Monthly Archives: May 2004

Iraq is not a partisan issue

Please have a look at this [Feb 12 entry]: from Salam Pax.

Reading blog entries from Salam Pax brings me a lot closer to the plight of the Iraqi people, something which I don’t feel from leading newspapers and evening news. To politicians: please stop making Iraq a partisan issue. Stop focusing on what was screwed up. Everyone else: Perhaps we can focus on helping the situation? And if you are truly interested in sending a message to the government, lobby for change. Write your congressional representatives. Presidents are elected to follow the will of the people. Honestly, as a citizen, isn’t it a bit strange to put all of your political interest in a presidential election? The government functions day-to-day. The president isn’t a dictator. I can’t say that I identify strongly with either candidate, but it has become clear to me that if I cared about an issue, I need to do more than vote. Actually, I think voting for a presidential candidate is a pretty vague way of indicating how you think government should act. You vote for someone who you think is best for the job, but people are fallible. It seems to me that the things that happen in government happen because people have lobbied for their interests outside of elections.

Anyway. In an effort to be a more informed citizen about Iraq, please do take advantage of what the internet has to offer. Primary sources. News, information, from people who saw it first hand. From mainstream media, it sounds like Iraq is about to erupt in a civil war. Yet, positive things continue to happen there. Both Iraqis and foreigners are working hard to make things better. Bad things have happened, and they need to be resolved, but good things happen too.

Read a milblog or two. Biased as they might be, they are much less filtered than, say, a CNN broadcast. Try [this]: and [this entry]: from [The Green Side.]: I listed more milblogs and blogs by Iraqis in this [blog entry.]: But here’s another one ([Nabil’s blog]: ) by a 17-year old in Baghdad. He blogs in Arabic occasionally because his friends complain that they don’t understand the English.

Anyway, I guess I’m just feeling a little political right now, and maybe just a little sick of reading so much negative news. Let’s all pray for some world peace, okay?

John Titor

Am I the last person to hear about [John Titor?]: Anyway, I read it on my [brother’s blog,]:
and it really is an interesting read. Is it real? Is it fake? I’m so, so skeptical, but the whole thing speaks to me like a really engrossing science fiction novel. Have a look, it’s up online, and it’s fun to read the posts. If it’s a hoax, the perpetrator has been keeping the mouth shut pretty tight. Let me know if you find something conclusive.

Anyway, since this whole deal happened a few years ago, I feel like there’s this secret club of people who know what’s going on, who are up on the latest interesting things, and who never tell the likes of me. *sigh*

File-sharing and “lost” sales

Hey, I saw over on [Lawrence Lessig’s blog]:
a link to an [article]: about whether sales of music are actually down.

Fascinating. I knew there was something wrong with their numbers. With file-sharing, and especially internet radio, I’m exposed to a much greater variety of music than MTV, some ClearChannel radio, or strip-mall music store. Is it any surprise that I buy *more music I like* these days? Is it any surprise that almost all the music I buy these days was heard first in mp3 format? Is it any surprise that it has made me buy more music? You know, I think all this music sharing is *free marketing* and hey, with all honesty, with decreased population in peer-sharing-networks I see less music I like, and less artists whose CDs I want to buy. Oh well. I can play more video games, read more books, and (oh no!) blog more.

Anyway, you should read the article. And Lessig’s blog is a good one to add to your RSS subscriptions.

Money and the recording industry

Okay, really quick. I’m doing a little house cleaning for my vast, unorganized pile of data, and I came across this link:
[Follow the Money: Who’s Really Making the Dough?]:
It’s pretty interesting. Still, I don’t think it costs that much. I bet that 250k spent on marketing is internal billing from the record company’s own infrastructure, and the recording likewise. So. Yes, the artists aren’t making out all that well in a “normal” record deal, but really, I think there’s a highly tuned infrastructure in these record companies that is so used to spending money in a certain way, on certain things, etc. It’s really hard to change. So it seems best to use independent labels, where the recording and marketing costs can be much less. Recording equipment, anyway, should be much cheaper these days (or is industrialization just a pile of junk?).

Have a look at the article. Oh, and by the way, yes, I’m kind of disappointed that Rupert Murdoch decides what’s news, that record companies decide what’s recordable, and that Clear Channel and MTV decide what’s hip. I know, they all worked hard for their lucrative positions, but all I have to say is “power corrupts.”

Six Apart: Okay, maybe we were a little hasty….

Seems like Six Apart’s sorta in damage control mode now. In the wee hours of this beautiful Saturday morning, Six Apart posted a /revision/ and /clarification/ of the new licensing terms. This time, it’s an [entry on SixLog,]: the main SixApart blog, instead of the personal-ish blog of Mena the co-founder. As I write, another hubbub is ensuing, yet, I think this one will be smaller than the 612 trackbacks that hit the previous one. It’s only at 125 (and ticking higher) as I cook up this entry.

I guess I was wrong about Six Apart. They /did/ rethink their licensing terms. The fury of the the current MT users, plus some other interested parties in the blogosphere probably tested a bit of their “commitment to a free version.” For posterity’s sake I’ll note here that [Mena’s blog entry]: and [SixApart’s download page]: have been hanging at or near the top of blogdex, with links for [WordPress]: and [migrating from MT to WordPress]: showing up as well. Hey, looks like [textpattern,]: [pMachine,]: and [drupal]: are showing up in blogdex as other alternatives to MT. It looks like diveintomark has [already converted]: to WordPress (along with several others I’ve seen) in these couple days, and stupidevilbastard [notes that he’ll still probably ditch MT anyway,]: as the slightly better free licensing and personal licensing terms are just a little [too little,]: and [too late.]: But to be fair, SA has addressed many concerns, and a lot of people are pleased. Some were even [happy with the first version]: of the new licensing scheme. And others think [it’s just one step in the right direction.]: Still, what do I think? Because, really, if you’re reading my blog for general news, there are better sites.

I feel a little better with this revision. The free license is now good enough for me, though still it’s no-good for families, and other small groups of familiars. Is that okay? It feels odd that if I were to get married, then she would need her own installation of MT3. I wonder how things get counted if a single mom wants to have another blog for her toddler, from the kid’s perspective. Does that count as two authors? Okay, I’m being a little facetious. 🙂

The single CPU restriction in the license has been removed as well, which is cool, because I honestly don’t know how many CPUs my host machine has. Heck, maybe my host has a cluster of machines that serve my site. I just don’t know, and, really, as long as the performance is there, I don’t think I should care.

It still bothers me that with MT3, it would cost me money to give a spot to a friend to blog. Or if I wanted to host my brother’s blog, it would cost me money. I suppose if I could make a shell account so he could install MT himself, then it would be fine. I feel like I’m being really cheap, but honestly, it has more to do with the fact that the extra stuff that MT has over the competition isn’t worth the even the introductory price to me. If I add a blog for my brother, and he uses it for a couple months and forgets about it, I’ll still have paid $69.95 (or $99.95 it I don’t act fast) just so he could try it. I don’t know… is it worth it? No, not really… but I feel a little persuaded to hold off migration until the general 3.0 release, where MT will be better from the efforts of the community, all of whom (except the contest winner) won’t see a dime from their efforts. Which isn’t that bad a thing, considering that code is usually higher quality when it’s personally, not financially motivated.

Man, I’ve been blogging a lot these couple days…

Cool Bento Box pictures

So Bento boxes are are sort of boxed meals. It’s a Japanese food thing. There’s a Chinese equivalent that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well (bien dan?), but I don’t think the Chinese ones aim for as much visual appeal. I could be wrong though.

For a more in-depth intro to bento boxes, here’s a [book]: about them, and a [blog entry]: about them. But you know, there are some really [bizarre bento boxes]: and even a [moblog]: featuring real-world production-quality bento boxes. You really must visit the page about bizarre bento boxes though. It’s awesome. Trust me.

For comparison, check out what [Air France’s meals]: look like.

I love talking about food. 🙂

MT 3.0: Something that makes me sigh

Looks like [MovableType]: 3.0’s out. It’s the blogging software I’ve been using for this site, and I’ve been quite happy with it. Unfortunately, they seem to be moving to a new licensing scheme. See their own blog entry: [Mena’s Corner: It’s About Time]:

I was kind of shocked to hear about it. I mean, really. I was looking around for blogging software to use a few months ago, and settled on MT because it was free, it had a lot of developer support, and it seemed flexible, extensible, and really easy-to-use. And now, I’m having second thoughts. I feel like I should’ve tried some other blogging software like [wordpress]: because I don’t know that I would’ve missed the extra cool features that MT has. The restrictions on the “free” license are pretty tight: one author, three blogs. I’ve already got two (the sideblog is a separate blog in MT). And this means I wouldn’t be able to add a friend as an author. All of a sudden, the software isn’t just “free as long as you don’t use it to make money”. It’s now “free if you don’t do much with it”. It doesn’t seem like an enormous deal for me right now, but I might want to do more later, and the licensing terms seem a little uncomfortable.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I think I’m going to have to look at migrating software. [opensourcecms]: has demos of a whole lotta blogging and cms software, so I’ll probably play with some of them when I feel like dealing with this migration thing. It will happen sooner or later– probably no more updates to the 2.661 version I’m using. Here’s to hoping I will have migrated before a security hole is revealed. Even if the community develops security patches for 2.661, it might be against the license to distribute them.

What I might do is see what the other members of the blogging community do. I should at least wait for the buzz to stabilize (since MT 3.0 was just released today). Maybe all this hubbub will cause [sixapart]: to rethink the licensing, but I’m betting not. Yeah… In a month or so we’ll probably have some good reviews of other blogging software, with how-to-migrate, how-to-install, differences-from-mt, etc. topics covered. I’m still new to this blogging thing– let’s see how the pros handle it first.

Check out some discussion at [stupidevilbastard]:
or [bigpinkcookie]:
But again,

This has obliterated all motivation for me to tweak settings, layout, look for plugins, etc. since it looks like I’ll be moving. I’m kind of disappointed, but you know, they’re within their rights. But, this site is just a hobby of mine. I’m not serious enough about it to spend money, but I want to be able to play around with it, and if that puts me outside of a free license, then maybe I’m not the target market for MT anymore.

*Update:* At [,]: there’s an article about [moving from MT to WordPress.]:
Let’s file this one away in case I decide on wordpress.

water, water, everywhere…

Jumpin’ Jehosaphat! I’ve fallen prey to another one of those useless quizzes. This one was just too nerdy to resist– Which biological molecule are you?
You are water. You’re not really organic; you’re neither acidic nor basic, yet you’re an acid and a base at the same time. You’re strong willed and opinionated, but relaxed and ready to flow. So while you often seem worthless, without you, everything would just not work. People should definitely drink more of you every day.

Take the quiz