Handy hard drive speed-up tips for linux.
Excellent intro to mod_rewrite. I've now converted all archive references to the much better marginalia.org/year/month/day/ (you can leave off the day to get a whole month). The great part was that once I got the rewrite rule working it only took a few minutes to have everything using the new format. Have I mentioned I love php and mysql?
One teensy note with the article - I discovered that a RewriteRule must all be on one line; the article tends to show it (on my screen) as broken over two lines.
Broken Dallaire, haunted by Rwanda, lies drunk in park. If you want to really understand why Dallaire is broken, read We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (indigo.ca link; fatbrain link), the best book written about Rwanda, and one of the most difficult and depressing books I've ever read. I'm glad I did, though: do not believe anyone, ever, who tells you "Never Again". It's a lie. (As an aside, I don't think The National Post should have published this story on the front page, if at all. It certainly doesn't make Dallaire's recovery any easier.)
A link to actual marginalia. Fascinating stuff!
Gee, the world would be so much better if Oracle ruled the software world instead of Microsoft.
MySQL now GPLed! This is great; there are now two competing open-source SQL dbs. Hopefully MySQL will start catching up to Postgre in terms of features - it really needs to have subqueries and transactions.
Compare and contrast time - National Post: M&S gift sparks fear in book world and Globe and Mail: McClelland & Stewart gives itself to U of T. The National Post story is totally slanted by comments from one Canadian publisher, Stoddart, who is running in fear from Random House. The Globe and Mail piece is much more balanced, although it does acknowledge fears that Random House's 25% stake in the company will give it effective control; only NP notes the regulations that could affect U of T's share ownership.
Personally, I think this is a pretty gutsy move by the owner of M&S. Also, if I had time I'd love to do a Slate's Today's Papers for Canadian papers.
A nicely balanced article on the Gates' foundation and the impact and influence it has:
A charity with $31 billion to spend has much potential power and influence. The Foundation has the resources to eclipse what Ottawa or provincial governments contribute. With one cheque, it more than doubled the Northwest Territories' library budget last year; and it sent a cheque for two-thirds of the current central library budget of New Brunswick. After visiting Nunavut, the Gates emissaries talked about how, for a pittance (by their standards), they could carry out the government's five-year plan to wire the territory for Internet access in a matter of weeks. And with some more serious spending, say $14-million, they could boot Nunavut to the leading cusp of the 21st century, with sophisticated hookups in every town. Fourteen million dollars -- that would represent almost 5 per cent of the total budget of the Nunavut government. It's what the Gates Foundation, by law, has to give away, every three days.
THE strangest thing I've read in a long time. Michael Moriarty endorses Stockwell Day. Sample:
And the myth that only the United States has been able to resist socialism will soon end. The bull market, bred and sustained by Bill Clinton and his links to communist China, will be slaughtered during the George Bush Jr. administration. Mr. Bush, the Republican Party and Wall Street won't know what hit them.
According to the socialist plan, all other conservative leaders, such as prime minister Day, will be swept out of office in the wake of a Bush humiliation.
With members in high journalistic places, the socialists have easily and increasingly painted anyone involved with either new conservative parties, such as Reform, or with any new Christian sect, as radicals, racists, sexists and/or anarchists.
Any fresh, conservative thought, or even the simple mention of Jesus Christ, and the propaganda machine is unleashed.
Stockwell Day's biggest enemies continue to be his friends.
For those who don't recall Michael Moriarty is, he played Ben Stone on Law & Order.
The most popular search result that gets people here is for Alton Brown, so I'm obviously not alone in my love of Good Eats. As such, he now joins my "Keeper Blurbs" list on the right.
Excellent use of Flash: Principles of graphic design.
Wow, my ADSL-installation experience was the exact opposite of this. I actually had to delay the installation date to be sure I had my new computer ready. All hail quasi-monopolies!
inside.com has a handy napster survey summary available.
miromi rocks. This is a great non-blog use of blogger.
Suggested motto for Vancouver: "We only riot when we lose. (And optionally for Jean Chretien.)"
People are going mad for the new Harry Potter books; booksellers have been sworn to secrecy not to reveal the title until the official worldwide release date. Some bookstores are having midnight pajama parties for kids (and parents!) wanting to buy the book the second it's available.
Lots o' people are talking about Gelernter's manifesto, and wondering why it isn't being made by anyone. It actually is being made, by Gelernter himself: take a look lifestreams, inc. and their products. Seems to me there is one big reason why more people aren't (and probably won't be) using this product: it's a completely old-style company: all the major tech behind it is patented, the product is closed source, etc. If Gelernter was more like Tim Berners-Lee, he might stand a chance of actually creating a revolution in computer interfaces, instead of just talking about one and releasing some interesting technology that nobody uses.
Some days are just too beautiful to be spent anywhere near a computer. So I didn't.
I don't know whether to feel better or worse now that the missing nuclear secrets have been found. At the lab itself.
Criminy, music biz finances make my head hurt:
IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD, when a CD is purchased, the mechanical license fee is set by law -- hence it is known as the statutory rate -- at 7.55 cents per song. When your kid sister picked up a copy of the 12-song Christina Aguilera album, approximately 90 cents is going to the songwriters through their publishing companies. For its services, the Harry Fox Agency takes approximately 4.5 percent of the gross monies collected.
Now say your sister wants to make a digital copy of the CD through the My.MP3.com service. Because it can normally take upwards of an hour to digitize a 12-song compact disc, MP3.com decided to save a user's time by having already copied Christina's CD onto its own server; thus, when you pop the CD into your hard-drive, you're flashing it as you would a proof-of-ownership card, and once ownership is verified, you're now entitled to access MP3.com's Christina album as your own via the site. Once you have proved you possess the CD, their Christina music is your Christina music. It's instantaneous fake-uploading, as opposed to drip-drip-drip real-uploading.
However, since MP3.com ripped that CD itself, the company has created what a 1995 addendum to the Copyright Act calls a "digital phonorecord delivery" and English speakers call a "copy." This means that the company owes the publishers its mechanical license, at 7.55 cents per song, every time a user stores that song, while the majors collect their 1.5-cent payment. Although only one copy of Christina Aguilera was bought, Harry Fox and music publishers -- as well as the majors -- will collect their money twice, a practice caustically referred to in the music business as double-dipping. (Rival storage service MyPlay requires you to spend the hour and physically upload the CD to your locker, thereby avoiding the payment in question).
Once that Christina Aguilera album is stored in a locker, your sister will, it stands to reason, want to listen to it. According to reports, MP3.com will pay the labels roughly a third of a cent each time a track is streamed. If your sister listens to the melismatic overload of Christina's "I Turn to You" 20 times, MP3.com must pay RCA roughly 7 cents. Because a stream, like a terrestrial radio broadcast of a song, is considered a public performance, MP3.com will also pay a fee to performing-rights societies Ascap and BMI, which eventually gets distributed to the publishing companies and their songwriters. To make matters worse for MP3.com and its ilk, Harry Fox contends that they too should receive remuneration every time a song is streamed.
Amazing. (And by the way, inside.com is proving to be worthwhile reading. I'm not likely to pay though. :-)
Harsh Economist editorial on capital punishment in the US:
These small signs of a rethink will be welcomed by all those people, including The Economist, who do not share the affection for the death penalty held by so many Americans. To those outside the United States, that country’s love of executions is surprising: surprising to find such a tolerant place in the same camp as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Congo (the only four countries to execute more people); surprising to find such a religious place addicted to a habit that most religious leaders abhor; surprising, too, to find the crucible of liberty decried in so many international reports on human rights.
This has been posted lots of places, but it's so good I have to do it anyway: Courtney Love on MP3 (and a lot more):
Last November, a Congressional aide named Mitch Glazier, with the support of the RIAA, added a "technical amendment" to a bill that defined recorded music as "works for hire" under the 1978 Copyright Act.
He did this after all the hearings on the bill were over. By the time artists found out about the change, it was too late. The bill was on its way to the White House for the president's signature.
That subtle change in copyright law will add billions of dollars to record company bank accounts over the next few years -- billions of dollars that rightfully should have been paid to artists. A "work for hire" is now owned in perpetuity by the record company.
Under the 1978 Copyright Act, artists could reclaim the copyrights on their work after 35 years. If you wrote and recorded "Everybody Hurts," you at least got it back to as a family legacy after 35 years. But now, because of this corrupt little pisher, "Everybody Hurts" never gets returned to your family, and can now be sold to the highest bidder.
Napster shoots itself in the foot. How many companies have to be completely destroyed in court because of email before people realize some things are better said on the phone or face to face?
This Slate article is somewhat interesting; I had to link to it because it mentions someone by the name of Metallus Lucullus Cicero Funkhouser, and I'm a weird name collector.
"We had a lawsuit with Apple that was a waste of resources. I'd put this one in the same category."
"Having that misguided lawsuit has drawn our team together."
On which of the two Microsofts he would work for:
"That is a hypothetical question that fortunately I will never need to answer."
Personally, I woke up and thought, "Hey, I wonder if there is a site dedicated to daily updates on rare bird sightings in Vancouver.". There is. What there doesn't seem to be is a site for people that need to answer questions like "What's the freakin' name for this bird I saw at Trout Lake last week that's all black but for two red dots at the top of the wing with the very unique song?" Which isn't to say there aren't any good birding resources.
I'll bet you woke up and said to yourself, "Boy, I bet there's no comprehensive online resources on leftist German terrorists in the 70s." Well, you were wrong.
I haven't been much interested in the various "reality" shows, but I have to
say I'm finding 1900 House rather fascinating.
[A] satisfying standard of living is, for most Americans, considerably more difficult to attain than it would have been twenty-five years ago. Over this period the top one percent of earners has captured more than seventy percent of all earnings growth, while incomes of the bottom fifth have declined about ten percent and median real family income has been stagnant. More and more money is spent on SUVs and larger homes, but as a nation we spend less and less on education, the environment, and social goods.
I'd be really surprised if the statistics were any different for Canadians. (Birthplace of adbusters, which gets slagged in the article.)
The Network Really is the Computer The usual excellence from Tim O'Reilly.
I'd like to argue that open source is the "natural language" of a
networked community, that the growth of the Internet and the growth
of open source are interconnected by more than happenstance. As
individuals found ways to communicate through highly leveraged
network channels, they were able to share information at a new pace
and a new level. Just as the spread of literacy in the late middle
ages disenfranchised old power structures and led to the flowering
of the renaissance, it's been the ability of individuals to share
knowledge outside the normal channels that has led to our current
explosion of innovation. Just as ease of travel helped new ideas to
spread, wide area networking has allowed ideas to spread and take
root in new ways. Open source is ultimately about communication.
Without a community, open source is nothing.
Hunter S. Negroponte presents Fear and Loathing at Media-Lab. A true cybervisionary never reveals his sources.
Gasp! Survivor isn't real! Personally, I'm shocked - SHOCKED by this.
No posting because we've been celebrating my wife's graduation from SFU. I am, of course, unbelievably proud of her!
Putting the smack down on Eminem.
Why critics give him a pass on his lyrics is a good question. Just because they're sick of bad pop bands is no excuse.
Why unix is so very cool at times:
queequeg:/home/was $ logresolve < access | fixlogs - | analog - > log.html
(Yes my computer's name is queequeg. It's aim is true.)
Well this is just stupid. Visiting Ironchef.com today I get this:
I am deeply saddened that it has come to this: Due to a cease and desist letter, sent by lawyers representing the show's production company, FujiTV, this site's content is current unavailable. What was here represented three year's labor devoted to evangelizing my favorite show. While I would like nothing better than to share with other fans the excitement I have for the show, apparently the production company has other plans.
Some things I'll bet you didn't know about the author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
Consuelo and Saint-Exupery met at the Hotel Majestic in Buenos Aires. He teased her about her height (short), then took her on a plane ride to make up. When she refused to kiss him, he threatened to crash the plane. They were a "modern couple," with infidelities on both sides, but Saint-Exupery agonized over absences from her. They remained married till his death, though his family never liked her, and Encyclopaedia Britannica, among other publications of record, fails to note he was married at all.
Great, albeit depressing, article by Alberto Manguel on the state of Canadian culture.
Overwhelmingly, the trend in Canada is to shrug things off. We care less and less about our neighbours, about our environment, about our artists. We have become willfully complacent. The openness of our country, the generosity that allowed newcomers (such as myself) to add their vision to the fluid identity of Canada, is closing in on itself, becoming less curious, more self-centred.
Mr. Parizeau's argument, that our culture is not "a very credible invention," is right in this: Every culture is an invention, a product of the imagination, the tone and colour we give to every basic human activity. Through our need for shelter we invent architecture, through our need to feed ourselves we invent cuisine, through our need for one another we invent the rituals of love, through our need to communicate we invent literature, painting, music, film, dance.
The trick is to believe in our inventions. We don't any longer. It is as if, defeated by the relentless appeals of greed, egotism, carelessness and sheer stupidity, we Canadians now lack the imaginative power to see ourselves at our human best, in all the richness of our creative possibilities.
Dance your cares away,
Worry's for another day.
Let the music play,
Down at Fraggle Rock.
The Throat Singers of Tuva. Amazing stuff.
Hal Hartley's next film is a monster movie called, appropriately enough, Monster. Can't wait.
Just re-read David Foster Wallce's essay E Unibus Pluram - television and U.S. fiction, which concerns itself with how TV has turned irony into the default mode for U.S. (and I believe this applies to Canada as well) culture:
And make no mistake: irony tyrannizes us. The reason why our pervasive cultural irony is at once so powerful and so unsatisfying is that an ironist is impossible to turn down. All U.S. irony is based on an implicity "I don't really mean what I'm saying." So what does irony as a cultural norm mean to say? That it's impossible to mean what you say? That maybe it's too bad it's impossible, but wake up and smell the coffee already? Most likely, I think, today's irony ends up saying: "How totally banal of you to ask what I really mean." Anyone with the hertical gall to ask an ironist what he actually stands for ends up looking like an hysteric or a prig. And herein lies the oppressiveness of institutionalized irony, the too-successful rebel: the ability to interdict the question without attending to its subject is, when exercised, tyranny. It is the new junta, using the very tool that exposed its enemy to insulate itself.
The word of the day is tweaking.
Oh, I'm feeling kinda #330099....
"Patting self on back combined with transparent toadying Dept.": I was added to Camworld's weblog list! And Captain Cursor's! I really should add a list of my favorite weblogs - I can tell you that most of my hits have been from other weblogs, and I need to do what I can to promote my favorite weblogs (among which I count Camworld and Captain Cursor of course!) Something to do this weekend, especially if it keeps raining. Brilliant thunderstorms last night, though. Note - you can see my current weblog.com favorite list with Have Browser's travel listings. Alert readers will note the absence of Captain Cursor, this is because Taylor's bi-directional links, which makes weblogs.com think there's been an update when there hasn't been.