July 15th, 2006


Arse of the Dragon

I had an amusingly bad idea, and realise that I already have the code to implement it without much more than a few minutes work. Implementing an RSS/Atom feed containing everything said on an IRC channel would not be difficult, taking only an IRC bot (which I've written), code to drop everything into a database (easy), a database schema (very easy), and code to respond to a web query by building a feed from that database (would take just minor tweaks). Because IRC is a very chatty environment, the number of articles served would be very large, so the feed size should be set high. The "very bad idea" part is largely that mismatch -- RSS/Atom feeds are meant more for small numbers of large items than vice versa. A close cousin might be more useful -- logging topic changes.

Recently I've been into small-choir music -- music by Die Prinzen, some recent Jonathan Coulton, etc.

I'm trying to decide on a design issue with my BLOG software -- do I want to have the CL injector synchronise to livejournal, or do I want the server software itself manage it? If I were to have pndc (the injector) do it, it would fit well into an idea I've been chewing on of having the injector being able to generate static HTML again (like the earliest versions of POUND), having a flexible publishing mechanism that does not strictly require a database. The downsides to that are that I wouldn't be able to rely on the database to get information and it would not work for entries posted through the web interface. The interface to update past entries on LJ looks a little bit hairy either way I choose to do it (involving a query to find the right LJ entry that I'm not sure how to do after a quick glance). This is basically a question on how tied pndc and pound should be. I'll probably chew on this a few more days and implement it whichever way seems to make more sense.

I've been concerned about rising tensions in Israel as the Lebanese-based Hezbollah kidnapped some soldiers, using them to attempt to barter release of prisoners. Not surprisingly, this was not productive and has led to incredible tension and mess. I wonder if peace is possible in the medium-term or not, or if this will escalate into full-scale war against Lebanon.

There's someone I know who seems to be blind to the way people act around them, unable to see that they're being treated as a sexual or trophy object. I'm not sure if it's worth telling them or not, because I don't know if they know but don't care/like it, are too naive to see it, or something else is going on. Part of me wonders of maybe disrupting this kind of pattern of human relation is really a good thing anyhow, in that people who play in that game eventually end up got, while those who don't tend not to be. Perhaps it's mostly subconscious anyhow, and wedging logic into it to pull it apart and inspect it kills it as surely as a screwdriver to a mouse. I keep thinking that no action is innocent if one would not do it as readily to one's own gender as to one's opposite (a thought I had to understand people's claims of "innocent" X, Y, or Z). There are some social truths that are at best impolite to point at, and are probably not that healthy to see regularly if one is to participate.

I'm slowly working on beating a website I've volunteered for into shape. I'm beginning to think that writing/using a custom preprocessor for the pages would be a good idea -- it would be the first time I've done this for awhile, but it seems justified given that the server I'm running it on is pretty low-powered and it's likely to get a fair number of hits.

The two journals I mentioned earlier are Far Eastern Affairs and Middle East Journal. Of the two, Far Eastern Affairs (which I've finished) seems to be marginally better, but both are things I could see myself subscribing to -- their perspective is amazingly different than most things I've read on international politics/issues. I would love to find other journals that cover India and Persia -- if anyone can suggest journals of this general sort that do that, that would be great.

In a "my-goodness-is-that-beautiful" moment, I love the discussion here on wikipedia, in particular as highlit by this comment: "I think we should discuss whether we find such linking desirable, and get back to the Scientific American representative only once we have consensus to avoid confusion". It is, in some sense, a little fragment of an ideal that's become reality, and it makes me very happy to be part of something that's like that.


Over the Edge of my Ears

I've noticed that, more than with any other type of music I have, choir music benefits a *lot* from good speakers or earphones. I noticed this when playing music (from Die Prinzen) I picked up at the southside today, first at the beehive with my earphones and then using my laptop's built-in speaker when I got home -- the earphones are remarkably better -- the particular song I'm using for comparison, "Mann im Mond" (an incredibly awesome song) loses almost all of its goodness coming out of substandard speakers. This may be at least partly because my earphones (Sony MDR-V150, for the curious) are among the nicer earphones I've ever had. Visiting Amazon.com's website, I can see that I paid about 3 times as much for buying them at Radio Shack, and with a bit more investigation, I've paid a lot more for everything I can think of at Radio Shack than I would've paid online... Meh. They're good earphones -- when they break I'll get the replacement online.