Category Archives: Random

The Dangers of a Public Clipboard

I know that an L. Hall (name shortened) last sat in front of this computer. How do I know? Because their entire paper was copied into the clipboard. Times, dates, class number, the whole nine yards.

Just because you close the browser, doesn’t mean all of your private information is gone. Any feature, any program you use, you need to be absolutely certain that all your data is deleted.

Be careful.

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Excellent Post About Free Software Purists

Edit: Almost forgot to mention: I heard about this blog post from flameeyes.

There was a really, really good blog post that actually clarified to me what was for so long a nuisance in discussions with Free Software purists (and I couldn’t reason out why at the time). Read this quote:

A long time ago, Larry Wall gave a “State of the Onion” speech. Larry is the guy behind Perl, the programming language, and every year he gave a talk about what he believes Perl is all about and where it’ll be going over the following twelve months. Larry’s not really a programmer; he’s a linguist who does a lot of programming. So his view on what a computer language should be is uniquely interesting, and should be read. Anyway, he spoke of freedom, and characterised the ends of the spectrum on the subject as “Bill” and “Richard”, those two being Bill Gates (at the time head of Microsoft) and Richard Stallman (head of the Free Software Foundation): the idea here was that those two represented the ultimate expressions of their philosophies. Richard Stallman was at the far extreme of belief in free software; Bill Gates was at the other far end, decrying the very concept of freedom. It was a throwaway joke, at the time; a caricature for the purpose of a laugh in a presentation.

I encourage everyone to read the original post, since it really brings some light out on the unreasonableness and extreme nature of the Free Software purist position.

The Last Month

Hello readers! It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since I’ve made a good post about how to do something or other? That’s usually a good indication that I’ve been busy with something or other, and have been using my system as-is without much time for exploration.

Well, I want to let anyone who reads this to know I’m still alive and kicking. I’ve got two posts planned (one about how to compile Pidgin plugins in Gentoo Prefix properly, and another about how I use duplicity with 12+ options efficiently) so stay tuned.

What’s been keeping me busy? College, that’s what. This is my first year, so I’m still finding my feet. Even now I’m still experimenting with homework schedules, varying between solid week of work and lazy afternoons. At some point I will find a happy medium, I hope.

The Neuvoo project started out alive and strong, and I haven’t been able to check my idling IRC client in days, so I hope they’re doing well and well on their way to producing their first release.

Oh, and thanks for reading. 🙂

Cell-Phones: An Easy-to-Use Evil

I read a blog post recently on Planet Larry, which describes only one facet of how cell-phones are disgusting. It reminded me that I’ll have to get one soon. All the same, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one who hates it.

It feels like the cell-phone world is moving at a snails pace. Sure, the iPhone stepped it up a notch. It introduced a certain amount of flexibility never before seen in cell-phones. However, the price for it is unbelievable, it’s still using the ancient idea of calling numbers, which are hardly memorable, it’s still locked down so that you can’t do anything creative with it, and the service itself won’t work with any device except the phones provided.

Why can’t cell-phone companies open their API’s so that more hardware can be produced which can log into and use the cell-phone system? Why can’t the cell-phone system either take on more features, or back off and start over with a better foundation for generic data (like mobile broadband already does) so that more information than just calls can be sent over the network? It seems like a no-brainer, and a way to make your network very, very popular.

I wonder if the iPhone is such a success because people feel the limitations of their phones. I think more can be done to break us free of a locked down system that is rigid and hardly feature-rich anymore. Unfortunately, people find it hard to get out of certain ruts when it comes to technology and move on to better systems. The current system is easy enough to use and can do just enough to stay useful. That’s going to make it hard to move on, and harder for companies to see the point.

My Desktop Is Dying

I wish I had more nice here’s-how-to sort of blog posts. I also wish my desktop had managed to stick around until it could be considered reasonable to buy a MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, nothing is going exactly how I want it to, for the most part.

My desktop began showing odd symptoms last summer. The hard-drive would make clicking noises for a moment, the sort it makes when it turns on and off, but everything would work fine. I did get a little worried when fsck reported errors, but it fixed them and I didn’t have any problems since… Continue reading

Gentoo for Pandora

I have a new project now. It’s called Gentoo for Pandora. It’s pretty easy to figure out what it’s all about, but I’ll summarize for those who don’t know:

Gentoo is a distributon of Linux, and it features a very flexible, very powerful package system called portage (though some would say otherwise). Gentoo’s recommended installation media doesn’t actually install anything for you, either. The entire system is all about customizing everything to your needs, which means you can leave out extra junk you know you’ll never use. Gentoo also practices “rolling updates”, which means there’s no “Gentoo v1” or “Gentoo v2”. There’s just “Gentoo”, and whether or not you’re behind is determined by whether or not you’ve updated recently. This means that you’re always up-to-date, and never have to do a time-consuming upgrade that Ubuntu requires every six months.

Now, there are problems with using Gentoo on a handheld. Continue reading

iStockPhoto Sells Your E-mail Address

Update: I don’t know what to think of this. Only iStockPhoto should know of this alias, yet the comments assure me it isn’t iStockPhoto. Make of it what you will.

Yahoo! Mail has this great feature, where you can set up “alias” e-mail addresses that protect your main one. Any mail coming from that address can get redirected to a specific folder. These aliases can be generated and deleted very quickly. Extremely convenient.

Especially when you’re dealing with the likes of iStockPhoto. Now, mind you, I didn’t have anything against them beforehand. I think they’ve really got something good going, where independent artists can sell their work online on a professional website.

Unfortunately iStockPhoto’s professionalism just dropped a notch. A few years later after signing up for a newsletter with NO third-party involvement whatsoever, and I’m getting spam in that special iStockPhoto folder.

So, whatever you do, don’t give your e-mail address to iStockPhoto. If you need real proof I can send a screenshot, or you can test your luck yourself on their mailing lists. (Not that you could tell the difference, of course, with the bucket-loads of spam wasted on spam filters every day…)

The deadly Mr. rm

Can you tell the difference? I almost didn’t.

jacob@jacob-gdesktop ~/watch $ ls
$HOME  jacob  watch-site.sh
jacob@jacob-gdesktop ~/watch $ rm -iR "$HOME"
<snip>
jacob@jacob-gdesktop ~/watch $ rm -iR '$HOME'

Thank goodness for -i…

Starting Over

Alright, now I have this Firefox extension (ScribeFire), so I’ll be blogging as things come up, and hopefully provide more time for me to write these things.

Three cheers to blogging revived! 😉

Powered by ScribeFire.

Catchup time

Wow, a lot of things have happened since I last posted. I’ve discovered my laptop’s actually slowly dying, and that is really why the 3D stuff is crashing. I’ve upgraded to Feisty (wow, it gets better every release). I’m working on a PHP project. I’ve been using MediaMaster(.com) a ton. Excellent service. I’ve discovered Jamendo.com, a great website to go to if you want good quality music.

All in all, a fun time. 😉