September 2003 Archives

Creature Feep


Just when I'm moving up into number two in a basic google search (w00t!), they have to go and introduce the geographically-limited google search. Which is cool, no doubt, but it's another search engine that I'll need to convince of my supremity among Sean Kerwins. Unfortunately, it's not working properly at the moment (probably has something to do with making the front page of Slashdot) so I can't see what it thinks of me. I suspect not much, however, as there's no explicit mention of my location anywhere on the site.

Which is too bad, 'cause it's really pretty nice down here in southwest Florida. Plenty sunny up here in Estero, but I suspect it may be raining down home in Naples.

Fun, Fun, Fun


It may be a side-effect of the general mental sickness that seems to define so much of my personality, but I'm actually enjoying this whole server configuration/administration thing. I beleive I've got Apache doing name-based virtual hosting now, which means that I could in theory generate a plethora of subdomains to Such as, for instance,, which will someday be the home of my longest-running project ever.

Domeign is my working title for an online game I've been working on, on-and-off, for nearly five years now. The (current) basic gist of the project is that it's a highly distributed multi-user online environment, geared towards simulating a complex world based on several basic first prinicples. Specifically, instead of having explicit code for creating an in-game object, the object would be created by other in-game objects and would basically represent a chunk of raw code that the game's virtual machine would execute according to the 'laws' of the game world.

I'm simplifying things a bit in this explanation, but I think anyone with much programming knowledge will probably see what I'm getting at. Obviously the big challenge here is in defining a virtual machine within which any arbitrary chunk of data can be treated as a program and executed without fatal errors.

I think I'm getting there, slowly.

I Lied


Well, it wasn't actually a lie. I did say 'probably'.

Once an idea gets in my head it has a tendency to just bounce around randomly, often knocking other things over, until I let it escape into the world.

And the answer is no, for whatever that's worth.



There is another Mac user on my subnet. I'm reminded of him every night when I shut down my computer and iTunes notifies me that there's a user connected to my library.

I usually just click OK and go to bed.

Still, it strikes me what an incredibly odd technology Rendezvous has the potential to be. I have Rendezvous enabled in Safari, and nothing has come up as of yet. I'm half-tempted to turn on local access for iChat just to see if anyone else on the network has had the same thought.

But I'm probably not going to.

Not Punny


I need to get a Razor Scooter, or some rollerblades, or something. Hell, even a Segway would do.

I just hate walking everywhere. It's so damned pedestrian.



Slept late today. Slept right through Calc 2, as a matter of fact. Good thing it's a ridiculously easy class.

And a silly ridiculously easy class at that. What the hell's the point of putting extra credit questions on the test if you're not going to give me the 105% I deserve?!

And as long as I'm ranting, what reasonably intelligent person doesn't know how to pronounce 'Sean'? I swear to God, I'm going to make a list of these morons and send it Sean Connery. He'll kick their asses for me, I'm sure of it.

Maybe that's why I'm such a uniformly disgruntled cynical bastard - I've had people pronouncing my name wrong since the day I was born.

It's not Shawn, or Shaun, or Shon, or John. It's not Shane. It's sure as hell not Seen. The name is Sean, morons. If you can't wrap your head around the existence of non-English phonetic systems, then why don't you do us all a favor and wrap your heads around a telephone pole.

The world is full of stupid people.

Deja Vu All Over Again


He's an idiot.

I thought at first that he might be a reasonably intelligent person with a minimal understanding of English and a rather crappy job, but no.

Anybody who can argue with a straight face that there's a functional difference between setting a first line indent and just hitting tab in Word really doesn't know what he's talking about. "Well on my compiler [computer?] it is always us [obvious?] that there are difference between fist [first] LAN [line] indent and the tab. The tab can have a different with [width] on a different compiler [computer]." Obviously he doesn't understand that the tab 'with' is stored in the 'fire'. Jesus Christ.

Is This Thing On?


This site was always intended as a private exercise in narcism - at least for the moment, there's nothing here that anyone but me would be interested in.

And yet I seem to have visitors.

Greetings, unknown Mindspring user, unidentified Comcast subscriber, and unnamed patron of USLec. I wish I could be more entertaining, but that hardly seems likely.

I'm going to guess you're lost. In which case I'd advise you translate the title; it won't actually solve any problems, but denial is much more compelling in a dead language.

How Interesting


It would appear that Meaghan has a blog. Fascinating.

There is almost certainly some way for this new (and, apparently, privileged) information to be used for evil.


AT&T Just Doesn't Want My Money


I haven't written yet of the cellphone saga. The backstory:

The Kerwin family has three cellphones with AT&T Wireless. The phones and the accompanying service was originally purchase from CellularOne, which (in this area at least) was purchased by AT&T. As a result, we have a calling plan that no longer exists, with phones that are no longer supported.

We've been looking to upgrade our service, but we don't want to change our phone numbers, so (for the moment at least) we need to stay with AT&T. Because of problems with our voicemail service that I'm led to believe are endemic to AT&T's TDMA cell network, we were also planning to switch to their GSM network.

But they won't let us.

It would increase our monthly bills by a not-insubstantial amount, and would require a fairly significant one-time outlay for the handsets, but they stubbornly refuse to budge one bit in helping us. It makes me wonder how this blasted company stays in business. Every time we've interacted with AT&T in any way we've been disappointed; the woman at the local AT&T Wireless store has lied to us, the website goes up and down like a bloody yo-yo, the phone support personnel vary from clueless to downright malevolent. When cellular number portability kicks in, we are so out of here.

I certainly hope everyone does the same. AT&T doesn't deserve to exist.

Ongoing Adventures in CSS


I've taken the time in this thoroughly unrelated class to ensure that things display correctly in IE6. I fully expect to return to my room, fire up my computer, and learn that these changes wreck things on a standards-compliant browser. Sigh. Ergo doleo.

I need to get that on a shirt.

If I Had A Hammer


Hypothetical question: You find a genie.

Maybe it's an attractive female genie with an inexplicably hidden navel, maybe it's an amorphous blue smoke cloud that sounds vaguelly like Robin Williams and has a tendency to break into song.

It doesn't matter. The point is, the genie grants you one wish.

It's a thinker. Money? Power? Women? I'd like to think I could get those on my own, if properly motivated. I'm forced to the conclusion that the only things worth wishing for are things that can't be obtained through non-supernatural means.

Assuming the genie takes the sensible precaution of disallowing wishes for additional wishes or wishes for omnipotence, I'm down to wishing for the ability to sing or the ability to do a decent impression of Christopher Walken.

I'm not normal, am I?

And, by the way: You're... in grave danger!



The dynamics of large organizations are inherently dysfunctional.

The government is dysfunctional.

PRMS was dysfunctional. CSN was dysfunctional. CMU was unbearably dysfunctional. SmartDisk was entertainingly dysfunctional.

FGUC is also dysfunctional.

Every Tuesday at two I take a class called 'Styles and Ways of Learning'. Although I find the class itself conceptually obnoxious, I'm amused and pleased to find that one of the texts for the course is concerned with downplaying the importance or rote memorization and mindless regurgitation in education.

Every Monday at 6:30 I take a call called 'Introduction to Business'. Although I find the class itself conceptually appealing, I'm amused and dismayed to find that the teacher is the sort who basically stands in front of the class and reads from the text for the entire time. Furthermore, when she's not reading from the text, she's showing us the PowerPoint slides that came with the text, or the movies that came with the text, or mentioning the CD and web site that accompany the text. And to make matters worse, the text itself is a tech-bubble anachronism, filled with jeering about how the internet will change everything. There are actually sidebars talking about wonderful new dotcom companies that in this modern world of the future no longer exist. In fact there's only one dotcom that the book seems down on... you guessed it, one of the very few still in existence: Amazon. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. (I'm also amused to note how goddamned up the book is on GE, the company that's lost me, what, four grand? over the last several years.)

How can these elements be logically reconciled? Don't bother answering, it's a rhetorical question.

Notes To Self 2: Reminder's Return


The left margin or padding of the main content block isn't displaying correctly in IE 6. Also, the MT icon/link is displaying with a brightly-colored box around it. I think Mozilla did the same thing, come to think of it.

Apparently MT isn't smart enough to close HTML tags that are open at the end of a post. I left the slash out of an italics-closing tag, and ended up with the rest of the page slanting to the right. Which is find for me, 'cause I'm kinda conservative, but not really the effect I was going for.

I suppose if I were a good open-source consumer I'd go looking for the appropriate section of MT code and add a patch to ensure that all entries close all their tags. Maybe if I'm exceptionally bored. And I beat Splinter Cell. Err, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell. Friggin' egomaniac.

I Still Hate This Class


Need to set up the server to auto-reboot after a power outage. And I should probably put a surge protector on it. I need to figure out a way to edit my to-do list on the fly. That would be cool.

Seems to be displaying correctly in IE 6 right now. Haven't tried it on IE 5 or IE 5.5 Win yet. I think I have those on my VPC image? Apparently Microsoft, Apple, and Netscape are all similarly stupid when it comes to the interaction of no-wrap spans within a compact box, so I don't think there any way to get the effect I'm looking for with the lyric excerpts. Perhaps the solution is to transform them to lowercase and modify the excerpt script to put backslashes between lines rather than enclosing lines in spans. Not my idea of an optimal solution.

Splinter Cell is a cool game. Err, I mean: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell is a cool game. Friggin' egomaniac. Still, I must take back some of the bad things I've said about the XBox. The first-gen controller are fricking enormous though. Big, big, big! Penny Arcade called that one correctly.

I Hate the Internet


Completely redid the CSS. Looks nice in Safari and Mozilla. Looks bad in Mac IE 5. Haven't seen it in anything Winteloid as of yet.

Disabled comments and 'trackback' (whatever the hell that may be), but it's not like anybody will ever even find this site, so I can't see how that'll be a problem.



I honestly can't understand anything this guy says. The problem isn't really the accent; I have sufficient experience with oriental accents to do okay with that. The problem is that he pronounces words incorrectly in such a way that he's actually saying another unrelated word perfectly. So, I present to me the Intro to Computers to English dictionary:

When he says [...], he really means [...]

SupplyThe Apply [Button]

Bugger All


IE 6 seems to render my newly-widened calendar as a full-page-width block beneath both columns. I can't think of any good reason why, excpet that Microsoft is retarded. Add it to the to-do list, I guess.

Luckily, the new-new positioning of the new Ixian logo seems to show up correctly here. Yay?



Well, here's something I can do in this bloody 'intro to computers' course. I can write seditious comments on my blog. Nifty.

I swear to God, this guy has never actually heard English spoken aloud. Grr.

On the upside, the stupid-touchy-feely-hippy class might be fun if I play things right... the teacher seems willing to beleive that my argumentativeness, cynicism, and sarcasm represent a legitimate and unwilling effort to play the Devil's advocate. I think.

Not an easy woman to read, come to think of it. I'm going to call that a compliment.

Note to Self


The sidebar needs to get a fixed width somehow, or the calendar needs to be taught to center itself.

Are We There Yet?


Well, the layout is getting to the point where I'm going to stop playing with it.

Yeah, right.

I don't think I quite like the way the Ixian logo up in the corner looks yet. But the colors seem to be working, at least to my artistically disinclined eyes. Yay?

And So It Continues To Begin


Style is hard. Colors are hard. Style with colors is even harder.


They certainly didn't design the styling side of MT with idiots like me in mind. Granted, it's worlds away better than blogger, but still.