The Personal Aesthetic

I propose that we enter a new term into our vocabularies: “the personal aesthetic.” Observations on human behavior have lead me to the conclusion that every human being has a built-in aesthetic evaluation system. This system is applied to nearly everything in life, creating non-random personal preferences from this seemingly random base. The components of the personal aesthetic are neither directly under the individual’s control, not completely out of their control, but somewhere in between.

Accept What You Eat

I can’t stand people who can’t accept the realities of what they eat. If you can’t eat a dead cow and admit to yourself that it is cow flesh, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it. When I ate beef, I had no problem with the truth about what it was I ate. I’m sure, however, that every one of us knows one of those people who tries to shush anyone who mentions the piece of meat having once been an animal.

dpkg Assertion 'dependtry <= 4' failed

If you happen to come across the following error while using dpkg (or apt-get): dpkg: ../../src/packages.c:191: process_queue: Assertion `dependtry <= 4' failed . E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg exited unexpectedly The solution is as simple as: # dpkg --configure -a --force-depends According to Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho: There are two known triggers for that bug: A package depends on itself. (This is a bug in the package.) There is a dependency loop which involves a virtual package.

Adding Emacs / PyBlosxom Support for a Custom Format

In PyBlosxom, blog entries are stored in regular files rather than in a database. This means that I can write my entries in Emacs (hurrah). PyBlosxom can handle posts in any format it has a parser for. The simplest parser removes the metadata from the beginning of the file and passes the remainder of the file directly to the output webpage. Ergo, in the most simple format, the entries should be written in html (with a basic text header). for PyBlosxom

Well, it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without coding. =) I recently started using pyblosxom for my blogging software needs. I’ll discuss the reasons for this choice in a later post. One minor annoyance about pyblosxom is that since the entries are regular files, the developer chose to base entry post dates on file mtimes. While this is a really cool idea for the sake of simplicity of design, it gets rather old having post times change when correcting typos.

Firefox Tip: Creating Parent Directories on File Saves

I sometimes find that when I am saving files off the web in Firefox, I have to go through multiple levels of folder creation. I click the “create new directory” button, type a name, hit return. Repeat. I just learned (after my determination that it would be a very handy thing) that you can simply enter a directory hierarchy (e.g. images/wallpapers/hairless_cats/1024x768/) and firefox will create all of the parent directories and leave you in the deepest directory (“1024x768”).

How to Write An E-mail

I guess there are a lot of unspoken rules of netiquette which pertain to writing email. Perhaps it’s simply too much for many people to pick up in casual correspondence with their grandmother, but for those of us who use email regularly, our experience has lead to a set of guidelines for how emails should be formatted. My intention is to impart the most important of these rules to those who may not have yet discovered them.

USB Form-Factor

Whomever designed the physical shape of the USB (type a) connector clearly was not thinking. You don’t make a plug which is symmetrical but yet can only be inserted one way. Half the time you try to plug a USB device in, you end of flipping it over because you had it backwards. Actually more than half the time since the plugs can be hard to slide in, so you think you have it backwards.

Buddy Icons

Buddy icons are an interesting feature. I’ve never really bothered to question why they exist. But I guess there are two legitimate reasons: (1) personal expression (for the icon picker), and (2) rapid identification (for the icon viewer). The first one is simple, the second just relates to the fact that humans can distinguish a variety of pictures more rapidly than they can discern text. So it makes sense, I suppose, to allow us to associate images with the people we choose to talk to.

Language Pet Peeves #2

Wow. Since I actually managed to post about language without having my ass chewed off by anti-grammar guerrillas, I have to point out one more which irks me. “out loud” When I was a kid many of my teachers would tell us students to read “out loud”. Later I learned the word ‘aloud’ and almost immediately realized that “out loud” was a lazy, colloquial bastardization of the word ‘aloud’. Now this one is a tougher fight than the others I have complained about because you can find some dictionary support for the incorrect version (namely Merriam-Webster, which is complete trendwhore of a dictionary, IMHO).