June 29, 2009

Carpal Tunnel 2: The Revenge ()

by fluffy at 10:30 PM
So back when I was 18 or 19 I started to develop wrist pain, and that led to full-blown carpal tunnel syndrome (pain radiating up both arms from my wrists, tingly fingertips, reduced grip strength, twitchy fingers, and so on). I got it more or less under control with a DataHand keyboard, but then with my first job out of college it came back full force and I quit and went back to grad school.

While in grad school I got the CTS under control thanks to massage therapy and a significant reduction in typing volume, but I was left with permanent tendon damage (which I later learned was most likely tendinosis). This tendinosis would continue to flare up now and then (every other year or so), but the carpal tunnel syndrome remained at bay.

Today my fingertips got numb again, and I'm showing all the signs of a resurgence of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Of course this would happen two weeks before an important musical event that I've been looking forward to for months.

Hopefully I can get it under control pretty quickly but my suspicion is that I will not be playing any non-drum instruments at SFRR (fortunately I already have a backup band partially lined up, so I guess the rhythm guitarist will simply be the guitarist), my posting frequency will diminish even more significantly, and I won't be able to do comics or music or the like (not that I've been posting music on my sites lately but I've been doing a few side projects). And of course I can't help but worry about, you know, my career. Basically, this really sucks.

Fortunately I have a two-week vacation coming up (starting with Song Fight Live) so maybe I can keep myself away from the Internet enough during that time to give myself time to heal again.

June 27, 2009

One of these things is not like the other ()

by fluffy at 10:17 AM
From TiVo's online program guide:

June 22, 2009

Base-10 file sizes (, )

by fluffy at 11:30 AM
So, Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) will be using base-10 file sizes. There has been a lot of nerd outcry over this, but frankly, I think it's about freaking time.

There is absolutely no reason to use base-2 file sizes. Yes, computers deal with things in terms of base 2, but nobody else does. When you look at a file that is 104768926 bytes big, you think, "oh, 105 megabytes," not "100 megabytes." As files get bigger and bigger, the disparity between MB and MiB gets worse and worse.

People have long accused hard drive manufacturers of "inflating" drive sizes by using base-10 instead of base-2, but really it's been the fault of OS makers for deflating it, based on some really ridiculous legacy which dates back to the 70s, namely that it was a lot easier for OSes to just say how many 1K clusters were available, or divide the bytes available by >>10 instead of /1024, or whatever.

The practice of 1024-as-K has also led to all sorts of weirdness, like 1.44MB disks (which were 1440KiB, i.e. 1474560 bytes - neither 1.44MB nor 1.44MiB).

"But computer parts are sold in terms of 1024 units!" is also crap. The only part that has ever been sold on that basis is RAM, which actually makes sense for various technological reasons not worth getting into. CPU speed is base-10. Network adapters are base-10. Bus speed is base-10. And hard drives are sold based on base-10, but reported based on base-2.

Okay, so RAM sizes will be somewhat disparate from hard disk sizes, but really, why does that matter? RAM sizes only matter to programmers, and as a ballpark figure for users for having "enough" memory. Just because a file on disk takes 1200KB doesn't mean it will take 1200KB of RAM; chances are it will take much more. (Granted, there are a lot of spots where it makes sense for code to use power-of-2 sizes, for things like memory allocation and caches and the like, but that doesn't need to be reported to the user.)

The only place where hard disk size really has any base-2 issue is because file systems tend to allocate things in base-2-sized chunks (usually 512 or 1024 bytes), but that's not counting overhead of the filesystem itself, and anyway the vast majority of files (the ones which take enough space for hard drive availability to be an issue) are so large that the cluster size essentially just amounts to rounding error anyway. Okay, so the "real" storage space taken by a 123456789-byte file is actually 123457536 bytes, but that's still a lot closer to 123.4MB than it is to 117.7MB!

In short: Apple is doing a good thing by finally freeing us of some ridiculous legacy which has no bearing on reality.

Okay, so it does mean there will be a mismatch between file sizes reported on OSX 10.6 vs. any other OS, but when does that actually matter?

June 18, 2009

"Cannot connect to voicemail" ()

by fluffy at 5:53 PM
So after resolving my little iPhone debacle I was unable to actually connect to voicemail anymore - the voicemail app didn't show anything but a "call AT&T" message (which dialed 611, rather than my voicemail box) and holding 1 on the dialer didn't do anything. A websearch came across this thread which said to just call my own number, which I did, and while it didn't go down exactly as indicated (I was put directly into my voicemail box instead of having to go through the password and the like), that did indeed repair my voicemail.

How strange. I wonder if there's something in the iPhone Visual Voicemail thing that makes that go strangely, like the phone has to connect to voicemail to set something up on the backend or something.

June 17, 2009

More cellphone/iPhone ranting (, )

by fluffy at 3:34 PM
So, I wasn't expecting my iPhone to get bricked, but I was pretty much expecting A2DP to not be supported on it anyway, even though Apple's OS 3.0 page says nothing about which models it's supported on. The lack of A2DP on the EDGE iPhone is, of course, a bit silly.

byePhone (, )

by fluffy at 2:32 PM
So, I tried installing the iPhone 3.0 OS today. The activation server failed to work, but I'd read you could get around that by disconnecting from the network, getting the OS installed, and then letting it retry activation until it could get through. So I tried that.

So iTunes tried installing OS 3.0, and before it even completed and tried to activate for reals, it complained that "an unknown error occurred (1611)" and had to restore from the backup. Which also failed with the same error. So I tried 'restore iPhone' which apparently could ONLY restore to the latest (3.0) software, which of course continues to fail, and so basically my iPhone is now a brick.

June 16, 2009

Whoa whoa whoa (, )

by fluffy at 11:14 PM
Hello Kindle source. I am downloading now to see if this actually includes the stuff I worked on (or at least the client end, although frankly it's the backend processing stuff that was actually interesting).

11:16 Oh, that's just the Linux runtime and all the F/OSS libraries it uses. They're just doing the due diligence in compliance is all. Nothing interesting to see here.

June 14, 2009

Review: Aspects of last night's night-before-birthday party (, )

by fluffy at 1:58 PM
Martinis: It was fun to make these for people, having practiced quite a lot lately. Not only did we finish off my bottle of Tanqueray, but we put a decent dent into the 1750mL bottle of Sapphire. Highly recommended. A+

The furry code ()

by fluffy at 1:16 AM
After a conversation with Mark the other night, I think I have figured out what differentiates a "cartoon animal" from a "furry."

The big deciding factor appears to be: if a character is furred and also has human-like hair, they are furry. Otherwise they are a cartoon animal.

June 10, 2009

iPhone: changing the Notes font ()

by fluffy at 1:29 PM
I randomly came across this about a year ago but I don't think I ever mentioned it, but I know a lot of people would want to know it so here goes:

The default font in the iPhone "Notes" app is some painfully-ugly handwriting font (I think it's Marker Felt). However, that font is incompatible with certain languages (definitely Japanese, and probably others), so if you enable one of those languages in your "keyboards" preference, you can simply switch your keyboard and type a single character in that language, and the note will permanently and irrevocably be changed to use a font that isn't godawful.

See the process after the cut!

Repurposing Schadenfood ()

by fluffy at 12:53 PM
I go through little fits of doing things with Schadenfood with its original intent (schadenfreude about food-related nuttery) but that's just kind of boring. I think the word "Schadenfood" can also be taken to mean feeding the soul of one who enjoys schadenfreude, and there are a lot of Internet communities which specialize on picking on single things but which are often very badly-implemented (such as using Blogger or crappy wikis or whatever), so as an experiment I've set up a forum on it, which currently just has two sections (food and comics, with some subsections for some particularly discussable comics).

The main thing is I don't want the forum to just be non-stop criticism of things, though. It's more about the revelry about things going wrong, so for example, my intent for the "xkcd" subforum isn't about picking on xkcd so much as laughing at all the drama it makes on the Internet (such as the xkcd sucks "community" and the fact that nearly every single xkcd comic leads to yet another Wikipedia edit war).

Netflix inadequacy (, , )

by fluffy at 11:33 AM
I really like Netflix for movie rentals and streaming old TV series and so on. One of the best things is the discovery aspect. So when I noticed they provided RSS feeds, including some personalized ones (notably a recommendation feed), I subscribed right away.

June 9, 2009

Goodbye Xubuntu, hello Netbook Remix ()

by fluffy at 9:31 PM
Today I decided to finally try out Ubuntu Netbook Remix on my netbook, and holy crap is it nice. There are a couple of rough edges (especially for installation, because of how it is more a modification of Gnome than a standalone environment) and until I turned off Compiz entirely (Preferences: Appearance: Visual Effects: None) a lot was broken, but a lot of things I thought were questionable design choices end up working out REALLY well.

Nearly everything does run maximized, though. I wonder if there's any terminals which let you split into multiple panes. (I mean, short of running a terminal under Emacs.) Or maybe there's some hidden preference to add windows to the non-maximized blacklist (since not everything does).

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June 3, 2009