kjwcode: Box contained bobcat. (bobcat)
Some weeks ago I backed the Jot project. I was won over pretty quickly, as was at least one of my co-workers. Last time this happened was for the PadPivot. That time around I got my PadPivot before she did. This time around I think I'll be the one waiting. If I remember correctly, one of the Jots I ordered was the turquoise Jot Pro -- unfortunately, the anodizing process didn't go so well on that colour, so they're having them redone before they fill the order. I've got to hand it to them for doing it right, though.
kjwcode: That song is soooo pwned! (misusing slang)
Not for me, obviously. For the kidlet.

He's apparently got some good teachers this year, which is a relief -- I wanted to (verbally) rip apart his phys-ed teacher last year. She seemed to be unhappy she couldn't push him into having a full-blown seizure (he is epileptic).

This year he's got a digital media course and is apparently taking pre-calculus, which is a really good step for him, given that he was in assisted math last year. I'd better get out my books, because I sense some time helping with homework in the near future...
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
It's the last day of my vacation. Thankfully, only two more days 'til the next weekend. \o/

This weekend (if my shipment of tuits comes in) I'm going to start a couple of Arctic-retrospective entries. The first will be the few weeks I spent in Pelly Bay, NT (now NU) as a teen, and the second will be the two and a half and a bit years I spent actually living and working in Hay River, NT. The first is one of those teenage magical stories filled with good people and education, despite the fact that I was desperately trying to sabotage myself in everything I did at that time. The second is a distinctly non-magical adult story with some good folks, some assholes, and me trying my darndest to get my life back on track despite a couple of disappointing upsets. So really, they're near opposite stories. These will also be my first locked entries, so ping me if you want access to read them and you're not already on my list.
kjwcode: *sigh* (phoebe sigh)
I've been ridiculously lazy about studying lately. A few months ago I'd be going through at least one lecture per day, usually two or three. It's been weeks since I've watched even one.

It's not that I'm not interested. My interest hasn't faded. I'm also not running into difficulties hearing the audio track. I think it's got more to do with having no one to study with, or at least no one to discuss what I've studied with. The more I study, the more time I spend alone, doing something that not even R is interested in.

That's not how I want to live my life right now. I want to be spending more time with people than less, and communicating more rather than less. I guess it's a having-cake-and-eating-it-too sort of scenario.
kjwcode: A woodpecker flies away with a power drill. (woodpecker)
I raided xkcd and Avalon and bumped up my collection of icons by around 100.

It should go without saying that I don't own any of the imagery, writing, story lines, etc. and I'll be happy to stop using them if the authors ask me to. But in the meantime, I'm pretty stoked. :)
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
Thanks to Li *, I am now kjwcode@joindiaspora.com. Let me know if you're on Diaspora and I haven't tracked you down yet. :)
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
Successfully reviewed my first patch for the Dreamwidth codebase today. I managed not to destroy anything, and even inspired [personal profile] sophie to release a script. This saved me creating another 100 users by hand, thereby making my day. :)

I think I'm going to concentrate on code review as opposed to writing code, at least for the time being. There's obviously lots of talent going into writing code, but I know there aren't enough code review hands on deck. I'll put my effort where it's needed most.

In other news, my body is doing the "you need to give me insulin" aches even after I've given it ample insulin. It does this every so often for no apparent reason. Ow, my muscles. :(
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
I'm not expected back at work until Thursday. I'm going to start this vacation off right. First, by IRCing until I'm tired. Then, by sleeping until I'm not. After that comes the real vacation. :)
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
Things have been very interesting as we've been dog-sitting for R's folks. The dogs now get on much better than they did -- we don't have to separate them any more to get them to calm down. Their dog is apparently regressing a bit further back into puppyhood, as evidenced by accidents in the house. None last week, but a number in the past few days. Annoying, but survivable.

They're definitely learning each other's bad habits, though. I'm expecting to have to spend a few days rehabilitating Bella after all is said and done.
kjwcode: A puffed-up pigeon. (pigeon)
Yup, this definitely isn't an original topic, so I'm not going to write much about it.

Twitter is becoming less attractive to deal with by the day, Identi.ca is a no go due to a shaky ToS, and many of the remaining contenders that I'm aware of have spam problems and other difficulties.
Is anyone out there interested in a community here on DW that's focused on finding a suitable alternative service, getting a couple of dozen people together as a seed community, and making the switch?

Note: Sophie has a much better post about this topic here:

http://sophie.dreamwidth.org/44432.html

My post is really a restatement of my question in the comments of her post so my question doesn't detract from the topics she's dealing with much better.
kjwcode: A peering pigeon. (pic#930962)
Four more days of work until my six-day weekend. It'll be quite the relief, and I'm looking forward to digging into my DreamHack during that time. Catching up on rest and relaxation in general is going to be a good thing. I've been napping at least part of each weekend day away for a while now, and it'd be nice to get back to just resting, rather than being zonked out for half the day.
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
One of my back-burner tasks has been trying to be more social and "out there". I'm naturally a fairly extreme introvert, so it can be challenging. I enjoy interacting with people, though -- but that's a pretty recent development for me, perhaps in the last five years or so.

DW is one part of the solution. I'm back on IRC (mostly in #dreamwidth and #dreamwidth-dev -- haven't found any other channels that tickle my fancy yet) and recently joined Meetup and the Ubuntu Vancouver group. I haven't been to one of the events yet, but I'll be at the Ubuntu Jam with Oneiric on Friday.

I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to meet people, though. People here are among the friendliest I've met yet, so I'm wondering if I can pick your brains. What else should I be looking at? Where do you interact with people, both online and IRL? Do you have suggestions of mailing lists (I know -- how archaic! But hey, I'm old skool), IRC channels, websites, groups, and so on?

I'm a late-30s bi male who is pathologically interested in science, computing, maths (though still a relative newbie in this subject), culture, and everything else in the interests list in my profile. My strengths are being pretty easy-going, curious, and fairly knowledgeable. My weaknesses include not suffering fools, bigots, homophobes, etc. terribly well and being utterly addicted to caffeine. I'm in a committed relationship so not looking for singles specifically, though I certainly have nothing against them. :)

Any suggestions?
kjwcode: A flapping duck. (duck)
If you don't live in Canada you will probably not quite appreciate this situation. Laptops overwhelmingly have bilingual English/French keyboards, and no retail operation seems to stock anything but US-layout English keyboards. It's not a matter of the ink on the key caps -- I couldn't care less about that. It's the matter of two keys in places where you're not expecting them and a tall, skinny Enter key that sits where you'd normally hit the backslash/pipe key. If you had a reaction of "I can't type on this fscking keyboard!", you'd be completely normal, but unless you want to buy a laptop from the US or deal with an Apple product, it's pretty much what you're stuck with.

I use laptops. Period, end of story. I've got a couple of vestigal nettops and a 1U rackable at home, but they're all headless. I use laptops when I'm out of the house, too. My primary out-of-the-house laptop has a bilingual keyboard. Anyone who brushes this off and says "whatever, just get used to two different layouts" likely doesn't spend the number of hours I do behind a keyboard each day. (That's 10+, 6-7 days a week. On a slow week.)

It occurred to me a while ago to try using a bilingual keyboard in UK layout mode. This is perhaps the smartest thing I've done in a long while. Hooked instantly. I did nothing about it for a while, but the other day I snapped and bought two Logitech K750s with French layouts -- one for home, and one for work. They are freaking awesome. The keys are close enough to laptop keys that my fingers don't get confused switching back and forth, and the layout is now consistent across all of my systems.

Actually getting someone to bring in the keyboards took dealing with incredibly rude service at a couple of places (seems hatred of the French and Quebecois is alive and well in Canada), a couple of pointed tweets, and some waiting.

A small victory, yes. But it's a relief.
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
Today has been a wreck of a day, so I'm not going to try to be at all eloquent. Instead, I'm going to pass on a graphic a friend just passed on to me. It's one of the few things to make me smile today:

http://www.nataliedee.com/040910/our-lady-of-perpetual-diet-coke.jpg

Not hotlinked because I didn't make it, so you should be able to see where it comes from without right-clicking.
kjwcode: A perching chickadee. (chickadee)
A little while ago I bought an HP dm1-3040ca. Around three pounds, good battery life, 4GB of RAM (hey, this is before the dm1-3240ca came out...), and the price was right. First thing I discovered is that the Syntaptics Clickpad isn't at all well-supported under Linux. Soon after I discovered that the Ralink wireless chipset was also a no-go. No problem -- I reinstalled Windows and figured I'd wait it out.

Recently OpenSuSE 11.4 seemed to have both problems nailed. I installed, upgraded, and was mostly happy until a couple of days later when it decided to start showing video problems. The full-on system lock-ups were also inconvenient. I started casting about for an alternative distro.

Kubuntu 11.04, Arch 2011-08, Fedora 15... None would boot, all complaining about a disk error. I soon tracked the problem down to the USB optical drive I was using. After some deliberately chosen insults thrown at the drive, I switched to using a USB key. Fortunately, this works.

I tried Kubuntu, and it's a big old no-go -- no support for the wireless out of the box, but the real deal-breaker was the video flicker, seemingly at random intervals. Now I'm trying Fedora 16 alpha. It's still installing the last 200 or so packages, so I've got my fingers crossed that it'll work.

I tried Arch on my other laptop last night. Aside from giving me nostalgic fits as I was reminded about my countless errors selecting packages from the Slackware installer, it didn't give me any warm fuzzies. I just don't have the patience to install the system, convince X to work, and build the system up in bits and pieces. If it doesn't give me what I need pretty much out of the box (or after installing a few software groups), it's pretty much dead to me. I do enough sysadmin duties in a day at work to last me.

On the whole, this isn't Linux' fault at all. The new generation of hardware is pretty much brain-dead. I discovered that the PNP bridge in my little HP actually overlaps video memory. Seriously -- WTF? There's probably some driver in the Windows install that makes that all okay, but it's not useful if I don't want to run Windows (which is probably the precise reason they made it that way). Kind of like a Winmodem, but you can't just ignore it.

HP announced recently that it's getting out of the PC hardware business. If this is any indication of what HP finds acceptable for a retail product, I suggest they not let the door hit them on the way out.

Update: Fedora 16 alpha detected the wireless right out of the box, but doesn't seem to recognise the Clickpad, so that's a bit of a bummer. It also showed the video-strobe problem, which I'm afraid is probably bad for the LCD or backlight. Windows will be making a reappearance on the little HP today. Bah, humbug.
kjwcode: A peering pigeon. (pic#930962)
Posted without additional comment:


Hi Sarah,

After some thought and discussion with some current and former Googlers and those who have gone through the interview process but not worked for Google, I've decided that Google would be unlikely to be a good fit for me.

The reasons for this are many, but include:

- A lack of care and attention to the needs of paying customers. I very recently experienced this for myself when I tried to cancel business services for my domain. The response I would expect and respect would be "we've reverted your domain to the free service so you can delete it". The first response I got was a cut'n'pasted URL to a support article for how to delete your non-paid domain services. The second response I got was that I should wait until the subscription expired (on 29 March 2012) and try to delete it then. This response persisted for a message or two, and was only resolved when I asked for the ticket to be escalated to the next level -- then the person who was originally helping me suddenly decided to see what they could do about my original request. Discussion with other Google Business customers leads me to believe that this sequence of events is quite common.

- Google seems to consider SREs, coders, and other engineering-types to be replaceable cogs in the machine. This is certainly no specific fault of Google's, but rather is a problem endemic to large technical companies in general. I value each person I work with highly, and would be unlikely to succeed in such an unstable environment.

- Current Google policies and procedures for handling issues such as the real-name policy on Google+ have left me wondering what happened to the company that had once been so aware of the issues and transparent back when GMail first launched. I feel that the will of Google to be in touch with the users of its services and actively engaging them in the processes that define their experience with Google has gone into a deep dive in the last few years, and I see no indication that it's a temporary situation. Google has successfully pushed products and services out for successful public alphas and betas to great success. I don't believe that policy is something that should be treated the same way. It leads to a confusing experience for those subject to the policies; additionally, it undermines the trust of those same people.

It's absolutely true that only the second point would directly affect me if I were to work on the engineering team at Google, but the first and third points are also important to me. I am fiercely proud of what I do for a living and who I do it for, regardless of who it may be. I would have considerable trouble just shrugging off such issues with "that's not really my thing, so sorry about your luck". Rather, I would be among the first to be advocating for a better way forward. The experience of people I've talked to who work/have worked for Google is that such advocacy isn't especially welcome, which is a shame.

I won't take any more of your time at this point -- no doubt your focus is hiring engineers, not reading already-too-long missives. Thank you for your consideration, and good luck in your mission!

Sincerely,

kjw
kjwcode: A puffed-up pigeon. (pigeon)
Today was my birthday, propelling me further into my late 30s. On the up-side, R treated me to some fabulous gluten-free pizza at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Dessert was had at the always-yummy Mario's Gelati (the 218 flavours place). It made for a nice, quiet, incredibly omnomnom birthday. My favourite kind. :)
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
I now have a 'hack. I also have a lot of reading to do, learning the ins and outs of the DW codebase (and how to do its bidding, or convince it to do mine). I've also met a lot of really great folks so far, and expect to meet more. DW has to have the most insanely friendly dev community I've seen yet.

Thanks to all! I'm looking forward to getting up to speed and contributing.
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
Just sent a message to [staff profile] denise asking for a DreamHack account. I probably won't be especially productive, but it'd be nice to help drive the bug count down on weekends. I could probably host my dev instance myself almost as easily, but my servers are CentOS and theirs are Ubuntu. I'm also apt to make major changes to my servers with little thought (that's why I have them, after all) and having one less thing I'd break is probably the line between having the energy to participate and not. I've got to hand it to them for offering DreamHack accounts -- it looks like DreamWidth really gets open source dev, and that's a nice thing to see.
kjwcode: Bella, the little silly dog. (Default)
Finally -- OpenSuSE 11.4 supports my little HP's hardware with only a small amount of screaming and general abuse required. Actually, it doesn't need any beating -- just one-click installing the appropriate rt5390 packages from the builds site. To say that I'm happy with this arrangement would be an understatement.

So far I notice that the support for the Synaptics ClickPad is much nicer than in Windows. KNetworkManager is fiddly as usual, and I'm generally not used to OpenSuSE, but I'm happy to get used to it if it means finally having a portable Linux system again. \o/
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