Friday, April 29, 2011

Haven't had much tie to update my journal lately, kinda had more important things on my mind when I'm off work. At work, well, most of my time of late has been spent working on a project that's shared between the two principal developent groups. Work related stuff, usually filters through to private notes or the companies internal stuff. That's my policy at least.

If we could move the table out and bring in a cot and my PC, I'd probably never leave work, except to use the shower lol.
Last night was some awesome rounds on Killing Floor, which eventually became an effective 2 versus like upwards of several dozen zombies at a time: including the dreaded Fleshpound, which is basically the run for your damn life if you don't want to lose it, kind of Big Mother of all Big Ass Zombies! A single fleshpound can easily neutralize an entire section if it catches them in an unwary crowd, and usually you find them in pairs with plenty of support!

We had some very close games but also some impressive successes against the Fleshpounds and their accompanying chainsaw wielding cousins. My teammate was running level 4 berserker with a katana, while I was running as a level 4 field medic, armed with a MP7 and DE.50. Perhaps between surviving the hordes of lesser zombies, we got into the grove by the time the big nasties entered the fray.

It was like a well choreographed dance that just came together on the fly: berserker tanking in with her katanta and my MP7s healing darts and medical syringe for help; then Ran' would fade out to heal and I'd step in as a human shield and in between whomever not dealing with the fleshpounder, picking off the lesser zombies. Between the two of us, we basically kicked major zombie ass, lol. It was kind of impressive  to see such teamwork, because normally, two players are gonna be dead meat in a game like Killing Floor, not mopping the floor. Although of course, more than a few onslaughts we only escaped by like 3-5 points of health left... hehe. At least for me, it's a pretty natural flow: heal my friend to starve off death, then slip in front as the fleshpound charges, then cycling back before I'm dead, lol.

Somehow, it's part of how I am wired up, that I'd rather be support instead of the highest score. In real life, well, all I can say, the zombies would have to eat my friends over my dead and gnawed body. That point of view wouldn't surprise most of the people that know me either.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Aside from being grumpy that the company I work for, takes Good Friday as a company holiday :'(, I've been somewhat busy today. My mother wanted to visit a Catholic church some miles down the highway, so I took her up there, she didn't like it of course, but trying to please my mother isn't quite trivial for anything, let along the Roman Catholics.

After that, it was essentially off to the nearest Publix supermarket to appease her shopping list a bit. Even though I'm not at work, I couldn't help but notice a type error when walking down the isles. Ma wanted to grab a box of matzah, bottle of soy sauce, etc. So they've got the "Mexican" food, they've "Asian", which is vaguely ethnic but convenient, "West Indies" which is more geographic then ethnical, but what really made my brain reach up and say "Compiler error: type association invalid", is when I saw at the end of the isle, the sign marked "Kosher". To top it off, the directory labels the isle as ethnic foods and the sign marks it as Hispanic foods. Yeah, I'm a pain in the ass.

The word Kosher, essentially refers to a discipline: if we go by one of my favourite resources from Princeton University, semantically it means food that obeys the jewish food law. It's not an ethnic group. I.e. you may have a Mexican that eats kosher food in the west indies but you are unlikely to meat a someone of the Mexican-Kosher ethnicity from the west indies ^_^. O.K. so sue me, I'm stuck driving my mother around instead of being at work, the marbles ain't going to shift out of programmer mode that easily. Besides, that kind of branch of math is very relevant to my work.

What I really would like to know however, is in what kind of type model that also makes sense, does fish != a meat. But eh, I've been wondering about that one for most of my life.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Well, it looks like alice is now fully operational: and my fingers are adjusting to her keyboard rapidly. Fortunately, I am finding myself more often hitting fn+key in place of ctrl+key on dixie, then I am on alice. Whew.

I've installed Ubuntu Netbook Edition, and set it up to behave as dixie has been used all these years: a workstation rather than a terminal. I don't have time to fiddle further with making OpenBSD play nice with Windows 7 on this rig. This does pretty much net me all that I desire: a bourne shell, decent terminal multiplexer, XMonad, Chrome, Pidgin, Dropbox, and a system tray area. I can live with the (ugh) GNU and Ubuntu parts.

The only real difference between the Desktop and Netbook editions of Ubuntu, the former comes with a customised GNOME where as the latter comes with a custom GNOME shell called "Unity". I have really got to say that Unity SUCKS!!!!!! I seriously cannot fathom anyone getting real work done with Unity because you'll have to set it up to do anything more useful than launch Mozilla, it feels so useless, that I think I would trade GNU/Linux for MS-DOS 2/3, and old DOS really, really did suck. Once I found the GNOME shortcut for the run dialog didn't work, I decided instantly it would have to Go.

But to be fair, Unity does do some Very Good Things, and I commend the engineers behind it for breaking away from the Windows norm, that every GUI app tends to follow. The focus on full-screening the apps also is a feature that I like. The whole dock/sidebar thing is also quite nice, if kind of restrictive. Not even KDE4 offered as much nice "Wow, this looks integrated" kind of warm and fuzzies.

But I don't want to take hours to try and restructure the thing, nor do I want to constantly grep programs by their menu pretty names, or have to push a button for just about every darn thing. OK, I still live in a command prompt 75% or more of the time, so sue me.

How Alice got her name

(12:58:07 AM) Noles: Project Alice?
(12:58:09 AM) Me: sh.alice // I was typing in a terminal when this window popped up
(12:58:19 AM) Noles: hmm
(12:58:26 AM) Me: alice is the hostname of this netbook
(12:58:51 AM) Noles: it is like Project Alice in Residents Evil :P
(12:59:24 AM) Me: Part a nod to ASUS (starts with A), Alice in Wonderland (I'm nuts), and to Project Alice because this [netbook] is cool like Alice :-)
(12:59:35 AM) Noles: heh

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Yesterday, Alice proved her utility. When I went to work Friday, I decided to go "Live fire", leaving dixie home and bringing alice. Where as the day before  I had brought both. Except for a few cases, I rarely use my laptop at work, except to version control my notes and stream 94.9 The Bull.

A fellow programmer is implementing the backend that makes the code I've written on one of our projects, work. So we were sitting in front of his work station trying to get a couple things sorted. Very conveniently I just brought alice and set her up to remote access the development server the way my workstation does. What proved so useful, the battery life was being reported as over 12-hours: allowing me to focus on the work at hand, and not keeping track of when I would need to go get my charger.

Of course, alice still needs a workable OS but hey, no girl^H^H^H^Hcomputer is perfect. I could arguably live with Windows 7 Starter on it, but I rather like XMonad. Considering how slow Cygwin has been on more powerful systems, I really don't want to try it on alice. So far,  I've yet to solve my booting issue with OpenBSD, and tests using X11 forwarding between dixie and alice, by way of xming/putty; does not make me think it's gonna work. So I think alice will end up with Ubuntu Netbook or some other Linux distro, for the sake of ease of access to Google Chrome—Mozilla firefox can go suck rotten eggs.

The sad thing, since alice seems to be >= dixie on resources, it will probably work perfectly in a 'normal' laptop capacity :-/.
It may sound rather odd, but after a work week, I feel like I'll go batty if I don't touch code before Monday :-/.

Hmm, what of use to me, could be whipped up in a weekend...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This morning, my mother rather piqued my technical-goat, when she said she was "Tired of my excessive computer buying". Which of course, is an instant sequence of hash look ups in my brain:

  1. SAL1600 (desktop) was bought with a long lost inheritance and strings attached (*groan*).
  2. Dixie (laptop) was bought by my sister-in-law, so I could get work done around my mother driving me nuts.
  3. Vectra (improvised server) is currently residing in a hodge-podge of parts:
    1. Some from a gutted-Dell my brother was throwing out.
    2. Some from an old Vectra Vli8 handed down from someone we used to work for, when he heard my mother was being a bitch about letting me dual boot her (then "family") computer.

Alice here, is the first computer that I've ever bought myself, not to mention it's the cheapest computer I've ever had, lol. So, what the fudge is so "Excessive" about buying one computer, which probably cost me 25% or less than what hers cost? *Shrugs*

People are stupid.

Welcome dear little Alice

Today at work, an idea caught my fancy: since I don't need an uber-expensive laptop if I go with separate laptop/desktop setup. I thought, well gee, maybe a netbook would work in place of a laptop. So far, seems to be awesomeness.

I found an ASUS Eee PC 1015PE model at a really good price. Originally I was thinking that all it would be useful for is a glorified terminal: SSH into vectra at home and the server at work (when needed), to run Screen, then use X11 forwarding for the rest. Sadly this little netbook seems to be more snappy than my laptop, although it's likely just as useless for compiling stuff. Which is REALLY sad IMHO because my laptop is only about 5 years old, and this netbook beats it on every performane spec save the CPU: an Atom N450 instead of a Sempron 3300+. I think I like the Atom more...

Windows 7 is quite nice and I do like it, much as I expected, but I would prefer a BSD or Linux based system. My only real complaint so far, is the keyboard places the FN key where my fingers naturally expect to land on Control. My fingers are deffo having a hard time adjusting though, since the auxiliary keys (like home/end) are even more cramped than what my laptop uses, and I am extremely used to my laptops keyboard, hey, it's been 5 years with Dixie.

The main problem is resizing the partition to make room for a suitable OS, as there are no optical or floppy drives built in, and I'mt o cheap to buy one. So I've made a thread over on DF seeking some advice.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Killing Floor

Yesterday I stumbled over an interesting game, perhaps the first to offer a positive ROI since I started with the Left 4 Dead series: that is to say, I'm really enjoying this game lol.

Killing Floor is similar to the zombie mode in Call of Duty but without the run & gun feel; which is rather surprisign considering it's built off a modified Unreal Engine 2.5. It actually makes RvS/SWAT4 look more like a R&G game IMHO. The jist of the game, your rag-tag squad is dropped into wave after wave of "Specimens", the most basic of which resembles a vampire out of I Am Legend and behaves like a Night of the Living Dead zombie; the majority however, are closer to mid-level Strogg from Quake II/IV.

For all the specimens you kill, you earn Pounds Sterling that can be spent on weapons, ammunition, and body armour between waves. Although it is only a co-op/horror type game, it's not as team work oriented as Left 4 Dead, which was designed to *force* you to work together. It is however extremely fun when played with a good team. Also unlike Call of Duty's concept for co-op, it's not oriented towards competitive co-op but more realistically, completing the objective and living to tell the tail.

Me like :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

As much as Google seems to be trying to improve their already excellent search, I can't help but wonder--what are they really doing with our location data?

Or is it just a fumble that I'm standing in Duluth, Georgia as the GPS symbol flashes in my notification area, and the #1 search result for 'duluth library', is still for Duluth, Minnesota!

You might think it might even include a map link to the library like 5km away lol.

Unwinding to a little UrT, reminds me of one of the reasons that I generally forgo adversarial game types these days.

Essentially, I ended up in a quaint little 2v2, and could probably have taken the other team on 1v2 and won. I was doing fine with it as a 1v3 before the server auto balanced the teams in the first quarter. Successful enough to be called a "Hacker" by the player that would end up my team mate. Once I noticed the other team was outclassed, I decided to sling my preferred weapon for something less ideal, in order to make the handicap a bit more even. What got my goat however was, when the rather insulting team mate I got thrown with not only kept dying, but started copying my loadout: then leveraged my streak of killstreaks to go spawn rape the other team for a good 12-16 frags. Then having to put up with said team mates rude behaviour at being told to stop laming. I do admit to being tempted to snipe him in the back of the head and exit, but instead focused on the remaining half of the game.


Friday, April 8, 2011

A rare political digression

One perk of a journal, is that as it is my journal, it's well open to the occasional excursion away from the topics I gravitate toward; if you're thinking food or computers, you've obviously crossed paths with me >_>. Generally, like my grandmother, I make it a policy not to discuss politics. My journal even reflects that, and arguably, entries here that are associated with that particular subject, could probably be counted on one hands worth of fingers lol. Most people I know are rather miffed with the current pucky load going on about government shut-downs and such, and like I noted, I don't really discuss politics with anyone.

What I'm thinking tonight, is perhaps our beloved founding fathers and federal ancestors got things wrong when they organised the balance of power between our three branches of government. Checks and balances is a fine, and very necessary thing. Unless perhaps, you believe in the divine right of kings means nothing will ever go awry. Something like the King of England is never going to happen in the USA, assuming that Kurt Gödel was wrong about our Constitution. The only problem is, we will never get a damn thing neather!

Something that most know about me, is that I do not believe in political parties, and am unlikely to ever associate myself with one, unless it's gonna lead to a mandated change in schooling in America—the kind of change that would transition high school Algebra (etc) into the first couple grades. A number of people also know, that if I could build a model of my own "Ideal" society, it would likely be one that reserves the lions share for those that contribute to society. The kind where every person has essential rights but where the full rights of citizenship only come with service, reward those that help make the world a better place, as opposed to the majority of us, who just take up space. That probably sounds like something out of a Robert Heinlein book, but I've never read it, nor any of his works.

Or in short, I have a very different view of politics than most people: one that's likely more pragmatic than idealogical. I believe that ideals are fine things but progress is better.

One of the principal points of American government, is balancing out the equation so that you can't Totally Screw Up unless enough people are in favour, and of course. Problem is that much like the Articles of Confederation, to many people need to agree on the details. I also seriously do not want to know how many Americans have no idea what on earth the AoC were, let along that it refers to what we had before the US constitution, and not to the Civil War between morons. Alright, so I'm a history lover, so sue me. Another principal point of American government is the balance of power between the states, which is, well, just going to upset people anyway you slice it.

In my opinion, there needs to be more executive application and less political circle jerking. How do things get done? Identify what needs to get done, figure out the direction, then make it happen and assess the result. There is probably a good reason that the best progress in this world, tends to happen under applied direction, not micromanagement. The government could seriously benifit from an understanding of Commanders Intent.

A perfect example: if it isn't harder than putting a man on the moon using only a stick of bubblegum, odds are someone is qualified to focus on applying the intent behind a direction. If it is less involved than building a replica of the LM out of spare parts in your garage, odds are that focus-agent has people to focus on ironing out the smaller details. If it's less complex then getting 13 colonies to agree on something, you probably don't need a lot of people in Congress to agree on anything. Things should proceed on down through the chain with balances plugged into that, not hell will thaw out before things come back into balance again.

Like the old saying goes, shit rolls down hill. Not up it until it rolls over and lands on everyone.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Today things really started to take some shape.

Had to take a vacation day because my mother's appointment with the doctor that by the time we would've gotten back to Duluth, there wouldn't be much sense going in to work. On the upside, I got to take a few minutes to stop by Petsmart and get the bird a new cage, and got to do a little bit of "Work" while waiting around the doctors office.

Originally, we had the bird in the cage until my feathered nephew (AJ) took off flying, which set Mike flying, which resulted in a game of find where the parakeet landed; AJ being smart enough to return to his cage! After that, the Mike got netted in, but with the move, it's been a case of stuck in the cage. So now, I've setup a larger one to compensate, which concindentially was probably cheaper than the original one lol.

By now, I have moved just about every box three or four times. My bedroom was basically done in two days, one to get the furniture moved and another to organise books. Nearly a week after this all started, the living room is starting to look, remotely livable.

But I think I've come to hate boxes  \o/

Monday, April 4, 2011

Birthing Pains

N.B. written  April 2nd.

Yesterday was a matter of loading Noelle full of stuff and driving ~70 miles to Duluth. Driving around it and th neighboring for a couple hours, then getting the paper work done over lunch. After driving back to Newnan to meet some Relatives for dinner, I started loading the car and did another round trip. That's like 300 miles / 500 kilometres worth of driving, and going almost non-stop at packing/loading/driving/unloading from like 0730 to after 0300. U-Haul called while we were signing the lease, to inform us that we had to pick up the truck in Lagrange instead of Newnan, that's about anm hours drive.

So 0740 my pastor (Steve) drove me down to get the truck and I drove the truck from there to Newnan, taking US-29 up until the I-85 access near grantvile. I wanted to make sure of the trucks handling before having to get OFF the Interstate. Steve split off and went to get a couple of guys to help, and I continued on to the apartment to get the truck ready. The original plan was for my mother and a friend to get the animals packed in an SUV with some stuff and drive up to the new place, so we could get to loading w/o having to worry about the dogs. Well, of course it took like two ******* hours to just get as far as getting a dog in the vehicle, with me having to hold Willow for most of it in order to keep her from running off. Guess what? Misty got OUT the door and went running around before we got her. No one ******* listens to me. After finally seeing them off, I got to start helping with the truck loading; that also saw interruptions, for having to pick up a cell phone and eventually hit the corner drug store: if I didn't have some surger in me, my old running on three hours of sleep ass was gonna pass out. They did most of the loading, and did a brillant job. Which really is saying something because my mother can't pack for ****. Relatives also took some stuff up in their van and supplied victory-pizza.

Tonight was the first time I ever drank a "Normal" Pepsi. I've had the caffeine
free version; that stuff has so much surger that you can almost feel your teeth
rot. But being from a Coke Cola family, I never got straight Pepsi lol. Being
disllowed Caffeine in soda until like 15, also helped. I really do not want to
know how much caffeine I have consumed tonight, let along the surger, but pizza
and pepsi with a little bit of sitting, helped recharge my batteries enough to
drive everyone back to Newnan and get myself home alive. I also had to drive
point for the truck on the way in.  Unloading that truck almost made feel like
trying to bribe management to get ma to throw more stuff out. It's tempting...

I'm sick as a dog. My noise is like a constantly exploding cherry and my eyes are filling like I need to scratch them out. After living there 13 years, loading/unloading all the crap has totally destroyed my allergies. My room was fairly clean but the living room essentially looked like a bomb hit it. Many of the things we had to load/unload came with years of dust, cob webs, and I don't even want to continue thinking about it. Somehow I wonder, if she ishn't being paid, if my mother even knows what the concept of cleaning is. I have no ******** idea how I'm going to drop off the truck tomorrow if I can't ******* stop sneezing my **** brains out.

It was after 2000 when we got the truck done and it was after 2230 by the time I started driving home from Newnan.  The nice plus, sarcasitly putting it, is that the paper with the dropoff number is AWOL, and the contact number for the truck went to an already full voice mail box. So in the morning I need to  call again and try and get the dropoff number \o/.

I can't fucking breath through my nose right now.