Friday, September 30, 2011

Evernote sucks

Thumbing around the Android market, the Evernote app caught my eye again. So I decided why not give it a go, it's probably the best note taking app for Android (and I admit, it probably is). Thus I installed the app, created an account, and went about setting up the Windows app for my desktop.

Last time I went searching for a note taking app, I settled on the Viki plugin for vim. I probably entertained a several dozen stuff, including Evernote. It never made it past the information gathering phase, since it lacks support for Linux and *BSD. Having adapted an ASUS Transformer as my primary system, Android support is now good enough. Evernote AFAIK is widely used and reasonably respected in the business of note taking software. No wonder—it's about as useful as a notebook and a pencil.

I am not your "Joe" note taker, that I will admit. My notes are frequently pre-processed data. Things where re-parsing it back into my head and bringing order to notes is fairly important.

The desktop application failed glaringly as less than ideal support for:
  • Concept of sectioning is limited to font size/style and horizontal rules.
  • Structure is limited to indentation, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and tables.
  • Cross referencing data is primitive but effective.
  • Support for "Snippets" of formatted content is limited.
    • as in sample commands.
    • log data and program outputs
    • definition lists.

The Android tablet application despite the awesome user interface, suffers from all of the same plus the following gotcha's when editing text notes:

  • Indentation is gone.
  • Adding links is gone.
  • Font styling is gone.
  • Adding tables is gone.
  • It's to dismal a prospect to test how links, indents, font styles, and tables render when viewed in the app.

Simply put, ever note is more primitive a note taking system than Microsoft Word, and it's only advantage of adding something like Dropbox or Google Docs to that mixture, is the sync feature. In fact this blog editor is much more powerful than Evernote, even more so because it can take raw HTML.

For a stress test to evaluate if I could tolerate life with Evernote, I tried to reformat one of my notes files from Viki by copy/pasting the content and adjusting. The note consists of numerous sections/subsections  (at least up to 3 deep) and various lists, links, and pre-formatted data; nothing you can't do in raw HTML, LaTeX, etc. Or even plain text if you roll your own conventions as per org-mode or deplate.

After about 80% of the file, I  just gave up as it came to my mind that "Evernote is about as sophisticated as using a notebook of paper and a pencil, so why don't I use that?"—It is just so far underpowered that I would get more value out of notepad.

Some could say that I'm being too strict, but hey, I am strict when it comes to software that I will spend *excessive* amounts of time using. If I really wanted to nit pick, I would mention the lack of folding, not that I expected that from an app focused on "Notes".

A little fun with linpack

It's a bench mark thingy for Android. Basically you push the single threaded or multi threaded button and it gives you Mega FLOP'age for solving some equations.

Running at a fairly idle load for just sitting at the end of my desk, my phone scored about 3 and 3 1/2 MFLOPs. Nice little Optimus T, and a device I know doesn't have a lot of processing power in general. In fact, it only has like a 600Mhz CPU.

Now, Andrea on the other hand is running a full load: instant messenger client, client for our internal IM system, web browser, Samba, terminal environment (btep, openssh server, several bash, several openssh client connections, and a long running vim instance). Plus whatever is in the background, WiFi and syncs are on—plus TexTab is linked to my phone over Bluetooth. In short, it's pretty much at a typical load for me. The results were about 30 and 50 MFOPS.

I really would be curious to take a freshly setup and stripped Transformer, and see how high that might go. AFAIK the best super computers top out near 10 Peta FLOPS and the most powerful x86 chips around 100 Giga FLOPS, and top notch graphics cards blow that away. I'm not sure I want to know what the various x86 chips I have laying around, but ~50 Mega FLOPS sounds good to me lol. Most stuff I saw on linpacks website seemed to range from 25 to 100, and often big gaps, e.g. while some people might rack up 80~100 MFLOPS most would get 60~65 MFLOPS.

What really impresses me though, is the "Experience" offered, I could care less about Floating Point Operations per Second but quite a lot about being able to *use* my system while under load. For years, Firefox+Flash was enough to almost overheat my laptop (and nearly did on several occasions, just with Firefox!), throwing on a compile would generally make me worry about my laptop halting and catching fire. Andrea on the otherhand, has been managing the same task set without even blinking an eye.

I can surf, chat, stream music, code, and compile without blinking an eye.

What somewhat irks me, whatever this Android tablet/netbook is doing in it's architecture and with this ARMv7. It puts to shame any x86 system I have used....except for the development server at work, and that has  multiple multi-core Xeon processors and a shit load more of memory lol.

I really would love to try an ARM powered system in a desktop config. Maybe run Linux or OpenBSD, and try for something like the next gen processor cores and as much RAM as she will stuff. Hehe. Andrea is powered by a Tegera 2, so that's basically a 1Ghz dual cored ARMv7, sans NEON, if I remember correctly.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fun with tmux & dtach

Generally the problem with running a terminal multiplexer like tmux or screen on a remote server: is if the server goes down so does your session. Like wise an issue will eventually crop up where in you have to SSH into another server or even the box you're sitting in front of, if you don't want a seperate xterm in order to do it; thus losing all that multiplexer goodness.

Well, I pretty much run the session (tmux btw) on my system, and then use dtach for running things I may want to detach from—like a big compile. One perk of this is I get to have my "notes" window in tmux without double the latency.

Today, I was thinking about how can I link this notes window to various tmux sessions? It is possible to link windows (linkw) in a session and entire sessions (new -t {other session}) but that is not what I want. dtach again to the rescue! My notes script already amounts to opening my "Scratch" note file in vim, and changing the window name to "notes" if used in tmux. So I modified it to be smart enough to run vim in dtach, or reattach. Thusly, I can have tmux sessions by project, home, etc, and share the same vim session between them using dtach.

Note tacular!

A case for autotools that I have only recently begun to understand

Like just about anyone who has ever had to install software from source has, I have /used/ autotools before. But like many barely ever scratched the surface. Lately I have been cuddling up with the autotools from a developer perspective, a lot more. To the point perhaps, that I am liking autotools better than I ever thought I would. Like anyone whose used more than 1% of autotools, I know you can (or are supposed to when the developer did it right) be able to run configure/make outside the source tree. Also I know about --prefix and most of the usual configure script goodness. Now, it's far from the first time that I have mentioned it, but my "Holy Grail" of builds has long been a multi-tree build:  one tree for build files, one tree for distribution files, and trees for whatever source and data files are needed. Then because I may be doing a diverse set of platforms, this usually becomes a need to further grind down into having co-existing build/dist trees: for example to have FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Linux, and Windows NT builds in the same working copy. Including using different toolsets, such as GCC 3.x, 4.x; and MSVC 9.0, 10.0 on the Windows NT builds. Now that my main computer is an ARM, processor architecture will probably end up mandatory. I like stuff like Build/platform/toolset. Hacks to keep this sort of thing working under {insert random OS here} should be kept to a minimum. How well a build system supports helping me with this problem (and file system hier) is one way that I judge build systems. Over the years, I have tried...just about everything except ant and maven but hey, how many C/C++ projects do you see using those at home? Multi-lingual stuff is always idea. At present, my favourite build system is premake4 -- it makes setting up such a build pretty painless. After that is probably Qt's qmake, since it makes compiling fairly painless. With the GNU build system, it is pretty easy to do something like:
    $ cd Build/Linux/ARMv7/gcc44
    $ ../../../../configure --prefix ../../../../Dist/Linux/ARMv7/gcc44
    $ make install
Which would give something well suited for testing, and there is a config file to save whatever configuration options I usualy test with in $prefix. The check and installcheck targets also do what I will typically do with a `make tests` or a `./` in my own working copy. To top it off, autotools probably has one of the best tools for making a distribution: make distcheck. I do not need most of what autoconf can do, and usually prefer to skip it. The ability to have things fail at configure rather than compile time is handy. Being able to e.g. toggle between Deps/{pkg} and the systems {pkg} at configure time is great and something I already do with premake4. Automake can also pretty much do what you could get out of not having to hand write Makefiles. What REALLY shines however is libtool! We have all cursed at something or other involving autoconf, automake, or libtool. But the little secret is libtool is one of the best assets ever given to a developer. If you don't think so, you should try to alcomplish the same thing in SCONS for a solid week, just to support three platforms with differing toolsets, unless much as changed in a few years: the amount of kludges is a recipee to be pissed off. libtool can pretty much do it all and for a lot of platforms. The real question is how well autotools would really play with doing a Windows NT build with Visual C++. I've never tried that. That is also the principal reason I've never used autotools on most of my projects lol.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Your Vehicular Retardation is Showing Again

This morning on the way to work, at one of the side junctions I was fortunate enough to slip into the turn lane while the arrow was still green, but had to content with only a solid green light for turning left. In America that means YIELD to uncomming traffic. To top it off we had a cop dealing with an incident right where I'm aiming to turn. Thus I've got to wait on the cop and the oncomming traffic. It's big enough a side road to have it's own through traffic, thus a trio stacks up waiting.

The blowhard behind me starts beating his horn, because I won't choose between getting slammed by oncomming traffic or running OVER a police officer. My response? Give mister retard a nice one fingered salute and wait until it is safe and legal to roll: without causing murder or car more wrecks.

So many people in this state should be ashamed to be on the road!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Google just made my day

Was trying to look up a word I had stumbled across too far ago to remember, so I typed the definition into Google in the hopes of finding a clue to it. I didn't expect my chuckle of the day!

How Google shapes history

I seriously hope that is some Google Engineer's idea of a joke about sex shaping

This is from a real screen shot, not a photoshop!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An interesting idea for Android development

I could hook up my rooted phone to my netbook turned server, write the code using my ASUS Transformer, then run a batch job over SSH that compiles and installs the app on my phone.

Then connect to my phone via VNC and test it off the same Transformer :-)

Friday, September 23, 2011

PostScript (.ps) versus Portal Document Format (.pdf) - from a users perspective

Generally, PS is pretty much a dead format today. The only time a user is likely to see significant amounts of it in my experience, is if they are dealing with quality printing. Reality is almost everything comes in PDF (or Word/Excell if from retards), and morons assume that Adobe Acrobat is the only reader for it. Most people don't know that PS exists and to many are just to lost to figure out what a PDF is (ugh, grow up!). The simple facts:
  1. Post Script is text based
  2. PDF is a binary format annd offers some programmatic options where supported
Here is what makes that interesting! I have numerous files in PDF and PS formats. Most are under 5M and are PDF. Now there is a monster called that weighs in at a whopping 60M!!! My largest PDF files were around 12M to 16M. I'm compressing stuff I don't use frequently but don't want to erase for space reclaimation. So I compressed everything over 2M with XZ to see what files will compress enough to be worth having to uncompress them next century. Most PDF files contained a few embedded images, so savings were on average about 1M, e.g. 15M becomes 14M. Useless. A few files that were more exessive on text shrunk from between 3.5M and 4M to between 1.5M and 2M. That is nice but still to small to care about, because of the original file size. The 60M PostScript file compressed down to 1.6M!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Size checks were done using du -h and compression with xz -e. Being more textual and less binary, I infer that we can get better compression ratios out of Post Script than PDF. Although it is possible to make a PS file that is pretty binary for all practical intents and purposes. But that was Post Script: In point in fact, I think the only organizations that I have ever seen acknolledge other PDF readers exist, have been Canadian govermenta, which even went so far as to note XPDF, an old choice among Linux/Unix users. +1 for the Blogger app for Android remembering what I started writing ages ago witout me even having to click a draft entry, hehehe.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How technology has impacted my blogging/social media habbits

So far, my blog has seen an interesting return to pretty regular usage? Why? I'm not really any less busy with the stuff that I do, but I find with Andrea that I am posting more frequently. It's not that the Android app is anything to write home about, in fact I will probably get googlecl loaded on her so that I can use my blogit script. It  is just a matter of convenience! The app icon on my home screen is right there, always in reach, and it is so easy to jot down a quick entry on Andrea.

Thinking about that has also made me realie part of whyI use Google+ so much. The privacy system being almost perfect and something that I'm 110% comfortable with. Having thebutton right on top of the Google pages. It isn'tneccesary to travel very far. When you are busy and either frequently having better things to do or constant interruptions at home.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interesting findings. At work, my work station has always had problems using SMB/CIFS, in fact  it is almost useless but fortunately being Linux-oriented over here in Engineering, more traditional unix methods are favoured, so it is of little loss. Now the sad fact that most people use Windows, means that SMB/CIFS is easier to work with under Android than stuff like NFS or any of the multitude of similar techniques. As I rarely need to share stuff with multiple people, for my own stuff, I typically use SSHFS.

In fact, SSH is both such a part of my work flow between machines (here and espiecally at home), I wrote a handy script that lets me quickly mount my $HOME on a remote as ~/hosts/{hostname} locally. It's useful. My workstation is setup both as a SSH client, server, and sshfs-mounter. But how to get stuff via Android, since I can't just use CifsManager?

My ASUS Transformer obviously has support for FUSE, just looking at what `mount` says is enough to guess that. But there is no real support for SSHFS, all the goodies are missing. Since I have a very simple chroot of Debian stable, a quick `apt-get install sshfs` and bingo, all done :-). Since the stuff I'm interested in mounting at home (where SMB/CIFS works like a charm), I can just use SSHFS mounts and a shared socket. I.e. I can have things like my Dropbox mounted, get live sync, and even access locally!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Geekicious mixed client workflow

Okay, that is a post title that only a geek could love. So sue me, I'm geek lol. My battle pad is now fully operational, and should soon feature a charging cable extender and screen protector.

Today, I found that while the Debian chroot I have works well, sadly the linuxinstaller app in the market sucks at setting up resolv.conf. So I edited the init script it uses for an entry hook, to detect my home network and the corporate WiFi. Sadly, doing so results in DNS names going external, so something is still fraked. On the upside, editing the chroot's /etc/hosts works, and that is what everyone here does. Never mind that the important servers have DNS names and OpenSSH can alias them to any shortname, but alas, it works.

One downside of running a terminal session on Android, BTEP will get reaped if you don't use it for long enough. Like wise the linuxinstaller doesn't run your bash as a login shell (!) and it's a bug to remount the path to as rw; so... I found how to kill two bugs with one rocket. I can leave a tmux session running and reattach at will. Muahuuahuahauhauhauaaa! Quite nicely, if I run the tmux session on the server-end, I can attach to it from another box (like my workstation), and use X forwarding; if I create a new tab from the X-terminal, it inherits enough environment to easily use the X-terminals X.Org server :-). This is even cooler because I can have the undesturned mobility of a 'book or tablet, yet skip fouling my X session. There is also the VNC trick to run X clients on Android but I have not tried it, nor am I very interested right now.

A new idea occured to me while chatting with a friend, namely that I can export my notes directory from alice or my workstation, mount that on andrea over cifs/smb or NFS, edit locally, then get the Dropbox live sync goodness. Which still works because while alice is running at home, so is her Dropbox client and my cronjob to auto git commit my notes files!!!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hmm, so far operations with Andrea are moving fairly smoothly. Today, i spent a little time using Eclipse to try and prototype an idea, but soon gave up. Eclipse is a reasonable enough IDE but for Android work, the extra editors and crap are just not as useful as opening the file in the text editor, and if I may as well, then I will use VIM and execute the Android tools directly in a shell. Piss off.

I've been exploring the Android market more of late, because Andrea has so much more storage. My phone has limited internal storage so I rarely will use an app unless it offers something I find practical, like Dropbox & Opera. Rooting it helps since more stuff can be moved to the MicroSD card. Andrea on the other hand, has a lot more storage capacity: about 28GB user accessible from a market value of "32GB". I'm still principally interested in apps that get work done. Two that I've been playing with today, are TextTab which is pretty much using your phones SMS from your tablet via Bluetooth.It's awesome, it works, it does exactly what I want, and I can't say the say about the Bluetooth SMS app that I tried during yesterdays shopping expideition. Something else that I tried, is a TeamSpeak 3 client. From the look of the write up, they likely intend to charge for it once it exits beta but it works as an OK client. Not enough for admin work or anything but fine for the core use: VoIP.

Alice has also been setup as a server, as part of cleaning my room. It will likely operate similar to the development server at work but for my personal projects, I've also exported some parts of my $HOME to the network. Eventually most of that will likely become stored on Andrea but for now I'm more interested in having it available. Andrea the tablet-book definitely brings my routine closer to the cloud than Alice the netbook but so far I am liking it.

Using a netbook as a mixture of development server and network attached storage may seem very weird. To me, it also has the added benifit that while I may lose my connection as the router goes offline - in a power outage, my session state in tmux can be saved for as long as the battery runs. Plus I could reattach locally  and have the same keyboard as the system I was working on. Muahuahauahuaa!!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Using my phone as a bridge between wireless networks because the in-store WiFi doesn't cover enough stomach my other's shopping. I will also admit that while I prefer Andrea to my phone, I still *hate* shopping!!!

Not how I like spending my time off work by far.

Day two and I almost kilt her but now I has root

After setting up my Eee Pad Transformer over night and lunch, I went about trying to root her after getting home from work. Flashing Andrea seemed to work fine, give or take that I normally have reservations about flashing stuff I haven't personally proofed. It was marked as being appropriate for my SKU and release but left Andrea booting into a garbled multi-colour screen....a small fortune in paper weights.

I quickly rebooted Andrea into APX mode and searched Google for a way to unroot back to a stock ROM, even if that meant the original version. That soon lead me to Roach's Prime v1.4 ROM, which I flashed to recover to a blank, usable, and rooted state. You can't upgrade from Prime v1.4/Honeycomb 3.1 via ASUS updates, so I hit the web again to see if he had released a newer version of the ROM, sure enough, he has gotten up to v1.9! A quick look about showed me Prime v1.7/Honeycomb 3.2 stable and a 1.8 version in beta. So I tried to install the Prime v1.7 ROM as an update. Now that isn't so hard, you basically save the ZIP archive and install it using ClockWorkMod via a recovery boot. The problemo is the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer sticks the internal storage at /mnt/sdcard with a link to /sdcard. Using a real memory card or USB device will go in /Removeable/WhatEver. So CWM couldn't use the update, 'cuz it couldn't mount /sdcard.

Having missplaced my USB stick some time between work and vacation prep, I gave it no attempt to try that option and instead went looking for memory cards. I had purchased a pair of SD cards when I had bought a digitial camera a couple years ago, as it hadn't lasted very long, my mother inherited them for her Dell Streak 7". She had no idea where they went, so I checked her streak and found one - loaded the archive, stuck the card in the docks slot and bingo, same problem. So I removed the file, stuck that back in my mother's tablet, and ripped the MicroSD card out of my phone. Sure enough that worked and in a few minutes was greated by a Honeycomb 3.2 versiion of Prime :-).

So now Andrea is alive, functional, and rooted. I just had to trade ASUS support for the brillance of Roach (that ROM saved my pad), and had to reinstall everything because I didn't do a proper backup first. But that was a simple fix of redownload stuff off the Android Market via the website. I ain't stupid, lol. When I get home, I will probably try to update to the v1.9 if it seems stable enough, but by the time I can get around to that, I will want to backup my stuff first.

After getting everything settled, I finally decided that it would be a good idea to register on xda-developers, since their forum is like most important place on the web for stuff like this. They have the most awesome forum registeration process ever, including a video. It's worth it lol. Poking around the forums for my devices, it seems that it may be possible to flash a stock ROM after all but I would rather stick with Prime at this point. I'm also interested in seeing what gets cranked out but will need to aquire a suitable memory card before I can likely do much serious backing up.

I'm really thankful that Roach and cie made that

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Enjoying the Android platform

It's about 13:37 here and about half way through the work day. Normally I use a mixture of my workstation, Alice, and my phone; lately I have been using Alice quite heavily. I guess there is enough crap going through the wires that sometimes it is better to offload some of the heavy network traffic, plus it is rather handy that if I need to get up and walk around to do something, I can bring my /entire/ session along with me. So my workstation isn't Mission Critical to doing my job. In fact, it is pretty much a heavy weight client doing what a humble X terminal could do really.

The important things to getting work done around here, in regards to all that, is a terminal, SSH client, and a web browser. Last night I setup the free Android Terminal Emulator app that I have on my phone, only to find that it seems to be crash happy on Andrea :'(. Likewise I setup ConnectBot for SSH access, only to find that it doesn't support real modifier keys. So I can't use it with my docks actual Control, Tab, Alt, etc. ConnectBot does work great on  my touch screen phone though. How did I solve these problems? After spending for the tablet and dock, I can't bitch about paying another $4 for Better Terminal Emulator Pro (BTEP). Not only is it stable, it includes ash (probably dash but I haven't checked), bash and busybox in its toolset. Dropbear is even slipped in for SSH, which while not something I like, will do fine for at work needs.

I can SSH into the development server at work, use tmux & vim, and go about doing stuff. Heck on a good signal day, I could stand next to the Microwave with the tablet portion and keep coding! I can do that with my phone too but practical issues like screen size/virtual keyboard, mean going from vim to ed. Emacs should even work but I don't use it. All that is missing is a native X Server, and I could fix that with some rooting and VNC stuff, or maybe try to write one, idk. My workstation can deal with that slice of stuff easily.

To top it off, 94.9 has always been a bug to keep playing since they moved to a Flash based web player. The iHeartRadio app on my phone works but ahem, sound quality blows. The app doesn't support Honeycomb tablets but I was able to download and install it manually, then setup the radio station to play using portrait orientation: the app doesn't do landscape. So now I can finally work and listen to music without having to periodically stop to kick the radio stream into working :-) :-) :-).

I is satisified so far!

Hello Andrea :-)

Today, I went out and bought an ASUS Eee Pad Transformer from the local Microcenter. It is very much like the ASUS EeePC, or at least the 1015PE I have been using since retiring Dixie. In point of fact, I am typing this up on my new Transformer! It took quite a while to charge up enough to get to the updating but it was a very simple, quick, and easy process to update from Android 3.0 to 3.2; one of the things to attract me to this device, has been that ASUS seems to be supporting it much better than most companies have been supporting their mobile phones.

Being so much like Alice, which is also an ASUS product, I have named this Android "Andrea". The Transformer has interested me since I learned of it's existence, but I didn't quite think I would be purchasing one so soon lol. I will admit, that the differences between an Atom N450 and a Tegra 2 interest me. As does the notion of pushing Android harder to its limits. What really makes it worth while how ever, is between the dock and the tablet, the battery life should be insane.

Compared to the EeePC 1015PE, it is very similar: most external differences are more cosmetic or a reflection of the change in internals; like the ports involved. Andrea has basically the same keyboard as Alice. Except the left Windows and Alt keyshave ben replaced by "Home" and "Search keys". Android doesn't understand function keys, so rather tha being Fn+F* combos, various operations are instead directly accessible via the top most row of keys. There is also no numpad to enable via Fn+F* key, not that I have ever used this on a mobile. Oddly, delete has been replaced with lock where as appropriately, escape was replaced with "Back". While docked the keyboard operates as you would expect, there are only a few noticable irregularities when coming from a PC. Mostly things like Control+Arrow-key or Control+Backspace are not working, although Control+A, Control+C, Control+X, Control+V combos working. Fair enough on a touch screen oriented OS I guess. Alt+Tab even works, more or less like long-pressing the home button on an Android 2.x phone. Using the cursor/tab keys to move around does not generally work as good as a PC user is used to, although such PC users are probably a dying breed. The touch pad however is very nice and useful. Very enjoyably you use left click/tap as on a phone and right click as an alias for the back button. Context menu is usually a soft button on the bottom or top side of the screen.

As a tablet, I personally would prefer a smaller screen like my mother's 7" Dell Streak. It just feels more managable in my hands. As Andrea is meant to be docked, I am quite happy to have a full 10.1" screen. The resolution is also one up from what Alice supports, which makes for an interesting experience! It is so much easier to use Android on a 10.1" at this resolution then my phones lowly ~3.2" HVGA display. Changes to apps like GMail and the like, generally seem to be improvements for having a tablet sized screen in Honeycomb; I am somewhat interested to see what happens in Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.

I have the TF101-B1 version, so 32GB is a lot. Most stuff on my phone is on the MicroSD card, and I only maintain 35-50MB of space. Andrea came loaded with something like 200MB of space in use out of 28GB accessible, a pretty good deal. Especially since unlike my phone, it isn't loaded down with applications, even if the updates to 3.2 added more. Alice is only 11-13GB with a bunch of software installed on GNU/Linux, less than 4GB of which amounts to my home directory. So I am pretty sure that I don't need to wory much here! I can also use memory cards and USB devices for more stuff. ASUS preloads it with a bit of My* apps, including a form of ASUS Web Storage. I have tried it under Froyo and Windows XP, Dropbox is better, and has the advantage (unlike ASUS Web Sotrage) of being able to access stuff in app when you are disconnected. Android client is OK other than requiring Network access (or side stepping out of app) but the Window PC version just sucks, period. FWIW though the integration into MyCloud and the procing is very nice—but I will stick with Dropbox.

Honeycombs UI is very enjoyable for me, and I am kind of impressed by the bundled office app: Polaris Office. Haven't used it very much (just for documents) but it is nice. Something that really aces it for me, the Browser app is much more like Google Chrome than the Froyo version. Running off a 1Ghz dual core instead of a little 600Mhz single cored ARM, it is also fast enough that I don't need to reach for Opera Mobile.

So far, I'm lovin' it. Really the main lossage is a native X server. I would have to root Andrea and set things up using X/VNC. Except for a few things I do at work, I don't need X, as a decent shell environment or a SSH client to one, does most of what I need. Hehe. My only real complaint is that while Alice has a _long_ charging cord/adaptor, Andrea has a short one :-/.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where is the money going?

Over a period of 8 1/2 months, I have made a bit over $18,000 net. I don't record my gross, only my net, but a guesstimate based on my pay stubs would say my gross so far is over $22,000.

So far I have spent close to $3,000 on my mother, this includes groceries, bill overages, being dragged off so she can have a whopper, etc; but excludes stuff like gifts and bribes. That is excluding whatever $$$ she gets for this month (originally slated to be +$500).

By the time I refuel Noëlle, I will have spent almost $1,000 on petrol. Moving has really helped this a lot, even with higher gas prices and my mother's overages sometimes pulling into my petrol budget; I will gladly take $50 x 2 weeks over $35 x 1.5 days any day! For the mathematically challenged, that means I spend at most 2/3 what I used to, even with gas having gone up $1~$1.20+ per gallon!!!

So far I've spent almost $550 on games, that divides into about $150 on myself and about $400 in gifts. Yeah, I can be kind of generous. Also I tend to buy several copies of major games (like pre-ordering the 4-pack of Dead Island) when we get into things, and when playing related games (e.g. L4D/L4D2), I'll often 'balance the equation', so that we can all play together without having to lose people because of the lowest common denominator in our inventories.

Consumables such as snack foods and eating out has been $150, excluding the times my mother demanded we eat out (which is therefore calculated as how much I've spent on her). Some of this is from having to buy lunch after the move but most of it is just splurging on my stomach. My $2 limit on impulse snacking doesn't work if I already decided on it...:'(. I needs to work on trimming back on this a lot.

I've paid $1750 in car payments and over $1800 in car insurance. (Yes, I am getting seriously rapid for not having my license since 18.) If you combine that with petrol costs, I've paid out like $4,500 in automotive expenses thus far.

Technology has consumed approximately $600, which amounts to stuff like my monitor and Alice. Both were major upgrades over what they replaced, and actually, significantly cheaper in the end sum. Never mind that most of my technology tends to last years longer than a lot of other peoples crap.

Clothing has racked up less than $80, you can tell I'm more an engineer than a fashion mogule there.

Paying for the move from Newnan to Duluth, and a vacation to Canada, have rather raped most of my savings but both were well worth it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

After spending at least 45 minutes pacing the halls here, courtesy of a power outage, I must admit, I see another perk for upgrading from my netbook to that ransformer: the battery charge is enough to supplement my work station!

Most of what I need to do off my work station, can either be done using Android or done on Android, as long as things are properly setup. So me thinks it is worth a shot. Not to mention the extra charge would also be really nice when travelling.

Monday, September 12, 2011

So, tonight my mother got yet another Blood Glucose Meter, because the one she got from this one company was to inacurrate, and of course the replacement is to. So she has seen it setup a couple of weeks ago plus already has been shown how to use it. My mother must have at least eight different meters by now, six minimal, and they all are programmed and operated the same.

I obliged her by putting the battery in and telling her to do the rest, as she already knows how to use it. But oh wait, the date is wrong. Never mind that AFAIK she doesn't actually use (let along know how to) the meters memory to record her stuff, in place of paper (oi). I told her to RTFM.

Now not everyone who is not diabetic, or been around those that have (I have for most of my life), setting up the meter is as complex as setting the time on a wrist watch. You push one thing to set/toggle what is highlighted and another to change the current one forward. Easy, simple, universal, and oh so clearly documented in the manual. It is not hard. Maybe wrist watches have gotten harder between when I last bought one eons ago and when cell phones took over but still, it is not that complicated. Seriously, it's so easy s child doesn't even need the manual for something like that. Either that or I must have been Really Smart as a small child.

After an endless stream of being used as a substitute for her having to do anything, be it this or other things, I drew the line: either figure it our yourself or I'm charging you all the money you owe me as punishment. Because if you're not learning to fish by being given the "Nice" treatment, it's time for to terminate the politeness.

So obliviously, because I don't think my mother should be allowed to use her lack of ability to use grey matter, and her diabetes as an excuse to have me do everything for her without her learning how to fend for her self even as much as a child can, I am the most rotten bastard one earth? Wow. People need to learn how to fish for themselves.

By now, on the  metres alone, it's a picture to me that is more or less like a young parent asking an old mother how to diaper a child: sure, I'll show you but that doesn't mean you don't have to diaper your own kids ass.
When my website takes a more proper shape, I will likely hack at my blogs styling to match it.
I've been thinking a bit about what to do with, mostly about the implementation; I think usage is perhaps deserving of another entry, so as to keep this quickly written.

My host like many, focuses on PHP. Unless you specifically go somewhere that specializes in language xyz (such as a Engine Yard), every host does PHP—because that is what most ass clowns want. Now me, I know enough about PHP, that I have no desire to utilize it beyond running canned web apps written in it, such as stuff like Mantis or MediaWiki. In fact, I prefer to avoid even PHP powered web apps unless it is best of breed (Mantis yes, phpBB no, MediaWiki maybe). You can say there are three languages I don't like the taste of: PHP, English, and Java; probably in that order. I have my reasons for each but that's not the subject here.

Now, I am rather fortunate spider because my host provides a lot more than just PHP :-). I can't say that I particularly care for the heavy weight frameworks some people use: Ruby on Rails, Pythons Jango, ASP.NET, or Java land in general. Something smaller like CherryPy is more my speed but I really don't want to deal with that right now. In all probability I will likely try using Perl or C++. Why Perl, because I love it, or C++? Because I use it.

On the subject of Perl, most people will likely look at something like Catalyst or rely on the built in CGI module. Me, I would prefer something more like Dancer. Which is exactly the kind of web frame work that I like: small, concise, powerful. One that lets me focus on what the fuck I am doing and not how the framework decides things are stitched. Ever since I first bumped into Dancer, I have always wanted to try it but never had the website or the cause, hehe. Dancer+Moose sounds like a very good idea to power my website. I cannot think of a framework that would make me happier than something like Dancer, unless there is one that mind maps thoughts to implementation code, and then just makes it magically 'go' at deployment time.

I must be insane to be thinking of doing web development in C++ in 2011, but hey, why not? I assume that statically linking the (C/C++, and compiler) runtime libraries and any associated dependencies I may wish to link with, should be sufficient to deploy as a CGI program. This blog page suggests that it is more or less possible to do it easily enough, and the GCC manual suggests it should be O.K. for my deployment targets.

A little test on a Linux box:

    $ cat > s.cpp
       return 0;

    $ g++  s.cpp -o shared-s
    $ ldd shared-s =>  (0x00007fff4a9de000) => /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ (0x00007f61fdead000) => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ (0x00007f61fdc28000) => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ (0x00007f61fda11000) => /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ (0x00007f61fd67d000)
      /lib64/ (0x00007f61fe1da000)
    $ g++ g++ -static -static-libgcc -static-libstdc++ s.cpp -o static-s
    $ ldd static-s 
      not a dynamic executable

Never really have tried it for an experiment like this before but I assume that I can have the web server rewrite URLs in such a way that it passes them to my program or a script, which then processes them accordingly to a configuration file. The utility of dynamic languages is great but the usefulness of more staticly typed languages is not out weigh-able.

O.K. now back to getting crap done.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Finally, a real domain cometh!

Assuming that I actually set stuff up correctly, soon should finally be associated with my website. Which has yet to actually be used for much of anything yet, except a few map files and a semi-private voice service. As soon things are done, I will attempt to make point to this blog as an alias. I know plenty enough abotu web development, it's just I am so darn lazy about getting stuff put up, given that when I'm not working, I'm usually interested in hanging out with a certain Firefly...hehe.

For how bloody long it took me to get all of my content here, I am not interested in leaving Blogger right now. Maybe someday I will transition to some software package, or write my own, but I am perfectly happy with Blogger—and the only "Mainstream" package I know for running it myself, is Wordpress: which can suck rotten eggs and die as far as I am concerned. So unless I get an intense interest in writing web blogging software, nothing will change, except there will be multiple ways to access my blog :-).

Both and should refer to THIS website. There is no significant difference, except some more 'advanced users' of my journal/blog may experience issues if they are using bots that do not understand redirections.

Which one should be considered canonical, well that is up to peoples bookmarks and Google.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thoughts on the cost of modernizing my techno-farm

At the present my techno-farm, for lack of a dedicated cave, consists of only a few systems:

  1. SAL1600—Gaming system, cica 2006.

  2. Alice—Netbook, a mid-2010 model.

  3. Vectra—Franken server.

  4. My phone—A simple froyo based LG Optimus/LG-509.

Dixie, my darling laptop lays retired along with spare parts from vectra's old case. My mother's PC, tablet, and cell phone are exclusive of my interest here.

A few quick calculations for my über penny pinching mindset:

My phone isn't particularlly spectucular but after a year of abuse, it still serves sufficently for what it does: excessive texting / instant messenging, and about as much web surfing/e-mail as a normal person might do on a PC. I particularlly like being able to lay down (without using a laptop) and chat/surf in comfort. My main beef is the limited internal memory (About 30M out of 150M, even with almost everything moved to the MicroSD card), and small screen size. A phone worth buying as a replacement, would cost in the range of $500 without any contract deals. A prime target would be something like the HTC Sensation. All things considered, I am generally hesitent to get such an Android device until 4.x is the norm, and I will likely use this phone until it drops over dead or the carrier offers a free/low cost upgrade at renewal.

After all these years, I will admit that despite being annoying years, SAL1600 has had quite a long life, it is only now just starting to show signs of old age (for my tastes). Sooner or later it will need replacement purely to keep pace with it's main task, running DirectX powered games. Within maybe 3-5 years the CPU will be to old for the job, and by then the capacity for memory could be exhausted (I've not upgraded past the stock 2GB DDR2). Building a new computer from existing parts can be done pretty cheaply. Maybe $400 for a modern CPU, mobo, and a chunk of DDR3 memory. Plus a video card. I like Windows 7 as far as it goes, and think modern DirectX is a good thing for game developers (because of the requirements for support), but the cost makes building up a modernized rig as bad as just buying a new PC and a better GPU. Whatever Windows XP would do if I suddenly changed out all the core componants, idk. But in the end, it is just cheaper to spend for a better GPU ($140-$200).

Like wise for how much all of that PC shit would cost for an overhaul/replacement, I could easily buy an ASUS EeePad Transformer and dock. That is a device I really like the concept of, enough so that if I had knew it was coming out, I might not have baught Alice but instead saved for it, then rooted it. However, as I do have Alice, which for less work lets me what matters more (i.e. a full unix/linux environment), I don't care to spend that much just for the possibilities it offers.

The end sum of things? I'd really like to persue these vectors but the Return On Investment is not high enough to make me interested in the expense. Given the choice, I'd rather save more or even pay off my car (a lot) faster. The average person my age, given my level of income, would probably go spending on gadgets like a raging bull in a china shop!