Just a bunch of tiny, mostly uninteresting tidbits here.I decided that having the control key on my keyboard mapped to Super is completely useless -- I don't regularly use any software that uses Super, making it considerably less useful than other modifiers like Shift, Control, or Alt. So I instead mapped it to Compose, which is actually quite useful. Finally I can type a number of characters -- I have a few songs from german artists that have umlauts or essets in them, and I had to use wildcards to actually manipulate them. No longer. I'm sure that eventually I'll start to absorb the other keyboard combos to type the more bizarre characters. I'd like to find a good solution to type hebrew, russian, and japanese characters too, ideally without having keyboard modes. I can probably do that by making my xmodmaprc very long and making mappings for every character I want to be able to type, but perhaps there's a better way.
In developing a database for work today, I made a serious mistake and dropped the critical tables for my book database. Fortunately, I happened to have that database open in my browser, and I can massage the HTML back into the raw data and reenter it with some clever perl, but boy, what an irritating mistake to make. I need to start making regular backups of the databases on my laptop... I find myself developing roughly similar things for work and for a friend -- simple webform/table manipulation. It's all easy, but for work, I can do it the way I want because I'm the sysadmin and webmaster, so it's in Perl using PostgreSQL. For my friend, she's stuck using mySQL and php, both of which are primitive and irritating. Oy.
There have been an awful lot of fraudulent emails going around that pretend to be from paypal, amazon, and ebay warning people that their account is to be cancelled, that they've added a new email to the account, and the like. Naturally, they all take the user off to an unrelated site where they'd hand over financial data to some thief. These kind of things make me very angry -- I know a lot of people who are, sadly, not computer literate enough to know better on these things, and the poor folk who use AOL are even worse off because they typically can't even see the location bar in their browser.
Google News marked this as being nationally noteworthy -- Pittsburgh has a huge number of commuters. Again, more of the problem with the way American cities are laid out -- more of what's killing American culture and society. It's well understood among intelligent, well-travelled people, that Europeans are more socialist than Americans on average, and their governmental policies, while not making the nation or the people as wealthy, provide a higher quality of life than here. Why am I still here? Sigh.
Some world news...
- Sometimes mistakes happen... like American forces burning the bodies of enemy soldiers as a spectacle. It's sad and we're kind of mad about it, but oh well. Yeah, right. I'm disturbed at exactly how well Karzai plays the role of stooge to the United States -- even the US seems to be more upset than he is about it.
- Tajikistan takes after France and bans headscarves in public schools. Their president also worries that students pay too much attention to religion and not enough to their education. This is made all the more impressive as it is a nation of Muslims landlocked in the middle of southeast asia. Very cool.
- eBay thinks that phone calls will become free within the next few years. Having just bought Skype, this makes sense for them to be making statements like this. It does leave me wondering if I should finally get on the bandwagon and look into getting Skype myself. If I were to do so, I might want to look into getting one of the next-generation Motorola cellphones that supposedly have a Skype client builtin. I'm not sure if I use the phone enough to make it worthwhile though.
- Wikinews reports that the US is mostly isolated with regards to a treaty on cultural diversity which would grant nations exemptions to WTO rules in areas relating to cultural protectionism. Under the rules, nations might mandate, as the given example, that 40% of content on TV must be produced by their nation and/or in their language. I had no idea that the WTO would block such a thing, but then, the WTO does seem to be a tool promoting/protecting the worst aspects of capitalism. It's not in America's interests to not be able to culturally dominate the rest of the world -- it serves a number of American interests to be a centre for world cultural production. I personally don't think it matters in the long run -- America is on its way to being outdone by India on that front, and I predict that in 20 years, Hollywood won't mean anything, Mumbai and other Indian centres of culture having replaced America as the creation of World culture. American power is likely to erode on a number of fronts.
- In Australia, like in many other areas, scientists are sticking up for science against conservative attempts to control it. If only that were happening more often.
On the bus today heading from CMU back to Squirrel Hill, I made two errors in getting on -- first, as usual, I showed my card to the driver, and because nobody knows when they switch over from wanting "payment" before the ride to after the ride, it was at the wrong time. I make this error frequently, but I don't care -- when they wave me on and tell me to pay when I get off, I normally shrug and just keep the card out for my egress. The second mistake was to get on before the other passengers who were leaving had gotten off so they had to step around me. I made this error because they wern't moving and I thought they were staying on, so I hopped right into the bus. The driver gave me a glare and yelled at me for it. I went and sat down, the whole ride in an inner struggle over whether to apologise/explain the mistakes or to tell him off in some way as I got off. Eventually, the departure was rapid enough that I didn't really have time to do either, although the long inner struggle was .. different.
I sometimes wish that Fridays were not our gaming group night, but there's not really much of an alternative. The downside is that I tend to miss KGB's Friday socials, and I do like the KGB crowd (and may possibly date within it, depending on how things work out). The monday meetings are kind of impersonal -- I always arrive late because my group has the MRI subgroup meeting that overlaps a bit with KGB, and it's not nearly as socially interesting as the summer meetings were.Saturdays are generally bad because I like to go to Ceremony, and Sundays are .. not so bad but I generally like Sundays to be lazy so I am well rested for the start of the week. That's the problem -- there's generally no good night.
Saturday promises to be an interesting day.