Thursday, September 14, 2006

I wish I was a (software) hacker... (leads into wikipedia)

Ok, i wouldn't mind being able to do either (software or hardware) but after trying to teach myself perl then floundering through a c++ course (and ultimately dropping it) i have come to the conclusion that i was not meant to write code (hell, i have a hard time making bat files or hand writing html, a bit of a red flag).

What made me think of this was wikipedia and my inability to throw something together to interface (is that the right word?) with wikipedia. If you have actually read/clicked through on any of my other posts you will see i am a huge wikipedia fan, mainly because its easy, and uptodate and reasonably accurate (for technical things, forget the softer topics). I like to have a bunch of links in my posts but i hate making the links (lazy) so i was thinking wouldn't it be sweet if there was some site/service/script/etc where i could write something up then have it automatically make a link to every word/phrase it found in my posting that was in wikipedia?! The first problem that comes to mind would be words that were incorrectly linked, like " SD" being linked to "abbreviation for Small Dogs" (bad example but you get the idea). I am sure there could be some sort of checker, like a spell checker that asks you about each word/phrase. oh well, if anyone out there knows about something like that let me know.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gore's gotta chance...

I will never forgive (or totally trust) the american voting process after the 2000 presidential election and the monkey (aka our esteemed king president) that it allowed into office but a new election is commig and people are talking. There are rumors about Hilary not running for president in the next election and it is thought that McCain might run again (not my first choice but my how past events have lowered the bar). All this makes me think that now is Gore's time to shine, the US is now leaning towards voting democrat (not because the dems have done a great job, more like its because they are the only alternative), many are finally starting to think alittle greener, and the war is not popular, Gore seems to have improved on his showmanship, all of which is in Gore's favor. The problem is Gore seems to have lost interest in running again, and who could blame him? Still, its a shame, I think he would stand a good chance, but he would be inheriting quite a mess. I don't think he would be able to do much for Iraq and would probably be severely critisised no matter what he did in/for Iraq but he could do so much in other areas like patching the runined relations with a countless number of countries, and improving the US's environmental policies, etc.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Games drive innovation?

I came across a YouTube link while browsing through digg about Starcraft+WINE+Linux+Touchscreen, while the link was interesting on many different levels to me (the least of which was the gaming aspect) it lead me to check up on the WINE app list which i have not even glanced at in at least a year or two ( WINE has been around a loooong time, but has got to be one of the slowest efforts in software development today [though to its credit i would guess its also one of the most difficult development projects too]). I went to their site and looked over their different lists (their quick and dirty lists are ordered Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze) and was immediately struck by the apps listed... they were dominated by games?!

Since 1995 (when i first started *trying* to play with slackware [not being a computer guru then or now it wasn't super easy, but got better once i learned about USENET and transferred to a techy school that ran on Unixes and had killer tech support) i have heard many a person chide Linux for not having more games. Yeah, there are lots of little simple games and a few slightly more advanced games but i would say than many gaming nutz aren't super into tinkering (which Linux *required* back in tha day, now, not so much), hence the popularity of game consoles, they are cheap, and just work, tinker free. But i digress, here was a fairly large list of complete win games that were running fine on Linux thanks to WINE. Seeing all those games, I would guess, with a fair degree of confidence, that at least some of the development of WINE has been due to a push from the gaming community.

Side thought. While i don't think the gaming community as a whole is super savvy (the "gaming generation" is be default more savvy than their elders but not much more than their peers) i do think that gaming has propelled many a person into the realm of computer literacy and guru-ness. I look no further than one of my best buddies and my brother as proof. When i met my friend he didn't seem to be much into computers (i was just learning too, thanks to a mutual friend of ours) but he started with games, and from there upgrading memory, tweaking DOS (slimming down the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to save memory from hungry/unnecessary TSRs), and investigating DBL Space vs Stacker (or maybe that was just me, this was 10+ years ago). Then there was my brother, for the life of me i couldn't get him to get interested in using the computer, there was no " killer app" for him. But then he got his own computer, no biggie but soon after he started learning about gaming, installing games on his system, how to circumvent copy protection, install hard drives (for those really large CD games [this was when a Pentium 120 Mhz with a 200meg hard drive [which dwarfed my 486 dx2 66 w/ 40meg hard drive]).

The point? not entirely sure, i guess that gaming can drive innovation, or at the least foster computer literacy because unlike me, i would say the "coolness of different operating systems, interconnectivity, etc" isn't much of a draw for most people, and thats where gaming comes in.