Wild Web Weekend

While Sunday I was off curling all day, Saturday managed to be a pretty reasonable day for getting things done for the wedding, shower, and other obligations.

I put together the automatic gallery script for Mike Fogg's Website, so he can upload more pictures though an easy form that I gave him. Mike still needs to give me some proper text for his site, so I'm still awaiting that. Susan threatened to do that without him if he doesn't respond soon, as the lack of that on Mike's website is probably hurting him more than the lack of pictures was.

The wedding website moved to here. Yes, it's a wiki (which I know Dan will get on my case about). But it looks a lot better than the old site, and makes it easier for Susan to add content to it. I also suspect that my mom, and a couple others will want to add bits, so that provides an easy way to do that as well. I need to add that to my backups soon.

Wedding planning got a lot more specific, and organized. We've got the master list of everything that needs to be done now, and Susan and I are taking various items and just doing them. We're 5 months out, so time is getting a little short, though the end of the semester is going to help some.

Evites went out for the Memorial Day party last friday, hopefully we'll end up with the same 40 or so folks from last year, plus maybe a few more. Need to invite more of the neighbors this time around.

And we're actually getting our butts in gear on the bathroom remodeling. While I'm not thrilled on the price, I am thrilled about the idea of having a shower panel, and marble floors (purchased). I think we found the furniture we want this weekend at home depot, so the remaining elements needed are:

  • Toilet (can do that at the last minute)
  • Shower Light
  • Shower Wall Tile
  • Shower floor mosaic

The Wall tile is the biggest issue right now. Amusingly enough, the walls in the bathroom at Panera actually are really close to what we want, now we just need to find out where they source their tile from. 🙂

The End of Curling Season

Today was the final day in the curling adventure for the year, and a lot of fun was had by all.

The day was setup as a mini Bonspiel, with the 8 teams lined up into a series of matches. The rules:

  • Each match is 3 Ends
  • 0.25 points for ever point scored by each team
  • 2 bonus points for the winning of the game over all

With 2 sheets, and 8 teams, the inevitable breakdown was Group A (A, B, C, D), and Groub B(E, F, G, H). After the first round, winners played winners, loosers played loosers in the same group. So everyone got to play 2 games.

The net result is the folks from Poughkeepsie represented quite nicely, taking 2nd (D), and 3rd (B - our team) over all. After all was said and done, we managed to get in 1 last 2 End game with the Poughkeepsie team, ending in a 2 - 2 tie (which was 1/4 inch off a 3 - 2 win).

I was throwing largely short all day, and I didn't sort out why until the way home. I had actually stopped using my wrist (which many other folks were still doing to get the extra oomph). This meant my lines were quite good, but all my power was coming from my legs (as it should), but I didn't really correct for it until the very end.

We also had the fun of dragging out both measuring apparati that the club had, one to determine if a shot was in, and one to determine which of 2 stones was closer.

It looks like Curling is the new sport of champions for all of us. With any luck we'll all be doing it again in the fall (I'm pretty sure I'm in, we'll see what the attrition rate of everyone else ends up being.)

Is it a Shower or a Tardis?

I came across the following while looking for shower parts for our bathroom remodeling.

The next time I need to travel through time, fighting the Daleks, while smelling fresh as an Irish Spring, I know where to look.

more experiments with Ion

Ok, I think I'm now sold on the Ion approach to window management. It isn't all flowers and puppies, but at the Mutt folks say "... it sucks less".

The good points

  • Centralized Alerts from urgent windows - this is just bloody brilliant, and so freaking useful
  • Full usage of screen real estate - very handy
  • Dock App support (so I can keep my HUD as it was in AfterStep)
  • Query interface that always has focus

The bad points

  • No xft support. I really got used to antialiased title bars in AfterStep, it's a bit ugly to go back
  • Still on the learning curve for how to really use it
  • The Linear workspace layout is still not entirely intuitive to me, after years doing 2D pagers. I'd like a Pager with (you are here)

All in all, a pretty big win. About an hour of hacking put Urgent support hints into the last application I needed it for, which makes it so much nicer for this environment. I just also got frame renaming bound correctly, so my gaim windows are getting shoved into the right places, very nice.

I'll end up building Mandriva packages for the latest code this weekend, including some ion startup bits to make it easy to launch items on start up from kdm. All in all, a good experiment for the evenings of this week.

Email is still king

On slashdot a couple of days ago I read this interesting article on collaboration, which I found to be quite insightful. It also strikes pretty close to home, as I'm in process of putting together a paper for an internal collaboration conference, which says much the same thing, that current collaboration techniques like email remain king, and the right solution is not to try to replace them with the next wizbangy thing.

The two most interesting bits I found were:

99.9% of all knowledge workers use email. Understanding and using email has become synonymous with 'using the telephone.' Email crosses the boundaries of Language, Country, Creed, Geography and Origin. Everyone has it. Everyone uses it. This is largely because email enjoys the industry standard protocol of SMTP. The "SMTP Pipe" ensures that any user in the world can participate and interact via email, no matter what email client software they are running.


Collaboration Software is still difficult to access. This is mostly for good reason as business users are, and should be, concerned with security; but the accessibility of collaboration software often falls prey to the IT department's insatiable appetite for restricting, controlling and limiting employee access to mission critical tools. To date, even the most advanced collaboration solutions only provide limited mobile device access and functionality.

I've run into that last one more times than I care to count over the last few years.

Morning Ramblings

Last night's MHVLUG meeting was quite good. It was nice to get an outside vendor like WindRiver to come in and talk about Linux in an embedded environment. After a quick overview of the challenges of an embedded system, they gave demos of their toolkit, based on eclipse, that provides real time debugging of embedded systems. It's pretty interesting to see how the open sourcing of the eclipse framework has lead to a lot of tool vendors just writing eclipse plugins for all their work.

Susan has taken up using the exercise bike in the house, which is a good thing for all. Well, almost, as it means that inevitably the bike seat is in the wrong position when I get down to the family room in the morning. 🙂 Changing it every morning isn't a big deal, just taking some getting used to. Susan also apparently just figured out that I was blogging for the past 3 months. I'm pretty sure I said something previously, but I guess not. She was reading my curling post while I was writing it the other night, with much amusing running commentary during it.

The weekend was a grand success of yard work. Given that spring had just sprung, and yet most of the plants hadn't really started expanding roots yet, we had quite good luck ripping out these nasty rose bushes and some other woody brush that define our "woods". The end game was to expand the lower yard another 15 feet into the gladed area, and let some of the young maple trees there get enough sun and room to actually grow. 20 lbs of grass seed have gone down, and the warm spring rain should make it just about perfect. In 4 weeks we'll know.

Taxes are done (finally!), and big refund checks should be sailing my way soon. Now we're definitely in good shape for paying for the bathroom remodel, we've just got to find the right tile at this point to get the contract rolling. There is also cleary enough left over to think about doing the deck this year (which I can actually manage on my own). That should be the early summer adventure.

On the tech front, I've decided to try out Ion as a windowmanger on Linux. AfterStep has been great all these years, but it's definitely got memory leaks (given that after 14 days it grew to 170 MB), and there are a list of other quirks that have gotten under my skin of late, and as all the other bits of my laptop are actually surviving that long, I wanted to see what else is out there. Ion is an interesting idea that is the "screen" of windowmanagers, where everything is full screen (mostly), and tiled, and notifications are centralized (which is actually the nicest feature). The lack of a pretty Heads Up Display might end up being the deal breaker for me (though you can run dockapps, which is useful, though not quite as integrated), as would be the linear chaining of desktops (though I can forgive that a bit, as desktop count is dynamic). I suppose I should get on the mailing list and ask a few of the questions that I've got. If I had a key sequence to show/hide the dockapps, I'd be golden I think.

More adventures in Curling

I was too busy last week to give the blow by blow for Day 1 of curling, but Pyg did, so I don't feel too bad.

The day started with brunch, with the normal crew (Mike, Porkchop, Pyg, Gargos, and myself). After a quick resync at the homestead, I swung out to Pyg's place, and we were off.

Today was about drills:

  • Throw a blocking stone
  • Throw a stone that hooks around a blocking stone
  • Throw a stone between 2 other stones
  • Throw a knock-out shot

In general, we were pretty bad at all of these things. However, over the course of all the drills I finally figured out the way in which I need to hold the broom, so I stopped toppling over on my throws, which are doing reasonably well when it comes to straightness. That got me much more comfortable on doing shots, and let me stop thinking about not falling over, and start trying to sort out all the other things I should be thinking about.

Our team is formed, the Fighting Berungies (sp?), with Jay, Pyg, and Jason (who we paired off with on Day 1, and we all work pretty well together), so we got to play a 2 End competition at the end of it. We drew 1 - 1 at the end of it, which is pretty respectable, given the other team had a ringer from the club to bring their 3 person team up to 4.

For next thursday I think we are definitely all in need of some more drills on throwing blocking shots, as we either were stopping dead 2 feet from the hog line, or blowing past into the back.

Until next time... good curls.

Curling, End2

After a bit of hemming and hawing, it appears that the gang is all in for the $50, 4 day curling class at the Norfolk Curling Club. I have to say, I keep thinking about my last throw in the last game, which didn't have quite the right spin to go where it should have gone. However, other than that, it was a good throw. It would have been nice to get a few more shots after that to understand what I did wrong, and how to do it better.

Given how aweful the last winter was down here in terms of being able to get out and do anything, curling might actually be a fun new hobby to pick up.

Exploring and discovering how things are more complicated, with a focus on climate and software