winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

So, Xenobia started acting up shortly before finals week. Her harddrive requires running DiskRepair, which requires booting from the Apple CD, which I can't seem to locate at the moment. She boots up fine, but some Finder config files are corrupted so I have to reconfigure the Dock and Finder prefs on every login. Very annoying. Her wireless has been on the fritz for a while too, but other than these two things she's holding up fine after three years. Hoping to keep my life simple and not have to deal with an inopportune hardware failure, I broke down and got a new MacBook Pro. I introduce y'all to Semiramis. Unfortunately Sem came loaded with Leopard instead of Snow Leopard, but I'll prolly shell out for the upgrade soon enough.

One of the nice things about getting a new computer is that fresh feeling you get when you transfer only the necessary files and can leave all the cruft behind. These moments are also prime time for offloading files to the archives, paring down config files, and sundry other spring cleaning. Over the last week I've been doing just that. I've dropped a lot of dead weight and picked up a couple new tools in the process. A few things have broken along the way, but not too many.

It's been ages since I've maintained my website and I've decided it's time to get back to it. I really need to consolidate my web presence and make my site decently professional enough for conveying my grad work and suchlike. I've always been an advocate of transparency and sharing the knowledge of geekdom, but I've never been too good about posting and discussing my various dotfiles or my personal work environment. So, over the next couple weeks as I do renovation, I'll make them public to the internet instead of just my local networks, and I'll write a few posts about what's in them and why.

(One of the things I haven't fixed yet is installing XML::LibXML and XML::LibXSLT, so this post will make it to lj before making it to my main site.)

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

For anyone who happens to be reading and whom I haven't spammed about this already:

Why You Should Turn Gmail's SSL Feature On Now

Hat tip to homasse.[1] And while we're at it, you should be using PGP as well.

This isn't paranoia folks, this is the future. Everything you say should be encrypted at every layer, unless you what it to be completely public. If you have a wifi router, you should have WPA2 turned on (not WPA, and certainly not WEP). Every personal transaction should be over SSL. Your ssh keys should have pass phrases on them (which is different than a password, and isn't sent over the wire). Know your data, know everything that touches it. Prophylactics are the sign of a good netizen.

[1] Sorry about the redundant email, I just scraped all the gmail addys from my address book

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

So it's been a while since I've writ, even yet again. I seem to have fallen into my videogames once more and find it hard to convince myself to get online regularly. That will all change in a couple weeks when school starts up, though I'm afeared it won't affect my posting regularity. I have been keeping (relatively) up to date reading others' journals, though.

Xenobia was returned to me shortly after my last post. It was just the battery that was shot from the looks of it. The new one works just fine. It's so nice to have hours of unplugged life once more, instead of less than half a dozen minutes.

One of my cousins passed away shortly thereafter. It was unexpected all around. His fiancee, a nurse, found him but he never regained consciousness. I never knew he was engaged. He, his brother, and his sister were the only extended relatives of around my age and so it was nice to see them when we did. But I never did get to know them too well. The Gilchrists were always a large enough family that we had to go to them for the big holiday celebrations, but we rarely saw them outside of those large parties. His mother, my aunt, is the one who maintains the family cookbook, a rare family tradition I value though for so long I was too young to appreciate it.

I have many half-written posts, too many: book reviews and rants on feminism and other things. So I will leave this here, that it might escape from my over-analytic clutches before it remains forever unfinished.

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

So xenobia's been having issues with her power system for a while now. After the extreme busyness of the end of the school year, followed by moving, followed by getting settled in and caught up on everything, I finally have time to send her in to get fixed. And so, it may be a while before I can get back online. Take care all.

Blah

5 Jun 2006 10:05 am
winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

So, Fuchikoma seems pretty well dead at this point. Last night he froze up a bit and when I restarted there were some interesting and disturbing monitor displays, and now the monitor doesn't seem to work. Some wiring must've come loose since the fall. Still boots up and works so far as I can tell, just no display. I've been looking around on ebay for parts, though for the prices they're going at I almost might as well just let Apple deal with it in case anything else went wrong. For obvious reasons this post will take a while to make it into my main blog.

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

Good news: I got accepted into PSU.

Bad news: Fuchikoma got knocked off onto the hard hard floor this morning.

Good news: Everything seems to be working still, though I haven't checked the optical drive yet.

Bad news: The case is however very badly cracked and I need to hunt down a refurbisher to see if I can find a new case somewhere.

Good news: I have a job lined up for the summer, and a second potential one I interview for on monday.

Bad news: I officially ran out of money a week ago, and it's still four weeks yet till summer starts.

Ug. Things've been hectic still. Slowly on the upwards slope of things, but still hectic. Fuchi's about four years old at this point. He's from the very first generation of widescreens back in the days of the titanium powerbooks, before the ultrawidescreens, before 802.11g, before the aluminums, before bluetooth was commonplace, back when the largest available ipod was 20GB, before the intel chips were even announced let alone in production. I'm not sure how easy it'll be to get ahold of a new frame given how long the model's been out of production for, but so long as I can find one, the replacement shouldn't be terribly difficult. Speed-wise fuchi's been just starting to show his age; mostly because of OS upgrades, all programs run perfectly fine even still.

Even if I had money, it's not yet time to start looking for replacements. I'm one of those people who keeps computers around until they're well and thoroughly beat before replacing them. By the time I do replace them, the old ones are old enough to be entirely useless. When I got fuchi I got the best model that was available at the time so that he would last as long as possible before needing replacement, and physical abuse aside I figure I've still got another couple years left in him. I'll probably be ready to switch about the time Apple officially ceases supporting the powerpc chips.

So, If any of you happen to see a case for an old 15.2" titanium powerbook g4 — primarily the outer rim of the main body, secondarily the bottom plate — do let me know. Also if you happen to know of any refurbishers in the greater pdx area, particularly those who deal with macs. I figure I'll ask at The Mac Store tomorrow to get their advice, and I'll also see if I can't get info about Mac Renewal from the geek, but after that I'm not sure where to head other than online.

Update (Sunday, 21 May 2006): So it looks like Apple does still have a stockpile of parts. Getting them direct from them would cost about 350$. The bottom plate is 100, and apparently the outer rim only comes with the top plate which together are a restricted part, meaning they want the puter shipped back to them to refurbish in case anything else was broken. The guy at the mac store suggested I may want to just scrounge through ebay to see if I can't get the parts from someone with a broken logic board or cracked lcd. I figure it can't hurt to look.

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

So, as you know, I recently got a cell phone, my first ever to be exact. Add so, of late I've been exploring the wonders of awkward interfaces, bizarre limitations, and vendor crippled hardware. And the first thing I thought was, y'know? We need linux on this thing.

If we could only get a well understood, free, open operating system on one of these things we would finally have the universal communicators we've always dreamed about. If we had such a CellOS we could use cells to communicate over typical instant messaging protocols, to communicate over irc, to check emails, to freely copy our program preferences between our cells and our pcs.

in which the future unfolds ) and what it takes to fold it )
winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

For those who haven't been following the latest news, there's a whole bunch of flutter about OSX in the last couple days. Namely that Apple has released beta software called Boot Camp [1]which allows you to dual-boot Windows XP on your new Intel Mac.

And if that sounds like crippling a ferrari, Parallels has just announced the beta of their Parallels Workstationwhich lets you run Windows (or any x86 OS) in a window on your Mac via virtualization (better than emulation).

And if you still think hell hasn't frozen over yet, Microsoft has announced support for Linux. So what if it's just a bid to try to undercut VMWare in the server virtualization market. (Hey, anyone else remember the days of Xenix?)

In other Macish news, Klink Software has released their open-source Dim3 game engine. Till now, the engine has been OSX only, now there's a Windows version too; the days of mac/win game engine exclusivity may be nearing an end.

In other gaming news, Blizzard has indefinitely postponed Starcraft: Ghost. For those who've followed the saga, this isn't the first setback for that game. The latest version was planned for the xbox and ps2, so it's sensible for them to reconsider given the new generation of consoles is out (or will be this fall).

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

Feh, I'm feeling lazy. Go read my real blog. There are four five new posts which I'll port over at some later point; maybe after I finally write that script to automate the process

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

For those who haven't heard (i.e. don't read /.) Linus Torvalds has recently blasted Gnome in favor of KDE. While the /. note is overly concise, the actual thread is pretty interesting (Linus' comments: [1], [2]; Gnome's responses: [1], [2], [3]). Part of the big rivalry between KDE and Gnome has always been centered around questions of design which invariably are tied to questions of user audience.

KDE says users must be able to configure everything (a side effect of targeting hackers who like to have absolute control no matter what the cost), whereas Gnome says things should just work (with the side effect of removing functionality/configurability). The designer in me says those aren't mutually exclusive ideals, but it does raise a set of interesting questions and some interesting problems for open-source mostly centering around the fact that hackers are rarely good interface designers.

Which, given their history makes sense— if you're writing a program or library to automate some set of tasks (where "you" can be a specific individual or some cadre of individuals), naturally you're going to have it abstract away the things you personally want abstracted away (if you abstract nothing away then what are you doing?), and leave in the widgets you want to play with (if you abstract everything away then how can you adapt to novel situations?).

friends page friendly cut )
winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

Those with an interest in radomness, passwords, or lego may be intriqued by these two sites I came across in the last day or so. One is as random as a computer can be; and the other is as random as a computer can't be.

winterkoninkje: shadowcrane (clean) (Default)

(This post is something of a stub, but I figured I should get this much out there at least. A more thorough writing may come in the future.)

The face gazed up at him, heavy, calm, protecting: but what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache? Like a leaden knell the words came back at him:

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Amongst a consortium of others, Microsoft is leading the front line war against open source. Yeah, so what's new? What's new is that if they succeed the entire movement of open development will become illegal and open software will not run on computers that are legal to own. The devil is TCPA and they're funding it under the premise that it will protect us. But the only thing it protects is the old regime's stranglehold on the market[1], a stranglehold which demands that you never own anything lest you perform that most profane act of using it. They would but protect us from ourselves.

Some excerpts from the site linked above:

... )

Edit, the second: Wikipedia has this to say about the matter. And Richard Stallman, however you feel about the man, has this.

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