22 December 2009
Another flaw with Avatar: Ana Lucia has still not been punched in the face. Help me, Season 6. You're my only hope.
Also, Avatar shares a lot of themes with Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Loved that one. Hannah does, too.
21 December 2009
We shall not cease from explorationI really like it. I find it very compelling. I don't want to leave my family – I don't want to go exploring – I don't need new friends when I've got such good ones in my daily life already. (I suppose I'm taking an optimistic viewpoint on that last line, but that's well within my liberty.)
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot, LITTLE GIDDING
The quote seems relevant in light of college graduation. "Where to?"
I don't want anyone to leave. And I want everyone to come back.
It is a great movie. It noticeably lacked only two things:
An original plot. Reviews I read before watching made this same critique. The avatar thing is a nice speculative fiction twist (and a bit over-played in the title, I think), but doesn't sway the story too considerably from Pocahontas/Dances with Wolves/The Last Samurai: efficient-killing, greedy invaders lend wayward hero to "savages", who turn out to be noble and inspire the hero to switch sides.
Here's the catch: I love this plot. Add in the thoughtful and inter-woven support from the Na'vi culture and Pandoran ecology for the audience's inflamed environmentalism, and Cameron has sharpened-up a very old and very proven story.
Character development. The wittiest critique I read on Rotten Tomatoes was about how the movie looks great in 3D but the characters themselves are trapped in 1D. Nobody really changes.
The closest I'd say was the capitalist Parker; his resentment for his charge and his thin attempts at self-deception become more evident as the movie proceeds. I like that veneer of sympathy the movie allows him. Clearly, Jake changes, but this is a plot element more than character development. Moreover, the lack of information about his past character (=spunky?) leaves us with no trajectory upon which to witness character development.
I'll say it again. It is a great movie. But not a film. I'd say the two missing pieces above are pretty much pillars of film, but no more than pieces of a movie.
Basically: amidst the simple plot, Cameron effortlessly blends dragon-riders and mecha in the same movie. I can dig that. Layer on the wonderment of being a Na'vi, the invitation for redemption for our greedy ways (demonstrated by Dr. Augustine/Jake connecting with Eywa), the drop-dead gorgeous Pandoran environment, and the most seamless computer animation ever, and you have no excuse to miss this one.
19 December 2009
18 December 2009
I saw Phil yesterday and that reminded me that some people change the caps lock key to be other things, since caps lock is so worthless. OS X actually supports this directly in the Keyboard preference pane†, so now my caps lock key is just another option key. My thumb feels better already.
It feels hopeful.
† You can change other "modifier" keys too: control, option, and command.
15 December 2009
14 December 2009
My picks from that list:
- Acacia: The War with the Mein
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
- Look to Windward
- The Mount (maybe)
- Perdido Street Station
- Rainbows End
- Stories of Your Life And Others
13 December 2009
If you want access, let me know. I'm going to read it all, seasons 1-5, before 6 starts on 2 February because I don't remember so much!
11 December 2009
Though I had followed the ragtag instructions and got GHC working as far as I could tell, I was having trouble getting Apache + FastCGI + GHC to work for a web application I had made on my laptop (OS X 10.5). I couldn't really find any error issues and other parts of the web site were working fine, so I just figured the bit mismatch was causing the problem, since IPC can be iffy in the first place. I had given up for a while.
But, I recently installed mod_python and wrote some home-grown python to filter my Google Reader shared items and this blog for my Twitter account (a little more sophisticated than twitterfeed, especially since it is triggered via URL). This put me back in the mood to get Haskell working, since I much prefer it to Python given the choice. I think what it turned out to be was me not noticing that GHC didn't actually rebuild the Haskell executable since I had only changed GHC-system files and not the actual source. Works now. Joy.
Long story short (too late): my online Quoridor program works now, so two people can play over the Internets. En garde! It's password protected because I don't understand the licensing issues and Family Games, Inc. hasn't responded to my inquiry. If you want to try it, let me know.
10 December 2009
09 December 2009
Lindsey shared this, and it's freakin' brilliant! I hope the Lost cabal has pre-manipulated all the Wikipedia pages it references, though – that'd be masterful.
Note that Charlie's never mentioned, which is good because he's dumb.
I really dig the theme (that I first saw in Gaiman's American Gods) that the atrophy of pagan faiths has a "physical" consequence for the deities themselves.
08 December 2009
07 December 2009
05 December 2009
Thanks for listening, and I hope you've gotten something from reading it. I've enjoyed writing it from the silly little shares to the diary-esque or even manifesto posts.
I've changed the name a couple of times, from "Ignorance is OK!" to "Rumblin' Bumblin' Stumblin'" and now to "Myopic and Moderate" (which has no zing and so will probably change soon). Each of those was meant to reflect my current philosophical mood. In that way, I suppose, this blog has largely served to record some trace of my (re)construction of a personal ethic.
I'm sick of thinking about that stuff: I've deconstructed, but the reconstruction isn't getting anywhere. This is why my posts have been a lot less thinky recently.
On that note, it is a fitting time to mention (again) that I've opened a Facebook account and – just now – a twitter account. I've set it up so that both of those just feed out this blog; don't expect anything beyond that (though I might be using some twitter syntax). I'm just connecting to my friends in whichever way they've invited me to do so. No more social networking elitism.
01 December 2009
30 November 2009
I have a Facebook account. It's ultra secret and invisible. Point me to your profile if you'd like to be my friend.
I've already used it to make a connection I couldn't otherwise manage for 5 years (I had tried letters, Googling, and email). The power of its social inter-connectivity is undeniable. My grumblings had become rote. And the mass of friends' events I've not known about because I wasn't on Facebook is no one's fault but mine. So many friends are there, and I can follow responsibly.
What does responsibly mean? I only check Facebook when I'm on the shitter. I can still be subversive!
28 November 2009
27 November 2009
- have a screen saver that sleeps the display instead of drawing pretty pictures on it.
- be prompted for your password when you disturb the screen saver.
- be able to immediately start your screen saver via your keyboard if you want to safely walk away from your computer.
- be able to temporarily disable your screen saver while watching a movie etc.
The sleepy screen saverI've always wanted my screen saver to just put the display to sleep, but that's not been an OS X option out of the box.
This hint comment offers some C code for sleeping the display immediately, which it seems is the only way to do it from the command line! There's the CTRL-SHIFT-Eject keystroke, but AppleScript cannot emulate the Eject keystroke. You can compile that code (change the function name to main) with
if you've installed the XCode tools.
gcc -framework CoreFoundation -framework IOKit
Now you have an executable that just sleeps the display.
Why use a screen saver at all?A fine question. I could just set my display to sleep before my screen saver starts. There's a reason.
Phil has got me thinking about security recently, so I want my laptop to prompt for a password when someone wakes the display from sleep/disturbs the screen saver. This is easy to setup for the screen saver, but not so much for waking display. The best alternative I can find is SleepWatcher, but that project seems a little too fragile for me to depend on it. It would let me execute a script when the display wakes, but I also don't want to write a script that emulates the password prompt.
So I'm using a screen saver because I want the password prompt aspect.
How to make the application a screen saverThere are tutorials for making screen savers, and XCode even has a project for them (under Standard Apple Plug-ins), but I don't know Objective-C and there's more function stubs to fill out than I'd like. So I'm going to cheat and use ScriptSaver instead. It only runs AppleScripts, so we use a simple little script to invoke our executable according to this note. I put my executable in /usr/local/bin and made a /usr/local/AppleScripts directory for my script. Check your PATHs and such.
- I made sure, in the Security preference pane, that a password is required to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver.
- I use Quicksilver, because I prefer the keyboard to the mouse. OS X lets you use a Hot Corner for invoking the screen saver, but that's hard to activate with the keyboard... so I added /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app to Quicksilver's catalog. That way I can invoke the screen saver just like any other program. (Phil pointed me to this hint; if you don't want to install Quicksilver.)
- Temporarily disabling the screen saver for movies and such is comparable to disabling sleep, but it's a bit more complicated (see HippoMan's post at 12-31-2008, 08:26 PM for the solution – also, applaud him for politely putting up with a lot of stupid responses in that thread).
23 November 2009
22 November 2009
I don't know the difference between Flash Player 9 and 10. The HD content plays fine, so I don't think I have a reason to care. (It still bothers me on principle!)
I also took care of the fact that my computer goes to sleep when watching videos.
I put a link to this file on my desktop. I just need to double-click it (thanks to its .command suffix) to disable the inactivity-based-sleep functionality for 2 hours. Break it down:
#!/bin/sh trap 'pmset force -c sleep 90' 1 2 3 14 15 pmset force -c sleep 0 sleep 7200 pmset force -c sleep 90
trapmeans that if the script gets prematurely interrupted, it re-enables the sleeping.
pmsetbits disable and re-enable the sleeping behavior.
- It re-enables automatic-sleepage (... eww) after a 7200s=2h delay via
21 November 2009
I use OS X's Screen Sharing to control the Mini from my laptop. When the video locks up, I can either connect via Screen Sharing or disconnect in order to fix it. This is a weird band-aid, but Screen Sharing is obviously related to video. It's annoying to do it every 5 minutes or so and to keep my laptop in my lap to watch video.
Some page I saw said it only happens when watching 480p content. And, for me, it only started happening when I started using 1080i. It didn't happen when I was using 720p.
This alternative suggestion did not work for me, which was sad. Took a while though, so my hopes got lifted and then squashed.
20 November 2009
But, today, it worked.† Other than this Mac OS X update, I don't think anything else changed.
Yay? Yay...? Yay.
† I tried it again when playing around to try to figure out why the screen bounces when I set the mini to output 720p. Still don't know what's going on with that one.
11 November 2009
I just took Jupiter to puppy class for the first time since we started doing this daily (past week or so). He was his normal overly-excitable self at first, but about half way through he got really attentive and obedient. We actually got to show off a bit with some happenstance long distance obedience – there was literally oooing and ahhing. He's quite obedient at home without major distractions (we practice nothing's-for-free for feeding twice a day) and that finally came through at class tonight. It was awesome.
06 November 2009
05 November 2009
You have to tell your friend via some other means what room you're in, once you start one.
I've used it a bit in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. And on my phone – which is just plain weird.
In case you're wondering, it uses Apache 2.2 running on Leopard, with a multi-threaded Haskell program running server-side in FastCGI mode – and of course, the infamous XMLHttpRequest.
Call me a minimalist and then re-design the interface for me.
Currently the front-page is one of those cool kid photos. Primarily because I'm obsessed with my hair as it's never been this long before.
Remember, unless you catch me with my laptop on at home, my website won't be loading for you.
† Who uses that word?
02 November 2009
And Parker wanted me to share Nickchalant. I'll leave it to him to explain that one – apparently I have "a way". I hope it's akin to a pirate smile.
01 November 2009
I don't like languages that don't admit keyword variable names. It's called scoping, people – look it up. Also, context-sensitive parsing: "Woo woo! All aboard." A loop construct doesn't follow a period. And dynamic LHSes never hurt anyone, especially in a late-binding language. Arg.
31 October 2009
Our most recent Quoridor-phase got me in the mood enough to make this interactive assistant. At the moment, it's just a virtual board that allows exactly the same moves that the physical board does. However, it helps you track all of your moves and provides some rich navigation such as undo and redoing (with branching and tagging (kind of like git)).
Try it out!
(I've tested it on Firefox 3.5.4 and Safari 4.0.3 on OS X 10.5.8 and my friend says we're golden on Google Chrome 188.8.131.52 on Vista. Please let me know about other platforms.)
30 October 2009
22 October 2009
I think I'll do this often, because of how many free samplers I tend to download from Amazon.com. (They used to have a page showing all free songs, but that URL is dead now... big surprise.) So... any suggestions regarding a better way to do this sharing or an online place to catalog the list?
15 October 2009
So I solved the problem by bumping the plan to send me more DVDs. Riposte! We can discuss extra expenses later.
09 October 2009
Oh yeah. Right. Sure. One "sshhtt" is all it took. Definitely. Right.
I recorded him in the crate this time, with his rawhide bone, water, and about eight hidden treats.
This weighs so heavily on me. I talked to Perry about it and he so graciously told me that as long as I remain as productive as I've been I can come in less. I'm planning on spending at least Tuesdays and Thursdays working at home and working on increasing the amount of time I can leave the room without him flippin' it. So hopefully we're on the mend.
Also, my new puppy class teacher suggested freezing some of his canned food (he usually just eats kibble) in a Kong, which is the most interest he's ever shown in a Kong. This has kept him occupied during my very brief absences.
We need a talented and beautiful woman - Bryce Dallas Howard
We need to cover our demographics - Common
We need a creepy lady: Stevie Nicks but brunette and coherent - Helena Bonham Carter
Who threw this dart? - Sam Worthington
I know I owe you $20, but I don't have any cash on me - Michael Ironside
What's this second dart doing here? - Moon Bloodgood
06 October 2009
She barked hard, until today.
Today, she did not bark. She did not bark at the mailman. She did not bark when Jeff came home. She did not bark as Keith came home or went in and out of the front and back doors preparing to grill tonight (it smells good in here right now!).
Over the past couple weeks we've implemented a new strategy to quiet Honey. When she barks, we calmly lead her upstairs to her room (where she is happy to be). Crucially, the "upstairs" command comes immediately after the bark, so she's learning that barking gets her sent upstairs.
There's no punishment involved, but there is a consequence. Honey loves to see people come through the door. Especially women for some reason. It may have taken about two weeks, and it probably will take months more to solidify, but I think Honey is catching on. We've been diligent and the rewards today will only encourage us to stay consistent and help her improve.
It's been a nice quiet day, and I think everyone that knows Honey will be excited to hear this news!
(I also worked from home today to quiet Jupiter (from around the corner) each time he whimpered or scratched at his cage. After a while, he was quiet for periods lasting up to 2 hours. It was SO encouraging. I feel very positive about him tonight. And today was especially quiet.)
02 October 2009
HEY! HEY! Don't skip this unless you know this stuff already. It might demystify your monthly overage charges from your ISP, or help you yell in a more informed way at your roommates. It'll get back to this stuff in a few paragraphs, so hang in there.
When you type in a URL or click a link, your computer creates a little message (surely no more than a few kilobytes in the most extreme case). Your computer sends this message to your router (either through an Ethernet cable or across the wireless as a signal in the electromagnetic spectrum), which sends it to your modem (across the Ethernet cable) to your internet service provider (ISP) (across the DSL/phone/cable/satellite/etc.). All this time, the message's content hasn't really changed from that URL. Your ISP then sends this message to a name server, which is what knows how to map your URL to an IP address. When someone buys a domain name, they're in effect paying for these servers to include a mapping from their domain to the IP address of their webserver. Accordingly, the name server sends a new message containing the IP address for the original URL to your ISP which forwards it on back to your computer and finally your web browser.
Now the process starts over, this time using the HTTP protocol. Your web browser makes a new message (probably a GET request) and sends it to your router, modem, and then ISP. This time, the ISP sends it across the Internet backbone to the web server (identified by the IP address that the name server returned), which sends a HTTP response back to your web browser. Your web browser finally has the HTML (it's probably HTML but it can be other stuff) it needs to show you a web page. Other media in the web page, like images, are requested in a similar way before they can be shown as part of the page. Video, like YouTube for instance, are "streamed", which means that your computer is receiving later parts of the video (i.e. buffering) as it is showing you the parts it has already received.
(Wondering what HTTP messages look like?)
For all these things, the overall process is the same: your browser sends a message to a name server (via your router, modem, ISP) in order to translate a URL to an IP address, and then it starts communicating to that server (via your router, modem, ISP) to get the requested content (web page, image, video, etc.).
iTunes does a similar process (via your router, modem, ISP) when you search/preview/buy a song. Any program that uses the Internet basically does this same thing (via your router, modem, ISP).
Here's what makes this post relevant to your life. When your ISP gives you a bandwidth limit for the month, they actually give you two, one for upload (messages from your computer to your ISP) and one for download (messages from your ISP to your computer). When you click a link, there's at least two uploads and two downloads. Your browser uploads a request to translate a URL, your browser downloads the IP address, your browser uploads an HTTP request, and finally your browser downloads some HTML. Every time you upload something, your ISP counts how many bytes there was. If, in the billing cycle, that count exceeds your bandwidth limit†, then you've broke the rules. (I think for upload bandwidth limits, they just really slowdown your upload rate.) But people don't usually approach the upload limit. Your ISP also counts the bytes it sends to you: how much you've downloaded. Overages here you're usually charged for.
So now you know that everything you do on the Internet contributes to your ISP's upload and download counts, regardless of how you're interacting with it. Unless, you're at a coffee shop, for instance. Then it's the coffee shop's account with the ISP that your Internet communications are associated with. This is why coffee shops usually have slower Internet. Otherwise, they'd hit their download limit very quickly because everyone would download their big files (movies, natch) there.
† – Technically, managing my units here, it's your bandwidth limit times one month, since a bandwidth is an amount of data (like 2 gigabytes) per an amount of time (like one month).
01 October 2009
I decided to record Jupiter left in the living room when I went to work this morning. My iPhone quit after 40 minutes, but he was still whining. :(
He made all this noise even with our other dog Honey laying across the living room – he wasn't actually alone (admittedly: she doesn't like him). Yesterday I put him in his crate in the living room with Jeff watching TV and Jeff said he went off as usual. I don't think he goes so crazy if he's left with Jeff without being in the crate; hence today's test.
I'm hoping someone out there knows dog and can tell me that he's saying "If only I had a banana!" or something. He whines with or without toys/chews; once I leave he's fixated on the door and window, regardless. He generally quiets down after about an hour.
Unfortunately, I have to go to work and I can't bring him along. That's a new quality of my dream job, by the way.
30 September 2009
27 September 2009
25 September 2009
- Turning right on the leash. It took about 15 minutes of a circle for him to give in, and I didn't even actually wait until he was preventing any leash tension, just until he significantly improved.
- Shake. Before we go in the door, I make him sit. He was really reluctant, so I commanded him to shake also. That took about 10 minutes.
- Down. Then, before feeding we do a series of commands. He already sat, so I said down. That took 35 minutes.
- Sit. I wanted to make sure he didn't go down just because he gave up on sitting (because he was starting to doze off, which was kind of cute), so I said sit. I gave up after 25 minutes and shuffled into him (I had gone down to my knees a while ago – standing for 50 minutes got boring) in order to make him do it. Then he shook, down, sat, shook, stood, sat, shook, and stood with quick responses but very slow movement. Then I let him eat; he hopped to that.
I don't feel great about entering standoffs, but I'm trying to reinforce that my commands are absolute and that it's more him choosing to obey that I'm looking for and less me physically posturing him. Instead of "sit", waiting, and then putting him in a sit with the leash or by tucking his back legs with my arm, I've been waiting until he obeys. That has been a matter of seconds, especially once I move to be right in front of him (he's usually looking out through of the glass door).
I hope this incident doesn't repeat itself, gods willing.
24 September 2009
15 September 2009
(I told Tyler I would post more to my blog, so expect a more generous filter for a few weeks.)
Anyway. For those of you who forgot to wear your calculator watch today, that's three miles. We took it nice and slow. I was haunted by the same-old leg ghast, so she graciously stopped with me twice for a couple minutes to (attempt to) stretch. I still, after all these years, don't really know how to stretch that sonbitch, particularly not without taking off my shoes.
Pushing your running limits is rewarding (I wasn't expecting to best a mile), but, as I discussed with Jeff (not
12 September 2009
Forgot to take these in the daytime, so please forgive the lighting.
His old photos are on Flickr, too.
I kenneled him last night because Adam Bennett was in town and the actual event was on pretty short notice. He was tuckered this morning, and then we went to Mutt Run, and now he's passed out on the couch.
This was the first time at a dog park, and it was great. He interacted very well with many dogs until he got very tired. The owners were attentive. He tried joining up with other dogs that were being taken for a walk a couple times, so I had to catch up and walk him back. And there was a Chiuaua that didn't mind that Jupiter was 50% playmate and 50% predator, but he responded very well to me telling him to tone it down.
Most is well in Jupiter land. He's not peed inside in a long while – I'm far more trusting now. Still tries to eat too many things: plastic, rocks, and toiler paper. Oh, toiler paper.
The separation anxiety is still strong. This is a difficult behavior to train him out of as my presence is the issue. He's plenty happy in his crate when he sleeps, but he panics when I'm not accessible (crate or no crate). Whining, drooling, barking, and sometimes peeing. Weighs heavy on me still, not knowing what to do. I work at home sometimes trying to increase the distance he can relax with the door to my room open. Once he's calm I start moving out of sight for minutes at a time; working our way up. This issue makes me lose my cool with him sometimes, as it's so restrictive of my freedom; that's something for me to work on. And sometimes he tries to walk in front of me on walks, but it's more his attention on something causes him to speed up – regardless: that's the other thing that can frustrate me. Calm is good. Calm is good.
He's otherwise healthy, happy, and friendly, even with the bigger dogs. Sometimes he's shies away pretty hard, but mostly he's making himself small asking for play or chasing and mouthing. And goodness, he loves people.
We get our first lure coursing practice soon! There was one I've missed because I was out of town, so we're looking forward to this one. And the second puppy class starts next week. We're both excited.
22 August 2009
Schnauzer (undecided regarding size). I like that they look like the dog version of a (fantasy) dwarf. Out of left field, I know.
Pharoah Hound. I'm pretty consistent, I guess.
[Please yell at me in the comments if you're so angry about me linking to your photo.]
30 June 2009
- Yes, I know NASA is not a "company."
- My contributions were actually limited to the planning stages. I didn't have the time to implement or run the competition – Jupiter has been a happy hand full. Dr. Kimmell and Kevin Matlage (or "KMat" as he forces us to call him) deserve the credit for all their work this weekend alongside Dr. Gill. Wes and Megan Peck both planned and implemented a lot, too. And Mark Snyder became a PHP guru in short order for the website! I wasn't around enough to see the others.
I've already contacted the LJWorld asking for some sort of edit/correction about the attribution – I don't know if they'll be responsive.
29 May 2009
I bought him from Windrush Salukis. Kathy and Jeff were great to meet at Clinton Lake. They already had planned to come for a lure coursing trial and it was perfect timing: Jupiter was born 8 March, so he was the right age to hand off.
Yesterday was a really good day. I had been (and still am) getting really frustrated with his separation anxiety. If he can't see me, he starts whimpering and barking and he pees. This happens whenever I put him in his crate (even if I am right in front of him) or leave the room. What bothers me the most is that I can't interact with him in any way when he's whining or else I'll be rewarding that behavior. But letting a dog whine for too long (I've let it go for up to an hour and a half before) can lead to behavior problems down the road. There are tons of conflicting opinions out there about what to do. But my vet and my breeder say just let him wear himself out on it and then let him out when he's been quiet for a while. At night, I have no place to let him whine that doesn't keep up the roommates. It's been nerve-racking.
But: yesterday was a really good day. First, I took him on a walk and he did a great job! We had been practicing on the lead in the backyard with the commands "easy" and "let's go" and he responded to them very well on the actual walk. He stays at my side or a bit behind, not in front – just as I'd like. It was good to have a really positive experience like that after being mostly frustrated for a few days. Then, I made a strong effort to keep him from napping, and it payed off! He did not whine in his crate last night. A further stroke of genius: I woke him up to let him out at 2am (since he last drank at 10:30pm) and then waited for him to get tired (3am) before I put him back in the crate. He again made no complaint. I kept repeating "Good boy", "Good settle", and "I'm right here" and left my hand hanging over the bed in front of the crate until I passed out. It was so encouraging to get a good night's sleep with him in the right place and not bothering the roommies!
We'll do another walk today, for sure. House-training is going well. I'm using close tether training and a shaker-box to interrupt him. I've been praising/treating for eliminating outside – I use "void" as my command instead of "pee" or "potty" because I feel silly saying those words. (And I think "Void" is the name of some Final Fantasy boss, which is always a happy reference in my book.) I take him out every 90 minutes – as he catches on and becomes more comfortable alone the crate, I'll ween that to a schedule I can actually keep. His poop is really predictable in the morning (about 12 hours after dinner), but he only goes occasionally in the afternoon and sometimes waits until evening. He's only pooped inside once at my house (day one) and once in each of two other houses, but I think that's sort of expected with new places. It's the urination that he's not doing so well with.
See photos at my Flickr page. You can see his father, a lure coursing beast named Marquis, here. I met him this weekend, too, and he's gorgeous in person. Kathy says her dogs are usually 55 pounds, so I'm inferring Jupiter will be about the same size as his father, which is exactly what I want.
12 May 2009
- 2009 May 7th 3:20pm – I finished my last class ever. Appropriately, Perry was teaching it.
- 2009 May 12th 11:41am – I finished my last final ever. Andy Gill proctored the exam, which covered functional programming (using Haskell). That might very well remain the last time I sat in a classroom as someone taking a class.
25 April 2009
Tonight Tyler C joined us. And in about 2 or 3 hours we did it! Having a fourth human player really helped.
Unfortunately, Tyler didn't make it on to the chopper that saved us. He was literally inches away when he suddenly got yanked up into mid-air for no obvious reason. (This was right after I valiantly saved him!) We three were already on the chopper so the level immediately ended with Tyler being eaten by zombies as we somberly rose to safety. I actually screamed "noooo!" in absolutely sincere horror and disbelief when I saw it happen.
I'm sorry Tyler. But – that said – I am proud to be among the 12.7% percent of players to have pulled it off. And in my book, I know there were four survivors.
21 April 2009
16 April 2009
15 April 2009
14 April 2009
Once I get to the end, his claim is less drastic than I thought throughout and bothers me less.
The rest of this post is a jumble of tangents my thoughts took.
Searle's Chinese Room is prominent in Schulman's article.
I don't like it, because understanding Chinese isn't really the question, it's understanding what the other person is saying. A language like Chinese or English is empty – the incoming notes could be a well-formed but completely non-sensical Chinese statement and the person in the room wouldn't know what to say back. The Chinese Room example just wraps a known intelligence – a human – in a layer of machine (the rules of translation).
This relates to the misstep that I see Schulman taking: he talks about "intelligence" or "understanding a children's story" as if such things exist separate from humans exhibiting them. We have no real definition for "intelligence". I believe it's because it doesn't exist separate from us &ndash we are machines interacting and we think we do it in a special way called intelligence. The Chinese Room, like the Turing Test before it, involves a human in the intelligence test because we need to sprinkle in some "real intelligence" into the scenario, since we cannot otherwise characterize how to pass the test.
I don't even know where he's going with this, but I disagree with it. He eventually squirrels it into relevance with one of Searle's apparent contradictions.
But it would be incorrect to take the notion of a hierarchy to mean that the lowest layer—or any particular layer—can better explain the computer’s behavior than higher layers. Suppose that you open a file sitting on your computer’s desktop. The statement “when I clicked the mouse, the file opened” is causally equivalent to a description of the series of state changes that occurred in the transistors of your computer when you opened the file. Each is an equally correct way of interpreting what the computer does, as each imposes a distinct set of symbolic representations and properties onto the same physical computer, corresponding to two different layers of abstraction. The executing computer cannot be said to be just ones and zeroes, or just a series of machine-level instructions, or just an arithmetic calculator, or just opening a file, because it is in fact a physical object that embodies the unity of all of these symbolic interpretations. Any description of the computer that is not solely physical must admit the equivalent significance of each layer of description.
The layers are not equivalent. He earlier spoke of the duality between the symbols manipulated by a formal system (as a computer implements, e.g.) and the represented real object. I think he 1) chose a bad example regarding "opening a file" since it's a very computer-centric concept and 2) leaves out the notion that the monitor connects all the electronic state changes back to the real world &ndash the file is open because we see it presented to us on the screen. That is the result, showing the file's contents to the user. All the lower layers are just how it was done – a distinction he had previously pounded away on.
When I say the brain is a machine, I mean there's nothing unnatural about it – no magical piece (nothing playing the role of the man in the Chinese Room). I do not mean it needs to be digital. In fact, I'm doubt it is. Schulman points out that Kurzweil does too. Maybe I should read his book.
An old friend
Also, Shulman doesn't smell the problem of induction.
As an empirical hypothesis, the question of whether the mind can be completely described procedurally remains open (as all empirical hypotheses must), but it should be acknowledged that the failure thus far to achieve this goal suggests that the answer to the question is no—and the longer such a failure persists, the greater our confidence must be in that answer.
There's no basis for this claim.
11 April 2009
09 April 2009
05 April 2009
01 April 2009
I bought this big 99-song album (for .99 cents!) but didn't want to download it all at once, so I paused it after 20 songs. A few days later I tried to download 20 more but it wouldn't budge. I got feisty again.
To Amazon.com:They re-enabled my download rights today and I got the songs. But beware:
I downloaded 20 of the 99 songs of a recent order, then paused. When I went to resume them earlier this week and again today, but the Downloader application says "Download no longer available. Please contact customer service."
In my unpleasant, last interaction with Amazon.com, I was reassured: "... .amz files do not expires". Should that statement have been qualified?
Also note that if more than 3 hours have passed since you first made your purchase, your files may no longer be available for download. If this happens or you experience any additional problems, please contact us again so we can determine the best way to help you.
29 March 2009
The breeder lives in Odessa, MO which is just an hour and a half away, and where my mom's parents lived. We had a long visit. They have a "pet quality" 1 year old that they would give me if I liked, named Mooj. Yeah, give! They subscribe to the ancient custom of never selling salukis, only giving them as a gift. How awesome is that?
I'm off to visit another breeder (with 3 year olds) in Moberly, MO tomorrow evening. And Stephanie told me there's a breeder with 6 month old pups in Manhattan, KS, so that'll be a visit soon, I hope.
28 March 2009
It's an age old problem. I discussed it at lunch today with four other engineers. They helped me codify my feelings about the word. This is still in flux, but I wanted to post here so Aaron could have an audience to respond. Victoria, as Aaron's nemesis on this one, you are also invited to comment.
- Player-player antagonism I put this one first, because it seems to be my most severe requirement. You must be able to directly affect the other players. Mind games don't count.
- Objective score No judges! Some sort of inarguable point system. Ties are OK.
- Physical finesse It's hard to think what this rules out: most games require a skill.
- Intense physical exertion Some activities have long-term wear and tear on the body, but a real sport will make you sweat and breathe heavy.
- Extended endurance And not just briefly! A sports event – and each player's participation in it – needs to last.
Some popular non-sports:
|Any lane race: swim sprints, fields sprints, hurdles, etc. – the lanes rule out antagonism.|
|Judges' decisions are not inarguable. Fight 'til one can't fight.|
|It's a tough fight, but it's a matter of minutes before it's over.|
Obviously I'm being severe in requiring every quality of an activity in order for it to qualify as a sport. It's just a way to start understanding the different parts of it, in my mind. And there's something to be said for varying degrees of each quality – but not here and now.
I must speak to baseball since Aaron likes it, I don't, and it's a particularly tricky analysis. Antagonism, objectivity, and finesse are easy yeses. But intensity and endurance – it's harder to convince me. The pitcher definitely has to endure, but there's not so much intensity. Stealing a base definitely requires an intense sprint, but endurance is not a common concern for a base-runner. The variety within baseball positions means the team as a whole has to have these things in some combination, but no player needs them all. On the other hand, they play everyday. So there's seasonal endurance, but that's a much longer period than I have in mind. American football shares many of these considerations.
Maybe you'll make some claims about sports I didn't cover in the comments? Or – surely not – disagree with me on some I did.
26 March 2009
All of my music is legal, in the sense that I purchased the rights to the songs I have digital versions of. This just sort of happened one day when I got a new computer, and I've been in a financial position (and a picky enough music person) to persist. But why am I doing this? It's stupid. But legal, I guess?
The way I see it, the music industry is obsolete. Because audio is so easily reproduced and – face it – easy to record, the music industry no longer serves anyone but itself. But there's people whose job depends on it. What do we say to them? I think "Tough luck."
I'd like to dissolve record companies, turn to completely digital distribution, and only pay for live performances. Let's pay for actual entertainment again! People can burn their own CD if they want one and – calm yourself – they'll surely be a niche for those with a vinyl thing. Realize that writing music shouldn't pay the bills unless it's mind-blowing (which doesn't even require the author to record anything anymore!); performing should, because that's the experience that can't be perfectly reproduced for free.
Too harsh? I imagine a few of you have opinions on this and I'd like to hear them.
25 March 2009
And of course, I am the focus of the attention. I think I was born at 1am.
- 10,000 days later: Sunday, July 25, 2010 at 1am
- 15,000,000 minutes later: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 5pm
- 250,000 hours later: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at 5pm
- 1500 weeks later: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 1am
- 1,000,000,000 seconds later: Saturday, November 15, 2014 at 2:46:40am
22 March 2009
21 March 2009
I got to thinking and imagined a visitor to my porch challenging my porch lifestyle (on my porch! the nerve): something about missing out on all the history, culture, and other things happening out there. Then I envisioned my response – more as an abstract, fuzzy bag of words than something I feel like serializing here. The visitor responds, "You're not a 'happy person' are you?"
I'm writing about my answer to that question.
Math is a comfort zone for me, but imaginary numbers are just weird. Applications of complex numbers (the sum of a real number and an imaginary number) do, however, abound in engineering. I got quite familiar with them in electromagnetics. They do have a fun history and are an important part of my favorite formula (snort snort heh), an instance of Euler's.
-1 = ei πJust look at all the pieces!
The Ol' WP says Descartes called them imaginary in a derisive manner, which returns us to the porch. I use it derisively here as well. I am happy. I am finishing up my second 16 hour car ride this week and I've been cheerful throughout! It's the big picture, fluffy, abstact stuff that weighs me down. I feel happy about the day-to-day and struggle with the imaginary, speculative, ethical stuff.
I started off trying to say that my happiness was a number like day-to-day.speculative for emphasizing that the day-to-day is more important, but the whole radix system didn't work on any more levels. Then I remembered complex numbers.
So my happiness is a complex number (OMG, right?). The real part is a hefty positive number for my day-to-day happiness. My negativity is in the imaginary part. And here comes the clever, optimistic part. Multiplying conjugate complex numbers eliminates the imaginary part: perhaps pair bonding relieves some of the negativity associated with an muddled future. So, if two people are a good match (conjugal even), i2=-1 kicks in and the negativity of the product of their happinesses is eliminated. (The details fall apart on this model if you push too hard...)
/me bows. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.
19 March 2009
15 March 2009
Do .amz files expire? I'm on a trip, but would like to purchase daily deals. Can I purchase the .amz file, email it home, and then download the MP3s to my home computer next week?Now I'm usually polite and forgiving with customer service, but this response was just so wrong that it pissed me off. I'm pointlessly posting the entire thing here because I had to read the whole thing, so you do too.
Thanks for your time.
Thanks for writing to us at Amazon.com.Thanks for reading this far.
First, let me apologize for any inconvenience caused by this issue. The problem you reported is not a common error associated with the download process.
This can be corrected by deleting these temporary files. Go to the "Cache" or "Temporary Internet Files" option on your web browser (if you use Netscape, go to "Options" and choose "Network Preferences"; if you use Internet Explorer, go to "Tools" and choose "Internet Options"), and select the option to delete your cache or temporary files.
I request you to uninstall the Amazon MP3 Downloader application from your computer.1 If you do not know how to uninstall software from your computer, please refer to the Help section for your operating system or refer to the Downloader install page for more information.
I've also restored your access to "Scream (AmazonMP3 Exclusive Version)" by Chris Cornell, so that you can download them again by directly accessing the files from Your Media Library on Amazon.com at no additional charge.2
Your MP3 download may not be successful if your browser settings are not configured properly. You will need to enable your browser to accept cookies and allow pop-up windows from Amazon.com. Firewall and virus programs may also prevent successful download of your Amazon MP3 Music files. Before attempting another download, please visit the Help page below for tips on how to configure your system to allow downloads from Amazon.com:
TO DOWNLOAD FROM YOUR MEDIA LIBRARY:
1) Navigate to Your Media Library from Your Account or at this URL: http://www.amazon.com/library
2) Log in using your Amazon.com account e-mail address and password if prompted during the process.
3) Click on the "Downloads" tab.
4) To filter the results so only your music downloads are displayed, hover the cursor over the arrow on the "Downloads" tab and choose "Amazon MP3" from the pop-up menu.
5) Display songs available for download by locating the album in the list and clicking on the "Download" button. If you purchased only a single song, Your Media Library will still display your purchases by the album the song is from.
6) On the album detail page, click the "Download" link next to each song available to start the download.
7) As you do not have the Downloader installed, choose "Save" when prompted to save the .mp3 file.
As you downloaded a song from your browser without the Amazon MP3 Downloader, your Web browser settings control the location of the download.3 If you search for files with the extension ".mp3," you should be able to locate your purchases.
After you download a file, no further downloads will be possible from Your Media Library or through the Amazon MP3 Downloader. Because you are generally limited to download the file only once, we encourage you to always make backup copies of your MP3 files.
If you still encounter a technical problem with the file or unable to download the item successfully, please contact us again using this below mentioned URL so that we can assist you further or refund you for the same.
You can also reach Amazon MP3 Customer Service specialists directly via phone, please click the Customer Service button in the Contact Us box in the right-hand column of our Amazon MP3 Help pages:
You'll be able to enter your phone number and we'll call you at your convenience. Contacting us through the Web site ensures that you reach our specialists directly, allows you to verify security before a call is placed, and ensures we have your account information ready when we call you. Our live customer service associates are available from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, seven days a week.
Again, I apologize for the trouble you had with this Amazon MP3 purchase.
Thanks for shopping in Amazon MP3 Music Store.
HOW TO AVOID DOWNLOAD PROBLEMS
Amazon.com works with your Web browser to download MP3 music files. Here are some tips to help you successfully complete your download:
- Click each song "Download" link one at a time slowly. Clicking too quickly or clicking multiple links in rapid succession may cause an error.
- If using the Downloader, make sure a song has started downloading or appears in the Downloader queue before clicking "Download" for the next song.
- If downloading MP3 files without the Downloader, wait until one song has downloaded completely before clicking Download for the next song
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:
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We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company
- This is an overly aggressive and totally unrelated suggestion.
- This is the last thing I bought, but is again totally unrelated to my question.
- And... I did use the Downloader to buy that album.
Please route my previous question to someone who both understands English and has purchased an album using your Amazon MP3 Downloads service. I am disgruntled about the obvious disregard for my inquiry shown by the first reponse.That was kind of rough – I admit. Perhaps insensitive? But I felt my snappiness wasn't misplaced. It worked.
Hello from Amazon.com.Similar to Bill Gates' suggestion to charge for sending emails, I would much rather pay a dollar per customer service issue than pay the time to wade through the first few pointless interactions (like this story or being transferred on the phone).
First please allow me to apologize for the delay in the response. Please be assured we are making every effort to assist customers as quickly as possible.
I'm sorry to hear that you had an unsatisfactory experience when you contacted us previously.
We pride ourselves in convenience and efficiency at Amazon.com, but in this instance we have fallen short of our goal. I'm truly sorry that your impression of doing business with Amazon.com has been so negative.
I request you to surely go ahead and purchase daily deal and download it to your home computer whenever you wish because .amz files do not expires. If any time you feels that you need to re-download the songs we will restore the songs for you at no additional cost any time.
You are generally limited to download the file only once. However, in any case you loose the data or unable to download the file at any time, we will make an exception and restore your access to MP3 tracks.
Please be assured that we are here to make things easier for you. We will take each and every action to prevent you from bearing any loss.
As a representative of Amazon.com, I want to assure you that we value our customers' trust above all else--it's the foundation on which our company was built.
Please be assured that we are here to make things easier for you and will do whatever we can to prevent you from bearing any kind of loss. We want you to have a pleasant, successful experience with our website each time you visit.
I hope you found this information helpful. You can also access additional information about our MP3 Music Downloads in our Help pages here:
Thanks for your interest in MP3 Music Downloads on Amazon.com.
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:
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13 March 2009
You see: Mustard, pickle relish, and ketchup nicely correspond to power, wisdom, and courage. Mustard, packing the most potent punch, is clearly power. Pickles are aged and thus wise (and relish is pretty much pickle shards...). And ketchup is practically liquid courage: it makes anything you don't like easier to eat.
Parker and Tyler and I decided long ago that Parker is Courage, Tyler is Power, and I am Wisdom. And!: I prefer relish, Tyler mustard, and Parker ketchup. Go cosmic irony.
08 March 2009
(yelling to upstairs) Parker: What are you doing Sunday?
(yelling from upstairs) Tyler: I'm busy, some of my co-workers are coming over to celebrate my birthday.
(quietly, to me) Parker: When was his birthday?
Me: It's Monday... as is mine.
Parker: Aww shit. I just betrayed the fact that I didn't remember yours by trying to hide from Tyler that I didn't know his. Fuckin' en passant bullshit.
It took me a while to understand the appropriateness of the en passant reference, but once I thought about it, it was genius.
This is not the right way to recount such a funny situation.
In actuality, I believe it was because it was an early appointment and I hadn't yet done my morning duties. Dooties. Poop.
I was telling Adrienne this story on the phone and used the word eliminated instead of pooped. I really like the replacement, but I don't know where I heard it.
Today we were discussing the common topic of drinking our own urine. She said "u-lemonade," which I thought was kind of a lame portmanteau. Then I realized she said elimin-ade, which is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. +1 Adrienne.
03 March 2009
I just watched the riff of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull with Stace and A. It was excellent, like the glorious, glorious MST3K of yore and left me eager to watch another. We three plan on soon watching the riff of Battlefield Earth.
02 March 2009
01 March 2009
You could make a name for yourself in the field of medicine.
One found some comfort in this fortune. I'll have to find another business partner, I suppose.
28 February 2009
Obviously, you can learn a bit from Wikipedia, if you're interested. salukiclub.org has some more. And you can find me fawning over possibilities at Saluki Tree of Life Alliance, open adoption cases.
Basically, I need tall fences, a large, open, and fenced space to let her run (it's going to be a girl), and a schedule with daily exercise (long walk, preferably run). Feeding costs $2 dollars a day or so, the pup will cost $350 for pet to $1000 for show pedigree, and I've tried one insurance quote at $280 a year.
I'll be visiting the local kennel club and the Heartland Coursing Association to see what sight-hounds are like. Tyler and I will also be taking Honey to some training classes starting in late March, which is pretty exciting.
More images and videos (the first video is hilarious, and the second pulled at my heart strings...):
[Pictures, from pavementsofsilver.files.wordpress.com, www.pedigreedatabase.com, www.vivapets.com; let me know if any should be brought down.]