Wednesday, April 30, 2008

PC Guy? Not Really...

I was listening to Marketplace today (not my first choice, but it's alright if it's on), and during their listener comments segment, the host interviewed John Hodgman. If you're not much with the names, as I'm not, they introduced him as the PC guy in "those Apple ads". Apparently he's also a regular on The Daily Show.

Anyway, he's actually a mac guy:

You're wondering, perhaps, what kind of computer Hodgman uses? He's says he's been a Mac guy since the 1980's, if you don't count a seven-year detour into PCs back during the 90's. He says he's got an iMac at home.

There you have it. Even the PC guy isn't a PC guy. We'll take over eventually, y'know.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Life and Death in Thirty Seconds (A poem!)

I've written a poem. I don't do poetry, so I have no idea if it's good or not. But, seeing as it's National Poetry month for only a few more days, I figured I'd better hop to it. That, and I'm not afraid at all to publish tasteless trash. You should see my Youtube!

Life and Death in Thirty Seconds

He was driving too fast;
The road was wet.
Seventy, eighty, ninety...
"You need to slow the hell down," I said,
And he did, but only a little.
The speedometer climbed again.

We passed, on the side of the road,
A car that had already slid off a gentle curve
And stopped in a ditch.
Passed quickly, mind, and sped right on.
Then we started to slide, ourselves.
We slid.

I felt the speed when we left the road:
Tires flitting briefly over tufts of grass,
So fast, we flew!
A hill appeared ahead,
And the engine revved?
Our driver is no longer with us...

Whoosh! Not a crash;
An all-energy-expelled whoosh.
We really were flying now.
I watched the horizon tilt in slow motion,
Hoping we'd crash before it went vertical,
But it passed vertical, now upside-down, still mid-air.

"I love you," Ma said, already resigned.
Not to me, but to our driver.
In her voice, a question: "Why?"
I never heard the crash;
Didn't even feel it.
I just... woke up.

What a horrible waste of time,
If we woke up and remembered
Hazily, the dream we dream now.
The ultimate importance of NOW
Becomes a shrug, a fading memory,
Forgotten in a real waking hour.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ah, Youtube

I am amused. Found these on WTF_Nature, where I'll admit to spending more time than I should.


That reminds me -- I should update the Blogroll.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

It's Better with Cheese

Whine, that is. Actually it's pretty rank regardless of what you use to mask the rotten flavor, but that's not my point. I had to use a clever title. Because I'm clever like that.

I've spent the last three days wrestling with a Windows 2000 installation. I got the idea to install Windows on the sandbox when I decided it'd be fun to have a LAN party of two, and since Win2k was the last that didn't deal with the stupid activation crap, that was my choice. I don't want to BUY the operating system. I just want to play with it. It's a sandbox, after all.

Many hours later (after a wonky install that forced a domain login and the buggering up of Win2k Server within ten minutes of playing in places I shouldn't), I've got a working installation. The first thing I did -- I'm a geek, of course -- was to fire up Nessus (which, to my delight, now has a native OS X version) and aim it at my freshly installed Windows box. Ouch. Despite having SP4 already installed, I found three "Arbitrary code execution" vulnerabilities right off the bat. I'm in the process of patching up right now, which will take a couple additional hours.

Sadly, the thing won't play Guild Wars. I mean, it does run, but the framerate is a whopping two or three frames per second at the lowest resolution. Considering I have a screaming 1.3Mhz processor and a 64MB ATI Raedon 7000 video card (c'mon, it's a sandbox, not a gaming rig), I'm surprised it even installed without making a nervous mess on the floor. So much for Guild Wars, but it'll still be a fun experiment.

I'm not whining. Right. Well.

Windows 2000 takes about an hour to format an NTFS partition (depending on size, of course). Once it's installed, it comes with a TON of services enabled and running, which, as Nessus easily demonstrated, is pretty durned dangerous. If I'd been connected directly to the internet, we'd already have a virus-infected machine on our hands. Beyond all that, the operating system is very much like a special, secret club in high school -- they do everything differently (and often, it seems, just for the sake of it), so you've got to be schooled all over again in exactly what's cool and what's not.

I'm not sure what takes the Windows installer so long to format a drive -- WinXP has a "quick format" feature built into it, at least, but fdisk has never, as long as I've used it, had any sort of "go out and eat dinner and it might be done when you get back" problem.

I'm also not sure what all these vulnerable services are about -- why, exactly, do I need a service called "Remote Procedure Call"? Why, also, would I want to share my hard drive with the LAN? Currently, my production Gentoo server is hanging out with 35 running processes, and all but the background system processes were specifically installed and enabled by the administrator. My freshly installed Win2k Pro machine has 20 running processes (assuming I can trust the task manager to include everything), and it's not doing anything but sitting there.

Finally, and most significantly, I have no idea how to effectively administer a Windows machine. Each of the Windows server products (IIS, MSSQL, Active Directory) is a foreign language (Have you seen the wiki on LDAP? Gibberish!), and to learn them requires a ton of background in still more specific, proprietary operating system voodoo. I still don't know what the registry does, apart from hold information that should be in a .conf file to begin with, and I've been using Windows since I was a kid. Personally, I'm disinclined to learn this magic. The phrase "vendor lock-in" relays a powerful message, and I take it seriously. If I were a veterinarian, I'd not spend tremendous amounts of energy learning the biology of a freakish creature like Barbourula kalimantanensis, because while it may help my understanding of biology a bit, it's really too narrow a topic to apply to the broader science of veterinary medicine. I'll learn what I need to get by (that is, which buttons to hit to achieve the desired goal), but truly, I'm not that interested in treating lungless frogs the rest of my life. (See? Lungless isn't even a word, according to Firefox's built-in spell check). It's just too obscure to mean anything.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Overeducated Twit tagged me for a meme I've seen floating around lately. I feel so popular...

After a bit of thought, I've come up with a couple:

Lives life searching for dog's tranquility.

Quest Reward: Sage's Shroud of Truth

And, for the moment:

Sitting in the driveway enjoying spring.

Six-word stories are fun (the first place I saw this sort of thing). There are a bunch posted at Wired. If I had to choose a favorite, I'd pick Orson Scott Card's: "The baby's blood type? Human, mostly."