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...
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
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.
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
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
"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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
I had a VERY good day at school today. Oh yes.... Not to mention it's a 4 day weekend. Woo
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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 :)
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
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.
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
Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been incredibly busy the past few
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.