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October 24, 2009

Tangent City

I blame Dave for wasting most of my day... He sent out a message saying that the URL of his site had changed. As part of that the URLs for his RSS feeds changed. I'm currently using Google Reader and wanted to update the feed URLs. I'm on a Mac and use Safari for my browsing needs. By default in Safari when you click on a link that is a feed it opens in Safari's RSS reader, not what I wanted. Off to investigate other options.

Continue reading "Tangent City" »

Tags: code hack mac

March 6, 2009

Principle versus Taste

Today for lunch we went to Legal Sea Foods in Kendall to wish a co-worker farewell as it was her last day. I ordered a gimlet and after asking what gins they had, asked for it with Bombay Sapphire. When my drink came it was very limey which was what I wanted. After a couple of sips, the waiter asked me about the drink to which I replied it was okay. He then informed me that he substituted Tanqueray for the gin (that being the cocktail menu stated drink) since it blended with their lime cordial better.

Continue reading "Principle versus Taste" »

Tags: gin rant

February 3, 2009

This Not That

I've gotten myself into a funk at home where I'm not interested in doing anything personally productive. I've got some projects I should be working on (read as a new Antennae release), some ideas that should be explored (read as playing with ANTLR), some loose ends to clean up (read as finishing the comments on my Nepal pictures), and we'll completely skip over how botched up I've been with personal communication lately. Instead of doing any of that, I find myself sitting in front of the television or mindlessly playing on the computer.

Continue reading "This Not That" »

Tags: life work

November 3, 2008

Tripping on NeoPhi

As most regular readers of this blog know my housemates and I are having the house de-leaded. This unfortunately means temporarily vacating part of the house while it is worked on. Thankfully despite the age of Gilman Manor it had very little lead. One area that did have lead was near where NeoPhi lives. This of course necessitated moving NeoPhi. That went smoothly and should have only been seen as a short network blip and NeoPhi's and its UPS moved smoothly into another room. Alas the short blip turned into a two hour nightmare for me as once in its new home while trying to get something I forgot I was going to need I knocked NeoPhi's power cord out from the UPS.

Continue reading "Tripping on NeoPhi" »

Tags: gilmanmanor neophi

September 22, 2008

If it isn't broke don't fix it

I've wasted too many hours over the last couple of days playing with MovableType 4.2 only to find out that I don't really need it. Granted there are some nifty new features in it, but it feels much slower. I attempted to speed it up using mod_perl but met great difficulty. I didn't even get around to making sure that all of my plugins were doing the right thing since half of the ones I had I think I saw on the don't use with MT4 list. Thankfully I did all my upgrade testing in a separate copy of my database and published to a new location so nothing got lost.

If I was starting a brand new blog I'd still strongly consider using MovableType but given all of the customization of templates, plug-ins, and pages I've done to my existing version it was turning into too big of a task without enough gain. Too bad I didn't have that foresight yesterday when I started down this doomed path.

Tags: movabletype neophi

February 12, 2008

Slow Motion Moment

I had one of those made for the movies slow motion moments coming home tonight. The snow flurries had just started to fall making the roads a little wet but nothing too serious. I was biking home using my secondary route. My primary route is the one I commute on between Union Square and Harvard Square. My secondary route is the one that I take when I've crossed over the river into Boston. While I don't ride it as much it's a route that I'm very familiar with.

Continue reading "Slow Motion Moment" »

Tags: accident bike life

October 16, 2007

Grrrrrr

It seems RCN's out bound mail server died. Which means that all of my outbound mail since like 8am this morning have not been delivered... I called them a few hours ago and after being on hold for 25 minutes finally spoke to someone that said "the issue had been resolved". Well it still looks like no out bound email has gone out based on my own tests. Up to this point besides some static IP issues I had when I first got going RCN had been rock solid. Needless to say if you were expecting an email from me, it probably didn't get sent...

And for those that are curious I don't send email out directly from my box since many of the blacklists by default include all cable IPs. This caused problems with email being bounced in the past.

Tags: email neophi rcn

July 17, 2007

Tour de France Backgrounds?

Maybe my glasses prescription needs to get updated but I've been having a hard time finding backgrounds or wallpapers related to the current Tour de France. I'm talking about 1600x1200 sized images of the Tour de France logo, a detailed image of this year's route, or even photos from the various stages. I would have thought from a promotional standpoint the official Tour de France would have a bunch, but my quick glances at that site have turned up nothing. I'm more than happy to have just missed something obvious on this one and if so please let me know.

Tags: tdf

July 8, 2007

Dying Sport?

I think inline skating is all but dead in Boston. During a recent night of heavy blading I managed to lose a couple of bolts holding my wheels on while out blading. Thankfully I didn't notice this until a couple of days later when I was rotating my wheels. I have no chance of retracing my route to find the missing bolts. My long time use of a hop-up kit saved me from having the wheel fall completely off.

Being without blades makes short little mid-day excursions a little more tedious so I went out in search of replacement parts. I've been blading around Boston since I got here. Things have changed since then. Eric Flaim's Motion Sports on Newbury used to be the place to go. Long since gone and replaced by a Blades Board and Skate. They even had a couple of locations around the city including Harvard Square. Alas they are also gone. A place I never went to but looked promising was Beacon Hill Skate Shop. A phone call to them and they seemed to have moved way south of the city.
True East Skate Shop in downtown Boston is for skateboarders only. Orchard Skateshop looks to be the same. Those are the specialty shops, either gone or not for inline.

There is always City Sports, but they are more about the simple gear not cross pull hop-up kits or a dozen plus wheel variations with different hardnesses, composites, and diameters. Even some of the online specialty shops I used to buy in bulk from when I was going through a set of wheels a month, seemed to have moved on. And forget the fact that I contemplated getting news blades. Maybe I'm old fashioned but Rollerblade's ABT system is still tops in my book for being able to break hard while in traffic, keep all your wheels on the ground, and not rip your wheels to shreds. Very few if any models out there offer anything like that. Maybe I could learn new techniques but too many years of certain habits are hard to break :)

Tags: life

December 31, 2006

Comment Spam

Over the past couple of days my blog has been heavily hit with comment spam. In the last 10 hours I've gotten more than 100 spam message attempts posted to my blog. I moderate all comments so none of those messages saw the light of day but I still have to deal with them. I've never really tuned the comment spam features of MT and I still haven't. Instead I installed a CAPTCHA system. Previously I had required TypeKey in order to leave a comment but that felt a little to draconian. Not everyone has a TypeKey account or wants to create one. Email whitelists are another option but that still requires that I approve or junk email addresses when they are entered.

I'm all about not even having to look at the spam. While this may mean I automatically trash some important comment or email, I think most people are coming to realize that when 90% or more of all email is spam, people will take drastic measures and at some point a message will be lost. As such I'm now running the SCode plugin. The usability of CAPTCHAs is a concern but unless I go back to TypeKey only comments I don't have another good solution at this point. In fact the use of TypeKey on my system just means that your comment will automatically be posted but you still need to enter the security code in order to post.

Tags: links mt spam

December 1, 2006

Death to TiVo?

With the holiday season is full swing I've been getting catalogs in the mail left and right. Today included one from Circuit City. I have a hard time just throwing a catalog like that away since it has all kinds of technology toys in it. As a was flipping through, I saw the new TiVo Series 3. I don't quite know when it got released but I know it didn't exist at least a year ago when I put my HD system together.

Circuit City is selling them for $799.99. That's even more than the PS3 (ignoring the eBay frenzy). The same catalog has decent computers that cost less. Never the less I consider just what such a purchase would mean. While I sometimes maybe impulsive, I'll at least make sure it fits into some reasonable disposable income level before just slapping down the plastic.

Continue reading "Death to TiVo?" »

Tags: rcn tivo

August 14, 2006

Stuffed, Drunk, and Happy

Tonight I had dinner at Aura which is the restaurant in the Seaport Hotel. It was the first of what I hope to be many enjoyable Boston Restaurant Week experiences. Unlike my last attempt.

One of the best parts of tonight, which contributed highly to the drunk part was they offered a wine pairing with each course for a reasonable additional fee. Not only did I get a great appetizer, main course, and dessert, I also got to have three very nice wines. I picked my courses to have a wide variety which was great since it provided great contrast. The meal started off with bread and sauces.

The appetizer was the Nesenkeag farm greens with lemon-basil vinaigrette, julienne cucumbers, and baby tomatoes paired with a 2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Chateau Ste. Michelle, ‘Horse Heaven’, Washington. Nothing too special about this course. The wine was very good but nothing in the dish stood out in my mind to really bring out the flavors of the wine.

For the main source I had Grilled beef tenderloin and chipotle glazed short rib with a Vidalia onion and new potato hash paired with 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, Villa Mt. Eden 'Tall Trees', Napa, California. By far the best part of the meal. The tenderloin was a perfect medium rare and brought out the woody flavor in the wine. The short rib was also good but I think I would have been happy with just more of the tenderloin.

Lastly for dessert I got the Ricotta Crème Brulee with Honey thyme marinated raspberries and pecan sable cookie paired with Muscat Canelli, Icewine, Bonny Doon, Santa Cruz, California. The wine was very sweet, but not overpowering, and reminded me of pears. I didn't eat that much of the brulee as I was mostly full at this point. The raspberries were very yummy though.

Overall a wonderful meal and excellent service. As a side note the restaurant also validates parking which was an added bonus!

Tags: food

August 13, 2006

SpamAssassin

I finally got around to upgrading the version of SpamAssassin that I use. I was previously running 3.0.2 and am now running 3.1.4 I also spent a bunch of time installing a optional Perl modules to enable additional features of SpamAssassin. Boy am I glad that I did. Prior to upgrading I'd say at least 20 spams were getting through a day. In the last 24 hours I've only see one spam that didn't get flagged and it was as close as you can get to not being considered spam.

This makes me happy. I've never been that good with email to begin with but having to spend most of my email time filtering through my inbox only made matters worse. The few times that I've checked email since upgrading I've almost not known what to do. It's sad, but spam in my email has become so common I've almost forgot what it's like. This is a good problem to have to readjust to.

I do have to say that the documentation that I've come across so far for SpamAssassin has been pretty disorganized. I find this really odd since it seems to be under the Apache Software Foundation, which having used many of their other projects, I've usually been happy with the documentation. I suspect that the SpamAssassin wiki holds the knowledge I'm seeking but damned if I can find it. In any case, less spam is good and AFAIK no false-positives.

Tags: spam

July 29, 2006

Lame

It's hot today. Last I looked it was about 90. It's also very humid. Currently running around 46% humidity. This past week I've also really gotten back into inline skating. I still have my very old blades. Going on about 10 years now. They show many signs of being that old. Scraps and nicks each with their own little story of how it came to pass. Unfortunately my blades are almost getting too old. The tongue on the inner shell has cracked in half on one and is all but cracked on the other. This doesn't affect the usage of the skates, just another sign that maybe they are past their prime. They don't really owe me anything. I spend most of college in then using them constantly. And I mean constantly. There were many days that a pair of blades was the only footwear I wore. I can safely say I feel very comfortable on a pair of inline skates. Hell, I was stupid enough to transport 21" monitors across campus a few times on a pair of blades.

Continue reading "Lame" »

Tags: life

June 30, 2006

This is the end

Well not really. I've been doing daily updates to this blog since the beginning of this year. I don't really have enough to write about to really keep that up, so this blog will now return to its regular infrequent cycle.

Tags: blog life

June 21, 2006

Blah

This blog seems to have distinct moods to it. Sometimes it is much more of a helpful blog, but other times it is much more of a random crap that it coming out of my head blog (dare one might say something more like an online diary). Well sorry to disappoint anyone that might be looking for a helpful blog entry, I've just not had the time to put those together. A good helpful blog entry I find usually takes about an hour to write. From putting together examples, doing some proofreading, and in general trying to make it a little more polished than an more drivel oriented post like this one.

Why am I ranting today? I woke up with that back of the throat scratchy feeling. Unlike the symptoms from a few months ago which never really amounted to anything, this time I think its for real. I've already used up a third of a new box of tissues an on my second cold relief shot and have been going through cough drops like there is no tomorrow. I've drank half of the Nile today in fluids and have had pretty much nothing but mushy food (heavily soaked grape nuts for breakfast and soup for lunch and supper). Why do I mention all of this? Please refer to the earlier comment about drivel.

Since I've have a habit of writing about this every time it happens, since it annoys the hell out of me, I also get a record of its frequency. Maybe someday I'll look back on this and figure out what the root cause of these mostly mild cold like symptoms are. Also I also get mild hypochondria when I get sick like this and think I've got some bigger issue, because why should I be getting sick?

Tags: life sick

June 20, 2006

Behind the Scenes at Blue Man Group

On June 1st I found out that I was the lucky winner of the first "Behind the Scenes at Blue Man Group" promotion. This was a contest which was part of the new BMG Boston's New Mobile Community. I got a back stage tour of what goes into making the show happen from the sound, light, and manager's perspectives. I also got to sit through the sound check and prepatory work before the show begins. During the show I got my name in lights and got to keep the spin art from the show. Overall an even more incredable experience than I've had seeing the Blue Man Group in the past. Sign up, I have a feeling that they will be doing other cool events like this in the future.

While most of the photos that I was allowed to take I can't put online, I do have a picture of me with the Blue Man Group and the spin art from the show.

Tags: bmg

June 7, 2006

Return of the Rain

It rained again today. Enough rain to get more water in our basement. This is getting, no this is already old. Time to figure out what can be done to prevent this from being an issue in the future...

Tags: gilmanmanor life rain

May 28, 2006

Monadnock

Most of Gilman Manor along with some of our family went for hike up Mount Monadnock today. Since I had recently been up I didn't take as many pictures. We took a much more varied set of trails this time which I enjoyed a lot more. The 300 feet of gain over just under 0.2 miles on the Spellman Trail is a blast. The Red Spot Trail also made for a good descent even if longer than the white trails.

It was almost a great trip except I somehow managed to get some nasty sunburn on the back of my neck. I'm really pissed off about this since I know I put sunblock on, both at the base of the mountain and right after lunch, before the descent. Granted I didn't have a hat on, but no other part of me got sun as bad, and I don't remember a burn like this from biking where the back of neck is just as exposed. I can only think that I must have gotten some sun on the way up in the car, but even that wouldn't completely account for the extent of the burn. It's one thing when I know I'm being stupid and not using any protection and I get a burn. But when I'm taking reasonable precautions and it still happens that just pisses me off. Fair warning, I'll probably be bitchy the next few days until this burn passes.

Tags: life monadnock pictures sunburn

May 20, 2006

Scavenger Hunt

I sent most of today out on a scavenger hunt. The hunt started in Harvard Square and ended up down in Quincy Market, with stops around Park Street. It was a combination of finding particular items (like green yarn), taking photos of various things (like different ice cream shops), and also having some group photos taken (like on the ducks at the Boston Common). The team that I was on placed second! Not bad for a heat of ten teams. The worst part was about two-thirds of the way through the battery in my camera died. This was right when I was trying to take a picture of a cop who had hand-cuffed my two teammates together. It wasn't until five minutes afterwards that we realized my other teammate had a camera phone we could have used.

While I've ranted about my phone in the past the fact that it couldn't even keep a charge for less than a hundred pictures is just sucky. The fact that I was also recently playing with a digital SLR kind of made me think more seriously about a new camera. I don't think I'd really be able to use all of the features of a high end SLR, but the flexibility you get with a camera like that is just awesome. Although considering I probably ran about three miles today, I don't know if I would really have wanted the bulk of an SLR camera. I'll also not recommend running that kind of distance in sandals. I think I got about three blisters on each foot.

Tags: camera life

May 14, 2006

Flood

How optimistic my words from last night seem now. The rain did come back, with a vengeance I might add. I woke up this morning to a basement that had about three times as much water as there was yesterday. Since the sump pump we picked up yesterday wasn't doing the trick (we later learned it really needs to be in four inches of water to prevent overheating) we got a wet/dry vac. It helped but given that you can only suck so much water out before needing to drain it after a half dozen trips out to the street we started looking for better options. I tried to rig up something to the drain on the wet/dry vac drum, but we quickly realized it needed a sealed container to get the suction going. In retrospect it makes sense but I can't say I've been thinking clearly the entire time.

After the three of us contemplated various ideas, I suggested using a hole we already had in the ground. We have this hole in the basement that used to be the foundation for an old school style ceramic furnace. It had since been filled in by the time we bought the house. I took a shovel and started digging. There was enough room to create a flat surface a few inches below the rest of the basement floor. I threw in a flat slab on concrete that had come lose from another part of the floor. This was deep enough for the sump pump to operate. Once on we shoveled the remaining water towards the hole and quickly got the water out. Some hand cleanup using the wet/dry vac got things mostly back to normal. Been a "fun" weekend.

Tags: gilmanmanor life rain

May 13, 2006

Rain

Today the rain reached critical mass. It rained long enough and hard enough that the basement of Gilman Manor started to seep water. It was kind of cool to watch the little air bubbles pop as they came through the water that had already seeped through. All in all it wasn't that bad of a situation versus a friend who has been completely flooded out of his apartment. All we had to do was mop up the water and the problem has mostly not returned. We'll have to see what happens if the rain get really bad again.

Tags: gilmanmanor life rain

May 10, 2006

Blacklists

I've recently been having issues sending mail to various domains from NeoPhi since it is currently on an RCN static IP. It seems various email blacklist sites have started adding cable modem IPs. RCN technical support was no help in trying to resolve the issues. In the end I decided to use RCN's mail server as my outgoing relay in the hopes that at least that RCN machine isn't blacklisted.

Tags: blacklist mail neophi rcn

May 5, 2006

FireFox 1.5.0.3 Commenting Error

It looks like the FireFox 1.5.0.3 upgrade has broken submitting comments on Movable Type 3.2? I've opened a trouble ticket with Six Apart and I'll see what that gets me. In the meantime IE, Lynx, and pretty much anything else can submit comments fine.

Tags: bugs comments firefox movabletype

May 2, 2006

You can't read this

It seems RCN has lost my static IP. As a result NeoPhi is off the net, so you can't read this. You can try if you happen to know the IP that it is currently listening to, but that seems to keep changing so that won't do either of us much good. Hopefully the problem will be fixed in the near future, but I don't have my hopes set very high, the people I talked to on the phone weren't really sure what was going on.

Tags: ip neophi rcn

April 30, 2006

Survey

Over the past couple of years I've found Details to be a good magazine for various articles related to men's issues. The writing is mostly short pieces but well written and not very fluffy. Overall the magazine tends to speak to a different target audience then myself, especially when it comes to clothes and materialism. While I have spent money on a couple of nice pieces of clothing, the $300 jeans and $125 shirts routinely advertised and reviewed are just crazy amounts to be spending on clothes (IMHO).

I recently got an email asking to participate in a survey they are running. Most of the questions in the survey definitely speak to the intended target audience. This one in particular stood out:

At a glance, you measure a man's success MOST by his:
_ Car
_ Home
_ Clothes
_ Watch
_ Footwear
_ Date

Tags: consumerism details survey

April 23, 2006

E*Trade

There are very few companies that I've done business with for many years that haven't undergone a name change during that time. T-Mobile for awhile was Voicestream and before that, when I signed up with them back in June of 1998, they were called Omnipoint. In fact my GSM SIM card still says Omnipoint on it. E*Trade, well E*Trade Bank in particular, used to be called Telebank when I first started doing business with them back in Mar of 1999. If you haven't guessed, I'm also fairly loyal to companies, if they continue to offer the features I want at a reasonable value. I'm sure there are others but those come to mind first since my mobile phone is sitting on my desk next to a letter from E*Trade Financial/Bank.

It seems that the reason I signed up with Telebank many years ago, which was their killer super savings account which morphed into the SmartSaver Account, is being discontinued. At the time Telebank had some of the highest interest rates available, a cool online banking site, and a few months later, cool electronic bill payment if you also had a checking account with them. This was before ING Direct and other similar financial products had really broken into the mainstream, or in some cases even existed. Alas, E*Trade has decided to convert their SmartSaver accounts into Money Market Accounts. This might be one of those times to check and see if my loyalty to them has wavered.

Tags: banking etrade history tmobile

April 21, 2006

Gas Prices

I had to fill my car up last night. I had been running the tank to empty in anticipation of getting the fuel filler hose replaced as part of the recent recall. Turns out the tool initially created to handle the repair doesn't work. Nissan is in the process of redesigning the tool and it should be ready sometime in May. Let's hope my car doesn't catch fire :)

Since I had run my tank almost dry I needed a lot of fuel. I was unhappy that on pulling into the local gas station the premium fuel cost was back over $3. Even with how little I drive my car, or more importantly need to drive my car, $45 to fill up a tank is starting to get into the crazy territory. Unless I'm doing highway driving the Z doesn't get very good city mileage so that tank doesn't get me very far. I'll be curious to see how high it goes this time.

Tags: car gas history

April 19, 2006

Be Careful Out There

A friend got mugged tonight. She is fine. Be careful out there.

Tags: mugging

April 18, 2006

Flash 8.5 Beta 2, Firefox, Mac OS, and Sleeping

Since installing the Flash 8.5 Beta Firefox has been crashing on a fairly regular basis when my Mac is coming out of sleep mode. I'm going to try reverting back to Flash 8 and see if that makes the problem go away. I've also recently upgraded Firefox due to recent security issues and I'm fairly certain the latest round of Mac OS patches got pushed out also, so the blame may not be squarely on Flash but given that it's the only beta product in that mix I'm going to try that first.

Tags: bugs flash mac

April 14, 2006

Life is Good

Life is good right now. At work this week we managed to get enough plumbing put together to have a first front-to-back communication of the application. It's always nice to have something that is starting to hang together even if some pieces of it are stubbed out. After work today Gilman Manor had the third consecutive week of grilling. Yummy chicken this time. I also attempted some grilled potatoes, but my foil wasn't quite heavy duty enough so a few of the potatoes got a little burned. I also made a batch of corn bread that was good. Not 100%, but this was my first attempt at corn bread from scratch and it turned out much better than the potatoes (which was my second attempt). At least this time the potatoes were somewhat edible, unlike my first attempt. My grill is a little too hot sometimes. Gilman Manor residents also played a bunch of poker tonight which was cool. Lastly, I've got more Tour of Duty to watch :)

Tags: bbq food gilmanmanor life programming

April 6, 2006

Wonderful Night

Tonight was Christmas for Gilman Manor. Well kind of. Matt gave us tickets to see Spamalot for Christmas and the tickets were for tonight's show.

Before the show we ate at Via Matta. While it was a little rushed since we had to get to the show, the meal was an at least an order of magnitude better than our last planned dinner experience. Very very yummy food. It would have been even better if we would have been able to stay for dessert, but I'm not sure if I could have eaten anything else at that point.

The show was wonderful. It started off fairly predictable but then branched out into new material and incorporated many other Monty Python elements. While I've not watched that much Python, even for the non die-hard fan, it is a funny show.

Tags: food gilmanmanor life

April 5, 2006

Weather

Now that I'm biking into work on a regular basis I'm becoming more intimate with the weather. My walk to the T, while about as long as my bike ride, never really felt like I was as exposed. That's probably since my walking pace is much slower than I bike. As a result on a morning like this with some snow flakes starting to fall during my ride in, the combination isn't that pleasing. This is aggravated by the fact that I don't have any fenders on my bike. Most of the snow that was falling this morning was melting almost immediately causing enough moisture to be on the ground to be annoying. Yesterday was worse with the constant rain, but in either case I'd be happy if the weather would just cooperate during my commute :)

Tags: bike life

April 3, 2006

Parking

Now that April 1st has passed I've come to realize that there is one feature of my last apartment that I miss. That is off street parking. With April 1st comes street cleaning. Somerville was kind enough to leave a helpful reminder on my car that street cleaning has started up again after the winter's break. Out of all of the places I've lived in Somerville 50% have had off street parking. If I consider how long I've owned a car and how long I lived at each place that did have off street parking, I've only had to worry about street cleaning 20% of the time.

Unlike Cambridge, Somerville won't actually tow your car if you leave it on the street during street cleaning, you just get a nice little ticket. Given that they use a 1st and 3rd and a 2nd and 4th odd versus even different days of the week pattern for when they clean, even during that 20% of the time I still managed to amass 3 or 4 tickets. At one point someone was running a site which would email you reminders about when to move your car, alas I can't find it right now. If you happen to know it, please let me know.

Tags: car parking

April 1, 2006

Blah Day

Don't know what it was but today I've just had one long non-stop headache. Blah....

Tags: life

March 21, 2006

Wrong Keys

I give up. I've now managed to accidently erase what I was trying to write not once, but twice. It must be a sign that I shouldn't post anything of value today.

March 14, 2006

Out of shape

Since I failed to get out on my bike during the 60 degree day we had a recently, I felt obliged to enjoy today's 56 degree weather. If the forecast I'm looking at comes true it will be back down to a high of 46 tomorrow and down to 37 by Friday. This was the first time I was out on my bike this year. I didn't ride that much last year mostly due to working at Ruckus over the summer to get ready for the fall launch of the second generation of the service. In fact the last time I did any serious riding was 2003 when I rode the Erie Canal. Let's just say time is a cruel companion.

While I've never had issues on a long ride like the Erie Canal, I've come very close to bonking enough times during training that I'm sometimes overly cautious. A first ride of the season helps me set the pace for just what kind of year its going to be. If I was smart and dedicated I'd have already spent three months racking up time on my trainer. Alas, my discipline hasn't been that good of late. I made an minimal effort during part of January but then fell off as quickly as I'd started. Which bring me to today's ride.

Continue reading "Out of shape" »

March 13, 2006

Curtains

I spent too long Sunday unsuccessfully trying to buy some curtains. Since I've been spending a large amount of time at home recently, the sheets that I have tacked up in the den have started to look a little tacky. I figured that getting some curtains would be a nice leisurely Sunday activity and would help improve the room aesthetics. While I was at it I figured I'd finish off my bedroom curtains too. I have one window done up nicely but the other one still has a blanket over it.

I purchased the one curtain I have in my bedroom a few years ago when I was living on cross street. I took a sample of that so I could potentially match it when buying new curtains. I went to Target which is where I thought I had bought the curtains from. However, wandering around Target it didn't feel right and in the process I remembered that I had actually bought the curtains from Kmart. They were part of the Martha Stewart home collection or some such thing.

Continue reading "Curtains" »

March 7, 2006

Zephyr (Sucks)

About an hour ago I got back from one of the worst meals that I have had at a restaurant in a few years. Friends and I went to Zephyr as part of the recent Restaurant Week in Boston. I booked our reservation later than I had hoped so Zephyr was one of the few spots left (that I had interest in going to) that still had space available. After tonight's meal I can see why they had space available.

I used to do a lot of business travel. I've eaten in a lot of hotel restaurants. Most of those restaurants are passable and the rest were exceptional (famous in their own right in fact). I now have to add a third category to hotel restaurants of which Zephyr is the first entry and that is horrible.

Continue reading "Zephyr (Sucks)" »

March 6, 2006

24

This season of 24 continues to heat up. I have to say it sometimes feel like a soap opera. I mean if you summarize some of the events from this season it sounds like a soap:

<spoiler>
Jack comes back from the dead. Tony is in an accident and is now in a coma. Now Tony's woken up only to learn that his wife is dead. Jack's daughter finds out that's he's alive but now she doesn't want anything to do with him since she thinks he abandoned her. The wussy president is being easily manipulated by anyone who can get his ear, etc., etc.
</spoiler>

Granted it's been about 14 years since I've watched a soap opera episode so maybe they've changed. If the soap opera guides in the checkout isle at the supermarket are any indication, I suspect soap operas haven't changed that much.

With that said, 24 has much more action than I remember from any soap opera and the production value is much higher. The use of multiple screen cinematography is also a departure from most daytime production or prime time for that matter. While the sheer number of events that they pack into 24 hours definitely requires suspension of disbelief (sometimes great leaps), it's still one of the best formats for an action packed drama I've seen.

March 5, 2006

Folding

Unlike most people I know, I don't mind laundry. Granted now that I have a washer and dryer in my basement I mind it even less. Part of the reason I never really minded laundry was that it was a simple two hour ordeal. Pack up my laundry and supplies, drive to the laundromat, wash, dry, fold, come home and put everything away. Two hours. And during that two hours I had plenty of time to read some of the more fluffy magazines I get and usually just let stack up.

Now that I do laundry at home the time taken is more variable since I can't be doing all of washing at once, but that is made up by the fact that I can just go downstairs. My issue today is that I still haven't figured out how to fold a fitted sheet. I usually end up with some lopsided monstrosity that has no chance of keeping the sheet in any decent wrinkle free format. I've tried folding them in all sorts of manners and none seems to do the job right. Flat sheets and pillow cases are easy, rectangles fold easy. Fitted sheets with the elastics and three dimensional pieces to fit around the mattress just make it too complicated. I'm almost tempted to go out and by another sheet set just to see how the manufacturer folds everything up into one of those little shrink wrapped plastic bags you buy them in.

March 2, 2006

Grrrr

I'm at the point that I really need to step back, take a deep breath, count to ten and then maybe I can put into words the last two hours. All I wanted to do was upgrade Gallery. Next thing I know I'm having to reboot my box and troubleshoot a MySQL that has started throwing errors that its perror utility says doesn't even exist! The worst part is I have no faith right now that the problem is even fixed or how long / bad the problem has been going on since it seems to have manifested in such subtle ways.

The gist was mysql throwing an error like this:

060221 1:21:47 /usr/local/libexec/mysqld: Can't find file: './test/test_test.frm' (errno: 9)

And the all helpful perror:

> perror 9
Illegal error code: 9

This thread had some ideas but I wasn't keen on rebooting again. I'd already pulled the Windows approach and rebooted since this guy had some success with it. No dice. Don't know where I ran across it, but a startup flag helped. Adding --open-files-limit worked for me. I did see somewhere else that someone thought that the OpenBSD 3.8 package mysql-server-4.0.24p1 was junk.

And to top it all off I still think (while probably all psychosomatic now) that this new monitor is just not working out. LCDs are not supposed to cause eye strain!

March 1, 2006

Blah / Yay

I'm going on like hour seven of a nasty headache. I just started round two of Tylenol and I'm hoping it kicks in enough for me to get a good night's sleep. I've even purposefully avoided using my new monitor today to make sure that didn't trigger/cause this headache. No dice. I think it might have been a little too much sake at lunch. We had a good-bye party for one of my coworkers.

The good news for today is that I accepted a new job that starts Mar 20th (more details in the future).

February 21, 2006

Broken Meters

When did the broken meter limit change to be less than the meter limit? I got a parking ticket for a broken meter. It was a two hour meter, however, I've since come to learn that the broken meter limit was one hour!? Ignoring the fact that I was probably parked at the meter for three hours, I'm still unhappy about the discrepancy in allowed meter time.

February 20, 2006

Long Weekends

I love long weekends. It seems that while a two day weekend is great, a three day weekend lets you enjoy life that much more. I often find my weekends are filled with projects, events, or domestic tasks (read laundry) and as such don't often get as much time as I'd like to just relax. With the extra day thrown in I got to enjoy a couple of movies, do some cooking and baking, read more than I usually would, and in general feel accomplished on many different levels. It is the scarcity of long weekends that make them treasured.

P.S. For those of you that didn't have today off, I hope you at least enjoyed a less hectic commute.

February 15, 2006

My Car

I really shouldn't own a sports car. My IQ seems to drop too many points when I'm in my car. This is not good since the 350Z has more than enough to easily get you into trouble. Which surprises me that I've not gotten into more trouble. I think I'm testing the patience of whatever guardian angel is looking over me.

February 10, 2006

Skunks

Somerville seems to have a lot of skunks. At least once every couple of months on my walk home from the T, especially if it is later at night, I see a skunk. Thankfully it is usually on the other side of the street, but when my eye catches one I always stop dead in my tracks. They are a beautiful looking creature. The white strip down their backside and the long wispy fur has an inviting allure to it. Some claim that if de-scented they make wonderful pets. My problem is that the ones that I pass on my walk are not de-scented. In fact they are very potent. A skunk sprayed in the neighborhood this evening. The scent found its way into the room I was reading in. Nasty. I spent most of the rest of the night reading with a scented candle burning to combat the smell.

February 7, 2006

The Day The Music Died

Today I got some news. They have decided to close the Boston office. Effective Mar 15th I will be laid off. Time to start looking for another job. And here I thought this might be the one.

February 2, 2006

Dooced

A friend of mine got dooced today, man that sucks.

January 31, 2006

Outage

I forgot about one of the joys of hosting from home, having to deal with outages. It seems the router/firewall went south around 1:15am EST and was down until 7:45am EST this morning when I rebooted it. Time to setup some monitoring.

January 26, 2006

Tradesmen

I don't understand tradesmen. I want to give you money. I want you to come do a job and yet you don't return phone calls, you don't do what you said you would do, WHY?! I can only assume that it is supply and demand. There are just not enough tradesmen out there for the amount of work that needs to be done and since most of it requires a license to do, it's not easy to just fill the void. Blah!

January 22, 2006

DC

This weekend ended up being a good and bad weekend for DC. The good part was my weekend visit to the capitol to visit and celebrate David's 30th birthday. I'd not seen David that much since he started his PhD program so it was great to catch up with him and his fiancee Sharon. A great party Saturday with some exploring of the city in between. Just before getting on plane back to Boston this afternoon we walked around Georgetown in the wonderful weather that DC is having (along with the rest of the east coast it seems).

The bad DC news only deals with the fictional. NBC has announced that they are ending the series this year. The ratings drop is the past few years was the primary reason cited for canceling the show. Like M*A*S*H I think some of the best years of the series are in the past so as much as I would love for the show to continue I'd rather have them go out while the series quality is still good. The one good piece is that "NBC plans to precede the series farewell with a one-hour retrospective of the show, including a tribute to Spencer."

January 20, 2006

LiveJournal

This is mostly a rant about how LiveJournal sucks for syndicated accounts. First it looks like LiveJournal kind of hacked syndicated accounts onto the system. You can't do anything with one once it is created. So if you have to send an email that's a PITA but manageable. The part that really irks me is the fact that LiveJournal has comment links on syndicated entries. Those comments however are LiveJournal specific and don't tie back to the original entry at all. The best part is that once old entries have rotated off of the syndicated accounts, bye-bye comments. So not only does the original entry poster not get the comments, they soon become lost in the ether!

January 19, 2006

M*A*S*H

I recently picked up the DVDs for season nine of M*A*S*H. When I was growing up my father had a half dozen tapes of M*A*S*H episodes that he had recorded. Whenever I got sick I used to watch them. I was working on the adage that humor helps heal. I've always liked the humor of M*A*S*H and over the years the show dealt with many meaningful topics. The ninth season is full of more puns than I remember from previous seasons. I also feel that the over quality of the seasons is declining from some of the earlier ones. I can't quite place my finger on anything in specific but some of the episodes seem more formulaic then in previous seasons. Part of that may also be that I've not seen many if any of the episodes past season seven.

I think part of it maybe that set of memories you created as a kid that makes certain things have great nostalgic value. The problem is that if you try to relive some of them the magic has gone away. I don't know if it is the fact that I'm getting closer to one of those threshold ages or that what matters to me is changing. It has happened to me a couple of times in the past week.

Continue reading "M*A*S*H" »

November 10, 2005

Toys

Mmmmm, the joy of buying stuff for a new house. I started with the fun stuff first. Just ordered a new HDTV and cool DVD player from Crutchfield. I've also come to the conclusion that I find washers and dryers much more interesting than refrigerators. In any case I've got all three of those picked out. Now for some smaller stuff like a microwave. I'm finding some good deals so I might just come in under my budget.

November 5, 2005

New Movable Type Issue

I've gotten in the habit of creating an entry where the title contains an HTML link, if what I primarily want to do is just link to the external site without adding a lot of commentary. However, I've noticed that Movable Type doesn't quite do the right thing. As a result you can't easily get to the original post from some of the archive links on the side bar navigation on the main page. Instead it just sends you to the link. It looks like it ends up nesting an href within an href. Time to edit a few old posts.

This wouldn't be that bad of an issue if b2evolution hadn't had the neat link only post support. When I wrote my little b2evolution to movable type conversion utility I ended up translating the link posts to stick it in the title, hence all of my old posts are kind of broken...

October 30, 2005

You're outta here

Three strikes and you are out. Simple rule and my current digital camera has just struck out. First it was a dead pixel showing up in every photo taken. Second it was the flash not firing when taking a night picture. Lastly, the battery has now lost it's ability to hold a charge for any decent amount of time. None of these conditions existed when I first got the camera. That has since changed. I even tried a different battery and it's still funked up. Blargh.

October 9, 2005

Three Part Story

While writing that last entry, I realized I could have easily made it into multiple posts and included more details on each part. I've still got a lot to learn about how to write, when to write, etc.

October 2, 2005

What plan?

Today was one of those days when you've got it all worked out and pretty much nothing goes quite like you want it to. Blah, I don't even feel like writing this right now. Time to sleep.

September 29, 2005

P&S Step 2

Woo-hoo! Got the Purchase and Sale (P&S) signed today. One step closer to owing a house. Now to sign my life away on a mortgage... That and figure out a million other details between now and when we move in. Life is busy but good right now.

September 21, 2005

Documentation

Documentation

Well the first part to fixing a problem is recognizing that you have one. At least SixApart has publicly stated that their documentation sucks.

... we're still working to bring it up to the high standard that both you and we expect. We've been incorporating many users' suggestions left in the comments on each article but there is a lot more to do.
I doubt the will include my rants about how bad the documentation was though...

September 4, 2005

Sort This!

Just when I have a moment of praise for Movable Type it has to go and disspoint me again. Now it seems that it only alphabetizes the top-level categories. Sub-categories are not sorted. Lame.

Life (Next Part)

This was originally written Aug 24th in my notepad while waiting for a train at BackBay station.

Three things I want out of life:


  1. Rewarding Career

  2. Someone to Love

  3. Good Health

This is of course what comes to mind as I'm heading home at midnight after being at work since 8:30am that morning. WHile I want to feel like I did my part, my co-worker was working mot of the magic behind the scenes. I wonder it if is a case of not asking the rights questions or not questioning the answers enough. (Gah, I always seem to slip into cliche.) Why is my inability to express myself such an issue for me. I partially blame my roommate. Damn him an his drunken rants that should awaken such a demon inside my thinking. Ignorance is bliss.

Continue reading "Life (Next Part)" »

September 1, 2005

Underwhelmed

Movable Type continues to astound me with a lack of quality related to almost, well everything. While recently browsing their website, I ran across no less than a dozen HTTP 404s trying to follow top-level navigation. Their much touted StyleCatcher had almost no installation instructions and even if you did install it, was obviously broken. It seems they have released an updated version, which again has minimal installation documentation. This one seems to work, but is still throwing some JavaScript errors while accessing badly formed URLs.

The worst part is not enough people will abandon the product such that they or anybody else changes there ways or more importantly is held accountable for charging people for a broken product.

P.S. This post brought to you by Movable Type :(

August 28, 2005

Brave new world

I was getting unhappy with the amount of spam and general issues with b2evolution so with a suggestion from Chris, I've decided to try out MovableType. Since they just release version 3.2 and are offering a discount this looked like the best time as any. My first reaction is both positive and negative. On the good side the interface is very nice and there seems to be lots of power under the hood. On the bad side, and this is really disappointing being new to the product, the documentation is abysmal!

In fact almost every "?" help box on the new blog entry page leads to a web page that simply says "Coming soon...". I wouldn't be surprised if this was an open source product. However, being commercial software that I've paid money for, that is just not acceptable. I've already logged about a half dozen complaints and suggestions related to just their installation blog entries and documentation. I can only hope they do something, otherwise I'd be tempted to get a refund.

Complaint number two. There probably is a module or add-on for this, but where is the spell-checking feature?

August 16, 2005

Just as bad

As slick looking as G5s and Tiger are, just like Windows, they have quirks. I've had some issues with most of the Apple products I've bought so far. First was the power issues with my G5. Ended up having to disable all power saver functions in order to get the box to sleep correctly. Now after upgrading to Tiger QuickTime seems to occasionally hang the entire box forcing a hard power reset.

I think I've just come to conclude that I just want software and hardware to work for the few things that I want it to do well. While I'm on the subject Quicken for Mac is a very inferior product to Quicken for Windows. It's almost like two separate companies created the products since the feature matrix is so out of wack. Having used both now for a long time, I'm tempted to just run Quicken for Windows within Virtual PC. However, that would require again not being able to transfer any data from one version of Quicken to the other since the Mac and Windows formats are so incompatible about all you can transfer is your current balances. And to top it all off, I get a promotional cd in the mail touting the 121 new features of Quicken 2005 for Windows.

I hate computers. I hate spam. No, I really really detest spam.

Did I also mention too that my web server has started crashing my system on a regular basis. Actually worse than crashing, completely hanging, requiring a manual power cycle. Frick'n bit rot.

August 5, 2005

Bad Timing

1:30 am is a bad time to start trying to debug a nasty problem, especially when it comes after working almost 18 hours straight. It's amazing what a few hours of sleep does at that point. Within 30 minutes of waking up this morning I realized why things weren't working and how to fix them.

August 3, 2005

Blah, Long Day

Crunch time is always a drag, thankfully this one won't last more than a few days and for me anyway, it's being broken up by various prior commitments. Just got off a nice 15.5 hour work day. Time for a little nap.

February 26, 2005

Standing up to fall down

The past two weeks have been a roller coaster of thoughts, discussions, and emotions, culminating in another life changing event. It's just over two years since my last such event and I'm hoping that I don't also blunder this one. Given how draining times like this are, I'm glad they are infrequent.

My fortune cookie from last night offered hope in these simple words: You will come to realizations in you [sic] life that change you forever.

Two weeks ago on Valentine's Day I went into work excited about the first of many transition meetings discussing what will happen to dbConnect (part of Towers Perrin Administration Solutions) when it gets merged into a new (still unnamed) joint venture with EDS. Part of this process will include being rebadged as an EDS employee. I came away from the Town Hall meeting with a positive outlook and a pile of transition paperwork.

My dilemma started when I read the EDS Employment Argeement. It includes a random drug testing clause. This was the first time I'd ever seen such a requirement. I wasn't quite sure how to react to it. I knew such a policy wouldn't affect my employment, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way. In that past I've taken issue with non-competition agreements, but the fact that they are time limited and have a built in appeal/approval process makes them palatable. The drug testing clause struck a different, deeper cord.

Continue reading "Standing up to fall down" »

February 4, 2005

Why American Idol Works

Why American Idol Works

One question that I hear every time someone starts talking about American Idol is "Where do they find these people?" or something alone the lines of "They have got to be paying that person to audition!". The PDF linked to is entitled "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments". The items I found most interesting were as follows:

  • The bottom quartile inflated performance the most.
  • The top quartile underestimated performance.
  • After reviewing the work of peers, the bottom quartile ranked performance the same, while the top quartile upped performance rankings.
  • After training both the bottom and top quartile better estimated performance.

Granted I've not watched much American Idol, but the really bad singers are always amazed that they are judged so poorly while the good ones are modest and surprised by the kind remarks. I'm also reminded of the one very bad singer who found five other people out on the street that said he sounded good (blind leading the blind).

It's a good read.

February 2, 2005

Mirror Everything

The world wide web has ushered in a new era of information sharing. The lonely fanatic must no longer toil in obscurity, he can now publish his masterpiece for all to find. However, as is the want of man that which once was may no longer be. 404s are the potholes along this information superhighway. As a result I've started mirroring anything that passes my threshold of usefulness. I've stared down one too many dead links and probably created my fair share, to not take matters into my own hands.

Bugs

Imagine a world where Microsoft et al. fixed bugs and released updates with the same expediency that is applied to security problems. Sigh.

February 1, 2005

Spammers

Spammers are a creative bunch. It's a pity though that they can't turn their creativity to something good. The new trend seems to be blog spamming. Add comments to every post advertising a site or some link. Thankfully, b2evolution has handy support built into it to do mass deletes of such crap.

January 17, 2005

This, that, and the other thing

Stream of consciousness I think is a wonderful thing. And if I meant for this to be about that I probably would not have written that. I'm pretty sure that I really meant to be writing about free association, since I was talking about that the other day. So, let me try again. Free association I think is a wonder thing. It's a window in the workings of the brain. If you consider memories are just certain synapses firing the in the right order, free association is just which path is strongest at that time. Take a simple word like apple. What pops into your mind? Is it the computer company, original sin, that tasty fruit you had for lunch, accidently snorting apple sauce up your nose. But even more fun is where does that first thought go next. I want one (the apple computer that is), I think it would be cool to name my daughter Eden (even though its one of those names that shouldn't be given to children), I bought apples today when I went shopping, ow that sounds like it would hurt (thankfully that's never happened to me, although I did recently throw out some year old apple sauce from our refrigerator). Zig-zag next thing you know your back in high school biology. It's kind of like the Dead Zone by Stephen King. When you are trying really hard to think about something, instead try to think about things around what you are thinking about and you might just remember what you really wanted to. As my co-worker has been tend to do, just say apple. I prefer pink elephant myself, but try to form that new link in your brain or just float along a merry free association path for awhile. You might remember what you wanted to, or if nothing else you had fun for a few minutes.

December 23, 2004

Say

Have I got something to say?
Have I got something to say?
Can I find a way?

Staring at a blank page,
wondering what to write.
Got so much I want to say,
if I could find a way.

The pen moves, the ink fades,
the thoughts turn, but nothing
is said.

December 16, 2004

I should have played the lottery today

My company had a holiday party today which included a Yankee Swap. I took home 20 dollars in 2 dollar bills. The 20 dollars was broken down into 2 sets of sequential bills. Just for the hell of it I compared them to the 2 dollar bills that have been on my bulletin board for longer than I can remember.

My jaw quickly hit the floor when I discovered one of my other 2 dollar bills was the next one in the lower sequence. At my roommate's suggestion, I'm now starting a quest to try and find the missing 2 dollar bills between the two sequences I have.

Break out those bills and drop me a line if you have any 2 dollar bills from the 1995 series with a serial number between F70383457A and F70383470A.

December 5, 2004

Two hours in Vegas

Sitting in the Las Vegas airport waiting almost two hours. That's a long time to be in an airport when you aren't waiting for a layover. Everyone always says that Las Vegas has lots of time delays, so I tried to account for them. Time to check out, taxi time to the airport, trying to check-in, and without a doubt the line at security. Approaching the top of the stairs after checking in, there was a regular old traffic jam at the security gate. Thankfully that wasn't my gate. A short walk brought me to gate D with shorter lines. I did manage to almost get my bags searched as the guard wondered what was in my bags. Seems as though one of the toys that I bought was mighty suspicious. Thankfully after a couple of question and a little poking around I got through without the full pat down. I'm now sitting on the floor of the airport by my gate waiting out those two hours since nothing took any huge amount of time.

Continue reading "Two hours in Vegas" »

October 19, 2004

Discontinue using the word "Interesting"

Have we as a culture lost our ability to articulate differences beyond anything more than generalities. The phrase "Oh, he was an interesting guy." or worse "Well, that was interesting." means almost nothing. The English language is filled with words that convey layers of subtlety that interesting just glosses over. I'm doing my best to discontinue my use and prompt others to better explain just what they mean.

August 24, 2004

Please sir may I have another?!

How appropriate that a discussion at work today focused on the new labor laws and overtime work/pay, as I end up putting in a 13 hour day... Blah!

August 8, 2004

Ease of Use and Documentation

The more I play with new stuff, I tend to find that ease of use and documentation are playing a bigger role. I'm lucky enough to enjoy a fair amount of leisure time, but wonder just how much of it should really be spent just fighting with something to get it to work, especially as often alternative choices are available. I'll take this blogging system as an example. It falls into the realm of things that have three distinct phases for me: installation, getting my feet wet, and customization.

I have to give b2evolution high marks on the first two. The critical factor in getting those first two was ease of use. Unpack a directory and run through a quick couple of pages to setup an initial configuration. Login, create a new user and write a new entry. Wow it displays, simple as that.

Only problem is with something as dynamic as a blog you gotta have knobs to turn! Going back to the admin interface gives a few high-level options, but not quite what I wanted to change. Given the version number, maybe not all the options are wizified yet. At which point I turn, or I should say "try to turn", to the documentation. Splat. Houston we have a problem.

I know this rant has been made time and time again, but it holds so true. The best projects not only have reasonable documentation, they have well organized easy to find documentation. But, no one wants to write documentation. I say if your interface has good enough ease of use you don't need very much. FAQs and forums do help and if you are judicious you can usually find an answer there if they have been around long enough, but trying to get to the wheat from the chaff is just painful.

It is free software though, so what right do I have to complain? None really. It's not like I'm going to stop using it, because at the core it is still I've found, so far. Hell, if I was so inclined I could work to improve the situation, which is something I wish more people would take to heart. Beggars can't be choosers. You didn't invest anything for the software, so unless you are willing to donate your own time to make things better, please don't complain. If the authors have a wish-list, submit a request, but don't become the squeaky wheel.

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