Archive for the ‘tech stuff’ Category

The data was dirty

Friday, February 19th, 2016

This was so long ago, shipping estimates were 6-8 weeks, and people didn’t complain, much.

I’d been brought in around week 5.  The process of turning information into data was destructive, so we couldn’t ask them to regenerate it, but what they had sent us was…of poor quality.  The language the client wanted to use to process the data back into information, didn’t have a raw file I/O library.  It had an import facility, but it required strict formatting, and crashed every time it ran across a single record that didn’t match.  Every record was a person who was waiting for something to arrive, so it couldn’t just be lost.

But I had an idea.  Just tell the import facility, every row was a record, as one entire piece, and fuzzy parse them after they’d been loaded.

And it worked, there was much rejoicing, I even got a car.

Just a model, but still.

Does Hulu plus hurt artists more than it helps?

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

I can’t be the only person who feels ‘morally’ obligated to refuse to give money to Hulu, to insert ads into shows you can see elsewhere for free, without any advertising.  So I have to wonder, if any data nerds have monitored the effect of a show moving from truly-free online-via-network’s on site, to Hulu’s horrible advertising wasteland.  I suspect that shows ‘exclusive’ to Hulu have a significantly higher piracy rate than any other form of distribution, simply out of spite at their horrific business practices, and complete moronic insistence on selling a lesser product, for less money, only, instead of offering multiple, sane, tiers of service, that people have continually begged for.


I’d pay double, maybe even quadruple their current fee, if there was actually a value in the ‘plus’, but as they are now, I can only despise them for the arrogant idiots they are, but given who they are owned by, forward thinking decision making would be a new thing for them.

Just a thought

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Say you were a huge, top of the pile company.  But you aren’t about to rest on laurels, and the has-beens and wannabes are out there.

“Please don’t poach our ‘best’ talent.  Please don’t offer them huge early exit bonuses.  Please don’t let hire their own buddies with similar sweetheart deals that work out better if they get ‘fired’ a couple months in, which conveniently just happens to happen.  Please don’t let one of our minions take full control of your company, drive it into the ground, get paid off to get lost, and let her…um, or him, yeah, come back to us, with your cash in hand, and more of our stock that just went through the roof at the announcement of your bankruptcy.  Please, don’t do that.”

Couldn’t possibly explain certain tech company goings on, maybe?

Forza 5 asphalt bug

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Lately, I’ve been racking up the big bucks on Forza 5, by racing around the Indy loop. I set the drivatars to unbeatable ( and yet they all slam on the brakes before every banked turn ), turn the laps up to 20, and jump in the best car for the job (oddly enough, not the most expensive car available, but pretty close…any of the indy cars will do). It takes about 15 minutes for the race to run finish, and very rarely, I’ve seen a bug, where, and this is the part that the programmer and tester in me finds interesting, a piece of the track won’t get rendered, and displays as a flat black square. When it happens, I can see the black square approaching from the distance, and I’ve never seen one get re-rendered before I run over it, nor ever one fail prior-rendering once it’s made it into view.

It’s not a track it down kind of obsession, just a curiosity. Did they see it in pre-release testing, or is it a side effect of the real world that they weren’t able to recreate in-house? Is it caused by network congestion, local machine inadequacy, or some other unconsidered factor?

PS4 impressions

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

They happened to have a couple of PS4’s, when I was in Target to get a coffee maker, so I picked one up.  Noticed it had been opened and resealed, once I got home, but so far, it seems unblemished, so all good on that front.  Haven’t even touched any games yet, been playing with watching people online, having gotten an idea it might be amusing from the PA folks.  I’ve been watching a french house party, 3-4 guys, one girl, a DJ setup, an hookah, and some tunes I’m enjoying so far.  The comments are amusing.  I wish I spoke better french.  Some jerk keeps complaining that the music is “gay”, so one of the guys mooned him.  He had a cute ass.  There are some little digitally inserted robots that play around on screen.  Among things I’ve watched them do, sit on someone’s drink, looking like they are taking a piss in it, jumping when people ‘touch’ them virtually, and lots of waving trying to get attention.

Now I want to get a camera for mine.

Viewcams for Condos

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

As I stood this morning, enjoying my view while it lasts, it occurred to me that there was a potential solution in the near future of technology.  With a 4k camera mounted on a pole on the roof, the building could give everyone not just back the view they lost, but a potentially better view.  I once lived in a building where the security cameras were wired into the building’s cable system, so you could tune your TV to the right channel, and see who was at the front buzzer.  A similar concept could work here.

Xbox Live Rewards failure

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

So far, it looks like Xbox Live Rewards is a poorly implemented act of desperation.  The first sign that you are about to associate with a complete loser of a program, it takes *2* days for your registration to be processed.  Seriously?  Microsoft can’t figure out how to build a real-time registration system?  It does not bode well for the level of integration between systems.  And you can see that in the forums, with tons of people posting about missing points.  Right now, they have a promotion for the Season Pass add-on’s.  By the letter of the offer, it’s a total scam, since you only qualify if you spend $50.00, and Season Passes are sold for $49.99.  But it gets more comically inept, because from the page where you learn about the promo, there’s a link to “Grab a Season Pass”, which takes you to the store, where….there are no Season Passes for sale.

The Season Passes for Forza 5 seem like a waste of money so far, anyways.  I didn’t want to buy one anyways. grumble grumble.

Almost seen

Monday, January 27th, 2014

I thought I saw a post on Facebook, to attendees of a Maker-style event, “How many people are planning on making their own soldering iron?”, and thought that was a bit silly, and over-the-top DIY extremism.

Then I read it a second time, and realized it was asking who was planning on “bringing” their own.

OK, that makes sense.

Goodbye LogMeIn, Hello Teamviewer

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Now that LogMeIn has doubled-down on failure, making clear they want to go out of business, and are cancelling the only product they offer that has actual value, it’s time to start looking for alternatives.  Enter TeamViewer, offering all the features I ever used in LogMeIn.  It remains to be seen what kind of company they are, but they can’t be any worse than the team in favor of corporate suicide, that is in charge at LogMeIn.

It’s funny, when less than a year ago, your CEO was pushing the value of having a free tier, and swearing it was essential to your survival and thrive-al.   I suspect I won’t hear much more about them going forward; it sounds like they’ve wasted all their investor cash, buying up good products, shutting them down, and destroying their own brand in the process.  You won’t be missed.

Target pushback

Friday, December 27th, 2013

In light of the recent, rather public, computer security failure, I stared at the error message before me.   The Ultraviolet people had announced that they are finally ready to let people register their DVD’s from home, using one of their partners’ programs.  Sounds like awesomsauce; I’d get to put all the DVD’s into less accessible storage, but still have easy, legit, access to the content on the go.  One of the three partners is a Best Buy project, CinemaNow, and I know they need all the help they can get, so I figure I’ll give it a shot.  Which is how we got to here.  Seems they couldn’t be bothered to sign their code, and the latest OSX update flat out refuses to let you run unsigned code, without mucking about in preferences.

I could make the change, easily enough, but it doesn’t seem like I should have to.  Best Buy should be fully capable of hiring developers capable of the minimal effort of registering with Apple.  That they are unwilling, or unable, to accomplish this underlines the woeful state of computer security as a proactive way of working.  The developers at Best Buy are willing to put the end user at risk, even though they should be well aware of how easy it is to trick people into downloading from the wrong place, and just how potentially devastating the results can be.  If there is justice in the universe, someone will install CinemaNow on a computer inside their firewall, and then accidentally install some malware that would have been prevented, if they hadn’t turned off the safety features of the OS, and it costs them twice as much as Target’s losses end up being.