Archive for December, 2013

A Frame without a Picture

Monday, December 30th, 2013

You gave me a frame
A place to put, someone to remember
But there is no one that fits the hole

What picture could I put there
Who could stand the thought of my thinking?

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.

 

Leap Motion app idea

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

1. A real-time audio equalizer/effects system.
2. Choreography for robot dancers =p

Tivo Roamio success, despite Comcast-fail

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

After years of frustration, I’ve finally upgraded to the latest generation of Tivo, the Roamio….I hadn’t checked it out much when it first came out, because from the name, I assumed it was just an updated Stream box, capable of receiving content from a master Tivo box, but itself useless. Turns out I was wrong. I got the Plus, which means 6, yes *6* tuners, so the likelihood of future recording conflicts seems exceedingly low. I figure I can add my own e-sata expansion drive if the need arises.

First impressions are favorable. The box UI is responsive and improved font-wise. I haven’t tried any of the remote features yet though. Any box that didn’t hang every few minutes would have been an improvement over my fast-failing Tivo Premiere.

Really, the only annoyance so far was Comcast’s fault entirely. I already had two M cable cards in my house, one in use, and one that’s been idle since I upgraded from Series 2 to Premiere. I follow the Tivo setup process, and all goes well, and find that, not unexpectedly, the Cable Card needs to be reconfigured to work with the new box. That shouldn’t be hard, I think to myself, remember prior experiences. How wrong I was. The first annoyance that Comcast throws across your path is the ever unhelpful voice recognition system that doesn’t actually do anything with the answer you give it, only says, “I need more detail”, but then throws away everything you said to it, and makes you navigate the phone tree by hand anyways. Then there was the way, once I did finally get a Comcast rep on the phone, they were so eager to avoid doing their jobs, that as soon as they heard the word “Tivo”, even though it was followed by “Cable Card pairing”, I kept getting transferred to Tivo’s support phone line. Obviously this was a pointless exercise, since Tivo reps don’t have access to Comcast’s internal provisioning system. By the third time I called Comcast, and the rep started to talk like he was going to send me outside AGAIN, I got really peeved, and said, “If you can’t fix the issue, please pass me on to a supervisor who can”….I was very clear, not having knowledge or experience with Cable Cards is not a personal failure, but wasting both our times attempting to solve a problem without the skills required isn’t going to help anybody. Seems like a pretty straightforward and logical position, but the last Comcast first-line guy was convinced that if he put me on hold just one more time, he’d magically know what the fuck he was doing. I really don’t get it. There was zero chance he was going to magically learn everything he needed to know about Cable Card issues, and he had already admitted he had tried everything in his recipe book, and yet still I had to beg him to transfer me to someone who could actually solve the problem. And yes, the wait time for the Cable Card specialists group was long, but go figure, as soon as I did get someone on the line, and they stopped apologizing for all the wasted time by prior reps, it took all of 15 seconds to fix the issue. The whole experience made me once again wonder why I haven’t dropped Comcast entirely, and moved on to a company that takes service seriously.

Small world

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Cute guy starts talking to me at karaoke tonight.  We get to the “where do you work” bit, and I say my say, and it turns out he knows someone I work with on a daily basis.  And that she’s moving to town, which I did not know beforehand.  Amusing and interesting.  Of course he’s only there for the worst song of my evening, in terms of appropriate-to-range-ness.  Still, he didn’t seem bored with talking to me, but constrained by time.  I hope we get to talk again someday.

Leap Motion almost ready

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

After some initial excitement, the end evaluation of the Leap Motion is likely to be, “Good Idea, Poor Implementation”. It is a product with promise, a technology let down by marketing, held back by the developers. It’s always sad to see someone has put so much effort into making something special, only to be undercut by supposed allies.

Out of the box, a Leap doesn’t really do anything. It requires special apps, which isn’t all that much of a surprise…I don’t know any OS’s that come with 3D pointer support built-in. They have their own ‘app store’ where you buy/install the needed support, which is where things start to fall down. At least one of the apps, the demo video is a complete fake. If you download the app in question, it has literally zero pre-defined gestures. It would probably take a knowledgable person hours to recreate the settings used in the demo. I suspect most novices will give up before they get a single gesture working. The deliberate decision to make the product useless out of the box seems senseless and hostile. I wonder what the dev was thinking when he decided to ship without all the work he’d obviously done to configure a system for the demo.

Guys (don’t) suck

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Guys are weird. The stalker, the constant flake, and the virgin wannabe slut all have their quirks. The guy who goes to the trouble of setting up fake accounts on dating sites, to get around blocks, but always uses the exact same phrase is off putting but not terribly worrisome. If anything, he does raise my curiosity, not at what he’d be like in person, but in what he dreams would happen if we did meet up.
The guy who emails all eager, yet always manages to lose my phone number, or some other excuse for flaking out, never bothers to cancel…more annoying, when I actually expected him to follow thru on plans, and set aside time to wait, but now I assume any ‘date’ he sets is fake, and he’s more amusing with the lame excuses.
Then there’s him. The one who acts like he’s met his One. Unexperienced but eager, quiet but good humored, patient, passionate, full of hope. Followed by silence, the middle of a conversation stopped, and I uncertain, have I said the wrong thing, or just fallen for a game….is there a difference in the why, if the outcome is the same?

B & O, not espresso

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

I had noticed the other day, that Bang & Olufsen had opened a new store in Seattle, across from Whole Foods on Westlake. As I was walking downtown, it was on my way, so I stopped in. My first surprise was that they apparently make TV’s now, as well as the sound systems I expected. And they were unique and sexy sound systems; bluetooth speakers that are imposing 4 foot across discs of modern art. They had other interesting looking stuff, but I didn’t get to explore much before the pushy salesman of doom latched on, insisting I try out their headphones, and talking way to much for a guy trying to sell something that makes delicate sounds. At least that’s how I felt, as I walked out the door.

If I ever win the lottery, I’ll be back, with someone to run interference for me =p

Keeping the fridge less smelly

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

An idea for keeping work fridges everywhere safe from expired food smells, a label tape that changes color as it ages, possibly turning black. That way, you can safely clean out a fridge by tossing any labels you can’t read anymore.

Protected: Mixed blessings

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

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