Archive for March, 2003
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…
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.
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.
More worrying developments re: our “liberties” (such of them as remain). I saw the initial rumblings about this earlier today and thought about commenting, but decided “nah, there’s no way this will pass”. There I go, underestimating the power of fear on the hearts and minds of our appointed representatives.
What am I rambling about you may now (justifiably) be asking. This (House votes on Net porn), which I just saw on the CNET News feed. A snippet:
Pence’s amendment said that anyone who uses a misleading domain name to try to lure people into visiting an obscene Web site faces up to two years in prison … It applies to all domain names around the globe, even those in other countries and ending in suffixes such as .nl or .uk.
It’s not that I am in favor of misleading domain names (tho’ trying to get to the White House web-site the first time was an adventure, and may be an education for children on their usual relationship to the government), it’s that this vague and dangerous legislation is being passed under the guise of something relevant.
I recently got into an argument with a friend regarding the child-abduction alerts that are shown around the Bay Area with (very disturbing) regularity. After seeing three of them over the course of a few days I questioned whether these are all “stranger abductions”, or are some of these “parental abductions”. She wanted to know what I thought the difference was. I said that, basically, I don’t care about “parental abductions” (at this point I should definitely qualify the term, by “parental abduction” I am speaking of that stage in the divorce where Mommy decides Daddy shouldn’t ever see the kids again, and Daddy decides “f@#* that”, picks them up from school one day and does a runner). Unless the parent is violent, mentally unbalanced (to an unusual degree) or for some other reason a threat to the children (which is different from being a threat to our legal system) I don’t see how it’s any of my business. On the other hand, if I can help catch a “stranger abductor” I’m all for it. I can think of no more henious crime! My concern was that the “Amber Alert” system not be usurped by some blended system that both enforces the will of the courts and helps find “stranger abducted” children. One I consider of the highest importance, while the other (transferring possession of children from one parent to the other) is a job for the police and the courts.
My point? Just that this is more noise and fear-mongering in a time when that is really the last thing we need.
I’ve started using emacs as my main XML/XSLT editor/browser. It’s awesome! After spending a few days inadvertently mangling files (rather like when I started using vi) I’ve gotten the hang of it and am _much_ more productive. I’ve found that with a lot of “power user” targeted products (e.g. all the *nix editors) that there’s some inverse relationship between the amount of pain they cause you while you’re learning them, and the amount of value and pleasure they provide/energy you spend evangelizing them once you’ve invested a little time learning them.
If you spend most of your working day manipulating plain text files in any form (be they html, xml or code in some form) (and if you aren’t already proficient in vi) I heartily recommend spending a day or so with emacs.
The three major timesavers I’ve found so far –
1) Ctrl + Space marks the beginning of a section, then Ctrl + w cuts that section into the buffer. If you’re a fan of the “new” windows multi-clipboard interface (which, I think, started in Office 2000) then you’ll really love “yanking” from the emacs “kill buffer”.
2) Ctrl + h followed by “a” puts you in “apropos” help mode. If you enter a portion of a command then emacs help will perform a regexp search and find commands containing that text. Useful if you want to learn a little about a topic without reading thru the manual (which is available under the help menu if you’re interested).
3) Recording keyboard macros that contain other keyboard macros. This is totally cool!
Thanks to Scott for encouraging me to spend the time to learn the emacs basics.
That’s really all I have to show for today except for lots of “Zug-zug”.
I said that there was “nothing exciting to report”. That is entirely true, however here’s a short list of unexciting things to report:
First, b2 is one of the easier pieces of software I’ve ever configured. The only hurdle was determining what strategy my ISP uses to name MySQL databases and users, which is hardly b2’s fault.
Second, that first post was actually posted from my Treo 300 while sitting on the couch. Just thought that was cool (however miserable the content of the post).
Third, I added my blog’s RSS feed to Syndirella without any additional configuration work.
The main task remaining is to personalize the appearance of my blog (and site in general). I suppose I should also try to add some content other than annoying “First post”-type blogs and blogs about blogging…
Well, got b2 set up. Nothing exciting to report beyond that. More to follow.