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Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

Firefly

I finally went and bought the series dvd, like I said.

When I watched the last episode, I wept; for there were no more.

Funny how a work of art featuring a home named Serenity comes into my life, years after its release, just at the point when I find myself looking hard for the same. Almost like someone’s trying to reach out and send a message, a message of hope. Shiny? Then again, I suppose one finds comfort where one can. Ones that know how to find find their own strength when they need it.

I’d love to sit and rapture about how the Firefly series has touched me; how it strikes so many chords, touches on so many relevant themes, and digs up so many familiarities. I’d like to join the chorus of praise for its creator. But it’s all been done long before and by better men and women than me, and I don’t have the time to indulge. I’ll take the personal comfort and drive on.

Just wanted someone to know.

Posted by Greg as People, Posts About Me at 09:57 PST

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Monday, August 21st, 2006

Brevity in Wikipedia

Since I’m a big user of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, and also a fan of by brother’s comic strip Brevity, I decided to check to see whether there was a Brevity entry. There wasn’t – the page where it should have been was a redirect to a World War II operation – so I created it. This entailed a little read up on the Wikipedia help pages, some cribbing from the styles of other comic strip entries, and research into the fair use of copyrighted images. The page now is very brief (the irony!), but at least it has been started, and I expect that other fans and myself will have it fully expanded in short order. I also need to download, fill out, and send to Guy & Rodd a request for permission to use the image that I uploaded.

The act of listing the authors pretty much automatically generated a request to create entries for Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry, so we might shortly see Wikipedia entries for them. It feels sort of funny instigating an entry for my brother, and I think it would be inappropriate for me to write a biographical sketch of him for public consumption, but I guess I’m available for interviews from other people who want to do it. Looking on the Comics Portal at all the other listings, Rodd, as a published artist, clearly deserves an entry.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, People at 05:57 PST

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Monday, January 16th, 2006

Inviting a Poetry Storm

My less-than-diplomatic post referring to my opinion of my namesake’s poetry caught the attention of the author. His response was brief, but I can’t discern whether it is the brevity of the mildly amused, or of the offended artist.

So I invited him and his readers to point me in the direction of good samples of his work. He seems quite prolific, so I’m afraid that I’ll be subjected to a Poetry Storm. I’ll read what ever I get, though, and hopefully with the attention that Art deserves. I guess I owe him that for such a callous, off-handed remark. It just goes to show you – be careful what you write on the the Web – anyone can read it!

Posted by Greg as My Website, People, Posts About Me at 06:58 PST

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Monday, January 2nd, 2006

Little Fish in a Big Pond

Sometimes I’m still amazed that I have an impact on the Internet. It’s not a big one, granted, but it’s there. I get a solid 25 hits a day on my postings about hooking up a certain model of wireless network card under Linux, and even though hardly anyone posts a comment about it, it makes me feel good thinking that I’m helping someone switch over to Linux. Getting my various wireless cards to work after I installed Linux (I went through three before finally determining to keep trying until I succeeded) was a huge problem that kept me from using Linux for literally years. Now that I can use Linux and connect to the Internet, I keep finding myself rebooting when I sit down at my computer and see that Windows login screen. I want to use my Fedora instead. And I want to share that feeling.

What’s more, some of those hits are coming without referrals, which I can only interpret as either someone bookmarking my site, or emailing a link to someone else. Either one says I’m making a difference.

Some of my hits are from people looking up my brother’s comic strip. (I’m going to give him a boost in Google PageRank by linking to his site – even though he doesn’t link back to me.) So I’ve got the old family pride cred, too.

Speaking of family, I had a great day today up in LALALand visiting my brother, sister-in-law, nephews and parents. We were sitting around talking about my father’s impending retirement, and the consensus was that he needed to find an activity that kept him busy and happy. I mentioned that I would always have my computer and Internet tinkering, and that it was a most fulfilling hobby for me. I guess that since the subject matter had been covering activities that could also produce income, I was asked if I could make money off of blogging. I had to laugh – if I could figure out how to do that, I’d have a million opinionated schmoes beating a path to my door! But some bloggers have, particularly through Google’s AdSense, but I don’t know whether it would be enough to even cover the hosting expenses.

Which brings me around to the inspiration for this post. (Yes, there’s a good reason why I picked the title “Ramblings“.) As I said before, I got a positive response to my feedback from GamerZ, the author of the WordPress plugin UserOnline. The latest version of his download includes all the things he said he would do. He added the GPL, he removed the core WP files hack, and he gave me credit for adding bot definitions. You just can’t get more responsive than that. Isn’t the Internet and the open source community great? I use stuff written by a someone 14,000 km away, talk to him, and it gets better. Next time I’m in Singapore (which, hopefully, will be in a few months – I have job in Diego Garcia coming up, and I’ll have to pick up a C-17 at Paya Lebar), I’m going to have to look him up. Perhaps I can persuade him to give me a better tour of the place than I gave myself with a guidebook when I was last there in 1999. I love Asia, and it’s always better to see it through the eyes of locals. Especially if you’re a 195 cm white guy who can’t speak the local lingo.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, My Website, People, Programming at 01:37 PST

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Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

Elbow and Send – Definition

I’m sure many of you have wondered about the true meaning of the term “elbow and send”, and have been searching high and low for the definition. You’ve gone to Wikipedia and seen the absence, you’ve tried using define in Google, you’ve Googled the term and checked out all those links, with so many disappointments.

Well, I have, too. And I’m not giving out any links to my obscure references, so only people who really want to know, the ones who have gone through what I have gone through, will be interested, and they’ll be coming straight here from search engines. I’m going to post the count.

I have my own thoughts on what the phrase actually means… but I don’t want to prejudge anyone. I invite you to submit comments. [Update – see comments below for my submission]

It’s my conclusion that the phrase is a total insider joke. I’ve been a geek long enough that if it was true geek speak, I’d know it. If it was l33t – well, there have been plenty of dictionaries made for that moronic fad. Virtually all the references point back to the original source, with a couple of trying-to-sound cool imitators using it in what they hope is in context. It’s entirely possible that the entire blogging feud is a pretext for seeding the phrase out and seeing how far it spreads, you power-mad fiends!

Well, if I’ve been suckered in, I have to say that it’s all been worth it. The posts are hilarious, and the animation is teh boss.

[As promised, here’s my visitor report:]
Total: 30 – 1/9/06
Search engines:
Bloglines
Google Blog Search
Google
Google UK
Netscape
Blogger
Yahoo
Google Australia
Google Canada

Posted by Greg as People at 11:59 PST

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Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Disappointment

I made reference earlier to reading the Interdictor blog back when Michael Barnett was writing it, documenting the tragedy in post-Katrina New Orleans before the media found out about it. I didn’t mention that I was reading it every day and was captivated by the description and admiring Barnett.

So I was trying to find out what was happening to him since he was rotated out and stumbled across a series of posts discussing his past. It was quite disillusioning. There are accusations of Barnett as not only a producer of Internet porn but an actor, that his best friend and boss is a serious cybersquatter, and that so many of the customers he was struggling to keep on line were porn sites. Maybe the last two are a reality of the Internet today, but the direct porn involvement is disheartening. I’ve known some people in the porn industry, and while I would hesitate to brand them as scum, they did not impress me as business people filling a consumer demand; they were more hedonists who reveled (even if they were astounded) in finding a lucrative means of continuing their debauchery.

I did some checking of the facts and found direct links between the Interdictor and the sites mentioned. The sites are unresponsive or gone now, but the Wayback Machine held records. Particularly depressing is his buddy’s successful manipulation of the system to place the Interdictor blog in the public eye. Again, maybe that’s the way the Internet, and by extension, the mainstream media, works nowadays.

Now, I’m far from an anti-porn crusader, let alone a moralist, but I’ll admit to some disdain for the people who satisfy and profit from my and others’ more base desires. Perhaps that was reared into me, but it was reinforced by exposure to the industry. On a philosophical note, I would say that there is nothing wrong from accepting and acknowledging the dark side of ourselves; but that should not prevent us from using judgment and striving to be better. The word for that (at least, before it became totally associated with its racial aspect) is discrimination (sense 2.)

Of course, I’m old enough, and have been involved enough, to lay claim to some indignity about the commercialization (in particular, saturation by porn sites) of the Internet. My first modem, purchased back in 1983, was 300 baud. I met my wife online in 1992, when the World Wide Web had technically been invented, but wasn’t yet a big deal. Yes- those aren’t “founding fathers”-type dates, but I think they should earn me some street cred.

I don’t think this issue is ever going to hit the mainstream media – the effect of the Interdictor’s blog has been fixed and anything else will be just a footnote in history. And I actually wish Michael and Crystal well – but I won’t be checking up on them anymore.

Posted by Greg as Current Events, People, Posts About Me, Society at 19:20 PST

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Monday, July 11th, 2005

Wil Wheaton at WSOP

I stumbled across Wil Wheaton’s blog after his last slashdot interview, and it’s great. I’ve been a fan of him as both a person and a technologist after watching him on the late, lamented The ScreenSavers on TechTV.

Wil’s description of his first experience, with less than auspicious results, at the World Series of Poker is intimate, entertaining and endearing. He’s a hell of a writer and I need to get my hands on his books. The trouble is, he writes so well about his preparation and experience, he might be giving away too much of the mystique of the game that has enthralled viewers since the Travel Channel started showing the World Poker Tour, which kicked off a bunch of imitators. Rounders got my attention, but World Poker Tour sealed my interest. Attaboy Wil, I can see you got caught up at the same time, but you acted where I did not. You’ve got my support. Knock ’em dead! Better luck next time!

Posted by Greg as People, Posts About Me at 18:53 PST

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Thursday, June 30th, 2005

Nostalgia Attack

I was singing Boo to sleep tonight and “Two Little Boys” by Rolf Harris was what sprang to my lips. Rolf didn’t write it – the first recording of that song was in 1903 – but his rendition is what I grew up with, and the reason I know the song.

I was drawing a blank at a couple of lines, so after Boo dropped off I searched for the lyrics and found the official Rolf Harris website. I got into the lyrics section and experienced a major nostalgia attack. There were songs there that are deeply rooted in my childhood: “Jake the Peg,” “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” and “The Court of King Caractacus.” Then I found “Botany Bay” and got a little weepy. I guess deep down we Australians are a maudlin lot. It comes with the legacy of suffering and the forced stoicism that comes from enduring hardship.

Not that I can complain – my parents worked hard for me and my brother and sister and the only suffering we endured was the envy of those who had more. I would have to guess that there was a part of the culture that I was susceptible to soaking up. When I first returned to Australia after having been gone away for so long, there were only two places other than my childhood homes that I had to go back to see – the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne and Phillip Island. I’m not qualified to express the significance of the Shrine – just take my word that it’s huge. Phillip Island was where we used to vacation – a happy, very relaxing place. Interestingly, though, it’s also the place that I remember Dad giving me a copy of The Lord of the Flies, the book I consider to be the most influential in my life.

Interesting how we can look back and see influences that have shaped who we are, or at least who we consider ourselves to be. If only we could also extrapolate from that and figure out how we got into this mess and what we need to get out of it.

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, People, Posts About Me at 23:36 PST

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