Tag Archives: Tech


It’s that time again, where I’m forced to spend hours and hours reconfiguring everything and installing programs so I can be productive with this computer. I kept a list just for grins, and here it is:

  1. Winamp 2 (To listen to while doing the rest.)
  2. SecureCRT (Gotta have SSH.)
  3. Diskeeper
  4. Roboform (I’m lazy.)
  5. Google Toolbar (Need to find updates and such.)
  6. Photoshop 7 (I’m a very young Jedi here.)
  7. Topstyle Pro (Makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Rumored to prevent eye bleeds.)
  8. Cute FTP Pro
  9. Adobe Acrobat
  10. ASPI Layer
  11. Audio Catalyst (Music habit.)
  12. Office XP (Bloatware at its finest.)
  13. Kazaa Lite (Music habit.)
  14. Personal HOSTS File (Feel free to grab. Tweaked so Yahoo works.)
  15. DeadAIM (Chat me up @ saxmatt02.)
  16. Palm Desktop (Sync it up.)
  17. Studio MX (Gotta pay the bills.)

In Sony World Again

Well, I finally got my laptop back. Yes, that laptop. My trusty GRX-570 is back with (apparently) a new motherboard, power system, LCD, and AC adaptor. So basically the keyboard is the same. It took them almost three months to fix it, which is the most ridiculous thing ever, but I must say that it feels quite nice to have it back in my hands and it’s running great. It’s going to take some getting used to a laptop that is at least an inch bigger and several pounds heavier than the one I used for so long though. I’m not even sure this will fit in my new bag! Time will tell though, and I must admit it’s nice to be at 1600×1200 again. If you haven’t visited the photolog lately, there are a couple of new days of pictures with some hilarious candid shots.

On Google and the Future

Sometimes things will come up in conversation that bear repeating, but where the barrier to packaging it in a ‘publishable’ form seems too high for whatever your time restraints at the moment. So this is a snippet of a conversation with the inimitable Joe Clark that pertains to his article on Google:

MM: Logical points.
MM: I think Google’s update cycle for all but a few is ridiculous though
MM: it favors fresh content, but it’s out of sync with what’s fresh
MM: I remember one engine, perhaps Teoma when it first started, offered *instant* inclusion

MM: I think a system like what you suggest would be abused, but in a way so easily trackable and correctable it would actually help to weed out junk.
JC: I see.
MM: Let’s say you “ping” Google telling them your page has updated. They check, get newest content, integrate it, the world is a better place and everyone is happy. Let’s say you resubmit the page an hour later, hoping to get a fresh bonus or something, it would slap you on the wrist for having no new or significantly different content.
MM: If the page was, say, 20% different, then it probably should be reindexed, and the old page should be dropped from the index because none of that is there anymore.
JC: Well, that’s making sense.
MM: Plus it can tie this all in with the link-votes pageranking to give instant pageranks to every page, instead of the psuedo-pageranks they often use now
MM: I forsee a day when you hover over a link and it preemptively tells you the pagerank of the linked page in a tooltip or the status bar.
JC: Cripes, kid, you’ve got a visionary hidden underneath there.
JC: Are you gonna publish this s— or what?
JC: then again, you’re not done yet. carry on.
MM: And if the page isn’t in the index yet, get it! Moreover what are they doing with all that juicy information they’re getting from Google Toolbars? I’m sure something interesting could be done with that, a la [that company that starts with an A] but with more relevant ranking than pure traffic.
MM: Publish? Not enough time.
MM: Google is always looking for new things to do with their current data, but they’ve done very little in terms of making their data more timely.
JC: just copy and paste what you wrote and blog ‘er.

It’s hard to say no to Joe, so here I am.

New Lows?

I just took a job in exchange for pink chocolate chip cookies. Did anyone else miss the boom years? Just kidding of course, for Christine I would do it even for Macadamia nut.

T-Mobile Ripoff

Oh my goodness! I’ve had a pre-pay T-Mobile account because Starbuck’s are so ubiquitous, but when I tried to log in right now it said my account has expired, even though I know I’ve hardly used it. Not that big a deal though, I can just refill it, check my email, post, and go along my merry way. So I start the refill process, and it wants $50. WTF? Let’s take a look at each of their plans to see what a ripoff it is:

  • Unlimited National — $29.99 a month. This looks like the best deal until you notice that it requires a 12-month contract, and has a $200 early termination fee. What a rip.
  • Unlimited National — $39.99 a month. This actually is the best deal, which is sad because this is how much I pay for my cell phone. They need to have something cheaper.
  • Prepay 300 — $50. This is the plan they wanted me to refill to. What a rip! Those three hundred minutes expire in 120 days if you don’t use them and the minimum session time is 10 minutes, so at most you could get on this thirty times before you’re out.
  • Pay as you go — 10 cents a minute. Okay finally we have something reasonable here, right? I can pop in and out, probably using under a dollar worth of minutes. Plus if I did end up using 300 minutes it would still be cheaper than their stupid prepay plan. But wait, it looks like there is a 60 minute minimum per session, which means every time you log on you would be paying $6.

These plans are ridiculous, and I’m going to take my WiFi card elsewhere. Or maybe I’ll stop in and try some of their very reasonably priced coffee. I feel strange saying this, but McDonald’s has the right idea. I would be happy to get a meal and some WiFi, or pay a reasonable $3 for an hour of access. Plus I assume that cash is an option, which is a plus. Of course there are some very good independent coffee houses around which I frequent, but unfortunately none of them are convenient to my next appointment, so I’m stuck without access. I guess it’s time to go war-driving and find some good nodes in the Montrose area.

I’m not trying to say that the above plans are wrong for everyone, just that for my planned usage of quick, infrequent stops here and there is no plan which I won’t pay out the nose for. I have come to the conclusion that T-Mobile is the devil though. Now I’m just going to head to my haircut, and then to the long-anticipated mid-term.

Future of Email

A group I’m a part of is preparing to form a number of “working groups” and each group may prepare a number of documents. The proposed format for these documents is plain ASCII text wrapped at 74 characters. It’s not the IETF, and on the whole it seemed like a rather restrictive format to develop documents in, an opinion which I’ve been trying my best to communicate. The discussion is still ongoing, but there was a brief tangent where several people misconstrued my argument as being one for HTML email, which is a totally separate beast.

Anyway it got me thinking about how HTML email is almost universally condemned among tech-savvy email groups. The problem, I think, is not technological but in fact human. HTML email has the potential to be clean, structured markup that can add a number of rich elements that there is no standard way to add in plain ASCII, such as emphasis, links, quotes, and in general represent things in a more meaningful way. The problem is generally not in the receiving client; I can’t think of a client with no HTML reading support (even Pine does some). Also the MIME standard allows and encourages a plain text equivalent of all rich content. It’s a problem, to put it into Spiderman terms, of great power and great responsibility. Someone very near and dear to my heart sends me email with garish background, text that varies between large and red or some purple script font, and any number of images speckled about. To me an ideal solution would be an email composer that enforced strict separation of style and content, and a client which allowed any CSS attributes to be toggled at will. Someday, perhaps?


Wow, I noticed my computer was running a little slower than normal, so I fired up Diskeeper and it looks like my main drive is 95% fragmented. No joke.


As SxSWi rapidly approaches, and my spring break zooms by faster than I could have imagined, I find myself knee-deep in Smarty, which I feel is the most pleasant engine/enviroment/platform/whatever I’ve used in a very long time. Everything is so elegant, extensible, and well thought out. It is simple at its core, but brims with power. Plus it absolutely flies with PHP Accelerator. It looks like I’m going to use this for everything from now on.

SxSW Interactive

So, is anyone else going to South by Southwest Interactive next week? This will be my first time and I’m incredibly excited, but also a little bit anxious since I have no idea what it’s going to be like. I’m going to be staying in Pflugerville with my wonderful sister but I suspect I’m going to spend most of my time in town.

If you’ve been before, I’d love to hear whatever tidbits of advice you have. If you’re going, definitely let me know and hopefully we can meet up. I’d love to start putting some non-Houston faces with the domain names :).

Email Encoding

The Hiveware Email Encoder is quite nice, and it seems like it’s been updated to encode the email in a very strange way, but it works. What would be nice is to have a PHP function that would allow you to do this conversion on the fly, like <?php echo email_encode('email@example.com'); ?> and it would echo out all that cool stuff. Someday…

Just A Little More Volume

Texturize is coming quite nicely, except for trying to think of a better name. Many thanks to the Typo-L people who have been pushing it to the limits. For example, this (correctly curled) one below:

“‘Tis the ’70s that’s the era when ”em’un’s the ones’ was last uttered.”

A Little Curly

I’ve finally got it figured out. Put whatever text, html, whatever you want into this and if it breaks click the button. It works with things like the '70s (closing), 5'9" (prime marks), ``this stuff'', multi-paragraph quotes, and pretty much every other situation I could think of. It also doesn’t touch a thing in HTML tags or between code, kbd, or pre tags.

Retiring Microsoft Executive

A retiring Microsoft executive said some pretty interesting things in his farewell letter. It sounds like not everyone is oblivious in the Evil Empire.

“Microsoft must survive and prosper by learning from the open-source software movement and by borrowing from and improving its techniques. Open-source software is as large and powerful a wave as the Internet was, and is rapidly accreting into a legitimate alternative to Windows. It can and should be harnessed.” Simply fighting open source through “litigation and proprietary protocols” is a strategy for failure, Stutz said.

“Microsoft is in agreement with much of the position that David has of the future. But Microsoft believes that breakthroughs will come mostly through commercial software companies, like Microsoft,” a company spokeswoman said.

I’m glad she said “like Microsoft” to clear things up, for a moment there I thought she might be talking about Oracle, Sun, or IBM.

Curly Quotes Almost There

I was trying to use preg_match_all when I should have been using preg_split, but now that I’ve wrapped my mind around that problem the rest should be easy. I turn in my last paper today, so I should be able to finally have some real time to work on it.

They Said It Couldn’t Be Done

I installed Windows XP on a 200mhz, 64MB, 3GB computer yesterday. I tweaked it a bit and it runs great. Is there nothing that OS can’t do? I’m really impressed with the variety of situations where it functions really well. Of course I could have put Linux on it, but I’ve come to realize that there are some situations where that’s just not right. (At least not yet.)

More on IPv6

A neat trick to view any webpage, including Slashdot, over IPv6. For all the bad mojo it gets, Slashdot is one of the few sites where the comments will make me involuntarily burst out laughing, sometimes if they aren’t even that funny. I don’t know why.

“And in other news, Slashdot managed to bring down the entire IPv6 network today…”