I must apologize yet again for the
lack of a comic today. There's so much stuff
going on right now, and I am starting to get a bit sick
too. And, the $#@%*! cable company neglected to turn on my
service for the second appointment in a row, so I still
have no Internet connection :(. We'll get things back on
track next week. Thanks so much for your patience.
Once again, we're sorry, but there
is no comic for today :(. I got back from D.C. and
just moved into my new house, so things have been extremely
busy. And of course, the Internet service I ordered two
weeks ago was never set up, making my life extra
inconvenient. Yeah, it sounds like a lame excuse, but
it's all true, I swear!
So, D.C. was a lot of fun. I learned a few things, and had
a great time after hours too. I tried Chinese dim sum for
the first time in Chinatown, and got hooked. I met an amazing
new friend on the Metro, and reunited unexpectedly with
an old college friend too. It was one of those trips
when everything just seemed to go right, and I was sad
to leave. But, I'm back now, and we'll try our hardest
to get that comic done for you on Thursday! Thanks for
Sorry, there will be no new comics
this week. I am in Washington D.C., participating in
USERblue conference. I'm having a good time, but
unfortunately the adventures of Hackles and friends will
have to wait until I return to Florida.
D.C. is my kind of city - there are so many cool and
funky places to eat, drink, and hang out. If any of
our geek readers are at the conference, feel free to
give me a yell. I'm the asian guy who you can see
either sweating on the hotel gym's treadmill, or
hanging out at some of the city's seedier
OS are you? I turned out to be
which I think is pretty cool.
I actually use Gentoo, but it could be a lot
In other news, we were linked to
from Operation Clambake -
yay!. Take that, Squidentologists!
On an unrelated note, if, like me, you like to browse around while
waiting for stuff to compile at work, you might be entertained by
the official Disturbing Auctions
site. It's funny stuff, but certainly not for
of heart. And while you're at it, make sure you read what's probably one of the
the best comics on the web, ok?
Hello everyone! Tuesday's comic
was the first one I did on my new Sony flatscreen
monitor! Wow, everything is so big, bright, and clear!
This 15" screen rocks compared to my fuzzy, old
17" CRT screen.
Thanks to our readers who pointed out that the ads depicting that guy
in sunglasses sitting on a couch, with his hair and all the furniture
blown back by the loud music is actually
Maxell and not
Memorex. Whoops! No wonder we
couldn't find the right
Drake and I would also like to thank our readers who
sign our guestbook. Unfortunately, there are also some
spammers leaving their mark too. We try to remove the
obvious ones to keep our guestbook clean, but SPAM
always finds a way. What will those spammers think of next?
If you wished someone could give you a nice, simple explanation
of the SCO debacle,
make sure to check out this
illustrative narrative (thanks Thor!).
Today's comic will be posted in the
afternoon sometime. We just came back from a
fun-filled trip to New Orleans with some friends (a day
later than we originally planned :P). It was
the first time Jen and I had ever been to that crazy
city, and we had a blast.
jazz, spicy food, great
friends, and liberal open container laws all made for a
decadent and entertaining weekend.
I must have gained at least 5 pounds from all the food
and beer. Happily, I've been following a pretty successful
running regimen (by successful, I mean I haven't
completely abandoned my schedule after two weeks),
so I'm hoping to burn it all off soon.
We plan to post some pictures from the trip before too long - and yes, I
know we've been really bad about updating our photo
gallery lately. Thanks for your patience, and as always,
Jen and I appreciate all of you for visiting our comic.
Drake and I hope you had a good weekend. We've been making some big
decisions lately. We know that some of you have been
asking that we update Hackles every day and we are glad to have your
support. In reality, it has become difficult for us to keep up with
Hackles three times a week, in addition to our work and daily
We don't like to keep our readers waiting by taking
breaks every few weeks, and we're
not ready to throw in the towel just yet, so we've decided to cut back
to two strips a week as we were in the beginning.
We are sorry for changing things around, but we hope you all will
continue to check out Hackles on its new days. Our new updates will
be on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting this week on April
As you can see, there is no new
comic today. We are sorry to do this
to our readers, but we need to take a short break from Hackles.
There is a new poll today, thanks to the ideas of our
reader pal Ronny. The last one (Which is the best
programming language?) has had quite a run and stirred
up some trouble. Drake and I tried hard to think of good
choices for the poll, but we wanted to limit the
length. With this restraint, we failed to mention COBOL,
C#, PHP, and Delphi, among others. We apologize to the
people who we've neglected :).
If you live in the U.S., I hope you remembered to set
your clocks an hour ahead this weekend (we forgot until
5PM, oops, I mean 6PM on Sunday). It's not so nice to
lose an hour the week before Income Taxes are
due. Especially when you've waited until the last minute.
Drake and I will be back on Monday April 14, 2003.
We thank you for your patience.
Hello everyone. Sorry to report
that Wednesday's comic is on hold. We'll have a
new comic for you on Friday.
We've had a little trouble logging into our mail server,
but we're still planning on answering your emails, so
thanks for your patience.
Drake has been very busy at work this week and both of
us have been working on our pond.
We got some new fish (mosquito eaters, flag fish and a
new white comet that hangs out with our other two
goldfish), plants (lotus, lilies, and cattails), and
rocks for our pond (it's a big puzzle fitting the rocks
together around the edge). We also got a few
snails today. Luckily we've had some sun lately instead
of the rains that kept washing in the sides of the hole
that would become our pond. It's definitely a fun
Sorry for the lack of news lately. As usual,
Jen and I have been pretty busy. Our latest project? We
are building a fish pond in our backyard! It's coming along
pretty well, and we'll have some pictures posted as soon
as we get the chance. Hopefully it will attract some
cool frogs, and won't attract any
water moccasins :-).
I've been reading some interesting books lately. I
had never read any of Isaac Asimov's works before, but
last weekend I found his sci-fi novel
The Gods Themselves
on my shelf (bought it some time ago at a garage
sale) and was immediately hooked. This is a
thought-provoking work, dealing with alternate
universes, quantum physics, and one of the most
imaginative portrayals of alien life I've ever
read. I will definitely have to check out some of his
Also I finally got around to reading Frank Herbert's
Dune. I know,
I'm late to the party, but better late than never,
right? This book too was so addictive I consumed it in
one weekend. Finally I can see why the series has so
many rabid fans, and now I suppose I am one of them. After reading
it, I even bought WestWood's
Emperor: Battle For Dune
at Kmart for $12. Unfortunately the game
kind of sucks (why can't any RTS game be as good as
StarCraft, anyway?). Oh well, I guess it's better to stick to
If you've ever pondered the meaning of life
(no, not the movie),
you might want to check out this recent
book review. The
book itself isn't something I think
I would buy, but under the review there are a lot of
"insightful" comments from techies about finding
happiness in career and life. It's a good thing once in
a while to step back from your daily routine and figure
out if you're really doing what fulfills you.
Anyway, we'd like to thank you for all the encouraging
emails and guestbook entries. It really makes this
cartoon a rewarding hobby for Jen and I. We will try to
catch up on email over the weekend.
Our apologies... Monday's comic is
not ready. We were kidnapped by aliens all
weekend :-0, but hope to be back by Wednesday.
It was my 30th birthday this weekend! Thanks to Drake, my family,
and my good friends, I will never forget the great day I had. A great
start to a new decade.
I hope you're all out there enjoying life : )
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning"
- T. S. Eliot -
Well, the search is finally over! I bought a new car today! It's a
Blue Protege5. I looked far and wide for a used Honda Civic
Hatchback with less than 100,000 miles on it, but none were to be
found. Then, I looked at the 2003 Honda Civic Si, Pontiac Vibe,
Toyota Matrix, and a Suzuki Aerio. All of them had poor visibility for
me out the back or side windows. The next hatchback/wagon with decent gas
mileage was the Protege5. It's fun to drive, feels solid, and I got a
great deal on it with 0% financing!
Drake and I took it out to get some celebration ice cream...Mmmm.
During my search, I spent a lot of time looking at
plus researching and
reviewing any hatchback or wagon I
could find. There were a lot of gas guzzling SUVs, minivans, wagons
and trucks that were roomy, but not very fuel efficient. It was nice
to see the growing selection of Hybrid and Electric vehicles, as well
as the new advances in Fuel Cell cars.
Thanks for all of your kind letters of encouragement on my car search.
Thanks also, for your patience while we took some time off from posting
Hackles so Drake could get caught up with work.
Sorry about the lack of updates this week. We will definitely
be back on our regular schedule, starting Monday - promise!
In other news, get ready for... Groundhog day!
I am sorry to say that there will
be no update today. I
have been up to my ears in work for the last couple weeks, and
haven't had a chance to keep up with the cartooning.
The university where I
work runs a webmail application that crashes with alarming
frequency. I'm racing against the clock, trying to
write a new, stable webmail before the students
lynch us, but it's taken up all of my time. On top of
that, the WebSphere Application Server
that I administer has been acting weird, and I spent
most of today (and tonight) working on that and dealing
with IBM's customer support. Not so fun...
We don't like missing our Hackles updates. We try to
keep it going every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, no
matter how busy we are. Unfortunately, this week has
been too much. Thanks for all your supportive emails and
guestbook entries - we'll be back on schedule soon! Now,
it's 4:20 AM, and I'm going to get some sleep...
Hi everyone! I hope you are all staying warm this winter. It's
unusually cold here and I can't wait until I can get out there and do
some gardening (without a jacket).
My trusty '88 Volvo Wagon decided to blow a piston just before
Christmas, so I've been on a car hunt the past few weeks. I'm looking
for a hatchback or wagon, but I haven't found the right car yet. I'm
also not sure if buying a cheap used car is better than making
payments for 5 years on a new one. I must say that the car salesmen of
today are a lot less pushy (some are apathetic, really) than the
salesmen I encountered when buying my first car over 10 years ago.
This season of 24 is really
exciting. We've introduced some more friends to the best show on TV
(or so I like to think of it :-P ). We can hardly wait for the next
one; unfortunately that won't be until February 4th. We'll
just have to speculate about 24's gripping plot until then...
No new comic for Friday, sorry. Jen's computer crashed
hard Wednesday night, preventing her from finishing up
today's strip - but it would have been great, we
swear! The good news is, I just now (early Friday morning)
got her machine working again... sort of.
The gory details follow, for those who like gory
details: Jen's computer completely froze up and became
unresponsive to any input, including remote login
attempts. When she tried to reboot, sometimes the
machine failed to power up, and sometimes Linux would
start, only to bomb when
fsck exited with a
SIG 11 error. Blech.
After a fair amount of poking around, I narrowed the
culprit down to a bad stick of RAM. By the way, Kudos to the
folks who put up this helpful web page
SIG 11 errors. I tell you, if you ever
SIG 11 surprise, that's the page to consult.
After removing the offending RAM, her computer no longer
freezes, or crashes during
fsck. Yay! Unfortunately,
we now have the problem where her machine won't power
back on once it's turned off, unless we wait about 1/2
hour between attempts. I suspect we have a renegade power supply,
but I'll deal with that another day.
I'm going to bed now. Thanks for your patience - we'll
have that comic up soon. Oh, and happy new year to all
of you, from both of us! May your 2003 be free from
cryptic hardware failures...
Merry Christmas everyone! Jen and I are going to
have a relaxing Christmas day. We've got a couple new
DVDs, Glengarry Glenross
(the best movie ever), and The
Planets (hosted by none other than Patrick Stewart),
which are just itching to be watched...
This week I read a Slashdot
article spotlighting Jakob Nielsen's
Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002. I love Nielsen's
site. Even though I don't follow every single
nitpicking rule, I do believe usability is sadly
deficient in most of today's web sites. The Internet
would be a better place if every web designer spent the
last days of 2002 letting this
stuff sink in.
Well, it's been a fun year. Jen and I thank all of you
for your support and encouragement. Have a great holiday!
Jen and I went to see Nemesis this
weekend. Since we came into the theater expecting a
it was a nice surprise that the experience turned out to be pretty
fun. Sure, the plot wasn't groundbreaking, and the
overarching nature vs. nurture theme wasn't particularly
thought provoking either. However there were some cool parts,
such as the massive capital ship battles,
and Patrick Stewart's ability to turn even the cheesiest dialogue
into something dignified sounding. It was definitely good to
see the old TNG crew again (including about 3 seconds of
- I can't decide whether that's a good thing or
not...). Voyager fans that we are, Jen and I thought the brief cameo with
Admiral Janeway was kind of neat too (hooray).
On the night that we saw this film, we saw on TV
that Star Trek movie
where the Enterprise crew travels back in time to
transport whales into the future. Wow. I have to say,
for all its faults, Nemesis is the better film.
A little while ago, Octalc0de wrote to tell us:
Hackles SETI is at 19,999 Workunits. Just thought you'd
like to know. :)"
That was less than two weeks ago. As I write this, we're
at 20977 units, with several new members on board. Thanks
everyone for joining the team
- I am convinced that we will be the ones to find those
elusive aliens :-). Jen finally joined up too. Her
account is appropriately named
- yes, she's the one with the blazing 4 hours
and 13 minutes per work unit. Beat that, guys!
Happy holiday season, everyone. Jen is at her parent's
home for Thanksgiving week, but there should be no interruption of
comics, since she finished GIMPing a bunch before she
left. Meanwhile I have the house to myself, and am
keeping busy doing a lot of coding, reading, and
watching TV in my boxer shorts (not a pretty image, I
know). Hmm, I should probably get up and go outside now
I've been reading
a collection of essays by famous Open Source advocates
such as Richard Stallman,
Eric S. Raymond,
and Linus Torvalds (plus
many more). It's a thrilling read for a geek like me,
capturing the energy and controversy of the early Open
Source movement, as told by the major players
themselves. Also, it nicely fills a lot of the gaps
in my knowledge concerning early UNIX culture
and the progression of computing/OS technology.
I came away feeling pretty thankful for the luxuries we have
today. Can you imagine having to trudge to a University
computer lab, and deal with
- an ancient line-at-a-time text editor - any time you wanted to do
some coding (probably in Pascal, blech)?
Another thing I realized is that I really like
writing. He's great at clearly summarizing the
history, philosophy, and attitude of hackerdom. I hit the
Internet and read some other
stuff he wrote, which I'd
highly recommend to anyone new (or otherwise) to UNIX -
Preston could especially benefit :-).
December should be a great movie month: both Lord of
the Rings: Two Towers and Star Trek:
Nemesis are coming out, woohoo! I was upset that they haven't yet made a movie for the
Voyager cast, but I have to admit that the
for Nemesis does it for me. Too bad
Wil Wheaton didn't make
the cut for the new movie. For those of you who want to
read more about our
favorite teenage space nerd, there's a good
Finally, we really appreciate all the supportive emails and guestbook
signings we've been getting. Our readership has increased quite a bit
over the last month, probably due in large part to Th!nkNerd's
Slashdotting (Th!nkNerd's founder, Enrico, had our comic on the front
page during the merciless /.DoS). So, if you can read
German, go visit them. If not... oh well, join the club
;-). Bye everyone!