|log (2002/09/20 to 2002/09/26)|
Thursday, September 26, 2002
ph33r my l33t iB00k h4x0ring ski11z!
Yesterday Mozilla over on the iBook developed this little problem where every window it opened was just a teeny little line, too small to show any controls or to grab the resizing corner of. This was a little problem in the "completely unusable" sense of "little". I was forced to use IE more than once (arg!).
On Windows I would have fixed the problem with alt-space-s (of course!), or as a last resort by searching the registry for a Mozilla-related subhive and twiddling any likely-looking values in there. But even quite a bit of Googling didn't find a keyboard way to resize a Mac window (if anyone knows of one, I'm still in the market), and of course OS X has no registry. I saw no likely-looking (i.e. recent dated) files in the directory that I'd installed Mozilla into.
But then a chance comment somewhere on Google Groups told me that Mac apps tend to keep their user-specific settings in the user's home directory; so I started up a terminal (a Unix command line, good fun!) and hunted around in /Users/davidchess/ (that's "Macintosh HD:Users:davidchess:" from the GUI), and there in Library/Profiles/default/9w7bpr17r.slt/ (naturally) was a file "localstore.rdf" that contained this little paragraph:
Now those "1" things seemed sort of suspicious, so I closed the file, shut down Mozilla, re-opened the file in TextEdit, changed the "1" things to "100" things, re-opened Mozilla, and viola! The window was just big enough to have a resize-box in it, which I grabbed with the mouse and dragged southeast, and now Mozilla is all fixed again.
Isn't that fascinating?
In other iBook-related news, I've set the desktop background on the Windows 2000 ThinkPad here to the default Aqua blue swooshy image. I'm such a wag.
Readers write on the subject of Ms. Parton:
You just like the big boobs.
Oddly, the big boobs were not actually audible on the radio shows, so I'm not sure that's a very plausible explanation.
Yours is the second website I've read today that unexpectedly mentions Dolly Parton. So yes, I will think about her.
Lots of bloggers probably listen to NPR. So who was the other one? Nothing obvious in Daypop, although there are some possibilities.
Someone who might actually be Caterina writes:
dolly parton also said this hilarious thing I heard once.
Yeah, exactly! She seems to have humor and attitude enough to overcome any set of bizarre clothes.
(I still haven't actually ordered that CD yet, though.)
So I was listening to the radio the other month, in the car one evening on the way to pick up the little daughter from some school event or something, and I turned on NPR and they were in the middle of an interview with some singer of traditional mountain songs about her background and her history and her music and stuff, and I thought she had a fascinating voice and was saying neat and interesting things. And then near the end of the show they said her name, and it was Dolly Parton.
Dolly Freaking Parton!
Now when I was young, Dolly Parton was completely a figure of fun, a parody of an entertainer, with an enormous chest and enormous hair and absurd skin-tight outfits covered with rhinestones and a ridiculous accent and so on; entirely the opposite of an interesting or enlightened female artist.
So I thought, listening to that radio show, "whoa, that's strange; maybe I should revisit my opinion of her", but then I forgot all about it. (The radio show was likely this one.)
Then just yesterday (roughly) I stumbled on another NPR segment about / with Dolly Parton, and again she sounded like a really interesting and likable and smart person. So I'm writing about her in the weblog here, and I've got one of her albums on my Amazon wishlist, and I urge you my readers to think about her yourselves, and read stuff on the Web, especially if you (like me until yesterday) still think of her as just a sort of shallow hick sex-symbol that used to be on Hee-Haw.
(Note that the Parton album I've wishlisted is a bluegrass one; interesting as she is I have this problem with mainstream country music. I liked it lots in, I think it was, early high school, and I listened to it quite a lot, and I had my clock-radio play it to wake me up in the morning, and eventually I started to have dreams about going around smashing radios to try to stop the sound, and generally overdid it, and now when I hear an overtwangy steel guitar with rhythm backup I cringe. Sort of like my relationship to creme de menthe...)
Blog recommendation 'o the day: this Public Address at Visible Darkness. History, photographs, deep thoughts, u.s.w.
Which just sort of sums it up.
Went to Meet the Teacher Night at the little boy's school this evening. Web-related fact: they're using this Buzzword of the Day page for their vocabulary building. I dunno if it's an official part of the curriculum, or just something one of the teachers found while surfing, or what. Seems like kind of a cool thing, though.
Installed the latest Opera (here on the ThinkPad at least). 6.05 seems (knock wood) to have fixed the memory leaks that 6.03 was having (the computer would get slow, and I'd see in Task Manager that Opera was using like 93 meg of virtual memory).
So I also gave M a Dock icon in her account on the iBook that accesses the shared folder on the main house machine, and she was able to write something for the PTA Book Fair in AppleWorks on the iBook and save it as rtf and copy it over there and print it without too much trouble except that the apostrophes vanish. How dumb is that? The apostrophes vanish! It's not like the apostrophe isn't a normal ASCII codepoint. Sheesh. (If saved as .doc and printed from Word Viewer, the apostrophes print as like Ö or something; even better!)
Anyone know how to transfer a printable file between an iBook and a Wintel machine without the apostrophes getting zorched?
0wnz0red, a half-way decent cyberpunk short story free on the Web. The premise is very neat; the story fizzles a bit (IMHO) at the end. The conflation of "hackers as really good coders" and "hackers as people who use words like 'hax0red' in casual conversation" was slightly annoying; as far as I know those communities are still pretty disjoint, and the "really good coder" kind of hacker only talks that way when e's being silly. Of course e's being silly quite often. But it's a good story (or at least the start of one); give it a read.
[Broadcast by BBC Virtual Reality, August 14th, 2050]
And also from a.m., the Citizen's Dividend: a libertarian-smelling argument for a socialist-smelling program. Since the government gives so many services to corporations, it says, it should charge those corporations a reasonable fee for those services, and give the money to the citizens.
So will Google News become everyone's news source?
Lots of interest in this one! Some definite themes emerge (including at least one very enthusiastic reader). Wish I had more...
In other news:
"Today, representatives for Isa Chacon's advertising campaign announced that their unorthodox technique of submitting her name to weblogs had produced astoundingly successful promotional results."
A reader has switched universes:
And completely offtopic -- sometime in the past few months, Someone modified English. There used to be a word "solipism". I remember it clearly. It's been replaced with a nearly identical word "solipsism". I hope there aren't other changes planned; I get confused easily.
Best to get used to it; it shows no sign of stopping. See previous discussion.
And finally a reader does our heart enormous good:
Chinese rooms that have the same shape have the same purpose.
by showing that e has read and remembers, possibly the Novel, or at least a bit of it. It looks like they're going to do it again this year; I wonder if I'm going to also. It'd be fun to write another flash-novel...
The iBook continues to be fun. The little daughter loves having her own account on it; nearly-teenagers are very concerned about their own space. I had no trouble giving her a Dock icon pointing to a directory on the other house machine, so she can get stuff between them easily.
Interface whine of the day: the iBook keyboard has a key labeled "delete" that does what a Wintel "backspace" key does, and doesn't have any key (as far as I can tell) that does what a Wintel "delete" key does. My fingers get all confused.
On interface issues, a reader writes:
First of all - Why in $DEITY's name are you using the trackpad!? Unless you're actually using the laptop on an airplane or somewhere else where there's no room to use a mouse, there's no reason to hobble yourself with a trackpad and a single button. Get an MS Intellipoint wireless explorer. Four buttons and a scrollwheel.
I remember back when I first started tentatively asking if there was some way to connect my laptop to the Net without using wires (this was back before wireless was Cool; the orbital mind-control lasers stole the idea from me shortly thereafter), someone said "well, since you nearly always use your laptop in the same place in the house anyway, just run a cable to there!".
I'm perfectly willing to believe there are people who always use their laptops at their desks, where there is an Ethernet cable and/or a nice flat surface for a mouse, but I'm not one of them. In our house, smooth empty flat surfaces have a half-life of about ten minutes, after which they get covered with piles of books, mail, CD cases, stuffed animals, chilren's artwork, Yugi-Oh cards, and so on. I use my laptop all over the place; the two most common ones are sitting or lying on the bed, or slouched on the Big Comfy Couch in the playroom. In neither place is there a smooth flat hard surface for a mouse to play on.
I suppose I'm just spoiled by the TrackPoint on the ThinkPad. It's the ideal pointing device for me, even for non-laptops; I'd love a TrackPoint keyboard on the desktop computer at home. (I had one of the first TrackPoint keyboards deployed outside the group that invented them; it was called a Pointing Stick then, and it was on my PS/2 running OS/2. I thought it was the greatest thing since something extremely great, and I still do.)
I'll probably get a mouse for the iBook, but it seems to sort of defeat the purpose; we'll see how useful it turns out to be.
Second, have you tried the Omniweb browser? It's pretty decent.
Nope, I haven't; thanks for the pointer!
Maybe a group of smart, well-educated, diverse yuppies dropped into Calcutta or Bosnia and they have one whole TV season to develop a program to help poor or war-ravaged citizens grow food. You know, just like "Survivor," but with a useful point.
I might watch that. Except it'd probably still have commercials.
So is pediatric orthodontia a huge racket, or what? They bring self-conscious young people into their offices just when they're most insecure about their personal appearance, and they say "your teeth aren't quite the right shape, but you'll be just fine if your Mom and Dad pay me five thousand dollars".
I want this guy (note that I was restrained and didn't say "this goddamned slime-bucket") to tell me what percentage of the kids that he does an "initial evaluation" on turn out to "need" braces...
OMG: the little daughter points us at FanFiction dot Net, where eighty-seven gazillion ardent fans of "Baldur's Gate", "Serial Experiments Lain", "Cowboy Bebop", "Doom", and even (or especially) Scooby Doo can write their very own extensions to their favorite fictional world. Thousands and thousands and thousands of them. (And this is the clean kind, not that nasty "slash" fanfic involving hot threesomes between Princess Mononoke, Shaggy, and Pikachu.)
Microsoft Security Bugs o' the Week: two bugs in Windows Terminal Services / Remote Desktop can allow bad guys to read your desktop traffic and/or crash your machine; and three bugs in the MS Java interpreter (quaintly called "The Microsoft Virtual Machine"), at least one of which lets anyone in the world do anything they want to your machine if you visit their web site, etc, etc, etc, as usual.
30.4 trillion dollars is a whole lot of money; that's said to be the size of J. P. Morgan's "derivative position", whatever that means. Sounds terribly exciting and doom-laden. Funny that only slightly seedy-looking gold-investment sites seem to mention it.
So there will inevitably be quite a bit of iBook-related stuff in the log for awhile, as our previously all-Wintel household widens its horizons.
Points at random:
And that's all that I'm going to write today.