February 27, 2008

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iPhone/iPod Touch SDK: February 35th (, )

by fluffy at 11:05 AM
Yay, maybe my iPod Touch will actually become a useful Internet device soon-ish.

Insulin pirates ()

by fluffy at 8:47 AM
A young alcoholic developed diabetes. He needed to get an insulin pump, but this was stolen by an escaped convict who had recently become a pirate after coming across a derelict airship. Somehow I got caught up in the middle.

At first I was apparently friends with the pirate (who, incidentally, had a wooden leg and an eyepatch, but he was still wearing his orange prison jumper) because I thought the young alcoholic was a bit of a dick. But then I realized he was dying and couldn't get another insulin pump. I pursued him (mostly by hovertrain) until we both ended up at my parents' house. There was a long negotiation involving much cannon fire and me hiding behind a scrawny tree, but I appealed to his humanity (with the help of a friendly neighborhood sniper), and asked him (via SMS) to please give up the insulin pump; "consider it a charitable contribution, although I don't think you can take a tax deduction on it."

He realized the error of his ways, and left the insulin pump behind as he flew off to plunder loot from those who deserved a good plundering.

February 24, 2008

Another day, another broken router ()

by fluffy at 5:24 PM
So much for the Buffalo WHR-G125s being any good. The wireless stopped working entirely on the one hooked up to my DSL modem, and the WDS-bridged one doesn't seem to want to work as a router. Meanwhile there's something wonky going on with DHCP at which is preventing me from reconnecting, so I'm on via GPRS/Bluetooth right now. Ugh.

11g is pretty assy anyway though. Seeing as how the only devices which "need" 11g connectivity are my Wii and my old Powerbook, I went and just ordered a pair of Netgear 11n bridges. I'll just use my G5 as my router and 11g access point, and the Netgear bridges will (hopefully) give me much better network performance for the bridged devices anyway, as well as for my MacBook. Hopefully they'll also arrive sooner rather than later, as my parents are visiting me for a week in a few days, and of course TiVo gets very unhappy if it's without fresh TV listings for too long. I guess I can try using my Airport Express as a WDS→Ethernet bridge in the meantime (though that always was fairly unreliable).

6:25 PM Yay for neighbors who have an unsecured AirPort access point.

6:52 PM Hm, looks like the original base router is working again. Maybe I can salvage it after all. (However I did want to upgrade my network to 11n anyway, especially the bridged portion.)

February 23, 2008

AppleTV is dead again ()

by fluffy at 12:19 PM
So the Apple TV is doing the same thing it was doing before... the remote wouldn't bring it out of the screensaver, and the various troubleshooting steps led to the same dead ends (e.g. it won't even boot into diagnostic mode, it just sits on the boot screen with the Apple logo forever and ever). Meh.

I guess I could try to get it serviced again though. It might be hard to convince them that it's still under warranty, though, since I can't find my receipt (even though the Apple TV didn't even ship until March 21). Maybe now that Apple is actually giving the product some attention, it can get some actual service too.

February 21, 2008

An Open Letter to the Estate of Bob Ross ()

by fluffy at 10:21 PM
Dear Bob Ross Incorporated:

While I understand that you believe you are protecting your interests, constantly removing all clips of The Joy Of Painting from YouTube does you a great disservice.

Bob Ross was a great painter with a great message, and his television show is incredibly uplifting. However, his fairly eccentric demeanor has attracted quite a bit of parody, much of which is infantile and mean-spirited. As a result, by having the actual Joy Of Painting clips removed from YouTube, all that remains are the terrible parodies, many of which present themselves as being legitimate clips of the real show.

I thoroughly enjoy watching The Joy Of Painting in reruns on my local PBS affiliate, but when I try to explain what is so incredible about his show, friends immediately turn to YouTube, and only see the parodies, and get the impression that The Joy Of Painting is some sort of bizarre, sophomoric humor show, or that Bob Ross was a foul-mouthed drunkard who spent much of his time stoned.

I do appreciate the need to protect the copyright of entire episodes, but I hope that you will reconsider your policy of aggressively removing fair-use clips of the show from Internet video sharing sites.

As if it weren't already hard enough to follow (, )

by fluffy at 9:47 PM
Okay, so I'm trying to watch Lost because everyone's all HEY ITS REALLY GOOD and stuff (yes I know I'm late getting into it) but ABC has decided, in their infinite wisdom, to do non-stop trivia popups through the whole show. They are very dumb (e.g., when a character refers to something that happened in the present, it says, "We now know this is a flash-forward") and very obnoxious and distracting. Who the hell thought this was a good idea?

Why I wish T-Mobile To Go had data service ()

by fluffy at 7:33 PM
As of 02-16 03:07 PM, 5 Whenever minutes used. Bill Close: 02/24
(and, for the record, I've used 68 of my ∞ weekend minutes)

February 20, 2008

Musician's Friend: Not The Environment's Friend (, )

by fluffy at 7:31 PM
So, recently I ordered a bunch of stuff from Musician's Friend. Given that it was over $100, shipping was free. Some of the items were backordered and would ship at a later date. I was fine with this.

The first shipment arrived several days ago, and contained the two items which weren't backordered. This seemed fine.

The second shipment arrived today. It was a fairly large box. Inside this box was the following:

  1. One 10' instrument cable, blue
  2. Packing material
So, there was one item, which could have easily been shipped in a regular padded envelope, assuming it even made sense to ship it alone at all (which it didn't). It's not like I'm in dire need of rush delivery of a single instrument cable. The other two cables I ordered (one red, one green) are still listed on my order status page as "backordered," along with the pedalboard case (which I actually do want to get as soon as possible). Will each of those cables also ship individually in a large, environmentally-unfriendly box, wasting fuel too?

Why doesn't Musician's Friend use a bit of common sense when they decide what to pack together? Do they just look at the orders generated by the computer and laugh when they see that someone's (apparently) ordered a single $6 instrument cable?

On a related note, why do they constantly send out so many catalogs and mailings which are pretty much impossible to get off of? Why do many of their "special offers" require calling a salesperson on the phone rather than making a web-based order (which would ostensibly be cheaper for them, and certainly makes me as a customer feel more confident that I'll receive the right item)? I think they need to rethink a few of their strategies, here.

New glasses ()

by fluffy at 7:05 PM
Well, the new glasses finally arrived today. They look decent, but either they messed up the prescription or the eye doctor did, because they're way too strong. Meh. Considering how weak the prescription is, though, I have a hard time believing the doctor did the screwing-up.

Guess I'll be finding out how horrible the customer service is!

Duck slap ()

by fluffy at 8:50 AM
Late at night, one of my cd towers fell over, spilling its contents over my living room floor. I started to gather them up but then I decided I'd rather go to bed.

February 19, 2008

Leopard: Laptop Lovin' ()

by fluffy at 7:26 PM
So I finally got around to upgrading my laptop to Leopard. It went off pretty much hitch-free (the only problem being that Synergy no longer runs as a daemon for some reason, but all that did was encouraged me to finally set it up as a launchd agent instead), and I found out two long-standing issues with OSX which have finally been fixed:
  • There is (finally!) per-windowapplication monitor affinity, so hotplugging my work monitor at the wrong time doesn't scramble my windows so much (yay!)
  • A remote server going down doesn't completely hork up the Finder until a request successfully times out
Other nice bonuses:
  • the Screen Sharing VNC client is way faster and slicker than Chicken of the VNC (aside from the lack of fullscreen mode, anyway); it's even capable of streaming video over my network with no problem
  • Time Machine to a remote drive doesn't completely hork up when the remote drive isn't available (it just silently puts a warning in the Menu Extras item) (now if only you could configure multiple shares, so I could have full backup/recovery both at work and at home)
  • The font engine seems to do a better job of providing fixed-width font sizes to Aquamacs
  • 10.5.2 finally lets you turn off the godawful translucent menu bar (it's in "Desktop")
So far I haven't run into any problems, though the synergy-as-launch-agent thing does make it more of a pain to change monitor configurations if that becomes necessary (though I doubt it will, since I only use it at work).

I'm surprised it even still runs ()

by fluffy at 6:26 PM
I just dusted off the old code for Solace, my experimental research-oriented graphics engine from grad school. After going through and cleaning up some places where I was, er, abusing the then-current implementation of g++ (specifically with respect to some then-vague things in the C++ standard), I got it to compile, and link, and — amazingly enough — run!

February 16, 2008

My Apple TV came back to life ()

by fluffy at 2:21 PM
So out of boredom and procrastination, I decided to hook up my Apple TV again to see if it was working (I don't know why it would be since the last time I tried it it was unable to boot, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to try). And guess what, it actually does work! So I went ahead and updated it to Take 2, and wow, Take 2 actually is a pretty huge improvement. You no longer have to specify what gets synced over (aside from which photo albums to make visible), as it just automatically syncs stuff, and stuff that doesn't fit just gets streamed. It seems much slicker than before.

Of course, the main reason I even tried it was because it supports AirTunes, and so now I can have the same music playing through my whole apartment (streamed from my G5 to my bedroom and living room).

February 15, 2008

Post-coital clothing exchange ()

by fluffy at 8:52 AM
So, one of the things that's often portrayed in the mass media is that after two consenting adults of the opposite sex sleep together, the next day they are wearing each others' clothes. Is there some sociological basis for this standard indicator (akin to running water in a sink), or do people actually do that, or what?

The obvious guess would be that it's more that if the woman stays over, she needs fresh clothing, and the man's clothing will generally be larger (and thus fit), but in a lot of things it seems that the man ends up wearing the woman's underwear afterwards. Is that supposed to just be a humorous commentary on the cliché that has itself become a cliché?

February 10, 2008

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ()

by fluffy at 10:27 PM
I finally saw the 2005 version tonight. It's cool how close to the book they stuck while managing to update the characters and music for today. It's a little disappointing how the CG was already dated-looking even for 2005 though. Also, the "dark brooding past" that they grafted onto the Wonka character was a bit weird and felt out-of-place, though I guess they needed that last 15 minutes. I'm also surprised at how well Johnny Depp pulled off the "zany weird manchild" thing without actually becoming annoying.

And apparently, the squirrel scene used real trained squirrels!

Aversion therapy ()

by fluffy at 7:56 PM
When I was a freshman in college, I had a small but growing CD collection. One of those CDs was Weezer (The Blue Album). I lived in the dorms, and my neighbor and I got along pretty well. One time he flipped through my CD collection and saw I had Weezer, and he asked if he could borrow it. I said, "Sure."

He made a personal "mixtape" of the album, which just had his favorite songs from the album. Repeatedly. And he played it, very loud. Repeatedly. And his stereo was right against the wall between our units.

Not being confrontational, it took me about a week before I finally went over and asked him to stop playing it. My exact words were, "If you do not stop playing this album right now, I will kill you." And he believed me, as I believed it.

February 8, 2008

Is my site blocked? ()

by fluffy at 10:56 AM
Does anyone know if there's anywhere I can check to see what sort of web content filter blocklists my site is on and for what reasons? I don't actually suspect that it is (and even if it is it's not like my site is a vitally-important thing or whatever), but I'm curious.

I figure that at the least there's some blocking due to profanity, "alternative religion" (i.e. atheism!), and perhaps because of the occasional talk about sexuality and drugs and what have you.

Basically it's a bit surprising that apparently the only way to find out if your site is blocked is to run a web filter which blocks it, or to get emailed by someone who does, anyway. Maybe some of the more common filters have a "check my site" page but I really have no idea what software is out there that's commonly-used.

February 6, 2008

Dental is not a river in Egypt ()

by fluffy at 5:32 PM
So, I finally had a dental exam and cleaning today, at Pacific Dental Spa. The "spa" aspect was definitely vastly overstated... granted, the whole thing was fairly relaxing (aside from actually talking about my history with the dentist), but I didn't get a massage or herbal tea or whatever. Maybe that'll happen in a couple weeks when I go back to get a couple of cavities filled (ugh).

I wonder if my dental issues will ever get under control. I don't know why I always get so many cavities. I brush and floss and use fluoride rinse and I got a Sonicare electric toothbrush at my previous dentist's recommendation and so on, but yet I seem to always get 2-3 cavities per year. It's a bit disheartening.

I also need to get a mouthguard for my bruxism (which my insurance doesn't cover, and which is yet another stupid thing I have to deal with every night). Meh. Why do mouths have to be so badly-engineered?

February 4, 2008

A confession ()

by fluffy at 8:42 AM
After all these years, I still don't think optical mice are really all that great.

February 3, 2008

Hot and Sour Soup ()

by fluffy at 7:10 PM
Not a traditional recipe by any means, and I've probably posted something like this before, but here we go:
  1. In a saucepan, combine a quart of chicken stock and a handful or two of dried shiitake mushrooms [or, better yet, fresh shiitake, or dried mushrooms which have at least been soaking in hot water for a while]
  2. Bring it to a gentle boil, stirring slowly until the mushrooms soften
  3. Add one minced shallot, the juice of one lime, a tablespoon of sriracha or other chili paste (adjusting for taste), and a dash or two of white wine vinegar
  4. Add soy sauce to season to taste
  5. Reduce to a gentle simmer. Scramble one egg in a bowl, and drizzle a thin ribbon of egg into the soup
  6. Finely chop a green onion on the bias and add to the soup
  7. Serve and enjoy

February 2, 2008

Glasses ()

by fluffy at 6:41 PM
Today I finally got an eye exam for the first time in about 6 years, because the lenses on my glasses have gotten scuffed up enough that they don't really help my eyesight anymore. Of course I still don't really need them but I've gotten so used to wearing them all the time that I figured I'd might as well get my prescription. Well, that and it's also good to get a regular checkup every two years or so even if you don't need glasses. (Especially since there's some family history stuff which I definitely want to detect early if it happens to me.)

Caterwaul ()

by fluffy at 10:35 AM
In the new Star Trek movie, the crew of the Enterprise lands on a cartoon planet, which turns them into cartoon characters. In particular, Chekov becomes Timon (from The Lion King) and starts singing the hook to The Lion Sleeps Tonight, badly. This attracts the attention of the local predators, and a swarm of raptors converges on them. (Of course they are feathered, and driving in off-road vehicles.)

I watched it on TV, and due to broadcast licensing issues with the music, Chekov/Timon couldn't even sing the actual Lion Sleeps Tonight hook which made it even funnier, somehow.