•July 16, 2011 • Comments Off on g+
Dear Steve: Google+ iPhone

Just a quick post to say that even though Google+ is new,  even in its current limited form I think it stomps all over Facebook.

The lack of Farmville and other spam apps like it is certainly a breath of fresh air. Being able to easily limit sharing things using Circles is simply awesome.

Short of a major screw up once they launch it officially, I’m more than ready to say goodbye to Facebook.

The only real concern I have is their insistence on having your Google Profile being completely public. I disagree with that idea and I don’t really think their position is very defensible, but at least they are being up front about it rather than playing the “let’s change things after the fact and try to hide what we are doing from people” approach that Facebook does.

So in the mean time, since only my name and gender are required, that’s all they are getting. If they start requiring other personal stuff that they intend on displaying publicly without allowing me to limit it, expect to see random junk like “First Man to walk on the Sun” to show up in my profile.

Practice Makes Imperfect

•July 16, 2011 • 1 Comment
Virgo Symbol

Image via Wikipedia

As embarrassing as it is for a Virgo like me to admit, I’m not perfect. Unlike the Quakers who are so good at the art of quilting that they purposely introduce a flaw in their quilts because, to paraphrase their thinking “only God is perfect”, all of the things I do are inherently full of flaws.

Perhaps they aren’t flaws others would ever notice. Even those who have similar perfectionist leanings as me. But I know that they are there,  and knowing is merely the first step down what is a very slippery slope for me.

For many years, I struggled against my imperfections. At times it would even be more accurate to say that I raged against them.

There were even periods when I tried to not only achieve perfection in something that I was planning on doing, but to also be so perfect at it that I insisted on being able to do it perfectly on my first try.

The end result would be either an ego busting frustration at my (inevitable) failure to be perfect or a complete stagnation through a kind of deadlock from never being able to get started. It doesn’t help any that this is often construed as procrastination.

Yet to be imperfect is human. Fighting against it simply means that all I’m doing is fighting against myself. Logically, that means that since it’s a zero sum game, even if I pulled off the impossible and won I would also lose.

So what I try to do is practice being imperfect… or at least practice accepting it with a little more grace than I have in the past. It’s not an easy thing to do, but I’m sure I can be perfect doing it if I try hard enough. 😉

*Grumble* last.fm *Grumble*

•May 29, 2011 • Comments Off on *Grumble* last.fm *Grumble*
Image representing Last.fm as depicted in Crun...

After a few extended periods where I wasn’t really listening to much music, I’m now coming up on 11,000 scrobbled plays on last.fm. That might sound like a lot, but I’m sure it’s a pittance compared to many other last.fm users out there.

Since I’m using last.fm service you can actually see what I’m listening to by looking at the “I’m listening to…” box to the right of this post. Neat right?

Sadly, back in February last.fm decided to monetize most of their mobile app line-up and on home entertainment devices by requiring a subscription in order to stream anything using it. This change has not been well received by the community and so far it looks like they aren’t interested in listening. Perhaps the fake dollar signs some pointy head threw in their eyes at the meeting where they decided to do this still has them blinded and they can’t read their own forums.

Anyway, while I don’t use the streaming feature of the app that much, it was always neat to be able to show it off to people who like that kind of thing. Especially since I think last.fm kicks Pandora’s arse.

I would’ve much rather that they just limit the number of hours people can stream without a subscription like Pandora did. But then I guess they wouldn’t be fully cashing in on all the people who are now rushing out and buying tablets.

Honestly, I think their service is great and I’d be more than happy to support them with a subscription, which is only $3/month (or $36/year for you math challenged people). Especially since that would open up some additional functionality in Amarok which has good last.fm integration and is the music player that I use on my Linux workstation.

The trouble is, one has to draw the line somewhere. If you add up all of the services that “only” want to ding you for <$10/month or that you can divide it to if it’s a yearly cost, you could probably make a couple of car payments with what you’d be spending.

Some time in the near future I’m going to sit down and list out all of these “wallet leaks”. Perhaps if I expunge a few from my life I’ll have the extra room for last.fm, but until then I’ll just use them as I always have; as a way to track what I’m playing so I can discover other stuff I’d like. That at least, is still free… for now.

It’s Go Time!

•May 29, 2011 • Comments Off on It’s Go Time!
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Speaking of programming languages. Google has their hands in everything these days and did you know that includes having their very own programming language named “Go“…

What? Don’t complain, the other choice was “oogle” although I hear that they might still use that name for the Go debugger. Okay, that was a bad geek joke.

From what I gleaned when I looked at it some time ago, Go is a kind of cross between Python and C that compiles uber fast and has things like garbage collection and dynamic allocation built in. Also, Go is a complete rethink of how programming is done from the ground up.

Oh and did I mention that Ken Thompson is one of the people behind it… I knew that would get my fellow geeks attention!

They were filling in things at a pretty good clip the last time I checked in on the project and it looks like they have some videos from Google I/O 2011 that I’ll be checking out.

The Joy of Coding

•May 28, 2011 • Comments Off on The Joy of Coding
Programming Perl book cover

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been slacking on my blog updates in part because I’ve been busy programming for two separate projects. To say it’s been engrossing would be an understatement… I’ve simply been hooked!

Regardless of the language, it takes a certain personality type to be a programmer. For one thing, if you like seeing the sun, then programming is probably not for you. Also, if your favorite foods aren’t flat enough to be slid under the door to you by a loved one or concerned coworkers, you might want to take “write the next big piece if software that does X” off of your bucket list… unless of course, you save it for last and your plan is to die of starvation! ;^)

That being said, programming is a very rewarding creative process that gives one the ability to do some incredibly interesting things with computers. Not that it’s simple; It’s been said that the intellectual effort that it takes to write a medium sized program is comparable to writing a book (except you don’t need to debug a book!).

Continue reading ‘The Joy of Coding’

Microsoft bought Skype

•May 10, 2011 • 1 Comment

Well this will be interesting.

Microsoft says that they intend for Skype to continue supporting non-Microsoft platforms. But they don’t fully say which ones. Not to mention, there’s support and then there is crippled support.

Of course, support for Linux features has always been far behind. After all, the Linux Skype client is still labeled “Beta”!

Since the whole point of Skype is to allow people to connect and communicate, dropping any platform from their line-up would certainly go a long way towards doing Skype in. So unlike some of the people out there who are screaming “the Skype is falling!” I really wouldn’t be too concerned about that aspect.

What I would be concerned about, and I mean gravely concerned, are two things. First, do you really want Microsoft to have your information and have to pay them for the pleasure too. And secondly, how many security holes are they going to introduce in future versions of the software.
I mean, yeah, Microsoft is great at making things easy for the end user. However they also make it easy for naughty people with too much time on their hands to exploit.

I don’t know about you, but I like that there aren’t a bunch of Microsoft’s complimentary security holes on my Linux system. I really don’t plan on introducing any either.

Time to go searching for an alternative before the next Microsoft approved Skype update I guess.

nspluginwrapper issue on Kubuntu Natty 11.04

•May 1, 2011 • Comments Off on nspluginwrapper issue on Kubuntu Natty 11.04

So here’s a note if you plan on upgrading to Ubuntu/Kubuntu 11.04.

You’ll find that nspluginwrapper segfaults during the upgrade and as a result, you’ll have no Flash.

The issue had to do with the Google Talk plugin. Remove it and all will new right with the world again.

sudo apt-get remove google-talkplugin && sudo apt-get update

Domain Names

•April 21, 2011 • Comments Off on Domain Names

When you think you have a hot idea, one of the first things that you do in todays internet connected society is try to get a domain name for it. The keyword here being try.

Just about every possible reasonable combination of words that could apply to that great idea of yours is either in use, or more often than not, squatted on by some person or company who will sell it to you for anything from a few hundred bucks to millions.

Yeah, give me a second while I whip out my credit card… I have plenty of zeros left on it. Granted those zeros don’t actually have a number in front of them, but maybe the processor won’t notice that little detail.  :/

While I don’t have anything against people making a buck, the fact that this particular practice is allowed has turned the whole domain name registration process into one big, highly ridiculous, circus.

Not that the registrars themselves mind it… some of the less reputable ones even flirt with the rules a bit to even take part. But even the honest ones are happily making tons of money for themselves off this ecosystem. Sadly, without most of them on board for any potential solution, there’s no way the problem will every be fixed.

Google Android Froyo

•February 27, 2011 • Comments Off on Google Android Froyo

Now that Google has released their “Gingerbread” version of Android, Samsung and AT&T have finally gotten it together enough to allow me to finally update my phone to Froyo.

The Samsung Kies software is absolutely terrible, but sadly it’s the only way to update the phone. Unlike every other phone manufacturer and cell carrier combo out there who are doing over the air updates which is a capability that if built in, these people are in the dark ages.

After a huge struggle I finally got it to see my phone so I could do the update. But now I’m wrestling with the Better 3/4ths phone which is refusing to allow the install at all.

Perhaps the reason why they are making these things so small these days is because they want you to throw them across the room in frustration so you have to buy a new one.

75 Degrees and Sunny

•February 6, 2011 • Comments Off on 75 Degrees and Sunny

We had beautiful weather here yesterday and it looks like we are on tap for another one like it today.

I’d be lying if I said that I missed all of the bad weather back east, but in a way, I do miss the snow just a little bit. If we can truly say that we can feast our eyes on things, then I guess snow would be my comfort food.

Granted, I don’t miss it quite enough yet to venture out on a three-ish hour drive over to Lake Tahoe in order to see it; however coming from New England certainly makes it feel very odd to go through an entire winter without seeing so much as a flake and no freeze to really speak of.

At least it keeps the palm trees happy and several of our fruit trees are beginning to bud. And that means it won’t be long now until I’m walking through a snow of dogwood, cherry and apple blossoms. Which is especially fun due to the lack of bitter biting cold gusts to go along with it.