"That which is overdesigned, too highly specific, anticipates outcome; the anticipation of outcome guarantees, if not failure, the absence of grace."
-- William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties
July 1, 2006

Last month was pretty busy in terms of people visiting. My sister was in town for a weekend, just hanging out. We attempted to find touristy things to do, but (if you know either me or her, it should be obvious that we) failed miserably at it. We ended up sitting around, threw an ad hoc BBQ (there's another one of those tomorrow, actually); overall she seemed to have a good time. My friends (though perhaps more Pete's college friends, who are entertaining dirtbags for sure) were amusing. She brought rolled tacos from Yuma, and those were a big hit (as if they couldn't be).

Since she was theoretically visiting as part of a birthday present, I got her an iPod nano, and gave her my old 12" albook (also maxed out the RAM; OS X is pretty beat with 640MB). We spent a couple hours going over various OS X features, and she picked up on it really quickly (which is not surprising; OS X is easy and she is a quick learner at most things anyway). She emailed me the other day saying how much she enjoyed using it, so unless she's saying that shit just to make an old nerd feel good, I'm pretty happy about it.

Adam and Sophy flew in from SFO that weekend for Adam's graduation. It was really good seeing them both. There was much eating and drinking and generally having a good time. By the end of the visit, they were both pretty beat and looked ready to get back home. Unfortunately for them, home is actually Philadelphia, and San Francisco is just some weird layover pyramid scheme thing. Assholes. Come back to Cu-ba, Paco.

Gallo threw a BBQ at his place the night they flew in, which was quite a bit of fun. Harry got a little too drunk and slapped Adam in the balls. You'd expect people on togas to be standing over him and chanting but no, it was just me and some other fuzzy shape (ah, alcohol) helping him up while he was trying to laugh and say "It's still funny, it's still funny!"

It would probably be wise to invest in a cup, just in case. The "watch your junk" buttons solios is making up for pumpcon this year will definitely be seeing a lot of usage, I reckon.

And last weekend Michelle threw a surprise birthday party for merz at her new place. Half the attendees were nerds, the rest were the music/emo/whatever people who avoid the nerds as much as possible. So you have all these people in the backyard, sort of milling around waiting for the birthday dude so show up, and when he finally does we just sort of stare at him for a few seconds, like those stupid little dogs who haven't yet decided if they want to flee or start yapping at you in their annoying little voices or just shit themselves.

Then someone (I don't remember who) realizes maybe a "surprise" would be helpful. No yapping, but I can't attest that no one shat their pants. merz may have shown some small amount of expression when confronted with twenty or so unexpected people in his girlfriend's backyard. It was shocking. I was shocked. Are you getting that there was totally some shockage and shit?

It was like High School that way. Or maybe I was just cranky that night because it was hot and I'd been hit in the head with a Cisco 4506 earlier in the day (those fuckers are heavy, even with the power supplies pulled out). I had went to some comic shop over by Penn's campus that afternoon to pick up a present for merz (according to Michelle he does dig graphic novels, and does enjoy superhero stuff -- so I grabbed the first trade of Astrocity, which is awesome superhero stuff); after walking the two miles from Drexel to 40th St. and back, I was pretty sweaty and smelly. So spending the rest of the night in that state was not very pleasant. I mostly hung around inside with Evan, Maggie, Nick K. and eventually Pete.

They had cake made with Guinness. I don't much care for Guinness. But it was fucking awesome cake. Overall, it was fun. We ended the night drinking wine out of coffee mugs, and it's hard, if not impossible, to top that level of awesomeness.

Tomorrow Cronin and crew will be coming over to cook me some tasty food, yet again. I wonder if I could get away with blaming him and Nick K for my getting fat. They're the primary impetuous behind these BBQs, and they were the ones who pushed the weekly dinners as well.

Attributing blame to others for being a lazy fuck is teh win.

Anyway, as you can might be able to tell, June was a pretty good month, and hopefully July will be even better. Now all I need is some hot chicks to come bathe me, roll me over every now and then so I don't get the bedsores, and bring me Cinnamon Toast Crunch every morning. And afternoon.

Fo' rizzle, it's the small things that keep one sane.

The week before last I put in my notice at Drexel. Yup. No more network security for me. No more bot-hunting. No more rewriting code four times and never finishing it. No more uncomfortable basement with no windows or environmental controls.

jcap is moving into the city and taking another job, so the SA position at pobox opened up and well... yeah. I used to be a pretty good SA. Hopefully netsec hasn't killed whatever ability I had in it. The pobox office is in Chinatown (yay), on the second floor, has been comfortable everytime I've been there (which with gaming has been quite a bit), and has huge bay windows that overlook 676/95. I have another two weeks at Drexel, and honestly I'm not looking forward to them. One of the bigger projects I was working on (CARP/pfsync active failover proxies) got made redundant without anyone mentioning it, and well... the basement. Eh.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I gave my old laptop to my sister while she was here. My current laptop is the last 12" albook model, and it belongs to Drexel. The current Apple laptop I'd be interested in getting is the MacBook, but it's still RevA. Usually you avoid RevA Mac kit like the bloody plague. I'm a big fan of their "last model of this type" gear, like the Pismo (a freakin' tank) or my albook, which is also a really solid machine. The thought of going without a laptop for (probably) six months wasn't something I felt I could really deal with. My entire work method revolves around a laptop. I have an iMac for media and gaming; all real production of any sort happens on my PowerBook.

Getting another cheapy system just to tide me over was something I thought about, but getting a non-Mac didn't really bear contemplating. Getting an iBook or another used PowerBook would have worked, but... eh. I admit that I am a consumer whore and like shiny things. So, there you go.

This afternoon I dragged Harry, Rich (the SA at Drexel; an entertaining British fellow), and the new netsec guy (who is one strange cat: He chews on tape, rubber bands, whatever is at hand) down to Springboard where I picked up a new MacBook. The sales guy matched ramjet's price on RAM, so the box is maxed out, and there was a minor discount for the 512MB stick the systems come with. I didn't get my .edu discount, but I'm not going to cry about it. We ended up loitering around the store for 15 minutes while they installed the memory. We were asked half a dozen times if we could be helped, which to me meant "get out of here already!" :-)

Harry gave me crap about someone else installing freakin' RAM into my laptop until he remembered my history with kit. Namely how hardware stops working when I get near it. I blame it on EM fields, but deep down I know it's because computers hate me. They're in it with the squirrels.

After Springboard, we walked down to Gusto and had some lunch (Rich, who eats earlier in the day, just had a glass of water; New Guy had a Coke and insisted he was full three-fourths of the way though it; Harry and I got salads which were as tasty as ever).

Back at work, I unboxed the thing. I tried to explain to Rich and New Guy that Apple marketing is all about trying to seduce you with their packaging. It's like you're stripping the damn thing; everything is in its own little condom wrapper. It's freakin' pornographic. They didn't get it, and quickly vacated my cube after I related this opinion.

I booted up the MacBook, configured it real quick. During setup you are asked if you'd like to take a login picture, as with my iMac, I actually did (mainly for the novelty of it):

That's the Sanity Flask. It's a hip flask, KGB logo with a bust of Lenin on the cap, that sits on my desk, empty. Because there is no sanity to be found at Drexel, no matter how much booze you consume. Ha ha, I am so clever, me.

It's sort of like the skeleton drinking the wine in The Last Unicorn, only, y'know, backwards.

I booted the albook into target disk mode, mounted it on the MacBook, and copied over the encrypted disk image containing my homedir (I use FileVault). Once that was done, it was pretty much just a matter of copying a few directories out of the crypto loop, setting up Mail.app again (the most annoying part of the process), and grabbing the Universal versions of various applications.

The whole thing took about 20 minutes, if that. I could have tried using the Migration Assistant (which would have done the above and more for me), but I wasn't sure how it'd interact with a FileVault homedir, and I like starting as fresh as possible on new machines anyway if I can.

So, a few thoughts about the MacBook...

Sitting it next to the albook, the color difference the glossy LCD provides is really noticeable. The albook looks flat and dim, whereas the MacBook's colors are deep and very bright. The display seems really wide and the res almost too high; I got really used to the dimensions of the 12", and 1024x768. I work with most windows maxed (Mail, Safari, Terminals I am doing actual work in as opposed to just IRC/silc), but it's not really useable with these dimensions. Everything looks stretched out and too far away from other elements of the application. 209x53 terminals are just... silly. So that's something I'll have to get used to, I guess.

Rik and jcap have both complained about the function key chording nonsense, and wow, yes, it is incredibly annoying. If you want to page up, have to hit shift-fn-up, as opposed to shift/fn in whatever order you are used to. For me it's fn-shift, and it's going to be a pain in the ass getting used to doing it the other way around. Hopefully this is something that can be fixed with a patch, and soon.

Andrew mentioned a couple weeks ago some issue that some Airport Extreme cards were having with the work wireless network (Cisco WAPs): the cards would associate, then start flipping between good/bad signal and then (sometimes) deassoc. My albook didn't have the issue, but the MacBook does. Looks like I'll be wired for the next two weeks (suck).

The magnetic latch thing is really cool. MagSafe (the magnetic power cord) seems to hold on tighter than the friction needed to pull the laptop off a desk, but I'm not actually going to test it.

The keyboard is freakin' sweet.

The trackpad is absolutely huge, and the mouse button is kind of squishy. I tried using the "tap trackpad to click" function, but I think I'm far too ingrained in how I use computers to really get used to it (though I did get used to using the trackpad to scroll, so maybe).

The system is damned fast; it's just as snappy as my iMac (it should be, the specs are almost identical). The shared VRAM thing pisses me off, but eh, it's RevA and the low-end model. What do you want?

It's already got fingerprints on it, and wrist-rest smudges. Makes me want to start wearing gloves when I use the damn thing.

It also doesn't fit in my bag very well, but I knew that was going to happen. I'm going to try and pick up a new sleeve for it, and just sort of deal with it, I guess. The bag is really nice, the laptop is really nice, perhaps they can work out the rest of it amongst themselves.

All in all, I'm happy with the thing after several hours of use. Unless the battery starts melting on me, I will be content to wait for the RevC MacBook, sell this one, and probably not lose a whole lot of money on the deal.

Last night Cronin, Melissa, Harry, Shari and I decided to hit up Pietro's in Rittenhouse for dinner. As Cronin, Melissa and I were taking the Penn bus (air-conditioned bus! What will they think of next? Rich would have been more amazed than he was by the trolley yesterday afternoon) we saw Evan and Maggie walking by. Me being me, I txt'd Evan "You are wearing a white shirt."

A few minutes later, after we got off the noisy bus and headed to Cronin's to drop shit off, I called Evan. He answered with "You are a creepy motherfucker."

Anyway, so we all met up at Pietro's eventually. Some bum was saying some stuff to me when Harry showed up, and Harry ended up deflecting him. "Man, always gotta help you out." I was tired and oblivious. I didn't even realize the bum dude was talking to me.

They had to split us up which was annoying, but eating was more gooder than standing around for 30 minutes waiting for one of the big tables to open up. Cronin, M and I got some pizza and shared a salad; the other table of suckers ordered real food and had to wait a fair bit longer than us. Our waitress was totally better than theirs, too.

Afterwards, I was feeling pretty tired and felt a headache coming on so I headed home. Eventually I took a nap and the headache went away. Now I am awake, posting pointlessly long blog entries and drinking Mt Dew instead of sleeping. I'm going to get a call around 1400 from Cronin to go to the store to pick up BBQ shit, and it's going to be a somewhat long day, so I should be sleeping. But. Eh.

I think instead if I will finish Earth Made of Glass so that I can spend the rest of the weekend reading Rainbow's End. Vernor Vinge sure is freakin' awesome.

3:38 AM | Life
July 4, 2006

Ever since they died, in my dreams the angels are all Jim Henson muppets, singing The Rainbow Connection with Johnny Cash.

And I wake up, feeling pretty okay.

July 5, 2006

< bda> kitten's dad just gave him one of these:
< bda> STAR TREK V Mail-In Marshmallow Dispenser (1989)
< robf> hehe
< robf> There's a guy at work who is deathly afraid of marshmallows.
< robf> VP of Dev.
< robf> He is into martial arts and whatnot, he's like 6'2" 320#
< robf> It's quite comical.
< bda> How can you be AFRAID of marshmellows?
< bda> Did one kill his family?
< bda> Stay Puff?
< robf> We made this huge Stay Puff poster with his face on it, haha
< bda> haha.
< robf> He is pretty serious about it.
< robf> Once, when we were shipping the DMP platform initially, the VP of Program Management shot him with a gun full of tiny marshmallows.
< robf> We were behind schedule, crunch time etc
< bda> haha.
< robf> So this guy goes home.
< robf> He's like "fuck that, I'm out" haha

3:21 PM | irk

Nintendo Sends Shrub A Birthday Basket

DS Lite. Brain Age.

Maybe playing Brain Age will do some good...

[via vai]

11:55 PM | Linkwhore
July 7, 2006

Persistant headache since Monday night finally fell over the edge into full-on migraine. Woke up around 0430 to aura like I haven't seen in... ages. Sparkles and pain, staring at the ceiling for 45 minutes, until I manage to get the laptop open (forgetting it's not the albook, can't find the fucking button for the latch) to email my boss; one-finger typing, squinting, can't really see the screen because even with the brightness down the glare is murder.

Eventually I pass out for a while, wake up sometime feeling a bit better. Then it washes back in, and I'm gone again.

Pete comes home eventually and I manage to stumble to Wawa with him for some food. Do the dishes, watch Conan the Barbarian for no good reason at all. The movie, not the dishes. Dishes needed to be done.

Might be time for another MRI. For the headaches, or because I enjoyed Conan, take your pick.

July 8, 2006

Gadi Evron (Steve Gibson's bastard memechild) sends out a CFP to NANOG, only to have one of his made-up acronyms given an alternative meaning.

The house elves think you a bitch, too, yo.

1:01 PM | Interworldwebbernet
July 9, 2006

Visor: Ever wish you had an FPS-style console for your OS? Well, here you go. Whenever you need a quick terminal regardless of what app is focused.

OS X I Use This: digg for applications. Pretty sweet. (Also, a Catalyst app.)

5:28 PM | Linkwhore
July 10, 2006

<@bda> ecronin: Go get me a Slurpee.
<@ecronin> bda: how about a frightening wawa milkshake?
<@iverson> !
<@bda> I've been too scared to try those.
<@iverson> ecronin: the chocolate ones taste like fudgecicles
<@ecronin> the cup disappears and I don't know what the machine is doing to it
<@iverson> are you familiar with the Fruit Fucker 3000?

4:38 PM | irk
July 17, 2006

Battlefield: GoogleEarth

What he really needs to do is set up some Thermo-Nuclear War.

8:02 AM | Linkwhore
July 29, 2006
July 30, 2006