MsGeek.Org v2.0

The ongoing saga of a woman in the process of reinvention.
Visit me at my new blog, MsGeek.Org v3.0

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

W00t...I forgot that I got a huge book on Office XP from a computer book club a couple of years ago. I think this might be useful for studying for that "Computer Literacy" test I will be taking at Woodbury. I might do some chasing around for study guides for the tests Microsoft used to call the MOUS exams...that might be helpful too.

But dammit...don't call this "Computer Literacy" because all it tests is "Microsoft Office Literacy." It's not even "Microsoft Literacy". I strongly believe that they could test familiarity with Open Office, Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird for the same results. However, I don't make the rules here. All I am is an incoming transfer student at Woodbury. I have to play by their rules. :P

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Good news out of Woodbury University: I will only have to take one placement test on August 2nd, and that's the Computer Literacy test. No math test! I guess what will happen is that I will have to take their equivalent of Math 125/Algebra II there, based on the fact I passed (YES!) Math 113 and Math 114.

However: the fact that their idea of Computer Literacy is how well you use Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Outlook is distressing, to say the least. Even though I have Office 2000 on the Windows partition of my ThinkPad and Office v.X on my iBook, I used OpenOffice.Org for 99% of my school work. The Woodbury University attitude towards Free/Open Source software is troglodytic to say the least. They are thoroughly owned by Microsoft. Never mind that Free/Open Source operating systems and software could save strapped students and strapped University administrators serious money. Never mind that even in situations where I needed to submit papers electronically, the .DOC files I created in OO.o were able to be opened seamlessly by the Microsoft-centric Profs at LA Valley College.

I plan to make one of my projects at Woodbury, and also my mission as an alumna of LAVC, to get both Woodbury and the LA Community College District using Free/Open Source alternatives on campus. Certainly with LAVC having to scale back their rebuilding plans due to Prop A/AA funds drying up, any amount of cost-cutting would be prudent. And certainly not having to pay for Microsoft licenses would cut some costs, huh?

I guess I'm going to have to do some revisiting of MS Office for the purposes of this test, though. Ick.

It's not time to break out the Beck's yet, but it looks like Ah-nold is very, very vulnerable now.

Check out this Daily KOS diary. The Field Poll is out and it shows both of the "dwarves" who have announced their candidacy in 2006 against the Governator have narrow leads if the election was held today. Not only self-described liberals, but the moderates who jumped aboard the Schwarzenegger bandwagon in 2003 are jumping off in droves.

However, the bad news is that, while all except dyed-in-the-wool GW Bush acolytes (I can't bring myself to call them conservative) are inclined to give Herr Gropenfuhrer the royal shove, there is no real enthusiasm for any of the candidates. 2004 should be cause to cure anyone of "even a ham sandwich could beat him" cockiness. While it is clear that now a Schwartzwalder Ham sandwich could beat Schwarzenegger in a theoretical race, Phil Angelides could only muster a 37% "inclined to vote for" rating among registered Dems, Steve Westly only 27%, and the unannounced celeb candidates Rob Reiner and Warren Beatty could only pull a 33% and a 24% respectively.

Both Angelides and Westly need to burnish their images with the Dem Base here in California to get people to actually vote for them rather than merely vote against Schwarzenegger. And I have to say, Rob Reiner and Warren Beatty would be more helpful staying out of the fracas than in. Rob, Warren: campaign like crazy for either Angelides or Westly. I'm leaning to Angelides as the best choice as his progressive bonafides are better, and he's also more well known than Westly.

Here's another take on the news, this time from LA's own NBC 4. There's a poll there. Have at it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

George W. Bush is currently speechifying and I am avoiding it like the plague...oh good, I missed it. :-)

People seem to be seeing through the lines (and the lies!) though.

He's still fobbing off the same lie about a connection between Osama bin Laden and Iraq. Well, actually now there's an alQaeda presence in Iraq. I'm sure y'all know who that guy Zarqawi is. He wasn't in Iraq until after Saddam and his cronies were driven underground. Basically the Iraq War allowed alQaeda to gain a toe-hold in Iraq and a better place to train foreign fighters to cause more mischief both there and potentially here in the US too.

My big concern is the same as Gen. Schwartzkopf's back during the Gulf War: a radicalized Iran taking Iraq over as a client state ala Syria taking over Lebanon for something like 30 years. The new Prime Minister of Iran is a hardliner who would like to see a Greater Iran which has Shia Islam as not only the official religion but as the supreme law of the land. They are going ahead with the nuke plant there, with even more gusto than ever because it enrages and terrifies both of their "Great Satans": the US and Israel.

Fun times ahead, folks...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Yeah, I know it's been a while. It's not because I am busy, rather, it's more like it's because I have been feeling very "blah" and unmotivated to do much more than veg these past few days. Many make a great deal about the "interactivity" of the Web. The thing is, however, it can be as passive and as numbing an experience as sitting around watching TV. It can be either one. Active and stimulating or passive and numbing. Sometimes even a bit of both.

With June coming to a close and July 13th fast approaching my thoughts are turning to San Diego and preparations for Comic-Con. I've covered it in my blog for the past two years:

However, this time, I'll be "blogging" my Comic-Con tales from the pages of ToonMag.Com. The Toon website was not set up with Mambo last time, so updating it for content had to wait until after the con. Mambo, along with lappies in the hands of both myself and Tom Reed, will allow us to put up content quickly and easily. We might even have a bit of video and/or audio up as well.

In the last post from 2004 I mentioned about how I'm of two minds about Comic-Con: half of me is looking forward to it, half of me is dreading it. I still feel the same way today looking to Comic-Con 2005. It's not like how I am feeling about the upcoming Anime Los Angeles this coming January, which is something I am looking forward to without qualifications or reservations. At least that is still a manageable, friendly size. Comic-Con is a monster. A hideous, multi-headed monster that sprawls all over one of the biggest Convention Center complexes in the United States of America. Whoo...

I need to figure out what I'm going to take with me and what I am going to just say "fuhgettaboutit" about. I need to only bring the bare minimum of stuff if possible: I don't want to be forced to wear clothes until they stink, of course, contrary to the stereotype about geeks. But I took too much stuff last time, and I had to drag two suitcases with me to get them to the hotel. I have a rolling duffel bag that at least would mean taking everything in one case, but it's big and klutzy. I might just have to bite the bullet and get a new suitcase. One of my rolling suitcases got destroyed last semester when I was using it as a book bag. Maybe now's the time to replace it.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rove must go. Simple as that.

Karl Rove's sickening comments Wednesday night prove that the George W. Bush administration is out of control. His impugning of the patriotism of the Loyal Opposition hearkens back to the House Unamerican Activities Commission and the Joe McCarthy hearings of the 1950s; and to the red-baiting of those who openly protested against the US entering World War I.

Using the snarl-word "Librul," he characterized the actions of Democrats after 9/11 as "[wanting] to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." What is the color of the sky on Rove's planet? I remember 9/11 very well, and remember that both sides of the aisle were howling for Osama bin'Laden's blood. If we had gone into Afghanistan with the gusto we eventually turned on Iraq, we would have had his head on a stake in a few short days.

Have you forgotten this fact, Mr. Rove?

Six months after 9/11, George W. Bush scaled back the search for bin'Laden and, as the Downing Street Minutes point out, began "fixing" his case for invading Iraq. America had bipartisan support and international backing for storming into Afghanistan to obliterate al'Qaeda and their Taliban allies. If we had turned Afghanistan into a smoking radioactive crater and Osama bin'Laden with it into radioactive pink vapor stew (thank you, Fishbone, for the description) the world might have been taken aback, but would have at least understood.

Evidence is growing that George W. Bush wanted to invade Iraq even before he was elected President the first time. As far back as 1999 he was publically questioning his own father's actions during the Gulf War. After he was inaugurated after the questionable 2000 election, one of the first things Dubya wanted to do was find some pretense, any pretense, for invading Iraq and deposing Saddam.

It is becoming clearer and clearer that Iraq was a personal vendetta against Saddam, who was pinned down between two "No Fly Zones" and whose government was crippled by UN sanctions. He was bottled up as neatly as a Djinn in a bottle, and nobody was especially interested in pulling that cork.

As it stands now, the fate of Iraq seems to be sealed as that of a client state of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a pitiful mirror of the relationship between Syria and Lebanon. It is precisely the state of affairs that motivated Generals Norman Schwartzkopf, Colin Powell and Eric K. Shinseiki to counsel against moves against Saddam.

Those who have the courage to question Bush and his minions about this fool's errand are now being held up as "traitors" by Rove and by like-minded ("mind" might be charitable here) pundits. This is unacceptable. In free countries, the opinions of the Loyal Opposition are respected. In the increasingly more and more unfree United States of America, public ridicule might be the first step. Will the next be anti-"Librul" pogroms, political show trials, and a new wing of Gitmo for bloggers, opposition pundits and activists?

Cue Frank Zappa's immortal song Concentration Moon...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Anyone remember a novelty book called "101 Uses For A Dead Cat"? Yeah, it was cruel and awful and all but it was memorable at least. Perhaps I should write "101 Uses For A Dead Palm" now. Because stick a fork in it, my Palm 125 is done. Toasted. Dead. Say bye bye.

The digitizer is fux0r3d. I can't get to the desktop, I can't do anything. I waited way too long to sync it because I dreaded the whole process. The batteries ran down. I lost my data when I switched batteries, and then the data that was synced to the computer was unable to be restored. Now it's toast.

At least I should take comfort in something: there's a class-action lawsuit against Palm on about this very issue. And paper organizers do not lose data. They're heavy and awkward but they aren't technology traps. :P

Note at 5:35PM: I am not a qualified member of the class because neither my Palm m100 nor my Palm m125 were bought new. Both were bought refurbished. So I don't get anything from this settlement. Well, at least I can have the satisfaction of destroying them. :P

Wow...again, a lot of time passing between posts again. And this time my post is going to be really, really short.

Dean speaks for me.

Oddly enough I missed this because I didn't watch NewsHour last night, but the audio and the text is loud and clear. Anyone who thinks Howard Dean is a raving loony needs to actually hear the man out.

Put it another way, to paraphrase a Clinton-era bumper sticker:
George W. Bush is not my President. My Chairman is Howard Dean.

Monday, June 20, 2005

I have certainly been remiss this past few days. I can't blame it on school deadlines, school's out. I can't blame it on work stress. (maybe on lack-of-work stress!) Anyway, here I am blogging again.

Saturday I went through a training with Literacy @ Work, and I am not sure that I want to be involved with them. If you read this blog at any length, you know that literacy is one of my big causes, along with progressive politics and Free/Open Source software. My main concern is this: is this program going to create a negative association between work and literacy? My husband once told me that watching me write on my computer is like being a ditch digger and coming home to see his wife puttering around in the garden. His association with computers is with toil. He worked for years as a computer typesetter. So even when I point out all the cool creative things you can do with a computer, he associates computer stuff with work. I suppose in a way it's good because he doesn't want access to any of my computer stuff and that means I don't have to worry about all the issues that come up in two computer geek families. But in a way I feel bad for him.

Sunday was pretty low-key, and I actually got to bed early for once.

Tonight's San Fernando Valley Linux User Group meeting, and I can show off my enhanced iBook. Having a 30GB hard drive plus 544MB of RAM in an old Blueberry iBook is pretty awesome. I still am not sure about some things about the machine...does it have an 8GB limit or not? If it does, I have to reinstall. Any Mac gurus out there?

Friday, June 17, 2005

OK, the first Gmail outage of any length is going on right now, and I'm definitely jonesing.

I know a lot of people who went bugs when Live Journal went down, but outside of being a bit bemused about it I wasn't too badly affected by it. However, I have grown to rely on Gmail. I have something like 16 MB of mail there, and I use it kind of like a mail filing cabinet.

I suppose I should have realized that Gmail is still in beta and is not to be relied on. I will not rely on it as extensively as I used to after today. But I did rely on it and now I'm hurting.

Get it fixed, guys! Please!

Update 3:15pm: Gmail is finally back up again.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

OK, I've graduated LAVC. Now what?

I mean, I know what my next 2 years or so is going to be like, but as far as the time period between now and Comic-Con goes, it seems like it's going to be pretty slow.

This period coincides with the fallow period for my hubby's music teaching, so the entertainment budget, normally pretty small, is nonexistant.

Result? Non-stop ennui.

This Saturday, I'm going to go through another training with another literacy organization. At the very least it will be another opportunity to learn more about how people learn how to read, and since the tutoring goes on in workplaces, I might be able to network a little.

I already volunteer for two hours a week at Hazeltine Elementary School for Koreh LA. It's cool. I wish I was a different sex because I have one kid I work with who is a little boy and really needs a positive male role model in his life. I also visit when the school is having "Homework Club" and help with that.

I would like to be doing something that brings in some money, but the jobs are few and having a 2 year hole in your resume is not something that employers like to see. I also don't enjoy most of my work experiences. Aside from when I was at Onyx Networks, maintaining their web presence from my home office, most jobs I have had have sucked. Jim Morrison had it right: "Trade in your hours for a handful of dimes." I will never have the time back I put in at places like Fry's and Interviewing Service of America and Jack In The Box.

I suppose this is why I have been trying to reinvent myself, trying to find a calling so late in life. I want to do something that will be meaningful. It's like, when I told Prof. Allen about how I felt about working, she really tore into me. "That's what gives your life meaning!" "I'm sorry, but it never has been that way for me." "I feel sorry for you." Then again, Prof. Allen actually thought the Soviet Union was onto something, and considers the breakup of the Communist bloc a bad thing. So maybe she might have her own biases.

On the other hand, I don't think I would have enjoyed the life of a "lady of leisure" or of anyone who has gained by force, fraud or exploitation. I have a conscience. And I would think living a life of leisure would get boring as hell after a while. Not much different than how I feel right now. Bleah.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

OK, now it's *really* official. All of my grades are now posted on my "unofficial transcript" on the LA Community College District website. The only thing now needed is a mention on this "transcript" (apparently it's only an "official" transcript if it's in a sealed envelope sent from LACCD) of my AA in Liberal Arts.

I just sent Sylvia from Woodbury Connection a copy of the transcript which reflects my last three grades. Hopefully I'll know what I need to do between now and August vis a vis Woodbury.

I'm going to start a scrapbook with all the stuff related to both the Commencement and the three times I was honored at the Dean's Reception. Yeah, scrapbooking is such a Red State thing to do, but I want to bring everything from these honors together in one place. I have a right to brag about what I've accomplished. This is a creative way to do it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

OK, one more post, this time G-rated.

I did a bit of arithmetic with the (unfortunately incomplete) unofficial transcripts, and came up with this.

Cumulative GPA between LA Valley College and West LA College based on 119 units: 3.386
Cumulative GPA between LA Valley College and West LA College without "NDA" units: 3.452
Cumulative GPA at West LA College, Spring 1983 to Fall 1984 3.243
Cumulative GPA at LA Valley College, Fall 1980-Fall 1982, Fall 2003-Spring 2005: 3.451
Cumulative GPA at LAVC, F'80-F'82, F'03-S'05, without "NDA" units: 3.551
Cumulative GPA at LAVC on work done between F'03-S'05 3.64
Cumulative GPA at LAVC on work done betw. F'03-S'05 without "NDA" units: 3.74

So what does this all tell us?

1.) I worked my butt off these past couple of years.
2.) I was able to pull my grade up from a 2.88 average which I had upon leaving LAVC the first time.
3.) I took my studies seriously and it paid.
4.) If I keep this pace up at Woodbury I will have a positively kick-ass transcript.

(Warning, this post has explicit language and subject matter.)

OK, it's been a while since I've done a substantial post here so it's time to let it all out.

1.) Fuck Ah-nold Schwarzenegger. Fuck him and the GOP money he rode in on. He's basically Karl Rove's Manchurian Candidate: a stealth candidate who concealed his true agenda in a wrapper of Hollywood glitz and "moderate" views. He's supposedly pro-choice but he supports the re-establishment of the old abortion "squeal rule" (where underage girls have to either notify their parents or alternately get a judge's permission to get an abortion) that the California Supreme Court knocked down a few years ago. He's tried to position himself as education friendly, yet he has been fucking over public schools, community colleges and the UC and CSU systems since he came into office with the recall election.

He has revealed himself now for what he is: a tool of the national GOP to turn California into a Red State. The ballot initiatives that will be on the ballot November 8th for this wasteful special election are mostly GOP wish list items. Neuter the power of Labor to speak as a counterbalance to rich corporate interests. Make teacher probation harder to complete than probation for a felony. The aforementioned "squeal rule." Put reapportionment into the hands of conservative retired judges instead of the current political process we have now. And make the crushing of Proposition 98 permanent with draconian spending caps that follow the GOP "Starve The Beast" formula of choking off public spending in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy.

There are a couple of progressive ballot propositions which are on the ballot as well, but they can be re-introduced again some other time. The message should be this:
The November 8th election is a waste of your money. Send the message that you disapprove. Vote NO ON EVERYTHING. Say Nein! to Ah-nold.

OK, that's one thing out of the way, now another...

2.) Fuck Michael Jackson. Fuck him and his high-priced lawyers. Let me tell you a story about a friend of mine. He was accused of child molestation in the middle of the Satanic child abuse scares of the late '80s-early '90s by a family member who was trying to get custody of his daughter. Unlike MJ, he didn't have $millions upon millions to spend on high-priced lawyers, in fact he was poor as dirt, so he had to use the services of the Public Defender's Office. The Public Defender assigned to him was such a nimrod that he stated "you'd better cop a could go up the river for a long time if you take this to court and are found guilty." So he took the PD's advice, and he got sent to prison for a few years and has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The punch line to the story is that he and his now-grown daughter have reconciled...something that I doubt would have happened if there really had been fire under the smoke the family member blew up the court's skirts.

Anyway, I don't know if Wacko Jacko is guilty or not. We never will. Same with OJ and Robert Blake, who are now currently looking for the "real killers" in their wives' respective deaths...give me a fucking break. Wacko Jacko just had the good luck for his accuser to have a mother who comes off like Anjelica Huston in "The Grifters" and the money to hire the best lawyers in Southern California. He wasn't exonerated yesterday. He just "got off."

I'm also pissed that this served as a handwave to distract the public from yesterday's big story: that Ah-nold had signed the papers on the special election. I wouldn't be surprised if Herr Gropenfuhrer invites Wacko Jacko over for drinks and cigars to celebrate.

and finally:

3.) Fuck George W. Bush, fuck Dick Cheney and fuck their entire gang of thugs. We need to elect DEMOCRATS to the Senate and House in 2006 to make sure that they all get the treatment they deserve in 2007: impeachment and removal. Note the banner at the top of the page: the smoking gun has been found. The Downing Street Minutes, aka The Downing Street Memos, are dynamite. George W. Bush lied to get us into the Iraq War. It is unmistakeable. If Bill Clinton could get impeached, but not removed from office, over lying about fucking an intern, George W. Bush and his crew should get impeached and removed for lies that have meant thousands of dead American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis. Bill Clinton's lies didn't have that kind of collateral damage. They weren't deadly. Dubya's lies KILL. And continue to KILL.

OK, all my grades are in, and yes, it's official! I did graduate!

Math 114 C
English 103 A
Biology 3 A

GPA this term: 3.4 (the worst since I got back, oh well)

GPA for all LAVC work: not determined yet, the Bio 3 grade didn't post yet.

GPA for all LA Community College District work: again, gotta wait on the official LAVC scores.

This means I can relax for a little while. I need to do some work on the Math in preparation for my SOAR placement test, and the insanity of Comic-Con awaits in about a month.

More blogging later this afternoon. I have a lot to talk about.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Broken icons and that frustrated feeling...for some reason I am not able to access my webspace.

This means that there are broken icons on the page. Sorry.

Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

I have stuff to write about but it's not coming out right. There's both good stuff and bad stuff to write about. Anyway, hopefully this will get fixed soon.

Update's back to normal. Will blog at length tomorrow. Ciao.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

From the "Blood from a turnip" department...

One last annoyance from Commencement: the company that took pictures at Commencement sent me proofs yesterday and a link to their website. When I got there, I was mortified at just how much they wanted for them: I could blow over $100 on a single package! And extras were, of course, extra.

Well fsck you and the Caddy you rode in on, Jack.

I suspect the portrait studio in the local mall charges way less than these guys do. I'm going to check it out just for grins. It will mean donning the cap and gown again for the purpose but that's ok. I'd like to be able to send out thank you cards featuring my ugly mug in the ugly cap and the ugly gown but don't want to pay $30 for the privelege of receiving only 12 of them.

The nerve of some people. What do they think we are, Woodbury MBA students??? ;-)

From the ridiculous to the sublime: Navi's back. It is so kewl to see 544MB of RAM showing in the "About This Mac" box, and 30GB (28GB free) in Apple System Profiler. I was expecting it today but getting it early in spite of the addressing problems was a pleasant surprise. The 10.3.9 update took, so now it's 100% up to date for a Panther system. I've got to install MS Orifice v.X today, and grab a few other stuffs like Snak for IRC and a graphical FTP/SFTP/SSH/SCP client of some sort.

Oh yeah: Firefox seems to be 1000% faster than Safari on my particular system. Wonder why Safari's so slow? I mean Konqueror is faster than Firefox under Linux, and basically Safari is Apple's tweaked version of Konqui.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Wherever I may roam, LAVC will always be home...

Yes, Commencement was yesterday, which is why other than fixing a post I was absent from here. Aside from the mad mob scene aspects of the event, which had Aunt Karen, (she who gave me my iBook) Cousin Wendie and I running around looking for Richie and our mutual friend Marc, it was as perfect of a day as humanly possible.

Only one of my Profs actually showed at the event, but she was the one most important to me throughout my two years back at Valley: Dr. Rosow. She looked positively resplendent in her USC Doctoral regalia, and was genuinely happy to see me. I hope to keep in contact with her. She and Richie have been the two people who have been the most encouraging to me about "hanging in there" with my studies even when I felt discouraged.

I will have a web page up with my photos soon. I took digital photos while participating in the ceremonies, and I think I'll have a few that are representative of my experiences. They should be on the space I set up to guide invited guests to where the ceremony was to be held.

Hopefully I'll pass all my classes and this will not have been a sham. I know grades on two out of three courses accounting for 70% of my grade points:

English 103: A
Bio 3: A

Now all that remains is Math 114. ^_^;; (sweating Anime smiley)

Monday, June 06, 2005

OK, more weirdness, but weirdness of a good kind: Debian Sarge is now the stable version of Debian GNU/Linux. I guess this means I now have to retarget the cute little link with the swimming penguins. :-) Wow, Apple is going x86, Debian Sarge is now stable, and I'm graduating LA Valley College tomorrow. Whoa.

So it has been written, so it will be done: Apple goes x86.

Not amd64. x86.

Part of me is in mourning, because Power chips are so kewl, and this spells their doom. Immediate losers in The Steve's announcement of the Mac on x86 revolution: IBM and Freescale. (formerly Mot chip division)

But part of me is excited as hell. Pentium 4 computers running MacOS X Tiger NOW are going to be purchaseable from Apple for MacOS X development. What remains to be seen is this: are these essentially going to be Beige Boxen or are they special Apple Pentium 4 boxes with redone BIOS/PRAM structure? If they are the former, this means that Microsoft is a BIG loser too. As I mentioned last post, MacOS X on generic x86 will mean that the troubled development of Longhorn has been dealt another setback. Jobs has served Gates Revenge, icy cold with a twist. Longhorn now has to play catch-up to MacOS X. Longhorn has to be more stable, more secure and match MacOS X feature-for-feature, otherwise Apple will eat their lunch.

I was at a family gathering last night, and my Aunt Karen, the donor of my wonderful classic iBook, was initially bewildered that I took the iBook and sent it out for upgrades. "It was working fine when I had it, why would you need to upgrade it?" However, when I mentioned that I was having Panther installed, and that Panther was the last version of MacOS X that was officially supported on it, she mentioned that "it locked up when I tried installing Panther on it." Well, if you are installing Panther on a 3.2GB hard drive, unless you do a custom install and only put the bare bones of the OS on with only English support and without X11, Classic or any other goodies, you WILL have a lockup when Panther runs out of room to install. :P I don't know if she saw the wisdom of my decision at that point or not, but oh well.

There will be delays, unfortunately, in getting my iBook back home. Wegener Media did a typo when they made up the DHL mailing label: my Zip code is off by one digit. It's off by a significant digit, even: the second. Instead of going to 91xxx, which is the Valley, it will arrive first in Orange County 92xxx, then get re-routed from The OC to the Valley. This could delay my receipt of Navi until a week from today. Bleah. Note 6/7/2005 12:18pm: 92xxx is in San Bernardino County, not OC. The yuppie scum on The OC would lynch me if I made such an error. Still, no matter how you slice it, it means a delay in reunion with little Navi. :P

From bad news to good: I think I did well on the Bio 3 final, which was actually the last Bio 3 chapter test. I might have blown a couple of questions, but that's it. And currently my percentage score on all material remains at 94%, which is a definitive, authoritative A. She forgot to record one of my extra credit assignments too, which should raise the grade. That will be four units at 4.0/unit, making 16 grade points. This leaves six units up in the air. The Math 114 grade is the one that most concerns me, because at the very least I should get a B in English 103. Math 114 would take a real screwup on the Final to lower me to a failing grade of D to F, but that is somewhat possible because I couldn't answer all the questions. I suppose at worst, I'd retake Math 114 in the Summer. But it is somewhat unlikely because even with the questions I didn't answer, I shouldn't get below a 55 on that test.

Tomorrow is Commencement, so it is unlikely I'll get to blog. Will return to this Wednesday.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Inquiring minds seem to know that the rumors of Apple moving to x86 might be in fact correct. The Inquirer, the IT site run by former founder Mike Magee, is not as well known as El Reg and Slashdot and whatnot, but it tends to get good information.

The interesting thing is the suggestion that Apple might be moving to the amd64 instruction set in particular. In Intel's recovery after the Itanic fiasco, they started quiet support for amd64, what Intel calls EM64T. Recent Pentiums and Pentium M chips from Prescott on are EM64T enabled. This might mean that yes, we might even see AMD Opterons in high-end Apple machines of the future. When you factor amd64 into the equation this suddenly begins to make sense.

Intriguing possibilities follow these new Macs with Intel or AMD inside. WindowsXP 64-bit as a guest operating system under MacOS X? Doable. MacOS X on commodity beige boxen? They would have to be be high-end gaming level commodity beige boxen if that were permitted. The people I have talked to about this suspect that Apple will use the BIOS to lock out beige boxen from running MacOS X. However, what if it did run on commodity hardware?

1.) This would allow Jobs to pull a screwjob on Microsoft to finally get revenge for the swiping of Mac ideas in Windows. Longhorn is in trouble, and its release schedule has been pushed back and back and back in a way that resembles Duke Nukem Forever. MacOS X would allow people growing impatient for Longhorn a different alternative upgrade path to the one assumed to be the only alternative to Longhorn: Free/Open Source UNIX-like operating systems like Linux and the BSDs. Migration from Windows to MacOS X might be a less anxiety-producing move for enterprises than a move to F/OSS. MacOS X conforms more to licensing and support paradigms that Pointy-Haired Bosses can understand due to experience with Windows. All the Intellectual Property FUD that MS has been spreading about Linux in particular is moot with MacOS X, because the stuff that makes MacOS X MacOS X instead of a FreeBSD-with-Mach-kernel fork is all proprietary.

2.) Suddenly developing games for MacOS X would be simpler. No more endianness issues, no more dealing with Mac's narrow range of video cards in use, no more excuses. The use of WINE APIs could make game development even easier. Write once, run in both MacOS and Windows? Suddenly it would be doable. You would think that Apple would have to write an emulation API for the G3s, G4s and G5s that would also have to be supported during the transition time from PPC to amd64. A gaming OS that you didn't have to tear your hair out about? This is what the Largos of the world dr33m about. 31337.

3.)This puts a whole new cast on developments like the Intel/AOpen Mac mini lookalike and the Tulip E-Go laptops that look like throwbacks to the Clamshell iBook. Moves like these in the past received deserved ridicule from Mac and PC partisans alike and legal reprisals from Apple. It seemed odd that the Tulip E-go and the Intel/AOpen "Pandora" bitty box didn't get immediate legal reprisals from Apple. Perhaps we know the reason why now.

We will know the truth tomorrow. Way to go, Steve! Two keynotes, two reasons to pay rapt attention to them. Ph34r 573v3'5 l33t pr355 m4n1pul4t10n 5k1llz!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Inside the button-down mind of the average Bushista.

(Ganked from MediaGirl.Org...I simply had to reprint it...)

1. Torture is okay as long as we do it. If we didn't torture bad guys -- and if we caught them, we know that they're bad guys -- we'd be "too civilized."
2. Amnesty International is offensive if it criticizes anything that the Bush Administration does, but it's the bee's knees for all its criticisms of regimes we don't like (like Saddam Hussein's rule).
3. Feminism is a result of hormonal imbalances making women want to be men.
4. Women dominate universities. In fact, women in universities are picking on men. Poor men!*
5. Women debase our society by seeking to acquire birth control.
6. Abused women should be imprisoned for failing to prevent abusive men from abusing their children.
7. Women are rabid abortionists who must be stopped by Constitutional amendment.
8. In fact, women are just wrong in every way.
9. Fiscal responsibility is only important if the Democrats are in power.
10. Saying something over and over and louder and louder makes it true.
11. Ethics are for wussies.
12. Chicken hawks who never served in war are the best people to decide whether we should go to war, and how to wage the war.
13. Party loyalty is more important than national interest.
14. "Deep Throat" was a fucking traitor and rat.
15. It's not fascism if it has an American flag on its lapel.
16. The corporate owned and operated media conglomerates have a liberal bias.
17. Christianity means being able to hate righteously.
18. Islamic fundamentalism is bad, but Christian fundamentalism is salvation.
19. Armageddon is coming, so shut up already about the environment! God gave us the environment to fuck up!
20. Shut up!
21. Freedom in other countries is the best hope for the world, but freedom in America is a sign of weakness.
22. Thinking is a sign of weakness.
23. Reality is irrelevant.
24. The biggest threat to the security and economic future of America is gay marriage.
25. The federal government has no business meddling in people's private lives, except in areas that the radical right wingnuts have hangups about.
26. The United States consists of the Old South, plus a couple of others. The rest of the people don't live in America and should just shut up.
27. The Environmental Protection Agency is the modern Gestapo.
28. Rich thieves have good moral values. Poor working folk have bad moral values.
29. Pharmacists have feelings, too, and should be allowed to play doctor.
30. Not teaching kids about the birds and the bees is the best way to prevent unwanted teen pregnancy.
31. Not teaching people about AIDS is the best way to prevent it.
32. Condoms are bad and give you cancer.
33. Hate is the best moral value of all.
34. Jesus didn't really mean it when he said blessed are the meek, blessed are the poor, etc.
35. Today Jesus would be a Republican and bombing the shit out of the bad people in the world.
36. Child molestation is a homosexual issue, because when adult men molest little girls it doesn't count.
37. You should have only as many civil rights as you can afford.
38. Bankruptcy should be allowed only for people who can stay rich even if bankrupt.
39. Ethics are only important if Democrats are in power.
40. Even though America was founded by people fleeing religious persecution, America is a Christian nation with the right to persecute non-Evangelical Christians.
41. Thump on the Bible, but for God's sake don't read it!
42. The deaths of our soldiers in Iraq should not be discussed because to honor them would weaken America.
43. The best way to honor our soldiers is to support policies that put them into impossible situations, with no clear mission, to do what they were not trained to do.
44. A terrorist is anyone who does not agree with wingnuts.
45. There's an epidemic in this country of women's violence against men.
46. Truman was a wimp because he didn't continue World War 2 and attack a larger Soviet army.
47. FDR would have endorsed privatizing Social Security.
48. What's good for bankers is good for America.
49. "We the People" is just a special interest group.
50. "Sith" is a bad movie because it makes knee-jerk conservatism look bad.
51. Despite 40 million people without health insurance, and despite a rising infant mortality rate, America has the best healthcare system in the world.
52. Solutions to problems are only worth trying if someone can get rich facilitating it.
53. Shut up!

And #54.) When in doubt about a given policy or action of the George W. Bush administration, remember this maxim: It's OK If You Are A Republican.

* PS: Actually, there is a kernel of truth in this one assertion. Women have turned things around in Higher Education, to the point where more women than men graduate from community colleges, more women then men graduate from 4-year universities, and more women than men get advanced degrees. The new challenge for colleges and universities is the retention of male students, who become "disengaged" from their studies far more than female students do.

Friday, June 03, 2005


This had to happen the day I got the news that my modded iBook is on the way home to me...C|Net is reporting that Apple may be transitioning to Intel chips. Bye bye G5, hello...what? Itanic?

Is Steve nuts??? The logical move forward for Apple is not away from IBM but closer to IBM. Actually, closer to the STI Group: Sony, Toshiba and IBM, the people who are currenly brewing up the Cell Processor for the Playstation 3. A tweaked Cell would be just the ticket for G6. And they probably wouldn't have to do anything funky to the code either. Cell probably uses the same instruction set as Power does, which is the same one (with minor differences) as PowerPC. IANACG (I Am Not A Chip Geek) so instead of taking my word for it, read this multi-part article done by someone who is one.

Something stinks about this rumor. And that's just what I think it is, a rumor. I suppose we'll find out the truth come Monday when The Steve addresses the Apple World Wide Developers' Conference in San Francisco. My buddy Chad seems to think this is a smokescreen to distract the Mac rumor sites and that the announcement he will make will be even more of a shocker than Apple sourcing chips from Intel. Stay tuned and hang on tight, folks.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

No, I doubt if I will ever truly like math. I'm just done with it this semester. The next time I will have to deal with taking a math test will be at Woodbury University during the SOAR's sort of an orientation process and you have to take placement tests as part of it. I don't have to take an English test because I already have had College Reading and Composition. But I have to take the rest of the tests. Bleah.

I am hoping I did just good enough to pass. I got a couple of 80 scores during the course of the semester but this is not one of them. I wish they could just figure my grade using the four successfully-taken tests during the course of the semester because I know I had a pass there.

Then again, as I have mentioned three times previously, I only need a 55 or so on the test to pass. That's a flunk normally.

Math is taught so poorly in the place where you really can "make or break" a student, which is Elementary School. What actually is taught in Elementary School is mostly Arithmetic, but there is more and more true Mathematics taught there now which wasn't taught when I was in school. I have found that my real problems were never with Mathematics, but actually with Arithmetic. Once I got a chance to actually taste what Mathematics really is all about in the two parts of Beginning Algebra, I realized that even though it's never going to be a favorite subject it's doable.

This is probably going to be the last time I blog from LAVC. I started getting into keeping a personal blog over at Slashdot, using their user journals, and the blog was well on its way when I made the decision to go back to school. So yeah, I guess you can say I'm at the mid-point now. Hopefully I can finish my BA at Woodbury in two more years. Then will come the decision about where to go from there.

One annoying thing...I've been sick all this week. Maybe if I hadn't been I might have done a better job in preparing for this test. The last test I need to deal with is on Monday, when I take the final in Biology 3. It's not a comprehensive final. It's just one last test on a section of the class, this time about Ecology. I think I can handle that. Then Tuesday is Commencement.

One last little thing: today I picked up a little flyer on my way from the Math/Science building to here in the LAIR. It's a flyer urging students to get involved in the LA Valley Star newspaper in Fall. Since I was originally a Journalism student here, way back in Fall 1980, picking that flyer up kind of completes the circle of my time here.

No matter where I go, this is probably the place I will think of as Alma Mater.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A few thoughts as I get ready to hit the hay...

1.) I'm not horribly worried about this Math 114 final. I think I'm going to do OK. And as I noted earlier, I could get a crappy score and still come out OK.

2.) Archive.Org is a world treasure. (I was going to say national treasure but they get stuff from all over the world, not just the US.) I knew about how they archive web pages but I recently discovered they are far more than just the Wayback Machine. I have been gleefully leeching old classic cartoons and other lovely stuff from their's an incredible site. And did I mention it's free? If you are feeling flush, please slide them some money. I'd do it but I seem to be perpetually broke. :P

3.) The bounty of public domain and Creative Commons-licensed art, music, film and literature available at Archive.Org raises an important point. The Sonny Bono Act really "boned" us out of millions and millions of works when it extended the copyright protection period to, for all intents and purposes, a nearly unlimited time. This means that works with rights owned by a large corporation could be locked away for a practically indefinite period because they are not in demand enough to make a re-release profitable, but not surrendered to the Public Domain because they enrich a company's Intellectual Property portfolio. Something needs to be done to fix copyright laws. My Congressman, Howard Berman, and my two Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, are completely and thoroughly 0wnz0r3d by the RIAA and MPAA and therefore are almost hopeless cases to convince. I hope others are luckier. This is too important to let fade away. The Public Domain is largely cut off at 1923 by the Bono Act. It will take until 2019 for those works renewed under the Bono Act to pass into the Public Domain. Of course this is a situation which Disney and other IP barons will probably petition for relief in a few years time. :P

Oh hell, why not blog this too...I think this is a first for me. Three entries in a very short period of time. I can't sleep until Richie gets home anyway.

I have always loved that magisterial "BWAAAH!" you hear when a Mac starts up. It makes that feeble feep a PC makes when it starts up sound...well, feeble. Most of my Macs have had that as a chime. I don't have any that have the Stanley Jordan harmonic...those were the first (Nubus) PowerPC Macs. I have a few that make the classic Mac chime. But the symphonic chord, that tells me, "Welcome home, sweetie, take off your shoes and get comfy."

My first Mac, a PowerBook 145, had that sound. My latest Mac, my Aunt Karen's iBook (which got to South Carolina safely, thankyouverymuch...) also makes that sound. My G3 Blue and White makes that sound. I love it. One of the first things that Steve Jobs laid down as law at Apple on returning was that every Mac from here on out would make that sound.

But who came up with that sound? What synth produced it?

Finally we have an answer. The linked article has every damn thing you ever wanted to know about the Mac Startup Sound, first heard in 1991, and created by Apple engineer Jim Reekes. The article has an MP3 of The Sound linked to it (I've got to convert it to a .WAV so I can use it as a KDE startup sound*) and also an MP3 of a great little technopop song, "Stranger In Moscow" by German (selbstverstandlich!) band Transformer di Roboter. The song uses the Mac Startup Sound as a keyboard bassline and a whole bunch of identifiable vintage video game and vintage computer sounds as part of the instrumentation. Gotta love it.

The same site also has the history of The THX 'Deep Note' sound on another page. Another fascinating little story. Too bad Lucasfilm is so paranoid about people sampling "Deep Note" because I bet that those guys from Transformer di Roboter could do something fun with that too. It's too long for a startup sound, though. I did have a .WAV of it and actually tried using it as a startup sound in Windows. The file size was too big and I wasn't patient enough for it to finish playing before trying to do something. It got shoved aside quickly. Too bad, it showed off the speakers that are now on my "ghetto home theatre" and were on that machine before then quite nicely.

* Note at 3:42PM: KDE will accept MP3 sounds as system sounds. It also accepts Ogg Vorbis. The former makes sense because MP3s are the "Lingua Franca" of sound files, and the latter makes sense because it's a Free/Open Source format. So every time KDE starts up now, I hear that lovely Mac Sound. All hail Cupertino! With Darwin and Great Justice for all! :-)