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June 2002

06.28.2002

Hot on the heels of 0xDECAFBAD, and the Imagery @ 0xDECAFBAD gallery, we are proud to present the RasterGallery! which utilizes the very well built Gallery that you to can download, install, and enjoy. Sure it's written in PHP and not perl, but I won't hold that against it... (har har) I managed to get it up and running pretty quickly under Mac OS X (thanks to Fink) and even quicker at RasterWeb! Installation was pretty freakin' easy I must say. I haven't yet decoded the storage format, it looks right-up wacky though...

One thing I've noticed from the digital camera is (of course) that you lose the whole preconceived notion that every picture costs money which always bothered a tightwad like me when using a film camera. This brings up a bigger subject. The old 'in my day' thing. It works like this... See, in my day you had to go to the store and buy a box of floppy disks (and they were floppy alright) and it cost a good amount of money. Nowadays, kids have at least 20 gig of storage in their laptops, and 5 gig in their pockets, and deal with files that wouldn't even fit on a whole box of floppies. Ten years ago if someone said "Hey, here's a ten meg file" you'd be in trouble. Today you can burn it onto a CD or transfer it to your iPod in a few seconds. (Heck, you can get a USB drive that hangs out on your keychain.) Ok, where were we? Ah, photos... Yes, I wonder if/how the fine art of photography will change. No longer do you have to be selective in your shots, take a dozen, one of them will look good enough. Same with recording, when we took Trademark into the studio and Milt screwed up, we had to decide if we could afford to fix it, or move on, recording time costs money in a studio, you see. In the computer-driven home studio of today, kids can do a hundred takes of a song, and then edit and re-edit until perfection is achieved.

Anyway, these are all good things. I think. Sure... why not? We should ask aaron the painter...

Oh, we took over 60 pictures last night... Gave the 64mb SmartMedia card a workout...

A new version of Movable Type is out, of imporatant note (besides the ability use MySQL for your database) is that the commercial cost is still $150, which I think is very reasonable. Both of these things could help me get Movable Type into the workplace...

I've been going perl-crazy lately. I've been working on some scripts to munge/fix/clean data that came out of SQL, and hoo-boy is it a mess, truly a mini-ball of mud, since it's a one-off thingy of throwaway code... mergechanges.pl was not too bad, but catmaker.pl was quite a mess, luckily comparechanges.pl will solve everything and allow all of the rougue data to be properly assimilated...

All of thse scripts are under 200 lines, which makes me think that no only can you solve every problem by using perl, I now believe you can do it with less than 200 lines of code as well...

Salon has developed a proprietary online publishing system. To paraphrase Han Solo, who said it sarcastically, just as I'm about to "Gee, what a great idea!" (I am referring of course to the 'proprietary' in 'proprietary online publishing system' so foo to you...

Actually I don't want to see Salon disappear, as it is a good site, or at least it was last time I visited. We used to look at Salon years ago as 'the right way to do things' in respect to certain aspects of a web sites anyway...

06.26.2002

Dave asks about software saving lives, and doctors and such, and Chuck's got some thoughts as well. The first thing I thought about Dave's comments regarding weblogs and news aggregators saving lives is that pretty much anything can save someone's life. I couldn't dig up a link, but a few years back some dork from Wisconsin prevented his head from being smashed in during a plane crash by wearing one of those big wedge-shaped foam cheesehead hats. Anyway, there's proof tha almost anything could be used to save a life in certain situations. In relation to software, I've seen certain software come with licensing info that says it cannot be used in situations where human lives may be put at risk. So there's definitely a "do you trust this software to prevent you from dying" sort of thinking. Whenever one of my co-workers gets discouraged about server problems, exploding perl scripts, or Windows security holes, I just gently remind him that we're not saving lives here. If a server goes down, someone isn't going to die. The company may lose money, we may lose our jobs, but at least we didn't kill anyone, or let someone die due to our mistake. It's a small comfort to us...

I've been having more fun with Movable Type. I'm still tweaking lots of stuff for a 'photo log' (as the kids call it) and finding the best workaround for Image::Magick not being available... It's not a huge deal, I've got a number of methods I can use, I just need to pick the best/most flexible one...

06.25.2002

Switchers were paid: Uh yeah, I'm no expert, but I believe that if you appear in a television commercial, you get paid. It's not like some funny business is going on. That's how the industry works. Here's the real challenge, find someone who switched from using Mac OS X to using Windows XP. Ok... I'm waiting...

Ok, I got Mac OS 8.1 installed on the Apple Workgroup Server 80. That was easy. I've got these slightly crazy plans to build a photo kiosk, either with this Mac, or another one. Actually, after thinking about it, I might also make it a music kiosk, since it's got a CD player in it (no MP3's of course.) Now, here's what I need. Remember the old Macs with the CD Caddy that you would insert the CD into and then stick it in the CD player? Well, I need at least one of those. Two would be better. I've checked a few Mac sources online... Hmmm, perhaps I should check ebay... Ideas?

It was weird setting up the Apple Workgroup Server 80. I had to use one of those old ethernet adapters, I forgot what they're called, and with no usb I had to plug in the ADB cable, and then I connected a SCSI drive... It all seems to foreign now with USB and Firewire so firmly in place...

I pitched Movable Type to some people at work today. We'll see where that leads to...

I also got Movable Type set up here at RasterWeb! to begin testing it a bit more... I'll (hopefully) be using it for photo management. Our host seems to have imagemagick installed, but not Image::Magick, so I may have to create some workarounds to do what I want to do... Some quick-n-dirty cgi's to the rescue!

06.24.2002

I have not yet received this memo, but I fear it's forthcoming:

Dear Staff, due to budgeting constraints we will not be turning on the air conditioning this summer. We suggest you start bringing popsicles to work, and fan yourselves with this memo during your break.

I miss being able to wear shorts to work... :/

Dave was a drug addict. Ok, some people won't admit that smoking is a drug addiction. They also won't admit that beer is actually alcohol. I've managed to avoid those addictions during my life (don't worry, I've got plenty of other problems) and I've recently started to make changes towards better health. I realized (from the female's example) that generally speaking, you should feel good, you shouldn't be constantly in pain and always tired. Especially at my age. I pretty much cut out caffeinated soda, and if I have 2 or 3 non-caffeinated soda's per week that's a lot, compared to when I'd have 2 or 3 caffeinated sodas per day. In reality I should cut out any carbonated beverage, but I'm not quite there yet. I've never been a coffee drinker, in fact I've always despised coffee. After a while caffeine loses it's affect anyway, I used to drink a Mt. Dew at 10 PM to help me stay awake, and I'd be sleeping before I finished it. Anyway, my advice to you (for what it's worth) is if you want to feel better, have more energy, and live a better life, do something about it. Start by looking at what you're putting into and onto your body.

Next time we'll talk about deodorant...

Computer update: Moto will most likely be replacing Slave1 for the kids game machine. The PowerMac G3/233 from the junkpile still has no ram or drives, I'm not even sure it will boot yet... Slave1 will most likely be the new web cam machine, unless I get crazy and try to boot the Workgroup Server 80...

If we had an organization like FREE GEEK near RasterWeb World Headquarters, I'd definitely get involved...

Oh, I'm loving the new digital camera, lots of great pictures of the kids are coming soon...

06.21.2002

Tux Paint looks like the KidPix of the Linux world...

Tux4Kids is an organization dedicated to producing and promoting quality educational software released under Free-Software or other OSI Certified licenses.

Yay! Logo for Mac OS X. I was worried about updating my old Classic version of UCB Logo, this should do it. It even exports to SVG!

Speaking of turtles, we spent quite some time in Fowler Lake last night, we didn't see any turtles, but we did look at many rocks, see some fish, killed many Zebra Muscles, and found a dollar! We spent the dollar at the snack stand they set up for the water ski show, so we used our good luck to help others... Now we just sit back and wait for the karma to roll in...

06.20.2002

Well, I got ambitious at lunchtime. Moto is alive...

I got to dig through the junkpile at work, and while there are the bones of many old PC's, I didn't really find any components of use. I didn't have time to check out what was what either, as I might have found something better than the low-end Pentium that is currently Brew. I first grabbed an Apple Workgroup Server 80, which is comparable to a Quadra 650 or so, and a bare PowerMac G3/233, no floppy, hard drive, or CD drive... it doesn't even have RAM in it. I'd really like to rebuild this one for the kids, as the PowerBase 180 they use for games is a little pokey. I'll probably throw the Workgroup Server back on the pile, because I dug deeper and found a Motorola StarMax 4000/160, which is a PowerPC based machine. this alone would probably be a good upgrade for the kids... I might even dump my old Centris, as it is a bit of a relic.

At some point I really do plan to build a web cam machine out of one of these old Macs... I've got the hardware and code (some AppleScript and MacPerl) now all I need is a little bit of time...

I really need to update the Computers page...

Speaking of computers.. and Linux, Walmart.com will (mosty likely) be selling PC's with Mandrake Linux! (via rc3.org This is interesting indeed. I don't know if they'll be selling them in their brink-n-mortar stores, but I would think that's the next step. Would you have thought a few years ago that you might be able to walk into a Walmart store and walk out with a *nix based machine instead of a Windows box? Now they just need to start selling Mac OS X boxes ;)

Of course if Lindows is ok with you, and you've got about $300 go to Walmart.com right now...

06.19.2002

Yesterday we stopped by Wholly Cow in Delafield for a treat. While being know locally for their terrific ice cream products, you might also know the place in reference to Julie from the Real World. Which I think is amusing everytime I go there. No, there's no mention of anything 'Real World' related there, but there is a clipping from the local paper about the Wholly Cow, with a photo of the whole family (Julie included) wearning silly cow-pattern baseball hats... As I'm sure I've mentioned before, she's got a web site at www.planetjulie.com.

If you are one of those people who build web sites, and take pride in your work, don't you just hate when a site you created falls under the maintenance of some moron with no clue as to accessibility, usability, functionaility or design? That happened to me again today. A designer friend of mine said "That's why I hate the web..." (He doesn't really hate the web, but like myself, hates that aspect of it...)

I finally got the digital camera. I didn't have a whole lot of time to play with it - I mean test it - yet, but so far it's very cool knowing that with each snap I won't be shelling out money for prints. And since the kids insist on us taking a zillion pictures of them at a time, this is good... (Of course the cost of batteries is another issue.)

06.17.2002

I know I probably shouldn't like Walmart, but they make it really difficult to not like them. The 'other' stores were sold out of something we wanted, Walmart had it. We go into Walmart to buy 'one thing' and leave with a freakin' cart full of goodies, most of them pretty dang cheap. And now this, Walmart Ships PCs with Lindows OS. Walmart takes on Redmond! Yay, Walmart... (All they need now is their own distro: Walnix? Walnux? Walinux? Hmmm...)

Still awaiting my UPS shipment. Dang ground shipping... Sometimes I wish I wasn't so cheap... I got no responses (from the 1/2 dozen readers of this site) on Smartmedia cards, so I guess it's safe to assume that they are all the same, regardless of name brand. If this is incorrect, let me know...

(Argh, just checked UPS again, looks like it's at the southern most point of Illinois, so chances of getting here today are very slim...)

I'm excited about getting my digital camera, I can't remember the last time I was this hyped about getting a tech gadget. This marks my return to digital photography. I used digital cameras a lot at my old job, probably 5 years ago, when 640x480 was pretty good resolution... Anyway with iPhoto, photoblogs, ImageMagick and the like, it should be pretty darn cool...

Dave is in the hospital. Like most people out there, I assumed that when he installed AmphetaDesk and got a good look at it, he had a heart attack. Ok, I'm just kidding. I wish Dave the best. He helps make the web a more interesting place...

I know that to many people having barbecued tofu for lunch doesn't sound appetizing, but damn it was good!

Subtle changes going on here... don't be alarmed... I'm not giving in or selling out...

06.14.2002

It's another Big Ball of Mud day here... Actually it's a 2-for-1 because I get to work on the Medium Sized Ball of Mud that connects to the Big Ball of Mud... That means hours of mad coding with little results... Luckily it's a 1/2 day today...

I got the UPS tracking number for my camera. I wish I hadn't though... It works like this. Check status of package. Wait 20 minutes. Check status of package. Wait 30 minutes. Check status of package. "Why hasn't it moved! It's still in New York!!!" Being a web-type person, and using the web to track the movement of a physical object across the country just doesn't mix. What I really need is an RSS feed of my package status so I can know instantly where it is...

From MacInTouch comes a report that this USB Radio, will work with this software, under Mac OS X.

AmphetaDesk v0.93 is coming... soon... very soon...

(Apologies for any weird spacing you see here... trying to track it down... something to do with jEdit I believe...)

06.13.2002

I have to mention XML that isn't XML twice in one day! One of my associates said they had some 'database' that was an XML file and they couldn't tell where one thing ended and another began, so I offer to parse thru it with XML::DOM. Easy enough right? Sure... It was a 6mb file, no big deal, but there were so many non-encoded entities that I had to hack at the poorly marked-up XML file for a while before I could even parse it. Damn sloppy XML... Well, at least whoever created it was buzzword compliant. "Hey, we can output our data in XML!" foo!

I have to admit this Logitech camera is very freakin' cool... But it does have it's shortcomings (Mac OS X anyone?) Still, I hope it's a sign of things to come. As I just ordered a digital camera yesterday, I've insured for the rest of you that in the world of digital photography prices will drop while new features are introduced. (This is known as the 'Mozilla-download-release-effect' where anytime someone takes the time to download and install the most recent milestone, they release a new milestone the next day...)

I was amazed that Microsoft had a research division. Actually I'm not amazed, I'm reminded of the old joke:

Q: Do you know what Microsoft's Research Division is called?
A: Apple!

So Kottke is going Mac as well... Welcome to our world! You'll like it here... I now offically recognize Kottte as a real designer... I don't know how he tried to do professional design work using Windows all these years without blowing his brains out...

This irks me: Today, I heard once again someone say 'Palm Pilot' Now pay attention. Palm Computing makes Palm devices, not 'Palm Pilots' I think 3Com may have made Palm Pilots long ago... at least I'm sure that U.S. Robotics used to make Palm Pilots, but Palm Pilots are no longer manufactured... On the radio they said someone was giving away Palm Pilots, and I thought, "Geez, why don't they give away a PDA made in the last 5 years..."

This irks me as well: People who say "I have an IBM at home..." Meaning they have a PC running Windows... (That is, unless these people have an AS/400 in their living room or something...) I know that IBM makes (or made) PC's capable of running Windows, but 97.3% of the time I hear someone say 'IBM' they either mean 'Windows PC', or are referring to a DOS formatted disk, as in "I need an IBM disk..."

(Note to self: Call IBM and order a dozen floppy disks...)

These two things clearly illustrate that I am a superior being, or a complete techno-weenie/dweeb-loser/computer-dork... either way is fine...

What is a Desktop Website? Well, I know what one is, I've been using them for years... Anyway, I've always been at a bit of a loss in trying to manage a To Do list, I've tried different apps, and written cgi's and such, but I think I've finally got it. I use a browser. I use a browser a lot... If my computer is on, there's a browser running. All of my browsers load the page from my Mac OS X box when I launch them and when I create a new window. Bang! There ya go... I see the same page a zillion times per day, it's my starting poing with links to all of the resources I use everyday. It's got links to all of the internal and external sites I work on, as well as forms for various searches all around the net. Now, at the top of the page, it lists my To Do items. I hacked at the cgi I use to manage links on this site for a few minutes, and I got what I need. I just spit out a file and then include it in my main page. It also spits out an OPML file if I ever need one... (I've considered trying to parse the OPML and transform it into XHMTL, maybe someday.)

Anyway, I was willing to give up the features that desktop apps provide like alerts, percentages, etc. for the quick and dirty solution, because my solution does something the others don't - it puts the To Do list smack dab in-my-face well over a dozen times a day, and does so in an inobtrusive manner. And, I can extend this app anytime I want.

Sometimes I love writing software...

I'm finally entering the Digital Age™. Since it's very close to being Father's Day and my Birthday, I've ordered a digital camera. I'm pretty sure I'll end up following the dork and creating some sort of 'photolog' thingy... one more reason to move to Movable Type: The Five Step Photolog...

My first newbie digital camera questions, are all Smartmedia cards the same? Should I get a certain name brand? Is reliability/performance an issue? Let me know...

Today when I walked by the payroll/accounting department I heard a guy say "I may have, uh, put the decimal point in the wrong place..." Hmmm, that's just something you don't want to hear... (Ah, so that's what happened to our benefits!)

Info on Jaguar. Will we see the return of Finder Labels?

(Speaking of OS X, I still haven't had any issues with 10.1.5.)

Want to learn about Rabbit Language? Yes, we have a rabbit, sometimes I wonder why... Anyway, I don't know if I really needed to know that 'Circling' is related to sexuality. (I always thought it was just 'amusing') This might explain why our rabbit only circles me, and not the female or the girls... (or I could be totally off...)

06.12.2002

I updated to Mac OS X 10.1.5 today, and promptly forgot about it. I've had no issues to report so far, unlike others. We'll see how it goes. I still need to do my home Mac once I do some basic backups...

Some upcoming things to know about the next version of AmphetaDesk: The new version can import Radio Userland files, OPML files off the web, multiple OPML files in one blast and can export the data in any form you want. (Thanks Morbus!)

Space has been updated, and while it's an improvement over what it was, it's still not quite a workspace manager. Not that I'm one to talk, as I don't have a ton of exprience in the matter, but after using Linux a little bit on the desktop, I realized how freakin' powerful a good workspace manager is. I'm actually surprised we don't have a good on for OS X yet. And by good I mean one with the ability to move windows between screens... Which is really, really, really important...

I took the girls fishing last night, we caught two panfish. They were more like goldfish in size though. It's been so long since I've been fishing, I'd forgotten things like how to tie a knot. Anyway they had fun, and it was actually really relaxing to just hang out at the lake and fish. I'm sure we'll go a lot more this summer.

The Skate Fest review is up...

06.11.2002

I think once I finish my current project (in which I'm in way too deep for my own liking) I'll get back to working on moving this site into some CMS, probably Movable Type, so I can concentrate on the higher-level stuff rather than the internal plumbing. I've also basically got the site redone in proper XHTML/CSS with no tables in the code... again, just being too busy has prevented that from occuring...

I read that someone proposed that they'd like to see 9 hour work days be the norm. Sheesh! Is it just me? Do I not love my job as much as the other guy? His reasoning is that we'd get so much more work done... I thought people knew that was false. (Ask your nearest Xtreme Programmer.) Hasn't it been proven that people are not more productive when they put in over 40 hrs? We should be cutting down to 35 hours, we'd probably be more productive! In other countries they aren't trying to work themselves to death, but in the land of the free (as in beer) where more is always better, we still have thinking like this...

More hours == tired, burned out people. I'm at the office 8.5 hrs right now, and drive roughly 1.5 hours each day. If I don't count the time it take for me to get ready to go to work we're looking at 10 hours per day devoted to going to/from work and being at work. If we have 9 hour work days that goes up to 11, just like some wacky Spinal Tap amplifier. Hmmm, are there people who love their jobs that much who do devote that much time to it on a daily basis? Where's the balance? the only way I'd go for 9 hour work days is if I had a 4 day work week... And I doubt that's gonna happen anytime soon...

I'll be posting my show review of Skate Fest soon... whoda thunkit?

One of the IT guys said we'll be deploying our first 'official' Linux server soon... How times change! (My 'unofficial' server has been around for about a year and a half in some form or another...)

Now if I can get them to see the power behind Darwin/Mac OS X...

06.07.2002

Am I ready for the return of paper based zines? Hmmm, part of me says yes, but part of me says without a 24 hr Kinko's or my own fleet of copiers, probably not...

I'll be attending Skate Fest tonight at the local high school, 5 or 6 bands are playing (proceeeds go towards building a skatepark I think) and I'll be considered an 'adult' and a 'chapperone' at the same time (has that ever hapened before?) With all this talk of high school, zines, skating, and shows, you'd think we were caught in a time warp here...

I heard Gary Glitter is hiding in either Cambodia or Viet Nam... how hard can it be to find him? Are there that many G. Glitter's in the phone book? Rock and Roll man...

I'm not generally one who believes that a 'Sandwich isn't really a sandwich without Miracle Whip™...' but I do believe these two things: Green Day is not Green Day without Al Sob... and Sabbath is not Sabbath without Ozzy...

Today is Shana's birthday. Happy Birthday Shana, wherever you are...

that is all...

06.06.2002

I was trying out blo.gs today, and after clicking and clicking to establish my 'favorites' list, I started thinking about last week, when I messed with blogtracker... I think we need a common method to import in an existing favorites list to any of these services. blo.gs can provide your favorites file in a number of formats, including OPML, and I believe Amphetadesk uses OPML to store the sites you've subscribed to. Radio can output an OPML list as well. (Since we will have auto discovery of RSS in many sites, it could work off of using the site's url itself, if the rss feed url is not available in the file.) If these apps/services could provide a method to load your OPML subscription file, it would make it easy to use more than one service or easily switch between them...

As usual, I don't have any answers for this stuff (I'm not really in the position to provide answers) I'm just spitting out my ideas for everyone to think about or act upon...

Oh, blo.gs is really cool, and you can ping it as well, like you do for weblogs.com...

Saw this in my logs from yesterday: http://frontier.userland.com/xmlAggregator?userWeblog=http://www.garyy.net/
Welcome www.garyy.net!

Next step is to rewrite the code that tracks incoming links so it can seaparate things out properly... I suppose we could push things futher and get stats on who is subscribing to you site using what tools... the mind boggles...

Krispy Kreme: New World Order pretty much nails it...

In local news: Police arrest man who set self afire in stunt. Not surprising, I've yet to meet anyone both intelligent and living in South Milwaukee...

06.05.2002

Aggregator droppings: Cool, hopefully we can start separating referers from subscribers and see where they do (or don't) cross over... Things are only going to get more interesting...

Speaking of things getting interesting, what's with the 'Site Navigation Bar' in Mozilla? It now appears because of the link rel changes of recent days... I've never used it before, but it looks interesting...

Brent updated MacNewsWire...

Mac or Windows? Open or Closed? Free or Proprietary? What's Steve have to say?

There's another Steve who happens to be my brother... Happy Birthday!

Then there's the Steve who used to be on Blue's Clues but isn't anymore. (Joe seems way cooler anyway...)

8-bark had a Steve... I've mentioned him before I believe...

Ok, that's enough Steve's for today...

06.04.2002

RSS Autodiscovery: check!
Blogroll OPML file: check!
Subscription OPML file: not yet...

I had been thinking about the RSS Autodiscovery thing for a while, well, I should say I was thinking about the problem, not the solution. I'm glad someone else came up with the solution part...

We use our own home-brewed system here at Rasterboy Enterprises, it manages the stuff on the side of the page under 'daily', 'recent', and 'heard' so it wasn't too much work to add in support for outputting opml files. at some point maybe we'll add an opml file for subscriptions (awaiting the next release of Amphetadesk...)

I would have gotten all of this done sooner, but I was out of town. Usually if you're away from your desk for a few days, you don't expect a standard to be proposed and implemented...

We were in Door County (aka Death's Door) for a few days, enjoying the sites, sounds, smells and everything else that goes along with getting out of town for a brief period... whenever I do this, it makes me want to chuck the whole technology career I'm in and find something simpler... but honestly I don't know if I could do it...

Mmmmmm, peanut butter and strawberry jam... that's strawberry jam fresh from Door County... mmmm, lunchtime!

We had our (annual) rummage sale last week, it was a huge success. We now sleep on the floor (just like the kids!) and watch our TV that sits on the floor... but now that we're millionaires from unloading all of our old junk, those problems are easily solved...

This seems like a big move for Linux: Reuters and financial services.

 

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