Extreme Nerdiness

It's exactly like normal nerdiness, but completely different.

These aren't the posts you're looking for...
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42

For various reasons I am again moving my blog and whatnot, but this time to a far more permanent solution: my own domain name (which I've had for quite some time, but have used almost entirely for email only).

I intend to keep my LJ account active, but mainly for the purposes of staying updated on various friends-only postings and being able to comment/etc.


You should go check it out!


Nautilus Spatial Mode - Here I Go!
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42
With the recent clamour over Nautilus' default spatial-paradigm navigation mode as the default in Fedora, I decided to take a page from the book of David Nielsen and force myself to use spatial mode for a few solid days (at least). Having been a "Browser" user mostly of habit since I first started with Linux in 2003, I want to know first-hand why this decision is making so many people upset.

I'll report back soon with my findings! :)


Help Me, Oh Great Lazyweb...You're My Only Hope.
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42
One of the simple reasons I love F/OSS so much is that - in general- It Just F***ing Works(tm). Today, for the first time in as long as I can remember using it, this has failed me quite miserably.

Part of my gift this year to all of my friends this year is an audio CD - a custom compilation of various holiday-themed music. One thing I'd love to be able to do is add CD-Text to the tracks, so that their players (if capable) as well as their computer - should they choose to import it so - will easily have the metadata already in-place, and the tedium of having to enter that information manually from the decoratively printed track-list is substantially eliminated.


Well, this is proving to be far more difficult than I thought it would be. Rhythmbox, my favorite music player, currently just does not support this functionality, though it is under development. I've also tried Banshee, which uses Brasero for its CD-burning functionality, and that also fails quite epically. Next up in my attempts was K3b, which correctly burned the CD, did not add the CD-Text as I wanted it to. (It would not display any metadata in Rhythmbox on my Fedora desktop, and also failed on both my stand-alone CD player and my mom's Windows XP machine with both iTunes and WMP.) Lastly, I searched on Google and found a way to do it with cdrdao, but that attempt also went quite unsatisfactorily:

Writing lead-in and gap...
ERROR: Write data failed.
ERROR: Writing failed.

Oh Great Lazyweb, is there a straightforward way to accomplish this feat? Or am I doomed to copy the songs to my dad's PC and burn them with Nero (which I really don't want to need to do...)? For the record, my burner is a Pioneer DVR-110D.

Thanks!


Dear Matthew Barnes...
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42

...You are awesome!

You made my Evolution filtering work properly again, which is a huge necessity for my being productive. You are hereby added, again, to the list of people to whom I owe both a gigantic hug and a drink of their choice, at the very least, should we ever meet in person. Thanks for making my life a little simpler and a lot more readily organized!

Regards,
A Grateful Peter
 


The Present Presence of Presents!
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42
I just spent slightly over 200 USD in the online purchases of various gifts for family and friends, and in the process consumed nearly the entirety of my coffee fund for the next couple of months. Aww, well - I'm going to have a nice stash of Christmas presents for people this year, along with some home-made stuff (since I really didn't do anything last year in terms of gift-giving); so it will be well worth it. :)

Deluge 1.0+ for Fedora 9
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42
(Also posted on the Fedora Forums.) Hi, all. [...]
Since upstream has decided to no longer support the 0.5.x series (and also by popular demand ), I've begun to build official F-9 packages for recent Deluge releases. An update is currently enqueued and should hit updates-testing on a mirror near you soon.

Please note that these updates will likely stay in the testing repositories indefinitely though, as the 1.0 series is a near-complete rewrite and thus requires recreation of many aspects of a user's configuration - and I do not wish to intentionally break existing configurations for those users who are happy and comfortable with 0.5.9.3 (the latest stable update for F-9).

That said, however, I intend to continue pushing new updates to the F9-updates-testing repositories as they come out and I as push them to F10-updates, so whenever you need to update it on Fedora 9, it should in theory be as simple as:
yum --enablerepo=updates-testing-newkey update deluge
Another benefit to this is that you can verify that it is an "official" and far more trustworthy package to install/use, through Yum's use of package-signing and whatnot.

Regards...


I've decided against this; and will shortly push the packages to my personal webspace instead.

Today is November 15, 2008....Today is November 15, 2008....
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42

Apparently much of southern California was once again ablaze today, but this time it seemed almost as if the end of the world was nigh for a while. All of the ash and smoke from the flames turned our beautiful blue sky into an ugly orange-ish red hue for several hours earlier. We even had our A/C turned on full-blast for much of the day, solely to help keep out the pungent stench that we inevitably inhaled upon opening any of our doors or windows. Our cars had just been washed too, and now they're all covered in a fine gray blanket of ash and particulate.

Reports from friends say it came pretty darn close to us, too: there was especially quite a lot of traffic around the CSU, Fullerton area as people got out of Brea and Yorba Linda. :O

The following images were taken without altering my phone's camera settings in any manner; I merely pressed "Take Picture." This is truly how bleak it seemed. The first one is looking almost straight upward, and the second is looking to the east of my street - both only a few feet outside my front door.

Burnt Sky - 1 of 2

On the Fedora side, a recent kernel update seemed to completely make Grub go ker-splat; but booting from the trusty LiveCD and running the grub-install script manually seems to have fixed it. Just to be sure (and to kill a bit of time instead of watching news about the fire earlier), I reinstalled Fedora 9 entirely and updated to today's builds, and the error does not persist.

That means it was a one-time fluke, or so it seems. Those are the worst sorts of bugs. :\


We did it...kinda!
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42
It took two years of hard campaigning, lots of FUD-debunking, and countless sacrifices of time and labor, but we did it. Here at last, Barack Obama is officially the president-elect to serve as this country's 44th leader. This election brings to the White House the first African-American leader. As his victory has thusly overturned one aspect of our traditional government, my hope is that he as a leader can overturn the setbacks and failures of the past several years and bring this once-great nation back on the road to prosperity and civil freedom.

This victory for Senator (now President-elect) Obama comes only decades after various civil rights laws were enacted to enhance the civil and legal equalities for African American people. That said, many leading polls for Prop. 8 are not looking good: It's likely to pass with about a 52-55% “Yes” vote. Just when I thought we had learned from the mistakes of our history, we go and restrict one of the most basic civil rights of people: to marry the person they love. How is it then, that we as a society emphasize tolerance when we cannot even show such a fundamental right to our own citizens?

Up until this point, signs and ads for Prop. 8 have held a myriad of slogans, such as “Prop 8 = Protects Marriage,” “Prop 8 = Free Speech,” and “Prop 8 Protects Our Children.” These are all absolute hogwash, except for one, which reads: “Prop 8 = Civil Rights” - and that is exactly what this is. While current civil union and domestic partnership laws do give these couples most of the benefits of normally given to a marriage between a man and a woman, it lacks many important aspects of marriage, such as proper employment and insurance benefits for one's spouse (among other things).

One of the main arguments for it was that it passed in 2000 and was wrongly overturned by the State Supreme Court. But just because people agree to it does not make it fundamentally a correct idea. Was slavery wrongfully outlawed? Were the Jim Crow laws wrongly overturned, too? Were the laws denying women suffrage also wrongly overturned? I know what you're thinking, probably: “Oh, but that was different. That was racism and sexism and stuff.” Oh, come now; don't give me that load of crap. This is exactly the same thing, only against another group of people. I, for one, am ashamed at how closed-minded we can be as a society, and even moreso at how dumbfounded we can be to believe the outright lies and scare tactics that were used in advocacy of this proposition. Are we as a people so apathetic that we can simply be spoon-fed this nonsense and believe it so unquestioningly? Can we not think logically for our own selves and realize the idiocy of this?

One thing that strikes me as odd with it is the Judeo-Christian (and similarly-believing) religious groups who advocate against gay marriage and this proposition, but then proceed to preach about tolerance and love to they neighbor. Many (such as the Mormon Church) even went so far as to raise several millions of dollars in support of the “Yes on 8” groups...Why did they not spend that amount on, I don't know, things like feeding and housing more homeless? Hah!

As a final sentiment, to those of you who voted “Yes” on Proposition 8: I pray that you can one day forgive yourself for such irreverence. Until then, live forever with the guilt that you helped directly restrict so many loving couples and their families the happiness of taking their love just a bit further in the eyes of the law. It was you who helped directly remove the simple right of so many millions of people to marry their beloved. And it is you who keep them separate but equal.

(And now that the rant is done...) Fedora 10 (Cambridge) Preview was released today! Go try it out and help make it rock-solid for its full release ! :)

(Last Night's) 3rd Presidential Debate: Obama vs. McCain
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42
I didn't get a chance to watch it live due to classwork; but thanks to C-SPAN's YouTube channel, I was able to watch it recorded online when I got home last night. I'd like to make a few comments about John McCain's demeanor and stated plans, if I may.

The first question to both of them was, essentially: Why is your economic plan better than his? Senator Obama clearly - I felt - explained his plan to cut taxes for the lower 95% of people and raise them a bit for the remaining large businesses and whatnot that could afford to pay such taxes, citing examples of Exxon Mobile and other oil companies which intake multi-billion dollar annual profits already. Yet, in your mention of the "Joe" that Obama spoke with, you assure Joe that Obama's plan would create fines and levy more taxes on him as a small business owner...immediately after Obama had already stated that small businesses were "the drivers of this economy" and would likely receive a decrease in taxes and be exempt from these fines. "Decrease" and "increase" are antonyms. (That means the words' meanings are opposites.) Please don't confuse the two; thank you. Twice later you state that Obama wants to increase the average family's taxes again. Oy!

Secondly, Obama (near the middle of the debate) specifically explained his affiliations with Ayers and ACORN and why they should not be held against him as a presedential candidate. Yet, a short time later, you go on to claim that all the details about Obama's relationship with Ayers and ACORN need to be known. RIght after he just told you those details. Are you not even listening to what Obama is saying? If you can't even pay proper attention to what one person is saying for 90 minutes, then how are we supposed to trust you to pay attention to what the 200-plus million voters1 of our Public are saying for a full four years?


Soon thereafter, the two candidates were asked why their running mates would be the better president, should something unforeseen happen to either of these senators as president. Mr. McCain, when you were expounding on Governor Sarah Palin's good traits, you mentioned that she "resigned when she saw corruption." How is this a good thing? Running away from a problem is not the proper way to fix it.

Then, you went on to describe Senator Joe Biden's negative attributes; and said, "He voted against it [...] and obviously we had to take Sadam Hussein out of Kuwait [...]"; and, when mentioning Senator Biden's experience on foreign policy and past decisions he has made thereto, you stated that "He's [Biden has] been wrong on a great many of them." Two claims. No supporting evidence: be it demographics, statistics, quotes from other reputable experts, etc. We want to know what makes the Kuwait situation so obvious. We want to know some examples of Biden's wrong foreign policy decisions. Nothing? Seriously, Mr. McCain, 101-level classes in college teach that aspect of critical thinking. (*sigh*) If you don't tell us why you believe that what you're saying is true and valid, then what reason do we as a Public have to believe the same?

On the the other hand, Obama was very positive in his explanation. He did not belittle Sarah Palin; he merely explained why Biden was superior: more qualified, better understands the average family, etc. - specific and precise support for his claim. I feel that this helps show not just the aptitude for clear content in his talking, but the fact that he is skilled in keeping a debate or discussion peaceful when its topics are otherwise quite heated. This moderating ability is exactly a trait that a good leader requires - especially one who is and will undoubtedly play a top role in the governments of and interaction between nations around the world.

Both candidates were also asked about health care. McCain gave an overview for his plan to reform much of what is already in place and give everyone a $5,000 tax break which they should then further use for health costs. Only a few minutes later, he said, "The average cost of a health plan is about $5,800." So, Mr. McCain, you effectively want us to pay eight hundred dollars, all out-of-pocket, for our own health care. Essentially, encouraging people to accrue debt. As it stands, many can barely afford to pay that amount for rent or housing; how can they be expected to pay twice that for the added benefit of their health care plan?

Before concluding the debate, both candidates were also asked about their education policies. (Where to begin?!) Mr. McCain, you declared that we should recruit military veterans and create more teaching positions by allowing or perhaps encouraging them to become teachers while bypassing credentials and competency/qualtification exams. You want men and women who have just come back from fighting, potentially, a major war or battle...to teach our children and future generations of thinkers. ARE YOU BATSHIT INSANE?!


While I don't feel that Obama's plan is entirely right (I'm in agreement with James Cape on this one), I do feel that he has much of it in the right direction: especially the aspects of it that encourage higher pay for better-performing teachers and requiring oft recertifications, with additional and updated training for those who fail these.

Lastly, Mr. McCain, you mentioned that, instead of making college more affordable, we should increase the availability and repayment flexibility for student loans. Again, you're recommending that instead of fixing a problem, we workaround it by accruing debt.

Senator McCain, you truly scare me. Quite a lot. Increasing debt does not fix an economy. Running away from problems does not solve them. Soldiers as-is do not make good teachers. Aside from that, your age means that, purely from a statistical perspective2, we can expect you to die within the next decade and even more likely, to die within the next four years - what would be your term of office should you become president. Not only have you shown yourself to be unfit for presidency in this debate, but Governor Palin has done worse against herself in the vice-presidential debates and if she took office...well, I think (quite frankly ) we'd be in an even more horrid position than we were at the lowest of George W. Bush's presidency.

As a final comment, Senator McCain's appearance and attitude versus Senator Obama reminded me quite heavily of the Nixon-Kennedy debates, wherein Nixon looked very unfocused and distant. This paralleled McCain last night with his squirming in the chair, constant interruptions for often-contemptuous remarks, and rarely ever looking directly at the camera (and through it, we, the American Public). He seemed to be in is own little world, as the saying goes.

This contrasted well with Obama's Kennedy-like behavior: he presented himself as very confident and very prepared, with well-thought out plans of action and many statistical, anecdotal, and other reasons for why he believes his views to be correct. He held our eye-contact through his talking. When watching it, I just felt like Obama was almost talking to me directly; while on the other hand, McCain seemed to be talking only to the audience of that university hall.


If McCain wins this election, the American People will lose, and quite drastically. As Forrest Gump would say: "That's all I have to say about that."
 

Footnotes:

[1] This is according to the population pyramid from the 2000 US Census, assuming a significant majority of those in the "20-24" group and above are eligible and registered to vote. \

[2] The
CIA World Factbook 2008 gave 2007 estimates of about 78.1 years for life expectancy at birth, with males having it reduced slightly to about 75.3 years. The United Nations also put out a list average for the 2005-2010 expected period, with numbers in approximate agreement: 78.2 years at birth, reduced to 75.6 years for males.


Back on the Grid!
42, Hogwarts
codergeek42

As those who know me may know, my phone has been quite telephony-incapable for nearly the past week; but I finally got my replacement from Verizon earlier today and have finshed resetting my preferences and reloading some of my frequently used "Get It Now" apps (such as VZNavigator). I can actually stay in communication again!

Also, my battery seems to be slowing dying (getting quite warm, and barely holding a full-day charge, even in "standalone" mode), so I've taken the liberty of ordering an extended battery (and corresponding battery door replacement) from Amazon to replace it, which should be here by early next week. (I could have had it shipped and to me by Friday or before, but that would have been nearly an additional 26 USD in cost - more than half of the cost of the battery and door....so, yeah. Not wanting to do that.)

So, if you need to get in touch with me, I'm available by phone! 

Also, I've recently submitted Haze 0.2.1 for the Fedora 9-testing repository, after which it'll go stable in about a week or so. I've had this in Rawhide for quite a long time, and completely forgot to back-sync the version updates to prior distributions. (Alas, Haze 0.2.0+ has a lot of newer dependencies down the Telepathy stack, so Fedora 8 will probably stay at 0.1.4 until it goes EOL.)

I'm going to try to be more prudent with WebKit updates too, especially now that GIMP's help stuff (among others) are starting to use it quite heavily. I will make a strong effort to bump the packages in Rawhide every weekend or so (major/crasher bugs aside, of course).


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