Archive for the ‘Site’ Category.

Random Update

I’m in an ADD kind of mood, so here’s a matching entry.

Site
I got sick of moderating comment spam so I upgraded to WordPress 1.5 yesterday and chose a new theme. The latter part was way more difficult than it should have been; since getting this 20″ Dell 2005FPW widescreen LCD last month, most webpages are now huge portions of whitespace (i.e. a couple of centered, fixed width columns perfect for an 800×600 resolution, then huge columns of whitespace on either side). Out of the 50 or so available themes I could find, maybe 5 of them are actually variable width, automatically adjusting to the size of the browser window. Out of those 5, only one of them didn’t look like ass.

Work
We gave our first full-time offer to a female developer last week. We’re now also taking bets on which of us will be the first to be sent to sensitivity training.

Car
I swear my car and I must be cursed or something:

  • Last weekend Bonnie and I were changing the tires on my car back to the all-seasons. Apparently one of the rear ones picked up a screw sometime last year, and I didn’t notice when swapping to the winter tires last November. Just like last time, it’s in a place that’s unrepairable. What are the chances, really?
  • A star-shaped, stone chip crack in my windshield also appeared all of a sudden. Apparently some insurance companies will completely waive the deductable on the ~$50 repair because it’s so much cheaper than the replacement option. Not my insurance company. Sigh.
  • My brakes have started squealing, though it’s a very high-pitched squeal. The next scheduled maintenance isn’t for another 6,000KMs or so, but I guess I should take it in anyway.
  • Apparently the natural resonant frequency for my front bumper matches that of my engine when it idles around 750RPM. Needless to say, there’s a lot of vibration once the car has warmed up and I’m waiting at a stop light. It’s apparently a known issue, complete with a technical service bulletin. I guess I’ll get that fixed along with the brakes.

Money Stuff

  • The University of Waterloo is expected to open a downtown Kitchener health sciences campus, consisting primarily of a School of Pharmacy in September 2007. It will be located at King and Victoria, which is coincidentally just down the street from where we’re living right now. Go one stop light south of the proposed campus and you’ll find the abandoned Kaufman Footwear factory, which is being converted into The Kaufman Lofts. Why is this of interest? Check out the expected demographic for the Pharmacy undergrads at the new school. 85% expected from outside of the Region of Waterloo, 75% female, 90% single, 65% over the age of 23. This is practically a landlord’s wet dream: 1) Mostly out of towners that require housing. 2) Single, meaning they are more likely to rent rather than plant roots and purchase housing in the area. 3) Long term leases (the duration of their undergrad program – 4 years?). 4) Females in their mid-to-late-20’s are not likely to seriously trash the place.
  • Since the beginning of March, stock markets have lost roughly 10% of their value. This has the nice effect of weeding people out such that prices drop low enough that they just give up and sell their positions at a huge loss because they think everything is going straight to zero. In the industry they call this “capitulation”, and it is also the best time to buy. People who are not usually wrong are predicting that this will happen in the next week or two, after a further non-trivial drop. Hopefully you’ve “kept some powder dry” to take advantage.
  • My sister bought me subscriptions to RealMoney and Minyanville as belated Christmas presents. The people that write for these sites tend to be more correct than the general media because there is no conflict of interest (you pay the subscription fee to read what they’re really thinking, rather than what someone has paid them to say). The value is not so much any specific recommendations that they make, but rather skimming through the articles to get a general feel for their sentiments at any given time. Hey, if you don’t have the time to do the work yourself, why not stand on the shoulders of giants? :)

Continue reading ‘Random Update’ »

I’m moving to Texas!

Well no, not me exactly, just this server. I’ve been running it off my Rogers cable connection since around 1997ish, on a series of low-class Pentium machines put together from spare parts. The connection’s actually been surprisingly fast and reliable, especially since I yelled at them a couple years ago until they finally swapped out my LanCity[1] for a DOCSIS.

Thing is, when it goes down, it usually stays down for a good half day before I can contact someone at home to reset the modem. That downtime’s pretty painful. Yes, I know, I’m pathetic, but I just hate it when things don’t work the way they should.

Plus, it’s every geek’s wet dream to have their own box hosted in a kickass datacenter, complete with diesel generators, banks of UPSes as far as the eye can see, VESDA fire supression, raised floors, constant 20 degree celsius air conditioning, and fat, fat GigE pipes to the Internet. I wouldn’t mind having armed guards behind bulletproof glass as well, but alas, I can’t afford the rent at Q9. Maybe if I didn’t have to eat.

After literally months of research (remember, I don’t make large purchases lightly), I’ve started renting a dedicated server at Server Matrix in Dallas. For a measly US$79/month, I get a Celeron 2.4, 1GB RAM, 80GB drive, and 1TB of data transfer per month.

So you’ll have to excuse me if I’m light on the blog updates, between crunch time at work and my new toy, there isn’t much left. Some random tidbits:

  • Saw American Splendor last weekend. Wasn’t really impressed. Haven’t read the guy’s comics, but the way everything was portrayed in the movie, he didn’t really seem deserving of all the recognition. With the exception of his cancer, his pain and anguish seemed to be self-imposed or a consequence of his own laziness. I hate people like that.
  • Took advantage of a pre-order pricing mistake at Amazon.ca for Angel: Season 3, and got the box set for a measley CDN$38. Threw in a copy of High Fidelity to push the order high enough to get free shipping. Now there’s a decent movie — then again, I’m a sucker for John Cusack in these roles (Grosse Point Blank being another).
  • Watched the extra features on Tim’s Lost in Translation DVD[2]. Sofia Coppola always looks like she’s scowling — no wonder she never made it as an actress.
  • We bought a portable humidifier because the winters are so dry in Kitchener/Waterloo. The thing needs refilling every 8 hours though, and if you let it run dry the owner’s manual warns of famine, war, despair, and other generally bad things. I’ve forgotten to refill it in the morning on at least 4 separate occasions to date. Maintaining this thing’s annoying, I imagine it rivals the kind of concerted effort required to raise a child[3].

[1] Notice how it had the Rogers “Wave” logo on it – now that’s old school.

[2] Haven’t decided whether I’ll buy it yet: 1) When you get right down to it, the movie just looks pretty and has a few gems of dialog. Perhaps not worth $27; and 2) Hube’s theory is that they’ll release a special Academy Award edition of the DVD with more bonus features (since this one seems a little bit skimpy). Guess I’ll wait and see if they do that.

[3] Contrary to what it may seem, I’m not a child hater. I like children, I do the whole diaper thing, have no problems playing with them, and I don’t get mad if I’m drooled on. It’s just a lot of work, and the last thing I need now is more of that.

First Post!

I haven’t really had a webpage for years. I think it’s understandable considering my lack of HTML and CSS skill. Couple that with just about zero artistic talent[1] and a reluctance to use sites like Diaryland and Xanga, and well, you get something like my last iteration. A page that’s not terribly interesting to look at, an age or two between entries, and for some reason each one turns out incredibly smug and condescending.

What makes this time any different? Plenty of canned PHP blog packages, complete with communities that develop themes and templates. Plop one on a webserver, do some minimal CSS tweaks, and you’re off. Yes, yes, only about this[2] much better than Diaryland, but hey. Went with a package called WordPress, and modified a retro b2 theme. <shrug> Whatever that means.

But why the blog? Living and working in Kitchener/Waterloo[3] means I end up seeing friends maybe on average once a month. Even when I do see them, they pretty much just get the highlight reel since the last time I saw them. The dailies are lost, mostly because I forget them, but also because they’re never really interesting in retrospect a month later.

So here we go.

[1] I only took visual arts in grade 9 because I have even less musical talent.
[2] Place thumb and index finger together on the hand of your choice.
[3] Which was originally supposed to be a temporary arrangement, but is no longer looking that way with each passing day.