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:: Segway Torpidity ::

segway and social harmony: And in the past few days, I?ve noticed a certain aimlessness about myself. Usually when I close my eyes and introspect, I feel an urge to move on to the next thing, to do something new, to finish all the work I have begun. But now I feel nothing. Just a large emptyness inside, no particular desire to do anything. So I ride the Segway, and fight over riding the Segway.

For some reason, I love this notion that balance -- something only absent during a forgettable and brief portion of life -- is core to all other layered senses, such that leaving it by (even temporarily) makes the brain question motivation, incentive, curiosity, intellectual inertia.

That this ultimate amenity will work below the level of banal, psychological sloth, convenience-bred -- it will disrupt basic feedback loops to human operation.

Link | 28 December 2002 | in Ether, Gear | Comments (0)

:: Googlicious rights propagation ::

Web Voice: "There's a fun web service built on top of a combination of Google [Images] and PayPal waiting to be created there. A big distributed clearinghouse of original photos might mean the death of canned stock pictures. Who will miss them?"

I don't see Google among the collaborators, but let's hope they start picking up nearby CC marks, letting users prune away the uncooperative via search options.

Link | 21 December 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

:: glastree 1.02 ::

I've moved glastree to 1.0 stability; bug reports have been absent for many months. Also done in preparation for a 2.0 branch, which will incorporate delta compression and a proper Linux fs.

Xfer: glastree-1.02.tar.gz.

Link | 16 December 2002 | in Releases | Comments (0)

:: Hack: Interactive Gentoo config integration ::

Gentoo preserves locally-tailored configuration files -- through the onslaught of ubiquitous package updates -- by placing new, dot-permuted copies proximal to their production brothers (e.g. /etc/._cfg0001_fstab). This is both safe and simple. Nonetheless, clusters of interrelated (often superfluous) package revisions quickly make the post-emerge stitching a bother.

dispatch-conf interactively steps through open configs, providing a diff and performing one of several actions: edit the existing config & reference diff, delete the new config or replace the existing config with the new one.

For each extant file, it provides a display like the following.

>>> 1 of 2 >>>>>> diff /etc/make.conf /etc/._cfg0000_make.conf

--- /etc/make.conf      2002-12-15 10:25:08.000000000 -0500
+++ /etc/._cfg0000_make.conf    2002-12-15 13:16:20.000000000 -0500
@@ -50,7 +50,6 @@
 #CFLAGS="-mcpu=athlon-xp -O3 -pipe"
 #CFLAGS="-march=pentium3 -O3 -pipe"
-CFLAGS='-march=pentium4 -mcpu=pentium4 -O3 -pipe'

 # If you set a CFLAGS above, then this line will set your default C++ flags to
 # the same settings. If you don't set CFLAGS above, then comment this line out.

>> /etc/make.conf >> q quit, n skip, e edit current, k kill new, s supercede w/new

Update: Brandon Low (lostlogic at gentoo.org) asked me to update dispatch-conf to the point it can replace etc-update -- an existing shell-based utility for same.

Link | 16 December 2002 | in Hacks | Comments (0)

:: Gentoo among us ::

I've been using the Gentoo distribution for ~5 weeks, on a primary server. My take: it's a contender as leading distribution to developers and admins, if it can iron out bugs and binaries.

Package releases are made quite quickly. Both security and general package improvements flow continuously. Distribution "releases" (1.4 is slated for late December) are cited only in the context of general goals, while the stability horizon marches forward, unrestrained.

Gentoo installs everything from source -- a modern descendant of BSD ports. This custom compilation of packages, under portage, optimized to the limits of your live architecture, is theoretically pleasing, but of dubious practical benefit. And when you have a full day of such compilation (in the case of broad install plus gnome or kde) the benefits fall to zero. (Although I continue to enjoy the compiles rolling by -- I simply can't justify it. :) 1.4 is set to introduce binary package sets, targeted for a few major enviros (p3, p4, sparc4, etc.) This makes sense: a huge, built base, with compilation at the fringe, or as one upgrades.

I chanced installing Gentoo on a deadline; a mistake, of course. The general learning curve (not too bad) and several showstopper bugs (bad) eventually caused me to build several handfuls of packages myself, eliminating the automaintenance benefits.

Interrelationships among packages is the big gotcha, builds fail based on that java rev or this library flag. Packages are moving prematurely out of testing into stable, before widespread testing. One existing relief is used infrequently.

In fact, many build bugs seem to remain dormant in Bugzilla for weeks and months at a time. Further, the choice of bug resolution seems arbitrary to an outsider, but likely makes sense given volunteer resources.

All this is hashed and rehashed on the developers list. No doubt, much a matter of people and time.

I look forward to Gentoo's future.

Link | 16 December 2002 | in Systems | Comments (0)

:: Segway Diary ::

Phillip Torrone's Segway Diary is a fun, if editorially challenged, account of an Amazon-Segway contest winner. The prize: factory sights, training, shipment earlier than others, and the coup de grace: a tour of Dean Kamen's gadget-filled home.

Check out the applications.

Link | 15 December 2002 | in Gear | Comments (0)

:: Away. Back. ::

I've been off writing fiction for a few months. But now I've begun a new Java project, and I'm adrift again in all things tech.

I managed to get something published, and promised myself one publishable short story or poem a month, this moment forward.


Link | 15 December 2002 | in Ether | Comments (0)

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