Guest Contributor on PlexNex.com

I will be guest contributing on PlexNex.com (the Complexion Connexion). To start, I put up the post I made yesterday about my haircut. Look for more exclusive posts (which I'll probably link to from here) in the coming weeks and months. Also, the site has two more guest contributors so far, so be sure to read their posts as well. Ben from SolidOffice.org, and Solveig from OpenOffice.blogs.com and GetOpenOffice.org. As you can see here, we demand attention. Now attend to us. Sam is the Senior Editor and will be posting stuff that I and others find interesting, which is why I visited the site in the first place. I'm sure it'll start picking up steam.

Your safest bet would be to just visit it every day and send an email to all of your friends and relatives to tell them where you are going, in case you get lost.

Sam wants to make the site a very highly visited site. Imagine that... something I write might be read by (hmm, zero * infinity is still zero... we'll call it a hundred) a hundred times more people than read my site. That's exciting.

Some topics I plan on covering are baseball, software patents (my new passion), stories where you don't have to know my whole history (like yesterday's), and whatever else happens to pop up in my mind.

Don't worry, there'll still be stuff on this site. Like, all the stuff that I don't want lots of different people seeing. You know, the shit posts. It'll be a good time. Just as long as you visit plexnex.com 8x daily, I don't care what my site stats look like :)

28 next month, Mom still cuts my hair

I know, it's pathetic, but when all I do is get it buzzed, there's no reason to pay anyone to do it, especially when my Mom spent all that money on the equipment, and has been cutting hair for years! I would still have her cut it if I was looking for a particular style, back when that sort of thing was important to me. Luckily, I worked at a job that basically had a mirror for an elevator, so I'd be looking at myself on the way up, and thinking "Man, I look ridiculous with longer hair..." A day I will never regret.

So, Philly, this afternoon, gets a mild dusting of snow, probably like 2 inches. Worse, though, is afterwards, it starts to rain, but it's still only 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Mom calls and asks if I'd like to have dinner over there. Pork chops, yummy. I check the fridge, and quickly respond with "I'm hellathere."

I'm driving over, and of course none of the roads are in any kind of shape to be driving on. I head down this one hill and I felt like I might as well have been riding on top of the car in mittens and a scarf, hoping my brother doesn't white wash me when I get to the bottom. Like in the old days of sledding at the elementary school, or the even older days on Llanerch Country Club where a little bit of momentum would drop you into the water hazard in the middle of the 8th fairway. The final road to the house off of the main road consists of 3 stop signs right before inclines on back roads. I'm sure any cops would realize why I didn't even give a slight pause as I zipped past all of them.

We eat, Mom cuts my hair (I look fantastic, BTW), and after two hours and an old Country Crock container full of leftovers from the OTHER night (I actually have no idea when it's from, but it looks delicious), I head out to my car to go home. I should have spent at least some time to clear my wiper blades from ice. I had them so clear for the ride over that they'd allow for full visibility with a single go. When I got in my car and the heated seats started kicking in, I just figured I could get home fine with the limited amount of traffic that should be out on the street.

Turns out I was right... barely any cars were on the road. But that didn't mean that I could see at all. With each wiper motion, the road became a distorted image, and my windshield, a kaleidoscope. One with less colors, mainly black and white, and instead of amazement, fear. The tricky part was pulling into my alley against traffic. There were 3 cars (or rather, blobs of white on a black background) back to back that I had to wait for to pass me before I could pull in. If there was a car behind them with their headlights off, pure disaster would surely follow. That wasn't the case. I made it home safe and didn't even have to change my pants.

Buying movies on iTunes

I have to be careful. Luckily there's not a million movies that I haven't seen, or don't already have, that are on iTunes movie store. There's not a huge quality selection of movies either. But I did buy one today. "The Sum of All Fears". I am currently pondering whether to buy another one, "The Prestige". Earlier this week, I bought two "Multi-Passes", for "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report". Of course, this week they were both off, but luckily I got the episodes from Thursday of the week before. This week, the 15 episodes that the multipasses bought me will begin. I also bought an hour special by Dave Chappelle, entitled "For What It's Worth". The literature on it says "one of comedy?s hottest stars, takes his trademark humor before a live audience with a new, uncensored, no-holds barred comedy special." It's hilarious. I've watched it twice.

Any reserve that I previously had to buying movies on iTunes has been taken away because Apple is releasing the Apple TV this month. Not like I'll get it right now, but if I find that I want to watch them on the TV downstairs, I have a way. It'll just cost me $300 more. So I am more open to that option. I don't want to have to spend $300 more, so only in the direst of circumstances will I consider it. But I have to be careful not to just buy movies for the sake of buying them, because they are then locked into this house, or wherever my MacBook Pro and Apple TV happen to be.

Speaking of money, that reminds me, I have to finish the changes to my client's website... tomorrow is a good a day as any to do that. I think I'll buy "The Prestige", pour myself some ice water, and take a nap. Then watch "O Brother, Where Art Thou", which happens to be the DVD in my drive :D F#$%ing incredible movie. Night.

If I don't like something, I let it be known

I can imagine a lot of things I don't like. The smell of crap, certain food, cheap coffee and most light beers, stuff like that. I haven't really not liked a lot of people in my lifetime. You'd have to really bug me. However, I don't discriminate between something that I don't like and get paid to do, and everything else. If I don't like something, no matter WHAT, I let people know.

I have certain ways of portraying my dislike for everything. If there's a stink of crap in the air, I'll either leave or spray something. I don't buy cheap coffee or light beer, and I don't buy or eat food that I don't like.

In contrast, if I love something, I indulge. Music, people, certain foods (although I have been getting just salad for lunch lately), movies, programming, everything. If I love it I will try to get as much exposure to it as I can. I've been listening to ONLY Bob Marley for about 3 months straight now. See my music post (search music for title in the filter above) for examples.

I can't imagine another way of expressing dislike. It may come up in conversation or something, and you can say "I hate crap." But really, if you smelled crap, you wouldn't just say "I hate crap" and then continue to breath in the fumes. If you don't like something, the only way to take action against it is, well, to take action against it.

There is a tough situation in there though. If you don't like something, but that something really loves you. Like, I might not like a certain person but they'll really like me. Conversely, I might like smoking and coffee, but that stuff is bad for me. This makes for bad situations.

I can't imagine how many people are in a job that they don't like. I couldn't imagine being in a job that I didn't like. You get paid for it, it takes up your whole day, you have to go against your desires and inhibitions and go to bed early in order to be on time for it, you get bossed around (unless you're the boss), you have to deal with people that are sometimes less fortunate in the intellect department, and best of all, you're stuck there until something better comes along. I don't know how to deal with a job that I don't like, except by showing that I don't like it. Acting like you would when you open a bathroom door and you are overwhelmed with crap. "OH GOD THAT WREAKS!!"

So, to my surprise, the way that I show I don't like stuff is not the way to show that I don't like a job. Apparently, you are lucky to be there. You should express your gratitude for having a job that you don't like by going against your instinctive knee-jerk reaction of displaying dislike for a job. And God forbid you do anything other than work for 2 minutes and your boss sees you not working.

Some other things you might not know about me. I'm not the best. I'll explain. I don't look down on people. Some people might show me that their idiots sometimes, but if they're in a position that requires not being an idiot, then I'll accept that they might only sometimes show idiocy. Likewise, I'm not the worst. I don't see people as being better than me. Ever. That's not to say that I'm as good as anybody in everything. That's just the simple, God given fact that "All People Are Created Equal." I hold this truth to be self evident. So, to insinuate that you're better than anyone, because that someone made a mistake (or 11), is saying that you're perfect. Ok, Perfecty McPerfect. So, when a boss shows disrespect to me, I in turn show disrespect to them. Their TITLE in a JOB at a COMPANY might say to them that they are better than me, but that's a joke. If I ever use my professional status in a stupid job as an excuse to disrespect anyone, please shoot me in the f%!#$ing temple.

One other thing, because of this, a side effect is not necessarily giving a rat's ass of what anybody thinks of me.

Remember the thing about not liking something that likes you? I didn't like this job but my boss really liked me in the job. So, in effect, my job like me. This was a tough situation, as I've said, and one that likely drew out the time that I was there. Due to other circumstances outside of my control, I was also obligated to be there longer than I wanted. Not obligated because it was my job, though. For the same reasons I'm not obligated to breath in crap and drink shitty coffee.

So, overall, the moral of this story is that I'm done with bad jobs as soon as I start them and find out that it's a job I don't like. This will prevent many headaches in the future. If it's bearable, then it's bearable. If it's a bad job, I'm f@#%@#$ing out of there.

I'm getting sh%@faced this weekend. New job starts on Monday.

Phils Opening Day

w00t!

Can't f@%@#$ing WAIT

I'm not as literariterically proficient as some people, but I do know some words and make up others. I'm not the best (closer to the worst) at expressing my excitement in real life, and probably one of the best in expressing excitement in writing (on account that I can add more exclamation points than anyone). But, sitting here, I can't hold back excitement either in real life or in fake. The f@%@#$ing Phillies ARE IN SPRING TRAINING!!

I know this has been the case for a few days now, but it's finally sunk in. Things don't sink in quick for me. I can learn anything pretty quickly, but feeling something takes a while. It takes a constant reiteration of knowledge.

When the paper starts putting up articles like this one, and starts mentioning names like Utley, Howard, Rollins, Victorino, and to some extent Burrell (cringe), and the players start talking about their roles and their ability to win, it helps to ignite the excitement, and ... well, I just can't f@%@$ing wait for the season to start.

The Phillies haven't really been my favorite Philadelphia team ever. Although, in '93, I didn't miss a game. It was that kind of energy at the beginning of the season where I couldn't help but watch the first game of the season, all the way to the last game of the World Series. This year I'm sure won't be much different. But, lately, baseball has picked up steam and quickly became my favorite game to watch. Sure, we have the Eagles and football, but this year I really couldn't wait for the Phillies to start, even as Garcia and the crew were marching through the end of the season and into the playoffs. I definitely enjoyed watching and rooting for the Eagles, but in the back of my mind, I wanted to watch some baseball. And this year's Phillies team is awesome. We WILL see some October baseball in this town finally. You heard it here first.

I've believed, ever since the big trades last year, the Phillies would have been in the World Series if they had that team from the beginning of the season. Now they have that team. Now we just have to enjoy every minute of it.

Pain and Suffering

2 Days filled with lots of Wii Tennis, some boxing, lots of bowling, and tons of other Wii games is a great exercise. I can't lift my arms up. Zatko, Jared, and I were all at Zatko's house, playing the Wii for literally all day on Saturday with no real breaks. Zatko and I continued on Sunday with a fierce competition in Tennis and Bowling. Bowling is my main sport, and golf is the second one. I haven't played enough Tennis to really compete... something I've taken note of for the next trip. I went pro last night on my own Wii in Tennis. That game's exhausting. We only played two bouts in Boxing since we knew if we were to do more, we'd be useless for a few days, instead of just one. Good thing.

Some quotes from the day (not exact quotes...):

Zatko: "You should team up with a computer player" (in Tennis)
Me: "Nah"
Zatko: "Oh yeah, you might get teamed up with a jackass"
Me: "I already have a jackass on my team" (meaning me)

(had to be there I guess)

Jared in an email:"Hopefully my new lazy throw I'm developing will help."

I read that as
"Hopefully my stolen style from the god of Wii Bowling, Jason Connell, which I will copy and call my own and copyright it, will get me to even half the skill level of Jason and hopefully cause no physical pain, which will help deal with the mental anguish I will experience due to not coming up with the technique on my own."

Next time will be even more fun... lots of new Wii games coming out in March.

No video. Although for our boxing match, I had the idea to face each other and box. Double boxing!! Like, my other idea to bring a Wii Sports Golf out onto a golf course and play that and golf at the same time. Although, Wii Sports Golf only has 9 holes on one course :( They have to release updates to that one...

OOXML will fail miserably

Or, at least it should. It will reveal a serious flaw in international standards if that thing succeeds. The basis for my argument is that everyone who opposes it are smart people with no other reason to do so other than the specification is an atrocity. I've literally spent the whole night reading objections to it (simply because advocates for it are few and far between, and also sound like complete morons to me). Here are some links.

Groklaw (which I'm reading more and more every day, written by someone who claims no knowledge of the technical side of the debate, and who seems to side only with the law [not a particular company... a non-biased view])
Rob Weir (an IBM guy who just seems really smart to me)
Miguel de Icaza (who makes no argument at all for OOXML based on how ridiculous the whole thing is)
John Carroll (a Microsoftie who is just blowing his employer... err... his employer's horn.)

This is where it gets interesting. Carroll, in a "blog" post , ignoring all the technical diarrhea that is the OOXML spec (ECMA 367), posts a link to an article by Miguel de Icaza (an open source guy working for Novell which recently inked a deal with Microsoft), about why the OOXML spec should become a standard. Carroll thinks he'll win over MS-haters / Open Source (OSS) advocates because he's posting an OSS person's view on the subject which happens to coincide with his view. So, I start commenting on that post about logical inconsistencies inside of that document, as well as technical concerns I have about OOXML in general, to discredit anything anybody has to say in support of OOXML. On a quest that began after I started posting, I continued reading (I started earlier in work, but had to go home) a document on Groklaw.net that contained all of the objections to OOXML becoming an ISO standard.

When I finished that document, I still needed more ammo. I searched the web, as I had promised to do in a comment on Carroll's post, for pro-OOXML arguments. I couldn't find any on a technical basis besides that it supports old .doc formats all the way back to Word 5 (for which a simple converter could be written to upgrade all docs to the new standard...). So I gave up searching. I did come across a few non-MS employee articles that were pro OOXML, but they well... read for yourself (which, like all Microsoft articles I've read, miss the point ENTIRELY on "CHOICE"). After that waste of time, I somehow wound up on Slashdot.org, reading the comments by those readers (largely anti-OOXML) the same MS letter to IBM that James O'Neill's thing mentions. One of them posted a link to a funny article by Rob Weir. So I immediately liked him. After reading that, I decided to read more of what he had to say. Which is when I came across THIS!! As you can tell, it completely rips Miguel de Icaza's argument a new %@#$hole!! Read the comments on that one too. Miguel is the first to comment, asking Rob if he had ever written any software for OpenOffice.org (the frontrunner on the implementation side of ODF (there are many), the competing standard (yes, already an ISO standard) to MS' OOXML), or if he's just an Armchair General. Later down the page, Rob responds with this comment, which basically says "I am qualified to make that statement, dumbass."

Here's where advocates for OOXML miss the point on CHOICE. When ODF people speak of choice, they speak about different applications being able to operate with each other (interoperate). Meaning, if I save a file using this program on this operating system, I can later open it with this other program on this other operating system. Right now there are a lot (OpenOffice, KOffice, StarOffice, Corel, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, and a few independent apps) that can read and write ODF. Alternative, right now, there is one program that can read and write OOXML, and it was released 1/30/07 (Microsoft Office 2007). Funny timing, by the way, as OOXML went into ISO "fast track" approval on 1/05/07. So they didn't even have a working application to display it. I digress. So there's a difference in opinion of what "choice" actually is. However, when the average user wants to save an image file from their digital camera, should their camera care what operating system they're using, or what photo editing application they have installed? Likewise, there are a few "standards" for image formats. JPEG is highly used for photos because it can contain more colors to the less-lossy (pixel quality wise) but less colors overall GIF format. It has been argued though that OOXML is duplicating much of the same functionality as ODF, whereas JPEG and GIF are very different in their purposes (GIF is much better for small images and transparency, and JPG for high quality compression of larger images... however, both might soon be deemed obsolete by PNG which covers transparency and a good, near-lossless compression algorithm). In the objections document posted earlier, the final note offers an alternative solution. That Microsoft extend the ODF format with any of their functionality that isn't covered in ODF. This is clearly a good solution, since the base functionality is in ODF, is implemented in many standards, and is a good building block. This is what anti-OOXML people would welcome with open arms. Not a year through standardization on a spec that took 12+ years to fully develop!! ODF took 4 years to ISO standardization. 1 year would be ridiculous.

Quality night of reading overall :) Next, there are these gems...

Here are some letters to INCITS (International Committee for Information Technology Standards)...

Some of these letters from the opposition are the same, but all of the letters FOR OOXML are sent as a "joint letter signed by these 20 members of this committee that has 'Microsoft' in the title". To get a joint letter signed, I'd walk around an office and say "Yo, sign this... it's to get free pizza every Friday." There are three letters attached (in the one from "George LaVenture - International Association of Microsoft Certified Partners (IAMCP)"), each from different offices, each signed by 15+ people (but I can't see the signatures for some reason). All of those letters are the same exact thing, and they make no merits on the technical side. Which is fine, I guess. There are many arguments that either would stand up on technical merits. Although, developing an application that uses OOXML would be an absolute nightmare. The spec is 6000+ pages long. The only argument on the Microsoft side that ODF can't claim (not legally anyway :P ) is that there are billions of documents in old formats that this "document format" can support. As I said, write a CONVERTER.

John Hardin's letter makes the claim that if OOXML were to pass as an ISO standard, the reputations of ISO and ANSI standards organizations would be severely damaged. And that "they will be seen as open to manipulation by sufficiently large companies." In no way do we want that to happen. That would be like the US Patent Office! We don't want that situation repeated in standards organizations.

Another post I read somewhere says that if OOXML passes through ISO standardization, it could be the most costly mistake EVER. (Ahh, found the link here)

It's funny that the only people pushing for it are MS people, MS advocates, and some politicians who are paid by Microsoft, whereas the ODF crowd is many many good companies and lots of brilliant people. It leads one (not me certainly) to the conclusion that people who support Microsoft in this area are complete morons, will never be writing the software to support OOXML, or that they're on MS' payroll (either as an employee or accepting donations through politics). Every Microsoft post I've read is a last ditch effort that practically concedes victory to ODF. Not to mention the lies that they tell themselves (e.g. For ISO adoption, 103 companies vote, only 19 opposed on the first round, so they tell themselves and their employees that "We're almost there!!", when, in fact, 16 of those 19 countries that opposed make up HALF of the vote that MATTERS in the final vote, 5 months away!! SUCKERS!!). Just keep telling yourselves that.

Anyway, this was kind of a review of all the reading I did tonight, with no real guiding purpose or goal. Ok, I had a guiding purpose, basically to vent about how bad OOXML is technically, and that's confirmed by no technical merits from anyone that supports it. And, likewise, to convince anyone who reads this to read all the articles and documents I link to, and to convince them of my opinion... like all opinion writers :P The whole thing's probably way too long and filled with typos, but luckily I can only see the last 8 lines I wrote :P I'm going to bed. It's the Wiikend!!!

First Wiikend

Mike, Jared and I each have the Wii, but the limited online play (it's a Wii... you're supposed to have people there) means that we have to actually be in the same house with each other to really get the full effect. We can say "Yo, you can't beat my high score in bowling of 258", but it's just not as fun. So, we'll all be at Zatko's house this "wiikend", competing in many events. I'm sure I'll have some video. I'm gonna kick some f@#%@ing ass!!!

I'm amazed

I have a collection of domain names. Yes, I collect them. Sometimes I'm amazed what's available. Like, when I registered stringed.org, and oftheworldunite.org (which can be a great domain name, if you use stuff like hackers.oftheworldunite.org or stupidpeople.oftheworldunite.org).

Yesterday I had a thought. A simple thought. I had asked Tom about mortgages and financial stuff (way before yesterday). He gave me an answer, but I had an answer in my head already, and it was the same answer, but it didn't come out the same :) Basically, what he was telling me was in the technical terms, and correct by all means. But someone who didn't know about finance and mortgages would have no idea what he was saying. Like me.

A lot of times though, I come across problems where the answer can be explained in very simple, non-technical terms, where anyone can understand. Of course, I've been devoting my time to learning, understanding, and making part of my vocabulary, computer science terms. Very technical. I can't really explain them in non-technical terms. However, with every other area in life, I have no idea except what I'm able to logically deduce by myself, in my head. And these are always in very simple terms. So welcome to my domain name collection, simpleterms.org.

I plan on using all of them, but I take a long time to get around to making something for them, so I may seem like just a collector and a domain-name-hoarder, but I do plan on getting around to using all of them. Unlike the .com variant of that domain name. Which someone basically threw some ads on there, and you can buy it but it will be for about 80x markup. Stupid internet.