Thursday, August 31, 2006


Enter a URL, get a PDF file of its contents.

conlang stuff, in case you didn't read the comments to the grunge speak entry..

I'm slightly flattered that somewhere out on the Internet, a mentally ill teenager liked my old constructed languages enough to take them and try to pass them off as original work.

If only the kids would go crazy like that over my music.

It Works Right Out Of the Box!

Look at just about any successful open source Java project, look at Tomcat or JBoss, at ant, JEdit or even Eclipse, and there is one thing they all have in common. They all work right out of the box. Download any of these masterpieces and a few minutes later you will have something running.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Grunge speak - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Studying up on this stuff, for my upcoming trip to Seattle.

more forgotten innovations in computers

Many people think that Doom was the first game in which you could trick the enemies into fighting each other. I distinctly recall that in the Bruce Lee game that I played on the C64, you could sometimes get the Ninja and the fat green guy to beat each other up.

Beanz Warz, part 1

On a recent outing (the main purpose of which was drinking) in downtown Norcross, I happened to mosey into Taste of Britain, where I purchased a can of genuine "Heinz Beanz".

A very English co-worker told me that the rough equivalent in the American market is "Heinz Vegetarian Beans".

Well, I've compared the two by eating them, for both breakfast and lunch, on subsequent days.

The British version has slightly larger beans (like, maybe only larger by a matter of millimeters, but you still notice), and the beans are notably paler. The sauces are not identical either. The American version has a browner, stickier sauce. The British beans, the sauce is thinner, runnier, and redder.

It's much harder to tell them apart in taste. I'm not sure I could do it, if I was blindfolded. I want to say that the American version is sweeter, more like syrup, and the British version tastes more like ketchup.. but this could just be my imagination running away after the visual impressions made by the sauces.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Free the Maps

seen on BoingBoing, which is one of the blogs I normally avoid because I know I'll waste too much time on it.

missing links in computer history

In discussions of the history of computer design, the Milton Bradley company is rarely given credit where credit is due, for pioneering the form factor of all laptop computers with their "Battleship" game.

Look at the people in this picture... they could just as well be playing each other a game on their two laptops with wireless.

Image from The Computer Vet, which page you should read.

Anybody who reads The Daily WTF is probably used to being bombarded with ads for "Sumo Lounge" bean-bag furniture. Ever actually follow the ad to their website? The flash ad is, to my eyes, just plain trippy. Look at that thing change colors!

Monday, August 28, 2006

one of those end-of-an-era type of things..

On a recent trip to the grocery store, I noticed that Spam no longer comes in the kind of can that you open with a "key". At least this particular store, had particular cans of Spam, with pull-off lids. I don't know if the key is really gone forever, or what. Various other canned meat products still have them though.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Swing apps as remote X clients

I'd heard a long, long time ago that the performance of Swing applications was awful when running with a remote X server. Well, that was a long time ago, and since then they seem to have fixed it fixed it good. I just tried Netbeans, running on Debian with Cygwin on a different box as the X server, and I cannot tell any noticeable speed different between this and using it locally. None at all. Granted, these two machines are right here in the same office, so the network speed between them is as about as good as it can get, but still, this is impressive compared to the horror stories I'd heard. Belated thanks to Sun for fixing that one.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

rock and roll gives me more reasons to hate the world

How can a song like "Crazy Bitch" by Buck Cherry be a "hit"? It's everything I wanted in a song when I was 14, and the world refused to give to me back then. It wouldn't have been allowed anywhere near the radio back then. Kids these days have all the fun.

Watch this video

(The irony of course, is that the people responsible for this song are in fact my age, some of them at least. That kid in the video of course is young enough to be one of the band's bastard children. Is it even legal for high school kids to have access to music with the word "fuck" in it?)

Friday, August 18, 2006

another breakfast abomination

I think, but am not sure, that I just ate some bacon that was "cured" with an artificial sweetener rather than sugar. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? It sure tasted artificial to me.

EDIT: no, it's sugar-cured. I checked. Must've been a bad mix of flavors from other things eaten at the time. Note to self: never eat bacon with canteloupe.

breakfast of... well, not champions, exactly..

Red bull and pork rinds.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

IMDb Search

Everybody google's their own name. How about finding yourself on IMDB?

Boy have I been in some obscure crap.


IF you pine for the day when you could decorate your mom's basement with black-light posters over your waterbed and still be considered hip, then prepare to rejoice: '70s riff rock is back!

Crazy-man drums, uber-distorted guitar solos, frenzied bass riffs, howling vocals, raw production and even Frank Frazetta's mystical album covers are flying out of the dustbin and onto your iPod.

OMFG.. as far as I'm concerned, only good can come of this.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

interesting bizarre fact time...

The cartoon snake charming song -- (AKA "There's a place in France") was originally "written" for the Chicago World Fair.

The band that was hired to play for the belly dancers had no idea what sort of music would make for an appropriate accompaniment. So, Sol Bloom, the music promoter who developed the midway for the fair, improvised this tune on the spot as an approximation of middle eastern music.

from Song Fight

it says something important, but I'm not sure what..

.. when half the business processes that keep a company running, are based around bypassing the GUIs of the internal applications and using SQL queries to pull reports on what is really going on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Java vs .NET where it counts..

..where a (good) programmer spends most of his time: in the documentation!


.NET: DHTML-y, corporate-y, Outlook-y. Looks like the sort of webpage that would have "document.all", though fortunately not.

Java: Looks like a page designed ten years ago, because that's more or less what it is.

Neither is valid (X)HTML.

Comparing the content, Java is definitely the geeker of the two. See:

Appeals to ANSI or ISO standards to explain behavior:

Java: 5 uses of the word "ANSI"
.NET: none

Sample code that is US-dollar centric, without reminding the clueless reader that it might be a bad idea to copy this code into a Foreign-Exchange application:

Java: no
.NET: yes, in all known .NET languages

Number of ways to "round" a number:
Java: 7 (number of values of the RoundingMode enumeration)
.NET: 6 (count of overloads of "round" method on System.Decimal, including both possible MidpointRounding values)

Use of something that looks like BNF:
Java: yes
.NET: no

Use of numeric Unicode references ("\u002B"):
Java: yes
.NET: no

Other terms appearing only in Java docs:


Monday, August 14, 2006

department of longstanding diabolical trademarks

It does look like "they" got to Red Devil Lye. All the top hits for it are about how you can't buy it anymore. Mainly impacted are soap-making hobbyists.

Different "they", though. It would appear that lye was a victom of the War on Drugs.

In the department of Wikipedia articles that very surprisingly don't exist yet

Deviled Ham

EDIT: according to this page, the Devil image on cans of Underwood Deviled Ham is the oldest "existing trademark still in use in the United States".

Why haven't the people who made Proctor and Gamble change their logo done anything about this? For cryin' out loud, it's a picture of SATAN, on our nation's canned meat products!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

scripting: Project Home Page

Notice that one of the "scripting languages" supported is Java itself. This means being able to "eval" Java source code at runtime, like you can in, say, ColdFusion. That will be... interesting.

Scripting for the Java Platform

read later

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

holy crap, ClearType!

There was an article on Mezzoblue about how most people never bother to turn on ClearType in Windows XP, and how this affects web design, and how IE7 is going to change that. Suddenly I realized that I'm one of "most people".

I'm so far out of the loop on that kind of stuff that all these years I'd always assumed Windows XP would turn it on automatically if it detected a display where ClearType would work. I guess this is giving them way too much credit..

ClearType was turned off on the computer I'm using to write this, and has been off for the entire time I've owned it (since 2002!). I just turned it on, and it makes a huge difference.