Eve Online for Linux

I was reading Matt's blog over the weekend and found out there was supported Linux version for Eve Online.  Eve Online is a MMOG in deep space, with 5000 solar systems in the environment.  You start off with a little ship, and you make money over time via mining, fighting pirates, or, in the more unruly areas, waging war on other players.  They've designed a pretty reasonable model for new players coming online by having security ratings on zones.  In high security zones if people attack each other, the feds go after them.  In low security regions, you can do whatever you like.

I created a trial account to check it out, and am massively impressed.  I has the base feel of Mechwarrior (the original late 80s game), but with a lot more possibilities.  Because your character gains skills even when you aren't connected, it allows for a more leisurely use of the game (instead of the WoW phenomena of "can't eat, raid.  can't sleep, raid.  can't talk, raid").

I'm Neas Bade in world (matching up with my Second Life ID), so if you happen to be on, feel free to find me.

If only they had power...

Nick and I chatted the other night, catching up on all things life and work.  Nick has kicked off his 4th semester as a professor at West Virginia Tech, adding a new class on open source software development to the curriculum for his students.  Our tentative plan is that I'll come down late in the spring, hang out for a week, and give a guest lecture on Open Source Development.

I've discovered there is an Amtrak line that runs from New York City to Chicago via West Virginia, conveniently stopping in Charleston. I started getting all excited about this idea, until I found the following:

In most Amtrak trains, First Class and Business Class seats and sleepers have standard 110-volt electrical power outlets available to supply power for electronic devices. Very few outlets are available, however, at Coach Class seats.

This train doesn't have First or Business Class seats. 15 hours of train is much better than 9.5 hours in a car, if I could get work done during it, but lacking that, driving looks like a better option.  If only they had power....

Quote of the Day


I recently made the switch from OS X to Ubuntu after realizing that all Steve Jobs wants is for you to shut up and buy a new iPod; don’t you dare criticize his taste or the way he treats third-party developers like dirt.

-- David Siegel

Faceted vs. Centralized Identity

One of the interesting effects of the internet has always been the lack of a direct connection between online identity and real world identity.  While Pen Names have been a fact of life since the dawn of modern literature, something did change when we went from addressing someone as "Sean, yeh I know him" to "sdague on freenode, yeh I know him".

Back when I first registered dague.net, I did so with a very specific rationale.  I'm a fan of centralized identity.  If you follow the web links on my homepage you'll be able to find out all the relevant identity bits about me, my employer (IBM), my marital status (married), projects I've worked on in the past.  Consolidating all that information around dague.net made that my central identity.  Using sean at dague dot net as my email address, and putting http://dague.net in my signature meant that all my various internet posts could easily be tracked back to me.  My online identity is a whole, made up of all the things I've put out there over the years.

But while this is my take on identity, it isn't the only one.  Other people are much more interested in distributed identity, or faceted identity.  When AOL first started giving out real email addresses to people, they started with giving out up to 5 email addresses per account.  The assumption was that a family of 4 would take advantage of this, but that it wouldn't be interesting to most people.  This assumption turned out to be fatally flawed.  Their biggest uptake on accounts was by individual account holders, who would create 5 discrete faceted identities to interact with different online communities.  They wanted the freedom to act as they would in each of those communities, with no connection back to their real life identity.

The test case for each of these is the "Resume via Google Test":

Assume you are in an interview with an employer in the future, and they've got a ready index of every bit of your information that has reached the public internet that can be corolated back to you.  Does this help or hurt your chances in getting the job?

This test could be applied to any arena actually, be it jobs, dating, politics, etc.  Everything you've ever said on the internet will be there for ever.

If we take each approach to its extreme you find the following:

  • Centralized: content is created on the internet to enhance the reputation of the creator.  If someone can't track your content back to you, you can't capitalize on the fact that that content was good, which may lead to: jobs, dating, etc.
  • Faceted: the internet is a brutal place.  People like to take things out of context and will persecute you for being different.  It's better participate in seperate communities with a fresh reputation per community, as context within that community is much easier to understand.

Where are you on the Identity Spectrum?

Recently I've been asking this question to a lot of my colleagues, gotten some funny white board diagrams, and found some interesting results.  In the small sample set that I've got so far, I've found that while there is a generational element to faceted vs. centralized identity (them kids are quite a bit more into faceted identity), it doesn't look like it is the overwhelming factor.  Most of the people that still have strongly faceted identity also found As a kid, did you have a single large group of friends, or very specific friends that you did specific things with.

These are some early thoughts on the subject, with no real conclusions at this point.  I do think this would make for a quite interesting area of real study (instead of anecdotal interest), but that is definitely not my field. πŸ™‚  I'd love to get comments from people about where they feel they live in the Identity spectrum, or even that I'm off my rocker for characterizing it like this.

Sweet Zombie Jesus!

That line is used twice in Futurama (in two consecutive episodes), uttered by Professor Farnsworth.  When Futurama was on Cartoon Network for the last 4 years, that line was blanked out on every airing of either episode.  Why that line was deemed too "something" to air, when nothing else was cut, always seemed odd to me.

Futurama is now on Comedy Central, and as of last night, is airing Futurama un-censored. πŸ™‚

OpenSim Database Hacking

Another day, another set of ADO.NET code gutted.  I love mondays!

Today the SQLite Assets for OpenSim were liberated from their cruel ADO.NET oppressor, saving memory and CPU time in the process.  I did manage to break things for an hour or two as I had misunderstood the semantics of IDataReader.  Thanks to Grumly57 on #opensim-dev for sorting out what I did that was really dumb. πŸ™‚

Thoughts on a smarter home

While our new woodstove insert is really great, and is definitely reducing our oil usage, it causes a bit of an issue when it comes to distributing the heat through the house.  When running on wood heat we get warmth right up the center of the house.  The office at the end of the upstairs hallway ends up being the warmest room in the house.  It is far too easy to make the upstairs unlivably warm, while the rest of the house is quite cool still.

Fortunately, we have a central air HVAC system, so the solution is to just turn on the furnace fan to redistribute the heat through the house.  This works pretty well, and at least mellows out the hot spots.  Ideally we wouldn't run the fan all the time, but would duty cycle it on for some portion of an hour.  Honeywell makes a thermostat that has a cyrc fan mode, which runs the fan 35% of each hour, which was an option, but something else caught my eye.

The Proliphix Internet Thermostat NT20e is quite a nifty device.  It has a bit more programing than our current thermostat and has the advantage of having a web interface.  You plug the device into your ethernet network and get a web interface for all the controls and programming for the device.  What's even better is that Proliphix designed this with further customization in mind by publishing an HTTP API to the device as well.  This makes is very easy to have a computer create further logic for the device, like forcing the fan on for certain hours of the day, while leaving the defaults for programming in the device itself.

I've now ordered mine, and it is on it's way.  I can't wait to get this thing hooked up.

Single sided printing of postscript in Linux

While I appreciate the environmental gains from every Linux system I've used in the last couple of years defaulting to double sided printing, this gets a bit annoying when you need single sided pages for doing code refactoring.

I found today that if I loaded up a double sided postscript file into evince (gnome's pdf / ps viewer), and told it to only do single sided printing, it did as I said.  It took me this long to figure this out, so hopefully this post saves someone the trouble.