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Nitrozac Answers 169

Monday we got a whole bunch of questions for Nitrozac, the shadowy, boot-wearing creator of the After Y2k! online comic strip. We tossed out all the "Are you really a woman?" questions; I've talked to her more than once and assure you that she is indubitably female and, as she puts it, "slightly over 25." A little inside note for y'all: Nitrozac has lots of female fans who think Taco and Hemos are "hot." This should give hope to all male, female-lacking geeks out there! But let's have Nitrozac speak in her own (laughworthy) words. The complete Q&A sesion is below. Enjoy!

Ed Avis wonders:

What will you do when Y2k happens in 'real life'? Will the comic continue 'as if nothing had happened'? Or maybe After Y2K is an accurate prediction of the future 8-)"

This is the question that I'm asked the most often... all I can say is... if there is an Internet left after the power goes out, the banks fall, the riots start, the nukes go off, and the hangover clears... then I'll just upload another cartoon!

What that cartoon will be, is of course a secret. I can tell you that the week before and after New Year's will be as eventful as an online comic can possible be. You'll have to wait and see, but I assure you I'll be putting in my very best efforts.

On the other hand, if our highly networked existence fails after New Year's, then I'll be looking forward to going to the country jamboree after a long day of tilling the land, taking care of my horse, baking pies, and churning butter! ;-)

Lord Kano asks:

"Nitrozac, you being a woman of the 90's and a geek, we know
that we can trust you to answer truthfully.

So please tell us, once and for all, does size matter? "

As every geek girl knows... yes, size does matter! But the long and short of it is... it's not the only factor when rating hard drives.

Myself, I would rather have a hard drive that's strong and lasts long, (if it is big, that's a bonus). Endurance is really the key! It must be able to handle long sessions of pushing-the-envelope computing on a daily basis. If it can provide me with multiple episodes of stellar performance, then I'll never let it go! To keep the fires burning, I would partition the drive and try alternative OS's, this should really spice things up!

Of course lots of RAM is also essential, but there are other areas of the CPU that shouldn't be ignored! Pay lots of attention to those delicate parts!

To be honest, a small drive and precious little RAM, or one that's plagued with frequent failures is a real turn-off. Equally, a big hard drive that's been in many CPUs and is obviously a temporary arrangement is an even bigger turn-off.

chromatic asks:

"Do you think the self-referentialism in After Y2K has been a difficult line to walk, creatively?

Putting myself in the comic was really a spur-of-the-moment idea. The incredible response I received to my first appearance in After Y2K took me by complete surprise. After I appeared in the "Matrix" thread, I received many more requests (from both genders) to include myself. Since then, I just started having a bit of fun with it, while trying not to overdose my cartoon reality with Nitrozac.

Is there a balance you've reached between telling a good and funny story and what some may consider a bit of self-indulgence? "

I've never really agonized over it... I just thought including myself in the comic would make it more personal, and it did, and people like it. It's a lot of fun combining both real and cartoon worlds, ... whenever one of my characters pops a red .025 gm pill.

Valdrax asks:

"I'm curious what software, hardware, drawing tools, etc. you use to make the series -- especially the espisodes with animated effects."

Macintosh G3/266, 160 MB RAM, two 17" monitors, ATI card, Wacom tablet stylus II, a Nikon Coolpix 900, and a what I joking call my Y2K compliant PowerPad --> a sketch book and 3B pencil.

Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and GoLive, and Macromedia Fireworks. The graphics are done in Photoshop, and Illustrator, and I occasionally use Eye Candy filters by Alien Skin. I build it all in PS, and use Fireworks for the text, balloons, and animation.

I really like using Macromedia Director and Flash, and I'm dying to do some AY2Ks with these, as it would add interactivity and better sound, but until they support Linux, I'll continue doing episodes using formats that just about everyone can see.

Thomas Miconi asks:

"My question comes in three parts :
1) Are you an Alien agent sent to earth in preparation of a global invasion of planet Earth ?

01001001 00100111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101100 01110111 01100001 01111001 01110011 00100000 01101000 01100001 01100100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01110011 01101111 01101101 01100101 01101111 01101110 01100101 00100111 01110011 00100000 01110111 01100001 01110100 01100011 01101000 01101001 01101110 00101110 00101110 00101110

2) In case you are, what are the steps to follow if I want to apply for special (ie favour) treatment when the invasion actually happens?

01001001 01101110 01110011 01110100 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01001110 01101001 01110100 01110010 01101111 01111010 01100001 01100011 01000000 01101000 01101111 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100001 01110111 01100001 01101001 01110100 01100110 01110101 01110010 01110100 01101000 01100101 01110010 00100000 01101001 01101110 01110011 01110100 01110010 01110101 01100011 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 01110011 00101110

3) If the answer to the last question involves boots or leather shoes, are Berlutti's OK ? "
Sure, but see the back page of 09/99 Vogue for further inspiration. ;)

trichard asks:

Of all the celebrities that you send up in AY2K, (Are Rob and Jeff celebrities yet?) have any responded in a negative way? Conversely, have any responded in a fashion more positive that what you would've expected? "

No one has responded negatively at all, (they all have a great sense of humour) and the response I get is far more positive than what I ever expected. Rob and Jeff in particular have been very supportive and I can't thank them enough for this.

So far no cease and desists have been delivered... but then again Bill *is* locked in his bathroom!

I've had many, many emails from people who think they *are* the Geek, but I just send them a blue pill and everything is forgotten.

Wohali asks:

"People always ask that stupid question, "What advice do you have for people starting in field x, y, or z?" Rather than bore you with that, I want to know: What can I do to build my self-confidence enough to try and strike out on my own? What helped you get through the nervousness that you'd be perenially broke, sitting day after day, waiting for that "big break?" I find that's the biggest block to me leaving my current job (which pays very well, thank you very much) and trying to do something that I'll truly enjoy. "

Once you accept that you'll probably will be working harder than you ever had before, waiting day after day for any kind of break at all, and perennially broke, you'll be fine ;-)

The important thing is to start doing it and force yourself to do it every single day. Your self confidence will probably take care of itself, and really listen to your intuition.
My advice would be to start off slowly but steadily, hanging on to part-time work. Before you strike out, plan it all out, and imagine every step you should take, (even the unglamourous business details). Try your best to keep positive, and find some people that give you emotional support, not negativity.

anticyher asks:

"Which of the current geek-cult heroes that you draw into your strip have you met in person?

I've met only a couple of them in person, I'm not telling who. ;-)

Did they know at the time you were Nitrozac?

No, they didn't know about the cartoon yet , I don't think.

Did you take their picture or just find the photos on the web?

I took some pictures, but I mainly use assorted media photos as a reference for most of my geek-cult hero illustrations.

Is Relic or Dude based on anyone you know?

Yes, Relic is based on a neighbour and he and I had a conversation very similar to his first appearance in the cartoon. I see the real "Dude" around all the time, as a matter of fact he almost ran his bike into me the other day. Other than that, we've never spoken, man.

Will the aliens ever reveal themselves to you, and will you press charges or just giggle?

What aliens? ;-)

How long in advance do you draw your strip, and how long does it take to complete each one?

Sometimes I manage to complete the strip 1 or 2 days ahead, but mostly it's finished just before I upload it. Although this can be pretty crazy I kinda like that... it feels like I'm putting on a show every night, I prepare the comic for the audience, upload, then watch the votes and posts come in! :)

The early cartoons took an hour or so, as they were much simpler and there were no QuickPolls or Quickpoll cartoons to worry about. Now, they vary from 5 to 10 hours, sometimes longer, depending on how obsessed I get with animations and poll cartoons.

What is your day job like?

This is my day job, and my night job. I can sometimes squeeze in other projects, but I spend less time on those since going 7 days a week with the comic.

Toast asks:

"My question is this:
Where are all the other women out there like you?

Hey, there's only one Nitrozac. There has been a lot of talk of clones, but as you probably know, their mitochondria just aren't quite as nice as the original's.

Seriously, I bet they're all around you. They surround you, they bind your world together...

I have yet to meet a woman who could write "hello world", let alone a web-comic of such quality. If this were a hypothetical friday-night, and I wanted to meet someone w/ your qualities, where would I go, what would I do, and what in god's name would I say when I met you? "

Back when I had a social life, my girl friend "M" and I used to go out to our friendly, neighborhood Irish brew pub. The clientele had a wonderful lack of jocks and high percentage of geeks, which we found very comfortable to be around.

One night my friend "M" brought her chess set, so we'd have something to do while chatting and drinking beer. This was great, as a lot of geeky guys overcame their shyness to challenge us to some games, which we always accepted. We had a great time, and met many fabulous Geeks! ;)

What should you say when you see a couple of chicks playing chess in a pub? Say, "Hey, can I play a game of chess with you guys?"

Tau Zero asks:

"1.One of the techno-talking babes (which one?), or:

That's a really tough choice...hmmmm... I enjoy chess like Brandy... I'm into model rocketry like Bambi... but I'd love to be able to make micro-robots as well as Dawn does...and Dawn really seems to be hitting it off with the Geek... hmmm... maybe I would have to say Fawn, we share similar interests, and temperament, plus she's got the coolest T-shirt on planet Earth. (Actually, for the record, I really like being Nitrozac.)

2.Someone with her boot on the real Bill Gates? "

What?! You mean that monstrous little thing I squashed wasn't the *real* Bill??? OMG, I'm gonna need bigger boots aren't I!

Next week's interview: Havoc Pennington

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nitrozac Answers

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's a HERF gun - not a HREF gun. One is a weapon of mass destruction, and the other is a harmless html tag.
  • Just run the mke2fs program. Then enter the binary numbers. The program will translate her mke 2 your fs. Good luck.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Or you can agree to leave it alone. I like AIX and Linux. My SO likes FreeBSD and Solaris (a little) and mourns SunOS (a lot). We have both been sysadmins for more than ten years. We are a both a little compeditive. OK, a lot compeditive. We just leave this subject alone at home. Otherwise one of us will be doing without the morning/evening stress release (it varied a lot when we fought -- I can play that game too). So, we just dropped the issue. We had to pay more for another room on our house, but we don't even have the systems in the same room, we have separate ISDN lines, and we never even considered connecting our lans. But we get along great, both save a lot of money, like our jobs, and still do it all over the furniture. The key is being able to not need to have to win arguments by leaving your opponent is a puddle of tears, because when you do the irresistable force/immovable object deal, the someone will wind up sleeping on the couch and the dogs will be nervous and won't eat for several days.

    Of course, it IS easier just to date someone outside of your field, but then who would you have to check your perl before you go to sleep?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I suppose its too bad we can't have it all.. I can't seem to stop trying, though....

    Unfortunately, I tend to agree that dating a geek guy (as a geek girl) can sometimes be a pain - but its still worth it. I've dated quite a few guys that weren't geeks, and not being able to talk shop with them really drove me crazy! Great sex is.. well, great, but its nice to have stimulating conversation occasionally, too. So, I have to disagree with not dating outside the field, I have trouble with the lack of knowledge - and really have to end up with a guy who can set up a lan.

    On a more fun note - the sex can also be better between geeks. I may be really odd, but hearing a geek core dump about his latest kernel hack or hardware setup absolutely turns me on! But I've gone so far as to work on a program while on an intermission and still sitting on a guys lap (don't worry, he had a laptop next to him on the couch, so both of us were able to work).

    Also, geek guys: you'll have more luck with geek girls if don't treat us like "marketing managers" or act like you've never been around a girl before when we do actually talk to you.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I noticed a comment on the main screen...

    A little inside note for y'all: Nitrozac has lots of female fans who think Taco and Hemos are "hot." This should give hope to all male, female-lacking geeks out there!

    Does that mean you run into more guys that find you hot than gals? I know I think rob's hot, and told him at linux world ;)

  • The percentage of both female and male gay/lez/bi is certainly higher than in "mainstream" culture. Or at least the percentage of people who are out is higher. A more tolerant culture and the greater degree of physical safety afforded by distance and anonymity probably helps.
  • Hey! Dont knock strtok, strtok() is one of the most useful functions i've found for string manipulation i've found. Of course you should always back up the full string if you want to use it again later of course ;]
  • Personally I would look for someone with interests besides what I have, I'm not diversified enough already, it would be nice to have some way to get away.
  • Yes! I can't wait to get Tech-Talkin Babes figurines.. gotta be worth money someday (nobody will ever believe that they even exist, so they will always be worth milllions)
  • most just enjoyed the 'Nitrozac loves you' answer :)
  • That is one of the most overly biased and least fact-founded conclusions I have ever heard. You can get work done in DOS 3.3. Mac has a good artistic tools focus, rather groovy, but sometimes you just gotta see that your personal universe isn't quite as evryone else's :)
  • "The percentage of noticable gay/lesbian/bisexual people communicating on the net more than what I experience in normal day-to-day existance outside of cyberspace" is the only thing I know for sure.. I have been tracked down by a lot of guys on the net, have met a lot of bisexual girls (not many lesbians though - maybe they are just outside my sphere of chattingness?)

    Probably they are online for the same reason geeks are - trying to find a new means of communication, trying to find a place to fit in. Maybe (and this probably scares people) there aren't more alternative sexualities on the net - they are just a lot more open about their sexuality.

    I remember missing "Gay Pride" day and going to work the next day, and there were people there completely in shock, like "I never knew, I never even suspected, that THAT many of my customers were gay.."

    *grin* I used to be horribly homophobic four years ago, but I've met enough really cool people to bash that to oblivion. Everyone is different, and perhaps the best thing anyone can try to do is learn to accept, and learn it isn't odd for someone to be different than you in some way.

    Unless they do the biting-heads-off-chickens thing ;-)
  • *grin* Nah, people who say that they aren't sexy get an immediate '-2' rating and lose all karma

  • There are plenty of people I have met who (_GaSP_) thought Calvin and Hobbes SUCKED. I personally forgot just how much I miss that damn strip deep down in my soul until Wednesday ,when I went to

    So, if you don't get it, don't feel bad.. but understand there are a lot of people who are completely dying here (I _loved_ the SGI abacus, and Mel Gibson running around as the Road Warrior)
  • arrrgghh, it won't .. let.. me.. cut.. and.. paste...!
  • geek guy to _untaken_ geek girl ratio, and yes, i'm sure there have been many slashdotters who have researched it ;-)
  • while ()
    foreach $entry (split(' ', $_))
    print chr(unpack("N", pack("B32", substr("0" x 32 . $entry, -32))));

    # I could probably shrink it down.. maybe later
    # Bunco
  • 1) Are you an Alien agent sent to earth in preparation of a global invasion of planet Earth ?

    >>> I've always had the feeling someone's
    >>> watchin...

    2) In case you are, what are the steps to follow if I want to apply for special (ie favour) treatment when the invasion actually happens?

    >>> Install Nitrozac@home and awaitfurther
    >>> instructions.

  • Where did <STDIN> go!? Hehe.. stupid me.

  • # could be a one liner if she didn't have to put
    # those pretty line breaks in there!! If you
    # know how to break on every 9 groupings, post it
    # bunco

    while (<>) { push @chars, map(unpack("B8", $_), split(//)); }
    foreach $char (@chars)
    if (($i++ % 9) == 0) { print "\n"; }
    print $char, " ";

  • You guys are working way too hard:

    #include <stdio.h>
    main() { int c, i = 0; while(c = getchar()) { switch(c) {
    case '1': case '0': i = (i << 1) | (c-'0'); break;
    default: if(i) { putchar(i&0x7f); i = 0; }; break; } } }

    A one minute hack, worked first time.
  • Being a perenial slacker(my roommate friends keep on telling me I'm going to get fired; I don't know what they're talking about. Why yes, I'm supposed to be at work right now. Why yes, I am working at home now. Oh shit, am I posting on slashdot? Accursed evidence!), I blasted through the archives of AY2K.

    Jaw, meet floor.

    NitroZac's strips are some of the funniest things I've seen in a very long time. Her parodies of the personalities that define our industry are drop dead hilarious. Having met Eric Raymond, seeing his, ah, preparations finally prove useful was among the most classic injokes I've ever been privy to. (No, I'm not linking to it. Go read through the AY2K's. Trust me, it's a classic.)

    I love the perspective of these strips. I love the attention to detail that's poured nigh-obsessively into them. Their relevance is astounding, and the sheer amount of material parodied is...astounding.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research


    Geek Superiority, As Expressed In Terms Of Feminist Neoresocialization Acceptance Metrics

    CHICKS BECOME DOCTORS: Men in the field spaz out. Women are intruding!

    CHICKS BECOME LAWYERS: Men is the field spaz out. Women are intruding!

    CHICKS BECOME COMPUTER GEEKS: Male geeks spaz out. Women are intruding! Hallelujah

    Once you pull the pin, Mr. Grenade is no longer your friend.
  • Guess I'll just Install Nitrozac@home and await further instructions.
    "'Is not a quine' is not a quine" is a quine.
  • Yuk! Never do yourself what the C library will do for you!


    int main(void)
    char string[10];
    while (scanf("%[10]%*[ \n]", string) && !feof(stdin))
    printf("%c", (char)strtoul(string, NULL, 2));
    return 0;
  • As many of you probably learned in some CS course, all computation is essentially a matter of getting your lambda terms right - so here we go:

    interact(map(toEnum.foldl(((+).(+ -48)).(2*)) fromEnum).words)

    It's a little longer than the Perl version, but therefore satifies a nice static type system and is actually quite easy to formally prove correct. So, now if you only knew which language it is...ok, a hint: It is the same one used to write the killer entries in this years ICFP programming contest [] (check the preliminary results).


    PS: If anybody is wondering where the lambdas are or why there are no variables, the above code is essentially in point free notation, ie, a bunch of functions combined in the right way.

  • Oops...I could have saved two more parenthesis and make the inner term

    ((+).(+ -48).(2*))


  • Others that I enjoy include:

    Userfriendly ( [])


    Kevin and Kell ( [])

    Enjoy them!
  • A fine demonstration that Perl is for real people trying to use a computer as a means to an end, and C is for people with too much time on their hands.

    perl -e '$d = join("",); @b=split(/\s/,$d); foreach (@b) {print pack("B8",$_);}'

    As a side benefit, this program works for arbitrarily long binary blocks.

  • Lord Kano?s Law-In every group of women there is at least one slut.In every group of men there is at least one moron. If you can?t identify them, it's you.

    The smartquotes are part of the joke, I trust?

    A host is a host from coast to coast...

  • rm $MAIL = read mail
    rm -rf / = read mail, real fast!

    It helps to be root for these commands, particularly the second, as the kernel paging subsystem will better transmogrify the 64-bit yoyodynes if one is logged in as root.

    A host is a host from coast to coast...

  • I learned python just this week, so this probably can be improved.
    You bet! ;-)
    import string, sys, operator
    print string.join(map(chr, map(lambda s:reduce(operator.add, map(lambda p, s=s:{'0':0, '1':1
  • Doh!
    import string, sys, operator
    print string.join(map(chr, map(lambda s:reduce(operator.add, map(lambda p, s=s:{'0':0, '1':1<<p}[s[7-p]], range(8))), string.split(, '')
  • perl -e 'print map{pack("B8", $_)} split /\s+/, '

    The map statement is so handy...
  • This is a quick hack, but the output looks just fine...

    ------------BEGIN UGLY C PROGRAM-----------

    unsigned char bin2asc(char *string);

    int main(int argc, const char **argv)
    FILE *in;
    char line[512];

    if ((in = fopen("nitrobin", "r")) != NULL)
    char binary[9];
    int count=0;
    while (fscanf(in, "%s", binary) != EOF)
    printf("%c", bin2asc(binary));

    if(count == 48)

    return 0;

    unsigned char bin2asc(char *string)
    unsigned char ret = 0;

    ret |= (string[0] == '1') ? 0x80 : 0;
    ret |= (string[1] == '1') ? 0x40 : 0;
    ret |= (string[2] == '1') ? 0x20 : 0;
    ret |= (string[3] == '1') ? 0x10 : 0;
    ret |= (string[4] == '1') ? 0x08 : 0;
    ret |= (string[5] == '1') ? 0x04 : 0;
    ret |= (string[6] == '1') ? 0x02 : 0;
    ret |= (string[7] == '1') ? 0x01 : 0;

    return ret;
  • Stop your bitching people. Prok churned this thing out in about 2 minutes; I was there.

    How long did it take your formulate that ridiculous looking perl?

    Wanna see my m68hc11 translation code?

  • Nitrozac is one of the hardest working people I know. Big thanks to her and all of the other people out there doing their labors of love day in and day out regardless of any material success.

    It's nice to see you getting recognition and acclaim. Keep up the good work!

    okay, so maybe I'm a little biased:

    QDMerge [] 0.21!
  • If you're reading this Nitrozac, did you put the binary in the reply just to see how many different ways people would post about decoding it? Personally I used the shell, dc and printf to do my translation.
    I did:

    % for x in `dc > {
    > printf "%b" "\0$x"
    > }

    the binary file was basically the binary text of the reply, with this header:


    and this footer:


    You could even put the text of both messages in the same file (and put a 00001010 between them).

  • damn! my for loop got messed up, and after I previewed a million times, oh well, here is the correct first two lines:

    % for x in 'dc > {

  • it decodes Nitrozac's binary answers. i wonder how many of us did the same thing (more or less compactly)
  • two majorly ugly C library calls, for sure.
  • The /. effect is very acurately described as a HREF gun actually.
  • My girlfriend can only program in BASIC. She likes to transcribe songs using the PLAY command. I told her about MIDI and MP3. She made a beep instrument for the Roland so that it sounds like BASIC music, and she records and encodes the PC-speaker beeps into MP3. I didn't think MP3 could ever be a bloated format. Leave it to a geek girl.

  • Why did slashdot just eat my qustion marks? I am posting this one as HTML formatted so maybe it won't!

  • I'll see if I can't get her to dig up some old files. Will you take that in GW-BASIC .BAS format, or would you prefer something less archaic. You know, what happens after Y2K when everyone's MP3 collection becomes totally useless. They will wish they had everything on a vinyl disc that they could play with an old Edison diamond disc hand-crank phonograph!

  • message. The above post is not offtopic. Please try to read *all* of the article before moderating.
  • Rather, gun, but the gist is there. 8)

  • Well, if you've had sex with both guys and girls, and liked both, then I'd count you as bi. You can still be bi and like guys better than girls, or vice versa.

    I think many geek guys suffer from "hopelessness syndrome" and maybe even a bit of fear.

    Hopelessness syndrome is when we realize there are about 50,000 geek guys for every single geek girl, and give up looking for one.

    Fear is what we feel when encountering a geek girl like the original poster. She sounds smart enough, which is very good, but she also sounds like she'd bite you in two on the slightest provocation. I suspect many geek girls are like that, just as a matter of survival. After all, they don't have the time or energy to date all 50,000 guys they could attract.

    So buck up. You should have no trouble at all finding 50,000 guys, if you want them. All you have to do is give them a little encouragement and they'll flock to you.


  • I don't think the two terms are mutually exclusive. I don't think Nitrozac would draw her cartoons the way she did if there wasn't a healthy sexuality seething beneath those boots.

    People of both sexes vary significantly in sexual interest. I'm sure there are plenty of male geeks who would be perfectly happy with a girl who hated sex and encouraged eternal celibacy. I'm not one of them - but that's OK, I certainly detect interest in sex (note: not in me personally, but in sex generally) among most of the female geeks who've bothered to post here.

    So, although I lack conclusive evidence, I think you underrate the personality and needs of the geek female. The only real problem with geek females is that there are about 50,000 geek males for every unattached geek female - odds that are bound to discourage the stoutest hearts. This is why I'm trying to look outside of the online world for a girlfriend.


  • You wussies. I decoded it by hand in less than 5 minutes. Everyone should practice that a little bit:
    • 1. Do a quick binary->hexadecimal conversion. Quite easy, indeed.
    • 2. Remember that 'A' is 0x41 and 'a' is 0x61
    That, and the fact that I am so hopelessly in love with her. I'll be damned.
  • main(){char b[9];while(scanf("%s",b))putchar(strtoul(b,0,2));}

    You perl kiddies eat your heart out.
  • *gulp*

    Thanks for all your hard work, Nitrozac. It's a great panel.

    - Mark
  • Be sure to pick up Truffle's new book, "The Geek Rules," where she shares more of her insights on such varied topics as:

    Why she won't go out with you
    Why her friend won't go out with you
    Why her other friend won't go out with you
    You want ATA, but she likes SCSI and ATA, too
    Why you have to ping your own server every night
    Why IE's "friendly errors" option won't filter her 404's

    Why her Little Plastic Castle is a surprise every time...

  • I think that "windows only geeks" (an oxymoron?) would benefit more from a Win32 port of perl [] than from some random VB application.

    This will also help wean them from the GUI nipple.

    Or, on the other hand, they could just use their Y2k-compliant PowerPads and render the binary into hexadecimal/octal and then into letters by looking up the ASCII values. Which is obviously the most geeky way to do it, and will earn them massive karma points.

  • Besides, I doubt she lives in Canada (arg).

    Actually, she does [] live in Canada.

    (Hmm, what's that screaming sound I hear from the north??)

  • or:

    perl -e 'while(<>){ tr/01//cd; print pack("B*",$_); }'

    (echo the binary digits; pipe 'em into this)

  • i think maybe they were making a clever joke about the abnormal number of links in this interview, hence 'taking advantage of the online interview format'. href/herf. do you see?

    but then again, maybe i'm just reading too much into things, and it's just another crazy foo who can't spell.

  • as the subject line hints, it's a decoder for the binary-code message in nitrozac's answers.

    run that command at your shell, paste in the binary stuff, hit ctrl-d to tell it you're done, and the secret messages shall spew forth.

    and kids, please remember: don't try this in C.

  • i bow to you, sir. (respectfully overlooking the mismatched ; it's a miracle that anyone manages to get those characters in their post anyway.)

    then again, your post did appear an hour and a half after mine. ;)

    and you probably weren't up all night because of hurricane floyd. or maybe you were!


  • by th0m ( 16656 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @02:19AM (#1676585) Homepage
    uh.. thanks for nixing my <>, Slash.

    perl -e '$d = join("",<>); @b=split(/\s/,$d); foreach (@b) {print pack("B8",$_);}'

  • Where does the input string go?
  • Same thing I've wondered in the past...

    When ever I preview, I always go back to the original, make changes there, and post that one.

    Of course, with a nice browser like Opera [], you can go back, and all your form content will be preserved.

    A bug or a feature? you decide... I like it.

    Yeah, Windows. I suck. I'm also at work.
    - Sean
  • by irix ( 22687 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @02:33AM (#1676589) Journal
    Are you an Alien agent sent to earth in preparation of a global invasion of planet Earth ?

    I've always had the feeling someone's watchin...

    In case you are, what are the steps to follow if I want to apply for special (ie favour) treatment when the invasion actually happens?

    Install Nitrozac@home and awaitfurther instructions.

  • I know we all need to prove our geekiness by writing a program to do this, but I decided to write something that will not only work, but that beginners could follow.

    So, I wrote a C program, commented the hell out of it, and compiled it for msdos platforms (As such, it might not like LFNs, sorry, best I can do when not on a Win/DOS box right now).

    C Source Code []

    MSDOS Executable []

    Full Package with input files []

    I saw the perl that was already here, and the C, but I thought this would be better because 1) it works 2) it isn't obfuscated to make it shorter, and 3) everything is commented.

    The C code *is* a lot longer than the perl, but it's a lot more robust than what was posted here. It'll read from a file, prints a help message, prints usable error messages, has more robust parsing, etc.

    Anyways, if you were baffled by the write-only perl posted earlier, read the code to this, it should be a bit easier to understand.

    I won't include the answers, I'll assume you can find them (they're posted in this thread a fair bit.) if you want a spoiler, or will run the programs (this, or another) to get them.

    As long as I'm linking to files, I'll mention some of the other files on my page.

    Flashlight Quake2 [] - An x86-Windows Q2 mod. You run around in the dark with a flashlight and shoot your friends. Docs included.

    Fire [] - A DOS/Windows program, basically a screensaver. It's 1238 bytes, you perl size snobs try that! :)

    Q2 Screenshot [] of a bug in the lighting code. I think it happens when a texture is stretched or compacted.

    Source [] and Executable [] for a program to decrypt WSFTP passwords. I wrote it when I switch to using BulletProof FTP. [] - A program to convert SiN (The Q2-engine game) texture files to PCX format. I used it for Blue's contest to find the Blue's News easter-egg texture in the game. Unfortunately, someone beat me to it. If you have the game, try this, there's some really funny stuff hidden in there. (You need to unpack the files first, use a standard .PAK explorer.)

  • You know, it's hard to see how post #4 can be redundant... I mean, it could be offtopic, or a flame, or uninteresting, but it would be a stretch to believe that it could be redundant. Perhaps if it was message #104.

    Maybe moderators need to view messages with a thresh of -1, in newest to oldest order, without any other scores listed. (To fix multiple problems, not just the one that caused this...)
  • Not suprised you find a lot of lesbians on the net. Being one you'd tend to notice.

    And yes, I would guess that there are more lesbians on the net than in general population. And more gay men, and more goths, and more chess-club members, etc. Pretty well anyone demographic that wouldn't fit in well with 'normal' society will be found in higher numbers on the net (except maybe distressed Amish teens) because they can safely find similar people, or can just not mention it. It's a safe haven.

    The problem people have finding partners, in geek society or not, is that they tend to fixate. Minx, Killcreek, Iambe, and Nitrozac have thousands of guys lusting after them simply because they're famous. The chance they'll pick any one guy is slim, let alone some guy sending unsolicited email.

    The trick is to leave yourself open. There may be more men than women on the net so far, but there are still enough women out there that you can probably find a very close match, but don't get too focused on one person or small set of people. Not only do people chase one person to the exclusion of others, but they tend to chase impossible relationships.

    You show a bit of this tunnel-vision with the 'Linus Lust'. Linus is a great guy, but there are many programmers out there as brilliant as him. I know several.

    This wisdom about being unable to get a geek girl if you are unable to get a girl period is... partially true.

    Geek women aren't going to magically overlook your quirk about not bathing, or how you rudely interupt in conversations when you want to show your knowledge of trivia any more than non-geek girls, or for that matter, friends in general. But, geek girls are probably going to be easier for many of us because we don't do the non-geek things as much, like going to clubs, or playing sports. (Yes, I know some of you do, but on average...) So geek girls are probably going to have similar interests and this helps a lot.

    The subject of relationships is a bit too long to really go into here, and unfortunately it's like zen. You only get it when you stop striving for it, and only realized you've got it years afterwords.
  • Beyond, always beyond. If I'm going to write a program to do it (and I'm *not* going to do it with the calculator) then I'm going to write one that I can reuse.

    And once I've done that, I might as well document it so that beginners can follow it. I know how nice examples were when I learned to program.
  • perl -e 'eval(pack(q(b*)=>join(q()=>grep{tr/()/01/;} split(//=> q+)()()))(()))())((()(())()()(())(())(())(((((()(( (()(()(())))()(())()))((((((()(((()(()(( )))))()(((((()(()())))((((((()(((())))((()))))(()) ()))((((((()(())(()))())))()((((()()(()) ())()((((())(()((())(()()))()())())))(((()))(()()) )))()(()()(())))()(((((()))(()(()))()(() ())(()))())((()()))(((((()(((((()))()(((())())((() )())()())(((()()(()))(()((()(((()(((())) (()))(()(((())()(((()(()(()((())(()(()()(())))()(( )))(())()()(())())()))((+))));'
  • "A fine demonstration that Perl is for real people trying to use a computer as a means to an end, and C is for people with too much time on their hands."

    Yeah, but your perl is too long... :)

    perl -e 'print map { pack("B8", $_) } split(/\s+/, join(" ", <>>));'

    But I digress...


  • $d = join("", <>);

    Grab every line off of STDIN (<>), and join them together with nothing ("") in between, and put the resultant string into the var $d.

    @b = split(/\s/, $d);

    Split the $d string up into an array @b, splitting on any sort of whitespace (that's what \s is).

    foreach (@b)
    print pack("B8", $_);

    For every element ($_) in the array @b, treat it as a binary string of length 8 (B8), turn it into ASCII, and print it.

    - waiting
  • You know, I've always wondered who the blonde every well-constructed plot, you'll never find characters appearing only once :)

    So, doesn't Geek's recent affair [] with Dawn make you a bit jealous?

  • Here is the source and precompiled visual basic program to turn a binary string into a text string. Cut, Paste, Click, Walla. Binary2Text
  • Here is the source and precompiled visual basic program to turn a binary string into a text string. Cut, Paste, Click, Walla.

    BinaryToText []
  • by methuseleh ( 29812 ) on Friday September 17, 1999 @03:39AM (#1676601)
    Back in college, my girlfriend (now wife) wrote me a love note in binary... She is definitely not a geek--she just had to suffer through some CS classes to meet her cirriculum requirements (she was a Graphic Communications (ie, printing) major with a concentration in computer graphics).

    Funny, I'm not really a geek either... I'm just fairly well-versed in computerdom (including Mac, Win, and Linux) and can hack out the occasional perl script in order to accomplish some task. So it seems surprising to me now that I was able to actually read that note (without the help of perl, C, or even a table of binary-to-ASCII codes, IIRC). Ah well, that was 9 years ago and those binary-parsing brain cells have since been reassigned to more useful tasks, such as channel-surfing while simultaneously bottle-feeding my son. (See, I told you I'm not a geek)


  • for x in `cat binarydata`; do printf \\x`echo -e "obase=16\nibase=2\n$x" | bc`; done
  • Did you go to Rice University? If not, then where?
  • Here's a Java one :)

    public class Class1 {
    public static void main (String[] args) {
    String s="";// put binary string here
    int c=0;
    for (int i=0;is.length();i++) {
    if (s.charAt(i)!=' ') {
    c *= 2;
    c+=(s.charAt(i) == '0') ? 0 : 1;
    } else {
    c = 0;

    And here's a Z80 one just for the hell of it... RST 0x10 prints to the console ;)

    LD HL,msg
    LD C,0
    LD A,(HL) ; null terminated
    OR A
    RET Z

    RLC C

    LD A,(HL)
    INC HL
    CP ' '
    JR Z,print
    CP '0'
    JR NZ,loop
    INC C
    JR loop
    print: RST 0x10
    LD C,0
    JR loop

    msg: DM "10101010 10101010 010101010"
    DB 0

    Heheh :)

  • Ugh! Scanf! Yuk!

    Nearly as bad as strtok ;)

  • Was:

    print: RST 0x10
    LD C,0
    JR loop

    Should have been:

    print: LD A,C
    RST 0x10
    LD C,0
    JR loop


    (not that anybody cares...)
  • I don't want to ruin anybody's fun by just giving it away. People may want to try converting those binary groups into ascii text, though.
  • Wow.
    If you let your eyes go out of focus while scrolling down, you see pretty patterns and curves. Wild, man.

    I'm really tired right now, so...


  • [ e v i d e n c e ][1998.08.23]

    perl -ne 'print map { pack("B8", $_) } /[01]+/g, "\n";'

    I noticed a few people using split() instead of /[01]+/g. That's pretty cool. I'm really impressed by the guys who used dc to do it. In my younger misguided days, I would have tried to do it w/ C like some of you guys did. I was intrigued by the Visual Basic contribution -- hopefully, he has been convinced of the power of Perl and will be on his way toward rehabilitation.

    All in all, this was a nicing hacking exercise for everyone involved. This kind of stuff should happen more often.

  • [ e v i d e n c e ][1998.08.23]

    perl -ne 'print map { pack("B8", $_) } /[01]+/g, "\n";'

    I noticed a few people using split() instead of /[01]+/g. That's pretty cool. I'm really impressed by the guys who used dc to do it. In my younger misguided days, I would have tried to do it w/ C like some of you guys did. I was intrigued by the Visual Basic contribution -- hopefully, he has been convinced of the power of Perl and will be on his way toward rehabilitation.

    All in all, this was a nice hacking exercise for everyone involved. This kind of stuff should happen more often.

  • please work []
  • I don't know, call it desperation, call it teenage hormones, but I would gladly date any nice guy with a Star Trek figurine collection.
    >And when you do get together with that attractive het geek girl, it will be >because she seduces you, not because you seduce her (though she may >let you think you seduced her).
    True. Sorry, guys, but it is. Seems like all the guys I go for out there never want to...what's the word I'm looking for...move? Budge? Talk to me?! It's as almost as though we girls have to throw outselves out in the middle of the frickin road to get a decient geek dude out there. And the girls who do, constantly (for any guy, not just geeks/not including geeks) always get them. Oh why am I talking about this again?
    Getting back to the subject! Yes, Truffle, I admire your confidence and your boldness (and your half-assed anonymous posting : ) and if I had your confidence I wouldn't be here discussing my sad love life on /. I disagree, however, that *most* geek girls are bi. Although I've had "sex" with both guys and girls, I'd prefer someone with a penis in the long run (possibly because I don't know any gay/bi geek chicks).
    Geek girls have better things on their mind than men. I would say men are towards the bottom of my priorities list, because I just don't think it's necessary. Sure, I'd love to go out with a guy (not over the internet) for once, etc...but I'm not going to let men run my life. Not now, not never.
    Does all this pertain to any of the subjects being discussed here? I doubt it : )

  • perl -ne 'print map pack("B8",$_), split'
  • I have to completely agree. But he could have written something simpler like this:

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <ctype.h>
    void main( void ) {
    for(;;) {
    int c; int i;
    while( isspace( c = getc(stdin) ) )
    if( c == EOF )
    ungetc( c, stdin );
    for( c = 0, i = 7 ; i >= 0 ; i-- )
    c |= (getc(stdin) == '1') ? (1 i) : 0;
    putc( c, stdout );

    Which took me less than 10 minutes - I don't have too much time on my hands (or do I? what am I doing writing this stuff?) and I'm sure with a bit more time it could be even smaller.

    Anyways, for those of us who STILL don't write Perl, well, we have to get by somehow...

  • Fsck. You do your previews and then still screw up. Should have been:

    #include <stdio.h>
    #include <ctype.h>
    void main( void ) {
    for(;;) {
    int c; int i;
    while( isspace( c = getc(stdin) ) )
    if( c == EOF )
    ungetc( c, stdin );
    for( c = 0, i = 7 ; i >= 0 ; i-- )
    c |= (getc(stdin) == '1') ? (1 << i) : 0;
    putc( c, stdout );
  • :o) Thaz pretty kewl.
    I didn't even know you could do the ,i=8,t=0 in a ?: statement. Always good to learn something.

    Mind you that your version does assume there's only one whitespace tween the strings which is not the case for the Perl version. BUT it does work just fine.

    You must be one of those obscure C contest programmers. ;)

  • Except that it hangs when it reaches EOF.

    Maybe should have taken two minutes ;)

  • what does that string of perl mean? At least i think it's perl.
    char *stupidsig = "this is my dumb sig";
  • I'm hetero. Not bi. Not lesbian. (not that there's anything wrong with that)

    Me too.

    And I'd like to think that, contrary to what another /.-comment-poster said, the majority of "geek girls" are _not_ lesbian. or bi.

    Then again, I could be wrong. But I'm thinking no.
  • Your comic strip is one of the great ones, up there with dilbert, and calvin and hobbes(even though bill waterson retired).
  • Is that geek-guy to geek girl ratio a researched fact, cuz I saw it referenced more than once.... :-)

    Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes... that way you're a mile away and you've got his shoes. -- Jack Handy (Handley?)
  • It's a HERF gun - not a HREF gun. One is a weapon of mass destruction, and the other is a harmless html tag.

    Not when it's a link from slashdot! B-)

    Think about all the sites /. has taken down with a single round from its HREF gun.

  • From my experience, geek girls are around everywhere. I have noticed two basic categories:
    1. The proto-geek girls tend to keep pretty quiet around geeks due to the "biting off of heads" factor.
      They say something that is not quite right so you dismiss them as the competitive "I win, you lose" thing comes into play. To let these geek girl types develop, you need to give them some space. There are plenty of women proto-geeks around and their potential is often hampered by the male dominated industry.

    2. The other group is composed of women who have broken through the barriers: they are twice as smart and hard working as you. You can't dismiss or ignore them so don't try.
      They can whup you at pretty much anything they have set their minds to. You'll notice that women who are into videogames are exceptional more often than just ok. Go down to the arcades and watch her kick the guys off the Marvel vs. Capcom machine...

    If you want to see more female geeks then we have to revise our "oh-so-patronising" ways and not automatically treat all women like marketing managers. And if one asks you a question? Answer nicely without beating your chest - just a hint...

    Another hint: don't go out with someone in the same field - it is a nightmare. After I had my first argument with slammed doors over device drivers, I realised why this was a bad idea ;)
  • Looks like this interview got hit by the HREF gun we were talking about a while ago. Nice to see someone really taking advantage of an on-line interview format.
  • Have you read "Snow Crash"???? I'd be careful with those "binary parsing cells"!!!

"When people are least sure, they are often most dogmatic." -- John Kenneth Galbraith