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Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork

bersl2 Re:That's all we need ... (555 comments)

Systemd does not need to die. All the more power to those who wish to use it.

However, it is undesired by a significantly large portion of users and sysadmins, and it is unsuitable for those who still actually want to run Linux as a Unix-like OS.

For these reasons, in my opinion, it is not (yet) ready to become the init for a number of general-purpose distributions out there. Moreover, it is unacceptable for the udev subsystem to reside in the same source tree as systemd, and it is unacceptable for udev to integrate, except through the use of a stable and init-independent interface, into any particular init implementation or design.

about 3 months ago

IAB Urges People To Stop "Mozilla From Hijacking the Internet"

bersl2 Doesn't even pass the laugh test (499 comments)

IIRC, even Mozilla didn't agree when the IE team wanted to make DNT default to on.

One thing I would like is some granularity regarding DNT. There are definitely certain sites where I'm more than happy to submit to that kind of data.

about a year and a half ago

Hotmail & Yahoo Mail Using Secret Domain Blacklist

bersl2 Independent verification of verified/double opt-in (345 comments)

I used to work security at a major hosting provider. If we got complaints about your mailing list, the first thing we'd do is ask you about how you got your list, to see if it complied with our requirement for verified opt-in lists only. We'd also sign up ourselves or check logs and code, because customers always lie (except when they don't).

Right now, I'd apply the same standard of skepticism. I understand that revealing such things would make your proported aim of censorship circumvention hard, but I'd still like to hear independent verification from someone who can reasonably demonstrate the depth of their commitment to opting in.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Should Hosting Companies Have Change Freezes?

bersl2 Translation (138 comments)

Translation: "Dear Slashdot, I'm looking for a good Windows host. Any suggestions?"

more than 2 years ago

A Proposal To Fix the Full-Screen X11 Window Mess

bersl2 Re:Hilarious excuses (358 comments)

old ass GTX280


bersl2@procyon (umask 0022):~$ lspci -s 05:00.0
05:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation G70 [GeForce 7800 GT] (rev a1)

You kids have no sense of perspective. Back in my day, CRTs changed resolution regularly in response to games. AND WE LIKED IT! Not to mention on Linux, configuring XFree86 display modes manually, uphill, in the snow, both ways!

more than 2 years ago

Valve Blog Announces Dates For Steam Linux External Beta

bersl2 Re:I've got a vague idea of what Steam is - (183 comments)

More like iTunes, plus the usual social additions expected of gaming communities (IM, chat, voice, achievements, etc.).

more than 2 years ago

Terabit Ethernet Is Dead, For Now

bersl2 Re:In other words (140 comments)

No, unbounded latency. It'll happen, just not yet.

more than 2 years ago

MSFT Reaches Out To Hackers: 'Do Epic $#!+'

bersl2 They forgot the second part (249 comments)

"...as long as it doesn't threaten our bottom line."

more than 2 years ago

IT Support Pro Tells Why He Hates Live Chat

bersl2 Re:Someone tell corporate...wait, they don't care. (228 comments)

A person can handle one phone call at a time but quite a few chats.

As for not giving them equivalent abilities, that's probably a sign that the chat people are not actual employees.

more than 2 years ago

IT Support Pro Tells Why He Hates Live Chat

bersl2 I love chats. (228 comments)

Intelligence is directly proportional to the square of the distance from a telephone.

Well, at least for me, it is. A chat gives me time and room to think, unlike a telephone call.

I currently take chats from the low-level techs who actually take chats and calls from customers (which is a demotion from actually working support tickets, but I digress). I can and have done chats from customers, but I loathe the telephone, at work and in life.

Phone calls are good for dealing with stupid people, because stupid people (well, actually, most people, including some intelligent people) don't actually read words, but they do hear and react to the tones of voice, which is useful for getting through to them.

more than 2 years ago

Witness In Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury Hearing Posts Transcript of Questioning

bersl2 Re:Contempt of Court? (184 comments)

They'll argue he's bound by subsection (v).

Of course, as powerful people keep learning: you can ruin a man's life over something he discloses, but there are no take-backsies.

more than 2 years ago

Nvidia Engineer Asks How the Company Can Improve Linux Support

bersl2 Re:Summary of Previous Discussion (581 comments)

That's not the Linux driver model, though. The model is that drivers are expected to be at least working towards integration into the kernel tree, so that the kernel devs can easily know if they're breaking something and maybe even fix or help fix it. Failure to do this results in long-term pain for everyone, while being in the tree or working towards being in the tree keeps everyone communicating on a regular basis and working together.

In other words, developing hardware for Linux actually requires communicating with people who are much closer to the end user than the typical direct customer of a chip design company. I know, it's a major paradigm shift for companies who (understandably) can't contemplate money except if someone plans to give it directly to them, never mind the needs of those who participate in the actual creation of demand for what they sell.

more than 2 years ago

Employee "Disciplined" For Installing Bitcoin Software On Federal Webservers

bersl2 Re:No wonder gov't doesn't get it (86 comments)

Aw, damn, Austrialian Federal government. If only.

more than 2 years ago

Employee "Disciplined" For Installing Bitcoin Software On Federal Webservers

bersl2 No wonder gov't doesn't get it (86 comments)

This guy was going to fill the Federal budget deficit, but no, all the stupid bureaucracy gets in the way.

more than 2 years ago

Phoronix Confirms GNU/Linux Steam and Source Engine Clients

bersl2 I WANT TO BELIEVE (324 comments)

Oh Great Penguin In The Sky, I want to believe.

But this is Phoronix, so I won't actually believe until I'm playing Portal without Wine.

more than 2 years ago


bersl2 hasn't submitted any stories.



Mystery Patent Theater 3000

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I was watching a few episodes of MST3k recently, one of which was Hercules Against the Moon Men. This is the episode which introduced the concept of DEEP HURTING . I have had that soundbite stuck in my head since then.

Enter the farcical massive patent dump by Mr. Allen. It is but the newest example of stupid patent litigation over concepts of information systems and algorithms. News of these patent suits is becoming more burdensome on (at the very least) my sanity. And these patent problems are relentless. So when I was attempting to think of some phrase which best embodied my perception of this endless stream of patent stupidity, DEEP HURTING is what came to mind.

More extensively, following patents on concepts used with computers and information systems is enough like the "plot" of MST3k that I'm starting to think that the only way to survive this with our sanity will be to laugh and mock our way through them. Oh, sure, we'll need to take them seriously at times to work around them or invalidate them, yet that alone will not be sufficient to preserve sanity. Only, I'm not even sure how something like this could be done.

Or maybe I'm already going mad, and this is the stupidest thing you've heard in the past 24 hours.




Because it's just that wrong

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

(for every denotation and connotation of "wrong" that I can recall offhand), and because nobody has^W^Wfew have yet commented on something which I find particularly outrageous, I am repeating the following comment which I made on the "Creative sucks" story:

From the manual to this product:

Xonar D2X is introducing an innovative technology ÂDirectSound 3D Game
Extensions v1.0 (DS3D GX 1.0)- to restore DirectSound 3D Hardware acceleration
mode and its subsidiary EAX effects on Windows Vista for 3D games. Unlike some
proprietary API like OpenAL
, DS3D GX doesn't require games to support OpenAL
API. All existing games compatible with Microsoft DirectX and DirectSound 2D/3D
will be supported with DS3D GX technology. Before you start EAX and DS3D HW
games, please enable DS3D GX on the Xonar D2X audio center, and disable the
function after the games.

(Emphasis added.)

I think I just now died a little bit on the inside.

I mean, that's just wrong, on so many levels:

  1. It is likely factually incorrect, in that the specification can be followed and implemented by anyone.
  2. It implies the same meaning for "open" in "OpenAL" as for "Office Open XML" (i.e., doublespeak).
  3. However, since Asus is talking about Creative, and I'm more inclined to trust Asus over Creative, and since Creative seems to possess proprietary, hardware-assisted OpenAL implementations for its cards under Windows, there's a kernel of truth in the statement, and "that's just wrong" (i.e., it's repugnant to the principles of "open").

In conclusion, Asus should not have made that statement but Creative needs to DIAF, for they are one tumor comprising the cancer that is killing gaming, etc.


bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Watching this gem from the past is really taking the sting off of being humiliated on national TV. Again. With the added bonus of horrendous injuries!

[sigh] Oh well, there's always next year...

(I might have become ill today, and if I did, then going to that game didn't help that any. And yet, even though "we just got our ass totally kicked", if I do wake up with a fever, I still won't regret having gone to the game. Also, looking back on the past, I think it can be safely said that we've come a long way, even if we have regressed in the past year.)

(No comments, 'cause all I really want right now is to vent.)


One of the fun things about /. and the Internet in general

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

is that you can insult the intelligence of people who have a hell of a lot more experience in some subject area than you do and not realize it until you're about to send them a reply taking the insult to the next level. Whoops!

Edit: ...and then watch as an AC says what you wouldn't, and crudely at that. And gets modded up for it. "lol, Internet" indeed.


OH SHI... needle time

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Let's hope the Clorazepate + Ativan + Benadryl mix will be strong enough that I don't flip out.

Result: minimal flip-out---had to be held down a bit---but best of all, no pass-out.


Crime and other madness

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Heh, who doesn't love a good suicide by cop? Well, one such attempt happened right outside my house last night. Woo! (The guy miraculously missed my family's cars. I also slept through the whole affair.) (Of course, the day before, some guy around the corner had a gun pointed at him while he was taking out his garbage. Happy ending though: a fortuitious noise distracted the gentleman-thief ( HA! Good one! You really outdid yourself this time.), and the neighbor engaged in unfair play with a low blow from his foot.) (Oh, and some old lady also got mugged within a block two weeks ago.)

I know the negotiator quoted, having been his patient for a time (of his private practice, mind you, not as part of police business); he's a great guy. (I really ought to think about resuming therapy with him again at some time in the near future.)

Anyway, while the whole incident is tragic, you really have to laugh at many things in the story: Jim Arey's sarcasm (I'm pretty sure that his first comment is full of it); the fact that the man in question works for the paper publishing the story; the mowing-down of the plentiful advertising placed by contractors, roofers, painters, etc., as a symbolic yet misguided act of anger with the world.

I say you really have to laugh, but you only really need laugh when in the midst of it all, as it reminds you that things really aren't as bad as they seem. (Or so I see it---I who was away at school at the time---I whose home was not inundated, nor suffered significant wind damage or water leakage---I whose family is well-situated financially, especially considering the occupations: maritime attorney (think of all the rigs and pipelines destroyed, in the course of whose repair many men may become mangled) and interior decorator (think of all the homes ruined, many of whose owners desire a pleasing interior to offset the unpleasant reality awaiting them without)---I who as an individual as of yet contribute nothing to society but hot air (and, as this post is proving, quite a bit of it) and other, non-communicative waste products. Therefore, YMMV.)

Yes, this small story is pretty much a microcosm of the entire aftermath experience: to some degree, whether small or large, we have all become quite mad, a hazard onto ourselves. So let us all laugh as benign madmen, lest we become malignant madmen. Or something like that.



Czech Republic 3 - USA 0: No energy

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Tentative on offense, falling short in defense, the team looked like uninspired shit. Maybe if Reyna's shot had gone in... but where was the follow-up? I didn't see any energy again until the 75th minute. Also, more evidence of a lack of offensive initiative: did the US commit even a single offsides? I don't think so.

The US didn't try for any set pieces. They nearly always went short on corners and quick restarts on fouls. (Certainly there was no passing through the Czech defense, considering the number of times the US attackers sent the ball back to their own defense.) Perhaps they felt that trying for set-piece goals was futile; the Czech team did seem taller in general, so that could have been a strategy.

Obviously, this is not the end of the world. Recovery is more than possible. Just don't come out flat against Italy, or it's over (duh).

Discuss. Or don't. Whichever.


Well this morning sure has been fun already...

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I'm truly sorry for that last post. I was distressed at that time. Of course, I am currently distressed as well, but for a different reason. I also apologize for all the medical stuff. Others have it far worse off and have a legit reason to record their status down.

First, a bit of background. Starting some time after the restart of school in early January but before the end of the month, I began noticing a recurring feeling after eating. What feeling is that? Why, it's the feeling I had with this incident. The abstract Latin title very liberally translated means "I ate some old food, and I'm trying to vomit it up, [but it won't.]" The feeling was like food being regurgitated but getting stuck in my esophagus. I wasn't nauseous, but I had chills and cold sweats, which usually accompany my nausea in general. I also began drinking large amounts of water to try to settle my stomach.

This started happening more and more frequently. I finally decide to consult the Intarweb. Having done my little hypochondriac thing, thence I came to the conclusion I was experiencing the onset of diabetes. It made sense at the time; like the kidney stones, diabetes also runs in the family.

By luck, my father called soon after. I explained my symptoms and my conclusion. He said that, as I described it, it sounds like the acid reflux he deals with---yes, that runs in the family too. I say OK, I haven't had a physical in two years, let's go get one over my spring break.

The doctor says that they do indeed appear similar symptomatically, but a blood test should confirm the matter. Oh fuck, that means needles. Doctor prescribes Xanax and something else to sedate me. Two days later, I try, but the medicine is complete weaksauce. I think they also screwed up my urine sample. Figures. So I don't have a definite answer yet. I'm probably going to get a gastroscopy at some point, but that also involves needles. In the meantime, I take a Prilosec every day. It has been helping, but obviously not fully.

If we backtrack to the week before spring break, I really began destabilizing there. I couldn't code anything, so I most likely fucked over some groups I was a part of for some CS classes.

After break, I still didn't feel like doing anything. Didn't go to class; didn't do any work. Barracading myself up in my room being depressed is not what I want to be doing. Not all the time, at least, and certainly not in a state of depression. I had an inverted sleep schedule for most of the week (dd "I mope all night, and I sleep all day!" dd).

Let's skip to the boring narrative about tonight: Yesterday at sundown was the first night of Passover. I live with a whole bunch of other Jews, so breaking kosher during Pesach is bad form. Everybody was eating dinner at various sedarim, and I didn't want to go anywhere, so I (stupidly) forego dinner (did I ever mention that I'm an idiot?). Maybe around 11PM, I got hungry and ate a few poptarts---the only food I had left, other than some insanely old tortilla chips and a box of hummus mix(?) (did I mention that I'm an idiot?).

At about 2:30AM, I notice that my leg is spazzing more than usual, that my pulse has begun to race, and that I'm breathing quite irregularly. I figure that I'm really hungry, so I make two more poptarts.

Just as they finish, at 2:47AM, I feel something pop in the side of my neck, and thus the fun begins. I think it really was vertibrae cracking (you know, in the same way you crack your knuckles), but at the time, I interpreted it as an aneurysm. One can just imagine the psychosomatic symptoms. I even wake someone else up and ask him to help convince me that I'm not going to die. Later, I was measuring the tachycardia, trying to convince myself that I wasn't going to die by arrhythmia. Still later, I thought it stopped on two separate occasions. I'm now starting to wonder whether all of my current physical health problems are psychosomatic in nature.

It's almost 8AM, so I'm going to go run down to the student health center and see if they will do something---anything---about this.


An epiphany (and not a positive one)

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  about 9 years ago

Whenever I have complained here about any detrimental event in my life, I imagine that it has been mostly about problems due to outside influence; and when it has been due to flaws in my person, I imagine that said flaws have been minor and trivial ("I imagine", because I'm at the edge of my access point's range, and I don't want to continuously hold my machine in the weird angle required for Internet access in order to verify this).

Well, that's not the case this time.

Whenever I have previously felt compelled to troll for sympathy (or whatever it is I seek), I have restrained myself. I rationalize this by telling myself that nobody likes a whiner.

This time, I will permit this to go through. (However, everything is subject to (de)intensification.)

So what did I realize that I must announce in such a dramatic manner?

I have finally seen for myself just how pathologically schizoid-narcissistic* I am, and how even one small example behavior out of a myriad of ways can make life miserable.

I may elaborate when I wake up tomorrow afternoon---if I even have the strength to look at this entry again.

* This is not self-diagnosis---well, at least I don't think it is, unless I manufactured those memories of my being told this by my doctor (years ago), in which case I certainly still have a problem.


Heh. Saw the first subject header: "So what?"

I don't know, I guess I just needed to vent. You should be glad that I do not inveigh online against myself more often.

Also, it should be noted that, having experienced and read about such things, I know enough to be dangerously wrong. And to top things off, I spend way too much time observing myself, and since you're often blind to certain things that you do and say, self-assessment is incomplete at best.

And just to complete the diagnostic portrait, add avoidant personality and generalized anxiety.

Really, I don't think I would be complaining if I did not have a number of behaviors consistent with the above (which I am able to supress from being represented here, given the textual, asynchronous, and impersonal or anonymous nature of Internet forums like /.), or if these behaviors were temporary or non-pervasive.

Example: I did not walk out of the front door of my previous house for over three years. At times, I am still weary of being seen leaving my domicile on foot, to the point of sometimes not going where I wish to go.

I believe that qualifies as behavior that is pervasive and disruptive.

...aaand the feeling which burns in my viscera, indicating that I have overexposed myself, has begun. Joy.


de vomere conitendo aetateque cibi

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Hot dogs (turkey) wouldn't go bad after 2-3 weeks, would they?


They liiiiied.

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 9 years ago

Anybody remember this story?

I just got back from it. It wasn't a "panel discussion between opposing sides of the P2P downloading issue"; it was a panel discussion from one side of the P2P downloading issue: one RIAA lawyer, fresh off amici curae in MGM v. Grokster; one head of a P2P tracking company; one independent record label head; and one member of a band unsigned by a label.

Basically, it was the usual propoganda, mitigated somewhat in bits and pieces from the three non-RIAA, who gave the usual swan song about how people are losing their jobs, how the industry is tanking, blah blah blah, which we dispute.

I'm not asking for Larry frickin' Lessig, but an EFF representative really could have been useful.

It's not like it really matters, though. I was probably the only person in the audience who was there willingly; the rest of them were fraternity and sorority members, there since the school basically forced each of those organizations to send a percentage of their membership to the presentation.

Basically, the indoctrination continues...


Last night sucked

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 9 years ago

OK, so it's about 11PM, and I start getting this horrific pain in my lower back, on the right. Now, earlier in the evening, I was cleaning a bathroom and got window cleaner in a cut, so I thought it might be some kind of reaction or complication (I can't exactly say I could think straight in such pain), so I started drinking tons of water, thinking that this would flush any toxins. Well, despite drinking water until I felt like Mr. Creosote, I couldn't flush anything. In fact, I couldn't get anything out.

After three hours, now I was worried. I called a friend who has a car to drive me to a hospital. By this point, I was hurting like crazy. When we got to the ER, it was relatively crowded, so I was destined for a long wait; however, due to all that water I drank earlier not going anwhere, I vomitted it out (all water, no chunks). This promptly freaked the staff out, and I moved to the front of the line.

Honestly, though, all this did was make it so that when the pain leveled up again, I had a room in which to moan and whine and thrash involuntarily. I was in so much pain, I didn't even mind the IV needle going in---and I usually freak out when I deal with needles.

At some point, the pain stopped. I don't know exactly when; I must have passed out at some point, because I hadn't seen a doctor yet, so they couldn't have given me any pain reliever.

When the doctor finally came by, after reviewing several other options with him (poisoning, anxiety), he came to suspect kidney stones, which was further evidenced by a urine test. This makes perfect sense, because (duh!) the pain was in my kidney area, and because kidney stones are prevalent in my family (my father and his brother).

At 6AM, I went for a CT scan. (The machine used looked so Stargate.)

The scan confirmed the stone further. You could clearly see a white dot between the all-white kidney and the grey bladder (which was very full at the time of the scan---in fact, between the massive amout of water I drank and the IV... well, you get the picture). The doctor said there might be one forming in the left kidney as well, but he couldn't be sure. So now I've got access to Vicodin, in case it happens again.

I got back to my dorm room about 9:30AM, and I promptly slept until 6PM.

I think that the Wikipedia's "Symptoms" section of its "Kidney stone" entry best sums this experience up:

Kidney stones are usually idiopathic and asymptomatic until they obstruct the flow of urine. Symptoms can include acute flank pain ("renal colic"), nausea and vomiting, restlessness, dull pain, hematuria, and possibly fever if infection is present. Acute renal colic is described as one of the worst types of pain that a patient can suffer from.

(Emphasis, having experienced it, is mine.)


An amusing post

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

Not that I play DnD or anything, but this post brought a smile to my face.

Actually, the most of the comments accompanying that review are funny.


CmdrTaco has a lot of interesting things to say

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

He just finished giving a talk here at Tech. Some of the things I remember:

  • 4 out of 5 things moderated Funny are not funny to Rob.
  • More people should metamoderate.
  • Yes, /. will soon spit out W3C-compliant HTML and CSS.
  • Even though the current querying capabilities of the MySQL back-end database are limited, many things can be tracked. Soon, people with a significant history of accurate moderating will be placed in a class of "trusted moderators"; these people will be given many more moderator points.
  • Adding moderation adjectives is a difficult process because most words are too loaded with unwanted connotations. However, Rob plans to give every current adjective an inverse for the purpose of metamoderation. For instance, if a moderation of Funny is issued, some metamods will also be asked if the comment is not funny.
  • Bad grammar and spelling give /. a "folksy charm"(?).
  • Listening to us complaining about dupes does not bother Rob.
  • Rob likes the word "cock-gobbler".

More if I can remember.


College. w00! (was: Getting into college sucks. pt 3) et al.

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I have been withholding talking about this, because it's really not extrordinary, but I'm leaving tomorrow for college.

This is going to be quite refreshing, not being micromanaged by parents.

In case I didn't say it in my last gripe about the admissions process, I am going to Georgia Tech. Contrary to prior personal prejudice, both GT and Atlanta are going to be wonderful; getting into college sucks, but going to college doesn't. Tech is the right place for me; I'm going to learn actual real CS. Also, there are more things there than in New Orleans that are catered to my interests and tastes---well, food notwithstanding. /What's the Good Word, biatch?

On a more somber note, let us honor my fallen pet cat, Prissy, likely to cancer---but then again that's what my parents always claim is the problem with nearly every morbid pet. She was emaciated at the end, and she ran off---this is so much easier on the human psyche (or at least mine) than the alternative, which I do not care to mention, seeing as it's more like an execution.

Of course, I did not see, I could not see, and/or I did not want to see her constitution as a sign of anything. I instantly thought of how, in my opinion, we treated her as a second-class citizen. As a young cat, she was thrown against the ceiling by my father because she tried to sleep in his bed, and she was denied the proper opportunity to become housetrained, because her litterbox was placed next to the washing machine, which I am certain she could not stand. I naively believed that she ran off due to lack of attention, which was further reinforced when nobody seemed to give a fuck whe she went missing; I mean, if my parents were serious about finding her, they would at least look for her at the animal shelter, right? I wanted to voice this sentiment, but I was unable to, because... I can't. I'm avoidant. So I felt mighty guilty, both at not being able to convey my sentiments, and at treating her indifferently in the first place.

(I appologize for the sudden and prolonged transition from excitement and enthusiasm to mush and illogic.)

After these feelings started building in intensity daily, one night my cat appeared in my dreams, seeking vengance. Needless to say, I was scared. Having begged for forgiveness much of the next day, she appeared in my dreams on the next night, pardoning me for anything I had done or not done to her. I was relieved, but I still could not forgive myself. So when what was blind to me was revealed tonight, I am at last somewhat at peace with this. Still, it's a pretty shitty end to the first part of my life...


OK, all that said, I think I should start up a freakin' friends-and-family deathpool. I got $50 on my grandmother, and $10 on the goldfish my mother's friend gave her for a pond in the garden.


The FCC Song, by Eric Idle

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

From Pythonline.com:

"Here's a little song I wrote the other day while I was out duck hunting with a judge... It's a new song, it's dedicated to the FCC and if they broadcast it, it will cost a quarter of a million dollars."


Amusing. Kinda weird listening to a Python do American political satire.

(Note to self: while in the process of originally trying to spell "weird," you outsmarted yourself thrice. Good job.)


Humiliation, or, Is CUPS still too complicated?

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

I'm hungry, I'm tired, and my father's sitting there, half pissed because it's been 3+ weeks since graduation, and I haven't written thank-you notes, and half laughing his ass off, because I can't get CUPS to print properly on a custom size. Goddamnit.


Eulogizing (as best I can) a fellow geek

bersl2 bersl2 writes  |  more than 10 years ago

It is difficult to overcome a legacy of social isolation and the problems it creates. For instance, I am always the very last person to hear things.

And so, this morning, I set out for lunch at eleven, and ultimately for my Music Theory exam at one. Along the way, I ran into the younger brother of one of my classmates.

He asked me where I was going. I told him I was going to lunch. He asked my why I wasn't at the funeral?

My face said, "What funeral?"

"Didn't you hear?" he asked. "Rick died."

I don't remember quite what I said after that, with the exception of "That sucks" a whole bunch of times; maybe it's the only thing I said after that.

It's now five fourty-five as I type this sentence. Sure enough, his obituary verbatim, courtesy of nola.com:

Richard ""Rick'' T. Posin passed away on Sunday, May 23, 2004. Age 18 years. Beloved son of Daniel Q. Posin and Kathe Tyrrell Posin. Brother of Kimberly Posin and John Posin. Paternal grandson of the late Daniel Q. Posin, Sr. and Frances S. Posin. Maternal grandson of Frederick Tyrrell and Audrey Tyrrell. Rick juggled to entertain sick children at Angel's Place and Ochsner Foundation Hospital, both before and after his liver transplant. He received several awards for his work. Rick was a member of Metairie Ridge Presbyterian Church and attended Bible Study Fellowship for several years. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the funeral service at LAKE LAWN METAIRIE FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd. (in Metairie Cemetery) on Friday, May 28, 2004 at 11:00 A.M. Interment will follow All Saints Mausoleum. Visitation will be held Friday, May 28, 2004 from 10:00 A.M. until time of service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Angel's Place, 4323 Division Street, Metairie, LA 70002, Attn: Lee Hoffman.
Published in The Times-Picayune on 5/26/2004.

It's better that I didn't go; supposedly, the visitation was open-casket, and I don't like that because I don't think I handle it properly. In fact, it's funny how I can consider my open-minded moral values (if everyone involved consents, and if they're not doing it to you or yours, then you have no business) to be a sign of maturity, when I can't handle the idea of dead people. I suppose they both have more to do with personality.

Anyway, in lieu of actually observing in real life, where my feelings might betray me, I am going to try to dump all of my memories of and commentary on him, on various aspects, here, on Slashdot. I'm pretty sure he would approve. Though, I'd give myself extra credit if I did this on Freenet.

Rick came to my school in 8th grade. I don't know where he went to school before that; it was probably still in Louisiana, but I really don't know. The school put him in my advisory group, so that's how I got to know him. I remember that it, in usual "me" fashion, took a few weeks to really notice him. I learned that, like me, he liked programming. Finally, someone like me.

He was very well accepted by our grade, fitting in nicely because he was weird. We have a great appreciation for weirdness.

He made invaluable contributions to my grade's unique lexicon (which I must document one day, before I forget). Although all of them are currently deprecated or out of use (such as his favorite, which was to randomly interject (definitely not as a juvenile retort, just randomly) "Your mom"), he helped create expressions such as "trice yee", which is a direct descendant of "ah, yee[!?]", which is currently in use. But enough of that silliness! The nickname he earned was "Dick", not only because it rhymes with "Rick", but also because he'd make all these playful allusions to (homo)sexuality. But whatever. I'm not going to be in the business of exploring that.

Maybe I should tell you why it's so goddamn funny that, as the obit says, he juggled. Because outside of juggling, he was the most uncoordinated person I have ever seen! Yeah, I saw him do it, and he was pretty good. He was tall and lanky. When he walked, his arms didn't move, and they just hung there; when he ran, it looked downright ugly; I saw him swim once, and I think I've forgotten what it looked like on purpose.

I suppose that one could have seen this as an indication that he wasn't the healthiest kid in the world. Ah, but hindsight is 20/20. After the first semester of Freshman year, the Freshman class traditionally goes to Washington, D.C., for obvious reasons. We do this the week after Mardi Gras break. He was even going to be in my room. I don't remember whether it was on the trip or the week after that we were told that Rick was, um, "sick."

I never found out definitively what afflicted him. Some say that his liver was failing; some say that it was the treatment for another serious illness that made him need a transplant. What ever the reason, he indeed received a transplant organ; and because this was months ago, I don't think the liver was rejected. I'm not even going to begin to guess the COD.

To inject some randomness, I've been looking around for some old messages from him. I found the address for Ninja Instant Messenger, a modification of an AIM dll that makes the program ninja-themed.

And, from our last set of emails, some humor: "I've been learning more and more stuff about electronics, in the mean time. I found out how many electronic components work. There is "magic smoke" inside, that does whatever it's supposed to do, using its own magic. When you run too much current past it, you see a puff of magic smoke escaping, and so the component no longer works. Though this doesn't answer the question of how/why a smoke/fog machine works..."

And his closer: "And gee, I like that niceness. On a stick."

In that series of e-mails, I even offered to mention him in my part of the yearbook. Can you imagine if I had done that?

Of course, he shouldn't be in a cemetery. He should be preparing to graduate, right now, in five days. He never got to experience that.

In the time after he was forced to leave school, when he was well, he was home-schooled. How crappy is that? Your educational experience is partly environmental. How perverted is it to live to see your younger brother (by three years) progress further in high school than you did? And I'm not going to even mention all of adulthood! (Secretly, I really want to use the line "Here lies Beavis -- He never scored"; I can't help thinking he'd find it funny.)

But I digress. (And aren't you glad...)

His matter is motionless, his energy flux is zero, but sentience is somehow more than matter and energy.

And he's turning in his grave because I said that.

OK, now, for real: I have within me his voice, his face, and the small things that complete his memory.

Things like, how we're on the Northshore (for non-Louisianians, that's the area above Lake Pontchartrain, which is the big lake in the toe of the Louisiana boot), being driven back from a programming contest by the infamous Beverly Rice, the most bizarre-in-a-bad-way person ever, how she tells us to call our homes using her cellphone (which, by the way, was still a briefcase), and how Rick goes, "Well, maybe I should also dial-up 1-900-HOT-SEX!" and I say, "Rick, that's only six letters." "Oh, well, maybe there are two T's, or two X's."

Or how one time, we were sitting in the computer lab, and somebody asks Ms. Rice to reset his password, and Ms. Rice goes, "OK, James, your new password is 'temp'---that's T E M P 'temp'." Rick and I both look at each other, then run to the nearest computer. And in memory of this event, for at least an hour, all of my boxes' root passwords will be set to "temp". No, I'm not telling you my IP.

Next, for the full "Rick the Dick" experience, please use your favorite browser or P2P program to download the Dead Alewives' Mama Rap.

I'll probably update this JE a few more times.

And let us say, "Your mom. On a stick."

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