Merry Christmas, everyone!

December 25, 2010 December 25, 2010 holidays by Scott 1 Comment

bouquiniste

Nine days, four cameras, two cities, and one eternity to scan—but here it is! Check out my summer vacation in Paris and Strasbourg.

It is interesting to see digital, color film, and B&W film photos intermingled in the same gallery. I suppose all the formats have their merits, but my eye is still drawn to the B&W pictures. I’m curious what you think.

November 20, 2010 November 20, 2010 photos by Scott 1 Comment

Buskers in Paris

Photos from this summer’s France trip should be ready in the next few days.

November 18, 2010 November 18, 2010 photos by Scott No Comments

This site runs on Pyblosxom, a weird but interesting weblog system written in Python. Pyblosxom has the dual benefits of being very lightweight and extremely customizable. Instead of using a SQL database, it stores entries and comments in a filesystem tree, which is very convenient for people who prefer a command line to a Web interface (me). When I selected it in early 2008, it was still being actively developed. It also gave me a good excuse to learn Python, which I have done with modest success.

Performance and reliability problems with my current server have led me to want to move this site to a faster virtual server “in the cloud.” Naturally, I would install the latest version of Pyblosxom on said machine, right? Well… For a few months I’ve been testing pyblosxom 1.5rc2, the fruit of two years of sporadic development by the 3 other people who actually use this software. Because some back-end redesign necessitated many changes to my Scottosphere modifications, it took a while to get it configured again. And indeed, my non-public staging server is now about 100 times faster than the current site. But, to my great frustration, I still can’t get comments to work properly with Ajax. It has become a huge waste of time to debug, and I’m ready to throw in the towel. I really don’t want to start over, but I wonder: should I just give up and switch to Wordpress?

November 16, 2010 November 16, 2010 meta by Scott 1 Comment

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again: too soon!

November 14, 2010 November 14, 2010 rants by Scott No Comments

Tru64 UNIX screenshot

Last weekend I retired my trusty old Digital AlphaStation 200 4/233. When it was introduced in 1994 (retail price: $15,595 with UNIX and a 1 GB hard drive), it was one of the first 64-bit computers intended for desktop use. At that time, a 90 MHz Pentium was considered top-of-the-line for desktop computing, and this sucker was screaming at 233 MHz! When I bought one secondhand from a co-worker for $200 in 1999, it was still a reasonably fast machine.

At some point, I outfitted it with a 9 GB Ultra2 LVD SCSI drive and it became my primary workstation. I briefly ran Linux on it, but soon discovered that Tru64 UNIX not only ran more reliably—in fact, it never crashed once—but that it contained some interesting security, clustering, and filesystem capabilities that were way ahead of their time.

I have always had a soft spot for the DEC Alpha architecture. I am a big fan of elegance and simplicity in engineering. Which made me a RISC person. Unfortunately, DEC’s engineering didn’t really survive the sequential acquisitions by Compaq and then HP. And eventually the market proved two things: that ultimately, nobody cares how elegant a processor design is, and that nobody can out-spend Intel on innovation. Thus the Alpha took its place on history’s long list of technologically superior alternatives that got left behind.

Some time around 2003 or 2004, I started using an SGI O2 for a desktop machine (another flavor of retro-tech!), relegating the Alphastation to a corner to live a quiet life as a Web server. There it ran for another 6 or 7 years. I moved most of my important files (including this Web site) to a more modern PC several years ago, but it took me until this year to finally transition the Alphastation’s last duties to other servers.

I sold my-computer on eBay this week for a whopping $382, which, even factoring in inflation, represents a solid profit. How many of your computers have appreciated in value over time?

I shipped it off to Texas this morning. So long, my-computer. It’s been a good 11 years.

November 12, 2010 November 12, 2010 computers by Scott 5 Comments

Off to Indianapolis for a very exciting weekend: my sister is getting married!

October 9, 2010 October 9, 2010 family by Scott 2 Comments

Ariel and John

Photos are up from Ariel and John’s wedding. These are automatic minilab scans, so they’re not exactly top quality, but you get the idea.

October 9, 2010 October 9, 2010 photos by Scott No Comments