X11 is hidden on OS X install disc 2, page down in the finder to "optional packages", inside a tab where every other app is already installed, in an unlit basement with no stairs, with the lights out, behind a sign that says "Beware of Tiger". I suppose this is Apple's subtle way of telling me I don't need X11, but I bloody well do.
cp /etc/X11/xinitrc .xinitrc and remove "xterm &". If I want an xterm when I start X, I'll start one myself.
Terminal knows about middle-click to paste. Other apps don't. <glare>
fink is your friend. 'fink install gimp'! 'open-x11 gimp'!
Mapping Capslock to the Apple-Command key makes the Mac a lot easier to use when you're accustomed to a Linux box with Capslock remapped to Control. Capslock? Capslock should be a toggle switch mounted inside the case, under rotating fan blades to chop your fingers off if you even think about going near it. I hates capslock.
Expose is damn useful, when you deal with dozens of images or text editors open at once. That alone is a huge usability improvement.
A few days ago, I got my Mac Mini. This is the first OS X Mac I've ever owned or used (I used to use Mac back in college, and I've got an old Classic II I keep around for Hypercard).
Why did nobody tell me that this was the best Unix workstation available?
Okay, they did. Ads in Dr. Dobbs (as if anyone reads Dobbs anymore). Mac user friends who use them for everything. But I didn't believe them. I was wrong.
I've already started Mac-evangelizing to my co-workers, because frankly, all this crap we deal with at work (old RedHat distros and Windoze XP <barf>) is so inferior it's like going from 1980 to THE FUTURE in a single leap.
burningbird posted something. And I am impressed--it's a perfect imitation of a schizophrenic shrieking out every whiny diatribe endemic to the field of blogging in one post. And the bizarre degeneration into baby-talk when discussing the cat, that's just priceless. If you ever wanted proof that cats suck out your soul while you sleep and make you retarded, this is it.
But beyond her parody material, her conclusion is nonsensical. She says it's too hard to deal with multiple formats. Bullshit.
FIRST: Supporting multiple protocols is a matter of writing one extra PHP or Perl or whatever script that reads your database and produces an appropriate feed. Yes, I do understand that not everyone is a master programmer, but a retarded monkey whose mother drank too much during pregnancy and then shook it a lot and fed it nothing but lead miniatures can do this stuff. If you're not as smart as a brain-damaged primate, you can still hire a programmer to do it for you; if you're broke, offer sexual favors, or whatever. This is not hard, you're just lazy.
SECOND: Choosing RSS 1.0? RDF? What the hell? There are two syndication formats that matter in any way today: RSS 2.0 and Atom 1.0, and Atom has a tiny tiny fraction of the users, who can call do RSS 2.0 if they want. No other format is even on the radar. I prefer to stomp my giant steel-toed boots on incompatible formats, so I only do RSS 2.0, but if you're going to choose a different format, choose one somebody cares about.
This is not something "incidental" to the weblog. THIS IS YOUR WEBLOG. I don't read blogs on their own web site. That's inefficient. I read them from my aggregator. Syndication is how you do that. So you'd damn well better pick the right kind of syndication, yeah?
And since it's Friday, rather than a picture of a soul-stealing kitty, here's a picture of a cute little octopus:
I've rewritten Randpod in Python, with a GUI.
Randpod is a simple little utility program to pick random music for mp3 players, mix CDs, whatever. If you use it and find a bug, or want more features, or have any other feedback, let me know.
Today's super-special mix starts with Meatloaf's "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad", Nine Inch Nails' "The Big Come Down", and Machines of Loving Grace's "Rite of Shiva".
And now, a word from my comics-geek side.
I just saw yet another "Batman and Robin as gay lovers" thing. And I'm annoyed. To anyone who has ever read the comics, this is complete and utter nonsense. Anytime someone suggests this, this means that they're morons who only saw the crappy Adam West (but I repeat myself--Adam West makes William Shatner look like Laurence Olivier) TV show that was called "Batman" but had nothing in common with the comics.
Anyone who has actually read Batman can recognize what their relationship was: Father and son. Bruce Wayne has two big psychological hang-ups. The first is the obvious one, that vengeance and helplessness drove him to dress up as a bat and beat up criminals.
The second requires paying attention to the words, not just the pictures: Bruce Wayne is obsessed with father figures. His relationships with Alfred and Jim Gordon (and Ra's Al Ghul, actually) are like a son to an idealized father. His relationship to Dick Grayson was his attempt to raise a son the way he wanted his father to raise him. Dick Grayson wore the "Robin" costume because he was an acrobat, and that was his family's costume, and his entire family were gunned down in front of him. He wanted a constant reminder of why he was doing this.
Because Wayne's a nutjob who dresses up as a bat to fight crime, he fucked the parenting thing up pretty badly, which is why Grayson now calls himself "Nightwing" and loathes Batman, but Batman keeps trying with new Robins.
Over and over in the comics, it's shown what his Bruce Wayne side finds attractive: clingy bimbettes who aren't likely to figure out there's anything weird about him. And we know what his Batman side finds attractive: psychotic, hostile, aggressive supervillainesses, like Catwoman.
So next time you hear this "Batman is gay" thing, ask the person why they were so stupid as to be watching Adam West.
I've been busy what with interviewing and filling out paperwork for my new job, but finally have time to post something about this.
Ooookay. So they did take the last option, that I thought was suicidal crazy talk. And I just don't get it.
Yes, it allows them to make faster laptops. But they're apparently paying Intel more than they paid IBM, many of the chips will still be 32-bit, falling back from the 64-bit G5, the performance of Rosetta is not going to be good, a lot of old 680x0 software (Hypercard!) is going to die, and it still opens them up to clone makers, trashing their bottom line.
It'd be interesting to see a graph of Mac sales, split by high-end and low-end, before and after the announcement. My next computer purchase was going to be a shiny new $3000 PowerMac dual G5, but now it's going to be the bottom-of-the-line iMac, because that'll keep me going for the next couple of years until Apple can make a high-end PowerMac x86. They just lost $2000 of sales there. Multiply by a million others, and they're looking at a long hard drought.
Surely there was some other way to do this.
The rumor mill is a-buzzing about CNet's
claim that Apple is going to have Intel make chips for them. While I follow
the industry news, I'm no insider to anybody, so this is all speculation, but as
I see it, there are four possibilities here:
- This is all lies.
I think this story is probably correct in some form. It's been hinted at
by other sources recently. Apple and IBM have been having a falling-out
over IBM's inability to produce enough G5 chips for their existing lines,
their inability to make them faster for high-end machines, and their
inability to make them use less heat and less energy so they can be used in
laptops (the PowerBook still being a G4 is shameful). IBM's been spending
all of their R&D on chips for game boxes, neglecting Apple. Something
has to change, here. Intel's about the only company that can help
Apple at this point. AMD doesn't have the production resources to be more
useful than IBM was, so Apple can't turn to them.
- Apple will license Intel to produce PowerPCs.
This is the most credible situation. Apple is one of the three companies
(Apple, IBM, and Freescale née Motorola) with the right to make PPCs.
Presumably they can contract Intel to do the production, Intel has the
resources to actually do so, and would probably knife their mothers to get a
decent CPU into production to smash AMD. Nothing changes on the Mac side.
- Apple will use a non-x86 Intel chip in a consumer-grade media box.
Intel does make nice little ARM chips, and while they're not
top-of-the-line CPUs, they're good enough and cheap enough to run the
multimedia equivalent of an iPod. I think it's very unlikely that Apple
will switch any "real" Mac to use ARM.
- Apple will switch entirely to x86 for MacOS X.
This is crazy talk. It's technically possible to run MacOS X on
x86, and it's possible to compile and ship "fat binaries" that run on
multiple CPUs. But there are enormous difficulties, too. Apple and all
those 3rd-party developers would have to totally rewrite a lot of the
low-level graphics software. PowerPC is big-endian,
while x86 is little-endian,
which will cause enormous problems in binary file formats. It leaves Apple
more vulnerable to clone manufacturers using standard PCs, even if they use
a custom BIOS.
Apple's invested a lot of its reputation in the PowerPC vs. the x86, and
the Apple fans' reaction to any suggestion of an x86 Mac is extremely
Steve Jobs has already gone through this process once with NeXT, which
went from Motorola 68030 to Intel 486, and while it may have kept them from
their doom for another year or so, it was still a disaster. I don't think
he's crazy or stupid enough to repeat the mistakes of the past.
The only reason anyone would think this was likely was because they don't
understand the difference between Intel, which makes many different kinds of
chips and has the capability of making more, and the x86, which is just one
architecture Intel produces.
All that said, it is possible. I just think it's very improbable, and
would be suicidal.
Halley Suitt has a new post Holding
Men To A Higher Standard, which may be the most disconnected-from-reality
thing I have ever read a woman write about male psychology. Halley, you have
no idea at all what the men around you are thinking.
Women are expected to have:
- good bodies
Not really. We're pretty flexible here, and there's a lot of variation
between men on what "good" means. If you're not wider than you are tall and we
can't see your entire skeletal structure, you can probably get almost any man
you want, and if you are a blob or a skeleton, there's guys with those
- good clothes
- cute shoes
You have got to be kidding. Women could wear a burlap sack and men
will find that sexy. Maybe especially then. Mmm. Burlap sack
porn. Ever hear of "barefoot and pregnant"? The only men who care about
what you wear are gay men.
- good senses of humor
I'll give you this one, if only because the process of dating men pretty
much requires women to have a good sense of humor. Those without a sense of
humor run away screaming and become crazy cat ladies who blog pictures of their
kitties every Friday.
- good manners
Compared to what? To men? If you're not belching and farting and
scratching parts in public at all times, you're doing better than we are. Any
woman who does belch and fart and scratch is "down to earth", and that's
kinda cool, too.
- good jobs
- good credit
- nice places to live
This... I don't even know where this would come from. It's nice if you
find a self-sufficient woman, but it has nothing to do with why we date you.
Even today, the man is expected to pay for everything and be the provider of a
family, if the relationship goes that far. A self-sufficient woman is a woman
who probably doesn't have time for you.
- be good cooks
Nice if you can get it, but also has nothing to do with why we date you. If
you can cook better than the man, or get a man who likes cooking. There's a
reason 90+% of chefs are men... They didn't marry their wives for their
- be good in bed.
You're female and have a pulse? You'll do (and if not, there are
fetishists...). As Kevin Smith said, "Men are easy to please. Find somewhere
warm and moist, thrust, repeat."
You got 1 out of 10 right. Failing grade.
Someone in the rec.games.roguelike.development newsgroup wanted a Java ASCII-display component, and while I don't do ASCII-only roguelikes myself, I had a few old terminal classes laying around. 10 minutes to clean it up and upload it, right?
Then I remembered I had a better version with double-buffering in JICB, though it has a bunch of JICB-specific behaviors, too. So I merged in some of that.
Then, I thought it'd be easier to test out if I had some basic cursor controls, so I implemented a few VT-52 commands. Before I knew it, I had a nearly complete VT-52 emulator with CP/M extensions (colors, etc.).
So yet again I've overengineered things. 10-minute hack and get back to my work, and it turns into hours and a 950-line class. Same thing that makes me build these RPG construction kits and get distracted from actually doing the game.
Anyway, have fun with Terminal.java, and let me know if you find any bugs.
We need Heterosexal Male Studies.
Have you ever noticed that the villains in movies are almost always heterosexual males? That's because Hollywood is controlled by women and gay men (I'm not anti-women or anti-gay, I'm just pro-me!), who think the only role for a het male is as a murderer or a rapist. Even when a "hero" is a het male, he's always some testosterone-poisoned freak who kills people left and right with no remorse. When real people kill, even in the line of duty, it can fuck them up for life. Not these cardboard villains Hollywood paints as "heroes".
And we're bombarded with unrealistic body images, oppressing us. Brad Pitt? Brad Motherfucking Pitt?!? That's not what a man looks like. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Now het males can't even dress like het males, they have to be humiliated on broadcast TV as gay guys mock him and dress him up like a doll. Doctor Phil, that traitor, wimping men out, telling them they have "feelings". Real men do not have feelings, except for anger!
Sports uniforms--there's the ultimate in degradation. Tights, padded shoulders, it's all there to conform to the sexual fantasies of gay men. Everyone in professional sports is either gay or tomming for the fashion designers.
Well, by Cain and Abel, it stops here. I'm a healthy, normal male with a bit of a beer belly, I like women, and I refuse to feel guilty about my natural state. Tonight, I read some Rudyard Kipling and Robert E. Howard and Ernest Hemmingway, and I urge you all to do the same.
And like a coding machine, I knock out another version of GameScroll! Look, it's got automapping and everything!
Not that I recommend trying to make those maps by hand, like I did. I wrote a bit of script code to automate it, but it's still hard and fragile. The graphical editor will make this so much easier, and now that I have all the core engine working, I can make that editor.
But anything you write now will continue to work, so you can make something more than a bare minimum prototype.
As always, let me know what you think. Are there bugs I have not discovered? Does it work on your OS? Is my very terse technical documentation sufficient?
Another release of GameScroll, now with full HTML markup, author-defined score/character sheet page, hyperlinked choices, web browser integration, and more programming commands. And yet if all you want to do is make a basic adventure, it's as simple as ever.
Let me know what you think.
Okay, it's a few months early, but mocking Jack Chick and furverts is always in season.
"Let's see you yiff with a sliced-up esophogus, motherfucker."
I've just released version 0.5 of GameScroll, my Choose-Your-Own-Adventure and Fighting Fantasy Gamebook-style interactive fiction system. The new version supports images, sounds, a number of programming functions for advanced users, and a more native look and feel.
It's taken me a while to get back to it, but I think this is not just the best GameScroll version ever, but increasingly I think it's the right way to do IF. GameScroll doesn't simulate anything--it just lets you tell your story, and give the user whatever choices you think are meaningful.
With the programming functions, you can write very complex adventures. Or not even adventures: any kind of choice-response courseware, from teaching/study quizzes, to trivia quiz games, to Traveller-style lifepaths (as Peter Knutsen pointed out to me).
Let me know about any more ideas you have for GameScroll. I need to get it feature-complete before I can go to 1.0, so now's the time to ask.
I've already discussed Microsoft's lying claim of interoperability, and here they go proving me right: MSN Unplugs Mac (Motley Fool).
Have fun trying to spin this, dancing bear.
Edited Mon, 2005Mar14 13:20:53 PST by kamikaze
Microsoft's not the only company that spreads fertilizer. Sun's lately been having their minions astroturf the notion that people are switching from Eclipse to their own IDE, NetBeans.
However, they're running into two problems. First, they're completely missing the point by focusing on drawing speed. Serious Java programmers use Eclipse because it
gives them the tools they want in a usable fashion. That's all. NetBeans has
incredibly weak refactoring tools, for instance. NetBeans does have some capabilities Eclipse does not, like graphically building apps, which is great for the Visual Basic crowd and managers who want to pretend they can write code, but no real Java developer ever uses such things. If not for other problems with NetBeans, I might recommend it as Baby's First IDE, but it's certainly not a professional tool.
Second, the numbers Sun wants to use are simply wrong. Eclipse with SWT/Fox on Linux is faster than Eclipse on Windows; Eclipse with SWT/GTK has improved,
though not so much, but on the hardware any developer should have, it's
not a big deal. The only benchmark comparisons are many years old, but
side-by-side comparison puts their lies to rest.
I'm going to be extremely blunt here, because A) I'm like that, and B)
their falsehoods are not amusing, and C) they might actually mislead someone into using NetBeans.
NetBeans is a travesty. It is one of the slowest,
most unpleasantly unreponsive applications I've ever had the misfortune to use, and was clearly designed by people who had no idea what programmers actually do when they're working. The latest version is better than before, but only in the sense that syphilis is better than AIDS.
Borland JBuilder, Oracle JDeveloper, and IntelliJ IDEA are all more powerful IDEs than NetBeans will ever hope to be, and are incidentally more responsive; I'm not particularly fond of any of them, but at least they're usable. If you've tried SWT/Fox and still want an alternative to Eclipse, go try out JBuilder 2005 Foundation for free. I can't guarantee that you'll love it, but at least you have an alternative that isn't a toy.
I'm reminded of Public Enemy's song "Don't Believe the Hype!". There's more hype believers than ever in 2005.
Edited Sun, 2005Mar13 09:54:17 PST by kamikaze
Michael Malone says R.I.P. Microsoft. I think it's premature to call MS dead yet--they've always smelled bad, even if it has got worse recently. However, MS has entirely too much history of psychotically antisocial behavior and too much money to go quietly into that good night--they'll try to take everyone and everything else with them when they do die. We're just lucky they don't have nuclear weapons. Since I live in blast radius from the Microsoft cult compound, I really don't want Windoze-controlled nukes.
Anyway, Robert Scoble apologizes for Microsoft again, but manages to shoot himself in the foot badly, both in the article and in responding in his own comments thread.
It says volumes that I have written several letters to Bill Gates on my blog telling him how to change his company and I'm still here. Compare to other companies around us. That really is pretty unique. We all know several other billion-dollar companies that don't allow that kind of bottom-up kind of feedback. (If you're a Microsoft employee, and you're thinking of doing that, though, do it smartly. Remember, your words will get into the New York Times or Wired Magazine).
Robert, you haven't been fired for what you say because you're not a "journalist", you're not any kind of respected voice, you're just a dancing bear. Microsoft desperately needed a marketing shill like you to make it look like they were more open, but you haven't actually produced any of this "openness", "innovation", or in the latest round of Gatesian NewSpeak, "interoperability".
If real Microsoft programmers went ahead and said what they think without fear of censorship, that would be open. Linux developers say whatever the hell they want, and are only judged on the quality of their software. Even our insanity is better--our crazies are crazier than your crazies. Even Sun developers can say what they think these days, now that Schwartz openly kicks sand in the face of corporate rivals on his blog.
"Justin: When's Microsoft going to make that one thing that every other company is going to have to copy?"
Oh, you mean OneNote? Or Halo 2? Or SQL Server? Or the Tablet PC? Or Media Center? Or the SPOT watch? Or Channel 9? Or Xbox Live? Or Portable Media Center?
If Microsoft had invented a single one of the products you listed, or they were in any way original, that would be innovative, using the real meaning of the term. Innovation does not mean "anything branded by Microsoft". It means "creating a new idea or product". Yeah, take a while with that one, it might be a new, even innovative idea for you.
In case you're not following: OneNote is, essentially, Lotus Notes (great data model, inadequate user interface), tied into Office (terrible data model, inadequate user interface). Halo 2 was made by Bungie, and is just another in a long series of Wolf3D/Doom/Quake clones, a gaming genre invented 18 years ago. SQL Server is just another RDBMS, and a really bad and standards-violating one at that; if you want innovation, you look at Oracle, who had the first SQL RDBMS, and still have the best, or PostgreSQL, which is superior to MS's product in every way and is free. The Tablet PC is the Apple Newton, the Grid Pad, or the Tandy Model 100 reborn yet again. Media Center is an inadequate Tivo ripoff. The SPOT watch was built by another company, and purchased by Microsoft. Channel 9 is just another round of astroturf marketing; technologically, it's just a blog and wiki, both of which were innovated as open-source software. Xbox Live is just another version of the find-other-players features of Quakeworld, or TEN, or any of a thousand different game networks before it. "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it... And think they're innovating!"
If Microsoft helped users use their files across platforms, whether those are Mac, Linux, or Windows, and followed standards-based network protocols, that would be interoperable. Show that you're interoperable. Dump SMB and switch to NFS, dump ActiveX, dump .NET and switch to Java, and make your web pages work correctly on all browsers. Of course, that's not what Bill means by "interoperable", he only thinks there are Windoze machines in the world. The one area where Microsoft uses a protocol more-or-less correctly is TCP/IP, which they directly copied from BSD Unix, which has a true open-source license that allows that.
But that's okay. Microsoft doesn't need to be interoperable. If anyone else cares to interact with Microsoft's increasingly irrelevant software, they'll eventually just decode MS's deranged formats and make tools to deal with it, like Samba, OpenOffice, and Evolution, and when we have to deal with the pseudo-HTML your apps generate, we'll just use demoroniser. Mostly, people don't bother because they have work to do on real software.
Your time has come and gone, old man. Your kung fu is weak.
So I've finally spared the time to publish the site in RSS 2.0. Let me know if you have any problems with it, but it autodiscovers in Liferea, and it validates:
What I've taken away from learning to do this:
- The specs are barely tolerable; I had to study working examples and used an IBM-published tutorial to get it right.
- Feed auto-discovery is pure fucking magic, it is not documented at all. It ought to be IN THE GODDAMN SPEC. As best I can tell, I have to use application/rss+xml in the header link on my web page, but text/xml content-type on the RSS itself to make it work in many readers. This is nuts.
And please, don't hammer the server with hourly updates. I will never post more than a couple items in a day. One daily update will be enough. [Updated: added ttl to the feed, so it should be enforced by your reader. Thanks Lars.]
Okay, at first I thought this was a joke, but apparently these people are really serious.
How... quaint. How very 20th Century.
I used to live out of my DayRunner(tm). It was the way I organized my schedule, remembered phone numbers, and kept notes. I'd insert another pack of pages every 6 months or so, and the book got huge. I also had to wear a watch at all times, and keep checking the watch and the schedule to see where I was supposed to be. If I forgot, I didn't show up.
There's a reason why people switched to PDAs instead. A stack of paper can't play an alarm for you. I don't wear a watch anymore, because I don't care what time it is, I care what tasks I have to accomplish, and how much time I have left to do them. You can't seriously edit a stack of paper, you'll end up with a mess that you have to copy, by hand, like some 13th Century monk. A stack of paper can't be searched except by fallibly eyeballing each page. You can't beam a stack of paper to someone else, you have to hand-copy it or go to a photocopier. And most importantly these days, you can use a PDA with a wireless Internet connection to use Google no matter where you are in the civilized world. You can't do that with a stack of paper.
Let me repeat that. I can be walking down the street or in a cafe or whatever, chatting with someone, and we need to know something... With paper, I'd have to write it down, try to remember to check that paper later, do the research, and get the answer back to that person. Now, I just whip out my Treo, type my keywords into Google, and I have the answer in 30 seconds top.
Google is the other half of my brain. My eyeballs aren't so good at finding one word in a stack of my horrible hand scrawl. Why would anyone lobotomize themselves with a little stack of paper instead of a serious tool?