The End.

Thought I'd mention I moved again since this is still the number one result for holizz on Google: holizz.com.

Well, that's it. It's all over. The end of an era.

But it's also the start of a new era. I've moved out of Blogger and into my new home: holizz.niallfleming.ath.cx.

Goodbye Blogger.


I hate the hacker purity test

purity -a /usr/share/games/purity/hacker

you answered 440 'no' answers out of 510 questions,
which makes your purity score 86.27%.

0x181 and 0x200 -> Computer Illiterate

Hmm. Somehow I'm not sure this particular purity test is entirely valid.

Misc links

Is Your Son a Computer Hacker?

Richard M. Stallman: Portrait of a Pirate Hacker

Hehehehehe. This is a good site.

Teeny Goths. I think I know some people like this.

There was some interesting news from Debian Weekly News last week and now Newsforge is reporting on a controversial package known as Hot Babe.


Neil's Magical Meme

Woop, a meme! Thought up by Neil: How Open Source are you?

So. How Free am I?

To save typing time, everything in this list is free unless otherwise stated.

Operating System: Knoppix Debian GNU/Linux

It's lovely. But I shall be installing Sarge when it becomes stable.

IM Client: irssi

It's not annoying like Gaim with its font sizes that don't change or the inability to block the width or itacism of some idiot's font. But Unicode doesn't work too well with it being in a screen in an xterm. But then us-ascii is the only character set that can be trusted to work on all platforms. So maybe it's a blessing in disguise.

Editor: vim

I use it all the time. It's a great editor. And the pretty colours are nice when you spend hours on end hacking.

MySQL Front-end: mysqlcc (MySQL Control Centre)

It's pretty damn useful. MySQL Administrator doesn't let you stick data into tables, etc. and MySQL Navigator is a little crappy. What a great explanation of mysqlcc.

X Browser: Mozilla Firefox

In its current guise it doesn't meet the DFSG's definition of Free. But it's in main so it's free enough for me. It's going to have to be repackaged to exclude the non-Free parts and the name will have to change due to the Mozilla Foundation insiting that non-Mozilla packages will have to be under another name.

It's a good browser though. One day I'll build it from source and include SVG support.

X Mail Client: Mozilla Thunderbird

Same as above.

Document Production: LaTeX

It's an excellent language. When my new blog is complete it will use LaTeX-like markup, such as `` for a double back quote.

Media Players: mpd, vlc

mpd is fantastic. It's a daemon that plays music! Much better that that XMMS crap! It fits in with the Unix philosophy of ``do one thing well''. All it does is sit in the background and play music. It has a bit of playlist ability but that's it. For a front-end I generally use mpc, which allows commands like mpc play, mpc next and mpc stop. When I'm in a more music-changing mood I generally use GMPC, which is a nice GUI.

vlc is nice and it plays allsorts of shit with the codecs from mplayer.


Hehe, it's like a colophon. Sort of. I love it!

Something Awful and permalinks

I was reading a nice article today, shown to me by my good friend Uni Will. Engines of Grief. It started out like your usual anti-moron rant and degraded into talk of church-bombing.

The article isn't the main point of this post. But it's the starting point. The main point is a usability problem with Something Awful (SA).

The problem, is that there are no permalinks anywhere near the articles displayed on the home page. They should be there. People like me will not link to an article on the home page of a blog. It's just wrong for so many reasons I will not get into now. There's a disadvantage of the lack of permalinks already, less incoming links.

Getting the permalink: click News Archives, click January 2005, scroll down and hope that the script that updates the archives has been run since the article was posted. If not, click the last article and increment the number until the article you want is displayed.

I don't know about anybody else but I wouldn't do that every time I wanted to link to an article, I'd just not bother.

I simply propose that articles on the home page have permalinks available.

I must confess that I do not hold SA in highest regard, but by Space the home page needs permalinks!

And here is my short and hopefully informative and persuasive email:

Dear webmaster,
I came across a small but annoying usability problem with Something Awful. I noticed that none of the articles on the home page are displayed with a permalink. There aren't even permalinks available in the archives for the latest articles (at the time of writing), I had to manually increment the article number.

I expect people would be more likely to link to or bookmark particular articles if permalinks were more readily available.



Friday Q


FQ1: What's something you often must do that's a complete waste of time?

Attend labs. They're compulsory. I may spend less time going to lectures this semester if they're anything like they were last semester. Or maybe not. Introduction to Web Technologies could be pretty amusing.

FQ2: Who's a public figure you wish would stop wasting everybody's time?

Darl McBride. Although he hasn't been in the news lately, I'm sure he's still an annoying wanker.

FQ3: What's something you'd like to do more of if you had extra free time?

Read blogs, blog, learn and programme (they often merge, which is good). But that's what I do most of the time anyway, so it's just a matter of doing less sleeping, eating and socialising, which are all things I enjoy.

FQ CLOCK: What time is it where you're at right now, and what time zone are you in?

I think this ISO-8601--formatted date string says it all, really (it's the output of date --iso-8601=seconds):


My timezone being GMT at the moment. BST is annoying.

Misc links

Casio watches: now with built-in terrorism!

According to this story, a warrant isn't needed to search a PC when its owner allows it to be searched. What a non-story. If this idiot wants privacy, he should get his own PC, install OpenBSD on it and lock it in a cupboard.

/me drools. Only £5.

I for one welcome... Robosapien V2.

After reading this and testing it I decided to remove the accesskeys from South Square Centre.


You know you're taking the wrong degree when...

When viewing the material for a specific module which included writing CGI scripts, I wondered if we could hand in things we have done outside the course for coursework. For example one piece I noticed had something about using a script to access a MySQL database and I already have a lot of good scripts that use MySQL.

Last morning (it was 2005-01-05 very early in the morning) I and Niall were looking at information for a module we will be taking next year called Introduction to Web Technologies (IWT). When looking to see if there was any updated material for the module (it starts in February, the lecturer should start putting stuff up soon), I mistyped the URL and ended up looking at the third-year course Deploying Web Technologies. Of course being about 1am in the morning and having just eaten cookies and soldered the mainboard of my Xbox in an attempt to enable me to flash the read-only BIOS (it didn't work, unfortunately), I don't think either of us noticed this. So we continued looking at what work we may be likely to come across, still thinking that this was a first-year module. So we have a read of each section and laugh at how easy it will all be.

Now that I know this is the most advanced module (out of a whopping two modules) on the WWW, I feel quite upset with the Computing department. I'd have said its content would be suitable for a first year module. I'm really not happy that this is a third year module. I can write more advanced things without thinking (just recently I've written two MySQL-based content management systems---one static and one dynamic---and a cache for Gravatars). I was expecting this course to challenge me at least a little bit.

What ever will I do to keep myself entertained throughout this course? I've already written about half of a prototype dynamic web content management system (one could argue what I've written could constitute the whole of the project since it is a prototype---it just needs some next/previous links on each page), which is not only a final year project, but it is also a masters project!

I'm rather pissed-off about this. I thought about reading the resources for the masters module Web Technologies but there's precious little there and the terrible design looks like somebody who doesn't know the first thing about writing Web pages wrote it. I like the way a masters module on the Web has a link to a Beginner's Guide to HTML. Can it not be assumed that a graduate of Computer Science wanting to do `Web Technologies' would already know HTML? I suppose not.

This is one of those few times where I really get annoyed at something. I come to university and my LEA pays thousands of pounds to Bradford University. And for what? So I can sit around doing my own personal projects for half the year (the holidays are so long) and the other half the year I'm going to lectures or labs and sleeping or playing on the wheelly chairs respectively for a couple of hours each day of the working week.

I'm going to have to invent new ways to have fun. Like whole new methods in pursuit of the concept of fun. It's going to be so boring if I don't constantly keep myself doing nice things. I could very easily run out of things to write (software-wise, that is, I can always blog). I should write a 100 Things to Do Before I Graduate list.

In just thinking randomly I came up with an interesting idea that I haven't seen implemented (I'm sure Opera already has it as it seems to do everything Firefox doesn't). Framed browsing (not to be confused with dreadful framesets). Such as splitting the browsing pane into two frames with one being in one frame and another being in a second frame. Each frame should have access to all the same set of loaded pages (like using the same screen session on two xterms on the same desktop). I'm sure I've seen screenshots of something with lots of sub-windows inside one browsing pane. But that's more analogous to having 26 xterms open rather than two xterms and a single screen session with 26 screens in the session. A nice feature of this framed browsing would be the ability to drag a link in frame A and dropping it into frame B.

I believe there is a final-year project in Computing related to creating a multimedia WWW browser. It could be an interesting thing to consider.

In summation, I am not happy about the quality of my course (especially since I'll get bored one holiday and do each and every one of the masters and final year projects). Now I must depart for pastures much sleepier. Goodnight, the Internet.

Firefox sucks

I beat Slashdot. They suck, I rule.

I recall an article I read some time last year about HCI mentioning that since the back button is more commonly used than, say, the forward button it should be larger and easier to click on (possibly so that when the window is maximsed the buttons should extend to the edge of the screen and not be one pixel away from the edge (I believe this may be a limitation of Gtk, or it may not). This is assuming the window manager sticks the right-most pixel of a window at the right-most pixel of the screen when maximised, of course. Anyway, I found an interesting extension for Firefox known as MileWideBack. It basically turns the left border of the window into a back button. The author of the article (which a quick Google search does not find)Ãsuggested making the back button a little wider. But this extension could be even better as it may make that left-most row of pixels in the window useful.

The reason I was browsing for Firefox extensions was because I'd read in one of Jakob Nielson's Alertboxes (Reviving Advanced Hypertext) that Opera ``[gives] users buttons to go to a site's home page, help system, category listings, and so on'' and I wanted an extension to give me access to a page's links (I ought to add some useful links to SSQ's template). I did find some links rather useful when using the w3m interface to emacs. Specifically, pressing space would scroll down until one reached the end of the page. Pressing space once more would go to the page's next link (very commonly used in documentation generators).

Unfortunately, I found no extension that makes use of navigational links. I'd write one myself if it weren't for the fact that XUL confuses me. I could write the Javascript for it and maybe, if I copy/paste from some other extension, I may be able to get the XUL done. But I'll be damned if I know how to make an extension.


Gravatar cache: now in PHP

Guess what happened today. In the early hours of the morning, just after I and Niall had given up flashing the Xbox's BIOS, I recieved an email from Blogger. Somebody called Colin had commented on my blog. He ported my Python-based Gravatar cache to PHP!

Here's an example Gravatar fetched from the PHP version: It's Neil.

The source is, of course, available.

How fantastic, eh? I may think about contacting the people at Gravatar.com, they may be interested.

Advise for CS students. Learn C before graduating? I learnt it before I finished my GCSEs.

I can't tell you how many times I've been frustrated by programmers with crazy ideas that make sense in code but don't make sense in capitalism.

What? That makes no sense to me. But then I suppose I don't understand microeconmics. How would code and an abstract concept like capitalism mix at all? Except in a game like Slune (see previous post or something).

Apart from the odd, incomprehensible bits (i.e. the bits I didn't understand---I'm sure it all makes perfect sense), it's a good article and it certainly got me thinking.

debian-legal have been discussing Mozilla's trademarks and images.


Messenger Plus! installs Spyware? According to a screenshot of Microsoft Anti-Spyware Beta, at least. I can't wait for them to start bundling a feature-limited version of this with Windows. The other AV will be pissed off and then they'll bribe Yet Another Government. Again.

I downloaded Tux Paint the other day. Davina will certainly be hearing about this. She was planning on getting a new laptop and (having me) installing Linux on that and leaving Windows 95 on her desktop and let the kids play with that. But this software is damn good. It reminds me strongly of a kids' Windows painting program I once enjoyed.

That was the first monthly newsletter on Dooce I've read. Awwwwwww.

Today I am going to South Square for lunch with Davina and the kids. I will then be playing games with Will. He has recently acquired a GCN and he already has a GBA SP and he has a GCN--GBA link cable! I shall be playing with the Tingle Tuner. And later on I shall most-likely be meeting Summer for non-Rios (gasp!) activities.

Cheap evil

Wikinews may not have a lot of stories but there are some good articles.

Man bites dog. No, really. Idiot. ``Effective form of punishment'', punishment is not effective.

Whoa, a little while after writing the above about Wikinews, I find a big link-o-rama from Slashdot on a similar subject: Wikipedia Criticised by Its Co-founder.

Today I have been playing Slune. It uses Soya 3D.

At the bottom of the README in Soya, it says ``Enjoy Soya 3D ! And stop eating meat !''.

Slune is a driving game like Driver in that you have missions. But it's rather cartoonish. You're Tux and the story is basically Tux driving around in various efforts to get AIDS drugs to people in Africa. There's Gnu who tells you what to do and where to drive. And there's Shark who is an American pharmaceuitcal bastard who tries to stop Tux. It's a pretty good game.

I'm considering doing something bad. Possibly worse than buying Halo 2 (it's okay though, I returned it...). I'm considering buying two, yes two, proprietary products. The first is Cedega (something that would allow me to play Windows games on Linux) and the second is Half-Life 2. Do you know why? My good friend Erik (whom never blogs, it would seem) showed me some videos demonstrating a mod known as JBMod (it allows one to weld objects together in Half-Life 2). He'd welded a canister of gas to a washing machine or cooker or something and it was spinning around in the air. The physics looks so good. Look at this lovely raft he welded together. Is it so wrong and evil that I want to taint my all-Free installation with this proprietary crap? I think it is.

Roughly £26 for the `bronze' package of Half Life 2 from Steam (or I could get the physical product in a real box for £30 from most stores, which I prefer the idea of---how does one return a product and get a refund from Steam?) and the minimum subscription of three months for Transgaming is £9. For all that evil it'll only cost about £40, which is less than money I accumulated from 2004-12-25-related presents.

Damn, evil is cheap. And it has good physics.