1/31/2005
the smell of death

I think I discovered the Kevin Sites Blog while googling for the most popular blogs. I defined 'most popular' as being sites which have more than 10.000 other sites linking to it (discovered by typing link:[site-uri] in Google's search box). He doesn't update often, but when he does it certainly is worth the wait. This is a good thing, since he is a professional freelance journalist with a Ph.D. And it shows in his writings.

Here's his latest, about observations made while visiting Acheh, entitled "Black Plastic."


Posted at 12:51:58 pm by ferdikom98
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1/29/2005
why trackback me?

Ha! A pledge of Real Soon Now™ is actually fulfilled...

This is actually an article I've been meaning to write a long time ago. I first got interested while trying to find out how to get myself a freebie Moveable Type blog. And then there was the time I followed Wordpress (which also supports Trackback) from a Wired article, which lead me to discover The Anybrowser Campaign. And then there's my discovery, from the links section of Erratic Chants of HyperrealitYog's (now named YOGASM), which uses HaloScan for its commenting system instead of Blogspot's homebrew system.

There's a lot of talk over the years since Moveable Type's release of the trackback open spec with MT 2.2. Initally it was exciting. Then there was the complaint that it was hard for people to implement it. Then came Haloscan. And mere mortals still don't use Trackback, even though it was now free as in free beer, even if you use freebie blog services. People still perceive it as too much hastle with too little benefit.

So then, what exactly is Trackback?

The simplest description of Trackback technology I can manage, is that Trackback is a way for blogs to talk to each other. How do blogs talk to each other? Don't humans do that? I mean some of us use blogs to talk about ourselves but...

And yes we sometimes do talk about each other in our blogs (or about each others' blog(s) in each others' blogs), heck we talk about anything here! And we've done it so far without any help from trackback technology. Now wouldn't all this talking be more fun if we can talk to each other instead of becoming like crazy people that only want to talk to him/herself? Or something like that... Now how does trackback make it more fun to talk to each other in this cool, fun, great, big, revolutionary conversation? (OK, perhaps I'm overrating here). Lets look at it this way: trackback technology allows our blogs to 'ping' each other (that is, to send PHP notification packets to each other on the Internet) that lets our own comments, posted on our own blog as a response to other blog posts, to be displayed in the blog post that we commented upon as trackback comments.

Yah wel at least I tried...

I guess the simplest explanation for how trackback technology is applied to MT blogs is available here [from Michael Pusateri]. Its the oldest trackback explanation article on the net, and still the simplest and most popular. And then there's an explanation by Mena and Ben Trott, creators of Movable Type and TrackBack who made their own page explaining TrackBack for Beginners shortly after the Cruftbox original. Ben and Mena's article is more detailed than Mr. Pusateri's (and it also shows other uses of Trackback other than remote commenting). The MT developers also maintain a Trackback weblog, though the last time it was updated was on June 2004 (at the time of this writing).

But how does Trackback apply to all other blogs? Isn't it supposed to be an open specification? That's where Haloscan comes in. Back in the old days before trackback, Haloscan was a site that provides a commenting system for blogs that don't support it. You know, that little link at the bottom of blog posts that you click on, then a small window pops up (or you're moved to a different page), and then you can write something back at me. And when Trackback appeared with MT 2.2, Haloscan made an implementation that applies trackback commenting (sometimes referred to as remote commenting) to blogging systems not supporting it natively. Unfortunately Haloscan trackback support was limited to the few services which still cooperated with Haloscan and its commenting system. I've always wanted to apply trackback to my blog, and it was one of the primary reason I had seriously considered moving to Blogger's service (aside from Blogger's XHTML support; but that's a story for another time). At least until Haloscan implemented remote trackback on February 18, 2004.

Haloscan has a tutorial on how to use trackback with its free service. I'll implement it on my blog. Real Soon Now™(sic)

There are other important implications of trackback, and there are also other important blog technologies to talk about, but I think I'll have to save them for some other time. This post looks long enough. Besides, my brain is already haemmoragingly dizzy with all the research I'd done for this single post.

I've definitely spent more time blogging (and 'netting) than what would be considered financially 'healthy' in Indonesia. If only I can make a living being a professional blogger. Or at least to make it a profitable hobby. I'd have to live in the west to do that... One can dream, of course ;)

addendum: Haloscan also has a usefull trackback faq, linked from the Haloscan trackback tutorial I mentioned above.


Posted at 10:45:49 am by ferdikom98
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1/26/2005
don't try to live so wise

I like this song, ever since I heard it the first time after watching Naruto. I guess it kinda reminds me that I'm not so important, that I'm not anywhere close to being the greatest in the world, but its allright. That I don't have to become something that I can never be just because everyone says I must be. That its better to just be who I am, and be special in my own unique, unreplicable way.

Yeah...

"Wind"
Akeboshi

from OST Naruto (Ending Song)
Sung and written by Akeboshi
lyrics from animelyrics.com

Cultivate your hunger before you idealize.
Motivate your anger to make them all realize.
Climbing the mountain, never coming down.
Break into the contents, never falling down.

My knee is still shaking, like I was twelve,
Sneaking out of the classroom, by the back door.
A man railed at me twice though, but I didn't care.
Waiting is wasting for people like me.

Don't try to live so wise.
Don't cry 'cause you're so right.
Don't dry with fakes or fears,
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.

Don't try to live so wise.
Don't cry 'cause you're so right.
Don't dry with fakes or fears,
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.

You say, "Dreams are dreams.
"I ain't gonna play the fool anymore."
You say, "'Cause I still got my soul."

Take your time, baby, your blood needs slowing down.
Breach your soul to reach yourself before you gloom.
Reflection of fear makes shadows of nothing, shadows of nothing.

You still are blind, if you see a winding road,
'Cause there's always a straight way to the point you see.

Don't try to live so wise.
Don't cry 'cause you're so right.
Don't dry with fakes or fears,
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.

Don't try to live so wise.
Don't cry 'cause you're so right.
Don't dry with fakes or fears,
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.

'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.
'Cause you will hate yourself in the end.


Posted at 2:41:24 am by ferdikom98
Comments (1)  

1/23/2005
flour and salt

I have subscribed to Winds of Change.NET through RSS (both in Firefox and My Yahoo!, incidentally) for some time now. I discovered it by links from mentions in Armed and Dangerous, the Lessig Blog, Boing Boing, and other places. One of my favorite part of their site is their weekly Sufi Wisdom series. From a recent entry entitled 'Flour and Salt':

Once upon a time there was a fool who was sent to buy flour and salt. He took a dish to carry his purchases.

'Make sure,' said the man who sent him, 'not to mix the two things -- I want them separate.'

When the shopkeeper had filled the dish with flour and was measuring out the salt, the fool said: 'Do not mix it with the flour; here, I will show you where to put it.'

And he inverted the dish, to provide, from its upturned bottom, a surface upon which the salt could be laid.

The flour, of course, fell to the floor.

But the salt was safe.

When the fool got back to the man who had sent him he said: 'Here is the salt.'

'Very well,' said the other man, 'but where is the flour?'

'It should be here,' said the fool, turning the dish over.

As soon as he did that, the salt fell to the ground, and the flour of course was seen to be gone.

The WoCN bloggers blogger T.L. James mentions that it comes from Shah's The Way of the Sufi, (I think I'd like to find out where I can get a copy) and at the end they ask: What is the lesson here? What are the flour and salt, and what is the fool's mistake? I attempted an answer in their comments section:

Great comments on 'the lesson to be learned'.

I'd like to try a guess at 'the flour and salt':

  • they are two things that are seemingly alike (physically) but totally different (palatably),
  • they are both usefull in life (or at least in cooking),
  • they are two forms of 'white sand' (white being a 'holy' color), and
  • they are also two things that too easily mix to become something unpalatable (when mixed indiscriminately)...

Extreme fundamentalism and extreme love?

disclaimer: I'm an armchair philosopher, and a young adolescent at that

And there is (as of now) an interesting and thoughtfull discussion happening in the article's comments section over the meaning of the parable. There's one in particular that suggest that there may be more than one fool in the story.

And you know something, this is what trackback is made for. Trackback is very usefull for showing context for things like these. A good reason to switch to Blogger, or at the very least a good reason to use Haloscan for the commenting system. If I can afford it, I think I'd rather get a Typepad account when (if ever?) I can afford one.

Newbie bloggers needs exposure from Trackback. Myself included. And other technologies too. I think I'll attempt an entry on on it. Or at least an entry linking to a Trackback essay with comments. Real Soon Now™.

Speaking of interesting articles, there's this one by Eric S. Raymond on his (yet-to-be-proven) personal beliefs (its been there awhile).

addendum: I just discovered that <em> is an inline element; thus I've replaced the Sufi passage's <em> tags with <div style="font-style:italic">. Perhaps I should've used <I> since its better supported, and both markup methods are equally deprecated, but...


Posted at 1:16:00 pm by ferdikom98
Comments (2)  

swag (schwag?) ethics

A response to a Dan Gillmor blog entry entitled 'Buzz-Makers: More Disclosure, Please'. In the article Mr. Gillmor comments on a newsweek article about companies giving Veeps free stuffs in the hope these famous people would generate buzz through their blogs (and electronic word-of-mouth in general), and calls for more disclosure from such practices. In the article's comments section:

<2¢>

It would be usefull I think that if anyone of you do actually talk about such products (wether to endorse or vilify) that you then disclose under what context you receive such products (given for free, from the producer, bought yourself, purposely bought with intention to criticise, etc.)

I'm not sure I remember this correctly, but in Communication Ethics and Philosophy class the foundation for Marketing's ethicality is the adult consumer's consummate ability to make informed decisions. The marketing community's sole ethical responsibility is to not set up barriers that could prevent such informed decisions from being made, eg. denying product defects publicly discovered and proven (think the Kryptonite Lock episode), preventing competitor entry into marketplace using market clout (think antitrust), etc. While in the case of Marketing Communications is to make sure all statements made are truthful (but not necessarily to disclose all product weakness through Marketing Communication efforts).

Its not a requirement on the part of the endorser, but if any consumer should decide to base purchasing decisions on such endorsement then they should scrutinize where the endorser comes from. I would think it is first the public's responsibility to demand such disclosure. If disclosure is not made then the consumer can base their purchase decision on that specific act of non-disclosure. At other times discretion would be the better part of valor.

I think.

</2¢>

I do agree with Mr. Gillmor that more disclosure needs to be made, its just that its also the public's responsibility to demand such disclosure. Its because responsible adults often fail to make such demands that Indonesians are so suceptible to cheap marketing tactics.

Subsequently I'm sure many Marketing and Marketing Communication students could remember that word of mouth is said to be the most effective marketing tool. And to think how powerful it has become now that the conversation is happening real-time worldwide on TBL's World Wide Web...

disclosure: I've been following Mr. Gillmor since Lawrence Lessig mentioned his book, 'We the Media' on his blog. I'm a fan, obviously.

addendum: I should also add that Word-of-Mouth is considered most effective because it is most trusted (eg. you'd trust a close friend's opinion more than the product maker's or a reviewer's or and advertisement). And also, that Marketing Communication is a knife (or gun, if you will). They don't kill, people do.

And while I'm at it, I'll also say that Psychology (wether social, clinical, or popular) is also a gun. Especially when used with Marketing Communications.


Posted at 7:14:18 am by ferdikom98
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1/21/2005
post equinox IV: parsing duplex hesitation

This year there was a new rule for all hardcopies of graduation papers and theses to be submitted to the faculty library: everyone was required to submit their copies two-sided. Back to back. Odd pages up, even pages down. Needless to say I had to begin experimenting with duplex printing.

Normally duplex printing involves printing using expensive business-class two-sided laser printers, but there's an option in Word's print dialog where you can choose 'manual duplex.' What it does is basically print all even pages, pauses to ask us to reinsert the paper, and then continue to print the rest. I've done manual duplex printing before, but this is the first time I ever attempted two sided printing on a document as large as my graduation paper. My paper's one of the shortest submitted, only 61 pages long, 75 pages when including cover pages, dedication section and the TOC, barely surpassing the minimal 40 pages, but that's still a lot of paper. I typed my graduation paper in a single Word document, separating each chapter with section breaks. Used a pirated copy of Word, of course; no sense experimenting with OpenOffice.org when you're under pressure; some other time, perhaps. OpenOffice.org does support manual duplex printing also.

An obvious alternative would be to print all 75 pages individually page by page. Not a pretty thought.

When I began printing it was alredy more or less six o'clock in the morning. The deadline was to be four o'clock later this afternoon. I wanted to be careful so I printed section by section using the section specifier in the 'page range' input box in the print dialog ('s1' for 'section 1', so that if you wanna print sections 1 to 3 for example you'd type 's1 - s3'). I wanted to avoid as many mess-ups as possible by printing a little at a time, but I don't want to print by each individual page since it would obviously take forever.

As I printed some sections came out fine, some had a messed-up frontpage-backpage matching (eg. page 3 was in front of page 2), and other times the printer ate two pages at a time. I had to reprint chapters three and four twice. Along the way I discovered that the printouts become more predictable if I specified pages ('p16s7 - p34s7'), but it didn't change the fact I had already printed as many ruined pages as I've printed good ones.

a visual comparison of the stack of wasted paper and a stack of good output; a ballpoint-pen is there for scale

In the picture, the ruined stack is on the left and the good output on the right. The pen is a bit thicker than most pens, but it should give an idea of the two stacks' size.

With all the hiccups it was already eight, and it takes two hours to drive from home to campus. I still had to bind it hard cover and get the signatures of my departement head and secretary. I decided to risk it by printing several chapters at a time, dividing the whole thing into three print jobs. There were still some errors, especially in the ending pages, but I had wasted less paper. It was already nine. And so, with what little time I've got I decided to risk the final copy by printing the whole thing all at once while taking a bath at the same time.

And as I checked the first run after my bath it turns out that there was no error at all. I turned the pages around, put them back in the tray, clicked 'ok', and put on some clothes. I came out of my room finding a pristine stack of 75 pages, no problem whatsoever.

Once again after all my caution it turns out that it was better to never hesitate. Har-har. Heh.

Coincidence? Perhaps. Yeah maybe there's much-much better examples of how hesitation is bad for action. Like war stories :) But hesitation has been an issue with me often enough. Even the length it takes for me to graduate is mostly because of hesitation. Or laziness depending on how you look at it. But laziness doesn't come from procrastination only. It also often comes from fear. Fear of outcome. Fear of failure. Fear of trial. Thus, at least in my case, often times to avoid potential trouble I choose to walk away from things that I have to do eventually. Two years, now that's a long time to hesitate.

(Or five; depending on how you time it.)

I'll put up the latest copy of my graduation paper later; after I'm done 1) translating it into English (if I'd spare the time), 2) putting in a CC license appendix in it (planning on by-noderivs; if you modify it you can't claim that I'm solely responsible for the modifications) and 3) turning it into a PDF. Maybe I'll use Ghostscript... but maybe not (I've already got pirated-Distiller installed with the whole Adobe Creative Suite).

Man, its so hard isn't it to come clean...

graduation ceremony invitation

Posted at 5:41:57 pm by ferdikom98
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1/18/2005
post equinox III: humbled heart

Thus in these ending days. I wonder.

The signatures are done. I've officialy done all my academic duty. everything else is administrative.

Nick visited me today, with his girl. We talked. About my dedication page. Stuffs.

The last paragraph.

Not that it makes any diference, but I must tell you, I[...], You- Know- Who- You- Are- I- hope :), You were amazing yourself. I'm very proud of you. Many are proud of you. Focused. Ending your study with a grade A thesis. Without depending on anyone else but yourself. So sorry I wasn't there at your own equinox.

Yeah, you're way beyond my level. You've sailed so much further away than me. So far.


...
 

Please don't avoid me. I'm not after you anymore. I hate repeating myself, even though I do repeat myself so, so much. Congratulations to you.

Congratulations!
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!
I ' M   S O ,   S O ,  S O ,   P R O U D   O F   Y O U ! ! ! !
SO PROUD!!!
so proud!
so...


...
 

Hmm. Hehe :)
(sigh).

I wish you are too.
Yah wel, to much to ask I guess.
Who am I, anyway. :)

Hmm.

:`)


Posted at 10:24:33 pm by ferdikom98
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1/17/2005
re-Vision grunts, part III (a translation)

A rough translation of this morning's rant.

Why Firefox? Why not OpenOffice?
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) should not be all about price. The argument that there is economic advantages ini switching from MS Office to OpenOffice.or is valid and real. And the argument that said economic advantage is more real and valid compared to the economic advantage gained from switching from MSIE to Firefox is also real.

But FOSS is not solely about economic freedom. It is also about socio-cultural freedom.

The struggle (in Indonesia) to switch attention from MS Office to OpenOffice.org is a significant, worthy, and important struggle. The efforts expended have given real resuts in the form of attention towards OpenOffice.org as an MS Office alternative. But you can feel the buzz stopping, because the public in general still have not become overly eager to switch if it does not become a trend. This issue of trendyness can be answered by Firefox.

Firefox as a trendy program
One fact that must be admitted is that the World Wide Web as a (mass) media is very uniqe (compared to traditional mass media) in that it opens up the possibility of interactivity never before imagined, be it from the point of view of participant volume, turn-around speed, and freedom of expression. These freedoms have emerged the presence of the World Wide Web as a medium of cultural escape for those that have felt unable to express their (individual) personalities and opinions through conventional channels.

This is the reason of malesbanget.com's birth. This is the reason for Friendster's runaway popularity. This is the reason behind the emergence of thousands of local blogs, with a lot of them having tagboards (or other form of public forum).

Firefox can potentially become a trend because it as a web browser has a close tie to cyber culture and also to things that cause hundreds of young people to waste hours online everyday (when they're not playing Gunbound or Ragnarog, of course).

The FOSS movement in Indonesia
KPLI becomes a taxi system; paid membership, registration for support services, house calls, reward-system for local hackers. All through email, website, SMS server, RSS.

Can be introduced to the masses during the Firefox workshop as instructors. LinuxIndo cooperates with KPLI and other user groups that have existed at local/institutional levels and start an initiative to form a support web for Free and Open Source Software.

Registration as a support client should be cheaper than a standard KPLI membership. KPLI full members get discount support rates, but they must also contribute code. Support service is coordinated by LinuxIndo through an Email-Web-SMS platform.

LinuxIndo contacts KPLI and other LUGs for cooperation (paid cooperation) in the workshop to be held.

Workshop
- Not just skill building; but also TREND BUILDING
- Taking advantage of the fact that people love a technology trend, especially when perceived as being 'cool' in the mainstream.
- That is the main reason Firefox is chosen as the marketed product.

note: underlined text in parantheses are postscript additions.


Posted at 7:28:14 pm by ferdikom98
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a prayer to God

For all Christians and Jews reading this next passage, especially Cultural Christians and Cultural Jews, and all narrow minded fanatics of all religion, I ask you to not be too quick to condemn. Please open your mind a bit to understand this solemn prayer. Please take the time to listen.

Yahweh
Written and sung by U2
from the LP "How to Defuse an Atomic Bomb"
produced by Island Records
copyright © November 2004 U2
lyrics from sing365.com

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticise
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean
This love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it break

And I still believe that all religion was originally meant to love. No matter what biggots may claim. We should all tell ourselves that.


Posted at 5:35:27 pm by ferdikom98
Comments (2)  

Anand and Larry at the CES (with a cameo by Bill)

Check it out dudes, Anand Lal Shimpi meets Larry Page at the CES.

Anand is the creator of AnandTech (one of the oldest independent tech e-zine, another one being Tom's Hardware), while Larry Page is one of the two co-founders of Google [you don't need a hyperlink to Google, do you? Oh well, for the sake of completeness here it is]. Picked this one up from Anand's own blog. Totally cool encounter story between two famous tech geeks.

The CES [Google search], or Consumer Electronics Show, is a tradeshow event held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Don't know much about it other than that it has recently replaced the Comdex [Google search] (Computer and Digital Expo, if I'm not mistaken) in popularity, and that both of them has been where important tech companies and peoples gathered to talk about the future of Personal Computing and Digital Consumer Electronics in general. Other notable occurences at this year's CES are the Bill Gates CNet interview I covered earlier in this blog. Then there's also the unveiling of the Mac-mini [from Ars Technica], the actual rumored entry-level headless Macintosh from Apple Corp., in a small form factor, complete with MacOS-X 10.3, priced from US$499. And also...

Also this series of Bill Gates's interview with Gizmodo [from Gizmodo]. In one part of these interviews, Gates clarifies his position on 'Creative Commonism'. Picked up this one from another Lessig Blog post (again).

Of the people I just mentioned, Anand has a blog. Larry too but I can't recall the URI right now, though there is the Google blog (I think its also edited by Sergey Brin, the other Google co-founder). Bill Gates mentioned wanting to make one in his CNet interview, one he hopes to update once a month at most.

He should, that Mr. Gates person. It should shed some light to the twistedness of people's opinion of him. He can't be as absolutely evil as everyone is painting him to be. As much as a lot of Microsoft's actions seem to be.


Posted at 1:34:17 pm by ferdikom98
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Next Page

I don't write intellectually. I write expressively. I don't claim to be accurate, fair or thorough. I don't wanna get stuck on certain topics. Though I sometimes do. But not that often. I'd like to expand. I wanna write more poems. But I'll only upload them if they're good. I only rant about my life's hardships if it will rescue just a little bit of my sanity. I'm saner than I make myself out to be, though.

If I am an OS kernel, and I just had a kernel dump, I'd imagine that the text in this blog is what it would more or less look like.

There. Do you get it?

   

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