Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Many of the settings I had to hunt for and figure out are already the default settings in gOS. For instance the ability to snif out and connect to an open WiFi hotspot is turned on by default in gOS.
gOS also adds a Mac OSX-like dock interface for launching applications. This interface graphically represents all the applications (more or less) that you can use with the operating system. Here is an image of gOS showing the OS and the File browser.
For those not familiar with the icons on the doc, the first two are Firefox and Gmail. The last three are openoffic.org's Word, Excel, and Powerpoint compatible Office programs. The rest I leave to you to explore.
One feature, well behavior really, that I found very interesting was the way windows were minimized. Since there is a dock I assumed that windows would minimize to it. On a Mac it does. As a long time MS Windows user this behavior takes some getting used to. In gOS on the other hand, the minimized windows go to the task bar - just like in XP. Since this is a well understood paradigme I think kids and grandma will find it very intuitive to use.
Finally, in another tip-of-the-hat to Apple's Mac, Google's gadgets can be loaded "on the desktop." This feature closely mimics (rip's off?) OSX dashboard.
I only had a few minutes with this OS booted from CD rom. However, I was impressed. gOS says they have plans to launch an OS that boots "into a browser" to get you online as fast as possible. I'll be looking to try that when it becomes available. Afterall, browsing the web is what I do first 99% of the time when I sit down at a computer.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I was checking out Gmail's new video chat service. They've done something very handy, linked a bunch of compatible discounted camera's.
The one I clicked on had an interesting tidbit of telling information about Vista vs. XP:
|Pentium4 1.4 GHz or AMD Athlon 1 GHz processor|
|(Pentium 4 2.4 GHz recommended)|
|128 MB RAM (256 MB recommended|
|Pentium 4 2.4 GHz (2.8 GHz recommended)|
|512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)|
Wow, 4 times the memory and twice the processor speed. Unbelievable confirmation, from Logitech at least, that Vista is slower than XP (on similar hardware).
Glad I bought a Mac this year instead of a Vista PC.
Monday, November 10, 2008
As promised I'm using the gym now.
Most surprising discovery? The 3-4 hour wakeful period that follows most workouts. I can be totally dragging going in, yawning throughout, but back at the desk I'm focused and awake. For a long while.
Am I getting stronger? Not sure. I have a pretty low bar. I wanted my back to feel better. Instead if feels about the same to worse. I guess I better do some research or see the man.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Here's what I'm thinking- of the last 7 presidencies, 5 have been republican, 2 Clinton. We've had an all Dem congress and an all GOP congress - we've had GOP across the board and evidently in the judicial as well. During Regan and Clinton we did well. During the others, ick. I also believe we need party balance in gov, but we haven't seen that with a GOP president either. They had amazing opportunities and they failed. They can't blame it on the Dems, for the Dems didn't always have a say.
The Markets did not work on their own, for humans need rules. Who was it who said, if men were good we wouldn't need government?
I can see your worry about what gov is taking from you, but even though it doesn't feel that way sometimes, you get a lot for your tax dollars and it's your choice to take advantage of it or not: roads- local and highway, road signs and lights, electricity (they're subsidized), emergency care, police, fire, military, national parks and forests, medicaid, social security, street cleaning, prisons, judges, courts, public record keeping, schools, colleges, fuel prices cheaper than the rest of the world, airports, college degrees, training for those who's parents sucked, teachers, principals, guidance counselors, social services for abused children, etc, etc, etc. It's there if we need it. Do I hate that we subsidize AT&T? yes. Do I hate that we subsidize corn? yes. do I hate that corporations can basically write laws to ensure their control over products and services? YES. But that's an issue related to funding elections and lobying. However, we've both benefited from lobyists, and they've been around since the mid 1800s. If we could solve that one, we'd make a lot of money on our book.
This does not mean we give up. This means we evaluate what's been going on and where we're going. But we have to feel like it's worth it, like something can actually happen. I feel like something may happen that I like. Instead of trying to prevent what I don't want to happen. Ie: obama will revoke international gag rules regarding family planning services funded in part by the US, that means a lot to me.
People are really motivated. Here in NC, we can vote early- over 1/3 of all registered voters have already voted. It's breaking all kinds of records. Folks here are very worried about getting people in and out on election day. I'm having conversations with all kinds of people and the energy is the same- unless they really wish they had a good GOP candidate, which they don't.
Figure out what is important to you, not 'everything' but something, and decide who would further that cause for you. If your concerns are too big, consider what you would like to see set up for Amanda and Jake [our kids] and vote for the one who would further that.
It's still a good country and it's better every year-
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Here in North Carolina some people voting early are getting an ear full from McCain/Palin supporters. Tires were slashed at an Obama rally. How ugly will it get? How much shameful behavior will we have to endure? The rest of the world will once again mock us as self-righteous hypocrites.
I'm pretty sure that if I were about to vote, having angry people shout mean nasty things about my candidate might just turn me off even more from their candidate.
I have to ask Roger Farina, what difference does it make if people vote on Sunday? Not planned? I can see your thinking - people are coming from an Obama rally directly to the polling place. Sounds like a scam? Not really. Not to me anyway. This has to have happened on most election days at some time in the past, a rally followed closely by voting.
I think I know - it’s the unspoken bit that speaks volumes. Many of the voters across the street from you are black, Obama is half black, McCains chances are looking slime and you don't like it. In any case, Roger, I expect better from a guy from New York, a guy who fought for voters in 2000.
Well you've got your right to be there, free speech and all, but at least have the guts to say what you really think.
Look, we've already had this fight. Let’s move on and stop worrying who is voting when. You had your vote, isn't that enough?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
These people have always scared me. I recall the time in my teens when Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door. I was staying alone at my grand parent's house on Long Island. These two young men came to the house. Now, I was from a small town in Vermont - population 710 at the time - so I had never seen this type of thing before. They said their thing, and I think I said, "Are you serious?" I spoke with them for a while trying to convince them of all the other good they could be doing rather than worrying about what religion people followed. Sheeze, what a waste of time.
Flash forward 18 years and I see more and more people who just live hate. Not the Jehovah's witnesses mind you, they may be wasting my time and theirs, but they aren't out to kill to get their way. The point is, both the religious right wingers the old school racists all scare the daylights out of me.
Look, McCain's campaign is getting so full of hate he had to calm the crowd down - lest someone go out and kill Obama.
I've never heard of Rachel Maddow before, but this video editorial really hits the nail on the head.
What am I doing about it? I've supported Obama with cash and time. I've even adorned my MotorCycle with an Obama sticker - that was the toughest thing I did for the guy. Now this week I'm taking it local - on Thursday I'll be manning a phone for Kay Hagan because I don't like Dole's supporters. In other words, I'm not going to attack the crazies directly - instead I'm going to work for candidates that don't support them and are not supported by them.
What do you think? What are you doing this election season?
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
It was right next to one with another young girl putting lipstick on. That photo could be seen very easily as provocative. The rest of the blog had lots of posts about random photos and artsy exhibits from around the world. Some of it explicit.
Of course I was not happy to have my little girl's photo on a web site that:
a. I didn't know about
b. has basically pornography on the same page
I emailed the pages owner. Instead of asking him to take it down, I just asked how it got there. He said:
I'm sorry. My English uses the translation software, it is not easy to understand. Is your daughter's photograph this? http://hugo-sb.way-nifty.com/hugo_sb/2007/06/061407amandasel.html I found this photograph from Flikcr. I liked this photograph very much. And, I copied this photograph onto my blog. This photograph is very cute and lovely. It apologizes for my use of your daughter's photograph without permission. Do you demand to delete this photograph from my blog? If you demand, I will immediately delete it. Thank you. Hugo Strikes Back!OK, seems harmless enough. Still, yikes. I'm going to have to think about all my online photo sharing and see if I can lock it down a bit more.
Google's picasso has a way for you to put photos on line and send a special link to people That link has a key, and only people with the correct link can see the pictures. That adds a level of security... I'm going to ask Hugo to delete the photo. I'm going to remove it from flickr as well.
What about you, do you keep an eye on your Google personality?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Jake listened and watched as I went through the movements for a step back jump shot. I got to tell him about keeping his body between the defender and the ball. Not to panic if the ball is poked - just dribble out if you start to get too crowded.
He picked that up pretty well. We went on the up-and-under. He had a lot of trouble going from dribble stance to squared for the up-fake.
But that's not the point. The point is, for the first time in a long while, he asked me for some advice (so he could do better on the school playground), and he listened while I dispensed some. This was huge. With his condition you never know what you'll get. Today, I got a "regular" kid - if there really is such a thing.
It was fun, I think, for both of us.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I guess I'm part of the machine now.
I did a few Moveon.org phone calls a while ago. It was really well put tegether. I'm interested not only to do the voter drive, but also to see what a campaign office looks like.
What about you, have you volunteered yet? We're coming up on 40 days left. Get out there!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In "Is the “Commodity Super Cycle” Dead or Alive?" Gary Dorsch asserts that the oil producers are manipulating the markets to keep republicans in power.
Under the section "Saudis Topple Oil market, US Election Politics" Gary quotes Venezuelan oil chief Rafael Ramirez: "Obviously, when the price of crude oil oscillates $20 up or down in such a short time, it doesn't have anything to do with production,"
Later Gary states "However, the Saudi kingdom might be looking at the US political calendar, and would feel more comfortable with a John McCain presidency, thus Riyadh might be inclined to leave its oil output unchanged awhile longer."
So, what can we voters make of this?
Looking at the markets I see oil down, the dollar up, and the Fed rescuing weak financial companies. It seems to, to quote my dad, the fix is in. Can the republicans really manipulate the world financial and energy markets just in time for the election? Maybe not. But it seems who ever can is off to a good start.
What's interesting is that it is Britain that seems to have escalated buying of US treasuries the most among top players in this market during the past few months. I find it suspicious that Britain does not have the trade surplus with the United States one would expect for them to acquire such a huge surplus in dollars. So where did this money come from?
With no evidence of my own to support it, I suggest looking at the World's oil producers. Oil producers are receiving billions of dollars every month - we all see that at the pump. It doesn't seem difficult to front a bank in Britain and buy these treasuries. Luckily the Saudis' had foresite to nationalize The British Bank of the Middle East in 1979.
Why would the Saudi's do this? Because they feel the extremely hawkish republicans will keep the Iranians down and stay in Iraq.... Perhaps, but I can't really say...
Obviously the current financial industry troubles are invading my dream state. But very interestingly CNN is telling me the story even in my dreams.
I first encountered CNN as a freshman in college studying to be a EE. There was no TV at my house in Vermont...let alone cable TV. I was fascinated by Headline News. It was constantly on in the Cafeteria - less so in the dorm suite. James Earl Jone's "This is CNN" made it clear by the sense of authority conveyed by his iconic voice that CNN was the place for news.
Today, 18 years later, they're in my dreams even though I listen to NPR more than watch any sort of TV. But it was the images of the bombs dropping on Iraq that made me not want to be involved in Areospace electronics design. Not going to work for those guys making the "smart" bombs I thought. I've done pretty well in Telcom instead...
What about you, do you find audio/visual technology taking such an embedded role in your dreams too? Did images seen on TV early in life affect your career choices later in life?
Friday, September 12, 2008
But not this guy, he is persistent...he should be on national TV.
Question: "What experience does she have in the field of national security?"
McCain: "Energy. She knows more about energy than, ah, probably anyone else in the United States of America..."
Unbelievable. See for yourself:
If she is such an energy expert, where are references to things she has said in the news. Go ahead, look it up. I did. In 2007, according to Google, Governor Palin is mentioned in just 28 news articles with energy or expert in the same text. In the same year, Google returns about 44900 articles with energy or expert and not Governor Palin's name.
If she really knows more than "probably anyone else in the United States" about energy, I think she'd be sited more often then 0.062% of 2007 news pieces about energy.
What do you think? I think I'm going to give some more money to Barack.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
- screen is very easy on the eyes, can't tell why but its just very pleasing to look at
- the multi-touch trackpad turns a barely useable mousing device into something I miss when its not there
- no window focus changes due to alerts from background software, instead the app "bounces" in the dock at the bottom of the screen
- sound is really good
- the way the monitor always knows how bright to be
- ditto the back-lit keyboard
Here is one back to back comparison with my work PC (a Lenovo T60 2Ghz running XP pro). Watching a video on MSNBC the PC becomes nearly unresponsive. The volume controls seem to hang as I try to use them. I could still do everything, but the video - even in the background - caused my PC to be jittery. Windows pop more slowly etc. I had to go to the control pannel to bring up the volume controls. The keyboard volumn was all the way up - but somehow this is not connected to the volumn in the control panel (which was nearly all the way down). I'm sick of trying to figure out how the control panel volumn goes down - I only push the buttons on the keyboard.... In any event, as the image below shows, both processors are pretty well utilized:
Here is the mac playing the same video. On this machine, a Macbook pro (2.4 Ghz running 10.5.3) it reports one processor at 100% and the other at 11% for firefox. That leaves 89%.
There is a noticable difference in the way the machines feel. The mac is competely usable. The screen grab SW worked as if the computer was doing nothing but. On the PC, bringing up MS Paint to save the Alt-Print Screen buffer took a long long time. The volumn control on the keyboard worked with no delay. Its as if those buttons have a direct connection to the physical amplifier - it is that responsive.
I've used PCs since high school in 1989 and they've always been like this. Clunky. The Mac is not clunky. Some of the bundled software might not "just work" (at least not the way I wanted to use it) - but the system itself most certainly does.
By the way, Obama is great in this video...
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I have read all I need to about Palin to know she is a Christian bigot. There should not be any Christian bigots, seems they should be more Christian than that, and accept people as they are.
Good thing we have Bill Burr to explain to us the trouble with overly religious white guys (and girls).
Don't believe it? Indeed Palin asked about banning books from the library. Not the school library where banning some books (like bomb making manuals) seems legit. We're talking the public library. She has said she was asking a rhetorical question. She likely meant hypothetical since rhetorical questions generally have a ready answer and are asked without the expectation of a response. What ever the true reason for her asking - my question is why would this even come up at all? Is it the mayor's job to police what people read? I think not.
Convention Speech Lies
Many news organizations have reported on lies Palin made during here convention speech. I don't have time to Blog about all of them. Take one example, the bridge to nowhere. She claimed to have said no thanks to money from congress for that bridge. But not really. It seems the bridge funding earmark was killed in the normal couse of budget debates in congress. Ironically they still got the funds a different way - but due to cost overruns Palin canceled the project.
What is the definition of executive experience?
Every one "flip flops" it seems, but this video speaks for itself. Truely stunning.
Well any way, I know where my vote is. We donated $$$ to Barack Obama's campaign shortly after Palin was even done speaking.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
- make sure all account names and category names are less than 15 characters long.
- export securities, categories, accounts, and transactions all separately.
- then import them in the same order on the mac
For me the problem was that all the accounts were thousands of dollars different than what the PC had to begin with. I decided to punt.
First I looked at other solutions. I downloaded money dance. Looked nice, but I could only enter 100 transactions. This meant I could not fully test it before buying it.
Quicken for Mac cost me $70 at the Apple store - but I already have a copy of Quicken 2006 for PC. So, I decided the best thing to do is to use my PC copy. To do this I had to spend $80 for a copy of VMWare Fusion. It worked perfectly. Download, install, install windows, install Quicken, transfer the files. Bam! All data is correct, and we get the same exact UI we are used to. To make sure windows stays stable I don't give it internet access nor can it see the Mac's hard drive. I also turned off Windows Update. Seems safe.... Takes a few gigs of disk space - but that doesn't matter too much to me.
Using the VMWare software cost me $10 more than Quicken for Mac 2007. Best part is it only took me a half an hour to get this working. I'd already spent five hours not getting it to work the other way.
Lucky the Quicken box says there is a 60 day money back guarantee. Can't wait to see how difficult it is to get that honored!
Judging by the internet chatter by Mac users switching from PC, I bet that Intuit will loose a bit if they don't get their transfer story straightened out...
How did you deal with your Quicken data transfer?
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I can use almost all the iPhoto features as either user. One strange thing is that I can't delete a photo as myself - but jen (whose account created the library) can. Whatever, I find it acceptable that I can read/write the files as myself. All this so that when I use the mac, once in a while, I can use iMovie and access the family's photos from there.
Next up - Quicken 2007 for mac.
Update 9/11/2008 - I can delete files. Hmmm, not sure why I could not before.
Friday, September 05, 2008
It might be funny, but its not as convincing as Apple's get a mac ads. Hopefully they won't have Bill adjust his shorts ever again.
What did you think of the ad?
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Still it is daunting for him. Today he told me he is struggling with the idea of the sequence for getting to band. Go to locker, unlock locker, grab lunch (why do I need lunch on the way to band?) get to band.
Band is on the other side of a large campus and he has only 5 minutes to get there. If he is late he gets lunch detention.
Yesterday he tried 5 times before he got his combination lock open before band class. He ended up forgetting the lunch even though he opened the locker - his band instrument is always stored in the band room.
He is too shy to ask, or too proud to admit that he forgot, so he doesn't ask the lunch monitor for a hall pass to go get his lunch......he just didn't eat lunch.
It's a jungle out there in middle school.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
The mounted image seemed to work. But I can only see photos that I imported, and Jen can only see photos that she imported.
There is this warning "Sharing iPhoto Library not recommended" in this KB. However a google search returns a lot of ways to share a library. Even this warning is unclear to me. I think it applies to pre iLife 08 versions (7.x) of iPhoto. Besides recommending not sharing contradicts the first KB.
In anycase, I'm going to have to check the groups, owners, and permissions of all the files. I'm guessing that since Jen and I are not in the same group we simply can't read the others photos.
Finally, since I've now created a shared image that needs to be mounted - I also followed this KB article which details how to make this mounting happen automatically at start up. But this didn't work for me when logging out and logging back in. Maybe on full boot it will - I haven't tried it yet.
Since this is so hard I'm guessing Apple doesn't think that a single laptop (iMac for that matter) would be used as a "family" computer. In my house, the family computer is used by at least Jen and I. We strictly use a single place on the computer to store ALL of our data. On our PC we had a folder at the root of C. We had links inside My Documents to that folder. This really helped backups and it was great when I wanted to get all our data to the mac - it was all in that one folder on the PC.
We are attempting to do the same thing with the Mac's users/Shared directory. On the pc we had a directory called photos under the top level folder. I wanted to point iPhoto at that same dir which now exists as users/Shared/photos - but that is not to be...
Ah, but this post is titled iPhoto Library Size - the size is way down. It is at 27 Gig. Which is a lot better than 104 gig. It is so different that I'm tempted to redo that first create to see if it is repeatable.... In any case, 27 Gig is "only" 3 Gig of overhead. I guess that the price one pays for quick thumbs.
I wonder if this would all be a lot different if I wasn't an engineer who uses Linux/Unix all day. I guess I'd likely show up back at the Mac store. Wonder if they'd make this work. Time for another experiment.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
iPhoto Import Completed
iPhoto Library Size
iPhoto Library Size #3
iPhoto Library Size #4 - Success
Drop me a line in the comments, I'd like to know how you make out.
I deleted the 104 Gig gargantuan library. I imported just a few photos to see what happens. Here is the first set is 166 Megabits. Here is a unix disk usage for the files:
I discovered in forums that iPhoto, when importing, can optionally keep its in own copy of the original, or use a link to the original. I decided to try the import both ways. First without the copy:
I'm not impressed - 45 megabytes to describe 166 megabytes of data. Yikes. Here is the result when the photos are copied into the iPhoto library:
So far my iPhoto experience has not lived up to my "mac just works" expectations. However the rest of the mac is great. I'll post on the good stuff when I get a chance.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I'm an electrical engineer.
Crowd response: Hi Mike!
Engineer speak can be brutal. Examples quotes heard at work:
- You'll need to use some intelligence here.
- You're still doing the homework, but you've already failed the test.
- Why would anyone do it that way?
- No, no, that's not how you do it!
Bringing engineer speak home usually leads to the biggest fights. I've been learning, slowly, to check work at the door. My motorcycle helps. It clears the mind on the way home.
Couple days ago I was set up though, and failed miserably. Jen had a desk delivered. She'd had me keep the computer apart until it arrives. Genius engineer's translation: there is a new computer desk on the way.
First thing I noticed when I saw it is that our monitor, a 19" LCD, would not fit in what looked like a monitor cubby. It had a small round hole for wires and everything. Honestly any engineer would have thought the cubby was for the monitor and that a keyboard/mouse would sit in front of it. All the wires would go through the hole in the back.
With the monitor not fitting I was lost. I went off on how it was designed horribly for a computer. No place for the computer itself, drawers were there instead. No place for a printer or scanner - again the drawers. I critiqued every short coming and railed against the designers. What were they thinking? How could this be a computer desk?
None of this went over well with Jen. I'd insulted her. I did not slow down and listen, nor had I trusted that she had a plan. I was very foolish - and paid for it with a nice little shouting match.
Later after we'd made up she was able to tell me that the use of our current HUGE grey box computer was temporary. She'd bought this setup because it fit the room AND because we've been planning on getting a laptop.
"Oh", I said, "well that will fit".
I bet other engineers out there have used engineer speak at home too. Tell me about it in the comments...
Friday, August 22, 2008
Earlier in the day I had run into the little brother of an old friend of mine. This guy had really grown up; marines, IRAQ war vet, 2 kids, living in CA. I asked him about how he is doing and what he does for work now. Just kidding, but he is a sheriff's deputy. We had a nice chat - so I invited him, his family, and his parents to the party.
After the presents, the cake, and the kid fun, there was a group of us sitting around a fire in the backyard. I don't know how it came up - I think we were talking about how far we'd come to be there - the guy's wife starts loudly complaining about taking her kids shoes off at the airport. I take off my slip off shoes and recommend she gets some - easy on, easy off.
Nope, those are no good. She explains the floor of the airplane is full of germs she wants to protect her kids from - cause they'd take them right off. Huh? My kids eat off the floor just before napping under the seat in front of them...
Next she drops a bomb - something like: and what's with all the security crap? Do I look like I have an f'n dot on my forehead? At this point several things pop into my head:
- did she just really say that?
- aren't those dots a Hindu thing? aren't (Bush's) terrorists Islamic?
- would it be OK to correct her in front of everyone on the Hindu thing?
I kinda regret it. She needed an education. But I just couldn't bring myself to make a scene at my mom's house, my kid's 5th birthday, in front of my seldom seen sister. Sigh.
What would you have done?
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I've seen pop ups for years hawking stuff. Some even look like your computer is telling you something. Clicking anywhere except the top right-most X (in windows XP) is the only way to kill these. I think most know this - hopefully!
Now, from Jeff Atwood I see a new twist. The phishers make a real looking program box where even the banner at the top is fake and part of the phishing web site. Clicking anywhere causes the browser to attempt to install hacker software on your computer. Yikes. How to get out of this pickle? There is no safe click!
You'd need to know (again for windows) the button combo that causes a program to shut down - simultaneous press of ALT and F4.
How many "normal" users even know about ALT-F4. Seems they better learn it. Educate your parents....
Monday, August 18, 2008
But a visit to my mom's house in VT provide a rare opportunity....
Picture this, I show up at mom's and instead of a tech free week I'm handed a delicious box of...DSL equipment. That's right, mom is finally exiting the dark ages and getting "high speed" internet in the form of 768 DSL. Way to go mom!
So up to the computer room I go. Horrors, she still has the 15" monitor at 1024x768. I set up the DSL, and in the process reject all the crap-ware the DSL provider offers to install. It is distressing that the screens suggesting what to install don't say anything about what is needed or not for the DSL to work. Of course, not one bit of the free "Software" is needed. I assume most users would have installed it all - not knowing the difference. That aside, the DSL worked great. I was somewhat perplexed that they sent her phone filters, but the phones worked fine with or without them. I didn't do any experimenting on this front though.
Next day she is taking pictures and squinting at her digicam's 1.5 inch screen. I show her mine which has a 3" screen. She is surprised to learn this camera cost me $180 bucks... I also tell her she can get a new LCD for the computer for about the same price.
Now the final straw - she has cordless phones that only run a few minutes before cutting out randomly. Not a battery problem - something stranger.
That was it, we were off to Circuit City. New 22" monitor, new PowerShot SD750, and new cordless phones - $500 bucks. She also got a small camera bag and 2gig SD memory card.
Mom gets new stuff - I get a much needed tech shopping fix!
Saturday, August 09, 2008
That is an amazing story to me. Michele is a long time blackberry user. Not just a user, she loved it. Took it everywhere, used it all the time, encased it in rubber... Her current unit is 2 years old. Still in less than a minute of exposure to the iPhone she not only wanted on, she ordered one - the 16 Gig version.
What is going on here? The interface won her over. In seconds she felt at home with it. No manuals, no time learning a clunky OS.
I'm stunned. This is $300 out of pocket, a new contract, a totally new phone and interface. Yet she takes the plunge. Hole hog in fact - she now has her very first iTunes account.
I think its clear that Apple has done something special here. And its not just Apple fans making it happen. You don't grab 20% of the Smart Phone market in 18 months with just Apple fans who have 6-8% of the PC market.
So here I am in their house playing with her iPhone. I want one too. My Verizon contract is up in September.....
Thursday, August 07, 2008
I don't do it, but I should. I notice it too. Only two minutes on a bicycle and I'm done. I just saw a post about how working out less will work for you. I like this idea. I think I'll take it to the gym room of the new office. It will have 3500 sqr. feet of space for weights etc... No membership required!
No excuses either....
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Actually I'm checking email at work. They give me full access over a web client. It looks just like Outlook at work. Really nice - all the folders I have are there and all the filtering is taken care of. Now if I could just get people to use subjects that match the email they're sending...
What do you do at family events? I play with the kids, eat and watch TV. Jen can talk for hours until her voice is hoarse. Not me.
I've been in the pool already, eaten already, and now I'm on the computer. Later I'll watch TV, maybe. That people magazine on the coffee table with Angie and Brad's babies is calling to me....
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2008 9:39 AM To: Birenbach, Mike Subject: RE: foo_block : synthesis constraints Hi Mike, I am going to verify the foo_block in foo_chip instead of John Smith. I have looked at the test plan and gone through the build creation process. The process described in the document is specific to environment at San Diego. I will be verifying the foo_block at foo_my_site. I am thinking of copying specific files in verification env from San Diego and replace dut with the current release in foo_my_site. In this case, could you please tell me the files I need to copy from the current environment.
What is going on here? The author has asked for information but blasted it into an existing thread. This is called Thread Hijacking. Wikipedia says this has two issues:
- disruption to email clients that display discussions in a hierarchical, or threaded, fashion. An email client usually cannot do content analysis of messages to make this determination; rather, it relies upon an In-Reply-To: header field that records the Message-ID of the respondee. Thus a threadjacked message is mixed into the tree of an unrelated thread, rather than in a new one.
- degradation to search. Email clients often default to searching the Subject: line, rather than the more voluminous bodies of messages. An attempt to search for a message with contents very different from its Subject: will then be thwarted.
I have a very bad internal reaction to this behavior. I receive almost 100 emails a day, I spend a lot of time reading, deleting, sorting, and responding. This one made the hair stand up on the back of my head. The author has put an added responsibility on me when he really just needs information from me. I have to either respond right now or flag for later. No real hope for searching easily.
What to do? When I do respond I'll usually add to the subject line something that matches the new topic...
What about you, what is your strategy?
Thursday, July 31, 2008
So, what do you think?
Monday, July 28, 2008
Today I came across this image via digg. Supposedly this is a person tricking another person into giving out their password by telling them that the IRC software they are using will not display his password. Check it out:
Now I don't think I'd fall for that. But plenty of people probably would. So keep a sharp lookout and remember to keep your password(s) to yourself.
Friday, July 25, 2008
I realized how my tastes are changing as I age while I made a tuna sandwich the other day.
Sidebar: How does Mike make a tuna sandwich? Glad you asked.
To start, I like white albacore tuna. In water please, no oil. You can use what ever you like. Pictured, I have one can of tuna, one celery stick, chopped, and about two table spoons of mayo. Finally some salt and pepper to finish it up.
I don't think there is a need to measure. Mayo for example, just feel the tuna get soft as you add it in a bit at a time.
Speaking of mayo, I use the real deal - no "light" knock-off for me. I say, if you're going to risk the mercury, may as well have real mayo to go with it.
I drain the tuna and press with fork in a colander before I mix all this up to remove the water. Why? I don't know. I was shown this way by a chef while working in a restaurant on Long Island. It is a long-standing habit.
Bread has to be whole wheat for me. Toasted and buttered. Not too much of either.
Put it together with some lettuce and tomato slices, and I have a snack I can finish without gagging.
As I was saying tastes change.
Back when I was in middle school a neighbor had a Toyota Supra. For the longest time I always wanted one. I swore to myself I'd buy one when I could. While in college I drooled over the last model imported to the US. A bright yellow one was always teasing me from the student parking lot at RIT. Some go to college with a bit more coin than others! But I digress.
Now that I can afford a nice car, I drive a Volvo s40. I find it interesting that, using the 89 Supra for comparison, both of these cars have the same horsepower. The one I have seats 4 comfortably and doesn't hurt the kidneys on long drives.
I notice lots about myself changing as I get older. One of them is the set of things that I get excited about - otherwise known as my tastes.
What about you, how are your tastes changing?
Oh, and in case you're worried about me, I may not have a supra but I still have a fun toy.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
As an individual contributor, part of my job is not just making changes but also managing and understanding how files are changing in the design as a whole. Importantly, when I change a file and get set to check it in I need to be sure the changes are correct. If that seems obvious, it is. But truly "correct" goes beyond just running a test suite. I typically check:
- are the comments still correct
- are there any debug print statements that need to be deleted
- are there any temporary experimental changes still hanging around
- are any files changed unexpectedly
- are my files too old to commit
That picture represents 67 changes across almost 800 lines of code. Going through this change by line by line takes 15-20 minutes. The cleanup is worth it. Code that is checked in after this type of last minute read-through goes a long way towards keeping the code the best it can be - outside the domain of pure functionality.
By using tkdiff, I can scroll round up and down from each change. This lets me look at the comments - especially the ones that have not changed next to code that has changed. This is how I keep comments correct.
That last bullet, "are my files too old.." is very important. In this case, when the commit is run one of too things might happen. One, the commit goes through. Or two, the version control tool reports that I can't commit because my changed file is out of data with respect to the server. Two may seem unfortunate, but it is actually better than the first one which can introduce errors later. In the second case, I'm forced to update, and re-run the test suite. Why isn't it OK to just check in when I know my workspace contains a lot of stale (files that have been changed on the server)? Because after I commit my changes the state of the server data is not known - it hasn't been tested yet. It could easily fail the test suite.
What to do about a workspace that is out of date depends on the data that is out of date. If it is related to your change, you really should update your workspace and re-test. If it isn't it might be safe to simply commit the change. But beware, it is always better for your group (your colleagues who will soon see all of your changes!) to check your work first. So finish your changes, then merge with the latest data on the trunk, turn the test suite and deal with any issues yourself. This saves the team valuable time. One way to do this is to "merge early and often." If you never let your workspace get stale, you won't have this issue.
If you can convince everyone on your team the importance of merging early and often. To only run the test suit on data that is as close to HEAD of the tree as possible. You'll find the group will save time by spending less of it sorting things out with those annoying reply-to-all "who checked in xyz and broke everything" emails.
Of course none of this replaces keeping yourself from going dark. There is also the need for periodic peer reviews.
So, how do you manage your check in process?
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
- preventing unwanted programs
- preventing viruses and ad-ware
- keeping OS up to date
- keeping software running
I just stumbled on a interesting $249 (minus keyboard, mouse, and monitor) solution: CherryPal.
It works like this: you buy the box, attach your keyboard, mouse and monitor to it and turn it on. It uses very little power itself and has almost no storage. How can it be any good? All the apps and your storage are kept on servers managed by CherryPal.
This means that your kids can only use what they provide which is currently: "OpenOffice.org office productivity suite, iTunes, a CherryPal-brand media player that supports all common files formats, and a CherryPal-branded instant messenger that supports all common IM programs." With more to come.
You can attach an external hard drive if you want to keep your files locally. They say they support printers, cameras etc. One thing they don't support is a monitor greater than 1024x768 - basically a deal breaker for anyone other than the kiddies. I could find some CRTs with this resolution, but no LCDs at NewEgg. 1024x768 is clearly old school.
This product is not available yet and I'd wait for professional reviews first. But looking at the web site CherryPal seems like an inexpensive way to get computing for your kids that is not maintained-by-dad.
Of course, if you have the cash, get a Mac.