Dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century

Monday 31 May 2010, 18:19

It became necessary for work-related reasons that I should attempt to install Skype on my home computer, so I made the attempt.

Bus plunge kills 16

Thursday 27 May 2010, 16:42

Yesterday a bus plunge in Turkey killed 16 Russian tourists and injured 25 more. Thanks, dagbrown, for bringing the phenomenon of bus plunge stories to my attention. Oh, and Facebook changed its privacy policy again.

In the matter of the lawn-pooping dare

Tuesday 25 May 2010, 10:01

Expanded from a Twitter tweet, since there are important points here that won't fit in 140 characters.

Our text for the day is Achewood, 2010:5:9-24 (starts here). Andy Larson dares "Darin'" Darren Wilson to ride in an unsafe vehicle without a seatbelt and then leave a bowel movement on the math teacher's lawn. Darin' Darren does so, at great risk to his life both from Andy's reckless driving and from illegal chernchilla breeders Mayner and Lurquilla. He retaliates by daring Andy to have dinner at Denny's naked. And in the last panel, Andy smiles.

Andy doesn't give a crap, pun intended, about Darin' Darren's doings on the math teacher's lawn, and he knows dehrn well that neither Mayner nor Lurquilla is in fact a math teacher anyway. (The range of Mayner's scholarship suggests rather a career in law.) Andy only put Darren through the horrible experiences in the back of the van and on the lawn so that Darren would make a counter-dare of his own. But if Andy wanted Darren to make a dare, why not just say so? And, for that matter, why doesn't Andy just go to Denny's naked under his own power if that's what he wants to do, instead of hoping to be dared into it? Andy could show up naked at Denny's any time he wants to - they are, famously, open 24 hours a day.

More updates

Sunday 23 May 2010, 13:24

I've upgraded to a new beta version of PivotX - not that that'll make much visible difference in itself, but I took the opportunity to make some other changes. New image plugin that handles thumbnails in a more rational way than before, so now instead of polluting your feed reader with huge images, there'll be small images you can click on to see the entireties of. Test of that below. I was getting a lot of trackback spam advertising prescription drugs, and occasionally having even my own comments rejected as spam for silly reasons, so I hacked in new spam-protection code of my own to replace PivotX's insufficient system. Now trackbacks get handled separately, and a lot more strictly; and I cleared out the keyword blacklist and will re-populate it based on only the spam I actually see. More work in the short term, better results long-term.

But best of all: now there are star ratings on entries, so you can vote for your favourites.

What's wrong with Facebook? (part 2)

Tuesday 18 May 2010, 11:01

In my previous posting I discussed human issues, which might be specific to me: they are reasons that neither Facebook nor anything else with a similar purpose to Facebook would necessarily be a good thing for me to use. I also discussed technical issues, which are serious but should be easily correctable; Facebook could fix the technical problems without changing what Facebook is. In this posting I'm going to talk about what I call "corporate" problems, issues I have with the people and corporate entity who run Facebook. These would be reasons not to deal with Facebook in particular, even if I wanted to deal with something exactly like Facebook that might be run by a different corporation.

What's wrong with Facebook? (part 1)

Monday 17 May 2010, 12:04

I thought it would be sufficient to just announce I was leaving Facebook, and all my friends who would care about such things would already have a pretty good idea of what the issues involved were, and would be making their own peace with those issues. I'm not the first and surely won't be the last among my circle to do something similar. Last night, though, I had a chat about it with some of my friends who aren't so well-connected to the Internet culture, and it became clear to me that there's room for me to write something laying out some of the issues surrounding Facebook and why those issues are important.

Let me start by saying it's not about "privacy."

Bonobo Conspiracy's Quick Guide to Where CUPS Stores Its Ready-Made Printer Configurations

Sunday 16 May 2010, 08:31

This is for my own future reference, since it was hard to find in the documentation and I'll probably need it again in the future.

The things you can create that collect together commonly-used sets of printer options, to be used with the slash modifier to the printer name on the command line, are called instances. Global instances are set up in /etc/cups/lpoptions and per-user instances in ~/.cups/lpoptions. Per-user settings (including choice of a default instance to use instead of the per-printer default) will override the global ones. Beware the lpoptions command, which likes to store your selections permanently in your per-user config file so that subsequent global changes will not be visible to you. Some per-user default settings also appear to silently override per-job settings given on the command line.

Status update

Monday 10 May 2010, 17:11

I'm withdrawing from Facebook, and I'm probably not going to renew my paid account on Dreamwidth. This leaves Twitter as the only social-network type of site I expect to use regularly, though I'll continue lurking on several others. If you want to keep up with my doings you really should read my own Web site; of course, if you see this note that means you're already doing so. On my side, I'm going to make a little more effort to actually put updates here so there'll be something interesting to read. Some of that effort below the cut.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal: archived comments

Thursday 9 August 2007, 04:00

Link to Part 1.

When I posted my item on "The Terrible Secret of Livejournal" in 2007, it attracted a lot of comments. I've since changed the code that runs my Web site, and it's not easy to import those old comments as regular comments in the new code; but I wanted to preserve them, so I'm posting them here in the form of another entry. New comments are disabled here; you should add them on the concluding page of the article.

The Terrible Secret of Livejournal, part 3: what to do?

Thursday 9 August 2007, 03:00

Link to Part 1.

It should not be thought that Six Apart have completely clean hands here. I'm not by any means a big fan of Six Apart.  It's partly because I'm not a fan of Six Apart that I've left Livejournal and given up my paid account.  Nothing in the previous section should be taken as my saying that Six Apart are perfect.  I think they're basically doing the right thing, but what have they done wrong?