tree removal

Soreness continues apace. We removed 5 small trees Saturday using a rented electric chainsaw. Maybe gas powered would have required less work on my part, not sure. A few of the trees were against the house and interfering with gutters and power lines, along with being generally unmaintainable without a cherry picker or some crazy ladder usage. Good riddance, says I.

I’m forced to admit that piles of brush on the lawn look larger and uglier than the trees they replace. Time to find out how soon the county can dispose of the mess for us.

what a difference six months makes

Wagoner defends GM’s reliance on SUVs.

In response to analysts’ concerns about GM’s dwindling liquidity in light of the latest slide in demand for its most profitable vehicles and the jump in raw material costs, Wagoner responded that “under any scenario we see, we’re good until the end of the year.”

What an incredible country we live in, where such short-sighted business leadership can survive even that long.  Is six months now considered taking the long view?  Do we want give our execs bonuses and other incentives based on that kind of performance?

Wagoner shouts “Save us!”

Unbelievable.  As far as we know nothing illegal has happened to bring the US auto industry to this precipice, but there’s a level of irresponsibility that matches or exceeds what went on at Enron and Worldcom.  These executive criminals deserve far worse than they’re ever going to get.  I think we should at least arrange for them to be pilloried in downtown Detroit.  The kind of violence being perpetrated against the US by its own corporations calls for retribution in kind.  That these men are getting off scott free ($1 a year salary?  This is sacrifice?) and being allowed to helm our largest corporations onto the rocks defies logic.

more awesome than awesome

What’s more awesome than awesome? This.

09:33 < jspears> is there an equivalent to 'awesome -k' for awesome3?
09:33 < jspears> I tried just using lua but it seems to error on valid syntax
09:34 < farhaven> I just start another X server
09:34 < farhaven> like this: startx -- :1
09:34 < farhaven> and if awesome works fine inside that one, the syntax is okay
09:51 < CIA-5> awesome: Julien Danjou  * rda52a7b197bd / (awesomerc.lua.in lib/awful/util.lua.in): awful:
               add helper to check configuration file syntax
09:51 < CIA-5> awesome: Julien Danjou  * r116de391421a / (luaa.c structs.h): lua: add awesome.conffile()
09:55 -!- sm217 [~sm@92.112.172.241] has joined #awesome
09:56 -!- GGLucas [~GGLucas@5357FFDA.cable.casema.nl] has quit [Ping timeout: 480 seconds]
09:56 < MadCoder> farhaven: your answer seems to be obsolete :P
09:57 < farhaven> damn :D

women and free software

Biella,

The article is so drastically tilted, I almost have to believe it’s a joke; seriously, is this copied from The Onion?

I tend to think that treating anyone as a member of a protected class in order to ensure their participation is more divisive than any difference a few members of the group might perceive.  In this case, the article’s overt treatment of women as “the fair sex” implies both diminished mental capacity and an overly “warm and fuzzy” approach to working with others.  As long as we’re going this route, why don’t we insist on “more fair” treatment for people with different skin color than the majority?  You only have to take these kind of practices a step or two further for them to become truly repugnant.

If there are behaviors in a male dominated sphere that drive off women, they’re driving off other men too.  The issue is the behaviors, not what gender is perpetrating them.  There are some good articles about excising poisonous people from your group, be it an OSS project, the workplace or what have you.  This is a big step for some communities who have come to rely on individuals who bring the notion “antisocial” to dire levels.  Look closely at some of the OSS projects that are very small and seem unable to gain contributors, and I bet you’ll find these poison pills.  Some of them are so abrasive they simply work completely alone.  I submit that the main reason this is less prevalent in proprietary software is that companies have HR departments with rules and processes designed both to prevent adding these people to the team, and to get rid of them if necessary.

Lastly, I think if you believe in gaining equality the first step is to truly believe that you are equal and insist on treatment as such.  Accommodating mental and emotional handicaps, as the article seems to suggest, isn’t the way to get there.

casting Motoko

According to the tubes, Dreamworks will be producing a live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. While there’s great fun to be had debating the pros and cons thereof, I’m going to stick to the usual casting speculation game.

My first pick for Motoko Kusanagi is Jodie Foster. She has the acting chops to pull off both the hard-as-nails Major and the introspective, almost-vulnerable Motoko – not to mention the physical resemblance being close enough to not require silly amounts of makeup or a complete divergence from the original character design. I’m not certain about action sequences, but I’ve seen enough movies to know that all those people flying around punching down walls aren’t athletes in real life. I say give her a shot.

on poor BD sales

There’s a report that BD isn’t selling well, specifically the players required to view the discs.  From my perspective, a BD player is still a ways off.  There are too many obstacles to adoption at this point:

1. Price.  Manufacturers, make your money on the movies as always (DVDs have a huge markup, BD even more so), but lower the bar for entry so more people can adopt the format.  Until the player is a commodity, the format will languish.

2. Feature set.  BD Profile 2.0 or whatever it is just isn’t possible on the bulk of the available players, because they don’t have ethernet connectivity.  There’s also too much disparity in what audio formats are supported by different players, making price shopping an experiment in whether the player will work well with your existing system.  Sure, the high dollar players have all the features you probably need, but it’s unacceptable that a firmware update could conceivably bring the others up to speed, if only.

3. DRM.  I would buy a BD drive for my HTPC in short order if viewing my own movies weren’t so encumbered with draconionan DRM that it becomes nearly impossible to do so on a non-blessed platform.  I don’t particularly want to circumvent DRM, it’s just a boring hassle; but I would be forced to if I attempted to integrate BD into my system for the lowest cost possible.

I know the PS3 is a popular, (relatively) inexpensive solution that also plays games, but the lack of IR kills the ability to integrate it into an existing system.  Sony may have won the format war, but they don’t understand or don’t care how to implement a truly compelling all-in-one STB / game machine.

Wishlist item: a Nintendo Wii with BD and a gestural interface.  Not fully gestural, obviously, but imagine using the wiimote as your shuttle control, scrubbing back and forth in a scene.  The possibilities…