Team Murder No Brain No Headache.


Another One

I think this is one of the most hilarious of the bunch and no one needs to hear moan more about the World Series. The matching on this is phenomenal and the keyboard player/spastic drummer combo kills me each and every time I watch it. It's also worth tracking these down on the actual Youtube site because some of the attached comments from the guitarded faithful are hilarious which gives better testament to the quality of matching than any acronym could.

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(World) Series Of Disasters

Living in Colorado and watching the World Series is pretty painful stuff. I'm trying not to get emotionally invested in it because it already looks like yet another crushing episode in a long string of disasters. No thanks.

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Obligatory Leopard Post (Union Rules)

I've been running it since very late on Tuesday night which works better for this post since I don't need to give the world the gift of yet another screenshot fest filled with slight modifications to the PR stuff on the Apple website. Things I've noticed since then:

1. ATSServer is still a pushy pain in my ass. Did you install any extra fonts in Tiger? Get ready to watch the beach ball twirl merrily when you start applications for the first time. Also prepare for blowing out some font cache after menus show up with letters missing. Do the usual gnashing of teeth and douching of cache and things will get better pretty quick.

2. Spotlight. It's new and it still sucks. If you allow it to index anything, open the Activity Manager and watch as a number of user and root processes suck up of all of your CPU(s). I disabled it on all drives and now I can actually use my new OS. I've never been a fan but I haven't taken many steps to disable Spotlight because in previous versions of the OS it hasn't been so aggressive. mdworker thinks that it is the only process your computer needs to worry about. I disagree.

3. Time Machine. I struggled with this quite a bit and blamed the application for the failures. Each time that I tried to allow it to run it would stall out at a different point. The application wasn't frozen but (see 1 and 2 above) was niced into inactivity by other less useful things. I disabled backup of all System stuff (you'll be prompted when you choose any directory below System), Applications, and all things external. My initial backup took a fair amount of time (60GB to an external firewire drive) but all backups since then have been seamless. Backing up the System folder seems kind of pointless as most of that stuff would be covered with an Archive and Install if things get ugly. Same deal for Applications which is less crucial as I haven't really figured out which were broken by the upgrade and which were not.

4. Stacks are fucking stupid. If I used a Downloads folder I might actually use this feature. I guess it's harmless but annoying the first time you expect the old folder in the dock behavior. All of the other interface changes are relatively inoffensive. I have a feeling that the dock will eventually become more configurable. It looks stupid but I keep mine microscopic in any case so there is little to offend. Quicksilver makes the dock a little less necessary all the time either way.

5. Spaces is way cooler than I thought it was going to be and when I say cool I mean something a little different. It functions the way I'm used to virtual desktop applications working and it is snappy performance-wise post-Spotlight debacle. Not sure if I like the grid arrangement very much, though. It reminds me a little of what Enlightenment has done with their virtual desktops for years albeit with a slightly less baffling interface. I just use mine with key commands anyway so it's hardly noticeable. I would love to see mouse wheel integration for switching desktops but I'm happy with an actively developed virtual desktop environment that doesn't completely suck right out of the gate.

That's as much use as I've gotten out of the new features as many are eye candy and not particularly useful for me. If I send you a piece of mail with stationary you have my permission to beat me to death the next time we meet face to face.

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Lance Hahn

So, I discovered yesterday that an old friend had passed away. Lance Hahn, known more for his punk rock bands than the fact that he was one of the nicest and funniest humans to ever waste hundreds of hours obsessing about punk rock records, died on Sunday of complications resulting from kidney failure. Lance had suffered from health problems for the past few years of various severity and this came after finding out that he would likely need a kidney transplant and dialysis until that transplant became available. I have never met a person who was so universally liked and so easy to get to know. It's crushing to know that he no longer exists.

What makes all of this a thousand times worse is that Lance was uninsured for all of this and will likely leave Liberty with a stack of unpaid medical bills in addition to the grief of losing someone you love who shared a house and a life with you. A friend of Lance's in Austin has setup a website, to connect folks who knew him, compile pictures and memories, and eventually to set up a place where folks can help out with those remaining medical expenses. I'm shit for eulogies as the past couple of years have taken away too many people but if nothing else I'd like for people to know about the website to reconnect people in his memory and to provide an outlet for financial support. Trying to string together anything else would just be too much right now.


The Incredible World Series Tickets Caper (Starring The Ultra Secret And Totally Invisible Ninja Hackers)

I really tried to buy tickets for the World Series today. Games 3-5 are here (assuming that there is a fifth) and a lot of people would love to throw down sixty bucks for a seat that normally runs ten dollars but according to the Rockies organization they were maliciously attacked from an external source which I assume means that a lot of people were trying to buy tickets all at once. Tomorrow (later today, I guess) they will supposedly be available. The very specific contingency plan related by the Rockies spokesperson affords a great deal of confidence for those of us who will sit in front of multiple computers tomorrow hoping to actually touch the ticket sales site:

"We absolutely have backup plans in place that, should something go wrong tomorrow, we will immediately go to those plans," said Alves.

Alves would not elaborate on what those plans were.

I eagerly await my opportunity to sit around watching a little countdown in a browser window cycle through increasing numbers of seconds. It's one of the great thrills available to baseball fans.

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Missed Notes And All

This series of clips is the most consistently funny of any of the far too numerous I've wasted time watching. There are a bunch of them representing most of the guitar players worn on the shirts of people who mention that they play guitar in casual conversation. Great stuff that is funny through a bunch of iterations and is painfully well synchronized.

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Lap/Cat Manager Needed

Developers spend an inordinate amount of time developing window managers to make desktop usage more efficient or less annoying or sexier. I can deal with the number of options that already exist. What I really need is an application to manage the position of the cat on my lap while I'm using a computer. This would enhance the efficiency of the computer desktop a thousand fold.

Required features:

Virtual Laps

Sometimes I'm just not going to get a fucking thing done with a cat preventing me from moving or from even shifting my legs for that matter. What I could really use is a virtual lap to switch him over to when I need to move, breathe, or use the keyboard. This would have to be seamless in order to prevent Bug from waking up. This would also have flexible triggers such as key combinations, mouse wheel activation, et-cetera as sometimes ripping my arm free is impossible. Under OS X, bump activation might also work well as it would coincide with me slamming my head into the table in frustration to activate the switch.

Workspace Margins

The cat likes to move while he is sleeping and is lacking the proper design to prevent collisions and falls. The falls are disastrous because they usually involve frantic use of claws to gather some friction. This lap manager needs to implement real margins that keep the cat centered on my lap and prevent him from falling and possibly ripping my leg open in the process. This might also be effective for preventing the grabby paws versus coffee cup incidents and curb the nuisance of the twitchy paws entering other workspaces during dreams about chasing Leonard.

Snap To Grid

The aforementioned movement during sleep often places Bug in positions that not only risk him plummeting to the carpet but also subject me to leg cramps and inopportune hot spots. The snap to grid command should optimally re-center the cat to the lowest possible center of gravity and away from impeding the use of any limbs.

Log Out

Log out should happen within a matter of seconds and deposit the cat somewhere else safely without any intervention on my part.

There are probably some features missing here but, excepting the oh-so-necessary spray bottle desktop widget I think it is a fairly reasonable nascent effort at managing what cannot be managed.

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Wow. World Series. Wow.

The last few nights were dedicated to obsessive monitoring of the NLCS series which turned out to be really rewarding. Holy shit. We're headed to the world series. I listened to the game last night (regretting the lack of cable in our house for the first time) from the first pitch and it was well worth it. Well, other than the slight heart attack I had when the Diamondbacks rallied briefly in the eight inning. The results of the World Series don't matter much at this point since getting the Rockies there in the first place was a whole lot more than most Denver folks ever thought would happen. We'll prepare for the End Times if the Rockies actually win the Series but that's a few days away. The whole scene is pretty charming in its 'local boys who never win anything get nuts and win everything and never lose again' way and I'm not immune to the disease. Speaking of charm, Todd Helton's playoff blog is all about it:

Like tonight. Look at my first at-bat, when Livan Hernandez struck me out. That was a terrible at-bat. I just had to say, "Hey, relax. Refocus. Do everything you've been doing your whole life. Quit thinking." Then in the fourth, I got a hard-hit single off the right-field wall. I hit it well, but I'm old and slow.

That stuff is magical.

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A Note To Metallic Hardcore Bands

That whole whispering the words after the singer has sang them doubling effect probably sounds really badass in your practice space but it sounds nearly as bad as Foley-produced Nordic wind when recorded, not at all tough, and when paired with attempts at cookie monstering the backups makes you sound more than a little stupid. I know you're the first band in the entire world who tried to pull this off so I'll cut you a little slack.

Please stop.


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The Society For The Preservation Of Shit I Like

I've plugged some weblogs pretty frequently and Note To Myself was high up on the list of the aforementioned mentioned. Unfortunately, Bob lost the space that hosted it so I decided I should indirectly offer him some space to continue to fight the good fight. I'm pretty excited to do something that isn't fueled by too much coffee and directionless malice.

Note To Myself will eventually reside as subdomain of this place (when the DNS scrap heap that fuels this howling wasteland decides to finally cough up the requested goods) but can be found at until then. This post is an evil and pretty blatant ploy to get Bob writing again by not only providing a place for him to say what needs to be said but also to expose that empty and forsaken place (check out the current title) to pressure him into slinging old and new words. I'm pushy.

Catch? Catch?! There is absolutely no catch. Also, free lunch can be found in the cafeteria, in the bear trap. Just ask the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, they're currently running Human Resources. Did I mention that the health insurance does not cover trapping accidents? Good, good...

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How Tired Of This Shit Do I Need To Be To Actually Doze Off At The Keyboard

So, I love, love Opera. It, generally, is a force of good in my life and works exactly the same across operating systems and whatnot. What I've having trouble understanding, and there is actually a question hidden in this rant, is why the fuck I have such an impossible time quitting out of the browser under OS X. Seriously, you would think that a browser that otherwise performs magnificently on this platform could successfully terminate itself. No. No, it can't. I end up choosing quit from the menu, wringing my hands for a few moments while the dreaded beach ball chases its tail a few hundred times, and pounding on the balky bastard with cmd-option-escape (force quit, in case you're not familiar with that dreaded key sequence) and a string of curses.

This has happened with every version of Opera that I've used on a Mac over the past year. I'm willing to deal with the less than optimal start up times and the weird disappearing act it pulls when you switch applications when it's starting up: the application never shows up, you click on the icon in the dock, and, pow, it is up instantaneously.

Anyone have any tweaking clues or possible adjustments I could make to avoid nuking the application from outer space whenever I need to quit? If you say switch to some other browser I will track you down and stab you. Repeatedly. In the face.


More Of What I Liked The First Time I Used It

Fluxbox released the 1.0.0 version of the window manager a couple of days back and it finally wormed its way into the unstable branch of Debian which means I apt-get-upgraded today and to it. As always, the changelog has a lot to say that no one will ever read but several of the squashed bugs and new features got my attention:

1. Purrrrty. The new themes look really good (other than some questionable choices as far as color contrasts) and the developers have invested some time into properly integrating rounded images into the stew. I was really impressed at how good it looks out of the box. Fluxbox has always embodied the weird war of functionality versus eye candy that eats up so many brain hours and how you can compromise a little on both sides in order to make something better than 'good enough' on both sides of the equation.

2. Performance. Fluxbox feels snappy again. I guess all of the plugging of memory leaks mentioned in the changelog (the big version is here) paid off because the new version hauls ass the way Fluxbox is supposed to haul ass. I had all but abandoned earlier versions because there were so many performance issues. I've only been using it for six or seven hours and sporadically at that but I've already noticed that everything seems far more stable and reacts a lot more quickly than many of the 0.9 releases. Now is the perfect time to nail problems like these because I've seen an increasing number of people adopting Flux after experiencing too much frustration with KDE and Gnome.

Many people will completely disregard Flux because it doesn't look like something you'd want to play with and, although it is ridiculously configurable, there isn't a control center or whatever to endlessly toggle options around. I've pretty ambivalent about whirlygigs and shiny things to drag back to the nest (see Regarding Eye Candy for one of the most considered and eloquent defenses of window manager minimalism ever if you're that hung up on the bling) so that has held little sway over what I choose to handle windowing but if you've tried Fluxbox in the past and decided that it wasn't for you, give it another shot. It has improved tremendously over the years and seems poised to give the shiny/flashy wms hell in the future. You can make it look as stupid as you want (including icons on the desktop which is like the most annoying thing in *nix GUI environments possible) and it still runs fast and puts your root menu where you need it which is anywhere you click, cowboy.

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Nothing Ever Gets Done

This is what my lap looks like on most nights. It makes typing next to impossible when you have a giant kitten fastened to you and hellbent on exposing himself to the world. Little jerk.

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