March 9th, 2006


Dejure-y Duty

Joke: Why were Zombie Movies not popular in the Soviet Union?
Answer: Because in Soviet Russia, Zombie eaten by you!

For parts of this weekend, I will be in New York City, on a road trip with some KGBers. I am probably going with them to a goth/industrial club called Albion Saturday night, and will be leaving afterwards (possibly after sleep?) with them all for DC. I don't know precisely how close I'll be needing to stay with the group -- Dave, Debb, if either of you see this and have time to hang out late night friday or sometime saturday, drop me a line. Yes, LIVE FROM NEW YORK, it'll be Pat Gunn (aka Improv). I hope to pack this weekend with fun, and to (gently) pack myself with Indian food. Some things that would be fun:

  • Walking a lot on the streets of NYC and DC
  • Hanging out with Debb or Dave
  • Having some very good Indian food
  • Having some Blintzes
  • Taking lots of cool photos (must remember to bring my camera)
  • Not having any car problems
  • Coffeeshops!
  • Museums!
  • Enjoying scenery on the way
  • Having other people share gas/toll costs
Oh, on the off chance I have some friends that have moved to DC since I last heard from them, if they want to hang out, they should contact me by phone ASAP. I believe the current plan is to leave Friday.

I'm feeling tired, but pretty good about myself. In 2 hours, I wrote a simple backup system (in Perl) for a contract programming/sysadmin thing I do. I may not be content with just programming (although doing a mix of C and Perl on a systems task is actually really nice), because it's not intellectually stimulating enough (I like the wonder involved in research and similar), but I am a really good systems programmer/admin, and that's something that I can be happy about. My new machine room is turning out nicely too (once the parts I forgot to order the first time around show up, I can complete the migration).

Some friends and I are thinking of starting up a webcast .. ermm.. podcast. It might be amusing. More info if/as it happens. Hopefully I'll have my webcomic up by then (although contract programming plus school plus very busy work schedule have kept said webcomic on the backburner so far). Still no news on buying an accordion either. I need to pick a pricerange -- apparently sells accordions, and I might buy one through there.

I am thinking of switching the software I use to manage the music on my Neuros -- I am increasingly irritated by the need to use the GUI for things. GUIs script poorly, and introduce barriers to letting users toss their data around any way they like. They may be great for visualisation (when they're written well), but for the way I think of computers, I don't think a good GUI is a step forward for most kinds of programs. For the few applications where I think a GUI is warranted (multimedia or for programs that might like to have multiple windows), the programs should be drivable by a controller application and should have all their working data available on disk in plain text format so I can pull data in/out from them, either via an automated script or via whatever commandline sequences I might find useful. GAIM (opensource IM client) is a well-behaved program by this metric, despite being GUI, and Firefox is only somewhat well-behaved (it has some binary files, and is far too complex). I believe the final stage of computer control, beyond having a good knowledge of how things work, is to begin to naturally be able to build incantations and scripts to build one's specific interests/will into how the computer works. Non-gui (and a very few other apps) are generally good in this respect -- it would not feel at all odd to me to build a long commandline, involving possibly some Perl, to look through every email I recieved in 2001 from a certain person, extract all the URLs from those mails, and progressively step through visiting to view each website's archive for the time closest to when the message was recieved. With a bit more glue I could write, the text of all those websites could be stuffed into a SQL database and be made available for download from my website through a dropdown. A pain? It would take me a bit of time, but I could do it. I often have done sophisticated queries on the logs GAIM leaves, because I can and because it's useful. It's hard for people who are more distant from the commandline to achieve that level of mastery over their computer. Oh, yeah, so back to the Neuros, I want a tool that's more scriptable than NeurosDBM. Hopefully Sorune will do the trick.

I wish I had not misplaced my GameBoyAdvance ages ago. It would've been fun to have on the hiking trip after this roadtrip.