Bill G.’s Little Secret

This article recently posted on MegaGames suggest that the gods of Redmond have a dirty little secret: They’ve been cheating on their own Windows 2003 Enterprise Server!!! That’s right, boys and girls. Bill G. and company have apparently been using Linux in order to provide downloads to its London customers. I guess they need high reliability, which is something that the in-house bit jockeys have been unable to provide.

Bliss

Life is currently good. I found out today that I got out of a nasty final I was really dreading. I also got $78 for selling back two books. That’s awesome. I’m heading to Lexington tomorrow to do some Christmas shopping with a pocket full of money (not really…but it is more money than I’ve had in awhile).

At times like this, it’s easy to remember why it’s fun just to live. School has largely taken away all the stuff I love lately. I haven’t had time to do anything fun that I enjoy. It’s stupid to let something take you over like that, but in a few short months, I’ll no longer have to worry about it. A real job is nothing like school. With a job, you work on projects that have meaning then get paid for it. I can’t wait.

Silicon Sensitivity

According to this CNN article, it is apparently possible for high-tech and industrial terminology to offend people. Using the terms “master” and “slave” to refer to two devices on the same channel has apparently pissed somebody in Los Angeles off. This is the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. For one, the devices aren’t being deprived of any rights. The “master” device does not value itself over the “slave,” nor did it purchase the rights of the “slave.”

I seriously wonder what’s next. Are we no longer going to be able to refer to hardware which has been intentionally been told not to function as “disabled?” These poor pieces of hardware are just abled differently. Am I going to be subpeonaed into court for asking someone to hand me a “female DIN plug?” Everytime the male DIN plug is inserted into the female DIN plug, the female DIN plug is objectified and denied the basic feminine freedoms. Philips head screwdrivers better watch out: The Coallition for the Women named Philipa wants to know why Philip has the right to claim the four-way for his own. Give me a break.

Overuse of Braille

Why is it that there is Braille notation on most public things in America? I realize that it is an attempt to give blind people some independence. I have no gripe with that; however, there comes a point when you have to ask, “Why?” I can almost guarantee that the rest of the civilized world does not suffer from being overly-accessible to the point of it becoming stupid.

There are a couple examples of where you can find Braille that really gets to me. Putting Braille writing on drive-up ATMs is absolutely the most ridiculus thing I have ever heard of. Granted, the same ATMs that are found at a walk-by location are probably installed in the drive-through, but still, it certainly begs the question…

Putting Braille writing on bathroom doors of public restaurants is also slightly odd. In order for the blind to successfully navigate, things must be in the same place, standardized in such a way that allows for rote memorization. I have never been in two restaurants, even from the same chain, where the bathroom was in an identical place. So unless the blind plan on feeling out an entire building until they feel the notation for “Male” or “Female,” what is the point?

The One Break

Sometimes I wonder how much of success in life boils down to luck. Dad always told me that no matter how skilled you are, you need at least one break in life in order to make it. I think he was right. In a few short months, I’ll be striking out on my own trying to find a job. I hope my break comes sometime within this period. If somebody will take a chance on me and believe in my skills, I know I can make a name for myself.

I hope all the favors and help I have provided to others over the years comes back to me soon. Honestly, I don’t help others with the expectation of getting something in return, but I do believe there is something to kharma. I’m pretty sure I’ll get my break, but I just hope it comes sooner than later. Dad didn’t get his until he was a little older, and as a consequence, he had to work much harder. Only time will tell whether my hard work up to this point will pay off.

Legal Music Downloads

I have tried out iTunes & Napster over the last couple days. Each service lets you pay $0.99 for a song or $10 for an entire album. Once you have paid, you download your tracks. You can then burn the songs to a CD if you like. Considering how much flack the RIAA has given to those who download illegaly, this isn’t such a bad system. Besides, when is the last time you bought a CD where you liked every song on it? Most of the time, I concentrate on two, maybe three tracks. Instead of paying $3 for a single at Wal-Mart, now I can download the sucker at my lesuire for about a buck.

I like Napster better because you don’t have to put in your credit card info until you actually make a purchase. iTunes requires you to give credit card information up front before you can even get an account through them. I felt that this was too invasive. The interface for Napster is pretty quick and its easy to find groups, albums, or individual tracks. And the speed and quality of purchased tracks really is better than the illegal downloads we all know and love.

Blast from the Past

I ran across a box of old floppy disks last night and inside I found a piece of my history that I’d soon like to forget. I found two floppies that contained my earliest web pages. Apparently, giving someone a little knowledge of HTML is a very dangerous thing to do. I knew nothing of good, clean design. These sites are hideous. People were nice to me about them and would say stuff like, “Wow! That looks really good.” I can’t believe they were so nice. Anyway I decided to upload these old pages to show the world how far I have come artistically. Remember, these are to be viewed for nostalgia only.

  • First webpage ever – I put this up sometime around March 1998, shortly after I got the Internet. Notice the star background. This was all the rage back in the day.
  • Leslie County High School in 1998- This was my attempt at the LCHS homepage. I took it over in August of 1998. Notice the wierd buttons that change colors. I think that is JavaScript gone bad.
  • Leslie County High School in 1999-2000 – I revised the LCHS homepage over the summer of ’99 and this was the result. The eagle background is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I was so proud of it. Therm was involved with much of this. I should smack him for allowing me to create such a monstrosity. He and I spent most of the snow days during that time period concocting this.
  • Trav’s HTML Workshop of early 2000 – This is a “tutorial” I wrote for an HTML/Frontpage workshop I did. After looking at this, I wonder why the poor teachers didn’t run from the room. Now I understand why I never recieved the $50 I was supposed to get for “teaching.”
  • Leslie County Bass Anglers – I did this in February of 2000 for a local fishing league. This page is passable, if not the most plain thing I ever did. Apparently, I had started reading some design manuals or something.

ZIP Drive

I hate this ZIP drive. I bought it in early 1998 just after I got my first computer. (I sold my trampoline for $250 in order to afford it.) Back then, 100 Megabytes on one disk was an amazing feat. To give you some perspective, my entire hard disk at the time was only 500 Megabytes. To top it off, the ZIP drive was fast, at least in comparison to the old floppy drive. All of my Internet downloads were saved to the ZIP drive so as to save my precious hard disk space.

Fast forward about 6 years. 100MB is negligible compared to my massive 220,000 Megabytes of hard disk space. And I have been able to write an entire CD, all 700MB worth, in about 5 minutes for a long time now. Yesterday, I was saving 89MB of Photoshop documents. It took about 9 minutes! Why can’t the art lab have CD-RW drives? ZIP drives are a thing of the past! They served us very well, but the time has come to move on.

Chicago

I got back from my excursion to Chicago on Sunday night. I didn’t want to come back. Because of a time shortage, let me just say now that Chicago is a great city. I had so much fun! When I get caught up and things calm down a little, I’ll post the pics I took and give you a rundown of all the neat things I did and saw.

Packing

Have you ever noticed that no two people pack the same way? I have a chaotic style: I meander around the room doing a visual scan and grabbig stuff I need to take with me and throw it in the suitcase shortly after I grasp it. Surprisingly, I usually don’t forget anything important. Mom, on the other hand, lays everything out before it gets near a suitcase. After she has scanned her laid out little pile to ensure that everything is there, she proceeds to place everything one item at a time into the container she has alloted for a certain purpose. Her method is obviously neater but it bugs me because packing is not a serious ordeal. To her, it’s like some quest for nirvana. For me, it is a prelude to the trip, which is the whole reason you pack to begin with.

Unlike Mom, I don’t operate under the illusion that clothes can be packed to avoid wrinkles. You can minimize wrinkling, but total avoidance is impossible. I don’t know why Mom gets so freaked out if she has to use an iron in the motel. It’s no big deal. As a matter of fact, it really doesn’t matter if your clothes are a little wrinkled. After about 20 minutes of body heat, they tend to unwrinkle anyway. Ce la vive!