Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Ok, I'm back from the wilderness now. It's a miracle of modern technology when you can blog from a boat on a remote lake in the back of beyond. But when you can't blog from a boat in the middle of nowhere, it's much, much better. It's good to take a vacation every so often, just to get a little perspective back.

This isn't my "What I did on vacation" post yet, since at the moment I'm simultaneously tired from the trip, and busy catching up with work. This post's called "keepalive" because I sometimes humor myself thinking that some sort of unspecified, unspeakable catastrophe will happen to me, or to this blog, or to my multitudes of Gentle Reader(s), if I fail to post on a regular basis. It makes life more interesting, and it's always nice to feel one's services are required, after all, even when it isn't "true", strictly speaking. I had a cat once who would occasionally decide the linoleum floor in the kitchen was hot lava, and he'd cross the room by leaping from one area rug to another. This post is sort of like that: We'll probably all avoid the hot lava regardless, but why chance it?

While I was away, this humble blog registered visitor #5000, according to the nice folks at Sitemeter. Turns out visitor 5000 showed up here via Technorati, arriving at my recent post marking visitor #4000, specifically the part about recent arrivals from Technorati. And the great wheel of creation turns again, with these recent Technorati arrivals, plus other Technorati and non-Technorati stuff to pad the list up to a respectable length, including a couple of weird search engine hits I got recently.

Most of the search hits lately have been for the classics: Windows Registry coding tips, mock chow mein, ortolans, the South Waterfront district, Hercules vs. Hydra, silky anteaters, Kelly Butte, sidewalk ponies, Merche Romero, Saturn 3, and the upcoming UFO apocalypse. The hits just keep on coming. I've been doing this for maybe 9 months or so now, and I still can't get a handle on why some posts really pull in the page views, while others (some of which I really slaved away over a hot keyboard working on) never get a single search hit. Obviously it has to be related to how highly Google ranks the page vs. other pages on the same topic, but how that happens is a real mystery, and Google ain't sayin'. Well, whatever.

So anyway, I'm back, and I'll probably post some photos when I have time this evening or something.

Some "found on the interwebs" stuff to pass along, since I may as well run with the whole unstructured pseudorandomness thing today:

  • Nirvana's Nevermind is 15 years old this month, and I don't feel so young myself anymore. The baby on the cover is old enough to have a long juvenile record by now.
  • Also from the Mercury, a cat that looks like Orson Welles.
  • A Shakespearean Insult Generator. Bathe thyself, thou gorbellied, motley-minded moldwarp!
  • David Brin waxes nostalgic about the joys of line-oriented programming languages, by which he means the classic BASIC language so many of us learned back in the old-sk00l 8-bit days of yore:

    10 PRINT "HELLO"
    20 GOTO 10

    I have to disagree here. Sure, there ought to be languages easy and accessible enough that kids can learn them, but BASIC is bad for you. It teaches all sorts of bad habits, and it sure doesn't prepare kids for the modern, real world. Just about anything would be better, except maybe Perl, or Intercal. Even back in the day, LOGO was a good alternative to BASIC, and it's a real programming language, a cousin of LISP with some syntactic sugar. Or if we restrict ourselves to languages there's any chance of getting paid to code in, Java is much easier to learn than you might think.
  • I recently found a copy of Jerry Pournelle's 1984 book The User's Guide to Small Computers, a 1984 collection of some of his classic Byte columns. He discusses the era's programming language options, and as the book goes on you can watch him moving further and further away from line-oriented BASIC as his language of choice, as everyone who uses it will eventually do if other choices are available.
  • In October, First Thursday will feature hordes of rampaging zombies -- and not of the gazillion-dollar-condo-buying variety, for once. Grarrgh! Brains!
  • AltPortland has a new section on our fair city's handful of BBQ options.
  • Seems that the far reaches of industrial NW Portland are soon to be graced with the area's very first vegan pirate bar. Seriously. Their (heavily-flash-laden) website is here. Dialup users may experience a prolonged calming, Zenlike state while the site loads, and loads, and loads.
  • Seems there'll be a write-in candidate facing Leslie Roberts for that prized judgeship this fall. I don't know enough about the guy to make a decision at this point, but right now I'm leaning towards anyone-but-Leslie-Roberts.
  • The Portland Public Art blog has a recent post about Columbia River Crystal, which I posted about here. Check out all the security cameras. I guess I'm not the only person who thought that was peculiar. I didn't take any photos of the cameras myself because a.) I hadn't really figured out the photoblogging thing just yet, and b.) if you photograph security cameras, you probably stand a good chance of being labelled an "evildoer" and shipped off to Gitmo or a CIA black site behind the former Iron Curtain.


  • Issues of an early-80's journal devoted to the Motorola 68000 of fond memory yet green.
  • Yet another cute echidna. Awwwwwww....
  • And a much more technical piece that touches on the genetic makeup of monotremes. Seems they have multiple X (and sometimes Y) chromosomes. But at least they don't have Z and W chromosomes like birds do. That's just all messed up.
  • Landshark!
  • Over in the SCO universe, the Canopy Group has gotten a new lease on life with the dubious help of our friends at Solera.
  • In related news, SCO hit a new 52-week low while I was gone. $2.05. I can hardly wait for the $1 barrier to fall.
  • Also while I was away, a new ring of Saturn was discovered.
  • According to El Reg, the next generation of GPU chips may conquer the universe. Hmm. I'm firmly in the "Let's wait and see" camp, especially since right now you need to learn entirely new languages in order to code for these beasties. This sure does look purty, though.
  • New discovery: a baby Australopithecus afarensis.
  • And at Cute Overload, a cute lil' snuggle-bat.

1 comment :

sarcasmus said...

what's so weird about being angry and sloppy?

anyhow I found your page because I got a hit from your page!

i think someone hit the random blog thing, or something.

i don't know.