Monthly Archives: July 2007

In Brief: Gawker goes nuts for SEO

For some reason, the guys behind Lifehacker, Jalopnik, Gizmodo, and Fleshbot (nsfw) decided what would really be awesome is some search engine optimization that includes a ton of fucking retarded single-link articles and keyword/tag pages. Distraught that three of the feeds I read every day were being overtaken by this crap, I unsubscribed from Lifehacker‘s feed, and held onto Jalopnik and Engadget just because the cream still outweighed the crap (I don’t read Fleshbot in my RSS reader, but they have the same thing going on). I had also started to tire of the Xeni Jardin “random stories about serbia” and “steampunksteampunklolsteampunk” entries taking over Boing Boing. I cried and weeped until Brad reminded me that I am the only person in the world not using Yahoo! Pipes.

Here are the pipes I’m using now…

  1. BoingBoing noXeni/steampunk (had to edit this one too, it was an AND filter instead of an OR)
  2. Jalopnik Filter (filters out all In Brief entries)
  3. Lifehacker Cleaned (filters out a lot of the crap posts they build up, “one year ago” “watercooler” and all that junk)

This is like fucking magic. Why is more of life not this awesome?

Edit : Gizmodo is Gawker, not Engadget, which is still pure and clean. Thanks Flynn. Also changed the link to the Lifehacker pipe to my edited one, because that still had In Brief.

Audiobook of note : Heaven Revisited

I started in on “Chapter 2” of Mur Lafferty’s little tale. There’s an interesting scene where one of the characters uses a riddle stolen from Norse mythology, specifically of what Odin whispered to Baldur before he was borne to the pyre. As is the way with most books that borrow heavily from classical myth, this book didn’t really touch on the story very much (nor should it have, it would have jacked the narrative). This left me meandering around the internet and reading about the mistletoe spear and horses and Thor. I got about a third of the way into a story and found out a really important thing.

I cannot read Norse mythology.

It’s boring as shit and makes about as much sense as a Bible story. Actually, my feelings about this spread across most mythology. They frequently don’t have much of a moral, they almost always involve some “A Wizard did it!” logic. Loki isn’t ever really a trickster, he’s just an asshole. Odin isn’t ever really all that wise. Anansi is dumb as a brick. Don’t even get me started on the Greeks, which I can only hope filled the role of an early soap opera instead of some way of passing on a lesson. The individual stories are just about as “good” as the overall concept. They teach vague lessons about the benefits of laziness, or how regardless of what you do you’ll be killed by a twig, or they’re just the sort of meandering story written around a clumsy “thou shalt not do x unhealthy thing because of the LORD” monolog that makes up the large majority of the Bible. “I see, this underwater creature that ate my kid from the anus out taught mankind how to set bones and wants to sumo wrestle me?”. Please Japan. I’d honestly rather raise my kids on the lessons taught by 80’s public service announcements and power ballads. At least then they’d avoid huffing paint, going to a drive through stoned, and hopefully gain an appreciation for the good things they have prior to not having them anymore.

Pro Gresh Ion

Progress on wiring the house for ethernet. Despite the fact that I have felt like magical asscrack all week (or longer). There were enough power blips that I went down to Fry’s to pick up a UPS for my computer and the file server. Once I get some bills paid, I’ll probably get one for Fargo too, but the $140 price tag set me back on my emergency fund savings. Now that I know the UPS I bought will run my computer for half a frickin’ hour, I know that a smaller one will probably work to just smooth out the blips (which is what I’m looking for). Of course, Fargo has that monster 21″ Diamondmax. That’ll kill any UPS in about four seconds flat. I think he’ll have to deal with just having his computer on the UPS and let it shut down the computer.

Anyways, we got back and Fargo had the idea to put the server into the closet (where we had decided it’s home would be), and get the IPCop gateway box back into place, etc, etc. So finally, I made the big push and put punchdown blocks onto the cables I ran for the TV room and Fargo’s bedroom. Jesus, I had forgotten how great it was to have IPCop handling internal DNS and DHCP. Belkin makes a fine, strong access point, but their router/gateway software is crap based shit.

Put a board across some of the little angle brackets in the cabinet and put the gateway box on it. Now everything is cleaner, wiring wise.

Next steps

  1. Coax split in the wall where it enters and run to the closet and to the TV area. Right now it’s run along the floor. This will finish up all the cables running over the floor.
  2. Run another outlet on the inside of the closet. This will stop having to run a power cord around the outside. Plus I’ll actually GROUND this one (way to build an electrical system there asshole).
  3. Drop an ethernet cable into the extra bedroom, and two into my bedroom. That’ll pretty much finish all the wiring that I’m interested in. Possibly a coax into my bedroom too, though I’m not 100% of having a TV in there, it’d be nice to have the option.

I need to get a better TV stand for the living room area. Right now it’s on a desk which is bowed like a swayback mule. While I could care less about the got-it-on-sale 27″ TV that is on there now, I’d certainly not want to spend money on a nice TV only to have it fall on the ground.

I got acupsd running on the file server. It was certainly easier than I had expected. Then I tested both it and my computer, seems to have gone perfectly. While I was playing with breakers, I took the time to unhook the ungodly ugly chandelier in the dining room. Now there’s just an ungodly ugly wire-infested hole in the ceiling. PROGRESS.

Enough progress for today.

Audiobook of note : Heaven

Just finished listening to “Season One” of Heaven, by Mur Lafferty. Besides having a really awesome first name? Very fun story. I grabbed Season Two and donated some money to him/her. Them. I’m sending money to them. It’s obviously not quite ready for prime time (some moments were very “wave hands and scream MYSTERY” and we spent a lot of time with one character and suddenly switched to another), but it was very entertaining and well worth the investment.

It’s hot and I’m annoyed…

Excellent idea number one : An RSS feed for BoingBoing that removes all “steampunk” entries.

Excellent idea number two : An air conditioner.

Excellent idea number three : A small but sturdy bat I can use to dent cars that swerve into me in the bike lane.

Excellent idea number four : A vacation.

Pidgin Instant Messenger Two Point Oh Two

I’ve had my share of ups and downs with multi-protocol chat programs. First there was Trillian, which was bloated and slow at every point in my experience with it, and eventually led to me losing my low ICQ number (7143329) through a series of unfortunate and confusing events (possibly involving marijuana). Then there was Miranda, which was just lame. I’m sure there were more, some on the Lunix side which were largely “OK”, but nothing that blew my mind. Then I tried GAIM, which was nice and stable and seemed pretty good. Hitting escape didn’t close a chat window, but it was keyboard shortcut friendly and had a nice layout. I used it under the Lunix and at work to get onto Sametime with a client that didn’t crash every fifteen minutes (way to go, IBM).

Recently, they updated to version 2, and a new name, Pidgin, so I made the switch on both my PC and my laptop.


It’s smooth sailing 99.5% of the time, but when it doesn’t work right, it doesn’t work right in the slightest and it leaves no fucking clue what you have done or what has happened. From time to time, I’ll quit out and reopen it, and while it says I’m connected to Google Talk (which I use for 90+% of my messaging) all of my contacts show offline. Interestingly, I can’t message them (they’re offline), but if I ask Fargo to message me, the IM comes in and I can reply, it just continues to say he’s offline. I tried to clean up some groups last night and suddenly all of my contacts are gone. I was able to re-add Fargo and my dad, but when I try to add Brad, it gives me the “He has been invited” thing and doesn’t actually let me message him. It interestingly pulls down a couple contacts who couldn’t possibly be on Google Talk (notably some craigslist anonymizer addresses and a couple addresses). If I launch the Google Talk client proper, my contacts still show up. I was also able to add my dad back to my list twice, and he showed up simultaneously as on- and offline. I thought maybe this was just it being weird, so I uninstalled it and reinstalled it on my desktop to no avail. I then noticed that the settings were saved to the server, as I had no buddies on my laptop either, so I’m flummoxed.

Update : Pidgin now seems to be crashing every couple hours.

Dear Retard…

If I have been asking you if you need help for two weeks and you say that there is nothing going on, do not suddenly jump on me four hours into the last day before a fucking holiday and tell me you have a ton of work to dump on me.

I hope you fall in the shower and give yourself a fistula on a well-placed bottle of shampoo.

– Z