October 1999 Archives

Whew. Catching up, slowly. I realized that a large fraction of my reading energy (looking for stuff to put in here) was being wasted on things that I can’t link to directly (like the local newspaper, which goes subscriber-only after one day). So, there will be some major changes to the Start pages this weekend; I’m only going to read from sites I can link to. In case any of you care, that is.

There’s a Perl module for working with Big Brother Data Base (BBDB) files there too, but it’s the picture of the dog you should go look at.

I might have linked to this before, but I’m willing to do it again: The Unofficial Jim’s Journal page. This was my favorite comic back in my undergrad days, but until I read the Chicago Trib article from the site, I didn’t realize the artist is one of the people behind The Onion.

I don’t get salonherringwiredfool.com. I can understand the utility of syndication or aggregation for sites that have fixed update schedules, or sites that I’d consider ‘small’, but if I want to see the latest from Wired News (for example), I’ll go to the source. That way, I don’t have to wonder when the their site was scraped last, or what content hasn’t yet been grabbed, or what content the aggregator decided to drop. Of course, I’m probably not a member of their target audience. And given that this:

This web site is not endorsed by, or in any way affiliated with, any of the publications whose content is linked to.

is at the bottom of the page, putting a banner ad on there is a bit cheesy, I think.

If you haven’t voted in Jorn’s latest poll, get to it. I’m a bit frightened at how much of an outlier I am; I need more hobbies, or something.

One more thing to think about before getting that nipple ring:

Following that incident, Khanna and his colleagues interviewed 28 doctors working in A&E departments to see if they knew how to remove three common types of body jewellery. Only six did. Alarmingly, four suggested cutting though the surrounding tissue, Khanna reports in the Journal of Accident and Emergency Medicine (vol 16, p 418).

Note 1: Umm, ouch!
Note 2: “A&E” is accident and emergency; it seems to be Brit-speak for ER.
Note 3:That guy in the picture is from Tucson, and shops at the same grocery store I do, which is occasionally…odd. You can see more at thescaryguy.com.

Speaking of weird Tucson celebrity stuff, today I saw Gary Coleman standing on a median during morning drive time, doing a live remote for a local radio station. That was also just a bit odd.

This was in a couple of ‘blogs last week, but the lab that did the fullerene wave-particle duality work has a site up. It’s more than a bit technical, but it has the correct citation for the paper, which I couldn’t find in the other reports.

technocrat.net has an open letter to Jeff Bezos. Of course, if they were smart enough to understand this reasoning, they wouldn’t have opened this can of worms in the first place…

Meta I: Pursed Lips has a revamped look, a bit more plain, but much faster loading. The two-column layout also makes for a more readable main content section. Of course, Debra said I was ‘a God’, so take all this with a grain of salt.

Meta II: Windowseat has been silent for over a week; hope everything is okay over in Laurel’s neck of the woods.

Meta III: While I understand the sentiment I sense behind Cam’s mini-rant the other day, pieces like that always make me self-consciously wonder if I’m one of the un-named sites. After thinking about it a bit, I decided if anybody thinks I’m ass-kissing, or ass-kissing too much, they can piss right off. It’s my ‘blog, and I’ll ass kiss who I want to. (It’s a pretty short list, in case you were wondering.) Don’t like it? Start your own damn ‘blog.

Well, I’ve got some other stuff, but I’ll save it. I should be working on that manuscript, but I think I’ll finish catching up on my mail.

…still slows me down. I’m mostly back; going to work, and all that good jazz. Thanks for all the get well wishes; they were appreciated. I’m still catching up on mail and Usenet and blogs, but hopefully I’ll be back to normal by Monday.

This Salon article made me think of Adam Corolla’s child rearing plans. (And why is the column called ‘Mothers Who Think’, when a sizable fraction of the content is written by fathers? How about ‘Parents Who Think’, hmm?)

I went to an amazing seminar yesterday, given by Mike Cherry, of the Saccharomyces Genome Database. One of the more interesting things he talked about was a gene ontology, which is a method of describing genes and the things they do, so that databases describing different organisms can be linked together via a common framework. This is one of the cooler ideas I’ve heard recently; time to see if they might have need of a post-doc…

Oh, OpenDesk opened. I played with it a little; I’m not sure I get it. The individual tools aren’t any better that other sites, and in some cases (the bookmark manager), they’re much worse. Without the collab-apps, there’s not anything special there, other than some ‘Open Source’ buzz. Frankly, I don’t care what tools they use to make the tools they give me, I care about the tools they give me. Hmm, this reminds me — I should think about starting to write some ePinions. That might be a good weekend project.

Okay, that’s it for today; time to do the dishes and get some sleep!

Not a real update today; head hurts too bad to think.

Can somebody let me know when OpenDesk gets its act together? The ‘We’ll be available after 5 pm’ is nice, but it’s been up there for two days, and I still can’t log in. Is it my browser or something?

Some sickness-inspired link fun! Follow the links to understand the cryptic notes (lame, but I’m tired):

  • www.sneeze.com (cute)
  • www.snot.com (nice shirt)
  • www.phlegm.com (“under construction” - boring!)
  • www.headache.com (procter & gamble - all those damn links, and not a pain reliever to be found. what the hell are you people thinking?)
  • cough.com (more p&g, pampers this time. again, who decides these things? and how come www.cough.com isn’t in the dns?
  • www.coughing.com (yah, because that makes sense)
  • www.aching.com (what’s this bizarre connection between cold symptoms and email?)

My, that was fun. Note to speculators: Dayquil.com and congestion.com are currently un-registered. Unfortunately, nyquil.com is already squatted.

Hopefully better fare tomorrow…

Cold ‘99 — now with low grade fever!

One more mail link: Grendel, which is the Java mail and news client for the Mozilla project. (Not to be confused with the C/C++ mail and news client, whose no-doubt cool-and-funky code name I can’t be arsed to dig out.) Anyway, Grendel would seem to be a great choice, given that the Intertwingle manifesto is on the mozilla.org site and all. Ignoring that (a) it’s still a fscking MUA, and I want a separate archive and (b) it’s not (anywhere near) done|stable|usable, there’s this little tidbit:

There are lots of spiffy ideas in intertwingle but the one focussed on here is just to keep a global database optimized for interesting searches across all folders. (From this other page.)


Some RFCs that I could need to look at at some future point are linked from Notes on News, run by Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen, author of Gnus.

From the Christian Science ‘blog-like thing, news of a very structured teaching program in Chicago. Because we wouldn’t want any of that spontaneous, fun learning preventing the kiddies from passing the standardized tests, now would we?

If you’ve been following any of the recent Patent Office insanity, the last sentence of this Wired article should either fill you with fear or induce paroxysms of laughter, depending on how you feel about the first part of the article. (I did both.)

And that’s it. I’m off to write up those notes on my mail database; they might be up later, depending on how far I get and how (un)happy I am with what I produce.

The crud Lor (my wife) had last week has crawled into me. Lots of fun things going on with my body right now: Snot, cough, sore throat, and a persistent inability to sleep. The last couple of nights have been rough; I’m not sure how good this update is going to be.

Last week, I asked about mail software that implements the “Intertwingle” principle. Dan “Apathy” Fitch dropped me some science, and I checked out the links this weekend. My impressions are below; please note that I didn’t actually use any of this software, as I could tell none of it was what I wanted.

First, Pachyderm. This was the most promising of the lot, but (a) it seems pretty intranet/groupware focused and (b) you can’t use it unless you work for Digital. I’d like web access, but access from command line and small GUI (e.g., Perl/Tk) applications on my desktop workstation is as (or more) important, at least initially. And I don’t work for Digital.

Next, David Coppit’s Grepmail. Potentially useful, but doesn’t have the intertwingle nature.

AlphaMail is i386-Linux specific. Also, no screenshots, which is always disappointing. Under ‘Philosophy’, this idea struck me as a good one:

alphamail is based on the idea that it is silly to be forced to make archiving decisions for every single message and to organize messages into folders. Division into folders is roughly one-dimensional and does not represent well the underlying world of messages which is inherently multi-dimensional.

But I don’t want my mail archive to tie me to one mailer; I want the mail archive to be independent of my MUA choice, but closely integrated, so that I can archive, search, and retrieve messages into my MUA.

ExecMail is also i386-specific, and didn’t strike me as anything too special.

Æmail also didn’t do a whole lot for me. It also requires PostgreSQL and procmail, neither of which I use (nor desire to).

GMail is an MUA for the Gnome desktop (screenshot). It uses a MySOL backend to implement a vfolder data structure for mail storage. This is potentially useful, but for the following: (a) it’s an MUA and (b) I don’t want folders, I want keywords.

Anyway, long story short, I’m going to take a swing at developing a Intertwingly mail archive of my own. This weekend I drafted a database spec, whipped up a script to create the database, and hacked out a preliminary command-line mail import tool. Tomorrow at work, (during my “No carpal tunnel for me, no sir!” wrist breaks) I’ll actually try to write some of my concepts and goals down so I can post them here. Names for the new project are welcome; the current working title is mind-numbingly bad. (Current time to a usable version: Not distinguishable from infinity.)

Gimme I!
Gimme II!

Saturday, I downloaded Freeciv, a Open Source Civilization clone. It compiled without problem, but then I realized I really didn’t have time to learn some complicated new game right now. Hopefully I remember this in a couple of months…

The Database of Orphaned Open Source Software is an interesting idea. Unfortunately, they don’t have any orphaned software yet.

Study shows that as you age, you accumulate mitochondrial mutations. Cool! No cause and effect yet, of course. The article makes it sound as thought specific mutations were detected across the subject pool, which would be very cool. People need to get to work on this aging thing; I’m not gettin’ any younger.

Synthetic Zero has some interesting musings about information. The issues raised are also very relevant in the biological sphere, where Shannon’s classical information definition also doesn’t map so well.

Read this at some future point: Mechanical Web Authoring - using m4 to write HTML and Perl.

Salon’s got a rather scary piece about restraining orders today. A complicated issue, but the most enthralling thing for me was the lengths to which people of both sexes would go to punish and destroy their ex-mates lives.

This site is scary in a whole different light after the above link.

This week’s software advice/help request: Can anybody recommend a good web-based contact management solution? Preferably something with decent privacy, and easily parsed pages (for scripting). Mail jacobs@genehack.org with pointers.

Whole masses of links remain in my bookmarks (I think; it’s messy in there). Might be a good ‘blog week after all.

Okay, I didn’t get back to the usual sources. Another minimal update; I’ll see what I can do this weekend, but I’m supposed to be finishing a manuscript, and I’ve got a couple weeks backlog of xemacs.org web droid stuff to do, and some other projects, so…it’ll probably get done, as I’m going to need to procrastinate something on that list.

I got a nice long list of mail database stuff from Dan “Apathy” Fitch, which I’ll be crawling through when I get done with this update. Expect pointers to anything that looks useful. Also upcoming, at Dan’s request, a Clip2.com mini-review.

Navel-gazin’ I: The new look at Whim & Vinegar kicks big booty and takes down names. One of the more aggressive and in-your-face ‘blog designs I’ve seen, it’s still very readable. Way to go Jen!

Navel-gazin’ II: If somebody digs up the “shut-the-fuck-up” bullets for Peter, I’d appreciate a cup or two also, ‘kay? I promise to use them sparingly.

Navel-gazin’ III: Why is GeneHack #5 on this search? Is someone at Yahoo trying to send me a message?

The Macintosh customization site ResExcellence has a new section, the Linux Icebox, devoted to LinuxPPC customization.

Minimal update today; I haven’t been following many of my usual sources. I’m off to go play catch-up; hopefully I’ll be able to send you into the weekend with a nice old-fashioned stick-to-your-ribs update.

Query: Has anybody come even close to implementing anything like jwz’s Intertwingle idea? I had to search for some mail the other day, and it sucks having to grep multiple folders for some half remembered phrase. Freshmeat searches weren’t productive, and before I start devoting some of my ever-shrinking free time to doing this myself, I’d like to know about the existing options. Even if it’s just some kluge-y thing you’ve thrown together for your own use, please let me know!

Well, at least the McCain staff has a sense of humor.

It’s Jam Echelon Day. Here’s the /. post for those of you who weren’t aware.

On one of the mailing lists I’m on, the list mom just sent out a “Play by the Rules” mail. With copies of body of the text and the initial instruction mail. As attachments. Of. Binhexed. Mickeysoft. Word files. A 1643 line netiquette flame spam. From the list-mom. The mind reels. The body unsubscribes.

It’s been a while, so here’s some Scary Devil Monastary for ya:

…a project I’ve always wanted to do. Get a shit-load of that Habit-Trail stuff. Run it ALL over the house (or at least 2 or 3 rooms), along baseboards, up walls, everywhere. Seal it good so the critter’s can’t get out, or anything in. Put about 6 hamster’s in it. And then get a couple of cats.

I envision endless hours of enjoyment.

—Jay E. Morris

chin music

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Still busy, busy, busy. Getting sick. Not a good time, not at all. Also in a bizarre mood, so watch out.

I paid my bill yesterday, so genehack.org is mine-all-mine until 09/24/2001. Yay! Now to graduate and get a real job so I can afford real hosting…

Salon jumps on the ‘blog-wagon with Naughty Bits; personally, I’m sticking with Pursed Lips for my sex ‘blogging needs (or is it desires?).

There’s another bookmark site in town: Blink. I’ll be sticking with Clip2, thanks much.

Anybody out there using Mason?

PAN=Pimp Ass Newsreader. Can’t add to that, can I?

Who would have thought that the T7 DNA helicase crystal structure would make Wired News? (A more technical report, with a nice picture of the structure, is here.)

Free online book about learning Perl: Picking Up Perl. Never to late to start learning Perl.

There’s also a new Brave GNU World newsletter out, which relates Open Source software to international human rights.

When user interfaces go bad. (217 K .gif)

Hey! Pop Culture Junk Mail says I’m “kinda sciencey”. Remember kids, science is an essential part of a balanced ‘blog experience.

New stupidity by our elected representatives. (Thanks Medley.)

Most everybody else has already linked to It’s a blog’s life, the latest “big media” report on the ‘blogging trend. I’m pointing to it also, because I found this report actually did an excellent job of capturing the whole scene or trend.

A blog is a web page, something like a public commonplace book, which is added to each day. There is also in many of them a certain newsy aspect, so that they record significant as well as merely interesting events. If there is any log they resemble, it is the captain’s log on a voyage of discovery; and more than anywhere else they preserve the idea of the web as something with raggedy edges and strange attachments, rather than a homogenized circle of programming

I miss Jason.

Busy, busy, busy.

LinuxPlanet has the first part of a spam filtering HOWTO. Starts simple with headers, and then quickly ramps up to Perl-based filters. Something for all: the newbie can learn some useful stuff about how email works, and the power-users might pick up a Perl trick or two for processing mail.

My Amazon wish list. The holidays are only two months off — never too early to start.

There is a perfect editor

The “My editor is better than your editor” argument easily comprises the longest-running continuous argument in computer programming. One can easily dismiss most of the common arguments on the topic, since the argument-makers appear ill-informed, no definitions of terms ever get offered or agreed-upon, hidden assumptions riddle the arguments and subjective preference carries more weight than experiment. Nevertheless, editor users bring up important points on ease-of-use, editing power, and what sort of interface an editor possesses. Despite endless discussion, poorly-formed concepts like “easy”, “powerful”, “consistent” “intuitive” and their opposites appear in most of the arguments. No two arguers agree on what the terms mean.

In order to form more perfect arguments, I present a first cut at a bibliography of real research that seems directed toward finding the perfect editor. I did not perform an exhaustive literature search, so please inform me of any missing citations. I’m missing electronically-retrievable forms for almost all of these papers.

Thanks to Dan “Apathy” Fitch, who tracked down the apparent original of the joke I linked to last week. See the not-quite-identical listing at the Onion’s site. Since it appeared to be a rip-off of their content, I’ve removed the email that used to be here.

Someone is working on a replacement for wm.themes.org. There’s also a more explicict spec list. This is a good idea; the current wm.themes.org is very cumbersome.

NINmacs. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

Back full force, yee haw! Speaking of ‘yee haw’, check out the TNN section in this fall 1999 television lineup.Later Update: Dan Fitch of Apathy let me know that this content originated in The Onion, possibly in the print version. If anyone can find this content online, let me know, and I’ll point to it instead

On an entirely different note, I’ve written up some thoughts on why I’m participating in Day Without Weblogs. These were inspired by Dan Lyke’s comments on the same subject, so you might want to read his first, and then come back here.

A nice comphrensive microarray publication portal/list. This should be nice for the bio-geeks in the house.

Speaking of bio-geeks, if you are one, or if you’re not, get over to molbiol.org and contribute to the discussions.

In other bio-geek news, workers over at Cornell have developed a new way of seperating DNA molecules. This is probably the worst example of science reporting I’ve seen in a while. The third paragraph, with the possible exception of the last sentence, is dead wrong. Additionally, the headline talks about the “End of Electrphoresis”, but the method described involves current application to seperate molecules — which is pretty darn close to electrophoresis in my book. Finally, the reason we use electrophoresis is to seperate different DNA molecules based on size in a predictable way. The small ones go further in a given time than the big ones — and that doesn’t seem to be the case here, making this pretty useless.

geekcheat.com, home of the vi reference coffee cup. They do not appear to sell a corresponding Emacs reference beverage container. Rumors that this is due to the prohibitive shipping charges that would be required to deliver a Emacs reference beverage container could not be confirmed.

You Palm Pilot junkies can now get GeneHack on your platform of choice via the magic of Sitescooper. I think this is pretty cool in a very geeky way. As a poor graduate student, I have no Pilot; if someone out there does, I’d dig hearing how well this software works. (Fellow ‘bloggers: They’ve got filters for many of you too!)

So, let me get this straight: if I say that reason I won’t vote for Gore (when and if) is because of Tipper’s PMRC past, that’s okay, but if I urge the rest of you not to vote for him either, I have to register as a PAC? Gimme a break… (Link via Bird on a Wire.)

CNN recounts the amusing fallout in the wake of the Kansas Board of Education/evolution mess. (Can you say, “IgNobel award delivery” kids?)

Anybody buy a bag from Amazon yet? I’m lusting after one of these.


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Well, the talk went okay (in case you were wondering). I still didn’t have time to make my normal rounds, so there isn’t a real update. Tomorrow, eh?

To make it up, I’ll pass along this link from Yuppie Slayer: free network cards! Well, not exactly free, they want you to prostitute your demographics, and you know they’re going to send you spam, but free hardware is good, right?

Okay, off to catch up on the email that’s been piling up for the last couple of days. See ya tomorrow, with a real update to start out the weekend.


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~90% done with talk prep, and thought I’d slip in a quick update while sipping my Young’s Luxury Double Chocolate Stout (yum!).

(It’s actually Tuesday evening as I write this, BTW. I’m not getting stiff right before my talk or anything.)

There’s a new Risks Digest out, so you can read that instead of your regular GeneHack ration.

Congrat’s to fellow ‘blogista Peter Merholz, new Creative Director at Epinions.com. Must sign up for accout….

Well, that’s it for today; I’ll be back tomorrow with a full force update. (And maybe I’ll try to spring some more Scary Devil Monastary quotes on ya before Dan does… 8^)= ).

No update today, and probably not tomorrow; have to prepare a talk.

i rule!

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(Yes, another American Beauty-inspired quote today. Still haven’t seen the movie.)

Can I beat Dan to a good Monastery quote?

Chewbacca is actually not a bad SysAdmin icon. He’s large, tends towards inarticulate grunts, doesn’t shave, get’s stuck with a lot of the technical work, and gets blamed and yelled at when it doesn’t work.

Mike Sphar in the Scary Devil Monastery

Check out the upcoming Day Without Weblogs, sponsored by Brad Graham of The Bradlands. I’ll be participating; I urge any other ‘bloggers to do so also.

Colt ending consumer handgun production. I can see both sides of this issue all too well, so I’ll only note that the prices in the markets that Colt is remaining in (“military and collectible guns”) are not exactly market-driven (read: ripe for profit-mongering), and in the former case are indirectly paid for via taxes.

An somewhat interesting entry in the ‘blog-cum-journal section, dead@32 is from some guy who thinks he’s going to be, um, dead at 32. Had a look based on a spam-mail he sent and pure morbid interest; it’s not coming to a start page near you. (‘Least not near me.)

‘Blog spam is apparently becoming more and more popular; I suppose that’s inevitable, and I don’t really mind. Here’s a couple suggestions if you’d like to be successful (i. e., get linked): Know what I specialize in, know what my topics are. Make me feel like I’m getting the mail for a reason, not because you went through every ‘blog in Brig’s portal and harvested the addresses from them. Remember, you’re asking me for a favor, so try for a minimum level of courtesy, eh? (And yes, quite a few of the ‘bloggers talk to each other, and we know when someone spams us.)

And I’m with Dan; if you want me to review something, I’m more than happy to oblige (I keep meaning to start an ePinions account…), but the magic words are “courtesy copies”. Mail me for my snail mail address.

/. had a nice interview with Bruce Sterling last Friday. Some interesting stuff about the Viridian project — Sterling is on my Top Five Living Authors list.

And in the “Life (err, TV) imitates Science Fiction”, CBS is ripping off Wilhelmina Baird (Crashcourse) with a new reality show. I’m not even sure what to say about this.

Spent most of Sunday avoiding real work and hacking on the XEmacs website. If you use XEmacs to build web sites, check out the new Created with XEmacs page.

Rare Saturday update this weekend; see below.

A rare weekend update for GeneHack. Hopefully I remember to point this out from Monday’s entry, so that people don’t miss it.

Tweaked and updated the Start pages again; moved Now This and Have Browser, Will Travel to the Hiatus section.

I finished catching up on Debra Hyde’s diary this past week. I really enjoyed the September 28 entry, where she talks about the rewards and joys of ‘blogging from a beginning ‘blogger’s perspective. I remember going through what she describes. (You vanilla types be careful; the rest of the diary contains explicit descriptions of B&D/S&M-type sexual situations. If you don’t know what ‘vanilla’ refers to in the previous sentence, you are.)

In contrast to the recent Kansas and Kentucky moves, the New Mexico Board of Education has decided against recommending the teaching of creationism.

Salon has an interesting interview with Freeman Dyson this weekend.

Today’s title brought to you by the TV trailers for American Beauty. I’m actually considering breaking my personal rule and venturing out to see this in (gasp!) a theater.

It’s making the rounds, so I’ll point to ‘Would You Have Been Drafted?’. I and my brother were both in the 300’s, and I’m pretty sure I’m 4F anyway (were they still using those designators in Vietnam?)

Potential way to pick up some change: Question Exchange.

We are proud to introduce Question Exchange - the source of answers for your technical questions. Our web site provides a marketplace for Customers to contact Experts from around the world in a secure environment.

The Service: There are two ways a customer can post a question:

  1. A customer can post a question, the price he/she is willing to pay for the answer, and the deadline for submitting responses.
  2. A customer can post a question for bidding. This will open an auction in which Experts submit bids with price and deadline for answering the question. A registered Expert that has passed the QuestionExchange certification exams will answer the question. After a customer receives an answer he/she can score its quality on a scale of 0 to 10. The question/answer is kept in a database searchable by all QuestionExchange customers. Features include the topic of the question, the number of buyers, and the average score and price of each question.

(See their About page for more.)

As yet, there aren’t a large number of questions, and the qualifying procedure looks like it will be lengthy, but I’ll see how it goes.

Another interesting content management system: Iaijutsu. I’ll be lurking on the mailing list, watching where this goes.

Possibly useful: Dead Link Check

Mostly for me: RPM index on dev.linuxppc.org

meta: Re-indexed the Search engine.

Taking a day off to read, relax, and decompress. Have a look at Flutterby, Eatonweb, Medley, and Screenshot, or hit the Eatonweb ‘blog portal.

See ya tomorrow.

For the sake of my (hopeful) future career in biology, I’m glad I was actually born in Missouri. I really like Kansas, it was a great place to grow up, but this kind of stuff is embarrassing.

I just finished PGP: Pretty Good Privacy, an old O’Reilly scored at a local used bookstore. The historical content was interesting, in a frustrating way, because it only went up to late 1993/early 1994. I might pick up The Code Book to get the rest of the story.

Big list of ASR quotes. Looks like I’ll have something to do over lunch today. My cow-orkers tend to look at me funny when I laugh at my monitor for long periods of time, so this is definitely a win-win type of deal.

Potentially useful: GOLD: Genomes Online Database. Basically a meta-list of publicly accessible sites.

This looks…interesting: Website Meta Language “WML is the Unix toolkit for getting your web designer’s HTML job done.”

Interesting in a related way: Entity.

Entity is an XML parser and renderer which can be used to build user interfaces for applications in XML, and modify them at runtime with embedded Perl. This allows you to quickly and easily create applications using XML and Perl.

This should help with my MySQL learning: Beginning MySQL Tutorial at devshed.com

Lifted from Cam; here for posterity: Advanced Web Programming

So many cool things to learn, so little time!

As expected, today was lousy. It was less lousy than it could have been, however, and I’ll take that.

One of the things that put me back in a (marginally) better mood this afternoon was Dan ‘Flutterby’ Lyke’s rant on cleaning up after Burning Man. Thanks.

Cleaning out the bookmark cache; some of the links below were probably seen on other blogs. As always, sorry for not giving credit directly.

I finally got around to building OBAS, a piece of bibliography management software. It’s really a bunch of Perl that talks to a SQL backend, with all the interface stuff in a web browser. So, of course, I had to build and configure Apache, and then build and configure MySQL, before OBAS. Once built, OBAS promptly crashed Netscape, and did many other Bad Things. So, I’m looking for a good SQL book, so I can work on whipping up my own CGI/SQL/Perl/Apache bibliography thing (‘cuz, well, it just seems like fun, and it would be useful to have around, as EndNote sucks). Is the O’Reilly * MySQL & mSQL* any good? The reader reviews are mixed.

Renaissance man?

Relative ratings of the Superfriends. What about the AmerInd guy who said the magic word and then got really tall? He gives Aquaman a run for his money, I think.

W3M is a text-based web browser, much like Lynx. W3M, however, can actually render tables and frames, which is useful.

Scientific accuracy and messing with people’s minds:

“And, frankly, just because Tropicana owns 41 percent of the market, you know, and is the top dog, doesn’t mean that they can play fast and loose with the laws of nature.”

(via Camworld.)

The lack of Clue over E-biomed continues in the NEJM:

Do they really think that a “virtual community of experts and users” could conduct on-line peer review that would help clinicians to interpret and use the information in their practices? That seems quite unlikely to me. Who would moderate the discussion, and how would differences of opinion and conflicting claims be resolved?

(via Health ‘n Hacks.)

One step closer to Sterling’s chlorophyll hack

An interesting take on the sociology of romance novels, and the cultural clashes and fallout from new sub-genres featuring more explicit sex scenes.

Monsanto annouces a halt to ‘Terminator’ seed development. A wise PR move, especially considering that hybrid strains offer mavy of the same ‘benefits’ — from Monsanto’s POV, that is.

Cool new ‘blog title: One Swell Foop. Coming to a start page near you…

LinuxPlanet interviews Tim O’Reilly

I also don’t believe that necessarily you get a lot of benefit in the same way from making documentation completely free. At the end of the day, a book is its own source code, it’s not as though the content is hidden in some way. There’s certain a role for people patching things, but people don’t, for example, routinely do all their own patches to the Linux kernel, they send in patches which are then integrated by somebody. Well, that already happens with books; we get comments all the time which we’re integrating, so we already have a lot of the benefits of an open process with books regardless of whether or not they’re redistributed for free, and you get some negatives.

Nerd Test at Archie McPhee. I got a 102%, but you get a huge bonus for taking the quiz while actually running Linux…

And I’ll leave you with this: UK may import sperm. Not a lot to add to that one; not a lot that I want to add, anyway…

(META: corrected the date on yesterday’s entry.)