Occasionally I'll rant on some inane topic. If you care for that sort of thing, you'll find it here.

They simply don't get it.

People who are against net neutrality simply because it's "more government regulation" simply don't get it.

They don't realize that telecoms are natural monopolies. It's nearly impossible for competition to happen in an arena where one company owns 95% of the infrastructure in an area.

They also don't realize that, left to their own devices, these companies will do EVERYTHING THEY CAN to screw their customers to make money. The customers don't have a choice. Even when there are two companies in an area, they will frequently do the same anti-customer things because they both know the other is doing the same so they won't lose customers. They both end up making more money. This happens in other industries too; look how quickly all the airlines started charging more luggage fees when the first one came up with the idea.

Regulation isn't always bad. There are cases when an authority has to step in and make sure everyone is playing fair. Internet access is one of them.

So, all you people bitching about "more government regulation", please wake the hell up and join us here in reality. Thank you.

Another person I know bet on RAID, and lost.

I just want to remind everyone out there who runs any sort of server or has important data that RAID is *NEVER* a substitute for proper backups.

RAID is only meant to improve reliability and uptime. In other words, a hard drive can fail and be replaced without bringing the system down. It will NOT protect against things like:

- Double disk failures (it happens! More often than you think.)
- Power surges frying the system
- User error (rm -rf * .tmp Aaww D'OH!!)
- and much more.

If you don't have a proper offline backup that is completely SEPARATE from your server, RAID or not, your data's days are numbered. It isn't a question of "if", but rather, "when".


The time to do this, if you haven't, is yesterday. I'm serious.

Anyway, end rant. I just needed to remind everyone because I saw it happen yet again.

Sunpass Idiocy

Here in Florida we have the Sunpass toll collection system. You put a little transponder in your car and it pays tolls automatically as you go through them.

Well, that's nice. But apparently the system that automatically replenishes the account balance and the system that checks if your credit card is expired are out of sync with each other.

I faithfully updated my credit card when I got my new one a month before the old one expired. All was well.

Then I noticed on my way back from FWA last weekend that my balance had hit zero.

I checked the website and found that the "auto-replenish" had turned off. So I turned it back on. All was well.

Today in the mail I get two letters. The first one says that my credit card had expired, so auto-replenish had been turned off. The second was a nastygram of sorts that said using the transponder with a zero balance is a violation of the rules and can lead to "uniform traffic citations". I can't find a definition of this UTC anywhere on their site, but I suspect it's a fancy term for "ticket".

Gee, thank you for telling me a week later what a horrible criminal I am because YOUR system doesn't handle credit card expirations properly!

Oh yeah, and they did eventually tack on all the tolls I went through when the balance was zero, so they got my money *anyway*. Why are they complaining?

Overreacting and lack of priorities...


This woman is going insane over breaking a single compact fluorescent light bulb in her daughter's room. She's afraid of the miniscule amount of mercury in the bulb, and claims to have to pay $2000 to get it cleaned up.

What the hell? Are people crazy, is that what it is?

The media has gotten people so paranoid about the environmental impact of various things that they're flipping out over harmless amounts of mercury in a light bulb. Hell, when I was a kid I had a bead of mercury I played with for a while; this was before me or my parents knew it was dangerous, and I had a lot of fun messing with it. Am I suffering ill effects? NO!!! And that was probably THOUSANDS of times as much mercury as is in a CFL lamp.

I'm all for saving the environment, but the truth is, you do a lot more for the environment by using CFL lamps (a 13 watt CFL puts out as much light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb) than you do by worrying about the microscopic amounts of mercury in the things. Even if all the CFL lamps in use right now were to break at once, the negative environmental impact would likely be less than that of all the additional energy use required to feed equivalent incandescent lamps.

Wake up, people; don't be stupid. It's called *priorities*. Unfortunately, some people would do anything to come up with a soapbox to get attention, regardless of how negatively it affects everyone else.

-Zorin the Lynx, avid CFL lamp user

TinyMUCK pet peeves

This is one of those postings only those of you who have MUCKed (or perhaps MUDded) will get. I figured I'd post it here because folks will find it through searches and such and may get a laugh out of it.

TinyMUCK (especially FurryMUCK) pet peeves:

  • People who can't freakin' write - Okay, this probably applies everywhere on the net. I've noticed folks on TinyMUCKs tend to write better than the average joe on the net, but there are still folks who have serious issues with run-on sentences, spelling, punctuation, and use of capital letters. Really, typing like a moron makes you look like a moron, regardless of whether you are or not. Learn how to spell "character", for crying out loud! And if you can't write, don't bother trying to RP. Please.
  • Really bad descriptions - This sort of jives with "People who can't freakin' write", but in a different way. Your description on a MUCK is your character; it's who you are. If you spend three paragraphs describing your genitals and one sentence saying that you have brown eyes, people are going to laugh at you. It doesn't make you sexy. It doesn't make you interesting, because so many people seem to do this. If your entire purpose to be on a MUCK is online sex, go to Tapestries and stay out of my personal space.
  • Folks who use MPI descriptions with hard line breaks at greater than 80 characters - Not everyone has a terminal as wide as yours. The typical minimum accepted terminal width is 80 characters; stick with it if you must hard-break. A better idea is to only linebreak on paragraphs; this will allow the description to look good on any width terminal.
  • Heavy IC roleplaying in light IC/OOC areas - Nobody cares that your ship is having problems and you're looking for someone to fix it in the Park on FurryMUCK. There are areas designated for pure IC roleplay, stick to those areas for this sort of thing. Light-hearted IC/OOC areas such as the Park are more suited to general conversation, amusing antics, and goofing off, not serious RP.
  • Suddenly going home and disconnecting when in the middle of something - I hate it when people do this! Having a nice conversation or roleplay and suddenly they gohome and disconnect without warning. It's the equivalent of running out of a room in a real-life social situation and slamming the door. At least say "gotta go! RL." and THEN do it; it doesn't take much extra time to do this. Even just plain disconnecting is better, since it doesn't give the impression that you're pissed off when you leave.
  • Zombies that hit on people - Seriously, people. It's kind of like necrophilia. Creepy. Create another character if you want to get into serious roleplays as that entity. It's not hard!
  • Exits with no messages - When you build an area, and your exits have no messages, folks will only see "Name has left." or "Name has arrived." when they come in and out of the room. @succ/@osucc/@odrop your exits! It's much nicer to be able to see WHERE someone went, or WHERE they came from. Also, darking the exits is a good idea once you set the messages, to eliminate the now redundant "has arrived" and "has left" messages.
  • Unclear exit names - When you're in a room whose desc says "There is a door in the back of the room leading to the galley", and you type "back" or "galley" and it doesn't work, it gets pretty annoying. Try to name your exits with as many possibilities as possible, so your guests can actually move around in your area. For instance, in that case I'd name the exit back;rear;galley;astern.
  • Lack of an out path or a way to get out of an area to where you came from - If your station/ship/whatever is really complicated, set up an "out" path so that folks can get back to the main room just by typing "out" until they get there. The main room should have an "out" to a transporter room or to the street. Yes, there are situations where you'd WANT someone to get lost, but these are not common, so "out" paths can make exploration easier and less frustrating if you want folks to see your entire area. One-way exits are also extremely irritating to explorers; avoid them at all costs unless an RP demands them.

Will be sure to post more as I think of them. }:)

C++/g++ sucks!

I hate having to compile C++ code. It's like a gamble every time I do it. We keep about eight different versions of g++ on site; whenever we have to compile some old code, we end up having to try at least three or four versions before we find the one that compiles the code correctly.

This seems to be becoming less of a problem with newer code, but it's still very obnoxious that the C++ standards have been changed so often in non-backwards compatible ways!

It makes Java actually look bearable in comparison...

Sorry for the tech rant, but I just had to. I feel better now. }8)

Some more Internet pet peeves

I think some of us have seen my classic web pet peeves list at this location. Well, I just felt it needed some updates. So here's some of the latest annoyances on the net that I bet we've all hit once in a while.

  • People who use unnecessary unicode/xml/etc. in E-mail -- I mean, come on, folks. This is a quote: " You don't have to use quot; or other bizarre quote-wannabes. Use standard ASCII quotes. Some mail programs are badly behaved and replace every normal " you type with these abominations; disable that. If you are speaking in English, use ASCII. The same goes for apostrophes ('). The world need not be artificially made more complex than it already is!
  • Sending word documents as attachments that contain nothing but text or images -- This sort of jives with the above peeve, in that it's unnecessary, wastes bandwidth, and causes needless annoyance having to open up a bulky application just to read your message. If you must have it page-formatted, generate a PDF instead; it'll be smaller. If you need to send an image, attach the actual image to the message; don't send it embedded in a word document! Another problem with Word documents is that they can contain macro viruses and potentially compromise the machine! Oh yeah, and not everybody runs Windows or uses Word.
  • HTML E-mail -- HTML E-mail is unnecessary. Just use plaintext and write actual URLs as links; the vast majority of mail clients will make the links clickable. There's two problems with HTML E-mail; the first is that it looks like crap when viewed in plain text, and the second is that most SPAM is sent as HTML E-mail, so spam filters tend to spam-score HTML messages higher than plaintext messages. Your fancy HTML email might be filed away as SPAM and your recipient may not even see it! If you must send someone a web page, just send them the URL to it. It's much faster. What's funny is that 99% of the people who send HTML E-mail don't actually use any HTML features! The message would look exactly the same in plaintext.
  • Using Java for images -- I don't know how this idiocy got started, but I've come across several sites where the images were actually displayed by Java applets. Not only is this slow, but it prevents viewing of the images on any browser that isn't Java-enabled! I happened to like one of the images and wanted to save it, and ended up having to take a screen-capture and crop the image out. Needless to say, unnecessary annoyance. Stop it! The same applies for Macromedia Flash being used solely to display a static image.

Well, that's it for now. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to comment! Remember, just because an application has a feature doesn't mean you should be obliged to use it. Features do not get lonely from disuse and do not need your pity. };)

Dumbasses with no common sense: Evolution in action

Seriously, what's with all these morons running generators inside the house?

I've heard reports that several people have already died in the wake of this hurricane... Not because of the hurricane, but because they ran a FREAKIN' GAS ENGINE INSIDE THE HOUSE.

Okay, let's look at a couple of factors here...

  • Generators are DAMN NOISY: Even if they were completely harmless, why would you want that insane racket in your house? I know it'd drive me batty in no time...
  • Exhaust fumes are smelly: You'd think after a while when you're coughing and can't breathe because of the nasty fumes building up, you'd stop the generator and open a window...
  • Everyone knows running a car in a closed garage will kill you: Shouldn't it be common sense to apply this to any other type of engine?

Several people are Darwin award contenders already for this idiocy, and I'm sure there will be more before the power is restored everywhere in South FL. Not only that, how many family members of the deceased will try to sue the generator manufacturers for this?

People really need to grow some brains.

Saw "Corpse Bride" last night...

Went out with some friends to see Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" last night. It was actually a fun flick; it's nice to see some production houses still using traditional animation methods, as opposed to insisting on using computer animation for everything. Regardless of the animation method, though, it's the story and characters that make a film.

I don't plan to see "Chicken Little" in the theaters. It is my personal protest against the rape of Walt Disney Feature Animation, a division that created some of my favorite movies ever. For those who aren't aware, Eisner basically dismantled feature animation, firing most of the artists and keeping only a paltry few who were transferred to the 3-D computer animation department.

Disney is trying to be Pixar. Sorry, it's not going to work. The reason Pixar films are so successful is because of good storyline and characters, not because it's "3-D". The artists should be the ones in charge, not managers whose only training is an MBA. Until the company realizes this, they are going continue their current mediocrity.

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