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Merry Fools’ Day

Yes, it surely is April Fools’ Day (note the apostrophe usage — it is a day belonging to all fools, not a day belonging to just one fool) and I have no foolery to offer. How very sad. What I do have to offer, however, is the spectacular Domo-Kun theme-of-the-month for April and a brand new addition to decaffeinated.org: a customize page. For now, all you can do is choose between the original “Calm Blue Ocean” theme and the new “Domo-Kun”; but as the months roll by… so shall the themes!

In other news, I revisited PopCap today and downloaded all of the games they have available for OS X. Mummy Maze is really my kind of game.


FruitMenu

FruitMenu has become an indispensable part of my OS X experience. Not because I was raised on the “Classic” Apple Menu, nor did I think too highly of Windows’ “Start” menu, but because browsing my entire hard drive from a simple hierarchical menu is the best damned thing in the world.

Praise aside, I was most disappointed to see Unsanity include “Mounted Volumes” as an item available for FruitMenu’s contextual menu manipulations; but not in the Apple Menu. Being able to browse mounted volumes with the same ease I browse my hard drive has long been a coveted feature; and to see it included in one part of their application and not the other… distressing.

Through the tears, I’ve come up with a partial solution. A workaround:

  1. Using TinkerTool or Cocktail, enable “Invisible files” in the finder.
  2. In your Macintosh HD you’ll find a folder by the name of “.Volumes” create an alias to this folder.
  3. Drag the alias to your “FruitMenu Items” folder and Hey-Presto! Access to all mounted volumes from your Apple Menu.

The race

15 minutes to drive to university. 35 minutes to find a parking spot. 45 minutes to sit in a tute. 15 minutes to drive home. 43 hours ‘til I do it again.


Woah

While I ordinarily enjoy formatting my computer(s) from time to time, today I felt like my Mac’s hard drive needed repartitioning — a little extra love from me to him. Give the home partition a little more space, give the OS partition a little less space, do the hokey-pokey, you know how it goes.

12 hours later, I’m back on top. Remind me never to partition anything ever again… but to buy new hard drives instead.

Maybe I should just get an iPod.


Huevos

Before I tumble into bed and let my bloodshot eyes rest, I’d like to point out Huevos. This is the most ridiculously simple program you could imagine, yet it’s so ridiculously useful. Hit Ctrl-Esc, type in a search query, hit Return. Voila.


Combustible Orange

I must’ve been sleeping; because I somehow missed the launch spides’ very-cool Combustible Orange comic.


Comedy

The always-entertaining Melbourne International Comedy Festival screened tonight if you didn’t already know; and all I can say is “quality, quality, quality”. Year after year I am impressed by this gala event (now hosted by Dave Hughes; in a Billy-Crystal-hosting-the-Oscars kinda way) and this year even Wil Anderson managed to make me laugh. That’s a first for Anderson despite his daily breakfast-radio gig. Only three female performers, which is a little disappointing, though none of them resorted to classic “comedienne fallbacks” like talking about their boobs or vaginas.

This is a good thing

Boobs and vaginas are all very well and good, mind you, but when they can officially be called a funnygirl staple then we’re bordering on the kind of asinine claptrap I expect from 80’s male comedians… talking about how much money their wife spends, or how much time she spends getting ready to go out. You know what I’m talking about.

Meanwhile, I’ve begun formulating a very complex theory relating to productivity in the workplace — and by workplace I mean my desk. The amount of work done (whether it be assignments, research, coding, or the ubiquitous “other”) is directly proportionate to the amount of cola ingested. My complete lack of advancement in any personal projects or university-related work over the last week has finally found a cause; not laziness or attention deficit, simply caffeine deprivation. Although, to be sure, access to ritalin/dexies would be nice.


Arrivals

Two things arrived today; both of which bring with them mixed feelings.

  1. My Visa Extra Rewards statement. I have no idea why, but I have a strange and unwavering brand-loyalty when it comes to Visa. Does the piteous accruement of Rewards Points temper my faith in their service? Nay. A few thousand points couldn’t buy me a new microwave, and there’s little chance of me spending up big enough to actually reap any rewards. Could I (and should I) have signed up for a Lite MasterCard — boasting a (much) lower interest rate at the sacrifice of “perks”? Yes, for sure. But for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to go for a MasterCard. Visa has a strange hold over me, and I’m sure it’s voodoo-related.
  2. Romeo 0.9 was released today, a major major improvement on its predecessor(s), and at last heading towards the kind of functionality I was hoping for back when I first got my phone. It still, quite unfortunately, boasts a truly-hideous metal interface and breaks about every UI guideline there is. But hey, it’s a free program that does great things, who am I to complain? Unfortunately for Arboreal, it hasn’t quite overtaken Clicker in terms of functionality, so there’s really no point to stray from Jonas Salling’s side.

I speak too soon

No sooner do I make mention of Romeo than a new version of Clicker appears. Indeed, it is a mighty unstoppable juggernaut.

In other news: while I may be happy that the RSS explosion has meant that I read way more news than ever before (note that said news is divided into the categories of “Geek News” and “Mac News”, all but ignoring “Current World Events”), there’s a certain bother in arriving home from a day at work to find 109 news items. I asked for this.


Eck

The last two nights, between the hours of 1am and 4am, have been filled with the fun and hijinx of Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance on the PS2. Tonight, of course, was a different matter. I worked. Good ol’ graveyard shift.

That’s not to say that Garth and I didn’t play Dark Alliance tonight — we managed to squeeze it in from around 3-9, finishing the game on this third and final day. Three days does not an enthralling RPG make; and needless to say: I am disappointed. What with all the assignments due this week I was really looking forward to a man-sized timesink the likes of which I expected a Baldur’s Gate title to supply; but it just wasn’t meant to be. Hell, I might even have to do those assignments. On time, too.


Spakfilla

After two months, it’s nice to see that my ex-roommates have decided to return and fix the holes in the walls that their ikea-fashioned paintings and curtains were drilled for. After all, we’ve been withholding their bond until such a time arrives; I would’ve expected that they’d want their $140 much sooner than this.


Alarming

There was a period when I thought that the alarm on my phone was dysfunctional. Buggy. Broken.

As it turns out, the alarm works just fine — but I’m largely immune to its effects. This morning, after retiring to bed around 3, I decided that I needed to get up around 9 to prepare for my tute at 12. Alarm is set for 9, I go to bed. 6 hours later that alarm goes off, but after a minute or so of not-really-loud noisemaking the alarm turns itself off. I slept through it because it just isn’t loud enough. Thankyou T68i, I’ve missed my tute.

As much as the prospect of plugging my old red-LED clock-radio (and waking up to its heart-attack-inducing scream) displeases me, I think I’m going to have to take that step. If I can’t trust my phone to wake me up when it’s important that I be woken up, then who can I trust?


Click on through

At this very moment I am taking a break from increasing my click-through rate, a thoroughly ridiculous game of stamina, perseverance, and stupidity. Somehow, the simple act of looking at my visitor logs led me to drunkmenworkhere.org
(damn you, whoever ran this site through the Transmogrifier), drawing me into their web of clicking and clicking and clicking.

Right now, my rate is sitting at 99.75430% — an impressive-sounding score until you realize that the record is 99.99938% — and you can tell that there’s hours to go before you beat that score. But trust me, I’ll beat that score if it’s the last thing I do. I have to do it tonight, though, since I’ll be assigned a new IP next time I come online. Soon, the record-holder’s IP (currently 24.79.240.192) will be replaced with my own 203.59.117.215 I guess I should give up now before I waste hours and hours (and hours) of my life, right?

Wish me luck.


Like a hole in the head

I have spent all of today playing with my phone. All of today. After receiving my MMS settings first thing this morning I’ve tinkered and twiddled; sending MMSs to Mike (the only other person I know with a picture phone) and setting myself up for mobile internet access.

To be perfectly honest, the mobile internet sucks. Mobile email is cool, MMS is cool, but mobile internet access is like a terrible technology leprosy or something. I’m not talking about the fact that there’s no layout or images or colour, I knew to expect a plain-text adventure, but the browser (or the server, or the technology, whoever) limits your internet experience to about 30 lines of text. Most modern sites (even the universally-accessible ones, like decaffeinated.org, zeldman.com, or webstandards.org) barely have time to get past their blurb or navigation in that many lines! The result? Zero content. How wonderful.

I’m sure that everyone surfing the net on their PocketPCs or Smartphones or whatever are chortling to themselves quite merrily right now, browsing in a semi-decent graphical browser that doesn’t limit you to 30 lines of useless shite. To to those people I say “go fuck yourselves”, even though my Mother falls into that category of hu-mans. Adding insult to injury, my bank doesn’t support mobile devices at all… so surfing the net from my phone is an officially worthless feature. Huzzah. At least I can check my email, right?


With winter comes the sucking

Went to Steve’s Bar last night with Shaye, both of us expecting the place to be overflowing with familiar faces (as it would be, normally). It was not. We met maybe one or two people there that we would qualify as “acquaintances” in a half-empty hotel. It would seem that:

Both of these possibilities scare me, since it means we’re another step closer to clubbing. I loathe nightclubs — I hate them with a passion — hence my predisposition to bars and pubs, so any move towards that kind of activity scares me. There is, however, one more possibility that I have not accounted for.

I pray that this is the answer.


Nature or nurture?

If the frequency of posts tonight isn’t an indicator already; I’m not writing any essays right now, nor have I started writing them. Both are due tomorrow — MCI101 and NET103 — yet I have barely given a thought to either. I am, have always been, and will always be a last-minute worker. Looming deadlines are the only things that scare me into work, and I’ve learned from experience that I can get it all done and still get a good mark.

Why?

As early as the tenth grade I’ve envied the “study now, party later” work ethic of my friends, I’ve heard teachers and lecturers and public speakers drone on and on about the importance of getting on top of things; not falling behind. Time and time again I’ve said “this year will be different, this year I’ll study hard and do assignments early” but I never do. Has there ever been any consequence to my actions? No. Have I ever lost anything but a night’s sleep in my under-the-clock crusades? Never. So why am I wrong? I guess I’m not, I’m just different. Different in a potentially dangerous way, but different nonetheless.

As weird as it may sound, I hope I get a truly-horrendous mark for an assignment one day and learn that I should really get on top of things earlier. One day.


Timely

Movable Type, in its extensive set of configuratory mechanicry (Wow! Two made-up words used to explain nothing-in-particular!), has the option to set your time zone in relation to UTC (which I’m guessing is the new way to say GMT). This is fine, or course, but things fall apart when you look at “West Australian Time”: which is apparently UTC+7 hours. Actually, West Australian time is UTC+8 hours, but thanks for checking.

Instead, I opt for China Coast Time… UTC+8 and things get funky around this time of year when the rest of the world (or at least the US) starts observing daylight savings time… something we don’t do here in the west. What’s a boy to do? I guess I’ll just set it back to “West Australian Time” and hope that Ben and Mena see fit to adjust things back in Movable Type. What does it really matter to you what time I post?


Trouble

You can tell there’s something wrong when you are sitting at your desk at 2am designing things. I mean… they’re good things (which you’ll see eventually) but I should really be writing essays.


Caffeinated

Hours (and several litres of Coca-Cola) later, and all I can say is that was some of the wackiest essay writing I’ve ever done. I’m excited and extremely apprehensive of how it’ll survive the marking process, since I’ve noticed that my writing style has changed somewhat since writing (ie- blogging) became part of my daily life.

Something else I’ve noticed is how incredibly short first-year essays are. I could’ve researched much much deeper and come up with far more complex (and well-defined) arguments, but:

  1. That isn’t called for in this assignment.
  2. If it were called for, I wouldn’t have had the space to do it anyway.

Bizarre.


Gutterfucked

Arriving home from work, I figure a few bowls of Maggi Noodles and some moments alone with the boob tizzube are in order. Video Hits Uncut (uncut? since when did music videos feature anything that needed cutting?) is on, so I figure it’s about time I reacquainted myself with what’s cool today.

Liberty X, Nelly and JT, Macy Gray… *yawn*

Oh wait, check it out. Guttermouth, one of the fuck-you punk bands I idolized as a kid. They were always so cool; swearing a stuff… making fun of vegetarians and feminists and just… swearing… and stuff. Oh. They’re on Video Hits. That can’t be good. They’re squished between a techno-club-anthem and a song about flowers. Wow, this song has no swear words in it at all. Mark “Mercury” Adkins appears to be singing about a girl he liked in high school. They’ve really, really changed. No fun, no bawdiness, no crudity, no swearing. No wonder I haven’t heard anything about these guys since Musical Monkey… they suck.

Much as I might have fooled myself into believing otherwise as a kid (and also through highschool), punk is dead. Oh well.


It has begun

Shout outs to Tycho for his adoption of the fucktonne as a standard unit of measurement. You owe me seven cents.


Kung-Log: it’s what’s for breakfast

Yes, I’m a Kung-Log user. Blogging from your desktop without having to log in to Movable Type is cooler than cool, since OS X’s in-built spell-check means that I reduce my chances of looking like a cock when I post.

Kung-Log 1.4.2, however, encodes certain HTML entities for you — you might’ve noticed, since all the ampersands in this post, a vital part of all in-text HTML entities (like, say, an em dash [—], or a typographically correct apostrophe [’ as opposed to ']) have been encoded. This is great for ampersands in general, but terrible for the ampersands used in the aforementioned entities (oh, and a few thousand other entities, thanks). This is a kick in the face to people like me who write their own code because they enjoy semantic correctness… it’s part of being a pedant. Hurrah.

For now, I guess it’s back to Kung-Log v1.4.1, registering my discontent at Kung-Foo. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this largely-illegible post… what with all the HTML entities that aren’t being rendered.


Somebody stop me

My friends and I enjoying Scotty’s birthday breakfast After a hearty breakfast (thanks to Scotty Chan, the man with the plan) a crew of my friends and I descended upon Perth’s CBD for a short constitutional. All seemed to be going along well until we approached the gaudy yellow-and-black doors of JB Hi-Fi. As a future note to anybody, anywhere: If you see me going into JB Hi-Fi, stop me.

Every time I walk through those doors I end up buying a hundred dollars worth of CDs or more. Last time, it was Veruca Salt’s Eight Arms to Hold You, A Perfect Circle’s Mer de Noms, K’s Choice’s Paradise in Me, and perhaps Gob’s Too Late… No Friends (as far as my memory serves me). Of course, I don’t regret those purchases (with the exception of K’s Choice. It turns out they suck more than “Not an Addict” would indicate), but the thought of spending a hundred bucks every time I walk through the doors of a record store is just a little unsettling.

Today, I proved to myself that I just never learn. Fifty blank CDs, AFI’s Sing the Sorrow, Strung Out’s An American Paradox, Massive Attack’s 100th Window, and Veruca Salt’s Resolver. I could strike this one down as “catching up” with some of my favourite artists’ latest work; since all of these albums are, really, their latest albums… but that would be a cop-out. I am terrible with my money. Abusive, even.

A little more shopping took us to the camera store: Scotty wants to trade up on his digital camera. This got me thinking… I have 2 cameras: my really old (and sucky) point-and-click consumer-model shitbox and my newer, cooler SLR. I used to love photography, hence the purchase of an $800 SLR, but that was in high school when I actually had access to darkroom facilities. Nowadays, buying film and paying for processing seems like a real drag — a digital camera could only be a step in the right direction. Of course, trust Scotty Chan to get my brain racing. Talk moved to laptop computers. “If I get this job in Melbourne, I’ll probably sell my car and my PC and get a laptop”, he says.

Me? Selling my PC, my eMac, and my cameras could undoubtedly afford me a shiny-ass new iBook, or even a 12-inch PowerBook (given that Curtin’s campus computer store gives some seriously generous student discounts). But where does that place me? Aside from the portability, and being the kind of geek item that I’ve craved for years; how well could a laptop really serve me? It wouldn’t be any more powerful than my desktop, it’d have a (painfully) smaller screen, and portability and… really… cool… dammit I want one!

I hate myself. My credit card will never recover.


Chris to Virgin: Go fuck yourself

As I previously reported, I bought four CDs today. I did what the record companies feel I should do. I didn’t pirate these records. I don’t plan to share these records. My only interest is in listening to music created by artists that I feel deserve my money, my respect, and my support. But no… Virgin Records has to try and fuck me, too.

I use a Mac. I use iTunes. Religiously. The fact that my eMac has a better amp and waaaaay better speakers than my stereo means that I use my Mac as my stereo. The contents of my CD collection resides on my hard drive, and I just fire up iTunes whenever I feel like listening to it. Virgin, your “Copy Controlled” disc has in no way impaired my ability to import these songs to my computer. The only thing it has done is ensure that my computer makes an occasional clicking sound when playing the CD (or the MP3s that the CD has spawned). Clicking. A tiny click that sounds like static every ten or fifteen seconds.

Suuure, that’s gonna stop the piracy. If somebody is downloading this music for free, don’t you think that this tiny static clicky sound is, in their eyes, a small price to pay? On the other hand, people who appreciate (and pay for) great music are generally music lovers, audiophiles. This clicking is annoying the shit out of me, one of the aforementioned audiophiles, and to be honest I don’t plan to ever buy another CD that has a copy protection scheme implemented. That is lost sales. Fuckers.

I paid for this god damned record, and all I ask in return is the ability to exercise my rights as the owner of this CD. No, I don’t own the music on the CD — it’s “licensed” to me. But as the licensee, shouldn’t I be able to listen to the music with some fucking audio fidelity? No pirate in the world will be swayed by an occasional click, but I for one will not be giving Virgin Records another fucking cent. Sorry Massive Attack, but I won’t be buying any more of your albums. Nice knowing you.

Virgin, take the money you’re spending on “copy protection” schemes and “digital rights management” and invest it in something worthwhile. The pirates don’t care; you’re only fucking your loyal customers.

UPDATE: After posting this, I felt a little guilty and thought “I suppose I could just keep the CD in my car and listen to it there if not at my desk.” But no, Virgin was too crafty for that. The CD won’t play at all in my car either, since that CD player is also an MP3CD player. Fuckin’ yeah.


Argh

  1. For some reason my throat feels like scratchy crap, and considering that I spent most of today in bed I know it ain’t scream-related.
  2. The credit card came out of hibernation today for me to register a few shareware titles; namely Menu Master, Clicker, and Kung-Log.
  3. Correspondence with Kung-Log author Adriaan Tijsseling has meant that the ampersand problem I bitched about on Sunday has been fixed, and a few other tweaks are on the way for the next release.
  4. Quiet contemplation over the weekend has meant that I (once again) have great changes in store for my life. More details once things are finalized.

Zzzzzzzz

Time and time again, the world proves that it’s out to steal my precious sleep. Yesterday it was Fiona knocking on my window at 1pm (keep in mind that I went to bed at 6am), today it was a chainsaw-wielding maniac at 7am.

While I’m extremely grateful that those bad-ass ghost gums (Trees. Eucalypts if you want to be specific) from next door have been cut down — since their only apparent function was to spread massive amounts of leaf litter and twigs over our driveway and courtyard all year round — I’d sooner not have a team of tree-destroyers start work nine feet from my bedroom window at 7am.

On the bright side, we may never need to sweep our front or back yards ever again.


Pickups

Given my complaints about Virgin and the latest Massive Attack CD, it’s not surprising that I went into town today to exchange that aforementioned record for Goldfinger’s self titled album; an old-time favorite (at least for reminiscing’s sake). While I was there (with Fiona and Nic) we also managed to catch Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times and rifle through a few bargain bins.

A stop at Quality Comics bought me the store’s last copy of PVP Issue 1, something I’m glad I got a hold of, since it is everyone’s responsibility… everyone’s, to support artists whose work we consume. I’ll place comic creators, writers, musicians, and software developers into the category of “artists” for now. Massive Attack, however, fall into the category of “artists who are poorly represented by their publishers”, and thusly lose my support. Don’t worry about me, I’m still kinda pissed about that CD.


Untitled

In the eighth grade at highschool we we placed into contacts according to our surnames. Your school might’ve called them houses, or fraternities, I don’t know. Being a Clark, I was thrown in with the B’s and C’s, in a contact called 8B. Scott Chan was one of the first friends I made in highschool. A really friendly guy; fun to hang with, bursting with charisma and smarts. He went on to become head boy of our school in the twelfth grade, and now at UWA he’s president of the Ecoms Committee. He’s still one of my best friends, and you might remember that we celebrated his birthday just a few days ago.

Last night, driving through his own neighborhood with his girlfriend Rose, Scotty’s car was hit by another. Some guy ran a red light. Now Rose is dead. She was one of the most beautiful, friendly, talented, amazing women I’ve ever met; and I know that Scotty loved her more than life itself; but now she’s gone. She had to die because some moron wanted to get home quickly .

And all I can do is sit here and cry my goddamned eyes out.


Two

The news has been reporting Rose’s death as just another Easter Road Toll statistic, and I suppose it is. All those times I’ve seen weeping relatives and friends in television commercials telling us to drive safely; telling us that even though we think they’re just statistics, they’re real people with real families and friends. It never hits home. I can’t begin to describe to you how this feels and I suppose only the people who have lost loved ones, regardless of the circumstance, can ever know.

For all of us, it’s been one of the most grueling days in recent memory. We haven’t even seen Scotty yet, but I’ve spent all day with the guys and we’ve just been talking the whole time. The “what ifs” and the “remember whens” just don’t stop. I can barely wait to see Scott, even though I know I don’t want to see him like this. Just so he knows we’re here. Just so he knows how much we all love him.


I feel like a dick

Of course, I don’t mean that literally… not in the “craving dick” way you’re probably expecting me to. Nevermind.

Got an email from one Nathan Sharfi this evening expounding the value and, indeed, wonder of Unicode. Not in so many words, but he did take me on a magical journey: explaining the wonder of my keyboard’s Option Key along the way. OS X, being a thoroughly–Unicode–friendly operating system, lets you type a great variety of Unicode “special” characters from your keyboard using the oft–neglected Option Key modifier. Option–Semicolon? Product: Ellipsis. Option–Underscore? Product: Em Dash. I’m impressed.

What does this mean to the average web developer? And why have I never been told this before? With reference to my ampersand rant, it means that I may never have to deal with HTML entities again; it lets me put those special characters straight into my documents. This assumes that my HTML documents declare their text-encoding to be Unicode, which they do; and assumes that the end–user’s web browser is capable of viewing Unicode characters, which they are. Internet Explorer 4 (yes, version four) on Windows 98 is capable of rendering Unicode characters (which is why I dare say with such authority that most User Agents are capable of such feats) and the same goes for Netscape 4. This blows me out of the water, since Netscape 4 can’t even render HTML entities correctly. That’s it. I’m sold. Thank you very much Signor Sharfi, I salute you.


Newspaper

To those of you that asked: yes, that article from Thursday’s West Australian is talking about Rose and Scott. Great to see your friends lives’ trivialized and used as a springboard for this year’s Easter road–safety initiative.

I hate the police.


Ack! Stereotype! Stereotype!

Over the last few weeks I’ve watched more movies than I have in the last year. Weekly trips to the local Greater Union have become par for the course and videos have become increasingly common. Particularly since the accident, the last couple of days have been such that we (ie– my immediate group of friends and I) have stuck together like proverbial glue and have barely been out of each other’s sight. We’ve been watching videos and eating out together and sitting by the beach, which does a great deal to take our minds off the tragedy at hand, but it’s a little sad that it’s taken something like this to get us all together again.

Watching Donnie Darko tonight, Mike’s Mum drew parallels between Donnie and myself. Thanks. Thinking about it; I seem to fall into a very easily–defined, stereotyped (stereotyped both physically and in terms of personality) category of white male. Yes I know I’m a geek, though in this case that definition falls to the sideline. It’s something even more specific than that.

I’m Lucas from Empire Records. I’m Ricky from American Beauty. Donnie Darko from… you know. I’m every quiet, thoughtful, Nice–Guy–with–a–fucked–up–haircut ever to grace the silver screen. It’s a flattering category to be placed in (*cough* *cough*) and apparently these guys always get the girl, but I wish I could abandon that stereotype from time to time. Buying (and using) a video camera has only made comparisons between myself and “the guy from American Beauty” more common, particularly when it comes to strangers, so I’m glad I don’t work in a record store (as cool as that would be) and equally glad I’m not a hallucinating, time–traveling weirdo. I’m just a geek, gimme a break.


Doesn’t anybody trust the user?

Latest in a long line of typography rants; I’m left wondering why such a great variety of programs place no faith in the end–user when it comes to character encoding. I speak with reference to the familiar Kung–Log and now Movable Type. So basically… all of my pages are broken (validity-wise and presentationally-speaking) and I’m in a state of shock and disillusionment. The sky is falling all over the place, here.

Kung–Log, as I’ve said before, has a habit of encoding characters without asking. The Unicode characters I had assumed it to be placing in my posts were actually being encoded to Numeric entities: an apostrophe becomes ’, an ellipsis becomes … etc. This isn’t a major problem since it makes the characters more backwards-compatible (as I’ve said before: Netscape 4 is incapable of displaying standard HTML entities like the copyright symbol’s © entity) but it’s still doing it without my knowledge or consent.

Movable Type, on the other hand, does god knows what to these Unicode characters. Earlier this evening, following last night’s Unicode revelation, I decided to search/replace all those (oldschool) common HTML entities with my lovely new Unicode characters from within MT. MT does have those characters in my posts, I know it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t publish them. Look down the page… lots of question marks where special characters should be. Lovely.

Like I said: shock and disillusionment. It’s also 3am, so I figure I might hit the sack and figure it all out another day… like tomorrow.


Caved

I just did the search/replace dance again, this time replacing those “invalid bytes” with numeric entities… for consistency’s sake. If Kung–Log is demanding to encode my Unicode characters as numeric entities, and Movable Type just don’t know what to do with ‘em then I guess I’ll have to use ‘em for now. I just really, really, really didn’t want to leave certain characters on the page unreadable; and I sure as hell didn’t want to leave the page invalid.

I’m sure some good will come of all this.


Community Service Announcement

The nature of weblogs is such that the writing is never finished; it is a constant work–in–progress. For this reason it is also safe to assume that the thoughts of the author are never complete. Without completeness, the written words spurred by these thoughts are equally incomplete. Incoherent. Nonsense.

Assume everything you read in the wonderful world of weblogs to be wrong. Including the community service announcement you are reading at this very moment. Question all authority.


Huzzah

Jack McLaren and Pat Spacek are at it again. Check out the Parking Lot is Full to subscribe to the Neolithic Casserole mailing list.


If only

I don’t know whether the church has ever considered targeting the “extreme youth” market before by renaming their services “Critical Mass”… but they should.


Safari

While I’m quite aware that every man and his proverbial dog has already made comment on Safari (and the new beta), and while I also know that you know that I’ve long been a Safari detractor, I’ve been giving it a serious workout the last couple of days.

Overall speed is (and always has been, from Apple’s perspective) Safari’s greatest feature. Loads quickly, steps back and forward through history quickly, switches tabs quickly. There just isn’t any lag — and that, my friends, is a fantastic thing on this platform. Demetallifization is a must in my opinion; and I’m glad to say that the bookmarks bar is intuitive, attractive and integrates well with tabbed browsing with its “open in tabs” function. Unfortunately, the same can not be said of Camino; whose bookmarks handling is horrible from any angle.

Truth be told, the reason Camino is (or was, as I’m growing accustomed to Safari) my default browser is simply the look. Even demetallifized, Safari’s tabs look just-plain-wrong; and the “loading” animation (in both the single-window and tabbed-window repect) is downright disturbing. At least in the GUI department (bookmark bar notwithstanding) Camino is fantastic. I look forward to future betas of both browsers, and maybe even the forthcoming WebCore-based OmniWeb. Thank god we have a choice in these matters.


All I need tonight

A CD full of photos, a hard drive full of footage. A glass of juice and a box of No–Doz.

Tonight, I will finish this movie; this tribute to Rose. My gift to Scotty and to Mr. and Mrs. Kooperman, all I can offer them.


Love, life, and insomnia

I spent all night tweaking (and tweaking and tweaking) my gift to Scotty and the Koopermans; then spent all day with Scotty — who is a god damned train wreck of a man. Rose’s funeral is tomorrow. Needless to say, this post shall be brief.

While the final video is over 100Mb, I’ve uploaded a more web–friendly version here on decaffeinated (adjustments to the downloads page forthcoming). Here it is, my tribute. Rose Molly Kooperman, 1983 – 2003. We miss you.


Of greetings and goodbyes

It’s been a strange few weeks. There aren’t many times in your life that you must come to grips with your own mortality, something I’m eternally grateful for, but losing a friend under circumstances such as these causes just that kind of introspection. I’ve severed my ties with Fiona, I’m dropping out of university, I’m quitting my shitty job, I want to start this life anew.

Despite the fact that we broke up almost two months ago, Fiona and I have maintained almost–constant sexual relations. There was no exclusivity intended, though it worked out that way, and no strings attached. It worked, to a degree, up until last week when she boarded a plane for an east coast holiday. “Piece of cake,” I told myself. “A week without sex is like a week without double–quarter–pounders–with–cheese.” I was right, a little too right, and though I haven’t forsaken double–quarter–pounders–with–cheese I have decided that this pseudo–relationship must come to an end. Whether it’s the product of a week without seeing her, or a week of increased emotional dependence on my friends, I don’t know for sure. I’m glad that our mad dance has come to an end; but once again I am loverless, one of the boys, having sex–dreams about unavailable women.

Yes, I am leaving university again. Right after high school I went to uni and was unimpressed; I dropped out, spent most of a year working and fucking around, spent the next year at a college of TAFE, and finally decided a proper university education might now be in order. Actually, “decided a proper university education might now be in order” is a damn lie. I was there for two reasons:

  1. Ensure another three years of government–funded living, thanks to CentreLink.
  2. Ensure another three years before I had to decide what I want to do with my life

So university has been given the proverbial boot. Again. The education system has never been for me. Study has never been for me. I sailed through high school on wit and charm and not much else. I “earned” enviable grades by doing the bare minimum. I never studied, I always did assignments the night before they were due, and I somehow made that situation work out for me. University doesn’t work like that. University requires study, dedication, and other things I have no patience for. I want to work, I want a job, I want to teach myself things in my spare time and maintain a bevy of side–projects. I can do that without a university degree, and I plan to.

My job? Woolworths has begun to suck ass in serious ways, and I certainly don’t plan to take up full–time work there when I resign from university–student life. So I guess I need to look for a real job, something I can do for several years… or until I grow tired of it.

Do I think life can work this way? Yes, of course I do. This is how life was lived before degrees became the worthless product of an “even morons can graduate” education system. This is how my parents lived. This is how I want to live. Watch me do it.


Ebenezer

It’s a difficult thing to figure some times; value that is. The most broad and far–reaching definition I can muster (and something my coworkers and cohorts can agree on) is that paying one cent per thousandth–unit of metric measure (milligram or milliliter) is pretty damn good value. You’ll never find a can of Coke for 38¢, but if you buy it buy the bottle you’re sure to find that the price is right. 200g of yoghurt for 98¢ is pretty sweet, and 2L of milk for just over $2.00 is pretty good too.

My duties at Woolworths, however, often permit me special access to super–high–wacky value items. A box–damaged 500g pizza for 50¢?!? Hell yes! 700g of Cadbury’s fine milk chocolate for $3.80? Put aside two. To some, this might seem like penny–pinching, Scrooge–McDuck–style, cheap–ass stinginess. To me; a poor, poor, poor–ass student (still technically a student, yes) I call it saving.

On an unrelated (slightly related) note, my credit card debt is about to hit a six–month low in a week or two. Making it the most credit (or least debt, depending on how you look at it) I’ve had since going out and buying that damned computer of mine. I plan to celebrate by buying a digital camera. More evidence that I have my mother’s spending habits buried deep within this manly exterior.


Hmmmm

On the one hand, I could buy a digital camera. On the other? A brand new goddamned 30–gig iPod!

On another hand, y’know… third hand ‘n all… I’m glad to see that the new Apple music service is featuring Massive Attack. I might end up buying 100th Windows after all, though 99¢ USD per song seems a little steep when buying an entire album. In all, this “rock and roll rebirth” will do little to affect my music buying habits; I’ll still buy CDs because I like a solid product in my hand, I like the covers and the liner notes, and I like listening to entire albums through and through… slowly coming to appreciate songs that I might not have bought if a 30–second snip was all I had to base my opinions on.

On the other hand (this is getting ridiculous, unless I were Forearm of the Mutant Liberation Front… which I might be), being able to sample songs in an unlimited fashion (well, limited to 30 seconds of each I suppose) could very–well mean I buy more music over all; though not necessarily from Apple.

Prognosis? The Apple music initiative will somehow affect my life as a music afficionado, especially given that I am a Mac user and potential future iPod owner. Mmmmmmm.


iTunes 4 comments

This update is a real mixed bag if you ask me, and you did, else you wouldn’t be here. While I appreciate all the new features and question some of the UI adjustments (I doubt that “flattening” the play button or tweaking the volume slider makes a damn bit of difference to anybody, Apple), I’m a little pissed about the text.

Yes, thank you for allowing me to choose small or large text in the UI, and I appreciate that there has been a lot of bitching lately regarding antialiasing small fonts; so here’s my two cents: aliased fonts look like ass, particularly in iTunes. It’s like the interface has been cheapened… with pixels. It’s still a thoroughly useable application, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as attractive as it was back in iTunes 3. Hell, that shade of green on the icon is even making my stomach turn a little.


Browser wars rage on in my mind

Only a week ago I was talking shit about switching to Safari, and suddenly I’m drawn back to the cradle–like hold of Camino. Don’t ask me, I’m insane.

Download the latest nightly build; there has been sufficient change since version 0.7’s release to please even the stodgiest of stodges. Bookmark handling is still ugly and nightmarish; but a few solid feature additions have fanned the embers of my one–time Camino romance back into flame. Popup blocking now (at last) features a whitelist (something Safari is begging for) and also allows you to prevent sites from changing your browser window’s size and orientation. A Google search bar (more–or–less identical to Safari’s) is now available, but goes one step further for minimalist–browser–dudes such as myself.

You see, I don’t like browsers: on the whole, they’re exceedingly ugly and I’d really just like them to get the hell out of my way so I can browse web sites. With both Safari and Camino, I’ve gone out of my way to hide the navigation bar: it’s very minimalistic, and you know how I love that shit. This works fine for a person such as myself who can happily browse using just the keyboard; occasionally hitting Command–L if I need to type an address manually (or to check where the hell I am). Camino handles Command–L URL entry very elegantly: dropping a sheet down for your typing pleasure. If you’ve just hit Command–L just to check where you are, or perhaps to copy/paste your current location to a blog entry, you can hit Escape to dismiss the sheet. The addition of the Google search bar means that you can hit Command–Shift–F to be treated to a similarly–styled search sheet. Very nice. Safari is not so poised, not so elegant. Command–L drops down the whole navigation bar: buttons, URL entry, Google search, the whole kit–n–kaboodle. Sure, that’s OK for URL entry or Google searching… but if you’re just using it to copy/paste your current location there is just no easy way to dismiss that motherfucker. Command–Shift–|?? That’s on the other side of the fucking keyboard!

I find it supremely amusing how these little UI differences get me so riled up and tip the balance of my browser–favoritism so regularly. One day, though, when Camino’s bookmark handling isn’t so half–assed I will swear my unwavering allegiance for real. Autofill would be nice too, but hey… open source projects move slowly. Like a glacier. I can wait.


Rad.E8

Compare Rad.E8’s old logo and new logo Sascha Höhne has updated his site, Rad.E8, to a whole new look. His has always been one of the better–designed flash sites on the net (nevermind that Sascha is also the creator of Snow.E2, one the coolest icon sets available for OS X and Win XP) but I’m not so hot on this new design.

I suppose this is a personal taste thing, but he’s also changed his logo; something I consider inexcusable given that his old logo was one of the simplest, yet most devastatingly–beautiful logos in existence.

Ever.


Ever more on iTunes 4

iTunes’ cover–art handling is a nice addition, making several third–party apps obsolete, but needs a tweak or two to really make it shine. Automatic art lookup (via Amazon or Apple’s music–service servers) would be nice. This could cause problems when songs are mislabeled or unlabeled, but would work like a charm for anything ripped directly from iTunes (assuming the CDDB’s records aren’t terribly fucked) or purchased from Apple Music.

According to Panicman Steven Frank, full albums cost just US$10 from Apple Music; something that makes my ears prick up with delight. Of course, there’s still no cover art or solid in–hand product; but an album for sixteen Australian dollars?!? Hell, JB can’t even compete with that. Assuming I do end up buying an iPod, I might just forsake CDs altogether. Sure, I’ll miss the covers and the lyrics and the photos, but… dizzamn.

In other iPod news: I’ve long thought that if I did purchase such a device that I could dump my whole home folder right on it, tweak NetInfo accordingly, and carry my entire digital life in my pocket. Not owning an iPod, I’ve never had the chance to test it out and see if it’s plausible (since disconnecting the iPod would, at any time, make the user’s home folder inaccessible… along with application preferences, library items, etc.); but if those rumors concerning Mac OS 10.3 turn out to be true (the ones about user–centricity) then that kind of thing would be a default capability of the OS. Nice. More excuses to buy an iPod now.


Pee Ess

By the way… where the hell does iTunes keep the cover art you drop into it? So far I’ve just dragged photos from my browser, so I dearly hope it’s not reading them from browser cache.


Oh goodness

The tiniest of tweaks to the layout stylesheet here at decaffeinated has solved a long–standing issue with the… uh… layout. Suffice to say, decaffeinated.org now displays properly (on both themes, too) in all the major modern browsers. All except IE6/Win of course, which is a ball–licking monstrosity.

That’s not to say that decaf doesn’t look just dandy in IE6/Win, it’s still quite handsome really, but let’s just say that IE’s handling of adjacent–sibling selectors, and floats, and… well… everything, is abysmal.


Booooo

From iTunes:

The iTunes Music Store is not available in your country yet. You will be able to browse music and listen to previews, but you won’t be able to purchase music unless your billing address is in the United States.

I’m confused, I thought that the internet eliminated those geographical barriers… particularly in a case such as this where there’s no shipping involved. I thought that all I needed to buy shit on the net was a credit card. I thought wrong. God damn it.


Ta–da!

In case you hadn’t noticed (or had a custom style applied), a wondrous new theme has arrived! It’s called Cup–o–Coffee and it’s positively wretched, but justifies itself in that it is the first decaffeinated.org theme to actually feature a caffeinated beverage! Wait…

New month, new theme. Going to see X–Men 2 tonight, after having watched the original on TV just the other night. Geeking out over mutants makes me want to read the Age of Apocalypse crossover all over again, that shit was great.