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Semiformalishmaybe

Car for the Purse

Here's a nice terse wrapper around "iwlist" for any other Unix geeks that use "iwconfig" and "iwlist" instead of using some GUI tool to manage wireless interfaces. It cuts the giant, very wordy list of interfaces and all their attributes down into a simple table of whether they're open or not, signal strength (you might want to tweak this bit of the code because different drivers report this differently), and ESSID. It's also an example of what I consider to be reasonably good coding style in Perl.

Tonight was the last day for Té Café under its current ownership. In theory, it will open again after $UNKNOWN_TIME under the new owners, who want to remodel the place a bit (They run a turkish rug store down the street, so I'm guessing they'll put some rugs down, at least). This is a bummer - that place has been my ony place of regular human contact for quite some time now, and Crazy Goat doesn't really seem to have a community. I wonder if it'll still be a cool place when/if it reopens, and if I'll still be around for that.

TGIF gatherings are even more awkward now that a girl I invited to tea/indian fod a few months ago without response (standard pre-date thing by my playbook) shows up fairly often. Worse - I think she's now dating one of my boss's grad students. It's one of those things where I wish I could just give up - it's been over five years, and the few people I'm likely to find fascinating would probably be smart enough to stay away from me. Instead it's yet another way for me to torture myself - learn about someone, get interested, learn as much as I can through various means to try to pre-gage possible dealbreakers, nag myself into working up the courage to ask them to tea or something, no response, slink away again kicking myself for getting my hopes up, wait months until I get attracted to someone again. Sigh.

Very irritated with a failing software upgrade at work - might need to rollback. Have already spent many hours this weekend on this. It would be wonderful if debugging this thing were not so difficult. It reminds me of that old joke about the Unix car:

  • Brian Kernighan has an automobile which he helped design. Unlike most automobiles, it has neither speedometer, nor gas gauge, nor any of the numerous idiot lights which plague the modern driver. Rather, if the driver makes any mistake, a giant bulb lights up in the center of the dashboard. 'The experienced driver', he says, 'will usually know what's wrong.'
Speaking of quotes, recently found a delightful quote on Wikiquote for a talk where I was physically present (somehow the cleverness didn't strike me as so great then):
  • Suppose you went back to Ada Lovelace and asked her the difference between a script and a program. She'd probably look at you funny, then say something like: Well, a script is what you give the actors, but a program is what you give the audience. That Ada was one sharp lady...
While there, spotted again an old bit of humour that pretty much guarantees a good laugh every few years when I come across it again - one of those "If your operating system were a car", describing my old chosen OS, OS/2:
  • After fueling up with 6000 gallons of gas, you get in the car and drive to the store with a motercycle escort and a marching band in procession. Halfway there, the car blows up, killing everybody in town. New wheels will be out to correct that problem, real soon now.

Came to a part of the Žižek book where he seems to have yet another set of lines dividing Communism, Socialism, and Social Democracy. He then calls Socialism the "true enemy" of Communism. with the idea that at some point we will (or ideally should) have a choice between them. From my frameworks, he's confusing Social Democracy (or perhaps the confusingly similar named Democratic Socialism) for Socialism. I confess that while there's a reasonable academic consensus on choice of terms, outside of academia, even among people who belong under one of these rooves (plural of roof? If not, should be) there is all sorts of crazy variety in termage. I think by Z's terms, I'm someone who doesn't care about the distinction between Communism and Socialism and could support either. Book remains very interesting despite definitional differences, and there are some interesting arguments that I think I disagree with but recognise they have some force.

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