- 2:08 am - Fri, Nov 23, 2012
Running on Shutdown
When you leave a computer on for days and days, it’s going to start to run slow. Even the best hardware on the best software will run in to rogue processes and clobbered RAM with no discoverable cause. (Sidenote: OK, Linux guy, put down your pitchfork.)
The solution? Shutdown.
Sometimes, though, I want to know how long I’d been running a machine before I shut it down. This can come in to play for questions like: “How long did I get this time?” and “Is this a latent problem I need to know about?”
Unfortunately, I’ve already hit ⌘⌃⏏, the system’s shutdown, and the only way to get this information is to hunt through the console logs for
SHUTDOWN_TIME, do the math, and convert to Unix time, assuming the logs haven’t been purged recently enough to remove the necessary information.
I had a problem. I found a solution.
- 12:27 am - Sat, Sep 1, 2012
The Bus Couple
I found myself in the middle of a SoCal Summer, which is a cute way of saying the heat was, once again, indomitable. I left the bank, rent check in hand, and headed to the bus stop.
I’ll leave the anecdote about the young girl in the driversed.com car for another time.
Today, I focus on the couple sitting at the stop:
- 3:57 pm - Thu, Aug 9, 2012
Distinction Without a Difference
It was a year ago today that I recieved summons to head to the Bay Area for a few weeks. There were many reasons for me to be happy to comply; perhaps the most demanding, however, was that we were in the middle of an interminable heat wave. Southern California is known for its fantastic almost-year-round weather. Having lived here my entire life, I feel the same way about it as I do about living within 15 minutes of Disneyland: “meh”.
Yeah, you never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I get it. But I’ve never been able to fully appreciate just how wonderful having 360 days of sun per year truly can be. The thought of summer is always trumped by memories of suffering swealtering heat, being sequestered in a stuffy apartment without A/C for respite, and volunteering time at the library as an escape. Where others around me saw the heat as freedom for the beach, for vacation, for road trips, I saw it as oppression.
Some time between last summer and today, I’ve developed an appreciation for summer. For the people and fashion, the brightness and nature, the compulsion to got out and move. I’m still inconvenienced by the discomfort and sweat, and often sleep comes fitfully, and the morning heat is like waking up with a hangover, but somehow I don’t have the energy in me to hate these things like I used to.
I can’t recall any significant changes in my life to cause the shift in perception, but it’s there all the same. This summer and last summer are the same as far as the records go. The rest of America may be sweltering and dying (I’m so sorry for you, Austin, TX), but here in the great Orange County, it’s business as usual. There is, literally, no difference, but there is still a distinct difference in how I’m experiencing it.
Still, though, it would be nice to be in San Francisco right about now.
- 6:16 pm - Wed, Aug 8, 2012
Starbucks ♥ Square
It’s been almost two years since I quit working at Starbucks, though I can say with a certain amount of pride that most of the process of the business hasn’t left me. This isn’t idle self-congratulation, either: I’m internet famous from a post of mine on Quora detailing some of the lesser known factoid minutiae of Starbucks’ operations.
The winded preface
When I first started, the biggest challenge was in learning to use the computer systems used to input the orders. It was very simple; multiple tabs separated hot and cold beverages, pastries, and food case items. There were some casual UI layers, such as different rows containing different categories of information (drink size, common coffee-based Frappuccinos [tm], crème-based Frappuccines [tm], etc.), but it doesn’t take a UX hacker to tell that cruft over the years had built up, and the only difference betweet a “good” and “bad” ringer (not an actual word) was experience.
- 9:21 pm - Sat, Jan 28, 2012
The core tenet of existentialism is observing and analyzing the self in the now. A corollary follows that being able to define oneself is, essentially, the bane of the existentialist. By defining myself (I am smart; I am dumb; I am weak; I am strong), I forever limit, and quite severely, all future actions, barring them against the possibilities not covered therein.
Having this knowledge naggling it the back of my head for so many years truly makes me wonder why I’m so terribly wont to defining myself in such self-destructively limited ways.
Throughout college, I allowed the definition ‘student’ fester in every decision. Sometimes, it led to great fruition (chemical abuse, anyone?) Others? Well.
It was only the day I walked from campus for what I knew would be the last time ever that I felt an enormous, persona-shattering weight lifted from my shoulders. And I was well aware that I was the sole creator of this weight.
On my way to work this morning, I stopped by the leasing office. My package from Barnes & Noble had arrived.
I left work early and tore open the package.
In front of me now sit two textbooks. Two books I researched, purchased, and will study of my own volition.
The sense of wonder I feel at this unknown is euphoric and inexplicable. I cannot wait to dive deeper and study for study’s sake.
- 11:50 pm - Fri, Jan 27, 2012
- 16,228 notes
“went to short dogs house,
they was watching Yo MTV
Yo MTV RAPS first aired:
Aug 6th 1988
Ice Cubes single “today was a good day” released on:
Feb 23 1993
”The Lakers beat the Super
Dates between Yo MTV Raps air date AUGUST 6 1988 and the release…
- 12:13 am
There’s something powerful about the way a picture can tell you so much more than an entire book ever could. Even a budding amateur’s photograph can capture 1000 tiny ideas into a single still frame.
You glance at it in passing and despite the brevity, you understand.
- The way the sun abides silently in the rear, ever so slightly above the horizon, casting a fleeting orange tint across the landscape.
- The grass, well trodden and only the faintest shade of green, kept fitfully alive among a smattering of trees.
- Six gentlemen, well dressed, without a single smile between them. Each clad similarly in reverant black.
There is a ferocity in each man’s stance; a realization of the inevitable. An admonition against an unwanted presence. A solemn promise to do so, so much more.
Perhaps the grandest idea this picture captures is the most important, most pivotally existential, idea of all.
Death truly is the great equalizer.
- 12:23 am - Sun, Jan 1, 2012
Where Do We Go?
The year is 2012. It has been long enough since Y2K for a child to have been conceived, born, raised and gain rational thought. You can measure the time since Michael Jackson’s death in years. Our nation’s first black president is about to reach the end of his first term.
This year we saw the downfall of the likes of Osama Bin Laden, Muammar Ghaddafi, Saddam Hussein and even Kim Jong Il.
We saw the worldwide rebirth of popular revolution. Libya, Egypt, Israel and many others (collectively referred to as the Arab Spring) started off the year. It was widely televised, and the basis for America’s own Occupy Wall Street. Then it spread to China, just this month, as an unheard of protest won an even more rare compromise. And then there was Russia.
This level of volume of popular dissent has not yet been seen by my generation. But it is a clear theme that lasted the entire year, and we now start 2012 in the throes of a revolution of rising expectations. The ruling class, dictatorship or otherwise, only holds power so long as the populous continues to show a marginal amount of faith that the current system is better than no system. When it comes to government, we learn early on that revolutions are for the brutish idealists long past, who never lived the luxurious lives we’ve been handed. That the hippies of the ‘60’s were dirty miscreants with little else to do. It’s easy to downplay the role of those who damn near turned the tides of American politics just by being loud and obnoxious.
Unfortunately, the taboo against speaking out is crumbling, fast, and just in time for a new election.
We start 2012 with a bang, with SOPA / PIPA nearing finalization in Congress, causing deep rifts and highlighting those in charge who value their constituents over their pocketbooks. With NDAA having just been signed in to law by President Obama (albeit with deep reservations). The idea of Corporate Personhood stands at the forefront of nearly every controversy, and only recently has it officially come under fire.
Peoples worldwide were able to co-ordinate and execute momentous revolutions due to the internet, and so it is the internet that has come under fire, even in the ‘Home of the Free.’ I have no doubt that this time next year will see even more momentous change, from the governing bodies, to the peoples’ reactions, to the entrepreneurs’ solutions.
So here we go; we ride the coattails of a brotherhood wrought by similar suffering worldwide, of revolution on every scale. And I for one am very excited to see just where it is we’re headed.
Happy New Year.
- 2:36 pm - Sat, Dec 31, 2011
Welcome to 2012
Back in college, I spent a semester studying existentialism. One of the core tenets is a focus on observing the self from a point slightly ahead of…the self. It is the emphasis on existing in the moment and maintaining awareness of the moment that really struck me and sucked me in to the topic. I find that it’s very easy to accept certain habits and define oneself thusly; to say “I am…” and to behave accordingly.
It’s easy to offload the burden of decision making to personal historical precedence and accept the result as virtue.
The idea that life can be viewed as a series of journeys with defining destinations between is a construct of hindsight. Hindsight alone shapes the paths between; it creates the illusion of altitude and terrain. But the memories we choose to keep and award the sacred title of destination — they truly are arbitrary. They are rarely a product of the destinations prior. In short, there is very little to gain by holding habit under the guise of ‘the self’ close to heart and shunning, or delaying, the experience of something new and entirely different. 1
It is through new and diverse experiences that we discover the wonderful. It is through the wonderful that we create new memories, and deliberately shape the landscape that we will look back upon.
The wonderful is the arbitrary. The world is an open door. Your experiences are limited solely by what you create.
Welcome to 2012.
- 5:08 pm - Wed, Oct 5, 2011
The world lost an amazing visionary today, a tremendous force that single-handedly shaped our ideas of the possible and devoted himself to removing the boundaries of the impossible. He crafted an entirely new level of hero; it is for his work that I wake up every morning.
And while humanity is collectively worse off without his presence, it is a true testament to his legacy that his work will live on for generations beyond him.
Rest in peace, Steve
1955 - 2011
- 10:56 pm - Sun, Sep 11, 2011
- 1 note
A Tale of Two Trilogies
If you hang around the internet long enough, you can learn some really interesting, extremely esoteric things. For instance, the other day, there was a post on Reddit :
“The Bielefeld Conspiracy is a running gag and meme among German Internet users, especially in the German Usenet. It is generally considered a satirical story rather than a hoax or an urban legend.
The story goes that the city of Bielefeld (population 330,000) in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia does not actually exist. Rather, its existence is merely propagated by an entity known only as SIE (in this context THEY or THEM, not the polite form of YOU), which has conspired with authorities to create the illusion of the city’s existence.
The theory posits three questions:
- Do you know anybody from Bielefeld?
- Have you ever been to Bielefeld?
- Do you know anybody who has ever been to Bielefeld?
A majority are expected to answer ‘no’ to all three queries. Anybody claiming knowledge is said to be part of the conspiracy or being deceived themselves.
The origins of and reasons for this conspiracy are undocumented. Speculated originators jokingly include the CIA, Mossad or aliens who use the Bielefeld University as a disguise for their spaceship.”
If you’ve haven’t really come to understand what a meme is, exactly, I urge you to take a moment to watch this amazing video of Susan Blackmore’s TEDTalk explaining the history behind the word “memetic” (from Richard Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene”) to what causes a meme to spread, and what the future of memetics are.
“A meme, analogous to a gene, is essentially a “unit of culture”—an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc. which is “hosted” in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself.”
So in the Bielefeld Conspiracy, the meme was able to propagate itself through want of poking fun at conspiracy theorists. It is, in short, a 17-year-old inside joke.
This kind of information transfer-and-propogation is no stranger to the circles of the nerd elite. It may be difficult for them to stomach, but consider the case of Star Wars. Ask of anyone: “Why was R2-D2 so much more capable in the prequel trilogy?”
- The lay-man responds, “I don’t know. Better technology?”
- The Star Wars fan responds, “Artoo was constantly improved, as evidenced when Anakin scorns Obi-Wan for chiding him in the beginning of Episode III (‘He’s trying,’ he chides).”
- The Star Wars nerd elite respond, “What prequel trilogy?”
Caution, my friends. Should you ever come across one of these, you can be sure you have come across a creature with whom you will never win an argument, and should you be bold enough to actually ask this question, you will be met with scorn hitherto unseen even by the likes of the Bible.
- 9:39 pm - Thu, Sep 1, 2011
- 26 notes
John Gruber & Merlin Mann — “The Banana Window”
- 850 Plays
The Talk Show #57: The Banana Window - 5by5
On this special episode recorded while Dan was still on paternity leave, John is joined by guest host Merlin Mann. Merlin and John discuss Vegas, Disney, Pixar and more!
Not gonna lie to you. Being on America’s Favorite Podcast™ was a total thrill.
After a circuitous amble through problematic fruit, E-Ticket rides, ambient alcohol, housing problems in the Hundred Acre Wood, blackjack strategy, ATM fees, and watching your daughter learn to walk at a casino, we did actually get to a couple pretty great points about stuff. Gruber and Merlin stuff.
This was just so fun to do, and I really hope you guys like it too.
(And, yes, there’s also an After Dark.)
- 10:49 pm - Tue, Aug 30, 2011
That’s the Point — Life Isn’t Fair
“So, in other words, this is the last class I’ll have to take. If you don’t let me take it this semester, I’ll be here for another semester, and I’ll have to pay the same fee for a single class. I’ve done this before and there was never an issue; I’d really like to just graduate, finish and get out of here.” I said this last bit as a quip, as this was my fourth visit to Amy. We’d developed a modicum of rapport, I’d like to think. Before, when I first walked in, she was short, cold and uncaring. Today? I actually got her to smile! And what a cute smile she had, too.
Amy wasn’t the dean. She wasn’t the head of the department. She wasn’t even a professor. Amy was the secretary that fields all communication between the lowly students and the mighty decision-making faculty. In short, she was the fog of war.
She momentarily turned in her chair and came back with a small slip of paper and a pen.
“Write your name and phone number here. I know I had you sign the other paperwork, but I’m going to see what I can do for you.” Damn, I thought. If I had any game, THIS is the line I’d be using. “I’ll give you a call in an hour when he gets back,” she explained.
It’s January, 2011. My second semester of my fifth year of college. I’d never failed a class, I’d made deans list twice, I’d taken multiple 19 and 20 unit semesters. I’d worked full time every day since the first day of the first semester of the first year, literally starting my first job within the same week. And I had never - not once - proven myself inept or in any way unable to handle a class that - gasp - they said I wouldn’t be able to handle without 16 weeks prior study of some other, only minority related, subject.
Three weeks prior, I logged on to the school’s (startlingly horrid) student portal to find I had been administratively dropped from the only class that actually mattered to me. Management 449, “A Seminar in Strategic Business Management.” My capstone course. A college degree in the CSU system goes like this: you take your general education classes first, then you take your core degree classes, and then your concentration classes, and then, finally, the capstone. The golden eye atop the pyramid. The shining star on the tree. The stone that holds the left half and the right half of the arch together. Without it, the system would fall apart. Without the others, the capstone would merely be another rock on the floor.
Such awe-inspiring symbolism, no?
Many time in the past, I’ve taken a requisite course alongside its parent. Never before was it an issue, either by myself or the system. Why, then, at this crucial juncture, the last three forsaken units, was I being stonewalled? That isn’t, simply put, fair, damnit!
My friends, that is the point. Life isn’t fair. Life doesn’t give a shit about you and it takes maniacal glee in watching you suffocate under its ceaseless ministrations. I’d tell you a joke, but I’m afraid my life story is too long to fit here.