Just the usual

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This has been a pretty good week. Tonight we took a trip to A&B sound. I purchased the new (old) weezer Deluxe Edition, and a new bookshelf stereo system. Just a little JVC (the FS-H100, if you're really curious). It's obviously not excellent, but it definately does the job pretty well. We just wanted a system for our bedroom. At least the weezer b-sides sound ok on it. Would you believe that this is the third time I've bought the blue album?

Work has been going ok too. I had been working on this "progress reports" system that basically helps in monitoring the progress of grad students. It's quite a simple system, really. But it's been developed since 1999 by at least 6 different people. The perl code is less than readable, to say the least. It's got to be nearly 7 thousand lines of code. Last month I stripped out 2000 of those lines. This week, when I needed to do more work on it, I decided it just wasn't worth it anymore. So on Monday afternoon I began re-writing it, in python. I was half way done by Tuesday afternoon, and pretty much done by the end of today :-). 5 years may have been a little excessive for a program of this magnitude.

Also, I've managed to convince them that we should give Gentoo a try. I installed our first Gentoo server this afternoon. After an hour trying to get networking to work I realized I had set the wrong gateway. Dumbass. But after that it went very smoothly. Boot strapping took 1h 30m on the 2.6GHz P4 Dell. Not too shabby. I think I've got almost the whole team sold on Gentoo. Now all I have to do is show it to them and get them hooked :-).

Believe me, if you've ever installed Gentoo, you'll know it's a drug. It starts off as just a simple curiosity. Then you start doing it for more enjoyment... and more enjoyment. Soon you start getting involved in the "community" (aka the Gentoo Junkies). Before you know it you depend on Gentoo to get through the average day. Yeah, I suppose I'm a pusher, but everyone's gotta do what they've gotta do. I think this Gentoo is a drug thing is grounds for an entire entry, hmm...

Victoria Pics

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Read Ariane's blog entry victory! i mean -ia., which says pretty much everything I would've. Although I suppose the Stickey Wicket would have been better if they had their own micro-brew. But they only had one beer that might have been local, and I'm not even sure. I think I'll have to hit some brew pubs next time.

Oh yeah, I also didn't notice her mention that we ferried through a pod of orca whales on the way back. It was really quite cool. Especially cause there was some younger ones doing jumps and whatnot.

Anyway, I've put up an album.

Killer foot

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I really am getting old. My left foot is KILLING me today. I wish I'd brought up some advil, I'm limping all over the place! Other than that things are pretty standard. Val and Roy are in town for the week so we all went out for dinner last night to the Rugby Club. It was the funnest time out in a while. Service was pretty shitty like the last time I was there. I had to ask twice for a menu, and then once we had the menu's no one came by to ask us what we wanted for at least 30-40 minutes.

Ariane and I are going to Victoria this weekend. Hopefully the weather will clear up.

Illegal Google Fame

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So I was just looking over Google's "terms of service"' and it looks like that google fame calculator I wrote the other day is actually illegal. Here's an exerpt:

You may not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system without express permission in advance from Google. Note that "sending automated queries" includes, among other things:

* using any software which sends queries to Google to determine how a website or webpage "ranks" on Google for various queries;

Whoops! Well I guess that's the second illegal thing that's on buffmuthers (at least that I can think of), besides that blatent LOTR copyright violation from the other day. The first was the picture of that Amsterdam hooker. And I really shouldn't have written "Amsterdam hooker' because now all the dumbasses who search for "Amsterdam hooker" on google are going to find this link and then start scouring the site for the picture I just mentioned. They'll also probably want to use my illegal google fame calculator as well. Bastards!

Email Etiquette

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Edit - September 14, 2004: I just found a great site that basically describes what I'm to say below. So if what I wrote below isn't very clear, maybe this will be better: http://kimihia.org.nz/articles/email/

It was about 10 years ago when email first started getting popular, amazingly there are still very few people who have a grasp of how to format or reply to email, nor do most people even know that there are ways that you should format your replies to make your reply more readable, this despite the fact that a very large majority of North America and Europe use email on a daily, even hourly, basis. These people aren't limitted to just the non-technical, they include everyone from your Grandma to your most technically elite email veterans and hackers.

Every day I read poorly formated emails. This usually means that neither I nor many others will read that email, especially if you're sending the email to a popular mailling list. Perhaps one day good emailing skills will be taught in school, but first the teachers will have to realize that there is something that needs to be taught. I write the following as an experienced emailer who has to read through other peoples crap replies every day.

Most of this is common knowledge and applies to email, maillists, and forums. But it takes practice to master good email communications, so keep emailing!

Top Posting
Some zeolots will tell you that "top posting" is rude and idiotic and that there's nothing more annoying than having to read through an email where some of the people decided to "top post". Top posting is what happens when you reply to someones email and leave all your text at the top.

Hi Bob,
I think that your ideas on theory X are crap

On Tuesday July 6th, 2004 Bob Wrote:
> Scott, theory X is an excellent theory. It demonstrates exactly why theory Y is
> applicable to theory Z and so much more.

Not sure where the following originated, but it summarize the evils of top posting very well.

A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?

Now you both know what top posting is and why it should be avoided.

In general, top posters will also leave a lot of irrelevant email below their text. This is a waste of bandwidth and diskspace. It is unfortunate that top posting is the default for many email clients, such as Outlook.

There are some cases when top posting is perfectly acceptable, and in fact could be preferred. But generally when the conversation is going to be long, or several people will be reading the email, it should be avoided.

Bottom Posting
Bottom posting is the exact opposite of top posting.

Although bottom posting is generally preferred, please bottom post with caution. I said that top posters generally leave irrelevant email below their post. Well this is far more annoying (but thankfully less frequent) when a bottom poster does this, as the readers may need to scroll for pages before they get to the message. This is probably the single largest reason why some people are actually "anti bottom posting".

Know when to hold 'em
Only keep the relevant parts of an email you're replying to. This helps the reader determine exactly what you're referring to. In a lot of cases I find it best to snip out the unneccessary email contents and insert my reply to that specific statement or idea in the middle (middle posting?).

Try not to keep loads of irrelevant content in the email. I find that often people will write something like Yes, I like that idea, but it might need some more thought even though my email had a few places that that exact statement could refer to.

Nothing is more annoying than having to reply back to a reply because you've got no clue what the person is referring to.

When starting a new topic, start a new topic
Don't reply to someone's email if yours has nothing to do with the topic. Each email contains an ID and when people thread their emails, their email client bases the threads on these ID's. If you don't know what email threading is it's basically just a way of grouping all emails relating to an original email. So if someone replies to an email those two will be grouped together.

Now, when you just reply to an email and modify the subject that email will be grouped with the one you replied to. People who thread their emails are unlikely to read your email, probably because they'll never see it.

So, instead of just replying, take the time to start a new email.

Remember, a badly formatted email hurts both the email's author and the email's reader(s).

If there's anything here you disagree with or think I should add, just post a comment (although I'm sure you would've anyway).