I’ve been playing around with the customization in FireFox lately. Basically, userChrome.css is a Cascading Style Sheet that defines the look of the browser itself thanks to a flavor of XML known as XUL.

Anyway, here is a comparison of my basic(left) to the changed version(right):



Compiz is a desktop manager based on XGL. It is a Linux project that allows the user to manage the workspace in new ways. It takes advantage of the XGL project code, using OpenGL to fuel some very innovative GUI enhancements.

You can find a short demo (11 minutes) and some screenshots here.
If you run Linux, you can also download it via a CVS.

Currently my main operating system is Microsoft, but it is looking more and more like Windows Vista will be a trojan horse for DRM. More-likely-than-not, I will be switching exclusively to Linux in the future. That is in no small part due to truly amazing, free projects such as Compiz.

The future of computers is Open Source. A bold claim, but a true claim. Proprietary operating systems and software do not extend usability and customizability to the users and their organizations.

Open Source does exactly that. You can imagine an Art Department customizing Linux & a setup such as Compiz to allow for the following scenario:

The department head could simultaneously view the works in progress of the artists, and give feedback, as well as allowing the individual artists to see what one another was doing. If one artist was better at working on part of what another was doing, the control of the workspace could be “switched,” allowing the second artist to instantly jump in and work on the piece.

This is all possible using current technology. It wouldn’t be very easy with a closed-source system, but it wouldn’t be that hard with linux.

Anyway, I encourage you to watch the video for yourself.



This is a test of a “data:” url.

test image


You can use the <img src="data:img/(type);base64,(base64 string of image)" /> tag format to put an image file directly into the HTML document. This is known as a “Data: URL.”

This page contains a command line utility for Windows to encode/decode base64.


Right to Left

Nothing much on a Sunday happens, but here’s a bunch of news for the hell of it.

For starters: AIDS money going to religious/conservative groups.

Conservative Christian allies of the president are pressing the U.S. foreign aid agency to give fewer dollars to groups that distribute condoms or work with prostitutes. The Bush administration provided more than 560 million condoms abroad last year, compared with some 350 million in 2001.

Cindy Sheehan certainly is doing her part to make a change. She has met with the Venezuelan president, plans to protest at the US president’s Crawford Texas ranch during holy week, and may even run for the US Senate.

Libya has closed its embassy in Denmark. Just one of many actions coming down against Denmark due to a set of portraits depicting the Islamic prophet. To wit:

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Denmark last week and Saudi citizens were boycotting Danish goods. Kuwait’s state-supported supermarkets have announced a similar boycott and the government summoned a regional Danish ambassador to complain.

Egypt’s parliament demanded that Egypt recall its ambassadors to Denmark and Norway, where a newspaper reprinted the cartoons. The opposition Muslim Brotherhood demanded a boycott of products from the two countries.

Daily Kos is running a story about how the Democrats ought to proceed regarding the filibuster.

A newsblip on Kuro5hin led me to examine the blog of a deceased man, who apparently posted suicide notes on his blog and some public forum prior to his death. The forum was shut down permanently, but I found an article in his blog from June of last year that was quite interesting.

If you’ve finished reading the draft of The War Room you can see some interesting connections between this and that.

The Drudge Report is carrying a transcript of Al Gore’s speech at Constitution Hall on January 16th (Martin Luther King day). It is a fairly good detail of why the DomSpy scandal matters, and why we have a duty to do something about it. Alternatively the video is available through Google.

New Scientist: Most stars form solitary, this is good for prospects of alien life.

And finally, the Republicans are asking President Bush to make the information dealing with Jack Abramoff public. New York Times requires site registration.

Senator John Thune of South Dakota and Representative Mike Pence of Indiana, both Republicans, echoed that thought. “More is better, in terms of disclosure and transparency,” Mr. Thune said on Fox.

That’s all I have at the moment. Peace.


Another example of absurdity in the law?

Well, I suppose it would be appropriate to include the primary example if I’m going to discuss another one.

Scenario 1:
Part 1:
You download a particular piece of software, the company who owns the intellectual rights to it requires that you do not distribute the file, although it is freely available and no registration is required. This is legitimate.

Part 2:
Your friend who does not have internet access utilizes your computer to download said file, puts it on a cd to take to their home, and install. This is also legitimate.

Part 3:
You download the file, and put it on a cd, for the friend to take home nad put on their computer. This is technically in violation of the licensing of the file, although it is really not different than Part 2.

The new scenario relates to an argument the RIAA has apparently made in one of their legal cases. Their claim is that merely having a copyrighted file in a shared directory constitutes a violation of the copyright law.

Scenario 2:
Part 1:
You have a copyrighted file that you own a copy of/have a license to possess. It is in your /pub directory on your ftp site, available to the public via l/p anonymous/email login. This constitutes a violation under the above argument.

Part 2:
Same as above, yet the file is encrypted. It is unclear whether this would constitute a violation, but it is likely it would not.*

Part 3:
Same as Part 1, but the file is on a webserver, in a public directory, but one which is unlinked to, and not available through any public directory listing. Example: goes to an index.html file, rather than a directory listing, and the file is in:
This is probably a violation under the argument.*

Part 4:
Same as Part 1, but the file is named something that gives no indication that the file is any sort of meaningful content. Example: file is named The_Bible.txt

*It is an interesting thought experiment to consider what exactly can be considered a barrier/form of encryption.

Anyway, the meat of this post is to get you to consider the reality of the law, and how two actions with no difference in intention, and very little difference in circumstance can result in one of the actions being fine, while the other one is at least technically a violation of the law (either criminal or civil).

Also, as someone kindly pointed out, I had moderation for comments turned on. Damn me. Fixed.

And, I’ll probably scan this rather plain drawing I’ve been working on later today – “so you can see what a waste of time looks like.”