Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Lots

  • Please read this short article by Mark Shuttleworth. I’ve been saying this for years, but he’s a lot more famous than I am: Tribalism makes you stupid. It also means that you are owned, and are not a free man or woman.
  • The Insight debugger front end for gdb has been removed from all Debian-based Linux distributions, and is not present in Ubuntu 10.4. The Debian package for Insight has been criticized as “insane” and unmaintained, and I’m curious: Has anyone here used it in recent releases of Fedora or OpenSuse?
  • Autodesk founder John Walker has an interesting free Web toy for Greasemonkey, which attempts to spot “media trigger words” and alert you when weaselspeak is being attempted. (Thanks to Jason Kaczor for the tipoff.)
  • Oh, no! It’s the Pluto Effect for dinosaurs! Triceratops is actually an immature Torosaurus!
  • Man, turn your head for ten minutes and there’s a whole new kind of punk out there. But this one I may actually like: Dieselpunk. Think Art Deco urban fantasy, with the cultural clock set at 1920-1945. This might include the first Indiana Jones movie, and certainly one of my personal favorites, The Rocketeer. Lessee, we still need Musketpunk, for gritty urban fantasy in 1780 Philadelphia. Ben Franklin with tattoos. Could work, no?
  • Don’t be drinkin’ Diet Mountain Dew while reading this site. Trust me.
  • There is an entire news site devoted to good news. Perky people like me and Flo read it every day now.
  • Sheesh. What’s wrong with “Hi! Is this seat taken?” (Wait, no, that was the 70s. And purely analog.)
  • I don’t think I posted a link to this back in April, but I should have. There’s a rectangle of this identical cloth hanging on my workshop wall as framed art. Pray without ceasing, even when you’re soldering up a regenerative receiver.


  1. Jim Dodd says:

    But at least they are not getting rid of triceratops. It’s torosaurus that is no longer considered a distinct species. This is from the original article pointed to by the Gizmodo article you pointed to:

    “It was already known that triceratops skulls changed throughout their development, but not that the final result was a torosaurus. Torosaurus will now be abolished as a species and specimens reassigned to Triceratops, says Horner.”

    1. Well, I knew that, but it was an opportunity to picture legions of seven-year-olds marching on the offices of New Scientist with torches and pitchforks. There’s no necessary reason why Torosaurus would get the boot rather than Triceratops, but Horner is nobody’s fool.

  2. Paul says:

    I saw the post that Shuttleworth made elsewhere, and thought it pretty intelligent. I not much later saw this post that made me wonder of Mr. Shuttleworth was deflecting, or perhaps (too rarely done) just responding in a mature fashion.

    1. I want to encourage others to read that link, not for the sake of the article but for the issues raised in the comments. Maybe Canonical’s job isn’t to do engineering. Maybe somebody needs to do whatever it takes to get Linux on the largest number of desktops, and right now, that would be Canonical. At this point, developing a userbase may be just as important as developing code.

  3. Brook Monroe says:

    ” Ben Franklin with tattoos. Could work, no?”


  4. Erbo says:

    “There‚Äôs a rectangle of this identical cloth hanging on my workshop wall as framed art.”

    And an identical rectangle of that same cloth hanging on my computer room wall as framed art. (It was given to me by my college friend Jamie “Snoopy” Smith, now Jamie Sloan, and had previously belonged to her father.)

    1. We got ours at a fabric store on the north side of Chicago in 1977 or 1978. Carol framed it shortly after, and it’s been on one wall or another ever since. It’s a little stiff to make clothing out of, and I’m guessing that it was always intended as artwork.

      I know enough about electronics to think that whoever drew it was looking at a real TTL-logic circuit board, and didn’t just pull the design out of the air.

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