Tag Archives: diversion

The Gallery’s Moved

A long time ago having one’s own photo gallery running on the web was a thing, it’s not so important today. Mine was on the old Gallery3 platform but that hasn’t been supported for several years now.
I finally got around to moving it to Coppermine, software that’s still supported.

On the way I purged a bunch of albums. [shrug] The remaining stuff is mostly nostalgia and inertia. You can have a look if you want.

I can only think of one good reason to maintain a personal gallery these days. It’s for those times when you need a permanent URL to an image for one reason or another, and want to manage those images efficiently. It seems likely that I’ll move most of mine somewhere else eventually. But you know how that word – “eventually” – tends to work.

Sneakers

I had a pair of sneakers like these once. Well, okay, maybe they weren’t Converse – dunno if they were in business back then – but they were bright red and high. I was just a kid.

Had this bicycle, too. A righteous chopper, it was. Cobbled together out of a couple of junk frames and whatever other parts could be scrounged. Amazing what you can do with no cash, some imagination, and dad’s welder (when no one was lookin’). No brakes on that SOB. Stopping was an exercise in contorting one’s body enough to jam the bottom of a sneaker-clad foot against the front wheel.

I think you see where this is going. The sneakers didn’t last too long at all. The left one quickly got a groove worn clean through as I tried to check my speed going down the hill where Adam’s Lane crossed the Northeast Corridor. Delivered a nasty burn that, if memory serves, took an awful long time to heal.

Mom was pissed. So was Dad, when he got home from work. New sneakers, ruined. Bein’ where I ought not be. The illicit welding of bicycle parts of questionable origin. A burnt foot bottom that made me walk funny. It was that last that was the tip-off. Life wasn’t good.

I wore those sneakers, hole and all, for a long time. Must’ve been a lesson in there somewhere ‘cuz I still remember it pretty well.

Moving Photos – A little Test

A long time ago I was talking with some folks on the Facebook about the Route 1/130 traffic circle. The site of countless crashes over the decades – from fender-benders to fatalities – the infamous circle was finally replaced by a modern flyover-style intersection.

Eventually I moved the photos over to Google+ to reach a wider audience.

Here I’m testing the Google+ API that allows embedding of posts. I’m pleased to say it works well.

Enjoy.

SimCity

Or should I just call it SimShitty, as some have taken to calling the recent launch?

The other day Pam plunked down her sixty bucks, minus five with a coupon, plus another fifteen for a strategy book… lemme check the math, that’s seventy smackers, plus some Florida tax… damn, my head’s swimmin’. And for what? Not a lot.

She’s gone through the tutorial and that’s about it. The Origin servers are all down and there’s nothing else to be done. No serv-o, no play-o. The stuff she learned in the tutorial’s largely forgotten. After all, what you don’t put to use in 24 hours of learning is gone the next day, the brain folks love to tell us at training seminars. Use it or lose it.

SimCityOkay, everything’s social now. I get it. But SimCity’s largely a game where a single player tries their hand at lording over an infrastructure that happens to include, well, a simulated population. It’s not like your city’s populated with Aunt Jane or the dork you went to school with or… damn… your boss. No, the social part of this title is nothing more than a bag on the side.

So tell me… why’s it necessary to connect to Origin’s server to play?

Oh, yeah, DRM. Those evil thieves… er customers… are trying to steal your stuff.

Listen up, Electronic Arts.

You’ve got this customer, her name’s Pam. She’s known about you since you were one of many. Back when I used to game. Think Archon on the Apple ][. Yeah, that long ago. She got into The Sims. I bought her a box to play it on. She bought every expansion pack. Then Sims 2. I built her a (then) kick-ass box to play that on and she bought all of those expansion packs, too. Sims 3? Yup. I think she has all of those packs. Books and guides for the lot of ’em, too. I know, I just packed and moved ’em all – a pretty big box – from Jersey down here to Paradise. So Pam knew Sim City from when I played it on the Amiga, and Sim City 2000, too. The ads and previews for the newest SimCity were pretty damned enticing. And not one review – as far as I know – had mentioned this insane reliance on a server connection. So here’s this customer, a good customer, a spendy customer, that threw Electronic Arts a pile of greenbacks for a promise.

And EA failed her.

Over the past few days she’s checked in to try to play, all hours of the day and night. All servers are down.

You failed her bad. There’s no reason to require a remote server connection for single player play. None.

If Pam listens to me, or to our son, or to countless others with similar experiences, she won’t be back.

Shame on you, Electronic Arts.

As big as you are, you really should know better.

Away!

If it’s not needed or wanted then you probably want to get rid of it. A common problem is that sometimes you just don’t know the best way to go about doing that. Here’s a site that might help. And it’s highly entertaining, too.

http://www.getridofthings.com/

 

81 Support Party

Dingo's Den
Dingo's Den in Clifton, NJ during the day, photo found on the Web.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Coming off the Garden State Parkway, Pam and me had followed the GPS through a maze of dark residential streets. We rounded the corner onto Van Houten Avenue to find the street in front of the Dingo’s Den choked with bodies and motorcycles. This tiny place was hosting the Hells Angels Winter Party?

We eased the truck past, found parking several blocks away, walked back. A passing outbound girl warned that it was “very, very crowded and hot” inside. “As long as the beer’s cold,” I thought. We pressed on.

Inside was packed. And loud. But service was good and soon we were in the back near the band, beers in hand. It had been quite a while since I’d been in a club like this. Dark, dirty, jammed with people, fleeting smells – some recognizable and some not –  and seriously loud. The kind of loud that required shouting over, and even then… I missed it. A lot.

We only had the time to take in two of the four bands. Ghost & the Big Sky was first. Very good, tight drums & bass with competent guitar work. Then Trailer Park Mafia. Their 70s/80s metal renditions were instantly familiar. They did a blazing version of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades.

Soon enough it was time to go. Somehow, the outside world seemed much, much quieter.

Oh-Ten

How many have, like me, been catching themselves saying oh-ten when referring to the current year? I think that I’ve managed to not actually say it out loud, but I’m not absolutely certain.

The shortening made perfect sense in 2009 and even in the 1900s. Speaking the year shortened from twenty-oh-nine to just plain oh-nine was perfectly understandable. And if you mention the sixties then everyone (regardless of whether or not they actually remember the 1960s) knows what exactly you’re talking about.

Would anyone in their right mind say two-oh-ten? Because to say twenty-oh-ten is just wrong. Eighteen thousand years into the future wrong.

Do you think IPv6 will be around in 18,000 years?

Fun Ways of Getting Around

Yep, this is an admittedly cheap post.

There’s this file that’s always open in my favorite editor, ready to capture anything that strikes my fancy. I was clearing it out and found these delightful videos.

Some folks think I’m nuts for riding motorcycles here in Jersey. I submit that by comparison to this stuff, I might as well be just another old fart relaxing in the Barcalounger. Go grab a fresh cup of coffee and have a look.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z19zFlPah-o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x98jCBnWO8w
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=a11_1239425564
http://vimeo.com/1527459
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1778399&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1

Whew!

Sin City Beer

There’s nothing like a trip through airport security to brighten your day. How airport security ties into a story about beer, well, you’ll just have to wait and see.
The laws for alcohol consumption vary greatly. For example, quaff your Bud while walking the street in New Jersey and you’re pretty much guaranteed a night in jail. Yet as long as they’re not actually consuming alcohol, a minor can sit at a bar all day long and suffer only boredom. In Las Vegas, though, things are different. Sin City, they call the place. You can walk down the street with a beer and no one will bat an eye. But bartenders’ nervousness increases proportional to the time that minors sit anywhere near a bar. Same with the casino games, by the way. They’re serious about their anti-loitering laws.
We picked up a six-pack of beer on our way back to the suite. On Las Vegas Blvd. that’s an expensive proposition, nearly twice what we’re used to paying. I don’t know if it was the heat of the street or if they were just selling warm beer out of the cooler, but in short order the beer was warm as piss and quite useless. What to do? Stuff it in the fridge (ah, the advantages of a suite with a wet bar) and know it’ll be good to go in the morning.
And it was. Our beer of choice, though, requires an opener and – oops – we were lacking. But a lack of opener doesn’t necessarily equal a lack of ingenuity, so the search was on. Our opener turned out to be disguised as a potted plant with a wrought iron stand.
Maybe there was just the tiniest bit of spillage, but I won’t tell if you won’t! That worked until we remembered to buy an opener; it was only a couple of days. We chose a souvenir opener modeled after a bottle, filled with a viscous liquid, various icons of Las Vegas (chips, dice, etc.) floating within. A magnet on the side would hold it to our fridge, a colorful and happy reminder of this particular adventure.
The second time (but not the first – a long story about our long journey homeward) that we passed through LAS security Pam got dinged for our souvenir bottle opener. Not because of the metal end, oh no, it was the liquid content of the thing. No matter that she only had one. No matter that we ALL only had one of them between us. No matter that it was clearly a sealed piece of plastic. They must have seen a million of them over the years! No, none of that mattered in the least. The TSA wasn’t having any of it.
There were choices, of course. Leave the security area and arrange to mail it back. Leave the security area and return to ticketing, (try to) have the agent retrieve our checked bags to add the contraband. Or surrender the item. And that’s what we chose to do. A four-dollar (plus tax – 8% tax at that) plastic doo-dad just ain’t worth three trips through airport security in less than a day! DOA, that’s what she called it. The offending item was summarily tossed into a trash bin. Black. Rubbermaid.
Before I left the area I told the agent the story. Maybe I was hoping she’d change her mind. I asked for a picture. Maybe hearing the story, holding the thing again, having another look would change her mind. Nope, it didn’t work. She reached into the DOA bin and retrieved the offending trinket, but she wouldn’t let me touch it. I got my picture, but she wouldn’t even allow her hands to appear in the image. She smiled, but firmly held her position.
We boarded the tram to the gates.

There’s nothing like a trip through airport security to brighten your day. How airport security ties into a story about beer, well, you’ll just have to wait and see!

The laws for alcohol consumption vary greatly by region. For example, quaff your Bud while walking the street in New Jersey and you’re pretty much guaranteed a night in jail. Yet as long as they’re not actually consuming alcohol, a minor can sit at a Jersey bar all day long and suffer only boredom. In Las Vegas, though, things are different. Sin City, they call the place. You can walk down the street with a beer (or anything else!) and no one will bat an eye. But bartenders’ nervousness increases proportional to the time that minors sit anywhere near a bar. Same with the casino games, by the way. They’re serious about their anti-loitering laws. (No matter that I witnessed apparent elementary school aged kids pulling slots, that’s another story. Officially, they care.)

Planter / Bottle Opener
Planter / Bottle Opener

We picked up a six-pack of beer on our way back to the suite. That’s an expensive proposition on Las Vegas Blvd., nearly twice what we’re used to paying. I don’t know if it was the heat of the street or if they were just selling warm beer out of the cooler, but in short order the beer was warm as piss and quite useless. What to do? Stuff it in the fridge (ah, the advantages of a suite with a wet bar!) and find something else to do, knowing it’ll be good to go in the morning.

And it was. Our beer of choice, though, requires an opener and – oops – we were lacking. Now a lack of opener doesn’t necessarily equal a lack of ingenuity, so the search was on. Our opener turned out to be disguised as a potted plant on a wrought iron stand.

You wouldn’t know by just looking, but there’s a remarkable similarity between that plant stand and the rear bumper of a ’64 Chevy Impala!

Maybe there was just the tiniest bit of spillage but I won’t tell if you won’t! That worked until we remembered to buy an opener; it only took a couple of days. We chose a souvenir opener modeled after a bottle, filled with a viscous liquid, with icons of Las Vegas (chips, dice, etc.) floating within. A magnet on the side would hold it to our fridge, a colorful and happy reminder of this particular adventure.

The second time (but not the first!) that we passed through LAS security Pam got dinged for our souvenir bottle opener. Not because of the metal end, oh no, it was the liquid content of the thing. No matter that she only had one. No matter that we ALL only had one of them between us. No matter that it was clearly a sealed piece of plastic. They must have seen millions of them over the years! No, none of that mattered in the least. The TSA agent was determined.

There were choices, of course. Leave the security area and arrange to mail it back. Leave the security area and return to ticketing, (try to) have the agent retrieve our checked bags to add the contraband. Or surrender the item. And that’s what we chose to do. A four-dollar (plus tax – 8% tax at that) plastic doo-dad just ain’t worth three trips through airport security in less than a day! DOA, that’s what she called it. That dangerous little thing was dutifully tossed into DOA. It looked like a trash bin to me. Black. Rubbermaid.

Souvenir
Dangerous Terrorist Souvenir

Before I left the area I told the agent the story and asked for a picture. Maybe I was hoping she’d change her mind. Maybe hearing the story, holding the thing again, having another look would change her mind. Nope, it didn’t work. She reached into the DOA bin and retrieved the offending trinket, but she wouldn’t let me touch it. I got my picture, but she wouldn’t even allow her hands to appear in the image. She smiled, but firmly held her position.

We boarded the tram to the gates.

Now That’s What I Call Busy

Every now and again I run across something that’s just plain delightful. Check it out:

http://kalman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/30/can-do/

Thanks, Tim!

Karaoke

Last night I enjoyed a new experience and, well, it led to some rather unexpected results. I visited a karaoke bar!
Okay, go ahead, label me deprived or something. The fact is, it’s been more than a few years since I stopped hanging out in bars for the sake of just hanging out. The activity just doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal for me. Sure, I did my share of it back in the day but I’ve usually got way better things to do with my time. So almost every time I find myself in that environment I learn something. And karaoke… I guess it’s a trend that just passed me by.
Here’s my basic interpretation of how it works. The establishment primes its customers with alcohol while playing loud music. I think it has to be loud so that everyone needs to shout to converse. It gets the voice primed. The alcohol serves as lubricant. Then they open the mike. The operator (or MC, I guess – what do you call the guy who guides the show?) sets up the songs and works the equipment. He seemed to have the ability to mix the song’s actual vocals back in so that more reserved participants would have a little help. Lyrics are displayed on strategically placed video monitors. Available songs could be chosen from a large binder – a couple of them, actually – that could be found on the bar. The night progressed and the lubricity rose, with mostly predictable results. A couple of people were actually pretty good. Most were not, but all were entertaining to one degree or another.
Before you ask, no, I didn’t take the mike at any point, which was probably a good thing for the other patrons. I must confess, though, before the night was over I did peruse the binder of songs. The lubrication, in the form of a few Coronas, was working as expected. Had I found some Zappa I might have given it a whirl. And that leads right into the unexpected results I mentioned earlier.
Time and time again I was surprised – astounded, actually – by song lyrics. Everything I knew was wrong! Top-40, metal, didn’t matter. Stuff I kind of thought I maybe sort of knew? Nope.
I’ll never listen to music the same way again.
There’s one tune that I hear kinda regularly on the satellite station at the gym. It sounds to me like they’re singing about making and eating some kind of soup. I guess I’m wrong about that one, too.

Last night I enjoyed a new experience and, well, it led to some rather unexpected results. I visited a karaoke bar!

Okay, go ahead, label me deprived or something. The fact is, it’s been more than a few years since I stopped hanging out in bars for the sake of just hanging out. The activity just doesn’t hold a whole lot of appeal for me. Sure, I did my share of it back in the day but I’ve usually got way better things to do with my time. So almost every time I find myself in that environment I learn something. And karaoke… I guess it’s a trend that just passed me by.

Here’s my basic interpretation of how it works. The establishment primes its customers with alcohol while playing loud music. I think it has to be loud so that everyone needs to shout to converse. It gets the voice primed. The alcohol serves as lubricant. Then they open the mike. The operator (or MC, I guess – what do you call the guy who guides the show?) sets up the songs and works the equipment. He seemed to have the ability to mix the song’s actual vocals back in so that more reserved participants would have a little help. Lyrics are displayed on strategically placed video monitors. Available songs could be chosen from a large binder – a couple of them, actually – that could be found on the bar. The night progressed and the lubricity rose, with mostly predictable results. A couple of people were actually pretty good. Most were not, but all were entertaining to one degree or another.

Before you ask, no, I didn’t take the mike at any point, which was probably a good thing for the other patrons. I must confess, though, before the night was over I did peruse the binder of songs. The lubrication, in the form of a few Coronas, was working as expected. Had I found some Zappa I might have given it a whirl. And that leads right into the unexpected results I mentioned earlier.

Time and time again I was surprised – astounded, actually – by song lyrics. Everything I knew was wrong! Top-40, metal, didn’t matter. Stuff I kind of thought I maybe sort of knew? Nope.

I’ll never listen to music the same way again.

There’s one tune, maybe some kind of rap, that I hear kinda regularly on the satellite station at the gym. It sounds to me like they’re chanting about making and eating some kind of soup. I guess I’m wrong about that one, too.

Tweet Tweet

Okay, so I’m a little slow on the uptake, so what. Yeah, I know about the thing, yeah it’s been in the news for a longass time, but I never figured I’d have a use for it. And to be honest, after dickin’ around with for a day or so that hasn’t really changed much, either.

Friends have been telling me to get on and companies seem to be letting me know they’re on so I figured I’d give it a whirl.

Just to squat on it, I’ve taken my company name (sshhhh – squatting violates Terms of Service), and I’ve also taken another for personal use, whch is where I’m doing some, um, evaluation. Yeah, that’s it.  Evaluation.

Find me on Twitter here.

Buffer Dump

There’s one emacs buffer I always have around to keep catch tidbits of stuff. It really does help to keep those scraps of paper on the desk to a minimum, well, for text anyway. Now and again I need to go back through it and clean out the junk – not unlike looking at those scraps of paper and throwing them into the shredder bin. This time I thought I’d share a little. Got a few minutes for some diversions? Good. Go grab a fresh cup and waste a little time.

mugFirst up is this collection of help desk tickets from hell – and beyond:
http://chroniclesofgeorge.nanc.com/ [broken link]

Those of you that ride know how tough it can be to catch the attention of cagers on the road, seemingly single-minded in their desire to ruin your day by killing you. Well, how about this nifty holographic projector priced just a tad over five large. The folks over at Aerostich like to have a little fun with their catalogs by adding fictional items. Gotta love their sense of humor.
http://www.aerostich.com/catalog/US/Holographic-Vehicle-Projector-p-17408.html [broken link]

With all the uproar over DRM it’s always nice to find good music from good folks with a good attitude, and www.ucalldatmusic.com is just such a place. Here’s a sample:
http://www.ucalldatmusic.com/mp3files/naked.mp3

And if that ain’t enough then there’s this oldie-but-goodie that always gets a smile:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwxBt1sW63c

Hot on the heels of my mention of OS/2 under VMware, I had some fun looking back at old GUIs at Nathan’s Toasty Technology site. Go have a smile. Or a grimace. Your choice.
http://toastytech.com/guis/

Wondering where you can get that mug that’ll show you mean business at your next infernal staff meeting? The folks over at Think Geek will fix you right up.

There! That felt better than what’s really on my mind. I swear, I can’t get through the morning news anymore without blowing a gasket. I mean, with all this bailout crap I feel like I’m being penalized for deciding decades ago to live my life in a fiscally responsible manner. I’m thinking I should have partied it all away instead and let others pick up the pieces. Might have even gotten a bonus……