Friday, October 31, 2003

Steal This Flvxxvm Florvm Button

I went ahead and made a Flvxxvm Florvm button and uploaded it to Steal These Buttons just for yucks. Who knows, maybe it'll spread around the web.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

More Free Þorn!

I also remember that around 1995 or 1996 I scanned in a picture of either Jennifer Love Hewitt or Neve Campbell (I can't remember which) from TV Guide and put her into one of my railroad pictures so that it looked like I had an ultra-realistic model train layout so impressive that movie star chicks would come over to my dorm room look at it.

I don't seem to be able to find that one in the wayback machine.

At this point I can't possibly make things any worse by pointing out that during this period my "recording studio", where most of the Flvxxvm Florvm catalog was recorded, was decorated with a picture of Helen Hunt. This was later replaced by Drew Barrymore.

Damn this Google Images thing is fun.

Jeff's (Old) Picture Collection

Thanks to the wayback machine, I am able to recover some of the pictures that disappeared when the harddrive of died in 2000.

Includes a picture of a Soviet submarine (clearly marked CCCP) being repaired/scrapped in Bayou La Batre.

At that time, I was extremely pleased with my ability to scan pictures of girls I knew into photoshop and manipulate them until they looked like some kind of cheapass Andy Warhol ripoff.

¡Vive la Biblioteca!


The proprietor of has repaid me for linking to his site by not only linking back to me, but also by designing a Flvxxvm Florvm image! Gee, it's almost small enough to a steal-this-button.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003


Strangely enough the magic number for .class files was chosen long before the name Java was ever uttered in reference to this language. We were looking for something fun, unique and easy to remember. 0xcafebabe was better than the second runner-up, 0xdeadbabe. :-)

(see also Google's archive of the same discussion)

cat linux.words extra.words | sort | uniq | perl -lne "$_ = lc; tr/olzs/0125/; (length == 4 or length == 8) and /^[0-9a-f]+$/ and print"

Take out the length restriction to get a much longer list, but 4 and 8 are valid for 16- and 32-bit integers.

Get rid of the tr/olz/012/ if you really want a short list, although its cool because it spells "trolls".

It's also weird that we get c0ca, but no c01a.

Of course, you can combine the short words. Some of the classics (you should know where you've seen these before) are of this type:


IBIBLIO: /public/ftp/pub/linux/libs

I often find myself wanting to get a *nix "words" file on a Windows box. They're useful for things like making a list of all possible English words that are valid hexadecimal numbers, finding all possible domain names that haven't been registered yet, and stuff like that.

The linked directory contains linux.words in tar.gz format, which any decent Windows compression program such as WinZip or WinRAR should be able to handle, assuming you don't already have tar and gzip on your machine.

The current version appears to be linux.words.2.tar.gz.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Hip Hop in Your Dreams

Here the lyrics to the third verse of "Virgin Killer" by the Scorpions, as I heard them for years:

Fly like you fear!
Fly like you fear!
Feel it!
Fly to his cage!
Fly to his cage!
Taste it!
Know how to run away...
He's a virgin killer!

No, no, no, can't you see?
No, no, no, can't you see?
You're a demon's, you're a demon's,
You're a demon's desire!

Airforce screams
sadistic magazines.
Watch out!
Seems like every day,
dreams taken away!
Well, if you can find a way..
but he's a virgin killer!

No, no, no... (repeat chorus)

Garbage in the streets.
apocs in your dreams.
Look out!
Jocks in the picture.
Answers in the scriptures? Forget it!
Try to get a way from there,
he's a virgin killer!

(repeat chorus)

Now, read the real lyrics and tell me that they are better than mine.

Don't ask me what "apocs" are. The character from the Matrix (which links all of this to yesterday's postings)? Dude, I heard this in 1987. When I was a desktop technician at Sprint, the internal trouble ticket system used A.P.O.C. to mean "alternate point of contact"... but still, what did I think it meant when I was 12? Another interpretation that I've entertained, but never very seriously, over the years is "hip-hop in your dreams".

White Hot: Masters of Metal

This was the first "metal" album I ever bought, back in the 80's. I think I was in the sixth grade. This was the album from which I learned what heavy metal lead guitar was supposed to sound like. I think I finally lost the cassette during one of my past two moves. The track listing that I remember was:

Rock You Like A Hurricane – Scorpions
Run Runaway – Slade
Distant Early Warning – Rush
Tell Me What You Want – Zebra
Holy Diver – Dio
You Got Another Thing Comin’ – Judas Priest
Stayed Awake All Night – Krokus
Heaven and Hell – Black Sabbath
I Am (I’m Me) – Twisted Sister
Come on Feel the Noize – Quiet Riot

Before this, the only metal I'd heard were bands like Bon Jovi and Motley Crue that were played on top 40 radio at the time (WABB). This was before I got into Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix. This was the first time I had heard, or even heard of any of these bands. Including Black Sabbath and Rush! ("Distant Early Warning" was a relatively non-metallic introduction to Rush, and delayed my becoming a Rush fan by several years.) Ronnie James Dio features heavily on here, once with Dio and once with Black Sabbath (it would be years before I ever heard any Ozzy Osbourne period Sabbath).

After this, I bought a whole lot of similar metal compilation tapes. The first band on here that I "got into" was the Scorpions. I picked up the cassette of Virgin Killer at K-Mart.. but that's another story.

Internet searches have turned up some interesting variations. This is the google cache of a page from the apparently-defunct K-Tel records website.

It shows a couple of extra songs, which I presume were either on the LP or on some later CD version, but not on the cassette because I sure don't remember them:

Lay it On The Line – Triumph
Don’t Stop Runnin – Y&T

The cover is also shown on this Dio fan page. I actually had several of these things. Many of them share the same artists and even the same songs. Note especially Crazed: an all-out Metal Assault.

This page, from the discography of the Canadian rock band Kick Axe shows an album called White Hot: An All Out Metal Assault. This appears to be some kind of cross between the White Hot that I owned and the aforementioned Crazed. My only guess is that they mixed things up for the Canadian market, possibly throwing on the Kick Axe song to meet "Canadian content" regulations? (no Rush, though!)

Monday, October 27, 2003

Macromedia - JRun TechNotes: Macromedia JRun Server 3.x: Running JRun Server in Distributed Mode with IIS and JRun Server Each on Its Own Machine

Every time I think it's safe to forget how to set this up, it comes back and bites me again at work.

Horror, the Grotesque, and the Macabre: A Christian Appraisal

Interesting essay, especially since it provided me with the Gerard Jones links, but it mostly makes me ask: is Alien really a "horror" film?

What exactly is the difference between sci-fi and horror, anyway? When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein it was probably considered sci-fi, because there was nothing in the science of the day to refute it. By the time they got around to making movies out of it, it's genre had shifted to "horror" simply because it's science was so outdated as to now be the stuff of fantasy. But really, the story didn't change.

Will the same thing happen to Alien?

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes, and Make-Believe Violence

Amazon page for the book by Gerard Jones, who is also behind the interesting Media Power for Children organization.

achilles 0.27

Any security mavens out there? This is the only version of Achilles that I know anything about. Surely there must be a newer version that this, from August 2001.

ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture

Nope... PluggedInOnline, in spite of its connection to Focus on the Family wasn't what I was thinking of. I was thinking of, which I originally heard of from this thead on rec.arts.bools.tolkien.

Just comparing the HTML of this site to the other two lets you know that this is a much more hard-shelled form of Christianity. This site isn't maintained by people who care about making pretty websites; they have more important issues to tackle. Here is a direct link to a list of all of their movie reviews. Warning: all of their links will open in a new window unless you undermine it by forcing them into a new tab instead. If you're using IE, there's no hope for you.

Their Matrix page features the following ironic disclaimer. It sounds almost like somebody was out to get them!
The original of this report (1999) was posted under a domain owned by the Star-Telegram newspaper in Fort Worth, Texas. Since then, Star-Telegram has terminated their ISP services and their domain name has been taken over by a pornography site. The old version of this report still contained Star-Telegram's domain name in many links, thus taking today's users to the porn site.

And Speaking of Tolkien, the three sites I've just blogged have some pretty big disagreements amongst themselves about the LOTR movies (and presumably the book too).

Plugged In Online

More "Christian" reviews of popular movies. It seems like this one used to have little bar charts just like, but they seem to have gotten rid of them. Or I could be mixing it up with yet another site.

Is "The Matrix" Gnostic or Christian?

The Matrix is neither meaningfully gnostic nor meaningfully Christian. Rather, it is simply a sci-fi action-adventure tale told in a mythic mode. While influences from both biblical motifs and pop mysticism are in evidence, the film references these sources — along with many other sources, including classical Greek culture, Lewis Carroll, and Star Wars — in a way that is of aesthetic significance, not religious.
This main purpose of website is to review movies from a Christian (and apparently Catholic) perspective, including rating them for "moral and spriritual value". This article, separate from the main review of The Matrix, is much more interesting.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Gadget may wreak traffic havoc

Via Slashdot.

I remember back in the early 90's the rumor was that traffic lights would change if you flashed your headlights with just the right time in between flashes. I'm still not sure if it worked.

Friday, October 24, 2003

The BileBlog | Death to GUIs

For a while I was afraid that Hani was getting soft. The Bile is Back!
I'm heartily sick of vendors pimping their latest gizmos with shiny demos and hordes of marketers squealing that 'people buy with their eyes'. I'd like to stab those people in their eyes with a butter knife. Let's see them buy 'with their eyes' then.

The Joel on Software Forum - Curse of the 4.0

We have a project in the works that would normally be released as v4.0. One manager insists that the number 4 be skipped for the reasons that other softwares with v4.0 have been poor, and the word for 4 in Japanese also means death, so Japanese people won't want to buy it.

People on this forum keep mentioning that Word for Windows skipped from 2.0 to 6.0 to compete with WordPerfect 5.1. While that may have been part of it, remember MS Word for DOS?

The last version of Word for DOS was also 5-point-something. I always thought that the Windows version skipped to 6 so that the DOS users who were being abandoned would feel like they were upgrading when they switched to Windows.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Re: Why Bother (Branding Mozilla: Towards Mozilla 2.0)

A stack of reasons - mostly relating to adoption within the workplace. As soon as I fire up Mozilla in front of a newbie they comment along the lines of 'playing games huh' or similar.

Im not suggesting the monster gets replaced with some prick with a laptop looking serious while rubbing his chin as his foxy secretary takes notes in their walnut and leather office - but something a little more businessy wouldn't hurt.

Branding gives you things to hang onto. Some people like their jeans more because missy elliot wears then (or says she wears them). I'd like Mozilla more if I didnt look like a dinosaur geek everytime it starts up.

Sliding Doors of CSS: A List Apart

In addition to demonstrating an interesting use of background images, this makes a point about how CSS has actually led to a simplification in web design:
It’s no wonder that pure text-based navigation, styled with CSS, is leaping back into web design. But most CSS-based tab design so far is a step back in appearance from what we used to do — certainly nothing to be included in a design portfolio. A newly adopted technology (like CSS) should allow us to create something better, without losing the design quality of previous table hacks and all-image-based tabs.

mezzoblue § A Typeface Fantasy

This discussion of how the "fantasy" font family got to be included in CSS reminds me of my own wonderings about how various things got into Unicode.

Art 1992-2002: Émail aimé (duck-rabbit and rabbit-duck)

(via Novarese)
Duck season!
Wabbit reason!
Duck season!
Wabbit reason!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

C++?? : A Critique of C++

Another in the series of anti-programming-language links. This was actually one of my Mozilla bookmarks, but it has apparently changed locations since the last time I used it.

In the course of bashing C++, a fair amount of criticism is also heaped upon C; or at least upon C++ for keeping so close to C. And when bad ideas have been taken from C++ into Java, this is pointed out.

It's from 1996, so it's at least one version of the ISO standard behind for both C++ and C, but really not all that much much has changed.

A List Apart

... is back!

Mailman Considered Harmful

by Jamie Zawinski.
I keep hoping that maybe someday the clue-elves will arrive in the night and sort this out, but it's been years, and it hasn't happened yet. (And yes, I've sent these complaints to the developers too. I'm still waiting for the elves.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Long-standing web interface for running whois queries, traceroutes, and stuff like that.

I found this by Googling for the street address of a company. Google turned up their whois records from SamSpade!

In the interests of reverse voyeurism, I have uploaded a copy of the bookmarks.html file that I really do use every day at work, with only file:// URLs and links to internal sites removed. Probably contains lots of broken links.

Critical Dates and Signifcant Dates - J R Stockton

This is, fundamentally, a list of Critical and Significant Dates, which is not quite the same thing as a list of dates which ought to be used in testing

20 Year Archive on Google Groups

I don't see a link to this anymore on I had to use Google to find it!

They never did add the suggestions that I sent to them for things to put on the timeline. I think I nominated the first mention of "Seinfeld" and the first use of "Java" to refer to the programming language rather than to the Asian country or to coffee.


This is article is claimed by its writer to be the original use of the term "universe" in the sense that it is normally applied to comic books: Marvel Universe, DC Universe, etc.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Prince Valiant and Comics Revue

Apparently the homepage of Comics Revue, with a snail mail address for ordering.

Its been so long since I subscribed to a comic that $45 a year seems steep. But considering that the cover price appears to be $5.95, that's actually a pretty good deal. Now, the question of whether each issue is worth six bucks (or even the $3.75 that it works out to at the subscription rate) to I who last paid 75 cents a pop, is something that I'd like to be able to answer by checking out back issues at my local library. I bet they don't have it..

Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Comics Revue

Comics Revue is possibly the only sustained effort to reprint American comic strips on a regular basis, where the material has mostly been chosen according to aesthetic considerations rather than what was available or what was cheap. From the beginning, its editorial decisions have been driven mostly by knowledge and appreciation of the comics form on the part of the people putting it out
I haven't read comics on a regular basis since I cancelled my X-Men subscription in 1991 because I wanted to spend more time and money on computers. But this looks like something I could really get into.

When I was about ten years old, I got some junk mail from the Smithsonian Institutition offering me "membership" in their organization. My parents agreed to pay for it, which turned out to be the same thing as a subscription to Smithsonian magazine, and endless offers to buy various books published by them. The only book we bought was The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics ( see here and here, which I ended up reading cover to cover many times.

Reprints of pre-1950 strips are hard to find in the bookstores and even public libraries among the endless Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes collections. I had no idea that all this time there's been a monthly publication devoted to this sort of thing.

King Features Syndicate - Comics

Who knew that Katzenjammer Kids was still in print?

The interesting thing is that, after 106 years, loosely phonetic transcriptions of English spoken with extreme foreign accents (German in this case) is still funny enough to enough people to keep a comic strip going; since that has always been the main gag here.

Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Barney Google

The name "Barney Google" is familiar to anyone who ever watched a TV retrospective of comic strips — he's the guy with the "goo-goo-googly eyes" in the 1923 Billy Rose song they always play in such retrospectives. Many newspapers use his name in the title of one of their comic strips. And in 1995, he was honored by the U.S. Postal Service in its "Comic Strip Classics" series of commemorative stamps.

But how many people actually remember seeing Barney Google in a comic strip?

Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Snuffy Smith

Snuffy Smith, one of Hootin' Holler's more ornery and sawed-off residents, was introduced on November 17, 1934. Within a few weeks, he and Barney were pals, and not too long after that, he'd become co-star of the strip. By the late 1930s, the name of of the strip had become Barney Google & Snuffy Smith. In 1954, Google left the hill country but the strip's focus stayed, and Snuffy was its sole star. Today, Barney's name is still part of the strip's official title, but Barney himself is seldom seen.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Why I Hate Personal Weblogs

As we can see, clearly weblogs are fucking retarded as a general rule. Most weblog authors either think they have something important to say (self-centered and egotistical authors), or believe that they have an audience that cares what they think (delusional and irrational authors.) What can be plainly seen is that most weblog authors need something to push them back into the real world from the self-centered and delusional world they have created for themselves.
I resemble these remarks.

UNIXUX: Click on the cursor.

(via JWZ) I haven't read enough of this to figure out if it is the entire classic "Unix Hater's Handbook" or what. No, I don't think so. But there's still some meat here.

The Java Hall of Shame

An even more outdated anti-Java page. Note that criticizing Java for performance is just too easy, so I'm only going to bother with pages that mainly bitch about something else.

java sucks

by Jamie Zawinski. Some of this is outdated, which is understandable since Jamie appears to have left Java never to return after writing this. Other things I flatly disagree with. And comparison with Kernighan on Pascal makes this look like the overgrown blog posting that it is. However, its interesting to find out that there's more to Mr. Zawinksi than hist oft-cited list of reasons for leaving Netscape. Here's a whole page of mostly nerdy rants.

The Art of Trashing Computer Programming Languages

Kernighan's paper is course one of the best and best known anti-language tracts, but it is far from the only one. The web is full of anti-C, anti-C++, anti-Java, anti-Perl, etc. critiques. Much of which the languages in question roundly deserve. But it can also be a challenge to strain out the FUD, especially when looking at Usenet and Slashdot and other "forums". So I won't look at those. I'm going to try to find good old fashioned papers or full-fledged web sites devoted to intelligently letting the air out of the tires of popular languages. It still might take me a while to sift them out.

Top Notchitude

Ken Arnold lists some of his favorite CS papers, including a link to the HTML version of "Why Pascal..."!

Lysator: Programming in C

Back in 1994, when I was first learning C, this was one of the first pages I found about it. Except for the addition of the C99-related links, it has not changed at all in either content or presentation.

Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language

I found it on the first try. Why on earth does the mighty Ken Arnold insist on referring to the PS version?

The Pascal which this paper criticizes is of course long gone. Later versions of the language had few of these defects, and were used frequently for serious projects.

Now, of course, Pascal's role in education has been largely usurped, first by Ada and then Java (or so I hear); it's popularity in writing shrinkwrap applications for DOS/Windows has long since been lost to C++ (a fate shared with its old nemesis C); any role it might ever have had in internal business app development was lost to VB when companies switched from DOS to Windows; and as far as I know it never had much to do with the Web or "e-commerce" programming at all; and of course it lost out to C in the Unix hacker community and the open-source world, at least partly because of the influence of this paper.

No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering

Another classic.
Not only are there no silver bullets now in view, the very nature of software makes it unlikely that there will be any--no inventions that will do for software productivity, reliability, and simplicity what electronics, transistors, and large-scale integration did for computer hardware. We cannot expect ever to see twofold gains every two years.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Are Programmers People? And If So, What to Do About It?

If we accept that programmers are humans, one primary and interesting consequence is that human factors issues can be properly applied towards the tools they use. I'm not talking here about IDEs, which have GUIs that are clearly subject to human factors analysis. (Answer: They mostly suck.) I am speaking about the more basic tools programmers use every minute they do their work: programming languages and APIs.
Also includes a link to Kernighan's "Why Pascal Is Not My Favorite Programming Language" in PS format. This is one of the foundational texts of the Unix/C geek culture, and it isn't available in a HTML? Even a PDF would at least make it slightly more convenient to read.

SCons: a Software Construction tool

A Python-based alternative to make and ant. Looks interesting.

grieve with me, blue master chickenz

I have been working with SGML/XML stuff for a few years now, and have seen a number of uses for it "as a technology". Many of these were theoretically good ideas, some of them even worked, and a huge, overwhelming majority were just bad jokes. I will describe here the jokes, and what went wrong. I want to make it clear from the onset that I do like XML in general, and use it all the time, and have no problem with its continued adoption. I am merely making an argument about what I think people are doing wrong with it, and suggesting an alternative.
He goes on to say some pretty nasty things about, among others, MathML. SML (Spacecraft Markup Language) truly has to be seen to be believed.

The Sum of Ant

by Ken Arnold ( via Joel's forums)
First, let us give ant its due. Ant is designed to be a portable way to replace make. Ant was to be platform independent, so the obvious implementation choice was Java, which is fine, mostly. And the obvious data format for the project description -- saying what needs to be built -- was XML, which is not fine, as we shall see.

Ok. Quotes from other people:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat.
Get used to it.

First I decided to chuck useless "web safe" colors from my stylesheet. Then I realized that this allowed me to use more authentic "DOS" colors like #000080 instead of #0000CC. Then I realized that my stylesheet wasn't sufficiently DOS-like, since it had things like boldface headers and impossible background/foreground color combinations. After a few minutes of futzing around trying to make it be more prototypical, I decided to go to a real DOS app for inspritation. Borland's IDE products had one of the most successful DOS text-based interfaces of all time. So there you go. My blog now suggests Turbo Pascal as stronly I could stand to make it in half an hour.

The one thing I haven't figured out what to do about yet is using italics for blockquotes. Until I figure out a better way to set apart stuff that other people said from what I said, being consistent with Slashdot is more vital than being consistent with DOS. - Software and Supplies For That "Old" Computer

This site is dedicated to helping you find software and supplies for that "old" IBM compatible personal computer. No software listed on this site requires a computer faster than a Pentium 133. Many programs in the DOS section will even run on an 8088. Of course, they all will run on the newer, faster computers.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Quit Today!

Reasons to stop reading Slashdot and suggestions about what to read instead. Doesn't appear to have been updated any time recently, but then again not much has changed in this area.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Non-Dithering Colors in Browsers

The original inventor (well, popularizer, anyway) of the "Web-Safe Palette" declares it dead. I still maintain that limited color choices will stick around because people who write stylesheets by hand like to be able to type three-letter abbreviations like "#666".

Ok, this is the last thing I'm going to do with that OEM character set thingy. So much of our DOS heritage is being lost that I had to do something to preserve it. But now I'm done. I promise. Anyway, here it is in HTML.

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
0   ☺ ☻ ♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ • ◘ ○ ◙ ♂ ♀ ♪ ♫ ☼
1 ► ◄ ↕ ‼ ¶ § ▬ ↨ ↑ ↓ → ← ∟ ↔ ▲ ▼
2   ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . /
3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : ; < = > ?
4 @ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
5 P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ \ ] ^ _
6 ` a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o
7 p q r s t u v w x y z { | } ~ ⌂
8 Ç ü é â ä à å ç ê ë è ï î ì Ä Å
9 É æ Æ ô ö ò û ù ÿ Ö Ü ¢ £ ¥ ₧ ƒ
A á í ó ú ñ Ñ ª º ¿ ⌐ ¬ ½ ¼ ¡ « »
B ░ ▒ ▓ │ ┤ ╡ ╢ ╖ ╕ ╣ ║ ╗ ╝ ╜ ╛ ┐
C └ ┴ ┬ ├ ─ ┼ ╞ ╟ ╚ ╔ ╩ ╦ ╠ ═ ╬ ╧
D ╨ ╤ ╥ ╙ ╘ ╒ ╓ ╫ ╪ ┘ ┌ █ ▄ ▌ ▐ ▀
E α ß Γ π Σ σ µ τ Φ Θ Ω δ ∞ φ ε ∩
F ≡ ± ≥ ≤ ⌠ ⌡ ÷ ≈ ° ∙ · √ ⁿ ² ■  

How about a table, so that we can use a prop-width font? Þe olde Times New Roman actually has the best male and female symbols, I must say. Nice big round ones, not those little shrunk up things like the other fonts.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
1 §
2 ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . /
3 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : ; < = > ?
4 @ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
5 P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ \ ] ^ _
6 ` a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o
7 p q r s t u v w x y z { | } ~
8 Ç ü é â ä à å ç ê ë è ï î ì Ä Å
9 É æ Æ ô ö ò û ù ÿ Ö Ü ¢ £ ¥ ƒ
A á í ó ú ñ Ñ ª º ¿ ¬ ½ ¼ ¡ « »
E α ß Γ π Σ σ µ τ Φ Θ Ω δ φ ε
F ± ÷ ° · ²  

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Ok, if you really really want to be able to run a program to produce this character chart on your own PC, here it is.

I re-wrote it in C so that I could get a compiled executable, since QBASIC is an interpreted language. (Yes, I know about the QB compiler, I even used it once, but even I don't have that anymore.) Compiled with Turbo C 2.01, tested on W2K. Source code provided.

There is really no way to do this thing justice in a "DOS window" you must run full screen DOS (alt+enter) to see the characters the way God and IBM intended them to look. There is as far as I can tell no way to get an exact pixel-for-pixel screen capture of a full screen DOS application, so I can't show you. You've got to run it yourself.

You will also notice that any attempt to copy and paste this character chart into a windows app will lose many of the characters, especially 0x07-0x0A and 0x0D. One more reason why people tend to not know about them.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Update on the Mystery Characters

Remember when I said I didn't have time to dork around with BASIC programs to demonstrate the IBM PC screen display codes?

Well, I lied. If you are lucky enough to be running a version of DOS or Windows that still comes with Qbasic (and if you aren't I can't help you), you can run this program to generate a complete chart. I have a screenshot, which because of Geocities' linking policies must be placed on a separate page.

Homer Simpson voice: "Heh heh, far out man. I haven't seen a POKE in years." (qv)

DEF SEG = &HB800
cols = 80

FOR i = 0 TO 15
POKE ((i + 1) * cols * 2), ASC(HEX$(i))

FOR j = 0 TO 15
POKE j * 4 + 4, ASC(HEX$(j))

CHAR = 0
FOR i = 0 TO 15
FOR j = 0 TO 15
POKE ((i + 1) * cols * 2 + 2) + (j * 4 + 2), CHAR

No, I don't want a T-shirt of this. It's incomplete. It omits the secret characters for codes 0x07-0x0A and 0x0D. It is apparently somewhat difficult to get Windows to display these, which probably explains their absense. Notepad, for instance, will display 7 and 8 if you use the Terminal font, but the rest are interpreted as literal control characters, which is of course what you would expect. If a program emits any of these characters to stdout, all four are intepreted as controls and no characters are displayed. Which leads me to believe that the afroementioned GIF is a screenshot of such a program running in a console window.

But they exist, and they have official Unicode mappings. See this document, which identifies the missing characters as:

• 2022 07 -- # BULLET
◘ 25D8 08 -- # INVERSE BULLET
○ 25CB 09 -- # WHITE CIRCLE
♪ 266A 0D 02 # EIGHTH NOTE

The characters displayed above may or may not look like what was actually used on the IBM PC. I'm sitting here looking at pictures of the real deal in my Pink Shirt Book, and they are vaugely similar. On Windows, at least, the "Courier New" font does them better justice than our old friend Fixedsys.

Note that although the official Unicode name for U+266A is "eighth note", the actual glyph shown in the Pink Shirt Book looks more like a sixteenth note. Is this a genuine error in the mapping file supplied by

The original way to display these character was to poke them directly into video memory with BASIC or assembly language, skipping stdout altogether. Mr. Price obviously didn't have time to make a program to do that, and so far neither have I. I have decided to cheat by consulting the Unicode specs.

JimPrice.Com - ASCII Chart and Other Resources

Where Joel apparently got his code chart GIF.

Joel on Software - The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)
In this article I'll fill you in on exactly what every working programmer should know. All that stuff about "plain text = ascii = characters are 8 bits" is not only wrong, it's hopelessly wrong, and if you're still programming that way, you're not much better than a medical doctor who doesn't believe in germs. Please do not write another line of code until you finish reading this article.
Very simple, and somewhat Windows-centric (what else would you expect from Joel), but still I'm included to agree with the above sentence.

Also includes this cute .gif of the entire cp437 encoding:

I'd like a T-shirt of that.

Common UNIX Printing System

The Common UNIX Printing System ("CUPS") is a cross-platform printing solution for all UNIX environments. It is based on the "Internet Printing Protocol" and provides complete printing services to most PostScript and raster printers.

Update to my dorkiest and most self-indulgent webpage. On my conlang page, I've added some older "non-canonical" text files. Read at your own risk.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

US Bureau of Engraving and Printing

What is it with so many U.S. government agencies with .com websites? They have the whole .gov to themselves, they are they only government in the world who can use it. (Same thing goes for .mil.) There seems to be some idea in the public sector that .gov and .mil domains are good enough for their employees to look at, but that anything viewed by the general public has to be a .com because all of us stupid citizens out here think that if it isn't a .com it isn't a real website.

Yesterday, at least one local radio station reported that it was the last day to use the old 20 dollar bills, before they ceased to be legal tender. I guess it could've been a joke. The words "hoax" and "shouting fire in a crowded theater" also come to mind. I think they really just didn't know what they were talking about.

Friday, October 10, 2003

141 Cinema

One of the hundreds (if not thousands) of websites with half-sarcastic reviews of movies both cool and lame. But unlike many of those, these are actually pretty funny. Part of the 141 Empire.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Gallery of embarassingly stupid early sigs

These were originally done on a mainframe, and the EBCDIC characters actually made an Evil Grinn, with a backslash where the "›" is now. Apparently the translated-to-ASCII version actually messed up some people's terminals just by viewing it! Also notice the incorrect Latin. Not sure why its all uppercase, either.
|  UNIV. OF ALABAMA | EGO SUM ! |    ›   /     |
|  PO BOX CO        | COGNITO ! |   ›_____/    |
|  TUSCALOOSA, AL   | VOLO !    |              |
|  35487            |           |  EVIL GRINN  |

() UNIV. OF ALABAMA () EGO SUM !  ()   ›   /    ()
() PO BOX CO        () COGNITO !  ()  ›_____/   ()
() TUSCALOOSA, AL   () VOLO !     ()            ()
() 35487            ()            () EVIL GRINN ()

() UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA              -_  _-  ()
() PO BOX CO   TUSCALOOSA, AL 35487   -____-  ()

| UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA                    |
| P.O. BOX CO, TUSCALOOSA AL, 35487        |
| (205) 348 - 5465                         |
Here's to you, Vicki Robinson, Joltin' Joe has left and gone away !
Hey hey hey 

Per that last entry, here are some of my most embarassingly stupid early posts.

Q: logical or

people who think 3.5" is a "hard disk"

longest USENET thread ever

At Poobie's wedding, there was some discussion of people being embarrassed by their old Usenet posts found through Google. I figured I'd go ahead and air out all this dirty laundry now.

Here is approximately every post I have ever made, by email address. The addresses are roughly listed in order from most recently to least recently used, though there was a period in the mid 90's where the middle four all overlapped in usage.


Of the Tongues of Arda, the invented world of J.R.R. Tolkien. The most comprehensive site about Tolkien's invented languages that you are likely to find on the net.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Early Music FAQ

The web's largest reference for European Medieval and Renaissance music since 1994.

Pythagorean Tuning and Medieval Polyphony - Table of Contents

Haven't read this yet, looks pretty long. The guy who wrote that last page I blogged says it's a "must read", though.

Understanding Temperaments

More temperment stuff, this time from the author of that last applet.
The need for temperament arises because it is impossible to have octaves, fifths, thirds, etc., all pure at once, or, in other words, because the ratios of the different pure intervals are incompatible.


This Java applet demonstrates various historical tunings and temperaments and allows one to experiment with them. It was developed to accompany a text on Understanding temperaments

Java Applets Educational Physics

The page title is English, but the rest of it is German. Some of the applets don't seem to work. This one is interesting, but I have no idea what it does.

Fourier Synthesis

More Java applets for playing with sound.

The vOICe Sonification Applet - Draw your own Sound

(via mindprod) I don't know if I've ever blogged this before or not. I seem to recall seeing it before I ever had a blog. Java applet converts pictures to sound in real time.

The Just Intonation Primer

(from the Just Intonation Network) The first chapter of a book on this subject. Good reading.

A Tour Up The Harmonic Series

Of course, the harmonic series is infinite, but the most common just intervals are found among the lowest harmonics. As one goes farther up the series one finds more exotic intervals, until at some point the new intervals are no longer musically meaningful. This limit is not fixed, but is a matter of aural familiarity and personal taste. (For this article, we'll stop arbitrarily at 16.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Definitions of tuning terms: index, (c) 1998 by Joe Monzo

MF Bliki: MovingAwayFromXslt

I think this may raise some real questions about XSLT. There's still much I like about the power of XSLT, but I hate the syntax and the walls you keep running into. I'm not going to convert my whole site over to Ruby tomorrow - most of the XSLT works fine - but I can certainly see my way to doing that at some point in the future. But the bigger question is whether you're better off with scripting language for this kind of task than XSLT.
I might use this as ammo the next time somebody at work starts beating the use-XSLT-for-everything drum.

Ian Bourke - Code Rage

(via BileBlog)
A catalogue of examples of bad code gleaned from many projects over the years. Use these examples wisely and avoid the stinky patterns that they promote
If this is really the worst code that Mr. Bourke has ever seen, I envy him!

Just Intonation Explained

Our modern system of tuning, called equal temperament, is a compromise. We divide the octave into 12 equal intervals not because it sound better that way - it doesn't at all, it's slightly buzzy with audible beating between sustained pitches - but so we can transpose any music to any key.
Many recent composers have come to feel that the compromise of equal temperament was a mistake. They feel that the musical logic of moving from any key to any other key became a priority at the expense of music's sonic sensuousness.

Damn Hell Ass Kings

Blogworthy because its named after a great Simpsons quote.


In case anybody is wondering:

The Simpsons started to go downhill when they started to trying to change things permanently. You know, like Apu getting married in one episode and still being married in the next. Maude Flanders dying and staying dead. (Bleeding Gums Murphy and Marvin Monroe don't count because.. well you know whu). Lisa becoming a vegetarian or Buddhist and staying that way. Stuff like that.

The Simpsons being a cartoon, the characters don't have to age. Nobody has to die. They don't have to add new cute children when the existing ones grow up. In short, cartoons are inherently immune to most forms of shark jumping. The writers/producers decided to voluntarily afflict change - the curse of live-action TV - onto one of the best animated series ever. (Yes, voice actors can quit the show or die or something, and both have happened to the Simpsons, but you can't blame the Simpsons problems solely on that.)

This has been my oft-stated opinion for years, and I'm sticking to it. Sure, the show was inevitably getting old. Sure, its better than having no Simpsons at all. But almost anybody can tell you that the 4th or 5th season was better than the 8th or 9th, and you've gotta draw the line somewhere.

The Irony Maiden

Another Daria fan site.

There was a brief period in 1997 when Crutcher Dunnavant and I proclaimed that Daria was a better cartoon than the current season of the Simpsons. Of course, by that time "Worker and Parasite" was a better cartoon than the Simpsons..

What smart people can do

A couple of years ago I was googling for references to the Mallet Assembly when I came across a web diary (most people didn't call them "blogs" yet) with the words:
the idiotic Mallet Assembly. They think they're so great just because they're different, when what they do is really just plain dumb. They come off like they're better than the fraternities because they're "smarter," yet they still have the same drunk parties, the same stupid initiations... It's all a sham, just another way of pretending to be different. And the sad thing is, the people involved think they've found their niche, their raison d'être. And it's nothing more than another false image, just as bad as being a republican or a sorority sister. No, worse, because at least those don't pretend to be something they're not.
I was surprised to find that a non-Malleteer would actually take the time to go Mallet-bashing, and the words generated some interesting discussion on the Mallet general mailing list.

Today I decided to see what the author of those words is up to now. The original diary with its (occasionally deserved, and I'm saying this as a Malleteer) indictment of Mallet is long gone. This ( appears to be a website of the same person, though. Apparently her analysis of Fight Club is a well-respected and oft-cited resource for serious Fight Club scholars.

Also, I think she is the author of these Daria fan fiction stories.

A googling of her old handle Invisigoth Gypsy turns up mostly broken links, but does reveal that her interests also include Anime, MST3K, Tiny Toons, Beetlejuice, and My Little Pony. All in all, pretty geeky. Exactly the type of person who normally feels quite at home at Mallet.

What's even more interesting to me is not so much what smart people can do, but what triggers those of us without any time on our hands to make some time anyway.
-- Philip Segrest

Monday, October 06, 2003

I stand corrected. In the Laws of Marvin the line "remember the Pueblo" was lifted directly from Deteriorata. I have to say that as many times as I've seen Deteriorata posted on the Internet, I've never actually read the entire thing or otherwise I would've known this instantly.

This is actually the second time today that the Deteriorata has crossed my path. The other of which is this entry in the SBF Glossary.

OpenACS Home

"Open Architecture Community System"... bah! I was hoping it stood for Open Adventure Construction Set.

I have not yet found an instance of anyone using Þ in a 1337-ish manner as a fake a P. This may be because people out there know that Þ really is a basic letter of that Latin alphabet, and 1337 properly consists of using non-letters that look like letters.

I remember back in the BBS days, there was a hacker/cracker practice for randomly sprinkling English text with international characters, box-drawing elements and other non-ASCII symbols that happened to look like the letters that one was representing. You'd see things like © for "c" and ┌ for "r". The entire DOS character set was fair game, with no respect to what the letters might actually mean. Σ meant "E", not "S", because it looked like "E". For various reasons, this art form (which as far as I know never had a name) does not seem to have survived the transitition of PC geekdom from DOS to Windows or Linux.

An actual example from my BBS archives... check out the signature of this posting. The author signs his name as ╤hε ƒΘuσ╫h Æm¡gΘ. Note the use of &Theta (GREEK CAPITAL LETTER THETA) for "O", and even σ (GREEK SMALL LETTER SIGMA) for "r", and σ doesn't even look that much like "r"!

Note that you won't see our favorite letter Þ used in this way, though, because CP437 had no Þ in it!

The more I think about it, the more I think that this might have been more of a mutant relative of the ANSI art scene than anything else.

SBF Glossary: Þe to Þorn

The short page for Þ in an interesting one-man "glossary" web site that appears to have been waiting since 1995 for me to discover it.

The SNIPPETS archives project:

The SNIPPETS archives project started out in the late 1980's as a personal quest to collect useful snippets (hence the name) of C, and later C , code which would be free for reuse in a personal or commercial environment. Over time, it has grown to more than 94,000 lines of code in over 700 separate files. The goal of SNIPPETS was to collect and disseminate the best C/C answers to 'How do I...?' programming questions.
One of the oldest archives of its kind to exist for DOS programmers. It was one of the inspirations for libclc. The sections for languages other than C and C++ are basically just placeholders.


libclc is a project undertaken by comp.lang.c regulars in order to provide a portable API for most useful and common programming tasks. It aims at providing services for the following tasks among others: strings, file I/O, logging & error recovery, memory management, base conversion, date & time, sorting & searching, hashing, lists, queues, stacks, trees & other abstract data structures, random numbers, crypto, database, graphs.
This is academic for me, since I don't usually program in C anymore, but its interesting to watch. Activity related to this library seems to have dropped off on comp.lang.c, however.

Friday, October 03, 2003

The BileBlog - Impure Java

O evil monster.

ConTEXT - Programmers editor

I don't know if this editor is any good or not, but look at the main page of the company who either makes it or hosts it! (warning: Flash page with embedded audio!) This is what you get for plugging the name of everybody's favorite Windows font into a search engine.

Some search phrases that turn up pages from this blog, first in the list unless otherwise indicated:

unicode commie plot
asians hate unicode
win32 edlin
poo ice cream
"dungeon rock" music
colonel dixie
"buddy list before aol"
ascii uml (#3)
values of β will give rise to dom! (#2, after Dennis Ritchie)

Mystery Solved: origins of "Remember the Pueblo" in the Book of Marvin

It appears that during the time of the U.S.S. Pueblo incident, an organization called the Remember the Pueblo Committee was formed "to keep the plight of the PUEBLO crew in the public's senses and to apply pressure upon the government to obtain the release of the crew". Among other things, they distributed bumper stickers bearing the exact words "Remember the Pueblo", and generally tried to promote those as a household catchphrase. My theory is that it did indeed become a catchphrase, and thus was taken directly into the Laws of Marvin. It is also possible that one or more members of the Mallet Assembly at that time had automobiles sporting these bumber stickers.

Wow. In the amount of time it took me to write that last entry, the missing archive came back. Apparently there is several minutes of delay between when Blogger claims to have published your pages, and when they are actually available on As for why it needed to be republished in the first place, the world may never know.

The archive for 2003-08-10 seems to have disappeared.. and republishing doesn't bring it back. This would be all well and good if that week's postings had consisted of my usual trivial crap. But that was the week that I discovered the true nature of Unicode! Anybody out there who does a Google search for unicode is a commie plot will only be able to read about it from the cache!

I am literally afraid to see what kind of ads Google is going to stick up at the top of my page after it crawls over those last couple of entries.

Þorn: the new pr0n ?

It looks even better in Arial than in my usual fixedsys font.
And not just ordinary FREE ÞORN either, free ÞORN from Iceland (Icelandic being the only modern language that uses the letter)! And Iceland is close enough to Sweden in the typical American mind to bring up all kinds of kinky ideas, not to mention the possibility of Björk Þorn. (qv)

Sorting the letter ÞORN

(via miscoranda) I don't know how I missed this one the last time I was poking around in Unicode land. Any page that manages to repeatedly exploit the visual similarity between the words "ÞORN" and "PORN" in order to attract horny geek readers to a discussion of how the ancient Greeks, Etruscans and Romans affect the sorting of Unicode text, deserves a mention here!

Oh my God, he even knows the pain of working with Tibco!

To this I would add my own horror story: an older version of Tibco Portal Builder is the only piece of software that I have ever heard of the actually broke, as in just plain quit working, when Unix time hit one billion seconds.

The BileBlog

This is good reading. The overlap between the Open Source, J2EE, and Blog/RSSgeek worlds is already small enough (terms of the total size of geekdom) that idea that there would be a blog which appears to be entirely dedicated to being the ultimate, thorn-in-the-side, bastard-child-of-Andy-Rooney-and-Dennis-Leary-on-crack curmudgeon of the OSS J2EE community is just too much! I don't know if its intended to be funny, but its just true enough to be hilarious. There are plenty of blogs and forums where one can find people simply bashing Java and J2EE without understanding it. This guy does Java for a living and knows what he is talking about. This is better than browsing Slashdot with the filter turned all the way up +5.

Random quote from various rants (it doesn't matter which ones):
You also get a source xref. This I'm sure was useful back in the days when people didn't have suitable tools to browse source in a far easier and sensible manner than a stupid web UI. Java professionals will use IDEA. Even their retarded happy-idiot poor cousins will use Eclipse at the very least.
What's truly depressing is the amount of energy and effort that people have poured into this crap. They could have been out there making a difference, planting trees, preaching world peace, solving the middle-east crisis, advocating a two party system in the US, saving whales, work for an aid agency helping African societies decimated by AIDS (no US aid for them of course if they also preach contraception and family planning), but no, they instead make up little xml documents that define their humanity, or lack thereof. Grrrr.
Heaven forbid servlet container developers are actually forced to do any actual work or make the life of application developers vaguely tolerable. They're all too busy pimping their own idiotic implementations, in the few spare minutes they have between bouts of trying desperately to milk their book author credentials for all its worth.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Bridges of MO-KAN : Bridges in Missouri & Kansas

Appears to be back online. I don't know if it was really down, or if there was just some kind of connectivity or DNS problem on my end. My employer's internet connectivity has been somewhat flaky lately.

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Music (Who Butchered the Beatles?)

Yes, that one was a duplicate. This is a direct link to an internal page that would normally launch into a new window, using javascript. Now you are free to load it into a new tab instead (if you are using Mozilla, and I pity you if you aren't!). The main difference between this version and the one at is that this one has some images of the other pictures from the same photo shoot, although I don't see the "sausage" picture.
The first picture shows the Beatles, facing a woman who has her back to the camera, and hanging on to a string of sausages. This picture was supposed to represent the 'birth' of the Beatles, with the sausages serving as an umbilical cord.

Who Butchered the Beatles?

This appears to duplicate information from the site, but I'm blogging it anyway.

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Music (Who Butchered the Beatles?)

Claim: The Beatles planned the infamous butcher cover as a protest against Capitol Records' "butchering" of their album releases in America.

Status: False.

The Home Page

I don't read the newsgroups myself, but this looks interesting. Especially the articles by Alan W. Pollack.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Ronald Reagan Parkway

Usenet discussion of Gwinnet County's freeway to nowhere. (the unlabelled and isolated bit of "freeway red" in the center of this map, which shows how close it comes to I-85 without connecting to it). Also one of the few freeways that I've seen anywhere built and maintained by city or county (not state) government. And also one of the few non-toll freeways that have no posted numeric designation as either a state, U.S., or Interstate route. (According to someone in the thread, the RRP is designated SR 864 but that number is never seen anywhere)

America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places 2003

Each year, the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places spotlights parts of the country's heritage that are threatened by neglect, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy.
You can also access the lists from past years. A lot of the entries are "general" entries, such as "Urban Houses of Worship, Nationwide", not specifics places, which would be much more interesting.

Bridges of MO-KAN : Bridges in Missouri & Kansas

From the wayback machine. The photos don't appear to have been preserved. Maybe the real page will be available again soon.

This Kansas City roadgeek page claims to have a section dedicated to bridges, but it appears to be dead.

12th Street Viaduct

Short PDF about the need and the cost of repairs to Kansas City's famous (well, it should be famous in my book) multi-level road.

It says that the viaduct is the "only multi-level structure in the Kansas City area". I don't think is quite true. When I lived there, a couple of the bridges over the Kansas (or "Kaw") river had two levels. The upper decks tied into a viaduct system connecting downtown Kansas City, MO to downtown Kansas City, KS, passing over the industrial "bottoms" areas near the river. The lower levels directly connected the low-lying streets in the bottoms.

I seem to recall that the I-70 bridge (also called "Lewis and Clark" or "Inter-City") had a lower deck which was long since closed by the time I got there.

The Central Avenue Bridge, on the other hand, had a lower level that was still open in 1999. Driving across it was a cool and slightly scary experience. Like the drawbridges of a bygone era, there was no pavement, just metal grid that you could see through down to the river.

Now I've got to go find some bridgefan websites.

Dave's Electric Railroads

A collection of electric railroad, interurban, and streetcar photography from many eras

Atlanta, too. Atlanta's trolleybuses do not seem to have survived into the MARTA era.

Another solid page of San Francisco Trolley Buses

Tuscaloosa Metro Trolley

This is the "brolley" system at the University of Alabama. Their logo shows a real trolley (on tracks), and they claim to be the legitimate successor of the city's original trolley system, but the photographs plainly show that their vehicles are buses. And the fake trolley decorations aren't nearly as complete or as elaborate as some that I've seen, either.

One thing about all of these trolleybus links I have been posting. These have nothing to do with those vehicles which are simply buses that are tricked out to look like an old trolley.

I have heard these referred to as "brolleys". ("brolley" also means "umbrella" in the UK, so if you try to Google for it you'll get a lot of umbrella-related hits).

Most of the "brolleys" that I have seen or heard of are rolling tourist traps, plan and simple. I also have some indication that a brolley line operates in or near the University of Alabama.

I'm sure that there are brolley fans out there, but they are apparently a different crowd of people from the electric trolley bus fans.

The Electric Trolley Bus Web Site

This web site is devoted "transit's step child": the electric trolleybus. Our aim is to provide a link to every known trolleybus site on the web. Additionally we provide many photos as well.

HO-scale Trolley Coaches

Ben McKay of Orlando, Florida has been demonstrating operating, driveable HO-scale trolley coaches at shows the past several years. This module includes a standard 2 track NMRA module lines so that it might be added to a module display. Standing alone, there is an interesting trolley line besides the trolley coach line
Page is mostly photos, including some showing the insides of these models. They are built mostly using model-railroad technology.

Trolleybuses - USA - San Francisco

More SF trolleybus pictures.

Trolleybus Web Ring

I haven't taken much time to pick through this and find the interesting sites yet. I can see, though, that apparently trolleybuses are much more common outside the U.S.

San Francisco Trolley Coaches

The San Francisco Municipal Railway operates the largest network of electric trolley coach routes in the United States. (In other cities, these vehicles are called "trolleybuses" or "trackless trolleys".) Trolley coaches excel at climbing steep hills, and cheap hydroelectric power is available from a city-owned reservoir and dam in the California mountains.
I rode a lot of these critters when I was in San Francisco. Unless you look up to see the trolley poles, you might mistake them for normal buses.

On Market Street, they share the same road with both regular buses and old-fashioned trolleys (streetcars), of which two things the trolleybus is sort of a combination or middle ground.

SF also has a lot of articulated buses, too. In fact I didn't know there was such a thing as either an articulated bus or a trolleybus until I went there.

More LOOT Art from Big Don

        _ L-O-O-O-O-T...loot-loot...LOOOOOOOOO-O-O-O-O-T
 __/==----__ _________ _________ _________ _________ __----==\__
/ o oo | ***| PS8Scum | LOOTers |  from   | Tacoma  |*** | oo o \

        **** The New Seattle-Tacoma Crack-Cocaine Express ****
               (more LOOTers and Drugs per hour)