Newsflash: IE is a really bad awful horrible thing.

Sun Jul 23 2006 17:25:12 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

Maybe I didn't make it explicitly clear, but sheesh, IE is just a gigantic steaming pile of crap. I'm pained by even using it while building my site redesign. Compared to Firefox, it's just completely inconsistent and broken. I just realized that the png js hack thing does something weird with images and rollovers, but I don't think it's worth fixing. If you're [still] using "that blue E" (as my mom likes to call it), you'll see what I mean. In any case, I got a new noisybox splash screen up (and working, I think). It's not exactly fun trying to position things using css with a relative-but-absolute approach whereby some things must be absolutely aligned relative to other things (like the intro now). I wonder if there's a better approach than the negative top positions I hacked together? In any event, it seems to function...and it's not flash (which sucks). Saw "A Scanner Darkly" this afternoon. It wasn't really what I expected (not having read it), but I completely enjoyed it. The good: It's druggy and trippy and visually beautiful and really smart and funny at times. The bad: Sometimes slow, sometimes poorly acted, and, tho I hate to admit it, sometimes too disjointed for my tastes. I already think I need to see it again, if only for the Yorke/Radiohead score and the swell sounds.

New website redesign

Sat Jul 22 2006 22:36:35 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

It's been up for most of the week now, but in case you haven't wandered by yet (maybe you track the rss feed?), has itself a brand spanking new web design. Although it's not that drastic, I think it's a considerable improvement and I'm quite happy with how it's turned out. I think it keeps a rough edge while remaining somewhat polished. I never intended the old layout to have a "torn paper" 1997 kinda feel, but more than one person commented on just that effect. The new look is hopefully a bit more modern, a bit more refined. Bala suggested that the background image is a tad intrusive, and I explained that it's intentional (it is!). This is NOT a myspace page (myspace ranting elsewhere)... There are a few remaining additions/changes that I haven't been able to do yet...including some shadows, hover images, and a new splash/intro image, but for now it's mostly done. Honestly, I'd have redone the splash image by now if it hadn't been so rediculously hot here lately (104 yesterday, muggy and unbearably hot upstairs in the ilab). I'm optimistic that the redesign will help me to update the blog more regularly. So now that I've done the lion's share of the work, I need to rant some about CSS (ala Dvorak last week on /.). Say what you want about the guy, I mostly agree with his basic premise that "modern" CSS design/layout is a gigantic pain in the ass. It's true. I guess I'm capable, but it's not exactly fun nor easy to build cross platform, standards-compliant sites. Prime example: I think it's completely backwards/bizare that a floated div has to be placed before other content to work I feel kinda dirty even knowing this stuff. For example, I had to implement some wacky javascript css hack to get the transparent PNGs to render correctly in that IE browser that apparently 81+%(?) of the population still uses (seriously, how the hell can that still be true...I think 95% of people I know prefer and use FF?). It's the hell does IE not support PNG transparency? I spent quite a bit of time/effort modifying the noisybox pages to be XHTML 1.0 strict compliant. I didn't feel the need to add the little w3c xhtml button, but really, the large majority of my pages are now completely XHTML strict. It may seem sillly, but this was a notable undertaking that I think will have long term value. For the most part, it required adding closing <li> tags, closing <p> tags, and just generally cleaning things up and making tables into css and trying to remove unnecessary markup where possible. It's still far from perfect, and there are still plenty of inline style defs and counterproductive things like paragraph classes instead of headings, but I still consider it a big step in the right direction. It was pretty amusing to see some of the markup in the really old pages. Other than the website, the tech projects have been somewhat slow. I've been trying to finish up the irrigation system in the backyard, and we desparately need to have a garage sale to move some of the crap out of storage. After summer, I think things will pick up again...

New album, PC updates, shows...

Sat May 27 2006 13:08:48 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

It's been raining for a solid week now it seems. Gray, overcast, wet, nasty. It's supposed to clear up soon, though, which would be rather nice because Danridge is supposed to take us fishing. I haven't put the audio up yet, but I completed the next Infiltration Lab album, Bark Mulch Golem: Attack!. It's a long, dark, drony journey. I'll have some mp3s up via, hopefully later today. So I bought a new desktop machine a little while ago, and although it really screams, I haven't been able to get a realtime patched kernel to boot on it...that is, until yesterday when 2.6.16-rt25 was released! Seems to work very well with jack and xorg modular. There's a clock drift problem with jack and dual core processors tho, and there's a jack branch called "clockfix" that addresses (fixes!) this issue, but it hasn't been merged yet. As a result, none of the stock Debian apps can use the jack server, which kinda defeats the whole point. It's progress, though. Now if only I could get those closed-source motherfuckers to support flash player and windows codecs, I might be satisfied. Ministry and Revolting Cocks show is tonite. I want to hate myself for paying too much money to see a middle-age reunion tour, but it's going to be good. I guess I bought into the what.

Overdue ramblings and link dumps

Mon Mar 06 2006 23:09:57 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

The Cypress PSoC products seem pretty cool, and I have an interest in toying with them after checking out a project called GAINER and reading some stuff in Circuit Cellar. After a fair amount of research, it seems there is zero Linux support for developing those guys. What crap. I know I'm in an OS minority, and I know there are going to be hassles such as this that go with the territory. That's fine...whatever. It's just unfortunate. Instead of just being able to buy a dev kit and start working with low-price hardware, I would have to buy a $200 operating system that I don't want in the first place. I wonder if the dsPIC line from Microchip can be developed using Linux? I've been meaning to look into those. At present, it seems that PICs or Atmel devices are the way to go when doing micro* stuff with Linux...although it would be nice to have better support. Apparently very similar to GAINER is the Arduino project. There's a USB version readily available for $30, but look at the part count comparison between the two! I haven't tried it out yet, but the kinda cool thing about Arduion is that they have their own little IDE (granted, I now assume that every IDE should be an Eclipse project. Although he's been gone for nearly a year now, you can read some about Koji Tano and download the 10-CD tribute album for free. I've been eyeballing the Sound Lab Synth for a bit now and might just have to build one. The page layout leaves something to be desired, but the sounds are damn fantastic. Stacy and I quit smoking about 7 weeks ago now. Been going well so far, thanks to the patch. I've been doing Bikram Yoga 2-3 times a week to help with the quitting plan and improving my general health. It's very weird, but very good.

Streaming noise and Elmo death...downloads for you

Tue Jan 03 2006 23:14:07 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

Just wanted to share some great free stuff I've been listing too...and you can too by using the nice little playlist I made just for you (your media player can handle simple m3u files, right?). Some great amazing stuff out there.

Also, I wanted to link to the great story linked from Boing Boing via Fark about Elmo asking children if they want to die. Wonderfully stuff. Although it sounds like a genuine bug/defect to me, I secretly hope it's a technical prankster, along the lines of the Barbie Liberation Organization.

I suppose I'll make a few mentions of project stuff, instead of just linking to links to links as is the blog craze right now.

I released a new nzbperl over the vacation. Nothing groundbreaking, but wrapping up some loose ends before moving on to the next major change set. I'm also finishing up a Debian install/configure on an old laptop. My goal is to remount the thing inside a great little briefcase I bought at a garage sale and add various support technologies that can facilitate noisemaking. Once I start taking the hardware apart (after some addition a configs and getting a [new] sound card for the thing), I should get a project page up.

Just some quickie notes...

Sun Nov 06 2005 13:02:43 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

Some semi random notes from recent goings on. First, there's now a release page for the liar's rail field recording I did recently. Next, I wanted to mention that I finally got rt limits with low latency working with PAM. Somebody is hosting patched debs (required!) for Debian unstable...and they work great. One caveat though -- if you're going to make PAM changes you must log back in for it to take effect (took me a while to figure that one out). In any case, jackd via qjackctl works beautifully now (again) with low latency and zero xruns and no realtime lsm module to load. Finally, if you happen to have a Zoom X6 DSL modem and make changes through the CLI interface, there is a way to save to flash. I poked around and couldn't find it in the docs or the help and even asked Zoom tech support (yeah, they sure didn't know). The command to save to flash is: "system config save". Sounds simple enough, but it took me a long time to hunt it down.

For those who noticed, sorry for the downtime.

Fri Oct 28 2005 13:05:47 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

My Actiontec modem decided to take a huge dump and stop performing ethernet negotiation correctly. Wonderful. Took hours of troubleshooting, and ultimately had to wait until this morning to be resolved (replacement DSL modem acquired and installed). From what I can tell, all noisybox services (notably www and email) were unavailable during the outage. That sucks, sorry. I'll maybe give a short review of this product when I return (from Vegas, yes again).

Beaverton! What a let-down. Give me my hour back, dammit.

Thu Oct 06 2005 22:59:38 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

Just recently, I spent a day in Vegas, a day in L.A., and a few days in San Diego with my old compadre Herr Downtime der Arschwischer. Outside the airport, I found this wonderful cassette tape and decided to take it with me...even though I now understand that there could have been some terrorists hiding inside (thanks Stac! :)). Anyway, enjoy the aging samples and help prevent them from fading into oblivion.

This might just be as good as it gets [for America]

Sun Sep 11 2005 17:00:45 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

Is it possible that we've already climaxed as a civilization? I suspect we're in trouble...fighting a war on [at least] 3 fronts: Energy/Environment, Iraq, and now Katrina recovery. Sure, it could be a lot worse, but I don't exactly have a lot of confidence in the current administration to pull us out of all this. So glum. So on a different note, I played an annual round of golf with the company people. It was completely enjoyable, but not something that I'd really want to do more than once a year or so. That same night was a fantastic noise show in a basement in SE Portland. Although I had seen most of the performers before, it was a really good time. A similar lineup is playing at Reed on Monday, but I'm not sure I'm going to make it out again. Last night I soaked up the Found Footage Festival at the Laurelhurst. I can't say enough good things about this! Highly recommended! I suppose I could have done with a bit less of the comedic sketch work of the curators, but it wasn't a big detraction. If it comes to your town or if they end up releasing it on DVD, you should certainly check it out. And last but not least, I kicked out nzbperl version 0.6.6 today. Pretty rushed, but it's got some things that people need.

the katrina situation

Thu Sep 01 2005 01:08:14 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)

I don't believe that I really had a true feel for the Katrina situation until I was synced up with an irc channel ( #interdictor and #scanner), a few live scanner feeds, and the live webcam feed of the armed bloggers holed up in a secured 27-floor building in New Orleans at 3 or 4am EST. Media fucking overload. The scanner audio, at least to me, was especially striking. Cops, state troopers, and SWAT teams were having a considerably difficult time sharing information. There was a soldier who was shot in the leg at the superdome, and the shooter perhaps became a corpse. Lots of reports of and queries about police escorted busses (one report of 500 of em) to and from the crises, plenty of 10-21s being readily given on the open airwaves (quite unusual), and talk of entities like "Dragon 6". It's really only in situations like this where you get these unique, surreal, and ultimately frightening OPEN MIC sessions from SWAT teams.