There are a sparse number of people I number among friends who watch Fox News as an actual source of information and legitimate political analysis. I have no idea where to place blame for this or how to reconcile the fact that the aforementioned handful of folks and I cannot venture anywhere near certain topics without the stress of it on the surface tension of civil conversation being threatened by pogo sticks on thin, Spring ice. I'm hoping that one person might read this Rolling Stone article about Roger Ailes, the man behind the curtain at Fox News. Give it a thoughtful read, please.
After wondering about the choice of Xamarin for a few minutes, I read this interview with Miguel de Icaza and discover:
"We've used monkey themes for many years," de Icaza said. "Ximian was a play on simian. Mono is Spanish for monkey. Xamarin comes from the tamarin monkey. And we kept the X, though to tell you the truth, I can't remember why we used it in the first place."
That is exactly what I suspected.
I cannot remember where I bookmarked this article from exactly, but this is an article from West 86th about a 1967 film collaboration between Jim Henson and Raymond Scott which kind of blew my mind.
I'm a big fan of Raymond Scott and have always felt like the larger music community outside of archivist-minded record collectors and purveyors of the oddball should really be more acquainted with him as he invented a good amount of the technology and methodology that pre-date electronic music. Most of the modern interest hasn't ventured beyond Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights. All that said, that compilation was my introduction as well and most of my ventures beyond that have been motivated more by the ubiquity of file sharing than earnest effort. Still, go read Scott's impressive Wikipedia page and dig in a little further if his name rings no bells for you.
I'm actually pretty excited about Miguel de Icaza's announcement of the birth of Xamarin and the departure of Mono from Novell. I'm not an enemy of Novell per se, but it is good to see a stack with a bright future expand beyond its initial reason for existence (to compete against MSFT) and concentrate on being an awesome set of tools for the people actually writing code.
The Xamarin site is active and is currently hosting a survey about which features users would like to see prioritized. I'm guessing that expansion of Android efforts is under heavy consideration if only judging by the number of Android-related questions on the survey. I guess there are a fair amount referencing iOS as well. This is very cool to hear.
I've never liked any of the tracking devices that most laptops are equipped with. Even with an inordinate amount of tweaking through whatever utilities are available, I've always resisted using them whenever possible. The mouse has undoubtedly done its fair share of cumulative damage to my wrists over the course of too many years spent entirely at keyboards and spending at least some of that time standing at workstations and typing around people while they refuse to move.
An Aside: Speaking of which, if you work for a company that I also work for and need my assistance with your machine and then suffer under the delusion that I'm going to dictate instructions to you while you putter around and click pointlessly be prepared to have your stupid ass shoved aside
Aside aside, I've often embarrassed myself by being a fumbling moron when forced to use a trackpad in front of people who spend less time in front of a machine and consequently much more comfortable using the trackpad (don't ask for evidence of correlation here because I have none other than violent and irrational dislike). In the interest of proactivity, I've decided to try working exclusively with the trackpad on a couple of my laptops for a few days. Hopefully I will learn something from the experience and won't just fire up Ion to avoid using a pointing device entirely.
One immediate and happy discovery is that Chromium is a more mouse-optional browser than I imagined. The point wasn't to abandon mouse use entirely, but I feel like I'm already moving towards a less mouse driven use of the browser. I don't know if this is a good thing necessarily (less wrist fatigue! yay!) or moving towards terrible-ness (I can only browse the web using vi keybindings. Also, get off my lawn!). We'll see if I don't abandon this experiment altogether.
For those (none) playing along at home, I ended up getting the job I was sweating over. This is good news because not only is the new company one with a great reputation, but I'm seriously losing my shit at my present job. I look forward to a future that involves neither Exchange nor Outlook. How it all actually works out is best left until I've actually begun working there, but I'm already a whole lot less stressed out and a lot more hopeful.
So, I'm still at this job that I despise and I seriously don't want to be here anymore. So much so, that I feel as if being fired would be a sort of relief. I'm waiting to hear back on a job that sounds like they're pretty much ready to offer contingent on my flakey-ish former managers returning phone calls. This is a terrible posture to assume because it nearly always ends in crushing defeat and the despair that inevitably follows. Sometimes, for the sake of maintaining sanity, it's almost beneficial to have a deep pessimism and distrust for all deus ex machina routes out of what seem like unbearable situations.
So, venting accomplished, go read Merlin Mann's Cranking is it is the best thing I've read all week and addresses many of the mental traps I've set for myself as a parent who also moves some of the gears of technology for a living. Reading things that involve children and hardship, no matter how relative that hardship might be, is a lot more difficult for me these days.
Another thing: The Cone mail client is rapidly climbing the list of things that I didn't think I needed much before and now I feel like I couldn't live without. Mail can be fast and your interactions with it don't necessarily have to be cryptic or involve key bindings you've either forgotten or never wanted to know. I'd nearly forgotten that. I especially like freeing up one of my virtual desktops and just sticking Cone in a Guake until I'm ready to look at my mail or need to. The psychological benefits of removing a mail client with its notifications and other visual hey! I'm here! features is oddly liberating.
I'm not going to explain why I haven't posted anything for months because that shit is frankly more boring than a nine year old weblog that never receives new posts. That, at best, is completely tedious.
So far I am not a fan of Gnome 3 . I've worked with it a bit on both Arch and Ubuntu and have found myself regretting either enabling the PPA to install gnome-shell or being stupid enough to allow it to upgrade. I've long since adopted Gnome as my default desktop on pretty much every platform, so having that stripped down, but oh-so-functional work flow completely disassembled has been nothing short of disastrous for me. Only one of the machines is actually a 'real' machine (it was a test beta install of Natty that flipped over to a release while I was messing with something else for a couple of weeks) and I've been able to route around the damage by just installing Xfce4 and pretending that it is a functional Gnome. Close enough for hackery, I guess. I am annoyed at having an old, reliable friend relegated to the dustbin for a gimmicky, phone-like interface. Sorry, but I need virtual desktops that work around applications not more context menus. Maybe next release or maybe I'll just switch permanently to Xfce on all distributions. I don't take useless stabs at usability for thumb typers at the expense of people who've used the environment for years as lightly as I probably should.
Baseball has also been a pretty huge distraction for me, at least since opening day this year. I signed up for the MLB.tv deal instead of the cable package ($100 less for a lot more flexibility) only to discover that the only real time streaming works (and god help you if you're interested in local teams - ie. the Colorado Rockies in my case) is during the week as MLB fucks its users over with blackouts for most weekend game times. I may just do the stupid cable package next year despite the $200 price tag and the additional $15 a month just to watch Rockies games. I am, on the other hand, watching a fuckton of Rangers, Athletics, and Giants games.
In theory, I should hear about a job I really want either tomorrow or the next day. This waiting is more or less the impetus for the spastic need to write something here. I'm really hoping for some good news although the potential commute is going to be terrible (Boulder is not close) and I'll be accepting a informal demotion from a system administrator who spends all of his time working on desktop support issues to a desktop support admin who crosses over into server-side problems whenever times allows and coincidentally is paid more money and has access to better coffee. I'm sure someone would tell me that this is career suicide, but my present job is already doing a fine job of making technology tedious and panic attack inducing so I think it's kind of a wash. Look for utter silence here for a while if I do get the job or bitter whining if I don't.