me about this?

I can't find it, but John C. Dvorak wrote some time ago about a radio network set up in...shit, I want to say Taiwan...that essentially was giving the phone companies some real headaches.

(Shame on him for having a link marked "online print articles" that actually is just a list of the places you can go to read his articles...if Randal Schwartz can archive his work online properly, Dvorak should too. Perhaps he thinks his work isn't worthy of deep archiving, or perhaps his editors have seized his rights. Feh. He writes entertainingly, but he gets no linky from me this time.)

Anyway, the gist of his article was fairly far-thinking, considering that he wrote it at least two years back. Essentially, it went on about how the FCC's role really had no place existing any more, how bizarre anti-radio legislation left over from decades ago was restricting free market effects, etc., and it intrigued me greatly then.

I didn't even have a phone bill then. I lived with my parents, and the only negative effect of a high phone bill was yelling and the realization that it couldn't be done again. I still wanted to figure out a way to not have to pay so much.

I still do. I always will. So will everyone else; that's the promise of free trade. Done properly, the consumer wins every time; done improperly, the government or large conglomerate wins in the short run and is destroyed by the consumer.

See, the trick then was that information could not be disseminated easily. If a company screwed one person, that didn't matter. Even a thousand, even ten thousand. They had no way to spread the word, short of joining some life-draining "grassroots" campaign to reveal the truth about their activity. These campaigns are looked at as though they're a nuisance, mostly (I think) because of their form: Flyers, opinions foisted upon others, etc.

The net is, by contrast, something that you have to ask for information on (usually). If you want to know about some company's practices, you can slap their name in a search engine and find out exactly what you want to know (except, of course, Scientology, because of Scientology's bitch, which is another long damn story). The difference is dramatic; one person can access a forum with a minimum of effort. There is no flyer-copying, letter-writing, etc., but there's a great deal more bad press.

Suddenly, the tables are turned. Information, as Truth, shines a great light into the heart of those who commit their black deeds, and they cannot possibly prevent people from knowing.

"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."

-- Commisioner Pravin Lal, U.N. Declaration of Rights, SMAC

  posted by Gregory @ 11:58 PM


Just occurred to me that blue and gray might produce truly bitchin' CSS results.

Blue + Gray + Black might even do better.

I'm not here to muse upon CSS, though...I'm here to drop a somewhat provocative IRC log in the reader's lap and run away. :)

***hipnotoad*** You know who i really really hate?
***tate*** panda doesn't seem to be in a talkative mood
***hipnotoad*** The boyscouts and the RIAA
***tate*** Raven?
***tate*** aw
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** Henry Kissinger?
***panda*** tate: meh... not really.
***tate*** them too
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** I was close, dammit... :(
***panda*** hipnotoad: really... now why's that
***hipnotoad*** The RIAA are greedy assholes who destroy all new media
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** The RIAA and MPAA are easily hatable, IMHO
***hipnotoad*** I will NEVER buy an audio CD again in my life.
* King_of_No_Pants just bought one today
***hipnotoad*** I will NEVER give the recording industry another CENT
***hipnotoad*** King that's a shame
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** Did something specific bring this about recently? Or has it been building slowly over time?
***hipnotoad*** I was just online reading about how the RIAA has financially destroyed hundreds of internet micro-brocasters
***King_of_No_Pants*** meh, it was for an independant band producing it's own cds
***hipnotoad*** King that's fine
***rune*** heh
***hipnotoad*** hehe
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** I fully agree with you, Hipno -- it's unfair and pointless legislation by a dying institution
***hipnotoad*** Chao I couldnt have said it better
***hipnotoad*** The RIAA is clingling to an old system that refuses to evolve with technology
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** It's thuggish behavior from a bunch of thugs who are losing their clout suddenly...I can't wait until they're dead :)
***hipnotoad*** chao me too
***hipnotoad*** I will dance on the grave of the once great recording industry
***hipnotoad*** Joke's on them, i got my whole family pirating, including my parents
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** I still buy Moby albums, and Sheryl Crow albums...but only because they've spoken out about their music and how they want it to be freely traded
*** Signoff: tate (Read error: 54 (Connection reset by peer))
***hipnotoad*** Chao...that's a grey zone
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** I've bought a couple albums by local bands too, paper-sleeve home-burns. It's not bad :)
***hipnotoad*** I personally wouldnt
*** tate ( has joined channel #3fs
***chaoticset_watching_insomniac*** I live in grey zones :)
***tate*** Runne's link broke mirc
***hipnotoad*** I like artists who support music liberation, bands like WEEZER
***tate*** too bad weezer's receent albums have been bland and uninspired
* chaoticset_watching_insomniac hasn't heard 'em yet, hasn't had time
***hipnotoad*** Tate grrrrrrrrr
***tate*** there was no excuse for Green album
***tate*** there's promis in maladroit, though
***tate*** *promise
***hipnotoad*** Uh huh
***hipnotoad*** I dont know album names
***hipnotoad*** Because I pirate
***tate*** third one bad, fourth/rececnt one good
***tate*** me too, ,but I organize by album name
***hipnotoad*** Back to the task at hand: PIRACY
***Beerman*** piracy means bands have to tour more
***hipnotoad*** Anyone want any of my 700+ songs that are copywrited?
***Beerman*** which is a GOOD THING
***hipnotoad*** Beer yeah
***hipnotoad*** Bands get most of their money from touring
* tate trumps Deon with his 1989 mp3s
***King_of_No_Pants*** Anyone want any of my 4000+ songs that are copyrighted?
***tate*** he's got me beat
***hipnotoad*** tate like?
***hipnotoad*** Ah
***tate*** er
***tate*** 1,989
***hipnotoad*** nm
***Beerman*** I used to have heaps of music
***Beerman*** I keep deleting it
***King_of_No_Pants*** i have 4,215 mp3s
***hipnotoad*** As long as you dont BUY muic
***hipnotoad*** As long as you dont BUY music
***hipnotoad*** Is that ender?
***tate*** Burndt Jamb is good
*** King_of_No_Pants is now known as Samus
***hipnotoad*** ah
***tate*** it's Samus again
***hipnotoad*** Sorry
***tate*** nm
***Beerman*** 2500 mp3s left
***hipnotoad*** Seriously i havent bought music in like four years

Should anybody in the log have a problem with me posting this, tell me so. I won't remove it, but I'll ask you in the future. :\

  posted by Gregory @ 7:24 PM

I happened by Phrack today. Gorgeous. I know I'm obsessed with the colors blue and red and black, but it's still fucking gorgeous.

  posted by Gregory @ 10:11 AM

It's nice to get things to jell in your mind. It's a pleasant little sensation. :) The HTML::Template stuff is starting to make sense now...

It's not fun to come to the conclusion that one isn't really ready for a job in the field one wants to work in, but that is the unpleasant conclusion I have come to, with the following caveats:

1. It's possible that there's a job I'm perfectly qualified for in terms of ability, and logistics prevent me from locating or applying for this job.

2. I'm far enough behind the curve of new technology that I cannot become useful without specializing more; instead of trying to become fluent in multiple languages and multiple application domains, I should pick one language and one application domain (at this point, probably Perl and webapp/CGI stuff) and focus on only those things.

I can still put off the decision for a while, because I feel close to getting a job with MD soon. It won't be rocket science, sure, but it'll be work, I'll be qualified for it, and it'll pay the bills.

  posted by Gregory @ 2:14 PM


They're just prototypes, but they are indeed atom-sized transistors.

You might ask what worth they have, to which I would say, "Wait and see." (Or, in the words of Michael Farraday, "What good is a baby?")

  posted by Gregory @ 8:10 AM

Run! The robots are loose! Run from your metal captors!

Um, wait. Just a drone escaping; no big deal. (Unless it was a "mobile weapon platform equipped with firing mechanisms and anti-personnel ammunition", in which case RUN! RUN FROM YOUR METAL CAPTORS!)

Anyway, proving once again that those in law enforcement with no sense of humor are in the wrong place, some police officers took a stupid joke way too seriously. And when I say 'stupid', I mean that it is only a stupid joke because there are so many law enforcement officials with no sense of humor. The kind who would take something like this seriously.

Speaking of stupid things, an attempt is being made to put filters back on library net access. Me, I'm waiting for the day that 'net access' at the local library means Disney movies 24/7, because they're 'safe'. (Even then, I'm sure some doofus is going to ask that they PLEASE not show _The Lion King_ because of the sexual references.)

  posted by Gregory @ 7:44 AM

I can no longer put off what I need to be doing (in order: jobhunt, final project at school, comparison). I need to provide some sort of indicator on each thing.

Jobwise, I can honestly say that I think MD's gonna take me. I'm not ecstatic about it, sure, but it'll be nice to have a job that doesn't involve lots of back-breaking physical labor, pays decently, and isn't millions of miles away.

(When it's put that way, I can't really complain about it. I guess I'm just not happy about monotony. Could be worse.)

Projectwise...well, I'm still lacking a basic concept for what to be dat-a-basing. Right now I get the very real feeling I'm going to cop out with some sort of "enter your name and address and schtuff and we'll contact you to provide a basic estimate" kind of thing, so I don't overextend my working knowledge of SQL and HTML::Template. (The other bonus is that I've got a site designed from last semester's 131 class that I can borrow heavily from for the new site design, including a great deal of content-type text to fill in gaps.)

The best thing I've gotten out of living these 23 years now is the secure knowledge that nothing is secure. "As Bad As Things May Suck Right Now, They Damn Well Change Pretty Fast." There's a motto for the masses.

I'm no longer tired, but, and I hate admitting it, at the moment I'm remarkably unmotivated.

Still, it'll be nice to be at a place where I can pay off my now-and-then debts, and get Laura's paid off too, without eating dog food for four weeks or something. It'll be even better when I'm convinced Laura's not completely going insane about the wedding next year, and I'm certainly not convinced about that just yet. No real evidence yet; just the nice, reasonable idea that she outlined where we rent a house for two weeks, get married the first week, and spend the second week there as the honeymoon. It's reasonable, it's sanely afforable (I hope), and except for the parts where she tries to get me to go outside and interact with nature, I'm all for it.

Perhaps it's unfair of me to internally distrust Laura's judgment concerning money. Perhaps. But perhaps that is borne of watching a person who does not know how much gas is in the car and does not know how much food is in the house and does not know how much money she currently has access to purchase a four-dollar cup of coffee. Maybe I'm crazy, but I have no illusions about my current financial situation. I know how much money is in my back pocket at any time; I know how far the car can get on the gas inside it; I know where I have to drive that day, and how much time that will take.

Laura seems oblivious to these things, and much more as well. She buys pens. She owns several thousand pens, but buys more.

"Laura," I say, upon finding a new package of pens, "you've bought pens, when you own several thousand already."

"Most of those don't work," she says, matter-of-factly. "They're too old."

This is a sign, ladies and gentlemen. It's a sign that you need less pens, because the thousands you have aren't seeing service soon enough. The logical reaction to this is not buying pens.

So, perhaps it's unfair of me to think that Laura would overextend the wedding budget...but perhaps it's not unfair at all. Time will tell.

  posted by Gregory @ 5:42 PM


Bad day. Don't know what to do. Gonna try to sleep a little bit.

  posted by Gregory @ 6:47 PM


This is a great, great quote.

i'm dyslexic. (i hate whoever made up that word, it's impossible to spell.)

Note to self: Figure out how to stick a little QOTD somewheres on this hyah blog.

  posted by Gregory @ 1:33 PM


I didn't mention it, but Slashdot ran stories about prototype replacement lungs and a successful attempt to grow a thymus inside a mouse's kidney cavity. (Two years, btw, is how long they think it'll be before they're doing human work in the same vein. So to speak.)

New houseguest for a while, but we don't know if that can be a permanent situation or not. On the up side, he seems relatively stable and nice and doesn't have a car and all; on the down side, I don't know him that well.

I have homework due for class later, so I'll be crackin' away on that. (Hopefully it won't take long; having the houseguest means there's opportunity for multiplayer Halo.)

  posted by Gregory @ 7:41 AM

Prototype vision replacement. If that isn't absolutely bitchin', I don't know what is.

As much as I love dogs, I will be happy to see a day when they don't have to walk the sightless among us around -- because there aren't any sightless people left.

  posted by Gregory @ 11:59 PM


Oh, what now about the recording industry, you ask?

I sometimes find it amusing when people attempt to do something beyond the point that it's useful. The RIAA and MPAA's attempts to strong-arm a consumer base that's well beyond strong-arming and was only supporting them because they felt an outmoded obligation to purchase their music, well, that's pretty funny.

RIAA: Buy this from us!
Consumer: But I can get it free.
RIAA: Buy it anyway! It's illegal to download it!
Consumer. (starts three new downloads) Uh-huh.
RIAA: But, but, buy our CDs! You've only been renting music! Don't buy used CDs! Don't file-swap!
Consumer: (kind of looks at RIAA, but not really; surfs over to eBay to find some used CDs)

It's like watching a schoolyard bully that nobody takes seriously any more: Sad but funny under the right circumstances. The RIAA and MPAA keep trying things that cannot possibly work (like legislation -- if you'd like to know how legislation can prevent social problems, please, examine the War On Drugs) to prevent something that cannot possibly be stopped (technology).

There's a very simple rule for getting by in the world, and it's Never Get Involved In A Land War In Asia. Right under that, though, is Don't Fight Technology. Learn it, learn how to abuse it if you really must, but make no mistake, when a government, person, or group tries to stop technology, they eat dirt fast. Technology is going to eat Jack Valenti alive, and leave a pathetic little skeleton of a human being in his rich, overfed place.

This isn't to say that somehow I have gleaned some insight that will preserve me through the turbulent future. I haven't. I accept that the future is turbulent, and that life is going to become far less stable from here on out. I'm okay with it. I'm ready.

Jack Valenti is not ready, and like any toddler who was never taught how sharing works and how the world is really unfair most of the time, he's heading for denial. He's heading for the cursing of the consumer, because it's all our faults! "The people I was scamming, it's their fault! Those bastards never should have stopped playing the scam!"

Scam artists get destroyed by information. Presumably, if some way were made for the scam of Three Card Monte to be widely disseminated, it would disappear once enough people learned about it for it to become unprofitable.

That's how scams work. Once the trick is well known, the scam becomes unprofitable.

The trick of selling music that sucks, or selling an album with one good song, or selling CDs that are bright and shiny and new -- those tricks are now past their prime.

Would the law give any recourse to a failed Three Card Monte practitioner, wailing in the streets about how his business has gone south? Nope. Neither should any consideration be given to a well-organized, hyper-manipulative group of scam artists, showing up to hearings in limousines and nice clothes. They should be recognized for what they are -- con artists -- and ignored, or perhaps handed to waiting police officers.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the only reason anyone should listen to my opinions is...


I am 67% worshipable! And you? Find out!

  posted by Gregory @ 11:36 PM

Sheeez. One little compliment goes straight to my head.

"Good commenting. I like your comments."

Mike went on to clarify that they're sufficiently descriptive and they stand out well.

Okay, yeah, it's not a huge deal. To you, anyway. It's a huge deal to me because I spend a lot of time coding in a vacuum, out of some mild, quiet-in-the-shadows fear that My Code Looks Dumb. So it's good to hear that, in one little instance, My Code Looked Smart.

Just got a link to Live At The WTC, and so far it's an interesting read. You might like it too, so I'll link-oh, wait, I already did.

  posted by Gregory @ 9:33 PM


Massive headache, coupled with uncomfortable email, uncomfortable job-hunting, and uncomfortable class situation.


I miss writing. Sometimes I miss it so much I swear that I'd stalk it if it were a person. (I guess it's a good thing for writing that it isn't a person, because I think I'd be an unfortunately ultra-effective stalker.)

Heh, dumb idea. "Buffy The Vampire Stalker". Probably been fanfic'ed already, though. :\

More coffee. More coffee that looks like mud and tastes like grounds. I'm gonna make a 2-liter bottle of coffee and take it with me to class. I don't know why, but I want fuckloads of coffee today.

That will probably change about 3/4ths of the way through that bottle.

I'm doing more databasy stuff, and I'm debating internally about what my final project should look like. (The missing pieces of my skill-pie for this project are a nice, solid grasp of the database interface and Mike Lerley's pet templating solution, which we may well have to use in class. :( I'd be really unhappy if that's the case, though -- frankly, I've grown to like HTML::Template over the past week. I could pick up something new and different and wonderful...I'd just rather not have to.)

Fuuuuuck me. It's 4:15. I have to leave in about fifteen minutes. No more databasy, packy packy and get books together. School in one hour; Laura's drop off in forty-five minutes, and leaving in fifteen.

Shit shit shit.

for seldom you will find a soul
who dreams the dreams the same as yours
your sins are mirrored in your eyes
my faith is shattered by your lies

  posted by Gregory @ 1:16 PM

Perhaps near-poverty has the effect of making one look for cheaper things and enjoy those things more. Then again...

Well, let's start from the beginning.

First, there's Galatea. As you can well imagine, it's a cast-iron bitch to create a deeply possible conversation, one where you have branch after branch of possible discussion. It's a hard thing in real life, much less to create a simulation of. Galatea attempts to do just that, and succeeds fairly well, IMHO.

Move on to this Salon article...

But "Playing the Open Source Game," an essay by British game designer Shawn Hargreaves, argues that many games no longer succeed or fail on their programming: "The role of the programmer now consists of writing good tools and trying to make life as easy as possible for the artists and level designers, rather than leading from the front with state of the art technology."

It's a little out of context, but what the hell. The article discusses the relative depth of Nethack; Nethack is impossibly full. Impossibly deep.

(You might think I'm going somewhere intellectually stimulating with this; I'm not. If that's where you'd like to continue, you'll do better here.)

More to the point, though, it's a really addictive game. Those of you who have played Diablo (which would be...everyone on Earth but me and five other people at last count) are playing a game directly based off Nethack. Diablo wishes it could be Nethack. Wishes it so many times over but still can't do it.

(Perhaps the whole point is that it takes willingness to geek in order to be able to have a truly deep interaction with something. If you can't get used to the command line, you may forever be relegated to being a "user". If you aren't willing to learn how to write blueprints, forever will something be missing from your appreciation of the simplest structures.)

Anyway, I come to a full halt, remembering something else entirely. A snippet from _Farscape_'s magazine, one where the writers were talking about their favorite shows and how much they wanted to write things for them and never could, because those shows were off the air way the hell before they grew up.

I wish I could write some of the games that exist; and I cannot. They've been written. For me to construct my vision of them would be a hollow recollection, a collage of pieces made to resemble a painting that was seen once and was a masterpiece.

That's the curse of existence, I think. That you have seen great works happen behind you, happening during you, and you have to chug along through life with the knowledge that -- in all likelihood -- you will never, ever manage something that great.

It's part of the reason I stopped writing, I guess. I know for a fact I cannot possibly match the things I've read, the great pieces of work I've digested, and sure as shit could not surpass them. Who could?

Perhaps this is due to a low opinion of myself, perhaps...but there's also the possibility that I have a too-high opinion of others. (Relatively speaking, though, it's hard to see where one ends and the other begins.) Perhaps it's unfair to view someone like Emily Short as an Earthbound diety, or Larry Niven as the greatest science fiction writer possible. Unfair to them, I mean; hell, they pick their nose when nobody looks, just like everyone else. They are a human being encasing a brain, and they've done what every human should hope to do -- utilize some of their potential.

Still. It's hard to imagine myself as good at X as whoever it is. Statistically, I know it's almost impossible for it to happen.

I can't tell if this is nostalgia or self-deprecation or some twisted combination.


One of the striking things about Galatea is that, in a way, it's like a test. Seriously; it's like a mood ring of a game, really. What you pick up on, what you ask, what ballsy moves you make all determine what will happen. You can cause all sorts of things, from visions to Proust-styled introspection to death. Emily Short's concept of "complete" must be a remarkable thing to behold, because I doubt I can find enough time in my life to ferret out every little twist in that game.

And she's written a lot of games.. If Galatea were the only game she'd ever written, I would be here, talking about it, and discussing the reclusive (or perhaps new) writer, Emily Short. Instead, it stands as one in a line of games she's written.

Mature authors come in all forms. Some have a "consistency", where they write One Thing Very Well. (Stephen King comes to mind, but some of that is just what his readers are expecting, I think.) Some have a certain flexibility, where they can write almost anything fairly well, and given time to polish, could probably write any old damn story they came up with.

Emily Short and Adam Cadre, IMHO, have this flexibility.

I've babbled on long enough. I have to get back to Galatea. For a game with one location, one NPC, and no inanimate objects to speak of, it is the most engrossing thing I've seen in weeks.

  posted by Gregory @ 9:41 PM


If I didn't know better, I'd be all pleased with how smart I am. I do know better, though, and the fact that the DBI, DBD::CSV, and HTML::Template modules installed smoothly wasn't the result of some finesse I've gained in the OS arena. Nor is it the result of some mystic synergy I have with the machine (the mystic synergy is why my computer automatically filters out content I don't want to see, and that's enough, really). Nope, it's the result of innumerable clever people doing Something To Make Their Lives Easier, and then Placing It Where Schmucks Like Me Can Get It.

It's no small feat to make something like Perl -- which was concieved and spent its adolescence upon *nix systems -- work on Win32 systems. Perhaps it's not as hard as I imagine it, but I imagine it was like having all your fingernails ripped out, one by one, slowly.

I am basking in the glory of what those folks before me have done, though. Now the design part of my mind (the one pleased with the blues of Fifty/Fifty and the earthy tones of the philo blog) can quit interfering with my programmatic mind (the one that climbs through a mental make-believe jungle of commands, algorithms, 'n whatnot). One here, one there, and the two intermesh beautifully.

Score one for me.

Wrist hurts. Not sure if that's from Halo, or from typing, or from a combination. The XBox controller is surprisingly kind to my wrist, although I haven't seen anything to indicate one way or the other in general.

Now that I have an SQL-based Perl interface for my final project site, and have a templating system so I don't have copious HTML files laying all over the place, I just have to send off an email concerning the research paper, fire off an email to an old friend, and find a job.

I can't even describe how much I don't want to have a regular job again. I don't know if it's just the people I've met at some of my jobs, or the thought of how awful a couple of my jobs have turned out, or just the lack of immediacy...'s irrelevant anyway. Gotta pay bills. Gotta have a struggle in life; might as well get some money out of it along the way for a while. Until I can make money doing what I like -- programming, preferably in Perl -- gotta do something.

  posted by Gregory @ 3:50 PM


New philo blog post.

Sometimes they're fairly tiring.

Oh, and should you want to see the funniest thing I have seen in...well, shit, at least a few weeks now -- here it is, 9:05 by Adam Cadre. Adam Cadre -- for those in the know -- is a writer of some of the finest Interactive Fiction there is, by gum.

  posted by Gregory @ 2:31 AM

Late night.

I'm trying to learn about HTML::Mason, and HTML::Template and whatnot, in order to get crackin' on my final project.

The world had damn well better look out if I can get a job that involves code in some capacity. I might well be able to execute my Secret Takeover Plan, which has been in the works for about five years now. (Well, the research parts of it, anyway.)

Tired. Not physically or mentally but somehow emotionally; just feels like it's been a draining few days.

On the upside, once I remembered it, the Perl Package Manager managed to slap both Mason and Template in for me. Lucky me.

Threw the new Praga Khan CD on; I'd provide a link, but I'm a lazy shit and I don't have a purchase copy anyway. :( Bad me.

  posted by Gregory @ 10:25 PM


I know, I know. I seem to be slacking off. That's part research, part job hunt, part...well, suffice to say there's going to be a philo blog post soon enough about it.


Good signs: Rudimentary haptic-interface games are in existence. Next up: Quake 3 with a rudimentary interface that kills you!

I'm kidding, duh. But there are possible abuses inherent in such a device, and eventually some of them could come bite us in the ass (figuratively, but less so every day...wait until someone hacks a next-generation robot pet). The next logical step from the Phantom is a sex-related haptic interface, and the problems that could happen with such a thing...well, ignoring all the insane legal aspects ("saving a session of sexual intercourse for use later is a felony") or all the inevitable psychological aspects (people falling in love with their haptic dildos and whatnot), there's the possibility of genuine physical damage. Modern taboos are becoming looser by the day, but they still exist, and how would someone whose genitals were mutilated by a vicious remote sex partner or a hacked device go into court and retain their composure?

Lies are part and parcel of most exercises of power, IMHO. So while I find it unlikely that this paper indicating that Mickey Mouse itself is already public domain will stand up in court, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that Disney had read it, thought about it, and continued to indicate nothing about it, just pretending they still had copyright. Still, it's very interesting.

  posted by Gregory @ 1:12 PM

Well, well, well. First off, let me just say that there's a hugish list of text games to root through should you have spare time and excess nostalgia to burn off. Some even provide a link to a web-playable version, hosted at (I think) ifiction.

I'm very tired and I'm going to sleep soon. Got a lot to do tomorrow...several chore-y items like laundry and whatnot, and a few less concrete ones, such as "get in touch with father and maybe go somewhere for coffee and shit-shooting".

I'm confused by Angela M. Horns. Graham Nelson used that as a pseudonym for writing _The Meteor, The Stone, And A Long Glass Of Sherbert_, and I seem to remember figuring out the specifics of why he did and how he was found out, but I can't remember the actual specifics any more. I'll have to check again sometime soon.

The comparison paper was lost with the drive format I had to do fairly recently. Some sort of error (which I suspect was a partition problem, since I haven't seen hide nor hair of it since the reformatting and partitioning) prevented parts of the drive from accessing properly, so I formatted and partitioned it again. (Gained about 20 gigs in the process, too -- this thing cuts like butter, more than before.) I f'ed up the data backups I made, so I lost a bunch of shit I was working on, including my work on the comparison paper.

Anyway, what I wanted to say about it is that Prolog's fairly easy to find stuff for, but Mozart and Mercury and even Yacc aren't as popular/well-known/easily-delved, seems like. I managed to find out what parser is implemented natively in Prolog in about five seconds and two Google queries; tomorrow I'll start fresh and look again for the same info for Yacc, Mozart, LISP, Mercury, etc.

I'm ashamed to admit such a thing, but I don't know a goddamn thing about Lisp. Curses upon curses and a pox on both my home computers, blah blah blah, but I've never really sat down and written Lisp, or been able to spend time learning with Lisp, or had a huge motivation to deal with it, so I never have. Still planning to learn about it someday, just don't have one nailed down yet.

Wedding plans move ahead, slowly but surely. Some ideas for parts of the handfasting ceremony have become 'implementation' details, so to speak; figuring out how to get two candles that fit together became the problem of how to cut two candles apart along a spiraling diameter (my intended solution is a hot wire and candle with two wicks running in straight lines, top to bottom -- since the wicks will touch, I figure that the combined candle could easily burn normally, but one half will die when the top wick gets cut.)

Since I know how to make candles, I can even do that, as long as I can get some decent wax and some decent wicks and some spare time. (Not yet, though. Research and schoolwork, those are the important things right now.)

Sigh. My summer-school English teacher in HS, Mr. Reed, had a term for this state. 'Verbal Diarrhea.'

Good night, and try the fish, folks.

  posted by Gregory @ 10:53 PM



This is South Park me.

  posted by Gregory @ 1:40 PM


Turns out science is hard. I don't feel as bad about my grades, I tell you that...

  posted by Gregory @ 3:36 PM


The thing that kicks me most about an idiotic school principal handing out detentions for helium abuse isn't the sheer stupidity of Mary "Dumb As A Stump" Pittinger's decision. It's that the oppressed seventh-grader is making better rules concerning reality than she is.

"Just watch what you're doing," he said. "There (are) some crazy rules out there."


Pittinger doesn't think it's a "crazy rule." She said that students aren't even allowed to bring cough drops into class without permission and that she'll stick to that policy.

Go ahead, I dare you tell me that rules preventing cough drop abuse make more sense than "there are some crazy rules out there, watch out". Here, I double dare you.

  posted by Gregory @ 9:23 PM


News has always relied on communication. Now that communication has become easily accessible to the average person, some weird things are shaking out of the equations -- like with the theory of relativity.

Okay. Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this.

Relativity was fine and dandy, but it implied some disturbing things. Schwarzchild's paper described a situation where gravitation prevented light from escaping, which was a distinct possibility in terms of the math. It seemed curious, but the implications didn't really sink in at first.

Einstein's reaction was reputed (if my increasingly shitty memory is to be believed; I don't have the book I remember reading this in anywhere handy) to be along the lines of "well, gee, that's neat, but it doesn't seem to really mean anything."

Follow along to the news: News has always been the function of entities able to communicate effectively to large groups of people. It was bounded by geographical boundaries for a long time, and still is (to a degree). The following conversation could have taken place, once upon a time:

"Well, what if everyone could transmit text and images to anybody else for a few thousand dollars?"
"They can. They take a photo, they develop it, they put it in an envelope. Takes a lot less than a few thousand dollars, about two weeks time."
"No, I mean like in five minutes. Like, what if there was a machine people could buy -- boom! -- and they can do that."
<pause> "Well. Well, I guess that would mean some interesting things. I guess people could stop sending letters or something."

Realistically, the fallout from the massive ability to communicate is just starting to show, from Matt Drudge to the Onion story that a Beijing newspaper used as a real story.

There's two forms of news. One is "I found this, lookit!", which I believe is referred to professionally as "investigative reporting". Then there's "Look, someone else found this, lookit!" which I think is called...plagiarism. Shit, I don't know. I'm not a journalism major (thank Chao). The point is, there's found-it news and hand-off news. If you do nothing but found-it news, you don't have enough to be a "major news source". If you do nothing but hand-off news, you never get anything fresh enough.

Once upon a time, anyway, that was how things played out. The good news is that the line between the two is being blurred more and more every day (this would be your infamous line between delivery and data, the line between pointers and content.) This is good because meta-news is still news: I'm sure that somewhere, someone is "newsing" that slashdot headlined that a Beijing newspaper accidentally used a news story from a fake newsrag. That's meta-meta-news, really: News about news about news.

The bad news is that found-it news may become too hard for anybody to do. If nobody's investigating, then there's not really any truth; it's too easy to hide things, create bots that post a few thousand messages to imply a 'rumor' about something is going around, etc., and then sit back and let bloggers run with it. Done properly, this kind of work can eventually influence "standard" media. ("Tonight, the blogging phenomenon." is one step away from "Tonight, why bloggers are talking about *INSERT COMPANY HERE*".) This is both the goal and the bane of being able to produce your own media; everybody wants to be read, to be disseminated, to be held up as a bastion of truth -- however tiny -- and be known as someone who Speaks Their Mind, And Perhaps Isn't A Total Bastard. (IMHO.)

  posted by Gregory @ 9:11 PM

Hey, guess what? The FCC is trying to screw consumers for its own benefit. Show of hands: Who's surprised?

That's what I thought.

  posted by Gregory @ 8:23 PM

Old friend not posting; worried. Recent attempt to do something failed; dejected. Helped someone move all day; tired. Sitting in a room by myself; lonely.

Logical thought has gone south; drinking.

  posted by Gregory @ 9:12 PM



Apparently, I'm Dagon. Find out what Elder God you are!

  posted by Gregory @ 8:39 PM

If you need to know about neuroprostheses, then you need to go...

Oh. There ya go, then.

  posted by Gregory @ 8:14 PM

5.6.02 bothers me. It bothers me because the educational system has produced a bizarre, pointless mindset.


Not to be cynical or anything, but it's stupid in the acute case and it's stupid in the extreme case, such as with Georgia Tech's insanely stupid policy. It's stupid for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is the Spider Robinson story linked a while back; one of the best reasons it's stupid is because it's impossible.

So I am going to help make it impossible. I don't know how yet. Just forbidding their bot from my sites would be...

...pathetic. Quiet. Not enough.

This is an idiotic thing in my opinion; I should fight and work for my opinions. Intellectual property issues are just as good as any other.

I need to work on how to make their bot useless, or at least less useful. Somehow I will find a way.

  posted by Gregory @ 8:11 PM

HUDSON, Wisconsin -- Shawn Wooley's recent death has a second go at the news, however, this correspondent's most recent communication with her indicates that she is lodging charges against the State Of Wisconsin, Nintendo Of America, Sony, Sega, the Bicycle playing card company, Infocom, and Atari as well, citing that they "are game companies inexorably involved in Shawn's death."

"Everyone is to blame here." she was quoted as saying. "I'm very sure it's someone's fault. Someone with money, preferably."

State officials declined to comment, except for one anonymous source, whose name was Whimpert P. Flogsterbanol. Whimpert said "He had a history of seizures, was being treated for depression, and was on psychiatric medication. There's no reason to think anything but EverQuest was the cause of his death."

When pressed, Whimpert responded, "No, really! Nothing. I mean, sure, there are people with a history of depressive illness who kill themselves, but there's always a TV or something near them. WATCH THE MACHINES! YOUR PLAYSTATION LUSTS FOR YOUR DEATH! RUN! RUN NOW!"

This correspondent is not entirely sure that Whimpert was indeed a state employee.

Wooley's mother had much else to say.

"Games kill people! These designers and writers and all or whatever should be locked away! It's simply morally irresponsible to provide entertainment that draws the entertained in. More blandness should be legally required, and all game companies should pay me money. Lots of money. Now."

  posted by Gregory @ 7:09 AM


Bl-oggin' from class.

All done with homework.

All done with next week's homework.

On the 5th, my secretive responsibility will be over, and my crappy job will probably be a reality, so in my spare time I'll probably go back to hacking around on the Tk interface for use.perl;.

  posted by Gregory @ 5:12 PM


Hey, if you're like me then you have science fiction daydreams: You imagine a hair rinse of grabber-nanites that will change your hair color on a remote signal, or an immune system supplement injection that would provide protection for a range of new infectious diseases.

Check out a summary of the Foresight proceedings.

He gave the illustration of something he called a respirocyte -- a compressed oxygen molecule -- that could theoretically be injected in quantity into the bloodstream and that would then provide oxygen for an hour. This is a thing of value that we "could do" once we have the basic tech. We need more examples like this to inspire research on "how to" capabilities.

The paradigm shift rate itself is accelerating. Progress through the entire 20th century is equivalent to 20 years at today's rate. Few people really internalize the implications of exponential change. Self-replicating machines will take 100 years at today's rate of progress, but Ray expects them in only 25 because of the exponential increase of progress itself.

Gaming the system is OK. You can place bets on your ownvision, and point to a charity that you're involved with. For example, Esther Dyson bet $10,000 that by 2012, the NY Times will refer to Russia as the world's premier software development location. She has raised the profile of Russian software companies, in which she's an investor.

The book The Red Queen makes the point that the reason for sex is to keep scrambling the combination to our genetic lock faster than intruders can attack it.

What is the point of all this?

Glad you asked.

  • The world is changing, and you can't help but get the feeling that it's really changing, not just shifting around in one place but moving towards something.
  • Invest in nanotech research, and do it now.

  posted by Gregory @ 9:54 AM


What Type of Villain are You? /

Like anyone reading this thing didn't know this.

I know where all of you live.

  posted by Gregory @ 11:13 AM


Long story short, I'm off to rebuild Perl on my partitionless Red Hat installation, due to problems with GD.

If I'm very persistent and very thoughtful, I will do fine in the Land of Linux.

  posted by Gregory @ 9:03 PM

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