Archive - 2005

email crap

so in addition to all the other geeky changes in my life i decide to go ahead and finally start using an IMAP client locally instead of reading mail on the server like i've been doing for 10 years. I just never knew how cool IMAP was, had a distaste for learning about it ever since a server of mine was hacked thanx to an IMAP exploit, and POP is dumb cuz it ties you down to your mail being on one workstation.

so i've been trying out apple's email client and getting it all set up the way I want
it but there's weird shit that is totally frustrating, something to do with how it interacts with the IMAP server. i have it under control now so i won't even go into it, but it was really pissing me off for the last couple hours.

vlog testing

I've been thinking about starting to include little videos here, not so much starting a "vlog" as just turning my already-existing blog into something that includes more embedded media. i want to test to see if the rss2.0 feed that movable type creates is something that FireANT or iTunes will like.


This is a little creative commons bumper i made a while back that i've been putting at the end of my videos lately.
Feel free to use it if you want.

Server Held Hostage!

Oh boy, 2 geek posts in a row. Not good for Project Steev.

Well, the thing is, like I said I would do in my post yesterday, I went over to the colo to get my server. I had to reserve a Flexcar to get over there, which costs money, which was okay except it turned out to be all for nothing because they wouldn't let me take my machine until I paid them an extra $114!! They said their policy was 30 days notice, but I only gave them 14 days or something, so they alyre charging me the difference. WTF?! That's bullshit.

Well, luckily I don't need the damn thing, right away, at least. So I just told them to turn it off and I'd be back. I'm not going to pay. As soon as I can I'm going to talk to whoever can make the decision and reason with them, and if they won't cut me some slack I will spew righteous bad PR about them all over the place. I know several people who use them as an ISP or a colo.

I won't say the name of the company, because I won't badmouth them till they refuse to give me a break. They've been great up till now, the service has been excellent, but this just puts a bad taste on the last 2.5 years of being their customer.


Over the last month or so I've been gradually moving all my websites and other internet foo from my own, self-administered, co-located server over to shared hosting with a pretty cool company, Dreamhost. Well, today was the big final switchover day, because last night I finally changed the nameservers for the 2 most important domains for me, my family, and a few friends. The ones we all depend on for email. Sure enough, stuff went pretty wrong and I was not getting email all day. I think I'm still not getting everything I should. And there were some painful mistakes I made with the web-based "control panel" that Dreamhost has for controlling everything. It's really pretty slick and works great most of the time, but there are a few things that aren't clear for a new user. The thing that really screwed me up is that I accidentally set a disk quota for myself which was way low, so I was immediately stopped for getting new email, creating or changing any files, etc. I used the control panel to remove the quota but it took about 3 hours for it to take effect. So I was effectively paralysed from fixing a lot of other switchover-related things.

All in all though, it will be a big relief when I retire the old server for good. I've been running a server of my own (the first one was called flotsam, this one jetsam), since about august 1997, and it was fun for awhile but it's just become a chain around my neck. I could see how if I was part of a cool collective like or riseup I wouldn't mind doing some sysadmin stuff, but being the sole administrator, accountant, and tech support just got real old. Tommorrow, I drive over to the colo and unplug good ol' jetsam for good....

Anyway... moving this blog and Moveable Type has been relatively painless so far... let's see if I can save this first post-migration entry without a hassle....

Bitter Greens

A friend of a friend does this great blog that mostly is a daily autobiographical daily comic strip, called Bitter Greens. It's really cute and fun and I love most daily autobiographical comics like this because they depict normal life, whether it's mundane or crazy-intense-weird. It reminds me of "Clutch," a comic done by a portland guy I know, or Snakepit, by a guy in Austin. It's just kind of fun and adorable to see someone has drawn a picture of themselves watching a boring movie, or just sitting on a couch, or whatever.

I also found out when looking at it that she's a friend of someone else I know, and a friend or at least fan of one of my favorite Bay Area bands, Dealership. Of course since she lives in the Bay Area and I used to live there and she's in the multimedia industry and sort of arty, it stands to reason there might be multiple links.

A Smattering of Varied Activities and Thoughts.

Yesterday I went for the first time since I've been back in town to a meeting of the Portland IMC video collective. No one else showed up except Deva and Blank, who live there. It was worth going anyway, just to hang out with them and catch up on stuff, but it was a little annoying. In fact many of that group's meetings, at least in the last year or so, have been like that. I think meetings could be a lot more useful, and hence well-attended. I wish other people were more into skillsharing and critiqeing each others' work, because that could be a really useful thing to do at meetings and would make them productive. But no one but me, that I can remember, has ever really showed the group a video that is still in progress and asked for feedback. I know at least some of them haven't because of a mix of lack of confidence in their work, and a sort of overconfidence, paradoxically. But I find it really helpful and important to get reactions to a video, especially a major one, before calling it done and "releasing" it to the world.

The group has been on a summer hiatus, I guess. But other portland indymedia things have been moving forward a lot, it sounds like. The space where the radio studio and servers live has moved to a larger space, more intelligently designed and with more room for stuff to get done. I look forward to seeing that. Today is a general IMC meeting, which I should probably be hopping on my bike to go to right about now. It'll be nice to see people there.

Last night after the abortive meeting I went to meet Ed for dinner, and then we tried to go to see a band that plays video game music, the Minibosses. I had seen them in Tucson and liked them. But it turned out the show sold out because the venue, a game arcade, was pretty small. That was allright. We ended watching some through the big windows in front, and then left, satisfied.

Today I've been working on the docu again. I have a little bit of room to set up in the place I'm staying, though I could use a TV and an extra monitor. Earlier I took a break and biked around and it's just beautiful out. It's hard to not get distracted and just go outside for all day. This is why Iowa was a good place to be for most of postproduction. Anyway, during my bike ride I found a community garden I'd never seen before, and it was unlocked. I went in a strolled around and picked some fresh basil and rosemary and sat on a picnic table and ate an apple i'd brought. It was great.

Someone from University of Iowa emailed me the other day after she saw the posters I'd put up at the Spanish department, a month ago now, looking for translators for the Juarez film. I do still need 2 more clips translated. So close yet so far!!!

Getting more and more into vlogs. I'll write more about them later and what I've been thinking.

Private DNS bullshit.

I remember a time where you could just use anybody's nameservers from anywhere for anything. I guess that time is no more. When did people start locking down their nameservers? I've just been using my own for so long that I havent noticed that apparently, if you try querying someone else's nameserver, other than those of the ISP you are currently connected to the internet with, the nameserver doesn't answer, generally, unless that server is authoritative for the domain you're querying about. Why? Are people really that worried about giving away a service like that? fawking stupid, I say. Maybe it's been this way for years, but since my server is going away soon (another step in my Geeks Anonymous self-help program) I have been learning a lot of things like this recently. Luckily I have found that some kind net engineers feel the same way I do and offer free public nameservers. Of course it seems like with DHCP no one should worry anyway, when you get a connection the DHCP server should just hand out the nameservers for the local ISP being used, and I think this is supposed to be how things work, but I've found that, at least on macs, often this doesn't really happen. annoying.

Chunk 666 Blog

This is great, there's now a Chunk 666 blog. And Chunkathalon 2005 is coming up on September 4. A friend and I have a clever plan for an unusual and message-laden minivideo about the Chunkathalon. All the explosions and fire, but with extra meaning, too.

Raid on Utah Rave and Mainstream Media Take

Okay I admit I'm now the 3rd indymedia blogger to mention this but I think I have a few bits of new information and/or value-added analysis.

Taking it from the top: This is insane. soldiers with camo, assault rifles and a helicopter break up a perfectly legal outdoor music event, beat people up, and even force the owner of the property to leave her own land.
see jebba's blog entry for photos and more. the video is especially chilling.
the portland imc article linked to at the bottom has more details including the
ones i cite above.

This is such a big story, or it should be, that I wondered what the mainstream media was saying, if anything. Of course the Salt Lake Tribune has a completely different version of the story. Although, to be fair, they have another story that goes more into the ravers' point of view. However, this brings up an interesting thing about mainstream media on the web. I looked to compare the posting times of the 2 stories, because at first I thought, why publish 2 stories? Then I thought, well, probably the first one was first, then they realized there was more to it, so they published the second one. Then I wondered what the delay time was between the first and the second. It turns out we may never know, because the first story was evidently edited after the second story was put up, because the first one says "Article Last Updated: 08/23/2005 07:25:48 AM" and the second one says "Article Last Updated: 08/23/2005 07:23:50 AM" - do I have it backwards? I don't think so. Read the articles and it's obvious which one came first. One is obviously the standard press-release cut-and-paste report, and the next is "oh wait there's more here the cops didn't tell us, and look there's video some raver escaped with." They're both by the same guy, too. You can't tell me the same guy would post 2 articles 2 minutes apart about the same thing. No, one or both were edited. When were the original posting times? Obviously there was enough separation and the reporter and the paper had enough journalistic integrity or fear of repercussions that they felt like they couldnt just go in and add the new stuff to the original story. So he published a new story, but must have then changed something in the original story, perhaps so it didnt contradict the second. Bad bad, reporter Michael J Nestley of Salt Lake Tribune, although I do applaud you for doing the second story at all - and for coming right out and calling bullshit on the cops, who claim things directly contradicted by the evidence of the video. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and I hope it gets more coverage than by this one little local paper.

The Ants and the Grasshopper

Moon Over Lotus Isle Park
This is such a perfect time to be in Portland. It's so great this time of year. I only wish it was like this all the time, or at least.. oh heck, i'd be satisfied if instead of only 2 months of niceness, if it were like this 8 months out of the year, and maybe half-nice for 2, and crappy for 2. Instead it's nice for 2, crappy for 9, and half-crappy for 1. approximately.

I keep thinking of the old "Ant and the Grasshopper" fable. There's nothing like Portland in late August that makes me think more of that story. Because even in August, even when it's so nice, one can't help but realize that it won't stay like this for very much longer. And every year at this time for the last 3 years I've thought, I have to get my shit together, because winter is coming. If I don't get it together, I'll be miserable.

The other thing I realize when thinking of that story is, though there is some wisdom in its moral, it is also sort of bullshit, and it is so much a part of our Mother Culture, as Daniel Quinn would say. Mother Culture is the mega-mythology that controls our world today - what some would call "Western Civilization." And this part of it, this fable, is reinforcing this idea: an agrarian lifestyle is better than a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Which is highly debatable.

I'm not at liberty to say anything else right now. I would normally go all into detail about what I mean, but I'm tired... just think about it. And read Daniel Quinn's books.