Saturday, December 29, 2007

Random Thoughts

It takes a really long time to copy 250 GB.

Bacon, fried eggs and perfectly toasted whole grained bread slathered in butter has to be the best breakfast ever made. Maybe add some biscuits and gravy.

When men live in the house, one should not store books on the floor next to the toilet.

Legos are friggin awesome! Yesterday my son and I completed building the Lego King's Castle. I'm amazed at the detail they have. Friggin awesome.

Civilization IV by Sid Meier has to be the most complex game ever made and I am totally addicted to it right now. Maybe the Age of Empires III Asian Dynasties expansion will break the spell. We'll find out if my 250GB ever gets copied.

I should probably read more books. My wife has been reading classics like I've been gaming and she's starting to get smarter than me.

Non-coffee people should not give coffee as a gift. It's not like I have a superdiscerning pallet that can detect all 137 variation in the coffee gene. But I can taste... at all. You know, the four basic flavor. Well they should aknowledge a new flavor: suck. That would be the main ingredient of this raspberry flavored and hazelnut flavored coffee we got for Christmas from well intentioned n00bs. There are two little pouches of these beans inside the same bag and it made me gag when I sniffed it. Can't wait to try that...

One of my coworkers brews Maxwell house about 3 feet away from me. It smells like he's cooking Worchestershire sauce. I usually have to go talk a walk for about five minutes for the stink to clear out.

Well now, that 250 GB is almost done. Soon I'll be rebuilding my main PC and scrapping the 64 bit Windows XP. There was really no point to that and it was constantly frustrating. I'm not going to Vista as I haven't heard anything good about it yet. Once it's rebuilt, I'll have a full 750GB of space for all that... uhm, media... that I'm storing. I'll probly update the BIOS and give CrossFire another shot since I've still got a second card sitting here. Last time it made my box bluescreen! Thanks HP, for putting four PCIe slots on this board and NOT supporting CrossFire, even though the OS, chipset, board and video card all do. How the crap did they mess that one up???

Friday, December 28, 2007


The wonderful Blackberry (aka "Crackberry") device is a product of the Canadian company Research In Motion, or RIM. RIM touts an open source development environment leverage the Java Development Environment (JDE). A year and a half ago, my company had a need for some field inspectors to be able to use barcode scanners to pull and post data in real time. I found these bluetooth barcode scanners online that also have an API (application programming interface) for the Blackberry so all the pieces fell in place. We got the scanners and the API and I got the JDE and SDK (software development kit) set up and I reworked the sample project so that it the Blackberry would receive the data from the scanner and then post it to a an ASP web site which would return the related work order in a web page for the inspector to complete. It was a great solution and very stable, once we got it out the door.

Fast forward to last summer. The Blackberry's start to get errors from the barcode readers. One by one they fell, like children growing up in the shadow of a petroleum plant. By summers end, the whole app was shutdown with a mysterious hardware error. After much proctrastination, I was forced to call the vendor to ask, "WTF????" It turns out, the vendor hired a third party developer to create device drivers who built in an expiration date. Things fell through (go figure) between these companies and our vendor now had a new set of drivers. How nice of them to just wait for things to blow up. I suppose a little proactive customer service wouldn've been asking too much.

So now I've got new drivers and a new sample project to recode to fit our needs. A peculiar things about RIM is that, even though they support open source, they won't let just anyone hit their core system files. To do this, you have to be a registered developer with them and purchase the appropriate registration keys. This costs about $100. After reloading the JDE, SDK and API, I got the sample project reworked fairly quickly and the code signed. All ready for redeployment right?

The users took their sweet time getting their devices to us and somehow, wonderfully and magically, the project got corrupt. The next step was to produce and application loader file (ALX) to actually conduct the install. This is the Blackberry/JDE equivalent of a MicroSoft .MSI package. Well now the damn project won't build. It can't load the RIM runtime. So I created a new project from scratch and it loads the runtime just fine. So I imported all the code and attempted to sign this project and one of the code keys failed due to a proxy error. Mutha f'n proxy... well I kept tweaking it to try and get it to sign. Apparently, you only get five shots at this and it all shuts down.

So now I've got to create a call with RIM to find out why their crappy open source crap environment isn't working and to get my freaking keys back. All because of an idiot vendor and a conniving coder. This has really put a cramp on my work-day game playing. Ooh the rage! My Blackberry came razor close to a high velocity impact with the wall.

Monday, December 24, 2007

My crazy little girl

It's Christmas Eve and the kids are all just settling in for the night. We'll open the gifts in the morning so they get to go to bed with butterflies in their tummys and excited anticipation. In the morning my wife and I will pretend like we're asleep and we can't wake up in a ruse to see how bad the kids want to get their gifts. It will be a great time for us! ;-)

While the kids were putting up their clutter from the great room, I picked up a mini notebook to figure out who it belongs to. I could tell by the penmanship and horrible, horrible spelling it belongs to my youngest daughter, who is six. But I was amazed at the little poem she wrote:

Poor little bird.
Poor little bird.
He is laying in the street.
How can I help him eat?
He is laying in the street.

Where did she learn to write any poetry?! She is already able to express her emotions much better than I and possibly experience them as well. But she's still goofy. On her way to bed she was singing to herself "...tis the season to be germs." She is a total mystery to me.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A child shall lead them...

The situation at City Hall is becoming ever more reminiscient of the 2000 presidential elections. Once again, the courts will decide our fate.

The Mayor had until today to either sign or veto the illegal ordinance passed by the Council last week. On advice from the City's law department, he opted to do neither. So now the ordinance is in effect. But on Tuesday, the mayor pro tem (aka- vice mayor) councilman Skaggs filed a suit against the City in Jackson County court for violating the City charter and State constitution. The City Attorney had already written an opinion that sided with the Mayor's interpretation of the charter so he is sort of defacto disqualified from representing the City. Instead. two private lawyers will duke it out in front of a County judge to decide if Funk is right or wrong. There are enough liberal judges at the local level that I really don't have confidence this will go right. A loss here would probably require an appeal at the state level and I doubt there is the political will to press the issue that far.

"Oligarchy is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society" (thx Wiki!) If the county validates the Council then that is what we have. The Charter becomes a suggestion and the will of the people and rule of law is subverted. The interests of the highly vocal and racists minority will become the law. According to some commenters on the Star, someone is even trying to get Jesse Jackson in KC this Feb (assumably in time for black history month). The NAACP was the first group to threaten a lawsuit against the mayor and the most vocal civic "leaders" were all black pastors from the City. Yet this is somehow not about race.

"Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." -Lord Acton

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Something stinks at City Hall...

If you've been following local politics in KC (and as bad as the Cheifs were again this year, who hasn't!) then you may know the this week the Mayor announced he would rid us of the ever-corrupt, self important, law ignoring fat head from Denver. But the City council had other plans and now the gloves are off. Apparently so is the Council abiding by the charter. The KC Star merely hints at the illegality by soft pedalling the undisputable fact the Council can not do what they did. Ugh... what hope is there for this City? Only Christ can save it!

Since I found out all of the latest news at about 4PM yesterday, I spent the entire evening fuming in anger. I couldn't concentrate on anything around me- I had to take action! So about midnight I whipped up this little note and emailed it to the Mayor and the 6th District, law-breaking council members that I voted for...

Mr. Mayor-
I would like to thank you for taking the stand you have and sticking to your guns. When my wife and I voted for you, we were voting for change. My personal hopes were specifically that those changes would include removing Cauthen and hiring a competent and law-abiding professional who viewed themselves as a true servant. Those traits are all counter to what we have now and I thank you for taking action to make a change! I hope also that those changes would include close scrutiny of Council members to make sure that the numerous rumors of corruption are not true and to prosecute the ones that are true.
To my council members- shame on you! If the City charter states that only the Mayor can propose a contract for the position of City Manager then the council has broken the law and you have been a party to it. We voted for both of you because we felt you would truly take action to make improvements to the south-land after we have suffered from the incompetence of Brooks and Eddy (and them botching the Bass Pro deal) but we also expected that this would be according to the law and by good decision making. Making improvements by any means necessary is not the right way and they will not be blessed, they will not last. Improvements made by sacrificing the future will not do any real good and future generations will only curse you heaping up piles of debt (as Cauthen has already done) and being otherwise fiscally irresponsible. Government leaders who break the law in the exercise of government are no more than petty despots.
This is truly ridiculous. This is not student council- it’s grown up time, so act like it. This City cannot begin healing ( without following it’s own law. If the governors do not follow the laws set by the people, why should the people follow those governors? How do you explain this hypocrisy to urban youth when trying to encourage them to stay in school and otherwise follow the law? If you are not familiar with our charter, here is the section relevant for this topic:
Part I: Charter of the City of Kansas City, Missouri: Article II: Division 2: Part 3: City Manager: Sec 218- City Manager
(b) Appointment. The Mayor and Council shall jointly conduct a search or recruitment for a City Manager upon terms agreed upon by the Mayor and Council. Upon completion of this process the Mayor shall be responsible for submitting a resolution to the Council for the appointment of a City Manager. If an appointment is not approved, the Mayor may submit another person for consideration, or may ask that a search or recruitment process begin anew.
That seems pretty simple to me. It is the Mayor’s job to submit this resolution, not Ed Ford’s or yours. It is your job to follow the law. Whether you support Cauthen or not, you should have publicly and sharply rebuked Mr. Ford for his contempt of the people.
I am so incensed by this violation that I am also contacting my state Representative and Senators. I do not know who the City is answerable to but I want to find out and make sure that someone is watching over all this. I will also be sending my opinion to as many citizens as I know and encouraging them to contact you.
Mr. Mayor- You have my support. If there is anything I can do as a citizen to support you in this please let me know!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thanks, jackoffs...

Apparently 'everyone' is doing it and now, so am I. I am delving into the world of shallow relationships built on algorithms and cultivated by short lists of things I may have in common with others. Why? Because, my friends are, of course! As more and more people in my circle of real friends blog, the more their communication depends on what so-and-so posted the other day and to not know that leaves one with a feeling of awkwardness and isolation. To my real friends I say, "Thanks, jackoffs..." So it is that I begin an endless stream of vain diatribes and condescescion for I am... The Angry Coder!