jeweled platypus


tuesday, april 27, 2004
music before the glowing rain

it’s been gorgeously hot in los angeles: the early-summer heat that makes me sneeze, burns my skin, and turns my hair radioactive. it is soft and heavy and smells like car exhaust, suffering green things, and dust.

the ice cream carts are back. they’re the dry-ice powered, inner-city equivalent of those suburban ice cream trucks. of course, neither really leave during the fall and winter.

a third of the other girls are wearing cheerleader-style skirts. where did that come from? i understand web memes. i can probably tell you what the current memes are at any moment. but real-life trends puzzle me.

my schools have been public and private, suburban and urban and in-between, religious and secular, upper-middle class and lower-middle class, arts magnet and gifted magnet and math/science/tech magnet. k-12, k-6, 6-12, community college, music school.

only thing left is some kind of university.


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monday, april 26, 2004
crossed with a proboscis baboon


(made on december 27, 2003.)

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friday, april 23, 2004
platforms and protocols for fun and pleasure

windows internet explorer through wine on gentoo linux, over ssh, on x11 in os x.

screenshot of windows internet explorer on os x

yeah, mister kyle is awesome.

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leading the stained j-glass

bbc tech headlines and their britta tech leads.

hard drive speed limit is reached
a serial ata hard drive may attain speeds of up to 65mph on the freeway, according to new studies conducted by the california highway patrol.
profits soar ahead 92% at ebay
the ebay cult, quietly gathering members since its successful holiday season, has seen its assets grow tremendously in its off-shore banks.
curiosity fuels mobile chat anger
“wtf des ‘prly’ mean??” and similar complaints are a growing problem among parents who use text messages to communicate with offspring.
china-us talks reach wi-fi deal
a huge wifi base station is planned for the coast of china, which would effectively turn the entire united states into a wireless hotspot. congress has not yet decided how to tax this.
hackable bug found in net’s heart
a fly inside the internet’s pulmonary artery caused its recent heart failure, but doctors believe the insect can be removed with the help of micro-saws.
pc users ‘fail security tests’
transportation security agency (tsa) statistics indicate that pc users must be removed from lines at the airport more than twice as often as macintosh people. the suggested remedy is to switch.
sweet deal for passwords
pepsi will release a new promotion next week, where one of every three bottles will have a free password printed inside the cap. each password is certified random and worth from 1/100th of a cent to unspeakably precious.
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saturday, april 17, 2004
sneaky ways to get people to do things

from pp. 103-104 of poemcrazy, by susan g. woolridge:

American Indians—at least Plains people, who, paradoxically, value both communality and individuality above almost everything—simply don’t tell their children or each other what to do. According to my Osage friend, the poet Duane BigEagle, Plains people may say, “If you don’t brush you teeth, you’ll get cavities,” or, “If you touch the hot stove, you’ll get burned,” or even more simply, “The stove is hot.” But it’s up to the child to decide whether or not to touch the stove and accept the consequences. Rarely do the Osage say, “Brush your teeth,” or “Don’t touch the stove.”

The Osage have such reverence for individuality, Duane says, that even at peril to their own lives they won’t tell someone else what to do. If four Osage people are in a car and the driver is heading off the road, all the passengers will say is, “There’s the edge!” never, “Don’t drive off the road.” If they’re raised traditionally, Duane adds, they won’t even think it.

i’ve found that this works pretty well. people tend to be more willing to do something if they decide to do it.

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tuesday, april 13, 2004
browsing the collective unconscious

what kind of .txt files do people share on a p2p network? is there anything interesting to read? i imagined some secret bbs-like thing going on, people exchanging crazy files…or maybe just a bunch of readmes and software cracks.

i fired up my faithful accomplice and found out. i searched for “txt” a few times and i had a sample of 853 things. good enough.

this is what i found:

a list of the files i found

and a whole lot of files with mysterious and weird names. i downloaded a couple dozen of the promising ones.

guitar tabs for some inane song i’ve never heard of.
about crack.txt
installing a crack for macvcd. i have no idea what macvcd is. i figured this was about the drug.
a chat log, in french. who the hell shares their chat logs? poor alex.
a readme in german and english for a donation-ware font. i wonder what the font looks like.
Get every song you want here!.txt
awww, it just advertises a midi site.
heavy elephants.txt
a spoiler for some game with Greek and Norse soldiers.
a quote from Oedipus Rex.
Kniting Text.txt
exactly what it says. enthusiastic basic information on knitting.
information about itunes in what appears to be dutch.
about the app skinner, not the food.
also exactly what it says. things to know about the year 2000.

i could start a whole weblog of weird text files found on acquisition. maybe i will.

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monday, april 12, 2004
mee pee tee x 4

i like music. i like free, somewhat obscure music made by real people. you probably do too (that is, if i have my personas right, and my persona is myself, so i’m always right).

first we present burr settles. he makes neat web toys and good music:

next, we have red martian. i’ve only listened to “supercomputing facility”, which i really like. excerpt from the lyrics:

call malloc()
then call a free()
cached my stack
for a rehash
x86 into the trash
before intel
PeeCees suck
linux as well

then, i hate you when you’re pregnant. “stuff in this world” is good; the rest of the songs aren’t.

and finally horton’s choice. all eight songs are great: scratchy, rockish, and intelligent. my favorites are “oxygen” and “shores”, which are also on creative commons’ wonderful copy me/remix me cd.

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wednesday, april 07, 2004
ha ha those scandinavians

boingboing reports an “oddly-named IKEA work bench”: fartfull.

my mom likes to tell the story of some distant childhood neighbor who was from norway, or had norwegian parents, or something.

he wanted a bicycle. he really wanted a bicycle. he saved up money and one day he had enough to buy a bicycle. he went to the bicycle store and excitedly picked out a bicycle. he jumped up and down and asked the store clerk, “does it go fart? does it go fart?”

yeah…the clerk looked at him weird.

“fart” means “speed” in norwegian (and swedish). he was so excited, he forgot the english word.

submunition has more funny names, including the “jerker” computer table.

sarah (my older sister) once told me, when we were in IKEA one afternoon, that the product names sound like a swedish-american trying to sound like a swedish person trying to sound american.

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tuesday, april 06, 2004
stars and pendulum logs

in the great blog-wank tradition, here are answers to questions, searched for by somebody, that have shown up in this site’s server logs.

how to know where ip address comes from
click this link: Wikipedia. click inside the text box on the upper-left corner. type “IP address”. click the “Go” button. read the article, including the paragraph that mentions ARIN. reflect on your newfound knowledge.
the meaning of the cover of kindred by octavia butler
the cover of my copy has a tinted-purple photo of a woman standing in a field. she is the main character, dana, in the past as a slave woman. her eyes look left (right, from the viewer’s perspective)—somebody told me once that a person’s eyes look left when they’re accessing a memory, because memory is stored on the left side of the human brain. the purple tint and wacky typography have no significance.
why is there no b drive
a long time ago, the b drive was the second floppy disk drive. now, computers usually don’t have second floppy disk drives, but the standard was established and now b is unassigned.
why is hypertext so useful
click here!
why should the same person release the simple pendulum and star
because that way it’s much easier for the end-user. if different persons release the simple pendulum and star, the objects might not be consistent. sometimes, they aren’t even compatible. then, the user has to search for new simple pendulums or stars, and they might get confused and give up. you don’t want to make people read the documentation.
actually, i have no idea.
ti-83 how to make smileys
press alpha. press · [the decimal point key]. press ). congratulations, you have a happy smiley! press del and ( for an unhappy smiley.
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chocolate choco choco chocosoy

chatfield’s vegan chocolate morsels taste goood. they’re smaller, less sweet, and softer than normal chocolate chips. i love them. they’re perfect in my morning bowl of cheerios. they’re also perfect in 3 am handfuls. versatile!

mori-nu mates pudding mix tastes goood too. a packet of pudding mix + a little box of tofu + a bit of water / a blender = mmm. it’s vegan and dairy-free and organic and all that. the chocolate kind is especially good with a few chatfield’s chocolate chips thrown in…or a double-batch with the chocolate plus vanilla. i don’t like the lemon creme kind much, but mister kyle does. we eat bowls and bowls of this stuff. there’s lots of protein and not too much saturated fat or sugar.

silk chocolate soymilk is also goood. i drink half-gallons and half-gallons. i like the plain kind too. the coffee soylatte tastes ok. the chai, [egg]nog, and “very vanilla” flavors taste disgusting, but mister kyle loves them.

these three things are much better than the non-veg*n kinds. regular chocolate chips are too sweet and too hard. regular pudding is full of fat and not much nutrition. real milk tastes flat and doesn’t come in as many (or as good) flavors. yay for alternatives!

today, i ate part of a trader joe’s belgian milk chocolate bar with hazelnuts (the kind marketed for easter, in green foil). it was good. not vegan…just vegetarian. it was really good. thanks mom.

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monday, april 05, 2004
it’s been a long time

from the history of llamasoft:

We were all handed sheets of paper with boxes to write the letters of the program in. Upon these sheets, we had to painstakingly write the two or three lines of our simple programs, in capital letters, in the little boxes.

argh! my computer teacher makes us do this. i’m serious. we copy out sample programs onto the paper-with-boxes. then, we’re allowed to type them on the screen.

and not only that.

we have to fill out “input-output layout forms” and “printer spacing charts”. i don’t understand them at all. i’m guessing it’s all ancient artifacts from the last time my teacher was up to date…sometime in the card-punching days, i think.

we do flowcharts too. they’re a little bit cool. i make weird animals from ms word’s flowchart autoshapes.

a flowchart animal

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thursday, april 01, 2004
well it’s one two three four

the design was in for some change. i’ve been gradually realizing things: it was too cramped, the right-align wasn’t working, even the “platypus” motif was tired…

yes, waferbaby to the rescue! everyone knows waferbaby has the best xhtml/css evarrr, so i borrowed a few ideas.

update 4/2/04: ;) you can still see jeweledbaby if you append .baby instead of .html to /news/ urls - for example, this post and the index page.

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I’m Britta Gustafson.

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