Thursday, December 29, 2005

more on girl geeks

As written about in the Washington Post (and a few other places) today, there are tons of women using the internet, especially those under 30 years old. This is awesome- when I was in college, I used to volunteer on Girl's Day at the Computer Clubhouse and spent much time (too much time, really) talking to the administrators and other volunteers about how to get more girls interested in Computer Science and other geeky stuff. At the time, I was one of 6 CS majors at my (single sex) college. I'd even taken one class- Physics- at MIT where I was the only girl in the entire class. So I thought a lot about why that was, and why the gender disparity was so large. We talked mostly about videogames, because in the late 80s and early 90s, most people who got into programming entered it through videogames. I think this is going to change, and more people are going to get into programming, and interested in Computer Science, though internety and WWWebby stuff. And if there are more girls using the internet, there might be more girls in CS in a few years. One of the big problems with videogames as a programming portal is that, well, most girls don't really like most videogames. The only two I've ever liked playing are Tetris and Sim City, and I think my experience is not that different from a lot other girl geeks. I heard Sherry Turkle (at MIT) speak a few times on women's programming styles (over simplifying, women tend towards a bricolage approach). It will be interesting to see if women approach CS through internet programming- PHP and so forth, since that approach, in my experience, lends itself much more to a bricolage style than learning C to hack up Doom does.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

santa kateMy best friend, with a little help from Amazon's wishlist, gave me a great christmas present today. Blown to Smithereens (he didn't know they were from NJ so I'll mention that here) and a book of photography criticism. The CD is excellent.

And yesterday I talked to Kate about her Christmas present which was some trains from Santa. She told me about all the cars and how they go around. That reminded me that I love this photo of her that I took when I was home. I thought when I was taking it that she was mad at me for putting the hat on her head. Instead, she looks really pensive. I wish I knew what she was thinking about. Probably what to play with next, or where she'd hid Cozy bear. But you can see how determined she can be, especially in her mouth. I usually hate it when photographers talk about capturing the "real" person, so I don't want to say that this photo is the "real" Kate, however it is a good view of how serious she can be.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Diners

Three songs I've been listening to: Sukie in the Graveyard and Another Sunny Day by Belle and Sebastian, and Debbie Loves Joey by Helen Love. Bouncy pop music this week instead of Christmas Carols. I had Christmas with Kate last weekend, which was lots of fun. The highlight was our trip to a playground on a really warm, really sunny afternoon. I got a hazelnut coffee from the Dunkin Donuts next to it, and then we went and played. There was maybe 2 inches of snow on the ground, just enough to make a nice landing at the bottom of the slides. Kate got upset with us when we climbed to the top of the jungle gym, though- she stood at the bottom and yelled "No! Come down!" -so cute to see a 2 year old yelling at adults for hanging from jungle gym bars. Kate & I made a date to go out to a diner for lunch next time I'm home, and I promised to get her an egg cream, which she's never had. I love old NJ diners where you can get egg creams, and the toast always comes pre-buttered. There are three great ones within a few miles of my parents' house, which was wonderful when I was in high school.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

France, natural selection, and sleeping dogs

Le Cours MirabeauThis evening, I pulled out an old photo CD of my trip to a friend's wedding in Aix-en-Provence, way back in June 2002. I used to have them online at Artsy Fartsy but Alex took that website down a few months ago, so I'm uploading them to Flickr. While I was playing with the pictures and tagging them, Declan jumped up on the sofa & sat down right next to me. Then he started nodding his head... and leaning over to the side... slowly... until the side of his head bumped my ibook. He jumped up with a "how in the world am I supposed to nap with that thing on your lap?" look. I had to fold up a blanket and place next to me, so that he could nod his head slowly over onto it. He knows that I'm a sucker for how cute he is when he's sleeping, and he knows very well that I'm willing to contort myself into all sorts of crazy positions, let my arms fall asleep, put huge cricks into my neck, in order to let him fall asleep on my lap. I can't help it, he's so precious when he's fast asleep.

At work today, I got in a long discussion with two other P13Ners about how different dog breeds show how natural selection and evolution work. Of course, with dogs, it's not so much natural selection most of the time, but humans doing the trait selection. But it leads to analogous results. One of the other dogs on our floor is a little black daschund, Scooter, who's a cute little guy. The conversation started when Declan walked into an office and did a loop under the desk to look for crumbs. My friend commented that Declan didn't see - or didn't smell - a few crumbs that were down there, but Scooter would soon be by & would vacuum them up. Stephanie wanted to know why Scooter would be better at picking up crumbs than Declan, and I remarked "Oh, he's not a herding dog, so he's got way better eyesight and a better sense of smell." So we talked about how Declan is rather far-sighted but has super hearing, because those skills help you keep track of sheep, while Scooter, who was originally bred to hunt small animals, has a really good sense of smell. The we talked about Sammy's webbed retriever feet and fetch obsession. And Declan's duclaws and the rocky Shetland Islands, then how much humans knowingly selected different traits, while others just emerged. So yet another reason why it's fun having dogs at work, they lead to random discussions of Stephen Jay Gould.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

one last one....

My favorite photo of Kate right now, in her Christmas dress.





Wilco "A Shot in the Arm"

So here it is, dark outside, and my dog is spread out across the sofa. The only other contents of my living room right now are my dog's crate, my suitcase and skateboard, a bike helmet, some laptop chargers, and a bottle of water. I still haven't recovered from last week's burst pipes that flooded most of my apartment, so everything that I own is still stacked in the kitchen or my bathroom. Wilco's Summerteeth is playing on my ibook. I haven't listened to this album in months, although it's always been one my favorite albums by any artist. A Shot in the Arm is one of the standout songs on it, and the lyrics seem to fit my empty living room. Yeah, on a literal level, I really need a shot in the arm to unstack my furniture from in front of my stove and my sink. The adrenaline was flowing when I stacked them up and pulled all my stuff out of my flooding closets. But the carpet is dry now, and so I keep finding other things that need my attention more. Like this song. That's not it, though. The static it descends into at the end is pure Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, it grates, and I don't feel like it suits this song very well. Not enough to ruin the rest of the song, though. The pop- and I mean this as a good thing, well done pop music is wonderful- is beautiful. The way they grab a melody and toss it out, Tweedy's voice trailing behind the guitars. The opening keyboards, setting up the beat, and his voice following it along into the story he's telling.

Nothing'severgonnastandinmyway (Again) always troubles me- it feels, through the verses, like any of the songs on this album. And the chorus, while nice, never takes off to the level of Shot in the Arm, it just... muddles. It's echoing off my empty rug, flat. I'm Always In Love is better, perfect interplay of voice and notes, and this one has both a quicker beat and someplace to ride it to. My dog is stretching, lazy, splaying his toes and pushing his nose further under the back cushion of the sofa. We're both quiet, maybe he hears the same lush harmony in the end that I do. Maybe he doesn't, and it sounds like driving to play frisbee to him instead. I listened to this album this summer, and the end reminds me of the sunlight at the park at 8:30 PM. When it got low enough, I'd take off my sunglasses, and play the end of our games without them, seeing the light shift. To the west of the field was a thick stand of really tall trees, so there would be at least an hour where the sun almost disappeared behind them, but didn't quite set. It was good frisbee light, because you could see the disc better without the glare. After the games, I'd sit on the sideline and unleash my dog, take off my cleats, and let him curl up in my lap. So I don't know why "I'm always alone" reminds me of sitting barefoot in the grass with him, but I'm almost there.

jangly

As Flickr has finally convinced me, tags are insanely awesome. Photos of shelties like Declan, photos of my neighborhood, photos tagged seattle and coffee.

I was making a playlist this morning in itunes, and decided that I wanted a bunch of jangly guitar songs. Unfortunately, all the songs I'd consider jangly are spread out across a few genres in my itunes, like Blood and Roses by The Smithereens in pop, and Troubled Times by Fountains of Wayne in my catch-all genre bucket of alternative. (A long standing sideproject that I never make any headway on is to reclassify all my alternative songs with better genre titles.) So within itunes, I have no way to easily generate a smart playlist of jangly songs. The closest you can come within itunes is to put "jangly" into the comments field of a song's info. Smart playlists at least can see this, so you can generate a smart playlist where "comment contains jangly" and work off that. But there's no real tag browser, and no good way to give songs multiple tags or multi-word tags. Yes, you can get "comment" to show up as one of the columns in my version of itunes. But if you put in the comments of one song "jangly blue" and in the comments of another song "quiet jangly" they aren't going to show up next to each other when you sort on the comments field. So it's really a stop-gap measure.


MP3 -or ID3/4/N- tags are little bit different. If you haven't used them, they embed information about the artist, song title, album title, genre, and some other bibliographic data into the MP3 file itself. That comment field is a ID3 (or ID4? I don't really know) tag. This is really handy, obviously, but I wish that it had some other name.

Because I was getting annoyed at the comment field this morning, and I decided was obviously not the first person to want to assign tags to my songs, I did the obvious thing- tried running a web search to see if there was some sort of itunes tagging plugin that I could download. Here are my results. As you can see- LOTS of hits on tags. But not the kind of tags that I want. Ordinarily in this sort of search, where one word can mean a few different things, it's time to pull out the "not" operator, but I'm having trouble coming up with a not phrase that will exclude ID3, and only show me results that talk about, for lack of a better description, keyword tags. The problem with doing "not ID3" explicitly is that there's a fair amount of discussion on the web about using various ID3 fields to emulate tagging. (Most people, it seems, to lean towards the comment field.)

So, a fairly unsatisfying morning on two fronts. While I'm on that vein, Blogger really needs to get its act together & get a good way to tag blog posts, as well, so that I could tag this "unsatisfied" and "tags."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Eat your own dogfood

A really common concept in software development is Eat your own dogfood - aka, use the application/website/tool that you wrote as part of your day to day life. It is absolutely the number one way to find usability issues and bugs in your software. If you're writing a new calendaring tool, for instance, manage your appointments in it.

So on that topic, the number one thing that makes me wonder if web developers really "eat their own dogfood" and use every piece of websites that they've written is the presence or lack of "next page" links at the BOTTOM of webpages.

I really like 43 Places (disclaimer- I've worked with all but one of the guys who wrote it), but they're sometimes guilty of only putting next page links at the top of their webpages. If you want to, say, scroll through the 900+ people going to Sweden, you would scroll down the list, reach the bottom, and then have to scroll back up the page to click the next page link. Bad design! Next page links at the top of a page are nice, but next page links at the bottom of a list page are essential.

Monday, November 28, 2005

almost

say cheese This is Kate after she got ahold of a waterproof disposible camera that I brought to NJ (useful for taking photos of the sailboat while swimming laps around it!). Look closely... she almost figured out how it worked.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Stickers in the mail

This weekend, I poked around on amazon's mp3 download site and ended up building two CDs for Kate, almost entirely from downloads from here. And I fell in love with this song: Mail Myself to You by John McCutcheon. It has a gorgeous harmony, and I thought it was fitting as an opener for the first CD, since it's being mailed off to Kate. (Other downloadable songs by him are here. He has a lot of great ones.)

Kate has figured this mail thing out a little bit too well- pretty much every time I write her a letter, I include a little pack of stickers for her to play with, since she adores stickers. (I do too, as anyone who's seen my ibook can tell you. She's obviously related to me.) So I mailed a package to her and her mom last month with some baby clothes for the new baby on the way and two books for Kate. But no stickers. Heather called me up after they got the package, and put Kate on the phone. Our conversation went something like this:

Kate: I couldn't find the stickers.
Me: Hi Kate! I miss you!
Kate: I looked, couldn't find the stickers.
Me: Stickers?
Heather, prompting from near the phone: Tell her we got her box.
Kate: I looked in the box. Where are the stickers?
Me: Stickers?

At which point Heather started laughing at my confusion and came on the line to inform me that Kate had unassembled the box and was shaking it upside down, trying to find some stickers. She'd learned that mail from me always meant stickers and was determined to find them in the box. Oops. I've bribed her into loving me again with a couple more packs of stickers since then.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

my grandma


Grandma


That's my grandma a few weeks ago, on the steps at her house. Now I wish that I had taken a photo of her and my grandpa together - I took a picture of each of them, but not together. Next time I stop off at their house, I'll have to get one. Possibly it will be near Halloween- I hear through the family email grapevine that my neice is having a Halloween party, which could be much fun to attend.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Ginger Ale

This is yet another "I might live here for years and never really understand some things about this place" post. I like drinking ginger ale when I go out to dinner. I'm not a fan of most sodas, I don't really drink wine very much when I'm out at restaurants, and so ginger ale is kind of what I fell into ordering out of habit. I like the flavor, and on the east coast at least, almost every single restaurant has it, unless you're in the PNW. Sometimes if they have a bar, they mix up fake ginger ale, but I can only think of two restaurants that I've eaten at in Seattle in the last 8 years that had ginger ale available. I've been to fewer places in Portland, but so far none with ginger ale. It doesn't seem like an inherently east coast thing, in the way that, say, good Italian bakeries are. It's baffling. Grocery stores carry it (and ginger beer, which I also love), so clearly people drink it out here... just not in restaurants.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Dear Summer

My two favorite songs this week are Dear Summer (Jay-Z on Memphis Bleek's album) and Nas's Just a Moment, both downloaded from iTunes (one is a Slurpee free song, the 40 oz Slurpee with a song is such a better deal than a 99 cent small Slurpee!). I finally heard the Edan album, and it's ok. Not amazing. The Common album is going on 3 weeks, I think, in the shrink wrap. I should really open it and listen to it at some point, but I can't be convinced yet that it's worth struggling with the plastic wrap and stickers. This is why iTunes is genius. Besides the fact that I just get the specific song that I want, you click and then get a song. No icky stickers to remove, no trying to start a big enough tear in the plastic wrap, no almost snipping off your fingers when you stab at the plastic with an open pair of scissors. Anyway, the Nas song is also genius. I'm not the biggest Nas fan, but this is a sweet hook.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

New York's City Island

Another item to add to my August trip to do list, visit City Island. I'd never heard of it until a few weeks ago, but it sounds incredibly interesting. Directions to New York's City Island: "If you're coming from New Jersey:Take the George Washington Bridge towards Manhattan...."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

bunny

Happy KateThat's Kate with her new bunny rabbit toy, her birthday present from me. She has such a cute smile... and I love how she mugs for the camera. I need to bring a second camera to see her some time, and take a picture of her playing with my SLR. She puts it up to her face and tries to look through it, and turns all the knobs. She managed to get it into 'multiple' mode on me once, and it took a couple minutes of playing with settings that I never touch to reset it. Sneaky kid!

I'm going home and to PVD soon, and I've made a list of things that I want to do during that week:

  1. Eat a bagel from Adam's
  2. go to the Matisse exhibit at the Met
  3. swim with Kate
  4. lots of sailing
  5. hang up a hammock over the brook in the backyard

Saturday, July 09, 2005

sleepy

I'm in Boston with my just-turned-2-years-old neice this weekend. I've been taking care of her while her parents attend a wedding and see some friends who they haven't visited since Kate was born. So this evening, I put Kate into her stroller, stopped off to buy us both vanilla milkshakes, and walked all the way down Commonwealth from the Public Garden to Mass Ave. It was a beautiful evening- we went out just as the rain cleared, and the light was amazing. The trees were still dripping a little, and it was a wonderful, quiet walk. Then we looped back up Newbury St, and... KATE FELL ASLEEP! I've never, in the last 2 years, been able to get her to go to sleep. She needs her mom for that. I felt so happy and so proud, walking down the steet with her snoozing in her stroller. She's now snuggled up in her crib, still sleeping. Awww.

Friday, July 01, 2005

mix v3

The end of the mix CD project is at hand, for the moment at least. I ended up with a 2 CD set (tracklisting below, and I'm in LOVE with O.P.P again- what a genius song). I pulled a couple of the old songs off compilation CDs, which reminds me of something that I spent a lot of time dealing with this week:
??????

If you can read kanji, that should (I say should because I know fewer than 10 kanji characters myself, and when this post comes off my webserver, it's turned into ???s, looks like somewhere along the way I'm sending pages as ascii) say 'Various Artists'. I spent much time this week transforming a bit of code that recognizes when an album or book or movie is by Various Artists or Unknown Artist or Not Available or No Data into localized code. Hey, now I somewhat know the kanji for Various.


1979 - 1989
Rapper's Delight - The Sugarhill Gang - 1979
The Breaks - Kurtis Blow - 1980
That's the Joint - Funky Four Plus One - 1981
Making Cash Money - Busy Bee - 1982
The Message - Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five - 1982
Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1) - Run-DMC - 1983
Boogie Down Bronx - Man Parrish - 1984
Roxanne, Roxanne - UTFO - 1984
Rock the Bells - LL Cool J - 1985
Slow and Low - Beastie Boys - 1986
Rebel Without a Pause - Public Enemy - 1987
Dedication to all the B-Boys - Schoolly D - 1987
Microphone Fiend - Eric B. & Rakim - 1988
Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun - Beastie Boys - 1989
75 minutes

1990 - 1999
100 Miles and Runnin' - N.W.A. - 1990
O.P.P. - Naughty By Nature - 1991
It Was a Good Day - Ice Cube - 1992
C.R.E.A.M. - Wu-Tang Clan - 1993
Who Am I? (Whats My Name) - Snoop Dogg - 1993
Fantastic Voyage - Coolio - 1994
NY State of Mind - Nas -1994
Protect Ya Neck - Wu-Tang Clan - 1994
Survival of the Fittest - Mobb Deep - 1995
Real Hip-Hop - Das Efx - 1995
California Love - TuPac & Dr. Dre - 1996
Pony - Ginuwine - 1996
Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See - Busta Rhymes - 1997
Los Angeles Times - Endo, Xzibit - 1997
Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator 99) - Jay-Z - 1998
Still D.R.E. - Dr. Dre - 1999
68 minutes

The second CD was the hard one, in particular 1993-1994. Such a great period, and incidentally, the year I really started listening to rap music. 36 Chambers is tossed around a lot as an album that changed everything, and with hindsight, I can hear that now. So much was left out of this set, though- and in particular, the lack of any Eminem stands out to me. This ended up the way that it did by my just tossing in songs, sorting by the Year in iTunes, and copying to my ipod. Then it went on a week's worth of bus rides, evening walks, morning walks, afternoon bug closing sessions, whatever, then pulling tracks off it a few at a time. So no "G" Thang, which is sad, but it didn't fit. No Summertime, but it couldn't hold up its place against O.P.P.

Ajax Mistakes

Ajax Mistakes - link from SvN.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

mix cd tangent

1. start making that summer mix
2. put The Message and Summertime onto it
3. burn a rough copy and give to friend
4. get in discussion of good old hip hop and rap tracks.
5. go home and raid CD shelf and iTunes Music Store and notice that playlist has roughly 1 song for every year from 1980 to 1990
6. organize tracks by year, remember others to add, watch playlist grow

it currently looks like this:

Rapper's Delight - The Sugarhill Gang - 1979
The Breaks - Kurtis Blow - 1980
That's the Joint - Funky Four Plus One - 1981
The Message - Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel & The Furious Five - 1982
Sucker M.C.'s (Krush-Groove 1) - Run-DMC - 1983
Roxanne, Roxanne - UTFO - 1984
Rock the Bells - LL Cool J - 1985
Slow and Low - Beastie Boys - 1986
Rebel Without a Pause - Public Enemy - 1987
Dedication to all the B-Boys - Schoolly D - 1987
Microphone Fiend - Eric B. & Rakim - 1988
Hey Ladies - Beastie Boys - 1989
100 Miles and Runnin' - N.W.A. - 1990
Summertime - DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - 1991
O.P.P. - Naughty By Nature - 1991
Nuthin' but a "G" Thang - Dre & Snoop Dogg - 1992
Who Am I? (Whats My Name) - Snoop Dogg - 1993

That's at least 4 minutes too long for a CDR right now, though, so I need to yank something. I don't know what to pull, though, none of these songs sound 10 or 20 years old. A lot of them I haven't heard in years, and quite a few I heard last night for the first time, like Rapper's Delight.

Monday, June 13, 2005

summer mix CDs

I listened to The Best of Ride today, and fell in love with shoegazing all over again. OX_4 cover Like I ever fell out of love with it, really. The last two months have been one band on repeat nonstop. So it was a well needed break to go with something that sounds completely different for a little while. Drive Blind is still looping my mind; out of the all the songs it's the one that sounds most like Curve to me, which is my personal shoegazing ground zero. This evening I played Demon Days on my laptop. I've blogged this before, but I was raised on a heavy diet of vintage Beach Boys (look at my name... yes, you'll find it on the Little Deuce Coop album. thanks dad). So I'm walking around, Gorillaz's playing in the background, thinking about how cute some of the songs are, and Don't Get Lost In Heaven comes on, and I thought my laptop had coughed up a long lost Pet Sounds track for a moment. Damon's voice, singing Beach Boys- it's just weird. I love it, but in a skewy, 'i never thought i'd hear something like this' kind of way. Feel Good Inc, which was the first single, is the best track on the album. I bought the single a month ago, and it was a good choice for them. The B-side to that single was even better than a lot of the album tracks.

All this has got me partaking in a summer music ritual, one month late. I make a mix CD on my birthday almost every year, but I forgot (was in NJ, working 13 hour days, dead ibook, everything) to do one this year. That's usually the soundtrack to the first part of my summer, so I'm putting one together now. There will likely be a Gorillaz song and a Ride song on there, and Hey ladies. Now I need to pick out about 12 more songs to fill it out.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Apple - iBook G4

My sister's iBook G4 arrived at the Geek apartment today to be set up & configured before being sent off to New Joisey. I wanted to set up a screensaver of Kate photos and some rotating desktops for her, but the photos that I use for mine are scattered across a bunch of photo CDs.

Option 1: find all my photo CDs, locate good photos on each CD, upload them, color correct them, and so forth.

Option 2: set my ibook and the new ibook down on the floor, enable sharing on my ibook, go to Network in one of the finder windows on the new ibook. And there was my ibook- connected, copied over Desktops folder, copied over screen saver photos folder, disconnected.

Awesome. I just about did a small "I love Bonjour" dance around my living room rug.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

More workers do business on a global schedule

In the Seattle PI yesterday More workers do business on a global schedule - This is actually a really good article about the odd hours that post-geographical (oooh buzzwords!) work entails. Despite years of video conferencing hype, it's really instant messaging, SMS, and email that make the 3 continent world I work in actually function, so the article is right on there. Maybe not surpisingly, the reporter missed the biggest pain of working like this. It's not being paged at 2 AM to help out Tokyo. It's lag- if I fire off an email in the AM to an office in Europe, I most likely won't see any answer for 24 hours. When you have 6 week product development cycles, 24 hours is a big bite of time. Really, I love my job, I love working crazy schedules, but even in college I did weird stuff like wake up at 6 AM one day and noon the next, so it works nicely for me. I wouldn't switch to a group that didn't work with people in our other offices, since it makes things so interesting on a lot of different levels. Not just technical ones, although parsing XML with kanji in it isn't exactly something I thought I'd be doing ever in my life. I got a huge grin on my face the first time one of our JP editors used "-san" in an email to me- it's really all the little things. I hate to think about doing it with kids, though.

Monday, May 30, 2005

weekend update

Number of bruises: 5 major ones, lots of other small ones
Number of scrapes: 3
Number of ruined pants: 1
I'm completely addicted, though. This morning I went down Myrtle Edwards park to Magnolia, then back, and had so much fun. I can actually turn it and handle most hills, and it's the sweetest feeling in the world to skim down a small curvy hill. Also shocking, a lot of skiing techniques actually work- like turning, I swear a lot of the muscle movement in your hips is the same. Or unweighting your knees to get over bumps, same thing. Snowboarding never seemed to have any of the same movements as skiing (the 4 or so times I tried it), but then again, in snowboarding your feet are strapped in place. That was one reason I just couldn't get into it... I have no idea if it's the correct thing to do, but I've been defininitely shuffling my feet around on the board a lot to shift my weight. The closest to a trick that I can do yet is bear down the back & kind of tap the front of the board side to side, which is how I've been making sharp turns.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

darkrooms

When I was home last time, I took a photo of Cameron standing on a rock- kind of nice, but you can see his retractable leash cutting right across the picture. Thanks to Photoshop CS and 5 minutes with the rubber stamp tool, cameron with a leash becomes cameron with no leash. It's a half-assed job, but it works well enough. We'll see how the prints come out. I really miss darkrooms, though, the meditative aspect of it, the precision, putting on some music and spending hours to get a good print out of a negative, standing over the bins, and everything. It's been about 5 years since I was in a darkroom, and I like digital, but darkrooms and chemicals and photo paper are completely different. I really need to look into the Photo Center NW up on 12th.

Friday, May 20, 2005

sunshineKate on Flickr

A long time ago- 1998 and early 1999- I did an internship with an IBM Internet Technology research group. They were working on ways to blur the line between "your computer/your harddrive" and everything else on the internet. There was some nice software that put the Yahoo search tree into your Windows explorer tree, so you could click through it the same way you clicked through your folders. Kind of neat for the dark ages of the web. I just installed a Flickr upload Dashboard widget, and the second thought I had was, "wow, this is what we wanted to do back then". (My first throught was "aww, kate, i love you, you crazy smidgen" (; ) So, here's the photo that I dragged from my desktop, to the widget, and had magically! uploaded:
Kate on Flickr

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

My ibook is back from Apple, with its 3rd logic board. The fuzzy sound problem seems to be fixed as well as that whole "won't boot" problem. While at the Apple store, I had my old 256 MB RAM card taken out and a new 512 MB one put in, so it's now running 640 MB of RAM... 10 gazillion times more than my first computer which had a whopping 64k. I just installed Tiger, and I'm thinking of putting mysql, pine, and some other Unixy stuff that I use onto it. I've always held that my ibook is my "relaxing" computer, but it would be nice to make use of the X11 integration that comes with Tiger. Also on the to-do list: download a few Dashboard widgets, set up some alarm clock software, upload new photos of Kate from last weekend.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Next Stop Grand Central

I've been working on building Kate's book collection for almost two years now. Next Stop Grand Central is going to be the next addition to her bookshelf, hopefully she'll enjoy the bright pictures until she's old enough to read it. There's not too much of a story to it, but got so much style that I had to buy it. The pictures inside, especially the hippie in bellbottoms, had me convinced that it was written in the 1970s, but it's not very old. The story, such as it is, meanders around the page with text looped around each small picture, so you can just pick and choose to read the bits that interest you, which I think is a neat way to write a book for children.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Beach!

Dash Point State Park: "Dash Point State Park is a 398-acre camping park with 3,301 feet of saltwater shoreline on Puget Sound. The beach provides unobstructed views of the Sound and excellent opportunities for sea-life study."
We went to the beach Sunday morning, and mostly sat around in the sun on some logs. Very relaxing. Especially because I've discovered a new secret to plowing through 12 hours of programming: an ipod shuffle with nothing but Beastie Boys on it. The shuffle has 12+ hours of battery life, so it's been wake up, drink coffee, turn on shuffle, start coding, try not to sing along out loud, continue until shuffle battery dies, sleep. My favorite song right now is easily The Brouhaha, followed closely by the rest of that album. So good. But I've been playing the CD in my car, and listening to it at home before I fall asleep. My brain goes into withdrawal without it, completely not the reaction I was expecting... I would have thought I'd be sick of hearing it. The brains of programmers trying to meet deadlines work in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Hymn of the Big Wheel

Today was programming crazy search interface day, and I spent a lot of it listening to Massive Attack's Hymn of the Big Wheel. It's a good song for concentrating and the zen state you kind of need to keep track of a hundred little API things in your head.

This morning also had a "you know you're a chick programmer when..." moment. My officemate was already working when I showed up, and noticed my red nail polish right away, so we started discussing favorite polish colors and whatever. Then she noticed a big group of guys with visitor tags walking past the open door, looking in at us, and said "Oh god, and we're standing here talking here talking about manicures." I mimed shouting "We're programmers!" into the hallway. Well, really, they could have heard a discussion of java or something had they walked by some other morning. (My nails, by the way, are a really nice sparkly red.)

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Shaolin Soccer

Siu lam juk kau (2001)

I rented Shaolin Soccer this afternoon & watched the subtitled Chinese version. This was easily the funniest movie I've seen in ages.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Getting It vs Not Getting It

I found an ecard from my sister in my inbox this AM- very sweet, but the pick up instructions from Hallmark just boggled my mind.

The "click here" link is, I'm not kidding, 3 lines long. So of course it had newlines inserted into it somewhere along the way in coming into my inbox, and was unclickable. I could have pasted it back together, but instead I moved to the "If you have trouble using the link" directions. Here they are:

1. Click this link to go to our homepage, or copy and paste it into your browser's address line:
http://www.hallmark.com
2. Click on the "Free E-cards" link.
3. Click the link on the upper left hand side of the page that says "Pick up an e-card."
4. Enter your e-mail address and this retrieval number: XXXXXXXXXXXX.
5. Click "Display Greeting." Your e-card will be displayed.


Hallmark, I should NOT have to hunt for a link & click 5 times to pick up my ecard. What you should do is make a SHORT url for me to type in or click on- say, "pickup.hallmark.com" or "www.hallmark.com/pickup" -take your pick.

I should NOT have to click back to the original email to see which one of my addresses my sister sent my message to. You should trust your ecard code generation uniqueness algorithm enough to just give me the card if I paste in a code. These are ecards, not something that needs super fancy extra verification of also pasting in an email address.

Of course, what you really should do is make the original pick up URL something short so that it didn't break. How about www.hallmark.com/pickup.whatever?card=XXXXXXX for starters?

Make things easy for your users. Then use your own tools, note where you're frustrated at the experience, and make it easier. Find extra steps that are stupid, get rid of them, make the computer do more of the work than the human using it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Nature's Path 8 Grain Synergy Multigrain Flakes

Synergy Multigrain Flakes

Today is apparently all about food blogging. I had to post this, though. I bought this cereal a few weeks ago without really seeing more than "Multigrain" and "Oraganic" on the box. I just was pouring myself a bowl of it and caught sight of the name. Oh geesh... I wonder if some vintage 1999 consultants have found second careers naming cereals?

Anyway, you don't need to drive to grocery store to get some Synergy Flakes as apparently you can buy them online. It's 2005 and I feel like I'm having a September 1999 experience in my kitchen.

chocolate yogurt cake

Chocolate Yogurt Cake Recipe from the April Gourmet magazine - currently baking in my oven. Mmmmmm.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone

Major Hangups Over the iPod Phone - this is really sad. From the article:

Zander said Motorola and Apple want to hold off until the phone is closer to hitting store shelves. But three industry sources say a lack of support from such giant cellular operators as Verizon Wireless and Cingular Wireless was instrumental in delaying the unveiling. So far, the wireless companies are reluctant to promote the Motorola-Apple phone.

Behind the clash are two very different views of the future of music on mobile phones. Motorola and Apple would let customers put any digital tune they already own on their phones for free. That would help Motorola sell more phones, and it would help Apple expand its dominance of digital music.

Verizon, Cingular, and other wireless operators want customers to pay to put music on phones.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Using the XML HTTP Request object

I'm loading and reloading and reloading the alaskaair.com tracking page for a friend's flight tonight. I need to repost the form every so often because they don't have a 'click here to refresh' link with the flight number and date in a GET link format. Makes me think about all the Ajax buzz (Using the XML HTTP Request object). If there was ever a web application screaming for an ajax implementation, it's online flight tracking.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

hidden dog

Bandon visited us this weekend while his dad was in California. He spent a lot of time hiding underneath one of the dining chairs- he's so tiny that he can curl up underneath one & fit entirely beneath. Smidgen of a dog! It took me a while to get a picture of his hiding spot because he kept coming out to poke his nose at the camera.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Stickers!

The shuffle and ibook have been Powerpuff Girl'd! I bought the stickers because some of them looked small enough to fit on my shuffle, and then put a few extras on my ibook. We'll see how long they last, both get a little knocked around in my bag.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Yahoo

Yahoo - ancient web history. I first learned HTML in 1995, so this must be 10 years as a web dev for me. Scary thought.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

untangling the sound

A few months ago, I was talking to my mom about how I learned to read. She says I just kind of picked it up- I didn't learn with phonics or any real methods. So I think that's tied to my french pronunciation/listening woes. For a while now, I've been able to read french just fine- I read books at a speed pretty close to my english reading speed, I can poke around our french templates with no problem, and so forth. However, when a native french speaker says something to me, I can't catch the words. These are words that I could read with no problem... but they exist visually in my head, with no sound attached to them. Slowly, slowly, slowly I'm putting the sounds to the words. Recently I've been listening to streaming french news radio when I'm working on a slow task, that seems more effective than listening to my language lessons CDs. Big reason? Speed. The CDs purposely go slow. Real french is spoken as if the person grew up in NJ- too fast and all bunched together.

Anyway, I remembered this weekend that I hadn't touched this blog in a long long time, but I'd forgotten that it had been over two years. Wow. Hello blog, nice to meet you again.