March 2001

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According to sourceforge, 43 people downloaded the last version of my ircd. I wonder if anyone actually got it running[1], considering it's just a .jar file with no documentation, severely deficient javadoc, and source-code that was very badly mangled by an unpatched edition of VisualAge.

I never actually expected anyone to look at it. And I don't really have much pity on people who do at this stage in the game. The only reason I have the sourceforge account is that it's a useful way of me being able to grab and play with the code while I'm interstate or overseas teaching. I did a lot of work on it in New Zealand, because Auckland was so dull otherwise.

On the other hand, it's cool that now the .jar file is finally larger than the RFC I'm trying to implement. :)

[1] For the small value of "running" that it is currently capable of

ICQ's Banner Ads

  • 12:31 AM

This was originally a reply to a comment in Taz's journal. I thought it was worth airing in public. The background is that ICQ now has banner ads in its message boxes. This is obviously annoying, and there's a patch you can download that will get rid of them for you.

Before anyone installs this patch, please at least think twice.

ICQ costs a lot to run. A significant amount of bandwidth is consumed. A significant number of servers churn away 24 hours a day, seven days a week in air-conditioned server rooms to maintain the databases, and keep track of the huge number of users on the service.

Until now, Mirabilis ICQ has pretty much relied on hits to its website to generate revenue. The ICQ service is free, the website has the banners. However, the website advertising thing is having serious revenue problems right now. The biggest of the bunch, Yahoo, had to suspend its stock last week in an admission that getting money back on free web services is really, really tricky.

The ads in ICQ are an attempt by the people who provide the service to get money back on the service they provide. You may not be paying Mirabilis directly, but your eyeballs are paying them by seeing the ads. Thus, if you delete or hide the ads, you are doing exactly the same as you would be if it was a paying service, and you were receiving it for free.

By all means, install the patch if you wish. If you read what I say, and think "so what", don't tell me, I don't care. I just care that people go into this with open eyes - that they realise the implications of their actions. And know that if the attempt to run the service through advertising fails, then either ICQ will switch to being pay-for-subscription, or it will simply cease to be.

From Salon

"You're five times as likely to get killed on your way to school or from it than in school," says Frank Zimring, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has studied crime statistics for 30 years. "So if you want to create a metal-detector society, you better put the metal detectors on the other side of the schoolyard." The juvenile murder rate, Zimring notes, is at its lowest level in nearly 20 years. According to the Justice Department, juvenile murder arrests dropped 68 percent between their peak year of 1993 and 1999. And schools are still the safest place that kids can be."

And people wonder why I try to ignore mainstream media these days...


  • 3:57 PM

I was going to say something witty and relevant here, but by the time I'd found the right page to log in and post from, I'd forgotten.

Bugger. Oh well, I'll be banal instead.

Pinned on my semi-cubicle wall, where a Dilbert cartoon should be if I were conforming to stereotype, is a rectangle I cut out of the UDDI[1] specification PDF. The authors of the spec were very careful to distinguish between technical and non-technical users of the service.

The technical users are all wearing propeller beanies.

There is no hope for geeks.

[1] One of my bosses' latest tricks is to answer every question with "SOAP! WSDL! UDDI!" Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I finally looked up what they meant.

Today's quote

  • 1:21 AM

"It typically takes 25-30 gallons of petrol/diesel to fully-consume an average-sized body under ideal conditions. That I am conversant with this level of detail should serve as an indication of why the wise man does not ask me questions about MS-Windows."

Tanuki, on alt.sysadmin.recovery


  • 1:18 AM

It's Mardi Gras weekend here in Sydney. We've been described as the San Francisco of the Southern Hemisphere, and this is the weekend that the queer population march down Oxford street in bright yellow frocks (well, the men anyway). I watched bits of it on TV, but I didn't see Michelle anywhere. I live in Newtown, which is the second most gay part of Sydney after Kings Cross. I got in trouble in the local pub one night because it was dykes night, and guys weren't allowed to play pool. *grumble*

I watched Sphere at the same time. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who watch TV with one hand on the remote, and is quite happy to watch two programs at the same time. Sphere was a crap movie. The book wasn't much better from what I remember of it. I remember looking at the supposedly terrifying "mobbed by jellyfish" scene and laughing because it was so badly done. What was really annoying is that the whole thing was really a bad adoption of the plot of "Forbidden Planet", and the latter movie did the whole "Monsters of the Id" thing much better.

Of course, Forbidden Planet was just a reworking of Shakespeare's "The Tempest". I've never seen or read The Tempest, but that's what I've been told.

Candi just reminded me that the whole premise of Sphere was bogus. The evil force bent on destroying them was apparently hidden because the computer program decoding its transmissions (which were in English, just with a simple numerical cipher, yeah sure it takes a genius to work _that_ one out), translated "Harry" as "Jerry". If it was transposing H and J, how could it say "Hello"?

I enjoyed today.

I woke up, after a very long sleep. I spent a lot of time talking to my bestest friend. I watched the Melbourne Grand Prix on TV, although it sucked that the German Bastard won, and it sucks more that the marshall was killed in that crash. I had a long afternoon nap. I did some programming, but I'm still not happy enough with the pattern-matching code to update the release of ircd-pastiche. I spent the evening talking to co-fishy, who I really don't see enough of, because she keeps getting these attacks of "being sensible" and doesn't spend her entire life on IRC. How selfish can you get?

At midnight, I was about ready to go to sleep, so I went to the 7-11. I was going to get myself a diet coke (Yes, I know I said I'd stopped drinking that stuff. I relapsed today), but I was overcome by the slurpee machine when I walked in the front door, so I had a raspberry slurpee instead.

The guy just behind me in the queue in 7-11 was stoned out of his mind. When he came in, the lights were way too bright for his mental state, so he headed straight for the sunglasses stand to find something to wear during his stay in the store. He did, however, spend a while picking out exactly the right glasses. I mean, it's a tremendous fashion decision - what does the conscientious stoned-guy wear over his eyes when out shopping these days?

In all this, I forgot to do my laundry. I guess it's second-best-shirts week coming up.

Work tomorrow. 'night. Dream of happy fish.