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Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Four Directions

So my sister has this broken laptop that nobody uses. Its screen freezes, its battery doesn’t hold a charge, and it has one too many stickers on it. One afternoon, we decided to salvage what we could from it, so I installed Ubuntu linux + SSH, so that I could control it from my own computer. On that first day, I got the wireless working and set a static private IP, and I was pretty damn proud. Today, about 20 minutes ago, I was testing the audio card with some songs that I uploaded. So, I’m listening to Dead and Gone by T.I. and mplayer gets to this one part where he’s rapping about cardinal directions1. For as long as I can remember, I associate certain characteristics with each of the four directions. East is the rich, excessive, and superficial society that… more →

Nonsense Cycle

Journals are awesome, but RogerHub is not a journal. In journals, people write about things and people in their life. In contrast, RogerHub is about ideas, not people, with the exception of our generous King Zuckerberg. All the great persons of the past kept diaries and journals. They handwrote when they had paper, typed when they had typewriters, and now, they do this weird video-log and blogging stuff. If a blog is supposed to be a journal1, it’s not very good one. Journals are supposed to be private, so you can bash whomever you’d like and swear all you want. You can’t confess these things on a blog because they are too offensive or controversial. To correct for this, I’ve been keeping another journal on the side. I trust this journal, not to the soft earth in the backyard, nor to… more →

Referer

In May 1996, a bunch of computer geniuses got together to write RFC1945, an informational document on the HTTP/1.0 standard1 that was the foundation of protocol that defined the World Wide Web. Apparently, somebody noticed that referrer was spelled wrong2, but by that time, it was already too late to change it. As a result, the HTTP specification indicates Referer, with 3 r’s, as the correct header, even today. I guess it shows that everyone can make mistakes. You can see the full document here. ↩ See the email here. ↩

Paracosms

I thought I would never find a word to describe this one thing I had when I was little: whenever I had lots of time to burn, like on the toilet, or walking home, or trying to go to sleep, I would dream up an entire universe with characters and landscapes. It would incorporate everything, from books I read and games I played to the car on the other side of a street, which would actually be a space transport in its hangar. So I’m reading Wikipedia’s article on Paracosms when I notice that their font is ridiculously small. F12 tells me that it’s 0.8em which makes for a measly 13px. For a website that’s all about sharing knowledge with the world, you’d think they’d tailor their web design to more than my grandmother’s SVGA CRT monitor1. See, normal people… more →

Computer fidgeting

Sometimes, I notice that when people use the computer, they do this fidgeting thing. Knees are throbbing up and down. Head scanning side to side. Compulsively selecting the copy then zooming in and out. It’s not exactly the perfectly calm end-user imagined by UX1 designers. Because most people are alone when they’re on the computer, they don’t consciously check their appearance, and these weird habits build up quickly. Not completely unrelated, people in movies always look awesome when they’re using the computer. They’re all doing important stuff and shooting people, when some guy sits down and brings up these nice translucent terminal windows and monochromatic data visualizations with units on a battlefield and mission strategists working around. It’s always the same thing, and it makes normal people feel inferior with their boring desktops and the ridiculously small amount of work… more →

Food laws

I was eating one of those Pirouette french vanilla cream-filled wafers and reading the back side of the can simultaneously. I thought to myself–wouldn’t it be great if they had stuff like this at school? But because the good people of the state of California hate fat people, they can’t sell anything with sugar listed as the first ingredient. And.. sugar is listed as the first ingredient. Some producers get around this by splitting sugar up into its various isomers, so that they can get something else to take the spot of the principal ingredient. Or, maybe you could dilute the can with water, and get the wafers all soggy, or maybe with milk.. ahh that sounds good. The first-ingredient rule really doesn’t make any sense. Let’s say, I use packaging tape to bind a bottle of coke to a SmartWater. Clearly,… more →