Saturday, May 3rd 2008

Can I have a hobby, please?
posted @ 1:01 pm in [ BarCampSD3 ]

Nothing like a convention such as this to make one feel a tad boring. The last discussion I was in was headed up by a guy who has been in love with geotracking and satellite imagery since he was four. He now does geoimagery for mostly disaster surveillance. Crazy stuff here. The talk before that was a guy who likes to spend most of his time in the forests of Southern California, and wanted to talk about how mobile technology can help people get more in touch with the natural side of life.

What really struck me was a man who asked the forest dweller, “Why would you want to do that, just live your life in the forest?” Well, why not? I’m fascinated by people who aren’t absolutely vapor locked by the sheer vastness of choice we have in our lives. We can do anything we want. Why not try to live for longer and longer stretches of time in the forest? Why not try to apply our personal hobbies and interests to making lives better? We’re privileged to be able to be mostly concerned with not being bored.

Gotta go – time for the WEP hacking talk.

Friday, May 2nd 2008

Things I’ve learned so far
posted @ 7:23 am in [ Tech ]

I really need to keep an eye on the comments for this blog. A poor soul wrote a lengthy and thoughtful comment awhile back and I didn’t catch it until today. Many things catching up with me.

Including, unfortunately, my laptop.

I’m attending BarCampSD this weekend, and I feel like I’m going to a dance in a shoddy old dress my mom tried to mend with safety pins. My laptop is a very old iBook G4. It still works, sure, but the safety pins are showing.

Horde of stickers notwithstanding, opening and running applications has become very slow, almost embarrassingly so. I upgraded the memory to 1.2 GB during the first six months of ownership (and I think that’s the max I can stuff in here), but I think the processor might be getting the works down. Maybe I should lay a bit more story out.

About three years ago, I started working for DreamHost. I was more comfortable in Linux than in most environments, but I had a Windows machine at home because doing stuff like synching my Creative MP3 player, at the time, probably would have involved reading extensive documentation and lots of hackery on my part. I don’t mind doing that sort of thing at work, or perhaps if I feel like doing that sort of thing as a hobby, but I have nightmares about needing to do a quick computer operation before heading off to work only to have the entire thing explode. Three years ago, Linux was quite not as polished as it is now. So, lovely for a server environment, not so much for quick home computing.

At the time, I didn’t like the idea of Apple computers either. Back in 1997, I had done some intranet work for a big pharmaceutical company in Illinois. They were all Apple-based computers, but were rapidly moving to PC because at the time, Apple was being headed up by someone who was not Steve Jobs, and things were imploding for them rapidly. I had to work on a Mac, and I hated it. The OS was cute, but it crashed several times a day because I had the audacity to run PC applications that had been kludged to run on a Mac OS. When your tool gets in the way of getting work done that badly, it gives you a serious complex against the machine.

Fast forward many years. I get the job at DreamHost, and I boggle that so many people who I consider to be competent admins are actually using Mac OSX. Ok, I’d heard from other people in my field that things were different, that Jobs had come back and shown everyone the light. However, I had done some site testing on an old Mac during my ICANN days (I had that colorful fishbowl thing sitting on my desk), but I hadn’t been terribly impressed. Then again, I hadn’t played with it that much, my own internal prejudices got in the way.

Then, finally, my desktop Windows system at home died. For a normal person, this isn’t a disaster. For me, I recreated a scene from E.R., screaming as I tried to resuscitate the dead metal. My job includes having to do oncalls from home, constantly monitoring the health of many many machines. Without a computer, well, it’s like I’ve lost a limb.

Thankfully, one of my co-workers had bought a brand new laptop and loaned me his old one – an old silver Powerbook. However, at the time, it was probably performing at the level my iBook is at now. He loaned it to me one weekend when I needed it for oncall.

One weekend convinced me. I suddenly knew why so many people tolerated Steve Jobs being a great big asshole. The guy is a freaking genius. An evil genius, maybe, but wow. What an OS! So sleek and sexy! And I can get to a damn terminal without downloading a clunky application!

So I bought my beloved iBook – at a cost brand new that I don’t think Mac laptops will ever see again in those trendy Apple stores.

I kept telling my mom about it – the woman who a short time ago was thrilled about having installed an application by herself on a PC for the first time. Finally last year she switched, and I think she’s an even bigger fangirl than I am.

Last week, another co-worker of mine made the switch. He was very surprising because he hated Mac even more than I did three years ago. Then one day he tells me he has a new Macbook, and I went over to his office to point and laugh. As it turns out, he had been surprised by the changes too.

Ok, this post was going to be a bit of a reminisce about the times my laptop and I have spent together, but it’s turned into something else. Who am I to argue with whatever comes out of my caffeine-deprived skull at this hour of the morning?

So, the question remains – why not buy a new laptop? Right now I have the cash to just go buy whatever Macbook I want but…that money is reserved. I’ve got a pretty big party in Las Vegas in August, and I think my fiance would kill me immediately as I stepped in the door. Hm. Macbook or wedding…

Tuesday, April 15th 2008

posted @ 7:49 am in [ Uncategorized ]

It’s wonderful to see the little guys beat up on the big guys once in awhile.

To sum up the article – Monster Cable sends a cease and desist to a small cable company, Blue Jeans Cable, citing patent infringement. They didn’t do their homework. Blue Jeans’ CEO is a former lawyer, and in his lengthy response, which tells Monster to shove it, says he doesn’t fear litigation, he misses it.

What is unfortunate is that Blue Jeans Cable’s website is down for the count, which means CEO Kurt Denke’s move to publicize Monster’s slimy tactics has fired across the Internet. I smell a victory for Blue Jeans Cable.

I have more thoughts on this, but I am not nearly caffeinated yet to express them.


Sunday, April 13th 2008

Bits and bytes of a party
posted @ 2:59 pm in [ Uncategorized ]

I was completely too busy to blog or tweet much from the party last night, but I did take a ton of pictures and had a seriously amazing time. Apparently a lot of other folks were tweeting during the party, and I’ve been having fun this morning reading what people thought as the night progressed.

We had invited a lot of people, but I wasn’t optimistic about turnout. Holy freaking cow. People showed up. I never did do a headcount, but our sizeable LA apartment was freaking packed. There was much drinking that went around, there was a lot of loud drunken rock band (my apologies if any of my neighbors are reading and were annoyed), the jell-o shots were a hit, as were the hummus, pitas, bourekas, and israeli salad. Everyone seemed to have a really good time.

Thank you so much, everyone, for showing up, being awesome, and making me want to throw many more parties.

Thanks in particular go to Bino for announcing a flash cleanup at the end of the night. I was a bit concerned with cleanup, but that quickly turned into a two minute job and I’m so damn grateful for that.

I finally curled up into bed about 4 a.m. Bron and Kitchen crashed at our place (one of the many benefits of a big pad), and so breakfast happened this morning. Good coffee (I’m shamelessly proud of my coffee-making skills) and yummy hebe food (jachnun and shakshuka). There was food, and chilling, and hanging out. Kitchen and Bron left a bit ago, and I’m now doing laundry and relaxing. Kitchen might come by later with a new car, if he gets tempted enough.

Sam and I will be in New York next weekend for Passover, and the weekend after that is Kitchen and Cosper’s Office Space-themed party. Sam and I will more than likely throw another party after that (when I’m not busy freaking out over wedding planning).

Saturday, April 12th 2008

Party tonight!
posted @ 11:43 am in [ Uncategorized ]

If you know where we live, you’re invited. Bring whatever alcohol/food you enjoy and think everyone else would enjoy. We especially like new liquors we haven’t tried before. We’ve gotten many people hooked on the awesome wonder of Amarula, for example.

We’ll be drinking at the party tonight, of course, and there will be the obligatory Rock Band. We’ll also be featuring a movie, called “Run, Ronnie, Run.” It’s the Mr. Show movie you never heard about. If you know my fiance, Sam, and know his very odd sense of humor, then you might have an idea what sort of humor can be expected from this movie. We’ll also be serving up jell-o shots, and you won’t want to miss those.

I started making this post as I was waking up with a cup of coffee, but then mom called and whoosh all my plans for a blog post went bye bye. Now I’m taking a break from taking out a ton of garbage and cleaning out the litter box. It’s almost time to cook, but I think I should eat something first or there won’t be much leftover for my guests to eat. *nom*

So everyone get on over here tonight!

Monday, April 7th 2008

Oh good I’m not the only one
posted @ 9:33 pm in [ Uncategorized ]

A much more level-headed person than I wrote an in-depth essay on why Ruby is not quite ready for prime time.

I was initially excited about Ruby on Rails. What got my attention was scaffolding. I’ve been told it’s a hack, but how can you not get excited when an application automagically knows when you add or substract fields from the database it’s pointing to?

But then RoR 2.0 came out, and scaffolding, as far as I could tell, was broken. Ok, maybe not entirely broken but…it might as well be. You see, now to scaffold, instead of just editing a config file to tell the application where the database is located, you have to actually go through some odd song and dance to have the initialization of the application construct the tables. At least, that’s what I gathered from the patchy documentation I could find on the issue.

It might seem like a petty fine line I’m drawing here, but think about it. Putting in a layer of complication in a process that was the reason so many people were fired up about RoR is the equivalent of Apple discarding its entire iPod line.

Sorry, Ruby. The magic is gone, but I’m hoping in a few years after you’ve matured we can have dinner and try again.

Monday, April 7th 2008

Waking up
posted @ 7:22 am in [ Uncategorized ]

Hard to do without the proper caffeine, but I’m saving myself for work and trying to get this darn going. Sure the setup is all fun and quick when you have a one-click install available, but then there’s the theme and making sure it looks right and all the plugins yadda yadda yadda.