Older blog entries for mrorganic (starting at number 146)

After some travail, I have Debian reinstalled on my box. With some trepidation, I elected to update against Woody. Everything seems to have gone well, but I had to pull down XFree 4.0.2 from XFree's site -- Woody still only has 3.3.6 as the standard install.

Enough futzing around with BeOS: it's neat, I wish it had more of a future, but I need to get back to my Linux stuff. So I scrubbed BeOS off the drive last night and reinstated Debian (although I'll probably apt-get Progeny later on so I can get a more up-to-date distro with glibc2.2 and XFree 4.0).

I've had several people suggest good C++ toolkits to me: QT (natch), but also JX, wxWindows, and a few others I can't remember. I've grown fonder of QT after using it a bit, and JX seems to have a lot going for it. wxWindows leaves me cold; it seems too MFC-ish for me (BEGIN_MESSAGE_MAP() and so on). However, it wraps GTK+ and is much more mature than GTKMM at this point.

Commentary:

I see that Florida has found a 13-year-old guilty of first- degree murder in the so-called "wrestling murder". Things like this give rise to a jumble of emotions: on one hand, I am aghast that we actually are considering putting a 13- year-old child in jail for life (even given the horrible thing he did), but on the other hand I am shocked at the brutality and cruelty that boy showed to the girl he killed. In the end I believe that we simply cannot jail a child for life. We would lose whatever soul we have were we to do such thing. It would be tantamount to admitting that we have no idea how to fix a society that is obviously very broken.

The aftermath of the Columbine massacre was the same: pundits try to find blame in violent video games or movies, or in the disintegration of the traditional family. We blame inattentive parents or lax gun laws. We blame an out- of-control media that sells consumerism and sex to kids. We look everywhere but within.

We are the adults who are supposed to be teaching these children, guiding them, and showing them the difference between right and wrong. We are supposed to be making them feel valued and needed in a world that all too often seems hostile. So why do children today feel more alone and more cut-off than ever before?

The failure is ours, not theirs.

Work Stuff:

Found an interesting bug in my middle-tier component. Well, actually it's not a bug; it was a behavior that all of a sudden the users decided they didn't like anymore and wanted removed. However, this particular behavior is pretty central to the object and consequently it will take some time to retool the software.

Personal:

I spent a lot of money recently on new furniture. The good thing is that our house now looks a bit more like a home instead of an empty space where my wife and I store our stuff. The bad thing is that a new laptop is still a ways off in my future. Sigh.

I'll probably end up donating my old Mac to a school or charity somewhere in town (assuming they'll even take it). I may even check the homeless shelters -- surely they could use a computer? I don't want to stick it in a closet because it still works fine, but I also don't want it cluttering up my computer room once I get a new machine to replace it.

Absolutely nothing interesting has happened today. I do not expect interesting things to happen tomorrow, either. The peril of a middle-class life, I suppose.

I checked out SomethingAwful, which is always good for a laugh. I hope that site stays up forever. I've grossed-out my wife more than once by having her follow a SomethingAwful link! WARNING: this site contains profanity and some ruthless humor at the expense of idiots.

Presidential inauguration. Feh. Who cares? Why should we celebrate the fact that a man who lost both the popular vote and (probably) the electoral vote still gets to be President?

18 Jan 2001 (updated 18 Jan 2001 at 22:43 UTC) »

Afternoon update:

I just heard about the good Reverend Jesse Jackson's little indiscretion (he fathered a child with a Rainbow Coalition employee almost two years ago). The National Enquirer was apparently ready to break the story, so Rev. Jackson stole their thunder and apologized publicly in a press conference.

There's a good southern word for this situation: *sorry*. This is just *sorry*. I never had strong feelings for Rev. Jackson, pro or con, but this kind of thing makes me want to puke. It's absolutely infuriating to have someone lecture people about being moral and upright, and then find out that the smug bastard was doing everything he was counseling everyone else *not* to do. It reminds me not only of the Hon. William Clinton, but also of the Jim Bakker scandal so many years ago.

I feel badly for the many African-Americans who placed such trust in Rev. Jackson, because it is clear that his credibility is completely in the dumper. For a long time he has acted as the unofficial "voice" of the African- American community, but I don't see how he can continue in that role given this situation.

----------------- Work Stuff:

Full up build done, but I noticed some UI weirdness I'll need to work out.

Personal:

I've been thinking lately about why the OSS community tends to simply re-create applications rather than inventing new ones. I think it boils down to R&D, or the lack thereof. OSS programmers simply do not do R&D well -- all the really interesting new stuff to come down in the last few years has either been done under government or corporate aegis.

Maybe that's the ultimate role of OSS -- to popularize and unencumber new technologies, rather than invent them. It makes sense to me.

Work Stuff:

Same old stuff. Took yesterday off, so I have some stuff to get caught up on.

Personal:

Got most of my CD catalogue encoded into MP3 format. Don't know why I didn't do it before -- laziness, I suppose. iTunes made the whole process pretty painless, although my old Mac can only encode at about 2x (and this with a G3 upgrade; I would never have attempted it with the 603e CPU the machine came standard with). I really like iTunes, although it's nothing too earth-shaking. It's got a nice interface which allows *much* eaiser navigation than Real's JukeBox (my Windows player of choice).

So I expect my Mac will live out the rest of its life as an MP3/DVD player. There are worse ways to go out.

I need to buy a new laptop one of these days -- my old Toshiba 610CT is maxed at 24MB of RAM, and the 640x480 screen is completely inadequate these days. Any purchase is still several months away, and I'm leaning heavily towards the new Titanium PowerBook. $2500 is a hell of a lot to spend on a notebook, though; I'll need to compare with other x86 laptops and see how they stack up, given equal (or at least similar) feature-sets. I'm willing to pay a premium for Apple hardware, but not a *huge* premium.

I feel a bit guilty about neglecting my personal programming projects, but the simple fact is that I need a mental rest. And it's not like the world is waiting with bated breath to see my software. It'll get done when it gets done. (Hopefully sometime before the heat-death of the Universe....)

Work Stuff:

Delving back into the mysteries of COM. COM is actually a pretty elegant concept, once you get used to the interface- driven paradigm of programming. I haven't done much with it for the last six months or so, though, so I'm having to dredge up a bunch of stuff the recesses of my brain.

Personal:

Importing all my CDs into my Mac so I can use it as a jukebox. I never did it before now because (a) I'm lazy, and (b) I never found software that was good enough. iTunes is good enough, so I'm making the leap. It'll take awhile: my poor tired Mac (a 6500 updated with a G3 CPU) can only encode at 2x, and with 250+ CDs to encode, I'll be at this for several days.

Work stuff:

Still haven't gotten a full-up build done yet. Dammit.

Personal:

Just saw "Antitrust". It wasn't a good movie, but it sucked somewhat less than I expected. Should have waited for the rental, though.

Work Stuff:

Same old.

Personal:

Probably won't be doing much hacking tonight. I'll probably kick back and take it a little easy; I've been fighting a nasty cold for several days, and I just don't feel up to pounding a keyboard tonight. Maybe I can talk the wife into making me some lemon tea....

Work Stuff:

Still trying to get a build done.

Personal:

Caught Steve Jobs' MacWorld SF keynote this morning (archived and rebroadcast from yesterday -- I wasn't crazy enought to try and tune in live). Lots of interesting stuff, especially the iDVD software. Video copying and creation is getting cheaper at a geometric rate, which scares the shit right out of Hollywood. I can forsee a time (maybe only a few years from now) when average joes and janes can create their own professional-looking movies and distribute the movies themselves, bypassing Hollywood entirely. And more power to them.

I'm looking forward to this time because I think it will allow artists more full expression than ever before. We may not see many 100-million epics, but we *will* see lots more avant garde stuff, more experimental stuff, and we will all get more exposure to foreign films. All of which is a Good Thing.

You can say what you want about Apple, but they're always out there a couple of steps ahead of the rest of the pack. I don't use my Mac as much as I used to (although I expect that to change when Mac OS X comes out), but I've always thought that it was the most trouble-free computer I've ever owned. It just works. (Although it also crashes a lot....)

Another thing is that iTunes (dumb name for such a cool product) is *free*. I plan to install it sometime over the weekend and see if it works as well as the demo made it sound. If so, I can turn my old Mac into one hell of a jukebox!

And man, I'm lusting after that new Titanium powerbook in a major way....

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