Oct 22, 2020
You may have noticed that this site has been dormant for a long time. This is true. This started off as a fan site for Userfriendly and in 1999 morphed into UFies.org when the domain was registered. The only evidence of the original ufies.userfriendly.org is through the Internet Archive, and the 'older news' page is not found there. So I don't know how long the site has been around.
Let's just say that it's from back in the day when web rings where a thing.
This is the first change to the site since 2016, as it's been moved from the server it's been hosted on for the last few years to a new system, and a certain amount of cleanup has been done. I've removed all the CGI, template files, and anything executable from the site, and it is just a flag html site. Thanks to Movable Type for not only running the site since 1999, but also working in such a way that it outputs plain old HTML files, instead of relying on a database to run.
This site morphed from news about the community for the group of us who gathered in #userfriendly on IRC (undernet.org) into a news site, sort of like Slashdot.org and Digg. I didn't have aspirations to do it as a job, it was just a fun way of spreading out cool links to my friends. A combination of twitter, reddit and Facebook, just 20 years before them.
It was also a dumping ground for things as I learned Linux and technology, and I give the server this site runs on now and in the past full and complete credit for helping me become the technologist that I am today. Not all of it was pretty. There were database admin web apps sitting unprotected, files and test files left on the site, hidden only by their filenames not linked anywhere (like the site's SSL private key file), and a myriad of other things that I've been aghast at as I've been cleaning up the site. Each of those things is still a path in the journey though, right?
I'm keeping the site up for historical purposes, in all its bad design, broken-HTML glory. There's nothing here that's relevant to anyone anymore, but I hate it when sites I love disappear. It feels like there's a hole left in the universe (well, the internet anyway) where they used to be, and more often than not what's left turns into an ISP landing page or a redirect to some scummy looking, or completely irrelevant site. It just feels ... wrong. I also have a huge pull for the nostalgic. Looking through the files that make up the site and seeing file dates in the early 2000s gives my heart a little pitter patter for some reasons. The site was born when I was in my early 20s, single, just moved out of the house and was living in my first apartment, with my first cat. Computers were boxes with PS/2 connectors on the back, and cellphones aren't really a thing, much less smartphones.
So the site stays up. Please feel free to explore, see the old news bits and videos that I thought were fun or relevant. Exciting news like finding a leak of Half Life 2 screenshots or how to get Galeon to use anti-aliased fonts to the mundane of unscheduled reboots where I obviously was under the impression that a few hours of downtime for this little site warranted a post. There are some hidden gems in there, like a link to X vs XP (archive.org link) - which started me down the road to being a Mac nerd (relevant to a previous comment, the current XvsXP.com site leads to a home products review site).
Another artifact resurrected is Peer 2 Peer Personals, a dating site that I created in February of 1999 for the User-friendly (called UFies) community. This has also been stripped of any functionality, and is left there as a memorial to the project that could have turned into something real if more effort was put in. Who knows, maybe I could been a player in the dating site landscape today.
It never went anywhere, though I do believe that at least one marriage resulted from it. Now whether it was from the site itself or simply as a result of two people meeting in the community around the site (in the early 2000s Userfriendly was a viral phenomenon) - who knows. I'd like to believe I had some small part in it.
So there it is. The site is here, and for the first time in 4 years here's an update. Honestly it's been a wild ride and while I honestly doubt many people will see this - I don't care. There's a certain catharsis to writing this all down.
If you care to find me and say hi, just google me, I'm easy enough to find.
Update 2022-04-21: Someone noticed that the userfriendly.org domain is down, owned by someone else, and blank. The era is over for real now my friends :( Luckily someone also noticed this and posted on hacker news with a few links to archives that have been spidered over the years. I've added a link to the sidebar with this link for posterity. I have no idea about the copyright implications, but there's the link for you. I know I haven't been really "part" of userfriendly for almost a decade, but this really has hit me. It was a huge part of my identity over the years, and I've made both IRC and IRL friends through it, as well as it being a big contributing factor to my own personal and professional growth. Building this server, email, learning how to set up raid and linux servers and services has put me where I am now, 20+ years later. :(
So as it’s been rumored this week, Pebble’s Next Step is to be shut down and acquired by FitBit.
However—due to various factors—Pebble is no longer able to operate as an independent entity. We have made the tough decision to shut down the company and no longer manufacture Pebble devices.
I heard that they turned down a $700m acquisition a while back, and now they are being sold off for parts. This is especially traumatizing for the people who just got their new Pebble 2 and Pebble Time 2’s (or are still waiting). Part of the challenge with Kickstarter of course, but also not super surprising.
Obviously wish them all the best but it still sucks. Pebble can be argued as the first “real” smartwatch and maybe that was their role in life, not to be the first and stay around forever.
Vox article on trolling the IRS scammers, you know, the ones that call you up and tell you that you owe the IRS money and pay it now or they’ll send the police after you.
That’s how I ended up talking to “Steve Smith” for 30 minutes. He was a senior investigations officer — the actual person who walks you through how to send them money. I learned that his secret is maintaining an aura of authority. That’s how he optimizes fear. That’s how he gets people to suspend logic, drive to Walgreens, and buy iTunes gift cards to pay the IRS. The scam takes advantage of the most vulnerable people.
KDE Project releases KDE 1… yes, you read that right, and no, this is 2016, not 1996…
The KDE Restoration Project was a personal pet project that born around last QtCon and i took as a letter of love for the project that basically formed my professional life.
So this mad-man (or genius, it’s hard to say) has revamped the original KDE 1.0 code for the modern era. A very cool project, and fascinating to see old tech anew. Of course, sometimes our memories of how awesome something was is more powerful than the reality of how awesome it actually was. It’s left for you to decide if that’s the case here or not though :)
Diego the 100-year-old tortoise rebuilds the population of species almost single-handed. Really what more do you want to know?
‘He’s a very sexually active male reproducer. He’s contributed enormously to repopulating the island,’ said Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist at Galapagos National Park.
Someone has done a lovely deep dive and put up a story with Every Episode of Star Wars, Ranked. Hard to disagree here.
We get answers to questions about what Darth Vader was like as a teenager. What drove him to the dark side? How did he cope with the loss of his mother? How does he feel about the texture of sand?
Via Loopinsight: Orcas hunting seal, seal jumps in boat
We were out with the family looking for whales and a pod of 12 transient killer whales were chasing the seal. It ripped towards the boat in a desperate escape and scrambled on the deck. It fell off three times in panic and finally stayed on until the whales gave up after about 30-45 minutes. Most intense epic experience ever.
I Peeked Into My Node_Modules Directory And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next is a great post on Medium about a deep dive into Node and dependencies.
The above quote is just about one of the modules detailed, but needless to say it turns out it’s a big, ugly, hairy, mess.
Via torrentfreak: Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains, Arrest Owner
The U.S. Government has arrested the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, the world’s largest torrent site. The 30-year-old Ukrainian was arrested in Poland today and is charged with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering. In addition, a federal court in Chicago has ordered the seizure of several KAT domain names.
Looks like our favourite (and most dependent) torrent site may be in a bit of trouble…
The latest interesting Kickstarter out there is The Purpose Hotel, which is a project from great photograher Jeremy Cowart, a crowdfunded hotel with the aim to benefit everyone.
Cool idea, I hope he can pull it off. Here’s a bit more info:
Every once and a while you wonder to yourself “is this a fake headline from the Onion” followed by “this can’t be actually a real thing right?”. That’s exactly what I thought when I saw the headline of “Virginia introduces law to stop 12-year-old girls from getting married”.
Last week, the authorities in the state introduced new legislation that updated rules that had until then made it legal for girls aged 12 or 13 to get married if they had parental consent and were pregnant.
All I can say is that I’m glad that the US, as a world leader and example to other countries, is so progressive.
The first small piece of the Plex Media Server was committed inauspiciously enough on September 20th, 2008, right after 11:30pm. I was probably tired, and possibly drunk. It was just eight months after the very first pre-alpha release of our OSXBMC media center app, which goes to show you how committed we were to making a server.
Great post by John Romero, one of the creators of Doom and Quake, posting on Quake’s 20th birthday: Happy 20th Birthday, Quake
So many great memories of one of the truly groundbreaking games, responsible for ushering in basically every FPS since.
I have to say the best one from this article where Ottawa Police Share the Most Ridiculous Excuses Heard for Distracted Driving is:
“My dad could buy you,” to the Abbotsford, B.C., police officer who responded: “Get him to buy two of me, I could use the help.”
Oh so Abbotsford…
Amazing find by JWZ - Claycat’s DOOM. I’m with Jamie, I’d totally play this!
This one has been making the rounds today… an Epic Star Wars Aerial Battle Shot Using Drones and Creative Camera Work that really is worth a watch. Make sure you watch the 20 minute behind the scenes / making of video as well, lots of explanations about how it was done (not all how you think).
Huge kudos to the team behind this, well done!
This Star Wars - Episode V “The Empire Strikes Back” Homage looks absolutely wonderful!
Very cool project showing How Music Evolved: Billboard’s Hot 100, 1958 - 2016. As @siracusa says, just pick the decade you were in high school and enjoy!
We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of The Drakensberg before. It almost sounds like a region in Game of Thrones, but it’s not: it’s a mountain escarpment in South Africa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the subject of the timelapse above, and probably the newest addition to your bucket list.
Well, I’m sure as hell planning a trip here now!
Cool stuff, check out some of his other work as well.
Medium has a nice The “I’m moving to Canada if they win” Guide to Moving to Canada, along with some things to consider (ie: the super crappy dollar right now). Also I’m a bit of the “well, you clean up your own mess” mind, but hey, it’s still a great article :)
The Setup Wizard is the blog of the IT guy hired to set up wifi at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter universe. Pretty hilarious stuff. Make sure you check out the extract of a few choice bits, or just hit the link and read the whole thing.
After a couple of years of silence, the excellent htop (an interactive process viewer for Unix) has released version 2.0!
Most notably the big change is the addition of the graph type, in addition to bar graph. Here’s an example running on the current UFies.org server:
Note that to get the new graph types you go into setup (S) and then hit ‘space’ on the graph that you’re configuring.
So a new DOOM - Campaign Trailer was released today. I am so excited about this game…. Having played from the original old school doom it’s amazing to see how far the franchise has come!
It’s not all doom and gloom though:
For what it’s worth, I wrote a version of Pipe Dream for Windows on my own time that was included in one of Microsoft Entertainment packs. I was paid a few thousand bucks in stock for that.
That’s the danger though, honestly even if they were a full time employee being paid a good developer salary, do they deserve more somehow just because Solitaire is the most used app ever?
Fascinating story though.
I have to say that the 10 Cloverfield Lane Trailer was filmkaker 101 on how to make a trailer that reveals nothing yet makes it so I can’t wait to see this movie.
On the Rogue Amoeba Blog this morning they announced Loopback, new magical audio routing software for the mac.
So how does Loopback do all this, and more? The secret to Loopback’s power lies in its ability to create “virtual audio devices”. These are system-level audio devices which can be used in real-time by other audio applications on your Mac. These virtual devices appear throughout your system exactly the way a physical device like a microphone would.
And with this, along with their previous product, Audio Hijack, Rogue Amoeba cement themselves into the Mac audio world and become an indispensable tool for podcasters!
The Debian Project sadly announces that it has lost the founder of its community and project, Ian Murdock. Debian is only a part of Ian’s legacy but perhaps the one that he is most known for. Ian was introduced to computers early in his life, and his curiosity turned to familiarity which led him to start actively programming at nine years of age. Later as a young adult at the Krannert School of Management a mandatory programming class rekindled his fascination with computer programming along with an idea and an opportunity to make something better. …
Star Wars: The Force Accounted is a round up of time and stats for all the Star Wars movies.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Official Trailer 2. Not much more to say than this… it looks great!
Cards Against Humanity’s Black Friday Deal Is Literally Nothing, and they’ve made over $38,000 with it. Check out the current status and maybe give them $5 for nothing at all.
I love CaH so much for this… I don’t know or care if it’s a statement about Black Friday, consumerism, or just a way to get more money from it’s fans. I don’t think it matters either.
Hollywood’s hacker war began on February 19, 2004 with a simple phone call. It happened at a T-Mobile store near Los Angeles. The caller told the salesperson he was from the T-Mobile headquarters in Washington. “We heard you’ve been having problems with your customer account tools?” The caller said.
Great little read, and I love the fact that most hacks basically consist of calling someone, telling them you are someone important, and they tell you their password. No exploits, no wild, four handed typing, just some kid saying he’s looking into something and give me your username and password.
Death Star’s architect finally answer the complaints about the exhaust port. Absolutely hilarious. Worth of an @ThatKevinSmith movie.
Excellent article - 5 things the media does to manufacture outrage. A more concise dissection of how stupid things are blown out of proportion by the media to get more clicks I haven’t seen.
Not sure how me linking to the article talking about how the media talks about the media talking about things online counts, but whatever, I’m here to amuse.
The streaming music playing field just got a bit smaller… seems that Rdio is shutting down and Pandora is buying up the scraps. Wonder how this will turn out.
Great article on Modems, wArEz, and ANSI art: Remembering BBS life at 2400bps by Lee Hutchinson over at Ars Technica. I grew up with this stuff, it was my first exposure to connected computers in a day when a 386 was hot stuff. Good memories in there.
Nothing could put you to sleep and get you more centered and focussed for the day than this beautiful Dalek Relaxation Tape.
The Sunrise team blogged today that work on their apps was going to stop. There really wasn’t ever any doubt when they were acquired by Microsoft.
Now here comes the sad news. As the entire team is completely focused on the Outlook for iOS and Android apps, we won’t be updating the Sunrise apps anymore. We won’t lie, it’s tough for us to leave behind the apps we’ve been working on so passionately for the past years.
Sadly, any blog post that starts with “we’re excited to announce” and says “we’re not going anywhere”, you know the next blog post (in this case a couple down the road, but under a year later) would be how they’re sunsetting the app and working full time on the acquiring company’s work.
From what I’ve heard, Outlook for iOS is a great app and the Sunrise team did amazing work on it. Still, sad.
Last year, NASA released a 20-gigapixel photo of the Milky Way that was made up of over 2 million infrared photos. Back in January, NASA published a 1.5-gigapixel photo of the Andromeda Galaxy. If you thought those were big photos, get this: German astronomers have created the largest astronomical photo ever made: a ridiculously big 46-gigapixel photo of the Milky Way that took 5 years to make.
Aurous - Free Music, Whenever, Wherever. I’m just going to leave this here.
It’s a big day here at LastPass. We’re thrilled to announce that we’re joining LogMeIn. As one of the world’s leading SaaS companies, we can’t imagine a better team to align with our values and product-driven mission. With their experience in growing successful brands like join.me, we’re excited to join LogMeIn in delivering the next generation of identity and access management for individuals, teams and companies, with LastPass at the forefront.
I’ll reserve judgement, but you know that blog post announcements about acquisitions starting with “we’re thrilled to announce” are generally bad news for everyone but the founders of the company.
LastPass is the free password manager I recommend to everyone who asks about one, lets hope that they continue as they have been doing.
This morning Marco released Overcast 2, a huge internal revamp of Overcase, his podcast player for the iPhone. Streaming, new options, recommendations, and best of all it’s all completely free, moving from the ‘free with in app purchase’ model it was before. Marco’s moving to a patronage model where you can become a supporter for $1/month, but it’s completely optional. He feels that he’d rather everyone using the best version of his app, which is a good way to think of it.
Well done sir, you’ve made my favorite podcast player that much better.
Who hasn’t wanted to drive the Batman’s Tumbler? Well now you can… check out this video:
The newest version of Ubuntu, 15.10 has been set upon the world. As usual the ReleaseNotes has most of the information that you’re looking for.
Pebble Round appeared on the Pebble Smartwatch site today. Basically it’s what you’d expect from Pebble, it’s a smartwatch, using the same colour e-paper display, battery life measured in days, iPhone and Android compatibility, etc.
Looks like they got around the ‘flat tire’ look of the Android round smartwatches by making the bezel wider (probably hiding a square(ish) display behind it that only uses the circle). Also they specifically say “battery life measured in days” and not the “7-10 day battery life” from before (though I don’t remember 100% if that’s how they said it before). Maybe the smaller profile means less battery by a bit? Who knows.
As the first comment says, time to look for a new anti-virus if you’re on windows and care about your privacy.
America, you’re turning into a parody of yourself.
[…] So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.
The number of things in this article, and I do urge you to actually read it, that should jump out and grab you are astounding.
- He’s still suspended
- “School Police”? Is this the new normal now?
- Arrested for a ‘hoax bomb’.
- Handcuffed - “his hands cuffed behind him and an officer on each arm” - is that really needed for a 13 year old?
But he’s a brown kid so it’s all ok right?
Seriously this is messed up. The kid wants to invent stuff, does invent stuff, and because he’s not white (and let’s not fool ourselves that that has nothing to do with it) he’s getting screwed over because of a bunch of stupid scared people. But it’s ok I guess, “He’s vowed never to take an invention to school again” and if the scared people of Texas are lucky he’ll stop inventing things completely, hide any smarts he has and work a nice safe factory job away from any sort of intelligent thinking at all. Cause we wouldn’t want him to be smart and think or anything like that would we?
The biggest difference was in the tasting, though. In the triangle tests conducted, almost all participants picked out a difference between the space whisky and the mundane Earth-matured control.
As a relatively new Scotch and Whiskey drinker, I’d appreciate Ardbeg sending me a sample to test, please and thankyou.
I’m just going to say “no” right now.