Wednesday, May 22, 2002

HTML and H4RDC0R3 Coding

Anyone who knows me well (or THINKS they know me well) will know that if there's one thing I don't like, it's being outdone.  Especially, ESPECIALLY, when it comes to being weird.  I remember overhearing a conversation between some teens (bless their geeky hearts) on the bus one day.  The two boys were making fun of a compatriot in absentia, because he uses Microsoft Frontpage Express to do his website.  Apparently, the one kid used the Windows notepad program to do HIS page (OOOO!!! AAAAHHHH!!!), while the other used a program called DreamWeaver.  The Notepad accused the Dreamweaver of taking the easy way out, and the argument soon turned into a name-calling session (in good fun, of course).
This sort of one-upmanship (or would it be one-DOWNmanship??) would have fit right in with some of the petty-albeit-good-natured rivalry I had with some of my buddies in grade 12 Computer Science class back in 1990.  So I started to imagine the argument as if it had taken place in my circle the way we were back then...

Jared:  Yeah, I just finished updating my web page again.  Man, I love Dreamweaver!

Karl: Dreamweaver? That's for beginners!  For my money, nothing beats Notepad for simple editing of the HTML code!

Kevin: Yeah, but you need Windows for that!  My laptop's only got a 40 meg hard drive!  So I just use MS-DOS "edit" program to update my site, then copy it to floppy so I can upload it from my main system at home!

CJ: Pffft! Who needs a hard drive!

Others: What?  What do you mean?

CJ: My Tandy 1500 laptop only has a FLOPPY drive!  I can't use EDIT!
Karl: So what do YOU use?

Jared & Kevin: Yeah, Wheeler! What DO you use?

CJ: HA! I use the COPY command in DOS 3.3 to write it, and EDLIN to edit it when I need to update!!!

Others: (faint)

So it got me thinking...could it be done? Well, yeah, it could be done!  The only problem is you'd have to write the page from scratch each time, as it has NO loading or editing capabilities.  And it's impossible to fix a mistake once you've hit ENTER to go to the next line...The ultimate in Hardc0re HTML coding.  All I'd need on my boot floppy, aside from my system files and ANSI.sys, would be the EDLIN program and maybe RAT, the Resident ASCII table, for looking up ASCII codes for foreign characters (like ü, ç, ß) or currency symbols like the cent sign ¢, the Yen sign ¥, etc...

It'd go something like this...Imagine you're at the dos prompt. You DO know what DOS is, right? 


c:>  copy con: mental.htm
I'm a 29 year old man who should know better

I've got too much time on my hands

What kind of person would write the HTML code for his web page using Copy Con:?  Well, ME!

Yeah, you'd have to be a few peasants short of a fiefdom to pull something like that...
I'll start tomorrow.

Piracy vs. Pride of Ownership

Sharing?! HA!!! Don't make me laugh!  Do you own the album? NO?!! Then you're stealing.  No, don't try to justify your petty thieving with "moral implications" or that the music industry has been ripping people off for years.  You may feel you're right in a moral sense, but it's what's right LEGALLY that you have to worry about.  Don't like the Copyright laws? Then change 'em.  Lobby, protest, do whatever.  Too lazy?  Well, don't bitch when the governments of the world start cracking down on pirates.

   No, I'm NOT a hypocrite.  I was a software pirate for a LONG time.  I KNEW what I was doing was wrong, but I didn't care.  I didn't try to justify my actions, I KNEW they were illegal!  Of course, I can honestly say I've "seen the light", in a sense.  I now BUY my software, even stuff that's readily available on pirate networks  (Like the Voyager web browser for the Amiga. Man, I felt a sense of ownership after having registered it).  Hell, I would have registered Miami (Internet dialup software for the Amiga) the same day, if their damned registration servers were up!

   In my case, I turned over a new leaf for a few reasons.  Pride of ownership is first and foremost.  There's something to be said about owning a legit copy of something.  I like seeing "Registered to Shaun Wheeler.  Thanks for your support" on programs.  I like having people over to  the apartment and hearing them say, "Geez, you've got a lot of CDs".  Programmers and artists can only survive with our support.

   The second reason I've taken to registering shareware and buying legit copies of software and music is simply because I've started programming again.  I wrote a little script for Yam, the email client I use on my Amigas.  I call it "CJ's Quote-o-matic", and all it does is read from a data file containing quotes from songs, and adds it as a tagline to outgoing mail messages.  It's not an overly complex program, but it took me a few hours to write, and a few days to debug and improve.  I can understand and appreciate the effort that goes into writing large, complex programs, and I have to say I'd be right pissed if people were ripping me off by pirating my work.  I'm also starting to write songs in my head again, and may well eventually get around to arranging them and recording.  And if I ever decide to release these songs, they'd all be self-produced, self-recorded, and self-distributed.  No Big-Name Major Label, just me.  And if I found out people were pirating my stuff on KaZaa, Morpheus, the Usenet, IRC, whatever... I'd be pissed enough to put some of my internet know-how to good use! Heh heh heh...

But enough of that.  I just bought a couple of new CDs I wanna listen to.