Tuesday 11 September 2012, 15:47
As part of my efforts to be ready for wherever my next employment takes
me, I've shifted my email home. For a long time my usual practice has been
for email to end up delivered to my home computer, which I log into remotely
from wherever I am. The way I see it is that my personal email is
mission-critical, and I don't want my email home to be on any computer I
don't control, especially not one belonging to an employer or to Google. I
have had content in my email subject to a court case before, the other side
in that case wasn't able to interrupt my email because they had no right to
and it was all routed through systems controlled by people who understood
that, and I'd like to keep things that way.
Running my own email service requires my home computer to be accessible
on the Net at all times, and I've now had a couple of adventures in which it
or its Net connection stopped working while I was away from home and I had
to switch to less useful backup systems. So, as of today, my email is now
going to a leased server elsewhere on the Net. I can connect to it remotely
from wherever I have a good connection, even if my home computer doesn't.
This may be especially useful if, as seems quite possible, my current home
computer goes into storage for a while and I end up spending a lot of time
without an operational home computer of my own at any fixed location.
Monday 3 September 2012, 19:18
This is part II in a series. You can start from the
beginning, and you can pick up a package of Qucs files
to follow along on your own simulated workbench.
Monday 3 September 2012, 09:52
Several factors recently conspired to have me dust off an idea I've
thought of occasionally for many years. First, I've been having Twitter
conversations with some electronics hobbyists in Japan, and even though I
gave up on hobby electronics in disgust and discouragement a number of years
ago, I'm starting to think that maybe that field is worth another look.
Second, I downloaded Qucs. It's
an electronics simulation package with a graphical interface that works
under Linux, and it's the first such I've found that is actually capable
enough to make designing things on the computer a realistic possibility for
me. Finally, my current job is ending at the end of the year. The positive
side of that is that now I can do whatever I want (if and only if
it doesn't require the involvement of any persons other than me); the other
side is that my life and my career plans are not going well, I don't see
much hope of things getting better soon or ever, and having other things to
think about would be nice.
Whatever the reasons, it has come to pass that I'm thinking a lot about
this idea I first had many years ago: what about a pipe organ in which the
pipes are fluorescent-light tubes?
Understand that I don't just mean a conventional organ (maybe an
electronic one with no actual pipes) decorated with lamps in place of the
pipes. I mean one in which the special electrical properties of
gas-discharge tubes - in particular, their negative resistance - is a
meaningful part of the way it makes music.
Monday 27 August 2012, 09:13
I posted version
0.3 of IDSgrep last night; follow the link to download it from
SourceForge.JP. As you may recall, IDSgrep is my kanji structural-query
software. Some of the ideas behind it were discussed on this Web log back in December. The general
idea is that this is software to answer queries about layout and visual
components of Han-script (Japanese, Chinese, etc.) characters.
The main new things in version 0.3 are support for regular expression
searches; the inclusion of a bundled dictionary (based on the IDS
decompositions of the CHISE project);
and a "cooked" output mode.
At this point I think IDSgrep as such - the search program - is basically
finished. As bug reports and practical experience accumulate, there may
eventually be a 0.4 or 1.0 release, but all the features I think it needs to
have are now in place and it seems to serve pretty well the original
purpose for which I needed to develop it.
Tuesday 21 August 2012, 09:48
Hey, anybody have suggestions on what would be a good comment icon? Since I'm moving away from PivotX, I'd kind of like to stop putting the PivotX saw-blade logo on every comment.
Monday 20 August 2012, 07:42
Folks, I'm sick of hearing about Todd Akin. Yes, he said something stupid and ignorant. But religious-conservative politicians do stupid and ignorant things - things that actually directly hurt and kill people - every day. Just saying something, with the only direct real-life consequence being the end of his own career, is not in the same league as let's say passing a Federal budget. There is no comparison.
I've been warning you about people like him for years, and my comments have been generally ignored. Others have been warning you for even more years; some people with views similar to mine get links and re-tweets, but not many, and people like Akin continue getting elected and taken seriously. And when the Net finally does get angry, what makes the Net angry? Not the real-life policies that actually do directly harm and kill people. No, what makes the Net angry and fills my Twitter and Facebook feeds with venom from all quarters is an idiotic throw-away comment that didn't directly harm anybody but Akin himself.
I think Akin is getting special treatment, and his comment is getting publicity far beyond that given the real harms of religious-conservative politics, just because his comment was about rape. And rape is sacred to many of you. It's the one subject that will cause you to discard all sense of proportion and reality.
Rape is not sacred, and I want nothing to do with people who treat rape as sacred.
Sunday 19 August 2012, 17:44
I'm switching this Web site's underlying software again, mostly due to security, reliability, and performance concerns related to PivotX. I'm trying to do this stepwise without breaking too much, but you may notice some features added, removed, or different over the next few weeks. I think comments here should continue to work, but if not, email me with any problems you notice.
Monday 23 July 2012, 16:16
I haven't had very good luck with computer hardware, nor operating systems, in the last few months. I lost a hard drive in my main desktop computer at home, and had to replace that (no data loss because it waS RAIDed); the latest Arch Linux "upgrade" made my computer unbootable because the maintainers decided they had to move everything from /lib into /usr/lib and the documented procedure for doing the upgrade safely didn't cover oddball configuration cases like having GCC installed (because who would have that?); and now my LCD monitor is dying.
Monday 18 June 2012, 13:23
At long last, I've completed the 0.6 release of the Tsukurimashou fonts (project home page). This one contains 1110 kanji, including all those taught in the Japanese school system through Grade Three. Also new in this release are experimental italics and integration with my IDSgrep structural-query software (which has its own, separate release series). Downloads: source code; precompiled fonts; demo PDF files.
Sunday 20 May 2012, 17:33
Here is an actual quotation that I did not make up, from Microsoft's recommendations on how software should communicate with users:
Use the second person (you, your) to tell users what to do.
Here's one of my own:
Don't tell users what to do.