August 10th, 2003


CDs, laptop

I spent considerable time today figuring out what I want to go on two newCDs I burned. The first has the theme of 'endings', and is kind of depressing.The second has the theme of 'punk/goth'. I'm burning the second CD now,the first is already done. This time, my mp3s are of good enough qualitythat I didn't need to re-rip any of the source tracks. That's good --some of my CDs are in a box in my parents' basement.

I stopped by Giant Eagle today, and got more Saag Paneer, Oatmeal, andcat food. I remembered that there was an offer to order Saag Paneerin the last box I got, that I accidentally tossed. This time, I puled thecoupon out immediately, and went to the website. Alas, the discountis only for the vendor's Thai foods. However, they charge only about1/3rd the price that Giant Eagle wants for the same thing. Hmm.. there areshipping charges though, and that's pretty steep. If I order in enoughquantity, I can save a lot of money though. Tempting. Saag Paneer, mailordered. Hmmmmmmmm

I've decided that I definitely need a laptop for when school starts.I'm going to make it happen, and if it means that I'm going to need todip into my emergency funds, so be it. I can't take notes by hand, andI've been wanting to be able to program when out and about for some time now.So, here's my needs:

It must run Linux. I've been thinking about it, and although OSX is nice inseveral ways, I don't want to experiment with it on such an important machinein my life. Sorry Apple.

It should have wireless. CMU has wireless everywhere, and some other placesaround town have it too. I also don't really want to run ethernet all theway from my computer room to my living room. 802.11g would be nice, but b willdo.

Trackpoint would be a big plus. Otherwise I'll just carry an external mousearound with me. I might need to do that anyhow -- few laptops have 3 buttonson their builtin mouse.

Battery life is really important. I might get a spare, just in case.

It must be reasonably fast, and have decent RAM.

I would prefer it not have a builtin modem.

I've been talking with a friend who I trust quite a lot on these issues,and he sped my research along quite a bit. I was already inclined to lookat Dell and IBM, and he suggested I also check out Fujitsu. He suggested afew specific models from IBM and Fujitsu. I'll check them out tomorrow inmore detail, and probably make a choice either tomorrow or Monday, at whichtime I'll make the financial arrangements to clear my credit card entirelyso I'll have enough credit to order it.

I shall now attempt to sleep.


Biblical MIDI

And then, Pat felt the desire, long dormant, to play dramatic music fromhis MIDI collection. He started to invoke his servant timidity in the realmof holly, but alas, his urge was checked -- holly was silenced by Pat's ownorder, on account of clicks and pauses from holly's sound card being crappy.And lo, Pat typed the commands on trustworthy forrester, rejuvinated withSuSE. And the tunes played.. and Pat did scratch his head. Alas, the tunesdid not sound as good as he recalled. So Pat did play with soundfonts, andthings of that nature, and noticed some things were broken in SuSE'sAlpha configuration. Pat did then have an idea. He made a WAV file from hismidis, using the near-useless timidity on forrester, and played it over NFSusing forrester's own soundcard. And yea! The sound was good. But, this wasawkward. Why, pray tell, was forrester's timidity of so much lesser qualitythan holly's? Pat scratched his head, and came upon an idea.

holly:~$ rpm -ql timidityforrester:~$ rpm -ql timidity

Woe! SuSE's timidity came with a dearth of instruments, compared with Redhat's bounty. So, Pat crossed his fingers, entered into /usr/share/timidity,and typed the following magic commands:mkdir oldmv * oldscp -r pgunn@holly:/usr/share/timidity .mv timidity/* .rmdir timidity

And yea, the sounds of Pat's midis were good forever after.

Anyhow, my legs have been really really sore, partly from the bike fall,and partly from that run yesterday. I noticed today that the left one hasan ugly bruise on the muscle, and the right one has a bruise near the hip.My neck has actually been really sore recently too. It's one of those raretimes when I could use one of the massages I love to give out to my chosen..but alas, I don't have a chosen now, and both of the ones I did have weremore of the 'get massage' attitude than the 'give massage'. Oh well. Maybeit's just a matter of figuring out the right way to stretch the sore spots,or maybe I can self-massage those parts. Ouch. Oh well, at least my midissound good.

Yesterday, I was reading National Graphic at Tree, and an interesting issue wasbrought up twice. One form of it is the desire to protect native cultures fromassimilation, in this case uncontacted tribes of Africa. Christian missionariesare raising a stink that they're not allowed to go in there and spread theirrot. Well, I don't give a damn about them -- they're among the worst species ofhumanity, spreading guilt, self-consciousness, and hampering the free spiritof man with their chains. Just like the bastard marketers telling you thatyou need Nike, and oh-so-conveniently being able to point you right at thestore to buy them, these assholes go in, plant all their stupid notions ofguilt and sin and other poisons to the soul, so they can be needed by nearlyevery human on earth. Even those who break free of that stupid meme, orthose on whom it never manages to take (hi there!) can never be free in anenslaved society. Witness the objectivists, who lift the mouse trap open justwide enough that they can slip from that trap into a bigger one. I tell you,only when we seriously consider the question of how to live a good life, anddon't take our morality from others, will we be free. No dictates from on high,no worship of money, and no dishonestly complex single notions of liberty willmake you free. Ahem.. I've gotten off topic, haven't I?

The question is, what is to be done of the last humans to not be contactedby such stuff? Free association? Do the missionaries get to expose their ideasto everyone on the planet? It's such a difficult issue, and surprisingly, I'mnot coming to a conclusion on this one yet. They're everywhere else, do theyneed to be there too? Should a community be able to close itself from suchthings? This kind of ties back to my local versus national control thoughts ingovernment, and I have two different instincts fighting here. I'm obligatedto either say the Christians should be able to go in there, or say thatlocal control is more important, and cede my federalist (versus statist)stance. Or, I need to explain why the situations are not the same. All this forconsistancy. I've been in contact, through Zets, who has a very very strongopinion for rights to cultural integrity. I'm not sure how that's helping meframe the issue -- I'm generally against notions of group rights, although I'mnot sure of the shape of my thoughts on how sovereignty works... Hmm. Anythoughts on this issue are indeed welcome...

Off to coffee tree, after I have a nice, refreshing cup of water. Mmm...there's few things in life as wonderful as really really cold, pure water.That's partly why mostly giving up on pop was easy for me. Hell, if CMU'swater situation wern't so lousy, I probably wouldn't drink so much tea there..But sometimes tea is good in itself.. maybe it's demeaned in my mind bythe way that I usually drink it there for other reasons though...I wonder if anyone would mind if I brought a water filter thing to work there..Anyhow... too much talk, too little water.