April 2001

March 2001 -- 2001 -- May 2001

April 1, 2001

Happy April Fools Day!

Sure, I could attempt to be funny and try and pull an April Fools joke with this website, but nah, there are already several great ones out there, like MIT's getting Britney Spears as a guest speaker. And ThinkGeek is selling caffinated meatloaf now. And lzip, the lossy compression scheme that'll compress a file down to 0% it's original size, since it just looses the "unimportant" data. Or that the world's largest IRC network, DalNet, was bought out by AOL. Oh, BTW, is that a bug on your shoulder? April Fools!

New song of the moment, Dancing All Alone. This comes from Dance Dance Revolution 5th mix, and is supposed to be destined to be the next "Butterfly". For those that don't understand what I mean, the song "Butterfly" is one of the most popular and most played songs on DDR, and it's the one most people think of when they play DDR. Except of course, that the USA mix in the arcades, and the US mix on the PSX doesn't have that song...

April 2, 2001

In one of the best April Fools pranks this year, the GAIM developers reported that they were "bought out" by AOL so that they are now working on AOL products and working against the same Jabber that they were defending just a few short days ago. And I was completely fooled at first :) And I'm still a bit worried that it may not be a prank, but I'm hoping that the fact that all this happened on April Fools day is not just a coincidence. It's funny how the two stories that delt with AOL (with them supposedly buying out DalNet and then GAIM) are the most plausible, since it just makes sensee that a huge corporation like that would try to buy up everything it could, including the competition. I'm sorta suprised AOL hasnt' done that already actually.

The final game of the NCAA championship is being played tonight, Duke vs. Arizona. I unfortunatly haven't been paying as much attention as I would have liked to the tournament, partly due to being away on a cruise during my favorite part, the beggining when they play a ton of games in such a small time period.

Mandrake Forum has gotten a new look and new system. It's nice to see a company that actually interacts with it's users and uses their input to help make their product better. I feel as though I actually make a difference by posting what I think is good or bad about Linux Mandrake.

April 5, 2001

Update: Nintendorks.com now actually has something on it!!! You may recall that the domain name finally started resolving just like a week ago, and now Jon says the site will be back up soon, and that Nathan is the man of the hour for having 16 MB of backups on his computer. Yea Nathan! Man, it's been so long since I've had a good dose of 'Dork humor....

Sorry for skipping two days, I've just been busy with stuff in the evenings.

MIT is going to be putting most of it's course work online over the next few years. Now you can download and view the same materials that the students going to MIT will be doing. It's nice to know that there are still some places where information can be freely exchanged and distributed.

There is a very cool article about the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It talks about some of the functions that it serves (like holding the official US kilogram) and some of the neat things they do there. That'd be a really neat place to work after graduation.

Microsoft has done it again. They have once again attempted to totally destroy whatever user privacy rights that one might expect. At least this time they have attempted to fix it. CNet and ZDNet have the stories, which deals with Microsoft's Passport websites and their privacy policy that used to say:

"by posting messages, uploading files, inputting data, submitting any feedback or suggestions, or engaging in any other form of communication with or through the Passport Web Site, you...are granting Microsoft and its affiliated companies permission to: Use, modify, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, publish, sublicense, create derivative works from, transfer, or sell any such communication."

So basically anything you sent via a passport website (such as Hotmail) would be MS property for them to do whatever they wanted with it. Boy oh boy.

CNN has a GREAT article on hacker movies ranging from the awesome movie War Games to the recently released and incredibly accurate Antitrust. It talks about how Hollywood has portrayed the hacker culture and the various movies that reflect it, such as Sneakers and social engineering. Very very interesting article.

Now here is an ironic article: China commenting on US Human Rights violations. Most of it's complaints has to do with what's wrong with the US as a whole, and not really how oppressive our government is, but it's still a very interesting piece of propaganda.

April 6, 2001

I had a "Science Brain Bowl" competition today; basically a contest where you get asked science trivia questions, such as "What is the largest volcano in the Solar System?" Last year my school won the contest, but this time we didn't make it to the final round since we played the hardest team in the semi-finals and lost to them. If it'd been seeded or something, then we would have probably gotten second place. Regardless, it was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from all those questions I didn't know, "What is the largest gland in the human body?" being one of them.

11 new planets have been discovered, including one that is the right distance away from their sun to possibly let it support life. It'll be a great day when we finally have the technology to visit these foreign solar systems and see how hospitable they really are, and to possibly even see extraterrestrial life.

Browsing through my bookmarks today I stumbled across a page that had pictures of famous hackers across the world. These include Linus Torvald (Linux creater), Robert Morris (author of the infamous Morris worm), and Emmanuel Goldstein (editor of 2600). It's really interesting seeing the faces of some of the people you've always read about, but never seen.

April 8, 2001

Man, I got my dates messed up. Fridays' update I put as April 4th instead of April 6th. At least I'm getting the year right now.

In a hilarious twist of irony, aliens have sued the US military via the DMCA for reverse engineering their spaceships. The DMCA makes it against the law in some cases to reverse engineer objects, so BBspot decided to make a satire piece out of it. Stupid laws sure can be funny.

You can now read a log by Sheppard on what is happening on the International Space Station on the Internet. He wrote down what he did during his trip on the ISS, and it's interesting to see what the average day in the life of an astronaught is.astronaut You can also read a short article that gives a bit of a summary on some of what he wrote. Apparently there have been a number of computer problems, with "Most of the problems appear to be related to Microsoft's Windows NT, while Russian-made software seems to be more reliable." Surprise Surprise :)

You know that old saying that pretty soon everything will be connected to the Internet, including your toaster? Well, your toaster can now be connected to the Internet, so that you can find out what the weather will be like from it. The toaster connects to the Internet, finds out if it'll be sunny, cloudy, or rainy, and then burns an image on your toast depicting one of those scenerio's. So with refrigerators, washing machines, and now toasters all connected to the net, there isn't much left to conqueror in the kitchen.

April 9, 2001

I have a special treat today, a picture of me playing Dance Dance Revolution :) My mom snapped it off me without me knowing while at Islands of Adventure some time ago, and she finally developed the pictures. Unfortuantly you only see the back of my head, and you can't see my mad freestylin' skillz :) The guy playing next to me is my brother.

Two sports stories today. Now wait, I know what you're thinking: "A geek interested in sports?" But yes, I do like sports, except for baseball, and golf is my favorite sport. Anyways, Tiger Woods won the Masters yesterday, completing his "Grand Slam" of the majors. He's the first person in modern golf to accomplish that feat, and he's only 25 years old. This guy is just so incredible. He's the reason I got interested in golf, and I'm still in awe of his incredible skills. He is truly one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports. And on a different sport, Troy Aikman, Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys (my favorite NFL team), is retiring. He had some great seasons, but health concerns are forcing a retirement.

Salon has a neat article comparing the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey to our current times, and how accurate some of the predictions really were. We have smart cards, screens in airplanes, and computers that can beat humans in chess, which are all predicted in the movie. And I'm sure that even the spaceflights could have come true if the US had continued funding the space program the way it was in the 1960's.

April 10, 2001

The official US Dance Dance Revolution pads were released today, so I have my ordered at Gamestop.com since none of the local stores have it, and it was the first place I found it online. I should hopefully get it in either Thursday or Friday.

Kuro5shin.org has a really interesting essay about what exactly is reality and the importance of communities, online and off, in the age of the corporate media. There are some great comments in there, and it'll really make you think.

Sometimes I think it'd be nice if it were against the law to use English measurements and instead were forced to go to metric. Britain certainly shares this motive, by prosecuting someone who tried to sell a pound of banana's. If the government would just only teach little kids the metric system, and have all government things in metric, then within 20 years we'd all be used to the metric system, and life would be a lot better.

The New York Times has a neat article on the Three Hat Problem. It's a mathmatical brain teaser that, simple at first glance, is actually pretty complicated and there are still some things left to discover and figure out about it. So if you ever wanted to be famous, just think really hard and crack the puzzle.

April 11, 2001

Argh! My mat is on backorder! This is the first time I've ever had any kind of problem with buying something online. But at least it's on order, so I'll get it....eventually.

The Paperclip is no more!!!! The super annoying "Clippy", the animated paperclip in Microsoft Office, is dead. Microsoft even created a OfficeClippy.com for the horrid little thing, explaining away it's death with cute graphics and even a song. It's sorta sickening the dignity they give his demise. It couldn't have happened any sooner for my tastes. Of course, at times it really is helpful :)

First there was DotComGuy, and now there is just .com. That's right, someone has legally changed their last name to .com. Even I'm not that hardcore. It's also interesting to note that this guy is a recovering internet addict.

April 12, 2001

I had a VERY good day at school today. Oh yes.... Not to mention it's a 4 day weekend. Woo Hoo!

Ecompany has put out a list of the 100 dumbest moments in e-commerce history. This includes spending millions to make a sock puppet famous (pets.com), and the quote "Unlike with other famous bubbles ... the Internet bubble is riding on rock-solid fundamentals, perhaps stronger than any the market has seen before." We all know how well THAT turned out. It is sorta sad though to see all these start-ups go out of business, while the old guard corporations seem to be the only ones left standing.

On this day, 40 years ago, Yuri Gagarin became the first man in history to go into space. Yes, for those who never payed attention in history, a Russian was the first person in space, not America. NASA has a picture of the front page of a newspaper commerating the event. And also on this day, the first space shuttle orbited the earth. It was the Space Shuttle Columbia, and it was only a 2 day mission. I wish I could be an astronaut.

April 13, 2001

It's Friday the 13th in case you didn't realize it.....

My Dance Dance Revolution Dance Mats (wow that has a lot of dances in there) have shipped, and should be at my house on Tuesday. They still have them in stock, so if you want some, pick them up at Gamestop.

Wondering why your favorite radio station is no longer streaming it's broadcasts over the internet today? It's because the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is wanting royalty payments for broadcasts over the internet. And since no radio station makes any real money by streaming, they aren't going to pay it and hence they shut it down. It's so sad that the greed by artists is hurting the internet. At least I still have my mp3's, and all those internet-only stations.

Microsoft has put out a page detailing their move from FreeBSD to Windows 2000 for Hotmail. They had tried it with Windows NT and failed, but somehow they got W2K to run it smoothly. Most of it is typical PR fluff, but there is also some technical stuff. I'd been wondering when they'd switch over, since it was a constant embarrassment to Microsoft that one of their leading sites wasn't even running MS software.

Some cities are beginning to ban Dodgeball in their public schools. I personally applaud this effort, as while dodgeball was pretty fun, it was also really vicious and I myself have had a few too many cases where people will try to peg you as hard as possible because you're not cool enough. As long as the game was played civilly, it was fun, but having a bunch of hormonal teenage boys throwing things at people is not a recipe for fun.

April 14, 2001

I saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon for the first time today. That movie is awesome! If you haven't seen it, go check it out as soon as possible before it's gone from theaters. And don't worry about the subtitles, they didn't bother me what so ever. But the main action is the incredible fight scenes. If you thought the Matrix fight scenes were good, you ain't seen nothing yet :)

The US military will begin to put this bumper sticker (which is no longer avaliable) on all it's military jets from now on to avoid a repeat of the China incident.

One of the guys behind the fad website AmIHotOrNot.com, James Hong, has written an article about his experiances in creating a site that grew so quickly. Within 8 days of launch they had broken 1.8 million hits per days, so scalability was incredibly important to them. It's quite interesting to read about how quickly the site spread throughout the internet as the latest and greatest internet fad.

April 15, 2001

Happy Easter!!!

And in celebration of Easter, I bring you the Peep page where it discusses everything about the Marshmellow Peep, including it's reactions to hot and cold, as well as alcohol and cigerrettes. Very very cool page.

Check out Google's easter egg (literally :). Look at the bottom of the page.

I added a TCL/TK script to the programming page. It asks whether to open StarOffice or not when I click a button. Very handy as SO takes a while to load, which stinks if you accidently hit the button that launches it.

April 16, 2001

It's TAX DAY!!!!!!!

Nintendorks is back up!!!!! After months and months of being down, it has finally surfaced again, with the full relaunch to take place within 11 days. Woo Hoo! However there is some sad news in all this: The Nintendork t-shirt is no more. Since they were down they couldn't get the number of orders they needed to get the t-shirts, so hence there are none to buy. Why oh why do bad things happen to good websites?

Sunday Times Magazine has an excellent article (which is no longer up) on the gradual invasion of privacy that the UK government, along with other governments across the world, are doing. It makes mention of networked TV camera's in every building becoming the "fifth utility" after water, gas, electricity, and phone. And even in America we have the DEA buying passenger information from Amtrack. Guess that unwarrented searches thing in our Constitution can be ignored.

Nintendo has announced their 25 million dollar marketing campaign for the Gameboy Advance, set to be launched on June 11th. It's amazing to read all the things they have planned to push the GBA. I know I sure as heck will be buying one!

April 17, 2001

The Dance Dance Revolution pads have arrived!!!!! I've played with them about an hour now, and it's such a cool feeling to be playing DDR at home. The only problems are that the up/down buttons seem to be spaced farther apart than on the arcade version, which is causing me to fail a lot of the songs. However I am getting more and more used to it. Also I play on this hard rug ontop of a tile floor, so playing is quite rough on the feet and shins. You don't have your shoes to take a lot of the shock like in the arcade. But regardless of all that, I'm just happy to finally play DDR in front of the TV.

In an interview with Brian McConnell, who just finished writing a book on SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), he describes a lot about the SETI projects and it's goals. I myself am a firm believer that there IS life outside of earth, mainly for the reason that McConnell stated, "it just makes sense when you consider how many places there are for life to develop." It also talks about the need for people in all area's, not just astronomy, in the SETI projects, and also how most of their money is supplied through donations instead of government funding. And of course it mentions the awesome little program, SETI@Home, which uses distributed computing to analyze data for intelligent life.

In yet another embarresment for CueCat (which is now defunct), there is a new software program out that takes their same idea but expands upon it a little bit: The CueHack. Instead of showing you the company who you scanned, it'll show you what you would see if you did a search on the internet for that company, including the bad things like boycotts, corporate abuse, etc etc. It's a very cool idea. Of course you know the CueCat guys aren't going to happy, just like they weren't when the scanner got hacked so that it couldn't personally identify you, but it's just so much making corporations mad :)

April 18, 2001

The official Starwars.com site has been redesigned with a bunch more Episode 2 stuff. I personally liked the old style better, but on the other hand all the new stuff on it is really interesting. Too bad it'll be one more whole year before the movie is released.

Open-Source soft drinks, who would have thunk it. Yes, now the open source license of letting others tinker with what you made in an attmept to make it better has been expanded to cola. So if you can come up with a better recipe, then you can say you contributed to making the world a better place to drink.

I just finished reading Orsen Scott Card's incredible book Ender's Shadow. It's a quasi-sequal to the famous Ender's Game (which is actually better IMHO), but not a true sequel since the story in Ender's Shadow takes place parallel to Ender's Game, just from another viewpoint. However it definitly helps to read Ender's Game first. Anyway, for those who haven't read the book, it's a really interesting science fiction piece about little children who are trained to be commanders in a war against an alien civilization. It's extremelly well written and will keep you thinking about war, humanity, strategy, and how the heck these little 6 year olds can come up with such radical ideas.

April 20, 2001

Exactly 2 years ago today the Columbine tragedy occured. Which of course means that for years afterward, kids who are "scared" can use that excuse to get out of school. As commentary, I bring these two links. The first is an Onion article on how Columbine jocks are now able to resume bullying with a tighter security force at the school. While it may be written by the best satire newspaper in the world, there's an awful lot of truth in it. The second is Jon Katz's excellent series of articles on the aftermath of Columbine on the "different" people in school; the dorks, the nerds, the goths, etc etc etc. He talks about, and quotes email that he recieved, from people persecuted as being possible killers just because they were different or didn't go with the flow. The witchhunt that followed Columbine is the most tragic part of all in my opinion, maybe because I can relate to it somewhat. The original article (which I HIGHLY suggest reading), Voices from the Hellmouth gives the best overview of what kind of treatment that the non-conformists at schools across the country recieved, and is the one that I think everyone should read, so as to understand. However if you have the time, Katz wrote a series of 10 articles revisiting the stories that he recieved. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, and Part 10. Again, they are very very good, and show a part of the effect of Columbine that most people do not think of, nor really care to think of. To quote the original article:

The big story out of Littleton isn't about violence on the Internet, or whether or not video games are turning out kids into killers. It's about the fact that for some of the best, brightest and most interesting kids, high school is a nightmare of exclusion, cruelty, warped values and anger.

Linux-Mandrake 8.0 was released Thursday, marking the next major release of that awesome linux distrobution (which I use of course :). It includes the 2.4.3 kernel, X 4.0.3, Gnome 1.4, KDE 2.1.1, and a whole bunch of other improvements. Mandrake is the easiest distrobution to use and install, so if you ever wanted to get started in Linux, I'd definitly suggest you go download a copy (assuming you have a fast connection). Mandrake 8.0 should hit stores sometime next month probaly.

IBM is getting in trouble over their Peace. Love. Linux ads on the sidewalks of San Francisco. The city looks upon it as graffiti, and want to fine IBM. This is part of IBM's multi-million dollar Linux marketing plan as I wrote about a while back.

April 23, 2001

Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been incredibly busy the past few days.

Saturday I went to the Gatornationals drag racing competition. If you've never been to a real drag race, then you are missing out on quite an experiance. The noise that those machines make is so unbelieably loud. The stands literaly shake from the sound of them, and your head rattles around from the sheer volume of the engines. Earplugs are a definite must for the top fuel cars which run on nitromethoyl. They reach speeds of up to 325 MPH in a quarter mile, and the entire thing only lasts about 4.6 seconds. There's a lot of incredible engineering that goes into doing something like that.

Secondly, all of today and yesterday I've been fighting with Linux. Sunday my CD-Rom was corrupted or something because it gave me errors on installation. Finally I got it installed today, and now I have configuration errors. My sound doesn't work, the fonts are incredibly screwed up (I can barely read what I"m writing at the moment in Quanta), and I'm having trouble with my email. If you've sent me antyhing in the past few days, I'd resend it because I might have missed it.

April 25, 2001

The stupid sound still doesn't work, so I'm gonna try and reburn the iso files and reinstall one last time. If it STILL doesn't work, then it's back to 7.2 for me because I have to have my music when I'm on the computer.

Gaim has a good artcile on the whole AOL/Gaim/Jabber fiasco. It explains the shortcomings of the TOC protocal, as well as why AOL (in pure monopolistic fashion) is trying to squash out all it's competition, which of course includes the open source Jabber. It looks like that FTC merger requirement of opening up the AOL protocal isn't as good as the press made it out to be.

I gave blood today, and no, I didn't faint. However I did help save someone's life, which is always a good feeling to have.

April 27, 2001

I think someone up there must hate me because Linux refuses to cooperate with my computer. I have given up on the sound ever working in 8.0, and when I tried to reinstall 7.2 it gives me a mounting error when I partition the drives. Argh! So I'm currently soundless with some crappy fonts on some of the apps (including Quanta which I'm using to write this).

I want this case! A clear computer case would be so awesome. Then you could get neat shots like this (which is no longer up). I know I'd snatch one up in a second. Of course the next best thing be a window with the light kit. Glow in the dark comptuers for those late nights would be sweet.

There's a neat article on InformationWeek about Google's 8,000 system server farm. It mainly talks about the scalability and structure of it, including the petabyte (one million gigabytes) of storage that they have going on over there. Think how many mp3's that could hold..... And of course they mention that it runs on Linux, thus saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars since they dont' have to pay licensing fees. Also in Google news, they have finally put up the Deja Usenet archive that goes back to 1995. It's too bad no one really remembers what Usenet is anymore, and instead is just a haven of spam.

Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist, is scheduled to lift off into space early Saturday morning (EDT). I can only wait for the day when something like this is commonplace, and there is a Hilton up in space. But given the current situation I agree with NASA that a tourist does not belong in the ISS, as it's more geared to research and exploration and not a paid vacation spot.

April 29, 2001

I went to Islands of Adventure one last time yesterday, since our season passes expire May 1st, and then I'm off to college over the summer. Plus I had about $10 worth of arcade tokens to use up :) So needless to say I got a ton of DDRing in. I even had one 40 year old lady clapping for me (now that was interesting) and another time a crowd of about 40 people all in awe at my mad freestyle skillz (that or else wondering who the heck this guy making a fool out of himself was :).

The 2.4.4 Linux kernel was released the other day. In related news, out of the blue the first part of my soundcard configuartion now works, but it still fails on the second part. But it's really weird how it now all of the sudden partly works when I didn't even change anything.

In yet another step toward 1984, various retail stores have implimented BlueEyes, software that uses those cameras that are supposed to be used to spot shoplifters, instead being used to track consumer expressions and movements. It keeps tabs on how you react to instore promotions, and other things like that. So be sure to have a poker face whenever you go shopping, because you can never be sure who is watching for what anymore.

March 2001 -- 2001 -- May 2001