Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category


Sunday, June 13th, 2010

A few days ago as I walked toward the spice rack at Whole Foods, a man in his fifties, about my height but wiry, approached me from the left. By walking up to the spice rack I forced him to go around behind me, but as there was an end cap protuding to my right, he would have had to circumnavigate any way.

As I walked up to the rack, He continued in a straight line, and I laughed nervously at the you-go-right-I-go-right sense of it, and started to say something, to which he ducked his head and with a “Mrrrrruuhhh!” put his hands out front and shoved me.

It was obviously not a credible attempt to hurt me so much as a childish fit of pique. I stared at him quizzicly as he passed around me, then laughed and yelled, “You might want to watch yourself there, buddy!” after him. He said something like “You did it!” while trying to intimidate me with his eyebrow, then turned and walked away.

I was going to let it go at that, but Travis thought the guy looked kind of coked-up and/or crazy, and and alerted the staff, who had a word with him (he said I walked into him, but they said it was obvious from the way he was acting that he’d done it).

Anyway, that’s the strangest thing that happened to me last week.

I got no imacination, z’what my problem is…

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

So we moved my second computer into the studio upstairs, which kind of sucks because that means there’s no computer downstairs. We used to use the computer downstairs to look at game walkthroughs, pull things up on IMDB, look at things on eBay, check mail, check MySpace, etc. So it was a bad thing. I have significant parts of a “real” computer lying around, so you’d think I’d play it like that, maybe get some memory from Fry’s and put todgether something that worked.

That would have been the easy way to do it, but easy’s not my style. No, I went down to the Goodwill ComputerWorks (50ff Macs day) and picked up a 333MHz, 288MB, 6.4GB iMac for seventy bucks, With tax.

MacOS 8 wasn’t cutting it, and MacOS X would not run on it, so I decided to install Ubuntu on it. Since the ancient CD-ROM drive on it wouldn’t read the Ubuntu CDs I burned, this ended up being more of an epic journey than I’d planned. I had to install a TFTP server and boot files on my system upstairs, then get the iMac to boot from the network adapter. It took me a while to get all this straight, but now I’ve got some turquoise cuteness in my living room running Linux, which works pretty damned well for browsing the web…as long as you don’t need flash:

I even posted this blog entry from it, although that was more trouble than it should have been. Check out this screen shot.

Note to self, because I know I’ll forget it: Little Trini = 16″x12″ viewable exactly, Big Trini = 19″x12.125″ viewable.

Time to bust out the tinfoil hats!

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Wired news has an interesting article by the former AT&T technician who blew the whistle on them for installing secret rooms in their Internet service networking facilities and splitting the light signals so that the NSA could monitor your Internet traffic.

I know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking that AT&T isn’t your service provider, so what do you give a shit? Well, the interesting thing is that most Internet traffic runs over AT&Ts network at some point, and, according to the documents in the story, those “peering points” are split as well.

Sure, this may not be a big deal for you. I mean, probably nobody in the government cares about your inane little activities, but it makes me nervous to think that the NSA knows exactly when and where I’m uploading a picture of myself in high heels and a pink tutu to That could end ugly.

Still, it’s good this information is coming out, and only a couple years after it went down. I mean, Project Shamrock was around for decades before we heard about it. Or, you know, somebody did. I was three.


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

So today I wanted really bad to go to Fry’s and get in on their 20″ widescreen flat-panel display deal for $329, but I don’t have as much money as I want, so instead I went to Goodwill Computer Works, where I found a Sony Multiscan E540 21″ Trinitron monitor for $75, and–get this–a 24″ widescreen Dell P1690 for $85. This is what my mothafuckin’ computer look like RIGHT NOW:

Here’s my brother’s studio:

I’ve got a Full-sized screen shot of both monitors on my desktop to give an idea of how much my monitors love my eyes. You can see more things at the same time, and therefore do more things at the same time, which will allow you to get out from in front of your computer faster, which I’m going to do now.-k. ^-^

Fractal Wallpaper

Monday, May 15th, 2006

Hey, I just put up some 1600×1200 fractal wallpapers that I made a hear ago with a program I wrote. I think they’re pretty. They’d look good on your desktop. They are images of the Mandelbrot and various Julia sets with different coloring algorithms.

The best Windows freeware list, May 2006

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

I don’t like paying for things, and I don’t like stealing them if I can avoid it. So, when I need something done, I look for freeware first. Over the years I’ve run across some of the best software on the planet, and it’s all free, in some sense. Because people often infect their machine with some sort of malevolence when all they wanted was some nice, free software for burning CDs, I decided to make a list for those of you who have better things to do with your life.

Of course, some free softwares are freer than others; some software is free as in speech, meaning it’s free for anybody to use and distribute. Other software is only free as in beer, meaning that it doesn’t cost you money, but you’re not allowed to redistribute it to others, and it may only be free for personal use, rather than as part of a business.

My standards for this list are that it must be at least free as in beer, and it must not contain spyware, adware, or any start-up message boxes that nag you to buy the full version. Software can be on this list even if it’s free only for personal use, so think twice about using any personal-use-only software on systems at your place of work or home office.

I’m thinking maybe I’ll update this list every six months or so. Or, maybe this is all you get.

The List

  • Best Free Web Browser: Firefox – Firefox isn’t just the best free web browser out there, it’s the best web browser, period. It does have it’s shortcomings: it’s at least as big a memory hog as Internet Explorer, and sometimes it decides to eat all your CPU until you kill it. However, it does have a lot of things going for it: tabbed browsing, infinitely adjustable text size (for us blind folks), RSS feed integration (to help you keep up with all those blogs and podcasts), and, most importantly, an extension mechanism that allows anybody anywhere to develop the craziest, most useful plugins you never thought of, like the one that puts the weather in the browser status bar, the one that allows you to view image links in a floating window, extensions for blog and photo site integration, and too many more to list.

    Most importantly, however, Firefox has way fewer security holes than Microsoft explorer, fixes for security problems come out much more quickly, and these fixes are installed on your system automatically, unless you make an effort to keep them from doing so. (Free for any use, source code available, for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X)

  • Best Free Email Client: Thunderbird – Thunderbird comes from the same people (The Mozilla Foundation) that produce Firefox. It’s an email client much like Outlook, or Outlook express, except that your computer doesn’t explode, killing innocent bystanders, whenever Thunderbird is launched. I personally use webmail most of the time, but this is a fine, fine mail client. (Free for any use, source code available, for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X)
  • Best Photo Management software: Picasa 2 Picasa isn’t perfect by a long shot, but it’s the best stuff out there for free right now. You can use it to organize, touch up, and edit your photos, as well as back them up to tape for DVD and make web galleries (I use it for all my photo galleries). It’s a little limited in what it can do, but it’s incredibly easy to use. If you want Photoshop, you know where to find it.
  • Best BitTorrent client: uTorrent – uTorrent is small, simple to use, and fast. Install it, then go download some non-infringing completely legal torrents from your favorite torrent site. Do not under any circumstances go to Pirate Bay. You may need to set up “port forwarding” on your router to make it work fast. If so, and you can’t figure it out, send me the model number of your router and what OS you’re running and I’ll help you figure it out. (Free for personal use, Windows)
  • Best P2P client: Shareaza – Shareaza is a P2P client that connects to 4 different P2P networks to find and download things quicker. It’s not perfect, but it’s got a great user interface and NO SPYWARE OR ADWARE. Just remember that just because Shareaza won’t destroy your box, that doesn’t mean whatever you download using it won’t. It’s also a BitTorrent client, but I think uTorrent is better. Shareaza, like uTorrent, will likely require you to set up port forwarding on your router for best performance. (Free for personal use, Windows)
  • Best FTP client: SmartFTP – SmartFTP is a great FTP client. Drag, drop, multiple local and remote explorers…It Just Works™. (Free for personal use, Windows)
  • Best CD-Burning Freeware: BeepBurner Free – There isn’t a lot of Windows freeware out there for burning CDs and DVDs, so I wasn’t expecting much when I tried this out, but I was pleasantly surprised. Although the free version won’t do direct CD-to-CD copying, and kind of sucks for burning copies of audio CDs, it’s otherwise an excellent little package for burning Audio CDs from MP3s, burning data DVDS and burning ISOs to disk. The paid version adds most of the features missing from the free version, and is pretty cheap.
  • Best Image Viewer: FastStone MaxView – My idea of image viewer happiness is the following: When I click on a photo, it should open up full screen, and be shrunk or expanded to fit. I should be able to use the mouse wheel to flip through the other images in the same directory, and use keys or the mouse to zoom in and out. I should be able to rotate the images with a key. If I press escape, everthing should go away. That’s what MaxView provides, in a very small package. It’s gr-eat! (Free for personal use, Windows)
  • Best Media Player: WinAmp – Winamp has recovered from a crappy 3.0 release to come back with WinAmp 5, which is smooth as buttah. It’s got a pleasant interface, a great media library, excellent playlist editor, and mega-fine ripping and burning tools. In order to burn at full speed or rip to MP3, you’ll need the Pro version; however, any (legal) MP3 encoder costs money, because it’s patented, and you can perfectly well use another burning program instead. The user interface is simple and, while not necessarily the most intuitive ever, it is quick and efficient once you get used to it, and it’s got the best compact mode (a mode that’s thin enough to sit in the titlebar area at the top of your screen) of any player I’m aware of. It’s got great visualizations available for it, and is very extensible in general. (Free for personal use, Windows)
  • Best DVD copying combo: DVD43 + DVDShrink – Install first DVD43 (the only sign that it’s installed is a happy face in your system tray when there is an encrypted DVD in your DVD-ROM drive) and then DVDShrink. With both of them installed you can easily create an ISO of almost any DVD shrunk down to fit on a standard 4.7GB DVD-R. Of course, with the new dual-layer burners, we may not need DVDShrink for much longer. Both programs are easy to use (DVD43 doesn’t really have or need much of a user interface) and relatively well documented. Disclaimer: I’ve used earlier versions of both of this software, but haven’t actually tried the latest version of DVD43 linked here. It should be fine. Probably. (Free for any use, Windows)
  • Best 3D Modelling application: Blender – Blender was originally the in-house modeling software for a European animation studio. It’s a real professional-quality jobber that will get you pretty close to the capabilities of Maya or 3D Studio at a much lower cost (free). It’s definitely got more functionality than you’ll ever need. (Free for any use, Windows, Linux)
  • Best Image Manipulation Program: The GIMP – If you don’t have Photoshop, then all you need is the GIMP. A little clunky to get into, but it’s got enough bells and whistles for almost anything you might need to do, except maybe prepress work. (Free for Any Use, Windows, Linux, Mac OS X)
  • Best Itty Bitty Calculator: Power Calc – This calculator (link to actual installer package here) is one of the many free little programs that Microsoft gives away for XP. Power Calc is better than the silly little calc that comes with XP because it allows you to graph functions and store variables, and knows how to do conversions as well. It’s pretty nifty, considering it comes from Macro$haft. (Free for any use, Windows)
  • Best Free Software Development Environment: Microsoft Visual Studio Express – You gotta hand it to Microsoft. They always make sure people develop for their OS by making it easy and cheap to do so. If you want to learn C++, C# (my personal favorite) or Visual Basic .NET (yuck), then you can download a free version of Visual Studio from this page. As much as it pains me to admit it, VS is the most intuitive and powerful development environment out there, and Microsoft did a mighty fine job with C# and .NET, as well. It’s a good way to learn to program, on the off chance that you actually want to learn to program.

I….broke it…*sob*

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Last night I turned on the little camera I talked so much shit about a couple of days ago and was greeted with a brilliant prismatic puddle punctuated with radiant fracture lines, a tiny silicon spider web of sadness. No picture except for the very bottom. Broken LCD.

I’ve got a 2-year warranty from Fry’s, but it specifically excludes broken screens. I’ll try anyway, but the chances seem pretty slim.

I’m not exactly brokenhearted about it–I wasn’t exactly in love with the damned thing–but I am pissed off. I know I’m not easy on electronics–or anything else, for that matter–but I didn’t inflict any particular trauma on this camera, that I’m aware of. It was in my coat pocket all day. It’s just a cheap piece of crap, the kind of thing I’m not used to getting from Sony, but am starting to see from them more and more often. It pisses me off. That’s almost a day and a half take-home pay down the drain. 12 hours gone from my life, and for what? Twenty fucking pictures? Fuck you, Sony!


You get what you pay for, I suppose. It’s just that I thought I was getting a cheap camera because it had limited functionality, not because it breaks if you look at it wrong.

I am hard on things, I guess. In refutation of the utter super-breakable crap that permeates the world today, here’s my list of things that last:

  • Motorola StarTAC — This phone was the bomb. As good the day I stopped using it as the day I started.
  • Sanyo SCP-5150 — This phone made the StarTAC look like a little bitch. I took this phone for swims with me just so it wouldn’t get lonely. It was eaten by a Chihuahua. It was dropped down cliffs. I used to throw it down on concrete sidewalks and stomp on it just to demonstrate how indestructible it was. I bought the successor model to this phone, the PM-8200, just because I was so impressed with the 5150. It seems like a good decision so far–Half the pretty is knocked off the outside, but the camera and both displays still work, even after a couple of good dunkings and a memorable episode involving the phone and I taking parallel 5-foot falls onto limestone (the phone came through it better than I did).
  • Doc Martens — I’ve had two pairs of boots and a pair of shoes. They’re the most durable shoes I’ve ever had, period…and I’m hard on shoes.
  • Structure 6-button polo — I’ve had a pair of these shirts since I was 19, and they’re still going strong. Not a rip in ‘em, and you know that’s not due to my careful storage and use. Structure used to make some damn fine shirts. I also had a couple of their raw silk “Architect’s Work Shirt”s, and they lasted a large number of years, too.

…sadly, that’s about it.

Yongfook: check it.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

Check out Yongfook. It’s this British web guy living in Japan that does a blog nominally about Japanese food and Tech. It’s “Sexier Than A Sexbot On Maximum Sex.” and “Tastier Than Buttered Jesus.” He’s got some pretty funny-ass podcasts.

More anal rape from the phone companies…

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

There have been a few stories lately about telcos [TimesSelect membership required for last link] trying to charge Apple, Google, Amazon, Ebay, and other Internet content providers for access to their new high-speed fiber networks to ensure that customers get high-speed access to the new services they’ll be rolling out.

This is, to put it bluntly, the single greatest threat to the Internet as we know it today, and it’s happening under the noses and without any interest from the bazillions of people it may affect in profound ways. Today you choose the web sites you visit by their merits–you like Google’s results better, or Yahoo’s portal interface better; more of your friends are on MySpace than Hi5. You can make these decisions on these merits because you don’t have to consider access to them: You can go anywhere you want on the web, and all the competitors, from a bandwidth point of view, are on a level playing field.

This is due to an organizing principle of the Internet called “network neutrality”. This means exactly what it says–the network (or inter-network, if you will) carries all traffic across it equally, without regard to source or destination or type of traffic. Bits of video footage from Google Video are treated the same as bits of mail traffic from Yahoo. On a technical level you could quibble about whether this is (or should be) 100% true 100% of the time, but in a broad, over-arching sense, it is.

If Verizon and Bellsouth and AT&T have their way, that era is going to come to an end. AT&T’s CEO, Ed Whitacre, has expressed shock and outrage that the likes of Google and Vonage expect to “use my pipes free”. This rather conveniently ignores the fact that all Internet content providers pay for the pipes that they connect to; hell, I pay $20 a month for this site right here (if you’re reading this at de|lusion).

Of course, Google doesn’t pay AT&T directly for carrying traffic to AT&T customers, but Google does pay its own service provider for those bits, and that service provider either pays AT&T for carrying those bits, and/or carries bits for AT&T in return–Not to mention the fact that AT&Ts customer’s pay AT&T a very significant amount of money every month to carry bits for them.

The telephone companies aren’t going to be silly enough to make the proposition as simple as “pay us or we won’t carry your traffic”. A small ISP, Madison River Communications, tried blocking Voice over IP (Internet telephony) traffic last year and was promptly fined US$15,000 by the FCC for violating the “common carrier” provisions of the Communications Act of 1934. These provisions basically state that phone companies cannot pick and choose who they’ll allow to talk to each other–they can’t refuse to connect your call to your friend in Japan just because they don’t like Nippon Telephone and Telegraph, and they can’t keep you from accessing Google’s web site just because Google didn’t pay them enough money.

What telcos are doing is much more insidious, because on its face it sounds perfectly reasonable. They say that all these new video and voice services can’t be handled by their current networks; they’re going to have to build all new fiber networks with much higher capacity to handle all these new services that the Googles and Yahoos of the world want to roll out. Somebody’s going to have to help pay for that, and the most appropriate payers are the content providers that are consuming the bandwidth. It’s just like riding a plane–you can ride business class, but for the best user experience, you need to pay more for first class.

Sounds perfectly reasonable, right? Well, it’s not. I’ve worked in the telecommunications industry, as well as been a consumer of broadband for years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the baby Bells are always eager to violate you with their big fat pipes, and make you pay for it. “Oh, you’re not riding my pipes for free; you better pony up”, they say, and they don’t need to mention that not riding the pipes isn’t an option. Fuck those jackasses.

You wanna know what it’s really about? Two things:

  1. Cable companies have been eating the telcos’ lunch, and now they offer phone service over cable. They do this on the same cable that they use to deliver cable television and movies on demand, too.

    The phone companies have been taking a bath over this, in no small part because the stupid backward fucks had to be drug crying and screaming into the broadband age. I was buying 1mbps cable service for $60 from some bumfuck cable operator in College Station when the phone companies were still trying to charge a thousand bucks a month for a T1. They were so focused on making sure that the Telecommunications Act of 1996 didn’t actually open the phone lines to competition that they forgot not all competition occurs on the phone line.

    They failed to notice or act when their thin-line phone business started moving to fat lines (cable) or no lines (cell). The cell business didn’t matter so much, because, after all, it’s still phone lines from the base stations back, and they owned most of the cell companies anyway.

    The cable, though, that was another issue. When they couldn’t beat the cable guys on technical merits, they decided what they need to do is offer television, so they could have a turn at starving cable of their customer base.

    The problem with this is that their network isn’t set up for it, so they need to build a whole new network to handle the video. It would almost be tempting to feel sorry for them, because cable gets to put their video traffic through before anything else goes, because, legally speaking, that’s what the network was built for to begin with.

    The telcos can’t do that, because they have neither the network infrastructure (i.e., broadcast/broadband capability at the leaf level) to do it nor the the legal wiggle room to give their stuff priority (see the common carrier bit earlier).

    So they try to solve it by creating “another” network, a premium one for video and high-bandwidth content. Never mind that this network starts in the same place and ends at the same place, and is owned by the same company. It’s a different network. It should be free of that old-school “regulation” that applied to that other network. That sort of regulation is so 20th-century anyway.

  2. The cable companies want to move away from a business model based on the cost of moving bits, and toward one based on the value of the bits being moved. Oh, they’ll make some lame-ass analogy about how the internet is like a (forgive the term) information highway, and like any rapidly expanding transportation infrastructure, it needs tolls to pay for the construction of new roads. The part they don’t mention is that they want the toll to be based on the value of your cargo. They want a slice of whatever commerce passes over their lines.

    They won’t admit that, of course. But, tacitly, they already have. Bellsouth Chief Technology Officer Bill Smith, surely a man with a great mental precision regarding the measurement of traffic, told MarketWatch recently that Apple could be charged a nickel or a dime per song. Notice that by proposing a charge per song (as opposed to per megabyte), he explicitly ties the charge to Apple’s revenue stream. And if he gets his way, you can bet that your iTunes are going to cost $1.05 – $1.09, because if you think Apple’s eating that cost, you are batshit out of your mind.

    Making that shift is what really pulls the pants down around the consumer’s knees, because then, rather than paying a commodity fee for the transportation of bits (which, after all, all cost the same to transport), you’re paying to add another slice to the pie so that the telcos can…er…have their cake and eat it too. Or something like that. Anyway. Ass rape, I tell you.

So there you have my modest and restrained assessment of why the phone companies are doing what they’re doing. Below I hold forth on why it’s a Bad Idea™:

  1. The public has always treated the Internet like a public utility, something that everyone has (in theory) equal access to, like roads or cable or, for that matter, the telephone system. This view of the role of the Internet has been solely responsible for its explosive growth in the last decade. Anyone can get on. Anyone can get their message out for little or no money. The best ideas triumph, and all that silly hogwash I believe in so much kinda sorta.

    If the telcos get their way, then that won’t be true of the next generation of Internet services. What happens when Google Video signs an exclusive deal with Verizon? Any potential competitors to Google Video just lost half of their potential customer base, and is non-competitive.

    The same thing goes for almost any startup; they won’t be able to compete against established players in the field, who already have a steady revenue stream to pay the telcos what amounts to protection money. As a matter of fact, this business model creates a whole new racket for erecting barriers to entry in any market that touches the online world, which is, um, pretty much any market, except maybe Sumatran mud clam futures.

  2. It will lead to the Balkanization of the Internet! I know this is the oldest and most cliché drum-beater in any old inet fogey’s arsenal, but that’s mostly because we’ve been worrying about it so long, and so far it hasn’t happened because we constantly worry about it and do things to keep it from happening.

    It seems fairly obvious to me that If you have to pay for high-speed access to a telco’s customers, then there are bound to occur a large number of situations where some content provider isn’t going to pay some telco for some reason, and there will be some parts of the web where almost everything will be slow (because the telco is trying to charge too much, or doesn’t have as many customers as other telcos, so can’t get the dollars from the content providers, and hence doesn’t have as much money for bandwidth). In the short term this leads to the creation of many seperate and unequal internets, and in the long term, perhaps worse, consolidation into one Internet, under Ma Bell once again. That woman is mean with a whip and a strap-on.

  3. The economics of supply and demand–Bandwidth is not a particularly scarce resource. Under the current economic model, where we, as Internet customers, pay ISPs to move bits for us, the ISPs make more money by moving bits more efficiently.

    Under the telco proposed model, a large chunk of their revenue stream comes not from bit-moving services, but instead from customer access services. The content providers are essentially paying the telcos for access to the telco customer base.

    The problem with this is that the telcos no longer have any great financial incentive to move bits efficiently. Oh sure, in the short term you could maybe change to a different ISP, but you know the phone companies look joyfully forward to a day when that’s not an option, and work hard to bring that day about. Remember SBC? PacBell? MCI? GTE? Nextel? Yeah. Me either.

  4. The main problem the proposed business model cures is paying for laying and lighting all the new fiber that needs to be in place to handle all the high-speed communication we’re going to want to do in the near future, and tying the cost of Internet Access for large content providers to the amount of bandwidth they use.

    However, there is already a perfectly workable solution for this: ISPs should charge content providers by the gigabit transferred, and ISPs should carry traffic for other ISPs either based on a parity of bits sent and received, or by paying for any discrepancy. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much how it works today. I would say that having a market in bandwidth futures would be a good idea, except Enron already had that idea, so it can’t be good.

  5. Horrible, horrible anal rape.

Okay, so that’s why it’s a bad idea. The good news is that there are a few bright spots on the horizon. The cable companies (who are evil, too, but not quite as evil as Ma Bell) are kicking the telcos collective ass, and with the death of the wireline phone, they’re becoming less and less relevant. Even as the RBOCs rebuild Bell Telephone, they’re actually losing monopoly power. They don’t control cable, they don’t control satellite, a lot of non-telcos, and non-RBOCs, are starting to lay and light their own fiber. And for the moment, at least, congress appears to largely be on “our” side, if by “our” side you mean on the side of huge multinational corporations whose stars are waxing rather than huge multinational companies whose stars are waning. Here’s to hoping Microsoft, Google, AOL, and Yahoo! have better lobbyists than, what is it now, Ma and Pa Bell?

[ed. note: I went back to see if there were any more places I could insert horrible ass rape references, but, well, it would have been just tacky.]


Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

Check out this new browser. It’s pre-beta right now, but I’m typing this on it, so if you’re reading it, it’s not too broken. Plus, it’s based on firefox, so most of it shouldn’t be hella unstable anyway.

It’s actually quite a bit like firefox, except it indexes your history so you can search it, allows you to use the same bookmarks everywhere via, provides aggregated RSS feeds for all the sites in a collection (bookmark folder), and has yummy tools for blogging things and adding things to flickr. It’s pretty cool, at any rate. I like it. You should try it, because I’m cool. You can be cool too.

That me staring back at me was creeping me out. I haven’t had time to really do anything about it, so I’m just replacing it with a scrawl for now. :)