Obama Administration Threatens CISPA Veto, EFF Urges Action
It's basically one group wants to stick a rebar up your ass, Obama says "no, a silicone dildo with lube will do", EFF says "don't stick anything up our asses."
I am so stealing your example.
Should a Web Startup Go Straight To the Cloud?
1. Get used to the idea that your development and production environments are two distinct animals to be kept apart on purpose. Using one machine to develop and to host the production service is a recipe for disaster.
2. Stop using the cloud as a magical entity that holds everything that is online. You can go to many web hosts and pick up a decent IIS and SQL Server hosting plan for just a few bucks per month. If you build your solution so it can allow multiple server instances, you can always move it to the Azure Service or Amazon's cloud service.
3. "Hoped to attract" is not going to cut it. You need to have market research and a lot more before you can even talk numbers, otherwise you are down to a "cool idea that I hope catches on."
4. Offload your non-programming duties on somebody else. After many years programming, I have found that I was consistently miserable when my job description included responsibility for the infrastructure. It doesn't mean you stop learning about the infrastructure, it is just that you just concentrate on what you are building and somebody else is stuck keeping the servers alive.
Massive LinkedIn IPO Raises Dotcom Bubble Concerns
The part of LinkedIn that creeps me out is whenever (strangers) people I have had zero professional contact with contact me out of the blue to add them to my network. Or friends that are out of my professional life context annoyed that I won't add them. I am a programmer, I don't mind adding other programmers, project managers I have worked with in the past, that kind of thing, but adding a cousin or a friend that work in unrelated fields is just stupid. It completely defeats the purpose of the site.
Ebooks Now Outselling Print Books At Amazon
Not only that, but it is multi-platform. I have used both the OSX and Windows versions extensively and both are very nice. I doubt the Linux version is any different than these two.
It is a great app, the developer is very active (some say to a fault) and he doesn't blast you with donation begging screens every other click. It is also very simple to use, of the half-dozen Kindle users I know that also use Calibre none yet has complained about it.
Micro-SD Card Slot Abused As VGA-Port
Because it opens the possibilities of other "unexpected" hacks that people can't visualize simply by looking at the available ports for a given device (not just the one in the article). If you can plug that thing into the microSD port and make it talk to VGA with 10 resistors and a bit of software, it means you can probably use microSD as a connector on other devices knowing that the connector and board are not only dirt cheap but open.
Ask Slashdot: Becoming a Network Administrator?
I don't understand why this is modded funny, it is the correct plan of action assuming the move was voluntary. If this is a programmer that is trying to bail out of a sinking ship and this was the only job available at equivalent pay, then it is a completely different issue.
The biggest red flag is the "unlimited budget" that doesn't cover hiring a properly trained network admin, instead pushing him/her to learn the whole thing from scratch at the same pay.
Reform the PhD System or Close It Down
Until I actually worked side-by-side with a few. Never in my life have I worked with anyone that (at least on paper) was a world authority in a very minuscule field of study, while at the same time showing close to no knowledge in pretty much everything else around them. It was depressing because I always assumed a PhD would be a really smart person that was an expert in that one particular thing, when in reality it felt like dealing with an idiot savant. Worse, all of this additional education resulted in no impact on their paychecks.
Out of the five we had on staff at one time or another, the two that I consider to be real experts in their fields couldn't be trusted to perform the most basic computing tasks, and the other three were pretty much stupid all around. I am talking "what do you mean I am not supposed to put my critical files in the recycle bin?" kind of people. How the hell can somebody under 40 in this country become a PhD in a computationally intensive biological research field without learning how to use a computer?
5 Out of 11 Crashed Unity In Canonical's Study
I don't get it. I would rather have a tester crash the app than an end user. With the tester I hopefully stand a chance of getting some useful information to track down the bug. With the end user it is a crap shoot.
Comcast's 105MBit Service Comes With Data Cap
All it takes is two Netflix streaming users in one household. Right before the cap started Comcast opened a reporting page to show us our average usage for the previous three months. I had hit the cap on all three months, even if for month three I cut down my torrent usage down to zero. That means we hit our cap just watching streamed video. I ditched Comcast (22/8, not that it ever performed at that level) for FIOS (25/25 for $5 per month, always performs beautifully) and never looked back.
Amazon To Offer Ad-Supported Kindle
They won't even borrow them at their local library for free.
Amazon To Offer Ad-Supported Kindle
I have a wall 6 bookcases wide, 6 shelves each, crammed with books. Once we got the first two Kindles we realized that in just a few months we had replaced the contents of one full bookcase. Out of the 6 full bookcases, less than one full bookcase can be considered must-keep books, either because they are unique, they have maybe a dedication, etc. The other 5 bookcases are hundreds of pounds worth of novels with a paper value of close to zero, and they take space, and they need to be kept clean, and they need to be protected against insects, humidity, etc.
And to answer your question on why spend so much money buying and re-buying gadgets? Because I can. I am willing to spend money to gain convenience. I really like not having to chase down for books anymore. All my favorite authors are selling on the Amazon Kindle market, and 99% of the time their prices are reasonable. Usually when somebody gets greedy and overcharges there's a gaggle of people on Amazon that will immediately start complaining and making noise until the prices are lowered.
Is this for everyone? Of course not. But if you are addicted to reading general fiction and you don't care about reselling your old books, a Kindle wifi is practical and very cost effective. The $114 (or what the hell, the $139 I paid for mine) is less than the cost of books and the bookshelves to hold them for even one year of my kind of reading.
Amazon To Offer Ad-Supported Kindle
When the original Kindle came out, people complained it was horribly expensive. Whenever Amazon released a new model and/or chopped the MSRP, people complained it was horribly expensive. When it went under $200 people bitched that there was no reason for it to sell for more than $150. When the Wifi model came out for $139 people complained that there was no reason for it to cost more than $100. Now the Wifi can be purchased for $114 and people are going to come up with any excuse to complain about the price, ads or both.
I am 100% convinced that even if Amazon gives it away just for the cost of shipping (free if you are on Prime), people will still bitch and moan about the stupid ads.
I have owned two Kindles (awesome, cludgy), two Kindle 2s (awesome, period) and currently two Kindle 3 Wifi (awesome, keyboard sucks). All of our previous Kindle devices were sold to friends for a reasonable price, and all of them are (that I know) still up and running today, and each and everyone loves them.
Both my wife and myself adore this device, for people like us that read a book or more per week these devices are extremely practical. The Wifi model uses so little power that it freaks me out whenever I realize that I actually need to charge it.
Ask Slashdot: Huge Digital Media Libraries
With Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/) you can deal with the book problem the same way you would use iTunes to catalog music and video. It is available for Windows, Linux and OSX. I have personally used it for both OSX and Windows for a few years and it has never let me down.
The video problem is much harder because the tagging is nowhere as mature as what we have available for music. What really drives me nuts about this is that there is no consistent way to apply parental ratings to content in a way that it is recognized by OSX and Windows. This keeps me from sharing my videos across the home network since there is no way I can easily block certain videos from my son's Xbox and his iMac. I would have to manually set play lists, which is a lot more work, it would be nice if I could tag content as PG-13 or above and let the Xbox use its built-in content ratings mechanism.
$1.2 Million Worth of MS Points Taken After Hackers Figure Out Code Algorithm
Same as Unicorns to Leprechauns.
Security Warning Over Web-Based Android Market
What carrier? I have installed at least 3 so far with no issues, this is a Samsung Intercept (2.1) with Virgin Mobile USA.
Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games
The problem with Mass Effect 2 is the stupid crew achievement and the way you easily confuse having the full crew AND having the full crew trust you, which is how you can even access the decisions that will let the full crew survive. When you spend a few dozen hours playing a game and you think you just nailed the ending, only to find out that you lost a couple of your crew members because of some obscure choices you made 15-20 hours ago, it can be frustrating. A lot of my frustration with this game came from just that lousy achievement, I was willing to live with the ending because I had not met all of the crew criteria.
Fallout New Vegas at least tries to warn you. There are two major missions that only come up to hint at you that if you head towards a certain direction you will antagonize a specific faction (there is one for NCR, one for the Legion). Some people may not be able to tell that what they are doing may indirectly annoy one of the big factions, so these two missions sort of help them notice. Mass Effect 2 is a lot more subtle than this, and the ending comes as a complete surprise.
What To Load On a 4-Year-Old's Netbook?
If you would consider upgrading it to Windows 7 you will get parental controls that are simple to control. You can set allowed access times, game access based on ratings, and which apps the child can/cannot run.
Set the machine so it can only browse pbskids.org, which should keep him busy for hours. If you do this at the router level then you don't have to worry about the kid being able to defeat the filter.
I have a 12-yr old with autism, and as soon as he was curious about computers (5 yr old or so), that's how I dealt with it. My only beef with parental controls is Youtube, which refuses to use proper ratings. Instead it takes into account the age (minimum 13) of the account holder and it refuses to show content flagged as objectionable if the viewer is not at least 18. The problem is that the child eventually runs into content that hasn't been flagged yet, which is annoying as hell. Except for the youtube issue, pretty much everything else respects the parental ratings. Firefox for some reason didn't like to play nice with these in OSX 10.5 and 10.6, but Safari is fine. I haven't checked if this is an issue with Windows 7 too.
The other thing I did is I setup his mac in the living room, facing a wall. My wife keeps her laptop at a spot in a living room that is in a direct line of sight of his, so all she has to do is look up and she can see what he is doing.
And yeah, *my* laptop is set so I can see HER screen and his. She's clueless about computers, so I have to keep an eye on hers as much as the 12-yr old.
Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind?
Left eye it is, and I kept switching to the left eye even if I was consciously trying to force my right one to take over.
Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind?
I have no idea, but based on how it was impossible for me to shoot the A1 properly right-handed, I guess my left eye is dominant. I can shoot pistols ambidextrous, but if I shoot Weaver then it is lefty. As for that cast-in deflector stub, its usefulness became obvious the day I got that casing stuck under my eyeglass and my drill sergeant was so furious that I was not issued the clip-on deflector that he had me turn in the A1 and exchange it for an A2 (the first one with the cast-in deflector).
As for "lefty" rifles, I have seen bullpup rifles that let you pick if you want the brass to be ejected left or right.
Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind?
I don't know, we lefties have spent so long in a right-handed world that we adjust to some things without even noticing. I am 39, and to this day I can't even sign my name with my right hand, but I bowl, bat and golf right-handed (yet I throw balls lefty), I am ambidextrous as far as cutlery goes, I use the mouse with my right hand and I shoot firearms lefty (not fun learning to shoot with an M16-A1 that required a clip-on "lefty" brass deflector, forgot it once and was rewarded with a hot casing stuck between my face and my eyeglasses). It is extremely rare to find an adult that is a pure lefty.
My first two novels, CC-licensed and free to download
My second novel is out! "Pulling Strings" is the follow-up to "Shining Star." In my first novel I came up with a crazy what-if:
What if Puerto Rico votes to become an independent republic? And what if it happens without the Americans knowing that Puerto Rico is sitting on huge oil reserves?
In my second book I explore the Puerto Rican Republic as it starts its expansion across the other countries in the Caribbean basin. All this while the US nervously keeps an eye on these developments, and Venezuela becomes more hostile because Puerto Rico is not a member of OPEC and is not bound to obey their monopoly on oil.
As with my first book, this book is available free of charge under a Creative Commons License. You are free to download it and pass it around as long as it is unaltered and you do not charge for it. Also, you cannot create derivative works based on it.
Shining Star (pdf)
Pulling Strings (pdf)
If you are interested in buying a print copy of my books, please feel free to visit my bookstore.
Ordered: (refurbished) iMac G5 1.8 20"
Just ordered an identical copy of my new machine at work:
iMac G5 20"
160 GB drive
256 MB ram (also ordered an extra gig thru a third party)
Let the madness begin. Hopefully I will qualify for the $10 upgrade to Tiger.
Dumbass Fox talking head
This dumbass son of a bitch talking head over at Fox news announces that John Lithgow (http://imdb.com/name/nm0001475/bio) is going to give the graduation speech for Harvard's class of 2005.
He pretty much said "well, this is weird, this honor is usually given to heads of state and whatever..."
What this dumbass talking head did not know, which is probably the fault of his producer(s), is that Lithgow has a pretty god damn good excuse for this kind of honor. After all, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1967.
After losing my faith on the Powerbook line, I managed to snatch a spare 20" iMac G5 with 1.25 GB ram at the office. Boy oh boy!
The damn thing rocks. I like it so much that the replacement for my dead powerbook is going to be a refurbished 20" iMac G5 with 2GB ram.
Dead Aluminum Powerbook G4, back with Titanium!
I spilled four droplets of coffee into my Aluminum Powerbook (15", the replacement to my Ti 867). I freaked out, flipped it upside down and while I was drying the four droplets the machine shut down. And that's it.
I kept trying to reset the pram and the PMU, but nothing. Again I freaked out and cracked the case open to see if coffee got inside but it was completely dry. Big mistake.
The genius at the Apple store quoted me $1200 to fix it because:
1. The spill was accidental damage, not covered.
2. Cracking the case open voided the warranty.
Of course, $1200 buys a new iBook, so fuck it.
I went home and took the HDD out of the dead laptop and put it into an external firewire enclosure, and I did not lose data. But no more Aluminum powerbook :-(
Worse, I have completely lost my faith on the current Powerbook line. I never liked it as much as my Ti 867, and even with 1.25 GB ram it did not feel that much faster than my Ti 867 with 1GB ram. It seems my next laptop is going to be a 14" iBook with Superdrive.
A year with a Titanium Powerbook G4
My laptop will be a year old in April 30th and I am already planning to ditch her.
Nothing really wrong with it, but I want to get rid of my wife's Dell and what we decided is she is taking over the Titanium Powerbook and I will get a 15" Aluminium G4 1.25 GHz with Superdrive. I almost got her a 12" iBook G4 but it was not worth the hassle to try to sell the Powerbook. And that means I can go ahead and pay for Apple Care.
After spending a year working 40-60 hours a week plus at least another 15-20 hours at home with it, I have come to notice its many qualities and flaws:
1. Wireless reception is poor due to the Faraday effect of the Titanium casing. My old iBook 600 had at least twice the range of the Powerbook.
2. The casing flexes a lot. And the lid is warped.
3. The latch is as weak as the one in the iBook 600.
4. The hinge is very strong!
5. Apple makes the worst AC adapters for a laptop computer. Between the iBook and the Powerbook I have gone thru at least six adapters so far. The current design of the adapter has many little changes that are designed to address points of failure that I experienced last year, so this is not that much of a big problem anymore.
6. It does not get as hot as the Germans would have you believe.
7. Battery life is decent if you are willing to dim the screen and stay away from the combo drive.
8. The combo drive is bullet proof.
9. The Titanium casing is shit. Not only flexes, but the paint bubbles and scratches too easily.
10. All those ports in the back are a retarded idea. The only plug in the back should be the power.
11. Somebody at Apple should have figured out by now that they need to have clearance between the LCD and the keys. All it takes is to sink the keys an extra mm into the casing! I tried to use LCD shields, but these add tension to the latch and also help warp the lid even worse.
12. The Timbuk2 laptop sleeve is the perfect padding to carry your Titanium Powerbook in a bag. I use mine with a Timbuk2 El Ocho messenger bag. You can have mine, but only when you can pry it off my cold, dead fingers.
13. Laptop podiums work very nice with this laptop and do help keep it cool.
14. Even with a Gig of ram (and this is a 867) Macromedia Dreamweaver MX and VPC 6.1 (with XP Pro) still run like shit.
15. I don't like the sleeping light in the Powerbook. The one in the iBook is nicer.
16. Don't eat within 6 feet of this computer. The keyboard magically sucks in any dirt, crumbs and dog hair that comes within 6 feet. If you opt to use an iSkin for the keyboard, don't get the black one, it sucks! Use any other but the black one (the white one is nice) because the plastic is different and feels, well, yucky.
Overall it is a hell of a computer. I am glad the new ones are anodized Aluminum because the damn paint issue is starting to drive me insane. I am going to send it to Apple to check the lid and hopefully they can retouch the bubbles too.
One week with the Powerbook G4
While reading Will Weaton's journal entry on why he quit G4 I realized I have had my 15" Powerbook G4 for a whole week.
Few things in my mind:
1. Very hard to feel the weight difference between this Ti Book and my former iBook.
2. I have to take off my watch if I want to type, it just bangs the wrist rest and I don't want to scratch it.
3. I am baffled by the speed. This thing is just amazing (mine is only a 867 with 512MB ram).
4. Virtual PC 6 with Windows 2000 Professional runs as good as on a real PC. XP Pro on the same Virtual PC 6 runs like crap.
5. The keyboard marks on the screen are really pissing me off, so I have to buy a protective cover for it.
6. The black iSkin SUCKS. The texture is different from the white one I use on the iBook, and it kills the tactile feedback.
7. DVD playback is beautiful, but because of the native resolution it does not look as sharp in full screen.
8. Dreamweaver MX runs only marginally better than on the iBook. I guess it wants more RAM.
9. The speakers are marginally better, a non-issue since I am on earphones 99% of the time I am using the laptop.
10. The laptop sleeve I bought from Timbuk2.com fits like a goddamn condom. It is very VERY nice.
11. No paint chipping yet, but I guess its only a matter of time before I bang it against something.
12. Wireless reception is nowhere as good as with the iBook but at least works.
13. Back to the keyboard: it is a million times better than the shitty keyboard in the iBook. Very nice, I still freak out about getting it dirty but otherwise I love it.
14. I have mixed feelings about the door that covers the ports when not in use.
15. I got too used to the Kensington lock slot being on the left side of the iBook, so now I have to re-train myself.
16. Nice that it uses the same kind of power adapter as the ibook, that gives me an emergency spare if something happens.
Overall, I love it. Very nice machine. I especially love the looks of hatred and scorn whenever I sit by a guy using a beat up windows pc.
New Powerbook G4
Two days ago I got my new laptop, an Apple Titanium Powerbook G4 867 (40GB drive, combo drive, airport, 512MB ram). I am extremely happy and thrilled like hell because the performance is just amazing. As good as the iBook is, the Powerbook is insanely faster (and mine is just a 867, not even the fastest CPU available).
Now I have to figure out how am I going to pay to fix the iBook so I can give it to my wife.
Ok, it seems what is wrong with my iBook is a common design flaw across the whole white iBook line. The cables that run thru the hinge get frayed with normal usage, these cables run the airport antennas, the backlight and the LCD data. Right now my backlight is almost gone and airport started acting up.
And the repair job can be up to $400!
I am not buying a second iBook, instead I am getting a Titanium Powerbook.
How much abuse can an iBook take?
1. One broken AC adaptor (out of warranty)
2. One burned AC adaptor (3 months old, replaced under warranty)
3. One FILTHY keyboard, missing 5 keys and with bent retainer clips (out of warranty).
Now the goddamn LCD backlight is acting up. I don't know if a connector is lose, or a ground or whatever the hell, but the backlight is shutting off on its own.
And still, I love my iBook to death. Hell, I love it so much I am buying another one in a week or so. The sad thing is I may have to send this one to the shop, so for a week or so my wife won't be able to "inherit" this iBook. Dammit.
Regular Expressions and Grep
This last week or so has turned into an incredible discovery journey. I have used regular expressions in the past for very specific purposes, and 99% of these involved validating an email address. REGEX in ASP is a pain in the ass because it is not native to vbscript, sort of the same problem you would have trying to parse xml from within asp using vbscript.
A while ago (when I switche to Mac OS X) I discovered how pretty freakin cool is to use regular expressions to hunt down html and xml tag pairs. These regular expressions combined with aplescript translated into great time savings for the humongous web forms I do 3-5 times a week for my employer's online research surveys.
What happened last week is that I decided to bump it up another notch. After a painful afternoon that I could not figure out jack squat, I suddenly figured out how the hell you can have a search pattern for n patterns and each of the n patters replaced with something different.
Now instead of spending 15 minutes running applescripts that save me a half hour of work, I run a single applescript that executes a half dozen regular expression transforms that so the whole godamn shebang in 15 FREAKING SECONDS.
The worst thing is that I am getting obsessed with the whole concept, and the sky is the limit. I have already applied it to a bunch of annoying little jobs that take 10-15 minutes apiece, but when you add them up that's at least an extra hour saved per day! This feels like the first time I figured out a select case in VB/Vbscript (or a switch in Java, C++, etc) works the exact same way as a bunch of IFs, but only it is 100 times easier to read.
The funny thing is that when taking this grep integration into BBEdit, Editplus is starting to look like the old, outdated piece of crap that it is. I love Edit Plus to death, but Jesus, these people need to get on with the freakin program! BBedit not only has a much better REGEX engine than EditPlus does, but it also allows you to use Perl scripts. Jeez!
When you know your switch is for real
Well, I have final proof I am a 100% switcher.
Sometime last week I caught my 4-yr old son chewing on the power cord plug (still connected to AC!) for my iBook. Two days later my wife yanked the power cord while sweeping, and the inside tip of the connector broke clean. It flew across the room and we never found it.
Still, it had enough left to stay in contact and keep the battery recharged. I said to myself I had to go to the Apple store, 1/4 mile walk from my office, and grab myself a new cord. Then the procrastinoids grabbed me by the neck and eventually forgot about it.
Two days later the connector was so worn out it would not plug into the iBook. CRAP. I managed to pull 3 hours of work out of the iBook until it had about 25% left in the battery. Then a nice fellow in IRC showed me how to turn the iBook into an external firewire drive so I could boot a G4 powermac at the office with it. That bought me almost one extra hour of work. Then dead for good.
Of course, this happened on keynote day, and for some reason the Apple store was out of stock. They were nice enough to call another store in the area that was too far for me to go on business hours and their reply is they had "plenty."
I spent the rest of the work day on Windows 2000, totally miserable. Mind that during my workday I am on Windows 2000 in and out most of the day, only I use the remote desktop client for OS X and do it from my mac. Sitting in front of that windows machine really drove me crazy. And I am not even a windows hater, hell, I still write asp and Visual Basic! But I could not stand working directly off that machine.
I had to watch the whole keynote on Quicktime 6 for Windows, I thought it sucked but many people could not even connect, so I cannot complain. When Steve started announcing Safari and the iLife apps I got frustrated again because I did not have a clue if I would even have a mac that evening (I was afraid the connector broke the inside leads of the iBook's power supply plug).
This told me I was more into the mac that I even tought. Maybe because I was still using remote desktop to manage my Windows 2000 servers it was not so obvious, but I am now sure my switch is 100%.
When I went to the second store I bought the LAST power connector left, so much for "enough." And yeah, the iBook was fine.
Apache runs great if you leave it the hell alone
Sometimes freeBSD can be too good for its own good. The ports system is so convenient for upgrading and fresh installs that I don't spend as much time figuring things out than back in the day when I would reinstall Linux just to change apache. Pretty stupid.
Yesterday I pretty much killed my whole freeBSD virtual colo/jail system. I upgraded from Apache 1.3 to Apache 2. And I broke it. Big time. After a whole hour of terror I managed to fall back to 1.3.
Lesson learned: Leave Apache the hell alone and it will run forever. Period.