No Next of Kin
Posted in News, Tech
Afternoon watch, 7 bells (3:49 pm)

Wow, I heard the Microsoft Kin's been axed already. I just started seeing commercials for it on Hulu the other day. It's only been available for two months I think.

I guess if you have a gajillion dollars you can make stuff and never sell it as often as you want. Still, it seems like a waste to me…

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Typical Sound Card Stuff
Posted in Tech
Afternoon watch, 8 bells (4:00 pm)

Today my boss came in to my office and asked if I could find out the output voltage and impedance for his laptop's sound card.

Hardware specs tend to not go that in-depth. Finding the manufacturer of the sound hardware may work, but I ran in to several dead ends trying this.

In the end, I found a website dedicated to using your sound hardware as a cheap oscilloscope. Turns out, they've done the research and listed averages, which ended up being good enough for my boss.

The answer? Typical output voltage for a computer line-out jack is 1.5-2.0v. Impedance tends to be between 30 and 400 ohms. Just in case you needed to know.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-27
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Danger on Tiki Island
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:31 am)

Last night my brother Wes and I watched the latest Cinematic Titanic release, Danger on Tiki Island.

Having been a long-time fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000, this is an instant classic. While I don't think I enjoy the live versions quite as much as the normal DVD releases, it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the jokes. And I can tell you, there were a lot of them!

The story is (roughly) about a scientist and his wife investigating an island after nearby nuclear testing. Accompanying them is a peace corps guy that wants to improve the quality of life of the native population. But a monster is loose on the island, and the natives have reverted to virgin sacrifices on a near-nightly basis. Exactly how they could sustain this level of commitment I can't say.

Did I mention the trees have grabbing tentacles? And the monster suit was ridiculous? Of course I don't need to. Plus, there is a bonus documentary feature.

Don't be afraid to rush out and get the latest installment from Joel, Trace, J. Elvis, Mary Jo, and TV's Frank!

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Oversubscribed
Posted in Random Thoughts
Afternoon watch, 3 bells (1:47 pm)

I'm feeling a little oversubscribed. Between Twitter, RSS feeds of my favorite sites, and (sigh) Facebook, I typically get at least two copies of every bit of information, and frequently all three.

What I need now is a good duplicate-detecting social site aggregator.

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MUD Progress
Posted in MUD Development
First watch, 4 bells (10:21 pm)

I've been making a little progress on the MUD again. I don't work on it much, but it hasn't been building for a while, and I've got a drive to get it fixed so at least I can continue testing it.

I've made a few modifications lately, the biggest being changing the command objects to Singleton objects since that's the way I've been using them anyway. I've also been working on the get command, and as happens when a design gets better, it's shrinking in size. Hopefully I'll be able to wrap it up tomorrow, since Lorien will be working until almost 9:30pm tomorrow night anyway.

I've also been lax about source control. My current system is rolling up a tarball, bz2-compressing it, and dropping it into my gmail account. I really should get something a little more sophisticated. At some point I'm going to have to do something about it. But the goal right now is to get it building again, and to test out the get revision.

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(Bruce) Campbell’s Soup
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:00 pm)

(Bruce) Campbell's Soup

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New Bread
Posted in Baking
Afternoon watch, 2 bells (1:09 pm)

I am making a new bread this week: Italian Semolina. I made two loaves of white last night, and one big loaf of sourdough. And I'm enjoying a little bit of everything for lunch today! There are few better things than fresh homemade bread…

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-20
Posted in Twitter
Morning watch, 8 bells (8:03 am)
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Using the yaml-cpp Library
Forenoon watch, 7 bells (11:57 am)

I've been using the yaml-cpp library for a while now, and I have to say that overall I'm greatly pleased by how well it works.

As I was making some adjustments to my I/O last night I ran across a bit of documentation that I never noticed before. Of course, it could be newly added. Anyway, I've found the most convenient way to parse my documents (I have many thousands of them to read and write), is to access them by node-name. For example:

node["location"]["name"] >> mObjectLocation.location;

The information I read last night, however, may convince me to change this behavior.

Apparently, named-node access in yaml-cpp is order-n2 complex over the entire document. Put simply, every time you access a node like this the library loops through all nodes looking for a match. Personally, I think a hashed table lookup would have been much faster, and perhaps they'll add that later.

Overall, I wouldn't normally worry about it because my documents tend to only have a few dozen nodes. But I do have 20,000 documents to parse. And to top that off, as they are used they become more complex. And as more items are added, the node size will grow geometrically. I can easily envision a future where a single document contains hundreds of nodes, and it's starting to scare me.

The solution? Well, I can honestly say I don't have a good one yet. I think perhaps if I enforce the order things are written, which already only happens in one way, I can then read in linearly instead of by node-name. The problem with that is if a file is edited by hand and the order is accidentally changed. So by renaming my current solution to readCompatible() and writing a new linear read() function, I should cut down on a lot of extra unnecessary processing.

But I'm still not sure that's the best solution. Any smart people out there have a better idea?

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Text Message Spam
Forenoon watch, 8 bells (12:15 pm)

I received a text message spam today from 7793482905 that contained the following message:

RE: Congratulations: You have been preselected to receive a $100 Target Gift Voucher! Please call 888-511-9334 to claim. To end msgs reply Stop.

My reply was in two parts:

AT&T won't do anything about text spammers. You can't block them, but (supposedly) they have to respect you when you reply Stop.

I prefer to take it a bit further and file a compliant with the FCC.

I doubt that any person will actually see my message, but just in case, I like to give them fair warning.

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WordPress Upgrade
Posted in Reviews
Forenoon watch, 6 bells (11:14 am)

I upgraded to WordPress's new 3.0 release. In the first hour, they have over 15,000 downloads!

The upgrade was a piece of cake, as usual. They make it simple and easy. I always back up my database and files before the upgrade, and I've never had to go back. And let me tell you, I've been using WordPress for a very long time, since the early days. I upgraded from bb to WordPress on November 18, 2003.

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That’s Very Suspicious
Posted in News
Forenoon watch, 2 bells (9:14 am)

From Spokane News KXLY:

The Coeur d'Alene Police Department reports that a woman showed up at the Fast Lane Quik Lube, located at 484 West Bosanko Avenue, for an oil change. Mechanics at the business later identified that woman as Cyndi Steele, Edgar Steele's wife. As mechanics were working to remove the oil plug they noticed a suspicious device underneath her vehicle, a Mitsubishi Endeavor.

I'd think it was suspicious if I found a Mitsubishi Endeavor underneath my vehicle, too!

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Sourdough Starter Feeding
Posted in Baking, Recipes
Forenoon watch, 5 bells (10:44 am)

I've used this exact method to get a dormant starter going so well that it nearly triples when I refresh it. If this doesn't get your starter up and running like crazy, then there's no saving it!

Warm up 1 cup of water about 20 seconds in the microwave. It should be warm, but not hot. Too much heat will kill your starter. If it's too hot for you it's too hot for your starter.

Add 1 cup of your starter to the water and whisk until uniform. Discard the rest of the starter if it's dormant. If it's really active, use it!

Put 1 1/2 cups of flour in a bowl with the starter and whisk until combined. It's okay if there are some small chunks of flour, but you want it as well-combined as possible.

Cover with plastic wrap and keep it out on your counter. If you have a warm sunny spot, that's even better, but it'll work at room temperature.

Repeat this process in the morning and in the late afternoon/evening for 3 days.

Once it's really active, you should refresh it every 2 days or so if you keep it out. If you refrigerate it, it should keep indefinitely.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-13
Posted in Twitter
Middle watch, 2 bells (1:03 am)
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