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The Internet

Journal: Bigfoot domain registry ripoff

Journal by MadChicken

I registered my domain with bigfoot.com a while back (out of convenience) and since then have had many opportunities to regret it.

At first, I thought the mail alias package would be useful, I wouldn't need to get a host for my mail. First mistake. They arbiratily limit you to 25 mails a day, a bit lean but passable - until you get hit with Sircam attacks. Their "customer support" is an online mail form that gets piped to /dev/null, and they have no phone support.

Well, I got what I paid for I guess, and not a byte more. I cancelled and got a real host. Come the year after that, they CHARGED MY CARD contrary to my instructions! I eventally worked it out, kinda.

Next fiasco. I got an email telling me my CC was going to expire, so I updated with my new card info. They explicitly mentioned that they would auto-renew unless I told them not to.

I figured everything was OK until my mail suddenly stopped. They let it expire. It looks like their web form was written by a oxygen-deprived high-school dropout web wannabe. It adds a new record for every card change instead of updating the old one. There is no way to delete records. My guess is they looked at the first record and saw it expired, and didn't look any further.

I have been trying to contact them for about three full days now ("Our customer service representatives are standing by to answer your inquiries.
Please fill out the form below. You should receive a response by email within 24 hours.")

If you have an account with them, transfer NOW before you get the same misery.

Handhelds

Journal: PDA - yesterday's tech?

Journal by MadChicken

I just read this article and I'm a bit relieved to see I'm not alone. I've started carrying a HipsterPDA as an experiment (pierced, of course), aided with a copy of GTD TiddlyWiki on the computers. It's about as exciting as my Palm has ever been!

So, I've been using Palms since about 97 as soon as the PalmPilot Personal came out. Great toy, and when I invested in ActionNames, WordSmith then pedit it (and its successors) became a real workhorse. I could do more. It got my imagination going.

I had one brief foray into the PPC world with an iPaq, and other than PocketInformant and maybe Textmaker, was greatly disappointed. It was clumsy and slow in comparison.

So, I switched back and got a Tungsten E. Great potential in this hardware! Beautiful screen, great pocketable form factor, very usable battery life... and an 8 year old OS.

I know the OS has come a long way, but OS5 was a quick hack to run on ARM instead of Dragonball processors. It certainly hasn't proven itself to be anything else. I yearn for a true word processor that will show me margins, paragraph borders, and styles... but apparently the OS can't support that complex of an app. I moved to Datebk5, but that and Agendus paled in comparison to PocketInformant. WordSmith... died on the vine. They still prominently announce that it was a prize-winning app in 2001/early 2002!

So is it time to go back to PPC? I cringe a bit at the memory, but if it works... ...however, I am doubting that a PDA does what I want to do AT ALL, these days. I can't envision any big-name device that will let me view 2 documents at once or have a stopwatch floating on the screen at the same time. I want to grab a browser based app like TiddlyWiki and use it on the road. And I still want a good word processor, darnit!

All of a sudden, I can't do more, I'm trapped doing the things I did back in '99. The hardware has come along, but the companies haven't been pushing it. I guess it was a better decision to change the connector every 3 months to drive the third-party market out of business... but I digress.

Now what I want has to have a bigger screen. 4x6 maybe. It has to have a modern OS (Linux+KDE seems the wisest choice, maybe BSD or OS X if cheap enough). It has to have modern applications - CSS+JS browser, some bytecode environment, (Java or whatever), A GREAT WORD PROCESSOR (DARNIT), maybe even swipe Apple's Dashboard widgets for the little things. It will probably be the footprint of a Newton (or at least a PSP) and max .75" thick. ..and it has to cost about $300.

Ok, I shut down the tablet PC people with the last one, I suppose... Sorry.

But since there seem to be no more Jeff Hawkinses out there that care to design around the human, the next best thing is for the human to do it themselves with paper. It's incredible how much information you can cram on to a 3x5" card, and attractively, too. It's got a great tactile feedback. I find I can think of great ways to use it where the PDA simply fights me back (or charges me $29 THEN fights me back). The PDA has been relegated to static information (eBooks, multipage documents, month-view calendars) where the paper is dynamic, flexible, immediate.

Sounds kinda backwards doesn't it? I don't see a bright future for the handheld market, and I just wonder who is to blame for that.

User Journal

Journal: Time for a new sig

Journal by MadChicken

Yeah, I'm sure you saw this one for way too long:

Let's bring Slashdot out of 1996! Go Here.

But frankly, "Let's" meant "Slashdot should". I love standards-compliant web code, and I would even find it interesting to do the conversion... but I have no time to sink into yet another project. As an INTP, I'd be more than likely to start with gusto then be distracted by some different shiny object.

Meanwhile I actually have some paying work that I can force through the standards-compliant sieve! So I think for a new sig, it's time to bring out my old QWK-reader sig file... Hope someone gets a chuckle out of it.

User Journal

Journal: Test

Journal by MadChicken

The easiest way to test if there is a proxy detection or not, is to post to my journal. Please don't read this :)

Graphics

Journal: Gimp UI Setup 1

Journal by MadChicken

I hear a lot about how terrible the GIMP UI is, and I do agree, to a point. It has to be set up right though.

First thing you need to do is make the palette a long horizontal toolbar. It takes up way too much space in its default configuration. Go into preferences | toolbox and deselect the foreground/background color and brush/pattern/gradient. This lets you shrink it right down to not much more than a single row of buttons.

Next, DOCK EVERYTHING. You can drag the title (not the titlebar, just a bit below that) either to the little strip on the bottom of another window or on top of another title - which would create that dialog as a tab.

I have only one dialog visible, the top section has the following tabs in this order: Tool Settings, Fonts, Colors. The bottom: Layers, channels, paths, undo history.

I find I don't need brushes, patterns or gradients constantly visible, so I close them altogether.

Now I have a very usable application on any screen size down to 1024x768. Yes, the interface still needs something, but really, it's not THAT BAD.

I do still have a hard time understanding where to find color tools, they seem to be scattered all over the place...

User Journal

Journal: MythTv setup

Journal by MadChicken

Sweet. Got my case. I had some problems with the onboard video, until I apt-get upgraded.

I have to figure out how to burn to DVD!!

Slashdot.org

Journal: Tedious moderators

Journal by MadChicken

I laughed when I saw the moderation results for my comment: here. +1 interesting -1 overrated +1 interesting -1 overrated -1 overrated.

The more I thought about it the less I laughed. Morons. Overrated? Did they notice that the article linked to was a SCANNED PICTURE of a magazine article? I went through the trouble of HAND-TYPING it in, because we all know what happens when an image gets linked to from Slashdot. In this case, no story left.

The problem? Knee-jerk moderators, modding down "article text" posts because they don't believe in that kinda thing. I'm certain they never even LOOKED at the article. I despise moderators with agendas.

Consider the topic: I would have scored big with mods if I posted "Pole position!" (there were 0 comments when I started). Instead, I did something for the good of the community and reaped its cluelessness.

Though the -1s receive my top-quality loathing, I have another pet peeve... "Interesting"? There was ZERO content, apart from my quick one-liner about "This may be necessary". I always understood stuff like that to be "Informative". Interesting would be my thoughts on why It was [sup|inf] erior to other games.

Again, the sole reason I posted it was for the sake of the community. To have an article to actually read. If I had been karma whoring, I would have deserved being modded down. Any basic investigation of the posted link would have revealed the difference.

Ok, I blew it by not inserting line breaks, but there are other punishments for that.

Slashdot.org

Journal: Front page filtering bug? 2

Journal by MadChicken

There's some serious bug in Slashcode -- I kinda figured I was missing some stories, when I looked in "Older stories" there were some I never remembered seeing.

I had "Anime" (ONLY) checked off in the "Don't show me this" list. When I went into preferences and checked "Don't collapse" finally I started seeing other stories.

It's clearly not just me - why does the Playstation Linux kit reduced to $99 story only have 5 comments, after an hour or so of being posted? A similar one, a few stories down, Final Fantasy XI-Bundled PS2 Hard Disc Explored has 17 comments, where the story immediately above it (one hour younger) has 217 comments?

I know you can't judge the interest of the story solely by the comments, but it seems there are some funny things going on.

Toys

Journal: Consuming DVD+-RW drives

Journal by MadChicken

Finally bought the bullet, as it were. It can be dangerous to do research without really meaning it.

The LG (something) 4040B drive - no link available. Combo everything +, -, and -RAM.

The only downside I can see is the software, neoDVD is a little anemic. The rendering is lightning fast (2-3 times faster than any other I've tried) but it's not going to do any awesome projects...

Next bit of research is software, then.

Data Storage

Journal: DVD+RW research

Journal by MadChicken

This is really tough to find out. Is it safe to get a +RW drive?

Nice that after I do all of my research, I see this post.

Of course, it was quite informative. +RW is a slam-dunk superior format. Is it always readable on everything though? No real reliable info about my model of PS2.

Does anyone know about SCPH 30001?

Edit: Hm. The more I think about it, +RW is the slam-dunk superior format for RW uses, and -R is the superior format for write once. Makes sense, and also the one real reason to get a dual-burner.

Edit: Talking to myself. I tried the +RW in my PS2 - works perfectly!

The Internet

Journal: Free hosting

Journal by MadChicken

Found a great free hosting deal! It's a pro edition for 3 years free. POP Mail, mail forwarding, PHP, MySQL, and SSH!

Check it out at 1 and 1.

Portables

Journal: Portable gaming PDA

Journal by MadChicken

Wow, now this is one impressive machine.

It even has its own user site

Not sure how I missed the Slashdot article about it, but the more I look at it, the less it looks like a really dedicated games machine. The buttons seem especially limited.

It seems to be designed as a very high end Palm device. For one, the price should be lower if it was a games machine. To sustain that price, you can't sell it against $99 Game Boys. It does come with WordSmith, and presumably all Palm apps will run on it.

It looks sweet though.

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.

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