The boring rants of a lazy nerd

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Web Tech / Humor - Hebrew Numbering System in CSS specs

Apparently, some poor soul had to research the thing to write the spec for CSS lists. Here are the findings. It sounds ridiculous from the outsider's perspective. A fun read!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Self - Hardware troubles, Distro change

My 20GB 7200rpm ATA66 Maxtor, which I bought in mid-2000, finally died, a year after warning me for the first time. I can't complain - I had ample opportunity to "backup and replace", as the SMART warning said. Most of it was backed up, so I burned all the junk from the other hard drive to DVDR (using Knoppix) and decided to try that newfangled Ubuntu thing (my poor Pentium3 is just too slow to regularly recompile just about everything, as I was running Gentoo in ~x86 and emerge -avuDN world daily…). It formatted a partition I did not want it to format (I believe I have unclicked the option), and misconfigured grub to try and boot from the wrong partition. Admittedly, my partitions were ordered in the partition-table not in the same order they are actually layed out on disk, but that is completely legal. Anyway, after some trivial twiddling with parted mkfs.reiserfs and grub, a second attempt worked. It's a nice touch how they give you a working firefox and thunderbird while you wait for it to install, but the boot takes ages and it chose the maximum resolution for my monitor, not what I find comfortable. Since I only had the 6.06 version on a free CD (thanks B.), I installed that, thinking upgrading to the latest version of each package is trivial. Well, it's not trivial, but it's easy. You just edit a plan text file, and let it download a gig of files. I wonder if it's compiled for at least i686. It comes with a whole bunch of stuff I don't need, it will take me a while to uninstall all that junk safely. Also, it didn't ask *anything* while installing. I'll have to read some logs to find out what it decided to do. All in all, I'm not very impressed yet.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fandom - Disenchantment

First, the story. Hopefully it will stay there for posterity, while CC wipes the fandom's collective memory, deleting archived fan fiction and mailing list postings, in preparation for her career as a published author. I sure hope her publisher has some serious cross-referencing mojo and liability insurance.

So, for a long time I used to be a real Cassie Claire fangirlboy. Sure, I've heard something about plagiarism and I knew there was a story behind the founding members of leaving FFN (and why it was called "The Site That Must Not Be Named" by some people) but all those people (e.g. Heidi) are really big and central to the fandom I knew*, so they must have been in the right, and the opposition (FFN, not R/H-ers) must have been in the wrong, and I never thought of going to the source and finding out for myself what the story was. It's a sorry excuse, but I wasn't the only one who fell for it. What really surprised me was that in all that time (five years!), I have never heard RJA say "Wolf, CC is a plagiarist. Those lines you love in her story were not written by her. Here, read this". I think I respect RJA more for it, though I still would've liked to be told. Maybe people assumed I know?

So, once again, I'm worshipping the cool kids from the sidelines, thinking that if I follow their LJs some of that coolness would rub off. I am quite disgusted by myself. It reminds me of Dave Winer and the founding of Atom. I used to be a fanboy before I started reading Tim Bray, Joe Gregorio, Sam Ruby and Mark Pilgrim. Looks like the sheeple instinct is strong in me.

* - SQ's and GT's apparent fanatism didn't help. Now I pity the poor folks at (though I agree with many of the reasons for H/Hr), but then the people who didn't mix well with the people of Schnoogle always seemed decidedly more strict and less cool.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Fandom - on alternate lifestyle evangelism in liberal arts

I started writing this and it became me trying to say what I think about gays, and I don't know what I think. But anyway, I don't like reading slash fan fiction. Just because. I'm allowed to not like reading slash, right? So I really don't like it when authors don't say "slash" in the blurb/description/author notes, don't mention anything slashy going on, you're enjoying the story, and then the author introduces slash. So you are forced to either stop reading a story you liked, or keep reading and hope the slash doesn't get any worse*. I've read that some people sometimes do it on purpose. Another tactic is to introduce secondary and/or tertiary gay characters (sometimes OCs) in a subplot, so it's not the focus but the reader gets used to it being mentioned every few paragraphs. All attempts to educate the public, I'm sure. It's not fandom, it's the times. Kevin Smith does it, Lois McMaster Bujold does it. There is a major campaign to get gays into the mainstream. They always were well accepted with the artsy crowd, and I don't support bigots (being Jewish and all), but I don't like this evangelism. Please disclose slashiness upfront.

* - I have read After The End, but I have stopped reading Stealing Harry, though it was very good. I don't remember whether there was any warning when I first saw it.

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