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Instant messaging is in a bizarrely fractured state right now and what strikes me as odd about it, is that on the whole people are happy with it.
I started being active on the Internet in a serious capacity around ‘96 or ‘97, at the time the vast majority of folks I encountered were on ICQ or AOL Instant Messenger. These protocols were by and large closed and proprietary (That is somewhat of an over simplification of AIM’s history considering the nature of the OSCAR vs TOC protocols, but that can be tabled for our purposes.) Half my friends were on one, half my friends were on the other.
Needless to say toggling back and forth between both clients was a bit of a nuisance, when Yahoo Messenger arrived on the scene in ‘98 and MSN Messenger arrived in ‘99 I merrily ignored their existence not wanting more balls to juggle.
Posted by trashHeap on Fri, 22 Nov 2013
One of the toughest things to nail when thinking about deleting my google account was what to do about my YouTube subscriptions. I may have some beef with with google, but YouTube is frankly a damn fine product.
One does not need an account to view YouTube videos, but one is left to one’s own devices for finding out if or when any particular channel updates.
Luckily the Internet has a prescribed mechanism for subscribing to and updating feeds with information in them via RSS. It also just so happens that Google internally uses RSS feeds for all Youtube channels. They do not advertise what these RSS feeds are, typically. They do however, follow predictable patterns.
I am likely not the first person to do this, but largely because I didn’t want to do it by hand (and partly because I thought it would be a good exercise) I wrote a small command line utility to parse URLs from YouTube and output RSS feeds. It can operate in an optional batch mode reading URLs from a text file, and outputting a OPML file for a RSS reader.
Posted by trashHeap on Mon, 4 Nov 2013
During the last three weeks the following things have happened:
Posted by trashHeap on Sat, 2 Nov 2013
pidgin-opensteamworks is a plugin for the Pidgin instant messenger allowing it to connect to Valve’s Steam service. (Actually it should work with anything using libpurple, so any telepathy client w/ telepathy-haze can likely make use of it as well.)
However it is currently unpackaged in Debian and worse, its makefile is crap. I ran across a dozen posts at various blogs and associated comments which were all generating noise on how to massage the Makefile into a working state for their respective distributions. None of which really worked for me.
I discovered it was packaged in an Ubuntu PPA but it had a dependency on a version of libc which was newer than what Wheezy ships. However I was able to extract a makefile from the source package, apply it to the SVN code and got it to compile relatively cleanly.
Posted by trashHeap on Wed, 23 Oct 2013
By David Gerrold
When HARLIE Was One, is an interesting book. It has a couple different narratives that intertwine and layer. On the surface it is a science fiction novel set in the very near future of 1972 about a company who has created the world’s first artificial intelligence, with much of that narrative set as a corporate political drama.
HARLIE in the story is the product of a R&D attempt to make a general purpose computer capable of making decisions and programming itself, paralleling the structure of the human brain. The story takes place very matter of factly around the time of HARLIE’s first birthday.
The drama of this aspect of the story is derived in part from HARLIE having a will of his own. He often finds creative legalistic holes in his directives. However this is secondary to a very real danger posed to HARLIE, the company who runs him doesn’t quite know how to make a profit off of him and his operation is quite expensive.
The fact that the company can not figure out how to monetize an artificial intelligence is sort of an interesting angle for the book to take, considering just how common the theme of monetizing robots and A.I. are in the genre. Even by 1972 the genre had many examples of societies transformed by commercially available sentient computers and robots.
Posted by trashHeap on Sun, 6 Oct 2013