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: Niche Free Software Application Of The Week: TinyCobol!

: Kevin forwarded me some porn spam he got which begins:

Free smut daily does not send unsolicited emails. Only people that have expressed their will to receive Free smut daily shall be sent our email newsletters.

"There are many ways to opt in, my friend," says Kevin cryptically.

: Kevin: "If only they'd threaten the bridges more often, I'd get to work a lot faster."

: So, last night Sumana and I watched The Man Who Wasn't There, which was a lot of fun, if I may use the word "fun" to describe film noir.

: Galeon is a great piece of software! But as far as I can tell it doesn't support basic HTTP auth, much less HTTPS.

: As I've probably mentioned previously, I have many ideas for pieces of interactive fiction, but none of them are ideas I'm willing to spend months working on. However, I did have an idea for one exceptionally fiendish puzzle, which I decided to implement and foist upon Mike. But while implementing it (mostly last night) I kept coming up with ways to make it even more fiendish which involved the creation of other puzzles. So I have a few puzzles now, and more stuff to keep me busy by implementing, and hopefully I'll be able to tie it in with one of my game ideas. So, the lesson is: don't mope around wondering what to do. Do something, and the ideas will come.

: I spent some time today writing reviews for the new review feature I'm planning on doing for Crummy. I'd like to do at least a review every week. Hopefully sometime this coming week I'll get everything set up. I'd like there to be some source of regular content on this site besides the weblog.

: I also spent some time working on the game. The parts of the fiendish puzzle are almost completely implemented; then it's on to the fiendish related puzzles.

: For some reason, CollabNet has been mentioned in a lot of news articles in the past few days. Maybe it's the ROI benefits and low TCO of our enterprise software development suite, or whatever it is they're calling my stuff.

: Someone hit my site searching for "Collabnet weakness". They've found me out! Google knows all!


Well the band got killed
So I started a solo career
And I won all the awards
And I drank all the beer

--Beck, "Satan Gave Me A Taco"

: Only yesterday did I realize that the Gnome footprint is a stylized G.

: I've been hearing a lot of good things about my software (a lot of it is written by others, but I still think of it as "my software") recently, which makes me feel good. Some of it is even coming from people who don't know me and don't know I wrote it!

Unrelatedly: a while ago I discovered that there are two levels on which I want things; the level on which I actually want things, and the level on which I say I want things just to make a point. The conflation of these two levels can cause much cognitive dissonance in the unprepared, so I've been trying to be wary of saying I want things when I don't really want them.

: I got spam offering ONE MILLION (presumably valid, and not randomly generated) Email Addresses for JUST $1. "Can you make one cent from each of theses names? If you can you have a profit of over $2,000,000.00". If I can make once cent from each name, how come the person who's selling me the names values them at 1/10000 of a cent each?

: Multiple Meaning Headline Watch: Fed. judge blocks Ashcroft's suicide directive.

: Franklin's first draft: "There will be sleep enough in the bed."

: Argh. The machine that hosts Segfault was compromised and the website was defaced for about two hours. Argh.

The Story So Far: So. A few days ago, someone took advantage of the ancient Chinese sshd installed on the machine that hosts Segfault and Crummy (not to mention Scott's site) to deface the Segfault main page. I un-defaced Segfault and tried to get in contact with the VA folks. The VA guy who I'd talked to in the past (David Ford) turns out no longer to be at VA; he's been laid off, as has anyone else who might have concievably been in charge of that machine. So we were basically screwed as far as went fixing the problem. Fortunately, David knew the root password to the machine; he gave Scott and myself accounts on a machine he hosts, and agreed to host our sites in the short term. The next day, the Segfault machine was off the net. I don't know if VA took it off or if someone exploited the same sshd vulnerability and typed 'halt". I have a full backup of Crummy and an up-to-date dump of the Segfault database. I don't have the Segfault source code, and Scott didn't get Netsplit backed up in time. So Crummy can go back up pretty soon, but Segfault is down until we get the code back or write new code; and Netsplit is down unless Scott gets his content back.

Glasses glasses glasses glasses glasses: This evening I picked up my glasses. I can definitely notice the difference when looking at a computer screen, not so much when not looking at a computer screen. I had glasses when I was very young, but I stopped wearing them around grade six because I looked like a nerd. Looking like a nerd is no longer a real liability for me, and these glasses are more stylish than the big round ones I had back then (not that I know anything about such things). Two funny glasses stories, from the early years when my family lived in LA.

  1. I successfully evaded getting glasses several times by memorizing the eye chart so that I could read off the letters with my good eye closed. Eventually my mother or the optometrist caught on to this scheme.
  2. Between our house and the optometrist's office was a seafood restaurant the entrance canopy of which was shaped like a whale with its mouth wide open; the sort of silly restaurant design you see in "Only in LA" collections. The time Susanna got her glasses, on her trip home wearing them she was very startled and exclaimed "The whale has an eye!" She'd never seen the whale's eyes before.

The turtle's back, and someone's got to pay!: Sumana pointed to this Socialist-with-a-capital-S web site (actually she pointed to this analysis of the Harry Potter books on that website) which has a very nice domain name which is probably the coolest Biblical reference ever ("The voice of the turtle is heard in our land", Song of Songs 2:12). Unfortunately, it's actually cooler than it deserves to be, because the turtle mentioned in the verse is not really a turtle but a turtle dove.

If you've read The Annotated Alice, you may recall that some clergyman or other thought blasphemous the beginning of the "'Tis the voice of the lobster" poem, due to the presence in the Song of Songs of the voice of the ever-lovin' turtle.

Anyway, the review, and another review which it mentions, does a great deal to prove my point (which I will now retroactively make) that people never tire of seeing their favorite or least favorite political agendas reflected in the trivial details of Big Epic Stories.

One more thing: the Mormon edition of the Bible has, at the beginning of each chapter, a summary of a few sentences' length. The summaries for the Song (not regarded by Mormons as canonical, but included anyway) are pretty funny. "Their song of love and affection continues." "They still sing of love." "Their song of love continues." Yeah, that's pretty much it.

The world reacts: My co-workers have decided that my new glasses and haircut make me look like an up-and-coming college professor. &lt;kmaples> should we get him a tweed jacket?
&lt;kmaples> with elbow patches?
&lt;stack> giggle.
&lt;stack> whats his specialty?
&lt;kmaples> that's a good q ...
&lt;stack> critical theory for sure.... he's some kind of pomo-head. Loves derrida and baudrillard, Deleuze and Guattari
&lt;kmaples> foucault
&lt;stack> Soon as he starts talking, we glaze over.
&lt;kmaples> something w/ russian lit, too
&lt;stack> Yeah for sure. Speaks french...
&lt;kmaples> something something false information theory
&lt;stack> yeah. claude shannon, the internet and structuralism.
&lt;kmaples> author of such works as 'Tissue: a critical analysis of the social import of phelgm in the 19th century'
&lt;stack> And "Poop: Paris pavements and canine restraint: 1992-1993 1/2".
&lt;kmaples> ooohh ... that's about to become a hotbed of controversy again, too
&lt;stack> Yes... his work is the reference for that whole new area of study: Hence the young professorship.
&lt;kmaples> I can see deep explorations into the relationships between the scatologocial and the social animal
&lt;stack> All of the academy is talking about him.
&lt;kmaples> 'that leonardr - he really knows his shit!'

I shot the albatross: Yesterday's Doggone Funny is doggone Lovecraftian:

Jack Cornelison of Mission Viejo, CA, had a Lhasa Apso named Kudjo and a cockatiel named Sassy. The bird learned how to imitate the dog's bark. When the dog was sleeping on his favorite pillow, the bird would walk behind him and bark. The dog would chase the bird and the bird would fly and bark... endlessly.

I think I am going to have a nightmare on this subject tonight. The bird, its huge bloodshot eyes, the eternal voyage around and around the house, barking... barking... barking...

Driving, driving, driving: A Thanksgiving weekend has been planned for me which involves a lot of driving, of which I am not fond. I was prepared for the traditional trip to my aunt's house in Merced, but it turns out that I'm also going to have to drive from Merced to Bakersfield, and then home from Bakersfield. Oh well. I have it better than Susanna, who has to drive from Utah. Apart from the driving, I anticipate an enjoyable Thanksgiving. And the drive to Bakersfield will not be so bad if I can convince one of my family members to be with me in the car. The food: it's always the same things, and it's always great. I like this. It's like an assertion of culinary competence on the part of my family.

You may end your turn early!: Sumana very kindly gave me a copy of the most recent GAMES magazine, of which I am a big fan. I am a particularly big fan of this particular issue of GAMES, because it's their end-of-year edition and has little reviews of a buncha buncha physical games.

I find these reviews very enjoyable; I had always known, in an academic sense, that there were games beyond the basic Scrabble/Monopoly/AD&D/Axis and Allies sort of game that everyone has, but until fairly recently I had always associated such games with one-off gimmickiness rather than, say, fun. This was because I'd always encountered such games at secondhand stores and yard sales, where dull games go to die. So even though I now know about and even own games outside of the basic set, I still really enjoy reading about new games.

These particular reviews are slightly annoying because the review always ends with some lame joke on the name or subject matter of the game. Also, the game reviewers get more excited about certain game features than I think is healthy. The review for a German game called Die Nuene Entdecker (The New Discoverers) says "You may end your turn early!" and that's the only sentence in the review to be punctuated with an exclamation mark. Somehow I don't think that's the most exciting thing about Die Nuene Entdecker.

I never thought I'd see this sentence:

This clip of singing orcs... does little to convey the evil land of Mordor.

By popular demand: Food I ate today:

Back-to-normal distribution: Susanna and I played a lot of Illuminati over the weekend. In two consecutive games I saw two special wins I'd never seen before; Susanna won as the Servants of Cthulu by destroying eight groups, and I won as the Network by acquiring 25 points of transferable power.

The drive home was very easy and non-crowded, except for a fifteen-mile stretch of the 152 highway which took me three hours to get through. Argh.

Gas in Bakersfield was as low as 93 cents a gallon. Thanks, Russia! In San Francisco it's $1.65, which is much lower than the $2.00+ it was this summer but still disproportionately higher than in Bakersfield.

The crummy.com domain is serving pages again (I moved onto another server (thanks, David!), but it's not really set up properly and the CGIs don't work yet. I'm hoping to spend some time on that in the near future.

You suddenly yearn for your distant homeland: Woohoo! Robotfindskitten is in Debian!

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