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Archive for the ‘pointless’ Category

WordPress iPhone App

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This is really a test post with the iPhone wordpress app. Pretty nice actually!

Written by jthurber

July 22nd, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Posted in pointless

Quick “Still Alive” Post

with 21 comments

- It would be safe to say that I’m not pleased with the results of the Presidential Election.
- I found the “alternative/explicit” versions of the wedding songs from the “Old School” sountrack at CafePress. It’s a travesty that these aren’t available from Amazon ;) BTW – My “Look at the Monkey” mugs are on sale for some reason, so I ordered one.

Ya’ know, that’s about it…

Oh yeah, it’s my birthday this Sunday. I’ll be officially too old to become a SEAL, which is sortof a bummer (see Stephenson’s thoughts on same here). I am planning to go ‘boarding in Tahoe tho’, which is good.

On the “posting follow-up” front: I’ve got mixed feelings about whcc.com (the online printers) which need to be documented and still need to write a follow up to the “buying a car” post, but I can’t get excited about that right now.

Written by jthurber

November 10th, 2004 at 5:54 pm

Posted in General,pointless

Lens return…

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The following is a paraphrased, but accurate, account of a conversation I had earlier in the week.

Me (talking to KEH.com a new/used online photo supply store): I bought a used lens earlier this week and they’re a few things wrong with it. I’d like to return it…
KEH Rep: [Looks up my account.] What’s wrong with it?
Me: Well, the mount is pretty worn, so I can get my camera to error by twisting or putting load on the lens. It works ok, unless you twist the lens.
KEH Rep: Well, there are a couple of things that can cause that… [asks some questions about my camera, etc]… what else is wrong with it?
Me: Well, there’s a bug in the lens.
KEH Rep: A bug? What sort of bug?
Me: Well, like a big gnat stuck to one of the inner elements. It wasn’t there when the lens arrived, but it showed up after I drove home, I think it shook lose from the inside while I was driving, but now it’s stuck on one of the inner elements…
KEH Rep: You can tell it’s a bug?
Me: Yeah, it’s pretty big, and it’s stuck right in the middle of the glass.
KEH Rep: And it’s inside the glass?
Me: Yeah. And the third thing is that the lens just doesn’t seem to take very sharp pictures. I think it’s mostly front-focusing, but they’re just generally soft as well.
KEH Rep: Wow, I’ve never heard of a bug before, that’s a new one for me.
Me: Yeah, me too.
KEH Rep: Go ahead and send it back, I’ve put these notes in your file. Sorry about that.

What have I learned? KEH is a good place, with nice folks on the phone (this is my second, totally painless, return to them). And always shake any used gear around a bit to see if anything falls out… or, sometimes more importantly, doesn’t fall out! Oh yeah, and I should have taken a picture of the bug :)

Written by jthurber

August 27th, 2004 at 9:28 pm

Posted in pointless

Sleep Deprivation

with 21 comments

It’s been a while since I really deprived myself of a full night’s sleep. In fact, the last time I remember really feeling like I was going to die from lack of sleep was over a year ago when I was visiting some friends in New York.

We had an early morning flight back to Cali, and needed to be at the airport by 5:30 (or some similarly ungodly time). I decided to stay up all night playing PS2 games on the 15′x8′ screen we had build for his LCD Projector during the requisite “Morons at Home Depot” project. I lasted until about 3am, when my resolve faltered and I decided to “grab a couple of hours sleep”. I did exactly that, grabbing an hour of very light sleep, then heading to JFK at 4:45. At which point I felt like I was going to die!

We were literally the first people at the airport, the first ones in line waiting for security to open, and being the first one thru security (lucky me) I got my shoes thoroughly checked for whatever it is they were checking shoes for that day. An hour later there were way too many kids running around waiting for the flight, so I decided to go buy earplugs at the gift shop. I asked, “I’d like two sets of earplugs, how much are they?”. And was told, absolutely straight-faced, “$8.99 per pair” (mind you, these are those cheap foam earplugs that they sell for 25cents at KMart). I politely expressed my surprise by saying something to the effect of “Holy shit!”. I then asked how much for a bottle of NyQuil. I was told, “$6.” “Excellent”, says I, and proceeded to buy the pharmaceutical equivalent of earplugs. I took the recommended adult dose (two big slugs), fell asleep in the lobby 15 minutes later, woke up to board the plane, fell asleep as soon as I was in my seat, woke up after being repeatedly poked to verify that I was “qualified” to perform the tasks required by my lofty position as an emergency exit row attendant. I said “Huh, yeah…” then fell asleep again. (As an aside, I could not have managed to walk to the bathroom unaided, much less assist anyone out of a plane…). I woke up several hours later to eat, then slept until we touched down in Oakland. That may be the most enjoyable flight I’ve ever taken.

All of this is by way of leading up to a story about my poor time management skills, and how they lead to me sleeping thru much of this Sunday.

I woke up early on Saturday, went for a ride with Dad up to Alice’s Restaurant. Lazed around for a few hours, then went to REI and the Apple Store (which was out of copies of iLife ’04). I’d gotten a call from Scott that morning, and knew he wanted to go to Sacramento on Sunday. I’d also gotten a call from some college friends who wanted to meet in Walnut Creek for dinner and drinks that (Saturday) night. I caught a ride up to Walnut Creek, drank to much wine and ate too many egg rolls and ended up getting home at 1:30. I slept until 4am (that’s 2.5 hours if you’re counting) and drove up to Scott’s house (arriving at 5am). It’s curious that 70 mph felt really fast until I was half-way thru my cup of coffee. An hour later we were waiting for McDonald’s to open in Vallejo (McDonalds not being open is an excellent way to discern that you’re up too early). We drove up to Sac, unloaded a bunch of stuff into a storage locker and drove back to the Bay Area (getting back around 11am). If you’re curious, this is what 5am looks like:
Picture of Truck

Anyway, on the way back I started to get goose pimples, which is an excellent indicator that you’ve had too much coffee and not enough sleep. What is the point of my story you may well ask? Nothing. If you have further questions please note that it’s under the “pointless” category. I think you’ll agree it’s well placed…

Written by jthurber

January 19th, 2004 at 1:55 pm

Posted in pointless

The obligation of Smart Playlists.

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So, now I’ve got this “Un-Rated” playlist on my iPod (as detailed in an earlier post). Now I feel this compulsion to listen to all of my unrated songs and assign them ratings.

This is a bad thing because I have approximately 4000 unrated songs (excluding Audio Books) on my iPod. However, this is also something of a good thing because I’m listening to my music collection a song at a time (instead of as general background noise) and running each song thru a simple, mental, rules-engine that looks something like?

  • Do I hate this song? = 1 star (not 0 stars as this would leave it in the un-rated playlist)
  • Do I not want to hear this song again, but don’t hate it? = 2 stars
  • Would I not mind listening to this song again, but wouldn’t seek it out? = 3 stars
  • Do I want to listen to this song again soon? And probably again soon after that? = 4 stars
  • Would this be one of the songs I would want if I could only listen to 100-odd songs for the rest of my life? = 5 stars

    You can see that I’m making this whole 5-star range cover a very wide range of emotional response. As you can probably guess, there are a lot of 3 star songs out there!

  • Written by jthurber

    November 5th, 2003 at 3:46 pm

    Posted in pointless

    10/7 – Judgement Day

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    My thoughts on tomorrow’s recall –

    The best thing that could happen: Governor Schwarzenegger
    The worst thing that could (realistically) happen: Governor Bustamante
    The worst thing that can’t happen: Governor Huffington
    The wrong thing to happen (but no one (including me) would care): Governor Davis

    Only one of these results would encourage me to ever vote again… can you guess which one?

    Written by jthurber

    October 6th, 2003 at 8:40 am

    Posted in pointless

    iPod Planz

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    The house is coming along well (in that we haven’t had to do anything in a while, have all major appliances and nothing has blown up… yet… knock on wood). SBC even turned on my DSL on the day they promised (nevermind that my connection speed sucks (360kbps down versus 1.25mbps down at my old house), at least it works).
    I traded in the WRX last weekend and got a “Commuter Car” (an ’04 Toyota Corolla S). Nice car, quiet, goes 80mph no problem and I got 35mpg on my first tank of gas (versus 25 max from the WRX). Some things will need to change tho:

  • Needs some suspension tweaking. Granted, I’m a bit spoiled coming from the WRX which has an extremely well sorted suspension, but the Corolla has the typical “econobox” problem with tracking/stability at high speeds (e.g. 80). Not dangerous or anything, just a tendency to feel like it’s wandering in the lane, and following rain grooves like they’re railroad tracks. I’m planning to start with a TRD strut tower brace and see what that solves. It’s possible that the solution is going to be a combination of things including tires (probably the biggest factor in directional stability as far as I can tell), “stiffening accessories” such as the strut tower brace and possibly sway bars and (if it comes to it) TRD lowering springs. It would be great if the strut tower braces solve all my woes by tying the front-end together more completely, but I doubt that will solve the whole issue.
  • No cassette deck. This means that the iPod has had to play thru an FM transmitter while I get something else figured out. Thankfully I think salvation arrived this morning in the form of a Logjam Auxiliary Input Converter which (hopefully) plugs into the CD Changer control in the back of the head unit and supports two RCA plug connections. Assuming it works (and I have every reason to suspect it will, I’ll have a better iPod solution than I’ve had to date. I’m considering putting up a DIY section on my “home page” where I detail how to install this, as I think people may actually find it useful (image that, something useful on this site!).
  • The brakes are vague. Not weak necessarily, just soft feeling. I think I’ll start with a two phase fix. Part 1 – New brake pads. Part 2 – Stainless brake lines. Should solve the problem of brake feel. Given the car’s “performance envelope” (such as it is) I doubt I’ll need more than that.
  • I also started learning to Machine (as is metal-working) with Scott on Wed. So far, so good. I can still count to 10 without taking off my socks and we haven’t broken anything yet. Our first “real” project is to mill ourselves some shift knobs. I’ll post pics when I’m done… should be good for a laugh.

    Written by jthurber

    September 5th, 2003 at 8:28 am

    Posted in pointless

    Tires… i feel shame

    with 21 comments

    Found this picture at cbr1100xx.org:

    Let me just say, DAMN!
    By way of comparison, here’s me:

    (btw – “i feel shame” is a Slap Shot quote… sweet movie… watch it twice tho’)

    Written by jthurber

    July 11th, 2003 at 6:51 pm

    Posted in pointless

    New face

    with 21 comments

    Everyone else was doing it, so in the spirit of unity I have put a main page on my website. It’s a bit plain, but it does have my trademark about:blank link.

    Written by jthurber

    June 25th, 2003 at 8:18 am

    Posted in pointless

    iPod’y goodness

    with 22 comments

    Before I left for NZ I planned to sell my iPod and miss the price drop resulting from the new ones. Sadly I waited to long and must know the pain of selling too late…

    I placed an ad on craigslist.org, we’ll see how it goes. There is some really funny stuff out there. I particularly liked this jewel (someone had already responded):

    YOU:
    -now are holding an OBSOLETE iPod music player in your hand because today the new iPod came out and the file format has switched from MP3 to AAC (mac only) to be compatible with the new Apple Music Store and the new iTunes 4.
    -have an iPod that is at least 10gb harddrive and it must be a touch-wheel or scroll-wheel model from before April 18, 2003 without a dock connector or it’s from after April 18,2003. (I’m using a software update, must be correct model type)
    -recognize that your iPod is pretty much worthless at this point so you need to unload it. Sorry to say it, trust me I just moved, I feel your pain. I had to sell my old iMac for $30. (sniff) I loved that thing. And even if you don’t view your beloved iPod as worthless, you…
    -are going to buy the new iPod, maybe you already have, because you’re a super-cool hipster who must keep up with the progress of technology.
    …a bit further down…
    NOTE: sorry but I’m really not looking to pay more than $50 for either of these items; in fact I’d prefer less than that. You must recognize that it’s very tough to unload old equipment and be thankful to get even that much. Don’t mean to insult you, but trust me this market sucks and it’s near-impossible to get what an item’s really worth.

    Hope this guy emails me, he seems cool.

    Written by jthurber

    May 2nd, 2003 at 12:18 am

    Posted in pointless

    XSLT

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    In the course of my new job I’ve been learning a lot more about XSLT (and related XML technologies). This quote really sums up what it’s been like:

    … the learning curve for XSLT is quite high, and deciphering it can be a challenge for newcomers. In fact, creating, deciphering, and modifying complex XSLT examples can test the mettle of even the best application developers. To exacerbate this problem, familiar design, development, debugging, profiling, and testing tools used to aid the creation of robust code cannot be used with XSLT. – Source Article

    Apparently what I’ve been experiencing is “mettle testing”.

    Written by jthurber

    April 3rd, 2003 at 1:47 pm

    Posted in pointless

    More near-Midnight bloggin’

    with 22 comments

    Well, National set me up with a Chevy Trailblazer. It is not a bad car, but it’s a bit like driving your living room around. Comfortable, but vague. At least it has a hand-activated e-brake so the potential for “rental car fun” still exists.

    I thought that the years of working from 9′ish until past 10 were behind me, an aspect of the dot-com boom that I could remember with fondness from a safe distance. I was wrong. I started a new job almost a month ago (as anyone who reads this blog at this point almost certainly knows) and have been working those same hours again (tho’ this time my weekends have been mostly free, which is good, I’m sure my girlfriend would kill me otherwise). There is a lot to learn and plenty to do (the lack of which are both reasons why I left my previous job), but it’s a pretty severe change from working for a “big company”. I miss my 2-hour lunches…

    Written by jthurber

    March 31st, 2003 at 11:34 pm

    Posted in pointless

    State of the Car

    with 20 comments

    According to the fine folks at Carlsen Subaru my (usually) beloved ’02 WRX has a “bad” ECU (engine-control unit). They didn’t say “bad”, they said “out of spec”. They’re sending it back to the East Coast for diagnostics (which probably means a new chip). This means I get a rental car until they return the car. I see from looking on the National site that I have a wide and boring range of options. I’ll probably end up with a red Cavalier… joy!

    BTW – Carlsen Subaru on the Peninsula (Bay Area) really is a great dealership. The salespeople I’ve talked to are cool, and their service department is excellent.

    Written by jthurber

    March 31st, 2003 at 11:46 am

    Posted in pointless

    Sunday Evening Post

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    A Car Story:
    My car‘s “check engine light” came on last week. I screwed the gas cap down good and tight, drove for a few days (like a responsible owner) and it… dah dah duuuuum… stayed on. So I called Subaru, told them it had “just” turned on and said “WTF”. He asked if the car was overheating, I told him “no, cause then I would have told you that the light came on _and_ the engine was overheating” (I obviously didn’t really say that… but I hope it came thru in my hesitant…. “um, no?”). He then said that it was some emissions thing (probably) and that unless the car was overheating it was fine to drive and when did I want to bring it in. Now (to quote OldManMurray) here’s where I would normally be saying “to make a long story short”, but this story is already longer than the whole phone call… so anywho, I’m bringing it in tomorrow morning. Hopefully they’ll fix it better than Chevy, who, for my StepDad’s Tahoe, simply disabled the check engine light when they couldn’t diagnose the cause after three visits (nice way to avoid CA’s lemon law). I wonder if this is a result of that missed shift last week… nah, probably not.

    Written by jthurber

    March 31st, 2003 at 12:07 am

    Posted in pointless