Ebook Ecstasy

Improbably enough, a website named Ebook Ecstasy is pretty good. They seem to have a pretty comprehensive information gathering process. They do newsletters and here is the most recent. I’m really at the point where I have so many books and I still need to get rid of more that I’m really only considering getting new fiction that I can get electronically. I just can’t warehouse any more tomes, and although I love having them I really should have 50% fewer than I do. I would like to get and read Gibson’s Pattern Recognition but I don’t want to buy it in paper.

The Man in Black

I’ve been looking for a news story about Johnny Cash and June’s last few days together, one in which he is quoted as saying he wishes God would take him so that they can be together again. I didn’t find it, but I did find some tributes on the official Johnny Cash site. Theirs is a great love story, and the tale of their last few days is sad and sweet. Just like their songs.

Busy bee

I’ve been super busy, both at work and home, thus few blog entries lately. Part of the business of the business was rewriting a server that had been in Perl, this time in Java. I was able to leverage classes that already existed. In the process, I learned a little about Hibernate, a Java object/relational framework. Although I’ve been using and been happy with Cayenne but I’m thinking that Hibernate might be better. Cayenne requires creating a bunch of Java classes ahead of time that you then interact with and are magically bound to the database. With Hibernate, its even more separated. Both have map files that define the relationship between the object and the DB schema, but Hibernate does not require creating special objects. You tell it that your existing objects have a relationship to the DB, and then away you go. It does the rest for you. I haven’t benchmarked speed, but the Hibernate is definitely easier to use.

John Gruber in Waferbaby Interview

There’s an interview with John Gruber at Waferbaby. I started reading Daring Fireball because it was a default in NetNewsWire. Here’s an excerpt from the interview on PCs vs Macintosh:

now how could this be, that your typical graphic designer can perceive and appreciate the mac’s advantages, but most pc industry experts can’t? it’s because these guys are a bunch of jerk-offs. if they covered restaurants the way they cover technology, instead of evaluating how the food tastes, or the quality of the ambiance, they’d base their analyses on the chemical composition of the food.

no one claims you’re in a “cult” if you prefer hamburgers from friday’s over those from mcdonald’s, even though there are a lot more mcdonald’s restaurants and their food is cheaper.

[Daring Fireball]

Cyberpunk Game

I’m going to be giving this game a shakedown one of these days – Uplink: (subtitled “Trust is a weakness”). It is from Ambrosia Games, the purveyors of the highly addictive game Maelstrom (which I dutifully registered a shareware copy of 10 years ago.) This game seems to have the same vibe as Wizard of the Coast’s NetRunner. I can’t tell from the page if this is Mac OS X specific, but it always makes me happy to see Ambrosia coming out with kickass games that are solely for the Mac OS. I need a time wasting fun game like an extra aperature in my skull, but sometimes you need one to relieve the pressure.

Sitting on docks of Bayes

There is an article on Slashdot entitled Bayesian Filtering for Dummies that points to a BBC article about spam and talks about Bayesian filtering as a method to combat it. What is interesting to me is the commentary under the /. article. Someone idly speculated about implementing a Bayesian troll filter for Slashdot comments. This brought out a chorus of naysayers pointing out how it won’t work. I think they are wrong. From my experiments with my CRM114 based Usenet filter, I think it would work. Some of the sages point out that spam gets filtered “because it has different characteristics since they are trying to sell you things.” In the Usenet forsale groups, everyone is trying to sell things and yet my filter was able to pick out things I cared about versus things I didn’t care about with >98% accuracy with a corpus of under 30 messages. That’s the beauty of Bayesian mechanisms, you don’t have to know or even understand what features it learns on, only that it does learn the features of the texts. CRM114 goes most one better by learning the words in all combinations of 1-5 word chunks (it does one pass learning all single words, another learning every two adjacent words, etc.) Still, I think the troll filter would in fact work and probably faster and more effectively than intuition would suggest. I don’t know how it would pick them as noise, but I’ll bet a good filter could. There is already a huge corpus and scoring associated with every comment. Run it over the DB, and automatically learn “this is a +3 article, this is a -2, etc.”

PowerPoint Remix

Aaron Swartz has a pointer to Edward R. Tufte‘s “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint” Presented in the Form of a PowerPoint Presentation. I personally use PP but I miss the old overheads with transparencies. In fact, the last presentation I did I really dug around for one and did use the transparencies. I like writing on them, being able to overlay multiple ones, etc. In this, I think the analog world still is the better one.

The original post has what appears to be the full presentation the PP speak. Here is but a snippet, follow the link for more.


  • PowerPoint is standard-
  • -but bad.
  • Why?

From [Aaron Swartz]

Aggregators out the yin-yang

I’ve been using NetNewsWire for about a week as an RSS aggregator and liking it. For about two weeks, I’ve been using BlogPluck to convert blogs via RSS to Plucker format, and then reading them on my Handspring. For a few days, I’ve been using nntp//rss to aggregate RSS feeds and then present them to me as a news feed. This allows me to add my weblog reading to my other NNTP accesses (Usenet, SFF.net, DM.net, and the Baen books forums). Since MT-Newswatcher lets you read from multiple servers simultaneously, I already thread my reading amongst groups. In this way, I order my subscriptions roughly in priority, start reading at the top of all of them and stop when I’m out of time.

Right now I’m kind of in shakedown mode seeing which of these I like. Nothing says I can’t use all three, but it is kind of a pain dealing with things you’ve already read over and over again. Between NetNewsWire and nntp//rss it is a horserace. NNW lets me easily generate posts off of other people’s blog entries. nntp//rss lets me use a program I already use every day to read blogs, just giving me a familiar logical view of a new information source. The main problem I have is deciding which list of blogs is the canonical one. Since all of them can import and export OPML files, any could generate the list. The current blogroll I have was generated from NetNewsWire but that might change. It’s all interesting and fun, but at some point I have to stop playing and get down to business.

Matrix as Agitprop?

At Abstract Dynamics, they posit just that. This article proposes that the message inherent in the Matrix films and even more prominent in Reloaded is to question the power structures, oppose control, understand who is pulling your strings, all things that are in opposition to having a conservative regime controlling the public by pointing their knees where they want them and making them jerk in unison. Interesting stuff.

Link from Doc Searls.

Eyes upward

Music TopicBand of the day! I found these guys by looking at the recent adds to WREK programming. The band is Eyes to Space from the Chapel Hill area. On their “media” page they have several downloadable songs. The first I listened to, “Boddhisatva Blues”, had this Pink Floyd keyboard intro followed by this Matthew Shipp style jazz piano riff and just got harder to describe from there. Cool, interesting stuff.

Diagram of the Blogosphere

Here’s an article that describes the dynamic of the blogosphere as a new meme rises and falls. It is a pretty interesting description of the phenomenon. The article seems to say that the major media has a part in the story – a misreported story fuels the blogging activity while “when mainstream provides an even-handed and well researched story about the blogosphere story, often this draws the blogosphere story to a conclusion.” Interesting stuff.

Hell Yeah!

And now the Jackets have defeated NC State 6-5 in the 10th to take the ACC championship. These boys played 28 innings of ball today, scoring 26 runs. I don’t believe that anyone could accuse them of not earning this. What a fabulous day of ball! My boy Richard was calling the games unassisted all day, 12 hours of play by play with about an hour of rest in there. Yowza, I’m sure he’s ready to stop talking.

Over the course of this tournament, Tech beat Duke, Wake Forest, North Carolina and now NC State (who also beat Tech once to send them to the losers bracket.) Tech has defeated all the North Carolina teams during the tournament. Pretty good!

El manifiesto cyberpunk

On the William Gibson’s he posts about the “cyberpunkness” of Mexico City and references a post on his board by a dude on the ground there. I have long not understood why science fiction is so Nipponophilic. Me personally, I care very little for Japanese or Asian concerns. Anime doesn’t do much for me, and while I will watch the odd Japanese martial arts movie, I can’t say that it matters to me. On the other hand, I have a deep curiousity for Latin America, Mexico in particular and its culture. I want to learn to speak Spanish, something that would actually come in handy and be usable in my day to day life. I’m going to begin buying the reissues of the Santo movies from SantoAndFriends.com. It seems to me like our immediate neighbor to the south is underutilized as culture to mine. I will sometimes sit and watch Mexican soap operas for their melodramatic glory, despite not understanding a word of them. I love the Hispanic punk of Love and Rockets comics. In closing, here is a copy of the Cyberpunk Manifesto in Spanish.

Go Jackets, Part 2

It’s been a stunning day in Georgia Tech baseball. The Jackets played their first game at 9:15 AM (?!!) due to the delays caused by storms earlier in the week. They came back from 5-0 at one point to beat North Carolina 10-6. Then, after 30 minutes rest they turned around and played Florida State. In that game, they were down 7-2 in the 8th and came back to win 10-7. 45 more minutes of rest, and they play NC State for the title. If they win that game, this might very well be the “miracle team.” They entered this day with a tough row to hoe, and so far they are getting it done.

Go Cajuns

Actually, it’s already too late. The UL – Lafayette Lady Cajuns softball team was knocked out of the NCAA tourney today by UCLA. Because I used to park right next to the ladies softball field to work out at the gym there, so I stood around and watched parts of lots of their softball games. I haven’t been keeping up with Cajun sports as much as I should, so I didn’t realize they were even in the tourney until I saw this game starting on ESPN. I’m still keeping my eye on the men’s team. If ULL or Georgia Tech makes it to Omaha, I’m going.

Even though the Cajuns lost, GT beat Duke by an astonishing score of 23-4. I’d rather be in the winners bracket, but the good thing about the losers bracket is that every team you beat you get to send home. Bye bye, Duke. In other good news, the Braves kicked the Mets in their first game against the defecting Tom Glavine.


Archeologists in Iraq think they may have found Gilgamesh’s tomb. This is interesting, cool stuff. From the article:

“We have found garden structures and field structures as described in the epic, and we found Babylonian houses.”

But he said the most astonishing find was an incredibly sophisticated system of canals.

“Very clearly, we can see in the canals some structures showing that flooding destroyed some houses, which means it was a highly developed system.”

All Style

I spent a little time untangling the mess of tables in my template and thus was able to move the calendar off to the right like it used to be. I had a hard time getting it to look the way I wanted, so I lifted the CSS bodily from the Tony’s Dream weblog and edited it from there. Now I’m back to the three column look, links and blogroll and stuff down the left, calendar down the right. If I add any more goofy stuff like a “now playing” or “now reading” list, I’ll add them to the right. Already, if you were to navigate to a day or category without many entries, the amount of stuff in the left column forces the page to be really tall. I did bump the referers list to only show hosts with 2 or more referes, which cut that down by half and makes it less chaotic. Otherwise, every weirdass Google country mirror shows up, google.tz or google.vc or whatever. I keep saying that I’m done fooling with the template, but then some thing pops up and I fool with it. Such is my prerogative.