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Richard Stallman facts
Richard Stallman never showers: he runs 'make clean'.
Some people check their computers for viruses. Viruses check their computers for Richard Stallman.
Richard Stallman solved the travelling salesman problem by making everything free.
Richard Stallman's beard is made of parentheses.
Richard Stallman discovered extra-terrestrial life but killed them because they used closed-source software.
When Richard Stallman uses floats, there are no rounding errors.
Richard Stallman's distributed version control system is a flamewar on usenet.
Vendor lock-in is when vendors lock themselves inside of a building out of fear of Richard Stallman's wrath.
Richard Stallman doesn't need sudo. I will make him a sandwich anyway.


nobody to play with
Ya know, I think my lack of enthusiasm for bass playing lately probably stems from that fact that I don't have anyone to play with. I know bassists are theoretically in great demand, but I have to idea now to find people to play with who would not be put off by my near-total lack of skill.

international writing gaffes
Most of the time I forget that Charles Stross is Scottish. Sometimes he reminds me in a really good way, like in Halting State, which is set mostly in Scotland and has mostly British characters. Sometimes he reveals his nationality with little slip-ups, like having an American character refer to a flashlight as a torch. I figure mistakes like that are an inevitable result of writing in a different dialect from the one you speak. This sentence from Saturn's Children is pretty jarring, though:
It's a huge, sprawling city, dusty and split by canyons an gulches where lava tubes have collapsed—like some deity had take a model of east Texas and tilted it at a ten-degree angle.
Huh? East Texas? Oh, he means west Texas...I guess. Maybe Utah would have been a better analogy. Why put an obscure geography reference to a place that has no connection to the rest of the book?

Java and exception handling
fear and loathing
Fuck Java and its fucking checked exceptions.

Say I have a method A that needs to call a method B. Method B is declared as throwing IOException, which just makes like hard on everyone who calls method B. The author of method A didn't want to spread the pain any further, so A is not declared as throwing any exceptions. So of course A needs to catch the IOException that B is throwing...and do what with it? Wrap it as a runtime exception and rethrow it, of course. Nothing is accomplished in terms of handling or reporting the actual problem, but it shuts the compiler up. If you've ever coded in Java before, you knew that already.

Here's where it gets really stupid. I'm trying to compile against an different version of method B that is not declared to throw IOException. Let's call it version 1.1, and the original version 1.0. Great, right? That useless error handling code in method A is no longer necessary. It's also no longer permitted! When I try to compile, I get this error message: "exception java.io.IOException is never thrown in body of corresponding try statement".

Well, that's annoying, but I can always just delete all the extraneous exception handling in method A and be done with it, right? Wrong. Now if I want to share my code with a coworker who is still using version 1.0 of method B, he or she will be told "unreported exception java.io.IOException; must be caught or declared to be thrown". So what if I want method A to work with both versions of method B? I have to trick the compiler into thinking an IOException might be thrown, and I end up with bullshit like this:
try {
  // May or may not be declared to throw IOException, depending on version.

  // Make sure the compiler sees something that could throw an IOExcception.
  if (false) throw new IOException();
// Catch the exception that B may or may not be able to throw.
catch (IOException x) {
  // Rethrow the exception after first wrapping it so as to avoid
  // offending the compiler's delicate sensibilities.
  throw new RuntimeException(x);

So, for my one line that does actual work, I have four lines of code to shut the fucking compiler up (not counting comments and closing braces). Who thought this was a good idea?

subcultures in the media
My friend skwidly posted this rant about G.D. Falksen's rant about an episode of NCIS:LA. I feel compelled to disagree with his post and some of the comments. If you look past the way Falksen calls out the writers of NCIS for details that are merely inauthentic, it's pretty clear he's not just bitching about an inaccurate representation of a fringe group; he's complaining that they're maliciously misrepresenting a group he belongs to.

In my book, making up lies about about a group of people is not OK, not matter who it is. The fact that other groups are similarly slandered in no way justifies it. The fact that subcultures like goths rarely face any kind of serious persecution doesn't make it OK, either.

While I agree with Skwid that NCIS and its ilk are almost always pretty off-base when it comes to how they portray any subculture, I don't see how that's any kind of excuse. They could choose to depict subcultures in a way that's respectful even if it's not accurate, or they could just refrain from showing groups they don't understand. Instead, they show goths as hostile and rude, gamers as socially inept losers, furries as delusional perverts, hip-hop fans as drug-dealing gangsters, house/trance fans as slutty teenage junkies, pot smokers as unemployable slackers, and metal fans as violent delinquents.

[The underlines and strikethroughs in the next paragraph show what I added and deleted from the original.]

Are goths in danger of becoming the new Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals? I'd say the odds are slim to none, Of course not; it's laughable to suggest that even the most maligned subculture would ever face anything like the persecution inflicted on people for their race or religion, but it's absolutely the same kind of scaremongering that starts and perpetuates moral panics, which lead to things like laws that criminalize dance music, and prosecutors who try to treat glowsticks as drug paraphenalia.

boo hardware failures
I'm never more motivated to get shit done than when my computer is out of commission.

more phone suckage
fear and loathing
My Blackberry died Saturday night, and I've been in phone hell ever since. My Sprint contract is up, so I have lots of options, but they all involve shitty comprises.

First I tried getting a Palm Pre, despite warnings from some that they're just not ready yet. The reviews online were mostly positive, so I decided to give it a try. The verdict: I hate it. It's packed full of slick high-tech goodness, but it really falls down on some of the basics. To pick an example at random, there's no flashing light to tell you when you have new messages when the screen is off. That's been a feature on every phone I've had for the last decade. What's really galling is that there are LEDs on the front of the phone, but all they do is light up when you use the bottom edge of the touch screen.

I've really been waiting for an excuse to get a G1, but I was hesitant to jump carriers. I've been with Sprint ever since I got my first cell phone, and...well, the devil you know...

This morning I decided to give T-Mobile a shot. Their sales reps were very nice and seemed to know what they were talking about, but appearances can be deceiving. I already knew that I get little or no T-Mobile reception in my apartment, so I asked if there was any way I could use wifi to get calls and texts at home. I was told it would be no problem. It turns out it's no problem with a Blackberry, but the G1 isn't compatible with the system T-Mobile uses to route voice services over TCP/IP. Now what am I gonna do with this G1 that I can't use at home?

Now I'm trying to figure out where to go from here.

Option 1: Wait. The T-Mobile people are going to plead my case with their network gnomes to see if they can fix the coverage problem in my apartment. I'm supposed to call back in a few days and see if the gnomes are willing to try to help me. It seems like a long shot, but if they can get me a signal, that would be awesome. In the mean time I can suck it up and use the Pre; I still have plenty of time to return it.

Option 2: AT&T. I can cancel my contract with T-Mobile, get the G1 unlocked, and get service from the Death Star. There's some speed hit because the G1 doesn't support AT&T's 3G frequencies, but it works, and the data speed is supposed to be all right. This option seems awfully sketchy, though.

Option 3a: Just get another Blackberry from Sprint. I could get the exact same phone I had, which seems pretty damn boring now that I'd played with the Pre and G1, or I get get the Blackberry Tour, which has a much nicer screen and an improved web browser, but otherwise it's pretty much the same old Blackberry. Definitely a step up from the 8330, but not anywhere near as sexy as a G1. I'm also kind of skeptical about the keyboard on the Tour; it's different from the 8330's, and some people really hate it. That may be a deal-breaker.

Option 3b: Get a Blackberry from T-Mobile. Their top-of-the-line Blackberry, the Curve 8900, is very similar to the Tour, but it has a keyboard I know I would be comfortable with, and it has wifi instead of 3G. Of course, it's only an option of T-Mobile's VOIP works they way they say it does.

Option 4: Get an iPhone. No, not really. I'm fairly certain I would find an iPhone just as irritating as the Pre, if not more so.

Now that I've taken the time to write that all out, I think I'll wait for T-Mobile to say they can't help me, and then I'll probably take my G1 to AT&T (after confirming that I can get a signal from them in my apartment). As much as I've loved having a Blackberry for the last year, I'm really taken with the G1. Going back to a Blackberry, even a newer, fancier one, would feel an awful lot like a downgrade at this point.

a meta-limerick
There once was a man from Nantucket
Who fancied himself quite a poet,
While it must be acknowledged
That his rhymes were not solid,
His lack of attention to meter was what really ruined it.

starving artist is starving
Reposted from zauzau:

Attention, admirers of shiny objects! I'm in a bad financial state, and while doing what I can do search for a better or second source of income, I need to sell jewelry and other art work to help pay for bills, so I can keep my car and afford my prescriptions, and maybe even get my durn broken back fixed! I sell jewelry, fine art, and photography. I take custom orders, commissions, and am available for photoshoots and headshots.

Click on the images to be taken directly to my Etsy shop!

Earcuffs in many styles and colors! Some are already available in my shop, and more are coming as soon as I'm able to get the photographs!

Earrings, necklaces, and more!

Also visit my DeviantArt gallery and my Flickr site for more examples of art and jewelry.

Share these links with anyone you think may be interested. Thanks so much!

cheap entertainment this weekend
I found out this morning that I can get tickets to the Wildflower Arts & Music Festival for half off ($7.50). I won't be there because I'll be out of town this weekend, but if you want tickets, let me know and I'll pick them up for you.

The festival is in Richardson near 75 and the turnpike. It starts Friday night and runs through Sunday. This year's performers include Kansas, The Toadies, Rick Springfield, Kool & The Gang, Hoobastank, Night Ranger, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Tonic, The Edgar Winter Band, The Wailers, Jackopierce, The Killdares, Badfish - a tribute to SUBLIME, Vance Gilbert, John Gorka, David Wilcox, Le Freak, The Spazmatics, and a whole bunch of less well-known artists.


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