I repeat, nothing happened in Sector 83 by 9 by 12.
Tuesday, September 30
Achoo! Achoo! Cough cough. Achoo!
Too much blood in my antihistamine stream again.
Sunday, September 28
Okay, who was it this time?
No Instapundit. No Spleenville. No Eye on the Left.
And Blogger says
Microsoft VBScript runtime error '800a0005'but that's no surprise.
Invalid procedure call or argument: 'mid'
//functions/doAutoLogin.inc, line 15
No A Small Victory, either.
Update: Never mind, it's all better now.
That Bastard Lileks™ has a dual-G5 Macintosh.
And I don't. Sniffle.
Saturday, September 27
Front Line Voices is a new project launched by Frank J of IMAO. It is planned to be an outlet for the letters of those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and a counter to the one-note reporting of much of the mainstream media.
You can learn more about the project and how you can help at the Front Line Voices Meetingplace.
Friday, September 26
Unlike Red Thunder, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth doesn't suck.
One might even... Yes, one might even go so far as to call it good.
Now I'm off to finish reading it. After all, it's only been waiting for fifty years.
Thursday, September 25
I had a wonderful essay to post here, but the little edit box was too small to contain it.
That's my story, anyway.
Tuesday, September 23
A terabyte here, a terabyte there, soon you're talking real storage.
I recently bought myself a DVD writer so that I can do backups of my 3.5 million (or whatever the number is) files. I also ordered 100 DVD-Rs (Shintaro 4x disks, in case anyone is interested), so that I'd have something to backup to.
Meanwhile, my disks are filling up. Fill fill fill. Also, I still have six IBM Deathstar drives in use. These are the notorious GXP-75 series, which have a half-life of about 12 months. Suckiest disk drives since the days of Miniscribe.*
So I bought 6 Maxtor 120GB drives to replace the 6 45GB Deathstars. Got them cheap too, although the bargain price I got will look pretty ordinary in a month and hideously expensive in six. Only problem is, the Deathstars are in use and have stuff on them - more stuff than I have space to copy elsewhere. After all, if I still had 180GB free I wouldn't be buying more disks.**
So I need the DVDs to back up the Deathstars so I can take them out of use before they do that for themselves. Only... Only the DVDs are coming by Australia Post, who did what they are best at and lost them.
It's not the first expensive shipment that Australia Post have lost for me. The only comfort I have is that this time it's C.O.D., which means that I haven't paid for it. I still don't have the DVDs, which is a nuisance, but at least I'm not out of pocket.
The supplier managed to get confirmation from Australia Post today that yes, they (Australia Post) had lost my DVDs, and they (the supplier) are sending me another shipment. Maybe I should have suggested they put a GPS tracker on this lot.
* Not one of the computer biz's better moments:
In mid-December 1987, Miniscribe's management, with Wiles' approval and Schleibaum's assistance, engaged in an extensive cover-up which included recording the shipment of bricks as in-transit inventory. To implement the plan, Miniscribe employees first rented an empty warehouse in Boulder, Colorado, and procured ten, forty-eight foot exclusive-use trailers. They then purchased 26,000 bricks from the Colorado Brick Company.See here for more.
On Saturday, December 18, 1987, Schleibaum, Taranta, Huff, Lorea and others gathered at the warehouse. Wiles did not attend. From early morning to late afternoon, those present loaded the bricks onto pallets, shrink wrapped the pallets, and boxed them.
The weight of each brick pallet approximated the weight of a pallet of disk drives. The brick pallets then were loaded onto the trailers and taken to a farm in Larimer County, Colorado.
Miniscribe's books, however, showed the bricks as in-transit inventory worth approximately $4,000,000. Employees at two of Miniscribe's buyers, CompuAdd and CalAbco, had agreed to refuse fictitious inventory shipments from Miniscribe totalling $4,000,000. Miniscribe then reversed the purported sales and added the fictitious inventory shipments into the company's inventory records.
** I can't back up the Deathstars onto the Maxtors because I want to build the Maxtors into a RAID-5 array, and I have neither the drive bays nor the IDE controllers to run another six drives off my Linux box.*** I doubt the power supply would be particularly happy either.
*** Huh. Come to think of it, I do have enough IDE channels to put another six drives on that box. The cabling would be... problematic at best, so I think I'll take a pass on that.
Just received three of the fake "Microsoft Update" virus spams - at an email address I didn't know I had. (Which probably explains why it wasn't properly spam-filtered.)
And 132 other assorted pieces of crap. Ranging from "Hi!" to "God Bless Pixymisa and the USA!" to the usual offers of sex and money (I'm fine for both at the moment, thanks).
Look, can't we kill just a few of them? Y'know, set an example?
Well, they fixed the air conditioning at work. And then some. It was a balmy 31 degrees today (that's real degrees, so 88 of your puny American degrees), which I doubt the computers would have enjoyed. Naturally on such a warm day I didn't bring a jumper or a jacket or anything... So they decided to switch the air conditioning from Ineffectual to Antarctic.
Monday, September 22
Thanks to CoolDuck LeeAnn.
Sunday, September 21
Red Thunder by John Varley
I've never been disappointed by John Varley.
If Rocketship Galileo had been written by the Robert Heinlein who wrote The Number of the Beast, rather than the Robert Heinlein who, well, wrote Rocketship Galileo, you'd have Red Thunder. It's all there: the characters too stupid to live, the pointless and unappealing sex, the arguments about who's going to drive, the contrived plot...
I give it sucks out of five. And no, I haven't suddenly developed a New Zealand accent.
Saturday, September 20
It's my birthday!* This afternoon I'm going to see Finding Nemo with my family, then maybe dinner at a non-Thai restaurant.
I wonder if I'll get any presents? I've been a little... slack in the present-giving department this year, what with my three full-time jobs and all. Maybe my nephew will give me a present, since I gave him six boxes of Lego last weekend.
* 25. Though not necessarily in base-10.
Friday, September 19
That scurvy bilge-rat of a server I mentioned yesterday, me hearties, is now booting more-or-less happily. I guess that threatening to make it walk the plank did the trick.
Only thing is, it insists on doing a full file-system check first. Shiver me disk drives! With 1.6 terabytes of disk, that takes a while.
Late for work, me hearties! Now where did I put those scurvy Linux disks?
My PC, it will not boot.
I rm'd * while su root.
Well, actually, I didn't. I've always wanted to try that, but I've never had a box I didn't care about at a time when I had the time to play around.
I think it just overheated. Spring has well and truly sprung here in Sydney, but the office air conditioning is still set to Winter. So it's really not surprising that the computers are finding it a bit on the warm side.
And it's not really my PC, it's one of the servers. The one with a terabyte of data on it, to be precise.
I've left it turned off overnight, and tomorrow I will return armed with a 30cm fan, an extension lead so we can position it somewhere a little cooler... And my Linux install CDs, because I'm not that much of an optimist.
Thursday, September 18
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 17
How did I end up with two full time jobs instead of one part time job?
Tuesday, September 16
The Axis of Naughty rules! Instapundit... Oops, I mean
Instapundit says so.
Monday, September 15
I spent the day at my brother's house celebrating my nephew's second birthday. While he likes the Lego I bought him, his favourite present by far was the Wiggles Safari DVD (the Wiggles meet Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter).
As soon as he had it unwrapped, he grabbed the DVD, trotted into the living room, and -
Well, he doesn't quite have this down pat. He put the DVD on the shelf under the TV, grabbed the remote control, and started pushing buttons. After all, the DVD player is too high up for him to reach, so it's worth a try.
At two, he's realised that if you put the shiny round thing in the silver rectangular thing and push the little buttons on the small grey oblong thing, pictures and music come from the square black thing and you can dance along - which at that age consists of spinning in circles until you fall over.
Unfortunately, the DVD was warped, and in the middle of Wobbly Camel the picture and sound broke up and it swiftly became unwatchable. We found that only the first two and last three of fifteen or so songs played properly.
Which kind of ruined the magic...
What I'd like to do here is write a Whittleian essay about how what engineers really want to do is magic - build machines that work so well that the very workings that they laboured so hard to create are effectively invisible to the user. You do this and that happens, every time, without any noise or smoke or heat. You don't need to pull it apart twice a year to grease the flanges or re-tune the interociter. You don't need to prime it with margarine before starting it when the weather's below freezing.
It just works.
I guess I went into computers because it's the closest useful field we have to magic. You move this thing until that thing points to this other thing, then you push on this thing and music! Movies! Books! Your printer springs to life and prints out a newspaper, or you send a letter to your friend on the other side of the world (and it arrives in a matter of seconds.)
Bugs are the mis-aligned gears and dry solder joints in the engineering magic of programming. When you run into a bug, it reveals the workings you've tried so hard to hide. The magic is ruined, though we're used to it and we usually manage to pick ourselves up and move on.
(Like, say, when my ADSL connection drops out and destroys the illusion that the internet is "just there".)
I have no idea where this post is going, though, so I'll stop here. If you do happen to know, please tell me and I'll do my best to finish it.
Sunday, September 14
Geek website Hypothermia raffled off one of their computers to raise money to pay Briana LaHara's settlement with the RIAA.
All the tickets were sold in five hours.
(via The Inquirer)
Saturday, September 13
I may be somewhat scarce on mu.nu this weekend - I have books to read, programs to write, presents to buy, parties to attend (yay!) - so there will be bloggage after, but perhaps not so much bloggage during.
In the meantime, why is it taking so darn long to grep this file? It's only, um, five gigabytes. It's not like it's particularly big or anything...
Friday, September 12
I'm having a discussion elsewhere with a gentleman from a European country which I will not name. Here's a snippet - my comments are in plain text, his in italics):
The way I look at it, is this: the concept of democracy has a number of elements which we can use to ascertain the degree of democracy. The GDR was a socalled "peoples democracy" which in our definition was not a democracy.Some people just don't get it.
Yes, this is known as "a lie".
Another interpretation is not necessarily a lie.
This is not "another interpretation". Calling East Germany a democracy is a lie. There's no complication here, it is simply and entirely untrue.
From our point of view it is a lie, not from theirs. Why would our truth be more true than that of others? Because we have proven it to be so because the wall fell?
And here we get to the crux of the problem, the post-modernist fallacy that all points of view are equally valid.
Words have meaning. "Democracy" has a meaning. East Germany was not a democracy. This is a fact. They called it a democracy, therefore they lied. This is also a fact.
In fact, they knew damn well that it wasn't a democracy and the whole thing was a sham from the beginning.
Thursday, September 11
It is September 11 where I am, and likely will be for you by the time you read this. I really can't do the topic justice, so I suggest you all visit Voices at A Small Victory to read people who can.
SilverBlue is not happy with the shitferrets* at the RIAA.
Not happy at all.
* In one post I used the term shitweasels to refer to the senior management at SCO, and received an irate comment from a shitweasel complaining that I had unfairly maligned shitweasels the world over. Hence the neologism.
N.Z. Bear has a particularly fine collection of bloggers in this week's New Weblog Showcase.
And if that fails, we can zap them with Leomund's Lamentable Belabourment. That'll teach them.
So, who are my picks?
Brainstorming, because, well, that's cool and funny.
Snooze Button Dreams because it's funny and insightful, and because I have an addiction to the snooze button myself.
And Pardon my English, because sometimes irony will not do and you just have to cut loose with a rant.
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