Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

Paternity Leave: Day 31

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Holy crap, we’re nearing the end! Only two more days left, not counting the weekend. Each week went by faster than the previous.

Today was nice; Samantha and I went out to Fry’s and stopped at Panera on the way, only to run into Mikey and Scott from work. What a pleasant surprise! We had a nice lunch, and Sammy and I continued on to Fry’s where I got a faster network switch for the living room, some more solder, and an empty project box for a speaker wiring thing I’m planning on doing. See, the surround sound is great for the living room, but the kitchen is just a splice off the left and right speakers, and anything that’s more than 2.0 sound (e.g. 5.1 surround) typically has the dialog on the center channel. This means no dialog in the kitchen. I’m trying to come up with a box that takes the L/R/C output from the stereo in, and has jacks for the L/R/C speakers in the living room and the L/R speakers in the kitchen with everything properly patched inside. I had to order some speaker jacks online (Fry’s didn’t have what I wanted), so I’ll finish this project later.

Shortly after I got home, I fed Sam and managed to get her down for a nap. A little after that, Kim arrived to do her laundry and have me fix her microwave. I am best brother today! We had a nice time hanging out this afternoon and eventually Megs got home, Sam woke up, and we all had dinner. I had prepared some white chili in the crock pot in the morning and it finished its long journey to delicious-ness at 7:00.

I know you’re not here for dinner talk. You’re here for baby pictures, so here they are!

She's taken to sticking out her tongue lately.

She’s taken to sticking out her tongue lately.

Kim got one of her sticking her tongue out while playing with her little elephant thing.

Kim got one of her sticking her tongue out while playing with her little elephant thing.

Here's Kim and Sammy

Here’s Kim and Sammy

Sam looking thoughtfully happy while Kim holds her

Sam looking thoughtfully happy while Kim holds her

Paternity Leave: Day 20

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Today started off very nicely. Megs went to boxing class, while Sam and I slept in. After Megs got home and Sam and I got up, the three of us went out to brunch at Barney’s Beanery in Pasadena.

Sam getting ready

Sam getting ready

At Barney’s, there was an episode of Bones on there, and we discussed it at length because Megs used to watch the show and I didn’t. She was trying to answer my questions regarding this season 5 episode about which character was or was not “the British one”, who was going to end up aiding a serial killer, and who was gonna get killed later. Also Stephen Fry was in it (not the British one I was thinking of).

Here’s Sam out for brunch in her fine sun hat:

A grand brunch out!

A grand brunch out!

We went home after brunch, and I did some chores around the house like laundry, tinkering with the clock in Megs’ car, and moving the front porch thermometer to a wall we can actually see from the front door. I also installed XBMC on the TV Raspberry Pi and re-configured the video game emulator. The upshot of these things is we can now stream pretty much any video file from the network storage drive on the TV, as well as play any old NES/SNES games we want. Living the dream!

Megs eventually dragged me away from my tinkering to play a few rounds of Magic with a new green/white token creature deck she had put together. I kicked her butt three times with my cheap red creature deck, so further adjustments may be required.

In baby news—this is a paternity leave update, after all—Sam’s getting really good at grabbing stuff. See attached image for proof:

Above: Proof

Above: Proof

Other than that, we had a light dinner and started Orphan Black season 2. We are enjoying it so far, even though the show is kinda weird.

Paternity Leave: Day 7

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

This will be a short post because not a lot happened today and Samantha is being extremely fussy right now. Here’s what she looks like at the moment:

Super dark picture of Sam

Super dark picture of Sam

Sorry it’s so dark, but we keep it dim in her room at night.

Other than getting lunch and some quick errands, that was about it for today. Megs took Mav to the dog park for an hour or so in the evening, so it was just me and Sam for awhile again. We spent most of the time just staring at each other. Lazy Sunday.

Oh, and in my limited free time, I’ve been learning about jQuery and AngularJS. Just trying to keep up with trends.

NaNoWriMo and System Administration

Monday, November 1st, 2010

So, I hear that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). As I understand it, one is supposed to actually write that novel everyone always says they’re going to write, or at least 50,000 words of it, all in one month. Now, I’ve never been much good at fiction, but I used to write here more often. Seems a good excuse for me to start again, especially since I almost didn’t get a post up at all last month!

My work situation has shifted, slightly. I still work for Disney at the same office with the same people, but now I’m more of a sysadmin kinda guy, which is pretty spiffy. I’ve always liked that kinda stuff, so now I get to do it for serious instead of just screwing around with it. I’ll be managing our internal Windows and *nix development systems, many of which I already have some familiarity with. I’m working on learning about an authentication system called Likewise, which lets Unix and Mac-type systems authenticate against Microsoft Active Directory servers, which will simplify our username situation a lot. I’m also learning about CruiseControl and Hudson, both of which are continuous integration tools. Neat stuff.

All for now. Will post more soon, etc.

Converted Apple

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

So I’ve done it. I finally joined the masses of Apple iPhone users, and I must say, I totally dig it. Megs hates it when I say so, but I swear this thing is at least partly magic. It is an amazing device, to be sure. The screen looks unbelievable, the touch controls are fun and quick, and the application possibilities are endless. I’ve already downloaded a few of the so-called “apps”: Facebook, Echofon for Twitter, a Wikipedia front-end, Cracked.com‘s app, SimCity, Words With Friends, the Google suite, Amazon.com Kindle reader, Pandora internet radio, Adobe Photoshop Mobile, TV Guide, a graphing calculator (why not?), TapDefense, Klondike solitaire, Glow Doodle Snake, and the WoW Armory. I hadn’t even realized how many apps I’d downloaded until just now when I wrote out that list there. This thing is hella fun!

Chris in a mirror holding iPhone

Recursive Chris goes on forever!

Lovely Linux Netbook

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

For those who may not know, there’s a special sub-class of laptop computers out there called “netbooks”, which are designed to be small, low-cost, and relatively low-power compared to their full-blown cousins. I recently bought one of these babies used from an old high school buddy, and I must say I really like it. It’s an Asus Eee PC 1000, and I put Ubuntu Netbook Remix (a Linux distro) on it CUZ I CAN! I’ve always had an itch for a unix-y computer to dink around with, and now I got one. Also, I finally broke down and got a wireless router for the apartment. I know, I know, “welcome to 2004!” you’re saying. I’d fought the home wireless movement for a long time, but it’s just so damned convenient with the various wireless devices I’ve acquired over the years.

Anyways, the computer is really small, weighing in at only 2.8 lbs, it really is quite portable. Other specs include: 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, 1 GB RAM, 40 GB SSD, 802.11n wireless adapter, Bluetooth, three USB 2.0 ports, and a built-in SD card reader. Has a little web cam, too!

Chris watches you

Chris is watching you!

Ah, Spring!

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Well, it’s officially spring now, although going by the weather here in Los Angeles, it’s been spring for at least a month already. Still gets chilly at night, though.

So I poked around briefly at working with Winamp plug-ins and it didn’t interest me. I also tried to get Pidgin to compile in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 instead of its usual build environments, but was unsuccessful. I might still keep at that, but the end result is of marginal use, so I dunno.

I’m really having difficulty finding some kind of programming project that interests me. I like to solve problems, but most of my daily computing tasks already have solutions. It’s a conundrum.

In conclusion, here are three hoverball cats:

Hoverball Cats

Wumm wumm wumm wumm wumm

My Birthday and More

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As my previous post alluded, I recently turned 29. Here are some pictures:

Chris’ 29th Birthday

I miss ChrisWeb; my posting schedule here is down from more than semi-weekly to monthly at this point. I’m tempted to ditch WordPress and go back to completely home-grown, but I’m not going to for a variety of reasons. For one, WordPress is a really well-put-together piece of software and anything I’d do would be re-inventing the wheel, and in a crappier fashion. I’ve done a lot of blog-type web development in the last 10 years (can you believe this blog is almost 10 years old?!?), and that was fun and educational, but that time is behind me. I’ve changed and the web has changed. All I originally did was to fill voids in functionality that I wanted. WordPress didn’t exist. Facebook didn’t exist. Hell, the word “blog” didn’t exist when I started keep an “online journal”. I just kept adding features like logging, comments, pictures, etc. as I needed them. Now there’s a plethora of free tools out there at my disposal with teams of people working on them full-time, so that need isn’t that driving force here anymore. Also, I have 10x as many people seeing my posts on Facebook than I ever did here, and now I doubt there’s more than half a dozen people who check this place regularly. Heck, this post will be linked automatically on Facebook and Twitter once I publish it.

Why all the web navel-gazing? No idea. Guess I’m trying to figure out the future of ChrisWeb here. I was thinking last night that perhaps I should try to have some kind of focus for posts here, rather than as a general journal. Facebook more-or-less fills the latter niche, but where FB is good for short life updates and quick picture-posting, the more traditional blog lends itself better to longer and more thought-out writings.

So, what to write about? Well, what I want is a programming project. Something short-to-medium term to start with. I was thinking about writing a plug-in for Pidgin or WinAmp to start with. Always good practice to work against someone else’s code base or API. But what to create? Generally, I’m at my most driven when I’ve got some kind of need to fill, so let’s see what kind of features I want to add/enhance.

No, I haven’t actually thought it through yet; I’ve been more-or-less writing this whole post as I think of it. If anyone has any suggestions on something neat to code up, please post any suggestions you might have. I’ll start writing about what I end up working on, and we’ll take it from there. Cool? Awesome.

Twenty-Nine Soon

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

It seems my 29th birthday is fast approaching and I have no idea what to do about it. Last year I was sick as a dog, so this year’s anniversary of me being born is already looking up! My last year of “twenties”, man, time flies. Seems only recently that I turned 20.

Not really much else to say right now. Life goes on, still workin’ at Disney, etc. Megs is nearing the end of law school, so that’s exciting. Also, Matt’s “Donut” is down for a visit this weekend, which is cool. I think Kim may come up some time, too. Always good to see family.

I feel bad for neglecting the blog here. Maybe I can write about more stuff no one cares about more often. Oh, I know; really technical stuff! Today, I wrote a nifty shell script that toggles a proxy on and off. I originally wrote it in tcsh, but then I came to my senses and converted it to bash. It actually runs in Cygwin, which is a unix-like shell for Windows, but it makes use of a Windows program called “Reg.exe” to make changes to the registry rather than have to go through a lot of Control Panel windows, which was the whole point. Anyways, I was pleased with how it turned out, so now I can share my joy with you!

And now, your moment of zen:

Caps Lock Fury

Xboxing

Friday, May 29th, 2009

So, I finally joined the 21st century of console gaming and got an Xbox; an Xbox 360, to be exact. Pretty cool so far, and I’m liking the Xbox Live thingy, but I’ve already had a problem. The Xbox 360 is supposed to be able to play some original Xbox games, so I went out and got a copy of “Halo” and “Halo 2”, the flagship series of Microsoft’s Xbox console. Neither game would play. Got a weird, uninformative error message (thanks, Microsoft!) and that was that. Checking Microsoft’s support web site, all I could find was “the disc might be dirty”. After cleaning the discs, polishing them with Turtle Wax (seriously, this has helped me revive old discs in the past), and even exchanging them for new discs, still no go. On a whim, I swapped out my Xbox’s hard drive for one from work and bingo! Worked like a charm. With this information to go on, I Googled around some more and came across a useful forum post at xbox-scene.com that had me: 1) take apart the hard drive enclosure, revealing the 2.5″ SATA drive inside, 2) plug said drive into my PC, 3) run 3rd party software to copy over a working partition containing the original Xbox emulation software. After putting everything back together again I was up and running.

As an aside, Microsoft’s phone tech support is as useless as I’d feared. They basically featured humans reading me the support web pages and transferring me between departments. And to add insult to injury, I was mysteriously cut off right at call center closing time, so I couldn’t call back. Now, I’ve worked at a call center before and calls do not suddenly get cut off at closing time; the center simply stops receiving new calls. I know it’s naïve to call a call center near closing time and expect excellent service, but show a little professionalism guys! I’ve been in the computer business a long, long time, and I think I could count on one hand the number of times Microsoft tech support has been of more use to me than a bag full of dead snails.

Anyways, my Xbox Live Gamertag is “TopherPerson” if anyone out there wants to befriend me. I don’t have a lot of games yet, but Megs is enjoying Viva Piñata.

Viva Pinata

Viva Pinata