the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Good, Bad, and a Little Funny

Good: Got first big chunk of big project delivered on time and more or less working as desired. Business folks are generally happy with what our team produced in the limited time available.

Bad: Had to miss the holiday party at German class in order to get there, so no Sekt and no beer for me.

Good: It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! We have the tree up and decorated, presents wrapped, and I cashed in some iTunes credit to pick up the new Twisted Sister Christmas CD (so deliciously, horribly addictive, it transcends awfulness, leapfrogs novelty, and lands, perhaps a bit teeteringly, just within the realm of totally kick-ass). Here's what I've basically been doing since then: \m/ >_< \m/

Bad: Thanks to global warming (or a giant cloud of liberal claptrap, take your pick), it sure doesn't look like Christmas... It's December in Cleveland; should we be having temperatures close to 60 degrees? I'm not the biggest fan of snow--especially when I have to deal with idiots who don't know how to drive in it--but do we really only get one week of winter this year?

Good: The Lost Room. Check it out in reruns or the inevitable DVD if you missed it.

Bad: The Lost Room left the door wide open (yes, a deliberately awful pun, deal with it) to become a full-fledged series. I'm not sure I have time to be obsessed over another long-form serial.

Good: New firmware for my router, maybe it'll solve my streaming audio throughput issues!

Bad: New router firmware makes streaming audio around the house even worse. My (admittedly venerable) SliMP3 now chokes after 9 seconds instead of 37. Bah, humbug!

Good: My tire was repairable, and still under warranty to boot, which means it was free! Yay!

Funny: I got a job offer from a headhunter today, very excited that I had Python experience. Turns out he's trying to place me into the company where I already work. (Woops!) After quite nearly LMAO, I shot back a polite rejection. I wonder what my boss would say if a headhunter slipped her my resumé...

Speaking of my resumé... where exactly should I list being named Time's Person of the Year?

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PyCon: Day 2.5

Having (finally) had some success with Twisted and Jabber, I am taking a moment to celebrate with a bottle of Harp. The NerdBooks.com party was pretty cool, though mellow. They have an insane selection of books -- everything from animation to signal processing. As it turns out, they have insanely great prices on things too, and I only now realized that books purchased on premises would ring up at their online prices rather than their cover prices. Argh!! On the plus side, they also seem to have surprisingly reasonable shipping rates too, so maybe I'll pick up a few things as early birthday presents for myself. They put out a nice spread of food, and the extremely hot pepperjack cheese has enabled me to breathe freely once again.

Beyond that, it's been a nice evening of chilling in the hotel lobby, taking advantage of the comfy chairs, interesting company, and the conference's free wireless. Met a nice chap from Slovenia; chatted with Kevin Dangoor for a bit; tinkered with code; shot the proverbial breeze with fellow Clevelanders David Stanek and Ian Maurer.

02-25-06_2148.jpg 02-25-06_2213.jpg

Overheard in the lobby: "Is it a convention of Laptop People or something?"

My most quotable utterance of the evening: "We need something like WSGI, but for management." (You kind of had to be there.)

Yep.... Good times. Definitely good times.

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January Link-o-Rama Redux

Some part of today managed to melt what's left of my brain, so I settled for skimming rather than chiseling away at my reading, and that has degenerated into a need to close browser tabs and assault you all with another installment of...

LINNcircle k(idd valley)One Letter / ORAmA

My cool flickr-based link du jour is Spell with flickr, which lets you spell words using letter images found on flickr, just like what you see here. Nifty!

Some geek reading: Joel Spolsky on "Great Design" and Michal Zalewski on "Cross-Site Cooking" (potentially dangerous shortcomings of how cookies have been implemented by pretty much every browser).

While we're on blogs, who would have ever thought Chewbacca needed his own blog? I guess you could consider it a scathing satire of "the blogosphere" (a term I really loathe), asserting that any random bloggish drivel is about the same as Chewy grunting and growling unintelligibly (and you probably wouldn't be too wrong). It's really, really daft, but it makes me giggle. What a Wookiee!

Artie attempts to scan your iTunes library, find tracks that are missing album art, and fetch covers from Amazon for you to review and drop into iTunes if they are what you're looking for. As my iTunes library--currently closing in on the 45 GB mark--continues to grow, this seems like an utterly brilliant solution that will save me much time, hassle, and pain... Too bad it doesn't seem to like my increasingly ungainly iTunes Library.xml file. Mostly it seems to time out trying to upload or process the data. Your mileage may vary--let me know if you have success!

Which leads me to the obligatory Mac geek section... I have a new favorite browser: Shiira, a nifty treat from Japan that so far seems lighter and faster than Safari and Firefox, and which sports some wicked visuals (I particularly enjoy the page forward/back that peels the webpage away like a piece of paper). I also ran across a pretty good list of must-have Mac software.

Some amusement for the gamers among us: a library of video game endings for those of us (like me) who were too lame to ever finish most of their games, and, when you have eleven minutes to kill, perhaps this short film will help you conquer your "Fear of Girls". (I'm glad to say I overcame that a long, long time ago!)

Finally, something to get us all ready for lovey-dovey season: SVU Valentine cards. Gosh. Um. Yeah. That's not creepy or anything.

Next time, I promise some real content, even if it's lame, or pictures of the cats doing stupid things.

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January Link-o-Rama

Now that I've gotten caught up on my huge backlog of email, it's time to close some tabs and share some links, because it's more fun than doing anything productive. Submitted for your approval:

Chunk Norris Facts will teach you all sorts of interesting things about Chuck Norris; for example, "the chief export of Chuck Norris is pain." Not to be missed.

Learn all about sushi with the Sushi Eating HOWTO. (Kind of self-explanatory.)

Can't get enough "Firefly?" I certainly can't. Check out Escape Key's "Mal's Song", an expanded version of the "Firefly" theme. It's a bit filkier than my tastes usually run, but I've gotten it stuck in my head anyway. Plus, if you didn't fill your belly with sushi (see above), you probably have room for a tasty Fruity Oaty Bar!

When you're done watching the Fruity Oaty Bar video (and putting the MP3 on a loop for a few hours; don't be embarrassed, it's perfectly normal), some of you might be amused by IBM's Linux cartoons. While I was entertained, my inner shareholder wonders how much they paid for those.

Transformer di Roboter present "Stranger in Moscow", a musical gem that uses the Macintosh startup chord as its bassline. No, seriously!

Retrievr lets you search Flickr by sketching. It's wickedly mind-blowing!

I hooked up my new keyboard (a Christmas present) today to see how effective I'd be at typing without any labels on any of the keys. It turns out, with the exception of well-formed (aka tricky) passwords, I'm quite good with it. I also really like how different regions of the keyboard have different resistance to touch, so your hands get a good feel for what keys are what as they are being struck. The only thing that kind of pisses me off is that the Scroll Lock and Caps Lock lights don't seem to light at all (the Caps Lock would probably be helpful, don't you think?), and the Num Lock light seems to be flaking out--typing causes this LED to flash and sometimes go completely dark. I guess I wouldn't particularly miss these if they went away, but they are kind of annoying and really detract from the overall quality of the keyboard. Alas, I think my search for a new "perfect keyboard" must press any key to continue... (Time to find someone who makes a USB equivalent of the old Apple Saratoga keyboard.)

Finally, Minifesto is a cute tool for making animated icons out of your favorite snippet of text, suitable for generating excellent customized LiveJournal icons.

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Barbarians and Trigger-Happy Pluralizers

Posted above the urinal in the men's room here at work is a sign which reads:

Please refrain from putting coins in the urinals

Now, I'm not sure which bothers me more -- that people are putting coins in the urinal, or that the sign's creator thinks there is more than one urinal.

Maybe I should just worry about being too pedantic for my own good?

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Lord of the Rings: Comeback Edition

I think that Gary Coleman should star as Bilbo Baggins in a made-for-TV adaptation of The Hobbit. But with such a massive star on board, the project needs a newer, more up-to-date title, yet at the same time something that harkens back to our nostalgiac memories of yesteryear, something like:

"Whatchoo Tolkien 'Bout, Gandalf??"

Thank you. That is all.

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