Category Archives: techno doom

PC recommendations

I love Macs, but i desparately need a smaller computer. I went and visited the new 13″ today and realized that i can’t use it. It’s too big, too heavy and the keyboard is too problematic. ::sigh:: So i’m starting to look around for a PC. 🙁 My big needs are <12", <5lb, cheap and above all else, a 90% keyboard (85-95% range... 16mm... *not* full-size) that is soft touch (i.e. it clatters rather than trying to be silent). I used to have a VAIO which i loved. Does anyone have any good suggestions? I'm very sad to need to switch back, but my hands never liked the full-sized keyboard and it's really catching up to me. I'm sad that Apple won't be going smaller than 13" and i'm even sadder that i will be forced into dealing with Windows, but i really need a smaller computer. Beh. (For those who think an external keyboard is the answer, if you find me one that is 90% and lighter touch than a laptop keyboard, i'm down... but i've never seen one that is both.)


First, it lost all of its SMSes. Then it started shutting off on its own mid-IM (requiring being plugged in to turn back on). Then it started flickering, changing all sorts of colors and making all sorts of 1950s-TV style line static. And then it crashed completely, leaving behind those crazy colors on its screen (even when off).

I’m going through severe withdrawal. Anyone who knows me knows that i start twitching without that toy in hand.

When is the Sidekick III gonna be released? Eeeek. Must replace toy. Can’t handle withdrawal. Must replace toy…. Thank goodness for a particular gadgety gal who is kindly going to lend me her II until it comes out. Cuz seriously, toy death is way way way too sad.

how DRM fucks academics

One of the cardinal rules of doing ethnography is that you keep everything. Normally, this concerns the physical world so you keep letters, receipts, photos, anything that you can possibly get your hands on. We’re all still trying to figure out what this means in digital land. During my work on Friendster, i was terrible about keeping records. I should’ve kept copies of Profiles; i didn’t. I should’ve kept copies of funny videos and other such stuff; i didn’t. I very much regret this, because so many of those Profiles were deleted and now i have no record of what all happened. But then again, i didn’t think i was doing research. Mistakes made, lessons learned.

So, now, i’m really doing research. And i’m trying to keep copies of things that i analyze. Of course, saving every webpage is difficult so i fully admit that i’m doing a poor job of this. But my bigger problem is that i want to keep copies of the video that i run across. The bulk of it is on YouTube locked down by DRM. Although there are ways of getting this out of YouTube, going from flv to something usable is a bitch on a Mac. And damned if i can get .flvs working on a Mac.

The thing that is going to kill me about all of this DRM bullshit is how it completely eliminates fair use. I should be able to keep copies of these videos and mark them up as artifacts. Instead, i’m locked out. Unfortunately, explaining the DRM problem to committees who want to know why you aren’t storing the artifacts is impossible right now. Gah. Frustrating.

ah, the magical touch

I know better. I know better. So, when i started down the path of bouncing my mail for vacation, i figured it had to be easy. This is me.

So, started out with SIMS bouncing per the suggestion. Nope, didn’t work. Why? Couldn’t get formail to get called to save my life. So, switched plans, figured out how to get vacation working so that it sent messages, overrided the time stamp and the To/CC rules. In the process, killed my procmail file which spun 600 messages into chaos. This was great except that everything forwarded from Netspace to SIMS (a.k.a. all messages) sent vacation to Netspace which was bad.

OK. So i tried to set up vacation on Netspace to mimic SIMS to do all of the messages. Vacation doesn’t exist on Netspace. So we went back to formail which worked there.

In the process, of course, i was fucking around with my procmail files and managed to fubar everything. Procmail was going into autoloops, mail was going goddess only knows where, LINEBUF was filling up, bounces weren’t getting sent. OMG.

So, getting everything set up only took a total of 16 hours and the unbelievably awesome help of Glenn, Adam, Greg, Kevin, Kevin, and Thomas. Oh, and a lot of bitching support from everyone else. Needless to say, this is not something i should’ve been doing today. But dear god.

The end result:

| (formail -r -i ‘From: Mailer Daemon Angel ‘ -i ‘Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details’; cat /home/grrl/.vacation.msg) | sendmail -oi -t


| /usr/bin/vacation -t1s -j dmb

with a .vacation.msg that says:

From: Mailer Daemon Angel
Subject: Returned mail: see transcript for details

—– All mail to danah is currently auto-deleted —–
Bounced: <$SUBJECT>
(reason: danah needs a break)

—– Transcript of session follows —–

procmail: Refused to save
550 5.1.1 …. User exhausted

Daemons have decided to destroy danah’s mail so that she may rest without fear of returning to the dreaded INBOX. All messages sent to danah from May 29-July 3 2005 will not be delivered. If it is still important, contact danah again after July 3. Perhaps, if you feel so inclined, invite the Daemons to visit your server so that you too may rest without email.

—– Do not resend until after July 3 —–

Say bye-bye. Your message has just found a new home in /dev/null. ::wave:: bye bye cute message…. bye bye….

vacation + plea to unix geeks

I wanted to remind folks that i will be departing next weekend for one month; there will be no email. If there’s anything i need to take care of before i go, please let me know now.

Also, can i get a little help from the unix geeks out there? I have most of my procmail set up. All mailing list messages will be sent to /dev/null and that works like a charm. What i can’t figure out how to do is get the bounce line working for everything else. A friend suggests that it’s a combination of formail and sendmail and sent me this to plug into procmail:

| (formail -r; cat “danah has turned off email for June 2005; please re-write in July if it is still relevant”) | sendmail -oi -t

I feel lame because i don’t know enough about either formail or sendmail (and the manpages aren’t getting me anywhere – more lameness). Since that doesn’t actually work, what do i need to do? Help?

(Once i get that working, i’ll post it for all of the rest of you who want to kill email during vacation. There’s no need to come back to hell and void your entire relaxing break.)

iPod help needed… automount issues in Tiger

I plug my iPod in, iTunes does it’s thing and then it auto-unmounts. The problem here is that without it being mounted, Audioscrobbler doesn’t let me update my iPod to tell it what all i’ve been listening to. This used to work but i have a sneaking suspicion that Tiger does everything via automount/unmount so that i can’t stay connected to my iPod since they’re afraid i’ll steal something.

How do i manually mount my iPod so that i can run Audioscrobbler scripts on it?

(I’ve read the Apple docs but they don’t solve my problem and are outdated.)

technical updates

Yes, it’s finals time. This means that i’ve done some sorting of my data resulting in new colors on this here blog. Also, i added categories although most of my entries don’t have categories in them which is a bit of a problem. One day…

The main reason i did all of this is because of my alterity blog where i’m attempting to record some of the readings i do (although am reading faster than recording).

Also, in an effort to solve my increasingly problematic spam problem, Jay Allen installed a pseudo-captcha. Basically, at the bottom of my posts, it’s going to ask you to answer a question that is obviously answerable. This should also work for visually impaired folks. If you have any problems with this, let me know!

crashing Tiger, hidden dragons

I should know better than to upgrade things. I was all proud of myself for succeeding in getting Tiger working, no problem. I had heard all of the problems but given that i had already destroyed on my Mac and had never succeeded in getting it working, i didn’t let this bother me – i’m still using pine. I love the Dashboard, i love the iCal/Addressbook connections. I still don’t get Safari RSS but so it goes. Everything seemed fine, seemed totally cool…. And then it didn’t….

Firefox and Safari both seem to crawl trying to load pages and i can’t figure out why. OK. This is irritating but so what. And then the worst thing happened. I can’t print. I try to print from Preview or Word and down they go, crash bang booom death. Why? Why on earth can’t i print to any IP printserver? It reminds me of when i used to crash the fileserver using Photoshop – it just crashes the program and doesn’t explain why or what’s going on. Grrrr. Is anyone else having this problem?

more blog problems

Alas, my blog is once again doing weird things. Comments and trackbacks no longer get emailed to me. They also don’t rebuild the entries even though they’re there – i just have to manually update. And the front page doesn’t get updated with the numbers of comments/trackbacks. Argh. Any idea?

my life as a techno-idiot (and why constants suck)

Once again, i managed to find wacky behavior in technology. I went to create a blog entry this morning and only half of it uploaded. It didn’t save to database and crash like normal – it just saved half. It was weird. I flipped out (like always) and whimpered (like always). Boris once again came to the rescue.

It appears as though my comments template has a lastn of 5134 (which y’all exceeded). And it appears that my Atom template is trying to find 1M entries (which i haven’t written yet). What’s up with the constants? Why do we need constants in code. ::groan::

The wireless in my apartment still isn’t working right even though my angelic roommate has spent a bazillion hours trying to hack the firmware to amplify the antenna and now he’s trying to buy a new antenna because it can’t reach to the other end of the apartment. I feel completely clueless.

Everyone around me is obsessed with camera phones and i still can’t figure out how to take a goddamn picture and get it to send. Worse: i have zero motivation to take a picture.

I realized something this evening: in terms of techno-capability, i’m your generic user and completely techno-clueless… I am not capable of using any interface and i think that the black box should just work but it never does. The only difference is that i adopt early and pay attention to what people are doing, even if i think it’s completely pointless. But i don’t have the mind of a technologist and i can’t figure out how anything works (or, as my roommate likes to tell me, i refuse to try).