ljplicease: (Vasquez Rocks)

Photos from when Tyler and I visited Vasquez Rocks near Los Angeles. If it looks like every planet that Kirk and crew ever beamed down to, that is because it is.

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ljplicease: (PhotoRealistic Dactyl)

I was reading the other day about how they (the giant ants[1]) were going to make a game featuring both Sonic and Mario. Not only that, but they were both going to be featured in the title of the game. Growing up with the Nintendo vs. Sega rivalry, this would have once seemed like the moral equivalent to having Darth Vader command the USS Enterprise-K in the Next Next Generation, or having Captain Kirk pilot an X-wing. Times they are a-changing I guess, and where there is a business case anything can happen. Just today I was reading that Dell was going to start selling PC desktop systems with Linux pre-installed, which further confused me: this can’t be the same reality that I’ve lived in for the last 30 years. All of this is way too early for April Fools, so they must be ice skating in hell for sure.

Speaking space opera, I always had this fantasy of quitting my job in corporate America/Australia by declaring “I am a programmer. Like my father before me.” (Tyler can correct me on the inaccuracy of that quote) All this with the Visigoths about to storm Rome in 410, and bring an end to the Empire[2]. The trouble is, my dad is actually a chemist. A pretty damn good one, but although he knows Fortran I wouldn’t really describe him as a programmer. I hope that if it ever does come to that, fate will forgive the necessity of a nice dramatic statement in place of a factually correct one.

  1. Damn you Tyler, I can’t use the word “they” or “them” without thinking about giant ants!
  2. so my fantasies are historically schizophrenic
ljplicease: (City Fog)

Tyler sent me this awesomeness:


Hope everyone has some happy holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, International Talk Like a Pirate Day or a little bit of everything :)

ljplicease: (Timing Zone)
I am now in Sydney, finally. I had a fun weekend in LA with Tyler. We did all the usual kind of stuff, except when we were playing video games I was getting a professional tour.

I had originally wanted to go to San Francisco and see Joanna and Padraic as well, but I needed a lot more time in Salt Lake to finish things up in America than I thought. Hopefully I will be able to see them on my next visit to America. It doesn't seem strange to talk about "my next visit to America," at least, not yet.

There is a wonderful view of the opera house and the bridge from our apartment. When I get a faster Internet connection I will post some pictures. Right now we are using some kind of neighborhood wireless connection which is real slow and tends to cut out from time to time.

The company my friend Mike works for just got bought by google[1], so now I know someone who works at google. They were already working closely with google, but I think this will be even better.

More later.

[1] http://www.sketchup.com/index.php?id=1439

L. A.

Jan. 28th, 2005 07:57 am
ljplicease: (Teeth)
In a week I will be in LA, visiting a friend who I have seen exactly once in the past five years. We chat on-line all the time, but I am looking forward to seeing him; hitting the streets, ordering a thing with stuff, transforming into a train and driving around, seeing the easter eggs in the game that he worked on at EA, and generally having a good time.

And all of this... ls_slbd_dtop_pmac and DoubleThink II will be little more than a memory and something which I won't have to worry or care about until March.


Jan. 13th, 2005 09:57 am
ljplicease: (Teeth)
I was researching Wikis using (appropriately enough) Wikipedia just now to see if I could harness the technology for HVOC. While I was at it, I came across a reference to the hacker and free software advocate Richard Stallman, also known as rms. My friend, Richard Ess, also has the same initials; and only a few people know this: the M. in Richard M. Ess either doesn't stand for anything (as in "J Robert Oppenheimer") or it stands for "middle".

Anytime Stallman's name brought up it summons in me a feeling of low intensity rage. If all politics are local, and you live in the world made up of software known as the Internet, which is by its nature global, then you may come to appreciate that the world of software is in fact political. If this is the case than I think it could be fairly said that if Bill Gates were the Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan of software, then Richard Stallman would be Ralph Nader; although I think this is being unfair to Nader, as Stallman is petty and childish (If you believe this to be true of Nader, then maybe it is not unfair).

One of Stallman's pet peeves is that people insist on calling Linux Linux. You will find that I am one of these people, because 1) that is what it is called and 2) even if it weren't I would probably not call it that other name simply to spite Stallman. I won't repeat what he calls it, but I will say that he wants credit for Linux because his software plays a part in the success of Linux. Instead of being happy that free software is being used, he is being petty and demanding credit. This causes divisiveness in the free software community, which if you use my political analogy to software, you can see is prevalent in American politics too.

The other charge is that he is childish. I won't go into too much detail but I read an article about him where the interviewer described an episode where Stallman flipped off a building that was named after Bill Gates. In another episode, he was invited to talk at a conference for free software that was sponsored by a number of free software companies. Instead of being a positive voice, he took the opportunity to attack the sponsors, all of which make money from free software. It is, to an extent, a "free country" so he is free to express himself thus. If I were to analyze his behavior (which I am), I would say that he is resentful of the fact that these companies are making money off of, and getting credit for free software, including free software that he wrote.

If you view that companies are doing a bad thing by exploiting free software commercially, or that they are not being "true" to the free software spirit, or more to the point that they are not properly reverent to Stallman, then this is a limitation of the Copylefted license that not only did he use to release his software; but he even wrote the license and invented the term Copyleft. I actually don't think this is a limitation of the license, although I do think it is a limitation of individuals when they believe that all software should be distributed under the same copylefted license.

Stallman resents the fact that when the PC was born and gave rise to the commercial software industry as it exists today, it lead to what he saw as a decline in his hacker community. I think that everyone in the free software community should recognize and appreciate what commercialization of computers has done for society. I can't think of too many people who like Bill Gates, or his henchman the Microsoft Word Paperclip, but even I have to give him credit for turning the PC into a commodity, and making it widely available. I would argue that a big part of the reason that PCs are so affordable today is that Micro$oft, along with others, such as Apple, have made computers accessible to regular people. The creation of this enormous market has consistently driven the price of PCs down, while at the same time the speed and quality of hardware goes up.

Just to give you an idea, I gave Tyler Tron 2.0 for his birthday, and picked up a used copy for myself on half.com. If you have seen the original 80s movie on which it is based you know that the graphics are limited and simplistic. Those scenes were rendered in a batch process; meaning each frame did not have to be rendered quickly enough to be displayed real-time. This game, by contrast has much more sophisticated graphics and thanks to 3D hardware acceleration, all the frames are rendered real-time.

This is something that free software, which existed long before PCs, and long before Stallman claimed to have invented it, could never do. Free software is good for many things, particularly for constructing server software and for niche application development, and I will quite often choose a free software product over a commercial one based on quality rather than price. On the other hand, there are certain commercial software applications that are hands down the best available, and far outperform their free software equivalent. From my own point of view I would say Micro$oft Word and Adobe Photoshop fit this description. The free software community has put together some good WYSIWYG editors, but with the exception that none of them include a talking paper clip, they just don't have as rich a feature set as Word. As for Photoshop, while The GIMP is quite good, and was adequate for my needs for a long time, it is simply not good enough for professional photographers, and after having learned how to use Photoshop I realize that The GIMP just isn't good enough for my need either.

Fortunately, in this world of extremes, there are also moderates. People who exist somewhere between Bill Gates and Richard Stallman who see the benefit of both free software, the commercialization of free software, and fully commercial software. The best examples, I think, are Linus Torvalds original author of the Linux kernel, which serves as the core of the Linux operating system, and Larry Wall, the original author of Perl. I think people like these have so much more to offer the free software community than the zealots do. I think that it is telling that these two characters still play a major contributing factor to the projects that they created, while Stallman has delegated his coding responsibility to others for a life of advocacy. Those who can, do; those who can't, tell other people what to do.
ljplicease: (Mirror Shot)
What was 2004? It was a year of stolen and disputed elections in Georgia and the Ukraine, the rise and fall of Howard Dean and John Kerry, the first private space flight and the end of the "X-Prize," disaster in Darfur, prisoner abuse in Iraq, expansion of the European Union, the death of Ronald Regan and a month of flags at half mast, the return of Greek Olympics and a very smug presidential victory. In less political but tragic terms, the worst natural disaster in my memory has occurred in Asia as Tsunami death tolls top 135,000 according to CNN.com.

For me, the year started out as a bleak one in the coldest New York winter I have ever experienced. My mother came to visit me for her birthday. We stayed in Manhattan and it was bitterly cold.

Lowel and Johanna
I took a lighting class at Dutchess which was a blast. Some of my friends from Black and White II were taking the class and I met some other cool people. It was so much fun working with those people, including the teacher, Lowel Handler.

Read more... )

In Short, 2004 was A Great Year and I have high hopes that 2005 will be even better.
ljplicease: (Simon Belmont)
A dead Quaker.

Ambrose Bierce The Devil's Dictionary

Thanks Tyler :)


Dec. 26th, 2004 10:40 pm
ljplicease: (Ampersand)
Just came back from Sideways directed by Alexander Payne (Citizen Ruth and Election). Best Nebraskan director ever. Observations:

warning, spoilers... )

I wish I had seen the film with Tyler and could get his take on the film. I do miss going to the Gallagher and paying to see a movie so that we could see the free movie afterward.

Interesting to note that Payne's next film listed on IMDB is titled Nebraska coming out next year.

Now I really want to see A Very Long Engagement. I have to say, looking at the poster, and given the name I was turned off, but the preview I saw before Sideways totally made me want to see it.
ljplicease: (Ampersand)
I'm thinking about cooking some pasta for dinner, which of course brings up the whole low carb thing. It's a serious inconvenience that pasta is now worse than slathering your blood red cow stake with the thickest bacon grease imaginable, because when cooking for people you have to think up something more complicated to make. So I send Tyler an IM asking: "are you on any of those funky low carb diets?" in hopes that if he comes out to visit me in New York I can make something simple like pasta. But he doesn't answer me right away.

I decided I really needed a paper clip. I riffled through my desk drawer, but come up with nothing. I decide to go buy some and tell Tyler: "i need to go get paper clips. i'll be back in a bit."

To which he responds: "no; they don't work. my dad actually wrote a book which describes why"

I was about to walk out of the room, but I stop with a feeling of dread in my heart. Suddenly I had been thrust into some strange universe where Mr. Spock has a goatee and for some reasons all paper clips have become non functional. I wonder what else is different about this parallel universe? And why did Tyler's father write an entire book on why paper clips don't work? I've been so wrapped up in the future and being an optimist and all that B.S. that I have made myself susceptible to believing it just may be true when somebody tells me something like "paper clips don't work."

"huh? what?" I type.

Then I remember the question before that. "oh. heh. cool. got confused there."

Tyler responds with: "the diets"

"i thought you were saying PAPER CLIPS didn't work."

Relieved that I wouldn't have to double check my Star Trek DVDs to insure that Spock didn't have any extra whiskers (except of course for that one episode that he did), I went off to get some paper clips.

On the way back I'm listening to a CD I burned with just music that I like to listen to and none of the extra chaff which is on those CDs that those musical corporations expect us to buy. It struck me recently that with the exception of the first ("reptile") and last song ("suicide notes") it is all "happy" music, and that I haven't been much interested in listening to the "unhappy" tracks. Guthrie used to imply that the fact that I used to listen to depressing music made me unhappy. I contend (as I did then) that I listened to depressing music because I was depressed, and now that I prefer to listen to "happy" music because I am optimistic.

For a second there it didn't even bother me that I still don't have plans for New Years Eve. It occurs to me that New Years Eve is really Old Years Night... and is so about the past, not The Future.

qoek irwma

Nov. 30th, 2004 10:10 am
ljplicease: (Default)
That's what I get when I try to type "work item" without looking at the keyboard.

If I had any cash I would get a PS2 just to play Tyler's game (the one that he helped to create). If I had totally flushed my hang ups about Micro$oft down the toilet, then I'd get an Xbox instead. I'm getting better though. I own a Mac, and it doesn't bother me.

I want to go dancing this weekend. Anyone want to go for a whirl? I have to warn you that I don't know how, but if you hum a few bars I will fake it. Hyper. I am full of energy.

I totally solved the memory errors that have been killing me at work. I don't want to go in to fix the rest of the bugs. I have to do what I got to do, man. Instead I would rather sit here in my spare bedroom and let the sunlight tingle my mood. I hate the florescent lights of my Morlock's cave.

I am cooking for Action Tuesday tonight. Maybe. Hope I can find the recipe. If not, I will throw everything I have into the pot and boil it nice and right. Thought I would make my "authentic" Australian Beef Goulash. It's good stuff baby.


Nov. 11th, 2004 06:38 pm
ljplicease: (Default)
So a couple of weeks back, I posted to The Twilight Report a story based on my life back in Arizona (Arizona Fish Story : A Life Less Serious), which included a reference to someone Tyler and I met "virtually" but never in real life. Last night Tyler and I are running around a virtual maze chatting about the good old days, and somehow we talked about our eventual goal of actually having Pizza with I_SUCK, one of the Quakers on our LAN at school. Like all of the Quakers we ran into from those days, we knew his real name and Tyler put it into google (or something) and found his web page, and e-mail address. The crazy thing is he works at The Company, just like I do. Had I known that I could have just searched the The Company employee data base. Big Brother has got to keep an eye on us after all, so we are all in there. Tyler sent him an e-mail and we swapped a couple of messages today. The thing is, after all of these years, and after telling the story (mostly to each other) for so long, I_SUCK has achieved a sort of mythic status. I doubt the actual guy could live up to it. Still, we must have pizza sometime, until that happens my life will remain incomplete.
ljplicease: (Default)
My high school and CORE coding buddy Mike came up yesterday and brought his wife Sarah so they could attend my much anticipated Halloween party. It is hard for me to convey just how nice it was to see Mike. Sarah is also from Los Alamos, so I had the rare opportunity to talk with people who grew up on green chili and who know about Mrs. Moss and have heard about Mr. Farley's Butt-Ear. They stayed at my place last night and this morning we wondered around the city of Beacon. I am equally looking forward to seeing Tyler in February now!

Mike, Mike's manager, and Mike's weed
Anyway, the enchiladas came out like clockwork. I've got a fairly established procedure for it now. I threatened to give people costumes if they didn't bring their own, but alas... they were not worried, because most didn't come dressed up. Enchiladas, Posole and Guacamole were a huge success, and everyone was super impressed with Mike's fire breathing prowess. When I get the slides back (and if they come out) I will scan them and put them on my web site, along with the digital general party milling about pictures.

For some reason, iTunes "randomly" chose to play Born Slippy like three times during the course of the party. Granted, they were different versions of the same song, but still. The third time I swore vociferously and got up to advanced to the next song. My consternation made Steve laugh quite vocally, which is always fun, because he is usually so quiet.

I was so glad that Mike was able to meet all my friends. I love it when friends from different aspects of my life come together and get along well. It sort of affirms what I already know: my friends rock!
ljplicease: (Default)
phone woke me up. reporter daily star. "it's three o'clock morning" i moaned. parts of speach difficult. photographer. desire photographs taken. for interview. vaguely remember reporter from yesterday. mitch gitman. acknowledge affirmative. roll out of bed. stagger bathroom, drench self healing power of hot water. My eyes begin to see objects a little more distinctly and my memory is coming back on line. Yesterday a reporter had interviewed me about the Dorm network "ResComp" or as I like to refer to it "ResInComp." I turn the water off and start to towel off. I had directed him in the direction of an acquaintance Fydor and my friend Tyler, because they were like minded Internet Dorm Dwellers. Mitch had just called me up to ask if they could photograph me using the Internet.

I wonder why he called me up this early as I walk back into my room, when I notice that it is awfully bright in my room for 3:00am. I squint at my alarm clock and hit it with a clenched fist. It changes to 8:14am, which I assume means it is actually 8:04am, since I always set the thing ten minutes fast.

Read more... )
ljplicease: (Default)
It is now official. I am definitely for sure maybe going to Australia next February. I say definitely for sure because I am definitely going, but I say maybe because the last time I said was definitely going to Australia I decided later not to. Mum has a meeting the week of 11 February 2005.

I can't wait for it to be next year, because I will be able to say "The Year Is 2005..."

Anyway, Mum has this meeting down under and she can probably get me frequent flier ticket, so the price is right. I noticed that the meeting is the week of my dad's birthday, so it seems like the perfect time to go visit Dad and that side of my family. I thought dad would be thrilled to hear that I would be coming out for his birthday, but he didn't seem to be so particularly. I'm going to be there in February when it is cold here, but warm there, so I will have to contend with this kind of weather:

ljplicease: (Default)

I was having Raw Fish for lunch today (yes, some call it Sushi) and decided to have desert, which means Green Tea Ice Cream. I dunno if this is a widely accepted practice among all Sushi restaurants, but the place I was at today has these really vicious looking spoons for eating ice cream. I remember thinking that they looked a little like the sort of spoons Klingon's would use... if Klingon's used utensils.

Note: Yes... I am an X-Star Trek Geek. No... I'm not anymore.

Anyway, later in the super market today I was revisiting this thought in my mind and it occurred to me that the spoons are really too small to be entire spoons, but they are about the right size to be tea spoons. So I was eating with Klingon Teaspoons in the Sushi House Today.

On leaving the super market I started thinking about this Chatbot I have been half heartedly developing. I have two best friends from College. One of them has or had an acquaintance that spent all of his time developing a Quakebot. I think maybe he dropped out of school because of it. It made conversing with him pretty unplesant because he pretty much couldn't talk about anything else. So naturally this made me think about my friend, and social drawbacks to being obsessed with writing a bot. So I think I will cancel the bot project before it gets any further.

On the drive home, I decided to call my mother to tell her that I had eaten Ice Cream with a Klingon Teaspoon today. Then we talked about the olympics... and how well Australia is doing. Neither of us ever fails to take the opportunity to point out that Australia is always ahead in the per capita medal tally... even if it is only to each other. I am not quite sure why this is.

When I get home I chat on-line with my other best friend from college who is now working for a video game company in LA designing sound for a first person shooter. In a way, I am incredibly jealous. When I was younger I wanted nothing more than to work for a company designing computer games. Of course I was more interested in the more cerebral interactive fiction games of Sierra "[fill in the blank] Quest" fame. There is no money in that anymore, and I won't scoff at the Quake-esq games my buddy is working on. I estimate the sound on his games will be stunning. I'm really happy for him.


ljplicease: (Default)

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