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Archive for the 'Computers/Tech' Category


2008.06.27 a nutshell:

so, i've had this problem for a while now… i say problem but really… i've had this annoyance for a while now. y'know how people ask if you have a website, or you sign up for thousands of profiles on thousands of different sites online and they all have a place for you to put your web address, right? well, me, being the guy i am, i pretty much always fill that bit in… and i pretty much always use bipolar. that's fine, but it's always kind of bothered me. i mean obviously i like brian and all, but it's always just seemed a little weird that my go-to site, my site that is kind of the champion of my online identity, is one that i share with another guy.

i think originally the idea was sparked in my head by the inimitable merlin mann with a 43folders.com post about personal status pages. then a couple months ago, my daily web travels brought me to something that got me thinking about it again, in a slightly different light. here're some links in roughly chronological order:

obviously, these guys are talking about something much bigger than a personal status page, tossing around words like ownership and portability. still, this fueled the fire, and got me working.

i think it was about two weeks later (which is like superman speed for me), i'd thrown together a design and finished the page—matthewrasnake.com.

this is a one-page site, which is basically just an overview of my entire web-world. a centralized me. all the data still lives on my various decentralized profiles, so this doesn't address—or even consider, really—data portability, but instead relies on RSS feeds and APIs from and through which i can gather together my various bits.

so, if you're looking for me online, or wondering what i've been up to, now there's a quick easy place to go. also, probably more importantly, now i have something to enter in all those form fields without feeling weird about it.

here's a couple other links that are related, but didn't really fit in with those above…

2007.04.19 whomp:

i'm not quite ready to talk about the recent tragic events at Tech, where my brother attends college. his story will keep, until i have more time to tell it appropriately.

as occasionally happens, i have been quiet on bipolar, but working busily behind the scenes. in fact, i have gone a little plugin crazy. last week i added the gregarious plugin, which gives us digg buttons on posts that have been dugg, and a "share this" link which now lives at the bottom of each post, and is great on the off chance you might want to bookmark or share us on one of several social link-sharing services. the "share this" page also gives you the opportunity to email a link to a particular post directly to a friend, directly from the page. part of the impetus for this addition was brian's recent lamentation on our lack of social penetration (yeah, knock it off) and his self-referential digging. plus, i have a few major posts in the works that i think might be suited to a digg-type feeding frenzy. we'll see.

with this addition i've also reformatted the post-ending link bonanza just a bit, i think making things a bit nicer. gone is the abbreviated "pl," in favor of the slightly less obfuscated "permalink."

the other obvious thing you might notice, looking down there, is a new starred rating thingy, again for individual posts. apparently, this plugin only allows you to vote once, and doesn't allow yout to change that vote once it's cast. i may have to do something about that, but i'll let it stand for now.

one less obvious addition is a "subcribe to comments" plugin, which allows you to indicate whether you want, when you comment on a post, to have subsequent comments sent to you via email. there's also a subscription management feature, so you can come in and remove yourself from subscribed posts if you like.

a very obscure (to you the viewer, anyway) plugin is one which checks for incoming links to a post (from offsite), and registers any that are found as "pingbacks" without the offsite poster having to actually initiate a formal pingback. if you understand what that means, congratulations, you're an official blog geek.

behind the scenes, i've also added a plugin that counts post views, mainly for the benefit of the last recently added plugin… a bipolar stats page. The plugin lists on that page many various stats from the blog, including the new post ratings and post views. One really fun feature (i thought, anyway) is the ability to see the nicks off all previous commenters, and the ability to go to a page listing all their comments. being that we allow "anonymous" comments (i.e. you don't have to register), many people have visited and used different nicks, so the list is rather longer than the actual number of individuals who've commented.

i still have a short list of plugins left to test and install, but i thought these were the most immediately useful ones.

here's what i've installed:

here's what i'm still considering:

so digg, email, subscribe, rate, view, and link away.

2007.04.04 slow news day:

don't have a lot to talk about today, so it seems like a great time to work in a mention of the puffin's latest blogging co-venture (now with his lovely wife, Allison), wherein he waxes poetic about the latest inspiring (and uninspiring) works in the comic book industry, she waxes poetic about high-falutin' sciency stuff, and they both entreat you with their occasional musings on the music scene and their own interesting undertakings.

appropriately enough, they've called it nerd [heart] geek.

oh, and in other news, i've just switched over from bloglines to our benevolent information overlords' "Reader" thingy. thanks to a conversation i was having with neil this afternoon where i was telling him about the two online feed readers, and where i convinced myself to go ahead and make the google plunge.

like my buddy Charlie has said… i wouldn't bow to our great and glorious overlords, except that they make such darned useful, usable stuff!

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- 11:39 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Cool Links - Friends - Local/Louisville - Pleased/Like - Pop Culture

 

2007.04.03 a distinct lack of joy:

so yeah, work has been a might annoying the last week or so. i really enjoy being a web developer, aside from the occasional annoyances, mainly having to do with browser compatibility issues and occasionally poor support of web standards. i enjoy the problem solving, and making pretty, functional things. i've realized that i really don't enjoy doing diagrams, documentation, proposals and estimates. i suppose it won't be quite as bad once i have a clue as to what i'm doing, but it's just terribly annoying to have to do things, and finish them on some kind of deadline, when you don't really understand what it is you're supposed to be delivering.

probably the most annoying part of the job is the way there tend to be dry spells in work, followed by a few weeks where every day is full and the deadline for every project practically overlaps. and then there's the equipment malfunctioning and behaving improperly. gah.

well, anyway, i'm just frustrated after a long, trying couple of weeks. good thing is, we're closed for Good Friday, and i could really use the long weekend.

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- 10:45 pm - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Rants - Upset/Dislike - Work

 

2007.04.02 handyman, handyman, does whatever a… uh…:

the coming of the spring means the growing of the grass means the breaking of the backs in physical labor. ugh. each time i have to mow the grass, i think loudly to myself "man, i should've sprung for the self-propelled mower, it'd've been worth the extra $75 bucks or so." i'm not one for regret, but i do occasionally have to kick myself in the ass for things.

so, this season i figured I really needed to do the whole "tune-up" thing with the lawnmower, so i was going to take it to mowermd near where i work, for a nominal (I thought) fee of about $50. drop it off, pick it up, no muss, no fuss. well, i put it off (actually i got so busy at work i never had time to set up a drop-off time) until we just had to mow the grass this weekend.

we found out from sara's brother-in-law that he just takes his blade to fern creek hardware and has it sharpened. so, we made our trip out there, and that and the new spark plug cost less than $10. we got a funnel and an empty milk jug to drain last year's oil, and i pretty much had the entire tune-up done for less than $15 and 45 minutes work. felt pretty good to accomplish that, i have to say.

in linux news, i've installed a mess of software via the package manager, some of which i've been looking for on the mac and pc for a goodly portion of time. life with linux is looking up! oh, and i cleared up the screen resolution thing pretty easily (though required a couple reboots), and then killed the network by switching to static local IP address instead of dynamic. well, that's fixed now too, so we're looking good. still have to get an FTP client working (i'm not sado-masochistic enough to be willing to learn command-line FTP). hell, that's why xerox invented windows.

also, happy birthday to my sis!

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- 11:22 pm - PL ::
categories ::  Birthday - Computers/Tech - Personal Projects - Work

 

2007.04.01 it's official:

i have stripped the new laptop of the shackles of oppression, by installing the new ubuntu 7.04 beta release. thus far, the beta is performing admirably, though we did have to undo the stupid Firefox "use Linux backspace convention" (i.e. an intentionally added firefox bug where backspace does not equal browser "back" button) breakage. i haven't yet attempted a SMB connection to my desktop windows shares, and i haven't done much beyond launching open office and surfing the web. the only serious OS/driver problem i've run into is that it refuses to drive the laptop display at its native resolution (1280 x 800). there seems to be some chatter on some forums about ways to fix this, so hopefully i'll get this addressed in the near future.

bottom line is that i am now officially a linux geek—my primary machine at home is exclusively running linux… at least until i can get a chance to figure out how to install Mac OSX on there…

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- 12:45 pm - PL :: 1 Comment
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Pleased/Like

 

2007.03.30 not an epic post:

so, you may or may not have noticed that i'm trying to get back on the horse here, and i think i've had a realization that part of my stumbling block to getting something out, is the feeling that every post should be a big, epic barn-burner. of course, some of the best posts are, but if every post has to be, then, well, i'd have to lead a more interesting life.

as it is, tonight's post, which was going to be about my upcoming trip to the PHP/tek conference in Chi-town in May, is actually going to be about how much i already despise Vista.

I've had the new laptop just over a day now, and already it has bogged down or crashed out at least 6 times. the first being mere moments after first boot-up and running through the initial new-installation setup routines. i swear, for an OS that is supposed to be the most stable windows version yet, this is one touchy little bitch. I have finally managed to divest it of all the crapware that came pre-installed (including MS works, office trial, and other sundries), but i can't for the life of me figure out where to go to uninstall windows mail or windows messenger. on the bonus side, messenger doesn't seem to be starting up on boot, so maybe i don't have to worrry about that anyway.

oh, and you know that Mac ad with the windows security guy standing behind PC asking him to "cancel or allow?" well, i figured it was an exaggeration, but y'know, it really isn't. every damn time i try to load some piece of software (i am trying to setup a new machine, afterall) i have to confirm that yes, i do want this program to run. and heaven forbid if i try to actually administer the computer.

i may not even make it to the point where i have a working system before I strip it and install Linux. i'm already severely annoyed with Vista, and a little sad that MS can get away with putting out such crap, still.

none of this is to say that Mac OSX isn't without its flaws, but hell, at least they can fall back on the whole "we had to migrate from an entirely different architecture" thing.

oh yeah, and one last thing. the entire time i've been typing this, Vista has been trying to restart, after a software installer failed to even launch. and now, i think it's knocked out my router. but then, my router's been a little wishy washy lately anyway, so i can't blame that entirely on Vista. but i'm still suspicious.

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- 12:51 am - PL :: 2 Comments
categories ::  Angry/Hate - Computers/Tech - Rants

 

2007.03.29 y'know how people say…:

extended warranties on electronics and household whatchamacalits, y'know how people often say that they're not worth paying for? well, let me tell you, i just totally got my money's worth today.

a couple and a half years ago, i bought my shiny new lappy from Best Buy. it was an eMachines model—a company who'd fairly recently been purchased by Gateway—and it was the only thing Best Buy had (that was decent) that had the swanktacular new Athlon x64 mobile chip. and it was a decent computer for about a year, with hardly a problem except for the always janky trackpad and the crack prone hinges.

since i had purchased the 3 year super-duper warranty, i sent it in for service (hinges, trackpad). well, after that it was in a pretty much constant state of fucked-uppedness. it would work, but there were always little weird things going on with it. so i sent it back, picked it up, sent it back, picked it up, etc. at least six times in two years.

the beauty of it is, that the extended warranty comes with a "no lemon" policy, where after doing four hardware replacements, they'll give you a new laptop. rumor mill had it that they would do a dollar for dollar replacement, in other words, i could get a brand new lappy that cost up to the same price as my old one. this, understandably, had me a bit excited.

well, after heading out to the store to fact-check the rumors and see a) what they had, and b) what i needed to do/what the process entailed, i discovered that really they just do spec-for-spec replacements. so, i would get a replacement that was closest in features to the old one. of course, since 2.5 years have passed, there are no exactly feature-equivalent laptops available, so i would end up with at least a small upgrade.

resigned to this, i chose one of the lowest featured gateway lappys they had (online), and headed back in to pick it up. the guy i talked to this time was a bit more lenient with the spec-for-spec policy, reading it as a "functional equivalence" kind of thing. he pointed me to a couple laptops—one lesser than the one i'd picked out, and one slightly upgraded—and i of course said i'd take the upgrade.

so now i've got a brand new lappy running one of those fancy intel core 2 duo chips (yeah, i'm back in evil intel land), but now maybe i can get a little mac osx installed on the beast. if not, i'm probably going the ubuntu route (of some flavor), because i had barely gotten Vista booted up before it crashed. in the 45-75 minutes i've been running vista, i've already decided that it may be pretty, but it's slow. you can put a dress on a dog, but in the end, it's still a dog.

oh, and to cap off the good parts of the story, after doing the whole exchange thing and signing up for a new 3-year extended warranty, paris hilton handed me a store credit for the price difference between the old machine and the new one (minus the price of the new warranty). i didn't expect it, but i'm not complaining.

so, don't listen to those people who say the extended warranties aren't worth it. if you need 'em, they can be like gold.

- 01:13 am - PL ::
categories ::  Computers/Tech - Pleased/Like

 

2006.12.27 wish i never got old:

Ahhh…the year-end wrap-up. Where to start? To be honest, most of the shit that happened to me I didn't post about. Why have I been maintaining radio silence? Who knows?

I finally joined the rest of the web-using world and started utilizing digg. I even dugg a post I posted here. Oh…I'm such a whore.

Today I'm bemoaning the fact that we're not a more regularly updated, noticed "blog." I mean…they could have sent us a couple of these, for fucksake.

I've spent an inordinate amount of time listening to Neil Young, lately. Mostly Crazy Horse material. It's speaking to the parts of the brain Brooksie and I have started activating for the new band. Speaking of the new band, it's tentatively titled "Birth Machine." We expect to rattle the foundation of a local venue this spring.

I guess the biggest news of the season is that i had to have Clyde put to sleep (the Thursday before Christmas; it made the holiday even more fun). Some of you long-time readers (if there's any left) will remember Clyde as my beloved cat of the past decade. She had a tumor on her chest that spread to her lungs. Toward the end she was having trouble breathing and would only eat fresh turkey and "catmilk" (speaking of which, I have two things of that stuff left, if anyone needs/wants it), which made us think it was all just some elaborate scam on her part. Regardless, we couldn't take it anymore and took her back to the vet. He gave us the dire news and we all endured a bit of pre-holiday heartbreak.
Needless to say, she's incredibly missed.

Clyde – 1996-2006

2006.12.08 lazy day in old st. lou:

so, i'm up here with my lovely wife, doing her res. interview at WashU. i'm just chillin in the hotel room, shooting at my co-workers with the 2006 Power Treecam—a brilliant idea by yours truly, brilliantly embellished and executed by our boy ben.

i've run over to the St. Louis Bread Co., where I got the skinny on the fact that the national chain Panera Bread (as known to most of us) was actually originally the aforementioned St. Louis Bread Co. I picked up my breakfast there (croissant, cinnamon roll, and coffee) and they gave me a soufflé for free.

I've spent most of the morning upgrading our WordPress installation to 2.0.5, and just installed the wordpressReports plugin, so we can see just how many people aren't coming to visit the site to enjoy the dearth of updates.

and now, i'm going to watch the Special Edition DVD of Star Trek III, which my buddy nate so thoughtfully gave to me on my most recent birthday. thanks again, nate!


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