Older blog entries for Ilan (starting at number 147)

Just making yet another token entry that, of course, no one will read because because the diary entry rating system more or less censors this post from anyone who doesn't have the patience or technical know-how to go to the address bar of their browser and change the threshold.

So I can look back on this moment in ten years (assuming Advogato will still be around), I think I'll make a post.

There's a time to try to convince someone they are wrong in the stupid and harmful things they are doing.

There's a time to complain (which is what I've done for so long in my rants and posts various places) in the hopes that your criticism might lead them to some introspection that changes their behavior for the better. In the end, that's what a flame really is. A flame is a desperate, last ditch effort to appeal to someone's better sense of judgement. Well, at least for me.

And then there's a time you've got to say that the other side will never, ever change. They will keep on doing the stupid and harmful activity, and they will keep on doing it for as long as they are allowed to do so, because that's their nature and they can't do otherwise. And the longer they are allowed to do it, the more people they will hurt. And it's at that point you either have to stand up and take the bastards on, or you have capitulate and admit that sometimes bad things perpetrated by bad people just happen in the world and it's pointless to try and do anything about it.

If you take the bastards on, both sides will get hurt and one will most likely get decimated. If you're lucky and you've got a few aces up your sleeve, it will be the other side. If you do nothing, you still hurt from lack of self-respect and from the knowledge you did nothing to stop something terrible from happening.

I need to look for the courage to do one or the other.

In other useless and trivial facts about my life at this point that I can look back on a decade from now:

  • Woz is coming to NC State. Yes, I'm psyched.
  • I'm writing a program that will make course registration at NCSU far easier.
  • I'm seriously considering starting a LUG at NCSU to meet needs that the current one doesn't (namely, the needs anyone who isn't a flaming geek who uses linux in a non-server capacity). I've thought up a few interesting initiation rituals, but sad to say none of them involve goats or ointment.
  • I'm still writing the content management system I'm using for my blog (the one that isn't censored), and still regretting my stupid idea of using the CMS for to manage my weblog while I'm still writing the damn thing.
  • I'm working on an xml format for weblogs. I am debating whether this should be opened up for discussion so I can get input on what needs to go into the format. I do not believe that Dave Winer's "live and let live", "optional everything" philosophy has benefitted RSS, which is now abused in extremely perverse ways and comes in nine different flavors. Providing the end user a consistent and usable user experience is the most important thing for such a format, and I don't want it screwed up by the people who stole the web and created the horror we called XML Schemas.

My first Advogato post of the new year. For posterity's sake, as any other reason is mostly pointless with my current threshold.

My new year's resolution: get my blogging software approaching something useful before school starts. I'm still not completely automated, as I'm still manually generating the web page from xslt (as opposed to having the script do it and upload it). Once I'm done, I should have something quite capable for expressing myself with.

Having your diary entries censored from the world sucks. Of course, if it motives you to create something that better suits your needs, there's probably some good in it.

And for posterity's sake, I'll say that the when the Kernigheze thought they were shutting me up, they were actually making me stronger and more determined.

I have come to the conclusion that a clear and methodical mind performs a lot better and accomplishes more of its goals than an angry and clouded one. It only took me ten years to figure this out. But I suppose it takes some people a lifetime to figure it out, if they ever do. So I'm not as late as I thought I was.

Taking three semesters of spanish back to back wasn't totally useless. ¡Ahora yo puedo comprender spam de Sudamérica!

When designing street signs, you do not want to take an extremely pervasive population stereotype and use it for a situation that is totally different or the exact opposite of the original situation the population stereotype applies to. For example, on a traffic light, green means "go". You would never, ever want to paint a stop sign green as opposed to red. Incidently, a neon green does have better night visibility than red, but doing something totally opposite of the population stereotype and making a stop sign green would cause more problems with night driving (particularly with older drivers who might have slower reaction times) than it would solve.

Another population stereotype, in the context of computers, is the word "Scroll". If you interviewed several hundred people and asked them what they commonly associate the word "Scroll" with when they use computers, at least 99% (and most likely 100%) would refer to a navigational act performed in a window, not an ancient piece of media whose primary users today are rabbis and D & D players.

What happens if, say, some piece of GNOME software named, say, ScrollKeeper breaks and gives some kind of warning message. The very first thing an end user will think will be "holy sh*t, there's something wrong with the way my windows will work", not "holy sh*t, my documentation system is screwed up". The user's attention will be misdirected into trying to solve some problem that doesn't exist with one area of his or her computer while totally ignoring the other area that is having the problem.

If you really want to start making GNOME have some element of usability, John, rename ScrollKeeper to something like "Gnome Documentation System" or something else that makes sense. Don't confuse the end-user; don't pull a Red Hat on them.

I never stop being amazed by the computer industry's capacity to destroy itself.

28 Jun 2002 (updated 28 Jun 2002 at 20:47 UTC) »

Exams Finished!

While the AUHDL still does need work, I've got to start writing the ClaruxPL. Recent events in the news have made it even clearer the need for such licenses.

I'm waiting for the latest stuff to come in from cheapbytes. I've got better things to do this weekend than downloading and burning ISO after countless ISO. I'll try to get some more coding done over the break, but since this is the summer of HCI reading, that is where most of the break will be going.

I'm not too sure how I should approach the topic of examples for the AUHDL. Certainly the license should contain the suggestion (but not the requirement) that three examples be provided for every variation of every type of procedure. I'm very passionate about examples; the lack of examples I've faced in so many math and science textbooks is the main contributor to this sentiment. Anyhow, I'm not sure whether prohibiting modifications that remove examples would be too impractical in some cases.

But sometimes the shit just seems
everybody only wants to discuss me
So this must mean I'm dis-gus-ting
But it's just me, I'm just obscene

My last post was really irresponsible.

I forgot to add man pages to the AUHDL's list of forbidden doc formats. How could I forget the bane of every new user to linux who tries to understand what's going on? How could I forget the category of documentation that gives us the 'M' in 'RTFM'? How could I forget the one?

I should really be smacked on the bottom for such a careless omission.

I believe in freely distributable and modifiable documentation so long as the end-users' Freedom To Use Their Computers is not violated. The freedom to enslave end users in a world of confusing documentation is not a valid freedom.

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