Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mental note: do NOT buy my hardware from these guys

At the risk of resorting to humor of last resort -- making fun of names of other people and companies is the bottom-feeding genre of comedy -- I'll have to say this: from security perspective, you might consider twice before ordering your computer gear from "Chown Hardware". Name just, you know, suggests that there is a reason why pricing appears rather attractive... And why is the number one entry on product list labeled "Access and Exit Control"?

What next: "Internet Cafe 404"?

ps. How did I spot this one? No, not via SPAM, just via regular unsolicited snail mail.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Soft ball: entry #101 for 2009, mission kinda complete

Ok, looks like I managed to hit the target I set up recently, to write "one hundred and one" blog entries this year. Granted, this was not a giant stretch of literal muscle, given that at the time I had already gone most of the way. Nonetheless it is good to hit the target.

Since there's still some time to go until New Year, I think I might as well target the next even number, 111 entries.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Milk of Human Madness, Jule-tide edition

Ok, in between technical time, it's time to review some goofy stuff while we wait for Santa. Here goes...

1. Can't manage to find time to do something useful...

yet have plenty of time for "time management"?

Sound silly? Have a look at Pomodoro Technique. Great for giggles, as a case study for human insanity.
But if it starts to make some sense at any point, do not hesitate to get some professional help. Immediately.

But then again, there are always some co-workers who might benefit others by such techniques: by not having time to do anything, they could not make mistakes. And that's worth something too (brakes for loose cannons).

update: above comments are just related for application of said technique(s) to software development -- maybe other domains could benefit from intrusive regularly-scheduled interruptions (perhaps augmented by electrical shocks)

2. IRC? Yes, that thing hackers use when they don't want to be overheard!

Oh yes, you can always trust Numb3rs to get technical things FUBAR. Funny stuff.

Now, if you will excuse me, I will have to disconnect from my blog server before connection can be traced by FBI (it's that 30 second rule you may know from movies -- must triangulate fast -- gotta go!)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Project B3 (BlackBerry Beer) 2009

Some of you may have heard of my last beer-related project, BlackBerryBeer 2008. Due to unfortunate logistical problems (aka my laziness), the project failed. Year changing to 2009, making project name obsolete, did not help either. In fact, the project failed bad enough so that it is one of very very few projects I don't even list on my Monster resume.

Project B3 2008 Post-Mortem

As any good followers of the Cult of Process, we (the "project team") decided to have a retrospective on what went wrong with the project.

Post-mortem findings include following insights:

  • It is necessary to pick the blackberries before snow falls: failure to do so will make succesful completion impractical, perhaps even impossible. (sidenote: this was the fatal blow to B3 2008! Triple Boo for snow!)
  • Figuring out details like who to use for actual manufacturing (and at what cost) is important. Turns out these things don't just magically sort themselves out (Double Boo for things that don't take care of themselves)
  • Concrete plan is needed for storing resulting half a cask of custom-crafted beer -- our fridge can not contain more than maybe a dozen sixpacks, which is less than half a cask. It was pointed out that it is possible to alleviate this problem a little by drinking more beers faster; and that fortunately our home has multiple bathrooms to help with resulting logistics problem of excreting excess urinary liquids
  • Blackbery bushes have nasty thorns; and resulting bruises heal slowly (Boo for thorny plants!)

B3 2008 is Dead, Long Live BlackBerryBeer 2009 Project!

On positive note, it was also determined that these problems will be overcome with this next-generation project. After all, the stakeholders are now exceedingly thirsty; the blackberry season is not yet over in the grand state of Washington; and all the itchy blackberry wounds have been fully healed by now (in fact, some new ones have been gained to further the goal picking the dang berries; further strengthening our resolve for succesful outcome!)

Project Goals

One good thing about having a failed project is that usually you can reuse much of planning material; generally goals are reusable, sometimes even secondary artifacts like resourcing and scheduling.
This is the case here: goals have not changed a bit. We still want to:

  • Produce a batch of unique beer using some local ingredients (this is where Blackberries come into picture: after all, the only other plentiful local resource -- rain -- is not a particularly recognizable ingredient in the end)
  • Without having to handle the brewing part (as students we did this part -- it's fun, but only first couple of times; and we are well beyond that!)

We are confident that these goals will be met by the project; similar to how we were confident last year (turns out that optimism is, too, recycable! Hooray for optimism!)

The Plan

(note: plan hand-translated from our PM's MS Project Diagram)

  1. Pick the berries (use of child labor approved, maybe even encouraged -- kids don't fear thorns that blackberry bushes use for their protection; and are slightly easier to control than the other commonly encountered creature [Ursus Americanus] with known good blackberry picking skills)
  2. Find a micro-brewery that can brew small batches (half a cask?) for reasonable prices
  3. Procure other ingredients if need be
  4. Bring the stuff to the brewmeister
  5. Wait for craftsmen to brew the magic
  6. Bring The Beer Home!
  7. Drink! Smile! Have Fun!

Apologies for not having a flashy Flash version of the plan. If you want to see a flashier plan, try drinking enough vodka to make the list above spin and bounce on your computer screen (hint: wear 3D glasses for extra fun!)

Current State of the Project: Green (with Slight Chance of Yellow?)

So: although total collected blackberry harvest is still somewhat below required level (dang -- we also need to figure out what that level is!), we are confident that the end result will be enjoyable to drink, and going to be such enjoyed during year of 2009.

One more positive lack of development: we still haven't run across a single bottle of blackberry beer (although there are some Wild Internet Rumors that hint at possibility of future sightings). This is different from many other flavors of fruit beer: our project team has already field-tested multiple brands of blueberry beer, at least one tasty brand of strawberry beer (hi there Strawberry Blonde! Call me!); and of course the always-good Pyramid Apricot Ale.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Ok ok ok. That's a so-called rhetorical question. You can stop listing suggestions now ("I find your lack of faith disturbing!").

Post Scriptum

Once a decent batch of B3 is ready (in 2 months? Just in time for Thanksgiving!), volunteer beer drinkers may be needed. Our project team is thirsty, but even our bladders have limits. More info will be forthcoming if and when reinforcements are needed.

Stay Thirsty! And download responsibly!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Michael has left the building?

I assume this was inevitable: question(s) are now emerging regarding relationship between Jackson Project and late King of Pop. We of course deny all such allegations; or at least can not confirm them. Even if it can be said that Jackson (the JSON processor) IS the King of JSON (0wns the space, so to sp33k!), that's where similarities end.

Very entertaining. I think this beats the previous silly association; someone commenting he (or she?) liking Jackson because it was named after his cat... :-)

ps. If I ever write a YAML parser, I guess I have to name it either "Aaron" or "Presley"...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Seattle Super Stars: Bruce Lee

Here's something else I did not know: that the iconic Kung Fu hero Bruce Lee was a Seattleite! And that he is a "permanent resident" now, being buried in Lakewood Cemetery. Fascinating! So Seattle not only produces (or at least refines) first-class axe men (Jimi; guys of Pearl Jam & other big names of grunge), geeks (Bill G, Jeff B) but also first class ass-kickers.

I also need to keep this in mind next time I feel like giving hard time for waiters at local (Intl. District, near my day job) hole-in-the-wall joints...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wolf Power! (coolest Mockumercial for t-shirts ever)

Ok, here's yet another Internet Phenomenon I had so far missed: Three Wolf Moon t-shirt, #1 seller at Amazon Apparel store. Be sure to check out customer reviews -- they are AWESOME (almost as good as ones Tuscan Whole Milk, Wedding Chapel and Badonkadonk Tank; or ones that Brass Balls and Beluga Caviar used to have).

It is kind of cool that this T-shirt has gotten some majic (see its YouTube mockumercial!) by sheer luck. And its also amazing how useful such viral "marketing" can be (quotes since this had NOTHING to do with manufacturer itself); especially for smaller companies: get Internet-scale sales, even if you are a small player. As long as you get into this strange crowd-a-review cyclone. :-)

Now the main question is: how many should I order!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fear and Loathing with Windows Vista

Ok: so far I have been wondering if there's a reason why Windows Vista has gotten bad rap. I mean, up until now. No wonder any more -- I have tried using Vista for past week or so. And now it is quite clear why people might hate, despite and loathe it. My number one guess: it sucks like no tomorrow.

I mean: a simple thing like printing to a network printer is apparently beyond capabilities of this marvel of engineering. At work I tried printing a 2 page document to a network printer. Workflow for this task goes like so:

  1. Ask Vista nicely to locate printers in da hood: it will find 9 out of 200+ printers there are, none of which is in the same building; I am not entirely convinced these are not just random names drawn out of some sw engineers a$$. At any rate, none is a real printer within building I work at.
  2. Lend Vista a helping hand (first with just one finger raised...): tell it IP name to have a look at.
  3. Stare at the popup that claims it has no idea what type of a printer this might be; offering a not-so-helpful list of 79 known printer manufacturers, most with 500+ types of printers
  4. Go check the actual type of printer (from its side), write it carefully down
  5. Cross-check with list Vista gave you: notice that there is no such printer amongst thousands listed (I wonder if these are even real printers... maybe they were just generated using Jabberwocky)
  6. Try using something that is as close to the actual type as possible (same manufacturer, same product line, same number, couple of same letters)
  7. Try printing
  8. Observe Vista producing to print a stack of paper thicker than your local phone book -- likely because it saw no problem in seding Postscript file to what appears to be a PCL printer.
  9. Count your blessing when half-way through printing there is paper jam that prevents some of paper waste
  10. Wonder out aloud how is it that previous versions of Windows managed get above (minus printing tons of crap; replaced with printing out the actual doc) done with fewer steps. As does MacOS; and even Linux.

Now, some of you may think I just made above up. I so wish this was the case, but no, it is a sad but true story. And the rest (who heard me curse, and wave that stack of paper angrily, in general direction of my laptop); pardon my french. Yes, that kind of language is not suitable for corporate setting, I know. Next time I will use my mother tongue for expressing my true feelings.

I don't know if there is already a law outlawing manu(factu)re, distribution and selling of Vista. But if not, I sure hope Obama admistration considers it a crime punished by something severe. Like having to use Vista for all your work, for term to exceed 20 years. Without parole.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

With a little from my friends (Beijing re-mix)

You can't really make this stuff up: Passer-by pushes suicide jumper in south China. Nor can you improve upon the story. Priceless!

But I suppose excluding the fact that the would-be-jumper failed his mission, this went smoother than in most other places. No one trying to sweet talk you off the bridge or such (yeah yeah, I know, jumper just wanted attention etc... but humour me here).

Now: I can only think of the torture one would face in places like, say, downtown Helsinki. During daytime hours, no one would pay any attention ("better not look; he's drunk, or crazy, or both") whatsoever, and during night time, well, he'd be pestered by dozens of drunk (and possibly a few crazy) asking stupid questions, telling lame jokes and repeating the same at least a dozen times. Then wandering off for a while to resurface a while later to repeat the thing.

And although you might think this latter crowd might be more useful wrt. jumping part -- by sheer act of clumsily bumping someone off the bridge, chances are that a sober suicide-contemplator would be more likely to grasp onto something than the drunken person. So it's quite likely the depressed person might just become an accidental hero by saving a drunkard's life.

That's why suicide candidates in Helsinki never use bridges, or other public places, for this purpose. There are no kind elderly chinese gentlemen to offer a "helping hand".

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Darwin fish giving the Jesus fish a friendly little hug..."

I like reading prose written by authors who are better at writing than I am. Granted, this does not limit my choice of reading greatly, but it does generally guide me heavily towards printed media. This because quality of work within this quaint (and, sadly, dying) segment of word industry is significantly higher than online. It is a shame that (paid) columnists may go extinct faster than most currently endangered animal species; and with perhaps greater certainty.

Anyway: what reminded me of my liking of printed media was my favorite column, "Uptight Seattleite", and its take on relationship between Darwin fish and its buddy Jesus fish.

Priceless. And eerily fitting considering the background of declining newspaper industry, as seen as a part of normal evolutionary progress in world.

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