October 2003 Archives

Mr. Anderson! Surprised to See Me?

Agent Smith
Agent Smith

And now, some website I've never heard of asks, which sci-fi/fantasy character are you?

Can't say as I'm all that surprised. Mr. Anderson.

Now I just need to figure out how to overwrite other systems. The world could do with a few more of me. Or at least, I could.

I'm going to be honest with you. I hate this place. This zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it.

Dodge, Rambler!


I feel guilty about not updating this, but because I'm still not entirely sure what the point of this thing is it's not entirely difficult to rationalize my procrastination.

I can use my iPod in my car now. It's really cool.

I had a cassette adapter in my poor old smooshed Saturn, so I used my iPod with a cassette deck adapter in there. My new (not so terribly new anymore, actually) Civic has only a CD player and radio, however, so the old solution was out.

Since I'm morally opposed to broadcasting on FM and using that particular hack (in no small part because of experiences with this technology back when I was living in Intelligent-Storage-Land), I decided to go with a thoroughly nerdy solution; I took apart my dashboard, hooked up a an adapter, and now my stereo deck think my iPod is a standard Honda 6-disc CD changer.


Obviously this is a suboptimal solution; the Belkin TuneDok (hate that name) is cheesy, despite being the least-cheesy solution available. Some day some car company will have the foresight to build an iPod dock right into the car, with automatic interfacing to the stereo. Or perhaps some kind of a general purpose area into which a wide variety of docking stations could be seemlessly inserted.

I should patent that.

Not a Leprechaun...


I am forced to the conclusion that Quizilla is far too insightful to be ignored. I usually take these tests when they're not too long and seem somewhat interesting, but this is the first time the results have amused me quite this much.

The title of this post is, of course, an obscure Buffy reference. I feel compelled to state this explicitly because I know of only one other person on Earth who would get the joke otherwise.

Form 9, Vampire: The Undying

"And The Vampire was all that remained on the blood drowned creation. She attempted to regrow life from the dead. But as she was about to give the breath of life, she was consumed in the flame of The Phoenix and the cycle began again."

Some examples of the Vampire Form are Hades (Greek) and Isis (Egyptian). The Vampire is associated with the concept of death, the number 9, and the element of fire. Her sign is the eclipsed moon.

As a member of Form 9, you are a very realistic individual. You may be a little idealistic, but you are very grounded and down to earth. You realize that not everything lasts, but you savor every minute of the good times. While you may sometimes find yourself lonely, you have strong ties with people that will never be broken. Vampires are the best friends to have because they are sensible.

Quizilla asks, "Which Mythological Form Are You?"

Funny Story


So I walk into my programming class last week, sit down, complete the weekly quiz in about five minutes, and leave.

I got it back today. It turns out it wasn't actually a quiz. It was the midterm.

I need to start paying better attention.

Titles Are Hard


Follow up question; if I don't believe in Heaven or Hell, why do I consistently capitalize said metaphysical destinations?

Introduced MCK to her birthday present. I'll leave it to her whether to unveil it publically, but she did seem to like it.

I Feel Like a Vampire


Not for any of the usual reasons. It just seem lately that whenever I find myself engaged in introspection I come up with nothing; my attempts at reflection are thwarted by the fact that there's not all that much to reflect.

I know I'm a no-frills sort of person; I don't feel all that much all that often. I sometimes fool myself that I'm just the proverbial still waters running deep, but on some level I know that's not true. I experience affection in the same way Data does; "As I experience certain sensory input patterns, my mental pathways become accustomed to them. The inputs are eventually anticipated and even missed when absent".

Which of course leads me back to the one question that haunts me day and night; does this make me a bad person?

I'd like to argue that the simple fact that I worry about this amounts to an answer in the negative, but that also feels like self delusion.

And while I'm on the subject, why do I even care whether I'm good or evil when I don't believe in Heaven or Hell?

Quoth Sean: w00t!





It Could Work!


Random thought for the night: Tetris is NP-complete, and thus difficult for a computer to solve. Tetris is also fairly easy for quite a few humans. Stay with me, here. If you have a convenient algorithm for solving an NP-complete problem, it's trivial (for folks who know how) to convert this algorithm to solve any NP-complete problem. Right?

I have this image of a room full of kids, sitting at terminals, playing Tetris, unaware that the game they're playing is a translation of another NP-complete process entirely. Think of the game room from Ender's game, but they're all actually playing Tetris, never knowing that they're winning a galactic war or whatever.

This is either really cool or really dumb.


Sean sleeps now.



Monkey Boy just got Warcraft 3. We just played. I just beat him.

This is a rather odd occurrence, and not one that will likely be soon repeated.

He's consistently better than I at StarCraft. Always was. First-person shooters, too. I just don't have the reflexes to compete.

In a week or so, once he's got the hang of W3, he'll be schooling me without breaking a sweat.

I miss Warcraft 2. The game was slow, slow to the point where it became boring at times, but as a result it was a much different game. In StarCraft or Warcraft 3, manual dexterity plays a large and central role - being able to micro-manage your units and buildings allow you to produce more productively, and thus crush your opponent more... crushingly.

Warcraft 2 had much less frantic clicking involved, and as a result there was more room for strategy. I would routinely kill Monkey Boy, often by sailing around him and building a camp right behind his main town. It was funny, and it was fun, and it was possible because the management aspects of the game were sufficiently simplistic that I could devote the majority of my efforts to strategic planning and troop movements, rather than making sure my peons were chopping down trees appropriately.

I'll say it again: I miss Warcraft 2.

In many ways it's similar to the argument I had with Chum on CSMGA about the Clan Lord user interface several years back; my position is that the game should be modified to counteract the failings of the human-computer interface. His position was that those failings are a part of the game, and are an intentional attempt at increasing the difficulty. He's still wrong. Clan Lord doesn't want to be Quake, it wants to be chess. So does Warcraft.

Do you really think that me being stronger or faster has anything to do with my muscles, in this place?



For anyone who cares, the 'correct' username and password for the Underscore Hosting site are islp4142 and f9dds33, respectively.

Unfortunately this information is entirely useless, as my IP isn't acceptable.

New working theory: doing some portscans, it appears that some of these sites have telnet/ssh enabled. Perhaps with appropriate credentials, such as those of the elusive Beth, we might obtain shell access to a machine that does have an acceptable IP, and might then use telnet or lynx from there to retrieve useful information?

I'm wondering if there actually is a puzzle here. It seems inconceivable that someone would dig a rabbit hole quite this deep...



As any Matrix fan with near-perfect recall of useless information could undoubtedly tell you, Mr. Thomas Anderson, also known by the hacker alias 'Neo', worked at a company called Metacortex prior to his untimely disappearance.

Image my surprise at being introduced to Metacortechs.com. And, of course, a number of other very interesting sites.

For those keeping score at home, Elizabeth McConnell seems to be walking the same path as a certain Mr. Anderson, and Phillip Gairden seems to be encouraging her. Steven Walsh is just a little bit scary, perhaps because of the somewhat odd disappearance of former CEO (?) James Avery.

Beth doesn't have a very secret password for her MetaDex account, but she doesn't seem to use the same one everywhere. Damn. On the up side, Underscore doesn't have a terribly impressive security system... working on that as we speak, it's only a matter of time.

Oddly, MetaDex.net seems to have ports open for Napster and Gnutella, which seems like something worth looking at more closely.

On the off chance someone finds this, collaboration would be welcome.

Know What I Hate?



But specifically, right now, for the moment, I hate non-English speakers who post to English mailing lists with no formatting, punctuation, or capitalization.

If you're from one of those weird far-eastern places where the alphabet is longer than many novels, fine, maybe you have an excuse. But if you're French, you get no-freaking-sympathy.

French has capital letters at the start of a sentence. French has comma rules that are largely in line with English. French has a logical structure that lends itself to separating thoughts into different paragraphs.

The same goes for German, for that matter. And Italian. Spanish too. Basically any language they speak in Europe, as far as I know.

I swear to God, the next time some French moron posts to the Darwin-Dev mailing list with a nonsensical string of un-capitalized, un-punctuated letters, I'm going to track that fuckwit down and bury him up to his neck in sand.


Geek Communication


I use the term 'geek' as a general shorthand for technically-minded people, with the subtle hint at moderately lacking social skills.

I use the term 'geek' in reference to myself fairly regularly.

I've noticed that we, as a stereotype, have difficulties establishing communication. Once you know that both parties are geeks (and that they are geekish in similar fields) they can transfer information at a truly remarkable pace. But knowing this is never easy.

I understand how IP networking works. Better than a great many professional sysadmins, I'd imagine. But trying to convince another geekish human being that I'm able to handle these matters on my own is proving to be a bit of a sticking point.

Oh well. I'll just use the standard Sean system. Ignore everybody else, do it right, and hope they don't ask any questions.

Backup plan: If they ask questions, distract them with something brightly colored or shiny, and then run.

Backup backup plan: Two words... Klondike Bar. I'm not sure how this plan works, but I have a good feeling about it.

Mmmm. Klondike Bar.