Month: May 2006

  • How big should an ebook file be?

    (Originally appeared on teleread). How big should an e-book file be? I asked myself this question after trying to troubleshoot a problem reading a Plucker file. The Plucker desktop lets you spider URL’s to a certain depth, so that means you could potentially deal with humungous files if you’re not careful. (Plucker Desktop actually offers…

  • Gimp, Net Neutrality and Astroturf

    A few quick notes: Akkana Peck’s book on Gimp is finally released. I never realized how much I needed this book (I’m trying to do basic photo touching up today). I expect to study this book closely. Here’s a small summary about graphic formats and on the Apress page you have a sample chapter (PDF,…

  • Income as Debt

    Tom Tomorrow blasts a recent column by conservative commentator  David Brooks. Here’s the quote by David Brooks: “When you delve into this literature, you realize inequality is more complicated than some polemicists let on. For example, inequality is much lower when measured by consumption than by income because poorer people now spend much more than…

  • Film and Manipulation

    Here’s an anecdote related by Allistair Cooke (my alltime fave podcaster). Now there in miniature is the whole art – and curse – of television, which is to say of cinema. In the very early days of the cinema, a Russian director explained to a class of students. He explained using only about six seconds…

  • Why Urban Legends are Born

    A long fascinating deconstructing of a Snopes rumor about a radio announcer using profanity during a children’s radio show: If the legend isn’t based on any real-life occurrence, then just how did it get started? One obvious explanation is that it was made up out of whole cloth, an example of the “famous person is…

  • Shorts

    Gary Shandling announced last night on the tonight show that Season 2 of Larry Sanders show will be out on DVD. (This is my alltime fave TV show). While shopping at Walmart yesterday, I noticed that Welles’ version of kafka’s trial was on the display at the checkout. What would Kafka think of that? I’m…

  • Texas Prison Rape Lawsuit Dismissed

    Wow, one has to stay on top of things to follow ongoing trials. Apparently last October, a Texas jury dismissed an ACLU lawsuit about the prison rape. Perhaps the details of the case didn’t merit the awarding of damages. Still it makes prisons more careful about ignoring pleas from prisoners who are abused (lest they…

  • Unemployment is Killing My Blog!

    Brief Note: I left my job in late February to take a sabbatical for a few months to work on literary projects. I wish to note the irony of how the increase in free time to be productive has caused me to post much less often on my blog and even to follow my fave…

  • Bluesecurity calls it quits! Spam Problem Continues

    Slashdot forum on the announcement that bluesecurity is getting out of the spam-fighting business. Some of the juicier comments: Which brings us right back to a centralized server in the first place. As long as everything has to pass through a single choke point (or even a small number of them), they are susceptible to…

  • Allistair Cooke, Alive Again!

    I just saw a nice review by Jonathan Yardley of Allistair Cooke’s posthumously-published book on traveling through the USA in the 1940s. Here’s how he describes Cooke: In his later years, especially after he became the host of “Masterpiece Theatre,” Cooke acquired a decidedly benign, avuncular air and became near-universally beloved, with the consequence that…

  • Back to the Present

    These past few days have been unproductive, but I’m back on board now. Releaselog on the terminology for p2p video files.  Fascinating. Honestly, I don’t download a lot of commercial vids (if only for lack of time), but I download lots of TV shows. I often wonder exactly what the meaning of these “pseudo-releases” means.

  • Happy Endings and Hollywood

    Michael Barrett on happy endings and Hollywood: Hollywood didn’t specialize in happy endings. It specialized in Affirmation. All this tragedy, this thwarted desire, these tears served a purpose–the status quo was restored, suffering was redeemed, tragedy transcended.That’s why “The Grapes of Wrath” ends not with the hopeless doom of the Joads but with Henry Fonda’s…

  • Enjoying disastrous films

    All events have come to a halt in my life now that I’m having motherboard and power supply problems. (BTW, I’ve been using my Fedora laptop for some time and have been pleasantly surprised about how everything “just works.” My only complaint is that the display doesn’t seem as bright as it should). When the…

  • Not Your Typical Linux Disclaimer

    From a FC 5 Disclaimer: NOTE: This is not an official form of support. This is not an official service of Red Hat. These things may solve your worst nightmare, or they may eat all of the cheese in your house. I make no guarantees.

  • Blackmask Down

    David Rothman reports on the taking down of the blackmask.com ebook site. Blackmask, for those of you don’t know, is probably the most significant distributor of free English language ebooks in the world. The reason for the takedown was a copyright dispute, but the real harm here is lack of access to all kinds of…

  • Proprietary Soap

    4 Soap Dispensers Originally uploaded by tantek (thanks Matt). Tantek on why proprietary solutions will fail: Note the fact that there are not one, not two, but FOUR soap dispensing “mechanisms” here. Why? This makes no sense at all from the user’s point of view. Note: they are all empty except the bottle dispenser on…