January 2005

I thought it was funny to run into “The Linux Incompatibility List” (http://www.leenooks.com/). It lists hardware not compatible with Linux.

I am sure it is by no means a complete list, but let’s check it out and see if I have ever used anything that is not compatible with Linux…

Soundcards: Guillemot Maxi Studio

(i had to get this when it came out because it was the first
consumer card I was aware of that had RCA *inputs* for excellent audio capture quality when doing video capture)

Webcam: Creative Webcam Go (fortunately, it is a piece of crap
anyway, but we still used this one for years… under windows)

Webcam: VEO Stingray. (This is our current webcam brand, dunno if the model is the same.)

Video cards: ATI Radeon 9550, 9800, 9800 Pro, 9800SE, and 9800XT on x86_64: ATI’s Radeon driver doesn’t work at all with 64 bit Linux Kernels.

OUCH! I consider an ATI card (with s-video tv-out) to be the
foundation of a good system. TV-OUT on other brand cards does NOT live up to ATI quality. I have used an ATI AIW, ATI AIW Pro, ATI Radeon, Radeon 8500, Radeon 9700, and Radeon X600. Their drivers for windows suck which explains why their drivers for Linux suck even more.

Video cards: ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder: No TV Tuner. (Good thing I used my VCR–and windows–for tv tuning!)

So, it looks like I have been using at least 1 piece of incompatible hardware in at least 1 computer since 1995 (when I got my first ATI All-In-Wonder).

Not to mention that Redhat 6.2 doens’t support Soundblaster for Quake3.

Let’s face it boys… Linux isn’t ready for the power user who wants to do all things yet.

Computers are supposed to be Swiss Army Knives that can adopt, adapt, and improve with the situation. Linux is anything but. They adopt new hardware slower than unix which means if you want to stay on the cutting edge of hardware capability you have no choice but to use Windows!  I was using TV-out in 1995.  In 2006, most people still don’t have this.  Bleeding edge can be fun.

That being said, I vastly prefer any webserver or email server to be running Unix. (Though, mine run under Win2K.)  Unix has at least gone far enough to do text processing!

Slackware? Waste of time. Redhat? Waste of time. Ubuntu? Looked promising, but didn’t support a 5+ year old network card.

Ain’t it interesting that the announcement that we are giving up in the search for WMDs came out just this week?

They couldn’t possibly come out BEFORE the election, no.

We’ve been searching for what, two-ish years now? And we could have kept on searching for years more.

But no, we choose to stop at this exact time: Right after one election, but as far as possible from the Senate election of 2006……..

Do you really think that is a coincidence?

I think it’s incredibly naive to think so.


It’s so nice to know we are not in control of our own bodily fluids.

Cop wants your blood?
You’re gonna bleed, baby. Whether you like it or not.

I love how zealous everyone is over prosecuting drunk drivers. If every american had their blood forcibly extracted from them, we’d see some major backlash, but since this is for drunk drivers, everyone will complacently look the other way. The thing is, in America, you are innocent until proven guilty, and you are supposed to need a warrant for searches!

And how this doesn’t violate the spirit of the 4th Amendment amazes me. My blood can testify against me far better than my mouth!  But because my blood doesn’t literally put its hand on a bible and swear itself in at court, it’s not really considered testimony, so it’s not really considered forced self-testimony. Now our blood is “evidence”.  What will be evidence next, our brains and hearts? Will they forcibly extract our lungs to see if we’ve been smoking crack? After all, crack-laced lungs would be valid evidence.  Don’t tell me I’m making a fallacious slippery slope argument.  Incrementalism IS a slippery slope.  The idea of a urine test was reviled decades ago in the same way in which I revile this.

I’m all for punishing drunk drivers who abuse their position as a driver. Unfortunately though, specific quantitative measures like BAC do not uniformly apply across the board. There are people who drive better drunk than certain people drive sober. I’ve chosen a drunk driver over a sober driver in situations where I know the drunk driver is still going to perform better. (A drunk-but-sane driver is generally safer than a sober-insane-asshole-driver.)

I’m not defending them here, but the idea is that police need to test your blood THAT VERY SECOND, before the measured BAC level goes down.

Now, either a crime was comitted or it was not.  If no real crime was comitted, they can give them a DUI, but only if it measures over the threshold.

This attempt to bypass warrants and get results sooner is an attempt to make everyone’s measurements higher (due to eliminating the delay). It is actually a de-facto way of lowering the legal BAC level without actually passing a law.

Those crazy “activist legislators”…

Always willing to take away OUR freedoms if it helps THEIR numbers.

I hate to say it, but Mozille Firefox isn’t as good at rendering pages as IE is. And that’s the main point for what a web browser is supposed to do.

Oh, it’s superior in many ways, like security purposes and such. And Gmail seems to run a lot faster in Firefox than in IE. Too bad in only 1 day of using Firefox I have already managed to find another situation where IE works right and Firefox does not.

(The first situation was reading slashdot: I have trouble grabbing window edges so I always make my edges 5px thick instead of the standard 1px thick. Firefox incorrectly counted the thick border as the edge of my window, which made CSS position definitions 5px off, which meant that when I read Slashdot.org, the grey sidebar overlapped with the news articles. Yucky.)

This situation is a crying shame, because IE is annoying me currently by trying to re-install a critical piece of Office XP that I removed. Yet, I still will be forced to use it because IT WORKS. What a shame. The background is: I have a script called “image-index” which generates a temporary HTML file that contains all the images in the current directory. I’ve been using this for various image management purposes for a good 6 or 7 years. The script has suited me fine, but now I have to update it to work with Firefox. Or specifically make it use IE instead of the default browser (My default browser is Firefox currently).

When a program is supposed to assist me, but instead makes me to work, then it is having the oppositte effect. It’s wasting my time instead of saving it.

How hard is it to parse this HTML (Firefox=Wrong, IE=Right):

img href=”c:\a.jpg” mce_href=”c:\a.jpg”   

In my head, I know what is. “Show the image at c:\a.jpg.” I can render it in my HEAD! And what does Firefox do? It shows the word “a.jpg”. IE shows the image.  

The quibbletrons will doubtlessly inform me that backslashes are not valid HTML for indexing a file. And yet, that IS the filename, I am using this on a local machine, and IE is smart enough to realize that I MIGHT BE USING FORWARD SLASHES. I am not a heathen for using a backslash in HTML This is a local file on a local machine. No webservers are involved. Addressing is absolute, not relative. Yet Firefox is too lazy to even bother looking to see if that file really exists.

Most people will miss the point of this posting entirely. But my point is thus: Computers must serve us, not the other way around, and they must DO WHAT WE MEAN, even when we break the rules a little bit. Strict adherence to all standards merely thwarts things from becoming mainstream by restricting the group that can properly use them to an elitist group of ubergeeks. Things need to work and they need to work as the user intended, even if the user is an asshole like me.

The computer geeks will disagree because they want strict adherence to standards so that things can be uniform. But look at Unix? It’s the least uniform OS there is. 32 flavors at some points in time? Even Windows does not have those many flavors, and Windows has much greater interoperability between versions than unix does. (We sure as hell never need to recompile our kernel, or consider what window manager we are using before compiling something.) HTML is another language like English. Sometimes things, like the word “ain’t”, are not syntactically valid, but they become de facto valid nonetheless.

Imagine having a conversation with someone who refused to acknolwedge what you said, simply because you used a word that was not in the dictionary, like “Ain’t”. That’s what my conversation with Mozilla Firefox was like today. Time to edit my image-index script I guess…

 Update: I am a full-time firefox user but this IMG issue still annoys me in 2006!

“Fifty percent of Americans believe the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, and 59 percent say the war there is going badly for the United States, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll released Monday. Fifty-six percent said they disapproved of President Bush’s handling of the war.”

Yeah… We gave Bush a real clear mandate. (This is sarcasm.)

This came from an anonymous slashdot comment. I didn’t write it:

I wish there was a way to install programs common accross all versions of linux.

Linux zealots are now saying “oh installing is so easy, just do
apt-get install package or emerge package”: Yes, because typing in
“apt-get” or “emerge” makes so much more sense to new users than
double-clicking an icon that says “setup”.

Linux zealots are far too forgiving when judging the difficultly of
Linux configuration issues and far too harsh when judging the
difficulty of Windows configuration issues. Example comments:

User: “How do I get Quake 3 to run in Linux?”
Zealot: “Oh that’s easy! If you have Redhat, you have to download
quake_3_rh_8_i686_010203_glibc.bin, then do chmod +x on the file. Then
you have to su to root, make sure you type export
LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5 but ONLY if you have that latest libc6
installed. If you don’t, don’t set that environment variable or the
installer will dump core. Before you run the installer, make sure you
have the GL drivers for X installed. Get them at [some obscure web
address], chmod +x the binary, then run it, but make sure you have at
least 10MB free in /tmp or the installer will dump core. After the
installer is done, edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and add a section called
“GL” and put “driver nv” in it. Make sure you have the latest version
of X and Linux kernel 2.6 or else X will segfault when you start. OK,
run the Quake 3 installer and make sure you set the proper group and
setuid permissions on quake3.bin. If you want sound, look here [link
to another obscure web site], which is a short HOWTO on how to get
sound in Quake 3. That’s all there is to it!”

User: “How do I get Quake 3 to run in Windows?”
Zealot: “Oh God, I had to install Quake 3 in Windoze for some lamer
friend of mine! God, what a fucking mess! I put in the CD and it took
about 3 minutes to copy everything, and then I had to reboot the
fucking computer! Jesus Christ! What a retarded operating system!”

So, I guess the point I’m trying to make is that what seems easy and
natural to Linux geeks is definitely not what regular people consider
easy and natural. Hence, the preference towards Windows.

Clint’s Dead: http://www.sciscoop.com/story/2005/1/6/61521/08655

Basically, there is a monkey named after me, and he died.

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