Hey, I miss your shenanigans and tomfoolery intro to your website. Alas, ’I’ve been afraid of changes...’ as you are well aware. However, I will adapt and accept.
Hey, Anthony! 26 on the 26th! Just wanted to say Happy Birthday, and that I hope you’re having a good time in California. By the way, today is national cake day! So kick back, relax, and have some cake =]
P.S. Have a safe trip back. Don’t spend your whole vacation working!
...to you Anthony! See ya soon.
hey i can post on this site? sweet. i’ll havta think of something worth.. uh. posting next time maybe. alright. awesome
Did you see it?
As usual, I’m late with the news but wanted to give everyone a heads-up on a lesser repeat next year in May. Reading yesterdays newspaper today I saw the report on the sequence of numbers that occurred yesterday in the a.m. and again in the afternoon. I missed both :(
I love these things.
Has anyone seen Anthony? I think this is a record setting event. It’s been seven days without an entry here. Anyone know what’s going on?
I know you are very, very busy with the upcoming nuptials and I am pleased to know that those things are taking priority over your website. Most of all, I hope you and Kim are enjoying all the preparations. It’s a time you will look back on with great stories and memories. Personal journal entries of these next few weeks will be a treasure in the future. Lvu, still
Fly Eagles Fly !!!
Just a bit of trivia Anthony; you were 2 1/2 months old the last time the E A G L E S played in the Super Bowl (they lost). You partied at Aunt Mare’s place with us, remember? Huh, do ya, huh????? Me neither :)
Hope you enjoy this game more than the last. GO EAGLES ! ! !
Some Random Stuff
I’m not obsessive about cleanliness or neatness in general, but when it comes to anything that I’m going to ingest, eat off of, or which will TOUCH any such thing (i.e. people’s hands who are preparing things I will eat), I definitely am obsessive about cleanliness. However I wasn’t always this way, and as a kid, I put a coin in my mouth at least one time. I have no idea why, really. But for some reason I distinctly remember the taste and feeling of it even now. I also have no idea why that is, nor why I thought of it while driving yesterday.
My little sister IMed me this the other day, about our cat CJ:
Maria: there was a spider on the ceiling and mom wacked it on the floor and CJ batted it around for a while untill it stopped movin (it wasn’t dead, it was just scared) and then he licked it up. a live spider!!!
"A live spider!!!" That cracks me up : )
In other news that isn’t funny or random, I fixed a problem on Kim’s notebook yesterday, for which she sent it back to HP twice and they did nothing but wipe the hard drive and leave the problem intact. The problem was that it would sporadically just shut down for no reason at all, and then refuse to turn back on. They apparently couldn’t identify the cause of problem, which is strange because it’s a common problem with notebook computers. It stems from the fact that over time, as the receptacle for the power plug gets jostled and worn, the solder joints connecting it to the motherboard start to weaken and break. It gets to the point that if you turn the power plug a certain way, it works fine, but bump it just a tad, and it breaks the contact. Eventually, if it goes long enough without being repaired, there is no contact at all unless you press/hold the plug to one side, or up or down or something, and when you let go, it loses the contact immediately.
We disassembled the whole thing, which with notebooks is always a little tricky, and then I re-soldered the 3 connections for the power jack. But upon re-assembling and testing, it was no different. Which was pretty frustrating because the disassembly and re-assembly is quite a process -- not that it’s hard, but it’s sort of tedious because there are so many screws and different pieces which aren’t standard at all from one notebook to the next. But I ended up doing it 3 times so by now I’m pretty good at it :)
The second time, I removed the jack completely and just soldered two wires directly into the motherboard. This didn’t work either. My last resort was to try maybe soldering the top of the board, too; instead of just soldering the pins when they come through the bottom, I now put some on the top too. This was tough because there’s so little space and so many components right around the jack, in addition to the fact that the jack itself is tall and there isn’t much room to get the tip of the iron into the space around it. I replaced the crusty old tip on my soldering iron with a nice pointy new one, soldered the tops of the pins, and that fixed the problem.
I’m pretty excited that it finally worked, because the only other source of power is the battery, which charges in the laptop through this power connection. So basically the computer would be trash, even though the rest of the system is mostly fine, and it’s decently spec’d too -- 700MHz PIII, 384MB memory, 40gig drive, etc. So I was really glad to be able to save the poor lappy; it’d be such a shame to have to get rid of it over something like this.
Best Of 2004
These are my top-ten lists for 2004... except that none of them have ten items.Snacks:
Marcona almonds: these are big spanish almonds. I get them at Wegmans, they come in a little plastic container with a little bit of canola oil and sea salt. I guess they’re just nuts, but they are delicious.
UTZ Pub Mix: "A Savory Blend of Crunchy Snacks." Also known as "Phat Mix" in some quarters. I didn’t used to like this when my brother Brian would get it by the pound from snack vendor stands at malls etc, but this UTZ version is really good. Anyway, from the bottom label, it consists of: Honey Mustard & Cheddar Cheese Twistix, Worcestershire Rye Chips, Honey Roasted Sesame Chips, Oriental Rice Crackers, Pretzel Stix, Nacho Bagel Chips.
Wegmans "Famous Chocolate Chip Mini Cookies." Just what it says -- little chocolate chip cookies that are so good they are (or should be) famous. They are soft. (This is actually from 2002 but I didn’t do a best-of list then, so shut it.)
Wegmans Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips. Sorta soft. These might be my favorite cookies of all time. Also a 2002-debuting item.
Moose Munch: carmel popcorn, some of which is chocolate-covered, and also including nuts (cashews and walnuts depending on where you get it). Quite possibly the overall best sweet snack of all time.
Albums: an asterisk (*) indicates an album that wasn’t actually released in 2004, but I didn’t find out about it or get it till 2004. These are in no particular order.
Best of the best:
Taking Back Sunday / "Where You Want To Be" / indie|screamo
Emery / "The Weak’s End" / hard rock|indie|screamo
Jimmy Eat World / "Futures" / modern rock|indie
Straylight Run / "Straylight Run" / indie|dual-vocals-male+female
Pigeon John / "Pigeon John is Dating Your Sister" * / rap|hip-hop|not gangsta|not evil
The Alpha Conspiracy / "Aura" / ambient|techno|IDM, maybe somewhat dance
Telefon Tel Aviv / "Map of What is Effortless" / ambient|techno|IDM, but not dance
Freemartin / "An Escape Seems Appropriate" / fast pop-punk|indie
My American Heart / "My American Heart" / modern rock|indie|screamo
Rainer Maria / "Long Knives Drawn" * / indie|rock|female vocals
Beth Orton / "Daybreaker" * / semi-folksy pop|female vocals
The Early November / "The Room’s Too Cold" * / indie|pop-punk|acoustic
The Starting Line / "Say it Like You Mean it" * / pop-punk|indie
...is Kim, of course ( :
Here's to 2005!
Thanks for the fun in 2004! Have a great new year Anthony!
(We in CA get to say it 3 hours later)
Hi Anthony, (and all our siblings)! I am so excited about Christmas this year. I don’t really know why - - it may be because Cailin is getting older and will enjoy it so much more this year. It may be because this year we are more settled in and have our tree decorated and stockings hung and nativity scene displayed. It may be because Tasha and Dan are going to have a baby - - any day it seems! For whatever reason Brian and I are so thankful to have such a wonderful family to celebrate with. We love you all so much and can’t wait to see you all on Christmas! Heidi, Brian, Cailin and Erin.
Innovation is an IT buzzword that has never seemed to go out. It’s what Microsoft always cites when representing itself in various lawsuits, cf. "we are disappointed by the ruling, which will stifle our freedom to innovate."
I’ve never been too convinced that MS software shows any signs of innovation, but today at Best Buy I saw a piece of MS hardware whose innovation impressed me. Some of their new mice have scroll wheels that are "analog" -- they don’t click when you scroll them, they’re smooth-rolling. It feels really neat and I couldn’t stop rolling the wheel on the mice at the store. It may not be hugely innovative, since a non-clicking wheel would be the default and you’d have to add the click feeling, so MS basically just left out that click-adding part that’s always been there until now. But still, I haven’t seen any other mouse manufacturer (read: Logitech) offering mouse wheels that scroll smoothly.
Some of the mice also featured sideways-scrolling. Instead of being on a fixed axis, the mouse wheel is mounted in some kind of swively thing that lets you rock the wheel from side to side. I think that’s a neat idea, but it’s not for me. I found it slightly tough and unnatural to move my index finger from side to side that way with enough force to activate the feature. And conversely if it were designed to require less force, you’d probably be accidentally side-scrolling all the time.
I’ve also never liked using mice with more than three buttons (three meaning two plus the wheel), nor mice that are shaped asymmetrically to fit your hand. So to me the side-scrolling feature is just another thing to make a mouse more complex, when I already thought the 5- and 7-button mice were getting complex enough.
FVWM vs Gnome
Holy cow, Utz Pub Mix is an amazing snack. It’s got to be about 95% MSG but I don’t even care. Whether I love it or I just THINK I love it, I can’t stop eating it. Mmmm.
Anyway... I don’t suppose anyone here has used FVWM for a long time as their Window Manager, and then switched to Gnome/Metacity? I love FVWM, it’s so configurable and can be made to look and feel pretty much just like Gnome/Metacity or any other WM. And it’s so small memory-wise and so fast. But it has a few nagging problems that I just got fed up with.
1. Alt-Tab doesn’t work right. "Right" means when you’re working in one window, and you switch to another (whether via the mouse or keyboard), then holding Alt and tapping Tab switches back to the previous window. Doing it again switches back to the first window again. On FVWM, this doesn’t work right, and to the extent which it does somewhat work it’s really slow. First of all, when you first tap Tab, it brings up a window-list (painfully slowly if you have more than about 10 windows open) with the current window selected. And if you have enough windows open / tapped Tab fast enough, the window-list stays open even after you release the Tab key, requiring you to press Enter or Tab again. There’s a config option that lets you put the current window at the end of the list, so Alt-Tab does select the previous window... but then doing it again doesn’t take you back to the first window.
This may seem nit-picky but for many people, especially people who avoid the mouse as much as possible and are very fast with keyboard navigation, Alt-Tab is a fundamental part of the interface between user and computer. When that fails to work properly, it takes a serious toll on your efficiency.
2. Window focusing doesn’t work right when switching between desktops (or "pages" as FVWM calls them). When I switch to another desktop, the focus should move with me. But it doesn’t. If I’m talking in an IM window open on the first desktop, then switch to the second to type into a text-editor window, the text instead goes into the IM window on the first desktop, unless I click on (or Alt-Tab to) the text-editor window first.
3. I know there were a few other things but none of them are coming to me right now; it’s been two weeks since I stopped using FVWM. But the whole lack-of-functional-focusing-policy including Alt-Tab is really a deal-breaker for me.
But after using Gnome for about 20 seconds, I remembered why I switched to FVWM in the first place about a year ago. It was because Gnome is SUCH a memory hog. I have a gig of RAM and 200MB of swap on this (850MHz) system. I tend to keep lots of programs running at once: Apache and SSH servers, Thunderbird email with a few open message windows, Mozilla browser with tons of open tabs, Gaim instant messenger, VNC-through-SSH connections to various remote systems, a couple gFTPs for web development, Gimp for image editing every now and then, XMMS for music, and then just bunches of xterms and file-managers and text-editors.
Under FVWM, my RAM was about half full and my swap was almost never used at all. Under Gnome, RAM is at 95% (with ~5-10% being cache) and swap is at 30%. That’s with the exact same set of programs running. Now Gnome is definitely keeping some more info about running processes in RAM than FVWM is, because as I said, the Alt-Tab window list on FVWM takes forever to generate... but still, over a half a gig more memory needed by Gnome? That’s absurd. It wouldn’t be a problem, except the constant swapping really slows the system down.
1998 Called, Again
I just installed a printer driver on a Mac OSX (10.2.8) machine -- a network printer, no less -- and it required me to restart the computer. Glad to see OSX has progressed to the level of Windows 98.
Slashdot is supposed to be "News for Nerds" but it’s about the user comments as much as, if not more than, the news itself. And sometimes the news items were reported in the press weeks before they show up on slashdot, and then you get stuff like this:
New Photos and Other Exciting Stuff
I also fixed a design flaw whereby I was getting zero hits from google or any other search engine for about 18 months. Before sometime in the spring of 2003, I was getting about 200 hits per day, mostly from google. After that, it dropped off to about 30 hits per day within maybe a month. At the time, there was talk about google modifying their pagerank algorithm so as to de-emphasize weblogs in their search results. (Or so I thought; maybe I fabricated that entire concept without realizing it.)
I figured that was the reason I stopped getting so many hits from google searches. But I recently discovered that I wasn’t getting any hits from search engines because their spiders were unable to crawl my site. My visitor-log system tries to log visitors based on things like their IP address, their browser’s User-Agent string, their name (if they enter one), etc... but since IP addresses sometimes change, and sometimes even change with every page requested, it’s helpful to give each visitor a unique ID and store it in a cookie. The problem is that the search engines’ web spiders don’t accept any cookies, and I inadvertently failed to make a provision for that fact. So every page on my site was saying "here, have a cookie, and then I’ll redirect you to that page" but the spiders were saying "no way, Jose." The spiders are stubborn and so was my code, so after 10 such exchanges, the spiders give up and move along.
Last week I fixed the code, and I see googlebot and msnbot slowly crawling my site again. Now I’m a popular destination for these searches:
Can you still feel the butterflies? Elliott Ness "are these all yours" the dingo ate your babies Script for the lullaby Little Yeshua
I’m especially proud to be #1 on google for "Script for the lullaby Little Yeshua," mainly because I have no idea what that means, and because I’m sure it isn’t on my site.
Snow, snow, snow, yay : )
We love the first snow of the season.
So the OQO has been out for over a month now, and it still costs $1900. I was hoping by now the price would have dropped to $150 or so. Oh well.
I have two new photo-sets that I want to post, one from NYC and another from a hike last weekend, but I want to finish some updates to my photo-webpage scripts before I post any more photos. And the updates are taking some time. (OK, by "updates" I mean writing from scratch a script to manage the creation/editing of captions, keywords, title/date/descriptions, etc, through the web-browser.)
In the meantime though, I put up a new header image for this fallsy theme. The photo is from McConnells Mill about six weeks ago. I had wanted to take some more fall photos this season, but it looks like it’ll be winter-photo season soon.
It’s a moot point now, but I just saw this today:
If John Kerry is the answer,
it must be a stupid question.
Cheap shot, I know, but that’s funny. Also saw this the other day:
Unlike taxes, death doesn’t get worse every year.
Am I the only one who as NO idea what to get Dad and Jeannie for Christmas??? Has anyone heard what the wish list is this year??? Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!
In an article titled Debt-cut gift for Iraq, about how the world is going to forgive 80% of Iraq’s debt, guess what the first sentence is?
Baghdad exploded in violence today, even as German finance minister Mr Hans Eichel said in Berlin that he agreed with US Treasury secretary Mr John Snow on a proposal for the world’s key creditor nations to write off as much as 80 per cent of Iraq’s debt, capping a months-long US push for debt forgiveness in Iraq’s case.
No matter what happens in Iraq, no matter what newsworthy event has taken place, just remember: you have to say that Iraq "exploded into violence." Sure, the nations of the world agreed to forgive nearly $40 billion worth of debt, but that isn’t news... violence in a nation that has just had its dictator removed, that’s news.
A junior at New Mexico State University died Friday after his 21st birthday celebration led to alcohol poisoning, according to the university. ... NMSU has begun an investigation...
Investigation into what? When you consume absurd quantities of alcohol, you die. This kid was a fool, and his "friends" who took him out are fools.
Instead of wasting taxpayer money on this "investigation," how about an investigation into why the majority of kids in this country are obsessed with alcohol? At least he didn’t kill anyone else by his foolish actions -- drunk drivers kill 20,000 people per year in the US. How about whenever a drunk driver kills someone, if the drunkard lives, we execute him on the spot?
I Was So There
I came across Andromeda tonight. This is just a PHP script that displays your music collection as a webpage, allowing you to click on songs to stream them from your webserver using the M3U format.
I wrote a Perl script to do that; I’ve been streaming my music library from my server to work/home for the past 2 years or so. It’s essentially the exact same thing as Andromeda: MP3 streamer + login system (though logins are currently not enforced for the sake of this post, so that ya’ll can check it out... it might be slow though, since my net connection is slow). I obviously didn’t bother to make mine look pretty, as he did, but other than that and a trivial search-box, they are the same.
The same, except that he is selling his for $500 to the Air Force, the Salvation Army, various universities, etc.
Thoughts for the Week
We are not the owners of our money and possessions; we are merely managers of those things for the length of our stay on Earth. (From church.)
medical essay: don’t ignore your mother. (From a spam email that I just received.)
I just posted three new photo sets from the past couple weeks, and there are lots of good ones. Go see!