Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ilha Grande Carnival photos

Originally uploaded by favelafab.

Check out favelafab's photostream in flickr for some fascinating carnival pictures from October in Brazil.

Early study in povray characters

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Forgot I had a Vimeo account altogether

Dos Pesos, Handsome Fellow

Dos Pesos, Handsome Fellow
Originally uploaded by caterina.

A bit of internet trivia here. This is the first photo ever uploaded to the photo sharing site flickr. It is Caterina Fake's dog.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Feisty Skepticism

From Beryl: The Cool Linux UI Reviewed, which I stumbled upon through this slashdotarticle:
"This release, in my opinion, was the most over-hyped and bug-filled to date. You will have to really hit Technorati to see more of what I’m talking about, but Feisty is as buggy as the beta I tested a short time ago. After completely tossing into the wilds of the ubber-buggy "network-manager," anything running with Edgy supported RT2500 driver shows up, but it will not connect without a special script. Those of you who are on Feisty and need help with your RT2500 cards are welcome to e-mail me for the bash script."
I do not suffer alone. Last month I was discussing the bugginess of Feisty (7.04) ubuntu linux with some geeks. I don't think they entirely appreciated that I could be making rational assessments of the OS release.

Here's my analogy of how the linux world is like the automotive industry. There's two kinds of people (okay, there's gotta be at least a third or else my analogy falls on its face). The first is like an adult, high-school dropout, who doesn't understand the combustion physics of an internal combustion engine. But he has driven most of the cars in a used car lot and can tell a jalopy when he sits in it. This first kind of person is like me, a non-programmer who's able to find enough things in most distros to pull out one's hair over.

The second kind of person is like the 14-year old son of a Detroit auto executive, who has been allowed to drive all the 2008 models of one manufacturer's line and attended many of his parent's dinner parties with the engineers who designed that line. The kid has a lot of knee-jerk loyalty to the industry and knows his way around one line of cars but is actually quite naieve when it comes to the full list of problems out there in manufacturingdom. When hearing complaints about car manufacturers, they respond to the question as if they were teaching a ten-year old how to drive. This is the kind of feeling that I get from a lot of linux folks you meet. Like the guy who is a professional linux developer but cannot pronounce 'xubuntu'.

The point of this whole exercise is my realization that some times some folks who wear their linux enthusiasm on their sleeves are unable to help you with your problems. You will as a linux user discover bugs due to inevitable human error; you will discover asinine and thoughtless policy decisions that mess up an otherwise perfectly good distro. My advice to the linux newbie is:
i) Learn to write good bug reports;
ii) don't take garbage and never give up your search for the ultimate distro in competency and user-friendliness-- the distro that is for both the power-user and your grandfather. DVD's and cell phones can meet this criteria; why cannot distros?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Feisty WEP wifi workaround

The Feisty Fawn (ubuntu 7.04) linux distribution is pretty cool. I like a lot of things about it, except for the wireless support. Feisty appears to come with the madwifi driver built-in, but the software interface is broken. It has been broken for months with no signs of being fixed. New network manager software doesn't function.

Here is my workaround:

First do iwconfig to find out the device name of your wireless card and whether Feisty has a built-in driver for it. Mine is an "ath0". Then I do:

#sudo iwconfig ath0 essid YOUR_ESSID key YOUR_HEX_KEY

# sudo /etc/init.d/networking start

and bam! you should be up and doing wireless.

Here's a more reliable person giving the same advice.

Monday, April 16, 2007

A Puritanical View of What to Do With God's Enemies.

"Quest. IX. May we not hate the enemies of God? How then must we love them as ourselves?

Answer. We may and must hate sin in every one; and where it is predominant, as God is said to hate the sinner for his sin, so must we; and yet still love him as ourselves: for you must hate sin in yourselves as much or more than in any other; and if you are wicked you must hate yourselves as such; yea, if you are godly, you must secundum quid, or in that measure as you are sinful, abhor, and loathe, and hate yourselves as such. And yet you must love yourselves according to the in measure of all that natural and moral goodness which is in you; and you must desire and endeavour all the good to yourselves that you can. Just so must you hate and love another; love them and hate them impartially as you must do yourselves."
Wait a minute! Here we have an actual, literally Puritanical Sermon, "Cases and Directions for Loving Our Neighbour as Ourselves", by Richard Baxter, a man born in 1618, taken from the site, Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings. Where are the mentions of racks and ethnic cleansing-- you know all those things that have led to the association of biblical literalism with sheer brutality?

I don't see it. Maybe all that nastiness is not the actual tradition of the Christian Church, but the actions of brutes wanting to co-opt the faith for whatever they wanted to do anyway. You know, like we are seeing today across the planet.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A robot walking animation posted to

I have seen some buzz surrounding One problem with youtube, et al., is that they massacre the quality of your animations. I heard someone hail's image quality. Here goes a try at embedding their default player.

Twenty some robots, all different sizes, all walking the same distance each step.

Aren't they cute?

Friday, April 06, 2007

GM's sarcasm regarding CO2

Bob Lutz, Vice Chairman of GM has been quoted making fun of the role of carbon dioxide pollution in global warming.
“All of us standing here right now — anybody who exhales is polluting like mad,” Mr… Lutz said. “If we have CO2 limits, I think we should all contribute, and we’re all going to have to train ourselves to breathe fewer times per minute.”
Yikes. Okay, let's have fun with the sarcasm in the other direction.

The original charge by environmentalists was a moral one: when undue amounts of a chemical are put into the environment, people can suffer.

The sarcastic response by conservatives is that if one complains about any form of pollution that the human body also emits, then you are also complaining about human physiology, per se, and people should stop living.

Here's the sarcastic environmentalist response. If a conservative says that you better not complain about pollution of any chemical that the human body also happens to emit (lest you be against human physiology, per se), then conservatives need turn a blind eye to any harm created by any abusive use or disposal of such chemicals. It must not be a crime to dump a ton of salt on my neighbor's grass, because, hey, I emit small amounts when I sweat. It must be an outrage to regulate anything to do with sewage disposal, because, hey, people gotta poop. Laws against drownings ought be taken off the books, because, hey, people sweat water droplets all the time. And I guess we don't have to get into the hypothetical case of a factory that wants to start dumping massive quantities of uric acid into the river.

EPILOGUE: After I wrote that, I spent a weekend in a hotel with a swimming pool. The sign said that spitting and expectorating into the pool were prohibited. I wonder how Lutz would think of that sign? Seriously, though, I was imagining that every person in the pool probably released a gram of snot into the water, unintentionally, as an inevitable part of being a human being in water. I'm guessing the writers of the sign are NOT asking us to slit our wrists over the possibility that we may add some germs to the water. No, I'm guessing the people who posted the sign were upset over someone who would expectorate into the pool intentionally, for fun, or to prove some kind of point about indifference or masculinity, or maybe to make the lily-livered cringe. Can't you imagine a certain kind of teenager doing that? Uh, and then as they get older, driving a Hummer?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Search-engine Style Justice II

I am a linux enthusiast. And an ornery one and not the most skilled one to boot! Thus, I frequently download linux .ISO's off of the internet, perhaps even more than more competent linux enthusiasts. Typically, these ISO's are at least 690 MB, some are 2 to 4 GB. I would guess that there are forces out there who would be very unhappy with me using linux-- they'd be pretty happy if we could roll back the clock on civilization and have everyone using one company's OS.

I also surf the "Recent Photos" at in order to find cool shoreline pictures for my photoblog. I have listened to radio internet for hours at a time (I paid my dues!). My son is a frequent visitor to the pbskids and lego websites. And then my wife and I do some work-related email and access corporate intranets-- sometimes this bandwidth can get heavy.

Might our family have a valid (or at least a perfectly legal) reason to use 5 GB of bandwidth per month? Not according to Verizon. Their "unlimited" wireless plan, it turns out, is limited to "5 GB per month." That's fine and well for them to choose to ration their service in this way, but just don't call it "unlimited." But wait, it gets worse! The rationalization for the limit is a claim by Verizon that your use of 5 GB means you must be illegally downloading movies. The terms were quoted in a Cybernet article:
A person engaged in prohibited uses, continuously for one hour, could typically use 100 to 200 MBs, or, if engaged in prohibited uses for 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, could use more than 5 GBs in a month.

For individual use only and not for resale. We reserve the right to protect our network from harm, which may impact legitimate data flows. We reserve the right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred, and to deny or terminate service, without notice, to anyone we believe is using an Unlimited Data Plan or Feature in any manner prohibited above or whose usage adversely impacts our network or service levels. Anyone using more than 5 GB per line in a given month is presumed to be using the service in a manner prohibited above, and we reserve the right to immediately terminate the service of any such person without notice.
See further discussion at slashdot.

What's worse is that the RIAA and MPAA asked the ISP's to do this. Cory Doctorow once said that this mindset of the studios was like that of a 19th century blacksmith. They'd be willing to sabotage the railroads and modern progress just to protect their way of life.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Whet your appetite for EMI's DRM-free tunes.

The record label EMI has announced that they will offer higher quality music without Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM is a technology that limits how and where you can listen to music that you have purchased. Many have argued that it hurts legitimate purchasers of music more than it ever did the thieves. Many consumer rights advocates have celebrated the deal.

Boingboing article

Wired News article

So who exactly is on EMI? That's the point of this blog entry!

Please see here for a list of artists in the EMI catalog. Favorites of mine found in the catalog include The B-52's and the The Psychedelic Furs. But wait until May when the new terms are announced!