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yudel (1014)

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Journal of yudel (1014)

Thursday February 21, 2008
12:24 AM

Installing Adobe CS3 on Vista Home Basic

No Perl content here... but a hard-won workaround to an annoying problem.

I was trying to install InDesign CS3. After hours of beating my head against the wall, I realized (1) Adobe CS3 was not specced for Vista Home Basic, (2) my machine ran Vista Home Basic, (3) upgrading Vista would put money into Microsoft's pocket needlessly and (4) temporarily disabling Vista's UAC controls would enable InDesign to install.

For a less sanguine, real-time rant, you can read my remarks on John Nack's blog.

Monday December 26, 2005
10:16 AM

firefox sucks

Take a look at This is a two-year-old bug, where closing a tab doesn't release memory.

Firefox doesn't really suck, but this bug does, and I'm getting desperate enough to use any forum I can to spread the word about it.

Tuesday September 30, 2003
01:53 PM

The book gnat doesn't want you to read...

Over on OReilleynet (, gnat voted "hell no!" to an O'Reilley proposal for a book on content-filtering systems for parents.

I say, hell yes! Here's why:

I think there is a need for an O'Reilly book that would meld together parental concerns with a hacker ethos. Here's what I would like to see discussed:

  • What filters do, and what they don't do.
  • What browsers make it possible to disable pop-up ads.
  • Virus safety for kids.
  • How to disable the AOL instant messaging start-up screen (perhaps by using an open-source alternative)?
  • The fact that the US government claims the right to read our email headers without a search warrant. How do we feel about that? Is that a reasonable standard for monitoring our childrens' email? If not, why do we tolerate other people having that standard for us?
  • Come to think of it, can't you hack together a version of Mozilla that prefetches material and warns about adult or other bogus sites taking advantage of typos?
  • Advocate a very simple anti-pornography federal law: "Any site using meta tags or other labeling to indicate that it is an adult site can only be tried for obscenity in the location where its owners reside or are incoporated, at their choosing"

In the comments, Nat continued:

I don't mind other parents using one while their kids are young, I'm just not going to be responsible for the book that teaches them. It's dual-use technology, and from what I've seen of the parents of teenagers around here, most parents are like rogue nations when it comes to their children. They spy, snoop, invade, and threaten. From what I've seen, no more than 10% of parents would think of disabling a porn filter on their kids computers, even if they were told "but it could prevent your kid from accessing Planned Parenthood and similar sites!" They'd see that as a plus.

If there was some way to keep the book in the hands of parents who feel the same way I do, I'd have no problem. But as there isn't, I would rather not create a book that will help those fascist parents to treat their kids like chattels. I understand someone probably will write the book to help them, eventually, it just won't be me.

To which I respond: It sounds to me like you're treating the parents the same way you complain they're treating their kids. Don't you think parents of teens are open to a fair discussion of the ups and downs of censorship?

I'll tell you: Teenagers is a whole different game than toddlers. Just when you think you've got junior trained to not throw spaghetti on the wall, they turn 11 or 12 or 13 and, whoosh!, the pasta's in play once again. My wife and I have drawn up elaborate, somewhat silly rules for one of our teens -- because it was just too hard for her to take responsibility for herself. I think teens need arbitrary and silly rules, because otherwise they'll cross over the sensible ones.

Nat, if I had a lot more time, I'd be rewriting this and the previous post as a book proposal. Though I would only do it if I could ask Larry Wall for a preface....

Tuesday August 26, 2003
02:30 PM

Installing an OS on a laptop with an external cd-rom

Warning: No perl content. Just some silly tech adventures that I want to log in hopes of saving some other poor soul time and aggravation.

Problem: I bought a used IBM ThinkPad 240 on ebay. A great little machine, but... the cd-rom is external. It plugs into the PCMCIA slot... and you need to load drivers to read the thing. And I didn't really want to do a great deal of hacking to get DOS (or linux) to load the drivers to read in the operating system.

Solution: I downloaded the basic cardsoft pcmcia drivers from the IBM home page, I think from the TP240 download section. This didn't let me read the CD-Rom. But it did enable me -- I belatedly discovered -- to read a Compact Flash card placed into a PCMCIA adapter.

Once I figured that out, I simply copied the OS cd into 128 MB chunks from my desktop, transfered the chunks via the CF card onto the thinkpad hard drive, and voila! I was able to install.

Yes, it's embarrasingly simple in hindsight. But I sure wish I thought of the idea sooner... or found it through my Google hunting!

Thursday May 08, 2003
12:36 PM

e-mail based to-do list?

I'm trying to get my task lists organized. Before I build my own, is there any server-based task list program that can handle updates via email as well as by the Web?

I'd like to be able to forward an email, with some lines at the top:

priority 1
due 5/12
category home
project refinance
title call the broker
est 1 hour

And create a task, with all the data, and have the rest of the email be attached.

Any suggestions? Or any suggestions for an existing web-based program that I could hack in Perl to add the email functionality?

Monday May 05, 2003
02:31 PM

May Perl Journal has arrived

It seems that the new Perl Journal is out.

Current contents include:

  • Web Localization & Perl -- Autrijus Tang
  • Data Manipulation & Perl Command-Line Options -- Andy Lester
  • Google and Perl -- brian d foy
  • Tracking Finances with WWW::Mechanize and HTML::Parser -- Simon Cozens
  • HTML Filtering in Perl, Part 1 -- Randal Schwartz

This seems like an opportune time to note that the new Perl Journal, while perhaps not as wonderful as Jon Orwant's version, has been well worth the $1/issue.

Outstanding articles include April's piece on user mouse tracking with javascript and Perl, which shows how you can run your own usability testing to see how your web site's users move around on your site; and the various Simon Cozen pieces. Randal has apparently moved his Web Techniques column over to the TPJ

Thursday April 03, 2003
01:07 AM

Perl in Eclipse

I wonder how this compares in practice to Komodo.

Monday February 03, 2003
05:12 PM

Hey, where's the new TPJ?

Maybe it's not fair of me. But between hourly weblog news, and the fact that magazines arrive before the cover date, the fact that The Perl Journal isn't available for download on the first day of the month drives me crazy.

Of course, the staff is probably all getting their Anthrax shots, to keep up with brian....

Thursday January 23, 2003
05:58 PM

Who owns h2xs?

So if I want to change the default look of the readme file, so it supplements the unix root-centric


  To install this module type the following:

     perl Makefile.PL
     make test
     make install"

with some cross platform hints, I'd have to patch h2xs, right?

Is that part of the perl5porters project, or is it independently maintained?
Wednesday January 22, 2003
06:27 PM

Easing CPAN for Users

As someone who uses a Windows desktop, and has had to install modules on a shared host w/o root privileges, I'm finding the discussion about making modules easier to use fascinationg.

Some suggestions:

  1. Stop assuming that Unix isn't only the default platform, but the only platform.
  2. Modify h2xs to produce non-Unix friendly output:
    • Supplement the make/test/build lines in the default doc with info on how to extract to a local subdirectory w/o root privileges.
      (It's a pain to look it up every time, and makes us non-super users feel like outsiders).
    • Have the documentation automatically indicate whether the module, and its dependencies, are pure Perl or not.
      The default is spreading FUD about the need for a compiler. What percentage of CPAN modules really require one?
  3. Replace make as the default with one of the new Perl modules being built for that purpose.
  4. Have said module be smart enough to detect
    • Lack of root privileges
    • Lack of compiler

    and be smart enough to gently guide users to making the correct choices:

    • install locally and put in a use lib command
    • download a gcc compiler and compile
    • connect to ActiveState and download
  5. Form a better connection with the ActiveState repository, so Pause automatically sends c-based modules to the PPM repository.

Certainly some of these are easier than others. But any will help make those of us without root feel less like deadwood among the Perlish.