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filling the void

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), who's been in the news lately about his "last lecture". He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and told he had about six months to live. This was a couple of months ago, and sadly, this brilliant man has passed away. I had heard about this last lecture before, thinking it was a cool thing, but I hadn't actually watched it. Then I was having dinner the other night with a friend of mine who goes to CMU and he mentioned Randy in passing. Then earlier today, talking to a friend of mine, he also mentioned Randy's lecture and told me that I might find it interesting. "Might find it interesting" was the understatement of the century. Watching it just now, I was completely blown away by not only this man's genius and insight into life, but also his incredible humility. It was truly a treat. While this man is a computer scientist, and many of you may not be, watching this 76 minute talk will fill you with such awe and wonderment, while at the same time filling you with such clarity and wisdom that missing this should almost be criminal.
I really had no idea what this talk would be about, and I certainly did not know that it would be this good. It is an absolute jewel, and I consider myself incredibly lucky to have just seen it, even though it was a webcast. The talk is available on YouTube here. This man is absolutely brilliant, and the world is a worse place without him. Watch this talk! I don't care if you do anything else in your life, but you watch this talk. It is that good. Such wisdom, such insight, such delivery. I really cannot say enough good things about this man!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Worldwide Employment Market

I'm currently looking in to finding a job in a nice country. In most of these countries, they speak a language that I am unfamiliar with. They also have different cultural differences, and ways of doing business. What they also have, are different ways of finding work. Most countries have some websites with listings, and this is where the problem begins. I'm very happy that these websites exist, but the problem is that there are so many of them! Why not consolidate? Why not just make one or a few incredibly large sites that have everything in them? The government does, and it seems to be working for them.

I would especially like a worldwide site for this, or at the very least a continent-wide site. something like europejobs.com that would list ALL available jobs in Europe. It's not difficult technically, and it would be easier for both employers and (prospective) employees, since it would all be gathered in one place. Especially since we're supposed to be in the EU now, with free movement of people, services and capital. It should be a breeze to hire someone from a different country in the EU. It would certainly make life easier for expats like myself. It's not that I don't want to do the work hunting for jobs, I'm just saying that it would be easier if everyone pooled their resources.

Sadly, I know that this will never happen, because there are issues of bikeshedding and "not written here" syndrome evident throughout the world. The inability of people to get along and reach a solution that is beneficial to all parties involved is, on a larger scale, the reason for most of the troubles in the world. I suppose this is painfully obvious, if you think about it. If there is no disagreement, there would be no problems. Disagreement is inherent in humans, but I wish people could set some of it aside for the greater good, in some cases. Especially when it comes to helping people. People who are in the business of helping other people should be able to get along and work together instead of against each other. It would cut down on overhead, and would increase the amount of help they can dish out, regardless of what this help could be.

Make my life easier, please. Make everybody's life easier. You can you it, you have the technology!

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Friday, July 04, 2008

Firefox 3 revisited

I'm back to Firefox 2 again. Firefox 3 had such different behavior and look compared to Firefox 2, none of which was customizable, that I just couldn't stand it. Also, the fact that Firefox 3 was a HUGE memory hog didn't go over particularly well with me either. It's not unheard of to see FF3 use 2-3 times as much memory as FF2 for the same set of tabs. They also added their own custom widgets, because there were some behavior problems with Mac, that this is where the slippery slope to hell begins. it is VERY rare that you have to make your own widgets. The scrollbars and buttons that come with the OS are excellent, work great, and in the vast majority of cases do exactly what you want them to do. Apparently that wasn't good enough for the FF3 team, so decided to roll their own, to the detriment of all their users. While I did find a plug-in that would let me use Windows native scroll-bars, it just wasn't the same. It felt like they were fucking me over, simply because they could. FF2 is crisp, clear, fast, and doesn't cause my mouse to freeze up when I play wow. FF3 is none of these things.

All in all, FF3 is an absolute horror and a mess, and I really hope I see a 4.0 soon that takes care of all the fucking garbage they put in to FF3. I'd stick with FF2, but they stop support in mid-december 2008, which is mere months away. Most companies continue supporting their old products for a lot more than 6 months (Windows XP will be supported with security patches to 2014, if I'm not mistaken), but apparently not the Firefox team. What with the 8 million downloads on release day, maybe they don't give two shits about people still running older version. Then again, I did run Netscape 7.2 for ages until I finally switched. I think I can do the same thing with FF2.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Firefox 3.0 Tamed

My recent gripes about firefox 3 was that it looked like hammered shit sprayed with glitter. The graphical design was an absolute abomination (except for the back and forward buttons, they were nice). What I've now found, however, is an extension called "Classic Compact Options", which will let me return to the beautiful look of firefox2.

Dialog boxes are still ugly, but they're not as bad anymore. I think I'll move to FF3 at home too, now that I know that most problems can be remedied.