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Posts Tagged ‘real-life’

If Ping, Then Bling

June 19th, 2011 No comments

There’s something soothing about a visual heartbeat.

So I was chilling at the Starbucks near me this morning. In fact, I still am right now. It’s pretty sweet that they offer free wifi, but it tends to be laggy and unreliable due to having gobs of leeches like me suckiing it up. I’m often in the middle of waiting for a web page to reload or an ssh session to do something, and I wonder to myself “frick, am I even still connected?”. So I wrote a little script to help keep me from having to think much (my favorite kind of scripts).

I basically wanted a script that would make something blink on my laptop for a moment on each successful return of an ICMP echo request (ping). Sort of a visual heartbeat. While ping is a terrible measure of whether your layer 3 path will support TCP, without a layer 3 path you will get no ping. So it’s good enough. I decided to use the “standby” light, since it wouldn’t be doing a whole lot while the laptop was actually running. Capslock, numlock, etc. It can be any light as long as it typically holds one state or the other. I’m posting a version of the script here that’s much simpler and uses the ThinkPad’s “ThinkLight” as the bling source. I think it’s easier to take away from this script exactly what’s going on and how to modify it to your liking.

I’m actually fairly happy to have been annoyed just enough by the connection at Starbucks to get motivated to write this. As a network engineer I’m constantly on the road trying to connect to this or that, or what I’m doing depends on constant connectivity to thus or thus. Not having to check a bunch of terminal windows for heartbeats will be great.

#!/bin/bash
# pingbling.sh - If ping, then bling.

# Typically you've got to be root to mess with changing sysfs/proc values
if [ "$(id -u)" != "0" ]; then
   echo "This script must be run as root"
   exit 1
fi

# Script spits out tons of crap if there are no args.  saving sanity.
if [ -z $1 ] ; then
  echo "Please supply an IP address or hostname to ping"
  exit 1
fi

while true ;
do
  # we're already seeing the bling from the ping, we don't need stdout too.
  # dialing in a longish return time since this is a "are we still connected" test
  # and not a "how fast is my connection" test.
  ping -c1 -W3 $1 > /dev/null
  if [ $? -eq 0 ] ; then
    state_before=$(head -1 /proc/acpi/ibm/light | awk '{ print $2 }')
    echo "on" > /proc/acpi/ibm/light
    sleep 0.2
    echo "off" > /proc/acpi/ibm/light
    echo $state_before > /proc/acpi/ibm/light
    sleep 0.8
  fi
done

exit 0
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

Snow: not threatening enough

February 11th, 2011 No comments

We’ve had a more interesting winter than usual here in New England this year. Average snowfall in Boston is around 40 inches per year, and we’ve had nearly 70 this year (as of January) spread across 10 or so snowfalls. So I’ve had some time to watch how people react to snow (whether I like it or not). I’ve noticed something this winter about the driving habits of the unwashed public. I’m sure its always been this way but for whatever reason I haven’t really noticed till now. It’s going to sound obvious, but it’s a newish perspective for me.

I’ve noticed a trend that drivers could care less about how much snow there is on the roads. Don’t get me wrong… the smallest amount of snow in the air turns most people into either terrified retards barely capable of breathing, or into trailblazing juggernauts of fury who drive where they want when they want (ATTN: Every SUV driver – this is not you: clicky). What I mean is that the decision of whether or not to stay home from work due to snowy conditions seems to have nothing to do with how much snow there is outside. It has only to do with how much hype the storm received before it hit. You’d think the sequence would go something like “get up, look outside, become terrified of conditions (or not), call into work (or not)”. But no. If a storm was heralded as a Ragnarok-like event scheduled to end all life, everyone stays home regardless of actual conditions. “The news said it was gonna suck, so it’s ok if I call in”. If the storm was predicted to fizzle out but ends up dumping 6-10 inches on us by morning, people look outside and say “Ha ha holy fuck, that is a TON of snow… fuck me, this commute is gonna suck”. Every time the news predicted the second coming of Snow Christ, my commute was great. Terrible road conditions, but no drivers around to cause trouble. Any time we got a crap-ton of snow we didn’t expect, nobody seemed to pay attention to the tundra outside. Refer to the following scientific analytic analysis chart:

As you can see, so long as a huge deal has been made about the storm during the week prior, an inch or so is all it takes to keep mere mortals cowering indoors. But without this hype, the number only gradually goes up, mostly due to people actually being physically incapable of getting their cars out of their driveways. This “Fusion of Conditioning and Timing Arising in Responsibility Degradation” (or the “FUCTARD effect”) makes even lesser storms complete hell to drive in if nobody makes a buzz about it. I blame the internet. No, really. Everyone’s so used to information being shoved in their faces that they really can’t recognize a poor condition outside their own doors unless their iPhone or Weatherbug or Weatherbug on their iPhone tells them “hey bro, you better watch out lol!”

Floating around on the internet is a rant about the naming of hurricanes:

“Who the fuck is the one naming hurricanes? They somehow manage to give them the least threatening names ever. If I turned on the news and heard that Hurricane Erin was coming I’d think to myself, “Erin? I could take that slut.” If I turned on the news and heard that Hurricane Dicksmasher was approaching, I’d grab all the money in the house, shove it in my pockets, and get the fuck out of there.”

Every time I’ve seen it it’s looked like copypasta, so I can’t credit the original author. But I’d like to see snowstorms get this treatment. I know if it was Snowstorm “Assured Fatality”, Blizzard “Blood Orgy”, or “Icefest the Great Deductible Nightmare”, I would really assess the situation before getting on the road.

To Women: Men, Colors, and You

January 7th, 2011 1 comment

Men and women have both known for a long time that the two sexes see colors differently. Women often wonder why men just say “blue” when we see things like the sky, the ocean, Facebook, every Ford Focus, and so on. And men wonder why women have silly colors like azure, cobalt, sapphire, iris, teal, midnight, ultramarine, and so on. I thought I would take a few minutes to explain an aspect of why we men are the way we are.

It’s going to start by sounding a little technical, but stay with me.  The part of the male brain that processes color has been reallocated over the course of male evolution towards things we consider more worthy of our thoughts. Breasts, tanks, barbecue, jet fighters, video games, breasts, beer, etc. Very little is left over for things like color, and we’ve been left what amounts to a 4-bit palette. Basically just a few brain cells in series that either fire or don’t fire when when information from the eyes goes through them. This all results in a visible range of about 16 colors. This world looks much like a 1990s video game to men. Note that early game programmers were mostly men, which is why early video games looked this way. That’s enough tech speak for now, check out the table below:

16-color male palette
0 black 8 gray
1 blue 9 light blue
2 green 10 light green
3 ugly blue 11 pretty blue
4 red 12 other red
5 purple 13 pink
6 brown 14 yellow
7 light gray 15 white

As you can see, we men do in fact recognize four shades of blue: Blue, light blue, ugly blue, and pretty blue. We just don’t use two of them very often. We don’t use “ugly blue” much because it’s ugly and we don’t like it. We don’t often use “pretty blue” because you tend to hit us we use it in a sentence beginning with “Honey I wish your eyes were a …”, and besides it just sounds funny when men say it. Some of the color names have changed over time. “Other red” used to be known simply as “bricks” (or “bacon” in some regions), and in these more civil times what was known as “gay purple” is now called “pink”.  Brown used to be “beer”, but it was discovered that things other than beer were this color so a more general term was needed.  I should note that ugly blue and pretty blue have recently been renamed “cyan” and “light cyan” because men wanted to prove we could come up with silly names for colors too, but these names are seldom heard in actual conversation.

So next time you want to badger us men for not knowing “burnt umber” from “other red” or “fuchsia” from “pink”, please keep in mind we’re not savages.  When we blankly stare at color swatches at Home Depo, or can’t find anything else to point out during your favorite interior design show (that we lovingly sit through) except the ambiguous nature of some of the contestants, we’re not trying your patience.  Our brains are just wired a little different.  Besides, “The White Mountains” has a better ring to it than “The Isabelline Mountains”. Renaming traffic colors from red, yellow, and green to carmine, aureolin, and chartreuse would just make driving students cry. And the last time they tried to change “Brown Bear” to “Chocolate Bear”, the resulting misunderstandings were unfortunate.

Puppy Fever

September 6th, 2010 No comments

So we got a puppy. A year ago or so when we moved into dorchester we had originally been looking for a dog friendly place since wed both been wanting one. We settled on the place we took because it was too nice to pass up. But they didn’t allow dogs. Sad face :(. We had it set as a primary action item for our next place at it would be dog friendly. A few weeks ago we moved into Jefferson Hills in Framingham (many thanks to jess and especially Jay for helping out). Not only is it 4 miles from my work, but there’re dog friendly up to 45 lbs. Jay getting an awesome little black lab puppy sure didn’t help let us get settled before the puppy fever set in. Last week we picked up an awesome Cocker Spaniel / Collie mix at Save a Dog shelter in Sudbury MA. We named him Dexter, after Dexter Morgan. you know… Because he’s adorable and sometimes causes a ruckus. He’s estimated to. Be no bigger than 40 lbs, and the shelter we got him at was great. He’s very well behaved and potty trained like a little champ. But I’ll stop typing now and show off the money shots.

Behold, Dexter. How in the world did this little guy end up at a shelter??

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Getting men to help

August 12th, 2010 No comments

Last night I had to go to the store to get rum. The rum was gone. I posted about it on facebook. It was a problem. I announced my intention to my loving fiancee, who promptly asked me “honey, could you get me tampons?” in the most adorable “I know you won’t want to do this, but I know you will if I’m cute enough about it” face. It’s cool. I’m a man, I’m secure in my manliness. She starts to describe what it is she needs me to get. I tell her to just get me the box. She brings out the box and continues her description. I just rip off the top and put it in my pocket. She seemed surprised at my concise resourcefulness. These matters are not to be trifled with.

Ladies, ladies, ladies… If you translate things like this into a framework men can understand, and make a joke out of it, we’ll be much more likely to help out. For this case, think of an ordered system men are familiar with, and get as close to that system as you can. Below is a table of simple translations for you, and a few sound clips. Sounding right is important, you want to lock in as many senses as possible.

The tampon chart, for men:

What you need: In man-speak: Pronounce as:
Light absorbency FIRST BLOOD! click here
Regular absorbency DOMINATING! click here
Super absorbency RAMPAGE! click here
Super Plus absorbency GODLIKE! click here
Ultra absorbency UNSTOPPABLE! click here

Try it out. Teach your man the scale and next time you’re running low, tell your man you need box of RAMPAGE! or two. Just make sure he doesn’t end up flagging a customer service monkey. That could get awkward.

No Force Required

June 30th, 2010 No comments

So this company Wicked Lasers recently came out with a new toy. When I look at it, I think to myself “I should never own anything like this” and “I have to have one” at the same time. Previously, high powered laser “pointers” would go for pretty ridiculous amounts. Usually the high hundreds to over a thousand dollars. The reason this device is surprising is not only that it is ridiculously powerful (1 watt is massive for a diode laser), but it’s only $200 because they were able to get the diodes for very on their end. The other laser they show in the beginning of the video is $2000, for example (and ~400 mW). Ok enough blabbing. I’m really only posting this because I wanted to show the video. Love the transition from the little laser’s “oh look you can kind of see the beam even without smoke!” to the big one’s “… Holy shit”

Original source: Gizmodo

A Challenger Appears: Creepy Segway Guy

June 25th, 2010 4 comments

So there’s this guy at our place with a Segway. You know, the dorky pogo stick with wheels that middle age yuppies and mall cops think are really cool. Well, this guy thinks it’s real cool. And he’s fucking creepy about it. I first heard about CSG one saturday morning when Emily came into the apartment after doing something or other downstairs. She said “did you know there was a guy with a Segway that lives here?” to which I of course said no. I mean, who really owns those things in real life? Turns out, that guy does.

Not only did she run into this random dude with a Segway, he was in the elevator. Standing in the back corner of the elevator car. On his Segway. Staring at the doorway when it opened. I’ve never run into him in that capacity, but I have seen him come out the back door of our apartment tower to take the trash out to the dumpster, buzzing along on his merry way. This struck me as odd since it isn’t exactly a long haul to the dumpster. I used my trusty jet pack to get a good view to illustrate:

(clicky for larger image)

I mean, a minute or so out in the harsh wide open. Maybe he’s a vampire, and he’s afraid he’ll either burn up if he’s outside for too long… or blind some people with his sparkly skin (depending on your flavor of vampire). The really creepy part is that he was just throwing away small bags, and we have trash chutes on each floor that they could have easily fit in. Maybe he didn’t want the facilities guy going through his trash in the morning? Sounding more and more like this guy is ditching body parts.

Today it got even more weird… I saw this random creepy white van when I was driving into the parking lot. It’s never been here before. It looked like someone was moving or something, because the back was open and there was what I thought was a dolly on the back. Nope, it was a Segway. Just like the trash incidents, it’s only a couple dozen paces from the door. And although he’s not exactly in underwear model shape, he’s not so massive and slovenly that he needs a machine to get around. So there CSG was, washing down the outside of his totally not sketchy windowless white van. Cleaning blood, no doubt. Dismembering bodies is messy business.

Although I risked life and limb to get this next picture, I figured the internet deserved more than one lousy shot. So stealthy as I could I got another. It’s not immediately obvious from the thumbnail, but he is no in fact riding the Segway naked. Although I’m guessing that’s in the near future. He’s just wearing skin colored clothes. I guess it could be clothes made of skin, I was kind of far away…

This Just In: Texas Still Batshit Crazy

June 22nd, 2010 No comments

On the subject of the the following article,

Full Text (via Huffington Post)

I often think I could have been a lawyer or a politician. I think a lot of this generations bright and well meaning potential politicians have been scared off by how much BS and red tape there is in the way of “doing good” in office. And they ended up engineers like me. I think if there wasn’t an ez-mode vote-for-your-party bipartisan system, people would be forced to investigate issues more before voting. It would be inconvenient, but in my opinion people aren’t entitled to an easy voting process. If hard issues come up, you should have to think about them before putting your hand in.

Criminalizing gay marriage, and laws prohibiting it in general, are wrong. I can’t find any argument not religious or at least reasonably tangentially/implicitly religious (EG, “that’s the way we’ve always done it”) that holds any water in this area. I’m not into dudes, but I don’t see why that should be the next dude’s problem if he is. In fact it’s nice to know that option is there, because that tells me my peers are good free thinking people, not squirming under the thumb of fear or authority. I’m tired of seeing words like “abomination” and “unnatural” trying to keep people from the lifestyle they want to pursue.

In fact, I’ve gone to the trouble of re-hosting PDF copies of The Constitution and The Bill of Rights for your convenience. A quick search shows zero results for the words God and Christian. But go on and see for yourself.

The Constitution
The Bill of Rights

Separation of church and state is out there. From what I gather, there are political parties that refute that. But they’re wrong. It’s on the books. In a number of places. Each instance and incarnation of it being put as a reaffirmation of the facts that we were not founded on any religion, that the political powers in this country have no place making decisions on peoples’ religion, and that political powers in this country have no place using religion (popular or not) to make laws. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc all converge towards the idea of freedom of thought… so long as expressing those freedoms doesn’t violate anyone else’s rights. So long as such freedoms don’t interfere the next guy’s set of those freedoms. I don’t see how two consenting adults of the same sex doing what they want in the freedom of their own homes* encroaches on anyone else. Or even how such a couple getting married encroaches on anyone’s rights. No matter how much you want it, and I have no idea why you would want such a thing, you are NOT entitled to the company of purely heterosexual peers. You’re just not. Like it, hate it, it’s your right to harbor any opinion you want. But you don’t get to inflict it on someone else’s desire to live a lifestyle.

Now forget, if you’d like, everything I’ve said here. Just using that pair of links above, reconcile the following proposals for the Republican platform in Texas.
(Keep in mind, I make no claims for or against Republicans or Democrats in general. As I’ve said before, I think the bipartisan system is stupid. I merely put in “Republican” as a qualifier of the source)

* “We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases.”

* “Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have beenordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.”

* “Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.”

My point should be obvious and I think any more flavor text would just serve to bore. So I’ll finish up here. If those above points in the Texas GOP platform doesn’t horrify you, it really should. By all means, feel free to holler at me if you find some huge holes in my what I’ve said here. I always welcome opposing opinions.

EDIT – Before punching submit on this article I decided to go to The Texas GOP’s website. The place reads like it was written by a bunch of ignorant vindictive 16 year olds.

Yes, that’s for really reals. Adults wrote that, for other adults to think about and vote on. On a site for a potentially authoritative political party.

Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to vote democrat, or that republican is bad. Again, see the first paragraph of this post. I’m simply commenting on this platform for this party in this state.

*FOOTNOTE: When I wrote this, I meant “in the privacy of their own homes” as a meta statement meaning “in their own lives”. But as was pointed out to me, this implies a few things I did not intend. Taken from Asinine in this thread:

“My one gripe with what you’ve said is the mention of “in their own homes.” I think the “in their own homes” qualifier (your next sentence notwithstanding) really needs to go the way of the dodo bird when talking about gay rights for two reasons: 1) it implicitly, no matter how inadvertently, reduces a gay “relationship” to simply sex. Think about it for a second. When we say, “do what you want behind closed doors”, isn’t that the “between the lines” implication? And 2) why should it be a dirty secret?”

Which is a very valid point, and a very good caution about using popularized statements. I leave my initial post unedited as a good example of how these things can be misconstrued, and why things should be stated carefully and specifically.

Snow. Snow never changes.

December 9th, 2009 No comments

I posted the following entry in my LJ blog back in 2004 (before it was the haven of emo ranting that it’s become). Normally I don’t like to recycle material, but this may become an annual post since it never seems to become any less true. I love snow… but like many things in life, it’s ruined by other people.

——————–

Snow. Snow is funny stuff.

Snow appears harmless enough when blanketing the scenery in peaceful whiteness. Its very nature is almost “kind”. Light… fluffy… delicate. BUT… Something darker lurks beneath the surface. The docile exterior of ice belies an ethereal core of absolute stupidity.

The snowflake is a complex object. The crystal husk is merely a carrier vessel for a small portal to another sort of supersymmetrical dimension. The true quintessence of snow lies in this ethereal form. The particles from this dimension exist partially in our realm and partially in the supersymmetrical realm. The component of these particles that exists in our dimension is very small. These “fingers” into our “heavy space”, known as an LSSP (lightest super-stupid particle) is what snowflakes seed upon.

The mechanism by which snow “works” upon humans is even more interesting. Snow would normally float about in the upper atmosphere since snow clearly floats. Throw a snowball into water and you’ll see what I mean. But this superdimensional seed of stupidity adds just enough mass for the snowflakes to fall slowly and gently to the ground. Upon reaching the ground, the LSSP is released from the snow, and rises to the upper atmosphere to seed another flake. While in these states, snow is harmless. It could even fall on your head and it wouldn’t matter… there’s simply not enough force to drive the LSSP into your head. After alighting on your head, it floats back into the atmosphere like normal. However, a curious thing happens when snow is hit by a car. The crystal is hit with such force that the payload of stupidity is ripped from the core of the snowflake, and travels through the windshield of the car, leaving its icy prison behind. The LSSP is driven into the driver’s brain, where it is pulled the rest of the way into our dimension. It expands to its full size and darkles the driver’s mind, impeding neural activity and impairing the subject’s higher functions.

Normally, one such incursion into the human brain has little effect (especially in the state of Massachusetts, where the drivers give the LSSP very little to impair on in the first place)… but during a snowstorm, the drivers are pelted with countless vessels of crystalline stupidity. They are reduced to a near inanimate state (except in Massachusetts, where they become only slightly less intelligent than normal).


Originally published at The IggBlog. You can comment here or there.

Who do voodoo

November 15th, 2009 4 comments

The voodoo section of the supermarket creeps me the fuck out. I’m nit even talking about Agatha’s Creepy Corner Market, I’m talking Stop and Shop. This is the part of the meat section with all the crazy random animal parts that one would have an easier time finding an application for in black magic than in food preparation. A sampling of what was there today next to my beloved bacon: pig tails, split pig feet, beef marrow chunks, chicken feet, cow tongue (yes, really), pig spinal cord (nerves, not bones), etc. I guess one could argue that stuff like this is perfectly fine if you’re brewing up a stock or something… but I think my stock can do without chicken feet and pig tails, I’ll add a dash more chipotle powder to mask the delicate missing flavors. Besides, I don’t want to go snapping up all the ingredients for someone’s love potion or effigy dolls and have them use yucky chicken breast or filet mignon instead. No pics for this post, you’re welcome.


Originally published at The IggBlog. You can comment here or there.