Resurrecting the Linux server

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I dusted off the old linux tower that hadn't been plugged in since my college days (which is only 2 years ago). For years Linux was my primary desktop OS. 2 things gradually changed this


  1. Mac OS X laptop

  2. Changing Jobs


While I worked at The Chron my PC at work ran linux. At home I ran both Mac and linux, however, after I changed jobs I started using linux less and less, and using my Mac at home more and more.

I'm not exactly sure why I stopped using linux. I generally put in more hours at this new jobs so perhaps I just had less time to devote to tinkering and tweaking once I was home. Mac OS X is a great OS, it's beautiful, stays out of your way, and limits the amount of tinkering you can do (which for me leads to getting more work done)

I've got a few projects I'm working on seriously now - both using Perl. I started a development environment using Virtual Box on the Mac, however working in a virtual machine is less than ideal.

Today I wiped the 3 year old Ubuntu (6.x) off my linux server and now have Ubuntu 9.10 running smoothly.

There have been a few nice additions to linux desktop world since I left it.

  1. Google Chrome - talk about a speedy browser. So far I love it.
  2. Gwibber - in a nutshell, it's an open source microblogging client for GNOME developed with Python and GTK. It supports Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca, Facebook, Flickr, Digg, and RSS. it's slick. I didn't think I'd like having my twitter followers infused with my facebooks friends' status updates, but it's working out quite nicely so far.

WOD Sept 17th 2009

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I found that many of the WODs from the main site were extremely tough to follow without all the equipment. I tried the NEN (no equipment needed) workouts but grew tired and bored with them too quickly. (I really enjoy the element of having/swinging/lifting weight)

I found an affailate just to the north of me, CrossFit The Woodlands that had a decent WOD yesterday. I noticed that most of their WODs were "less extreme" than the main site. Now I'm not looking for a wuss work out, I just recognize that right now I'm a 5'10" 260ish pound guy with little equipment at hand. Their toned-down workouts are a perfect match for me right now.

Not having a 30lb kettle bell for their WOD I threw and 30 lb dumbbell in my backpack and rode to the high school.

Today's WOD:

3 Rounds of

30 Kettle Bell Swings
Run 400 meters
Rest 1 minute

TIME: 14:55

CFTW's WOD required 3 minutes of rest between rounds, but that was a but too toned-down for my taste.

What got me today was riding my bike ~.25 miles with a 30lb dumbbell on my back. It was fun in a way, never done that one before, but what it made me realize that I go through the work of having to lug around 2 30lb dumbbells CONSTANTLY EVERY DAY.

Nothing could motivate me more to shed my extra pounds.

I've got my paleo lunch packed and I'm ready for a day of boring sedentary life (as is the life of the IT professional)

WOD Sept 15th 2009

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Today's WOD:

21-15-9
air squat
knee pushups

TIME: 3:55

WOD Sept 14th 2009

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Today's WOD for 20090914:

3 rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
12 Burpees

TIME: 14 minutes

This WOD is an adaptation from a previous CrossFit WOD


This is my first day back into CrossFit after a log hiatus. I'm working the morning shift for the next 2 weeks and the only good (and consistent) time I have free to do my WOD is at 4:00AM. It was a little rough getting up this morning, but the WOD was worth it.

Happy Birthday Mom.

Ads to be removed

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With the last redesign I placed google adsense ads on the site. Making money from this site is not a concern, nor a motivation to post - I just figured that the occasional check would be nice. Well, since I haven't received one check, and never even look at my stats, I've decided to take the ads off. I might still keep the site5 links up, simply because I really think their service (for the cost) an excellent value.

No promises as to when I plan to redesign the site, but I think it will be more than just a blog -- who knows.

Stay tuned.

Long time no post

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I think things are finally settling down. I'm just 4 days shy of 3 months at the new job, and I think I've got my feet planted firmly.

I want to post more. Not that all that much is really going on, I just have this desire to post more.

I want to redesign this ugly cookie-cutter template as well. I'm not too fond of the new template conventions of MT. I could possibly move to another engine, write my own, or even go to a hosted solution.

At any rate. I promise ( to all 3 of you reading this ) to post more frequently.

I'm listening to more music these days too... here's my current fav.


Change. Bank.

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Lots of the SNL skits I've seen over the years aren't that memorable... but this one, "Change Bank" has long been a favorite of mine.

I left the amazing group at the Chron on Friday and today I started my new gig with JP Morgan Chase, in the N.A. Investment Bank Technology Center.

Changing jobs is tough. The most difficult part, for me, is dealing with the emotional ties I made at the previous job. It's heart-wrenching leaving people you spent 8 hours a day with for the last n years. Second to the emotional change is the anxiety you have before you start the new job, not fully knowing how things will play out.

We'll miss you Will Willis

My experience has been that things will be great at the new place... just as the were at the last. The key for me is making the transition a quickly as possible.

Don't Make Me Think v. Think for Me

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I'm a big fan of the book, Don't Make Me Think, which illustrates design conventions for making things easier on the user.

iTunes does a great job at this, but has gone from Don't Make Me Think, to Think for Me, regarding whether or not I really want to download podcasts that I'm subscribed to because it's been a while since I've listened to them.

Don't Think for Me

That's a feature I could live without. If you're going to offer something to the user, like the option to subscribe to a feed, which to me means, "all newly found episodes will be downloaded", don't change the definition of the term "Subscribe" behind the scenes because you think you know me better than I know myself. Remember, I'm the one with the brain.

It was only this morning, after using iTunes for years, that I mistakenly clicked on the little gray circle next to the feed with an exclamation mark (I wish I had taken a screen shot)... that action is what brought up the above dialog box. I had always assumed that that was an indication that the feed URL was unavailable -- If too much time went by and the resource never became "available" again, I'd eventually unsubscribe. All this time I've been misguided.

Here's a tip software developers: If a dialog box's purpose is to ask a question (even if it's confirming what you told it months ago) do everyone a favor and put a flippn' question mark in the icon -- indicating that you have a question for me! Reserve that cute little exclamation mark for when either myself, or some external factor has caused the application to behave unexpectedly. When I've not changed anything related to a feed, and see an exclamation mark next to it, I think there's an error, but surely, it's the cause of something other than me -- Simply because I haven't done anything! Those are the sorts of errors that eventually fix themselves, or will never be fixed.

So Apple, don't think for me, and next time, give me a little more insight into what that mysterious circle means. If you have a question for me, show me a question mark, show me some indication that my action is requested, have it glow or do something. Bouncing icons in the doc is a wonderful example of where you've done it right!

Squid Fingers v2

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I wanted to change my twitter background image yesterday and recalled how much I love the background images over at squidfingers.

As can be expected, the site was redesigned at some point in the past 3'ish years. The redesign broke my script as the image names/locations changed.

The newly modified perl script can be found here.

Search Frenzy

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I'm convinced that search is the future... just google it if you don't believe me.



      Red circles surround Brands.

      Green circles surround Search Form Fields.

Love, the Secret Ingredient

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Clay Shirky, while being interviewed for this new book, Here Comes Everybody:The Power of Organizing without Organizations, explains what I feel, is the key ingredient to achieving success in anything.

Love.


I gave a talk at Supernova, a brief talk on the Perl programming language. I was pointing out that the Perl programming language, which has been an absolute mainstay of the web from the earliest days, is held together by love. It's not held together either by government intervention or by corporate investment. It's held together because a bunch of people love Perl, and more importantly, they love one another in the context of Perl. They like being part of a community that makes this language work, and work better.

Love is the key because this outward expression waters and nourishes the seeds of enthusiasm, discipline, and determination. Without it, progress is damned, or hampered at best. Only when these seeds are constantly nurtured will a cause flourish and grow to it's fullest potential.

source: The Worldchanging Interview: Clay Shirky

Design Coding. Get with it.

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