April 30, 2008

April 29, 2008

On the discovery of and subsequent disappointment regarding a local music festival ()

by fluffy at 11:17 AM
  1. "Oh, what's this in my feed? Radiohead and Beck! Wow! I wonder how much tickets are."
  2. "Neat, the festival is green-oriented... wait, $225.50 plus fees? Seriously?"
  3. "Oh, that's only for a three-day pass. One-day tickets are, er, only $85. Well who else is playing?"
  4. "Okay, Radiohead, Beck, Tom Petty, Primus... and a whole bunch of others I've never heard of. And to hear all four bands I do care about, I'd still need to get a two-day pass. $170."
  5. "Maybe if I hang out at my sister's place I can just hear the concert from there."

April 28, 2008

Oh man caffeine ()

by fluffy at 5:29 PM
I think I am quite literally addicted to caffeine. I often go through phases of trying to not have any caffeine at all, and when I've been off caffeine for a while I get progressively more and more depressed. Last week I felt like I'd hit rock bottom. And then we got the new espresso machine at work and now life is good again. I think I may have a problem.

On the plus side, caffeine is fairly innocuous as far as highly-addictive substances go, and now that there's this espresso machine I always have ready access to a source of non-caloric caffeine (before this it was either terrible coffee or HFCS-laden soda) so I don't have to feel guilty and/or fat about drinking so much now.

(Of course I do need to find the right balance for intake vs. suicidal thoughts, since right now I have one hell of a buzzy headache.)

Okay, Windows gurus ()

by fluffy at 9:48 AM
How do I make XP not be retarded about multiple monitors and hotplugging thereof? Specifically, if I undock my laptop, use it standalone for a few days, then redock it, it's completely forgotten about the external monitor and I have to go through the whole configuration process all over again (which is fairly annoying). On the Mac, when you plug in an external monitor it remembers the monitor and immediately reconfigures your displays to be exactly as they were the last time it saw this setup. Are there any helper-type apps to get that sort of thing on Windows?

Also, I am somewhat less than impressed with the way it does wallpaper on multiple monitors, namely how it's sized to fit the primary display - so if I make the laptop's screen primary, my wallpaper is in a 1280x800 "window" on my nice big 1920x1200 monitor, and if the external monitor is primary, the same wallpaper gets cropped on the indernal screen. The Mac lets you just put different wallpapers on each monitor, and if you have the same on both then it gets sized appropriately for each one. So far all the workarounds I see involve enabling active desktop or other such hacks, and judging by the monitor profile thing that'd just lead to an even bigger world of hurt every morning when I redock my laptop. So I'm just using a simple tiled image instead. (Borrowed, incidentally, from MacOS.)

April 26, 2008

That wasn't a very well-considered plan ()

by fluffy at 5:21 PM
So for some reason I got the idea that I'd open up my old 12" Powerbook and... do something with it. I'm not sure. I mean the thing that inspired it was the fact the power connector was flaking out and even though I knew there's no way I'd be able to fix it reasonably I decided to just open it up anyway. Then I thought maybe I'd take it apart and maybe, I dunno, mount the parts in some other case (which I don't have) and have it be some sort of art installation computer or something. And I guess I kept going because I felt a bit tweaky.

Anyway, the upshot is that I could probably get it back together at this point but it doesn't really seem worthwhile, considering how many working computers I have, most of which I never even touch. I really should get it back together so I could at least donate it to Goodwill or something though.

April 25, 2008

Wired (, )

by fluffy at 9:14 PM
So I'd been doing pretty good about not having a lot of caffeine lately. Then they went and got an espresso machine at work.

Dear Critical Mass-holes: (, )

by fluffy at 6:47 PM
You will have a much better time gaining legitimacy if you were to keep your bikes on the street and not, say, very nearly run over pedestrians who happen to be walking the other direction. (Such as myself.)

In the name of balance (, )

by fluffy at 6:45 PM
Okay, so it's been pretty well-established that I dislike Windows. But there are some positive points as well:
  1. My builds are much faster. This of course isn't really anything to do with Windows directly, but now that I don't have to rsync my source tree from the host OS to the client OS, that cuts a few minutes out of my build cycle (not to mention all the time that's wasted by things getting rebuilt when rsync updates the timestamp even on unchanged files), and of course the tools themselves run a lot faster as well since the hard disk is no longer emulated.
  2. My morning startup and evening shutdown are much quicker. This has little to do with Windows and more to do with the fact that the MacBook doesn't have a proper docking station, whereas my Windows laptop (a Sony Vaio) does. The docking station does have some quirks to it (in that you have to be careful that it's safe to undock or else the system completely freezes), but it's nice just being able to drop my laptop on the dock in the morning and that's the entirety of the setup, rather than having to plug in a whole bunch of cables in a particular order (to prevent network services and the monitor and so on from being detected weirdly), and just pressing a button and removing it in the evening. This morning was the first time I had a purely dock-based startup, and after step 1 I couldn't figure out what to do next because I kept thinking there had to be steps 2-5.

Yay, it's back! ()

by fluffy at 5:19 PM
Dreamhost had a problem with one of the file servers which they thought was just a minor transitory problem but then ended up being a major problem. Once they realized the severity of the problem they rather quickly fixed it. So now my sites, email, etc. are all back. Hooray!

April 20, 2008

Stroke ()

by fluffy at 10:47 AM
I had a fairly disturbing dream that I'd had a stroke. As a result, I could no longer draw any of my characters anymore (specifically I kept trying to draw Tamu but he kept on coming out like Homer Simpson). So I tried going down to the liquor store to buy some gin and instead I ended up paying $40 for a 6-pack of Tequiza, and when I got back to my apartment I couldn't remember what floor I lived on and the elevator had been turned into some sort of cable car which made a circuitous path through nearby office spaces and it was all very confusing. Then I thought someone had drank all the Tequiza and I couldn't really comprehend if the bottles had any contents or not, so I went back to the liquor store and the salesman was all, "No, see, that's a bottle of Tanqueray, and it's full!" and it was. And then I somehow got back home and my roommate drank it all anyway.

Roasted green beans ()

by fluffy at 12:03 AM
I improvised this dish for Passover dinner tonight, and it came out very well. Which is good, because I'd never made anything with green beans before so I was basically flying blind.

  • Two pounds of green beans, trimmed
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • One lemon
  • Almond slivers, toasted
Preheat oven to 425°F. Place the green beans in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add sun-dried tomatoes, and the zest of the lemon. Bake for 10 minutes.

Add the juice of the lemon and the garlic. Toss to mix, and bake for another 5 minutes or until beans are nearly tender but still a bit crisp. Top with almond slivers.

April 19, 2008

Let my people go! ()

by fluffy at 11:16 PM
Irony: during Passover dinner, being called on the phone about needing to come into work on Sunday. By a coworker who is Egyptian.

April 18, 2008

While I appreciate good design ()

by fluffy at 8:51 AM
here are several examples of one of the biggest problems we had on Kindle. I'm having especially strong flashbacks for pages 6, 15, 16, 18, 19 (holy crap!), 23, 24 (way to break conventions just for the sake of breaking conventions!), 25, 29, and 30.

Also, I'm sure 10 would have probably broken things in an interesting yet subtle way.

(One might say that seeing this gave me a TOC-tic.)

April 16, 2008

Popularity ()

by fluffy at 9:31 AM
Lately I've noticed more and more people wearing or using things that are red-and-black plaid. I approve of this trend.

April 14, 2008

I am a consumer whore (, )

by fluffy at 6:39 PM
I was feeling depressed and irritated at work today (gah stupid proprietary remote debugging crap), but when I got home I found that two overpriced online purchases arrived! First was the pair of Weighted Companion Cubes. Next was the Alesis ControlPad drum controller which I got so I could record "live" drums again without needing a huge amount of space.

It's a bit distressing that buying things makes me feel better.

April 13, 2008

I am getting old ()

by fluffy at 11:37 PM
I just looked in the mirror and noticed that seemingly overnight a lot of my hair has turned gray. I've always had a few gray hairs here and there but suddenly I've had an explosion of it.

Apparently my maternal grandfather went completely gray at an early age (and I know my mom has had a lot of gray hair for a long time), so this isn't really unexpected. Still, it's a bit of a shock to realize how much my hair color has changed in the last year.

Actually, a bit more surprising is that when I just pulled my hair forward to look at more of it at once, I noticed that my hair is somewhat bi-tonal, with dark brown in front and various stripes of lighter browns in back. My pigmentation is more variegated than I realized!

April 9, 2008

Back in San Francisco ()

by fluffy at 1:31 PM
As much as I rant about this place and how much more I liked Seattle, I can't help but realize that while I was gone I missed it here. I guess San Francisco really is home now.

Post-tour wrapup (, )

by fluffy at 10:01 AM
So I'm waiting at the Portland airport for my flight back to San Francisco, and I have a few minutes before boarding begins, so I'd might as well say what I've been up to for the last few days.

How not to boost checkin efficiency (, )

by fluffy at 9:52 AM
So, United's check-in kiosk (yes, I know I said I'd never fly United ever again, just like I had said before the previous time I flew United) has gotten even more confusing, just so that they can up-sell seats. On the first upsell screen it asks if I want to upgrade to first class, with a whole bunch of confusing options plus one using 500 frequent flier miles. I figure, sure, it's not like I'm ever going to use my United miles anyway, so I pressed the button, and it asked me which kind of upgrade I wanted to do. There were four options which made no sense, and each with various numbers which I couldn't tell if that was the amount I'd have to pay to actually use i. So I canceled the upgrade.

A couple screens later, after a bunch of 'continue' clickthroughs all on the bottom-right corner of the screen, it asked if I wanted to upgrade my seat again, this time for $29.90, and of course the 'accept' button was where I had been pressing 'continue.' I guess it's good to keep people on their toes when they're just clicking through repeatedly but the fact it's good to do that is only because the interface is so complicated (especially the baggage checking screen, which asks you how many of several different types of luggage you have!) and full of needless upsale things.

A much better checkin workflow would be:

  1. Find the reservation
  2. Clearly display all the (simplified) upsale options (upgrade to first class for $whatever, upgrade to first class for some-number-of-miles, upgrade to business class for $29.90) up-front
  3. Ask if you're checking baggage, with 'yes' and 'no' buttons in the middle of the screen
  4. If checking baggage, ask if any items are oversize; if so, go to the complex selection screen, otherwise, go to a simple screen with just 'number of bags'
  5. Print boarding documents and whatever baggage check instructions there are, and thank the customer
Tricking the customer into going into extra steps they have to back out of is a bit silly, and only makes your checkin line longer and more frustrating for everyone.

TSA @ Portland (, )

by fluffy at 9:48 AM
The TSA screeners at PDX are surprisingly pleasant. They act like humans and treat the people they're screening as humans too, and actually talking to the people in line like something other than cattle.

April 8, 2008

Hotel booking ()

by fluffy at 7:11 PM
On the plus side, has a rather nice phone-optimized site for finding and booking hotels. On the minus side, the "booking" part doesn't actually work. When I tried booking a hotel in Portland, after giving it all my payment and contact information, it just redirected me back to the main page. No error message or anything else. If I tried accessing a page in my browser history, it would similarly poot me back on the main page. Not useful!

April 7, 2008

Sleep with one eye open ()

by fluffy at 12:31 AM
Holy crap this hotel (in Spokane) is sketchy.

April 5, 2008

Hello from Seattle (, )

by fluffy at 3:11 AM
Portland show went phenomenally. For the first time ever I actually feel completely happy with how a set went. Tomorrow: Seattle, revisiting the same spot where I popped my live performance cherry for reals. (Okay there was that time I jammed with pts at a night club in Albuquerque before that but I have never counted that as an actual gig so much as a "fucking around with instruments in front of a bunch of strangers" thing.)

I did have a couple of false starts on Run Faster, and I wish I could have had a chance to practice Rhymes With Lucia on loop pedal first (I decided to replace Gin or Ginseng with that as my closer at pretty much the last minute) but once the songs were underway they went very well. Although the (very strange) guitar I was borrowing had a pretty quirky setup, such that the bass pickup is much quieter than the treble. I'll probably end up using Spud's Squier instead for the rest of the tour... it's a much lower-class instrument, but at least the pickups match, and Squiers are at least pretty playable, for all their other flaws. It's not like I'm recording an album, here, anyway.

Oh and of course everyone completely rocked out (especially anti-m, which was the surprise of the evening — last year she did a very quiet acoustic set). It was also a lot of fun to drum for Octothorpe again.

April 2, 2008

Tonight ()

by fluffy at 2:50 PM

April 1, 2008

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Hilarious ()

by fluffy at 9:28 AM
Wouldn't it be funny if on April 1, they made the street lights mean the opposite things? So red was go and green was stop and yellow was cluck like a chicken? And then if someone's stupid enough to fall for the joke and gets in an accident, 911 can be all "doo doo doo, we're sorry, this number has been disconnected! HA HA FOOLED YOU" and then the dispatcher could send a clown to take the accident report! And if someone needs medical attention the EMTs can start singing "Never Gonna Give You Up."

Another funny joke would be to get people listed on their local sex offender registries! Hilarious!