king of the mountain

satisfaction >>> Today was a good day -- a good, solid day. Spent most of it building and refining Perl code to parse some text files and insert stuff into a database, then decided to update the software on my workstation -- which involves compiling a whole load of stuff. See, I'm pretty used to the environment I use at home -- Gnome with Sawfish -- and so when I got to NCBI, I took some time and built most of Gnome 1.0 in my userspace. Now I'm upgrading it to 1.2, and re-organizing things a bit in the process. The problem is, there's not much GNU stuff available at work -- most of the common *nix programs are Solaris-flavored. Add in the fact that I don't have root on the box, and in the end, I end up with about half a Linux distribution compiled into my $HOME...

against future need... >>> had a tutorial on building coding Gnome apps in Perl recently. had a Squid configuration HOWTO. (Squid is a caching HTTP/FTP proxy, which can have the effect of really speeding up your web browsing.) Maybe if I read this, I can figure out how to reduce Squid's memory footprint a bit...

Info on automatically updating Junkbuster config files. (Junkbuster is a filtering HTTP proxy -- it blocks banner ads and such, which also improves the speed of your net connection.)

must-haves >>> Tom over at Ft. Boise had a list of his most-used software the other day, and I thought I'd share mine too:

Program Used for Use Open Source? Free
(as in beer)?
XEmacs Writing, coding constant yes yes
Gnus Mail and news constant yes yes
Netscape Web browser constant no yes
Gnome Terminal command line stuff constant yes yes
Sawfish Window manager constant yes yes
J-Pilot Visor sync and desktop PIM daily yes yes
Sitescooper web site scraping into Visor format daily yes yes
Genpage HTML preprocessor (used to produce Genehack) almost daily ;^)= yes yes
Mozilla web browser weekly yes yes

Plus a slew of command-line tools -- fetchmail, analog, ssh. This isn't everything I use, of course -- just the things I'd be hard pressed to do without.

('Constant' in the table means that basically I open the app when I login, and have it open and running all the time.)

first, they came for the readers >>> Last month, David Pogue had an editorial in MacWorld about privacy in the 'net age, basically arguing that people were being way too paranoid and that they should find better things to worry about. Can't find a link to the piece, but I think he might even have trotted out the "if you don't do anything wrong, you don't have anything to worry about" meme. It was easily the most wrong-headed piece of opinion masquerading as tech journalism that I've seen in recent memory (okay, maybe I just need to get out more).

Want an example of why? Look no further than the Tattered Cover case in Denver, where cops want bookstore records so that they can track down somebody (or somebodies) who was running a meth lab. Sure, at first that might seem like a reasonable thing to try -- but even leaving aside the 'slippery slope' arguments, there are legitimate purposes behind making sure a purchase. Gag gifts, for one; book collecting, for another. Of course, we have to expect that during the War on Drugs, there are going to be some collateral casualties, like our civil rights.

odd search queries leading to genehack >>>
pictures of jewish women
tipper gore nude
research articles on the way people dress
scay movie

In some cases, I can almost understand why somebody did the search, but why, in the name of all that's semi-intelligent, did they click through to my site?

nodalpoint >>> Yesterday, for some reason, SciTechDaily had a link to an interview with William Gibson, about his new book All Tomorrow's Parties. Bit odd, since I've had the book for awhile now (it's got a 1999 copyright), so "new" is a bit of a stretch. Interesting interview, however.

Meanwhile, Salon has a piece about Bruce Sterling and his new book, which actually appears to be new. Sounds like I might need to wander towards a bookstore this weekend; it's been a while.

rna world >>> Looks like a small RNA molecule that regulates development in worms (C. elegans, to be specific) is universally conserved in metazoans. A big portion of the molecular biology world tends to think of RNA as that unimportant molecule between DNA and protein in the Central Dogma -- and it drives the people who work on RNA nuts. Some of those people have been saying for years that RNA would play key roles in regulation of gene expression, and now it's starting to look as if they're right.

at the core >>> I have a certain tendency to think of Michael Moore as a funny, slap-dash kind of guy. I think it's because time dulls the memory of how dark Roger & Me and Moore's later TV shows were -- they were funny, but whistling-in-the-dark funny. From reading his latest letter, however, it sounds like he's stopped whistling, and started shouting.

welcome back >>> Indirection is back on the air.

knowing your limits... >>> a good thing, I think. I've still got some links squirreled away in the goodie bag, but I think I'll save them for later this weekend.

(While I'm getting meta, I removed the sidebar, and slapped some reasonable sizes on the layout table -- let me know if it's still too wide.)