Interconnected

All posts made the week commencing Sunday 28 May., 2000:

You are a point in space, and the position of that point describes who you are and where you are. Look at this point as you live your life and it makes a curve. It starts when and where you were born and moves along roads and from town to town and around the world. As you learn it moves across, too, in some direction perpendicular to space. Here I am, at this point, and by looking at this point you see I am at my computer typing this. Yesterday when I was typing the point was almost in the same place, but it was shifted slightly because I wasn't quite the same person (and I was sitting in the kitchen).

Cut out the loops. Go somewhere, come back. Does it matter that your point has made this excursion? No, all that matters is the little change in who you are between when you left your house and when you came back. I have a cold. My curve spirals out, passes through hot flushes and waxy skin. I go to the pub to watch the football. My line follows me, and extends into the territory of headaches. In a couple of days, I'll feel normal again; I'll be sitting here again - and my line will have looped round, knotted itself off, and I can forget it. Everything is like this. If you want to remember something, don't cross your curve. And if that something has changed you as a person your curve won't loop. If something terrible happens, return to the place of your childhood and close the loop.

Yesterday I had my last lecture. The venue was moved and I ended up sitting only places from where I first sat nearly four years ago. I can feel the loop closing. As I do things for the last time I cross the places where I first did them and the knot gets tighter. I can feel the potential of the beginning and end of the loop getting closer and memories from along that loop keep coming back to me. In a few weeks, after my exams, the loop will close and the only way you'll be able to tell I've experienced it is the different Matt I am.

My curve is straight. From where I am now it doesn't look like my curve is heading anywhere near where I've been before. How could it? - the university loop is closed. It's exciting. It's the open road. It's the top of a hill and I can see all around me and ahead of me the land stretches out and it doesn't go down. I felt this before when I was finishing my Sixth form, back when my first major loop was closing, back when it didn't loop very far anyway. I said something that doesn't really have any meaning but it resonated then and then I forgot what it meant and now I'm feeling that resonance again. It's blue sky. It's a cool breeze. It's wishing for great times and not feeling nostagia but trepidation. It's looking around as if for the first time with open eyes and saying These Are My Hands, This Is My Life, and the world is bright and the air is crisp and you can feel creation, happening right there, for the first time in the longest time, in the centre of your head, and you shake your head and you realise as never before So this is where it all begins.

Apache virtual host documentation. nb: I just bought upsideclown.com. I haven't stopped laughing yet*.

Honest-to-goodness it happened to a friend of mine bizarre true stories.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. This is the story of the wanking clown.

Nazi and East German Propaganda. Read this material. Could it happen again? We're no more intelligent now, as people, as individuals, than the people 50 years ago or 5000. Look at Hitler. Who was he? Try and see past the iconic features, the second-degree connections. See a man. That terrifies me. That Hitler was just a person, and that everyone else was a people too. Should we ever let ourselves to believe in something that strongly? How do we decide what has 'meaning'? Meaning can't be objective, so how can we be sure that what we believe isn't wrong? On a deckchair, in a field, with a dog, Hitler sits.

I didn't expect Dave Winer's voice (temporary link from today's Scripting News). He sounds so... American. Normal. Weird. Now I want to know what everyone else sounds like. When I'm King, you'll have to put your voice on your About page.

Bunch of links to free storage on the internet.

Anti Billie Piper Online (site 1 of 1 on the Anti Teen Pop Sluts webring) has an alarming amount of links to like-minded organisations. Of course, anybody with half a brain would know that Billie isn't a mid-teens wide-mouthed B-list pop-star flaunting flesh and filth at all - she's simply a web puppet [on bugsbugs.co.uk].

I got my ICANN At-Large Membership pin today. Does it mean anything? Will it be useful? Can individuals really play a part in the network? Yes. And do you know why? Because we're nonlinear. Stretch and fold, stretch and fold. The things that we do have meaning and are beautiful.

Hmm. Feeling a bit random today. Slashdot on ICANN makes more sense.

New Ctheory today about Fight Club not as a biting criticism of consumer culture, but as a search for meaning. Brilliant. Irony is dead. Rally for truth. (Not on the website yet, unfortunately, but look out for number 90.)

If you're interested: I got this IMAP server working how I want it at last. Okay, this might not be such a big deal for a lot of people but this is the first time I've applied patches; this is the first time I've made changes to the source instead of to a configuration file (and I haven't used C before); I decided what I wanted and now I've got it - a safer IMAP server.

If you're not interested: I feel good.

I just looked at a webpage and realised I didn't know what an attribute did: I need to learn HTML4. The Web Standards Project keep links to HTML resources. The compatibility charts seem especially useful.

If I was going to do a thesis...

Tomorrow's World dominated my childhood so I was quite nostalgic watching the old opening titles. Watching old things is like making an anchor in time. You can start placing things around it, and it just lets me remember a whole different me - especially the 1985-1991 theme. Wow. So that's where my love of science began. That theme still defines the height of modern for me; it's ingrained somehow. The different music themes are also available for download.

Nnng, frustrating day! I can't get the XML::XSLT Perl module to work. For a while I thought it was me, but then I tried their example xml & xsl and that didn't work either. It's on the new bug list, and not solved yet. Gah. In a few weeks I'll have time to pick through the code, but right now... Hmph. (Don't get me wrong though: XSL is a joy to work with, although with this Perl implementation the transforms are quite slow. Pages will have to be prerendered.)

And in related news, my IMAP server seems more like a security hole than a mail server, and it may be something else I have to look at the source for (it's not very well documented). I'm going to be busy, this Summer*.

Objective: To render all my pages using server-side XML and XSLT. First step: Move to using XML and rendering my pages in some other way to see what the performance penalty is like.

Nice. There's now a Mac DivX player, and DivX (as you know) is a cheeky not-quite-mpeg4 ripoff which up till now has only been available to Windows users. Ooh, that's interesting: Flashingyellow.com (who are offering a prize for the first open DivX codec) are merging with opencodex.com and are promising something big in the next week or so. That should be worth checking back for.

You can now make this page more readable. Death to fascist stylesheets! Death to the demoness Allegra Geller!

Fixed a couple of stupid bugs in Dirk: No graphics mode now works, and it's no longer case sensitive. I've got an idea or two about how to make metadirk easier and more useful -- but more about that another day.

Last night I dreamed that my Switch card got refused. Commodity. Profit or loss. Security. What do you value in yourself? says the Dream Dictionary.

Now here's a challenge: I've been told that although my hosting company don't have an IMAP server and won't be installing one in the near future, if I know how to install and set one up for them all to use they'll consider letting me and then maintaining it. I'd use the Cyrus IMAP server because it seems to be popular and secure, but the license is only for non-commerical uses or internal use of ISPs. Hm. I'll also have to check out UW IMAP. Hints are always welcome, btw.

A large number of rule-based program that self-organise could be used to move information more efficiently around the internet. These agents, modelled on bees and ants, treat user requests like food to move video, etc, around the networks. The Bio-Networking Architecture site has research papers.

This makes a lot of sense. The simple rules that ants use to find the shortest route between, say, food and the nest are extremely powerful when applied in parallel. This kind of transport level syndication would could make caching and higher level syndication methods unnecessary, and would be ideal. I wish I could remember where the comment in slashdot was, but it mentioned a potential network that was transport mechanism independent. As such it could have no ping or traceroute, but it was completely decentralised. Whether these kind of ideas will come into a network of the future I don't know, but it's really not going to be any time soon - look at how long it's taking to bring in IPv6.

Gaudí's El Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona must be one of the most stunning buildings I have only seen photographs of. I may have to make a pilgrimage in the summer. Check out his other works, too. Wow.

Found on my travels: The International Lyrics Server has lyrics to 62000 songs.

This is bizarre. When I was about 10 we used to sing a song at school called Little Boxes. It turns out that this song is a protest against conformity, and specifically about Levittown, an artificial community so micromanaged that if someone didn't mow their lawn then Levitt would send someone round to do it for them. The little boxes were pre-fab bungalows with modern ideas such as open-plan, heating insulation, and below-floor heating, and - cleverly - an open upgrade route. The more I read about Levittown the more impressed I am.