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Thu, Nov. 6th, 2014, 10:08 pm
What a shame

It would be nice if the colour changes I made to my journal page were reflected in this post page, but hey - antiseptic white and Sci Fi blue it'll have to be.

Signed up for a programming course - badly mis-represented in the offering; really needed to be conversant in C and Objective C to get anything out of the course. First time I've walked out of a class before too - kind of embarrassing when there's only like five people there. Funny thing is, the book the instructor is basing the course on is way way better than his teaching of it. So it goes.

Major Win For The Home Team - ordered a pair of winter running shoes online and they fit perfectly; how does that even happen? Nice shoes, too - ankle-high, with built-in ankle gaiters, heavy treads for snow, and carbide inserts to deal with my neighbours' no-nonsense attitude towards never clearing their ice. #cultureofdefiance

Taught a couple classes in infosec last week to a bunch of Masters students - felt good. I think I scared a few - in a good way. Made me realize I needed to practice what I preach so I've been using the Tor Browser bundle and Policy Request plugin pretty extensively - Tor has come a long, long way in terms of speed lo these many years.

And tomorrow I've taken a day off so I can clean the house and work on an assignment that's due next Tuesday - go me; I hope my heart can take the excitement.


M.

Tue, Jun. 26th, 2012, 02:36 pm
Camera / Computer gear to go.

I'm looking to sell some camera / computer gear - give me a shout if any of the following interest you:

1. Canon EOS 20D DSLR w/Canon EF-S 15-55mm lens & Hoya UV filter/lens protector, battery charger and battery.

2. Lumix GF1 micro-4/3s camera w/20mm f1.7 lens & B+W UV filter/lens protector, charger, battery, and original packaging.

3. Anginieux 25mm f0.95 C-Mount lens w/micro-4/3:c-mount adapter, B+W UV filter, B+W ND9 filter, original metal screw-on cap, and a carrying pouch.

4. Manfrotto Gruppo padded tripod bag.

5. Powerbook G4: 17", 2GB RAM

6. Toshiba Portege 3505: PIII 1.33 GHz, 1GB RAM

7. IBM Thinkpad T40

I have either a Canon S820 inkjet printer, or a HP Laserjet 1018 laser printer to throw in with the first two of the above that go.

M.

Sat, Dec. 11th, 2010, 08:51 am

".. Was up at dawn to head to the airport yet again. Looking for a quiet spot to wait to board my flight to Toronto; xmas music + cnn = insanity."


‎(To the tune of 'deck the halls')

Kandahar straffed with bouts of bombing
Fa la la lala la la la la
There's a shooter in Wyoming
(chorus)

Medicare stalls in the senate
(chorus)
No repeal for "Don't ask - Don't tell"
(chorus)

Nation's debt is in the trillions
(chorus)
Barack Obama - is he a Muslim?
(chorus)

China jails Nobel laureate
(chorus)
Walmart shares are up two thirds
(chorus)

Rich get rich and poor get poorer
(chorus)
Nation's jails are overflowing
(chorus)

Flying public is no safer
(chorus)
Brand new scanners give you cancer
(chorus)


M.

Fri, Oct. 22nd, 2010, 07:36 am
Boy is it cold today

2C - 0C isn't far away. Odd autumn - no frost yet; quite warm in fact.

M.

Sat, Oct. 9th, 2010, 10:54 am
Government is coin-operated

My argument that voting is just the price of admission into democracy, and that you need to actually pay government reps to remember why you voted for them may have been an epiphany for me, but apparently has been well understood by business and unions for years:

https://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/10/08/us/politics/08donate-g.html?ref=politics

and

http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/congress-corporate-sponsors

This, I guess, is part of why business hate unions, and, conversely, why unions are still hugely important and necessary.



M.

Thu, Jun. 17th, 2010, 07:53 am
In which Apple can bite my shiny metal ass

Apparently they don't like fun being poked at the powerful:

http://gizmodo.com/5517890/apple-blocks-pulitzer-prize+winning-cartoonist-from-app-store

"[..] we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures [..]"


Update: Apparently if you're famous enough / enough people complain, they'll make an exception.


M.

Wed, Mar. 24th, 2010, 11:04 pm
Ain't no rest for the wicked.

"But first you know I got to ask
What made you want to live this kind of life?"

So, after munging my bits last October at the UT Judo Club, I've spent four months getting massaged and chiropracted, and the last two months taking core conditioning classes to protect my back, etc. from sudden, catastrophic failure. Throw in some self-administered trigger point massage, and I'm feeling ready to start to make a real effort.

"Give me all you've got
I want your money not your life,
But if you try to make a move I won't think twice."

Last month I took up taking boxing classes for aerobic value, and, well, fun, and now, I've found an excellent Judo dojo just up the street from me (who knew?), that offers top-quality practice, with none of the faux-military hard-assed attitude of most dojos (been there, done that, got the physiotherapy).

"There ain't nothing in this world for free."

It seems that entropy is endlessly inventive in its varied approaches to wearing down this mortal frame, but its most subtle attack is to encourage one to do nothing about one's fitness. Sloth is deceptively healthy - until you try to do something and the house of cards comes down. Sure, exercise costs money and takes effort, but, if you think that hurts, try indolence. Now the trick is to not over-do it.

"I know I can't slow down,
I can't hold back,
Though you know, I wish I could.
No there ain't no rest for the wicked,
Until we close our eyes for good"


M.

Sat, Jan. 17th, 2009, 05:17 pm
I love it when a plan comes together

On the coldest week of the year - in years it seemed - we missed the power out, but did manage to get our pipes frozen.

In over a hundred years of bad renovators, our house has seen pretty much everything that be done wrong, done, well, wrong. This week it was the wind (not draft, note) in the walls getting strong enough to freeze the pipes - enough procrastination and fallout 3; something had to be done.

Because - hang on, this is going to be a bit and I deserve a beer. Sorry - it was time to give the cats their treats. Ok.

Because of where the pipes go, and were we still had water - the basement bathroom, but not the basement shower - I could tell that the pipes were frozen behind the shower wall. Feeling the wall, there was a section that was much colder than the rest of the wall, so that sort of confirmed that was where the cold was getting in. It's worth noting that on Thursday night we had full cold water, and a trickle of hot water in the basement - thinking it was better to turn off the water than risk a break in the night, I shut the water off, and thus the pipes froze all the way through. In retrospect, I should have left both taps on trickle in the basement shower to slowly melt the ice. If there was a real concern of burst pipes, turning off the water would have been ok if I'd bothered to drain the pipes as well. Just turning off the water didn't really help.

So, it was with a real hankering for a shower, and a growing pile of dirty dishes, that Saturday was designated the day for Ripping Shit Up. Peeling back the cheap-ass carpets we've put down on the paper-thin hardwood floor (16" slivers in your feet, anyone?), I took a look at the floor just above where the cold spot was. Like I said, everything that could go wrong with this house, has, and usually more than once. There was a suspicious chunk of cheap, new(er) plywood over where I needed to cut, so, while making my work easier, I suspected this is where trouble had happened in the past.

Suited up in eye, ear and dust masks, I made it through the floorboards without digging into the beams underneath. Once open, I could see the bathroom exhaust duct and a small cloud of condensation where wind was blowing in around where it went through the wall. As we rarely use the fan - preferring to leave the bathroom door open to vent the humidity back into the house - I thought fuck it, just rip the whole damn thing out. This may come back to bite me on the ass if we switch to hot water heating from forced air (as the forced air is what forces the humid air out of the bathroom), but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now I had a fist-sized hole into the alley to patch.

I could see the pipes as well. They were a bit corroded - pissed on regularly by mice - but intact. Now, how best to seal the hole?

Of course, the best way would be to get into the alley with cement and brick fragments and mortar the thing up, but mortar doesn't set will in below zero temps. Making do, I stuffed a chunk of brick into the hole to choke the wind off a bit, then broke out the metal mosquito mesh. I was going to have to seal this with spray foam insulation - no way that was going to keep vermin out on its own, so I stuffed a couple of double folded squares of mesh into the opening and set to with the spray foam. Once covered in foam, I set another folded square over the foam (to keep it from slumping, as large expanses of sprayed insulation are given to do), and pushed a chunk of wood against the whole mess to close it off - this is why I keep a bucket of scrap wood; with a bit of looking, I had a piece that fit the whole perfectly. A bit more spray foam around the edges to tidy up and I was pretty much done - except for the fact that there was still no hot or cold water.

Having read up online about frozen pipes, I had read that people recommended warming pipes with hair dryers, but that's one article of home hardware I don't have. Exhausted, needing to get ready to go out for dinner, and pretty much fed up, I hit on a bright idea - remember the bathroom exhaust fan? I had disconnected the exhaust pipe, but not the fan. If I turned the fan on, it would vent the bathroom's air into the space under the floor - just where the pipes happened to be.

Of course, this would be a dump idea if I'd just had a shower, as mold and rot would set in with all that humid air trapped in the floor and walls, but, given that the bathroom is the first place the forced air gets let out on its way through the house, it's also the hottest and driest room in the house if you haven't just had a shower. I figured if I turned the fan on, it would vent hot, dry air right where the frozen pipes were, so I turned the fan on and waited.

I didn't have a chance to get ready for disappointment when a few drips started coming out of the shower tap, then a trickle, then, with a bang as the ice let go, a rush of rust-coloured water, then clean, hot water at full pressure. Glad that's fucking over - glad the draft is partially stopped, and in the spring I'll be out with mortar and trowel to finish the job.

Signing off from Parkdale,


M.

Tue, Nov. 11th, 2008, 09:16 am
In praise of measurement

I just picked up an 'I1', otherwise known as an 'eye-one display 2'; a monitor calibrator. The new box has dual video cards (dual dual video cards, but that's another story), and I wanted, for the first time in my short life, to run a dual-monitor system (actually, a triple monitor system, but I didn't have the physical desktop (as opposed to virtual desktop) real estate to handle the overwhelming power of three monitors). Anyhow. I wanted these monitors to loook as close to each other as possible - I know I'm picky, but seriously divergent colour profiles on adjacent monitors would drive me nuts. That said, never having used one before, I figured I needed a tool to calibrate the monitors (tolerances being what they are, I expected them to be off by a noticable degree, if they weren't butt-ugly to begin with).

Despite having done my Internet research, I must say there's nothing like knowing someone who works every day in the area you're interested in. Sauntering down to the local high-end video / camera store (where they have _selection_, which means you have a _choice_), my friend picked out the I1, after the requesite disparagement of lesser products.

Getting down to it, I realize now that default colour profiles in Windows are Totally Bogus Shit. The calibrator not only made the monitors pretty damn close (being LCDs, you're always going to get some lame colour cast depending on the angle you're viewing it from), but made the colours just unbelievable. Viewing high quality images was like looking at back-lit photographs - I didn't know a images on a monitor could look this good. On the other hand, low quality images (such as you're likely to find on a web site) all of a sudden looked like a whole lot of ass, and I realized why the default colour profile is what it is - to cover up the blind butchering of colour space in most images. Fortunately, I looked at some really good images first, or I would have spent a day cursing the painfully obvious banding in the gradient filled backgrounds of the low-rent web sites I frequent.

Short story - get one of these things if you spend any time at your computer at all - no moving parts, so it should last essentailly forever. The brief moments of beauty and visual glory you'll experience will far outweigh the ass-tastic other 98% of the images you'll see. Oh, and choose the 'advanced' configuration mode - even better results.


M.

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