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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 reading.


Sorry, there will be no new comics this week. I am in Washington D.C., participating in IBM's 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 bars ;-).


Which OS are you? I turned out to be Debian Linux, which I think is pretty cool. I actually use Gentoo, but it could be a lot worse, eh?

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 the weak 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 link.

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. Awesome 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 activities.

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 22, 2003.


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 mystery 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 project.


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 other books.

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 the novels.

If you've ever pondered the meaning of life (no, not the movie), you might want to check out this recent Slashdot 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.

2003-02-24Drake & Jen

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 2003 Midnight 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 fuel economy, 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...


bug 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 dedicated to SIG 11 errors. I tell you, if you ever get a 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 Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002. I love Nielsen's alertbox 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 horrible movie, 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 Wesley Crusher - 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: "Team 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 monster - 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 and then...

I've been reading Open Sources, a collection of essays by famous Open Source advocates such as Richard Stallman, Eric S. Raymond, Tim O'Reilly, 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 ed - 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 esr's 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 trailer 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 interview at the Onion.

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 recent 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!

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