October 31, 2006

Edgy Eft-ing Fonts

Filed under: Emacs, Tech — Chris @ 12:35 am

Where did my fonts go in Emacs? Be calm, child. Somebody got pedantic with path names. Search-and-replace /usr/share/X11/fonts with /usr/share/fonts/X11 in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.

October 30, 2006

Act Now

Filed under: Not Tech, Politics — Chris @ 7:33 pm

Tired of reading snarky comments about George Bush and George Allen? Step up and do something about it!

Living, as I do, in a state where the Democratic candidates for governor and Senate are up by 48 and 36 points, respectively, and and a district where our congresswoman (Nydia Valazquez) won with 86% of the vote in 2004, it can seem like there’s nothing one can do to make a difference in this world. And there’s not. However…

There are lots of close races in the greater New York area that could benefit from a little old-fashioned door-knocking and phone banking. Rick Santorum, the man who can’t draw a distinction between contraception and bestiality, is on the ropes just one state away. 8 of the most hotly contested House seats in the country are in New York and Connecticut, including New York’s 26th, home of Tom “I think maintaining a Republican majority is more important than protecting a few kids from a sexual predator” Reynolds.

Next weekend, I am going on canvassing trips to Westchester and Pennsylvania organized by Act Now New York. You should come too. If you can’t do that, you should make phone calls. If you can’t do that, you should donate money.

And if for some reason you read this blog but you don’t think that Republicans should be held accountable for the appalling corruption and incompetence that have been on display in Washington (and Iraq) (and New Orleans) for the last six years… I have no words. None.


Edgy Eft-ing Flash

Filed under: Tech — Chris @ 5:11 pm

Thinking about installing Ubuntu Linux 6.10 aka Edgy Eft? Thinking about upgrading to Firefox 2.0 on Linux (the first implies the second)? A word to the wise: Firefox 2.0 is highly incompatible with the Flash plugin. Like, your browser will crash in the blink of an eye if there’s so much as a YouTube embed on a web page (and there are precious few YouTube-free web pages these days… ah, Web 2.0). Never fear! Just add


as the next-to-last line in /usr/bin/firefox (before the exec line). Makes Firefox YouTube-arific. For this and other useful Edgy tips, visit The Ubuntu Guide.

P.S. This is actually Major Complaint the Second about my Edgy upgrade. Major Complaint the First is that it has completely hosed my Suspend/Hibernate settings. I am hopeful that this will fix itself with time. Major Complaint the Third is that Broadcom and Nvidia still won’t play nice, about which I am less optimistic (There is actually a potential fix for this in not-CVS, but it is entirely unclear* when it might show up in a mainstream distro.)

* Seriously unclear. As in: maybe next month and maybe never.

October 23, 2006

Diplomacy for Dummies

Filed under: Politics — Chris @ 2:51 pm

Matthew Yglesias on diplomacy:

Here’s a trick we haven’t tried vis-a-vis North Korea and Iran — seriously offering to do things Pyongyand and/or Teheran would like us to do in exchange for them doing what we want them to do in terms of not building nuclear weapons. Similarly with regard to Russia and China. As I’ve been pointing out, we’ve been doing “everything” to get Russia and China on board with our North Korea policy except, well, setting priorities, making compromises, cutting deals and, um, conducting diplomacy. We want Moscow and Beijing to do such-and-such. Well, what do they want from Washington? Diplomacy means finding out what they want and then, if the price is worth paying, paying it.

Isn’t it odd that a group of people who profess to believe that free markets are a magical elixir—second only to tax cuts—that can solve any problem facing the world (e.g., health care, Social Security, energy independence, and global warming, just to name a few) think that diplomacy should be conducted by invoking abstract ideals and threats of force and not by old-fashioned horse trading? I mean, we’ve got homo economicus choosing glaucoma treatments, but Russia’s going to double-cross a major trading partner to do us a favor?

October 22, 2006

Ah, Dosa

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 11:10 pm

After, like, two months in the wilderness, working over my disappointment with Thiru, the over-rated Sri Lankan dosa guy, and some random place on Lexington Ave, I had a really lovely, really authentic dosa at the Something Something Dosa House on Newark Ave in Jersey City.

Actually, it wasn’t perfectly authentic… I decided to order a “Bangalore Masala Dosa”—an item I never once saw in Bangalore. This was a regular Masala Dosa the inside of which had been sprinkled all over with something like Bombay seasoning (an inoffensive yet inessential, mildly spicy, dry seasoning mixture).

The idlys where good. The coconut chutney was a bit blah. The jalebi was not-at-all fresh and kind of inedible. But the dosa itself—the dough and the potato curry filling—was perfect. Almost as good as Shanti Sagar (which, note, is a low bar to set in absolute terms).

Newark Ave! It’s only three blocks (or so) from the Journal Square PATH station. Unlike Curry Hill, it’s right in the middle of a place where actual Indians actually live (more of them there, I would guess, than anywhere else on the Eastern seaboard). And it’s only fifteen minutes from Manhattan.

Jersey City is suddenly seeming like a very reasonable place to buy a gigantic house and have babies.


Filed under: Politics — Chris @ 2:17 pm

Kevin Drum on our war president:

I wonder how long it will take America to recover from George Bush’s uniquely blinkered and self-righteous brand of ineptitude? In the past five years he’s demonstrated to the world that we don’t know how to win a modern guerrilla war. He’s demonstrated that we don’t understand even the basics of waging a propaganda war. He’s demonstrated that other countries don’t need to pay any attention to our threats. He’s demonstrated that we’re good at talking tough and sending troops into battle, but otherwise clueless about using the levers of statecraft in the service of our own interests. If he had set out to willfully and deliberately expose our weaknesses to the world and undermine our strengths, he couldn’t have done more to cripple America’s power and influence in the world. Beneath the bluster, he’s done more to weaken our national security than any president since World War II.

Scout’s Honor (C)

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 4:21 am

Perhaps this is the rose-colored glasses talking, but I seem to recall that Scout badges were awarded for things like learning how to tie knots and picking up litter in the park and not for protecting the interests of economic elites. Wha’ happen? (Via Kevin Drum)

October 21, 2006

BSG Episode 3.4: "Exodus (Part 2)"

Filed under: Battlestar Galactica, Not Tech, TV — Chris @ 7:14 pm

This post is all about the SPOILERS.

Seems like every plot development of Season 2 has been washed away: the Pegasus is gone, Laura Roslyn is president once again, the Cylon/human baby is a Cylon/human baby, and New Caprica is the new Old Caprica. Everybody’s back on the Galactica, in search of a place called… wait a sec, nobody’s talking about Earth anymore. Whatever happened to the Arrow of Apollo?

Random thoughts:

  • I don’t like how Tigh handled that situation. If there’s one thing I learned from Army of Shadows, it’s that traitors want to be killed, and publicly. I expected to either see Old Testament Saul wring Ellen’s neck with his bare hands (which is what she deserved, after all, for being so damn annoying for so damn long) or for him to say, “I know what needs to be done, but I can’t do it myself” (see: Christopher Moltisanti in re Adrianna La Cerva).
  • Shorter Gaeta to Baltar: “All logic and emotion [ed: ah, heck, this is the Sci Fi Channel… all Spock and McCoy] are telling me to shoot you in the face, but somewhere I hear some writer’s screaming, ‘Don’t do it! He’s a principal and a fan favorite!’…” Although, I have to say I admire how the writers have made my sympathize with Baltar who is, in his own selfish and fundamentally flawed way, trying to do what he thinks is best (at least since after he handed a nuke over to the Cylon infiltrator…).
  • Starbuck: I told you so! I told you so! I told you so! Still, and yet, if the Cylons had just thought to change the brat’s name, Starbuck could have said, “I’m sorry lady, you’ve got the wrong kid.” (Is the moppet a mute?)
  • Will D’Anna (stupid sci fi name) be transformed by her love into an annoying simp?
  • Don’t you think Adama seemed a little overly chipper to be back on the run in the far reaches of outer space? See you later, ‘stache!
  • We didn’t pull out of Iraq; Iraq pulled out of us!

NOTE: The episode number is accurate. The two-hour season premiere officially counted as two episodes.

"Go Fuck Yourself" is the new "Is The New"

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 4:31 pm

If you read the light news in New York, you must have come across this obnoxious phrase. As in: “South Bronx is the new Williamsburg” and “Tuesday is the new Thursday.” Today, the New York Times brings us “40 is the new 30.” The units are dollars; the product is entrees; the construction is, like, so over.

“Is the new” rests on the following unacceptable pretensions: (a) some class of people who are relevant to your life are sick of “the old” whatever; (b) the whole world is hungry for “the new” one. But guess what? I hate Williamsburg and I don’t need a new one; Thursday is just fine—a little better than Tuesday, actually; and if I can afford a restaurant that charges me thirty or forty bucks for an entree, I should just shut the fuck up and stop complaining.

[UPDATE] It’s the “Quotation of the Day”! I think the New York Times editors are trying to incite a Communist revolution (reliable leftists that they are).

October 12, 2006

The Perils of Working from Home

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 9:42 pm

Do ergonomics experts recommend typing with a cat draped across your wrists? If not, why not?

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