Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The polka-dot guy in Avondale Estates has won his battle.

The main reason this is interesting is that it reminds me of the Blue Door.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

I am convinced that Gilmore Girls carries a secret anti-big-government, pro-free-enterprise message.

Proof? Which secondary character is more positively protrayed: Taylor, who constantly tries to use the organs of town government to further his own agenda; or Luke, who just wants to be left alone to run his restaurant in peace?

Watch this space. I may actually get bored enough to write an essay on this topic fit for submission as a 10th grade term paper.

On-Line Guitar Archive

For the past 10 years or so, almost every song that I have learned (that I didn't just figure out by ear), I learned from some incarnation of the OLGA.

The archive has been through many trials and tribulations, including periods when it was completely shut down in the U.S. by cease-and-desist letters, and was only available on mirror sites running in assorted two-letter-TLDs.

I really should donate money to their cause.

I would donate the tabs for my original songs, but somehow I doubt they'd have much use for them. I might do it just to see if they'll take them.

Free PDF

Exactly what it sounds like: freeware (for Windows) that lets you produce PDFs.

I'm not sure if its "free as in speech" or "as in beer". However, FreePDF itself appears to be nothing more than a small tcl/tk application that ties together existing packages like Ghostscript and Redmon.

The documentation looks like it was written by someone who is really, really tired of having to help people who can't figure it out.
Make sure you have read these web pages and understand what you are trying to do. If you have, you should be able to get this version to work. If you haven't, all bets are off, and you're on your own.

That's the kind of thing that is usually taken for granted by Open Source developers. Obviously FreePDF is targeted at a slightly different audience.

Oh, and I've tried it (on WinXP) and it does work. Printouts from Mozilla and MSIE both had horrible-looking text, no matter how I fiddled with the settings; but who really cares about turning web pages into PDFs? Any kind of Office document came out beautfully.

They sell stuff, too.

Churchill: America should have stayed out of the war

America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn't entered the war the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917. Had we made peace then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty, which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If America had stayed out of the war, all these 'isms' wouldn't today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government - and if England had made peace early in 1917, it would have saved over one million British, French, American, and other lives.

I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to find the full text of the interview from which this quote was taken.

There appears to be some debate online about the legitimacy of this quote.

I also find it interesting that this interview was apparently published in the distant ancestor of the National Enquirer!

Quote of the day:
The main point of a constitution is to put limits on what aspects of life are subject to majority rule.

From Freedom vs. Democracy: Suggestions for fixing Iraq, which is mainly of interest for containing a link to The Future of Freedom, Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Ambient Automat

Wow. Hardly anybody uses Java to write stuff like this anymore, since it grew up and became the 21st century Cobol while Flash took over the web page toys market.

Everything the Web offers about Sherlock Holmes is here on Sherlockian.Net.

Complete Works of Shakespeare at MIT.

The restoration of the site following a disk failure has been delayed. The text of the plays is available now. The poetry and other services, including the search engine and forums, will return shortly. (Nov. 13, 2000)

Combining Mozilla user stylesheets and XBL to block flash (via Novarese)

This is pretty cool. Its not the coolest thing EVAR, though. That would have to be Live HTTP Headers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

More useless brace-placement trivia.

Meanwhile, K&R style in any language seems to be a rarity amongst people who came from the Windows world rather than the Unix world.

Microsoft, as far as I know, has never used K&R in any code that they distributed, and VC++ doesn't generate it.

You can always spot Java that was written by a former Windows programmer, not only by the brace style but also by the frequent use of Hungarian Notation.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Duh! After ten years of head-scratching, I finally know why K&R brace placement treats functions differently from other constructs. Consider:

void foo(int x)
    int i;
    for(i=0;i<x;i++) {

Why is this not written like this?

void foo() {
    int i;
    for(i=0;i<x;i++) {

Turns out that the only reason it was a mystery to me is because I never experienced the pre-ANSI-C days. My K&R is the second edition. Here's how this would've been written in, say, 1980:

int x;
    int i;
    for(i=0;i<x;i++) {

Now, because that nasty little "int x;" has to go between the function and the brace, the function definition is already inconsistent with that nice clean for() loop. So you may as well place everything on its own line.

I was finally shown the light when I happened to run accross this (10-year-old!) article.

The new "opening brace at end of line, even for functions" style obviously came about after ANSI, when people noticed the "inconsistency". This is the style that got picked up by Java. (But, strangely, not in the C source of the JVM itself).

Taxonomy of the Scottish Wildcat

It will be seen that domestic cats (originally Felis catus), European wildcats (originally Felis silvestris) and African wildcats (originally Felis lybica) are now considered to be members of the same species, Felis silvestris.

I am always interested in the subject of how domesticated animals are related to their wild cousins. Also, I want me one of them wildcats. I've never been much of a cat person but these are some bad-ass cats.

Henning's Rhododendron & Azaleas Pages

When Linnaeus created the botanical grouping called genus Rhododendron in 1753, he created a separate genus for Azalea containing 6 species. In 1796 Salisbury pointed out that Azalea and Rhododendron could not be maintained as distinct genera. In 1834, George Don subdivided the genus Rhododendron into 8 sections which are still recognized today. Azalea comprise two of these sections, Subgenus Pentanthera typified by Rhododendron nudiflorum and Subgenus Tsutsusi typified by Rhododendron Tsutsusi.

Joel on the uselessness of software prototypes.
If the prototype can do everything the product can do, it might as well be the product, and if it can't, it's not much use.

MS Outlook (which I use at work) always displays the 'new mail' icon on the task bar when a message arrives, even if that message is immediately deleted by my filters. I am on several lists where I auto-delete about half the messages, and it is rather annoying for Outlook to tell me that I have new mail when really there is nothing new in my inbox. Apparently this is known to Microsoft and they just don't plan to do anything about it.

Java theory and practice: Urban performance legends

Yes, further proof that I really am so lame that I can't find anything to post on here other than to steal things from the front page of Slashdot.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Phaseolus lunatus
Lima Beans originate from Central and South America where they were domesticated at least 8500 years ago.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Hackers and Painters by Paul Graham
Yes, I got this from Slashdot. But this quote is just too good:
I've never liked the term "computer science." The main reason I don't like it is that there's no such thing. Computer science is a grab bag of tenuously related areas thrown together by an accident of history, like Yugoslavia.

And another:
Everyone in the sciences secretly believes that mathematicians are smarter than they are. I think mathematicians also believe this.

I know several mathematicians, and I can just hear them saying "damn right!".

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Internet Security: Too Broke to Fix? (via Joel)
Should SMTP be replaced with a new "spam-proof" protocol?

Monday, May 05, 2003

The number-one Google search for "edlin win32" is now a link to this blog.

Admittedly, I haven't actually used edline for any real editing work. Its just nice to know its there if I want it.

Top 75 Security Tools

I usually don't bother posting things on here that have been on Slashdot, but this is a pretty nice list.

While I don't claim to have ever written anything as useful as the tools on this list, this seems like a good place to mention my own Win32::NBTStat module. That module represents the open-sourcing of a Perl script that I've had to re-write every time I changed jobs since like 1997. Pretty much the only thing it adds to basic nbtstat is the "FormatTable" method, which produces something like this (notice the last two columns, which are not normally provided by nbtstat):

Name <XX> Type Service Meaning
EXAMPLESERVER <00> UNIQUE Workstation Service computername
DEMO <00> GROUP Domain Name domain
EXAMPLESERVER <03> UNIQUE Messenger Service computername
EXAMPLESERVER <20> UNIQUE File Server Service computername
DEMO <1E> GROUP Browser Service Elections domain
INet~Services <1C> GROUP IIS
JROBERTSON <03> UNIQUE Messenger Service username

Friday, May 02, 2003

Melt Wizard
Self-described as a "fantasy emo" band.

Really Weird Plants Seminar

Syllabus from a class at Arizona State.

I mentioned Brassica oleracea in an email, causing Novarese to dig up this page, which is part of the course.