Tuesday, July 29th 2008

Put away your emergency kit
posted @ 1:59 pm in [ Uncategorized ]

Look, we had a bit of a shaking and then we went to the pub for a beer or three. It’s not like we had shambling hordes roaming the street punching each other in the face. I didn’t even have to break into a gun shop and steal a sawed-off shotgun.


Tuesday, July 22nd 2008

posted @ 3:33 pm in [ General ]


Just so you know.

Wednesday, July 16th 2008

The Tech of Personality
posted @ 9:51 am in [ Tech ]

I’m a Reddit fan. I also like Digg, but my circa-1996 Internet brain likes a clean, uncluttered interface. Today on Reddit, I found this gem. Any tech news day is a good one when one highly respected member of the community calls an entire group a bunch of “masturbating monkeys.”

Ok, maybe my circa-1996 Internet brain is also 12 years old for being amused by the slur, but aside from the amusement I’m getting from the imagery, there’s also the shock that’s emanating throughout the Internet from this.

Linux makes everyone get a little bit of a warm fuzzy inside. It’s free, and thousands of independent tinkerers and hackers around the world have put their minds to it, tearing it apart and putting it back together. It’s just so…hippie and happy! So of course the man behind it all, the one who still works tirelessly to make sure the kernel is as perfect as can be, he must be a nice guy, right?

Wrong. Linus Torvalds is a brilliant man. I definitely admire him, as he should be, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a nice person. The man himself has expressed befuddlement when people expect him to be a nice person. Anyone who has followed the kernel lists for any amount of time has seen Torvalds lose his cool any number of times.

So what? Let he without flame cast the first snark.

Open source figures are routinely getting in the news for bad behavior. Last year, Ulrich Drepper decided he needed to get paid to fix a bug in an open source project. Or explain himself. Then there’s Dan Bernstein, who while never being one to win the chipper award, is a brilliant member of the community. He pointed out a BIND vulnerability back in 2001 which was handily ignored until Dan Kaminsky recently brought it back up along with a proof of concept.

Then there’s Hans Reiser. ‘Nuff said.

If you put anyone on a pedestal, they just have further to fall when they do. These are people who don’t always have a legion of PR and legal staff to shield the world from their day to day realities (read: Jobs and Gates). Their reputations as smart, competent programmers has already been established, and fuck you if you can’t handle it.

There is another side to that coin, of course. It can make developing within that sphere difficult. When you’re working in a paid team, you either work together and make the project happen or you’ll get canned. However, if you’re working on an open source project and it has to play nice with other open source programs, dealing with prima donnas can present a challenge that can be disheartening when focusing on writing good code is the ideal. Dealing with multiple personalities is part of working in the open source community. Thankfully, there are helpful people in the community, and I gather that is a big part of why it works so well.

I still don’t understand the shock. It’s like we’ve elevated certain people who code to celebrity status, and that’s just odd to me. It’s like walking into the local grocery store one day and seeing a picture of Paul Graham in a compromising position with Lindsey Lohan on the cover of the Enquirer. To me, the “ZOMG” nature of these stories is more shocking than the statements themselves.

It is possible to admire Linux and other open source projects along with their creators and not expect them to be the sort of person you’d want to share a beer with (although I’d still want to have a beer with Linus). Just sit back and enjoy the product.

Friday, July 11th 2008

Apple Epic Fail
posted @ 10:50 am in [ Tech ]

I began the day excited. A new iPhone 2.0 update! My baby will be like new again with exciting new applications! Shiny!

Step 1: Update iTunes.

Step 2: Attach iPhone.

Step 3: Watch update download and install.

Step 4: Let it restart your iPhone to factory defaults.

Step 5: New protocol has iPhone need to contact iTunes before it can restore all of your settings, as well as your phone number, to your iPhone.

Step 6: Watch iTunes servers scream for mercy because everyone is trying to do the same thing.

Step 7: Cry as you realize your phone can only make emergency calls. Effectively bricked.

Step 8: Find iPhone developers and beat the snot out of them.

Another Machead friend of mine is telling me to try repeatedly, as he had the same issue and he eventually was able to reach the activation servers.

But the developer in me is asking WHY would you have existing iPhone owners re-activate their phones? They’ve been building up buzz on this for months, didn’t they forsee this clusterfuck? This just strikes me as abject stupidity.

I’m somewhat tempted to sell this thing now since it has been wiped of all my details, except it’s a truly useful thing when developer brain fartery isn’t getting in the way.

Wednesday, July 2nd 2008

Sony, you whores
posted @ 5:54 am in [ Games ]

It’s been a tough couple of weeks. My wedding is in a month, I still have loose ends to tie up, I just had my gallbladder removed last week, I’ve been only able to sleep sporadically, I’m on a forced diet due to aforementioned gallbladder, I’ve been on Vicodin, and it’s been two weeks since I’ve had a cup of coffee.

This is going to be an interesting post.

This morning I decided I couldn’t sleep after 3 a.m. My inner five-year-old said, “It’s my birthday! Stuff to do! Whee!!!” and that was the end of blissful slumber in my big comfy bed.

What better way to piss away a few hours than to do my nails and play Pain on the PS3?

I haven’t played Pain in awhile. It’s a neat diversion, but after awhile, the novelty of lobbing a character at a finite backdrop of stuff that breaks loses its luster. Sure, they add some fun games to mix it up, and I’m enough of a drooling idiot to have been amused by a good physics engine for quite awhile, but even drooling idiots move on to the next shiny object eventually.

But, my fiance being the good man that he is, downloaded the latest character to be released for Pain – Nigel. As with all the Pain characters, he has a gimmick. He’s a punk rocker, complete with mohawk, leather, and attitude. Cute, let’s try him out and see what his special moves/bitchiness is all about.

Since I hadn’t played Pain in awhile, there were updates. Oh, were there updates, and those of you who have PS3s undoubtedly have encountered the pain that is waiting for anything to download from the Playstation Network. There is thumb twiddling involved, sighing, maybe a few scratchings of the ass. After the Pain update download, it threw an error letting me know there was a general system update I would need before continuing on with my game. Fair enough, I sit through another update download, wait for it to restart, install update, restart again. Ok, can I play my game now?

Nope! Whoo boy there were updates. I think I counted nine or so. Then it finally started, and I thought I’d give old Nigel an airing in the general Paindemonium area.

Oh, Sony. Oh oh oh. You filthy little whores.

The downtown of Pain has a few billboards. In the beginning, these hawked nonsensical products, and the billboards were funny. The side of the bowling alley, I believe, had an ad to try out Pain bowling for multiplayer. That was acceptable.

But this newest update…

There’s a billboard for Hancock. There’s a billboard for “Step Brothers.” There are two ads for Sony cameras. And that’s just what I’ve been able to catch so far in my sleep-deprived state. I’d love to smack the crap out of the genius at Sony who decided this was a great idea. These are ads for products I have no intention of putting any money towards (The movies look stupid as hell, and I’ll never even wipe my ass with a Sony camera), and now I just want to find the nearest Sony office and set it alight.

I’d understand if they were billboards for products that weren’t as visible, but you really can’t go anywhere without being bombarded by ads for these things. Isn’t enough that I have to watch the trailers for that crap when I go to a movie I paid for? I get that this is a cheapie little silly game with cheap character upgrades, and it’s gotta pay the bills somehow, but if that’s the case how about introducing me to something really cool?

Wait, no, that’s not right either. How about keeping your filthy ads out of the game entirely? How about not saturating my every waking moment with advertising? How about letting me doing something pleasurable, for once, without bombarding me with your marketing slop?

Maybe that’s too much to ask from a place that is obviously filled to the brim with shameless whores.