Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Hacks: Articles about programming in Python, Perl, PHP, and whatever else I happen to feel like hacking at.

Hacks category added

Jerry Stratton, March 17, 2005

I’ve just returned from the final Tuesday night reception at the O’Reilly Emerging Technologies conference. So far it’s been pretty cool. In honor of the conference, I’ve added a hacks section to this blog.

The Mimsy Hacks will take over from the temporary blog running on Geeklog on my office workstation, as well as any new articles that would otherwise go into Neon Alley. Tutorials are likely to go here first before being compiled into PDF/HTML documents on Neon Alley.

Topics will most likely include PHP, Perl, and Python scripts, Persistence of Vision scripts, and HTML and CSS hacks. And anything else that just seems cool, useful, or so painfully useless that I need to post it here simply to justify having wasted the time to come up with it.

This is also a better place for the “Representing code in HTML” note that I’d earlier put under notes, so I’ve moved that article here.

Wednesday night

Make Magazine, by the way, is pretty cool. At their shindig tonight their contributors had, variously, a do-it-yourself card reader to let you know what is on your card, a laser-guided golf club, and something in an old Atari 2600 case running what looked like stand-alone Ms. Pac-Man.

Thursday

Lawrence Lessig compared the copyright monoliths such as the RIAA to the doctor in H. G. Well’s “The Country of the Blind”. In that story, a man gets lost in a country where everyone else is blind. To them he seems a crazy person. They find the solution to his disease:

“And I think I may say with reasonable certainty that, in order to cure him completely, all that we need do is a simple and easy surgical operation--namely, to remove these irritant bodies.”

“And then he will be sane?”

“Then he will be perfectly sane, and a quite admirable citizen."

Verizon and other telco’s have technology companies cowed; they are afraid to speak to Congress because they rely on the telcos for their business. For a moment, I considered suggesting an anonymous donation service with Paypal or something. But of course, this would almost certainly volate several campaign finance reform laws. Even anonymous lobbying probably violates campaign laws.

Campaign finance reform as it currently stands does not just keep the public informed: it also keeps bullies and monopolies informed when someone is trying to thwart their monopoly.

The BBC is going to be opening up their archive of video and audio to UK download and open reuse and remix. One potential problem is the complex interlocking of copyright monopoly holders in the archive; much of the problems discussed today with re-using cultural works would be solved with more reasonable monopoly lengths: the orignal 14 to 28 years makes a lot more sense in today's complex world.

We are giving a lot in the way of special privileges for copyright holders. We ought to get something back in our lifetimes.

  1. <- Python HTML
  2. Style Sheets ->