Friday, May 30, 2008

Blessings In Disguise

Getting kicked off the metro yesterday, which made me walk home from Capital South and call my grandparents. That is truly a blessing in disguise. It was beautiful out yesterday. And the Harris Teeter in my neighborhood actually OPENED. It has been 'coming soon' for quite literally three years. Yesterday was a good day.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

Quick everyone! Boycott Dunkin Donuts!

Yes that's right, Michelle Malkin says here that Dunkin Donuts is trying to endorse jihad by dressing obvious terrorist Rachel Ray in a scarf while she endorses ice coffee...why didn't the CIA catch this???

Idiots. If I were making an idiot list, it would be like this

1) Michelle Malkin
2) Dunkin Donuts for scrapping the campaign and not releasing a statement like "Shut the FU@# UP."

My faith in the world wanes with every passing second.


So I am pretty sure this just happened, as I walked out of the Post Office, past the retarded Larouche supporter (more on this later), and began to cross Wilson Blvd:

An obviously crazy person riding an orange kids BMX bikes stops, looks at me and says

"That's right - you better cross the street, or else I'm-a knock you out like hypnosis"

Then he continued down the hill. I know it's passe to catch a giggle at those less fortunate, but damned if that wasn't a hilarious sight/quote.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why openSUSE is no longer installed on my Server

Pretend for a moment that your lungs could install and uninstall organs in your body. We are in agreement that you need your lungs to breathe. Do you think if you were building a body, that would you include lungs that knew how to uninstall themselves? Leaving you with no real viable method of reinstalling said lungs?

That's a decent analogy for what happened to me when trying to update software on openSUSE last night. Yast, the crappy package manager for openSUSE, had some squabble about dependencies, and apparently it decided to uninstall yast to resolve them. Hmmm, now I can not install anything without wading through dependency hell with rpm.

Goodbye, openSUSE.

Hello Ubuntu! Again!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

McCain Has This One In The Bag

If he keeps making bold and sweeping predictions like this:

McCain predicts Iraq War over by 2013

Yes that's right folks, we are going to win this war and it's only going to take five more years!

This article is hilarious. The list of accomplishments that McCain lists as his goals read quite like a Miss America pageant speech:

Other milestones McCain hopes to see at the end of what would be his first term are:

  • Witnessing Russia and China cooperating in "pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, and North Korea to discontinue its own."
  • Significantly increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, which will be "better equipped and trained to defend us."
  • The application of "stiff diplomatic and economic pressure" by the United States -- acting in concert with a newly formed League of Democracies -- to cause Sudan to agree to a multinational peacekeeping force, with NATO countries providing logistical and air support, to stop the genocide in Darfur.
  • Several years of robust economic growth.
  • Taxpayers filing under a flat tax.
  • The world food crisis ending, low inflation, and a "much improved" quality of life "not only in our country, but in some of the most impoverished countries around the world."
  • More accessible health care for Americans and an easing of pressure on Medicare because of lower health care costs.
  • A United States well on its way to "independence from foreign sources of oil."
  • A Social Security system that is solvent, does not reduce benefits for those nearing retirement and includes individual retirement accounts
  • The confirmation of "scores of judges" to the federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • A secure southern border for the United States after "tremendous improvements to border security infrastructure and increases in the border patrol, and vigorous prosecution of companies that employ illegal aliens."
  • Perhaps he can get us some world peace while he's at it! Awesome. What I really enjoy is how these candidates talk about HOW we are going to fix the health care system and social security! Come on guys, at least pretend to have a real plan. Geez.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    When Your Government Fails You


    Seriously. Why? Weren't the steroid hearings a big enough waste of time/tax dollars?

    Dear Manny Acta,

    I used to think that you would be a sufficient replacement for Frank Robinson. You said the right things, baseball people held you in high regard, and your players seemed to play hard for you. After a rough start, the team really played some good ball last year, and I was feeling pretty hopeful coming into the season. After 40 games, I am not so sure I have any reason to be excited about you anymore. You seem to have forgotten how to manage. Your handling of pitchers is atrocious.

    I can remember a time last Saturday when poor Mike O'Connor couldn't get the ball over the plate to save his life. Jena and I looked out in the bullpen, expecting to see someone warming up. After all - the game was certainly not out of reach! We were wrong. Nothing. As O'Connor alternated between giving up line drives and walks, finally Joel Hanrahan got up. After about 3 minutes, on a 2-0 count, with the bases loaded, you put Hanrahan in, obviously not all the way warmed up. That was terrible, and he proved that you had made a bad move by tossing a wild pitch, finishing the walk, then giving up a grand slam before settling down.

    Now Jena and I thought you had learned your lesson. We were so wrong. Just this week, in a game against the Mets, with the team clinging to a lead, you put in Ayala, who looked good in his first inning of work. You were so encouraged that you left him out there, which seemed okay, but maybe you should have had someone ready in the pen, just in case he faltered? Especially after the debacle last weekend? You didn't, and Ayala fell apart like one-inning guys are wont to do in their second inning of work. But guess what! Without anyone to replace him, you had to leave him out there. Bad. Bad. Bad.

    I would also like to ask you while I am writing - why is Kearns trotted out there every day to hit 5th or 6th, where he is in a perfect position to kill rallies with strikeouts and double play balls? He's hitting .200, and not the Nick Johnson kind of .200, where he walks all the time and makes plays on the bases. No, the .200, where you stink. And where you continuously make fielding blunders that render your 'awesome arm' useless.

    There are other things I like to discuss, like why you tried to bring Cordero back, despite a sore arm that left his velocity around 82 mph, at all. I'd especially wonder why you did it on a night where the temperatures were in the 40s. Do you hate Chad Cordero's arm? I also wonder about your decision to keep Lastings Milledge in the 5th slot despite his inability to hit with brains or power.

    Maybe sometime we can discuss all this. If your crappy managing keeps up, you will likely have a lot of newfound free time.
    Someone who is suffering through equally sad starts by his Nationals and Tigers in the same year even though he did nothing to deserve it except to be a loyal fan.


    So I would just like to pen another ode to technology. I have these moments when my faith in society ebbs to the point where it collides with my admiration and sometimes-astonishment at the amount of technological progress in our world. Think about hosting a website from your house.

    1) have a computer (figuring out how to build these was no small feat)
    2) plug that computer into the power grid (also incredible - in our country we have virtually endless sources of electricity running to everyone's house - think about it next time you plug in)
    3) plug that computer into a flat screen monitor (remember CRTs??)
    4) plugin in your wireless mouse and keyboard (yeah, no wires)
    5) Plug into a router that can broadcast your signal wirelessly, or via a wire
    6) Plug that into your router that translates signals coming in from your cable wire (yeah the one that also brings in TV)

    So you did those 6 simple things that took way longer to type than to actually do.

    Now you are on the internet (no shortage of amazing there), and ready to figure out how to host a website. This is the part about society. The internet allows all these people who have done what you are trying to do (pretty much everytime you do something, someone else has tried it, unless your last name is Newton, Da Vinci, or Einstein), to write about their experience. So I figured out that I needed a static IP address, which was no problem, once I got rid of Verizon. OK, now I punch in "host website at home" into google (another pretty awesome thing that people take for granted). I got a few thousand results. I decided to check the first one that came back:

    I notice that the instructions include a router that is very similar to mine. So I follow said instructions to point the router to my server on the ports that I want. So far so good. Now it should work fine, but wait! I need a web server. That's going to be a pain in the ass, right? Nope, all I have to do is download apache and build it and install it (following 5 simple steps - note - this is way more complicated because I am running Linux). OK, now I start the server.

    It all works. I can go to my new site. It just works. With another couple of steps, I can make an arbitrary string (the domain name) point to my computer.

    This all took about 45 minutes. Incredible. Sorry if everyone out there doesn't share my enthusiasm for all this. I think when you work in the technology world, you are interfacing with these technologies all the time, and you begin to take for granted that they will just work (which is a very good thing, means they DO work), but sometimes you have to stop and think about all the amazing problems that man has encountered and defeated. Anything can be done!

    Hi Ubuntu!

    So anyone who follows this rambling mess of a blog would know that I got a new laptop a few months ago then got a MacBook Pro for work. So now, I am in this sort of computer heaven, as I have the old laptop serving as a desktop replacement upstairs, a little Dell Server now running my hosted site, and my two fast little dual core laptops. When I installed linux on my server, it was kind of a pain in the ass getting everything up and running correctly, and I was never able to make wireless work on it (just tried for kicks, really). Getting the monitor to display correctly was brutally painful, etc. It shook my faith in the potential for linux as an eventual 'real' desktop OS alternative.

    Fast forward 1.5 years to last night. I freed up some disk space on my new laptop and downloaded Ubuntu's latest release, 'Hardy Heron'. I created an installer CD from the image that I downloaded, and ran the installer. It took about 15-20 minutes. Once it was done, lo and behold, the computer started up, found my wireless router, and I was up and running. Sound card worked. Everything worked. It's FAST. So now I have OS X, Vista, and Linux running on laptops. Sweet.

    I must say I am pretty amazed by the ease of install, and I really like the way packages are handled on the Ubuntu OS. Wow. Most impressed. Anyone who wants their computer to run faster should run and install Ubuntu right now. Seriously. It's great so far!

    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Struts 2 Error Handling...How do I put it?

    You could start with...


    There have been two things I have found now that are bizarre. Allow me to describe:

    1) Let's say that you have a jsp mapped in your struts.xml, and it has an incorrect path somehow. Sure this is your fault, but what would you expect to happen:

    A) An error on startup saying that the jsp can't be found?
    B) An error when the action tries to forward to the nonexistent jsp?
    C) A blank screen (even if the bad jsp call is inside a functioning jsp call by way of s:action?

    Now, one would think that A or B would be good, normal ways for an error of this kind to be handled. You web application won't start if you have an invalid action class mapping, so why should it be different for a bad jsp mapping? But, even if we allow startup, (hey, maybe you will put the jsp in there later), shouldn't we throw some sort of error if we forward to a page that doesn't exist?

    No, the answer is, C. A blank screen. No messages in the error logs. Awesome.

    2) When you have properties on your form that don't map correctly to the variables or setters on your action class, should the framework:

    A) Tell you that the action class call failed because the properties couldn't be mapped to an instance variable?
    B) Be even more specific and catalog the properties that failed?
    C) Tell you:

    No result defined for action com.awesometown.SweetAction and result input - action - file: xxx
    And fail without giving you any clue about what happened!

    If you answered C, you'd be correct! Odd, but true, you should get an error message that tells you that your property can't map to the action class. What makes this particular situation even stranger is that when you have s:checkbox params that don't map to variables on the action, it warns you. So odd. Ah well. Other than that, Struts 2 is great and I think it's still a big improvement over Struts 1, even if you spend a bit of time banging your head on the wall. At least when you are done, you don't have to code an ActionForm.

    Wednesday, May 7, 2008

    Kirk 1, Verizon 0 (or maybe the other way around)

    Well, the great verizon debacle finally came to an end yesterday after three more tries and denials. I got through to an incredibly unpleasant woman who told me that it would be $80 a month for DSL + one static IP. That seemed steep, especially considering I had just gotten off the phone with a pleasant fellow from RCN (on the first try no less) who had informed me that through RCN I could get Broadband for $20 and a static IP for $20. When asked what made Verizon's IP address twice as good as RCN's, the lady said "That's just what it costs. If you don't want it you don't have to get it." While I admire her honesty, one would think that they would want my money. Apparently not the case. I have to say that I don't look forward to the rigmarole that will be canceling Verizon DSL, but I will be happy to give them less money each month. And, I won't have to pay some incompetent hosting company for a sliver of a crappy server.

    For the record, finding a decent hosting setup is incredibly painful. To get a decent heap on a server, you have to pay more than $80/month. How many servers can you buy for that over time?? And if you do the shared hosting options, it costs $20/mo and you get 96-160MB of dedicated heap. That's a pittance. Ridiculous. There has to be a better way. At any rate, hopefully configuring things on my server with a static IP address won't be a gigantic nightmare!

    Tuesday, May 6, 2008

    "We're sorry. The lines are full."

    So I tried to get Java hosting for my little startup that I am working on. I found out that they didn't support JDK5. Wow. That was only released like 4 years ago. Anyway, they didn't remedy the problem in a timely fashion (I can install Java 5 on a server in about 10 min), so I canceled. I want to get business DSL and a static IP address at home. It's about the same price as my current account, and I can write most of it off. So, I have to call Verizon right? Except 5 times now (3 last night and 2 this morning), I have gotten this message that says they are too busy to help me. And not just to let me know that I should wait on the line. No - their automated person hangs up on me! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? I am willing to wait! I would like to wait patiently on speakerphone until someone has the time to help me. But NO. I have to keep on calling. Kudos Verizon. I am going to try RCN now to see if they have human beings who won't hang up on me. I hate the internets sometimes. Scratch that, just Verizon's control of the internets' wires near my house.

    Monday, May 5, 2008

    Yippee! Awesome!

    Got my new bike today. Trek 7.2 FX.
    I love it. It's about what I wanted to spend, and it's much lighter/nimbler than my Marin was. Cool. I got a better lock too, so the crackheads can't deny me the pleasure of biking on a sunny day. In other news...Tigers suck, the Nats are better than the Pirates, the big release of Sportsvite nears, the weekend was beautiful, we are thisclose to booking our villa in Tuscany, and everything is generally good. It was nice to spend a weekend here. I even got to grill, which makes me happier. More later on some technical topics.