Bitchin’ Kitchen: New paint job

14 Dec 2009 In: Project

In general, I find use of the word “bitchin” to be almost inexcusable. The sad fact is, however, that there aren’t very many good rhymes for “kitchen”, and I’m in a rhyming mood. At any rate, we decided to repain the kitchen, and quickly settled on a nice green for the walls, and then later decided to do one wall a darker purple. I am quite please with how it all came out, and hereby submit photographic evidence that I actually completed a project. For reallys.  I got all panoramic on you to give a better perspective of the room. Check the purple vent pipe too, it be stylin.

Purple and Green

Purple and Green

Of course, now that the paint is (almost) dry, I loathe my cabinets, I detest my linoleum floors, I despise my counter tops and I look upon my appliances with disdain.  Actually, the plan is to take the cabinets down in the spring, paint them white, and apply some of those stencil looking decals to them. That should help things out a bit.  The floors et. al. will have to wait, unless they give out before we are ready.

I also like the way our organization wall looks against the new green color, although the flash really washed the colors out.

Organization Wall

Organization Wall

OS X Tip, recover windows from external monitor

12 Oct 2009 In: Technobabble

So one latest OS X annoyance that I actually stumbled across the solution for. At work I hook up an external monitor to my MacBook Pro, and usually keep all my terminal windows on that one. When I leave, I try to remember to unplug the monitor before I close the lid, because last time I forgot to do that, I had to kill the applications over there and relaunch them to get access to them again.

I tried using expose, but that didn’t show the windows on the now disconnected monitor. I checked out the spaces dialogue as well, but that also didn’t work. I also went into the system preferences to the ‘displays’ screen, hoping to find the ‘gather windows’ button, but it was not present. I think you only get that button when an external display is connected.

The way I actually solved it was through app switching keyboard shortcuts. I used Cmd+Tab to switch to the inaccessible application, then used Cmd+~ to cycle through the windows. As each window received focus, a sliver of it appeared on the edge of my screen and I was able to drag it over.

Poor, poor snow leopard

26 Aug 2009 In: Observations, Technobabble
So Apple has released their new OS, Snow Leopard, and this is what the Apple homepage looks like:
Poor, poor Snow Leapord...

Poor, poor Snow Leopard...

I imagine this leopard, chillin, enjoying a nice snowy day, when along comes an Apple photo crew.

*FWAP*, they nail him in the head with a snowball, and as he looks at them with annoyance, they snap his picture.

I can only hope that shortly after this picture was taken, the Leopard ate every single one of them.

RFS: Good Home Design/Remodel Blogs

14 Apr 2009 In: Miscellaneous

RFS stands for “Request For Suggestions”.  I’m not sure whether I made that up or absorbed it osmosis like from something I read.

For those of you not in the know, I am soon going to be taking on a huge home remodel project, necessitated by some structural problems we are having.  In my quest for the ultimate abode, I am looking for inspirational resources.  I did the obligatory Google search and was disappointed with what I found.  I did find the Home Improvement Blog which has some promising looking content.  We all know about Apartment Therapy, which I love, but it’s a little like trying to sip from a waterfall.  I have also seen a lot of nice stuff on Inhabitat, but the architecture and design aspects of it are only a small slice of it’s content.

I am looking for blog’s that have the following types of content:

  • Floor plans and layouts for remodels
  • Finishing details for interior and exterior
  • Modern design that integrates well into old homes
  • Green building strategies
  • Logistics of remodeling (permits, pitfalls, etc)
  • Tips on ways to do things that look awesome, but don’t cost too much
  • Personal experiences in home remodeling projects
  • Photos, photos and more photos

If you can think of anything, please comment and help me out!

Rails Gotcha Regarding Test Fixtures

6 Mar 2009 In: Technobabble

I wasted a chunk of time running in circles over this issue.  I had assumed that when I loaded the fixtures into my database via ‘rake db:fixtures:load’ or ‘rake spec:db:fixtures:load’ in Ruby on Rails that it was blowing away all the data in all of my tables before creating records. It turns out that it only blows away data in tables for which you have fixtures, leaving any generated cruft in other tables behind.

Facebook Now Allowing Spam?

9 Feb 2009 In: Reviews, Technobabble

You can’t turn around lately without hearing about the latest craze on facebook: 25 Random Things.  The premise is, you put up 25 random and usually useless things about yourself, and then “tag” a bunch of people so that they can come read it and praise you for the witty and interesting things you have to say.

I am a bit p[icky when it comes to what shows up in my email box, so when a Facebook application sends me a message without my explicit approval, I report it for sending spam and then block it.  The problem is, this isn’t an application.  It’s a note, or something, and you can arbitrarily tag people.

The first time this happened it was my sister, and I scoured her 25 Random Things looking for where she mentioned me, even indirectly.  There was no mention of me. Until now, “tagging” me usually meant I was in a photo, and I was happy to receive notification of a 3rd party putting information about me on the internet.  Thats a good use of notification.

I went to my Facebook privacy settings and found that there was a setting to disable email notification when someone tags you in a note.  That would be fine… until someone wrote something about me in a note and tagged me, and then I would have no idea.

So, users are violating the spirit of what tagging is supposed to be used for, which is hardly Facebook’s fault.  But it still annoys me.I suppose I will not have to live with two flavors of chain letter style spam, one from traditional email, and one from facebook.  Facebook should step up and find a way to solve this problem though, without forcing me to blanket deny all communications from them.

New Look for OLEX

17 Dec 2008 In: Technobabble

New Look & Feel for OLEX

Today we deployed the latest version of our product OpenLogic Exchange (OLEX) and it includes a brand new look and feel.  The design was truly done by concensus with our entire engineering department, and it came out better than anything I think I could have done in isolation.

I used a varierty of techniques I had not had the opportunity to play with before, like CSS sprites for repeating backgrounds, a CSS Reset stylesheet to get a better baseline for CSS behavior, and a more aggressive attempt at modularized widgets to simplify page construction.

Overall I am pleased with the results, but there are a few things that were difficult to overcome.  We have a large pool of users still using IE6, so I had to use a patch to get alpha transparency support for PNGs.  We are using a less traditional font for the site, which renders very differently in Linux, so I had to do a Linux specific stylesheet to make the site usable, and it still has a few issues.  Future releases will tighten things up a bit, but it feels like a big step forward for now.

I’m going to be an Android

23 Sep 2008 In: Technobabble

G1, the first Android phone, from T-MobileAfter several hours of mashing the refresh button in Firefox, I was finally able to get to the G1 preorder form and place mine.  On October 22nd, I will be the proud owner of a G1, the first Android powered smart phone.  The phone has a touchscreen interface similar to the iPhone, but it also has a full qwerty keyboard that slides out. Not only that, but it is running Android, which is a very open development platform, which means all sorts of cool things will be developed for it.

Here are some links if you want to learn more:

I saw this new Microsoft commercial the other day, and I have to say I think it’s brilliant for the following reasons:

  • It shines light on the fact that Apple is casting an unfair stereotype of PC users
  • It gives existing Microsoft costumers a group of people they can feel proud identifying with
  • It makes Apple look like elitist snobs (which, to be fair, they are)

Disclosure:

I am operating system agnostic.  I use Linux at work, PC at home, have worked extensively with Mac’s.  I consider them all fairly similar platforms for software development, with PCs lagging behind a little because of the lack of a real shell environment, but it still doesn’t slow me down all that much. I have an iPod, it was free.  I don’t like it all that much more than the MP3 player it replaced, but it’s fine.

Conclusion:

Anyway, good job Microsoft (I don’t say that often).  Also, Vista is a steaming pile of crap, and when I got my new PC with it preinstalled, all of my applications crashed so often I had to go revert to XP and download tons of hard to find drivers to get it all to work.  Maybe they should hire the person who came up with that commercial to sort out their product development.

Goodbye Oliver

20 Sep 2008 In: Family

Some of you may be aware that my cat, Oliver, went missing a while back.  It has been two months now, and so I have decided it is time to say goodbye.  Oliver was the first pet that was truely my own.  We adopted he and his sister, Twist, from my sister in law about nine years ago.

Oliver and I didn’t always see eye to eye on everything and had quite a few fights.  Eventually, we discovered that by letting him be an indoor/outdoor cat he was immeasurably happier.  We knew the risks of that decision, his sister Twist was hit by a car when she was just a couple of years old.  Oliver is also extremely friendly, so we worried about him getting “adopted” by another family.  Oliver also had little fear, picking fights with large dogs (Olive was 19 lbs), so we worried about him starting a fight that he couldn’t finish.  I guess I won’t ever really know what happened to him, and it is possible, however unlikely, that he will show up one day, rolling around on the sidewalk to greet me.

Here are some of the things about Oliver that I will never forget.

  • He would stalk light switches, jumping up to turn them on or off, then always seemed surprised at the result and ran away.
  • At night he would crawl onto my chest and lay down, then inch his way forwards to try and bite the hairs of my goatee and pull them.  It always made me nervous.
  • Everyday when I came home from work he would be waiting for me by the front door, rolling around and purring.
  • When he was younger he would play fetch with me, with those faux fabric mice.  I would throw them across the house and he would bring them back to me, over and over.
  • For the majority of my life with Oliver, I never saw bugs in the house, ever.
  • Oliver loved ice cream, and would get extremely aggressive going after my bowls.  Sometimes I let him lick them clean when I was done.

And lastly, here is a gallery of pictures of Oliver

Goodbye Oliver, I will miss you.