Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World

30-Sep-2003

On the incoherence of politicians

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:57 pm

“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth.”

Who said it? Believe it or not, it’s not Bush; as this San Francisco Chronicle article points out, this quote was uttered by a somewhat overwhelmed Gray Davis.

In other news: Yes, I realize that it’s already Tuesday night and I still haven’t posted my AWA trip report… I’ll write up the details later when I don’t have as much schoolwork to do, but right now I’ll go ahead and mention that among other things, I picked up a pre-played copy of the PC version of Dance Dance Revolution and the Zelda: Wind Waker soundtrack while I was there.

28-Sep-2003

Back from A.W.A.

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:56 pm

Well. I’m back from Anime Weekend Atlanta; in fact, I’ve been back since 6:30 or so. But given my current mental state, largely brought on by a lack of sleep, I’m in no mood to write up a trip report at the moment. I can, however, muster enough coherence to write that it was a very enjoyable weekend, even if I didn’t get enough sleep to explain in detail…

25-Sep-2003

What’s new in my life

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:26 pm

Yes, as you can probably tell, not much of note has really been going on in my life lately; all but one post have scrolled off the past week’s highlights on my blog’s index page. There’s been quite a bit of homework, the occasional exam, and hanging out with friends every once in a while when I’m free… yeah, it’s basically the same as usual.

But that won’t be the case this weekend. The aforementioned friends have gotten me addicted to the art of Japanese animation, and I’ll be going up with them to Atlanta for Anime Weekend Atlanta. I’ll admit, for someone who’s never been to any fan conventions– anime or otherwise– that some of the events sound like they’ll be extremely fun (and that assessment is borne out by the opinions of friends who have been to such conventions, heh). The problem, of course, will be getting all my stuff together before I leave, keeping myself organized during the weekend, and making sure that everything I take along comes back with me. I’m so disorganized, I know… ::sigh::

Oh, and I’m also hoping that I don’t get assigned all too much homework over the weekend, since I’ll be returning to campus late Friday afternoon; I know that there’s something coming in Music Theory, at least…

21-Sep-2003

And these are the frequently asked questions?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 6:52 pm

An actual FAQ found on HP/Compaq’s website: Where do I find the “Any” key on my keyboard?

And an actual FAQ from NOAA‘s hurricane research division: Why don’t we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?

I honestly can’t think of much more to say…

15-Sep-2003

Random thoughts from music theory

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 11:46 pm

Earlier today, I thought of a good mnemonic device to remember the six main medieval musical modes in order, starting with the major scale:

“I Don’t Particularly Like Modal Analysis.”
(Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian)

I didn’t throw Locrian (the 7th mode) in there, because it’s very rarely used… though you’re welcome to post your own ideas in the comments.

14-Sep-2003

All your grammar are belong to Dubya

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:02 am

Oh my. Via DubyaSpeak, one of the latest George W. Bush quotes: “My call, however, to nations is, is that let us not get caught up in past bickering.”

Let me repeat that, because as comedian Lewis Black says, it bears repeating: “My call, however, to nations is, is that let us not get caught up in past bickering.”

To quote the aforementioned comedian’s response to a grammatical gaffe by former vice president Dan Quayle: “How do you diagram a sentence like that? I’ll tell you how. You take a pencil, put it in a sharpener, make sure it’s pointy, and then jab it in your eye!”

10-Sep-2003

Blaster strikes again?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:13 pm

Via CNET News.com: It seems that there’s yet another vulnerability in Windows 2000 and XP’s Remote Procedure Call functionality which, if left unpatched, could leave the door open for a new variation of the Blaster worm. Read more about the vulnerability on Microsoft’s site, or download the patch by searching for “824146” on Microsoft’s download site.

Oh, and running a firewall would help too. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I didn’t get infected by the first incarnation of the Blaster worm…

06-Sep-2003

Still more from the virus front…

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:44 am

CNN.com: Colleges respond to wave of Internet infections

This article interests me simply because it describes the ways that different universities are responding to the virus attacks. For instance:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology shuts off Internet service to computers it determines are infected, said Kirky DeLong, a manager at one of MIT’s research labs. In extreme cases, officials will block all traffic to and from a suspect computer based on its digital fingerprint.

Yet even non-technologically-oriented universities, in large part, are taking similar actions:

Vanderbilt University found infections in computers of roughly one-fourth of its returning 5,000 students. Stunned technicians shut off connections to nearly 1,200 computers they determined were infected and gradually restored service over the next several days after ensuring each machine was clean.

But how does one eliminate the threat while the computers are disconnected? Some schools, including the one I attend, are giving free site-licensed copies of Norton Antivirus to students; others, like Ohio’s Oberlin College, are punishing unprotected users in a more obvious manner, “threatening to fine students $25 for inadvertently spreading a virus”– a sensible punishment considering that “Oberlin […] found infections in nine out of every 10 running Windows software”.

Incidentally, it seems that some antivirus software companies are using the aftermath of these viruses to be a bit unscrupulous; I just saw a banner ad on one page exclaiming “W32 Virus Detected: Click Here to Scan & Clean”. Since I’m knowledgeable about computers (and as a result have installed the latest Norton virus definitions!), I know that it’s a complete sham… but that may not be the case for less knowledgeable users, and I must lash out at the advertiser for such a pathetic act of exploitation. The ad leads to a page where you can buy a product called Computer Shield from a company named BuySmarter; I’m not sure how good this firewall software actually is, but I can only urge you to boycott this particular company due to their incredibly deceptive ad. I do have to wonder whether the banner is also served to Linux and Mac users, though; that would be amusing…

05-Sep-2003

What’s Up, .doc?

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 2:28 am

Also found via Google: MS-Word is Not a document exchange format. Quite a useful rant, and something I entirely agree with; too many times I’ve gotten an e-mail through the campus listserv in which the content was only available as a Word or WordPerfect document, despite the fact that the attachment consisted almost entirely of plain, unformatted text.

I send you this link in order to have your advice

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 1:49 am

Since I’ve been ranting so much about e-mail viruses lately, I figured I’d link to this EWeek article I stumbled across via Google: Idiocy Imperils the Web.

Instead of a headline like “Dangerous Fizzer Worm Attacks the Internet,” how about “Thousands of Morons Open Obviously Virus-Laden E-mail Attachments”? I kind of like it. It has a light, comedic feel similar to headlines found at The Onion. But as Homer Simpson would say, it’s funny because it’s true. Stories like that should embolden smart users so that, instead of accepting their co-workers’ incompetence, they will feel free to mock and ridicule these Typhoid Marys of the computer world.

Of course, another columnist wrote a very similar rant, this one for Wired, over two years ago. Some things never change, do they?

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