Thursday, July 29, 2010

Android ASE Perl dialogGetResponse() example

use Android;
my $a = Android->new();
my @choices=('omg','wtf','bbq');
$a->dialogCreateAlert("make a selection");
my $selection = $a->dialogGetResponse()->{'result'}->{'item'};
print "you selected @choices[$selection]\n";


He did it. He really... really... did it.

The President of the United States of America went on The View.

It's no secret that I disagree with Obama's politics, and even his personal beliefs, but those are just ideological differences. I still respect the man for his conviction, personal strength, and to a lesser extent, for the office he holds.

But this is just embarrassing.

A sitting president going on The View to appeal to his soccer mom following is simply embarrassing.

No, it's not just that it's Obama, I'd say the same for any sitting president. But this makes me embarrassed for my country, and shows this president's shameful disregard for the prestige of the office of the president.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Clever girl...

It seems Google's insidious plan to provide a scripting environment for your favorite language that is technically implemented and barely documented has had the desired effect. The same effect of eating a single potato chip, then realizing the bag is empty.

I knew I was going to do some development for the droid, but I didn't know that scripting for it would make me more excited about the prospect.

Google, you coy little minx...
Is there a (long-term) goal to permit writing Android apps in these other supported languages, or is it just for quick and dirty experimentation?

This is possible. However, the first priority is to make the existing system stable, more user friendly, and to provide more comprehensive access to the Android APIs.

I'll play your game...

Busy busy busy

Light posting lately primarily due to the business taking up most of my free thinking time, and work-work kicking up. Early sign that the recession is easing.

We got our first customer that we have no need to offer a "friendship rate" to. Very nice to charge full price. Beginning to feel like this is getting serious. Oh yeah! We seem to have found a good spot to develop our Big Damn Idea™ (The consultant work is to make enough money for us to make the Big Damn Idea™. The Big Damn Idea™ is what makes us Big Damn Millionaires™.) I figure it'll take about a year for us to get it 75% ready to sell. At first, I thought it was a solid idea, and was happy we'd get rich. But as I thought more about it, I realized the full implications of that level of success, and got extremely excited at the potential of being able to move wherever we want, and take our jobs with us. I'll have that big house on acreage with the range in the back in no time :) (update since I started this post a week ago: (told you I was busy) we've got another Big Damn Idea™. Awesome.)

Gaming has been light. Mostly killing time until New Vegas. Been playing Fallout 3 on Very Hard, and it's... very hard... Still fun though. I'm playing through stealthy-style, which is actually possible with the Operation Anchorage add-on and its Chinese Stealth Armor. Once you get the better criticals and silent running, you just start owning. Ol' Painless is my favorite weapon. I'm really looking forward to the hardcore mode in New Vegas. Ammo weight is going to be... interesting...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Updated iPad thoughts

The iPad has actually managed to find a niche in our lives, and has dovetailed in better than I had expected.

I've found the ipad to be somehow freeing as far as internet access is concerned. It seemed so trivial to grab the laptop, sit down on the couch with it on your lap, and fire it up, but now that I don't have to do that, it's extremely convenient. Getting a thought of something to check out, grabbing the ipad sitting conveniently withing arm's reach, pressing the power button for a no-boot startup, and doing your search is awesome. The iPad is slim enough to lean against something or participate in a stack of books, so there's always a place for it. The other unforeseen benefit is that my wife like to stretch out on the couch across my lap, leaving no room for a laptop (even my undersized Inspiron 11z). Being able to have that screen in your hand, and in any position you need has proven to be unexpectedly convenient. The portability makes browsing, youtubeing, and reading more convenient in bed too. It's easier to get your brain going when you're catching up on blogs or news in bed. The weight is still a small issue, but as I said previously, manageable.

Netflix streaming has been far more useful than I thought. With only one teevee, we're usually stuck watching what the other wants, which isn't too bad because we like a lot of the same shows, but if I'm playing a game she doesn't like watching, or if she's watching a show I don't feel like watching, it's easy to fire up Netflix, and pick one of those movies out of your instant queue that you want to watch, but don't think your spouse wants to watch. Maintaining physical closeness while both of you are enjoying the leisure time.

Safari has started being picky about the pages it chooses to load. If you're lucky, it'll crash, and you'll have to reopen it, and kill the page before it loads to the point to crash again. If you're unlucky, it'll try to load so hard that it'll get stuck, making safari completely unusable. And since you can't kill a crashed app, (APPLE PRODUCTS DON'T CRASH WHY WOULD YOU IMPLY SUCH A THING?! HERETIC! BURN HIM! BURN HIM!) you are forced to reboot the whole device. It's apparently a known issue, in that, users know about it, and apple refuses to acknowledge it.

Following Safari's lead, YouTube has been equally picky about videos it loads with ease. Probably 50% of the time, it can't download the video at anywhere near a usable speed. The same videos download just fine on a laptop on the same network. This is also a known issue, in that, users know about it, and apple refuses to acknowledge it. At least there are fixes out. Wait, did I say "fixes?" Because I meant "HILARIOUS fixes!" Check out that site for other data interruptions, and you'll see that doing things like adjusting the brightness fixes the network issue. Apple just gets more and more like Microsoft every day...

The third party app crashing has been lighter, but Sketchbook Pro persists in crashing with annoying regularity when processing transparency for multiple layers. This is particularly annoying because Sketchbook Pro is awesome, and I love playing with it. (though I'm not sure why the resolution is so low) (oh wait, probably for the same reason it crashes when processing transparency for multiple layers) I've just learned to save frequently, or suck it up. You know, just like in Windows...

My previous statement still stands though. It's not worth the money at the moment. Wait until the price comes down, or the next software version, or the next release of hardware with new features, or any combination of those things. You might weight some of those benefits noted here and previously more than I do, so keep that in mind.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Updated phone thoughts

Got a new work phone, and have been considering the Droid lately, so I've been more aware of the strengths and weaknesses of my phones and potential replacements.

The BlackBerry has been chugging along merrily, resisting my mistreatment, and only suffering a single design flaw. I purchased QuickLaunch a few months ago, and have been extremely pleased with the increased control. I love being able to operate my phone without looking at it, and the customizable shortcuts coupled with the BB's autotext feature means I can press the side button twice to open a text message to someone, press "q" three times (it's in the corner of the keyboard, and easy to find), then press space to autocomplete the "qqq" to "On my way." and click twice to send. All without looking at my phone. Once I started considering the BB strengths, I had to stop and really think of all the times I use the built in shortcuts and the QuickLaunch shortcuts to navigate through the OS. It was just so intuitive, I did it without even thinking. No tapping and scrolling, no clicking and dragging, just press "D" for memopad, "C" for contacts, "B" for browser, and go! Not to mention, doing all these shortcuts so quickly means I get almost no OS lag, which would wear on my nerves quickly.

I've gotten quite good at typing blind on it, which I love, and the keys are just as responsive and sturdy as the day I got it. Considering the new droids has made me respect the BB's overall size, and form (most droids being big and blocky). Big enough to feel sturdy and sure in my hands, while small enough for one handed operation (and I have small hands), and easy pocket carry (which I prefer). The trackball navigation has become second nature, and in the event of lag (usually when opening a heavy app), I scroll the ball down the exact amount I intended to move the cursor exactly where I intended. I only realize how reliable it is because the lag makes me wonder if I got the right amount of scroll just before it highlights exactly what I was looking at. This brings me to the one design flaw.

The trackball is prone to gather dust, and debris, causing it to refuse to roll in one direction. Earlier models had removable trackballs, and a little maintenance was no big deal, while later models use touchpads which eliminate the moving part altogether. The BB Bold, however, had a non-removable ball, which means the only way to clean it is with alcohol and a cotton swab. I've only had it lock up on me three times, but every time was still annoying. I'm worried that it will eventually lock up to the point that I can't clean/fix it.

Aside from that, the BlackBerry really shows its design maturity in almost every category. It really is a working phone. I'll miss it when I switch.

I considered getting it as another phone, but a BlackBerry, a Droid, AND a (work) Samsung Windows Mobile phone? That's one too many.

Infected by the Droid

My interest was piqued. I started watching some feature videos, and I was very interested. Then I read about the ROM community, and I was extremely interested. Then I saw the linux shell underneath with scripting support, and I was sold.

Custom roms
Custom boot animations
Scripting support (incl. Perl, lua)
Open development (java based)

What's not to love?

I'll probably be going with the original Moto Droid for the extensive 3rd party ROM support, and keyboard.

I've been wanting to truly own my cell phone for years, and now I can!

-- Other droid phone notes --
The HTC Incredible really is. You need to play with one if you're even considering droid.
The Droid X is the monolith from 2001, but custom roms for it are not far off.
My sister took a chance on the original Motorola Droid, and has loved every minute of it. She doesn't even touch her computer anymore.

Sometimes people vanish from the face of the Earth

Last week we celebrated the finalization of my parents' divorce.

Wow. That is such a strange sentence to write out. Almost as strange as the fact that we were celebrating what would have been crushing mere years prior. I guess it should be a reminder that life will always surprise us.

My former mother decided to celebrate by sending my dad a picture of herself smiling, with the caption, "Look at me I'm Happy!!!!" Dad, having not physically seen her for quite some time, was surprised, and forwarded the picture to my sister. My sister called to warn me, then forwarded it to me. The warning wasn't enough.

She had obviously undergone a few plastic surgeries, and her face barely looked as I remembered.

I called my sister immediately. Previously, we had talked about how she had changed into a different person in all aspects but her appearance. The commonly heard phrase was "this person walking around in mom's body." But now we talked about how she had completed the transformation. That woman really IS someone else now. Inside and out. My mother is gone. I've already mourned her loss, but this was still hard to see.

I wonder how many other people are out there, tightly coiled just beneath the surface, ready to spiral out of control at turn into a different person over the course of a few mere years. So sad, these unbalanced people. More sad, those around them who can't see it because they are blinded by love and kinship.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Saw a new iPhone 4 ad last night

The actors were very obviously holding it in the Steve Jobs Approved™ manner, while trying to look as natural as possible.

They failed.

Why didn't they just toss the slick, sleek, aesthetically perfected, beautifully understated iPhone in a silly bumper case?


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"You're all assholes."

Through a bit of luck, I was off on a day when my friend was speaking at a local hacker meeting. I was going to be anti-social, but I dragged myself there, and was rewarded with some interesting conversation.

One guy told us about a talk he saw called "You're all assholes." So named because they took suggestions on what to do the talk on, and got suggestions like "Email," "Websites," and "SSH." At which point they realized their attendees were all assholes. The talk continued, mostly about how you were supposed to be attending the meeting because you wanted to engage in a high-level discussion about application and network functions, but instead, were attending because you don't understand basic computing.

The final point of the talk was; if you're not personally interested enough to look up some basic information yourself by spending the day at Barnes and Noble or the library with a pen and notepad (recently found one of my old notepads) or (at the risk of sounding "kids these days have it so easy") do a simple fucking google search and just start reading, then you are never going to have the complete knowledge necessary to effectively consider all possible attack vectors, and effectively exploit them.

Almost any human can learn or do just about anything if they have the drive to do it. But there is a difference between someone who can do something, and someone who wants to do something.

This is why enthusiasts will always beat the people who are only doing something because it's their job.

The enthusiast will do the extra research, work the extra hours, and return the next day excited to continue.

We were expanding on this point to a newbie, and I started listing the things you need to know and be able to do to be an effective hacker, and surprised myself with all the things I've taught myself the years in order to accomplish my goal. Esoterica abound.

But I still do it, because I still love it.

The old saying about finding out what you're good at, and finding out what you love doing is still very much in effect. I just wonder if my generation had time to find out what those things are.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quote of the TARP

Never mind the money that these same banks make getting endless 0% interest loans from the Federal Reserve (aka You) while either they lend it back to you at 14% or just lend it right to back the government and pocket the yield.
~Dylan Ratigan

Whole lot of truth going on over at Zero Hedge.

Worth your time.

King Of Snake - Underworld [Everything, Everything DVD]

[direct link]

[direct link]

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Puzzle Quest 2 Interview by GameSpot

This is delicious Puzzle Quest 2, you must play it.

[direct link]

Puzzle Quest is back, and not in the shitty way all those other Puzzle Quest games were. Puzzle Quest 2 is all the things you loved about the first game, with some Awesomesauce on top.

The demo is free to download on XBox live Arcade. Give it a shot.

ahh, fuckit

Two more!

Had some serious coding problems last night

Had some fun last night.

Part of why it made sense for me to start a company for which I would have to write scrapers and scrubbers is because I really love the challenge.

Well, last night it got just hard enough for me to have fun. (that's what she said!)

I put on the headphones, cranked up the music, and stared at the code until I figured out a way to change the architecture to work within the updated requirements without rewriting the program flow (or the whole thing!).

It was a fun, creative, challenging process, and along the way I got to see how much money our program was going to save our customer by minimizing the delta between his prices and those of his competitors.

At the first small business class we went to, when asked the question "Why go into business?" I was surprised that my immediate answer was "To provide a service." I actually want to help my customers, and I know my partner does too. That's how I know we're going to go far.


Concrete jungle - pfadfinderei & modeselektor

[direct link]

A liberal arts major wins an award!

But it's probably not the one she was going for...

That is a good post.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Watch anime?

Watch this. (and the two following episodes)

I laughed until I cried.

Pining for a fictional Wyoming

I've been reading Molon Labe this weekend, and every time I put the book down, I note the lingering motivation to move to the fictional Wyoming. I read, and literally think, "Wow, this sounds great. We should totally move there!"

Guess Mr. Party knows how to write to his audience.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Hope springs in Oakland.

Reuters: Ca. BART cop found guilty of manslaughter

Everyone was foreseeing violence after this verdict. When the verdict was read, there were many reports of companies sending their employees home early to avoid the potential riot.

But I have hope.

Watching the counter-protest of the Lovelle Mixon protest gave me pause, and hope that Oakland was starting to figure out that they'll never get ahead if they burn their city, riot at the drop of a hat, and refuse to cooperate with the policing force.

I have hope that Oakland will keep itself together after this.

Overheard at work

Me: The thing that really sucks about the whole situation is that we have people who can do all the things that would have prevented this failure. We just didn't have someone to tell them to do it.
Coworker: There is no shortage of can at this company. Only a shortage of will.

Damn shame. All this talent and we apparently don't know how to use it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

God help me.

I tried soy "milk" in my cereal this morning, and it was disappointingly tolerable.

I see more marshmallow mateys in my future.


Friday, July 02, 2010

I want to write an astronomy textbook.

So at the end I can write; "tl;dr It's turtles all the way down."

Thursday, July 01, 2010

And now, a joke!

What do you call a KKK member and politicians who says "nigger" on TV, and gets away with it?