Monthly Archives: March 2010


Link shorteners

I don’t like link shorteners. Let’s not use them.


Bit rot

I love bit rot. Well, OK, maybe I don’t love that it happens (then again, maybe I do). I guess I love ‘bit rot’. It seems to be a farcical analogy at first glance, but there’s some depth to it, and that somehow adds a certain sort of liveliness to software, in that it’s subject to decay.

For those who aren’t aware of the term, Wikipedia gives a decent definition, in the “Problems with software” section. I might say it this way: if the world around it changes but your code doesn’t, it’s probably rotting. That violates our deepest wish that software could be written once and left to run forever of its own accord, but it’s simply a fact of life, or at least a good way to accumulate billable hours.


When I get a time machine

When I get a time machine, I’m gonna go back to the 1600s. I’m going to gather together all the texts, blueprints, plans, code, etc. I need to get people started working on reproducing the following technologies:

  • electric generators
  • digital computers
  • rockets
  • satellites
  • radio transmission
  • LCD monitors
  • video cameras

and, ya know, whatever other infrastructure is needed to effectively support those. When the inevitable question arises about motivation for pursuing these projects, I’ll explain to them that when this is all knit together, everyone in the known world will be able to sit in their homes and watch a bunch of strangers compete to lose the most weight.


100-word zombie story

Sometimes sheer boredom, not a virus, spurs the dead into action. Dave had been dead for about 8 months when he decided to pop out for a little walk and chat with friends. Of course, in that time, he’d changed, and his friends had changed. Had they been ready to accept him back into their lives, even his closest friends couldn’t get past their prejudices, and they reverted to that old zombie script, wherein they insisted on killing him again. Anyway, his fresh perspective led him to realize that death wasn’t really any more boring than his life had been.


Brother MFC-9320CW

Just bought a Brother MFC-9320CW. It’s good so far. I use Ubuntu 9.10 for almost everything, and Brother actually supplies Linux drivers and source for both the printer and the scanner. The printer driver is just a PPD, but the scanner driver has some code-y components. But they provide a scanner .deb, even for 64-bit. In addition, the scanner is smart enough to be able to scan directly to a CIFS share, so if there are ever problems with the scanner driver, there’s still a decent way to scan.

The onboard web-based configuration software is pretty lackluster, but it does seem to do the job if you know what you’re doing and/or are curious enough (like, if you want to set up the CIFS parameters for scanning, don’t look under ‘Network Configuration’, and don’t try to find a ‘Scanner Settings’ like the ‘Fax Settings’ and ‘Printer Settings’… You have to find ‘Administrator Settings’ and the subpage ‘FTP/Network Scan Settings’ then ‘FTP/Network Scan Profile’.).

Since it’s all network-based and the onboard computer seems to be pretty smart, I can share it with all my computers easily and with Mac or Windows when I happen to be in those sort of modes.

The hardware is also good; the automatic document feeder is a big reason I got this model, and it seems to be robust and fast. Prints look very nice. I like the fact that it’s a toner system rather than an ink system, because I use my printer so seldom that inks would dry out on me between uses (though I haven’t used an inkjet in about 5 years, maybe they’re better now).

I’m not much for writing comprehensive reviews, but I just wanted to make a note for those who use Linux and were looking at this model. I’ll answer questions should any such person come around…