- Axiomatic statements that go unchallenged. I'm going to unfairly pick on the shit I heard on NPR this morning mostly because it's fresh in my pissed-off memory. But this happens all the time, and it pisses me off every time. Today's stupid axioms:
- "Wearing revealing clothes objectifies women" -- Whattafuck? Seriously, why does nobody ever ask why? You know what objectifies women? Monkeys! Why? Same reason that revealing clothes does. No, seriously, why would seein an exposed belly (NPR's example, not mine) objecitfy a woman? I can't think of any object that has a belly button. I can't think of any human that doesn't. Does some stupid fuck see a woman's body part and somehow forgets there's a woman attached to it? You really want to objectify a woman? Cover her face with a burka -- objects have no face.
- "Being exposed to elements of human sexuality hurts children." Apparently it's illegal to mail something that has a sexual image on the cover. NPR's guests, editors of Bitch Magazine, self-confessed feminists, "overeducated, analytical, verbal" women justified this view today. One of them said she understand how parents might be concerned by it because they have to explain vibrators to their children. Did this parent in question never have to explain the cover of Guns'N'Ammo to her children? "Mommy, what's that on the cover?" "That's a gun Debbie, it's used to kill people without having to come close to them. When you turn 18 I'm going to get you one for your birthday."
- Linux. Sing with me to the tune of meow-mix's mid-90's commercial: "Linux, It's a Piece of Shit, oh Yeah!"
- Some stupid excuse for a UI designeer, an amature, decided that the way login screens work is not good enough and it's time to improve upon them. This stupid fuck who designed KDE display manager (or maybe Gnome display manager, I don't really care, they're both worth no more than what I paid for them). Or maybe it's not Gnome or KDE, maybe it's Ubuntu, again, I don't really give a crap -- I'm this system user, not administrator, coder, packager, massage therapist. I don't care what component is drawing my login screen, I just want a login screen. Anyway, whatever component this is, its UI designed managed to fuck up that simple, simple, oh so simple screen. How does one do that, you might ask? Like this. Instead of having two input boxes, one for username and one for password, this person decided to reuse one box and change its label. Why? Can't imagine, even a cell phone has enough screen room for two input fields. Anyway, you know what happens when I see one input box on the scren? Well, I've been trained by login screens that have been working just fine for the last 30+ years. I see one blank field, I assume it's the password field because my username has been pre-filled by the system. I start typing my password. Guess what, this stupid-ass field echoes my keyboard in the clear. Now my officemates not only know my password, they also know that Britney Spears is my favorite musician. Same box, different label, different functionality. I bet the person who wrote this also writes code with function signatures that look like this: int multiplyDivideOr17(int x, int y, boolean multiply, boolean divide, boolean seventeen). Anyway, to the person who designed this login screen, I would like to say -- please do me a favor and never design anything larger than an image of size 1x1 pixel. To the person in charge of project (Gnome | KDE | Ubuntu | Linux ) -- how did this get past you. Were you distracted by the cover of the latest issue of Bitch? Don't worry about it Finus, go back to coding, it's a vibrator, it's kinda like that Glock your mommy gave you, except it doesn't kill people, it makes them happy.
- Sound. It didn't work on my box. When I asked our IT dept, they told me that this version of the Kernel did not support this soundcard, and would I mind upgrading to a different kernel, that is unsupported as a whole and has its own set of problems. I didn't believe them, looked into it, and discovered an unholly mess. Turns out that mixing multiple sound streams out of the box is a serious difficulty for Linux -- an operating system actively being developed in 2006. I have to decide whether I want to use something called alsa or arts, or both, or neither, or who gives a flying fuck. I just want sound to work, out of the box, like it does on every system I've ever used except Linux. When I was an undergrand in 1994 I thought it was cool and fun and interesting to recompile the kernel every 2 weeks to get my video card to work or AFS not to coredump. Now I have more interesting things to do and don't want to have to read articles about which one sucks less ALSA or ARTs. When I finally got sound to work and tried playing some video, i discovered it was badly out of synch with the video. At that point I gave up. My expectations really are too high, I mean, why should a modern operating system support sound? Really, can't 80x25 amber screen convey the same information, given enough time.
- 30 years of unix development has brought with it some maturity to linux. man ls. <blah blah blah> -h, --human-readable <blah blah blah> That's right, if I want the output of ls to be "human-readable" I have to give it a flag. I wonder who the default output is designed for.
- Basic functionality. This is real output I got a few weeks ago:
ects/foo$ ls -aFl
ects/$ ls -aFl
ects/$ cd ..
grandcheburator@linuxbox:/usr/local$ ls -aFl
drwxr-x--- 3 grandcheburator nonconf 4096 Jun 14 10:33 ./
drwxr-xr-x 11 grandcheburator root 4096 May 25 18:25 ../
-rw------- 1 grandcheburator eng 59 Mar 10 10:43 blah/
drwxr-x--- 2 grandcheburator eng 4096 Jun 14 10:33 projects/
grandcheburator@linuxbox:/usr/local$ cd projects/
ects$ ls -aFl
drwxr-x--- 2 grandcheburator eng 4096 Jun 14 10:33 ./
drwxr-x--- 3 grandcheburator nonconf 4096 Jun 14 10:33 ../
-r--r----- 1 grandcheburator eng 23055 Jun 14 10:33 stuff
- X. No, not the good kind you find in XXX. For whatever reason my monitors disable their contrast settings when connected over DVI. Contrast is just a code word for "white level" and on these monitors the default setting is pretty high. Dual 24" monitors torching my eyes is not really pleasent, so I tried to find a way to turn it down. After poking around with KDE control center and googling and making human sacrifices I've discovered that there's a stupid little program, not related to anything else, called nvidia-settings that actually lets me adjust the contrast. So I adjusted it where I liked it and expected it to remain in that setting forever -- you know, the way your display setting stay put in say, windows. Boy was I wrong. When do you think X re-sets these to defaults? When I restart the machine? When I re-start X? When I re-login? When it exits from a screensaver? Bingo, that last one. For reasons that are as puzzling as Regis Filbin's popularity, the stupid combination of X-linux-nvidia-kde-xscreensaver resets whatever nvidia-settings does every time i lock-unlock my screen. OK, I figured, surely if i put "nvidia-settings -l" in .xinitrc, .xsession, or .xmonkeynuts my settings will survive screen lock-unlock. Nope, doesn't. I gave up for now, but I'm thinking that I'll just add an every-5-minutes cron job that does nvidia-settings -l Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Yep, getting your monitor not to torch your eyes is a big challenge in Linux. Have you punched a penguin today?
- Philosophy: Shared data is good in Linux's world.
- Wiki. Dear Wiki developers, recently there was an important invention in Computer Science. Somebody at Xerox Parc invented WYSIWYG. It's very experimental and only 30 years young, but I think it's promising. Please look into it.
- VBulletin -- I think I'll nominate it for an Ig Noble award for:
- pioneering research in UIs that can hold the least content in the most space
- trading off useless features like marking something as "read" for truly creative features like libraries of emoticons that allow people to post the most annoying messages
- for making the system viral.
- Constructors with 24 arguments, especially if they're all of the same type
- Methods that take and return untyped maps that also declare static keys that the map is expected to contain
Wheew, I'm not done, but I have to go.
PS. One more thing: LiveJournal Spellecheker for flagging things like which its own editor inserted into my text