Content from 2008-11

This just in: Hotmail is evil and hates Linux users.
posted on 2008-11-08 21:07:53
This shouldn't particularly surprise anyone and I should be more surprised that it's taken me so long to ditch my old hotmail account. Embarassed even. It is my own fault to be sure that I'm using crappy lock-in focused webmail.

The short version: Hotmail (now Live Mail) won't allow users on Linux platforms to type in the body fields of e-mails rendering the service useless. The quick fix (on my comp at least) is to disguise yourself as a non-Linux user. Type "about:config" in the address bar and acknowledge any warnings you may get. Then type "useragent" in the filter and change the vendor value (if it's there) and the general.useragent.extra.firefox value to "Firefox 3.0.3".

Here's a general note to anyone working on a web site/platform: If you're doing HTTP header checks to see the platform and browser the page recipient is using and warning them if they're not using the Browser/Platform your site is designed for, you're doing it wrong. I don't ever want to see another warning or sorry this page won't work for you. That's fundamentally not what the internet is about. That's not the way the web works. It's called openness bitches. Get used to it.

I'll dump my messages out of hotmail, switch a few services to use something else and move on with my life. This account has been around way too long. Not that I couldn't just keep fooling them by modifying my useragent strings.
The 08 Vote
posted on 2008-11-04 16:59:59
I just voted. I'll repeat what I said last night: You should too. If you're eligible that is. Anyone interested in coming over to keep an eye on the prediction markets and the rolling numbers for the polls is welcome. I'm setting up a bit of a command center here in the basement with my 22" LCD watching Peter Seibel's data mashup or fivethirtyeight, if you insist, and the TV ready for CNN or what have you later.

Also, I'll be baking brownies. That's right. Brownies. Maybe even some fried chicken. We'll see. Now come over and let's do this.
posted on 2008-11-04 04:11:06
I've received and/or stumbled over a lot of great education links over the past 6-9 months. Most of them come from William Halliburton but a few are from other places.

Let's start out with the famous Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson and John Taylor Gatto's Against School.
Then it's time for a good dose of Ivan Illich, say his work Deschooling Society. And generally, anything from the site
Finally, some Pedagogy of the Opressed should be absorbed. Mmmm. Good thought food right?

Now what?
If you've actually read all this and you're a computer nerd it's worth thinking about how to use computers and actually implement this damn stuff.
Start with John Wiley's Online Self-Organizing Social Systems paper. John Wiley's site is full of good resources and his blog and other papers are good as well. It might be worth reading a bit about Connectivism here too.

I'm not as much of a fan of Learning Object Metadata as a solution but it's a prominent idea so you're best off at least being familiar with it. Finally, it's good to be familiar with what others have done that's already out there so have a look at the Open University, School of Everything and Learnhub. Let me know your thoughts.
On Languages and Libraries
posted on 2008-11-04 03:41:19
At this point there are a few languages I'm set on learning, a few I'm eyeing as potential future candidates, a few languages I'll dabble in and a few I'm trying to avoid for one reason or another. I thought I'd post about them and link to their main package indexes where appropriate. I'll have a more intelligent article on languages and libraries down the line.

Languages I'm set on learning:
Scheme: Scheme has several implementations and libraries depend on said implementation. I'm a Chicken Scheme and PLT Scheme fan so I'll be using Planet and Eggs for libraries. I realize I vouched for Gambit Scheme a while back due to it's concurrency options with Termite. I hereby publicly retract that view and promise to update the On Schemes article or follow it up in the near future.
Common Lisp: I'm an SBCL fan and will happily use cliki in my library questing. ASDF-Install does the rest.
Python: Where I shall be aided through the powerful PyPi.

Languages I'm keeping an eye on:
Factor: And it's lovely indexed vocabulary.
Haskell: The magnificent HackageDB will aid me in that quest.

Languages I'll dabble in:
Lua: Bindings galore.
Perl: For use with the almighty CPAN.
Ruby: RubyGems will be used in conjunction with RailsLodge's directory for great joy.

I refuse to mention the languages I'd like to avoid. I'd likely start a flamewar for heaven's sake.
posted on 2008-11-04 03:11:01
This wasn't on my list of things to post about tonight I am anyway. Everyone seems to be writing an endorsement but I won't write my own. Many others have expressed my views in a much more elegant prose than I could muste. I will be voting for Obama tomorrow though and I'd like to note a few of the endorsements I've read which I felt were significant.

Andrew Sullivan
Cass Sunstein
Tim O'Reilly
The Economist

Those meant something to me and have had some influence in my own decision. I'm not trying to sway anyone at this late date but I did want to make a statement of my own beliefs and thoughts on the matter, even if they're a scattered amalgamation of others thoughts. Please vote tomorrow in support of whichever candidate embodies your beliefs whatever they may be.

Edit: Aside from standard news, these links should prove useful for tracking the prediction markets as the election goes down. The first has more data but requires Firefox 3. The latter is free of such requirements. They'll refresh themselves so don't wear out your reload button.
A Quick Warning, A Quick Recipe
posted on 2008-11-04 02:11:58
You will probably be bombarded by a deluge of catch up blog posts/linkposts from me tonight. Sorry. That said, I made something for dinner tonight which was cheap, quick and reasonably tasty (i.e. not tooo bad). I made servings for two and I don't have measurements on anything but what the hell.

Three handfuls of Baby Arugula
1 Chopped Pear
Four or Five Palmfuls of Shredded Asiago Cheese
Magical Paul Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar
Mix/toss with fork and serve.

Some form of noodles (I used spaghetti)
16 or so oz of Alfredo Sauce (I used Classico Four Cheese)
1 Chopped Chicken Breast sauteed with a healthy coating of Lemon Pepper.

Cold water or some Smirnoff Ice variant to drink. Vanilla Ice Cream with blueberries for dessert.

Simple, cheap, yum.
Belated Blogging
posted on 2008-11-03 22:50:51
A lot has been happening lately and I guess I've been too wrapped up in it to write anything down here. I've been readmitted to SPSU for the Spring 09 semester, have filed the FAFSA and am currently looking into financial aid options. I'll have more on that soon but I am planning on going. Better to be there and learning than out of school doing Help Desk work and not learning enough about programming. That said, I'm totally out of funds about now and a part-time Help Desk position would be wonderful for the foreseeable future (i.e. post starting at SPSU). Or a contract position until school starts.

Due to the aforementioned brokeness I won't be grabbing LittleBigPlanet which a few people have asked me about. I am impressed with some of the things people have churned out with it though including a working 1,600 part calculator and a recreation of Gradius. Cute.

Will also got back in touch with me which I was quite happy about and I made some changes at his suggestion to my little hangman program. It's down to 115 lines of code and is pretty polished at this point. The only way to go forward would be to add new features but I'll put that aside until I've finished PCL. I also may have a quick weekend project to write a BASH script for RedLinux in the near future thanks to some of the great resources at the Linux Documentation Project. I've got some ideas for a future RedLinux release but I'll likely put that off until December or so.

What else has been going on lately? Well, OOPSLA and Lisp50 happened fairly recently and I couldn't make it but I've enjoyed reading about it thanks to articles on Lispy's blog and some words from Luke Gorrie. I'm still pretty jealous of Luke Gorrie as he always seems to be playing with neat ideas and technologies and generally hangs out with the "cool kids" a lot. He was at OOPSLA and Lisp50 and then managed to be hanging out with Alan Kay, Ian Piumarta and co at VPRI when Slava Pestov came through to talk about Factor. What a jerk! (jk lukego) There's a great video of Slava's Factor talk which he delivered at Google as well. It would be neat if some of the Lisp50 talks made it online but somehow I don't expect to see that happen. I've also been keeping an eye on the btrfs and xorg mailing lists but that's not too relevant really. BTRFS for 2.6.29!

I've been doing a little bit of reading on Lisp Machines of late and hope to run one in a VM when/if I get an X200. I'd also love to run a copy of Linux 0.01 in QEMU or VirtualBox and maybe ReactOS as well. Nothing like a small, well-understood system right? A nice external keyboard wouldn't hurt either as mine has gotten a bit beaten down over the years and is a PS/2 keyboard so it won't play with the X200. Reddit has some suggestions and I'm rather leaning towards a Das Keyboard but one of the mechanical-switching Cherry units would be fine too. Paul Stamatiou has some interesting suggestions about back to school stuff but I'll mostly stick to his thoughts on study habits and motivation. I think I've got the rest sorted out. His thoughts on living the cloud life and using newsgroups should be useful though.

That's all for now. I'm off to skateboard and shower while there's still some good sunshine out before hunkering down with more lisp. Did I mention a new version of SBCL came out? Don't forget to vote tomorrow. Keep an eye on things with the help of Peter Seibel and Randall Munroe! won't hurt either. ;-)

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