Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Writing Right? Writing Left?

It all depends on what's in between.

They say, "Write what you know." So what do I know? I know a little about a lot of things and a lot about a few things. Ok, so what are my passions/interests? In no particular order, we have:
  • My son
  • Sumo
  • Music
    • Listening
    • Creating
  • Formula 1
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
    • Books
    • Film
    • TV
  • Languages
    • Spoken
    • Programming
At least this is what comes to mind. What little mind I have left. That brings up another topic I have some experience with. Disability. I could write about what has happened to me over the last 10 or 15 years; how my disability has affected my life and family. But can I actually come up with something to write? Something worth writing?

That, as they also say, is the question.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Flock o' flocks

I just happened onto an interesting gecko based web browser named Flock, thanks to an article on TechRepublic. It's like Firebird but is built for personal networking (or whatever they're calling it now). It's got hooks for Flickr and Blogger and other picture and blog sites. It made a bit of a mess importing my bookmarks file from Firebird but I need to really clean that up. I have approximately 4180 sites bookmarked. I'm sure there's at least 20 or 30 dups but that still leaves a TON of crap. If I can figure out how to make Evolution open it as the default browser when I click on links in email I may try this bad boy out for a while.

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 Thailand Military, Police Seized Power Japan: "Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand's military and police leaders said they had seized power in a coup overnight without meeting any resistance and announced the ouster of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra." Asia: "Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Thailand's monarch confirmed coup leader Sondhi Boonyarataklin as the head of a new interim government after the armed forces ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra." Asia: "Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Sondhi Boonyarataklin, the Thai army chief who yesterday ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, spent most of this year vowing to keep his troops out of politics."

Since my visit to Thailand in early 2002 I have had an affinity and appreciation for this country and it's cultures. I hope that this situation stabilizes quickly as they are still in serious straits from the Tsunami.

Where the bigger men fly -

Where the bigger men fly - New Zealand's source for travel news on "Think of sumo and you probably think of a bunch of overweight guys grappling each other in oversized G-strings. But delve a little deeper into the folds, so to speak, and you'll find there's a lot more to Japan's most revered sport. A sumo tournament can make for a fascinating day's entertainment in Japan and once you learn the basic rules you'll find it's easy to get caught up in the action."

I have been a fan of Sumo for many years but it wasn't until Spring of 2003 that I was actually able to follow, watch and truly enjoy the world that is Sumo. That is when I discovered the Sumo Mailing List [previous archives]. This led to the discovery of many web sites and the introduction of many extremely knowledgeable people. One thing that really surprises people is when they learn Sumo is a Martial Art. But Sumo is much more than just a sport or Martial Art. It's a culture. A way of life. Once you become a Rikishi (pronounced "Rik'she") you are one 24-7. It's probably the closest thing to being a samurai, from the perspective of western society,that is left today. All you need to do is actually see a few bouts to get an appreciation of the strength and agility these men have. It can truly be amazing.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Federal judge declares boating illegal in all US navigable waters

Federal judge declares boating illegal in all US navigable waters: "In a rather bizarre ruling that has marine industry officials worried, Judge Robert G. James of the United States District Court, Western Division of Louisiana, has said that it is criminal trespass for the American boating public to boat, fish, or hunt on the Mississippi River and other navigable waters in the US."

All in the name of Security. Next it will be determined that driving on the Interstate is illegal. Just stay in our homes, never venturing out. That'll show those terrorists.

Crypto-Gram: September 15, 2006

Crypto-Gram: September 15, 2006: "The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets, or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act.

And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want."

Bruce Schneier's Crypto-Gram Newsletter is one that people should probably read whether they are techies or not. His observations on terrorism are so dead on it's unreal. I only wish that the media and politicians of the world had half the rationality and common sense that Bruce does.

What is offensive and what isn't?

The other day VH1 had another RockUmentary, this time entitled "Metal: a Headbangers Journey". This guy who was 13 in 1986, when Metal was actually accepted for a short time, grew up as a cultural anthropologist and decided to try and chronicle the Metal culture and to find an answer to the question, "Why is Heavy Metal music seen as evil by so many?"

A part of the film touched on the (in)famous Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), also known as the Washington Wives led by Tippy Gore. They wanted to ban some albums (big black vinyl things that came before CD's) and the vast majority of them were from the Metal genera. There were even hearings on Capitol Hill where various musicians came to testify. These included Frank Zappa, John Denver and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister (among others). The best part of these hearings, though, was how the musicians made fools of these idiots. Zappa was a passionate defender of the 1st Amendment. His arguments were rational (for him) and his knowledge quite extensive.

Dee came in dressed in full makeup, jeans and a t-shirt. This was also when he had his front two teeth filed down into points. The senators were expecting him to be a dumb, obscene psycho but he just ripped them a new one in a calm and eloquent way. He even made Al Gore all flustered when he was able to pretty much prove that Tippy had her mind in the gutter.

But the best of them all was John Denver. The committee brought him in expecting him to side with them and denounce this cursed music that was destroying our youth. Well, Mr. Denver lit into them like a righteous flame! Cutting down every argument that was brought up against the music. He so deflated the whole farce that it should have been dead and buried right there and then,

However, before the hearings were even finished, the RIAA (the most useless and dangerous organization against artists next to the MPAA) already caved in and started putting the stickers on LP's. We should have known then how the RIAA was going to be the greatest force to crush music and artistic freedom.

Long about this time Ice-T's Rap/Metal band Body Count released the song "Cop Killer" unto the masses. Oh what fun that was. But there were lots of groups and albums banned before this and many more since. The thing you'll notice is that Heavy Metal has a disproportionate presence on the list of banned material. Hell, there are songs on the radio now that make the stuff from the 80's sound like nursery rhymes, most notably Rap/Hip Hop. Yet it is Metal that is pointed to as the devils music and the destroyer of souls. How many times has it been blamed for some teen committing suicide? Judas Priest and Ozzy Osborne, among others, were sued because it was said their songs and music drove the kids to kill themselves. OC, the massive amount of drugs and alcohol consumed by the kids had nothing to do with it.

The afore mentioned film gets close to the answer. But the bottom line is that Hard Rock & Heavy Metal, in all it's vast sub-genera's, are different from everything else in that they give more positive feedback and a sense of belonging to anyone who is feeling lost or abandoned by society, The funny thing is that anyone who listens to this kind of music is the least likely to kill themselves. The most significant trigger of suicide is a feeling of hopelessness. If you listen to Black Sabbath "War Pigs", Iron Maidens "The Trooper", Motorheads "Ace of Spades", anything by AC/DC or any number of artists of the same ilk, there's no possible way you could ever feel hopeless.

Just try. I dare you.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The newest latest in Desktops

originally uploaded by x-nc.
Here's an update of the wonderful Xfce desktop environment. Here we have the first release candidate for version 4.4. You'll see there isn't much visibly different from Beta 2.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Desktop Linux -

Desktop Linux - "Linux today has less than 2% market share on the desktop. That's because with past versions of Linux only hackers could get Linux installed and running right. But a new batch of easier-to-use versions is putting Linux within reach of regular folks."

Maybe there's hope for Desktop Linux after all. Forbes is a recognized "big name" so hopefully there's some legitimacy along with it. Maybe.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Classic IQ Test

Your IQ score is: 133

"This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others."

"Your Intellectual Type is Facts Curator. This means you are highly intelligent and have picked up an impressive and unique collection of facts and figures over the years. You've got a remarkable vocabulary and exceptional math skills — which puts you in the same class as brainiacs like Bill Gates. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results."

This was taken on Tickle Tests so it likely doesn't hold to much water. The only thing that really bothered me about this was that in displaying my results they showed an image of someone who also fits those results. Bill Gates.

Man, I'd rather be an idiot.

Monday, September 04, 2006

FreeDOS 1.0 Released | The FreeDOS Project

FreeDOS | The FreeDOS Project: "FreeDOS 1.0 Yes, the FreeDOS Project has reached the '1.0' milestone. Download FreeDOS - or buy it on CDROM. This is a very important day for FreeDOS. A lot of you have put in so much work over the years, helping to make everything perfect. Even if you didn't contribute code, you helped out the FreeDOS Project by submitting comments and bug reports. Thank you!"

This is really pretty cool. I know I still have my copy of Desqview 386 around somewhere. Just need to find me an old computer and a modem then I'll setup the BBS I used to run back, oh, 15 or so years ago.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The latest in Desktops

originally uploaded by x-nc.
This is a screenshot of my current desktop. I'm running Xfce 4.4 Beta 2 with a few plug-ins. I still greatly miss the CDE compatibility configuration but we all can't have everything.