DragonFaX is currently certified at Apprentice level.

Name: Jason Stillwell
Member since: 2000-03-06 12:44:40
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Homepage: http://www.barkingweasel.org

I like perl, I like C
I love the Java and it loves me.

Perl and C and the Java and me.
Debug, Debug, Debug, Debug, Debug


Every expressed below is my opinion and my opinion alone. And probably isn't very well researched to begin with anyways.


Recent blog entries by DragonFaX

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4 Sep 2000 (updated 4 Sep 2000 at 08:42 UTC) »
harrisj read my shpeil about a simulated observatory room.

Linux reported X using 40 Megs, I was freaking until I looked
it up to find it was counting the 32M of ram on the video card.

I won't actually decide whether or not to use Galeon instead of
netscape until I've compiled it myself and possibly added
a few features I need to have in a web browser. Then I'll have
a good idea of how to quantitaively measure its success for me.

* problems with getting the vpn working

Can't seem to connect to the office VPN. We use an Intraport
from compatible systems. Since bought by cisco and I think made
into the Cisco 5000 Concentrator. The ipsec implimentation
of win2k is messed up and and I just get connection errors
from freeswan (linux). Cisco provides no more support than was
originally supplied by compatible system. Which was a
kernel module that just crashs the system even when your running
the exact system the module was made for. I could probably
get the win98 client to work but I use 2000 and linux and
would have to triple boot just for office connectively which
anyone that mutliboots for one purpose knows is almost unacceptible.

I miss my bike. A freind back in missouri no longer has a car so I
shipped my dual suspension mongoose back there so he'd have a means of
getting to work. I still have my rollerblades though.

=Bits and peices

Halted has mice with an entire numpad on them for $10
what a useless peice of junk that I must have.

I like the DeCSS demostration at the Oscars idea even if just to
see what the other demonstrators yell when we're dragged off by police
"Let go of me you Damn Dirty Apes!"
"Attica! Attica!"

* Association for the Revival of Danger mouse.

Its the Plan 9 from Bell Labs "Brain Tumor Bunny"

"Politics and Professional Wrestling go together like and Cookies and Ass."
-the daily show, comedy central

"<Tiberious> get a taste of religion: bite a priest!"

nymia, objective c is yummy.


One of those PDA's should have enough horse power to emulate
a gameboy right? And someone could make a small adapter ( say
for the Visor as an example ) that would fit gameboy cartridges
right? Multitude of handheld games available for your pda
and legally too because your buying the physical cartridges.
Heck using cheap and slow memory they could even put rather
large games on these cartridges. Too large to fit in the pda's
memory itself. Its own form of copy protection. Or has this
been done already. Personally I think the new gameboy is a joke.

Also the VMS's (VMU's) that were born in the wake of the tamagotchi's
to carry small bits of games from the consoles with you seem
to have died a withering death. But slightly larger more
robust versions of these 'mini-games' to build your character
or even just get your RPG buzz while on the train seem like
they could have a place on your PDA. With a small link
cable from your PSX2 to your PDA you could download the
code and keep your characters strengths up. Or just down
load your saves to trade with friends.

I've come to the horrifying realization that colocation at a
decent price doesn't exist.

What keeps me up at night is the realization that soon you'll be able to build custom virii
(biological) in your own home as easily as you can do with computer virii right now.
And that the script kiddies out there currently are putting out new major
virii weekly. We cant just reboot our bodies after a crash like we do with Exchange.
We are so dead.

I agree with Dacta
about galleon and mozilla. They should have started with the renderer and then just
worked up around that, making real releases of the features one at a time as
they became complete.

I have to read 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb' as suggested by

Searching for other places such as forums using peer review or trust metrics to control the content/noise ratio I've actually found several places that have done so far beyond what I would have expected. I see these sorts of practices absolutely necessary in the future as the internet becomes more and more bloated.


"P.S. They say they sell buffalo meat there, but I think it's actually
just a lot of bull."

- Rich Morin on sfpug@sf.pm.org

"Some people like buffalo, but I wouldn't want to buysome. (Weak, I know...)"

- Quinn Weaver, followup

a nice savage game of hunt the grumpus.

* dngor rolls 1d12, save vs. intelligence.


Limpidity #45: Alien Abductions

"Could this be the end of the Samurai Pizza Cats, or could it just be a good place
to put a commercial"


Your normal sense of depth perception is useless for
objects that are extremely far away such as mountains or the moon.
Instead you judge roughly how relatively far away it is by
the way it moves in the distance as you do.
Thus with litle effort you could simulate things at a great
distance. Take for example a room where you have a computer
track position of your head within it, then display across the walls of the room the stars and a well
rendered image of the moon and earth properly such that
you could simulate being in orbit to some laughably
simple degree. But if it worked even just half decently
it could be quite awe inspiring.
Would be need to try.

Read Snow Crash. Very good book.

Yeah Rachel! Kick ass article on Salon. Congrats.

"This mind intentionally left blank"

I'm boggled by the fact that python ( a scripting language ) can
be so well optimized that they've not only written a complete OODB
in it (ZODB for Zope) but that it runs rather impressively fast
and is so full featured. Definitley something I'm going to have to
tear apart and look at the insides of while I learn python.

So people actually read these things huh?
Personal info for bma
I feel loved now. =)

Evolution of the Brain Organ

Jason J was talking about the fact that it was believed before that
reason we could not do proper AI was because of a lack of necessary
computing power (resources). But that thats no longer the case.
Now its believed that we no longer lack the resources necessary,
so that the only reason we have for not being able to emulate the
methods of the mind is a lack of understanding about how the mind

I think this is wrong. There are still many classifications of
intelligence. If what you are trying to emulate is the human brain
you have to be prepared to embrace and understand the imperfect
processes and incomplete intelligence that it provides.

The general idea is that we don't htink perfectly. This is obvious.
But there is a good reason why this is so. This allows us to
accomplish the leaps of logic necessary to do the thinking we do

They are trying to emulate what I see as 'perfect intelligence'.
Which is not going to work, especially when taking our minds as a
template. Many reason why this could not work, only one of which
is that because such a thing could be like an equation and would
solve to completion in each specific model case rather than provide
a system which could solve arbitrary problems.

Take the eyes as an example. We actualy don't see quite so clearly
as we think we do. But instead we see imperfectly, a low resolution
that changes around the eye. But to correct this our eyes jiggle
slightly in a hyperactive way now and then and thus take in more
information, several copies of the same view slightly misaligned
. Which our brain then interpolates them together to get one much
better picture.

You have to understand that while you as a person may be quite
partial to your brain as it contains, well, you. Your brain is
really just another organ of your larger body (organism). Each
organ evolved to suite a purpose. And with a long descriptiong
omitted for brevity, the brain evolved merely to be the 'problem
solving organ' One differentiates this problem solving organ from
most problems solving algorithms in computing are the variables
involved. You see to be really of any use the problem solving organ
we developed had to be able to, not decide the best way to trap
that animal, but rather the best way to trap that animal, in a
reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of resources,
and a reasonable ammount of work and a ton of other variables. Most
of which are purely qualitative rather than quantitative. Omitting
another long explaination your problem solving organ evolves into
the 'Ultimate Compromise Engine'. Figuring out the best solution
within a million different qualitative and always changing variables.
And in order to acheive the speed necesary in such fuzzy decisions
we had to give up calculator status. Actually we never had this
to begin with but its moot anyways. As proof we've seen people
with calculator status (autism) and their lack of ability to deal
with certain basic situations in life.

Obviously this isn't a good description of the idea but the full
one would take too long to explore here.

General Authentication

I've seen lots of people go on about new ways to securely authenticate
users for access to systems and resources. The problems are that
each method of authentication has its own issues. So the idea is
to use more than one and to weigh them. The more you pass each
one the more access you are granted i.e. the more permissions you
are given and the more you are allowed to do. Obvious this wouldn't
be gradual at all and everyone could set their own preferences.
Also there could be whole pass/fail mechanisms but would probably
not be necessary for everything that one does with her/her files.
Giving each method of authentication rating as to how easily they
can be faked, combined with percentages of how certain each method
is that the user is who they say they are, you could effectively
improve the security of less secure methods since the person must
pass more than one method. This would be especially useful in
passive authentication schemes such as wavelength measurements gene
tests, retinal scan and others.


One big issue blocking everyone from moving to pda type devices
for most of their work is the lack of seriously useful input methods.
The small keyboards are too hard and slow to type on. The scribbling
is to inferior and slow as well. Plus quite counterintuitive since
they can't get close to reading regular writing. The only one I've
found to work yet is the half-qwety keyboard which can have quite
a small footprint but not require anything more advanced than
regular qwerty typing. Its the first small input space solution
I've seen that actually not only works but works very well. (for
me at least) I immedialy got 16wpm and that was with no practice.
I'd like to experiment with this a bit more but unfornately one
fellow seems to own a patent on it and chargs a ridiculous ammount
for the software, practically raping the one handed individuals
that it was originally designed for. (gee love people like that)
My ideal situation would be to build a small version of a physical
half-qwerty keyboard for connecting to a pda and see if I can
actually manage to take regular notes on it. I'm not much of a
hardware engineer so this will be a feat for me.

Got my atari trackballs and several of the books I ordered. While
I was down on castro (palo alto) I stoped in at bookbuyers, a kick
ass little used book store right next to Printers Inc. This place
is great, it has a large computer section for a used book store.
I'm going to spend alot of time there.

Barbequeue =)

The Barbeque was pretty cool. We had a decent turnout. Only 20
people or so. It was fun though. Got to talk to
John McCarthy (father of lisp, invent of AI)
for a little bit about the dissemination of micro cultures today
such as whats become of native americans. Then he went to watch
the opposite of sex in the other room.

Mr_Wrong(sean) had some interesting ideas on why databases suck
and what NEEDS to be in development right now to replace them.

Puzzle fighter was going until 4am.

I think we can make a case out of programming being an addiction
because of what some of us go through to do it or while doing it.
There also might be some reason to link a discussion of a 'programmers

"Hi I'm Bob. And... I'm a programer!"


"I first knew I had a problem when..."

Outsourcing Opensource

I've notice a recurring problem as to how the general ideas of
opensource are continually being represented to managerial people
in magazine articles and other resources. What I keep seeing are
claims that opensourcing your software will get literaly thousands
of developers to work on it for free. In some cases this is not
exactly untrue. But they tend to go so far as to push that you'd
have the programming culture of the world working on your software
for free from home rather then them having to pay developers to
get the work done. And this not only puts up a bad image but also
pushs a very sad mentality that can actually harm the promotion of
opensource ideals. I'll agree that some companies opening their
software see quite a flush of individual developers working on it
as part of a hobby.

However the idea is not free software development for your company
or its product. Rather its peer-review and development. That
companies (and individuals too )that also can benefit from the
software will be able to work on one copy, sharing advancements
and bugfixes to their mutual benefit. Rather than continually
reinventing the wheel. Pushing the idea as they are that opening
your souce will take the burden of development off your hands and
put it on the backs of so many programming hobbiest is bad for open
source and quite counter-intuitive when managers attept to seriously
look into what opensourcing their software really means. Its a bad
mentality that shouldn't be promoted. What we should be trying to
do is convince companies to invest somehow in the open source
project that can benefit them. Unfortunately since all of this is
still new is extremelly complicated for any specific company to
even attempt to invest in any opensource software let alone opening
any of theirs.

Now with companies turning toward outsourcing everything from
development to managerial staff and in some cases even HR it would
be interesting to work up some business plans on the idea of allowing
companies to outsource open source development or investment. We
already having companies that have a core part of their business
plan opensource development. What we could see are some companies
that serve as outsources for the complicated parts of opensource
development that complexify the relationship between companies that
don't want to have to rearrange their entire business just to make
it work with the inrush of the freesoftware community. Then such
companies could focus the efforts that I know non free software
companies should and will want to take full advantage of this
revolution thats happening. Unfortunately this could not be an
easy task. it could often require putting pricetags on feature
improvements and such in open source development. But could still
work to promote the serious side of OS investment that companies
will need to start making.


UnRated Net: OpenDNS

I think if we could offer just a generally better scheme than what
InterNic does, we could convince enough people serving DNS to patch
their copies of BIND to request from both NIC and then OpenNIC if
not found. Or just OpenNic as they also include Nic's info. Who
is in charge of the bind and other named sources? There is no reason
for nic service to be so bad. Thought I'm still in the minor
opinion that the idea of specific TLD's is outdated anyways. Now
if we can only figure how to do this with pacbell.

X-Men kicked ass.

[description of a GUI method idea left out cause it was too long]

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