Smack

Talking smack or whatever

Stress

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I’ve hit the “Stressed Out” level. I just wrote this email to my wife:

“Amazing isn’t it? Four little documents can take 6 hours to put together. I’ve been working on this since 8pm. It’s almost 2am now. And I’ve only *just* started drinking. When I get to Qatar, I’m going to buy a gun and fire 200 rounds into a sand dune.”

Then I imagined myself actually doing that, found it frickin hilarious as well as extremely satisfying, started to laugh my ass off – out loud – at 2:00am, and then started tearing up. (sorrow tears, not tears of joy). When you start to cry when you’re laughing, it is called STRESS. At least it is to me.

I can’t wait to buy that gun. I hope you can buy one over there, but expect that you can’t.

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Written by worlok2112

November 9, 2006 at 2:54 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Mathematics

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I love stuff like

this

and

this

The latter of which is used in VMware for CPU scheduling in SMP virtual machines, and the former of which I just stumbled upon and thought, “Cool, there’s a name for that?”

Written by worlok2112

November 8, 2006 at 12:47 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker – A review. Sort of

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I’ve been shooting video for nigh on five years – mostly of my kids. I suck at it. I watch some old footage and the camera is rolling all over the place. I don’t frame my shot – hell I don’t HAVE a shot. I just point it at stuff and often not for long enough, while other times too long. I suck.

But what sucks more is that all 40 tapes (some of you may think that is alot, but over 5 years that is really nothing) sit on a shelf collecting dust. I’ve compiled no DVD’s. I’ve grabbed a few small, short clips for posting on web sites the odd time something interesting has happened. And it’s easy to say, “I don’t have time”. It’s not only easy, it’s also true.

But this begets the question: why should it take time? This stuff is supposed to be digital. Isn’t digital supposed to be better (substitute your favourite synonym or antonym for “better” with regard to digital)??? Well, you would think it is supposed to be better, but I have found that it is entirely not better. Editing video from tape to computer and then to finished media is nothing short of a pain in the ass.

At least, I used to think so.

I had tried several software applications for this purpose. Most of them have been lame. Meaning that the interface looks like video tape, and you are walked through a process of capturing, inserting into a scrapbook of sorts, and dropping into a timeline. The capture process sucked. The timeline interface sucked. The transistions were few and cartoony. And the interface itself was cartoony. I refer to “it” and “was” and “is” as though I’m referring to only one product. But no, they really all tended to fit these descriptions.

All but one: Adobe Premiere. Now you Mac fans go “Yay” to this. And so do you professionals. But I tell you – Premiere is a piece of shit. I find all of Adobe’s products to have the most cumbersome, unintuitive, clunky, cludgy interface ever conceived by humans. To add to this, the Firewire device support under Windows is HORRID. Don’t you dare open your brain cells to the notion that this is Windows’ or Microsoft’s fault. Every other program installed can see and use and control the DV device just fine (the camcorder). But Premiere says, “must be some other program’s fault – uninstall them or reinstall Premiere”. Yes Adobe, I’m sure that since all my other programs work fine and yours does not, it must somehow be their fault that yours fails. And I’m sure that since Adobe’s piece of crap fails in the same manner on multiple machines with different “other software” installed doesn’t speak to the problem or indicate responsibility.

Having enough, and needing to duplicate some tapes, I try the program that comes with Windows XP, “Windows Movie Maker” (WMM). You Mac people enjoy iMovie and wonder why I haven’t mentioned this yet. I’m sure iMovie is great. Apple is doing some wicked shit and you are welcome to toot your horns if you are so egotistical or insecure to do so. I however, use PC’s “because”, and have never tried XP’s bundled movie program because I assumed it was crap. I was very, very wrong.

The first bit of pleasantness came when everything worked. It knows my camera. It uses my camera. It controls my camera. Over and over and over again. Adobe, take note.

The second bit of pleasantness is when the wizard for capturing video was simple, intuitive, unencumberred, and worked. “Capture entire tape to file” not only worked, but it was an option! With Adobe, you have to go through a stupidly long process to do the same thing. WMM rewinds the tape to the beginning, and starts capturing. That’s it. A three-step wizard. Adobe, take note.

The next thing was writing out a new tape. Save movie – to DV Device. Done. Adobe’s process isn’t too dissimilar on this one point.

Now the best thing in the whole world. I ran WMM later and imported one of the video files I captured. An entire tape. I didn’t notice a small checkbox. The default setting of this checkbox was to “create separate clips”. You need to understand how your DV camera works to appreciate this. In a nutshell, when you capture a movie, the date and time are encoded on the tape. It’s not visible (unless you enable it through the camcorder’s menus). But this timecode is a permanent record of when the movie was shot. As you stop and later start the camcorder, the new movie you shoot has a different timecode than the previous one. WMM’s “create separate clips” detects the timecode change, and creates a contact sheet (like a scrapbook) of little movie clips for each clip. You can treat each one individually. You can import multiple files this way, and create a library of movie clips, not unlike a photo album. It’s fantastic! You can drag and drop different clips on the timeline and drag and drop transitions in between. AND THEY JUST WORK! Adobe: why didn’t you think of this?

This is so cool, it may be nearly time to capture all of my tapes to an external HDD and begin to make some real home movies. Like, the kind you actually pop into a DVD player.

Thanks, Microsoft.

Written by worlok2112

November 1, 2006 at 1:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Point of View: American Politics

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It’s hard to disagree with this point of view, but apparently there are those that do, which is scary. Regardless of who you are, but particularly if you’ve any interest in American Politics, please read this post

Written by worlok2112

October 30, 2006 at 5:49 pm

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Microsoft vs. Linux vs. X (Mac)

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I buy a laptop. It comes with XP Home. I delete it and install XP Pro. Why? Because I own it. I don’t want “Home” when I can have “Pro”. I don’t really even know what the differences are. I also have “infrastructure” at home. I don’t just run a laptop. I run a server. And not just one server, but three. And not just three, but more than three. Because one does virtualization, on which I run a Domain Controller, Exchange Server, Firewall, FTP server, and a myriad of other servers.

What the hell do I have all of this shit for?

Because that’s what I do. It helps me keep up with my industry. I play around with the things I need to know about. It consumes a hell of alot of power, and creates needless complexity. But it works and its cool and it’s what I do and need to know.

So, Vista is coming out soon. And I say, “I’ll have to upgrade at some point”. You see, it’s not a support issue, and it’s not a “keeping up with the Jones’s” issue. The simple fact of life is that as Operating Systems expire, so do the applications and drivers that go with them. If I want a new application 5 years from now, chances are it will NOT run on XP. If I buy a new laptop 5 years from now, chances are they will NOT make drivers for XP. So upgrading is kindof a requirement, you know?

The cost though. Man, Windows is expensive. EXPENSIVE. Sure, you get 5 years or so of useable life from that investment, which makes the cost more bearable. But Linux is right there, and it’s free. FREE. And so is OS X if you buy a Macintosh, which in itself represents a slightly larger capital investment. But it’s basically a free OS.

So maybe it’s not the cost of the OS, but the cost of the Apps that is the issue. MS Office is expensive. EXPENSIVE. And even to a larger degree than Windows. Office is a fuckin’ expensive app, there’s no discussion required. Yes, it happens to include a LOT of apps, and kicks a great deal of ass too. But you know the free stuff is competitive. You can get by.

I’ve ditched the commercial security apps and I’ve never been happier. My computer runs so much faster now. Honestly, how come a free AV product works leaner than a commercial one? How come you still have to pay yearly for virus updates huh? Milkin’ us for all we’re worth. No thanks.

So on Linux your principle choices are free apps. Sure, there are commercial apps available, but then why did you get Linux? Oh right, you are using it because it’s “free” as in “open” or “freedom”, not as in “costs nothing”. Well I’m using it because it costs nothing. And I want my apps that way too. The computer was expensive enough, thank you.

I got an idea, how about they start giving away computers and charging for software. Then I could at least get Linux to work the way I want without having to put any effort into it. Microsoft can do it. Apple can do it. Why can’t Linux? There’s always some fucking learning curve with a new Linux release or distro and “hey, this isn’t working”, and “wtf?”, and always, ALWAYS, the sound DOESN’T FUCKING WORK out of the box. Honestly. What the FUCK is that about?

So Linux is free, but it’s a pain in the ass. And maybe that’s why it’s free? No, because Windows costs an arm and a leg (initially), and it’s just as much of a pain in the ass, only in different ways. And Mac? Mac eh? Is OS X a pain in the ass? I’ve read reports that it can be. Especially lately (since the move to Intel).

Look, here’s what I want:

  1. I want hardware to work. Modem (not that I ever use it, but hey), SOUND FUCKING CARD, network, WIRELESS network, BLUETOOTH, CD/DVD reading/burning/watching/playing, USB, USB drives & stuff, and for the love of Pete, ACPI.
  2. I want the apps included to use those devices. CD burning. DVD watching. MP3 playing. Wireless management. Modem dialling. PPPoE doodad. And you know what would be nice? How about a Firewall and AntiVirus?
  3. I want good free apps. I’m not talking about “MS Wordpad” and “Kedit”. I mean Microsoft frickin’ Office. You want to know some really good free apps? Here are some: 7-zip, VMware Player and Server, OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera

You know, I’m about done. I don’t think I’ve answered my question. I don’t think I had a question. I’m just annoyed. I want to switch to Linux, but I’m annoyed by it. With Linux, SOMETHING doesn’t work. And you have to fuck around with it for days to figure it out. Yet once it’s working, that baby is YOURS. Windows and Mac are the same as everybody else’s Windows and Mac.

Is independence worth the effort?

Written by worlok2112

October 9, 2006 at 11:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Crazy People

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People are afraid. I’ve said this before. But I mean, this is the basis of how we interact with one another. Fear.

Costco. I’m strolling. As quickly as I can go. With a 200+ pound cart. A woman, say, 50, comes up from behind me, passes me, and cuts in front of me. Nevermind the fact that she just could have gone the same speed as me and waited for me to pass. I mean, we’re talking 10 feet here. I mutter, “you’re crazy”. She says, “pardon me?!?” I say, “I said you’re crazy”. She says, “pardon ME?!?!?” I say, “You heard me.” She says, “I’m not crazy, YOU’RE crazy”

Okay, nevermind again, that her comeback was golden. I say, “look at the inertia on this cart”, as I put all my effort into the cart, it slowly begins to roll away from me at 1 inch per second, and continues to roll for the next 10 seconds. I don’t wait that long. “I could have taken your feet off at the ankles”

This was my complete basis for calling her crazy. It didn’t piss me off that she cut in front of me. I’m USED TO IT. People do it all the time on the highway. I do have an issue with it, but this wasn’t my point. She could have DIED from the intertia in this cart. It was that heavy.

She starts into this diatribe. Her son is there and interjects. “Maybe you should just go.” I agree and move along. But in retrospect, I really should have laid into her. She’s THAT impatient that she has to come from behind me, pass me, and cut me off – all in the matter of 10 feet. All while risking her feet. All while forcing me to stop the cart – a considerable effort even at the pace it was moving. She must be the kind of person that cuts people off on the highway. These people must REALLY be in a hurry. I mean, somebody must be about to DIE.

It’s crazy. CRAZY – yes, that’s why I called you CRAZY, you stupid woman.

It strikes me that her reaction to me calling her crazy was a reaction of fear. Her IMMEDIATE response was to take a defensive posture and attempt to strike back (would that make it an OFFENSIVE posture?) It doesn’t matter. She couldn’t just ignore me. She couldn’t ask me what my problem was or why I called her crazy. And she couldn’t refrain from launching into her diatribe. She couldn’t maintain rationality. She really had nothing to be afraid of, yet it was fear that motivated her response.

And this is the reason we have road rage, gun killings, fights, and all the rest. Fear. You-have-an-issue-with-me therefore you-must-be-attacking-me therefore I-must-attack-back. Fear. Gotta love it.

Written by worlok2112

September 18, 2005 at 7:40 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Sprinkler

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So I was thinking about my sprinkler today

You see, I had this sprinkler. Nothing fancy. It was by some company with some European-type name and it had some european type of design. It used some kind of quick-connect coupler to attach to the garden hose, and any garden-care products from the same company use the same quick-connect coupler. I suppose it’s for those power-gardeners that need to change from sprinkler to nozzle to gutter-cleaner in the blink of an eye.

Anyway, I had left it to drain, on a rock right up against our house. This has to be a good 30 feet back from the curb. I had left it there for days and days – far longer than it needed to drain. The next time I went to use it, it was nowhere to be found.

So of course, I thought that somebody has walked off with my sprinkler. The longer I thought about it, the more upset I got. It’s a sprinkler. It’s not, like, a bike, or something. You know, it’s not worth any money or anything. You can’t use it to make or sell drugs, or really, for anything at all – other than watering your lawn. And on top of it all, they didn’t get the quick-connector (it was in the garage). So the thing is exactly useless…

Unless it was stolen by somebody who already uses other products from the same company!

That must be it! It’s the only thing that makes any sense at all. Somebody who already has the quick-connector was eyeing my too-long-unattended sprinkler for their arsenal of lawn care products, and when the Nth day hit – they pounced. Aha! This MUST be garbage – he hasn’t used it in days!

And now the point of this story…

My point is not, “what is wrong with people that they would steal somebody’s sprinkler?” No, that is far too obvious a question, and really not worth debating on this site. My point is that assuming that somebody did steal my sprinkler to complement their arsenal of lawn-care products from the same company, why didn’t they just ask me for it?

Excuse me, are you throwing your sprinkler away? Because if you are, I’d really like it for my arsenal of lawn-care products.

The reason nobody asked me for it (aside from the more likely scenario that nobody actually took it for their aresenal of lawn-care products from the same company), is that people don’t do that. People don’t engage one another as strangers in amicable discussion.

People are afraid of each other.

We hide behind email and weblogs. (mylridia waves from behind a weblog) We don’t make eye contact or wave or say hello. We hide in our cars, behind frantic single-finger-salutes. When we do engage one another verbally it’s usually littered with swearing, and emphasised with fisticuffs.

Heh. I just remembered a time I was standing in line at the grocery. The line in front of me hadn’t moved, but the grocery conveyor did. So the guy behind me pushed up against me to get me to move up. We don’t need to continue that tangent – I’ve already illustrated my point.

Identify the neighbouring houses in your neighbourhood and enumerate the occupants you are familiar with. How do you know them? By their cars? By face? By the faces of their families? By name? First Name? LAST NAME? Add them up and divide by the number of years you’ve been living where you are. How many neighbours have you met per year?

Whomever took my sprinkler had an opportunity to do it right, and to meet me in the process. But instead all they got was an illegal sprinkler. I hope they don’t try to sell the crack they make from it to my kids…

Written by worlok2112

June 20, 2005 at 5:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized