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Writer's Block: Under the Same Sign

Dec. 21st, 2008 | 10:27 am

Today is chockfull of celebrity birthdays—Brad Pitt, Keith Richards, Christina Aguilera, and more. What celebrities do you share your birthday with? Do you find any similarities between you and those who share your birthday?

Prince and I share the same birthday, home state, and musical tastes. We also have a lot of my money in common. :)

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Quiz Show

Aug. 8th, 2008 | 02:15 pm

Quiz Show is one of my all time favorite movies. Here’s Charles Van Doren’s take on the events.

 

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my weekend in tech

Jul. 20th, 2008 | 11:50 pm

I had a very techy weekend it feels like.

1) I installed Ubuntu running on VirtualBox on my new work laptop running Vista. Now that my primary home machine is also my primary work machine, I wanted a separate environment just for myself. And I’m a geek. I originally tried it with Virtual PC 2007, but ran into a few snags and serious performance issues. I got about 50% of the way through the Ubuntu install before I tossed it. I was able to download VirtualBox and install Ubuntu with no hassle in half the time. I’m extremely impressed with Ubuntu so far, as well as VirtualBox. Fortunately the “guest additions” feature for VirtualBox fixed my resolution problems on Ubuntu, which was driving me insane. Probably not a coincidence that’s what drove me away from desktop Linux the last time!

2) Printing across the network in Vista is apparently the most resource intensive thing in the history of computing. Fortunately I don’t do it very often. And I definately won’t be trying to print from Ubuntu through the VM through Vista.

3) Our network at home has sucked of late. General web surfing would just stop dead. But long running transactions (like ssh sessions) were fine. I think the problem was crappy cox DNS servers. I switched our router to use OpenDNS. Not only has the problem seemed to have disappeared, but web surfing in general is noticeably and substantially faster. Big thumbs up for OpenDNS.

4) I finally got my Mii into a jpg. I’m either missing something painfully obvious, or Nintendo really is making it that hard to get the damn thing off the Wii. If I am missing it, so is google and millions of other people. :) But it was worth it, because my wife made me a damn good Mii.

 

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A green housewarming

Jul. 16th, 2008 | 07:45 am

Background: The last time I stayed with my brother and his family, I noticed that when my nephew came home he went directly to his room and turned on his TV. It was nearly Pavlovian. That TV remained on the rest of the day regardless of said nephew’s presence in the room.  I mentioned it to my brother and he basically said, “Whatever. Who cares, we don’t pay for electricity.” The inner greenie in me curled up into the fetal position and wept.

Current: My brother is buying his first house! Big step and great news. Now that they *will* be paying for their own electricity I want to send him some CFL’s as a housewarming gift. Partially as a gag since my “inner” greenie isn’t very inner. But also because it’s a good idea.  :) Any other suggestions for “green” housewarming gifts to send along?

 

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Teamwork

Jun. 26th, 2008 | 11:15 pm

It’s been many, many years since I started working in more of a team environment, and it’s still really frustrating sometimes. Like right now, in the groove, grinding out some code at 11p. execute permission denied on stored procedure. Groove comes to a screeching halt.

 

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Home Ownership at it’s finest

Jun. 9th, 2008 | 09:42 pm

For the last few months we had a small leak in an outdoor pipe. We knew it was small because the blip in the water bill wasn’t monstrous. But we knew it was there because we had weeds where there hadn’t been any before, and the ground was pretty wet.

The good news: the pipe stopped leaking. The bad news: It burst.

Our house was built in 1957 and still has original galvanized steel pipes. They’re well past their life expectancy. The water main that broke is severely rusted, and replacing one piece of it will be a never ending game of catchup. On top of that, our water service comes from the street in *front* of our house, but the water main enters our house in the *back*. They ran the stupid pipe all the way around for reasons no one knows. So to replace the existing main would cost a significant chunk of just running a new main to the front of the house and running new pipe throughout. So, that’s what we’re about to do. Well, what someone else will do, with our money. :)

So we’re replumbing the house. And I was a few weeks away from getting the roof redone. It’s not in super dire straights, but you usually want it reroofed before it gets to that point. New roof on the way.

Back to the plumbing. Our hot water heater is from 1980. That’s about 2 to 3 times it’s lifespan. You can hear the sediment in the thing burbling and gurgling throughout the house. I picture a lava lamp evertime it kicks on. I could drain it, but frankly I’m afraid to touch it. And the current piping on it isn’t up to code, so that needs to be redone as well. Time to upgrade! Right now the rebates and tax incentives on solar water heaters are crazy good. So we’ll probably get that route.

New roof, New pipes, New Water Heater. That’s three boring projects to cover boring infrastructural needs. Screw that! Bring on the expansion.

We’re finally going to enclose our carport to give us a much needed 4th bedroom. Actually the kids don’t mind rooming together that much… yet. But once they do it’s not like we can flip a switch and create the new room. The carport will become a new bedroom and a small office for me. And in the back, we’ll enclose about half of our patio to increase the size of another bedroom.

I’ve already spent many hours meeting plumbers, builders, general contractors, draftsmen, roofers, and HVAC guys. And researching water heaters, and kinds of pipe, and tankless water heaters, and siding, and stucco, and EIFS. And putting our house in a 3d modeling program so we can decide what windows to put where on the new additions. So that’s why I haven’t touched the new PC, Dave. ;)

It should all make for a crazy summer!

 

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mindfreak

Jun. 1st, 2008 | 12:37 am

While watching the excellent new version of “Andromeda Strain” (I only have vague recollections of the original so I can’t compare), an ad for Criss Angel’s “Mindfreak” came on. He asked, I guess provocatively, “You think you’re the only one controlling your mind?” To which I thought, “If that.”

 

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Bullet points of dubious value

May. 20th, 2008 | 09:53 am

- “searchable” is not in the Mozilla dictionary.

- Situational Awareness isn’t just a river in Egypt

- Firefox 3 has a release candidate so I tried it out. It only took 3 major versions and about 5 years to make a URL bar as useful as the one in my phone…

- Staying up late to watch the rest of Logan’s Run was a good idea. I hadn’t seen the movie in quite a while and was happily surprised.

- Doing the same for Convoy wasn’t nearly as satisfying

- I’m going to Jane’s 2nd grade “promotion” ceremony today. As weird as it seems to me, my attendance isn’t optional. :)

- King of Kong lived up to all the fantastic reviews

- TV’s with VGA ports kick ass.

- King of Kong is available on NetFlix’s “watch now”. The selection isn’t the greatest but about 10% of my queue is available on it. But half or more of those are documentaries. I’m extremely impressed with the quality. I’m watching it on the other end of the house over g-mimo wifi at full screen resolution.

- Overheard, verbatim, at Starbucks: “That would totally be LOL status”.

 

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News Crawl

May. 12th, 2008 | 10:07 pm

Our CBS affiliate has introduced a news crawl across their nightly news. I found it so annoying and pointless I bothered to offer feedback on their website. Of course, trying to find the feedback was frustrating too…

 

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l33t-eyechart

Apr. 27th, 2008 | 11:58 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/history_aficionado/374868590

 

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