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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="yes"?>
  2. <rss version="2.0" xmlns:atom="">
  3.  <channel>
  4.    <title>Pip! Gold</title>
  5.    <link></link>
  6.    <description>Recent content on Pip! Gold</description>
  7.    <generator>Hugo --</generator>
  8.    <language>en-us</language>
  9.    <managingEditor> (Pip! Gold)</managingEditor>
  10.    <webMaster> (Pip! Gold)</webMaster>
  11.    <lastBuildDate>Wed, 08 Feb 2023 22:04:26 -0500</lastBuildDate><atom:link href="" rel="self" type="application/rss+xml" />
  12.    <item>
  13.      <title>Cairo and Pango in Python</title>
  14.      <link></link>
  15.      <pubDate>Mon, 20 May 2024 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  16.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  17.      <guid></guid>
  18.      <description>&lt;p&gt;Cairo is a pretty useful vector-based graphics library.  I usually use it
  19. from Python.  But Cairo&amp;rsquo;s built-in text handling can be a little limited;
  20. their official stance on the subject is if you want more functionality you
  21. should use an external library “like pangocairo that is part of the Pango
  22. text layout and rendering library.”  Here&amp;rsquo;s how to use Pango with Cairo in
  23. Python.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
  24.    </item>
  26.    <item>
  27.      <title>The “Pip! is Nonbinary” FAQ</title>
  28.      <link></link>
  29.      <pubDate>Sun, 31 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  30.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  31.      <guid></guid>
  32.      <description>&lt;p&gt;Over the past year or so, I&amp;rsquo;ve come to an understanding of myself having a
  33. nonbinary gender identity.  This is a set of frequently asked questions
  34. (with answers) I&amp;rsquo;ve fielded about that transition.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
  35.    </item>
  37.    <item>
  38.      <title>Garmin Lily 2 Watch Faces</title>
  39.      <link></link>
  40.      <pubDate>Tue, 12 Mar 2024 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  41.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  42.      <guid></guid>
  43.      <description>&lt;p&gt;I recently got a Garmin Lily 2 smartwatch.  When I was deciding what watch
  44. to get, I went looking to see what different watch faces the Lily 2 had.
  45. I couldn&amp;rsquo;t find such a list online at the time.  Now that I have a Lily 2,
  46. I&amp;rsquo;m making that list for other people&amp;rsquo;s reference.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
  47.    </item>
  49.    <item>
  50.      <title>Éowyn Challenge – Mordor!</title>
  51.      <link></link>
  52.      <pubDate>Thu, 21 Dec 2023 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  53.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  54.      <guid></guid>
  55.      <description>In which I, having tracked my steps for just under two years, finally reach Mount Doom in the “Walking to Mordor and Back” challenge.</description>
  56.    </item>
  58.    <item>
  59.      <title>Phil!&#39;s Stuff</title>
  60.      <link></link>
  61.      <pubDate>Mon, 13 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  62.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  63.      <guid></guid>
  64.      <description>There are currently no items I&amp;rsquo;m looking to get rid of.</description>
  65.    </item>
  67.    <item>
  68.      <title>LaTeX Sentence Spacing</title>
  69.      <link></link>
  70.      <pubDate>Wed, 08 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  71.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  72.      <guid></guid>
  73.      <description>&lt;p&gt;As a followup to my general post about &lt;a href=&#34;; class=&#34;&#34;&gt;sentence spacing&lt;/a&gt;,
  74. here are some brief notes about managing sentence spacing in LaTeX,
  75. followed by a not-so-brief explanation of what LaTeX is doing.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
  76.    </item>
  78.    <item>
  79.      <title>Sentence Spacing</title>
  80.      <link></link>
  81.      <pubDate>Tue, 07 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  82.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  83.      <guid></guid>
  84.      <description>&lt;p&gt;There is an ongoing debate in some parts of the Internet about how much
  85. space should go after the end of a sentence.  Practically every publisher
  86. and quite a lot of other people will say there should be one space.  A
  87. minority of people—principally Gen X and older, I suspect—will say there
  88. should be two spaces.&lt;/p&gt;
  89. &lt;p&gt;I have opinions.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
  90.    </item>
  92.    <item>
  93.      <title>Now with Hugo</title>
  94.      <link></link>
  95.      <pubDate>Mon, 06 Feb 2023 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  96.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  97.      <guid></guid>
  98.      <description>&lt;p&gt;A little while ago, I finally got around to revamping my website
  99. generation.  I&amp;rsquo;d been using &lt;a href=&#34;; class=&#34; external&#34;&gt;Blosxom&lt;/a&gt; for nearly two decades, but I&amp;rsquo;d
  100. also been meaning to move to something a bit newer for a while.  So now
  101. I&amp;rsquo;m using &lt;a href=&#34;; class=&#34; external&#34;&gt;Hugo&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;</description>
  102.    </item>
  104.    <item>
  105.      <title>Common X11 Compose Key Combinations</title>
  106.      <link></link>
  107.      <pubDate>Fri, 27 Jan 2023 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  108.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  109.      <guid></guid>
  110.      <description>X11&amp;rsquo;s Compose key functionality gives access to a wide range of Unicode characters from a basic US keyboard layout.  The available character combinations are not, however, well-documented.  This is an attempt to provide some of that missing documentation, for my own reference, if nothing else.</description>
  111.    </item>
  113.    <item>
  114.      <title>Éowyn Challenge – Walking to Mordor and Back</title>
  115.      <link></link>
  116.      <pubDate>Sat, 01 Jan 2022 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  117.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  118.      <guid></guid>
  119.      <description>A couple of months ago I got a FitBit Luxe. I&amp;rsquo;ve long used the pedometer on my phone for step tracking, but it&amp;rsquo;s not always accurate and I don&amp;rsquo;t always have it on me. (Plus, I really wanted longitudinal heart rate data, which isn&amp;rsquo;t feasible with something like a phone.)
  120. To &amp;ldquo;celebrate&amp;rdquo; having an always-on health tracker, I&amp;rsquo;m going to start on a project I came across a while back but for which I hadn&amp;rsquo;t put together the pieces of participation until now: taking the One Ring to Mordor with Frodo.</description>
  121.    </item>
  123.    <item>
  124.      <title>Where to Get (DRM-free) Ebooks</title>
  125.      <link></link>
  126.      <pubDate>Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  127.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  128.      <guid></guid>
  129.      <description>This post grew out of a comment I made on Reddit in response to someone who was frustrated with the Kindle walled garden and wanted more generally-usable books.
  130. Context I like to read. I have no idea how many books I&amp;rsquo;ve read in my lifetime, but I own hundreds and hundreds of physical books, at least half of which I&amp;rsquo;ve read; my digital library has around nine hundred books, most of which I have yet to read; and I&amp;rsquo;ve read many more books besides the ones I own.</description>
  131.    </item>
  133.    <item>
  134.      <title>RampingIOS V3 Manual</title>
  135.      <link></link>
  136.      <pubDate>Tue, 28 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  137.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  138.      <guid></guid>
  139.      <description>RampingIOS V3 UI diagram
  140. The Emisar D4S flashlights use a firmware named RampingIOS V3. (The Emisar D4, D1, and D1S all use RampingIOS V2.) There&amp;rsquo;s not really a manual; the only thing we get is the diagram on the right. It&amp;rsquo;s reasonably comprehensive, but there&amp;rsquo;s a fair amount of detail it merely summarizes, so I thought a textual manual would be nice.
  141. The Emisar D4S only works when the head and tailcap are tightened fully.</description>
  142.    </item>
  144.    <item>
  145.      <title>RampingIOS V2 Manual</title>
  146.      <link></link>
  147.      <pubDate>Sun, 26 Aug 2018 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  148.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  149.      <guid></guid>
  150.      <description>RampingIOS V2 UI diagram
  151. The Emisar D4, D1, and D1S flashlights all use a firmware named RampingIOS V2. (The earliest D4s were released with V1, but there aren&amp;rsquo;t many of those around. The Emisar D4S uses RampingIOS V3.) There&amp;rsquo;s not really a manual; the only thing we get is the diagram on the right. It&amp;rsquo;s pretty comprehensive, but I thought a textual manual would be nice, so I decided to write one.</description>
  152.    </item>
  154.    <item>
  155.      <title>Podcasts</title>
  156.      <link></link>
  157.      <pubDate>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  158.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  159.      <guid></guid>
  160.      <description>I listen to a lot of podcasts, usually while I&amp;rsquo;m in the car, but also when I&amp;rsquo;m doing yardwork and similar solitary tasks. These are the podcasts I listen to.
  161. I break my podcasts into several categories and generally listen to the categories in order. (I listen to all of the news podcasts before starting on the politics podcasts, and so on.) My currently-preferred podcast client, BeyondPod, lets me set up a &amp;ldquo;smart playlist&amp;rdquo; that puts everything in the appropriate order automatically every time I update my feeds.</description>
  162.    </item>
  164.    <item>
  165.      <title>How to Buy Batteries for Flashlights</title>
  166.      <link></link>
  167.      <pubDate>Mon, 30 Oct 2017 17:20:00 -0400</pubDate>
  168.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  169.      <guid></guid>
  170.      <description>Questions about buying batteries come up periodically on the /r/flashlight subreddit. This is the guide I wish had existed when I had those questions. The primary focus of this guide is on batteries that go into flashlights, though some of what&amp;rsquo;s here can certainly be applied to other battery-powered devices.
  171. If you just want to know how to get 18650 batteries, skip down to the Lithium-Ion section. Be careful when buying lithium-ion batteries from marketplaces like Amazon; unsafe batteries abound.</description>
  172.    </item>
  174.    <item>
  175.      <title>Trump and the BSA National Jamboree</title>
  176.      <link></link>
  177.      <pubDate>Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:15:00 -0400</pubDate>
  178.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  179.      <guid></guid>
  180.      <description>My social news feeds are awash with news of Trump&amp;rsquo;s speech at the 2017 National Jamboree (full transcript, full video). I&amp;rsquo;m disappointed on a few levels, but I&amp;rsquo;m not leaving the Scouting program.
  181. I was a Boy Scout when I was a kid. I&amp;rsquo;m currently an adult leader with a Boy Scout troop. I think the ideals and the potential of the Scouting program are good. The short version of Scouting is that we strive to develop kids&amp;rsquo; citizenship (in the USA, but also in their community and the world), character, and fitness (both physical and emotional).</description>
  182.    </item>
  184.    <item>
  185.      <title>The Best Android Apps of 2014</title>
  186.      <link></link>
  187.      <pubDate>Thu, 04 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  188.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  189.      <guid></guid>
  190.      <description>(According to /r/Android.)
  191. Google recently came out with a &amp;ldquo;Best Apps of 2014&amp;rdquo; list. It was not well received, with many people feeling that the majority of apps present were there because Google was making money from them, not because they actually deserved to be on such a list. Consequently, the Android subreddit attempted to compile its own list. This post is my attempt to collect the most highly-voted submissions on that /r/Android post.</description>
  192.    </item>
  194.    <item>
  195.      <title>Portable Filesystems for Portable Disk Drives</title>
  196.      <link></link>
  197.      <pubDate>Fri, 13 Dec 2013 15:53:00 -0500</pubDate>
  198.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  199.      <guid></guid>
  200.      <description>I periodically need to set up a USB hard drive so that its files can be shared between different operating systems. I recently tried to update my practices. This is a record of my findings.
  201. The short version of my conclusions is: If you need good portability between Windows, OSX, and Linux (and you&amp;rsquo;re only writing data from Windows or Linux), use NTFS. If you don&amp;rsquo;t need filesystem metadata like ownership or permissions and your files and disks aren&amp;rsquo;t too large, FAT32 might work for you.</description>
  202.    </item>
  204.    <item>
  205.      <title>Dottie Gold-Humphreys, October 1999 - 9 December 2013</title>
  206.      <link></link>
  207.      <pubDate>Tue, 10 Dec 2013 11:59:00 -0500</pubDate>
  208.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  209.      <guid></guid>
  210.      <description>Less than five months after getting married and moving into an apartment together, my wife, Becca, and I got a pair of cats. They&amp;rsquo;d been with a friend of ours for about ten years, longer even than she&amp;rsquo;d known her husband. She and her husband loved them dearly despite their cat allergies, but their two-year-old was turning out to be allergic and was terrorizing the cats (as only a two-year-old can do) to boot, so they were reluctantly looking for a new home for the cats.</description>
  211.    </item>
  213.    <item>
  214.      <title>Pride and Prejudice and Zombies</title>
  215.      <link></link>
  216.      <pubDate>Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  217.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  218.      <guid></guid>
  219.      <description>As most people are by now aware, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a modern adaptation of Jane Austen&amp;rsquo;s classic that adds a plague of zombies to the book&amp;rsquo;s setting and plot.
  220. I have to say that while I was looking forward to the book, its execution left me wanting. The zombie storyline feels like a veneer laid over the original storyline in a way that doesn&amp;rsquo;t really add much to that original story.</description>
  221.    </item>
  223.    <item>
  224.      <title>Org-Mode and Project Overviews</title>
  225.      <link></link>
  226.      <pubDate>Fri, 09 Nov 2012 09:56:00 -0500</pubDate>
  227.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  228.      <guid></guid>
  229.      <description>I recently started a new job and my new manager wanted me to give him a periodically-updated task list showing what I was working on, its progress, and any deadlines I had. I like Emacs&amp;rsquo; Org Mode, so I set out to set up something in Org Mode that worked for both of us. This is my story.
  230. In general, I want to have a main directory for my files and, within that directory, use a separate file for each distinct project I work on.</description>
  231.    </item>
  233.    <item>
  234.      <title>Why are there so many Dolfield Roads?</title>
  235.      <link></link>
  236.      <pubDate>Fri, 07 Oct 2011 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  237.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  238.      <guid></guid>
  239.      <description>A question that perturbed me when I lived in Owings Mills was why there were so many roads named &amp;ldquo;Dolfield&amp;rdquo;. There are three different Dolfield Roads, one South Dolfield Road, and three Dolfield Boulevards. I finally got around to researching the question, and now I share the answer (to the degreee that I have one) with everyone.
  240. This is a map of Dolfield Road, past and present:
  241. The thick, dark blue line is where Dolfield Road once ran.</description>
  242.    </item>
  244.    <item>
  245.      <title>Knife Meme</title>
  246.      <link></link>
  247.      <pubDate>Wed, 21 Sep 2011 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  248.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  249.      <guid></guid>
  250.      <description>This is a thing, apparently: &amp;ldquo;Take knife from pocket, post pic on the internet.&amp;rdquo;
  251. My main knife, and the one that best matches the intent of the meme, I think, is a Myerchin Lightknife L377P, which they apparently don&amp;rsquo;t sell anymore. It&amp;rsquo;s a very nice, light, compact knife, with a multipurpose half-straight half-serrated blade; a marlinspike, which is useful for knot- and ropework; and a small red LED, which is nice for seeing things without ruining your night vision.</description>
  252.    </item>
  254.    <item>
  255.      <title>The MTA and GTFS</title>
  256.      <link></link>
  257.      <pubDate>Mon, 02 May 2011 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  258.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  259.      <guid></guid>
  260.      <description>Just today I found about GTFS, a standardized data format from Google for describing public transit schedules. I subsequently discovered that the MTA has a GTFS feed.
  261. Back when I didn&amp;rsquo;t have a car, I used the MTA daily and had a set of scripts to extract their schedule data from the website and import it into trainsched on my Palm Pilot. I asked them for more structured data at one point but was rebuffed, so I stuck with my scripts that had to be updated every time they changed their schedule pages.</description>
  262.    </item>
  264.    <item>
  265.      <title>Car Engine Advice Sought</title>
  266.      <link></link>
  267.      <pubDate>Fri, 01 Jan 2010 14:09:00 -0500</pubDate>
  268.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  269.      <guid></guid>
  270.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve been having intermittent problems with my car that have now stumped two mechanics, so I&amp;rsquo;m turning to the Internet for advice. I have a 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with Selec-Track four-wheel-drive and a 6 cylinder engine.
  271. The problem I&amp;rsquo;m having is that the engine will sometimes just stall (the motive power goes away and the engine RPMs drop to zero). It only seems to happen right after starting the car (so the engine hasn&amp;rsquo;t warmed up yet), and it&amp;rsquo;s much more common in wet weather (rain, snow, heavy fog).</description>
  272.    </item>
  274.    <item>
  275.      <title>Kiva</title>
  276.      <link></link>
  277.      <pubDate>Wed, 02 Dec 2009 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  278.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  279.      <guid></guid>
  280.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve been contributing to Kiva for a number of months now, and am sufficiently appreciative of them to want to tell others about them. The short version is that Kiva is a distributed, peer-to-peer microlending non-profit with the goal of alleviating global poverty.
  281. Microlending Microfinance is the practice of providing financial services to people in low-income parts of the world who are not generally considered profitable-enough customers to warrant service from traditional banking institutions.</description>
  282.    </item>
  284.    <item>
  285.      <title>S-99: Ninety-Nine Scala Problems</title>
  286.      <link></link>
  287.      <pubDate>Thu, 02 Apr 2009 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  288.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  289.      <guid></guid>
  290.      <description>These are an adaptation of the Ninety-Nine Prolog Problems written by Werner Hett at the Berne University of Applied Sciences in Berne, Switzerland. I (Phil! Gold) have altered them to be more amenable to programming in Scala. Feedback is appreciated, particularly on anything marked TODO.
  291. The problems have different levels of difficulty. Those marked with a single asterisk (*) are easy. If you have successfully solved the preceeding problems you should be able to solve them within a few (say 15) minutes.</description>
  292.    </item>
  294.    <item>
  295.      <title>Betsy McCaughey on the Obama Stimulus Plan: A Rebuttal</title>
  296.      <link></link>
  297.      <pubDate>Thu, 12 Feb 2009 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  298.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  299.      <guid></guid>
  300.      <description>Betsy McCaughy has written an opinion piece for titled Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan. In it, she characterizes the stimulus package (as passed by the House) as containing sinister language that will allow the government to control and reduce the quality of health care available to the American public. I took a look at the sections of the bill that she has issues with, and I found that her conclusions are gross distortions at best.</description>
  301.    </item>
  303.    <item>
  304.      <title>Backup Implementation</title>
  305.      <link></link>
  306.      <pubDate>Fri, 02 Jan 2009 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  307.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  308.      <guid></guid>
  309.      <description>I previously considered different backup schemes. Writing that entry crystallized my basic ideas about what I was going to do about the backups. I then proceeded to implement them. This entry is a detailed description of what I did.
  310. Backup Overview I ended up buying two 80 GB hard drives and a ThermalTake BlacX external enclosure. The overall plan is to do backups to one of the drives on a daily, automated basis, and the other on a periodic, maybe monthly basis.</description>
  311.    </item>
  313.    <item>
  314.      <title>Backups</title>
  315.      <link></link>
  316.      <pubDate>Mon, 22 Dec 2008 11:06:00 -0500</pubDate>
  317.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  318.      <guid></guid>
  319.      <description>I had a dream last night that the apartment beneath ours caught on fire, we had to rush out of the building, and my computer and all of its data was destroyed.
  320. I&amp;rsquo;ve been pondering a formal backup system for a while now. (My current system involves making sure important files are in a version control system and exist on at least my laptop and desktop. This is pretty ad-hoc, inconsistently updated, and not entirely comprehensive.</description>
  321.    </item>
  323.    <item>
  324.      <title>Truffle-Topped Amaretto Brownies</title>
  325.      <link></link>
  326.      <pubDate>Wed, 26 Nov 2008 22:04:00 -0500</pubDate>
  327.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  328.      <guid></guid>
  329.      <description>I made this for Thanksgiving this year, and have already been asked for the recipe, even though I haven&amp;rsquo;t had any yet. So here goes.
  330. Brownie Layer 1 cup sugar 1 cup butter 4 Tablespoons water 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels (~300g) 1/2 cup amaretto 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 4 eggs 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (~190g) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup chopped or sliced almonds (optionally toasted) 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries Truffle Layer 8 oz cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup powdered sugar (30g) 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (~150g) 2-3 Tablespoons amaretto Topping 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels (~150g) 1/2 cup whipping cream 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted maraschino cherries for garnish Brownie Layer Preheat oven to 325°F.</description>
  331.    </item>
  333.    <item>
  334.      <title>More Delphi Type Hate</title>
  335.      <link></link>
  336.      <pubDate>Wed, 19 Nov 2008 11:36:00 -0500</pubDate>
  337.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  338.      <guid></guid>
  339.      <description>I have simple needs. I have a base class with some generic behavior and subclasses with specific information for that generic behavior. More concretely, the subclasses need to provide the generic behavior with an ordered list of things that designate key fields on database tables. The best representation of those &amp;ldquo;things&amp;rdquo; in Delphi seems to be members of an enumeration:
  340. type TKeyField = (kfFoo, kfBar, kfBaz, kfQuux); Since I need the list of fields to be ordered, I need them in an array:</description>
  341.    </item>
  343.    <item>
  344.      <title>Take My Stuff!</title>
  345.      <link></link>
  346.      <pubDate>Mon, 17 Nov 2008 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  347.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  348.      <guid></guid>
  349.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;m divesting myself of a lot of computer-related things that are taking up too much space in my apartment. Take a look at my stuff and let me know if there&amp;rsquo;s anything you&amp;rsquo;d like to take off of my hands. Anything left after a couple of weeks will go to the electronics recycling center.</description>
  350.    </item>
  352.    <item>
  353.      <title>Change of Name</title>
  354.      <link></link>
  355.      <pubDate>Tue, 14 Oct 2008 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  356.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  357.      <guid></guid>
  358.      <description>On September 27th, 2008, I got married. As a consequence of my marriage, I gave up my last name and took my wife&amp;rsquo;s, going from Phillip Gregory to Phillip Gold. I&amp;rsquo;ve been asked about my decision a lot; this is my explanation. [Note that I now go by Piper Gold; the names in this post are what I was using at the time it was written.]
  359. I feel that the prevaling societal standard&amp;mdash;the assumption that the woman must go through all the work to change her name and give up the identity she&amp;rsquo;s had since birth&amp;mdash;is unfair and an example of gender inequality.</description>
  360.    </item>
  362.    <item>
  363.      <title>DVD Video to Matroska Video, Losslessly</title>
  364.      <link></link>
  365.      <pubDate>Fri, 11 Jul 2008 15:35:00 -0400</pubDate>
  366.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  367.      <guid></guid>
  368.      <description>I recently had the desire to rip some DVDs so I could watch them on my computer without swapping discs. I figured I could just pull everything from the DVD into Matroska files, since Matroska supports everything that DVDs do. When I went looking on the Internet, I found few resources for moving from DVD to MKV, and everything that did talk about it actually reencoded the DVD video to get it into its final destination.</description>
  369.    </item>
  371.    <item>
  372.      <title>Auto-locking My Computer When I Walk Away</title>
  373.      <link></link>
  374.      <pubDate>Thu, 29 May 2008 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  375.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  376.      <guid></guid>
  377.      <description>The other day, while I was wating for several GB to transfer over the network at work, I finally got around to setting something that&amp;rsquo;s been dancing at the back of my mind for a while: computer-based proximity detection using Bluetooth.
  378. I have a Treo 650. It has Bluetooth. I also have a USB Bluetooth Adapter. I originally planned to carry the bluetooth adapter around and hook it up to different computers whenever I wanted to talk to the Treo, but I&amp;rsquo;ve only been using it at work, so I&amp;rsquo;ve been leaving the adapter connected to my Linux computer at work.</description>
  379.    </item>
  381.    <item>
  382.      <title>New Site Hosting</title>
  383.      <link></link>
  384.      <pubDate>Fri, 02 May 2008 15:49:00 -0400</pubDate>
  385.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  386.      <guid></guid>
  387.      <description>In the interests of better site availability and less Comcast AUP-breaking, I&amp;rsquo;ve finally gotten around to outsourcing my website hosting. I&amp;rsquo;m currently at, a webhost committed to the twin goals of free speech and affordable web hosting.
  388. How free is their speech? Read their Abuse page:
  389. &amp;ldquo;A NearlyFreeSpeech.NET member site is defaming me or otherwise injuring me civilly.&amp;rdquo;
  390. Please forward a copy of your legal finding from a court of competent jurisdiction to our contact address.</description>
  391.    </item>
  393.    <item>
  394.      <title>Java Reflection</title>
  395.      <link></link>
  396.      <pubDate>Tue, 19 Feb 2008 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  397.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  398.      <guid></guid>
  399.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;m only a few weeks into my Java class and I&amp;rsquo;m already annoyed at the language. I&amp;rsquo;m completely willing to ascribe this to newbieness, where I&amp;rsquo;m just not working with what the language gives me, but the metaobject stuff in Java seems a bit painful.
  400. I&amp;rsquo;m working on a project for the class where I have to accept input in several different units of heat (BTUs, calories, and joules) and output the measurement in joules.</description>
  401.    </item>
  403.    <item>
  404.      <title>Pumpkin Pie</title>
  405.      <link></link>
  406.      <pubDate>Fri, 30 Nov 2007 18:22:00 -0500</pubDate>
  407.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  408.      <guid></guid>
  409.      <description>This is from smakelijke gerechten, a cookbook assembled by the First Reformed Church in Oak Harbor, Washington in 1971. My grandmother&amp;rsquo;s sister belonged to the church, and the cookbook was a gift for my grandmother&amp;rsquo;s birthday.
  410. 2 eggs, slightly beaten 1-3/4 cups pumpkin puree (1 can) 3/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1-2/3 cups evaporated milk (1 12-oz can) 1 9&amp;quot; pie crust, unbaked Preheat oven to 425°F.</description>
  411.    </item>
  413.    <item>
  414.      <title>Grandma&#39;s Potato Salad</title>
  415.      <link></link>
  416.      <pubDate>Tue, 27 Nov 2007 11:08:00 -0500</pubDate>
  417.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  418.      <guid></guid>
  419.      <description>While I was down in Texas for Thanksgiving, I got my grandmother to give me a couple of her recipes. Unfortunately, she was so familiar with the ingredients that she didn&amp;rsquo;t have any measurements more specific than &amp;ldquo;&amp;lsquo;Til it tastes right,&amp;rdquo; so that&amp;rsquo;s all I can provide at the moment. I plan to make the recipe a few more times myself and figure out what measurements work well.
  420. 3-4 lb. potatoes 4 eggs 1 medium white onion, diced mayonnaise pickle juice curry powder salt pepper yellow mustard paprika Scrub and boil the potatoes.</description>
  421.    </item>
  423.    <item>
  424.      <title>Grandma&#39;s Parker House Rolls</title>
  425.      <link></link>
  426.      <pubDate>Sun, 25 Nov 2007 11:47:00 -0500</pubDate>
  427.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  428.      <guid></guid>
  429.      <description>While I was down in Texas for Thanksgiving, I got my grandmother to give me a couple of her recipes. She portions many of the ingredients by feel or taste, though, so this recipe assumes some familiarity with yeast breads. I plan to make them a couple of times and get some more exact measurements.
  430. 2 cups milk 4-6 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 8 tablespoons butter (one stick), divided 2 packets yeast flour In a small saucepan, mix the milk with the sugar, salt, and 6 tablespoons of butter.</description>
  431.    </item>
  433.    <item>
  434.      <title>Finding Duplicate Elements in an Array</title>
  435.      <link></link>
  436.      <pubDate>Fri, 31 Aug 2007 13:15:00 -0400</pubDate>
  437.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  438.      <guid></guid>
  439.      <description>I came across an interesting programming puzzle today, and I&amp;rsquo;d like to share a couple of variants on it.
  440. To start with, let&amp;rsquo;s say we have an array A that contains some numbers. For simplicity, let&amp;rsquo;s say that the array is 1-based. How can we efficiently find out if any of those numbers are duplicates?
  441. The easiest approach is to make a hash table to keep track of the numbers we&amp;rsquo;ve seen so far.</description>
  442.    </item>
  444.    <item>
  445.      <title>Common Lisp Testing Frameworks</title>
  446.      <link></link>
  447.      <pubDate>Thu, 08 Mar 2007 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  448.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  449.      <guid></guid>
  450.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve been evaluating the various Common Lisp testing frameworks. I have a large body of code in my Project Euler stuff, and I use unit testing extensively; extensively enough that the simplistic unit testing package I had been using was getting unwieldy. So I figured I&amp;rsquo;d take a look at what was available and see how everything stacked up.
  451. Since this page is long, I&amp;rsquo;ll present my summary up front: If your testing needs are simple, use lisp-unit.</description>
  452.    </item>
  454.    <item>
  455.      <title>E Pluribus Unicorn</title>
  456.      <link></link>
  457.      <pubDate>Mon, 12 Feb 2007 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  458.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  459.      <guid></guid>
  460.      <description>E Pluribus Unicorn is a collection of short stories by Theodore Sturgeon. All of the stories were written between 1947 and 1953, though they don&amp;rsquo;t seem very dated, aside from occasional archaic-sounding language usage.
  461. The stories are mostly fantasy, though some could be considered almost horror; many are certainly unsettling, most notably The Professor&amp;rsquo;s Teddy-Bear, with Bianca&amp;rsquo;s Hands (and perhaps A Way of Thinking) a close second. Die, Maestro, Die! reminded me of Edgar Allan Poe, in structure, if not in style.</description>
  462.    </item>
  464.    <item>
  465.      <title>FourFours in Common Lisp</title>
  466.      <link></link>
  467.      <pubDate>Sun, 10 Dec 2006 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  468.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  469.      <guid></guid>
  470.      <description>I came across the FourFours problem recently. Stated succinctly, it asks: what are the ways to calculate each of the integers from 1 to 100 with formulas which use the digit four exactly four times? (No digits other than four can be used at all.)
  471. People have solved it in C# (138 lines, 380ms), Python (119 lines, 20s), Haskell (73 lines, 900ms), and Perl (one (really long) line, 45s). I thought it would be interesting to try it in Common Lisp, so I did.</description>
  472.    </item>
  474.    <item>
  475.      <title>Delphi Naming Non-Conventions</title>
  476.      <link></link>
  477.      <pubDate>Tue, 31 Oct 2006 19:43:00 -0500</pubDate>
  478.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  479.      <guid></guid>
  480.      <description>It often happens in programming that you need to name two things that are similar but different. This can be a difficult task, but one would expect that if you were designing a language or its standard library you&amp;rsquo;d put extra effort into your naming. Sadly, it sometimes seems that the people designing Delphi didn&amp;rsquo;t put in that effort. For a simple example, consider division by zero. If you try to divide by zero, Delphi generates an exception at runtime, but if you were doing an integer divide the exception is EDivByZero, whereas floating-point division generates EZeroDivide.</description>
  481.    </item>
  483.    <item>
  484.      <title>Doing Your Own Math</title>
  485.      <link></link>
  486.      <pubDate>Fri, 19 May 2006 13:29:00 -0400</pubDate>
  487.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  488.      <guid></guid>
  489.      <description>When I was going to Catonsville Community College (now the Catonsville Campus of The Community College of Baltimore County), I took a couple of computer science courses. The first of those was essentially an introduction-to-programming course, with the textbook using C. The professor, however, said that he would accept programs in any language that was cleared with him beforehand. Since I already knew C, I used the class as an opportunity to learn Common Lisp.</description>
  490.    </item>
  492.    <item>
  493.      <title>Ruby vs. Python (vs. Perl) (vs. Lisp)</title>
  494.      <link></link>
  495.      <pubDate>Tue, 17 Jan 2006 14:19:00 -0500</pubDate>
  496.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  497.      <guid></guid>
  498.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve recently been playing with Ruby, and I think I&amp;rsquo;ve finally found a replacement for my various uses of Perl. For a while now, I&amp;rsquo;ve been using one of two languages for my at-home programming: Common Lisp for the more complex or interesting tasks; and Perl for the simpler tasks, standalone programs, and one-line text processing.
  499. I&amp;rsquo;ve long had a love/hate relationship with Perl. On the one hand, its DWIM approach to things make it easy to do simple things, especially one-off text munging.</description>
  500.    </item>
  502.    <item>
  503.      <title>Terminal Function Key Escape Codes</title>
  504.      <link></link>
  505.      <pubDate>Wed, 06 Jul 2005 10:25:00 -0400</pubDate>
  506.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  507.      <guid></guid>
  508.      <description>I recently had the pleasure of trying to figure out a friend&amp;rsquo;s terminal woes. His function keys weren&amp;rsquo;t behaving properly. It turns out that his terminal was sending escape codes that differed from the terminfo definition his terminal was using. I set out to find what the correct solution was. These are my results. (Note that I use Debian GNU/Linux. Some of this may be Debian-specific.)
  509. Most terminal emulators these days emulate some superset of a DEC VT100.</description>
  510.    </item>
  512.    <item>
  513.      <title>The Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative</title>
  514.      <link></link>
  515.      <pubDate>Thu, 09 Jun 2005 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  516.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  517.      <guid></guid>
  518.      <description>The MTA recently announced a Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative. They are planning to restructure most of the bus routes in the Baltimore system, in what I believe is that first major overhaul the system has ever undergone.
  519. On looking at the proposal for the first time, the initial impression I got was one of reduction. Four lines will be added (the 9, 28, 40, and 41) while 18 will be discontinued (the 2, 7, 10, 27, 31, 36, 61, 65, 86, 91, 98 (Hampden Neighborhood Shuttle), 102, 103, 104, 105, 150, 160, M6, and M12).</description>
  520.    </item>
  522.    <item>
  523.      <title>Config Files</title>
  524.      <link></link>
  525.      <pubDate>Mon, 07 Mar 2005 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  526.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  527.      <guid></guid>
  528.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve been quiet here for a while, mostly because I haven&amp;rsquo;t been doing too much that fits the focus of my blog. One ongoing project, though, has been the process of putting much of my home directory into a subversion repository. I&amp;rsquo;ll write more about that when I&amp;rsquo;m done, but as part of the process I&amp;rsquo;ve split out my public config files and synchronized them with my web-accessible config files. There&amp;rsquo;s still stuff that I should comment for clarity, but now you, too, can see how I configure the programs I use.</description>
  529.    </item>
  531.    <item>
  532.      <title>PalmOS Maryland MTA Schedules</title>
  533.      <link></link>
  534.      <pubDate>Tue, 01 Mar 2005 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  535.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  536.      <guid></guid>
  537.      <description>I use the Maryland MTA. I used to have a Palm Pilot. When I did, I liked using trainsched. In order to use trainsched, I had to write some scripts to generate the appropriate palm databases. I&amp;rsquo;m no longer maintaining these, but they&amp;rsquo;re available in case they&amp;rsquo;re useful to anyone else.
  538. I draw my data from the MTA&amp;rsquo;s GTFS feed. Other GTFS feeds (see the GTFS data exchange for a nice list) should work, too.</description>
  539.    </item>
  541.    <item>
  542.      <title>Light Rail Double Tracking</title>
  543.      <link></link>
  544.      <pubDate>Tue, 23 Nov 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  545.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  546.      <guid></guid>
  547.      <description>According to a recent announcement, the southern portion of the Light Rail will open completely on December 5th. No more shuttles, at least in that direction.
  548. On the other hand, they&amp;rsquo;re closing the northern portion (everything north of North Avenue) on January 3rd. And the shuttle bus system they have set up is confusing, to put it mildly.
  549. From what I can tell, there will be three shuttle routes, designated &amp;lsquo;A&amp;rsquo;, &amp;lsquo;B&amp;rsquo;, and &amp;lsquo;C&amp;rsquo;.</description>
  550.    </item>
  552.    <item>
  553.      <title>Election 2004</title>
  554.      <link></link>
  555.      <pubDate>Tue, 02 Nov 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  556.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  557.      <guid></guid>
  558.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ll be using several resources to track the election results tonight:
  559. Wikipedia&amp;rsquo;s election results, CNN&amp;rsquo;s election results, Contrapositive&amp;rsquo;s Election Night Cheat Sheet, And, of course, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. </description>
  560.    </item>
  562.    <item>
  563.      <title>Skillchains</title>
  564.      <link></link>
  565.      <pubDate>Sat, 18 Sep 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  566.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  567.      <guid></guid>
  568.      <description>There are so many descriptions of skillchains in Final Fantasy XI, and none of them really made sense to me for the longest time. Through the help of a skillchain discussion and two skillchain charts, I finally made sense of it all. This is an explanation of that understanding; hopefully others will benefit from it.
  569. Skillchains are the result of doing weapon skills in a particular order, with precise timing. They unleash a significant amount of additional damage.</description>
  570.    </item>
  572.    <item>
  573.      <title>Godzilla vs. Mito Komon</title>
  574.      <link></link>
  575.      <pubDate>Tue, 31 Aug 2004 00:47:00 -0400</pubDate>
  576.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  577.      <guid></guid>
  578.      <description>A few years ago I came into posession of a video entitled &amp;ldquo;Godzilla vs. Mito Komon&amp;rdquo;. Most people, I suspect, have heard of Godzilla, but not necessarily Mito Komon. Mito Komon was both the title and star of a very long-running Japanese TV show set in 17th century Japan.
  579. The video itself was apparently done by an art student as a project. He wrote the script, directed the film, and acted all of the parts (including Godzilla, Great Majin, and several high-voltage electrical towers).</description>
  580.    </item>
  582.    <item>
  583.      <title>MTA Reacts Poorly to Problems</title>
  584.      <link></link>
  585.      <pubDate>Wed, 25 Aug 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  586.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  587.      <guid></guid>
  588.      <description>This evening, a pickup truck ended up on the Light Rail tracks around Northern Parkway. To say that the MTA didn&amp;rsquo;t handle it well would be an understatement.
  589. I left work at about 5:20 and arrived at the Light Rail stop a little before 5:30. There was already a train there, sitting with its doors open. I asked people what the wait was and was told there was some accident. I waited a while and eventually the driver announced that he would go to the Lutherville stop.</description>
  590.    </item>
  592.    <item>
  593.      <title>Life in Text Mode</title>
  594.      <link></link>
  595.      <pubDate>Wed, 04 Aug 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  596.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  597.      <guid></guid>
  598.      <description>I primarily use Unix-based computers, mostly Linux. On those computers, I live in text mode. This entry is an attempt to document the software I find most useful to my text-mode guerrilla lifestyle. Included are links to the programs I rely on, links to alternative programs, and links to my config files.
  599. screen (.screenrc, .screenrc-mithrandir). Simply indispensable. It slices and dices console sessions. Pretty much everything I do, I do in screen.</description>
  600.    </item>
  602.    <item>
  603.      <title>MTA Proposes Route Changes</title>
  604.      <link></link>
  605.      <pubDate>Wed, 21 Jul 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  606.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  607.      <guid></guid>
  608.      <description>I recently discovered that the MTA is considering shortening several of its bus routes, including that of the 31, the one I use most often. Unfortunately, I didn&amp;rsquo;t hear about it via the MTA&amp;rsquo;s email announcement system, nor is it listed anywhere on their web site that I can find. I read about it in an article in the Baltimore Sun.
  609. For the 31, they&amp;rsquo;re planning to eliminate the portion of the route that runs between the Inner Harbor and Penn Station.</description>
  610.    </item>
  612.    <item>
  613.      <title>Mostly Bike-Related</title>
  614.      <link></link>
  615.      <pubDate>Tue, 13 Jul 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  616.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  617.      <guid></guid>
  618.      <description>Bikes are a popular way to get around, and should compliment public transportation. A recent Baltimore Sun article about Critical Mass has some rather discouraging comments about bike riding in Baltimore. Amy wrote a rather scorching response.
  619. In other news, the Light Rail has reopened the segment between Camden Yards and Linthicum. The Convention Center stop (at least) still has posted notices saying that everything south of Camden Yards is closed.</description>
  620.    </item>
  622.    <item>
  623.      <title>The MTA&#39;s New Website</title>
  624.      <link></link>
  625.      <pubDate>Sat, 26 Jun 2004 14:41:00 -0400</pubDate>
  626.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  627.      <guid></guid>
  628.      <description>The MTA recently launched a new website, one with which I&amp;rsquo;m quite happy. It addresses many of the complaints I had about the old site, and is, in general, much more usefully laid out.
  629. The most obvious change is the new layout of the front page. They&amp;rsquo;ve replaced the old static navigation with a table showing the current status of each area of service: bus, subway, light rail, MARC, commuter bus, and paratransit.</description>
  630.    </item>
  632.    <item>
  633.      <title>Blogshares</title>
  634.      <link></link>
  635.      <pubDate>Thu, 03 Jun 2004 12:41:00 -0400</pubDate>
  636.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  637.      <guid></guid>
  638.      <description>Well, it appears that I&amp;rsquo;m listed on Blogshares, so I&amp;rsquo;ll drop their icon into this entry to claim it.</description>
  639.    </item>
  641.    <item>
  642.      <title>Perdido Street Station</title>
  643.      <link></link>
  644.      <pubDate>Wed, 19 May 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  645.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  646.      <guid></guid>
  647.      <description>While Perdido Street Station certainly falls under the broad-reaching umbrella of &amp;ldquo;speculative fiction&amp;rdquo;, it&amp;rsquo;s hard to pin it further than that. Like the city of New Crobuzon and many of its inhabitants, the book is a blend of several things; there are fantasy aspects and steampunk aspects and horror aspects and probably half a dozen other sub-sub-genres scattered throughout.
  648. There are many good things about the book, but the most immediately obvious is Miéville&amp;rsquo;s writing style.</description>
  649.    </item>
  651.    <item>
  652.      <title>Ilium</title>
  653.      <link></link>
  654.      <pubDate>Mon, 26 Apr 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  655.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  656.      <guid></guid>
  657.      <description>After the tedious Quicksilver, Ilium was a welcome change. It&amp;rsquo;s a wonderful blend of science fiction and Greek myth.
  658. As Simmons&amp;rsquo; Hyperion was infused with Chaucer&amp;rsquo;s Canterbury Tales, so Ilium works from Homer&amp;rsquo;s Iliad. One of the central events of the book is the siege of Troy. In Ilium, however, the gods are more science fiction than fantasy&amp;mdash;they accomplish their majestic feats via nanotechnology and quantum manipulation. And the events in the Iliad are only a rough third of the events in Ilium.</description>
  659.    </item>
  661.    <item>
  662.      <title>Zero for Two</title>
  663.      <link></link>
  664.      <pubDate>Mon, 19 Apr 2004 13:04:00 -0400</pubDate>
  665.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  666.      <guid></guid>
  667.      <description>Following in Friday&amp;rsquo;s footsteps, the MTA gave me troubles getting to work this morning.
  668. The bus I caught going into the city (bus #8877) was stuck on a hill for some time, because the transmission wouldn&amp;rsquo;t shift into forward. (I&amp;rsquo;m not sure how long we were there, since I didn&amp;rsquo;t think to check my watch, but I missed two Light Rail trains, so it was at least half an hour.) The driver tried a number of variations on &amp;ldquo;roll backwards and then gun the engine&amp;rdquo; but nothing seemed to work.</description>
  669.    </item>
  671.    <item>
  672.      <title>Quicksilver</title>
  673.      <link></link>
  674.      <pubDate>Mon, 19 Apr 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  675.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  676.      <guid></guid>
  677.      <description>Quicksilver is probably one of the dullest books I&amp;rsquo;ve read in some time. I can see that it might be interesting to someone with a deep interest in European history of the late 17th century, but perhaps not even then.
  678. Quicksilver is the first book in Stephenson&amp;rsquo;s Baroque Cycle, a trilogy of historical fiction novels covering European history of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, focusing specifically on the political maneuverings of the time and the development of science as we know it today.</description>
  679.    </item>
  681.    <item>
  682.      <title>Missing, late buses.</title>
  683.      <link></link>
  684.      <pubDate>Fri, 16 Apr 2004 21:48:00 -0400</pubDate>
  685.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  686.      <guid></guid>
  687.      <description>The MTA had been behaving itself for a couple of months (inasmuch as it ever behaves&amp;mdash;the 8, on the occasions I&amp;rsquo;ve had to use it, has been as bad as ever), so I suppose it was due for something.
  688. The 31 scheduled for 6:58 at Liberty and Baltimore never arrived. I waited until roughly 7:20 before a 31 came by. (The next scheduled arrival was 7:24.) The bus then sat at the Arena stop for roughly 15 minutes as the driver waited for a replacement.</description>
  689.    </item>
  691.    <item>
  692.      <title>Newsmap</title>
  693.      <link></link>
  694.      <pubDate>Wed, 31 Mar 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  695.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  696.      <guid></guid>
  697.      <description>newsmap is a visualization of Google News. It gives you headlines in color-coded bands by category, sized by how many places are reporting the same story, and shaded by age. This is information pornography of the highest order. It uses flash. It may accomplish what even Strongbad and weebl and bob have so far failed to do&amp;mdash;get me to install Flash on my home computer.
  698. newsmap comes from the same person who wrote social circles, which also looks interesting.</description>
  699.    </item>
  701.    <item>
  702.      <title>An Ode to screen</title>
  703.      <link></link>
  704.      <pubDate>Thu, 18 Mar 2004 20:51:00 -0500</pubDate>
  705.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  706.      <guid></guid>
  707.      <description>Just a listing of the many ways that screen is indispensable to my way of using my computer.
  708. The biggest thing is, of course, the fact that screen is detachable. Start screen, start a program, detach screen while in the middle of doing something, log out, login later, reattach, program is just as I left it. This works at a distance, too. I can leave my home and go elsewhere (work, friend&amp;rsquo;s house, etc.</description>
  709.    </item>
  711.    <item>
  712.      <title>Trainsched Schedules</title>
  713.      <link></link>
  714.      <pubDate>Mon, 15 Mar 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  715.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  716.      <guid></guid>
  717.      <description>In order to use trainsched with the MTA&amp;rsquo;s schedules, I had to write my own programs to parse the MTA&amp;rsquo;s HTML schedule pages. The results of that work are now on this website. Share and Enjoy.</description>
  718.    </item>
  720.    <item>
  721.      <title>Odds and Ends</title>
  722.      <link></link>
  723.      <pubDate>Fri, 05 Mar 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  724.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  725.      <guid></guid>
  726.      <description>I was googling around the other day and came across this bus rider&amp;rsquo;s guide. It&amp;rsquo;s got a lot of useful information in it, especially for people who aren&amp;rsquo;t familiar with transit systems.
  727. The same session also netted me a set of good practices for transit web site design. Guess who falls flat on almost all of them?
  728. The MTA&amp;rsquo;s been rumbling about implementing a fare system called SmarTrip, which, I gather, is to be similar to the system DC has, where you pay varying amounts of money for the distance you travel and the services you use.</description>
  729.    </item>
  731.    <item>
  732.      <title>Other Subways</title>
  733.      <link></link>
  734.      <pubDate>Thu, 04 Mar 2004 10:56:00 -0500</pubDate>
  735.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  736.      <guid></guid>
  737.      <description>From IRC:
  738. &amp;lt;vees&amp;gt;
  739. &amp;lt;knarphie&amp;gt; ya know vees, I really should send the guy a one cm diagonal line to be included as the baltimore subway
  740. Sad, but true.</description>
  741.    </item>
  743.    <item>
  744.      <title>The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages</title>
  745.      <link></link>
  746.      <pubDate>Sun, 22 Feb 2004 14:14:00 -0500</pubDate>
  747.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  748.      <guid></guid>
  749.      <description>Oracle of Ages is one of a pair of Game Boy Color games. The other is Oracle of Seasons; each can be the sequel to the other, depending on which you play first. I started with Oracle of Ages, finished it, and got a password to enter into Oracle of Seasons. When I did so, I got a continuation of the story as the introduction to Oracle of Seasons. Apparently, there will be several points where people will give me passwords to transfer back and forth between the games, to synchronize my actions between the two.</description>
  750.    </item>
  752.    <item>
  753.      <title>The Two Towers: The Purist Edit</title>
  754.      <link></link>
  755.      <pubDate>Sun, 22 Feb 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  756.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  757.      <guid></guid>
  758.      <description>They gave me back my story.
  759. Ever since I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings in elementary school, I&amp;rsquo;ve loved Middle Earth. Like many people, I waited with anticipation and dread for the movies by Peter Jackson. Would he mangle it as horribly as Bakshi? Would they actually be good movies? The Fellowship of the Ring came out, and I was, by and large, pleased. Jackson had omitted some things and rearranged some others, but the result was good.</description>
  760.    </item>
  762.    <item>
  763.      <title>MTA Plans New Management System</title>
  764.      <link></link>
  765.      <pubDate>Wed, 18 Feb 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  766.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  767.      <guid></guid>
  768.      <description>The MTA announced a few days ago that they would be implementing a new system to track and report on the state of their vehicle fleet. The Baltimore Sun has an article, and the Department of Transportation has some details. They say they&amp;rsquo;ll be done by 2006; no indication on when they&amp;rsquo;ll start putting things in.
  769. It looks like this could be very nice and should address a few of my complaints about the MTA.</description>
  770.    </item>
  772.    <item>
  773.      <title>Poor MTA Communication...</title>
  774.      <link></link>
  775.      <pubDate>Mon, 16 Feb 2004 20:55:00 -0500</pubDate>
  776.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  777.      <guid></guid>
  778.      <description>&amp;hellip;but who&amp;rsquo;s surprised?
  779. Bus stop for the 31 at Howard St. and Lombard St. The 31 schedule was changed on February 1st, sixteen days ago. Announcements were made, new schedules drawn up, and so on. The scheduls at the stop is still the one from September of last year.
  780. Convention Center Light Rail stop. The double tracking message board has two items. The lefthand one describes the change back to two light rail lines, effective as of February 1st, 2004.</description>
  781.    </item>
  783.    <item>
  784.      <title>Finally, Everything Works</title>
  785.      <link></link>
  786.      <pubDate>Tue, 17 Feb 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  787.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  788.      <guid></guid>
  789.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve finally gotten emacs working just the way I want with respect to UTF-8.
  790. For entry of non-ascii characters, I most like RFC 1345. Emacs doesn&amp;rsquo;t have such an input system, and I don&amp;rsquo;t feel like writing one. screen, on the other hand, has support for digraph input, which will do the digraphs from RFC 1345 with the help of a little patch. (The same digraph input will also do any Unicode character if you know the hex for it, via the &amp;ldquo;U+xxxx&amp;rdquo; syntax.</description>
  791.    </item>
  793.    <item>
  794.      <title>Foucault&#39;s Pendulum</title>
  795.      <link></link>
  796.      <pubDate>Mon, 16 Feb 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  797.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  798.      <guid></guid>
  799.      <description>I liked The Name of the Rose, so when I saw Foucault&amp;#39;s Pendulum at the bookstore, I decided to grab it. Unfortunately for me, it&amp;rsquo;s a rather different sort of book than The Name of the Rose.
  800. The Name of the Rose is essentially a detective story. It&amp;rsquo;s set in medieval times and is told in a wonderfully baroque manner, but with all the descriptive flourishes pared away its story is relatively straightforward.</description>
  801.    </item>
  803.    <item>
  804.      <title>Power Problems at Simplex</title>
  805.      <link></link>
  806.      <pubDate>Thu, 05 Feb 2004 12:06:00 -0500</pubDate>
  807.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  808.      <guid></guid>
  809.      <description>For about the last week, Simplex has been plagued by electricity problems. Which is why I&amp;rsquo;d been off the &amp;lsquo;Net for a while and why was unreachable for that period of time. In the interests of archival, here&amp;rsquo;s the timeline:
  810. Wednesday, Jan 28th, night I&amp;rsquo;m playing Simpsons Hit and Run with Leah when the power flickers. The UPS with a bad battery just barely manages to keep the computer and PlayStation 2 alive.</description>
  811.    </item>
  813.    <item>
  814.      <title>Phở Ðật Thành</title>
  815.      <link></link>
  816.      <pubDate>Fri, 23 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  817.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  818.      <guid></guid>
  819.      <description>Had dinner at Phở Ðật Thành last night. Very good Vietnamese food. (Well, the food was very good, and it&amp;rsquo;s a Vietnamese restauraunt. I would have to leave it to someone more familiar with that cooking style to judge its authenticity.) It&amp;rsquo;s good food, and it&amp;rsquo;s Columbia. Go there. They have a huge menu. Go there a lot.
  820. (Really, I just made this entry because I could put the full name of the place in Unicode.</description>
  821.    </item>
  823.    <item>
  824.      <title>Baltimore&#39;s MTA is not an option so much as a last resort.</title>
  825.      <link></link>
  826.      <pubDate>Wed, 21 Jan 2004 22:48:00 -0500</pubDate>
  827.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  828.      <guid></guid>
  829.      <description>I recently had the use of my sister&amp;rsquo;s car for almost a month. During that time, I didn&amp;rsquo;t rely on the MTA for my transportation needs, and I was reminded again just how inadequate Baltimore&amp;rsquo;s public transportation system is.
  830. I like the idea of public transportation. It&amp;rsquo;s a more efficient method of travel, in terms of energy expended and pollution generated per person. I like the idea of settling back to read a book while someone else drives me to my destination.</description>
  831.    </item>
  833.    <item>
  834.      <title>The Child that Books Built</title>
  835.      <link></link>
  836.      <pubDate>Tue, 20 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  837.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  838.      <guid></guid>
  839.      <description>I occasionally venture beyond my fiction readings into the realm of non-fiction, and I&amp;rsquo;m pretty sure it counts even if the book is itself about reading. I saw The Child That Books Built mentioned in a post on Neil Gaiman&amp;rsquo;s blog and it sounded interesting enough, so I bought it the next time I was in a bookstore.
  840. I found the book to be a rather mixed bag. There were parts that I, like Gaiman, found eerily similar to my own experiences&amp;mdash;the way reading can blot out all that transpires in the surrounding world, the discovery of SF, reading The Hobbit, reading the Narnia books.</description>
  841.    </item>
  843.    <item>
  844.      <title>Jingo</title>
  845.      <link></link>
  846.      <pubDate>Fri, 16 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  847.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  848.      <guid></guid>
  849.      <description>There are so many different Discworld novels that it becomes difficult to write separately about each one, due to the similarities among them. I don&amp;rsquo;t mean that in a bad way; the books are certainly distinct from each other, too. It&amp;rsquo;s just that the things that keep me coming back to the series&amp;mdash;the characters, the storytelling, the humor&amp;mdash;are present in all of the books.
  850. Nevertheless, Jingo tells its own story. In this book, Pratchett has set his satirical sights on war, with the assistance of Ankh-Morpork&amp;rsquo;s City Watch.</description>
  851.    </item>
  853.    <item>
  854.      <title>The Time of The Dark</title>
  855.      <link></link>
  856.      <pubDate>Mon, 12 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  857.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  858.      <guid></guid>
  859.      <description>The Time of the Dark opens with a woman dreaming of events taking place in another world. By the second page this book, published in 1982, has already described something as &amp;ldquo;cyclopean&amp;rdquo;. I, having read that description, was busy being depressed about the story, fearing that Hambly was aspiring to some Lovecraft-styled tale. (This would be a problem because most such imitations are bad ones.) Fortunately (so to speak), it&amp;rsquo;s merely a run-of-the-mill fantasy story from the early &amp;rsquo;80s.</description>
  860.    </item>
  862.    <item>
  863.      <title>The Truth</title>
  864.      <link></link>
  865.      <pubDate>Sun, 04 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  866.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  867.      <guid></guid>
  868.      <description>Another element of the teeming horde that comprises Terry Pratchett&amp;rsquo;s Diskworld novels, The Truth would probably be grouped with the subset featuring Ankh-Morpork&amp;rsquo;s City Watch. That&amp;rsquo;s not entirely accurate, because the story really revolves around William de Worde&amp;rsquo;s newspaper, but the Watch is involved to a large degree.
  869. I&amp;rsquo;m not entirely sure what to think about this book. The whole thing is very Pratchett, with plenty of sections that left me literally laughing out loud (sometimes to the concern of those around me).</description>
  870.    </item>
  872.    <item>
  873.      <title>The Diary of Anne Frank</title>
  874.      <link></link>
  875.      <pubDate>Sat, 03 Jan 2004 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  876.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  877.      <guid></guid>
  878.      <description>Sometimes, it seems that everyone except me had to read The Diary of Anne Frank in school. (The fact that I probably got more out of the book because I didn&amp;rsquo;t is a piece for another day.) While I was reading, I learned from a friend of mine that I was reading an edited version. Though it is not indicated anywhere in the copy I have, it was edited by Anne&amp;rsquo;s father before publication.</description>
  879.    </item>
  881.    <item>
  882.      <title>Excel Saga, volume 3</title>
  883.      <link></link>
  884.      <pubDate>Wed, 24 Dec 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  885.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  886.      <guid></guid>
  887.      <description>Excel Saga 03 continues along the path set by volumes one and two: weird situations, not-so-smart Excel, not-so-healthy Hyatt, not-so-successful Il Palazzo, some satire, some plain funny stories, and so on. The excellent footnotes make their return, with comments about The Prisoner, Astro Boy, Blaise Pascal, and many other wonderful things.
  888. Now I have to wait for volume four to be translated and published.</description>
  889.    </item>
  891.    <item>
  892.      <title>The Return of the King</title>
  893.      <link></link>
  894.      <pubDate>Thu, 18 Dec 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  895.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  896.      <guid></guid>
  897.      <description>So, yeah. Being the giant Tolkien fanboy I am, I went to see the third Lord of the Rings movie at 12:01 am on opening night. Despite some setbacks, I did manage to see the whole movie.
  898. It rocked.
  899. In my eyes, at least, Peter Jackson has redeemed himself for all the changes he made to The Two Towers. (I&amp;rsquo;d link to my thoughts on that movie, but they got deleted by accident and no one had a cache of them.</description>
  900.    </item>
  902.    <item>
  903.      <title>AMC Owings Mills 17</title>
  904.      <link></link>
  905.      <pubDate>Wed, 17 Dec 2003 11:55:00 -0500</pubDate>
  906.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  907.      <guid></guid>
  908.      <description>This is the current name of the movie theater located at the Owings Mills Town Center (also known as simply &amp;ldquo;Owings Mills Mall&amp;rdquo;).
  909. In December of 2001, I went to see Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring at this theater for a 12:01 am showing on opening day. While things went well for most of the movie, one reel near the end of the film was played with the audio extremely desynced from the video.</description>
  910.    </item>
  912.    <item>
  913.      <title>Final Fantasy Tactics Advance</title>
  914.      <link></link>
  915.      <pubDate>Sat, 06 Dec 2003 11:24:00 -0500</pubDate>
  916.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  917.      <guid></guid>
  918.      <description>Summary: good gameplay and game mechanics, sometimes-annoying interface, silly plot.
  919. I played and loved Final Fantasy Tactics for the Playstation. So much so, in fact, that FFTA was the main reason I went out and got a Game Boy Advance. (And that ownership of a GBA and FFTA is what has kept me from reading anything, which is why the site hasn&amp;rsquo;t been updated as much.) So it is that I kept comparing FFTA to FFT.</description>
  920.    </item>
  922.    <item>
  923.      <title>Two Days in a Row</title>
  924.      <link></link>
  925.      <pubDate>Fri, 05 Dec 2003 12:00:00 -0500</pubDate>
  926.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  927.      <guid></guid>
  928.      <description>Okay, I guess the snow gives them an excuse, but the same two buses failed to show again today. From 9:25 through 10:10, there was nothing. Oh, sorry. There was nothing except for the bus that drove by without stopping at 9:40 with a sign saying &amp;ldquo;Finished Service&amp;rdquo;.
  929. The fact that the Light Rail was 10 minutes late seems to pale in comparison.</description>
  930.    </item>
  932.    <item>
  933.      <title>Happy Holidays</title>
  934.      <link></link>
  935.      <pubDate>Thu, 04 Dec 2003 19:55:00 -0500</pubDate>
  936.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  937.      <guid></guid>
  938.      <description>Dear MTA,
  939. Putting &amp;ldquo;Happy Holidays&amp;rdquo; on the front display panels of your buses is cute and all, but could you at least cycle them with the number and destination of the bus? Thanks.
  940. Best wishes, Phil!
  941. Waited nearly an hour for the bus on the way home, but that&amp;rsquo;s probably the fault of the traffic diversions and general congestion stemming from the Christmas tree lighting. Doesn&amp;rsquo;t really get the MTA off the hook for this morning, though.</description>
  942.    </item>
  944.    <item>
  945.      <title>No Buses on Route 31?</title>
  946.      <link></link>
  947.      <pubDate>Thu, 04 Dec 2003 11:47:00 -0500</pubDate>
  948.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  949.      <guid></guid>
  950.      <description>It&amp;rsquo;s been a while since a bus failed to show up at all1; the MTA appears to have attempted to balance this by today skipping two buses in a row. Neither the scheduled 9:28 or the scheduled 9:47 bus came through Arbutus today; I had to wait nearly an hour for the 10:11 bus.
  951. Grumble.
  952. Showing up late is another story, but they&amp;rsquo;ve been showing up eventually, at least.&amp;#160;&amp;#x21a9;&amp;#xfe0e;</description>
  953.    </item>
  955.    <item>
  956.      <title>The Opte Project</title>
  957.      <link></link>
  958.      <pubDate>Fri, 14 Nov 2003 19:57:00 -0500</pubDate>
  959.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  960.      <guid></guid>
  961.      <description>Though only recently hatched, the Opte Project seems interesting. Basically, it&amp;rsquo;s another map of the Internet, but designed to be generated in a matter of hours rather than months, which is what some similar projects take.
  962. Update: Oh, bother. Looks like Slashdot mentioned it, which was probably a component in the path the URL took to get to me. Oh, well.</description>
  963.    </item>
  965.    <item>
  966.      <title>Grandia Xtreme</title>
  967.      <link></link>
  968.      <pubDate>Sat, 08 Nov 2003 14:20:00 -0500</pubDate>
  969.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  970.      <guid></guid>
  971.      <description>Well, it&amp;rsquo;s certainly not Grandia II. Grandia Xtreme took Grandia II&amp;rsquo;s excellent battle system and improved on it. Unfortunately, that&amp;rsquo;s the only thing it improved on. The plot is simplistic, the characters are unbelievable, the dialog is crappy, and the voice acting (with the possible exception of Kroitz, voiced by Mark Hamil) is horrid.
  972. The main character is Evann, a Ranger with the ability to travel via Geo Stream. This allows you to teleport deep into various dungeons, after you&amp;rsquo;ve visited the destination the hard way, of course.</description>
  973.    </item>
  975.    <item>
  976.      <title>The case of the 500-mile email</title>
  977.      <link></link>
  978.      <pubDate>Thu, 06 Nov 2003 16:19:00 -0500</pubDate>
  979.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  980.      <guid></guid>
  981.      <description>One of my favorite networking tales is The case of the 500-mile email, now happily ensconced at</description>
  982.    </item>
  984.    <item>
  985.      <title>Drinker of Souls</title>
  986.      <link></link>
  987.      <pubDate>Wed, 05 Nov 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  988.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  989.      <guid></guid>
  990.      <description>Drinker of Souls is, on balance, a fairly average fantasy book. While there&amp;rsquo;s nothing particularly special about the story it tells, it is, at least, an interesting tale. The characterization is pretty good, especially Brann&amp;rsquo;s. The writing varies. I found parts of the book rather difficult to get through (most notably the first section; fortunately, things got better), while others elicited eager anticipation. (Partly, this is because I have a weakness for performing art.</description>
  991.    </item>
  993.    <item>
  994.      <title>Endless Nights</title>
  995.      <link></link>
  996.      <pubDate>Sun, 02 Nov 2003 23:30:00 -0500</pubDate>
  997.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  998.      <guid></guid>
  999.      <description>Endless Nights is another book from Neil Gaiman in the world of The Sandman. It contains seven stories, one for each of the Endless. It is &amp;hellip; impressive.
  1000. Each of the stories captures the personality of one of the Endless. Possibly the weakest of them in that respect are Death&amp;rsquo;s and Dream&amp;rsquo;s, but they&amp;rsquo;re also probably the most prominent characters in the Sandman series, so the lapse is forgivable, especially since Dream&amp;rsquo;s gives some very nice backstory for the Endless.</description>
  1001.    </item>
  1003.    <item>
  1004.      <title>Appropriate Error Messages</title>
  1005.      <link></link>
  1006.      <pubDate>Sat, 01 Nov 2003 20:25:00 -0500</pubDate>
  1007.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1008.      <guid></guid>
  1009.      <description>I spent some quality time with several MTA ticket vending machines today, much to my sorrow. You see, I wanted to buy a $64 monthly ticket. I pushed the appropriate button, fed in each of my four $20 bills, watched the amount remaining as displayed on the machine decrease by 20 for each bill, then, after I fed it the last bill, watched it display &amp;ldquo;Money Returned&amp;rdquo; and spit all the bills back out.</description>
  1010.    </item>
  1012.    <item>
  1013.      <title>Too much free time.</title>
  1014.      <link></link>
  1015.      <pubDate>Fri, 31 Oct 2003 19:03:00 -0500</pubDate>
  1016.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1017.      <guid></guid>
  1018.      <description>I get annoyed by the phrase &amp;ldquo;too much free time&amp;rdquo;. People use it when they see something that they deem to be useless and a waste of time&amp;mdash;certainly nothing they&amp;rsquo;d do in their spare time, oh no.
  1019. It bothers me because it&amp;rsquo;s effectively one person telling another that that person&amp;rsquo;s work is a waste of time, with overtones of dictating how they should spend their free time. Generally, the things that people do in their spare time are things they find worthwhile or at least interesting.</description>
  1020.    </item>
  1022.    <item>
  1023.      <title>UTF-8 and XEmacs</title>
  1024.      <link></link>
  1025.      <pubDate>Thu, 30 Oct 2003 17:24:00 -0500</pubDate>
  1026.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1027.      <guid></guid>
  1028.      <description>In order to display Unicode characters properly, I also had to set
  1029. (set-terminal-coding-system &#39;utf-8) in my startup files. For input, I found set-input-method, which is bound to C-x RET C-\ (which is extra fun, because C-\ is my screen escape character; well, at least it&amp;rsquo;s not a command I&amp;rsquo;ll be using over-frequently). I found I liked the latin-1-alt-postfix input method. Latin-1 characters are entered via magic two-key sequences such as &amp;ldquo;a&amp;rsquo;&amp;rdquo; for &amp;ldquo;á&amp;rdquo;.</description>
  1030.    </item>
  1032.    <item>
  1033.      <title>UTF-8</title>
  1034.      <link></link>
  1035.      <pubDate>Tue, 28 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1036.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1037.      <guid></guid>
  1038.      <description>Last weekend I was feeling both bored and geeky, so I did something I&amp;rsquo;d been meaning to do for a while: I switched to UTF-8. I&amp;rsquo;m running Debian unstable, and the transition was relatively painless, though I did run into some problems.
  1039. Markus Kuhn&amp;rsquo;s Unicode page proved invaluable for both theory and practice, as did his UTF-8 example files. Also of use was Radovan Garabík&amp;rsquo;s Debian howto for switching to UTF-8.</description>
  1040.    </item>
  1042.    <item>
  1043.      <title>More messed up MTA with no communication.</title>
  1044.      <link></link>
  1045.      <pubDate>Mon, 27 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1046.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1047.      <guid></guid>
  1048.      <description>I haven&amp;rsquo;t had problems with mass transit in a week or two. So I was about due, right? Right.
  1049. Went to catch the Light Rail on my way home from work. Based on the timing, I figured I&amp;rsquo;d catch the 6:24 scheduled train from Timonium Fairgrounds. From a distance, I watched a train go through at 6:19. Based on the track signals and the fact that trains are almost never that early, I figured it was just really late and that another would be through shortly.</description>
  1050.    </item>
  1052.    <item>
  1053.      <title>About Pip! Gold</title>
  1054.      <link></link>
  1055.      <pubDate>Thu, 23 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1056.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1057.      <guid></guid>
  1058.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;m an average geek living in the Baltimore area. I&amp;rsquo;m nonbinary and don&amp;rsquo;t really have a preference for what pronouns people use for me (but they/them is a good choice if you&amp;rsquo;re unsure).
  1059. I go by Piper or Pip. I use Piper more in person, but either is fine.
  1060. I took my wife&amp;rsquo;s name when we got married.
  1061. Unless otherwise indicated, all text on my blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license and all code is released to the public domain.</description>
  1062.    </item>
  1064.    <item>
  1065.      <title>Reply-To: for Mailing Lists</title>
  1066.      <link></link>
  1067.      <pubDate>Tue, 21 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1068.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1069.      <guid></guid>
  1070.      <description>Many mailing lists I&amp;rsquo;m on (particularly ones inhabited by sizable portions of geeks) have periodic &amp;ldquo;discussions&amp;rdquo; about the behavior of the Reply-To header on list email. The discussions usually follow fairly predictable paths. &amp;ldquo;Reply-To&amp;rdquo; Munging Considered Harmful is quoted. Proponents respond with Reply-To Munging Considered Useful.
  1071. My opinion is threefold:
  1072. First, not touching the header is the purest solution. For all the reasons in &amp;ldquo;Reply-To Munging Considered Harmful&amp;rdquo;, mailing lists shouldn&amp;rsquo;t touch it, in an ideal world, at least.</description>
  1073.    </item>
  1075.    <item>
  1076.      <title>New Writings in SF 7</title>
  1077.      <link></link>
  1078.      <pubDate>Fri, 17 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1079.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1080.      <guid></guid>
  1081.      <description>As far as I can tell, New Writings in SF 7 hasn&amp;rsquo;t been published since before ISBNs were adopted. (Hence, no Open Library link.) It&amp;rsquo;s a collection of short stories from authors that were, in 1966, &amp;ldquo;major new writers&amp;rdquo;. Like many such collections, some stories are good while others are not. The collection is, on balance, decent.
  1082. The first two stories, &amp;ldquo;The Pen and the Dark&amp;rdquo; and &amp;ldquo;Gifts of the Gods&amp;rdquo; are typical science-driven stories of the era.</description>
  1083.    </item>
  1085.    <item>
  1086.      <title>Camping Gear</title>
  1087.      <link></link>
  1088.      <pubDate>Thu, 16 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1089.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1090.      <guid></guid>
  1091.      <description>I am, on the whole, quite pleased with my current set of camping gear, so I figured I&amp;rsquo;d share with the Internet at large. This particular set may not necessarily be to everyone&amp;rsquo;s tastes, but it works well for me.
  1092. I like travelling light, and I enjoy backpacking. Thus, most of my gear was purchased with an eye toward backpacking. It, naturally, serves me well in other venues; the reverse would not be true with bulkier stuff.</description>
  1093.    </item>
  1095.    <item>
  1096.      <title>Heroing</title>
  1097.      <link></link>
  1098.      <pubDate>Wed, 15 Oct 2003 11:46:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1099.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1100.      <guid></guid>
  1101.      <description>A completely run-of-the-mill fantasy story, Heroing probably isn&amp;rsquo;t worth your time. I found it annoying to read and only finished it because I forgot to put anything better in my bag. Be warned that I&amp;rsquo;m not bothering to put a spoiler barrier in, simply because I don&amp;rsquo;t care enough. You&amp;rsquo;re not going to read this book, right?
  1102. Actually, some of the story is interesting in concept, like the Jiana/Jianabel split personality, but the execution is horrid.</description>
  1103.    </item>
  1105.    <item>
  1106.      <title>Playa del Fuego 2003</title>
  1107.      <link></link>
  1108.      <pubDate>Tue, 14 Oct 2003 20:53:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1109.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1110.      <guid></guid>
  1111.      <description>Yeah, I haven&amp;rsquo;t even finished with my entry for Burning Man this year, but this PDF entry should be a bit shorter, so my lazy butt is doing it first.
  1112. This PDF was a bit different from previous ones, both in general and for me specifically. A lot of the planning for it happened at close to the last minute, but everything did manage to come together in time for the event.</description>
  1113.    </item>
  1115.    <item>
  1116.      <title>The Route of the 31</title>
  1117.      <link></link>
  1118.      <pubDate>Tue, 14 Oct 2003 13:37:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1119.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1120.      <guid></guid>
  1121.      <description>Herein is contained a very oblique sort of rant, and it&amp;rsquo;s boring too. Just skip over this entry. You&amp;rsquo;ll feel better about yourself.
  1122. The MTA runs a number of bus routes. Each one is numbered. I regularly ride the 31.
  1123. The 31 runs from Penn Station to Halethorpe. It goes down Cathedral Street, proceeds from there to Lombard Street, to Wilkens Avenue, runs along Maiden Choice Lane, through UMBC, and along a couple of other streets to its destination.</description>
  1124.    </item>
  1126.    <item>
  1127.      <title>Lucifer&#39;s Hammer</title>
  1128.      <link></link>
  1129.      <pubDate>Mon, 13 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1130.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1131.      <guid></guid>
  1132.      <description>Put very simply, Lucifer&amp;#39;s Hammer is a book about a comet hitting Earth. The book takes 640 pages to do this; there&amp;rsquo;s a lot of detail to the story. The first couple hundred pages are all pre-comet and set the stage, introducing all of the characters. (There&amp;rsquo;s a dramatis personae at the beginning of the book; I found myself referring to it frequently to see which characters were which.) The strike itself occupies about another hundred pages, with the balance of the book dealing with the aftermath.</description>
  1133.    </item>
  1135.    <item>
  1136.      <title>Software Hate</title>
  1137.      <link></link>
  1138.      <pubDate>Wed, 08 Oct 2003 16:37:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1139.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1140.      <guid></guid>
  1141.      <description>Yes, it&amp;rsquo;s true. I hates software. (Though, as of yet, not very much.)</description>
  1142.    </item>
  1144.    <item>
  1145.      <title>Icons</title>
  1146.      <link></link>
  1147.      <pubDate>Wed, 08 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1148.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1149.      <guid></guid>
  1150.      <description>Yep, get &amp;rsquo;em all out of the way in one common place.
  1151. I hope that&amp;rsquo;s all clear now.</description>
  1152.    </item>
  1154.    <item>
  1155.      <title>Verizon&#39;s Web Site</title>
  1156.      <link></link>
  1157.      <pubDate>Tue, 07 Oct 2003 19:06:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1158.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1159.      <guid></guid>
  1160.      <description>I recently tried to set up a new account on Verizon&amp;rsquo;s web site. In order to do this, you have to choose a login and a password. Reasonable enough. The page says that the password must be &amp;ldquo;Minimum 6 characters with at least 1 number&amp;rdquo;. I run my password generating script (dd if=/dev/random bs=1 count=6 | uuencode -) and get VB3:Q-0&amp;quot;. Seems reasonable, so I enter it. No. &amp;ldquo;The password should contain one number, only three repeating characters, no spaces or email addresses and no other special characters.</description>
  1161.    </item>
  1163.    <item>
  1164.      <title>Times Without Number</title>
  1165.      <link></link>
  1166.      <pubDate>Tue, 07 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1167.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1168.      <guid></guid>
  1169.      <description>Times Without Number is a time travel story set in an alternate-history Earth. (Yes, the implications are pretty obvious. I won&amp;rsquo;t comment on them until after the spoiler barrier.) The book was originally three separate short stories. For this publishing, Brunner reworked the stories to create one narrative from them. Nevertheless, the book breaks easily into three different sections, each following a particular event in the life of &amp;ldquo;Don Miguel Navarro, Licencate in Ordinary of the Society of Time&amp;rdquo;.</description>
  1170.    </item>
  1172.    <item>
  1173.      <title>Book-Related Websites</title>
  1174.      <link></link>
  1175.      <pubDate>Sat, 04 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1176.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1177.      <guid></guid>
  1178.      <description>I was doing a bit of browsing today and ran across several websites that I figured I&amp;rsquo;d record for later reference.
  1179. BookCrossing – pass books around to people, record your thoughts about received books on the website. The Online Books Page – listing of over twenty thousand books freely available on the web. Internet Book List – looks like an attempt to create an IMDB for books. Good idea, only ten thousand books so far.</description>
  1180.    </item>
  1182.    <item>
  1183.      <title>The MTA Sucks</title>
  1184.      <link></link>
  1185.      <pubDate>Fri, 03 Oct 2003 13:14:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1186.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1187.      <guid></guid>
  1188.      <description>Public transportation is a good idea, it really is. Maryland just happens to have implemented it in a rather sucky manner. And I get to deal with it.
  1189. I was actually up earlier today, so I figured I&amp;rsquo;d stop at Baltimore Coffee and Tea for chai and a bagel to server as my breakfast/lunch. I missed the bus I was aiming at, which was my fault because I was a little late and it was on time.</description>
  1190.    </item>
  1192.    <item>
  1193.      <title>Archform: Beauty</title>
  1194.      <link></link>
  1195.      <pubDate>Fri, 03 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1196.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1197.      <guid></guid>
  1198.      <description>A lot of critics seem to like Archform: Beauty, and I can&amp;rsquo;t really disagree with them. It tells its story from five points of view, switching among them as it progresses. Despite the title and the presence of five narrators, I didn&amp;rsquo;t really see much evidence of Bartók&amp;rsquo;s arch form in the structure of the book. Beauty is, however, on the minds of the characters, though each has different ideas about what is beautiful.</description>
  1199.    </item>
  1201.    <item>
  1202.      <title>From a UI design article.</title>
  1203.      <link></link>
  1204.      <pubDate>Thu, 02 Oct 2003 11:46:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1205.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1206.      <guid></guid>
  1207.      <description> Beauty versus utility Everything I know about UI design, I learned from GAMES </description>
  1208.    </item>
  1210.    <item>
  1211.      <title>September Mail Stats</title>
  1212.      <link></link>
  1213.      <pubDate>Wed, 01 Oct 2003 01:37:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1214.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1215.      <guid></guid>
  1216.      <description>Folder delivery:
  1217. Total Number Folder ----- ------ ------ 17882995 1913 /dev/null 12268067 810 spam 2217635 641 lists/void 2406290 526 lists/baltwash-burning 2414109 446 lists/otakon-staff 2676164 428 lists/bugtraq 383989 391 cronjobs 1317429 370 lists/mutt-users 1469172 334 lists/burningass 4234167 228 /home/phil/mail/inbox High cronjob count was because of a couple of power outages that left some hosts running, but without nameservice. Thus, the uptimes project client that runs every eight minutes left error messages complaining about not being able to resolve hostnames.</description>
  1218.    </item>
  1220.    <item>
  1221.      <title>Zodiac</title>
  1222.      <link></link>
  1223.      <pubDate>Wed, 01 Oct 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1224.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1225.      <guid></guid>
  1226.      <description>Zodiac is one of Neal Stephenson&amp;rsquo;s earlier books, and it shows. A lot of the writing style that went into Snow Crash is there, but it&amp;rsquo;s rougher. It&amp;rsquo;s hard to pick out specific examples, but the whole book didn&amp;rsquo;t feel to me that it flowed as well as it ought to have. On the other hand, the story was a decent one, and had several nice moments of chemistry geekiness that reminded me of the mathematically-geeky side trips in Cryptonomicon.</description>
  1227.    </item>
  1229.    <item>
  1230.      <title>A Fire upon the Deep</title>
  1231.      <link></link>
  1232.      <pubDate>Sat, 27 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1233.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1234.      <guid></guid>
  1235.      <description>Not for nothing did A Fire upon the Deep take home a Hugo. There are just so many things about it that are good. The universe within which the story takes place is carefully crafted and very interestingly conceived. Several alien races are presented, two of them in detail, one of which (the Tines) had been very elaborately created. The story is huge and compelling, while the writing draws you onward.</description>
  1236.    </item>
  1238.    <item>
  1239.      <title>Lists of Bests</title>
  1240.      <link></link>
  1241.      <pubDate>Sat, 27 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1242.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1243.      <guid></guid>
  1244.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;ve just discovered It&amp;rsquo;s a website with lists of books, movies, and music that various people have deemed to be really good at some point or other. Mostly, I&amp;rsquo;m interested in the list of Hugo Award winners. It&amp;rsquo;s been a goal of mine for some time to read every work that has won a Hugo, and this site will allow me to keep better track of where I am with respect to that goal.</description>
  1245.    </item>
  1247.    <item>
  1248.      <title>Grandia II</title>
  1249.      <link></link>
  1250.      <pubDate>Thu, 25 Sep 2003 09:47:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1251.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1252.      <guid></guid>
  1253.      <description>Wow. Grandia II is now probably one of my favorite video games.
  1254. Let&amp;rsquo;s see&amp;hellip; It&amp;rsquo;s a console (Dreamcast) role playing game, one of my most-preferred genres. While the gameplay is rather overly linear, the battle system is at least interesting, and the characters and plot development are both excellent.
  1255. Linear gameplay, yes. There&amp;rsquo;s pretty much none of the wandering off to do side quests that other console RPGs have, nor is there much real exploring to do.</description>
  1256.    </item>
  1258.    <item>
  1259.      <title>Kingdom Hearts</title>
  1260.      <link></link>
  1261.      <pubDate>Wed, 24 Sep 2003 12:49:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1262.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1263.      <guid></guid>
  1264.      <description>I approached this game with some trepidation, for as much as I like Square, I hate Disney. (I won&amp;rsquo;t go into deep reasons for either of those here. Suffice that the feelings exist.) As such, I refused to buy it, because money would make its way from that sale to Disney. I ended up playing a copy owned by a friend of a friend.
  1265. Said playing only annoyed me further, because it&amp;rsquo;s a good game.</description>
  1266.    </item>
  1268.    <item>
  1269.      <title>Inversions</title>
  1270.      <link></link>
  1271.      <pubDate>Mon, 22 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1272.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1273.      <guid></guid>
  1274.      <description>Not surprisingly, Banks plays a bit with the form of the storytelling in Inversions. He tells the stories of two people in different kingdoms, alternating between them for each chapter. Not unique, to be sure, but not a simple, straightforward tale, either.
  1275. Honestly, I wasn&amp;rsquo;t terribly impressed with this one. The story was average; not one I found immensely gripping. I did enjoy piecing together the surrounding world from things mentioned in passing by the characters, and figuring out things about Vosill and DeWar via the same methods, but there wasn&amp;rsquo;t a whole lot of depth the the information derived thereby.</description>
  1276.    </item>
  1278.    <item>
  1279.      <title>The Fifth Elephant</title>
  1280.      <link></link>
  1281.      <pubDate>Fri, 19 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1282.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1283.      <guid></guid>
  1284.      <description>Yet another Terry Pratchett book. Specifically, another City Watch book, though much of this one takes place in Überwald. No witches are visible, though there are plenty of werewolves, dwarves, vampires, and Igors.
  1285. There is, as usual, a good story. Being a City Watch book, it&amp;rsquo;s largely a detective story, with the details swirling around the coronation of a new dwarven king, a very revered piece of dwarf bread, and the politics of the region, including the involvement of Sergeant Angua&amp;rsquo;s parents.</description>
  1286.    </item>
  1288.    <item>
  1289.      <title>Impressive LEGO structures</title>
  1290.      <link></link>
  1291.      <pubDate>Wed, 17 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1292.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1293.      <guid></guid>
  1294.      <description>Andrew Lipson&amp;rsquo;s LEGO Page has some pretty impressive constructions made from LEGO bricks. The mathematical models are nice, but some of the reproductions of Escher drawings are just amazing. (Even if he did cheat a little on &amp;ldquo;Waterfall&amp;rdquo;.)</description>
  1295.    </item>
  1297.    <item>
  1298.      <title>Wow, ugly.</title>
  1299.      <link></link>
  1300.      <pubDate>Tue, 16 Sep 2003 01:45:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1301.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1302.      <guid></guid>
  1303.      <description>Yes, this page is looking pretty ugly at the moment. Next task is to clean things up and move to a more CSS-based setup. I can&amp;rsquo;t guarantee things will come out looking good, but at least it&amp;rsquo;ll be consistent.</description>
  1304.    </item>
  1306.    <item>
  1307.      <title>The Alleluia Files</title>
  1308.      <link></link>
  1309.      <pubDate>Tue, 16 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1310.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1311.      <guid></guid>
  1312.      <description>This book forms the third in Sharon Shinn&amp;rsquo;s Samaria trilogy, being preceeded by Archangel and Jovah&amp;#39;s Angel. I still think Archangel is the best of the set, though The Alleluia Files is a fairly decent book.
  1313. The Alleluia Files again contains many trappings of romance, though there are two romances this time, and consequently neither is as well developed as previous books&amp;rsquo;. For me, the one in Archangel is still my favorite, which I realized is probably because of the way Shinn weaves music throughout the romance and the rest of the book.</description>
  1314.    </item>
  1316.    <item>
  1317.      <title>The Wolves in the Walls</title>
  1318.      <link></link>
  1319.      <pubDate>Mon, 15 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1320.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1321.      <guid></guid>
  1322.      <description>The Wolves in the Walls is a very short read, but quite worth it. The artwork is astounding and the story, while simple, is very fun. The language is certainly on an order for children. I&amp;rsquo;ve read recommendations that say the content might be a bit scary for kids, but it doesn&amp;rsquo;t seem so to me (though I&amp;rsquo;m not really a kid nor do I have any). Regardless, it should be a welcome addition to any adult library, if only for the artwork.</description>
  1323.    </item>
  1325.    <item>
  1326.      <title>Weather Porn</title>
  1327.      <link></link>
  1328.      <pubDate>Mon, 15 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1329.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1330.      <guid></guid>
  1331.      <description>NOAA seems to be adding some nice features for Internet-based weather information. I like all the info available from the Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office, especially the text forecast and hourly short-term forecast grid (also text-based).</description>
  1332.    </item>
  1334.    <item>
  1335.      <title>Excel Saga, volume 01</title>
  1336.      <link></link>
  1337.      <pubDate>Sun, 14 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1338.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1339.      <guid></guid>
  1340.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;m a fan of the anime series and I saw the first two volumes of the manga in the book store, so I decided to give it a read. I like it.
  1341. Excel Saga 01 is the first manga I&amp;rsquo;ve really read that went right-to-left. It is arguably more true to the original format (no reflections or rearrangement needed), but it can be harder for americans to follow. I found myself adapting to the format much more quickly than I thought I would, however.</description>
  1342.    </item>
  1344.    <item>
  1345.      <title>Excel Saga, volume 02</title>
  1346.      <link></link>
  1347.      <pubDate>Sun, 14 Sep 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1348.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1349.      <guid></guid>
  1350.      <description>Excel Saga 02 has more fun with Excel and company. The manga is certainly distinct from the anime, with common threads, but it&amp;rsquo;s still quite funny. I don&amp;rsquo;t know what else to say about it, though. Parts had me literally laughing out loud, always a good sign. The footnotes are again excellent; you can tell that the translators are pretty amusing people, too.</description>
  1351.    </item>
  1353.    <item>
  1354.      <title>Thoughts for my next Burning Man visit</title>
  1355.      <link></link>
  1356.      <pubDate>Wed, 03 Sep 2003 22:17:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1357.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1358.      <guid></guid>
  1359.      <description>Remember to drink water before going to bed. A couple nights I didn&amp;rsquo;t and woke up with a very dry, uncomfortable mouth.
  1360. Bring more costumes! Also, more playa-wear. Even jean shorts without a shirt felt a bit pedestrian at times. The loincloth worked well. Sarongs?
  1361. Go shirtless earlier in the week. My forearms tanned more rapidly than my back and shoulders, meaning that I had to deal with sunscreen over a longer period of time.</description>
  1362.    </item>
  1364.    <item>
  1365.      <title>August Mail Stats</title>
  1366.      <link></link>
  1367.      <pubDate>Wed, 03 Sep 2003 14:11:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1368.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1369.      <guid></guid>
  1370.      <description>(A couple of days of September snuck in, due to a cronjob that didn&amp;rsquo;t trigger.)
  1371. Folder delivery:
  1372. Total Number Folder ----- ------ ------ 10439575 1153 /dev/null 2402886 701 lists/void 5764083 621 spam 2883185 588 lists/otakon-staff 2379299 541 lists/baltwash-burning 2266470 385 lists/bugtraq 2427716 228 /home/phil/mail/inbox 799786 215 lists/umbclinux Spamassassin (was not collecting data for the full month, so the count is low):
  1373. spam: Cnt: 1572 Max: 46.9 Avg: 13.3732188295165 Dev: 6.59919668513267 The bayesian rules in SpamAssassin kicked in midmonth.</description>
  1374.    </item>
  1376.    <item>
  1377.      <title>Home From Burning Man</title>
  1378.      <link></link>
  1379.      <pubDate>Wed, 03 Sep 2003 13:45:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1380.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1381.      <guid></guid>
  1382.      <description>And I&amp;rsquo;ve returned home. I filled up several pages in a spiral notebook with my diary and various notes about the event. After I get all of that typed in, I&amp;rsquo;ll extract the fit-for-public-consumption bits and put them up here.</description>
  1383.    </item>
  1385.    <item>
  1386.      <title>Burning Man</title>
  1387.      <link></link>
  1388.      <pubDate>Sat, 23 Aug 2003 12:56:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1389.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1390.      <guid></guid>
  1391.      <description>I&amp;rsquo;m now off to Burning Man, for what will be my first visit to the desert. (Note to potential burglars: the martial artists are still in residence.) will see everyone when I return.</description>
  1392.    </item>
  1394.    <item>
  1395.      <title>Chernevog</title>
  1396.      <link></link>
  1397.      <pubDate>Thu, 21 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1398.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1399.      <guid></guid>
  1400.      <description>This one&amp;rsquo;s a worthy successor to Rusalka. More that&amp;rsquo;s familiar Cherryh style, including characters worrying over their choices and not knowing which characters to trust.
  1401. Spoilers I thought the climax seemed more hasty than Rusalka&amp;rsquo;s. Sasha &amp;amp; company show up, confused stuff with Draga and Eveshka happens, Draga and Chernevog end up battling it out at a distance, and it&amp;rsquo;s over. I felt more of a sense of completeness at the end of Rusalka than I had from this book.</description>
  1402.    </item>
  1404.    <item>
  1405.      <title>Jeopardy Quoting</title>
  1406.      <link></link>
  1407.      <pubDate>Wed, 20 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1408.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1409.      <guid></guid>
  1410.      <description>(Perhaps this should go in Links, but I might get around to writing some more original content here eventually.)
  1411. Rant from Simon Wistow about the practice.
  1412. RFC 1855, Netiquette Guidelines.
  1413. How to get Outlook Express to bottom-quote. (Relatedly, How to get Outlook Express to send in text.)
  1414. A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
  1415. Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
  1416. A: Top-posting.</description>
  1417.    </item>
  1419.    <item>
  1420.      <title>Code Change</title>
  1421.      <link></link>
  1422.      <pubDate>Tue, 19 Aug 2003 17:32:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1423.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1424.      <guid></guid>
  1425.      <description>I decided I liked the design of Blosxom better than weblog. So I switched. Have to wait and see if I decide to stick with this one, though I think I will&amp;mdash;it&amp;rsquo;s flexible enough for me to do most of what I want with it.</description>
  1426.    </item>
  1428.    <item>
  1429.      <title>Intro to Linux Tutorial</title>
  1430.      <link></link>
  1431.      <pubDate>Tue, 19 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1432.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1433.      <guid></guid>
  1434.      <description>This is a translation from text into HTML of an old tutorial I gave. The translation is incomplete. Sorry. I&amp;rsquo;ll finish it eventually.
  1435. Intro to the Intro What this tutorial is Introduction to Linux/Unix I will focus on Linux, but most stuff is applicable to other Unices, too. Enough to get you comfortable with the system and able to learn more on your own. What this tutorial is not How to install Linux &amp;ndash; do that at Installfest How to use &amp;lt;large program&amp;gt; &amp;ndash; teaching basics Intro to graphical tools &amp;ndash; Unix&amp;rsquo;s heart is text Logging in Linux is multi-user Knows the &amp;ldquo;identity&amp;rdquo; of different users.</description>
  1436.    </item>
  1438.    <item>
  1439.      <title>MTA Needs More Coordination</title>
  1440.      <link></link>
  1441.      <pubDate>Mon, 18 Aug 2003 12:45:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1442.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1443.      <guid></guid>
  1444.      <description>The Light Rail was fun this morning. Got on at the Convention Center stop as normal, then drowsed until reaching North Avenue. At that stop, we were informed by the driver that we would have to get off and take buses further north. There were two buses waiting and an MTA supervisor directing people onto them. I said I was going to Timonium and he pointed me at the first bus of the pair.</description>
  1445.    </item>
  1447.    <item>
  1448.      <title>Throwaway Email Addresses</title>
  1449.      <link></link>
  1450.      <pubDate>Fri, 15 Aug 2003 16:22:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1451.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1452.      <guid></guid>
  1453.      <description>Mailinator seems a nice service for disposable email addresses. Use an email address, and view the received emails on the web. Note that there is no privacy for received email.
  1454. I&amp;rsquo;ve used a service like this in the past. It can be useful for situations where you need a single email from someone and don&amp;rsquo;t want your real address being harvested.</description>
  1455.    </item>
  1457.    <item>
  1458.      <title>Rusalka</title>
  1459.      <link></link>
  1460.      <pubDate>Fri, 15 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1461.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1462.      <guid></guid>
  1463.      <description>C.J. Cherryh is a very good author. She writes very believable characters, and those in Rusalka are no exception. Each has his own reasons for his actions, and no one completely understands the others. In other words, standard Cherryh. :) I quite enjoyed the book, and the words describing the climax, especially, echoed in my head when I read them.
  1464. I&amp;rsquo;d certainly recommend this one to others for reading.</description>
  1465.    </item>
  1467.    <item>
  1468.      <title>Spam This, Please</title>
  1469.      <link></link>
  1470.      <pubDate>Fri, 15 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1471.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1472.      <guid></guid>
  1473.      <description>John McDonnell says he wants to get as much spam as possible to the email address I&amp;rsquo;m assisting by putting it on a web page. Feel free to do the same.
  1474. All email sent there will by dumped to</description>
  1475.    </item>
  1477.    <item>
  1478.      <title>Phil!&#39;s Tutorial Outlines</title>
  1479.      <link></link>
  1480.      <pubDate>Wed, 13 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1481.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1482.      <guid></guid>
  1483.      <description>Over the years I&amp;rsquo;ve put together a few tutorials, mostly for the UMBC LUG. I&amp;rsquo;ve collected those here as a reference. Most of these were written for me to give the talk; they may not have enough information for others to learn from on their own. On the other hand, they may be very useful. Good luck. :)
  1484. Introduction to Linux (with a focus on Linux at UMBC) PGP SSH </description>
  1485.    </item>
  1487.    <item>
  1488.      <title>Otakon is Over</title>
  1489.      <link></link>
  1490.      <pubDate>Mon, 11 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1491.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1492.      <guid></guid>
  1493.      <description>Well, Otakon 2003 is over. Lots of good stuff there; I suspect most people had a good time. I managed to see &amp;ldquo;Otaku no Video&amp;rdquo; (finally), Mystery Anime Theater 3000, the AMV contest (easily my favorite part of the con), and the T.M. Revolution concert.
  1494. Oh, and the dealer&amp;rsquo;s room. I picked up Princess Prince, a plush Nyarlathotep, a plush Kuro Neko-sama (that one was a gift), a small pin with Utena on it, and another pin with Ryo-Ohki.</description>
  1495.    </item>
  1497.    <item>
  1498.      <title>Princess Prince</title>
  1499.      <link></link>
  1500.      <pubDate>Mon, 11 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1501.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1502.      <guid></guid>
  1503.      <description>Princess Prince is a very amusing shoujo manga. In the kingdom of Gemstone, the king is father to twins: a princess and a prince. Prince Matthew is every inch the bishounen and all the girls adore him. Princess Lori is actually Prince Lawrence, but has been raised as a girl due to a prophecy made at the twins&amp;rsquo; birth.
  1504. Princess Lori and another girl have fallen for each other, but she doesn&amp;rsquo;t know the Princess&amp;rsquo;s true nature.</description>
  1505.    </item>
  1507.    <item>
  1508.      <title>Website Code</title>
  1509.      <link></link>
  1510.      <pubDate>Mon, 11 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1511.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1512.      <guid></guid>
  1513.      <description>Just as reference for later perusal:
  1514. In Defense of Fahrner Image Replacement: nice description of a technique for adding images to a website without the &amp;lt;img&amp;gt; tag and with better underlying content for image-incapable browsers. Requires CSS. css Zen Garden: looks like this has some nice examples of CSS use. Linked from the above article. Web design postcards: Collection of little snippets of tips and such for web design. Need to go and read through them.</description>
  1515.    </item>
  1517.    <item>
  1518.      <title>Time porn.</title>
  1519.      <link></link>
  1520.      <pubDate>Thu, 07 Aug 2003 18:09:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1521.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1522.      <guid></guid>
  1523.      <description>What time is it? Well, no one knows for sure
  1524. Interesting discussion of different timescales (as produced by differing treatments of leap seconds) and possible consequences for the differences.</description>
  1525.    </item>
  1527.    <item>
  1528.      <title>Players at the Game of People</title>
  1529.      <link></link>
  1530.      <pubDate>Wed, 06 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1531.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1532.      <guid></guid>
  1533.      <description>Finished it yesterday. Not too bad.</description>
  1534.    </item>
  1536.    <item>
  1537.      <title>War of Honor</title>
  1538.      <link></link>
  1539.      <pubDate>Sun, 03 Aug 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1540.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1541.      <guid></guid>
  1542.      <description>It&amp;rsquo;s past five in the morning. I&amp;rsquo;ve been up reading for almost the last four hours because I wanted to finish War of Honor. It&amp;rsquo;s good. The pace is much slower than I remember previous Honor Harrington books being, but things do move along.
  1543. Reading all of the Honor anthologies before this book is highly recommended.
  1544. Spoilers As usual, the end of the book is very open for more. Also as usual, I&amp;rsquo;m left with the feeling of, &amp;ldquo;Okay, what now?</description>
  1545.    </item>
  1547.    <item>
  1548.      <title>Now with blog.</title>
  1549.      <link></link>
  1550.      <pubDate>Sat, 02 Aug 2003 13:08:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1551.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1552.      <guid></guid>
  1553.      <description>So I decided to go and weed my webspace, including cleaning up my pages a bit. While I was at it, I set up a simple blog, which is what you&amp;rsquo;re seeing now. I figure I&amp;rsquo;ll at least play with it and see how useful it is. Mostly, I expect it&amp;rsquo;ll be used for comments on books I&amp;rsquo;m reading and the inevitable propagation of URLs to stuff I think is interesting.</description>
  1554.    </item>
  1556.    <item>
  1557.      <title>Self-Immolation</title>
  1558.      <link></link>
  1559.      <pubDate>Sun, 06 Jul 2003 18:15:00 -0400</pubDate>
  1560.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1561.      <guid></guid>
  1562.      <description>I probably won&amp;rsquo;t type up most stuff from this weekend, but I figure I&amp;rsquo;ll add an entry describing my bout of stupidity for later perusal.
  1563. This was on Saturday night. I&amp;rsquo;d finally decided to wear my loincloth, so that and my boots were all I had on as I headed up to the fire stack. We were burning a bunch of pallets and I helped several others carry them from their location to the fire area.</description>
  1564.    </item>
  1566.    <item>
  1567.      <title>Post-PDF Dump</title>
  1568.      <link></link>
  1569.      <pubDate>Tue, 27 May 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1570.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1571.      <guid></guid>
  1572.      <description>Originally from an email sent to the baltwash-burning mailing list:
  1573. I typed all of this up for my diary then figured I might as well send out to the list (with some of the more personal bits removed&amp;mdash;sorry).
  1574. Who Needs Friendster? As a result of being at PDF, I&amp;rsquo;m now very used to walking anywhere and running into friends. Now, of course, I expect this to extend into the rest of the world, so I keep catching glimpses of people and I get all hopeful for a moment or two.</description>
  1575.    </item>
  1577.    <item>
  1578.      <title>PGP Tutorial</title>
  1579.      <link></link>
  1580.      <pubDate>Thu, 17 Apr 2003 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1581.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1582.      <guid></guid>
  1583.      <description>Herein resides a brief (somewhat) tutorial on creating and signing PGP keys with GPG. I&amp;rsquo;d originally intended to use this as the outline for a presentation on the subject, but decided to put it on the web so I could point people at it. The introductory section (Basics) is pretty lean, but should provide enough of a background for simple stuff. All of this is documented elsewhere on the web.</description>
  1584.    </item>
  1586.    <item>
  1587.      <title>Simple SSH Tutorial</title>
  1588.      <link></link>
  1589.      <pubDate>Wed, 25 Dec 2002 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1590.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1591.      <guid></guid>
  1592.      <description>This is based on a talk I gave for the UMBC LUG on SSH. It might be of some use to other people. I make no guarantees.
  1593. Concepts Encryption Broadly speaking, encryption is a process of scrambling data that depends on a secret value of some sort to unscramble the data. To anyone not in possession of the secret value, the scrambled data should be unintelligible.
  1594. There are two sorts of approaches to that secret value: shared secrets and public/private keypairs.</description>
  1595.    </item>
  1597.    <item>
  1598.      <title>PGP Info Index</title>
  1599.      <link></link>
  1600.      <pubDate>Mon, 23 Dec 2002 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1601.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1602.      <guid></guid>
  1603.      <description>This section of my website is devoted to PGP. I am a large fan of privacy, as well as being a bit paranoid, so I like the idea of PGP and its public key infrastructure.
  1604. Not surprisingly, I have a PGP public key. It&amp;rsquo;s key ID 026A27F2 with fingerprint D200 5BDB FC4B B24A 9248 9F7A 4322 2D22 026A 27F2. It&amp;rsquo;s available from all of the OpenPGP keyservers I know of, but you can also grab it here, if you like.</description>
  1605.    </item>
  1607.    <item>
  1608.      <title>Phil!&#39;s ZSH Prompt</title>
  1609.      <link></link>
  1610.      <pubDate>Mon, 23 Dec 2002 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1611.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1612.      <guid></guid>
  1613.      <description>In which one geek demonstrates his zsh prompt, which (he hopes) should serve as an example of some of the more complicated aspects of zsh.
  1614. A while back, Slashdot had an Ask Slashdot question about shell prompts. I responded, posting a link to an earlier Kuro5hin post I had made on the subject. Unlike that Kuro5hin post, the Slashdot post garnered some attention, so I decided to write up how my prompt works.</description>
  1615.    </item>
  1617.    <item>
  1618.      <title>recv-keys</title>
  1619.      <link></link>
  1620.      <pubDate>Fri, 07 Dec 2001 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1621.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1622.      <guid></guid>
  1623.      <description>recv-keys is a simple shell script written by Mike Gurski to send and receive PGP keys to (and from) all of the OpenPGP keyservers. This bypasses the problem that not all of the servers synchronize to each other.
  1624. You will need the host program (which probably came with your OS distribution) and GPG. You&amp;rsquo;ll also need a Unix computer&amp;mdash;this won&amp;rsquo;t work under Windows.
  1625. To use it, download and put it in a directory in your $PATH.</description>
  1626.    </item>
  1628.    <item>
  1629.      <title>Student Text</title>
  1630.      <link></link>
  1631.      <pubDate>Sun, 24 Jan 1999 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1632.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1633.      <guid></guid>
  1634.      <description>you see a small leather bound book containing student information. Its probably worth a look at the index to see what it contains.</description>
  1635.    </item>
  1637.    <item>
  1638.      <title>Student Text Index</title>
  1639.      <link></link>
  1640.      <pubDate>Sun, 24 Jan 1999 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1641.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1642.      <guid></guid>
  1643.      <description> Subject page Introduction #1 Faculty #2 Potions #3 - #5 Facilities #6 </description>
  1644.    </item>
  1646.    <item>
  1647.      <title>Student Text Page 1</title>
  1648.      <link></link>
  1649.      <pubDate>Sun, 24 Jan 1999 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1650.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1651.      <guid></guid>
  1652.      <description>Welcome to Akkur&amp;rsquo;s school for Alchemy.
  1653. This school has been founded to provide advanced education in the science of Alchemy. Given the extensive nature of the subject this school will be open day and night. Sleeping, eating, and recreation facilities are available to students as part of their tuition.</description>
  1654.    </item>
  1656.    <item>
  1657.      <title>Student Text Page 2</title>
  1658.      <link></link>
  1659.      <pubDate>Sun, 24 Jan 1999 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1660.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1661.      <guid></guid>
  1662.      <description>Please be aware of the following faculty staff and give them their due respect.
  1663. Principle - Head of the school
  1664. House Master - Responsible for House Discipline
  1665. House Mother - Responsible for Sleeping Quarters
  1666. Guild master - Head of the Student Guild.</description>
  1667.    </item>
  1669.    <item>
  1670.      <title>Student Text Page 6</title>
  1671.      <link></link>
  1672.      <pubDate>Sun, 24 Jan 1999 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1673.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1674.      <guid></guid>
  1675.      <description>Drinking and recreation facilities are provided behind the east wing of the school. Students are permitted to become involved in the gaming, but are advised not to approach the pit in the games room.</description>
  1676.    </item>
  1678.    <item>
  1679.      <title>Student Text Pages 3-5</title>
  1680.      <link></link>
  1681.      <pubDate>Sun, 24 Jan 1999 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1682.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1683.      <guid></guid>
  1684.      <description>Student will be expected to master the following potions prior to graduation.
  1685. Marble Beaker Poison, Harm, Blindness Teak Beaker Invisibility, Resist Fire, Waterwalk Dull Grey Beaker Detect Magic, Detect Poison, Detect Alignment Camfor Wood Beaker Sense Life Rose Hip Beaker Harm, Harm, Harm Appura Beaker Invisibility, Sense Life Honey Beaker Cure Light Wounds, Cure Light Wounds, Cure Light Wounds Termite Beaker Burning Hands, Burning Hands, Burning Hands Iron Beaker Armor Lava Beaker Detect Poison, Strength, Infravision Pewter Beaker Remove Poison Mud Beaker Curse </description>
  1686.    </item>
  1688.    <item>
  1689.      <title>Iñtërnâtiônàlizætiøn</title>
  1690.      <link></link>
  1691.      <pubDate>Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1692.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1693.      <guid></guid>
  1694.      <description>As suggested in AJAX Considered Harmful, I&amp;rsquo;m testing out blosxom&amp;rsquo;s URL-encoding. In practice, the problems he raises aren&amp;rsquo;t much of a concern for me, since blosxom gets its URLs from the filenames, and I stick to ASCII for entries in my filesystem.
  1695. An interesting side note is that one of the pages he links to recommends not using extensions like &amp;ldquo;.html&amp;rdquo; for URLs, since they indicate formatting/delivery, not content. Despite the presence of &amp;ldquo;.</description>
  1696.    </item>
  1698.    <item>
  1699.      <title>Typography Testing</title>
  1700.      <link></link>
  1701.      <pubDate>Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1702.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1703.      <guid></guid>
  1704.      <description>Just some experiments with various typography.
  1705. Quotes I wouldn&amp;rsquo;t mind using nice-looking quote marks for things. HTML has a tag for inline quoting: the &amp;lt;q&amp;gt; tag. Most browsers don&amp;rsquo;t quite work properly with it.
  1706. Here&amp;rsquo;s Exodus 8:1:
  1707. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Release my people in order that they may serve me!” ’ ”
  1708. When rendered with &amp;lt;q&amp;gt; tags, it looks like this:</description>
  1709.    </item>
  1711.    <item>
  1712.      <title>UTF-8 Test</title>
  1713.      <link></link>
  1714.      <pubDate>Mon, 01 Jan 0001 00:00:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1715.      <author> (Pip! Gold)</author>
  1716.      <guid></guid>
  1717.      <description>For aggregators (and we&amp;rsquo;ll put some in the first sentence for summary-only ones: UTF-8(äéîøùñÞÐ∰ち) XML(äéîøùñÞÐ∰ち)).
  1718. .0 .1 .2 .3 .4 .5 .6 .7 .8 .9 .A .B .C .D .E .F 160. ᘀ ᘁ ᘂ ᘃ ᘄ ᘅ ᘆ ᘇ ᘈ ᘉ ᘊ ᘋ ᘌ ᘍ ᘎ ᘏ 161. ᘐ ᘑ ᘒ ᘓ ᘔ ᘕ ᘖ ᘗ ᘘ ᘙ ᘚ ᘛ ᘜ ᘝ ᘞ ᘟ 162. ᘠ ᘡ ᘢ ᘣ ᘤ ᘥ ᘦ ᘧ ᘨ ᘩ ᘪ ᘫ ᘬ ᘭ ᘮ ᘯ 163.</description>
  1719.    </item>
  1721.  </channel>
  1722. </rss>

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