• [X11 Xghghg!hfgdg!!!]

    I was trying to get X11 launching applications from the department’s Solaris server again. As before, I couldn’t immediately get it to work because of “magic cookie” authentication issues. I reviewed my previous notes which pointed to an article at MacWrite.com which might have helped before, but it was suddenly unavailable. The WayBack machine to the rescue. As soon as I had edited my /etc/ssh_config file to include the following information, I was good to go again:

    Ciphers blowfish-cbc, aes128-cbc, 3des-cbc, blowfish-cbc, cast128-cbc, arcfour, aes192-cbc, aes256-cbc
    Compression yes
    ForwardX11 yes
    Protocol 2,1
    RhostsAuthentication no
    RSAAuthentication no
    UseRsh no

    Note: It may be necessary to take out the extra spaces between items in the Ciphers list.

    That, of course, assumed I had already had an entry in my ~/.cshrc file to the effect of:

    setenv DISPLAY :0.0

    Then, I can simply use a variant of the following to, for example, launch dtterm:

    ssh -X eingang@machine_name.com /usr/dt/bin/dtterm

    MATLAB, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to work at all. It used to generate all kinds of font errors looking for various Sun fonts, but it did launch. Now it launches with all the font errors (see sample below), shows the graphical about box and then we’re in the command line environment instead of the GUI development environment.

    Font specified in font.properties not found [ urw itc zapfdingbats medium r normal * %d * * p * sun fontspecific]
    Font specified in font.properties not found [ urw itc zapfdingbats medium r normal * %d * * p * sun fontspecific]

    Note: All the ‘-’ characters appearing inbetween [] above have been changed to spaces to render better in HTML.

    I’ve mailed the Mac technical support person to see if they have any ideas as to why it no longer works and how it might be possible to fix the font errors.

  • [Exult in Exile!]

    EinSweetie and I have just gone back and started playing Myst: Exile again from the beginning. He bought the deluxe edition when it first came out as a present for me, but I put so little priority on game playing in my life that I never really had the chance to get far in it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve finished Riven yet, which is something I was trying to do prior to starting on Exile.
    I’ve always loved the Myst genre and not just because it was first a Mac game. The games have always just been so beautiful to look at, with each subsequent one getting better and better in terms of the audio-visual experience. I also like that they’re not complicated to learn how to play. If you can point and click, you’ve basically mastered the interface. That doesn’t mean they’re easy to play by any stretch of the imagination. I remember putting Myst down for more than 6 months because I was stuck on a puzzle and refused to get help. It turned out that the puzzle was a little glitchy but Riven, too, had its share of puzzles that I don’t think I would have easily solved in a reasonable amount of time without help. The big danger in these kind of games is that the puzzle solutions are too arbitrary; that the environment doesn’t supply sufficient clues to actually solve the puzzles. For the most part, the Myst series has avoided this, supplying an enjoyable level of difficulty.
    What lies ahead for us in our Exile? In three or four hours on a Saturday evening, we explored the terrain of J’nanin fairly thoroughly and were able to enter the “central tusk” plus the “red tusk.” We entered anothert tusk as well, but it has no floor, so we can’t yet get at the book it contains. The “red” tusk has taken us to the world of Voltaic where we’re happily playing with dams, water, and power. There’s much left to explore of Voltaic. Will we uncover the secrets of Releeshan or even reach it? Adventure on!

  • [Fame & Fortune]

    From this week’s Bulletin, newsletter of the University of Sussex.

    A part-time DPhil student in the Informatics department has won a national Associate Lecturer Teaching Award from the Open University (OU). Michelle Hoyle started teaching in the OU’s Faculty of Technology in May 2000 and delivers internet technology courses, primarily online. The award will be presented on 20 April at a ceremony in Milton Keynes and comes with £1,000 to be used for personal and/or professional development.

    It’s also on the front page of the Informatics web site at the university. It’s my 15 minutes of fame this year. (-:

  • [Cherishicity Conundrum]

    I had a powerful dream involving Steven Page of the Barenaked Ladies. Prior to going to sleep the other night, I was talking with my ex in Vancouver. He mentioned he was going to a concert this weekend. I was all grumpy because it was sure to be something good and I would be missing out. It turned out he had decided to go see the Arrogant Worms — definitely not a big-name Canadian band! He had been thinking of going to see the Barenaked Ladies but declined because he thought it wouldn’t be as fun this time without me there. There. Now the scene is set for me to relate the dream.

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  • [Feminine Façades & False Faces]

    I was listening to my ’50 Least Played’ list in iTunes a few weeks ago when it rotated to a Disney soundtrack song called Femininity from the 1963 movie Summer Magic. Talk about lyrics from an age with a different set of values:

    Let him do the talking
    Men adore good listeners
    Laugh, but not too loudly (Haha)
    If he should choose to tell a joke
    Be radiant, but delicate
    Memorize the rules of etiquette
    Be demure, sweet and pure
    Hide the real you

    Can you imagine the damage done to an entire generation of young women upon being advised to “hide the real you”? So you would have a private personality that you could maybe share with your close girl friends and a public personality on display to your husband and his male friends or colleagues. I know I would find it very difficult, cultural expectations and conditioning or not, to go through life projecting a fa�ade so much at odds with my inner self-image, although even I admit to tailoring my self-expression somewhat for the audience at hand. Still, spending a large portion of your life suppressing your natural self sounds like the sure road to psychotherapy and confusion, because you feel that your ‘true self’ is not worthwhile or valued.

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  • [ADHD Adolescent and Adult]

    Hello, my name is Michelle and I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    The Beginning

    Diagnosed, labelled, and forever branded. In 1978, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the psychiatrists and doctors pronounced that I had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That was long before ADHD/ADD was fashionable even in North America. My diagnosis involved my being hospitalized for several months in the childrens’ ward of the University of Alberta hospital while doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists tried to figure out what was “wrong” with me. They arrived at a diagnosis of ADHD only after eliminating everything else they could think of, including schizophrenia. At the time, ADHD, while known in Canada, was not often diagnosed, and it was very uncommon for it to be diagnosed in females.

    What was I like before being diagnosed? Let me take you on a flashback vignette tour.

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  • [Leaves Leave]

    [A solitary leaf in the glorious sunset tones of autumn]
    Today I watched a leaf fall.
    It fluttered slowly down,
    Making no sound at all.

    The leafy greens I love so much,
    Red to yellow, to dried brown.
    They’ll crumble at my touch.

    So now I appreciate the day.
    Life can be unexpectedly short.
    Some day I, too, will fade away.

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  • [Cognomen Command]

    “To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual.”

    – Erica Jong from How To Save Your Own Life, epigraph to “My posthumous life …” (1977).

    “Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds.”

    – George Santayana (1863–1952), U.S. philosopher, poet. Dominations and Powers, bk. 1, pt. 1, ch. 1 (1951).

    Like most people, I had very little choice about my first name. On the day I made my grand “eingang” into the world, my parents burdened and blessed me with my first identity: Michelle A. Hoyle. Michelle—pronounced by them as mih-shell—Annette Hoyle. That is who I am. That is who I will be. That is who I was. Or is it? In my family, it was not a name that inspired—or I was not a person to inspire—nicknames. The closest thing to a nickname ever used among my relatives for me was Shell and that infrequently. Life continued this way until I was fourteen. Christmas of that year marked a turning point in my life. That is when everything hit the fan. That is when I discovered myself. That is when I became me. All these things hinged upon a single Christmas gift, possibly the best present I ever received from my parents: a 300 baud modem for my computer.

    How did a humble piece of technology, no bigger than a paperback book, come to revolutionize my life so much? Communication equals empowerment. A modem opened the way for me to communicate with people who couldn’t see me, but had to accept me based on what I said and how I said it. It didn’t matter that I was fourteen. It didn’t matter that my parents were trolls from an uranium mine shaft. It didn’t matter that I didn’t fit into my local social milieu in any way, shape or form. Edmonton had a very active discussion-based electronic bulletin board community. Although I didn’t belong to any of the cliques there (of which there were three major ones), I had a passport that enabled me to travel seamlessly between groups. They never directly invited me to events, but I was always welcomed. I had found a much better, more accepting home than my parents had ever provided me with. This was heady stuff. I made friends, close friends, during this time. Most of the closest I’m still in contact with and still doing things with almost twenty years later. Without the affirmation and acceptance I found in this community, I probably would have just given into despair over the course of my life, most of which I felt powerless to control.

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  • [Adventures Across the Atlantic]

    S&M Files, Episode 2: November 27, 1999
    Continued Price Shock

    Hearing price shock from me is not surprising. What is surprising is how it continually sneaks up and waps me upside the head.

    Mini Doughnuts: Remember those little doughnuts that float about the deep fryer on little conveyer belts and pop out fresh and hot at $2 bag or 3 / $5. Well, surprise! The Toonie-sized wonders are here for a reasonable pound note ($2.60). Oh wait, that’s £1 for 3 donuts. Count them: 1-2-3. Ha! Ha! Three little donuts. For those that can’t afford that kind of extravagance they can be purchased *singly* for a mere 35p (86¢).

    Coke: Needing my fix, I hit the local Safeway and found cans of Coke on sale. Say, that’s pretty reasonable: a pack for about $4.50. Safeway normally discounted a 12 pack to $4.00 back home. It wasn’t until I tried to pick it up that I found out it was a 6-pack.

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  • [Essaying England]

    S&M Files, Episode 1: November 24, 1999

    England is well… England. The stereotypes are all true.

    Little lanes
    Wet weather
    Tiny shops
    Small cars
    Outrageous prices
    Little red chimneys
    British countryside
    All those silly Monty Pythoners everywhere. Two on the corner. One
    serving me at the store. Two figuring out how to hire a shopping cart.
    Help! I’m stuck in a skit.

    It’s like an overdone Hollywood set brought to life.

    Flew in from bright sunshine and fluffy into a slow descent into wet and
    drizzling. Welcome to London, Stephen Dodd.

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