Category Archives: me

On not working

As most of you probably know I stopped working a “regular” job last Friday, January 11th. I decided to go full time on Wishlisting, which was formerly a part-time project.

I was curious what it would be like to wake up and have to decide what you’re going to do that day. After one week, I haven’t come up with any great solutions, but I’ve identified a number of aspects of working for one’s self that I hadn’t expected to worry so much about.

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Thoughts after 12 hours with the Macbook Pro

Pros:

  • The thing arrived fully charged (well, 90%). The manual even said it’s designed to be enjoyed right away. I love that. Most cool gadgets require a big charging cycle before you get to use them, and all you really want to do after opening them is play with them.
  • It’s very thin, and feels well made
  • The keys feel great, which I was a little nervous about
  • During the setup process, it turns on your camera and prompts you to take a picture of yourself for use as your avatar on the system – a nice touch.
  • From what I can tell so far, the battery indicator is actually honest about how much is left (unlike most computers I’ve owned.) It’s probably too soon to tell if this trend will last
  • Java pre-installed, and Ruby pre-installed, both at recent versions
  • The stuff I wanted to “just work” – wireless, bluetooth, sleep, external mouse, etc – just worked
  • Safari 3 is noticeably better than Safari 2. I hadn’t used Safari 3 until this point. I didn’t care for Safari 2 at all (mostly because it had very serious bugs that made it a pain to develop for).
  • Spaces seems to work well/fast. It was better than the 3rd party multiple desktop tool I was using before.

Cons:

  • The 1440×900 screen resolution is a bit worse than I expected. I actually looked at it and thought it might have come out set really low from the factory, but nope, that’s as high as it goes.
  • It didn’t come with Leopard pre-installed. They shipped it with a CD so I had to install it myself (which isn’t fun and effectively negates the “use it right away” idea)
  • I had one forced-reboot based on a kernel panic
  • I haven’t really figured out why the screen keeps adjusting it’s brightness. I know they have some kind of light sensor, and I’m sure it dims after a certain period of inactivity, but the thing changes too much for my taste (I’m sure there’s a setting somewhere).
  • Some of the key placement annoys me – namely the “fn” key where I want “ctrl” to be. In fact, there are 5 modifier keys in the lower-left corner of the keyboard: shift, fn, ctrl, alt, and apple. (see photo). That’s one more (“fn”) than what I’m used to, and since I’m still learning the keyboard shortcuts, it makes it hard. Additionally, there is no dedicated page up/page down key, they double them up on the up/down arrow keys. Presumably one of those 5 modifiers plus the arrow is going to get me page up.
  • It didn’t seem to auto-discover any of the computers on my home network, although once I figured out how you point it at a specific ip address it was able to mount shares no problem. I wouldn’t normally fault the Mac for this since this appears to suck on every OS ever, but in Leopard it looks like they went out of their way to hide where you’d find shared computers. The UI heavily relies on them being auto-discovered, so you have to search to find out what to do when that goes wrong.
  • Much like my Mac Mini’s keyboard, there is an eject button. Much like my Mac Mini, the eject button almost never works.
  • Time Machine doesn’t yet support network attached storage, and as such is useless to me.
  • MySQL doesn’t yet have a Leopard package, so it’s control panel doesn’t work yet.

I’m also taking this opportunity to switch from Parallels to VMWare Fusion, and that process went super smooth. VMWare has a great tool called the VMWare converter that worked flawlessly.

I knew there would be some tradeoffs when switching platforms, and some learning curve issues, so it’s not too bad. Thankfully being BSD-based, I’m able to do all of the stuff I am used to doing from a development perspective (all of the standard unix commands are there, MacPorts lets you download the usual open source packages, etc) so that part is very familiar.

A sad day…

It just occurred to me that if a foreign dignitary ever did need my assistance in sending money to the United States, and offered me a substantial percentage of it to help him or her, I would probably never get the message.

The “how do you know…” field in Facebook

In Facebook, when you’re defining the relationship you have with someone else, they ask the question:

“How do you know [Friend Name]?”

You can see an example of the options here (ignore the “skip this step” petition.)

The issue I have is that the question “how do you know…” is in the present tense, but the answers are all past tense. From the available answers, it makes it seem like the question you’re really being asked is “how did you meet [Friend Name]” which is different.

When I first started using Facebook, I interpreted the question as “how did you meet…” and then filled in the appropriate answer. For example, I met Adam W. through Fil so I filled that in. The problem is, now when I look at my friends list, it says “You know Adam through Fil.” I consider Adam a friend, and this reads like he’s just a friend-of-a-friend.

So, I’ve basically taken to not filling in the relationship details in these cases, because I feel like it sends the message “we’re not really friends, we just know each other through a mutual person.” All of that could be avoided if they just changed the presentation/grammar. Has anyone else had the same problem, or am I overanalyzing Facebook?

Top 10 Songs to Lift Weights to

I was curious what the intarwebs thought were the best songs to lift weights to, and was disturbed that at each turn I would find songs like “Eye of the Tiger” on the list. A good soundtrack for weightlifting is very different from one for faster-paced cardio exercises. When there is a pile of weight on top of you that’s going to fall on your head if you don’t lift it up, music that makes you want to dance or sing-along is… counter-productive.

So, I’ve compiled my own list off of my existing playlist. I try to dig up more music that fits the mold, but these are, currently, my top 10 favorites. Most of the music on this list is not music I listen to in any other context.

They’re songs that are fairly hard, but aren’t the unintelligible death metal kind. The rest of my playlist is almost all Godsmack. Overall I find their music the most motivating. I could use some more variety though. All suggestions welcome.

On this 4th of July

For better or worse, this is one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of being a proud American.

Recommended Podcast

If you like movies and/or British comedy, I’d strongly recommend adding Mark Kermode’s podcast to your iPod. I’ve listened to it for several months, and it’s one of my favorites. It’s a half-hour snippet of a longer radio show hosted by Simon Mayo in which, every Friday, Kermode comes in to review films.

They review the movies that are newly released in England, which largely correspond to the US but occasionally they review movies that aren’t out here yet, or review movies that came out here several months ago. Kermode is famous for his rants, and he and Mayo have a great chemistry. It’s very entertaining.

One note about his reviews which is absolutely true (excerpted from Wikipedia):

His emphasis on genre cinema has also meant he often expresses a liking for films panned by other critics, such as Basic Instinct 2 or Lassie because they follow genre expectations.