Sun, 31 Aug 2003

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nelson.monkey.org

Nelson Minar helped me out with problems on my site. My webhost was getting hammered by bots that were getting lost in blosxom.cgi because, one, I had done the "remove CGI kludge" and, two, Blosxom doesn't generate an error code when a bogus URL is requested. Tens of thousands of requests were being generated and my webhost had to shut me down.

So Nelson Minar created a plugin to return 410 Gone if a URL matches a user-defined regex. Regardless, traffic seems to have dropped ever since my webhost disabled my scripts. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

nelson.monkey.org

22:52:56 31 Aug 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 0 comments

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futurama quote

Yay! We live to suck another day! – Bender

16:32:43 31 Aug 2003 > /quotes > permalink > 0 comments

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counting crows "rain king"

I don't know why, but I really like the title of the album this song comes from: August and Everything After, fitting especially since today is the last day of August. (The waning of summer always puts me in a nostalgic, melancholy mood.)

I belong... in the service of the queen
I belong... anywhere but in between.

With the image of the black-winged bird, I am reminded of one of the creation myths from the Philippines, where a bird tricks the sea and the sky into a war, so that the sky eventually ends up dropping rocks from the sky into the ocean, creating land.

I've been here before and I deserve a little more....

To August and everything after. Where has all the time gone?

12:53:15 31 Aug 2003 > /playlist > permalink > 0 comments

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cgi working

Hmmm. The permissions seem to have been changed back on my index.cgis, but the sysadmins never got back to me.

Weird. Well, go ahead and test the comments. See if it all really works.

11:00:42 31 Aug 2003 > /meta > permalink > 0 comments

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pathetique

OK, this is somewhat sad and pathetic, but I figure I need to get it out of my system. As I mentioned, I got mugged at gunpoint yesterday morning. Now being the fatalist that I am, with a latent death wish to boot, it didn't really phase me all that much at the time. I didn't piss or shit myself when the dude pointed his gun at me. In fact, I was a little pissed, and might have done something really stupid if Y wasn't with me, since I didn't want him getting shot on account of my own stupidity.

Of course, since I have done a psychiatry rotation, I am concerned about developing PTSD. Apparently, it is more likely to occur in people who repress their emotional reactions to traumatic events. Instead of processing things, they just hold back, until it bites them in the ass sometime in the future, and then they can't help but feel that Charlie is waiting with a grenade just outside their garage door out in the suburbs, despite checking every half hour to make sure things are all clear.

Now, I recognize that getting mugged is not like fighting in Vietnam, but still, PTSD has been recognized to occur in victims of violent crime and in car crash victims, just to name a few non-combatant sufferers.

So I made it a point to talk about it all day, telling anyone who would listen what had happened. So that helped a lot. I find it funny that everyone commented on how well I was taking it. My take on it is that, well, there was very little I could do. Me and Y were being loud and stupid, walking around at 5am, down a dark street, without being aware at all about our environment. We were, in technical terms, sitting ducks.

But I still got shaky eventually. It didn't really hit me until sixteen hours after it had happened. I was literally trembling, and I could feel the adrenaline in my veins. I think the trigger was nightfall. I didn't want to go out. I totally developed the whole hypervigilance thing. Every little sound, every little movement in my peripheral vision would freak me out.

Talking to BS, though, he had really good advice. Having been mugged at knifepoint himself when he was a kid, he had practical tips. Mainly, don't let it stop you from doing what you would normally do. So I forced myself to walk down the street that I got mugged on and go to the Walgreens. It wasn't bad. I was a little hypervigilant, but I felt at ease that there were so many people walking around.

As an excursus: while BD suggested that maybe this was a sign to get out of Chicago, I countered that, well, you know, in the neighborhood we grew up in in L.A., it would probably be a very poor idea to go wandering around at 5am. While you could get away with it in the parts of Chicago that I usually wander (and, for up until this point, my friends and I had), in L.A. (particularly the parts of it which I tend to wander), well, it's definitely an invitation for trouble. Who knows, scientifically, what the actual crime rates are, and maybe it's just naievete, but I actually do feel safer here, even considering yesterday's incident.

But what struck me was how horribly alone I feel right now. I mean, I've obviously been feeling that way for quite a while now, what with me looking for love in all the wrong places, but nothing brings out the stark truth of the matter like a traumatic event.

It doesn't help that pretty much all of my friends are out of town right now.

Yeah, this actually get me right in the left-side of the chest.

Especially when I was all shaky, you know, I started wondering what it would be like to have someone special who cared about you. You know, like when I was feeling all shaky and not a little scared, someone who would hold me close and make me feel safe, at least for that short while. Someone who would comfort me.

Instead, I have no one.

I mean, I have some really good friends, and they did talk me through a lot yesterday, but, well, for one thing, they are almost all literally thousands of miles away, or they were at work, or they were thousands of miles away and at work.

I have never felt so utterly, hopelessly alone.

The thing with despair is that it implies a little hope. You wouldn't despair if you thought that things were completely impossible. It's really that tiny glimmer of possibility that kills you. You are reduced to asking the universe "what if?"

But this feeling I have right now, on the other hand, is beyond despair. It is desolation. The understanding that whatever it is you want is never again going to happen to you, and that while it sucks, there's absolutely nothing to be done.

Wow. This is making me really sad.

I am told that it is possible to be perfectly happy on your own. Despite what popular culture says. I suppose there are much more sublime things to aspire to than romantic love. Yeah. That actually does get me by. Even if I completely X out this concept from my life, there are still actually a lot of things that I want to experience.

Here's to hope. And as they say, loneliness is really not the same thing as being alone. And learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. Yeah.

10:42:02 31 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments

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crazedmonkey.com

This is not technically a via-trail (considering that my site has been down for a couple of days now, but more of a google-trail, I suppose. I came upon this site in my search for how to keep bots from hammering my site. What his particular entry mentions is how to control when Blosxom serves a static page, and when it serves a dynamic page, by messing with mod_rewrite rules. Another interesting ramification of this entry is that you can control what are valid categories. (For example, I could probably use this to turn away all those bots.)

crazedmonkey.com

09:39:51 31 Aug 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 2 comments

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temporarily back in business

OK, I have Blosxom generating static pages now. Writebacks won't work because the sysadmins haven't yet re-enabled the CGI. Hopefully they get back to me soon, but I've only moved up by four positions in their queue in the last twelve hours.

I thought I was all slick, having written a .htaccess file successfully keeping out the offending bots that have been hammering my webhost, but it turns out that I had introduced a syntax error, causing everybody to be blocked. (For future reference, don't put any unescaped whitespace in your regexes.)

This site is crippled, but at least you can read my rantings and ravings.

09:28:20 31 Aug 2003 > > permalink > 4 comments

Sat, 30 Aug 2003

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more bits and pieces

I have, for some reason, been getting pounded by the Radio Community Server, which has been generating tens of thousands of http requests for non-existent pages and RSS feeds on my site. Because I am employing mod_rewrite kludgery to hide blosxom.cgi from the URL, it is in fact causing Blosxom to spawn every time a bogus request comes through. (I'm trying to figure out a way to fix this, by having Blosxom die with a 404 error anytime someone tries to request a bogus path. Because right now, it instead just serves up an empty page. Which can lead to horrific recursion.) This has caused my webhost to disable Blosxom.

But in my search for some possible solutions, I stumbled upon these random links. You will notice that a lot of them have nothing to do with the situation at hand.

08:46:43 30 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 9 comments

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gun shy

So early this morning, in a semi-drunken haze as we wandered out of the 7/11, me and Y get held up at gunpoint. (Y still maintains that the gun wasn't real, and while I do have a latent death wish, I didn't really want to find out. Although I had a feeling that even if they did shoot us, they wouldn't have been shooting to kill. Which means that we would've had to go to the trauma center, and would've had to be subjected to "the finger in the hole." But this is wander far afield.)

They got my phone, my beloved camera, and $25. Unfortunately, they got Y's wallet, and his watch.

And while it sucks, and a small, stupid part of me is incensed, wishing that I should've just said fuck-it-all and tried to take the dude down, bullet in the head or no, it is just stuff. (I suppose I can say this because I didn't get my wallet stolen, and I don't have to deal with calling every single dummy bank corporation in Delaware and tell them that my cards were stolen. Fuck. What a pain in the ass. I feel bad for Y.)

Whatever.

I find it ironic, though, that me and A had just been debating the merits of an urban environment, and how I really dig it, and, no, this incident hasn't really changed how I feel. This shit is bound to happen. At least I didn't get shot, I suppose.

It also does illustrate the false sense of security you get from living in a recently gentrified area. (Another example is R's story of living in Echo Park/Silver Lake and having a dude on crack bash through her front door. Yes, there are artist galleries, eclectic clothing stores, quirky coffee shops. Yes, despite their extreme violation of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Rampart Division cops did clean up the neighborhood by killing a lot of drug dealers and, ahem, suspected drug dealers. But, well, as I've been maintaining all along, security is an illusion at best. People, in the end, are animals.) But thems is the breaks. It's not like you can't get killed in an armed robbery of your house in the suburbs.

Oh well. Whatever.

It is interesting though. Maybe the waning effects of alcohol were making me portentious at the time, but, you know, when it's not your time, it's not your time. (Hence, the greater part of my fear was getting shot and surviving. For some foolish reason, I wasn't really worried about the Big Sleep.)

Oh, and by the way, when you're not a perp (or, ah, an alleged erp), the officers of the Chicago Police Department are pretty nice guys.

08:04:12 30 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Thu, 28 Aug 2003

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memes and the arrow of time

Lights go out and I can't be saved,
Tides that I tried to swim against....

I managed to crash my webhost temporarily, forcing the sysadmin to disable my blog, but as you can see, it's all fixed now. Let me just say, sometimes, recursion is not the answer. But enough about that.

So I suppose bizarre non-sequential thoughts will often manifest in a brain half-broiled by the sun, half-steamed by the humidity (It is 95°F out there.) I walked to the post office to pick up my package, when what has got to be my favorite song for 2003–"Clocks" by Coldplay [lyrics]–popped up on my iPod playlist.

Confusion never stops, closing walls and ticking clocks, gonna
Come back and take you home, I could not stop, that you now know, singing
Come out upon my seas, curse missed opportunities, am I
A part of the cure, or am I part of the disease, singing

Of course, the carrier hadn't brought my package back to the post office yet, so I left empty-handed. I decide to stop in at the nearby pizza parlor, where, in an act of doubly-meaningful synchronicity, "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper was playing.

Time. Where is it all going.

My brain shifts gears, and I contemplate memes, and evolution, and music. (This occurs, I think, as I am listening to my iPod while I pass a store selling vinyl.) Like how poems and songs are, of course, memes. And the less reliable and the more coarse-grained the transmission media is, the better the chance they have to mutate, and perhaps evolve to become even more successful in replicating. Perhaps the most coarse-grained/least reliable medium is oral/aural transmission. But this gives the performers a lot of creative leeway. Adding an extra riff here, tweaking the lyrics there. And then there is writing, musical-notation. It still allows creative interpretation. But as you move closer to our own era, the way these things are transmitted become more and more rigid, less and less mutable. Digital text. CDs. MP3s. While these things can, in theory, mutate (bit rot and all), it is unlikely that it will mutate into something better by chance.

Of course, memetic mutation does occur in our era, more commonly known as the remix. Notice the spate of techno remakes of old '80's songs. And then, there is hip-hop, the memetic equivalent of sexual reproduction. Mixing and matching random strands of music, creating something entirely new, though still somewhat reminiscent of its memetics parents.

15:59:07 28 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

Wed, 27 Aug 2003

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time

All about the UNIX epoch. Hey, N, you were right. The end of the world will be on a Tuesday. Unless programmers can recompile all the code running the entire Internet by then, it is not unconceivable that the infrastructure of the Information Age&ndashbuilt mostly on UNIX–will collapse on Tuesday, January 19, 2038. Of course, they said all sorts of horrible things would happen on January 1, 2000, too, so maybe it's all bullshit. 2038.ORG has more information. I dig the Matrix-like/Apple IIC like green text-on-black background.

Why do I care? Well, the blosxom entries_cache plug-in encodes timestamps in UNIX epoch seconds. (At first, I thought it was a modified Julian Date.)

23:10:33 27 Aug 2003 > /computers > permalink > 0 comments

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running amok

I've been meaning to riff of off this blog entry about suicide. Maybe the timing is bad, considering that some guy just shot up six of his coworkers before offing himself [Chicago Tribune article][ABC News], but, as Michael Moore documents in "Bowling for Columbine", this sort of thing shouldn't be surprising.

But the cultural differences between the Japanese and Filipinos is starkly ilustrated in the way they tend to commit suicide. (Given this, it's a wonder that WWII went the way it went.) As Erik points out, seppuku tends to be socially non-disruptive (which is, however, a stark contrast to kamikaze fighter pilots, but I suppose that's a different story.) Whereas, the type of suicide that many Southeast Asians are familiar with tend to take out as many people as possible. They call it "running amok." We invented going postal. Running amok is the reason why the .357 was invented. (.22 caliber bullets just wouldn't stop those Moro warriors.)

As mentioned in this interesting article about homicidal maniacs "Reading Killer Hands", the neurologist Steven Pinker writes about running amok in his book How the Mind Works. While I don't have the book in front of me right now (I've read it a couple of times), he discusses how there may very well be a doomsday machine module in the brain, akin to the one found in "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb", which leads to acts of suicide given the right trigger.

Is it selfish? You bet. But, given that many Filipinos I know are very fatalistic, I would urge you to never piss one off.

Not that I am a ticking time bomb or anything. Seriously!

20:11:33 27 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 4 comments

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even more simpson quotes

"I would cry like a baby that was just hit by a hammer!" – Rainier Wolfcastle
Sarah Sloane: "And you're not gay!"
Ned Flanders: "I won't even eat vegetables more than two inches long."

19:00:39 27 Aug 2003 > /quotes > permalink > 7 comments

Tue, 26 Aug 2003

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trainedmonkey.com

OK fine. I am a whore. So sue me. (Although, technically, I'm not a whore since I haven't been paid any money. Does anyone else remember that little chestnut? The difference between a whore and a ho? The latter does the same things, only they don't get paid. No? OK. Maybe I made that up. These voices in my head really should just shut-up. Kidding. Kidding.)

trainedmonkey: jim winstead jr. lurks here

23:12:22 26 Aug 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 0 comments

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duderesearch.com

Hmmm. Is it the fact that I have moved to a known blogging tool, and am no longer serving up my home-brewed mix? Or is it the fact that I decided to karma-whore myself and advertise myself on Blogarama, on Blogwise, and on weblogs.com? OK. That was a rhetorical question. You don't really need to answer that. (I'd go into the etymology of the word "karma-whore" but I'm too tired right now. Just go post on Slashdot for a while. Eventually we geeks all learn.)

Dude Research

23:09:12 26 Aug 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 0 comments

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www.bogusmove.com

Heh. My blog actually has visitors from real people now instead of just bots and spiders. Cool. (At least I think they're real people. Ggod only knows how many AI are actually loose on the Net, a la Agent Smith of the Matrix.)

Empty

23:05:43 26 Aug 2003 > /via-trails > permalink > 0 comments

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med school fear of blood desensitize

People search for the most interesting things and end up finding my blog somewhere down there deep in the recesses of Google's soul. (I have a disturbing feeling that we are accidentally building an AI here, but enough tin-foil-hat conspiracy theories.)

Some one was looking for "med school fear of blood desensitize" and wound up at this old entry.

The poor bastard. Don't worry, I still get vasovagal when I see my own blood. I remember the first C-section I scrubbed in on, I got a little woozy. It's been a while since I've seen liters of blood just gush out like that. I don't think I ever saw a trauma that bloody. I don't think I've seen a ruptured liver that bloody.

I hate blood. And yet, I insist on doing a hematology rotation. How ironic.

22:49:48 26 Aug 2003 > /google > permalink > 5 comments

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http_get

I built a seriously kludgy plug-in http_get, which, in conjunction with my interpolate_pseudoxml plugin or Rael Dornfest's interpolate_fancy plugin, allows you to pull in the contents of an arbitrary remote URI, provided that you have the libperl-www module installed on your webhost.

What I am using it for is so I can call blosxom.cgi recursively, using a flavour (and the foreshortened plugin) to build the "last 5" text box on the left side. I know there is a better, more efficient way to do this, but I really didn't want to screw with another plugin and slog through whatever syntax their author's came up with. (No offense, guys. I'm just a control freak like that.)

Consequently, it takes forever to load my blog on my iBook. I'm hoping that my webhost won't suffer as much. Of course, this means every request to my blog results in 2 request to the webserver. Eek.

20:48:47 26 Aug 2003 > /computers/www/blosxom > permalink > 5 comments

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wifi everywhere

I've been saying it all along, but a revolution is at hand. "Wi-fi hits the spot / Businesses find wireless Internet connection entices customers to stay and pay a little longer".

16:32:40 26 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 3 comments

Mon, 25 Aug 2003

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radiohead "the bends"

"The Bends" [entry at amazon.com] is fast becoming my favorite Radiohead album. This is the second time that a place I have been hanging out at that has played it over their sound system. (In case you are wondering, I am using another wireless Internet hotspot. Ah, the wonders of technology. Right now, I'm listening to the tail end of "Fake Plastic Trees" [lyrics] one of Radiohead's more mainstream tracks off this album, the other being "High and Dry." [lyrics]

I owe ER for introducing me to Radiohead in junior year in high school with, ironically, "Pablo Honey" [entry at amazon.com] (Many Radiohead fans consider this album, their first, as being anomalous.) The song in particular was "Thinking About You" [lyrics] which ER liked because, one, it described the mood (though not the specific details) of his relationship with SL at the time (ah memories), and, two, it has a guitar rhythm that evokes the sound of a car zooming down the I-5 at 80 mph. I have since appropriated both evokations of this song (applying it to my own trials and tribulations regarding women who don't feel about me the same way that I feel about them, and to my love affair with the road trip.)

Now, hands down, the best Radiohead album is "OK Computer" [entry at amazon.com] (This album got me through a lot of my last year in college.) But I would argue that "The Bends" is Radiohead's best underrated album. People always seem to forget about this one, for some reason, or at least, they never manage to give it the props that it deserves. Certainly, it is the most accesible of the last five albums, as they have not yet moved into their heavily experimental phase. (Although, if you ever have enough time and wherewithal to listen to all of their six albums in a row, you can easily see the evolution. Even "Pablo Honey" has a few tracks that wouldn't be completely out of place juxtaposed against "Kid A" [entry on amazon.com]–for example, "You" [lyrics]) But mostly, what gets me the most is the number of heart-string pullers on this CD. Now, admittedly, both "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees" are definitely radio-friendly tracks, and capture the particular angst that was very common in the era this album came out, when grunge was king and the reign of Generation X in terms of being a target demographic was at its peak. But the tracks that absolutely totally kill me are "Bulletproof... I Wish I Was" [lyrics] (which is playing right now as I type) and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)" [lyrics]. These two tracks, particularly if I am particularly depressed or spectacularly drunk, can make me sob uncontrollably.

Now, as an aside, "Hail to the Thief" [entry on amazon.com] is a pretty good album, too. It haven't listened to it as many times as I have the other five, so I feel like any opinion I have right now is purely preliminary, but right now, it strikes me as an excellent hybrid of their new experimental, electronic style embodied by "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" [entry on amazon.com] with the more accessible, purer teenage-angst-filled rock-and-roll style embodied by "The Bends" (I can't figure out how "OK Computer" adds to this genealogy, mostly because I've been used to thinking about it as being a class apart, although, as I mentioned, listening to the six albums chronologically shows that the evolution is very much gradual.) The thing that I find really awesome is that it is a bald-faced indictment of George W Bush and the sorry world that he has created. Wisely, the neocons have not taken to bashing this album, probably because they are too stupid to understand it, but also maybe because they can't deny the truth embodied in this work.

A little more on Radiohead's political dabblings: I think Radiohead predicted the fall of the American Republic way back when "Kid A" was released. The most obvious of their songs is "Idioteque" [lyrics], hearkening back to the Cold War era and the fears of nuclear annihilation (and to some absurd neocon fantasy world), but also eerily mimicking the propagandistic incitement of fear by the present-day Department of Homeland Security. ("We're not scaremongering/This is really happening," indeed.) It also touches upon the vulture-like manner which W, Cheney, and their gang of associated thugs have jumped upon the carcass of Iraq (not to mention California), captured simply in the line "Take the money and run." Oh, they are doing so, indeed. Then there is "National Anthem", reeking of the destructive irony of nationalism and capturing in its rhythm the perverse swagger and smirk that so characterizes the fearless leader of the "Free" World. Then there are the payloads mentioned in "Optimistic", and "the big fish eating the little ones", "the vultures circling my bed." I first listened to this album around the time of the 2000 election debacle. Here was Cassandra's voice embodied by Thom Yorke. And of course, as usual, no one listened. The freakiest thing was that special edition of "Kid A" which had this phrase emblazoned on the cover:

WE WILL NOT HESITATE TO CARRY OUT WHAT HAS BEEN THREATENED
THIS IS NOT OVER UNTIL ABSOLUTE UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER
AND COMPLETE MEETING OF ALL DEMANDS
THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER WARNING WHATSOEVER
AIRSTRIKES ARE IMMINENT

I picked this special edition up that July I was in NYC less than 2 months from September 11, and in retrospect, I found it again disturbingly prophetic.

But yeah, in summary, Thom Yorke et al are the bomb. I heart Radiohead.

(Oh, and check out at ease, your one-stop information shop for all things Radiohead. This is where all those links to lyrics point to.)

19:03:20 25 Aug 2003 > /playlist > permalink > 4 comments

Sun, 24 Aug 2003

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windows is insecure

So, OK, we Mac and Linux users didn't completely escape the sobig.f worm unscathed, as some of us are on Windows users' Outlook address books. (sobig.f spoofs outgoing e-mails with addresses from Outlook, so, for example, it makes it look like I personally mass e-mailed sobig.f to hundreds of thousands of people.) So, not only am I getting the worm mailed to me, I am also getting a ton of bounces from people I have never even heard of. Luckily, Mail.app has learned to treat them as junk mail, and I only have to look at one or two a day now.

OK, this may be a little dishonorable, but a lot of times I've escaped from having to fix someone's Windows computer by saying something along the lines that oh, well, I have a Mac, I haven't run Windows in years.

Anyway, the Washington Post published an article that squarely puts the blame on the how Windows was designed. "Microsoft Windows: Insecure by Design." (Link from Slashdot. Not to say that MS purposefully designed Windows to be insecure, just that its legacy makes it inherently insecure.

A lot of people try to pin the blame on the idea that these kinds of catastrophes happen only because Windows is the most dominant OS in the world. Which is only partially true. Sure, Windows owns the lion share of the desktop market. But, on the other hand, most of the Internet is run on UNIX or on a UNIX-like system (i.e., Linux or Mac OS X.) All mission-critical systems, like nuclear power plants, nuclear subs, MRIs, PET scanners, pretty much have to run on a *NIX. (Nothing like an enormous magnet going out of control and causing a fire extinguisher to get torn off the wall and fly through the air like an enormous bullet when NT BSODs. Or a how about a nice Chernobyl-like disaster? *shiver*) And while there have been exploits that have targeted *NIXes and caused some damage (anyone remember that worm back in the late '80's/early '90's), they are few and far between, considering that about 75% of all servers run some sort of *NIX, and are pretty much accessible to the entire planet.

Now, seriously, though, a lot of these problems would go away if MS just shipped Windows with sane defaults. Such as closing the ports that are easy to exploit. But I think their problem is that they need these ports to be open, not from a technical standpoint, but from a marketing/financial standpoint. (Can we say RPC equals huge backdoor by which MS 0wns your computer?) For example, without RPC (which was targeted by MS Blaster) I think that MS would have a harder time policing your system and making sure you didn't pirate XP. (I could be wrong. I have never used XP. I really don't want to touch it unless I absolutely have to, which, hopefully, is never.) I've said it before, but Mac OS X and most sane Linux distros have got it right. There is absolutely no good reason to run as root (or its equivalent.) There is absolutely no good reason why you should be able to completely reformat your hard drive by accident, because of a typo.

Anyway.

Wow. This blog is quickly turning into a supergeek adventure. It's time to switch focus, perhaps.

20:38:13 24 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 7 comments

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bits and pieces

Why this would be of any interest to you, I don't know, but I'm having a lot of fun playing around with blosxom. As you can see, I've added a category panel there on the right side, using the category plugin by John Todd Larason. I had to mess around with a bit, though, because of the idiosyncrasies of the HTML flavour that I'm using right now, but it's all good.

I also realized that the archive plugin (seen on the left) emits borked HTML. I only recognized this because this page was not rendering legibly at all on Safari. (This was the first time I had tried rendering my page with Safari, as I usually use Camino.) I then used HTML Tidy to try and debug the resultant code. (Using this chain of commands: rm index.html; wget http://blog.fatoprofugus.net; tidy index.html 2> blog.error; emacs index.html & less blog.error so that I could correlate the errors to their location in the resultant HTML code, thereby editing the proper component. I can't help but wishing that flavours were written in a single XML file that could be validated, but I guess it still wouldn't have caught this error.)

How is the archive plugin's output borked? Apparently, it emits list elements like so (I am eliding the hyperlink tags to avoid too much clutter):

<ul class="archives">
<li>2003</li>
<ul>
<li>Aug</li>
</ul>
</ul>

Apparently, this is badly formed. (I figured this after reading XHTML: Lists.) Nested lists need to start within an <li> element. Like so:

<ul class="archives">
<li>2003
<ul>
<li>Aug</li>
</ul></li>
</ul>

I changed the archive plugin a bit to do this [modified archive plugin], but I also changed a couple of things in order to deal with the aforementioned idiosyncrasies of this html flavour I am using, so you might want to revert those changes.

So, thus far, my page renders legibly in the major MacOS X-only browsers: Camino, Safari, and IE 5.2. (Why am I including IE since it is obviously available for Windows? Well, the MacOS X version renders CSS better than it's Windows' counterpart. I have been told that it has features that aren't even available in IE 6 for Windows. Go figure. Just another reason to buy Longhorn, I suppose, and continue to line Bill's pockets. But that is another rant.)

I figure the page should be good in Mozilla and in Firebird, since they use the same rendering engine as Camino. I'd be interested to see what it looks like in Galeon, which was my favorite browser when I ran Linux (remarkably, there is a Fink port to OS X. Galeon has one awesome feature that I haven't seen on any other browser: crash recovery. When you start it up after a crash, it will try to reload all the pages that you had open—with prompting, of course, since you could otherwise theoretically get caught in a loop.) It also uses the Gecko rendering engine. Now if I can figure out how to get it to run properly on OS X. I have no idea when I'll get a chance to test it on Windows, but I suppose I should.

13:37:47 24 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 0 comments

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unordered lists and css

By default the archive plugin looks really nasty in the current flavour I'm using. The indents with regards to the nested lists were too huge. So I decided to play with CSS a bit and see if I could change things.

A few sites that proved helpful:

That said, I ended up hacking on the plugin, too, anyway. Heh.

09:52:14 24 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 0 comments

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interpolate_pseudoxml revisited

I take back what I said about my interpolate plugin. Or rather, let me qualify what I said.

It is a lot slower than either interpolate_fancy, interpolate_conditional, or the default interpolate routine. On my iBook 700 MHz running Apache 1.3.27 on MacOS X, there is a noticeable delay before my pages render.

That said, when I rsync'ed with my webhost and viewed my pages from there, there was no appreciable delay. In fact, my webhost serves the pages up faster than my local Apache setup does. (I am torn: do I test locally and just suck up the delay caused by my plugin, or do I just rsync every time I make a change and request pages from my webhost? Either way, it's kind of ugly. Oh well.)

So, yeah, my plugin is inefficient, but not unusably so. Of course, I'm still not going to send it in quite yet. Maybe later.

09:10:58 24 Aug 2003 > /computers/www/blosxom > permalink > 3 comments

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interpolate_pseudoxml

I don't know why, but I felt like mucking around with interpolate plugins for blosxom, and basically hacked at Rael Dornfest's interpolate_fancy. Most of it is cosmetic, granted. I didn't like how variables had to be written as <$variable />, especially when in the attributes of tags (e.g. things like <a href="<$path />"> gave me serious heebie-jeebies), but I thought that putting some sort of delimiter (in my case, I chose braces) would be useful so that variables could abut text (like this: {$verb}ing), which was not possible with the default routine.

I also changed the pseudo-markup to something that I felt more comfortable with. I don't know why. The <?></?> tag pairs didn't cut it for me. I wanted something that was, well, more jarringly visible. So now you have three needlessly verbose tags: <blosxom:if-exists>, <blosxom:if-not-exists>, and <blosxom:test>. Like I said, purely cosmetic, since they do the same things that the original tags did. I had originally wanted to mimick XSLT syntax since I had grown accustomed to and perhaps fond of it, but I had serious problems coming up with the regexes, so I gave up.

The one thing that might have some utility to it is the fact that I hacked in the /s modifier onto the substitutions, allowing you to have conditionals that span more than one line. Very useful with creating writeback flavours that are derived from the html flavour without having to strip newlines and making the markup unreadable (see below to see how I use one flavour to create both the html and writeback flavours.) Unfortunately, using /s makes the interpolate routine incredibly slow. Sadly, I have no idea how to make things more efficient, but I have no intention of cramming all my conditional markup onto a single line. Perhaps I will have to resort to generating component flavours from a combined format flavour file. (I haven't used Geoffrey Alexander's Flavourizer yet. Something tells me that I'm going to end up writing my own script to do it the hard way.)

You can check out my interpolate_pseudoxml plugin, but I'm not going to submit it or anything because it is unbearably slow, and I made up my own markup for no real good reason.

But as for writeback flavours, since I got sick of editing two files each time I wanted to make a change, what I did was create my head, date, story, and foot components for the html flavour, and then I symlinked them as their corresponding writeback components. For example, ln -s head.html head.writeback. Then in each component file, where necessary (probably most importantly in the story component and maybe the foot component), I used conditionals to add in the necessary markup depending on whether the html flavour or the writeback flavour was being requested.

Examples:

interpolate_conditional syntax: {$flavour=writeback [additional markup for writebacks]}
interpolate_fancy syntax: <?$flavour eq="writeback"> [additional markup for writebacks]</?>
interpolate_pseudoxml syntax: <blosxom:test var="$flavour" eq="writeback"> [additional markup for writebacks]</blosxom:test>

If you want, you can look at the flavour components used to generate this page:
head.html
date.html
story.html
foot.html

08:26:33 24 Aug 2003 > /computers/www/blosxom > permalink > 0 comments

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pool and blackjack

Scattered remnants. Driving around in Lake County, Illinois. Playing pool where the 12-ball was brown instead of blue (like the '5' on the 15-ball was upside down.) This was the shot I called: 12-ball to the right side pocket. The cue ball spun wildly, knocking the 1-ball into the right side pocket instead, and then scratching into the left side pocket. My financial backer lost a grand.

Later, I was watching Charles Bronson(?!) play blackjack against this crooked dealer, except, apparently, everyone had crooked cards. Like the deck was all face cards and aces or something insane like that. Towards the end of the dream, the game threatened to degenerate into a fist fight.

There was a shower and bathroom that wasn't supposed to be there. Don't ask me how that works.

The Gestapo Department of Homeland Security was looking for me again. I find it disturbing that this isn't the first time I've had this dream.

07:29:48 24 Aug 2003 > /dreams > permalink > 6 comments

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to all the girls i've loved before

Strange sequence of dreams over the past weeks, dreaming of women (nothing dirty) that I've loved, pure and chaste from afar, as it were.

Hanging out, her belly already gravid, the simple, heart-rending beauty of knowing that we are friends, that I have some small place in her life.

And then there was the elementary school crush.

The wedding that I stopped, so I could let the woman who saved me what I really feel.

And then the woman who kept me company in the lonely darkness of a new city, whom I have missed.

Anyway.

Then there was a dream of music video with Justin Timberlake in it. I think he was seriously covering a Culture Club song. He had a huge puffy afro, crazy puffy, like his head was spherical, and it was streaked with pink!

And then wandering around the city, and things weren't where they were supposed to be, some strange hybrid between the Windy City and the City of Angels, and I met up with E, whom I haven't seen for a long time, waiting for her brother to join us. We were going to look for a bar in Wicker Park, except Sunset Blvd. ran through it, so that I lived somewhere between Downtown and West Hollywood, and the eclectic shops were huge in a way that things are huge in the suburbs of Chicago, in a way they can only be huge in city so spaced out like L.A. The other guys lived on Sunset (or Division, take your pick) somewhere where Cabrini Green would be, except that it was Echo Park, sort of. These geographically odd dreams are always interesting to me.

Times like this, I wonder if I may just very well be going mad. Oh well. It's out of my hands.

02:31:27 24 Aug 2003 > /dreams > permalink > 2 comments

Sat, 23 Aug 2003

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the gender genie

Supposedly, this script can tell whether the writer is male or female. Details of the algorithm can be found on nature.com.

The results, however, are not encouraging, given that it is right only 50% of the time. I tried plugging in some of my old blog entries into the script, and it was right about "kid a" by radiohead but wrong about But Now What?. I also plugged in one of R's blog entries (sorry! I couldn't resist! I hope you don't mind!) and the script got it right.

Interesting thought, though. If the script actually worked, you could use it to guess the gender of an anonymous blogger. Heh.

Ken (aka 1moredork online) experiments with the Gender Genie. (Link from littleyellowdifferent.com)

And I was highly amused by Ken's comment.

16:22:46 23 Aug 2003 > /computers/AI > permalink > 0 comments

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embedded markup considered harmful

In the tradition of the paper "Go To Statement Considered Harmful" by Edsger W Dijkstra (written back when BASIC was king, and you had to use line numbers), Norman Walsh declares that "Embedded Markup Considered Harmful."

While I am not completely up on all the W3C recommendations and the DOM and the RSS controversies, I do think that he has a point. Obviously, I haven't screwed around with XML enough to understand why you would want to break the spec and allow non-parseable fragments to float around. The only example given—that of preserving HTML 4 idiosyncrasies—may perhaps be a strawman. After all, no reasonable modern browser will choke on XHTML (just put a space after the element name and before the closing slash-angle, like so: <br /> instead of <br> and while it is a pain in the ass, you can easily use something like HTMLTidy to clean up your legacy cruft.

I mean, I suppose the difficulty comes in when people whose feeds you want to aggregate refuse to modernize. (But seriously, WTF? You have an RSS feed but you refuse to use XHTML?) I haven't played with RSS yet, so I suppose I really can't say anything, but still.

Why break the spec? (Why put random GOTOs in your BASIC program creating spaghettit code?) Someone give me a clue.

15:37:25 23 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 0 comments

Fri, 22 Aug 2003

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more quotes from "the simpsons"

If this gets out, the next words you say will be muffled by your own butt! — Moe Szyslak

21:21:14 22 Aug 2003 > /quotes > permalink > 1 comments

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quotes from "the simpsons"

I see what's happening here. They did it to Jesus, and now they're doing it to me. ߞ Homer J Simpson
You can run, but you can't glide! ߞ Homer J Simpson
Ooh, I am truly screwed — Apu Nahasapeemapetilon

16:21:20 22 Aug 2003 > /quotes > permalink > 0 comments

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dream academy "life in a northern town"

After a couple of years of searching, I finally figured it out. (Thank you, Google. God only know why I didn't think of it before.)

So there was this song that they played on the now-defunct Energy 92.7&5 in Chicago (which, remarkably, has the same format as the San Francisco Bay Area station The Party 92.7. I can't seem to find an official website for it, though.) This was in, I think 2000 or maybe 2001, entitled "Sunchyme" by Dario G, which is a sample with the repeated lyrics of "Oh heyo, ma, ma, ma. Oh heyo, ma, ma, he-e-e-e-yo."

Earlier this summer, I heard the original song from which this sample was culled, only I didn't catch the lyrics, and was therefore unable to search Google for it.

But, at last. Dream Academy "Life in a Northern Town". [lyrics]

(Another link I found on my Google travels: Bay Area Radio on blogspot.com. Seems like they stopped posting in April, though.)

16:14:03 22 Aug 2003 > /playlist > permalink > 5 comments

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splattered

razor sharp edges
slashed open
scar like the coastline of california
tattered shreds of skin
in the region where the heart beats
slip a knife right here, right here
you won't feel a goddamn thing

mashed and oozing
everything crushed and crumpled
mixed and rearranged
the music of metal upon metal
the screeching and then the burning
explosive symphony of shattered glass
the bending of steel
eyes wide open
gashed and bloody windows to the soul

do you feel me tremble?
numb and cold
stomach churning
sewing it all up like some dirty rag
i picked off the street
sopped with blood
garish red, like the lipstick on a whore

the wound will never heal

in and out, like so much refuse
worlds end in this sterile, tiny room
i am atropos, snipping the fine polymer threads
tossing it all into the red bag with the biohazard markings
warning: contaminated

it is an illusion really
to think that the blood doesn't touch you
that the screams don't pierce your heart
death is never easy
whether it is the death rattle of the man in the car crash
or whether it is evaporation of your own immortal soul

15:30:15 22 Aug 2003 > /poetry > permalink > 0 comments

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"kid a" by radiohead

Life is definitely different when you are rotating through a pediatrics service.

So I was listening to "kid a" on the way home from work today, and I thought about how the opening measures sort of resemble the music a demented child's mobile would sound like, or perhaps an evil ice cream truck.

The first thing came to mind was to use the song as a soundtrack for a scene where a baby is delivered after a really hard and long labor. Maybe the mother has even died. And the baby isn't doing too well either. The neonatalogists are doing their routine things quickly, trying to hurry up so that they can get the baby to the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] as soon as possible. (The sensation of hurrying is carried by the bass rhythm of the song.) The baby isn't moving all that well, and is starting to turn blue. The neonatalogists have to intervene at a frenetic pace. Perhaps they are bagging the baby [ventilating the baby with a bag], or maybe even intubating. IVs are started, medicines are injected, electrodes are placed for monitoring. (There is an interlude in the song that sounds like hospital monitors beeping.) The baby is stabilized, the heart is still beating and the baby is still warm, but is not breathing on his/her own. They rush the baby to the NICU. Eventually they decide to call a code and the crash cart is pulled out. And at the end of it all, the baby starts breathing, and cries.

How melodramatic and somewhat depressing, huh?

The other thing I thought about is that the song might describe how an obstetrician or neonatalogist might feel during a delivery in the case when he/she is low on sleep, and have perhaps accidentally (or perhaps purposefully) ingested a psychotropic substance, and is trying to do a delivery.

Makes you have great confidence in health care professionals, huh?

11:47:28 22 Aug 2003 > /playlist > permalink > 0 comments

Thu, 21 Aug 2003

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airport (802.11b/g)

I don't know how I got sidetracked into playing with my DSL connection, but I stumbled onto the Apple AirPort Weblog. I'm telling you, man, pervasive computing is becoming a reality. Hotspots are popping up everywhere. Ain't technology great? And this, despite the rupture of the tech bubble.

21:40:50 21 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 1 comments

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something good is gonna happen

I found this pretty cool site called Fluxblog: A Return To Form that hosts a lot of eclectic mp3s: interesting cover versions, songs that utilize really bizarre samples, that sort of thing.

On it, I found "Cloudbusting" by Kate Bush [link to Fluxblog] which I only just now realized is sampled in the song "Something Good Is Gonna Happen" by Utah Saints [lyrics]

18:25:59 21 Aug 2003 > /playlist > permalink > 3 comments

Mon, 18 Aug 2003

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divine intervention

Just when I've given up all hope on God and love and miracles and the possibility of lasting happiness, things just magically work out.

Heh. You'd think I won the lottery or something.

It's really amazing the small trifling things that will make you happy when you've gotten used to never-ending misery and have lowered your expectations so low that an amoeba wouldn't be able to limbo beneath it.

I'm happy just when things don't explode in my face. I don't really expect things to ever get better. I'm just happy when things actually don't get worse.

But the attending physician in charge of my rotation finally called me. The requisite paperwork finally came in. I am no longer in mid-rotation purgatory.

I feel like throwing up.

Man, I have severe mental problems. I really should have my head checked.

13:56:17 18 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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blog wars

The first salvos have been fired. Link from popdex.com.

08:28:47 18 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 0 comments

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creatures of the night

I dreamt that I was part of an art collective, and in the art collective there were werewolves and vampires. I didn't find this out until I got invited to an after party.

Then I had one of those weird dream moments where I was two people at the same time. Like I had simultaneous 1st person and 3rd person perspective. Anyway, my main character, my protagonist, either got bit by some kind of lycanthrope in the dream, or had already been bit by some kind of lycanthrope, but hadn't gone a transformation yet since the moon hadn't yet been full. Anyway, somehow, I/he gets into a fight with a woman he later realizes is a vampire, and gets bit. He then gets into another fight with another vampire, but begins to change. Maybe some reaction between the werewolf and vampire bites. Anyway, it gives him power to throw lightning bolts.

Eventually, either the offending parties are destroyed, or the argument is cleared up somehow, and the main character demands that he and his friend be allowed to crash at the place (his friend happens to be me, at least, my observer character)

Another part of the dream involved arguing with my brother about the insecurity of our wireless LAN.

04:41:32 18 Aug 2003 > /dreams > permalink > 1 comments

Sun, 17 Aug 2003

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a definition of existentialism

I haven't really thought about this for a while now, but an IM conversation made me reflect on it again. In high school, after reading The Stranger and The Plague by Albert Camus, it was something that I started thinking about. The ideas definitely affected my way of thinking. I won't expound on it right now, but I found a pretty good very brief attempt at explaining existentialism.

20:56:44 17 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 0 comments

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pervasive advertising

Do you remember that scene from "Minority Report" where ads would pop-up directly targeting Tom Cruise whenever he would pass by the hot spot?

The technology to do this is probably already here. It's just about deployment now. First, there is Counter-Googling (link from popdex.com), where, because of blogging, people are voluntarily pumping large amounts of data about their private life and preferences, and companies can easily harvest potential targets. Then there is the fact that I feel like the wireless revolution is finally in full swing, with the cel phone/PDA convergence rapidly occurring and actually becoming practical, while Bluetooth and 802.11b is being deployed in real-life, and sometimes large scale applications. The idea of pervasive computing is easily possible, with persistent connectivity to the net, whether through 802.11b and public access hotspots, or perhaps through GSM/GPRS. Text messaging is finally taking off in the U.S. (whereas in Asia, even 5 years ago, it was already ubiquitous, existing even in developing nations like the Philippines.) Imagine if the utilities stuck 802.11b access point/routers or cel phone towers at key locations, even underground in subway systems, on freeways, in public parks.

Of course, it would have to withstand the apparent economic disincentive for providing these kind of luxuries. I mean, if corporations have no desire to update the electrical infrastructure, we could be at the onset of a technological counter-revolution, but instead of the people rising up against the corporations, like the Luddites, it's the corporations that are holding the people down.

15:22:06 17 Aug 2003 > /computers/AI > permalink > 0 comments

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dhtml lemmings

A version of Lemmings running on a web browser. (Link from popdex.com. Check out the Lemmings Compendium for more information.) I loved this game. The object is to get a bunch of lemmings from a trapdoor to an exit. They all walk mindlessly in a straight line, and will plunge happily to their deaths off of cliffs, so you have to direct them by ordering them to tunnel and dig and stand still to block off their compatriots, and you only have a limited number of these orders. With the insanely cute sound effects, there is something murderously hilarious about it. (Nothing like a 100 lemmings screaming "Oh no!" when you decide to hit the apocalypse button to give up the level, causing each and everyone of them to explode and wreak havoc on the playing field. I remember giggling like a madman whenever they'd fall from too great of a height and splatter.)

I first played it on my oldest friend's dad's Amiga 2000 which was an awesome computer. It had two trackball/mouse/joystick ports, so you could actually play against each other, head-to-head, and indirectly massacre each other's lemming populations. (Like by creating a tunnel leading into the abyss, or sending suicide bombers.)

I also had a MS-DOS version, which wasn't as fun because you could only play the 1-player version, and I didn't have a sound card. Talk about a step back. (What could've been if Commodore had actually survived?)

15:07:53 17 Aug 2003 > /computers/games > permalink > 6 comments

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notes on remotedotcomments

I was using remotedotcomments for the commenting system on my old blog. Since I know nothing about PHP and since dotcomments itself is no longer supported by the author (the last update was 2 years ago), while Phil Ringnalda— who is responsible for the remotedotcomments kludge—is very responsive with regards to support, I installed it despite my host supporting PHP directly. It is basically a Javascript client side include kludge which some fancy DOM manipulation for the comment count that I don't understand. This makes it perfect if you want to keep your blog on blogspot.com, but have access to another site that allows PHP. (Why not just move your blog to the site that supports PHP in the first place? Well, inertia—or pure laziness—is a powerful force, I guess. Plus, cool URI aren't supposed to change.)

Now that I've started using Blosxom with the writeback plugin enabled, I don't really need dotcomments anymore, but since I've been playing with Blogger lately, I decided to keep it around.

Phil Ringnalda has pretty good instructions on how to install remotedotcomments although it is not exactly plug and play. The most common problem seems to be failing to set the permissions on the comment subdirectory properly (while more restrictive permissions may be possible, chmod 777 should allow it to work.) There is also a caveat now that Blogger has switched to a new system, particularly with regards to the unique blog item ID. The ID is actually being interpreted as a number by Javascript, and the new IDs are getting rounded, resulting in problems with saving comments and in counting comments. The work-around is really simple: add quotes to the function call.

In a Blogger template, this is the critical line to change (usually where your byline would be placed, in the <Blogger> section):

instead of: <a href="javascript:viewComments(<$BlogItemNumber$>)"><span id="comment<$BlogItemNumber$>">comment</span></a>

do this: <a href="javascript:viewComments('<$BlogItemNumber$>')"><span id="comment<$BlogItemNumber$>">comment</span></a>
(Note the single quotes in the function call)

(I found this solution in the comments to the remotedotcomments page, which has swollen to 366 comments at the time of this writing.)

13:35:32 17 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 2 comments

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an exercise in the commoditization of culture

Is it all just a matter of perspective? For some reason, I find it funny that, to me, when the Japanese appropriate American culture, it's clever and whimsical and post-modern and says a lot about the consumer culture we live in. (For example, witness the phenomenon of Engrish and all the websites on the net devoted to Engrish) But when Americans appropriate Japanese culture, it's just stupid. (Witness the amalgamation of often nonsensical kanji and kana that people put on their products or even on their skin—link from littleyellowdifferent.) I suppose I'm just an Asian chauvanist. Although I think it has a lot to do with the fact that most Americans wouldn't know the difference between different Asian cultures if their lives depended on it. (Which it might, come to think about it. I can tell you that it's not a good thing that Kim Jong-Il has nuclear weapons. It makes me think of the game Civilization II and the threat: "our words are backed by nuclear weapons!")

09:34:20 17 Aug 2003 > > permalink > 0 comments

Sat, 16 Aug 2003

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how to add writebacks

I found pretty good instructions from this blosxom Yahoo! Groups message by Jason Hoffman.

Now if only I can figure out how to generate both the .html and .writeback flavors from the same template.

18:17:22 16 Aug 2003 > /computers/www/blosxom > permalink > 3 comments

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sbc ameritech dns servers

I'm going to blog this just so I have it on my local machine in case disaster once again strikes. (Can you tell I'm an optimist?)

In Chicago, the primary DNS is 206.141.192.60 and the secondary DNS is 206.141.196.13

Other DNS servers can be found in the dslreports ameritech FAQ.

13:08:06 16 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 4 comments

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and then the morning comes

Frighteningly, I think I was the most level headed person last night. Wandering rampant through the streets of Chicago at 5 am, intermittently yelling at cars and people at the top of our lungs, trying to hitchhike home because none of the cabs would stop for us, I had a serious fear of one of my companions accidentally trying to hail a cop car.

I only became familiar with the concept of the drunken phone call this year, most notably ever since i've become increasingly reliant on my cel phone. While my erstwhile companions went buck-wild, I did have enough presence of mind to call two of my oldest friends. Neither of them picked-up, thankfully.

One of my buddies apparently called his ex repeatedly though (the relationship being an epic saga that I will not recount now, in which I got ridiculously entangled.) So his ex, who is thousands of miles away, calls me this morning, complaining (because of my ridiculous entanglement, she and I have become good friends) Anyway, the only thing I wanted to mention was that he apparently accidentally called her so that his phone was on while I was declaiming about how I have lost faith in God, because he allows pederasts to pose as priests, and that the Roman Catholic Church has been laid bare as a corrupt institution, which is pretty much just out to cover its ass. Even Pope John Paul II is suspect, in my book. And then they have the hypocrisy to talk about how "unnatural" it is to be in a homosexual relationship.

I then went off into a long tirade at an all-night-diner about how I wanted to become a Buddhist, because I think Buddhism is the only religion that no one has every tried to kill anyone else in the name of religion's sake (although, human nature being what it is, I could be wrong.)

My brain is on fire. I have lost my train of thought.

And now, we are supposed to go out again tonight. Hopefully this spinning sensation will stop before then. Hah.

12:02:30 16 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 4 comments

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keychain: always allow

Every so often after restarting my iBook (which I rarely do, because I usually just let it sleep) Keychain will ask me if I will allow it to use password in my keychain for Mail.app and for Fire. This entry at the MacOS X Livejournal community answers my question.

10:55:01 16 Aug 2003 > /computers/macosx > permalink > 0 comments

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my adventures with apache

I spent a considerable amount of time yesterday trying to figure out tweaking the setup of Apache on my iBook. After countless hours of fscking with .htaccess and mod_rewrite (and combing the URL rewriting guide), I figured out how to get Apache to load up Blosxom without requiring "blosxom.cgi" to be in the URL. (For example, instead of this entry being at http://blog.fatoprofugus.net/blosxom.cgi/2003/Aug/16/virtual-hosting, you can see that the location box reads http://blog.fatoprofugus.net/2003/Aug/16/virtual-hosting.) I realize that there is a FAQ on how to hide the CGI bit on the Blosxom website, but it wasn't enough for me for some reason that I can't recall at present.

I think it involved me trying to get the rewrite rules to be different depending on whether the file was on my iBook or whether it was on my webhost. This proved futile, so instead, I tried to set up virtual hosts on my iBook.

Having to muck around httpd.conf again struck fear in my soul. Luckily, setting up local virtual hosts on MacOS X has been covered on macosxhints, leading me to this nifty little script that futzes with Netinfo to get virtual hosts to work for you. (Aargh. Registries. Whatever happened to plain text files? I am having Windows flashbacks. *shiver*)

But to the heart of the matter—how I was able to get rid of blosxom.cgi from the URL (or is URI? I am so confused. Remind me never to read stuff about web terminology ever again.):

  1. Rename blosxom.cgi to index.cgi. DO NOT play with $url if you intend to do development on your own computer and then just mirror the contents to your webhost. Otherwise, you can set $url to point to your webhost.

  2. You need a webhost that supports .htaccess files. (Meaning that your webserver is configured this way. For Apache, this means mucking around httpd.conf and changing the AllowOverides lines to the appropriate value. Being lazy, I just set them to All. There is surely a safer setting. On MacOSX at least, you also have to play with the user config file in /etc/httpd/users, named username.conf. Or you can just skip all this mess—I couldn't get it to work—and install webmin on your computer. Yes, it may be serious overkill, but it made my life a lot easier.) Create it in your DocumentRoot, and put the following lines in:

    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteBase /
    RewriteRule ^$ index.cgi
    RewriteRule !^index\.cgi - [C]
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-s
    RewriteRule (.*)$ index.cgi/$1
    XBitHack on
    IndexOptions
    DirectoryIndex index.cgi
    Options ExecCGI FollowSymLinks Includes IncludesNOEXEC Indexes MultiViews SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
    ContentDigest off
    ServerSignature On

    Note that some of this stuff is from webmin and I don't understand all of it. You definitely need the Rewrite rules, and the DirectoryIndex index.cgi line, and at least Options ExecCGI. I don't know about the other stuff.

    You may have to mess around with RewriteBase. Check out the mod_rewrite page to figure out what it does. I don't know enough to explain it correctly, so you might as well check the authoratative source.

  3. Now upload all your files to your host if they're not already there, and you should be good to go.

10:52:45 16 Aug 2003 > /computers/www > permalink > 676 comments

Fri, 15 Aug 2003

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marmosets

I knew I should've written this down when I had the chance, but I was sleepy, the sun wasn't even out yet, and my right flank hurt. (When I took a leak this morning, my urine came out all foamy. Hopefully I was just dehydrated.)

Anyway, I dreamt that I was walking down Green Bay Road in North Chicago, wondering if I could make it to Grand Ave in Waukegan, when a marauding bunch of marmosets crossed my path. It was an infestation. I don't even know what a marmoset is, really. In my dream, they were a cross between a rabbit and a dog. The only reason I know that word, even, is because of an episode of Ren and Stimpy where Ren is raving and delirious. (Not the Space Madness episode. I know this is hopelessly vague. Well, it was a dream, after all.)

The other parts of the dream were equally strange, and probably more interesting, but unfortunately, I can't remember them. Maybe it'll come to me later.

08:18:44 15 Aug 2003 > /dreams > permalink > 0 comments

Thu, 14 Aug 2003

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second post!

Wheee!

15:36:42 14 Aug 2003 > > permalink > 2 comments

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first post!

I'm playing with blosxom now. Hopefully it will be easier to maintain than my hodgepodge kludge of Perl scripts, XSLT, XML, Makefiles, and Javascript, but, as always, we'll see.

15:34:33 14 Aug 2003 > > permalink > 7 comments