Archive for October, 2009

First Haurache Run

Today I finally got to take my haurache sandals out for a run and it was very interesting. You don’t get that same feel of the surfaces as you do with barefeet but you can feel the textures of the ground, particularly when running of pebbles and such. I find myself not paying as much attention to the road in front of me because of this and I’m not sure that is a good thing. I noticed I had to focus on my form a bit more as I tended to sway back to old habits.

I Hope to try mixing it up a bit by going barefoot for a distance and then putting on the haurache’s. I cannot wait to take these on a trail run.

GNU Four Freedoms Translation Attempt One

I was reading an article about Freesoftware adoption and it noted that the freedoms afforded by the GNU Gpl were written largely for developers not end users. End users being regular Janes and Joes milling about big box stores looking for bits and bytes to do something useful for them. So I figured I would take a shot at positing the four freedoms to general users. It’s a very rough attempt but hopefully something to think about.

First Benefit: The freedom to run the software as you would like to run it on as many computers as you would like to run it on. Want the run the software on your laptop and your workstation at the same time? Go ahead! Want to copy the software to each computer in a computer lab and then let any student run it when he or she wants to? You may!

Second Benefit: You can learn how the program operates and share this information with anyone. This is great if you want to learn how to write your own software. But even more, if you are the kind of person that likes to learn as much as they can about something, benefit 2 will aid you. Even more, because this benefit is available to everyone, you get to learn from their experiences too! You can take what you learn and publish it to the web, make a movie or even write a book! Sure you can do this with non-free software but there are no limits, no restrictions when it comes to freesoftware.

Third Benefit: You can share the software with your friends and family. School can give a copy of the software they use in the computer labs to each student so he or she can use the software at home. That way mom and dad can also use the same programs their children are using. They could even take the programs to work and let people in the office use them should their IT department allow this? Want to continue working on a project for work at home? If you are using free software at work there are no barriers to you using the same software at home!

Fourth Benefit: Freedom to change and improve the software. Maybe you are not a programmer, most people are not. Therefore you might think this benefit is not going to help you, but you could be wrong. Think about it. You find a piece of software that is almost a 100% fit for your company or a project you are working on. Almost! If only it had this one feature. Well, you can ask or even pay someone to add that feature for you. You nor they are restricted in making these changes! Another bonus of this is as you or others make changes those changes can be released to the rest of the world so everyone benefits. The more people doing this the better the software gets; the more features it can have! No barriers baby!

Walmart – wtf?

Last Saturday I was checking out at Walmart. I was looking for a place to set some frozen pizzas so they would not get crushed. I was in the aisle with the soda coolers and looking on top of the cooler I found two chicken wing bones. I thought to myself: “Of course!” I mean come on! It’s Walmart! What do you expect?

Case in point, take a look at People of Walmart for more validation of this sentiment.

But then I got to thinking… In any other store, had I found chicken bones I would have been appalled and considered never shopping there again. Now I will say given the amount of traffic that goes through the Walmart I usually shop and that they are open 24/7 I have to say they do a pretty darn good job keeping the place clean. But then again, is it the actual store that is appalling or a segment of the people shopping there? Do I want to shop in a store people treat like a garbage can?

Sure Walmart is synonymous with cheap, mass-produced, imported goods from a company that undercuts the local mom and pop establishments. But if you are going to shop there, at least show some respect for the employees and the people of your neighborhood.


Home Made Huaraches

my huarachesWhoohoo! My Huarache kit came today and I set about getting me some fancy footwear. The 4mm Cherry Vibram sole is wicked! Man was it a chore to cut out though. I used a utility knife and it had me sweating like a pig.

I admit I was impatient and did not wait to go to the store to get some hole punches, so I set to cutting some holes myself. That was the worst. I think the next time I do this I will definetly have hole punches; that took longer than tracing the foot, cutting the vibram and stringing the leather laces.

Well for a first time try they are interesting. They may look a bit crappy but hell, I did it baby!

If you are interested in trying to make a pair yourself you can get kit over at Barefoot Ted’s shop. Kits range from $25 to $35 US or you can buy custom made huaraches starting at $60. If you elect to go with the kit make sure you get the right size sheet of vibram. They come in 9×11″ or 11×12″

Have a good run!

Bad News, Sad News, Good News

Well the sad news is that my boss of the last three years is leaving the company to take a job in Kansas. Not only was he a great boss but he was probably the best software engineer I have ever met. This guy was a coding god and it was great to learn under him. I wish him the best of luck in the future but I know where ever he ends up, he’s gonna do a bang up job.

The bad news, well, it’s not that bad really, but the division in my company that I work for has been transferred to another division. In the process of doing this, the shared resources we a lotted from our team to the original division are not coming with us. We lost two engineers, two web developers, a top level manager and our system administrator. It sucks losing team members like this. Even more, we are being moved from the 16th to the 13th floor. Uh-oh! Unlucky 13.

On the flip side to this, that means the remaining engineer and myself have to step up and take the project over. That means doing it our way, the way we think it should be done with hopefully some guidance. Had my manager not taken the job in Kansas we would have lost him anyway in the move. Alas, it is sink or swim for us and we aim to finally take the project to the next level.

Now the good news! Erin is being laid off! Why is that good news? Well that is going to force her to get her Massage Therapist Certification all the sooner, no dilly-dallying around; not that I think she would have. She has until mid-November to get things cleared away on that end and then hopefully she will roll right into her new career full time or with a bit of a break.

The tough thing about her leaving her job is that she already does Massage Therapy work as a grad student level in the clinic at the school she went to an has the opportunity to work in their partner saloon. But until she gets certified she really cannot work anywhere else nor get paid the full salary. Thus, we have to be careful how many hours she works like this after she gets laid off or she cannot get supplemental un-employment until she finds a full time gig. That would be a serious hit to our income which stinks. I need me monies! I am falling behind on comic books and computer equipment!

Galileoscope Arrives

After listening to Russ Werner glowing review of the Galileoscope project on the The Techie Geek podcast I figured I just had to check it out. Like the OLPC, you can order a nice telescope like Galileo used for $20 or get two for $30 where one goes to a disadvantage child. Of course I did the latter.

I was really psyched for this thing to come and it finally arrived today. It took about 10 weeks and I almost gave up hope, but arrived it did. The kit came with directions to assemble and it was a fun job putting it together. But alas, after 4 nights of clear skies and a full moon, today it is overcast. Boohoo. Oh well, I cannot wait until the next clear night to give it a whirl.

Popcap Game Under Linux

Popcap makes some very interesting and very entertaining games. Right now I am playing Plants vs Zombies and it is a blast. Getting it to work under Linux was not a chore, but I had to use wine. Popcap only makes their games for Windows and OS X right now but I hope someday they see the light and put out native Linux versions. For now, it’s wine to the rescue.

If you are interested in a Popcap game check around on the web to see if it will work under wine. Or, you can go the next step and download the demo. Most Popcap games should have a demo. Fire that up under wine and take it for a spin. That is what I did for Plants vs Zombies.

Regardless of which route you start out on I do suggest you look around for others who have tried it under Linux and see their results and work around in case you run into some problems. For instance, the first time I tried PvZ I had that full screen mode does not work well. My experience proved this out when I tested it under Intrepid. Now I am running it under Karmic and it seems fine at full screen, but I do like windowed mode a bit better.

Now if you elect to purchase the game you might run into some difficulty. Popcap uses an online registration in the game that allows you to enter you purchase id to register. This registration did not work for me so I had to go with the manual registration. You take that order id and plug it into a form on their website. The second hurdle is that this form requires active x components, so you need IE. That was easy to get around using the IEs4Linux project. A quick download and about 2 minutes later I was registering online and getting the unlock code.

It’s that easy!

Yeah, it’s a proprietary app, that it is and there is no native Linux version yet, but one day I hope that will change. Enjoy!

Linux, Flash and Mouse Clicks

Well it started with Karmic. After I updated things seemed fine but then it was weird when I would go to a site with a flash video clicking on the video would do nothing. At first I thought it must be Arora, my preferred browser these days, but that was not to be the case. It was happening in Firefox too. I started looking around and found this thread of the Ubuntu and this bug in Launchpad. The bug seemed to indicate that the problem was with Compiz but as I am cnot using Gnome or Compiz, I use Fluxbox, I don’t think that is the issues. More people started posting that they were not using Compiz either. Speculation had it that it might be something to do with nsplugin but again, only Mozilla browsers user this and people are noticing the problem in Konqueror and Opera too.

Well now the problem appears to occur in Debian Sid too. I began having the same issue using Arora on my Meso.

The only psuedo-workaround so far has been to click on the flash, drag off the flash, then click back on the button you want to press. This will usually start a video just fine but a lot of the time you can only do this once, so trying to pause or adjust the volume may not work for you.

Hopefully this will be fixed soon and I can get my non-free fix on!