Archive for August, 2013

Going mobile

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Had an idea for a post, probably about some quirk of working with Behat and PHP, but by the time I got wordpress setup on my iPad, I forgot what it was. If it was important, I’m sure I’ll remember. Unless it was the next Kubla Khan.

Seattle Hempfest 2013

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

This was the first Hempfest, since Washington state legalized weed.  I go, and take pictures, almost every year.  It’s a great place to get some cool art, see lots of interesting looking people, and see people toking up in public.  This year, some things were already different.  If the final rules allow sales at festivals, next year could be very different indeed.

First thing I noticed, not a single seller of weed alternatives.  No sativa retailers at all.  Only one authorization clinic came this year; I’m hoping they paid attention to how strictly the DEA went with the people who rubber stamped authorizations last year….

For the first time I’ve ever seen, vendors of different bits of paraphernalia were actually using real weed, or hash oil, when they demo’d the equipment, instead of flavored essential oils.  Vaporizing technology was all the rage; ‘dabbing’ seems to be rapidly replacing ‘toking’ as the delivery method of choice for the kids these days, at least by song lyrics and average booth composition.  I also saw two local food trucks, over and above the regular fair food people that are at everything in this neck of the woods.

There were two electronic music areas this year, the ‘chill’ zone, and the energetic stage, both kept fairly steady crowds around, when the music was going (energetic stage didn’t get started as early as the chill tent).  I didn’t see the pseudo-ICP band playing this year, but I didn’t look for them either.

The army flew 4 helicopters overhead at one point, probably just a routine training exercise with a little detour to play with the potheads.  More interesting to me, was the private helicopter that buzzed the entire length of the park, around 4:20 Saturday, flying what looked to be too low, close to the shore, and too fast, to be legal, without some sort of special permit.  Of course, the new camera takes too long to boot up, to capture them =(



Anti-Virus Recommendation

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

I’ve always been happy with Avast!’s totally free solution.  It keeps windows security center happy, and has kept my pc’s drama free for years so far.  They have paid versions that provide features I’ve never felt I needed, but I could see other people wanting.  YMMV.

I was warned

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

I was warned about getting back into PHP, but I didn’t listen, and now I have to solve silly problems created by the language trying to be ‘helpful’.


PHP doesn’t cast a string into an integer, unless it thinks it needs to, and vice versa.  If you are just working in PHP, that probably won’t bite you on the butt too often.  But if you need to integrate with another language, like say Java, because you are using PHP and selenium together in a BEHAT environment, you might get an error like,  Can’t convert java.lang.String to int

Which you have to solve by doing

function ITakeAnInt($mynumericstring)   // called with a paramter of  500;


  $mynumericint = $mynumericstring + 0;



Seriously, if you can think of a less silly way to solve the lack of an explicit cast function in PHP, I’m all ears.

Seven Psychopaths (MR)

Monday, August 12th, 2013

When I saw the trailer, I knew eventually I would watch this movie.  Christopher Walken is great in comedic roles, so I was sold already.  When the film starts out, and the main two characters are people I don’t generally want to see on screen, much less together, I’m a little worried, but in the end I was sold again.  The story isn’t what I expected at all, but the characters and the casual violence are.   In the end, it seems like the total psycho count is far higher than 7, but many of them are just there to die, and not really characters, so I guess they don’t count.

The movie is parts touching, horrifying, amusing, and silly.  Overall, worth watching.

Mary & Max (MR)

Friday, August 9th, 2013

I watched the movie Mary & Mary (2009), the other night, and was very pleased.  It’s a touching tale of two lonely people, separated by age and distance, who manage a sort of friendship over the course of their lives.  Sometimes amusing, sometimes depressing, and very believable.  Amazingly detailed clay stop-motion animation, without sacrificing story for art, nor art for story.  I won’t go into any plot details, just say that I am still glad I watched it.

New job first days

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

I’ve been at the new job for 3 days now, and am getting a feel for how things might end up going.

As birdie warned, and I am quickly remembering, PHP is a “a fractal of bad design”, quirky and cumbersome, but Behat really seems awesome in it’s potential.  I can’t help but keep thinking of how it could massively simplify my former co-workers’ job on the web application they are focusing on these days.  It seems plausible that I might actually manage to be writing new tests by the end of the week, at the new job.

The place is noisy, and the company small.  HR is still working their way through figuring out their hiring process, which leaves me uneasy about the potential for gaps in my medical coverage, but I’ve got till the end of the month.  People seem friendly enough, but very busy.

I remain ambivalent, but am at least feeling pretty sure I can accomplish what will be asked of me.

small strange world

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

I’m listening in to the Seattle Police radio scanner, because the taxi drivers are blocking one of the streets downtown to protest the rideshare alternatives that are kicking their asses by providing better service, and hear a be-on-the-lookout for a Rice Krispie donk’ed car.  With a single google, I’m able to find a picture of the actual car.

Meanwhile, they aren’t saying anything about the protest.

Filing a FOIA

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

The other day, I dropped a hard drive and lost everything on it.  I was in despair, until it occurred to me, I can file a FOIA request with the NSA; they probably have my data backed up already.