The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Big long guns thread

| January 31, 2006

Lots of discussion here about the nature of government, second amendment, and so forth.

Why I wish Apple did more open source

| January 20, 2006

I'm trying to find out the list of changes in iMovie which comes with iLife '06. I cannot, for the life of me, find a foolish changelog about what changed.

Specifically, when they went from iMovie in iLife '04 and in iMovie in iLife '05 (iMovie HD), they changed it so that, when you delete a section of video (a clip) it doesn't actually go away – it stays on disk. So, if I rip a whole huge section of tape, and I only want the first quarter and the last quarter, the whole thing is still on disk, and DV is HUGE. I'm trying to figure out if they've fixed this in '06 or not.

Anyone who has an answer, feel free to let me know.

Oh, and the obligatory link of the day: OpenSolaris + Debian = Nexenta


| January 12, 2006

Because took one:

Your Social Dysfunction:

You show pervasive and unwarranted suspiciousness, and mistrust of others. You are overly sensitive and prone to jealousy.

Take this quiz at

Please note that we aren’t, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.

No argument there.

Book stack update

| January 12, 2006

Off the List:

Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah, Stephen King

Why: It's a piece of crap. 150 pages in to it and I'm bored silly. Plus, since it's fiction, it should entertain me. It doesn't. Next!

Jarhead, Anthony Swofford

Why: Finished it.

Recommendation: Yes. It doesn't have much in the way of plot, but then again, it's not supposed to. It is a chronicle of events and memoirs.

Added to the stack: Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, Stephen King (Hopefully the last one of the series will be better than the previous)

This month's issue of Game Informer, because it arrived.

Plus, a bunch more mentioned here arrived from Amazon, so are on the stack (yes, it's a literal stack on a table in my office).

No more ordering from the Sportsman's Guide, either

| January 9, 2006

(aka, welcome to capitalism)

Original link: Basically, they won’t sell ammo to people in some parts of MD, because it’s too close to DC. We’re in a similar situation – in RI, we’re too close to MA. First email:
Dear Sir or Madam, I have been a loyal customer of yours for many years. I am even a buyer’s club member (ID # XXXXXXX). However, your recent decision to not ship ammunition to certain areas of Maryland because of their proximity to Washington DC concerns me, particularly because I live within spitting distance of Massachusetts, which has similar restrictions. I am concerned that one day, I shall place an order and it will be rejected because you folks have redrawn the areas to which you will ship, yet again. Rather than scramble to find a new ammunition supplier, I would rather do so preemtively. To that end, please respond with a clear definition of what your plans are to address this issue. Specifically, I am requesting a change in your company’s policy such that you will not ship ammunition to states where doing so is illegal, but that you will ship ammunition to all regions of states neighboring those states. Namely, that I will always be able to get ammunition shipped to me in Rhode Island (unless, of course Rhode Island makes it illegal), and that this gentleman in Maryland will always be able to have ammunition shipped to him (unless, of course, his locality makes it illegal). There are several discussions about this policy: And it is rapidly having the effect of lots of folks pledging to never do business with SG again, unless this policy changes. While I understand your righs as a company to do this, and I even agree that it might be in your company’s best interests to do so from a legal standpoint, I also have the right as a consumer to choose which companies I deal with based on said policies. Additionally, please note that I have over $200 worth of items on backorder with SG (1000 rds of wolf 7.62×39 FMJ from order XXXXXX plus a bunch more stuff I ordered on 01/06/2006, but don’t yet have an order number yet). Please be advised that the states of these orders are in jeopardy, pending the output of this exchange. Please also note that the entirety of this correspondance will be posted on the internet, and therefore subject to all the dissection, ridicule, and heckling that this entails. Thank you very much for your time Matthew Caron
Their response:
Dear Matthew, Thank you for the E-mail. We have placed certain restrictions, on certain items listed in our catalog and our web site. Due to the various state, county and municipal laws that exist, we are not always able to comply with each individual guideline. Not all of the restrictions are based on laws on the books, but could be a company decision based on certain concerns. Things such as whether the state law suits pending involving gun owners, recent court decisions that may effect businesses like ours. Finally it may be that the states laws are so vague that they could be interpreted unfavorably in the event a court action was ever involved, and finally as a public held company, we are obligated to safeguard our stockholder’s investments. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you have any other questions please contact us. Enjoy the Outdoors, Katie Smith Customer Service
My response back:
Indeed, and while I can completely understand all of what you have said, this line: “and finally as a public held company, we are obligated to safeguard our stockholder’s investments.” is what bears the greatest truth: in order to force you to change the aforementioned objectionable policies, I must create a threat to your stockholder’s bottom line. Therefore, to that end, effective immediately, please cancel all outstanding orders which I may have with you. This includes: (1) The remainder of order XXXXXXX (2) The as-yet unnumbered order placed by me on Friday, 01/06/2006 Additionally, please remove me from all mailing lists and email lists. Should you ever change your policies to ones more desirable to me, do not hesitate to contact me. I thank you for your time, and am disappointed that we can no longer do business.

More on The Pussification of America

| January 7, 2006

View Similar Products choices offends people

Basically, go to buy a DVD. It says “buy similar products”. So, you go to purchase “Planet of the Apes” and get “African American” Titles, such as: “Martin Luther King: I Have A Dream/Assassination of MLK” and “Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson.”

Now, for starters, I'd call those “history oriented” titles, just like Gettysburg and JFK. Make a movie about a white historical figure and it's history (albeit often politically motivated, especially if you're Oliver Stone). But, make a movie about a black historical figure, and somehow it's no longer history, but rather a “black title”. Come on people, we're all Americans here, let's stop with this while “embrace diversity by pointing out how we're different and thus accentuating the us vs. them mentality”. We're all Americans; you just happen to wear a different skin than I do.

For second; why is this a big deal? Yes, their system gives piss poor recommendations. That's it. Stop reading in to it. Stop getting offended over random chance + a hell of a lot of meaning that isn't there. If you want to go get offended about something, go get offended about how many of us are going to get raped by the Alternative Minimum Tax and the government isn't doing a damned thing about it (simple solution – kill it. It was a stupid idea and a waste of taxpayer money anyway. Hell, I'd love to see the ROI calculations on that mess). Or how about how we can't safely visit our nation's capitol, because even Marion Barry got robbed at gunpoint. (The real gems here are not that he got robbed at gunpoint in a gun-free town, but rather that he wants to increase penalties for posession of illegal guns in DC, but DOESN'T want to press charges against the people who robbed him. Riiiight – make something more illegal, but don't enforce what is the real crime (robbery) and already VERY illegal. The second gem is a statement that he made about how this isn't supposed to happen to him because the word in the street is to leave him alone because he's a good guy. What, now he's shocked because there's no honor amongst theives?)

Why IOGear Sucks

| January 6, 2006

Do not buy from them, as they are stupid.

Sequence of events: (1) Buy USB 2.0/FireWire combo card. (2) Try to put in G5 Tower. (3) Find out that it doesn't fit.

Email (me to them):
Dear Sir or Madam, I recently purchased a GUF320 USB 2.0/Firewire combination card. Unfortunately, when I went to install it, I found that it did not fit in the Mac’s PCI slots. The Mac is a G5 tower, with PCI-X slots. Everything in modern production is supposed to be, by my understanding, backwards compatible. Consulting my various manuals, I locate this: (see p. 17) which, if it is to be believed, states that your card is keyed to be 32bit, 33Mhz, 5V only. Looking around at what is going on in the realm of PCI, I see that 5V only PCI has been removed completely as per PCI spec v. 2.3 (released March 20, 2002!!). It is discussed on the PCI-SIG site, which states: ============================= Revision 2.3 supports the 5V and 3.3V keyed system board connectors (as did revision 2.2) but revision 2.3 supports only the 3.3V and Universal keyed add-in cards. The 5V keyed add-in card is not supported in revision 2.3. ============================= I would strongly suggest that, if you are going to continue to sell this card in violation of PCI v. 2.3 and PCI v. 3.0 spec that you do the following: (1) Add verbiage to product literature stating that this card is ONLY PCI 2.2 compliant. (2) Add verbiage to product literature stating that this card will ONLY function in 5V PCI slots. (3) Add verbiage to product literature stating that this card will NOT work in PCI-X slots, including ALL VARIETIES of PowerMac G5 desktops. Indeed, one could go so far in item (3) as to state that, since this card does not work in any Macintosh currently produced, claiming Mac compatibility is a bit of a stretch, at best. One could legitimately claim “Legacy” Mac compatibility.
Response (them to me):
Here is a link on our website explaining which cards work Thanks, Service Support
My Response back (me to them):
It’s wonderful that you have such a page. However, when one is in the store or shopping online, none of the literature attached to the card/box/etc. makes mention of it being 5V only. I checked what the mac could support. Since 5V PCI has been dead for OVER THREE YEARS, I figured that no manufacturer could be so stupid as to be intentionally producing such cards anymore. So, I chalked it up to an accident. Apparently, IOGear is fully aware of this, and yet continues this practice. More’s the pity – you won’t see any more of my business. Kind of a shame, I’ve spend almost $1,000US on IOGear KVM’s and cables in the past two years. I guess I’ll have to find someone else to sell me decent kit. Indeed, AT THE VERY LEAST, there should be a “G5 compatibility note” link right by where it says “For MAC Users”.

Snow and Books

| January 3, 2006

So, we got somewhere between 10 and 12 inches of snow today. There was 6 this morning, which means I would have had to shovel for an hour or so just to get out of the drive. So, I ended up working from home, which ended up being very productive.

Anyway, I've figured I'd start posting my “book stack”; the list of literature I've recently read, or am reading, or whatnot.

Just “popped” off the stack (in the last couple months):

Ten Things You Can't Say in America, Larry Elder Showdown, Larry Elder Numerous back issues of American Rifleman Numerous back issues of Game Informer

Currently on the stack: Jarhead, Anthony Swofford Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah, Stephen King SAS Survival Handbook, John “Lofty” Wiseman How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must), Ann Coulter The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto Numerous back issues of Road and Track

Currently on order from Amazon:

People's History of the United States : 1492 to Present, Howard Zinn Street Magic (Shadowrun) Runner Havens (Shadowrun) On Killing : The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Dave Grossman On Combat, Dave Grossman

And, because I'm on a FireFly kick (also on order from Amazon) Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, Joss Whedon; Paperback Serenity Role Playing Game, Jamie Chambers Finding Serenity : Anti-Heroes, Lost Shepherds and Space Hookers in Joss Whedon's Firefly, Glenn Yeffeth