Harry Potter and the Dark Lord Waldemart

2006/10/27 at 10:48

This is my first Youtube post, but it’s well worth it:

Annoying iPod behavior

2006/10/25 at 09:59

I’ve owned my iPod Nano for almost a year, but I’ve just recently started listening to podcasts. I’ve found one annoying behavior. I have my iPod settings for podcasts set to ‘Sync unread podcasts.’ But as soon as I start to listen to a podcast, it gets marked as listened to. So, the next time I sync, this podcast gets removed from my iPod. Apple mentions this issue and suggests a workaround:

Once an episode is finished downloading, a blue dot appears to the left of the podcast, indicating that it has not yet been played. As soon as you begin to play the podcast, the blue dot disappears. When the blue dot disappears, it’s a reminder that the episode will be automatically removed from your iPod the next time you sync it with your computer. If you want to make sure the episode stays on your iPod, right-click it and choose “mark as unread”.

OK, that gets the job done, but every time I sync, I have to remember which podcasts are partially listened to and make sure that they don’t get deleted from my iPod. I wish there were some way to indicate “Only sync podcasts that I’ve listened to to the end”
Update January 11, 2007: Please see the solution to this problem.

Gas prices on the decline!

2006/10/19 at 12:05

Gas prices on the decline!

I paid only $2.059 for gas yesterday in San Antonio. Thought I’d photograph the sign for posterity

On Productivity

2006/10/16 at 11:41

I’ve heard repeatedly that there is an order of magnitude difference between the most and least productive programmers. I have no doubt that’s the case, but recently I’ve experienced that difference first hand, and I’ve also come to appreciate the effect of experience on that difference.
We hired a new QA engineer a couple of months ago, and I’ve been working with her closely the past few weeks. She’s very smart and seems to have high technical aptitude, but she doesn’t have much experience with the type of tasks we’ve been working on–dealing with various DBMSes. I’ve worked repeatedly with three of the four DBMSes and know quite a bit about the subtle differences between them. Furthermore, I’ve worked with DBMSes enough to know how to figure out how to do different tasks in each one. This experienced also helped me to get up and running with the one (DB2) that I’m not experienced with.
In this situation, I was an order of magnitude more productive due to my experience.

Middle age

2006/10/14 at 21:44

A great comment on MeFi:

I love MILF’s for their tragically unavailable, deer in the headlights “What’d I do?” selves, which is suddenly-gorgeous-and-completely-spontaneous in a way that makes the angle boned, air-brushed cover girls shot from low angles seem like pitifully dry and frail waifs. Show me a girl who can sling a 40 lb two year old, a big ass purse, and a diaper bag on one arm, and reach for groceries with the other, and I’ll show you a girl who will know what the hell to do with a baby sitter, a warm bath, a bottle of wine, some good takeout and 4 hours in a quiet room of a respectable hotel.
She’ll know, but 99.995% of the time, God love her, she won’t go, and on her typically wistful common sense lies the hope of civilization. But the hope that springs eternal in every man’s heart, that feeds love and lust and occasional wonder, is ministered to by the other .005%, who make grocery store day dreams on short odds a worthwhile endeavor.

Imagine earth without people

2006/10/13 at 10:03

There’s an interesting article at New Scientist that imagines what would happen to the earth if all humans disappeared today. The most basic conclusion is that pretty much all traces of human existence would be gone in 100,000 years.
Equally interesting is the discussion of this topic on MetaFilter. As usual, the MeFi discussion goes in many different directions, but I sense in some of the posts an unease that traces of the human race could be erased so quickly.

My new commute

2006/10/12 at 11:44

November 1 marks the opening of the toll freeways in red on the map below. Although I’m fundamentally against the idea of toll roads, now that they’re a fact, I’m sure we’ll take advantage of them. If I choose to pay for it, my commute should go from 35+ minutes to around 15 minutes. I’ll get on Hwy 45 about 1/2 mile from my house and exit Mopac (Loop 1) in front of my office.
Officials are saying that tolls will average $.10-.12 per mile, and I estimate that I’ll have 10 miles of toll roads eacy way, so I’m calculating a cost of $40/month for saving that 30-40 minutes per day. Time is indeed money, so this seems like a good buy to me.
My new commute
Click on the map image to see a larger version. The map is taken from here.

Suburban subdivision names

2006/10/11 at 09:29

I’ve long been convinced that developers who name subdivisions and shopping centers simply select ‘one from column A’ and ‘one from column B’ from lists of generic names. Well, I’m not the only one who thinks that. This blogger actually made such a chart for Denver.
This blogger also notes that the less desirable the subdivision, the grander the name. I’ve noticed these same trends in our own neighborhood. We live in the original development using the name ‘Blackhawk’: the Fairways of Blackhawk. Our neighborhood does indeed have a golf course in the middle of it, which was originally its big selling point, so the name is pretty descriptive.
But then several other Blackhawk neighborhoods popped up nearby, and the names begin to get more generic: The Meadows of Blackhawk, The Park at Blackhawk and Lakeside at Blackhawk. The lake that’s in Lakeside is a small pond. Go figure.
The most recent addition has the cheapest homes and is furthest off the beaten track. Therefore, it has the grandest name: The Estates at Blackhawk.
At least the word ‘Blackhawk’ is somewhat appropriate to the area: high plains with lots of redtail hawks and owls. What gets me are the totally inappropriate names, namely any subdivision or shopping center in Central Texas containing the word ‘Brook’ or ‘Meadow’. We have creeks and fields, no brooks and meadows.

I teh Intarnets

2006/10/05 at 09:06

Over on ask.metafilter, someone posted this question:

What’s the appeal of Steve Wozniak?
He’s everywhere these days and many nerds love him. To me, he seems like manboy who has managed to ride his Segway Polo-playing well beyond his 15 minutes of fame. He preoccupies himself with toys, is an awkward conversationalist (see here) and generally resembles a larger, mouth-breathing version of The 40 Year Old Virgin.
Seriously… what’s the deal?

The question got lots of interesting commetns, but even more awesome is the fact that Steve himself commented.