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Hot diggity damn

Firstly, I have to say that McDonald’s new Cajun burger is something to be tried. It’s good. I sometimes think that if I didn’t live so close to a Maccas I’d never eat vegetables, which is true, but completely unrelated. The burger is good. It has tomato in it, too.

Secondly, X–Men 2 is the best damned movie I’ve seen all year. I dare say it’ll be the best damn movie I’ll see for the rest of the year too, but that might put off the Matrix fans and Lord of the Rings fans out there. Sure, the Matrix will blow me away and Return of the King will too; but I’ve had a vested interest in all things X–titled going back to primary school. It’s like they took elements from the best stories of the last twenty–or–so years and crammed them all together in an X–Men extravaganza (Note: Saying X–travaganza would be too horribly contrived for me to even consider. Cliché, cliché, cliché).

There’s the whole mutant–registration/Operation: Zero Tolerance shit kinda wedged in there, throw in a little Phoenix Saga, a little of Wolverine’s discovery–trip through his checkered past and boom! One cool plot. Then you’ve got your obligatory cameos from much–loved characters like ShadowCat, Siryn, Colossus and Beast; a little Deathstrike, a little Artie (sans the pink skin, and sans his pal Leech) and it all wraps into a very nice package! Even the hardcore fans (those who complained about the first movie stepping too far from the comics) cannot deny that this is one cool movie. Yes it does step away from the comics, but how did you expect them to fit decades of back–plot into a movie and make it palatable to new viewers? Geez! There’s no pleasing you people.


Work. Stat.

In the complete absence of a meaningful post, I have decided to follow Barzeski’s example and post last month’s search–term report for this site. It’s quasi–entertaining! And now… in order of search popularity… the Top Ten!

  1. decaffeinated
  2. rose kooperman
  3. feminem
  4. my ex girlfriend
  5. combustible orange
  6. avril weblog
  7. neolithic casserole
  8. italian porn
  9. total slut
  10. downloading music on an emac

As always, I make no claim as to the normalcy of my readership… nor the quality of my work. Now, I have to go to work. Vamos.


PageRank™ing

Looking through my stats, I’m intrigued and a little concerned as to Google’s rather–strange treatment of decaffeinated dot org. It would seem that my archives just aren’t being indexed, so searches for out–of–date material often turn up a link to the front page. Try searching for “i want to watch a live sex movie now without paying a single penny or writing an application” as some disturbed visitor did on Thursday. There I am at number five, though the link points straight to www.decaffeinated.org and not to the April 26 post that Google’s summary would indicate.

How about a search for Feminem? There I am at number four, though the link is broken: pointing to an archived post from way–back–when… before I switched my archiving system from MT–default to a more human–friendly method. Interestingly, the actual “feminem” archive is not listed at all. This is all despite the fact that those old archive files became unavailable only 27 days into the life of this site. Months later, the old archives are still in Google and the new archives aren’t! Yay!

Still looking through my stats, I see most of my server’s failure reports are from those old archive pages. I start to wonder how many more hits I’d get from Google if my real archives were being indexed. I start to panic. I start to hyperventilate. I grab a paper bag. That’s better.

I visit Googlebot’s home page and theorize that even though the posts on the front page of this site link to their archived counterparts, those archives “appear to be duplicates of [the front] page”… well it does say “appear to be”.

Still theorizing, I theorize that I should get off my ass and implement a proper archive page so that people can explore and search the archives; while altering the front page slightly so as to give the “appearance” that the front page and archive pages are, in fact, different pages… which they are. Stupendous.


Job Hunting

Being, as I am, in the market for a new job; I scoured Saturday’s West Australian for suitable positions – turning up only one. The University of WA has an advertised vacancy in its publications unit, a position whose description intrigues me enough to apply.

The job appears to be built for me: proofreading and editing “official university publications”, designing and typesetting the publications themselves, facilitating the conversion of published documents to web–ready documents, database maintenance, and “using the internet”. Just the kind of job that a pedantic language–lover, typographer–cum–writer–cum–web designer and all–around internet guy™ could want. Looking through the application procedures and selection criteria, the whole process seems a little intimidating.

Never one to be swayed by intimidation; I’ll be spending the next few days tackling the selection criteria, at first glance only coming up empty handed with “experience in working in the higher education sector”. Damnit. This is one of those times, however, that writing for A List Apart and having done volunteer (design) work for the Anglican Arch–Diocese of Perth (a job thrown at me by Scotty Chan, now president of the UWA Ecoms Committee) has its impressive–sounding perks. The perks being that they sound impressive.


ReBrand

Something I spotted in the perenially–great Office Space (no doubt I’m not the first): the computer Peter uses in his cubicle is a PC, that much is obvious, though it runs an un–branded version of Mac OS. There’s no apple menu, and there are a few other cosmetic changes to the OS, but by far the greatest change is that it boots down to MS-DOS when he shuts down the computer. How very… uh… cool.

Like a total geek, I’m going to see X–Men 2 again tonight and will probably see it again with Garth once the opportunity arises, given that he works every weeknight and I every weekend–night. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Jubilee and Gambit, the only mutants in the list at RaveCentral who I didn’t spot first time around. I also hear there’s a lot to be seen in the Cerebro scene, something I’ll be eyeing very closely tonight.


The new vampirism

Not content with merely donating blood and loathing crucifixes, I’ve recently pumped up the volume on my new–school–vampire–club membership through a slow and steady process of hyper–intensified nocturnalism. Thanks, night–shift!

I tried going to bed early tonight. 1:00AM. It didn’t work, since I’ve laid there for more than three hours now with my mind racing and no goddamned sleep. Caffeine is not to blame, since I haven’t touched the stuff in a good 24 hours or so. The body is to blame. Stupid body.


Oh Jubilee.

Reports (read: rumors) regarding mutant cameos in X–Men 2 are generally over–hyped, if you ask me. I’ve already pointed out the cameos worth noting in the movie, and tonight’s scrutiny revealed little more. Jubilee does make an appearance, something I’d missed on my first viewing, though only an extremely small one; she’s in the pit with the other kids at Stryker’s lair.

Huzzah.

She also sits to Xavier’s right in the final scene at the school. Double huzzah.


Antiali–ass

Antialiasing, along with alpha–channel support (which I suppose goes hand in hand with antialiasing, given that the former could not exist without the latter) has become a prerequisite of my OS experience since Windows 2000. It was with some disdain, then, that I reported that iTunes 4 looks like ass due to its scratchy, aliased interface fonts.

Sure, the Safari developers have copped a lot of flack for their antialias adventures: browsers aren’t supposed to antialias anything below 10px; but this is ridiculous. Daring Fireball, always great, mentions a Bumppo article offering an explanation. Turns out that iTunes 4 takes its default “small” font down to 9 pixels, leaving people such as myself (and Natty from Bumppo, obviously) who’ve changed our system antialias threshold (from 8 pixels to 10 pixels) in the dust. I’ve since set the threshold back to 8 pixels, taking iTunes back to beauty, noting a few other changes hither and thither.

It’s weird that such a tiny change, a few pixels here or there, can make such a difference. I suppose this is the kind of picky brattiness that Apple likes to breed into its customers so we never switch to anything less; and I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Free haircut day

Geena Davis, Abi Tucker, and Sarah Jessica Parker I like haircuts. It could be that my hairdresser, Sue, resembles Geena Davis; or that one of the other hairdressers reminds me of Abi Tucker; or that Sue’s protogé, the beautiful apprentice Gemma, looks a little like Sarah Jessica Parker (sans weird chin–wart). Then again, it could be the haircut.

I get ribbed from time to time about my loyalty to an out–of–the–way hairdresser like Katz for Hair, and moreso for even going to a hairdresser where appointments are mandatory, but it’s honestly worth it. Sue is an insatiable perfectionist, something I appreciate a lot, but today was time for something new. Today was time from Gemma to try her hand at cutting my hair, and being a lowly apprentice that made today a free haircut day.

Sweet.


Firebird first impressions

Firebird’s first nightlies are available; and though it’s too early to tell, the jury says “Eh?”

A Gecko–based browser weighing in at 33Mb, competing directly with Camino (also Gecko–based, weighing in at 21.6Mb), running ridiculously slow and still skinned in all of Windows XP’s Fisher–Price glory? How could they be unimpressed? I do wonder.

One day sarcasm is going to find me and bite me in the ass. Let’s hope I’m ready.


Ummm

Oh yeah, fuck that university job.


Rare

It’s a rare moment, a single second of clarity, where everything you’ve wondered and worried and stressed yourself over suddenly lines up and makes a story. It’s no secret I’ve had doubts about my future lately, that they have been most–obviously brought to the fore with the shock of the last month’s events. I just haven’t known what to do with my life.

I dropped out of uni, I started looking for jobs, I worried about the future. I’m yet to tell my parents. All my life I’ve been the jack of all trades and master of none: the guy with a finger in every pie, as Jimmy once told me. It’s just that no matter what time or effort I throw into web design, or programming, or writing, or songwriting, or art, I don’t see any of them as a future… they’re more like hobbies. Hobbies that I enjoy immensely and sometimes make money from. I’m not sure “viable future” is even a part of my lifestyle lexicon. Tonight, tonight did something; I don’t know what. I didn’t do anything remarkable at all: I watched some TV with Jim and Gregor, I ate some pizza, I drank some Pepsi. Just, somewhere the pieces came together in my mind and I’ve never been so excited.

I’m going to take some classes. Maybe a course in bartending, maybe a course in retail, and maybe something else to round off the list. I’m going to work my ass off for the next two years in whatever job(s) I can find. I’m going to save money in ways that a person with a spend–a–holic nature such as mine can only dream of saving. Come the Autumn of 2005, with all the finances I can muster, I plan to sell ‘most everything I own and move to another country. There, with new laptop under arm, I plan to set up a life — as temporary a life as I can imagine. I’ll get a new job in a bar, or wherever I find work. I’ll fuck around in a strange and foreign land until I get bored and move to the next. I don’t pretend to believe that there is a “future” in this lifestyle, but I do believe there is a life in this lifestyle. Who knows? I might meet somebody wonderful and get married, I might meet someone crazy and get married at a drive–thru in Nevada. I might die. I might live.

A few months ago I met a girl in a bar who asked me what my five year plan was. I responded with the only words that came to mind: “A what?! A plan?! Christ, I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow, let alone five years from now.”

I guess if I see her again, I’ll have something new to tell her.


Every switcher’s story

There’s a debate raging at Slashdot (isn’t there always?) regarding the new iPods and new Creative Zen Jukeboxes. In short: the Zen has twice the storage capacity for $100 less, though it’s physically larger and undoubtedly lacks many of the ease–of–use and integration features (autosync with iTunes, iCal, Address Book, etc.) that make the iPod so appealing. Quite simply, it’s a typical PC vs. Mac argument with the exception that this time they’re not discussing computers.

Nick This had something to say, something that every switcher tries to say at some point. I just think he said it well, so I’m posting it here.

I hear lots of people say things like this. “Macs are way too expensive for the speed of the machine” or “MP3 player X is a lot cheaper than an iPod”.

I understand this… I used to believe it too. The error is in assuming that the alternatives are all essentially equal… all MP3 players play MP3s, and computers are equal save for the speed of the processor.

That’s not the case. I can’t explain it other than saying that there is a design quality and aesthetic that is different in the Apple products. You won’t believe it until you own one, but once you do, you understand the price difference, and realize it is negligible… that in fact all MP3 players are not the same. All computers are not the same.

I boycotted XP and switched to Mac, while cursing the increased cost. Not any more. I recognize the difference between my Mac and my PC, and I know the differences are well in excess of the cost.

Same is true with my iPod. It’s the 3rd MP3 device I’ve owned, and it’s cheaper compared to buying other devices, not using them, and having to re-buy an iPod.

That’s my take. Hate to sound like a ravenous Mac-head, but… well… I am one. Now.


A pox on your nocturn!

Given that I haven’t been to bed before 6AM in almost a week, I decided today that it’s time for an all–nighter. I will not sleep tonight, I will not sleep tomorrow, I will sleep tomorrow night at a normal, decent time.

That presents a few issues.

  1. What the hell am I going to do for the next 21 hours? It’s at least 4 hours ‘til daylight and then I have a whole day to contend with!

OK, so I lied. One issue. That’s all I have to deal with. I figure I might format my computer, get the lead out. Just the other day I scratched through my keychain (that’s my OS X keychain, not my keys keychain) and threw away the slimy buildup of usernames and passwords borne of old Hotmail accounts and FTP sites I never visit. It felt good, and I feel like my computer could do with a little of the same. See you guys on the flip side.


Bada–bing

Who’d’ve thunk that an all–nighter could be so productive? What started as a Denzel Washington film–fest and format–o–rama turned into design warfare! Training Day, followed by Fallen, followed by a quick HD format, followed by some serious work and a solid design for this very site. Expect changes in the near future.

I’m pleased. Now I have to go grocery shopping before I run out of food and toilet paper, respectively.


Tweakity tweak

Just made a slight change to the style sheet so the navigation links display properly in Internet Explorer. This might seem stupid considering that there’s a new layout in the works, but it’s been bugging me since day one and I only realized how fucking retarded I am today (for not having fixed it in the first place).

The astute amongst you have noticed the new favicon in your browser window. I quite like it. Pillaged from Lucida Grande, I now consider it to be my logo: expressing my plans for the future (get out, keep moving) whilst saving me from the pains of actual logo design.


Absence makes the what, now?

It seemed a little strange to me at the time, and I dare say it still does seem a little strange, but last night I bumped into somebody I used to go to high school with. Not a friend, not a lover, barely an acquaintance: we just happen to know each other from school. We see each other, give the obligatory head–nod, and somehow that turns into a hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Back up.

Now, I’m not prudish by any stretch of the word and consider the ability to kiss your girl friends “just because” (in an entirely non–romantic kinda way) a total bonus to male/female friendships. Kissing several attractive women in public makes you look like a stud, if not a friendly kinda guy, so I’m all for it: but Mel is about two steps from being a total random. Does her assumption of some degree of intimacy constitute a faux pas? Or am I being wiggity–whack and analyzing our drunken social interaction a little too closely? For now I’ll assume the latter. My english teacher once told me that alcohol is a “social lubricant” and I know from experience that it’ll take you straight to bedrooms you never expected to be in (for the better or worse, depending on the situation), so maybe a hug and a kiss ain’t all that bad. Consider me whack.


My god

Emma, in her entry titled “Atheism and Patriotism” digs the dirt on George Bush Senior. Apparently Herr Bush’s official position on atheism is “it’s bullshit” and, to quote the man: “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.” The scary part is not that Bush has these opinions, but that Bush 2.0 was raised by a man with these opinions.

As always, I wish I could say that the Australian government isn’t as crazy. I guess I just can’t.


As always

Redesigning in public, as usual. This is, however, not just a new theme but an entirely new layout. It’s currently rather… uh… embryonic, so be patient. Those with cookies set to old themes should update to the new (default) Orange style. As the inimitable JZ would say: “When in doubt, refresh”!


Text find

Not sure whether this is a new feature of Camino’s latest nightly build, or whether it’s an old feature of the browser that I’d just never noticed ‘til today: in–page text highlighting.

Not to be confused with the Command–F “Find in Page” function that is a standard part of almost any text–bearing application you care to name, this feature finds and highlights whatever text you type into the browser window without needing to invoke that often–tedious “Find in Page” box. Bring up any page (this one will do) and type… ”browser”. See how the first instance of the word ”browser” is highlighted green? Cool. It is, of course, still a little lackluster, since it would ideally highlight all instances of the entered string and you currently cannot tab through instances of the string, either.

To be perfectly honest though, it seems a little redundant. Shouldn’t this just be an addition to the standard Command–F function? That is, shouldn’t there be a checkbox option in the “Find in Page” box that says “Find all” that highlights all instances of the string?

Just my two cents. It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out.


A slight change

Just tweaked the index template to display only the latest day’s entries, while providing a list of links to the whole week’s entries and to the last six months’ archives. Take that GoogleBot! Now you can spider my goddamned archives!

Possible downside to the change: if I only write one entry a day (in particular if it’s a very short entry) the site may look a little anaemic. I guess I’ll just have to write more often.

Definite upside to the change: less data (in particular when it comes to a week’s worth of entries you’ve already read) means shorter load times.

Redesign still in progress, hit refresh whenever you feel like it.


Everything’s changin’

Keep hittin’ reload, the changes don’t stop. If you’re just arriving and everything looks… uh… completely unstyled (read: shitty), you probably have old cookies set. You could:

  1. Flush your browser cookies, or
  2. Apply some fresh Orange style

It’s early days, so problems still need to be ironed out browser–by–browser. I can tell you right now, though, that everything looks dandy in Gecko and WebCore browsers. At this very moment I don’t have access to my PC for further testing (ie– it’s in Garth’s bedroom) and it’s also 5.25am… so gimme a break. I’m going to bed.


Phase one

Well, I’m officially enrolled in a TAFE “bar services” course, beginning in three weeks time. Now if I could only tear myself away from X–Men: Next Dimension long enough to write up my resumé I’d start applying for more jobs. I have approximately 18 months to earn enough cash to move my ass to Canada.

Yes, Canada: staging ground for the next phase of my life. Several of my friends plan to holiday there at the end of 2004, so I plan to join them for that holiday… just without the “coming back” part.


Work

Though it’s hard to tell whether this comes as a blessing or a curse, Garth has hurt his back; quite simply meaning that I’ll be filling in for him at work for a day or two. Now if only I could be rid of this “can’t go to bed before six in the AM” problem I’ve developed.


Experimentation

With the exception the disastrous complexity of tables, their convoluted hierarchy of tags and nesting, and the difficulty of tweaking a tables–based layout ‘on a whim’; there are days you look back from your pile of CSS selectors and browser problems and think “at least I knew exactly how to get things done.” Today is one of those days. I stare at a mockup of how I want the layout to look, and then wonder I can turn that into a reality with CSS. How indeed.

Why should I need to use a wrapper DIV? Why should I pollute my markup with semantically useless tripe? Oh, we all know why. Shitty god–damned browsers. Microsoft should be banned from making software, they’re just–plain terrible at it.


Unbridled fanboyism

Camino’s whitelist manager is mighty nice I love Camino. More appropriately, I love the Mozilla Project as a whole; open–source projects seem to me to be some kind of godly concoction of goodness.

Those of us on the trunk (ie– those of us married to nightly builds) have just been treated to a new mechanism for whitelist management. The fact that Camino has a whitelist for popup–blocking is good enough, (compare to Safari at your leisure) but this takes it one more step in the right direction. Throw in the other additions from the last week or so (the promising text find, not to mention a fix for that troublesome history bug) and it would seem that Camino has been getting a lot work lately.

The popup indicator (pictured) is of particular value. Before the existence of a whitelist, I would sometimes be forced to disable the popup blocker just to view a site (you know the ones… the ones the rely heavily on new windows spawned via javascript). Occasionally, I’d forget to re–enable the blocker before opening a new tab set and being treated to a barrage to popup ads. Most often I’d wonder where the fuck they all came from, and now I know.


Geek out

Tonight, come midnight, I shall travel to the farthest reaches of my own suburb to see the new Matrix movie. I honestly don’t know what to expect.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fucking nerd, but hardly a Matrix geek. I liked the first movie (replace “liked” with “was blown away by the effects and really like slow–mo explosions” as you please) but really felt like the plot was lacking. Maybe I just don’t read the bible enough, but the whole “chosen one” thing got a little overdone around the same time as the Golden Child came out.

I don’t expect to be disappointed tonight — I expect to see some wicked–ass fighting and some spectacular effects — but I doubt that Keanu Reeves has learned to act anytime recently, and I’m confident that whatever “biblical undertones” were present in the first movie are likely destroyed by these next two… making it even less credible.


Mental note

In the absence of pasta sauce or even the basic elements of pasta sauce, barbecue sauce is a surprisingly good substitute.


Reloaded: terrible

Do not see it. That is all I can say on the matter.

Remember how the original the Matrix was a shitty film made spectacular by astounding special effects? Remember how, back in 1999, the CG and film technique (see: 360º camera trick, bullet time, et al) was unlike anything we’d ever seen on the big screen and it blew us away? Yeah, the Matrix: Reloaded is just like that… except that was four years ago, and those once–mind–boggling special effects are now commonplace; leaving you unimpressed and ten bucks the poorer.

Nothing new or groundbreaking in the visual effects department, still a shitty plot, still a shitty cast (though Harold Perrineau Junior remains a personal favorite for playing Mercutio in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet) and nothing god–damned new.

As I said, do not see it. You’re wasting your time, your money, and you’re encouraging this kind of shit from future generations of terrible directors/screenwriters/actors. Thank you and goodnight.


Surprising

Admittedly, despite my intentions to redesign this site it has fallen by the wayside somewhat. Up until tonight I’d only tested in Camino 0.7, Safari Beta 2 and Internet Explorer (Mac) 5.2.2 which isn’t what anyone would call “comprehensive”.

As is always the case in the wee, wee hours of the morn: Garth is asleep. This means I have no access to my PC and thus no access to IE6/Win. I know from experience that Netscape and Mozilla for Windows will be fine, and so will Opera 7 for Windows. Fiona tells me that the page looks like ass in IE5/Win, and quite honestly it doesn’t look so hot in IE for Mac, but most surprising is the fact that it looks perfectly normal in Opera 6 for Mac.

Opera is a browser I’ve never liked. Until version 7 (for Windows, since such a version is currently nonexistent for Mac) it mangled every page I’ve ever coded. The fact that it renders this iteration of decaffeinated.org properly is somewhat… intriguing. I’m not complaining, it’s quite a pleasant feeling, it’s just unusual for me. Omniweb 4.2 and iCab 2.9 absolutely destroy this page, but that’s to be expected. Future versions of Omniweb are on the way and boast the KHTML rendering library at their core — something that can only be good for us code–bunnies. iCab? Who can tell?


A new entry

Just tested this site in IE6/Win and IE4/Win… let’s just say that IE6 treats it roughly the same as IE5/Mac (that is, acceptably) and IE4 treats is roughly the same as Omniweb 4.2 (that is, terribly).

Of course, IE4 testing is completely pointless. To date, the number of IE4 sightings in the stat logs remains at zero and I don’t see that number increasing any time soon. Ditto to Omniweb. IE6/Win and IE5/Mac, however, are another story. I may just need to work on that.

To those that haven’t been here in a while and are seeing some wholly–unstyled shizzit, you’re either using a stone–age browser (circa 1995) or you have old cookies set. Try some fresh Orange jive.


On buttons

One of the primary bitches that many of my Windows–using friends have when they use my Mac is the one–button mouse. “How do you right click?” is a question I really can’t be bothered answering any more. I grew into keyboard–interfacing over a little while, gaining fluency in the multitude of keyboard commands and shortcuts; only sometimes wishing my Apple Pro Mouse had a scroll wheel.

Tonight, on a whim, I walked into Garth’s room and unplugged the two–button Logitech optical mouse (with scroll wheel!) from the PC. I proceeded to plug into my Mac to get down and dirty, which is cool, but after just a little time I began to appreciate my single–button mouse more than ever. Let me elaborate: using a single–button mouse encourages you, nay forces you, to learn keyboard shortcuts. Command–Click is just like right–click, but how about Command–Option–Click, or Command–Shift–Click? Your average mouse has no room for those kinds of functions. The simple truth of the matter (in my case at least, excuse me for generalizing) is that multi–button mice encourage the user to discount the keyboard as a valid interface mechanism.

Using the Logitech, I found myself falling back into old PC–mousing habits. I found myself clicking a window’s “Close” widget rather than pressing Command–W. I’d right–click on an application’s dock icon and select “Quit” instead of just hitting Command–Q. In the Finder, instead of pressing Command–Shift–N to create a new folder I’d right–click and select “New folder” from the contextual menu. Why? Because my left hand was nowhere near the keyboard! Removing the need for me to constantly interface with the computer via the keyboard removed my desire to do so altogether. The net result? Inefficiency.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with right–clicking an application’s dock icon, I’m just saying it’s incredibly inefficient. Sure, I could’ve kept my left hand on the keyboard where it belongs, but I didn’t. It was just a little observation.

If you’re typing, why take your hands off the keyboard to perform a menial task? If you want to “Select All” don’t grab the mouse and click–drag over everything, don’t click on the menu bar’s “Edit” menu just to click “Select All”, just hit Command–fucking–A! Take the time to familiarize yourself with your system’s many keyboard shortcuts (even under Windows) and you’ll be rewarded time and time again. Blissful efficiency: nectar of the nerds.


Text–find redux

Given Firebird 0.6’s recent launch, I was checking out the Why You Should Switch to the Mozilla Firebird browser page and spotted an explanation for the ‘text find’ feature I was puzzling over.

Mozilla Firebird also features sophisticated ‘Type-Ahead Find’ for links that make it easier for users with accessibility needs (such as those using screen readers, or even laptop users with inconvenient pointing devices) to select links. Simply start typing the name of the link that you want to select and Firebird will shift focus to it.

Though I’m disappointed to see that the feature is nowhere near what I presumed it to be, it’s good to see some innovation on the accessibility front.

Hint to developers: implement my idea for a ‘highlight all’ option in the browser’s standard ‘find’ box. Oftentimes the find dialog is a total hindrance. Improve.


Pillin’

Oddly enough, the difference between No–Doz and No–Doz Plus isn’t in the caffeine level. Both contain 100mg of caffeine per tablet, but you’ll notice that No–Doz Plus is a much larger pill and tastes awful.


The hog and its breath

I’m not a big “steakhouse guy”, so excuse my ignorance on the matter, but last night myself and a cadre of compadres ventured north to Joondalup and in to the Hog’s Breath Café. Now, this place is an all–Australian restaurant. It’s franchised, yes, but it’s an Australian franchise (and one that has no interest in going to the US, since their “steakhouse market” is likely saturated). Their only tie with America (as one waitress told us) is that one of the franchisees is Canadian. Great tie, that.

I have no idea why, then, that this restaurant is decked out in some of the most Americanized, white–trash–inspired crap on the planet: license plates from dozens of American states, cigar–store indians, saloon doors, hardwood everywhere and TVs looping footage from demolition derbies and dirt bike bonanzas. That aside, it’s a pretty interesting place. Huge meals, decent prices, Long Island Iced Teas and plenty of steak.

Apparently, they slow–roast a huge friggin’ chunk of cow for 18 hours before you’ve even set foot in the restaurant. When you order, they carve you a nice big (very big) slice of bovine and sear it quickly… so that it appears to be a steak instead of just a piece of roast beef. There’s a dozen different ways to have it, and they even find ways to recycle last night’s leftovers by beating it with a mallet, crumbing it and turning it into schnitzel.

It’s all very generous and all very tender, but at the end of the day you’re left thinking “that was a steak with a side of vegetables… I used to beg my parents to cook something other than that.” At least I finally got to try a Long Island Iced Tea.


My bathroom smells weird

Maybe I should clean that thing.


Back to something

The (re)addition of some “useful” links to the top of the page is… uh… good. Minor tweaks here and there to style sheets, to the customization page (ie– no customization available for the time being), to the contact page (ie– the addition of my Yahoo IM account, making me the first kid on my block to exercise the full gamut of options in Proteus), and to some other shite. Happy hunting.


Ping ping

Despite myself, I’ve just set MT to ping weblogs.com and blo.gs whenever I update. Sooner or later I might open myself up to TrackBacks or Comments and I’ve even been looking at BlogRolling with some interest, but hey; one thing at a time. It would seem the world of weblogs has me ensnared.

Blogrolling is particularly interesting: a live, click–to–add link list that can be easily tracked and managed. The idea is sound enough, and it’s cool enough to warrant use, but I can’t bring myself to it. I feel like having a huge list of links down the side of my page would crowd things a little too much. I may have changed my title slug to “overopinionated overpunctuated. underinformed”, but “experiments in simplicity” is still close to my heart. Stupid neuroses.

I do, however, have something interesting planned in the “external linkage” department sometime soon: link mapping. I came upon the idea one day (I don’t plan to claim invention of the idea, since it’s likely already in use somewhere. Y’know… million monkeys on a million typewriters) when I wondered how I came upon a certain site. So I plan to present the relationships between my own bookmarked links visually… or something much like your average six degrees of separation. There are some long, long ancestries in there. For example: how did I get from Exploding Dog to the Misanthropic Bitch? There’s only one way to find out.


Supa

You might not be able to tell, since you can’t see me (and I’m being very cautious about my spelling right now), but I just sampled one of the finest beers in the world, and I’m a little… uh… pissed. When I say fine, of course, I don’t mean “high quality” but “highly intoxicating.”

Earlier tonight I drove down to the Nookenburra Liquor Barn for some Triple Sec, and ended up buying a little Skol Super for fun. This beer is nine–god–damned–percent; for those of you in the states (always have to do it differently, don’t you?) that’s 18 proof. This beer is like nothing else I’ve ever tasted — it’s a beer in which you can actually taste the alcohol. I’m stunned, and as I mentioned earlier, a little pissed. It’s only 9:30 and I feel like taking a nap… so I think I’d better step away from the blog before I embarrass myself.


I think I’m turning japanese fucking insane

Two nights ago I boldly proclaimed to Garth “I’m going to bed early! goodnight!” That was about 12:30am. Unfortunately, sleep didn’t come for me until 4:30am. Last night, after a couple of beers, I felt a little tired (read: woozy) and thought that hitting the sack would be a fine idea. That was 11.30pm. I slept until 2.30am, at which time I awoke and have been (as yet) unable to get back to sleep. As it is now 7:00am and I’ve been tossing and turning for a good four hours or more, I think it’s about time to get up and face the day.

One day I’ll pick a sleeping habit and stick with it. Maybe when I’m living in a city that doesn’t regulate store hours (note: in Perth, we have no 24–hour supermarkets… nor anything, really) I’ll be able to live a perfectly functional nocturnal life. Until then, it’s good ol’ tired–eyes for me.


Two things

A cursory glance through my server logs tells me that Google is finally indexing (some of) my archives. I assume this situation will improve over time. This makes me happy.

Downloading the new NetNewsWire Lite 1.0.3 raises the question (yet again) over its dock badging — why a square? Like most applications that have some kind of “incoming document” (Mail, Proteus, etc), NetNewsWire displays a count of how many new news items are available. But unlike Mail or Proteus (excuse me for not researching this topic beyond those two apps, but what did you expect?) — whose dock–badging is a big, red, multi–pointed star of the circle–ish variety — NetNewsWire opts for a big red square. Why a square? I’m baffled. And hungry. It’s breakfast time.


Raised by a cup of coffee

When I was a kid, my family was pretty poor. We weren’t poverty line or anything, we just had to scrap to make ends meet. Dad worked two jobs, Mum worked, and we ate sausages and mashed potatoes every night for the first decade of my very existence…

OK, that’s exaggerating. We ate sausages a lot though, since my parents had just begun paying off the mortgage on the house they’d built to accommodate their two growing boys. Eventually, sausages graduated to steak, steak to chicken, and chicken back to steak… better steak. Growing up in those circumstances, with two working parents and no babysitter, taught me two things: to live with independence, and to live with what you’ve got… until you can afford something better.

All of this is besides the point, mind you. Rambling on about my childhood escapades —setting fire to our garage, stealing candy from the local supermarket, trying to make stuff from the Anarchist Cookbook — will get us nowhere. The purpose of this entry was to talk about one thing: jeans. When I was a kid, everything I ever owned was a hand–me–down. That meant I never had any new toys (although the Transformers I inherited from my brother were pretty cool), and all my clothes were originally handed down from our neighbor, Dominic, to my brother. Whatever Dominic was wearing in 1980 became my brother’s fashion item circa 1984, eventually making it to my closet by 1988. I had a shitty haircut, too.

My first pair of jeans were originally Dominic’s. They were ugly, ill–fitting, rigid, and altogether fucked–up. I wore them once before deciding that they sucked beyond belief, and I’ve never owned another pair of jeans since. The experience literally scared me away from jeans. Today, however, I tried a new pair of jeans. Unlike Dominic’s, these things were pre–worn by machine, so the denim is soft and pliable. They fit properly and they even look good, so I bought them. I joined the club. I’m now the proud owner of my first “real” pair of jeans.

Those, and a new pair of shoes. Now all I have to do is stop my Mum from buying me dorky shirts at Christmas and I’ll be unstoppable.


the Opinion: Reloaded

Dave Hyatt raises some interesting points and a little sweet, sweet extrapolation in his the Matrix: Reloaded overview.

This doesn’t change my overall opinion of Reloaded, though. I’m still largely of the opinion that it was terribly produced and waaaaay overdone in the effects department (see also: Scott Kurtz has some really great observations on the matter), but Hyatt’s theories might just make me change my mind on the “there is no credible plot” issue.

Now, I agree with Kurtz when he says “It’s bullshit to force me to sit through 2 hours of crap just so I’m set up for the finale” — he’s totally right, the meaning of Reloaded shouldn’t only become apparent after we’ve seen Revolutions. In six months time I shouldn’t be put in a situation where I can say “Oh, that’s why the second movie appeared to lick balls. Ah HA!”, but if Hyatt’s speculation turns out to be the real deal… then that’s precisely what will happen.

Hyatt speculates that…

  1. Zion is a “second layer” of the Matrix where they store all those people who won’t accept the primary Matrix
  2. This, in itself, is another layer of control. While all the suckers in the primary Matrix are blissfully wasting away their lives thinking they’re free, the people in Zion think they’re the ones who are really free. They’re just as happy with their situation as the people in the primary Matrix… after all, they “know” they’re free.
  3. the Architect never expected Neo to choose Trinity over Zion. None of Neo’s predecessors chose what Neo chose… so the Architect assumed Neo would follow in their footsteps and the great cycle of Matrices would begin anew. He was wrong.
  4. In choosing Trinity, Neo has awakened something new in his mind. He can “feel” the sentinels in the “real” world… finally showing him that it isn’t the real world after all, it’s just another Matrix
  5. Armed with this new knowledge and power, Neo will become “the One” in the Zion–Matrix and will really, finally free everyone within. Game Over.

If all this turns out to be true, then I might just have to concede that the Matrix Trilogy is one of the greatest stories of our time… if not poorly executed in the film format. Of course, others will disagree and think that these movies are the coolest things ever — superfluous kung–foo and overdone slow–mo crap are cool, right? But at the end of the day, it’ll be another six months until we find out. If the speculation proves true, I’ll be mightily impressed. If something else happens, I’ll be mightily disappointed.

And now we wait.


Fuckin’ Movable Type

Looking at my error logs, I was wondering what the 404’s for files like “/archives/2003_05_15_unbridle.inc” were. There aren’t any files at that address! Of course I’m getting 404’s, but why are people requesting the file? It’s not like any of my internal links are saying that.

Trackbacks. Mother. Fucker.

Whenever I TrackBack someone else’s blog (something I’ve done twice to date), Movable Type pings their server and says “Hey! Here’s the reason he’s TrackBack–ing you!” Of course, “here” isn’t correct. Movable Type doesn’t know about the snazzy mod_rewrite work being done to make my archive URLs purty, so it spits out URLs that just don’t exist. Fuck.

There are two possible solutions off the top of my head (it’s Wednesday night, and yes, I’ve already started drinking). I could refrain from posting TrackBacks in future (kinda bad), or I could rework MT’s archive prefs so the mod–rewrite rules I’ve created aren’t needed any more. That would ensure a needlessly–convoluted folder hierarchy on my server, but would work around the TrackBack problem. Another option (not guaranteed) would be to tell MT “Hey! Even though you’re creating archives at this path, how about you link them at that path? Huh? How about it?” Again, I’m not sure how this would work and I’m not in a state to investigate… but it’d be nice. Any tips out there from readerland?


I must be getting old

Last night was supposed to be a very boozy one. After sorting out a sufficient “I’m not driving” transport situation, I had planned to down an adequate share of Triple Sec and have a grand old time at the Captain Stirling and maybe Steve’s too. Well, it certainly turned out that way, but minus the “grand old time”.

“And adequate share” of Triple Sec turned out to be a whole bottle of Triple Sec and 2 of the infamous Supers for fun. By the time we reached the Cap’n Stirling I was paralytic and had thrown up several times. I was OK by the time we hit Steve’s, but proceeded to pass out at the table. I was unconsciously introduced to several women as “Phil” before being ejected from Steve’s and went on the spend the rest of the night asleep in the car. Several other bars were visited, but I was quite unaware of that.

All in all: a fabulous night. I wish I could vomit and pass out more often… particularly before midnight. Maybe I’m just getting old, maybe I should cut down on the liquor intake. Maybe the Triple Sec was a bad idea. Maybe.


Stupid future

Part of me (the part that allows itself to be influenced by my Mother, of all people) thinks that my big “cavort about the globe” plan isn’t a fantastic one. Part of me thinks I should go to university. Another part tells me I’m never going back to Curtin, but maybe if I were at UWA with all my friends I’d stick with it (even through all the boring stuff). Having a network of friends at your university can prove a particularly strong influence, and I see it in my friends whenever I’m visiting them at UWA. They have lunch together, bitch about class, ogle the hot freshmen chicks… they have a good time. Even if they’re not in the same courses (Scotty is doing Economics, Mike is doing Chemical Engineering, Dave is doing Engineering, Justine and Sharples are doing Law) they still see eachother constantly. That’s something I really never got at Curtin. Part of me wants to be a part of that.

Part of me wants to kick that other part’s pansy ass.

I’m a terrible person when it comes to study. If something catches my interest and holds it, I’ll be the head of the fucking class. Last year at college I was kicking ass in Introductory Programming: teacher’s pet, 100% on the exam, blah blah blah. This year at Curtin I decided I didn’t care for any of it and just didn’t go. Hence, I will receive fails for all my classes. It puts me in a tough spot. UWA might not allow me entry, given my shady past (read: failure of attendance) at Curtin, and CentreLink will undoubtedly kill my Youth Allowance at some stage, given that they’ll only pay you for three years or so (one of which I’ve already wasted). HECS could prove problematic. After all, I already have a whole year of HECS debt to my name, would the government endorse another three?

These questions, and many more, plague my mind. If I were to go to UWA, I would certainly do Computer Science. Back in high school, I decried Comp Sci as boring and useless… but that was then. After that semester at college, I actually enjoy programming, and would like to see a job in it somewhere down the line; so it’s either Comp Sci at UWA or O’Reilly’s Learning Cocoa with Objective–C (which I already own). I guess there’s no harm in talking to the people at UWA and seeing if I’m even eligible for placement. Sure, it’d postpone my “cavort about the globe” plans, but it wouldn’t hurt.


Syndication

For all the people (and robots, let’s not forget the robots) looking for RSS feeds here at decaffeinated who have been thus far disappointed, your comeuppance has arrived. Decaffeinated dot org now features wonderful RSS 1.0 Excerpted Entries and (and and) RSS 1.0 Full Entries for those wanting to read the shite without visiting the site. For those of you on Mac OS X, I thoroughly recommend NetNewsWire for all your RSS aggregation needs. If you’re using Windows… kill yourself.

Thank you, thank you. I’ve been your gracious host, Chris Clark. Good evening.


Intriguing icons in the hizzouse

No sooner does ChickenByte announce IconBox than the Iconfactory announces Pixadex, their second Panic–partnership application. Both are “iPhoto–like” icon managers (check out the Pixadex screenshot and the IconBox screenshot, respectively), both seem largely superfluous in function (except for die–hard icon enthusiasts, of which I’m sure there are many), but IconBox is available right now for $12.95.

There’s no doubt that the Iconfactory made their announcement a good month–or–so ahead of schedule (Pixadex isn’t ready for release, yet) just to spite ChickenByte, who would otherwise be reaping the rewards of their work; but hey, competition is competition. It would seem that even the guys at Panic (well, Steven Frank at least) were unaware of this rush bulletin.

Unfortunately for ChickenByte, Iconfactory/Panic’s reputation precedes them with CandyBar; meaning Pixadex will whoop the pants off IconBox. Hell, I’d be more inclined to wait for Pixadex too: as a Panic “Li’l App”, it’ll likely cost the same as IconBox ($12.95) and you can guarantee Pixadex will be as fantastic, as stable, and as beautiful an application as any in Panic’s lineup. ChickenByte, on the other hand, has yet to prove itself as a quality software company… something that won’t be easy going head–to–head with Panic.


Evanescence

It’s weird. For months now, working the deadly Sunday night shift, I’ve heard a song on the work radio that I’ve really enjoyed but haven’t been able to identify. Being a Sunday night (in the wee hours) there’s no announcer to tell me what the song is — it’s all automated at that time of night — and whenever I try to describe the song to friends or family I get wide eyes and blank expressions.

“It’s like Linkin Park with a female vocalist”, I told everyone. No response. Damnit. With the exception of my great affinity for punk rock/progressive hardcore, my entire CD collection is female vocalists. Girl Rock, I dig it. Garbage, Veruca Salt, Avril Lavigne, No Doubt, et cetera. It’s long been a dream of mine to start a hardcore outfit with a girl (or girls, really) out front; something I even tried to press on the bandmates of my last two bands. For me, it’d be an amalgam of some of my favorite musical elements. Take AFI, A Perfect Circle (and Tool, for that matter), Massive Attack, and throw a very capable female voice on top of it all and you’ve just made my musical nirvana.

Today, while Garth and David (my new housemate, moving in next weekend) were Kazaa–ing their asses off, I decided to check out the ARIA charts for a possible match. I knew it was a band I’d never heard of before, filtering out half the chart, but whaddya know? First track on the chart that I listen to (read: acquire) is the right one: Bring Me to Life by Evanescence.

At work, they put a store–page microphone near one of the speakers of a tiny, tinny radio to give us all music — meaning we get one stereo channel and a very top–heavy track. Remarkably this setup improved my perception of the song, and hearing it at a decent volume from decent speakers was just plain disappointing. Evanescence really is like Linkin Park with a female vocalist — with all the posturing and cliché that their genre affords them. I downloaded a few more tracks, only to be faced with more of the same crap. I mean, their lead singer appears to be kinda hot, but that doesn’t excuse them any more than it excuses Killing Heidi for their sounds–the–same music and sounds–the–same vocals.

It seems to me that they’ve taken the nu–metal genre and tweaked it just enough to be original (ie– switch your angry, white, gothic, male singer for a female of the same description) without actually innovating. Welcome to today’s music industry. Welcome to the future.


Finally

After so very, very many false starts, the latest incarnation of decaffeinated dot org appears to be pretty–much–done. I played with the style sheets and site structure a great deal tonight, trying to achieve the design I had roughed out in Photoshop so very long ago… to no avail. Design of any order is about compromises, and web design is no exception. While the final product might not be a complete duplicate of my Photoshop draftings, I’m quite happy with it. Compromise.

Dealing with browser inconsistencies, dealing with the shortcomings of the language itself, and dealing with our own egos creates enough room for some major design adjustments. Yes, the world’s most popular browser has highly–deficient standards support. No, XHTML and CSS are not perfect, by any means. Yes, we do hope that in time they’ll get close.

There are still changes to come, still pages to add, still journal entries to write. But for now, welcome to decaffeinated dot org “orange”. If it all looks totally nuts to you (ie– it looks like the web circa 1992) you might be one of those visitors with old cookies — that can be remedied with a little orange goodness, or you could just delete the old cookie from your browser. As usual, this site validates XHTML 1.1 and CSS. It’s been tested (and looks great) in Gecko browsers, Safari, Opera and IE5/Mac. Windows browser testing will happen some time today, since it’d be rude to wake Garth up right now just to test IE6/Win.

And now I need to pop some No–Doz. That, or go to bed.


Still tweakin’

Ahh, the marvels of an impermanent medium. I can make as many changes as I please and it makes no difference at all to the cost, distribution, or release date of the product. Refresh, if you please. Like the succulent, citrine background image; the masthead is now a static element. Scroll all you like, it’ll stay right there. Just a whim, really.

Unfortunately (for some), in order to make that effect look any good I’ve had to employ the use of PNG images. For the majority of web browsers, this is no problem; they natively support this almost–a–decade–old graphics format and we all benefit from the smaller file size and superior transparency. Huzzah. For the majority of web surfers, though, this presents a problem. Internet Explorer for Windows does not natively support this graphics format, as the indominatable Jeffrey Zeldman mentioned last week, and we all know how much you all love Internet Explorer.

As I am yet to test the site on IE/Win, I don’t have an exact idea of how this affects the look of the site. I assume it isn’t a major problem, so this is one opportunity I shall take to flip the bird to IE/Win and its millions of users. If it really bothers you, I suggest you get a better browser and sign the petition while you’re at it.


I wonder

With Apple WebCore (KHTML) quickly gaining on Gecko in the standards–compliance department, you have to wonder how quickly new WebCore browsers will pop up once the WebKit API is officially released. Gecko’s many children, wonderful and varied as they are, suffer from tremendous code bloat and have some serious performance issues. My own favorite browser, Camino, often lags on something as simple as scrolling down a page — or rendering cached pages.

If Safari is any indicator, the code is not only faster but lighter; one of the likeliest reasons for Safari’s high adoption rate (that, and unbridled fanboyism towards Apple in general… but that’s to be expected). The reason many aesthetics nerds and/or interface nerds don’t use Safari is, quite simply, it’s ugly. Never mind Apple’s (serial) abuse of the HIG, it’s just plan ugly. We’ve all heard that the Omni Group is adopting WebCore for future versions of OmniWeb, which looks very promising, but who’s going to make the Camino of WebCore? Who’s going to tackle it all with Cocoa widgets? Who’s going to make a WebCore browser that looks like it belongs on OS X? (sans brushed metal windows, thank you very much). Who indeed. Only time will tell.


Irate

The primary gauge of a species’ achievment and evolution must surely be in its values and principles. Our mighty democracies are corrupt and manipulative. Our purest religions are bigoted and repressive. Our supposed freedom is bought with guns and intrusive laws. Our societies continue to play host to the death penalty, sectarianism and exploitation. We purposely keep the vast chunk of our own species in abject poverty, offering them only debt and hardship in exchange for the natural resources of their lands. Those who don’t comply are punished and bullied into line through acts of government-sanctioned terrorism.

I don’t remember how or why I started reading the Irate Scotsman, but I’m glad I did (and gladder still he has an RSS feed, since I’ve largely stopped frequenting sites without). While his frequency of posting may not be as ridiculous as… say… Erik J. Barzeski, Matt Gemmell is an incredibly entertaining writer. Well, you know what they say… people are only right if you agree with them. Check him out.


Deep sleprivation

Sleep has been at an absolute premium this week, crammed somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and withdrawing from Curtin. Phone Booth is good, I suggest you see it.


Eh, IE, oh you.

There are few mysteries that have plagued mankind so much as the massive problems with Internet Explorer for Windows.

This site, as viewed on Internet Explorer 5 for Windows, clearly sucksThis site, as viewed on Internet Explorer 6 for Windows, also sucksThis site, as viewed on Internet Explorer 5 for Mac OS, looks fineJessica Rabbit, as viewed by anyone, looks perfect

Here, you can see that Internet Explorer for Windows versions five and six both do a terrible job of rendering this site. Aside from their lack of support for PNG images, they also seem to have trouble understanding the fact that position: fixed means that the masthead should be fixed in relation to the viewing port. That is, it should hover at the top of your screen like a dainty orange butterfly. But no.

Internet Explorer for Mac version 5.2 has no such problems, it displays this site admirably. Likewise, Jessica Rabbit displays admirably; though that has nothing much to do with browsers.