The word you’re actually looking for is irregardful.
The word you’re actually looking for is irregardful.
Part of running an actual server (as opposed to shared web hosting) is actually being concerned about security. I regularly keep an eye on my access logs and the like, and I don’t usually find that much to worry about — I just keep iptables, and a few other tools, within reach.
But this particular user-agent string show up in visits from time to time (bots, I’m guessing)… what the hell is Firefox Miami Style?
126.96.36.199 - - [26/Dec/2013:13:34:39 -0500] "POST /wp-login.php/wp-login.php HTTP/1.1" 200 10956 "writegeek.com/wp-login.php/wp-login.php" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:21.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/21.0 USA\\Miami Style"
Trying to POST to a nonexistent URL? That’s classic Miami style, if I’ve ever seen it.
I probably haven’t used Winamp in a decade, but learning that it’s finally going away for good brought it back to the top of my mind this week.
Winamp wasn’t just my primary digital-music-playing-thing1 — like many people, it was the first thing I ever used to play MP3s.
Yes Junior, back then Windows Media Player was for CDs and WAV files, and iTunes didn’t exist yet.2
What made Winamp so awesome? I could devote a whole post3 to the genius of Winamp skins, and things I’ve been reading (1, 2, 3) overwhelmingly reference the classic “whip the llama’s ass” sound clip — which, in addition to being a neat little branding thing, was permanently imprinted on everyone’s memory by being the first thing that would play after installation.
Those were cool, but my favorite Winamp memory is something a little less… superficial, perhaps? It’s a short piece of writing that long ago was featured on the “About” page of winamp.com:
What is Winamp? A player you say? No, no baby. Winamp is much more than that.
Winamp is a lifestyle. It is freestyle. Give me a word. Versatility? Yeah. Visionary? Of course. Community? Now you’re talking.
Winamp lives because it’s users have a life.
Winamp is in the coffee house. On the laptop. Of the guy. Who is writing the screenplay. That you will be watching next year.
Winamp is on the screen. In the club. Where the DJ plays the tracks. That get you through the night.
Winamp is with you. When you take your playlist. Push it to the ether. And share the music that you love. With all of humanity.
Winamp lets you put together the soundtrack. That runs in the background of your mind. And allows you to define your life.
Winamp is your skin. Allowing you to look and feel the way you want.
Winamp is what it is and nothing more. But you are the one who makes it. Winamp is there for you. It is yours. What happens next? You tell me. Download Winamp.
–jonathan “feel the love” ward
Reading it back then left me a bit misty, filled with this strangely inspired feeling. The piece comes to mind every once in a while, at which point I seek out a copy to re-read it. Look, I can’t point to anything in particular that I wrote or created thanks to this inspiration. But in some way, it made me think differently not just about the power of music, but the transformative power of what would otherwise seem like trivial software. Reading this made me feel like Winamp did more than just “play music.”
But in reality, that’s all it did. Or was there more?
Give me a word. Hyperbole? Maybe. Awesome? Undeniable.
As a kid, I didn’t know anything about Ovaltine aside from their commercials, so I hadn’t seen it as a sponsor of classic radio and television, as a joke on Seinfeld, or as a big fat liar in A Christmas Story. I can’t remember any of my friends having anything to say about it, either.
I was totally unbiased.
But from the company’s marketing alone, I could tell that rich chocolate Ovaltine was uncool. I had never drunk any — and decades later, I still haven’t — but if I ever had, I certainly wouldn’t have told anyone about it.
I’m not exactly sure why the stuff made my lame-sense tingle as a kid. Maybe because Ovaltine was named after a shape (and shapes are for little kids), or that its marketing proudly proclaimed that it was full of vitamins (like everything parents love, and kids don’t), but what I suspect it was… was a little more basic than that.
Watched the ad above? Note the ending. “More Ovaltine, please!” closed all Ovaltine ads of my childhood. My present-day cynical, works-in-marketing self can imagine some agency selling this concept to the Ovaltine company with “Look, these kids not only love this vitamin-filled drink, but they love it so much they’ll develop manners and ask for it politely! Parents will eat this up!”
But my kid self saw things a little differently. “Wow, these kids are super-polite. That’s totally uncool.1 I don’t want this. Where’s the Nestlé Quik? That rabbit is cool.”
There’s a marketing message here, and it probably goes a little something like this:
If you have different targets, your messaging needs to speak differently (use “code-switching”) when speaking to different targets — there’s peril to face when one target receives a message tailored to another. It may fall on deaf ears, or maybe turn them off, entirely. Tell my mom about the vitamins — tell me about the chocolate.
And so on. But there’s also a human message here:
Look, as you grow you’re encouraged to “act your age” and as part of that, cast aside things and behaviors associated with people younger than you, and instead do things that are more becoming for someone as grown as you are. Society beats the kid out of you.
To be able to act your age is wonderful and arguably necessary… as long as you can still, as they say, “walk a mile” in smaller shoes when the situation calls for it. And, of course, recognize why a kid — this kid, kind of grown up now — may not be interested in your vitamin drink, however how rich and chocolatey it might be.
I know it’s 2013 and as far as “mobile computing” goes, I’m supposed to be pinch-zooming and app-buying and poorly-typing on a tablet like the cool kids. And I do — my O.G. Nexus 7 (the 2012 model) sometimes makes a nice companion1 to my Galaxy Nexus Android phone, by being slightly faster and having a slightly better screen. However, over the 15 months I’ve owned the Nexus 7, it never quite became the second mobile device that I wanted. Useful, yes… transcendent, no.
I knew something was still missing, so I recently went and bought a small laptop computer, a Lenovo ThinkPad X230, to carry around. It runs Debian Linux. It does the things I want. It’s a wonderful thing to have.
The laptop that the ThinkPad replaced was from 2007, and while a decent computer from back then would likely still be good today, my old laptop was not a decent computer, even when new. Back then, I didn’t know just how painfully slow an ultra-low-voltage, low clock-speed CPU could be… I guess I thought it being dual-core would somehow make up for it. Also, the cooling fan was a bit of a whiner, and would constantly and very vocally disagree with Linux’s style of power management. The darned thing would constantly sound like a mini-jet-engine — too obnoxious to use around people I actually like.
Low on power, high on noise — not a good combo.
In the last half-decade or so, mainstream humans seem to have accepted the smartphone, and seem to be doing the same for the idiot camera (“tablets”). It’s the “Post-PC era,” or something. Plenty of people seem to be doing okay without spending much time on their general-purpose personal computers, but over time I realized that as I tried to go along with this trend, I was missing out. For me, a computing life centered around mobile “smart” devices was one of unacceptable compromise. Composing more than a couple of sentences without a keyboard makes me want to just not bother to write, devices without expandable storage make one dependent on rent-seeking “cloud” services, and the mobile app ecosystem has handfuls of well-known problems (privacy, lock-in, and so on).
There’s a place for these devices, even in my life, but they just don’t replace a general-purpose computer. Ever.
I made sure not to make last time’s mistakes when buying this computer. The i5 CPU is more than adequate, and I have a ton of RAM. ThinkPads are known to play nicely with Linux, because they’re used by that awesome kind of geek who figures that shit out (and wouldn’t put up with a jet engine laptop). It runs Debian Jessie (“testing”) with only minor annoyances — not perfect, but nothing I can’t handle.2
Hardware build-quality and durability are major plusses for an everyday carry machine, and that’s what ThinkPads are known for. And of course,
TrackPoint is truly the best way to mouse. A lot has been said about the new ThinkPad keyboards, and while this one suffers from the bullshit key layout (compare it to the awesome, ugly 1337-geek classic style), the keyboard actually feel pretty nice to type on, even if the bizarrely-placed PrintScreen key occasionally enrages me.
In the spirit of burying the lede, here are some things I intend to enjoy while toting around this rock-solid, large-screen-and-real-keyboard device:
If you’re not a rapper promoting your new album — and especially if you’re a non-rapper who works in marketing — can you do us a favor and not use “drop” to mean “the date on which [my thing] is set to be released”?
I’m sorry you’ve chosen e-mail spam or whatever the fuck you do for a living, but talking about the day your new campaign or whatever “drops” doesn’t make you sound hip or hard or whatever.
There is one acceptable use outside the rap game: are you a pregnant woman discussing the date your kid is due to be born? Then that’s… actually totally cool.
“Lil’ shorty drops November 7th. Yeah.“
Oh, hey guys — I just invented a new word.
(v. intr; past participle of toolbog)
To become so consumed by the process of researching and selecting gear (often software) for a given task that one never actually completes the task itself
I’ve been completely toolbogged trying to automate fixing the date and time on hundreds of RAW files from vacation last fall… that I never even sorted the pics themselves!1