31 August 2005

Gas

Today the price of 87-octane unleaded gasoline (the cheapest variety of gasoline) in my area hit $3.00 per gallon (actually $2.999, fwiw). My daily drive to work now costs $7.73 round-trip. And that is in a Hyundai Accent that gets (supposedly) 33 miles per gallon. I have no sympathy for any jackass that bought any kind of truck in the last 4 years. Anyone with half a brain could have seen this coming.

People: STOP BUYING STUPID CARS AND TRUCKS. Tell the auto-makers that you actually want something that doesn't waste precious fuel. It's no longer a 'fringe' concern only for environmentalists or those of us who don't feel like sending money to a country that we are slaves to (yes, Saudi Arabia OWNS the US). Now you can be your dumb, fat, lazy American selves and STILL demand a smarter car. Get busy.

Auto-makers: (In particlar, American auto-makers like Ford, Chevrolet, etc) Where are the damned hybrids and diesels? Ford makes diesel cars for the UK, getting around 42 miles per gallon. And, no, hybrid SUVs getting 30 miles per gallon is not good. I'll gladly get a Volkswagen Golf TDI or Toyota Prius than buy an American car that isn't getting the mileage I want, and personally I hope a lot more people do, too.

The Toyota Prius has to be one of the smartest damned cars out there. The price for a new one is a bit steep, but it's definitely worth it if you can swing it.

26 August 2005

Suppor Our Ribbons

The problem I have with everyone in America (at least the parts of America that I see, being the tract of land from De Pere to Manitowoc, Wisconsin) sporting those yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbon magnets, is the thought that they somehow feel the need to display those. As if they are trying to guilt ME into running out and buying a ribbon magnet or the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities will bust in my door.

Similarly with all the cars and trucks that have some sort of American flag decal or another. As if I thought I was driving around in Belgium or something. Thanks for reminding me that my car is still in America.

Anyway I've finally found the answer to the ribbon war, and it is Support Our Ribbons, with my personal favorite:

I Support More Troops Than You

They let you create your own as well, and be sure to check out the forums for some tasty user creations, including my #2 favorite:

Freedom Isn't Fries

25 August 2005

World of Warcraft

WoW is my new lord and master now. You can see the pathetic fruits of my labor here.

Some of the best parts of WoW are reading about other people's adventures in Azeroth. One of the greatest was pointed out to me today, and involved a little bit of sex in the subway. "Dwarf sandwich" never sounded so tasty to me.

22 August 2005

Sliding Robots

Due to the recent birth of my son, I've had to move some furniture around to make it easier for my wife to feed him in our bedroom by bringing in a big comfy chair. Part of this involved moving a heavy dresser, a task made easy thanks the (trumpet fanfare) SLIDING ROBOTS. What are sliding robots, you ask? They were a gift from the Menards chain of stores where they just print off gift postcards on birthdates of customers who sign up for their marketroid madness. I got a crappy claw grabbing arm that can't really carry any significant weight or squeeze tightly. My wife got the Sliding Robots. Now when I saw the title, I was kind of excitied, then I saw them.

They basically plastic discs with foam. Now they work wonderfully for the task of moving things and I appreciate them a great deal. However, there is nothing "robotic" about them. I think of robots as something with moving parts, requiring electricity, etc. You know, something like this. I've seen these same items also packaged with truthful labels like "Furniture Sliders" and such. Why not just leave it at that?

Of course why am I complaining about a free gift? I should head over to Menards now and get my free battery sorter/tester.

17 August 2005

From the ashes ...

Got the new power supply today and everything seems to be going swimmingly. Played a couple of rounds of ET to kick things off and everything went well, except for my level of play :p

15 August 2005

The LDAPification Continues ...

So I have my internal LDAP addressbook set up, using the latest mozillaOrgPerson schema. I'm currently using phpLDAPAdmin for administration, but this is bit clumsy, especially for editing existing entries. What I really want is a front-end that basically makes you believe you are editing an addressbook, not some generic directory protocol entry.

There are a handful of items out there, a lot of them seem unsupported or just as clumsy. Personally I'm not interested in a web-app for the job. I want to quick app my wife can launch and add/edit to her heart's content. I've come to the decision of writing basically a front-end for the mozillaOrgPerson schema of an LDAP server. I was going to try writing it in Perl::Tk but I think using Java Swing will make more sense since a) most people have a JRE installed on their desktops already and b) I'm more familiar with Swing already from my (unfinished) work on jorad.

Update: It has begun.

09 August 2005

Burnination

This little tale requires some background information. First, my house does not have central air-conditioning. We put window units on the main and upper floors, which works well on those floors, but does nothing for the basement. Second, my office (and all computers) is in the basement, and it gets INSANELY hot down there. Whether or not that information actually has any part in the cause of the problem is beyond my caring at this point.

My desktop machine, an Athlon 1400 mhz gentoo linux home-built PC named LINGUO, was building some apps when suddenly it started giving just crazy errors that made no sense. The more I re-tried things, the worse/weirder the problems got. Finally it shutdown and gave me CPU temperature warnings, and I smelled burning metal. That's probably not the best sign. Anyway I bought some thermal paste and put things back together, and it seemed to do the trick. I could build apps just fine again, and no more burning metal smell. Until ...

Tonight I was playing some RTCW: Enemy Territory and doing pretty well for myself when all-of-a-sudden the computer just shutdown and the burnt metal smell had returned.

Bottom line is that I *hate* dealing with hardware. And having to worry about replacing CPU/motherboard/RAM right now was NOT appealing at all. Half of me wants to just shelve the whole thing and buy some Dell/Gateway thing and leave XP on it.

Not sure when I'll have the desire to go back downstairs and do any more troubleshooting. Too much drama.

UPDATE: Perhaps some good news. My man Alan at work confirmed that the power supply is dead, so perhaps the CPU/mobo are just fine and it was the PSU all along. We shall see when my geeks.com order comes in.

06 August 2005

Liam Harrison Seiler

At 8:46 PM on Thursday, August 4, 2005, Liam Harrison Seiler burst forth into the world. All are doing well and will return home today. You can see pictures at http://pictures.seiler.us/liam/