March 2005


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Archive for March, 2005

AIM Terms of Service update

Posted in Geekery on March 14th, 2005

I told you when I wrote the first post on this topic that I was knee-jerking, and I was right.

Posted earlier today was a response from the folks at AOL, claiming that the section of the TOS that was quoted in the Slashdot article referred, in fact, to their bulletin boards and forums, and that they did not monitor the Instant Messaging conversations.

This brings things a little more into perspective. Still, I am glad to be quit of any and all things AOL. I created the account originally to converse with one person, who also uses Y!Messenger, so there is no need to keep my AIM account active.

Still, there is a good bit to learn about this: if you plan on making money from an idea, be very careful who you tell it to and where you tell them. For the price of an envelope and postage, you can irrefutably stake your claim to any original work. Write it down on paper, stuff it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. The cancelled postage will have a date stamp you can use as proof of prior art in court (provided the seal is intact until you get it to court).

For those truly worried, most banks offer free or nearly-free Notary service. Once again, you write everything down and take it to your bank to have a Notary witness and stamp the work. Voila, almost as good as a patent.

For the rest of us out there, it pays to remember something I read in a David Eddings book:

“No crime is complete until you’ve tidied up.”

Woe for the common man

Posted in Life on March 14th, 2005

Today I ran head first (yet again) into a cliche.

I delivered a computer to a customer. Now, this customer is obviously an intelligent man – he has built his business up from nothing, and is doing well. Phone calls for new customers were coming in as I worked, and I could tell he knew his business.

When it came to the computer, though, the man was not only completely ignorant of basic operations, he had no desire to learn how to use this most powerful tool. A tool that could save him countless hours in handling the mundane aspects of running a business, yet he could barely (with my direction) check his email.

On the one hand, I find it abyssmally sad that this man of means and intelligence had no desire whatsoever to learn how to use the tools at hand to make his life easier. Stuck in his ways, he will spend much time needlessly doing things by pen and paper that could be automated, thus granting him time to better his business or enjoy the fruits of his labor.

On the other hand, I know I’ll be back in a matter of weeks when he runs into problems, and he’ll be paying me to fix them.

It’s the little things in life that annoy the most

Posted in Geekery on March 13th, 2005

Last Friday night, I ran an upgrade process on my main slack box, and finished it up Saturday morning only to find that I had somehow broken KDE. Unfortunately, it was beyond repair to the point I had to format and re-install.

Thankfully, I still had the latest cd’s from when I did the laptop, so no sweat, right?

For some damn stupid reason, it completely failed to see my network card, and no amount of pounding on it got any results. Ok, fine: replace the card. Still no go.
I don’t know what actually did the trick, but a few hours later I set the damn thing for a static IP, which did not work. But, when I stopped the process again to change it back to DHCP, it somehow woke up and has been working fine.


I have it mostly restored now to what I wanted originally, with the exception of two things: I still need to re-do the ATI AGP drivers, and now I have a sound issue. It plays sounds like MP3’s and other files just fine, except in the sound notifications section. (The little bleeps and whatnot that are supposed to accompany window minimizing and such.) They work under the root login, but not the user login.


This probably has something to do with how I restored my home directory, which amounted to me copying it en masse from a fat32 drive I had archived it to. Some little config file hiding out of sight. Now I just have to track the bitch down…

I love Linux, I really do – except for these little damn annoyances.

AIM’s New Terms Of Service

Posted in Geekery on March 12th, 2005

In a wake-up call for the IM generation, Slashdot reports on the new Terms of Service for AOL’s Instant Messenger service, AIM. To quote from the new document:

‘…by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy.’

Well now. Isn’t that special.

From the Slashdot forum discussing this topic, I have selected two posts that say most of it:

New Terms in A Nutshell All your base are belong to us


UUEncode Windows and send it to yourself over AIM.
Let Microsoft and AOL club each other to death :-)

Lovely thought, eh?

In any case, in moment of typical panic reaction to the reminder that AOL is truly the Root of All Evil, I have signed up for a Jabber account and deleted my AIM account. I stll have the Yahoo! account as well, if you don’t want to try Jabber.

Incidentally, I chose Jabber due to it’s open-source nature, and the fact that both gaim and kopete chat clients support it. I can now be reached at thecyberwolfe(at) or thecyberwolfe on Ymessenger.

MSN Messenger, of course, is not an option no matter what program I use. I just can’t go there.

Gothic Eye for the Wolfie Guy

Posted in Geekery on March 10th, 2005

Okay, I think I’ve managed to hack apart this theme to something I like. A link to the original author’s site is at the bottom of the page and here.

What I did was take the original Devenir-en-Gris theme’s layout, then painted all the .png’s black, followed by color-tweaking of the headers. I also lost all the lowercase text transforms.

There may be further color adjustments coming, but I am satisfied for now. Not bad for a guy who barely codes html, eh?

The Wish List

Posted in Life on March 10th, 2005

Graumagus over at Frizzen Sparks says:

On your blog (or in my comments if you are blogless) pick five really expensive toys you’d like to have that you really have no legitimate reason to get (other than the most legitimate of all reasons, that being that you just want it!)
Remember: Money is no object. My only rule is that it has to be something you could actually buy (or have built for you) legally. No “I’d have my own F-22!” stuff.

Well, here’s my Top Five of Toys I Have No Business Having:

1) An AV-4.
Okay, this hasn’t actually been built yet, but I could probably manage it. Take one large van or bread truck, then bolt the engines from a Harrier jump jet on it. Why? Because I keep getting sent into Beaverton, a land where they have no respect whatsoever for the ideas of decent road planning and traffic control. Sure, it will have all the aerodynamic properties of a brick, but with that kind of thrust-to-weight ratio, who cares? Just remember to strap in before you hit the Big Red Button.

Hey, if Burt can build SpaceShip One, I can build this.

2) Alienware Area 51m 7700 with all the options cranked to maximum: 3GHz P4 proc, 2 gigs of RAM, Creative laptop audio, dual-layer DVD+RW, extra battery, wireless logitech joystick, bells, whistles, and a kitchen sink logo. Somewhere around $4300 as configured.

Yes, boys and girls, I am a geek.

3) Ok, so the AV-4 is going to be difficult to get around in – I’d better get something with wheels to go with it. The car would be custom-made to my specs, based on a Viper rolling chassis and drivetrain, but built to seat 4 comfortably for distances. Black, of course.

4) The Weapopns of Destruction category: a pair of Sig-Sauer P226 9mm automatics. The Barrett .50 Grau listed is nice, but I like to be a little more up-close and personal than he does. Besides, you can’t carry that BMG around, and I can’t see anything at that kind of range.

5) The Weapons of Annoyance category: I’ll steal from Grau and list the paintball rotary cannon – and then strap it to the car’s trunk :)

Go ahead and tailgate me while flashing your DOC-damned ultra-halogen brights in my mirror, you SUV-driving ass-hat. I dare ya.

Hey, where’d he go?

Posted in Geekery on March 8th, 2005

If you haven’t noticed, I have been upgrading WordPress to version 1.5, and having a rare issue in the fact that it didn’t go seamlessly. My previous index page hashed the new options, so I’ve had to revert to a stock model until I can re-arrange things to my liking.

I’ve done some minor tweaking to it; the major tweaking will have to wait for a day when I am more awake. Until then, you’ll just have to deal with the greys.

No, not those greys, Captain Conspiracy.

Anywho, notice the bit off to the left there that says “Pages”? That’s a new feature, where you can plant long-winded posts to a journal type-format and link them.

Anywho, off to bed.

Here’s a chuckle

Posted in Humor on March 6th, 2005

Blood For Odin

This story was ganked from the above site, after being linked by Grou at Frizzen Sparks. No clues as to the veracity, but still a funny tale.

“A friend of a friend lives in NYC and participates in the SCA [Society for Creative Anachronism]. He’s stereotypical Viking, 6’7″ tall, LONG blonde hair, about 350 – 400 lbs of solid muscle, and looks every bit of it. Well, he was going to a meet in full getup with long cloak and battle axe and sitting on the subway… hunched over leaning on the axe with the cloak pulled over it so he wouldn’t scare anybody.

Lo and behold some little punk comes up… MAYBE 5’2”, 120 lbs soaking wet, and brandishes a knife saying “GIMME YOUR MONEY!” Naturally the guy sits there… somewhat befuddled at the balls of this punk. “GIMME YOUR *bleepin* MONEY OR ELSE!” and the guy stands up… and up… and UP. Raising the battle axe over his head, screaming at the top of his lungs “BLOOD FOR ODIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” At this point, the fellow passengers learn the true sound of terror. Not a scream, no curses, just a simple little “urk” as the guy leaves a wet spot as he’s bolting for anywhere but here.

A couple weeks later our friend is at a club in the men’s room, doing what all guys do when they’ve had a bit of ale, and looks over and at the next stall is that SAME PUNK! Up for a bit of a laugh, the guy leans over, and quietly whispers in the dude’s ear “Blood for Odin”……The cops catch up with him a couple blocks away… screaming bloody murder, running like the hounds of hell are after him, with his pants around his ankles.

Well, Its not a rapier and dagger, but I think it will do…” Dale


Posted in Life on March 3rd, 2005

Well, it’s official: my apartment building has been sold, effective so immediately that March rent is to be paid to the new management company.

This sucks, because a sale like this is usually followed shortly thereafter by a raise in the rent – the purchaser needs to make back that capital investment. If it goes up, I may be forced to move. I hate moving.


Final analysis: Linux Laptop

Posted in Geekery on March 1st, 2005

Ok, here’s the final rundown of the Linux Laptop Project:

Distro: Slackware 10.1, kernel 2.6.10
I started with SuSE 9.2 as an experiment, and was promptly dumped into RPM hell. Bleah. Suse is a good learner distro as a step up from Mandrake, but they do funky things with it. I would happily give it to my boss and use it for work, but not at home where I like things just so. Kernel choice was to keep current. 2.4.29 is stable, but has too much stuff crammed into it to make other stuff work. 2.6.10 runs smoother. (I no longer have to reseat the wifi card after coming back from standby.)

Window Manager: KDE
Like there was really another choice. Okay, there’s lots of other choices (this is Linux, after all,) but I have been a KDE user since 1.0 and just can’t break away from it.

Internet connection: Orinoco wifi
The D-Link got better signal strength in Windoze, but it came down to the fact that I could get this one working and not the DWL650. Win some, lose some.

Usability: Good
What, only good? The fact remains, this is a PIII with only 128 megs of RAM, when I’m used to having an Athlon XP2400+ with 512 megs RAM. I could speed things up a bit by using a different window manager, but I’m tolerant of certain things. It is running a bit faster than it did under Win2k, but not by an amount significant enough to brag about. (Bragging rights are reserved for the P4 / 1GB box at work.) Security, though is a slam-dunk.

Quirks remaining: 2 or three, nothing serious.
On boot, I have to stop the wifi card and reseat it for some reason; I’m sure I could get to the bottom of if I cared that much about it. One of the reasons I stuffed Slack into this thing is to get away from the multitude of reboots necessary under windoze. There are also some minor issues playing back video, and I need to get the power-management tweaked in. Like I said, no biggie.

Am I happy with it? Yes. Could it be better? Of course. But then again, it was free. :)