March 5th, 2011

09:17 pm - Well, I finally got an e-reader.
So, I finally got an e-reader today. After getting Janis a Nook Color for her birthday, I found it intriguing enough to take the plunge and get my own... still wasn't sure I would really be into it, but at this point I'll never really know without actually spending some time with one, so, wtf, went ahead and got one.

So far, so ... well, OK. Some things I really like, others annoy the hell out of me. The color touchscreen is WORLDS better, for me, than the "e-ink" more typically found in e-readers. The "PC application" is Windows-only... but it does run fine, so far, under WINE in Linux, so there's that. Battery life seems pretty sweet so far.

One thing that bothers me - the "lending" feature, which was something I heartily approved of, so far seems to require that you link the Nook to your Facebook account... /and/ give it permission to post on your wall. NOT COOL, B&N. I am really, really not okay with applications which can pretend to be you by posting things as though they were you, ever, from pretty much anybody. And to be honest - I am looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg - the fact that this is even an /option/ with Facebook apps drives me insane. There should /never/ be a legitimate case for an application making a post as a human being without that human's express consent, expressed beforehand, /for that particular post/. Anyway. Back to the actual device:

The feel of the device in my hands - which was a really big concern for me - is pretty nice so far. Part of how nice it is to hold is the leather "book" cover I got for it, which I am frankly kind of in love with - it's glossy, nice-smelling black leather, with reverse-embossed classical authors' names in big all caps serif text all over. I wasn't sure when I went into B&N today whether I would get the Nook or not - I was really leaning more towards a Samsung Galaxy android tablet. I'm still not sure if I would have actually taken the plunge, without that cover sitting there all seductive-like. Having seen it though... had to have it.

My biggest gripe so far is the interface of the shop. The Nook store is frankly fucking AWFUL - it's almost impossible to navigate effectively. If you just want to buy whatever is selling well, you're in luck, and you'll be very happy. If you have more specific tastes... prepare for some pain. You can search for author name or book title, which is great if you know EXACTLY what you want - and by "great" I mean "OK", because all you have is a single-level search. Better hope your favorite author has an unusual name, because you can't limit searches by genre; for example, searching for "David Drake" got me both the military sci-fi author and some young gay dude who wrote a tell-all book. Worse, there's no sorting even if you do get the author you wanted - not only are the books not grouped by series, they aren't grouped by date either. Expect to find a complete mish-mash of crap; in a series of novels you'll likely see #5 first, followed by three unrelated books, followed by #7, followed by more unrelateds, followed by #2... you get the idea.

You are also ridiculously likely to see the SAME book multiple times, with a different cover image. It's even worse in the "free books" section - some dude wrote his own Star Wars book and it's listed, I kid you not, AT LEAST ten different times. Which wouldn't be so bad if it was SORTED or grouped in any way, but... did I mention that you can't sort, or group, and your searches are single-level simple searches only?

Still, so far I'm enjoying the experience of actually *reading* on the device, and with any luck eventually B&N will sort out their godawful navigation issues on the store.

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October 28th, 2010

03:54 pm - so I brood on top of a roof for a while in my usual fashion


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October 11th, 2010

10:31 pm - I haz a son. I haz a son... I HAZ A SON!

Jacob Ruffin Salter, aka "Finn", was born at 0530 on 10/11/10, weighing in at a whopping 10lbs 9oz and 20.5" long. The two most frequent comments from hospital staff were "what a beautiful baby boy" and "wow, you guys gave birth to a toddler." I labeled the scale on the blueprint in cms, but clearly Janis built in inches!

Much like his big sister Jane (who was 9 lbs 9 oz at birth), he came out of the womb with eyes wide open, lifted his head up all on his own, knew immediately who his daddy was, and screamed bloody murder at anybody BUT daddy who touched him for the first hour and a half or so.

This incubator was in our Labor&Delivery room. We did not place Finn in it.
Current Mood: ecstatic

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January 12th, 2010

09:05 am - 99 problems


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January 5th, 2010

08:02 pm - Cheap Chinese netbooks: THE REVIEW
My friend Trey was looking for a netbook for his wife this Christmas. It needed to be as cheap as possible (her restriction, not his) - she actually wanted "a $150 netbook", which wasn't really possible. So, I ended up hitting eBay and discovering that it was FLOODED with interesting Chinese-manufacture no-name netbooks.

After pointing Trey at the most promising looking vendor (and promising to put a clean install of Ubuntu Netbook Remix on it once it arrived), he managed to score a "Tengjun Mini 1006" for $243 including shipping. (For reference, that's at least $100 less than a Dell Mini 10v - my personal favorite netbook - and $38 or so cheaper than Wal-Mart's price for an Acer netbook.) I was itching to get my hands on that thing to play with it! Today, it finally got here.

screenshots and review details and INEXPLICABLE CHINESENESS insideCollapse )

All in all, at $243 this thing is neither a terrible buy nor a great buy. Wal-Mart is selling Acer netbooks for $280, so basically you're trading away a fanless heatsink setup and a legit copy of Windows (which only matters if you planned to run Windows in the first place) for $37 savings. That's if you're shopping the cheap end to begin with, of course; if you want the best then you're probably looking at a Dell Mini 10v with upgrade to SSD and - unfortunately - aftermarket upgrade from the Dell wLAN to an Intel 5300 half-height, for more like $450 by the time you're done.

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October 26th, 2009

10:49 am - only two ways to stand out
Her: Did you see [particular person in crowded area]?
Me: Doesn't ring a bell.
Her: I'm talking about the one [add details].
Me: Sorry, don't think so.
Her: But they really [more details], almost like [exaggerated depiction].
Me: Honey, you pay a LOT more attention to individual people in crowded areas than I do. In general, if it doesn't look like it needs fighting or wants fucking, I probably didn't notice it.

I might be a Neanderthal, but at least I'm in touch with who I am, right?


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October 13th, 2009

01:53 pm - How does this even happen?
$customer has some of those god awful "control panel" servers... not Plesk, but the same concept. You get the idea. $vendor is forcing him to do a migration, because they no longer support FreeBSD, so they want him to move to CentOS. $customer contracts with $vendor to maintain these things... sorta, mostly, except he's still responsible for maintaining the actual servers. Confused yet? Me too.

don"t click if you don"t know or care what SQL isCollapse )
Current Mood: boggled

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September 9th, 2009

03:42 pm - Jane pic du jour
Going back through the metric ton of Jane pics in my camera, this is one of my favorites. She was just under 4 months old when it was taken.

Clickable if you want to embiggenate it.
Current Mood: happy

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September 1st, 2009

08:12 pm - freak of culture like a white girl with cornrows
Last night I dreamed that I was a teenager again, and that I had an older brother. We were on some kind of screwy football team in high school, with a coach who kept advising us to bang all the (female) reporters who apparently wanted to interview us for the local papers. They were real sluts, and, apparently, wanted some kind of scoop badly enough to be perfectly willing to fuck their way through as many high school football players as necessary along the way.

Also, we were living with grandparents who turned out to be undead. They were feeding us human flesh to turn us into ghouls. And, apparently, the grandparents were going to kill us before the transformation was complete, and feed on us - only I ran away and turned myself "all the way" undead first. By RIPPING OFF ALL MY REMAINING LIVING FLESH. Ha ha, creepy undead grandparents, I win! I think.

I have got to find out what the hell the wife is putting in my drinks. And ask for more of it.

Current Mood: baffled
Current Music: Atmosphere - That's Not Beef, It's Pork

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August 14th, 2009

11:42 am - a freak of culture, like a white girl with cornrows
So, the wife and I came home with another box of hand-me-down baby clothes, sized six months bigger than the last time.

Janis's role in this is to sift through the hand-me-downs and sort them into piles of "wrong size", "too stained", "nothing irrevocably wrong with these", and "hey I kinda like this one." My job is to look on, horrified, and advocate burning the entire lot of them.

One of the little 6-month size shirts this go-round had paired strawberries over the left breast, captioned "Berries" in large cursive text underneath them. Y'know, just in case some onlooker is simultaneously incapable of identifying a strawberry yet capable of reading English.

Wife: This one?
Me: Strawberry, strawberry was the neighborhood ho.
Wife: I don't know why they have to put writing on these.
Me: Yo E, she's a berry, let's run a train / Man, I wouldn't touch that bitch / Me neither, ho go home and wash out your beaver.
Wife: Well, I guess that's a "no" then.

I guess we can add "doesn't listen to NWA" to "has never seen the internet" when listing the qualities of people who make infant clothing.

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August 6th, 2009

01:29 pm - Dell Mini 10v - first impressions
I recently realized that I no longer needed a "full-scale" notebook, and that since netbooks were so inexpensive, I could actually make money selling my Inspiron 6400 and buying a Dell Mini 10v to replace it. So I did that. Much like the Inspiron it replaced, I did pimp out the 10v a bit over baseline - upgraded to Dell's 16GB solid state drive, upgraded the wireless, and upgraded the battery (from 3-cell to 6-cell).

I was never a big fan of the netbook (or, formerly, "subnotebook") form factor - I thought that it sacrificed too much usability for the sake of "being tiny and cute" - but given that I no longer really needed a desktop replacement to go on long trips with me, and given the much lower cost, the netbook was suddenly attractive. For occasional, relatively brief use doing network testing, it's hard to beat.

more detail behind the cutCollapse )

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July 15th, 2009

02:47 pm - Baby's First Modeling Gig
OK, OK, so we were paid in merchandise and it's just for this chick's Etsy store... but hey, there was a professional photographer shooting it.

This one is by far my favorite... Jane kicking it Roaring Twenties style with a crazy giant-flower-adorned lace knit headband. I suspect we are going to be seeing that expression A LOT. In Janis' words, "that's the Daddy look."

more pics under the cutCollapse )

pics are clickable, if you want to see them in their original ginormous glory.
Tags: ,

Current Mood: happy

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July 6th, 2009

12:00 pm - They hate our freedom^H^H^H^H^H^H^H undeclared war
Maybe, just maybe, "they" don't really hate our freedom. Maybe "they" actually hate the way we attack civilian targets inside the borders of countries with whom we are not at war. I mean, it's just a thought. When you're making the news for sending in Predator unmanned attack drones to volley missiles into the funeral of a bunch of people who were killed by - you guessed it, attack by Predator unmanned attack drones, maybe that might piss the survivors and the neighbors off a little more than your "freedom"?

Seriously, why isn't this getting more news coverage? Let me recap:

  • We have not declared war on Pakistan

  • We are using military hardware to attack targets within Pakistan's borders

  • We are attacking civilian targets within Pakistan's borders


Why the hell isn't this raising red flags all over the country? I mean, for crying out loud, have you ever watched a Western? The guys who ride by the ranch firing their guns into it through the walls at midnight are not the heroes of the piece.

I'm really not coming at this from the perspective of a fainting dove: I know the place is a goddamn mess, and there's a lot of Taliban in there. But this just isn't the right way to go about... whatever the hell it is we're trying to accomplish. We should either be getting openly and officially invited in by the Pakistani government, declaring war and doing it our way, or butting the hell out. "Just sorta sending in drones to attack civilian targets with HE missiles", with or without the "tacit" support of the Pakistani government - and with increasingly strident protests from Pakistani civilians - is a direct slap in the face of everything this country is SUPPOSED to be for.


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July 5th, 2009

11:41 pm - the economy: still sucking

This, unfortunately, pretty much sums it up right now.

I am so, SO thankful I have a business (and therefore, a distributed income) - this is a shitty, shitty time to have to rely on too many of your financial eggs coming from one basket.

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June 30th, 2009

02:36 pm - your daily moment of zen

disclaimer: no that is not my cat. my cat is a ground cat.

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June 29th, 2009

04:35 pm - ZFS data healing under FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE
I decided to do a quick test of ZFS's automatic data healing and corruption protection today.

Short version: it works. Details behind the cut.Collapse )

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June 26th, 2009

07:19 pm - More ZFS performance data
Update to the prior ZFS post: I did some more benchmarks. The newer set was performed with one 5MB burst of data written to a random location on the target drive each second, which is probably a better model for most real-world conditions.

Methodology, commentary, and graphs behind the cutCollapse )

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June 24th, 2009

09:09 pm - OpenSolaris: first impressions
I've been benchmarking Sun's ZFS filesystem alongside more conventional ones lately, and as a result, somebody asked me to include numbers from Sun's actual operating system running ZFS. So I figured hey, why not.

I felt like that little girl from Jurassic Park. First, I sit in front of the computer, and stare at the monitor with a relieved grin. "Hey, this is Unix - I know this!"

Then the velociraptors attacked.

I suspect there must have been driver problems with the particular hardware I was using, because holy SHIT was OpenSolaris (2009-06) ever broken. First, any attempt to read from /home/export/myname severely impacted performance of the whole system - making it damn near unusable - until the read finished. Um, what? Then I discovered that if I had a terminal window open, and I fired up nano (a text editor) and then maximized the console window... suddenly, arrow keys started producing ASCII codes on the screen instead of... you know... arrowing. And once a terminal window actually crashed while I was using nano. Then I tried to install the Data::Random module from Perl's CPAN, and... well, the less said about that the better.

I could also go on about dd not understanding the "m" or "g" suffixes to blocksize arguments - despite the manpage saying that it does - or the lack of throughput report at the end of a dd run - despite the manpage saying there should be - or the lack of normally pretty-universal utilities like pv (pipe viewer) in the package repositories... hell, I think you get the picture. There may be some Very Good Reasons to go Solaris instead of BSD or Linux in the Enterprise world that I'm just not aware of, but from a smallbiz ISV's perspective, it felt like HP-UX: sorta like what you're used to, only painfully obsolescent and quirky and treacherous, with a lot of things you expect to be available inexplicably missing.

Again, I have to believe a lot of my problems must have been endemic to the hardware I was using. (Athlon64 3500+, ASUS motherboard with nvidia chipset, 2GB DDR2 SDRAM, if anybody is wondering.) But honestly, from my perspective as an ISV catering to small business... that doesn't help much. I don't want to have to carefully pick and choose from a list of exotic crap to feed my OS; I need to by and large expect it to just fucking work with commodity off-the-shelf parts.

I'll put up new numbers tomorrow, including results from FreeBSD 8.0-CURRENT (which includes ZFS v13, as opposed to the ZFSv6 in FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE) as well as the OpenSolaris results. But I'll save you the tension, if it's the Solaris numbers you want: they sucked. (Which may largely have had to do with the fact that OpenSolaris seems bound and determined to run X Windows, whereas FreeBSD didn't - all I really know is, from the "install it and see how it works" perspective, it blew.)

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June 23rd, 2009

09:15 pm - Jane pic du jour

She is super extra cranky and driving her mother to distraction right now, but omg she was so sweet this morning. And for, you know, like 15 brief minutes earlier tonight after I got home. :)
Tags: ,


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08:53 pm - ZFS and RAIDZ performance
A comment on the Ars Technica Linux Kung Fu forum a couple of weeks ago got me curious - a user there said that as far as he knew, RAIDZ was not supposed to be a performance configuration, with RAIDZ performance not much better, on average, than that of any single disk in the RAIDZ.

I just happened to have a RAID storage server in the shop that was due for a complete wipe anyway, so I decided to take the opportunity to do some benchmarking. Somewhat to my surprise, ZFS turned out to be quite a good performer - despite its advanced data-protection features, it was the fastest filesystem tested for single-process reads, with or without RAIDZ. RAIDZ did quite well too; on multiple concurrent reads it is significantly slower than RAID5/ext3, but still manages to nearly double single-drive performance across the board.

specs and full-size graphs behind the cutCollapse )


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