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Journal Journal: IE7, a virus? 15

Recently I sent a rant to an on-line photo printer because their free downloadable software insisted on firing up IE7 on my computer, even though Foxfire is my default browser (translation in my book: I don't want IE running on my computer. Ever, if possible.

To verify their gaffe, I downloaded their software on my other computer with similar results. Bummer.

Okay, here's the scratchy-head part: I've noticed other applications, other interactions with both computers whereby IE7 is started in lieu of Foxfire. And, the other incidents seem strangely unrelated. I checked my file associations just in case that had anything to do with this, all html, htm, etc. are associated with Foxfire. WTH? (e.g., bringing up Google Desktop Indexing status fired up IE7...)

Has anyone else noticed unauthorized/unexpected intrusions (as far as I'm concerned) by IE7 since the Microsoft update?

User Journal

Journal Journal: for those who care 2

(pictures here.)

I recently asked for input on ideas for new personalized plate. My mini-dilemma was my new state (Illinois) didn't have "GOOGLE", or "UNIX" as options, two of my past faves (more on that in a second).

You can read the journal entry and associated comments, but to briefly summarize:

Slashdot members Short Circuit, nizo, Degrees, Acid-Duck, and Denial93 all chipped in with suggestions. The list (including mine):

  • ubuntu
  • unix
  • linux
  • un star x
  • dr linux
  • linux dr
  • linux rx
  • multics (short circuit)
  • tuxracr (short circuit)
  • firefox (nizo)
  • nix geek (nizo)
  • nix nerd (nizo)
  • got root (nizo)
  • gnu linux (degrees)
  • vmlinuz (acid-duck)
  • vmlinux (acid-duck)
  • uname (anonymous)
  • slashdot (denial93)
  • use unix (denial93)
  • vi 4ever (denial93)
  • go emacs (denial93)
  • trolling (denial93)
  • penguins (denial93)
  • opensrc (denial93)

I hope that's the complete list, apologies if my record-keeping lapses.

I thank all who commented and offered suggestions, they all were great. Two of my faves (and others seemed to provide concensus) were "got root", and "ubuntu". I came very close to "ubuntu" as it grew on me over time. Still think it would've been a good one and while "got root" was kind of an insider's joke, I loved it.

So, in the process of checking for available combinations the state of Illinois rolled out their new "cyberdriveillinois" site making things not only much easier but offering unknown additional options.

Illinois offers many specialty plates, and it turns out a combination already "taken" for regular plates can still be used for specialty plates. I started "poking" at the different options, and found UNIX available for almost all of them. Since I originally had WA UNIX plates, they were a nostalgic fave. I found one specialty plate to especially meld with the notion of UNIX, the "Route 66" memorial plates.

So, pictures here, I think they're very cool. I love the UNIX with the "Where the road begins" beneath. And the plates look nice. All this on a Honda Ridgeline (like UNIX, reliable, multi-purpose, rock solid, easy to use...).

Again thanks to all who offered suggestions.


Journal Journal: age DOES matter, according to Gartner 2

NOTE: I am creating a journal entry for an article I just submitted. Since I've never had an article accepted and I think this article has a certain gravitas, I make it available to any who might read it. Enjoy.

A smbsearch article says when it comes to IT, age does matter, this according to Gartner.

How many times have you heard how old and out of it you are?

It appears analysts here at Gartner Inc.'s Symposium/ITxpo think you haven't heard it enough, because the age theme threaded its way through many of the analysts' sessions here Monday.

Analyst Thomas Bittman:

It's not the technology; it's not the process that's holding us back. It's the culture," Bittman said. "I know this is probably discriminatory, but there is a different attitude, at different ages, based on what technology can provide."

I guess I give Bittman points for "admitting" discrimination -- I wonder that so powerful an institution as Gartner (in some people's opinion) would, could, or even should be delivering this message. As a 50+ slashdotter, I'm still writing lots of new code, creating new applications and staying in touch with the bleeding edge of technology. How about the rest of the over the hill gang?


Journal Journal: geeky license plates 15

Okay, I'm in a new state of the union, time to get my new license plates. In my previous state my plates were: GOOGLE.

In my new state, I so far have found the following I like (and am including ones not available for the record). I'm looking for feedback, and possible additional suggestions. Feel free:

  • UBUNTU (available, but too obscure? -- still, great PR for an up and coming lay-linux distro)
  • UNIX not available
  • LINUX not available
  • UN STAR X available, kind of a play on UN*X, but I fear also a bit too obscure
  • DR LINUX available (I like this one)
  • LINUX DR available (I like this one, too)
  • LINUX RX available (I and others in this house like this one -- the "others" like this one the best so far). It's a nice play on "rocks" (sounding it out), and on "RX" as in prescription.

Here are some others' suggestions:

  • MULTICS -- available (from Short Circuit) -- good one, but a bit more obscure than I think I want
  • TUXRACR -- available (from Short Circuit) -- Yeah, I have tried for a TUX theme, TUX wasn't available, but I'd like to go for something without the vowel-drop thing going on.
  • FIREFOX -- not available (from nizo)
  • NIX GEEK -- (from nizo) -- I'm afraid of misinterpreting "NIX" as in "no geeks".
  • NIX NERD -- (from nizo) -- see previous
  • GOT ROOT -- available! -- I LIKE this one, definitely in the short list!

NOTE/UPDATE: If it helps, and for the record, the car is a Honda Ridgeline Pickup/SUV/whatever.

I will keep a running edit on this as I find suggestions and incorporate them.

UPDATE: Aug 21, 2007: Thanks to all for the suggestions, I am enjoying the ideas. Here's where I am now: I discovered I can get different "specialty" vanity plates, one of which has "UNIX" available as an option, a vanity plate I once owned in Washington, and is high on my list for this time.

I still like UBUNTU and GOT ROOT and vmlinuz among others. Hmmm, wondering about GOT UNIX, that would be cool.

I've submitted an e-mail to the state because I actually tried to "pull the trigger" on the UNIX, and kept getting error messages to the effect there may be some issue with my title/registration. I assumend this may be related to my "new" car, but had my brother try the same thing with his car and he got the same error message -- I'm guessing there's something wrong with the application. Sigh.

Also, for any submitting other suggestions... one restriction: the MAX number of chars (numbers and/or letters) for any plate is seven. Spaces are allowed even for seven chars (I don't entirely understand why).

Again, thanks for the cool suggestions, I will continue to provide status and updates.

Journal Journal: slashdot censorship? 4

(Note: after Cmr Taco confronted my "Godwin" title, I have edited and re-worked this entry... the focus is on apparent censorship, and I should have been more sensitive to that.)

Seems some slashdot enforcers with mod points, lots of them, were diligent to keep my post completely off the radar screen.

That post sits at a net mod of -2, final tally 0. All of the down-mods are "Overrated", and it took six (at least) to keep it down modded.

I don't claim to be a great poster, and don't care what other people think (too much). But, the post in question seemingly is innocuous enough, certainly if it were to be correctly down-modded, I would have expected to see more of "troll" or "flamebait", but there were none. So, how does this happen?

The post got a quick -2 mods immediately after submitting -- that's right, it was rated "Overrated" before is had even been rated... WTF?

This has happened before, I suspect it's some idiot insider with unlimited discretionary modding priveleges (something which I have NOT received not for almost 30 months, WTF? (a different discussion -- they actually have a "reason" for that)).

I just would appreciate more candor around some of the crap sometime. I won't stop posting, and I still don't care what others think, but it'd be nice to see some backbone and hear from and why some of my posts have to be nuked off the radar screen.


Journal Journal: Microsoft's Amazing Media Presence 1

Amazing, simply amazing.

On my personalized Google Home Page, I included the "Technology" headlines widget. Ostensibly this was to see important technology headlines, but now I wonder what drives the headline selection process. Since Microsoft's "iPod Killer" announcement (do you even have to look for that?) the first headline in this "Technology" segment has always been a Microsoft headline, specifically, a headline about Microsoft's new Zune.

On two machines, two browsers, the first headline in one is "And finally: Microsoft to launch iPod rival", the first headline in the other is: "Microsoft Announces Its Own iPod Competitor". WTF? How do they do this?

At first it was merely annoying, seemingly an endless and dizzying parade of articles pandering to this amazing, dazzling, savvy, smart, "innovative" move by Microsoft. Now, I find it suspicious! These are headlines ostensibly from NEWS -- headlines from CNN, ABC, and others. What the Hey?

Or, is something less sinister at hand here, is Google somehow picking up on what I read, and sampling and choosing headlines based on my apparent tastes? (Though I'd be hard pressed to find any empirical evidence I'm showing hints about interest in Microsoft's musical offering.


UPDATE @ 12:23, 7/25: Third headline: "Microsoft Confirms Launch of "Zune""

UPDATE @ 12:26: Third headline: "Microsoft's Zune will be interoperable with iTunes?"


Journal Journal: ads continue offensive evolution 4

I know it's not about spam, but it's becoming just as intrusive, indsidious and offensive. And the new Flash "ad" is on the top of the Slashdot page! Shazbot! WTF?

I'm running Flashblock, I thought an acceptable solution to the annoying Flash ads, but now Flash ads are figuring out ways to step on your browser real estate even though Flashblock is blocking them from running. Shazbot!

The current offender is some Intel ad -- yeah, I clicked the Flashblock start arrow just to see who the f*** was doing the advertising. Yeah, it was Intel.

Guess what, I was just looking at new laptops, weighing ins and outs of various configurations. Guess what just got a very negative weight? Yeah, Intel. So, the few machines I'd narrowed it down to -- yeah, I'm getting an AMD machine.

I know AMD is probably putting out their own offensive Flash ad somewhere, and I'll deal and react with that if and when I encounter it -- but it so happens Intel was front and center with this new crap.

(An aside on this, aside from the annoyance factor for me -- I know how to accommodate, and deal, and re-configure with this annoying advertising. But now I know I'm going to run into yet another round of support issues for friends and family who don't know what's happening to their once familiar web site, -- "Something keeps showing up at 'XXXX', and it's not what I asked for!". Gawd I hate the advertising industry.

You want to re-direct my purchasing dollars elsewhere?, keep it up with the f***ing annoying ads!


Journal Journal: Bob Dylan would be proud

Just finished boxing up my CD collection... sheesh, it weighs about 250lbs.

I'm moving back to the midwest... my neighbor kindly supplied me with heavy duty boxes from the grocery chain where she works... these boxes were used to ship meat to the grocery store.

The boxes are rock solid heavy duty, perfect! Interestingly the boxes have the aroma of a meat market, and some have the characteristic (though minimal) blood stain here and there.

This may bring a more literal sense to my Bob Dylan CD, "Blood on the Tracks".

No, you're too kind... please, sit... I'll be here all night.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why is Apple afraid of being PC? 33

There is one thing I really don't understand about Apple. From the first advertisements for the Apple ][, Apple was proud to call their PC line ""Personal Computer"s". Apple continued to be proud of their PC heritage, billing the Lisa as a reinvention of the "Personal Computer".

This continued until as recently as 2000, when Apple was quite happy to advertise the powerMac G5 as the World's fastest "Personal Computer" (at least until they were ordered to pull the ads for being "misleading".)

I can understand why Mac users use the term PC. It's because of a sense of being an outsider & the feeling of superiority the term gives the user (I use a mac, it's not a generic item like a "PC"). On the other hand, I think if Apple were the company it portrayed itself as being (great products, from an ethical, honest company), it wouldn't use the term PC (in opposition to mac), as well as the term "Personal Computer" (when it suits).

Ironically (in the Alanis sense), Apple's most blatantly incorrect usage (Mac Guy / PC Guy ads) has come after Apple's shift to a far more generic PC architecture, which makes it possible to run windows on a mac or os x on non-mac hardware (the 'standard' definition for a PC used to be 'a machine capable of running windows').

What does everyone else think? In this new era where it's possible to run OS X on a Dell, or windows on a Mac, is Apple being intellectually dishonest using the term "Personal Computer" when it suits them and PC disparagingly?

The Media

Journal Journal: before the finger pointing 1

Before readers point fingers, I'll candidly and openly admit I plagiarized this article (an article about rampant plagiarism) for my slashdot post/reply.

I don't plagiarize, but I thought it'd be interesting and appropriate to see

  • if I get any kind of mod's for the post
  • if anyone notices

Journal Journal: slashdot, civilization in decline 8

Shazbot, another article rejected (13 for 13 now). On slashdot, ostensibly, "Thall shalt no grouse."

Okay, I thought this article where the author asks the question: Is Slashdot Dying? was especially interesting now that taco is considering a site redesign.

John Berry, the author, observes personally and , from peers, anecdotally Slashdot seems to have declined in recent years. John includes a couple of pretty graphs, and offers a not-too-in-depth theory of this perceived decline, including "RSS", and "Web 2.0".

I'm putting this up in my journal for what it's worth. I've personally sensed a decline with Slashdot too, but I don't know if it's the old adage, "Familiarity breeds contempt", or if the skid is real.

Certainly one thing I know I've seen change is the currency of Slashdot articles. Where I previously worked, peers were always wondering how I could be so ahead of the curve on technology in the news. Often I'd discuss news sometimes days before the topic became water cooler fodder.

Recently, I sense the opposite. I'm finding Slashdot articles describing technology stories so old I have to check for dupes... some are so late it would seem they'd have to be dupes.

Slashdot is still one of my favorite platforms for discussion, but the shine fades a little bit each day.

While I'll allow that my "submission" for this article may not have been pithy enough for taco and company, I'm disappointed I don't see more introspection and less hubris (and a new paint job for the site doesn't count).


Journal Journal: Are you my friend? 6

Have I made you my friend?

If I have - its because just like me you're a whiney mac fanboy!

It's good to know who's going to join in piping up in every story about how a solution using Apple products is a far better then whatever the article is discussing.


Journal Journal: Wa State re-examining Math education approach

There is a article in today's (Sun, 4/16) Seattle Times, Math Comes With Its Own Problems discussing trends and changes made and being made in the Washington State public schools. The thesis is we've cheered for spelling and reading (fta: And in America, where are the math bees, the volunteer math tutorial corps, the math-is-fundamental public-service campaigns? As a society, we root for reading. But we expect success in math to just happen ... or not.) and seen Math languish. Now Washington State is going back to basics: Just as important is focus: Kids must reach deep understanding of the principles behind mathematical operations how and why they work before moving on to the next subject, or they will never catch up. "The idea is to build ideas on each other in an increasingly complex way," Schmidt said.

In some ways I'm surprised the basics have been ignored so blatantly and so long -- I grew up in public schools without calculators, and we had to be able to construct and deconstruct math problems forwards and backwards. What are the experiences of students today in other states (and countries)?

User Journal

Journal Journal: new f***ing "rollover" ads 1

Anyone else seen the latest in intrusive ads? I encountered mine in the Chicago Tribune. It's an ad for Target, and it's nearly unavoidable and really obnoxious. Here is the letter I've written to Chicago Tribune:

To the Chicago Tribune,

Is it worth losing readers (loyal too!) with your Target ads? The "new" rollover ads are virtually unavoidable (I'm sure by design, nice touch) and only go away when the "X" is clicked.

BUT, in addition, the "dynamic" expanding ad must load its dynamic content before that "X" is even available! Early this morning, that "load" took almost thirty seconds, thirty seconds at which point I'm moving on to my second most favorite news site.

For me it's a nuisance. Enough to at least temporarily read elsewhere.

For less sophisticated users (my parents whom I help all the time understand better how this stuff works (or doesn't)) this ad would confuse enough to believe either their browser or the Tribune were broken.

I've written Target, I won't shop Target this Christmas Season (let's just say that's more than $xxxx budget potential lost for them this year) and I'm close to moving the Tribune to the #2 slot in my news reading bookmarks.

Best Regards,

-your name here

User Journal

Journal Journal: So, how many of you... 1

So, how many of you backspace and make meaningless corrections? I was thinking how I've done this my entire professional career and was wondering how stupid it was or wasn't.

$ echo tea^Hst
(unless of course your original intent was to echo "teat".)

So, does anyone else do this. (My classic is taking new releases of word processors for a spin and typing the classic "The quick brown fox...", and no matter what!, I always backspace and correct even though it's totally meaningless.

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There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom. -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923