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Saturday, April 10, 2004
3:58:00 PM by mark *
I had a lot of fun hanging out with new people last night. I met a girl who only recently moved here and a local girl I've bumped into before but never had the chance to actually talk with. Couple that with a sister in a good mood, a close friend, and another Mark (you can never have enough mark around, baby) and you have a great evening.

Having taken a recent interest in the Japanese language from all the comics, manga, and anime I've been reading/watching I was happy to find out that Himechan (we will generally sticking to the nick-name rule on this blog, real names are for wimps... Marks are the exception.) was a real speaker/translator. So I violated the my long-standing no-stalk rule and searched for her nickname online. Mostly I figured it had to mean something witty. And sure enough it does. Her nick, "Asane Hime" means "sleeps-late princess" AFAICT. Her journal has some good links, too.

Friday, April 09, 2004
10:01:00 AM by mark *
Dave Pell (recently of NextDraft fame) has turned back up his venerable Davenetics brand and is now blogging about technology again. Back before blogs were blogs he used to send this stuff out as email.

He also mentions Lindows changing their name defensively in case Microsoft continues to throw money at lawyers to hate on them. (Hate is now an action verb... ask your kids.) His suggestion for a new name is "BallmerOS". Now, I'd recommend something that actually implies the same sort of passage from one side to another that "Windows" does: "GatesOS".

8:09:00 AM by DFA *
First off....obedient chickens frighten me. At least this one does...

Then stupidity strikes again. Yay!

Finally...real-life X-files are cool!

Thursday, April 08, 2004
6:40:00 PM by mark *
Saw another interesting Kanji tattoo yesterday. This one was . It generally is used as an adjective meaning "fine" or "good". It is composed from the symbol for "person" () — tilted sideways to fit better in the kanji — and the doubled up symbol for "land" () which implies "square jewel" or "corner" in Japan and is a "jade tablet" in China (). Cramming that altogether gets you "person like precious jade", or "fine".

Now, honestly, in China it seems that printing the character by itself means "excellent", not "beautiful" as I suspect it was sold to her. In Japan "beautiful" seems to be a reasonable reading of it... as an adjective. If she really means for it to read "beautiful woman" or "beautiful person" then she should add the noun for person to it: 佳人... tho I suspect this one would be understood in both places without any confusion. ;)

6:25:00 PM by DFA *
The ink is done. They look very nice. John at Acme Ink does good work...and he's a great guy to boot!

And yes, it's not a marriage until there's blood. Screaming is optional.

I had forgotten how great it is to get ink. I was just floating around in my happy place loving the oh so lovely pain when all of a sudden it was all over. Darn. I'll have to go back for something that needs more time and effort. Soon. Must get ink... Precious ink...

5:27:00 PM by mark *
Here is an article that follows up on what has been a rising trend in recent years, doctors and researchers who think many "modern" illnesses are caused by not getting sick often enough. This one is about Inflammatory Bowel Disease and suggests that the lack of parasitic organisms in the colon can lead to the immune system over-reacting to normal cells and causing disease-like symptoms. In other words, your internal soldiers decide to keep in fighting form by starting internal wars.

Interesting stuff. Especially when you understand they want to feed you pig worm eggs to make you feel better. Mmmm, everyone loves the taste of juicy pig worm eggs.

12:02:00 PM by sklutch *
[evil]

So what you're basically telling me, DFA, is that it isn't a marriage until there's blood and screaming? Just trying to make sure I understand...*GRIN*

Seriously, congratz....

11:38:00 AM by DFA *
Today is the day. Sure the ceremony is next month...sure it won't be sanctioned by the state until next month...but we might as well be married as of today. Today is is our inking day... New tattoos. Wedding tattoos. Life is good.

Mmmmmm. New ink. New, life-bonding, permanent, can't-go-back-now...ink. Wow.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004
9:28:00 PM by mark *

And believe you me, saying that I like a site run with PostNuke is really a stretch for el-marko. If there is one thing I despise on the web it is piping an entire site through a single script. The URLs I'm linking over there for the articles are over 150 characters long and are all written as arguments after the file name. Worse, it seems like the URLs are always getting tweaked as the script changes so there isn't a single damn permanent link on any PostNuke site. I know it sounds petty but if you care about your readers and hope for word of mouth you should think about making your links friendly and permanent. Pretty please? The PhpWiki people do it real purty like.

I like Comixpedia a lot. Even taking into account the rant in the sidebar there, I like it a lot. And yet this entire post is going to be whiny and bitchy and drone on and on about what I don't like before finally sending you over to check the articles I like out.

That said, now that they are doing series of articles it would be nice if they'd either reinvent some sort of navigation that works or start linking the prior articles in the newest ones. Seriously, they are up to Pt.6 and it took me longer to find the other parts than it did to read the article. I'm sure it all makes sense to the guy who designed the page but it just looks like a rat's nest to me. Only the newest article is under "Departments: Features". You can't find them under "Special Projects", "Find a Story", or "Web Comics". No, instead you go back to "Departments: Features" and hunt for the smallest non-ad text on the page which reads "See all". *sigh* Seriously, if I were better at hacking I might break into their site just to fix some stuff.

You've heard of T Campbell if you've read Faans or Cool Cat Studio. Gooood writer. Completely off topic but he works on GraphicSmash which is part of Modern Tales which is run by Joey Manley who is buddies with a friend of mine and just moved back to Louisville. Small, convoluted world.

The articles that captured my eye and dragged it into the "damn, dirty-ape" filled square of blog level attention are the ongoing "History of Webcomics" bits being done by T Campbell. The articles, listed here for your convenience are well worth the trip and even the possible hunting you will have to do when the URLs change. No promises on future ones, you are one your own.

  • Part 1 Concerning Usenet and Mosaic's rise.
  • Part 2 Dr. Fun and other Precambrian pioneers.
  • Sidebar #1 Why Suck didn't.
  • Part 3 The Stone Age including Argon Zark and Helen.
  • Part 4 The 5 Horsemen.
  • Part 5 Of Large Pandas and Keen Splotches.
  • Part 6 The Business of Free.

Oh, and after all the bitching I discovered you could hack half the monster URL off and it would still work... Ah well. Go read and enjoy. I can only hope that he can pull in a side bar about my favorite early comic resource, Bill Bickel's Comics I Don't Understand. Long before I read web comics I read this site for comic goodness.

9:41:00 AM by Kilroy *
Hey kids! Time to write a congressman! A pair of enlightened representatives has a rational plan to "liberate" abandoned works and get around the Representatives from Disney. It breaks down to any copyright holder of a work older than 50 years will have to spend $1 every 10 years to maintain the copyright to the (then) maximum copyright duration. Meaning right now everything copyrighted before 1954 will need to have the maintenance buck sent in to the gub'mint by the end of the year to keep control of the copyright until 2004. Don't do it and it becomes public domained.
If you're making money on it, $1 is nothing. If not, vanity and greed says you can find $1 to keep it to yourself. (my precioussssss mickey....)
So write your congresspeople and tell 'em to get off their asses! Assuming there's a modicum of publicity, this hurts no one and potentially helps everyone. (Just think of all the 1950's "boy and his rocket" sci-fi. Mmmmm, cheesy rubber monsters. And old kids books that I read in my fallout shelter middle school's library that I'd like to have around.)
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
6:17:00 PM by mark *
Spam the Phenomenon is a huge page to wade through only to find out he's proposing a minor variation on encrypted mail signatures.

Bleagh.

6:01:00 PM by mark *
It has already been a prolific day on the blog but I should mention The Louisville Star, since I read it and it is local and all. We'll hold off on a review till he gets a few issues under his belt.
5:50:00 PM by mark *
Wanna watch me freak out? Tell me the SciFi channel is going to produce a Ringworld Miniseries.

Folks, we're talking about a book from my top 10 all time favorites list. This is on the desert island list of books I'd want to be stranded with. I'm having trouble with complete sentences. Wowzers!

Oh, and it seems they are also pondering some other good stuff including a live action Witchhunter Robin show, Earthsea (Ursula LeGuin... great fantasy stuff), and Amazing Screw-on Head (from the HellBoy folks with one of the writer/creators of Dead Like Me helping out).

5:11:00 PM by Kilroy *
I may no longer be part of the 25-30 demographic, but I got a copy of Satan's Cheerleaders for my birthday. Awwww, yeah, Lily Munster as a satanic high priestess surrounded by sweater-clad, mini-skirt wearin', high jumpin' sacrifices.
3:27:00 PM by sklutch *
[definition]

Concealed "Cary" Permit:Authorization from the gubmint to pull Cary from hiding and launch him in attack mode at your vendor of choice.

Okay, only a select few will understand it, but I think it's funny...

2:36:00 PM by KD *
Yeah, I know, I'm sounding corny :)

I never believed in fairies. But then again, there were a lot of things I didn't believe in.

2:05:00 PM by mark *
Keli: "fairies and strawberries"? Interesting...
2:01:00 PM by mark *
I mentioned this yesterday to Nemo: the Genetics of Handedness and Hair Whorls. It turns out there is a dominant gene for right-handedness but the gene it opposes isn't a lefty gene but instead a "eh, whatever" gene. Your choices are definitely right or pick one at birth randomly. And the same gene set apparently picks or sets to random a few other left-right specializations like hair patterns and speech center placement in the brain!

It is no coincidence that humans are the only animals with genetic hand preference and a unique facility for language. Although 97 percent of right-handers have speech centers in the left hemisphere, the value for left-handers is between 50 and 70 percent. This lack of explicit asymmetry, although associated with many positive attributes, may predispose nonright-handers to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: The incidence of left handedness among people with these psychoses is three times higher than among the general population.

So I finally have a fair justification for fearing and distrusting all the left-handed people I know. sinister indeed.

1:36:00 PM by KD *
Mark seems to be the only person blogging here lately. What's going on with that? Are people getting sun damage by hanging out too far from the computer?

Here's a post form little ole' me:

I've been smacked upside the head! Completely taken off guard and absofreggin' deleriously happy. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the guy down the street jack hammering doesn't even bother me!

So happy that I'm going crazy, or maybe so crazy that I'm going happy!

Who knows?

Who cares?

I don't.

The only thing that matters is that it gets better and better. Even if it couldn't, my current state is a very happy place.

Not making any sense. I've been ignoring my cat and responsibilities. Did I even eat today? Someone has to remind themselves to breathe, but not me. I have to take it all in dance around in it like a little pagan fairy who only just discovered strawberries.

1:35:00 PM by mark *
We need to put a better "safety kit" into orbit. Everyone is worried about sending the Shuttle up near the end of this year with all the cool inspection technology and stuff but without a way to actually repair the sort of damage the could make it as unlandable as the Columbia. I think we should have an alternative plan where they could grab either a simple ablative lander or at least a pod of supplies that could be used to extend their mission whilst plans were made. Air, food, water and potentially fuel cells, EVA gear, or repair supplies.

Heck, park it at the space-station. Then they could pick it up and have a place to go for extra help. WTF do we have a space station for if they can't call on it in an emergency? Sure it can hold out 86 days... but that ain't shit. They need more stuff in long term storage there. Worst comes to worst you can stick a light steering engine on the pod and send it to them! I still can't believe we don't have an orbital-only vehicle for trucking around up there anyway. A box frame, a motor, a fuel pod, a mini cabin, and some computers would get you around in orbit way better than the shuttle anyway.

Bah. They've neutered the space program to where it just seems shameful.

Monday, April 05, 2004
5:21:00 PM by mark *
I'm not the only geek looking for a definition or history of the phrases "corner case" and "edge case" on the web. Sure, all the programmer types know what we mean but is there a nice resource I can send the boss or mom to?
5:15:00 PM by mark *
Java quotes we'd like to see:
  • Java, because coffee is still hip, right?
  • Java, synthetic lava. Let's try and duplicate the hatred of the earth spewing into the sky.
  • Java, like the coffee. Burnt, boiled, and used by addicts.
  • Java, it implies caffeine, programmers like caffeine!
  • Java, because "Latte" was too gay even for California.
  • Java, because obfuscation needed a mascot!
  • Java, cross platform... makes crucifixion easier!
  • Java, because Sun did such a great job with their OS that every one uses it.
  • Java, because logo designers are expensive! Let's grab some coffee clip-art!
  • Java, because it is going to keep you awake at night.

I feel bad about the Latte one... It is unfair to conflate gays with Java. They get enough hassling without that...

5:02:00 PM by mark *
Sklutch: "Mmmm. Their salad is to stab for."
mark: (scooting away) "Oh yeah?"
3:53:00 PM by Dodd *
A comprehensive list of the merits of Java. I'll be interested to see what the programming geeks 'round these parts think of it. <Via Short Daddy>
2:37:00 PM by mark *
One of the doodads I'm working on at work is a ToDo calendar thingy that has adhoc and recurring scheduled events. For instance we change tapes for some customers every day and for others only Monday through Friday. We also have special month end shit but I'm ignoring that for the short term, I can bolt on a business rules engine after the damn thing will actually page people when it is supposed to and not freak out and start emailing every minute or sending alerts for things we've already checked as done. Mostly it isn't rocket science, just tedious.

As a part of it tho, I've hunted down some interesting links on how other people have solved the "recurrence" problem. For a simple list of issues, consider these:

  • It needs to handle daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly recurrences
  • It needs to handle exceptions like only some days under the daily schedule.
  • It needs to deal with the last day, next to last day, and last business day before the end of the month.
  • It needs to deal with skipping intervals like "every other week", "every 5th day" and the like. And you'll need to be able to specify the start time for the interval so you can have three events that happen every three weeks, with each offset a week from the others.
  • It needs to deal with what week of the month it is as well as what weekday of the month it is. (The third friday of the month and the friday of the third week might be different, you see.)

For fun, it needs to be in a relational database and express as much as possible in the record fields without requiring tons of code. Here are some links to places you can steal ideas from.

2:08:00 PM by mark *
Interesting stuff on the military and social history of The Moros... one of the USA's earlier Muslim opponents. From today's perspective some of the notes about racial origins (Blumenbach's stuff was still in high regard) are gutwrenching and some of the language is quaint and curious. "Mohammedans" would be one I'd pick out as interesting... in the same pattern as Christian or Buddhist. You don't hear that anymore.
Sunday, April 04, 2004
9:05:00 PM by mark *
Oh yeah, pop over to Playboy's Darkhorse section and read the freebie Hellboy online comic. Very cool.
4:29:00 PM by mark *
I popped out and saw Hellboy a little while ago. It was a darn fine movie. I was happy with it. It has been a while since I got out to movies. I kinda burned out after the Chrismas season when I saw more movies in two months than I normally see all year. Recommended. The gore is mostly campy and the light-hearted attitude kept the kid in front of me from freaking out at the sappy/scary stuff.