Mar 17 2007

Ditch Windows for Good

Just to give a little background here. I haven't used Windows as a personal desktop, or even for work in about four years now. However, as a developer of web-based applications, I need to test things under Internet Explorer. Or more commonly referred to as Internet Exploder where I tend to lurk on the internet.

On a side note: If any IE devs, who previously promised to get back to me on POST not working with OpenSearch...please respond. It's still broken, and thusly IE is very much earning it's Internet Exploder title.

I've played with various WINE setups. Tried Win4Lin, VMWare, etc. Bottom line is though, I have no desire to use Windows at all.

The solution:

A few months ago I started using an install script for Linux called IEs4Linux. It is a beautifully written script that allows for automated installation of IE5, IE5.5, IE6 and IE7! This uses WINE, in an effective manner. Automagically downloads and configures each installation and drops a nice usable shortcut on your desktop.

Now I'm sure they don't like this much over in Redmond, but it allows me to do my development work and make sure stuff renders correctly through their bastardized implementation of W3C standards.

You can download this incredible script from http://www.tatanka.com.br

Enjoy!

Wendall

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Feb 17 2007

Top Four Reasons Slashdot.org Sucks

As confirmed on the Wikipedia article entry on Slashdot.org. Here are the top four reasons Slashdot sucks:

  • The frequency of reposts (also known as "dupes"), where editors approve articles for the front page, often slightly reworded, that have previously appeared on the site. Since the major responsibility of editors is to sift through article submissions, reposts leave the impression of incompetence. Some readers have called for mandatory procedures to search for Slashdot dupes before an article is published.
  • Some article summaries have typos, misleading titles, or errors. An example of this is an article titled "Spain Outlaws P2P File Sharing" where the article summary states that Spain is banning all P2P file sharing, a huge fuss ensues in the discussion, while the reality is that Spain only made it a civil offense to pirate movies, which is hardly "Outlawing P2P".
  • As one of the largest forums on the Internet, trolling and spamming on Slashdot is a highly evolved phenomenon. It is an offbeat and complex subculture involving sometimes repetitive and sometimes obscene comments featuring a mixture of Slashdot celebrities and other unusual juvenilia.
  • The Slashdot editors are sometimes accused of posting (and even preferring) stories that are, themselves, thinly-disguised trolls, which encourage large numbers of postings in response.

My previous post about getting duped into responding to a troll about pedestrian legislation that was never introduced or even mentioned, then getting marked -1 Flamebait for pointing this out is further evidence of the last item in the list. Well, enough bashing on ./ for now. It just sucks.

Wendall

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Feb 07 2007

Pedestrian Buffoon

UPDATE

Ok, this story was in fact a Slashdot Troll. I'm embarrassed that I fell for this and even posted a comment. Especially considering the fact that several of the +5 posts almost said exactly what I did in the same tone. Oh, well. Just a place you have to have a bunch of buddies kissing your ass to get good karma on Slashdot. Anyhow, I won't be making this mistake again. I can rant here for free and nobody really cares. Besides, I do actually effect pedestrian legislation in my state. Which, according to the moderators on Slashdot, makes me Flamebait. Anyhow, on to bitter and better rants.

/UPDATE

New York State Senator Carl Kruger says he will introduce legislation today to ban the use of electronic gadgets while crossing the street.

I made a comment on the Slashdot discussion about this proposed legislation. Of course, I rarely post any comments on Slashdot, since it's typically moderated by uninformed morons. And I think more often than not, I get modded down because I say what I think. Here is the text of my comment:

I serve on a local advisory board for pedestrian related issues. It's my opinion that this law way oversteps. If we're going to ban electronic devices that make crossing a busy street illegal, why not just ban electric wheelchairs?

Being able to hear certainly helps cross the road safely, however, some pedestrians don't hear well or at all. Should we also ban them from being pedestrians. What about the blind?

It is the drivers responsibility to yield to pedestrians. IANAL, but I think this law will eventually fall flat on its face since it contradicts state law requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians
.

The fact is, most people think only in terms of drivers. Rarely do they see things from the perspective of the pedestrian. It's useless to try to convince them otherwise. I'm sure not every state senator in New York is foolish enough to not say something about this.

Oh, and by the way. I think this article was a troll. In fact, no legislation was discussed or introduced that pertains to this. In fact, there are several pieces of legislation that have been introduced recently and all are related to pedestrian safety. Not the safety of motorists from pedestrians.

Wendall

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Feb 04 2007

Thought Provoking Quote

The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure 
thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion 
of the imagination. Few media of creation are so flexible, so easy to polish and 
rework, so readily capable of realizing grand conceptual structures. 

Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it 
moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. It 
prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth 
and legend has come true in our time. One types the correct incantation on a 
keyboard, and a display screen comes to life, showing things that never were nor 
could be. 

Programming then is fun because it gratifies creative longings built deep within 
us and delights sensibilities we have in common with all men. 

from the essay "The Tar Pits"
by Frederick P. Brooks

Even though many feel Free Software defies Brooks Law, I think this statement is at the very core of software development. It is a create outlet.

Wendall

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Jan 31 2007

Bad Vista

Bad Vista No Littering

Ok, I've had quite a few people ask me lately about the new Microsoft Vista. So I'll just give my thoughts publicly here.

First, a little background...I haven't used Windows on a system that I own or use for four years now. My primary desktop is Gnome and my primary operating system is Linux. Now so I don't sound like I know nothing about Windows, I have written and continue to write software that works on Windows. I also fix Windows for friends all too frequently, so am very familiar with it.

If you'd like to get a little insight to my views, you can visit the Free Software Foundation site to stop the spread of Vista at http://badvista.fsf.org.

Here are a few reasons to NOT use Vista:

1. It will most likely require you to purchase new hardware. The UK Green Party and many other groups have voiced legitimate concerns about the environmental impact of people throwing away their own computers because they will not support Vista. View Article.

2. Windows is notoriously buggy for at least a year after release. It is very incomplete at the time of this writing and missing many drivers.

3. There is absolutely no improvements you will ever notice over Windows XP. Or Windows 2000 in my opinion.

4. Linux desktop distributions are free as in freedom and free as in beer. The learning curve is just as big of a step from XP to Vista as it would be from XP to Linux.

Please email me, or post a comment if you have any questions.

Wendall

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