Sep 042008
 

It’s time to admit that we need to keep the Space Shuttle flying for a few more years. We simply can’t give up our only access to space (and the space station) for multiple years until Constellation is ready to fly.

This is especially critical now, with our relationship with Russia taking on a more complicated edge, and with Congress about to recess without approving permission to buy more seats on future Soyuz craft. As NASA administrator Mike Griffin says, this is going to almost unavoidably result in a period of time during which only the Russians will be aboard the International Space Station.

This can’t be allowed to happen. Congress needs to get off its butt and fund both the Space Shuttle through 2014 as well as fully fund the Constellation program. It’s time to man up, boys, and do what needs to be done to ensure the United States maintains its leadership role in space exploration.

 Posted by at 4:42 PM
Aug 262008
 

Repeat after me: Don’t discuss politics with friends.

I have far too many left-leaning friends with whom I have extremely strong differences of opinion to engage in political debate with them. They tend to all come at me at once, so that I feel like I’m being ganged up on by them and their (from my perspective) ill-informed views.

It’s not conducive to legitimate discussion, and I always wind up offended and frustrated, which usually results in me storming off in a huff.

Here are a few examples of ways good friends can force me to withdraw from a political discussion in sheer exasperation:

  1. Repeatedly call our leaders lunatics or idiots without backing it up with any kind of logical argument.  Me, if I don’t like someone, I just say that.  Just because I disagree with someone doesn’t make them an idiot or a lunatic.
  2. Insist that someone’s motives are entirely driven by greed, malice, or sadism, despite a total lack of evidence that such is the case.  If you honestly think that, you’d better have a reason for it, otherwise shut the hell up.  Just because you don’t understand why someone does something doesn’t mean their motives are impure.
  3. Argue that our country shouldn’t defend its interests, no matter where in the world those interests lie.  Isolationism doesn’t work, and never has.

I think it’s a low form of debate to use such arguments as 1-3, and I think people that don’t think we should defend our interests around the world are just stupid. I’m fine with arguing degrees to which things should be done, but to flat-out argue against it is insane.

 Posted by at 11:20 PM
Jun 202008
 

In the past year, we’ve blown through four routers. They keep failing on us, usually right around the same time we have a cluster of outages with our cable modem service provider.

Is it possible that the cable modem is somehow damaging the routers plugged into it? I have no idea, but it seems hard to believe that so many routers — each a different brand — would be defective.

 Posted by at 8:00 AM
Jun 122008
 

My cable modem service failed last night around midnight and is still not back up. Frustrating, to say the least. Right now I’m trying to work at my mother-in-law’s house, where there’s Internet access that works.

I’m starting to wonder if the fact that I keep having trouble with Charter is because searching Google for “hate Charter” finds this blog as the top hit… :)

In more directly Mozilla related news, I hope to have the new MDC stuff into version control so that localizers can work on the skin. I have detailed instructions for how to go about doing it, which I’ll post prominently once the SVN access is ready.

 Posted by at 3:30 PM
Nov 062007
 

This product annoys me.  It’s one of those static-cling type clear sheets that you put on the screen of a device to protect it from scratches.  I’ve used them for years on my Palm OS devices (including my current Treo 750P), so I figured I’d get one for my iPod touch, whose screen gets a lot of manhandling.

That’s all well and good.

Here’s the problem: despite saying on the package that this protector is for the iPod touch, the overlay is too small to cover the entire screen.  I’m not just saying that it doesn’t cover the entire front of the iPod (which is what I’d rather hoped it would).  It doesn’t even cover the entire display area of the screen.  It’s a good quarter-centimeter too small in both dimensions.

Don’t waste your money on this thing until they fix it.

Does anyone make a protective iPod touch screen overlay that covers the entire front of the unit?

 Posted by at 11:34 AM
Jun 102007
 

So I installed the Parallels 3 update on my iMac yesterday.  Let it update my Windows XP VM, because, like a moron noob, I opted against backing up my VM before starting this process.

Have yet to actually successfully run Windows XP on Parallels 3 since then.  Crashes 100% of the time during or immediately after startup.   And of course the updated VM won’t work in Parallels 2.5, so even though I’ve reinstalled 2.5, I’m now having to install and set up a new VM from scratch.

As I write this post, XP is rebooting after installing its second batch of updates.  I’m not sure how many more there will be.  Then I can start installing the apps I need on it.

Tedious.

It’s the first time a Parallels update (including betas) hasn’t worked flawlessly for me.  Frustrating.

 Posted by at 7:42 PM
May 072007
 

On October 6th of last year, I blogged about the gas leak coming from under the ground across the street from our house, that the local gas company had at that time ignored for well over a year.

On Friday, a couple of their trucks were across the street. They left after a while, having spray painted some stripes here and there.

My question is: are they actually planning to fix the leak, or were they just trying to get our hopes up.

It continues to astound me how long it’s taking to fix this. The stench of leaking gas is nearly overpowering at times. It’s been getting gradually but steadily worse for the past several months. There are days when I’m a little afraid to start my car for fear of blowing something up. It’s completely ludicrous.

 Posted by at 4:56 PM
Apr 082007
 

So I’m trying to sleep this morning, since things will be crazy today doing family stuff, and I just can’t do it, because I’m thinking about the fact that tomorrow I’m flying off to California for the quarterly MoCo all-hands meeting.

Previous remote jobs I’ve held that “required travel” required a lot less of it than this one. I don’t mind traveling, but I sure hate the means by which I have to do it. The last few years have turned air travel from a minor inconvenience into a major pain. Increasingly much of my travel time is spent on tiny little planes that are ill-suited for someone my height (and to be frank, width). And I get to spend increasingly ridiculous sums of money to do it (more accurately, I suppose, the company does).

This seems counterintuitive to me. I know the airline industry is having rough times, but making your customers uncomfortable and unhappy doesn’t seem like the smart way to go about fixing your industry.

A year or two ago, I realized that my travel was a lot more pleasant if I scheduled my trip with a longish layover in some airport along the way — say two or three hours. Enough time to stretch my legs, get a bite to eat, surf the net or play a game for a while. This plan worked well until they started moving all flights under around two and a half hours to regional jets. Now if I try to break up my flight into two roughly equal length parts, I wind up on regional jets the entire trip.

So I’m back to using Atlanta or sometimes Cincinnati as my plane-switching point. Which doesn’t lend itself all that well toward taking a nice long break, since it’s only about 45 minutes away from home. Not a ton of benefit in taking that long break that early on the way out, or that close to home on the way back.

I miss the old days before airlines used hubs, and you would usually just fly nonstop between whatever two cities you were traveling between. Might have been inefficient for the airlines, but man did it make air travel nice.

I wish we had high-speed trains in this country. I’d so much rather travel by train. The seats on Amtrak are so comfortable, with good legroom, footrests, and you can recline and relax very nicely. Not to mention that you can get up and find a table to sit at to eat, and so forth. Just not a particularly time-effective way to travel when you need to be somewhere. Looking quickly at Amtrak’s web site, I find that it would cost around $380 to get from here to San Jose, California, but would take a little over two days.

Now, on the other hand, if I could get Internet access on the train, then I’d be able to work and so forth along the way. In theory I’d be able to use my cell phone as a modem most of the time at least.

It’s an interesting notion. I don’t know how reasonable it is, but it’s something to think about trying once to see how it goes.

 Posted by at 7:26 AM
Jan 252007
 

Our Charter DVR box ceased to function yesterday evening. I called Charter and after about 45 minutes on the phone with them they set me up with a service call to have it replaced.

Next Tuesday. That’s six days, just to get a cable box replaced. Awesome.

If they had a local office, I could go in and swap it out, but they shut down the local office here, so there’s nowhere I can go, and I’m totally at their mercy.

I hate, hate, hate that company. With a depth of conviction you wouldn’t believe.

 Posted by at 4:54 PM
Jan 142007
 

On Friday, I was at the “Department of Safety” in town to get my driver’s license renewed. Behind me is a teenage boy and his dad, there to get his very first driver’s license. The kid is filling out the application, reading the questions aloud and asking his dad questions about them.

There were two questions he had that floored me, leaving me wanting to shake this kid and whoever has been responsible for his education.

The first question was this: “Dad, what’s an A-P-T number?”

Oh my God. How do you get to be fifteen or sixteen years old and not know common abbreviations? When I was a kid (and I don’t really think that was all that long ago) we actually studied abbreviations in school. It was part of our English curriculum. Had to learn the common abbreviations you see in everyday life, and the abbreviation for the word “apartment” was surely one of them.

The second question was: “What does it mean when it asks if I’m a U.S. citizen? I don’t know what that word means.”

Holy cow. This kid shouldn’t even be allowed to have a driver’s license. How can you possibly be a high school age American and not know the word “citizen?” Was this kid raised in a barn?

Well… maybe.

Regardless, how is it even remotely possible not to have learned the word “citizen” by the time you’re applying for a driver’s license? Has he not had to study government, civics, or even history in the presumably ten years or so he’s been in school? Ever? Really?

Pardon me while I go beat my head against the wall for a while.

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 Posted by at 5:56 PM