It looks like after 10 years and uncounted major versions WordPress may have fixed that problem where the theming engine tries to find a legacy file that hasn’t been there for years, causing page loads to hang for up to five minutes.

My Latest Ubuntu Install

I like to try out different operating systems.

With the announcement that the Windows 10 technical preview includes a key logger among other evil user monitoring mechanisms, I decided to give the latest version of Ubuntu on my desktop PC, a Falcon Tiki.

Ubuntu is based on Debian. For some info on why I chose Ubuntu over Debian check out this article.

Install Ubuntu

A basic install of Ubuntu is pretty simple and involves these steps:

  1. Download Ubuntu.
  2. Make a bootable USB stick using the downloaded image.
  3. Plug in the USB stick and restart your computer.

Most computers are configured to look for bootloaders on USB devices, but if yours isn’t you should press Delete or F2 at startup to look in the Boot section of the BIOS settings.

The Ubuntu installer is a breeze through. You should select the option for encryption because disk I/O is fast enough these days with the inclusion of hardware encryption accelerators on most iSeries CPUs that you won’t notice a significant hit in performance (~30% at the most).

Of course, as with any Linux distribution, after you finish the basic install it’s time to install all the things that make Linux work like a normal operating system should.

Yes, there are open source drivers for most things, but they’re usually trash. If you’re willing to give up a good 40% of your GPU performance you should install the binary GPU driver from the manufacturer rather than sticking with Nouveau.

If you have a Broadcom wireless chipset (wifi, bluetooth) you’ll find that you also need to install their proprietary binary drivers to get those devices working.

Fortunately Ubuntu provides a relatively easy way of doing this.

I say this because it’s still not obvious how you should do it.

During the initial install Ubuntu tells you there is 3rd party software available you can install that allows you to play MP3s and some other things, but it doesn’t even hint that you need proprietary drivers to get the most of (and even to use some of) your hardware.

To set up these drivers you go to:

Gear icon (top right of the display) > System Settings > Software & updates

While you’re there you can configure a few additional useful settings, so we’ll do them all at once.

Of course because it’s Linux the assumption is “Oh no Canonical, I don’t want all the possible selection of software I could have. I only want some.” Derp.

On the Ubuntu Software tab, check all of the boxes in the “Downloadable from the Internet” section, because we want all the things.

Next go to the Other Software tab and check all boxes. Same reason, see above.

Next go to the Updates tab and check the boxes for security updates, recommended updates and backports.

Backports are software that is updated for a newer version of your distro, but they’ve been made available to previous versions for some urgent reason such as the existing version for your distro causing your computer to burst into flames, so those are always good things to have.

After you’re done checking all these boxes, close and re-open the Software & Updates box to force a re-scan of the software repositories.

Install Proprietary Drivers

Lastly, the magic tab: The Additional Drivers tab. Go there. Do not go there before you re-open the dialogue because you have to re-scan repositories before the proprietary drivers you need will appear in the Additional Drivers tab.

Screenshot from 2014-10-06 10:12:02You can see in the screen shot here that I’m using the NVIDIA driver for my GTX Titan.

I also have the Broadcom driver enabled for my wireless adapter.

When you select these options and click Apply Changes a progress bar will appear and stay there for about ten minutes.

What it doesn’t tell you and doesn’t give you the option to display (unless you start the software updater from the terminal and watch the terminal output) is that it’s downloading the drivers, extracting them, installing them, then attempting to load them.

When the progress bar is finished you’ll need to either restart the  window manager/display server manually (which would be retarded since Ubuntu reboots in about 10 seconds) or reboot to implement the new driver. Of course Ubuntu doesn’t tell you this and would be perfectly happy to let you go on using the shitty built-in driver for all eternity or until you get a kernel update that requires a reboot, so you’ll have to do this without being prompted.

After rebooting you can begin installing all the other software you need to actually be productive since Ubuntu is totally altruistic and only installs software that is totally open source and not at all proprietary cough cough amazon icon on taskbar.

Razer Mice

remove-amazonNext up, if you want to control your Razer mouse you’ll need to install Michael Büsch’s Razer Device Configuration tool.

I won’t go into details since the install instructions are included in the package archive, but I will tell you that you have to install the Pyside module for Python and that for some reason you can’t just install the python-pyside package, you have to specifically install the version for Python 3, which is called python3-pyside.

sudo apt-get install python3-pyside

One would think the package would be configured so that apt knows which version of Python you have as your system Python and could work that out for you, but I guess that’s too much to ask for in 2014. Maybe I should submit a patch.

You’ll notice the utility doesn’t include any method to remap the buttons or the additional functions of the scroll wheel because fuck good-enoughme, RIGHT? There’s probably a complicated work-around you could do since Razer mice basically emulate a second keyboard for their additional buttons, but I don’t have the patience for that shit.

For your information here are the keys emulated by the mouse:

  • Click wheel lean left/right = page down/page up
  • Numbered keys = Numpad (1-9 = 1-9; 10 = 0; 11 and 12 = “-” and “=” respectively)
  • Wheel press = Shift+Insert (really??)

I don’t know what the two buttons behind the scroll wheel do. They don’t seem to have any key output so they may be internally proprietary.

Now is probably a good time to introduce a few other things you should install that you’ll probably need later when you try to do something a normal operating system would do only to have it fail silently or present a cryptic error message that would otherwise have you spending days on forums begging for help from Mountain Dew-guzzling pasty fat men who would rather fap to loli porn than type a one-line answer that could save you hours of frustration.

This article describes how to add repositories for and install all that software, so I won’t go into it, and anyhow it’s written better than I would write it. Go there and do that.

You might say to yourself “oh I don’t need some of this stuff so I’ll just skip installing that.” No. No… You don’t want to do that. Trust me. You will need those things at some point. You will.

Except for Chrome. Fuck Chrome.

Once all of that shit is done reboot again.

Lastly, start Bleachbit as superuser and clean all the things (including free space wipe). This could take anywhere from half an hour to 4 hours or more depending on how many megabitz your computer has.

This is the part where the summary goes that I’m too lazy to type, so fuck off.

Review: ZTE Open FirefoxOS Phone

Wireless AC. A large, beautiful screen. Lifestyle apps such as Facebook, Twitter and turn-by-turn navigation.

This phone has none of those things.

The original affordable FirefoxOS phone was designed to showcase FirefoxOS for the masses. To showcase it.

If you’re looking for the experience you get with the Windows App Store where 90% of the apps are fake look-alikes of the app you actually want and apps that simply embed a web browser and open a mobile website, this is the phone for you, because that’s all it does.

Based around the idea that you can have a Linux phone operating system with a frontend powered entirely by web scripting languages, the Firefox OS phone is Mozilla’s failure to frame the affordability and practicality of a web browser based operating system.

Lets start with the hardware. It’s based on LG’s low-end smartphone the Optimus One, from 2010. It’s four-year-old hardware that wasn’t particularly good when it was new. And I should know because the Optimus One was my second Android phone.

The screen is tiny. The iPhone 4 looks at this phone and laughs at its screen size. It’s also very low resolution, which means its screen elements are crowded.

When I evaluate a phone I like to put it through various daily tasks that I use a smartphone for, and it’s very rare that I get to evaluate a phone where I can skip most of these steps because it simply is not capable.

GPS navigation? Nope. Browse my collection of bookmarks? Nope. Gmail? Nope.

IMG_20140815_142316~2
The updater is part English, part Portuguese.

But here’s the most surprising part of all: Remember the part about browsing my collection of bookmarks?

The most surprising thing about FirefoxOS is that while it has a Firefox icon, you’re not actually getting Firefox. All you get is a basic web frontend with a very basic browser. There’s no Mozilla Sync, it doesn’t support add-ons and many websites simply don’t work. Meanwhile, over on Android, all of these features are supported in Firefox as a distinct and separate application.

Even the interface language is partly translated. Some of the interface is in English while other parts are in Portuguese.

The phone’s interface is actually pretty snappy, but that’s just because it doesn’t really do anything. All the apps are just icons that open a mobile website.

So, in case you were wondering why there was a fire sale on these phones on eBay a while back, and why they’re so cheap to begin with, now you know.

What to Expect From Various Drivers

You can almost immediately identify the behavior of most drivers by the logo (or lack of) on the back of their car.

BMW

BMW drivers feel that they own the road and other people on the road are pests. A BMW driver will cut you off. They will go out of their way to cut you off. They will start from behind you, pull up next to you, then whip into the lane to cut you off. If you see a BMW, prepare to be cut off.

Lexus

Lexus drivers will cut you off, then slow down. Lexus drivers don’t want other people driving on the road and are happy to demonstrate it by inconveniencing them as often as possible. If a Lexus driver sees you waiting on a parking spot, they will crowd the car pulling out to make sure you don’t get it. Their behavior fluctuates between actively making sure other drivers have a bad time to actively ignoring other cars on the road. Their perspective: “I own a Lexus. If it gets damaged I can just get it fixed tomorrow. You, on the other hand, in your Honda Civic. You’ll move out of the way.”

Toyota Corolla

Drivers of Toyota Corollas view their cars the same way they view a dish washer or a refrigerator. This may have something to do with why the Corolla’s near indistinguishable from an actual refrigerator.

Corolla drivers view their cars as appliances, and that is what Toyota designs the Carolla to be. They are reliable. They are efficient. They are cheap to insure. And they drive like refrigerators. Carolla drivers are cautious and watch other cars on the road because they want to protect their investment.

Any Large SUV

Lets face it, SUV’s on the large are neither sporty nor utilitarian. Anyone who would buy an SUV for either sport or utility would buy either a sporty wagon or a pickup. Originally designed to provide the versatility of sporty handling and utilitarian cargo room, SUVs ultimately became the replacement for the American-steel forged land barge, and it serves the same purpose: It’s for people who are afraid of getting hit. The SUV is a vehicle for the person who shops for a car with the assumption that one day they will get into an accident, and that when that day comes they want to feel a slight nudge while the person in the other car should be totally obliterated. As a result, they drive as if any accident they could get into could only have that one possible outcome. Get out of the way.

smart fortwo

Yes, the capitalization is correct. On the other end of the vehicle size scale you have the smart fortwo. It and the Scion iqScion iq comprise the two smallest production cars you can legally drive in the US. What these two cars say about their drivers is “I have never shaken an egg aggressively and then poured out the contents.” Because while the smart fortwo is built around a specialized cage that protects the driver from impacts, it does not protect the driver from being shaken into a coma. The fortwo is also not particularly fuel efficient, with an average fuel mileage of 30 to 35 miles per gallon (in the 4 years that I owned and drove one) given its size and anemic acceleration. Purchasing a smart fortwo somehow manages to make Mustang owners look like thrifty shoppers.

Ford Mustang

And speaking of which. Purchasing a Mustang says one thing: “Daddy drove a Mustang. Daddy’s daddy drove a mustang. If it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me. I will blindly walk onto a lot, point at one, and say ‘I will buy that one.'” It is fuel inefficient, it falls apart, it is expensive to insure and maintain and it does not provide any characteristics that are in any way superior to other cars in its class. Some of these competing Tap-out shir tmemecars are so vastly less expensive while so vastly superior in every way that you would have to intentionally ignore all available information to make a purchase. The Mustang is a car for people with poor decision making skills. It shows with the way they ferry the car down the road as if it were a TapOut T-shirt.

Lotus Elise

The Lotus Elise says one thing about its driver: I’m here to drive. I love to drive. I think about driving all day at work. I drive on my lunch break just so I have an excuse to drive. This car, I bought it to drive it. I am a superior driver. There is nothing to this car, inside or out, that is designed or implemented for anything other than making it a driver’s car. The Lotus Elise does not care. The Lotus Elise does not help you drive. If you don’t respect the Lotus Elise, the Lotus Elise will kill you. If you see a Lotus Elise that is more than a year old, expect to see it going fast, safely, because the driver of that car has learned to respect it.

Any De-badged Factory Tuner

A factory tuner is where you take a grocery getter, tighten the suspension, put a turbo charger on it, fit some grippy brakes and red brake calipers, make the wheels a little bigger and wider, then sell it as a sports car. Factory tuners are for the guy who needs a family car, yet doesn’t want to give up the delight of forced induction. The factory tuner is a way to say you’re willing to take away this year’s trip to Disney from your children so you can go faster. After all, it’s just one vacation. De-badging is where you remove the logos from the body panels of your car so no one can see what sort of car you’re driving. Because this is a popular behavior among buyers of factory tuners, the badges on these cars are usually stuck on with weak rubber cement, making them easy to pull off with just a spudger. But what does de-badging a factory tuner say about the driver? It says I drive too fast, I don’t care about endangering my family and I realize that cops are often too lazy to pull over a car with no badges because they have to get out and ask the driver what kind of car it is before they can look it up in their computer and verify the right plates are on the right car. It also says that if you’re driving a sports car too, they’re probably going to whip around you just to show you how much sportsier their sports car is. Especially if you happen to downshift in their presence and accelerate to change lanes.

A “classic car”

Classic cars are usually still old enough that they don’t have much or any means of reducing carbon emissions or fuel fumes from the exhaust. They’re also usually so inefficient at burning fuel that a lot of the fuel comes out of the exhaust in the form of fumes. Driving a classic car says you don’t care about the person driving behind you enough to bother with driving a car that doesn’t constantly smell of gas fumes. It also says “fuck the system,” because you have classic car plates and you’ll drive this car into the ground, because you spent twenty grand on it once and by god it’s still a perfectly good car. And don’t even go trying to use the excuse that it’s cheaper than buying a new car, because owning a new economy car will actually cost you less than driving an old beater.

From NES to Internet: How I transitioned from video game nerd to internet obsessed

When I was a little kid, around 7 years old if I recall correctly, my mother bought a Commodore 64.

She got it to play games on for herself, but she also let my brother and I play with it. It had a cartridge slot and a tape drive. We couldn’t afford a floppy drive.

When I showed interested, my mother would let me play with the C64 after she was done.

The first computer program I ever used was a C64 cartridge called Music Machine.

I was fascinated that I could push various buttons on the computer and get predictable sounds. At the time I had no idea what a synthesizer was, but I knew there was something significant about this machine. It wasn’t long before playing with the computer after my mom was done with it wasn’t enough. I decided to figure out how to hook up the computer and use it on my own.

Even as an eight-year-old kid I found hooking up the C64 and turning it on, and even using it, to be surprisingly intuitive. My brother, who watched, was baffled.

It was shortly after I discovered I could set up and use the computer on my own that we moved house, and for years after that I wouldn’t have access to another computer or video game console, until I was in junior high school.

My first video game console was a NES, which was given to me by one of my mom’s boyfriends. I think it was a birthday gift. It was a used console with one game (Super Mario Bros/Duck Hunt), one controller and a zapper.

NES with Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt cartridge and one controller
NES with Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt cartridge and one controller

I played Super Mario Bros every day, over and over, for months. I could beat the game in just a few minutes using warp zones. Then, one day while browsing VHS tapes for rent at the local grocery store, I noticed something. Stuffed in between some of the VHS tapes, toward the end of the shelf was… was that a Nintendo game?

I’m sure this would seem mundane to any kid today, given that video game rentals have been a thing since the nineties, but to a poor, early nineties kid in a small town grocery store, the possibility that there could be video games to rent was mind blowing. It was game changing. I had to make sure.

I picked up the one game on the shelf and took it up to the counter to ask if someone had left it there by mistake. No, the counter attendant said, the store had just started renting out video games and that was the first one they got in. I don’t remember which game it was, but I remember my nervous excitement when I went to ask my mother if I could rent it. The idea of renting a game from a store was foreign to me, and probably to most people at the time.

So there I was, $4.50 of my $5 allowance spent, and I had 3 days to play a game that previously I would have had to save up two months to buy.

My mother could see that I was clearly obsessed, and that I would be renting video games every week when I got my allowance; and that there was no way I could afford both the Electronic Gaming Monthly and Gamepro magazines I would read front to back, ads included, at the same time. She generously increased my allowance to $10/week.

From this point forward my video game obsession blossomed.

When Super Mario World for the SNES began to appear in grainy, leaked screen shots in EGM, I cut them out and pasted them into a binder, and tried making up my own storyline to see how it would compare to the actual plot of the game once it was released.

Gamepro Magazine
Gamepro Magazine

Every birthday and Christmas gift from that point forward was either a video game, a peripheral or a console. I spent hours playing and re-playing every game on the shelves at the local grocery store and Moviestars, a rental shack in the next town over. I would play for a couple of hours, take a break for food and cartoons, then resume playing.

When Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis came out, I was instantly a fan. Then when issue 0 of the Sonic Archie comic was bundled with EGM, I began buying every issue of the comic at the local grocery store every month. I learned to read while walking so I could read it while walking the mile home from the grocery store. I learned to draw Sonic and Tails and I spent hours doodling on school-lined paper while making up alternate stories in my head.

Change of Heart

As a guy who was as obsessed with video games as I was, why did I stop playing? There was a time in my life where I thought that everything about my adult life would somehow be related to video games. I wanted to be a video game designer and get involved in the video game community. I wanted it all. Well, this is what happened.

1. I was very poor

When I graduated high school my parents were very poor, and so was I. I was told outright by my father’s wife that they couldn’t afford to support me anymore and I had to leave. Since I had to go find a job to support myself, I didn’t have the capacity to go to college. And when I was just out of high school, financial aid wasn’t as readily available as it is now. Add to that, going to college wasn’t considered as essential back then as it is now. These days it’s assumed you’ll get some kind of degree, but back then it was considered optional. Instead of going to college I went out and got a job in a factory. Once I had saved up enough money to move out of my parents’ house into an apartment in the next town over, my two pieces of furniture were a mattress on the floor and my computer. I don’t even remember what happened to my game consoles. I was so busy working and sleeping that I didn’t have much time for video games, and I definitely could not afford them.

2. Games went 3D

I’ve never been particularly good at 3D games. I loved platformers like Sonic and Mario. I also really liked scrolling shooters like R-type and Abadox. But when the N64 was released a majority of the games were first person 3D, which I found very difficult to play.

3. The online world happened

I started out with local BBS’s.

A BBS was a computer you would connect your computer to over a phone line which would send text to your computer. There were no graphics, just text. You could read bulletin boards and post to them, and later multi-line BBS’s became available where you could chat with as many people as your system operator (sysop) had phone lines for.

When I discovered BBS’s I almost abruptly stopped playing video games and began spending my time on BBS’s. What I found fascinating about BBS’s is that if I was chatting with someone and I didn’t like the conversation, I could either close the chat or just unplug the phone cable and pretend I’d lost connection accidentally. This was a dramatic change from all the face-to-face conversations I’d had all my life where I’d had no choice but to defend myself with “cut downs.”

Cut downs were a fundamental component of adolescent conversation in the 90s. You’d exchange insults rapid fire and the one who came up with the most clever insults was the winner. But on a BBS I could talk to adults. There was no need for cutdowns. I could have intellectual conversations and learn things from people who had much more experience with the world than I had. It was like an alternate world; one I would spend more and more time in until my mother became so angry about my tying up the phone line that she would pack the computer and all its peripherals into the trunk of her car and take the whole thing to work with her.

But I complained a lot. I convinced my mom to give up on the phone line issue by justifying my BBS time. She was a single mother. She spent most of her time at work, working two jobs, and I was at home alone. The only way I could interact with people outside the house was via the BBS’s, otherwise I was completely alone. Now, my mom was a little crazy in the head. She had a problem I didn’t know about until just a few years ago when my dad explained it to me.

Mom had a bruise on her brain that she knew some day would rupture, and that it would kill her. The bruise also caused her to become more and more emotionally irritable over the years, gradually enough that, as a kid, I didn’t realize anything significant was going on. I did notice my mom was growing more and more short tempered though, and around my sophomore year of high school it got bad enough that I moved out of her house and went to live with my father.

At my father’s house I was not able to reach any BBS’s. Every call outside the town was long distance, and inconveniently, right about the time I moved, AOL discontinued their toll-free dial-up line. I had no BBS access, and as a technophile in a cowboy town, I was utterly alone. I spent most of my time listening to my portable FM/tape player and just walking. Walking for hours and hours. Up and down the country roads, all day, into the night. It wasn’t until a free, dial-up email service called Juno came in the mail on a free floppy disk one day that I was able to get back in contact with the rest of the world.

Juno. Free email service. I stuck the disk into the drive, ran the installer and prayed for an 800 number to be available for access. I had to make one long-distance call to update the software and download the list of access numbers. And… YES. There it was. An 800 number for access. The world was accessible to me again, even if it was in limited, synchronous form.

Juno Logo
Juno Logo

I don’t remember how I did it, but I eventually found the email address for AOL’s list server. This was a mail server that you could send commands to in the body of an email that would allow you to subscribe to and participate in mailing lists. This became my new obsession.

There was a mailing list for vampire roleplaying. I wasn’t much into vampires, but I thought werewolves were pretty cool. Most of my time became devoted to writing long, detailed roleplays to exchange with people on the mailing list. There was also a general chatter list that I participated in, and I spent about half my time on each list. There were dozens of other available lists for things like motorcycle repair, cooking and various hobbies, but none of them had the volume of the RP list and the chat list, and most of the posts were, to my teenage brain, basic and bland.

For a long time I walked and emailed, walked and emailed. It seemed like forever, but it was only about a year between my junior and senior years of high school. Then one day, like AOL had done, Juno’s 800 number went away and I was left with nothing. I had to move on to something else.

Flipping through a computer magazine while my parents shopped one day I saw a number I could call to order a free Compuserv CD. So I called, and a few days later the disk arrived. I put it into my computer and did the praying-for-an-800-number dance. Jackpot. There was an 800 number. But signing up for a free trial required a credit card and a social security number. I was desperate, so I got into my step mother’s purse and took out her bank card and social security card, and signed up.

Hello, online world.

Compuserv didn’t have as rich of a social connection as the BBS’s, but it entertained me enough for a big update to happen: The World Wide Web.

One day an update downloaded automatically and I was taken to a screen that introduced MCSA Mosaic, one of the first web browsers, that let me browse the web. Though I had lost

NCSA Mosaic screen shot
NCSA Mosaic

interest in video games, I was still obsessed with Sonic the Hedgehog, and so one of my first web searches was for Sonic the Hedgehog. This search yielded a link to some fan art on Lycosuction, the furry image archive. Oh look, art. How interesting.

I found the art to be really interesting, and so I looked around for more of these “furry” websites. From there, I discovered MUCKs, IRC, instant messaging, and so on and so forth, and my social obsession with furries and my utter loss of interest in video games expanded from there.

From then on and for the rest of my life, and even today, the majority of my communication with people would be online.

My progression was: Sonic games -> BBS’s -> AOL -> Dial-up email -> Compuserv -> Internet

Things That Suck About Google Glass

I’ve had Google Glass for one day and I’ve found a number of glaring issues with it, some of which don’t even make any sense. Here’s a list of the problems I’ve found so far:

  1. Doesn’t work with prescription glasses in any way (not a problem for me, but it is for my partner).
  2. You cannot access any of your stored contacts in your Android address book, your SIM contacts, your Google Voice account or your Google+ account. You have to type every contact in manually one at a time.
  3. You can store a total of ten contacts. That’s it. Ten. I had PDA’s in the 90’s that could store thousands of contacts. What the actual fuck.
  4. You can’t post a message on Twitter unless someone has mentioned or DM’d you. Only then can you post, and you can only reply. You can’t start a conversation.
  5. Every time you post a picture or video the hashtag “#sentthroughglass” is added. You are not allowed to edit the description before sending. You are not allowed to caption your pictures in any way. Fuck context, just through it right out the window. With the XE10 firmware update you can now add captions.
  6. Every time you send a text message the phrase “| Sent through Glass” is appended to the end.
  7. If you have a Google Voice account and it is active on your phone you are forced to send all of your messages through Google Voice. There is no option to use the native texting app.
  8. There is no way to adjust the vertical or horizontal position of the display. You can swing it in or out, that’s it.  You can adjust the vertical position by bending the nose pad supports.
  9. The display only stays on for four seconds unless you perform an action. Trying to a text message? Fuck you. Screen go off now. Of course, there’s a gesture that you can use to turn the screen on. You elevate your chin 30 degrees up. Which leaves you jerking your head up and down like a dog trying to grab for a bone just to keep the screen on long enough to finish reading your message.
  10. The documentation is incredibly limited and exposes only a small subset of what the device can do. To find its full functionality you’ll spend hours poring over obscure blog posts all over the Internet.
  11. There’s no way to go back to the previous screen without touching the device. This seems like a significant oversight. How hard would it be to have the device recognize the phrase “go back”?
  12. There is no way to dismiss or archive messages you’ve read, so if you’re having an active conversation with several people you’ll be sitting there jerking off the touch pad incessantly to switch conversations.
  13. If you thought wearing headphones with glasses was bad try doing it with a computer tucked behind your ear.
  14. The display washes out really badly in sunlight, which I guess makes sense when you consider the demographic of the people who designed it.
  15. Some of the videos I “shared” to Facebook or Google+ just vanished. They weren’t posted to either site and they aren’t available on the device.
  16. You can’t start a video conference with just one person, you can only select a “circle”. So if you want to be able to have a conversation with just one person you have to either start it with an entire circle and kick everyone else out or create a circle with just one person in it. You can start a video conference with a single person if they are one of your ten contacts. 

11/9/2013

  1. If Google Glass is paired using the Bluetooth settings on your phone, the MyGlass app can’t find it and most of the functionality won’t work. You have to unpair the device in Bluetooth settings and then let the app pair it. This means if the Bluetooth connection is lost and the phone automatically re-connects to the device, you have to manually unpair it and then pair it again with the app.

I could go on and on with stupid limitations that just make absolutely no sense. And what really pisses me off is that they’re limitations that you obviously would have to actively work to program in because the functionality would have been inherent to the application if you hadn’t intentionally revoked it.

The only reason I’m stopping now is my fingers are tired.

I am no longer using instant messaging

As of today I am no longer using instant messaging.

This means I will no longer answer messages on these networks:

  • ICQ
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • Yahoo IM
  • Google Talk
  • Skype

A background client will run for a while redirecting contacts to send text messages instead.

After that I will sign off of all IM networks permanently.

If you’re interested in my reasoning, please keep reading.

I have been using instant messaging since the 90s to chat with people. Back then instant messaging was the only free way to communicate in semi-realtime with other people using just text. Back then cell phones were rare and expensive and text messages cost between 5 and 10 cents apiece, if texting was available at all (most phones didn’t support text messaging) and sending text messages required using a complicated and error prone method using only the number pad on the phone.

There were times in my life where I had many crucial conversations over instant messages. There were messages about living situations, paying rent, building romantic relationships, dealing with grief and loss. All of the important parts of life that are made easier for people who are shy or socially uncomfortable by the cushion of typing instead of talking. Myself, my friends and my lovers. There were times when I had no transportation and no phone and did almost all of my communication exclusively over instant messages because that’s what all my friends used. I used instant messaging to isolate those who were important from those who didn’t care enough to sit down at a computer and sign onto an IM network to talk to me.

However, over the years text messaging has become less expensive and almost all phones now have onscreen qwerty keyboards. As Facebook, Twitter and other social mediums became available and widely used my friends started to depend less on instant messaging and chat rooms for social interaction and more on less-quasi-realtime platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to feed the need for human interaction. These platforms allow them to place a social interaction and harvest responses at intervals that are convenient for them without the worry that if their client crashes or their computer hangs or reboots they might lose an important message.

Most of them also switched to text messaging.

For the last couple of years none of my conversations of any substance have taken place over instant message networks. The majority of messages are small talk, and those messages come maybe once a week. The people I care about in my life (and/or who care about me) have switched to text messaging and have invited me into their list of contacts. It’s not worth staying signed on to all the IM networks just in case someone wants to send me a random greeting. It’s possible that I will lose some friends by no longer signing onto instant messaging networks anymore. The way I see it, if they don’t have any other method to contact me by now their friendship probably isn’t solid enough to bother salvaging. To all of you who decide not to switch to text messaging with me, it’s been good knowing you and chatting with you over the years.

We have all grown up and so has technology. We don’t have to sit in front of our gigantic CRT monitors staring at a tiny flickering box waiting for responses. And I don’t have the time or patience for friends whose only contact is random small talk through instant messages.

Text messages are not charged for by the message, so I am switching to using text messaging exclusively to keep all communications in one place.

408-459-8036

Use the above number to send me text messages. If you aren’t already in my contacts please identify yourself in the first message so I don’t have to play the who-is-this game.

This number is for text messages only: the devices they go to are configured to ignore voice calls to this number.

I Don’t Understand How The New Health Plan Benefits Poor People

I don’t get it.

According to this cost calculator for Californians, if you’re single and don’t have a job you have to buy private health insurance; your premium will be about $150/month if you are single and the head of your household.

And if you don’t buy private insurance you will be punished with tax penalties.

So you’re going from maybe needing health care and having a somewhat large debt if you are sick or injured to being required to pay $150/month that you don’t have because you’re unemployed to avoid tax penalties.

I can see exactly where this is going. People won’t buy the insurance with the $150 they don’t have and they’ll be assessed tax penalties, then when the penalties add up the IRS will be a’comin’ for them, and they’ll be marched off to prison.

If you are employed and you’re an average American who earns about $25,000 per year but your employer doesn’t provide health insurance (temps, contractors, retail workers) this will effectively reduce your net income by 13%.

I’m probably misunderstanding this whole thing. I hope so.

How to configure Block Erupters with cgminer in Windows

This blog post describes how to set up several Block Erupters in cgminer on Windows.

First here are the ingredients:

* Block Erupters.
* A powered USB hub with multiple USB ports. I had problems with random disconnecting and devices not being detected when I plugged more than 7 devices into one hub.
* A computer to plug them into and Windows 7 or 8 or something like that.
* A hashing pool account.
* The latest version of cgminer.
* Zadig ( https://github.com/pbatard/libwdi/wiki/Zadig )
* CGWatcher (optional)

To start mining, follow these instructions:

1. Plug in your USB hub.

2. Create a shortcut or batch file to cgminer like this:

C:\tools\cgminer-3.3.1-windows\cgminer-nogpu.exe -o [pool hostname]:[port] -u username.workername -p [password] –icarus-options 115200:1:1 –icarus-timing 3.0=100

Note; Previous versions of cgminer required you to specify the com port for the USB devices individually on the command line, but newer versions now detect the devices automatically.

3. Plug in all of your Block Erupters into the USB hub(s).

4. Start Zadig.

5. Go to Options > List All Devices.

6. Select the first instance of “CP2102 USB to Uart Bridge Controller”.

7. Click the Reinstall Driver button.

This will re-install the driver for the first Block Erupter (WinUSB).

8. Select the next USB to Uart Bridge Controller in the list.

9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until each instance of the USB to Uart Bridge Controller is using the WinUSB driver.

Note: You must install the driver for each device individually.

Note: If you unplug one of the Block Erupters and plug it into a different USB port you have to install the driver again using Zadig.

10. When all of the Block Erupters are plugged in and all of them have the WinUSB driver installed, start cgminer using the shortcut or batch file you created.

cgminer will authenticate with the mining pool and then begin hotplugging devices and assigning work to them.

You will see cgminer enumerate each device as it detects it.

You can install CGWatcher (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=185553.0) to get a GUI on top of cgminer. Be sure to read the instructions.

Once you have CGWatcher running you can easily see which devices are functional under Devices > FPGA.

CGMiner reports one device for every time you plug something in and keeps those device numbers for the entire session, so if you unplug a device and plug it into another USB port you’ll create one ghost FPGA slot in CGMiner and in CGWatcher.

If you see some devices that do not have any hashes in blue (not hashing), try unplugging that device and plugging it into another port.

If you get an error from cgminer about an invalid device, remember to use Zadig to re-install the USB driver for that device. You can find the one with the bad driver by scrolling through the devices in the list of All Devices in Zadig until you see the one with a different driver.

After you install the driver for a device that is plugged in you’ll be prompted to restart your computer, but you don’t really have to — you can just unplug the device and plug it back in.

If you install the driver for a device that is plugged in it will take longer but it will succeed.

Notes:

* cgminer takes a long time to initialize the Block Erupter devices.
* cgminer will output that it is hotplugging each device one at a time.
* If all the devices are plugged in when cgminer is started cgminer will only show status information for the first USB device AMU0.
* You can see log information for all the devices by going into [D]isplay settings and toggling [P]er-device. However, you’ll still see only one AMU listed.
* The current total hashrate will fluctuate a LOT because cgminer seems to calculate the hash rate based on the amount of work returned by the attached hardware devices rather than the actual rate at which hashes are computed, so if several devices are returning work at the same time it artificially inflates the hash rate. The average is more reliable.
* I have discovered that of the USB hubs that had a lot of connectors, several of them had one or two bad ports, or they cannot actually support the number of devices they have ports for. It’s probably a good idea to test if there are any bad ports. If I were smarter I’d use a voltage tester to see if the ports were undervolting when I plug in X number of devices, but I’m not that sharp. I suspect the problem is bad ports because when I move one of the Erupters from one port to another it starts working.

10 Erupters should get you about 3 Average Gh/s.

If you find this tutorial useful please send a small tip to 1LJU4GnHSM4ovdLNfaz4CmsacuznJewDh3

Assessing my weaknesses in conversation

Recently I have been reading a book about how to have conversations. My initial reason for reading this book is because I feel nervous starting conversations with people at parties and local events. But the same book has also helped me to identify a number of other possible causes for my shyness.

Recently, since I began reading this book, I have begun to watch how I talk with people and how people talk to me. By observing my own actions and those of others I am learning how I communicate and ways I can improve conversations in which I participate.

1. I tend to dominate conversations, and drive the conversation back to me. This makes people less likely to want to participate in a conversation with me.

2. I often imply or state that my view is the only valid one when the other person’s point of view is equally valid.

3. I babble when I get nervous.

4. If I don’t know enough to contribute to the topic at hand I try to fill in with stuff I made up or steer the conversation to a topic I am more knowledgeable about rather than letting the other party talk more about the topic.

These behaviors have made me notice that I am more insecure and self centered than I should be when having conversations, and that the negative reactions I often get are my own fault, and that I can change how I participate in conversations to improve my experience and have more rewarding relationships with my friends and acquaintances.

Anyone can write a web log