Missing BloggerCon

While I appreciate Dave's personal invitation to BloggerCon, I am afraid I can't make it this year.  Beside blowing this month's personal spending budget to get a domain name I wanted, I have to work my butt off consulting so I can finance my startup.  I already got expenses pelting me on my windshield like bugs as I go about my daily activities.

It's so sad because I think BloggerCon will be The Event to attend for blogging industry.  To make up for it, I promise to attend next year's BloggerCon and blast every single attendee's hair cleanly off their head with new ideas.  I hope Dave will reserve a speaking spot for me so I'll have reason to practice huffing and puffing.

Red Sox

This bozo thinks Red Sox has no chance of winning the World Series becaues Red Sox bullpen sucks and Kim Byung-Hyun, a fellow Korean, is weak against Yankees.  Maybe, maybe not.  I have no interest in odds when it comes to sports.  I care about the underdogs primarily because they reward me better when they come up on top.

When Kim was hosed in the last World Series by Yankees, I felt sad.  Here was a kid who came out of Korea and made it to the World Series by making real contributions.  At the height of his young career, he got trampled in front of millions of people.  It must have felt like falling off a cliff.

I don't care if Kim end up repeating what happened last year.  I just want Kim to go up there and do his best, giving every ounce of his being, so there won't be any regrets.  There is a common expression in Korea that fits the occasion, Bae-Chae-Ra, which literally means Cut My Stomach Open as in do what you will but I am not backing down.

The spirit of the expression is exactly what Ghandi did.  Brush aside all worries, fears, and possibilites and just do your part in the most sincere way possible.  Like a climber who is dead tired even before he gets half-way to the summit.  Every step he takes, is another step he must take on his way back.  Any sane man would turn back.  Still the climber goes on putting all his energy and thoughts on putting one foot in front of another.

There is something to admire in that sort of attitude and it's relevant to everyday living.  Too many people worry too much these days.  Uncertainty rattles them into depression which just worsen their life.  To me, worries serve a purpose like warning lights.  Take heed and do what must be done.  If nothing can be done, ignore the flashing lights and keep going.

I predict that Red Sox will win the World Series, not because I have divine knowledge, but because I want them to.  Even if they don't, no sweat.  There is always next year.  Frankly, I feel sorry for the suckers who predict Yankees or San Francisco will win.  I mean, where is the joy in that kind of prediction?  If you like stats so much, go become an accountant.

Go Red Sox!  Woohoo!

Escrow.com

I used Escrow.com for the first time to buy a domain name.  The domain name wasn't cheap so I needed some protection which Escrow.com provides.  Signup was easy and they had domain name transfer as a transaction type.  Cool.  Not!

First problem.  I didn't find out until I was half-way into the transaction, and after wasting ten minutes to figure out why I could select my credit card to pay, that credit card payment is possible only if I used their Premium Service to pay which is obvious more expensive than their Standard Service.  Sheesh.

As soon as I solved the first problem by bending over nice and easy, I was asked to print out a web page with two empty boxes.  Instruction said, place your credit card and an ID with my signature on it in the boxes and photocopy the page.  The resulting copy was then to be signed and faxed so Escrow.com as proof of credit card authorization.  Exactly how many people have access to a flatbed copy machine at midnight?  Sheesh #2.

So I taped my credit card and driver license onto the printout and tried to shove it through my copier/fax/printer.  [Crunching Sound]  After a minute of listening to horrific noise, I tore apart the machine and managed to pull the paper and my cards out intact, a miracle of sort.  Using plan B, I called around and found a copymachine at a nearby Safeway.  [Batman Theme]  I got back with the photocopy which I signed and faxed it after coaxing my upset multifunction gizmo into service.

Now what?  Wait for them to verify what I faxed and nudge the transaction along.  Sheesh #3.  I feel stupid because I paid premium fee to be tortured.

BloggerCon Watch

Being a curious person, I like to learn how things work.  By things, I don't mean just objects but also processes like how breads are made, how a community like Waco are formed, and how events like Burningman came to be.  Often enough, my curiousity goes unsatisfied because people don't want a stranger hanging around their busy kitchen or business asking seemingly obvious questions.

Reading "Dave"'s blog these days is like watching a house being built from the inside.  Right before our eyes, a major conference is taking shape!  Day to day, it can be a little tedious, but spanning over time, one can't help but appreciate the unique experience Dave is providing us.  I wish more blogs would do what Dave is doing, showing rest of the world how things come to be from the insider's perspective, one day at a time.

Possibilities are endless!

Parrot Day

Parrot got started two years ago on April 1st as a well coordinated prank consisting of a press release, an interview, an book announcement.  The prank version of Parrot purported to be a new scripting language that combines the best features of Perl and Python scripting languages.

Sparked by the prank, an open source project with the same name was born to create a common virtual machine that efficiently execute bytecode for dynamic languages such as Perl and Python.  Next version of Perl, Perl 6 (may be down), will use Parrot VM.  There is at least one effort, called Pirate, to do the same for Python.  There were even attempts to convert Java bytecodes to Parrot bytecodes automatically.

Parrot: Some Assembly Required is probably the best introduction to Parrot.  Main website for Parrot project is at ParrotCode.org (slow) and development discussions take place on Perl 6 internals mailing list (subscribe, archive).  Other than Perl CVS and CVS snapshots, latest code drops can be found on CPAN source directory (version 0.0.11.2 seems to be the latest).

As the petshop owner said in the Monty Python Parrot sketch, this Parrot sure doesn't look dead to me.

Customer: This so called Parrot is DEAD.  DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!
Petshop owner: No it's not.  It's just resting.

Category Cleanup and New RSS Feeds

Post categories I had were too narrow to be of any use to anyone and it was tedious for me to figure out which categories a post belong to.  So I deleted all the categories except the Korean category and added two broader categories: General and Technical.  I also removed category specific HTML pages because they were messing up Google and causing duplicate entries in Technorati.

URLs for the three categories are listed on the right side under My RSS Feeds.

Perl IDE for Easy Camel Humping

I am not a command line jockey nor am I comfortable with emacs or vi.  What I am is a creature of comfort.  Since I am actively dancing around with Perl again, I thought I should find a nice IDE for Perl and found a really nice one that does exactly what I want and no more: Open Perl IDE.

Open Perl IDE is an open source Perl IDE for Windows.  All I had to do was download the Open_Perl_IDE_1.0.11.409.zip file from SourceForge and drag a single executable file (PerlIDE.exe) out of it.  PerlIDE.exe is the excutable, not an installer (sounds familiar?).

If you have perl.exe in your PATH, you can just run the IDE, write some perl statements into a file, and Run it.  Yes, it has a source debugger.  If perl.exe is not in your PATH, you can specify its location via the Preferences dialog under the Edit menu.

Have fun.  I know I am having fun.  Only sour point that my Camel Perl book is 11 years old.  Assuming Perl changed a lot in 11 years, I will have to get a more recent copy although I can see that the latest version covers only Perl 5.6.  Maybe I should just fill a slot in my teeny O'Reilly Safari Bookshelf until the 4th edition comes out.

I find Safari Bookshelf to be too slow for my taste and it's annoying that I have to be online while I am coding so I can access the bookshelf.  Only usable forms of documentation for me are CHM (HTMLHelp) or real books.  PDF?  Books in PDF format may make sense for sloths, but not people.  Maybe I'll get the Perl CD Bookshelf.  I heard that they contain CHM versions of the books.  I maybe wrong of course. 

Downloading Music is Piracy!

Dave is, as he would say, full of sh*t today.

[Correction: After reading Dave's Why they hate me post, I have to say Dave is not full of sh*t today.  He is full of sh*t just in the post mentioned below.]

In It's not really piracy, Dave writes:

Calling it piracy views it only from the perspective of an obsolete distribution system. They see their revenue declining because the service they provide isn't worth anything. The Internet provides efficiency in distribution that cuts out the middle man. Since the industry pays little or no money to the artist, the users can have the music, if you cut out the distributors, for $0. To blame that on people who use music is to miss the historic trend. Users are just behaving economically, not unethically; and it's even arguable that they are behaving legally.

I sympathize with musicians who are being enslaved by the music industry labels and believe Internet technologies can and will free them eventually.  But using them to justify ethical failures or advocate new business models amounts to cowardly and selfish acts.  If people really wants to solve this problem, they should first learn to see straight instead of making up false and delusionary images.

Suppose you bought a country house with apple trees in the backyard which you never tended to.  What Dave is saying amounts to saying that if apples fall from the tree and roll downhill to a public road, anybody can take those apples because the owner never tended to the trees.  Nonesense.  If they didn't know where the apple came from, they are excusable and should be excused.  But if they are doing it knowingly, that is theft and it doesn't matter who the owner is nor whether he is a beastly fellow.

Just as atrocities are made easier by demonizing opponents, we are demonizing the music industry and planting seeds of wide-spread self-justified corruption into our young in the name of newage morality.  Piracy is piracy whether the pirate is a sleezy character or a 13 year-old girl.  Whether she should be punished or not is irrelevant to the definition of the word.

I am not faulting people for falling to temptations for I have fallen as well in the past.  When Napster became popular, I downloaded many MP3 files.  It was amazingly convenient and, as a geek, it opened new possibilities.  But I have never denied the fact that what I was doing was stealing because doing so will damage me more than I could ever gain from free music.

Expanding Presence

I am going to be shifting my consulting business to PowerVenture.com and reusing Docuverse.com as it was originally intended, a wiki-variation based document universe including my blog as well as other contents.

Beside PowerVenture.com and Docuverse.com, there is another website being planned.  I can't give any details though except that it will be a shocker of sort.

What all this means is that I will be needing more bandwidth and storage space.  I have chosen to use ServInt VPS instead of dragging a T1 line to my house and running my own Linux server farm which requires too much money way too early.  ServInt has pretty good reputation so I can trust them not to disappoint me and 100GB/month transfer with 2 GB storage for $49/month is very attractive.  As traffic and load grows, I can upgrade to ServInt dedicated servers.

If you decide to use ServInt as well, tell them Don sent ya.  But then I just signed up so you might want to wait until I have used their service for a while.  Life is full of surprises you know. ;-p