Monday, September 29, 2008

During my high school years I participated in competitive speech. Initially this was because my dad was the coach and I had no real choice. Over time I came to enjoy it, and remained because it pleased me.

Every now and again something pops into my head from those days. Maybe a line from a speech, maybe a joke someone told, maybe just something funny or stupid the team did at a meet.

The latest to come to mind (and to forcibly remain) goes a little something like this:

"Her buns were crammed into her jeans like two big scoops of vanilla ice cream."

At the time I had thought the simile was over the top. Now I'm not so sure. Every day while on my way to class I spot some girl, or more specifically her butt, and think "two big scoops".

If I can't shake a simile with the passage of 10+ years, it must be good.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Maintenance Man

He slowly pushed the recycling bin on its wheels across the parking lot between two of the school's buildings. There was an entire fleet of like bins lined up on the other side of the parking lot. He pushed his payload into their ranks.

Slowly, almost with the appearance of purpose, he systematically flipped the lids of each bin open and closed as if to take an inventory. Paper, check. Plastic, check. Cardboard, check. More paper, check. He likely reasoned nobody would notice the lack of any work being accomplished unless they stopped to observe him, and surely nobody would stop to observe while they rushed between classes.

Occasionally a student would stroll past and he would nod a friendly hello to them, then move to the next bin and flip the lid open and then closed. One hand drifted to his shirt pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. Another lid is opened, then closed.

He glanced around as the stream of students slowed to a trickle. It was time. He placed a cigarette in his mouth and made quickly to light it, cupping his hand over the flame to ward off the strong draft between the buildings. He opened another lid, and then closed it.

He continued in this pattern: Open lid, draw from cigarette, close lid, exhale. It continued for a while, yet not likely long enough for him. The cigarette had run it's course. He threw it to the ground, placed his foot on it, and did the twist.

He was triumphant. Nobody had caught on to his ruse. Slowly, he turned and shuffled back into the building.

"Poor guy," I muttered to myself, "he really does think he's invisible."

I took another sip of my tea and turned to walk away from the third story window.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hooray, Apple! You suck!

The OSX 10.5.5 update breaks network account functionality when connecting to OSX Server 10.4.11. If you are lucky enough to be able to log in using a network account, you cannot access the local Applications or Library folders.

I found this out a tad too late, by which I mean "after I updated all 18 of the computers in the Mac lab at the art department."

(explitives deleted)

There is no way to downgrade to OSX 10.5.4 (unless, possibly, I had Time Machine enabled, which I did not). I have confirmation the problem does not exist in 10.5.4, and only rears its head when you upgrade to 10.5.5.

This kind of bug is what is called a "show stopper", and should never, ever, ever, ever, nevernevernevernevernevereverevereverever be allowed in an official release. Apple should be testing for these things. A LOT. They should be testing so much that all of their employees' bodies ache without ceasing.

It may be a lot to ask that 10.5.5 play nice with 10.2.x, but we're talking about a difference of one major revision which maintained backwards compatibility up until this point.

In summary (expletive deleted) you, Apple. You (expletive deleted) suck. It's time to grow up and learn how software is developed in the real world, not in your (expletive deleted) screwed up universe where only (expletive deleted) aesthetics matter.

(expletive deleted)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Burn, economy, burn!

Crash, market, crash!

If I were American, I might care.

Alas, I am Christian. We rejoice in all things.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This post was getting way to long until I Ctrl-A Deleted it down a notch.

In summation of what you missed out on, the best part about using Pidgin for IM is being able to see whether or not certain MSN users still have you on their contact list. It might be possible to determine this in other clients, and possibly in MSN Messenger itself, but when I began using Pidgin (then called GAIM) it was one-of-a-kind.

It really helps in pruning my contact list.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

We are officially online at home.

Dusty and Gary had an unused rig from InvisiMax on the roof of the house they had bought, and were more than willing to give it up. It consisted of a parabolic antenna for the 2.1-2.7GHz wireless range and a gutted LinkSys WRT54Gv3 running a custom firmware.

They had severed one end of the Ethernet cable running to the unit when they had removed it from their roof, but that didn't pose much of a problem. InvisiMax had been using the two unused pairs from the Ethernet cable to run power to the WRT54G. I used my trusty multimeter to sort out the polarity of the end and a replacement power adapter, and moments later had powered on the unit. I was also able to terminate the Ethernet cable with a female jack, allowing for the InvisiMax rig to be closed permanently.

With my laptop jacked into the WRT54G, I could see InvisiMax had been using a custom firmware. It took some guesswork for the password, but I was able to obtain access and subsequently upgraded to a new firmware. My first choice had been DD-WRT, but a friend had informed me of a more graceful firmware by the name of Tomato. Within minutes I had it installed and was ready to begin fishing for an external wireless access point (WAP) to which I could bridge.

I chose a nearby WAP, fine-tuned the antenna position, and within moments was online.

After bridging the connection, I set up a second WAP running DD-WRT (this WAP is not able to run Tomato) which provides our Internet access at home.

It will take a few days to sort out the kinks, I'm sure. DD-WRT can be finicky, or so I hear. When I made a small mount for the antenna, it ended up repositioned. This will need to be fine-tuned again. Ideally, the antenna would be mounted on the roof instead of sitting in our living room.

My setup is not optimal, but I will not complain since our Internet access is presently free.

The whole experience has been enlightening. I haven't even touched on the topics of cracking WEP or wardriving, both of which occurred. Since those are on the questionable side of legality, I'll save those stories to tell in person.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Linnea and I could save $30+/month by changing to the cheapest plan Alltel offers and routing our incoming calls through our Google Grand Central accounts.

What are the hurdles?

1) We would have to ignore most (mainly non-network) incoming calls not coming through our Grand Central account
2) We would have to give up text messaging
3) We would have to limit ourselves to 500 total minutes of non-network calls per month (post-merger, Alltel calls to Verizon will be mobile-to-mobile; Grand Central calls are within Alltel's "My Circle")

What are the benefits?

1) All incoming calls could be automatically screened
2) All incoming calls could be automatically routed
3) Every other feature Grand Central brings to the table
4) No more text messaging
5) We would be in a position to switch providers at any time without needing to inform anyone of our phone number changes
6) Money saved ($360+/year)
7) One step closer to freedom from cell phones

So, Linnea, what do you say? I could call Alltel and have this done in 10 minutes.