Friday, June 25, 2004

Typing by Touch

Ok, this is a rather inane post, but I thought I would write about something that has always facinated me. Typing by Touch. It's something that many of us do, at least to some extent, but really how often do you think about the fact that you are doing it, untill someone else points out "wow, how can you type like that". One of my friends proudly exclaims that she types using the "columbus method" which is, as she humerously describles "typing by search and discovery". In a related note, I've been interested in learning the DVorak keyboard layout. The primary reason that I have, thus far, avoided learning it, is that typing by touch seems to be more muscle memory than any sort of actual knowlege that one attains, and since most keyboard layours use the QWERTY layout, I'm afraid that while it may be benefifial at home, it would inhibit my ability to type on other keyboards. Oh well. I require sleep.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

GMail, A Review

So I was reading a review of GMail today on slashdot today, and happened to mention to someone on IRC that I would like an account. Well wouldn't ya know they just happened to have an invite, so botta bing botta boom I have a gmail account. I figgured since this seems to be a topic of some interest to a lot of people, I would give my opinion of gmail, and the privacy issues surrounding it.

First off, gmail. If you've been locked in a closet for the last 6 months, gmail is a forey into the email area by everyone's favorite search engine, google. Google is offering up 1GB of storage, a slick user interface, and the ability to search your email using googles powerful search engine.

The user interface seems to be the first thing that everyone raves about. To be honest, I don't see what's so hot about it. The interface is definitely a breath of fresh air compared to hyperactive sites like Yahoo! and Hotmail. Even on my high bandwidth cable connection, Hotmail and Yahoo both are slow to load, I have seen how long it takes to load on dialup, and cannot see how they have so much popularity. Google does win hands down in this aspect, with it's clean, text based user interface, I imagine that gmail would be sleek and fast even on dialup. Having established that, relatively, the gmail interface is excellent, I think it could use a little tweeaking before it would merit all the prais it recives.

The 1GB storage space is definitely a feature worthy of noting, but there is not a lot to say on the subject. Google provides you with 1GB (though it's listed as 1000MB I have heard reports that you are infact given the full 1024GB of space). I have a hard time imagining that I will ever be starved for space with 1GB, since I am in the habbit of keeping a pretty clean mailbox, but it will certainly be nice to have the extra space for transfering large files. Doing graphic art and some 3D animation, I transfer quite a few files over 50MB or 100MB, and I am interested to see how much of a boon this extra storage space turns out to be in this case.

Because of the relatively short amount of time that I've had the account, I cannot say much about the spam filter, other than that I have not, thus far, seen any spam reach my inbox.

One nice feature of gmail is the spell checking. I composed a several page long email and ran spell check on it, and it managed to recognize a number of mispelled words, without marking too many technical terms. Spell checking works much like it does in any word processor, with mis-spelled words highlighted, and then the user clicks on them, it proposed a list of possible correctly spelled words to choose from. This is a feature which I never understood why other email providers did not offer.

One thing that seems to have been a huge deal among the paranoid privacy advocate crowd is the gmail privacy policy. Simple stated, people are going apeshit because gmail states that they will have a machine analyse your email. While I wouldn't like a person sitting there reading my email, I fail to see what the deal is with having the machine analyse your mail. The fact is, pretty much every spam filter is already going to be browsing your email anyway. Google just goes a step fruther by providing ads targeted at the subject of your email, based on analysing the content of it. My thoughts on this are that google does have to make money on this, or what's the point?, and I would prefer to have ads based on something that I'm interested in than some random flashing blinking pop-up advertisement. I think the people who get upset with what google is doing are the same people who freak out when their TiVo starts suggesting programming for them, people who fail to understand that machines are not (yet) congizant and capable of understanding the text they are parsing.

Ads are, just as with google's website, text based and completely non-intrusive. As stated above, google groks the content of your email to provide targed ads, similar to the targed ads when you run a web search. For the most part these ads stay out of the way and are pretty easy to ignore.

For more information on GMail, just search around on the web, there are a lot of articles written by people who have more experience with the system, and are better writers than I.

Untill next time, I'm signing off.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

If I ruled the world (part 1)

You know, I think everyone thinks that they could do a better job than anyone else if they were given absolute control over the world, and I'm sure that this is because any given person is always more able to server their own needs better than anyone else, give the resources of an entire world. I'm sure that if I ruled the world, no matter if it were a utopia or a distopia, you would be able to do better, but let's give thought to what I would do if I were to rule the world.

The first thing I would do, if I ruled the world, would be to abolish all corperations and businesses, and funnel all their funds into a central repository. Not because I'm a communist, but because to make the world better we have to start back at square one. Everyone would go back to zero in my new world, the government would run the infrastructure at first. Of course there would be no laws against starting a business or owning property, competition is always good, but everyone would have an equal chance to start out with.

Education would be the next thing I would invest time in, if I ruled the world. A Utopia is build on the backs of learned citizens. The education system, in america at least needs heavy revision. The biggest problem with education I think, is the delusion that we are all equal. We are not. That is not to say that any person has more intrensic worth than any other, but we are all born with unique abilities, and to treat everyone the same is to relegate everyone to mediocraty. Some people are smarter than others, some people are faster, taller, prettier, more artistic, these gifts should be encouraged.

If I ruled the world, the law would dictate that only the spirit of the law should be obeyed, exploiting loopholes in the law should carry a most severe punishment.

If I ruled the world, everyone should be educated on the cultures, religions, and lifestyles of others, intolerance is a pestilence that rots at the core of a Utopia.

If I ruled the world, voting would be mandatory.

If I ruled the world, people would be encouraged to critizise me, it's easy to be out of touch when you rule the world.

I'll finish this later.

The Surreal

The mind is a multi-faceted mystery machine marching maniacaly into insanity. The dreams tie us to other worlds, how tempting it would be to pull up anchor and sail away.

I just woke up. It's not quite 3:00pm yet, and I'm up early. I haven't showered yet, I am still unclean with the deeds of my dreams. I'm going to take a break from all my research and writing and movie watching and brain rotting today to write some good code. I am going to write my character managment system for 3.5 edition D&D today. It will be written in Java, check back here for a link, I'll post one as soon as it's done.


The world before me is a tunnel, the ghouls reach their gastly arms grasping for a hand full life. Onword I go! into the distance seeking that ever distant horizon, unreachable called Love. But how long shall I walk?
I stand at the other side of the bridge, no longer draped with peers over that lonely abyss which echoed out my calls and reflected my inner monster but the planks of that bridge were built in pairs, and now I stand alone in the glorious yet wretched sea of solitary victory. Now I am drowning.
The life rafts tease like mirages in the distance, calling out rhythmically like drums, beating in tune with my own heart. I see a glimps of my resuer only to have the images torn away it's memory burned into my eyes.
How many breaths can I still take? How many ghost ships will show themselves to my eyes. Wearily I swim and Lo! the Leviathin seeks me, his is the monster who's echo I heard all those years ago.
Man can be loved for his imperfection, he is the going over, and the going under, but what awaits that which crosses the bridge? Can there be pain without enlightenment. Desire comes from the loins of knowledge.
The tree has grown, and I have climbed my own branches, 32 paths all trodden, my waxing and waning philisophical flows with the winds.
I am gone, but here forever, my mark on you can never heal. You ask to see behind the mask but cower to see more than hollow eyes, I am not so empty. Isis, Osiris, Horus, who will rule the next age? if there is one to rule at all. Will those who have crossed the abyss become the old gods to new worlds? Beware, the singularity draws nigh, beyond comprehention lives only feeling, can you live then without goals and without regrets?
They ask what I belive, and laugh thoughtlessly when I tell them, but they are all just illusions. I am filled to the brim with moonlight and emotion, my muses stimulate my depression, together they are the turtles and the elephants on which this world rests. Aleph-Null is more than just a concept, can you see beyond the veil to worlds within worlds?
I see our cities drentched in steel and cement, towns nesteled in idealized forests, but even the outside lives forever within. After the rain the greenest thing I see are the graveyards.

To meet a kindrid spirit is to find water in the desert, even if you have ample water, you must cherish each and every find as though it will be your last. But do not think that I speak only of friends, for the most kindred of spirits are those with whom we compete, those who make us better ourselves and question our own greatness. There is no room in ones life for those who do not compel us to greatness. Beware though that these kindrid spirits do not show themselves as ghosts on the horizon. They are the lights at the end of tunnels, but fall not down the rabbit hole, unless your prepared to never look back.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

And I stand on the summit

So I took my last final today, C++ 2. Overall the test wasn't so hard, in fact I think I did better on this final that I have on any previous exams, ,of course most of the questions were short answer, so my hands where gnarled and arthritic in appearance by the time I had finished.
Of course, today was also a day for good byes, many of my friends are graduating now, but it hasn't really sunk in that I won't see them anymore. I'm sure that at least through the miracle of IM we will stay in some sort of communication however. I actually met a new person today, which is something normally reserved for first days, not last ones, but I'm not going to complain.
Finding a fellow geek at DeVry should be like finding sand on the beach, unfortunately it seems to be more akin to finding water in the desert, an arduous task reserved for the insane and the desperate.

I have some new ideas for my latest book, but at the same time I wonder if this split in my attention is leading to an inevitable failure to produce any single thing. My many muses come and go, each an erratic drug addict, and thoughs pour instead of drip until my mind is full no more and I dig deeper into my soul. I am so not here.

With the moon rise my fatigue dies, and I'm born again anew, so I bid you adue, I will visit again when the sun sets.

First Post!

First Post! imagine a beowolf clus.... well maybe we should get on to some more important things eh?
Well, I would say introductions are in order, but if your reading this then chances are good that you already know me, and are reading this just to humor me, so lets get to the meat of the post shall we?
It's 12:10am and today has been largely uneventful but tomarrow is my last final of this semester, so things should be more eventful then.
I started thinking about a new novella that I want to write today, something about dreams and the nature of reality and the universe, I hope that it will be something interesting.