Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Christmas 2020

Thursday, December 31st, 2020 No comments

Christmas was last Friday. It was another day in quarantine with not much happening.

I worked half a day. I streamed Overwatch for a few hours after work. I had Chinese takeout and watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max. The food was good, but the movie wasn’t nearly as good as the first one.

Hoping for better times next year. And snow.

What did I get for Christmas and my birthday this year.
  • a map of Portland neighborhoods poster
  • lots of fish food
  • fish cards and stickers
  • a bristlr worm trap
  • star wars card deck
  • an exercise ball
  • a pack of Reese’s trees
  • Star Trek: Picard Season 1
  • Overwatch Monopoly
  • Wakanda Forever board game
  • Star Trek Five-Year Mission board game
  • I treated myself to an Oculus Quest 2, an Xbox Series X, and a PlayStation 5, though the PS5 won’t be here for another couple of weeks.

    I’m at a point where I’m tired of hearing about how rough this year has been. Hopefully this will be one of the last times I mention it. Everyone can go into the new year with a new outlook and attitude

    There were many positives this year: finally getting a new job, making health a priority, getting to see Xander again, getting into a streaming habit, taking part in all the virtual events with PDX Gaymers, helping elect a new president elected, getting new gadgets, spending so much time with the dogs, and so on.

    As soon as the pandemic hit, I decided I wasn’t going to stress over that list of goals I set last year. It’s okay if I wasn’t productive as I wanted to be. I did meet a few of them I think. I’m not going to bother setting any for next year. Hopefully before the end of the year we’ll be able to start having game nights or going to happy hours again.

    Time will tell.

    Unfortunately, I had to work today and I’m working a half day tomorrow. Tonight, I finished a book to meet my book goal for the year. Now I plan to play video games, watch TV, and chat with friends while enjoying the most expensive bottle of wine I’ve ever bought.

    As always, have a great year and take care of each other!

    Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Swan Song

    Wednesday, August 19th, 2020 No comments

    A week ago today, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired it’s final episode after 7 seasons. I didn’t get to watch it until the next day. I wanted to watch the 2-hour final live, but I couldn’t get a signal on my antennae.

    I remember being excited when AoS was first announced and I excitedly watched the pilot and first season. I’m sure a lot of people gave up on it after that, but it got so much better after that season. Although sometimes I wish they had more tie-ins to the movies, I admit that it was probably a better show when they ignored the movies.

    After the first few seasons, I was usually way behind on the show, but AoS was still one of my favorite shows while it was on. I got behind twice during the final season, but got caught up in time for the finale. I realized while watching the finale that it made me emotional more often than any other show I’ve watched in recent years. I like that there were stakes. I was nervous watching because people did die. Yes, it’s a comic book show, so some came back, but not all. There was a core cast that was there from beginning to end, but the cast did have a few changes over the years.

    The final season was fun with all the time travel. They got a chance to play around in different parts of the past. It led to some funny moments, but there was also a chance for social commentary. The finale had some great moments. I can’t think of anything I would complain about. I won’t spoil it, but I’m still thinking about that final scene a lot 6 days later. I’m going to miss this show. I hope we get to see more of these characters in the future.


    Mid Monday Morning Musing

    Monday, March 14th, 2016 2 comments

    I love social media and I spend a lot of time blabbering on and on using social media each day. For some reason when people aren’t engaging with your posts by liking, commenting, replying, sharing, etc, it’s easy to feel like no one is reading them. It’s almost like you’re shouting into the void or just talking to yourself.

    Every once in a while I’ll run into someone in person or chat with someone and they’ll make a comment about something I wrote on Facebook. I sometimes get a little self-conscious, but only for a second. I did put it out there knowing there’s a chance someone would read it.

    Just recently things I’ve said on Facebook have let to party invitations, a subtle offer for sex, and an actual date. Some old friends that I’ve talked to or chatted with have asked me about Oregon. So, yeah, people are reading.

    Maybe there needs to be a button to say “I read this but I don’t have anything to say about this right now.” Or maybe they should tell you how many times it’s been read. I’ll just have to try not to feel like no one is paying attention just because they’re not liking my posts.

    Reasons Why I’m a Shitty Programmer

    Monday, April 28th, 2014 No comments

    I’ve noticed behaviors and opinions in other programmers that I’ve gone to school with, worked it, or come across in other various ways. These behaviors make me feel like I’m a shitty programmer.  I’ve listed a few.

    • I’m not in love with the command line. I started out on the command line, but I love my graphical interfaces. I’m more comfortable in Windows than Linux. Even in Linux, I look for graphical tools. I hate typing out a command to do something that 2 clicks will handle just as well. I heard someone smugly say recently, “We don’t use file explorers in Linux”. I do. People complain about bugs in Windows, but Linux seems far more unstable to me.
    • I am not in love with vi. On Solaris systems, I tended to use emacs, but on Linux I started using gedit. When it comes to development, I prefer an IDE. I know that IDEs have a lot of features you don’t need, but the ones that I like make it worth it.
    • I don’t like to talk about programming ALL THE TIME. At my first job in this industry, my co-workers had a rule that we didn’t talk about work away from the office. In the years since, I’ve tried to adhere to that rule. I’m the kind of person that needs a break. Some of the co-workers I’ve had since then have made it difficult, talking about work or programming in general throughout lunch, while walking to and from meetings, in the car on the way to some place, etc. Just let my mind have a break.
    • I don’t like to participate in random arguments/discussions. I don’t want to argue about which language is better, which framework is better, etc. If it’s related to a specific task, that’s good, but otherwise what’s the point?
    • I’m not app crazy. I’m not constantly looking for new apps to do what I can already do pretty well.
    • I don’t do a lot of development outside of work. I have ideas for projects that I want to work on in my free time, but I never get around to them because I would rather watch TV or read a book. I can only spend so much time hunched over a computer in a week.
    • I have an iPhone. It seems like the majority of programmers love Android phones. I thought about getting an Android phone earlier this year. I even went to the Verizon store to get one. In the end, I kept my iPhone. I have an Android tablet and I love it, but I like Apple devices more. That’s probably because I’m more used to it.
    • I don’t speak on every subject like I’m an expert. If I don’t know a lot about something, I’ll tell you I don’t know much about it.
    • I don’t like to “read the docs”. I can see some smug, smart ass jerk on stack overflow telling someone to read the docs, maybe even posting a link. Some people don’t learn well that way and I’m one of them. Some documentation is terrible, but I have a hard time focusing on the good documentation long enough to get anything useful out of it. A short explanation and even an example will do much more for me than the docs.

    I know I’m not a shitty programmer. I always get great employee evaluations and I’ve been employed for all except 6 weeks since I got my first real job after grad school 8 years ago. I know that many in my profession and other professions feel like others know way more than them. Sometimes I wonder if people think less of me because of the reasons I listed above. It’s probably all in my head.

    I’m a Podcaster Now

    Sunday, January 19th, 2014 No comments

    I have been listening to podcasts for years, but now I have become a podcaster myself.  I’ve been a guests on podcasts before.  I’ve thought about doing my own for years.  I even had a podcast about The Legend of the Seeker set up in iTunes a few years ago, but never did it because I couldn’t find a cohost.  Now I’ve finally motivated myself enough to do it.  Beginning this month, I’ll be on two introcasts (introductory podcasts).

    One is called Intro to  Brisco.  It’s a podcast about The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.  My cohost Caitlin and I are new to the series.  I’ve been meaning to watch this show for a while.  I bought the DVDs about 3 or 4 years ago, but never got around to them.  Now I have a chance.  I’ve heard good things about it. Matt and Mel are veterans of the show.  We just spend 3 hours recording our first episode.  The pilot episode of Brisco was 2 hours and we had lots of feedback.

    The other one is called Downbelow: A Babylon 5 IntroCast.  As you can probably tell, it’s a podcast about Babylon 5, which is one of my favorite TV shows ever.  Cohost Ian is also a veteran and Elisabeth and Heidi are newbies.  I’m so excited to introduce people to this show.  We’ve released 2 episodes already.  The pilot movie was 2 hours and it took a long time to cover it.

    I’m having fun so far doing these podcasts.  It’s a lot of work.  I hope people understand that I’m new and it will take a little while for everyone to become comfortable.  I’m learning a lot.  I got some new equipment this past week and learning how to properly use it has been a slightly frustrating experience.  I’m also learning audio editing using Audacity.  Give these shows a try if they sound interested.  Constructive criticism is appreciated.

    I Got a Mac

    Sunday, March 31st, 2013 No comments

    I got my first Mac a few weeks ago – a Mac mini. I got it mostly to learn iOS and Mac OS development and so I could use some of the Mac-only tools. I chose a mini over a laptop because it’s relatively inexpensive.

    Mac mini

    I can see why people tout Macs so much. Every device I’ve tried to use with it just works with no hassle. The only problem is that the image on my Samsung monitor doesn’t look so great, which seems to be a common problem. After getting a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter and adjusting some of the settings on the monitor, the picture now looks good. I’d probably get a great image if I spent $1000 on one of those Thunderbolt displays, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

    I like the Mac OS look and feel. It is taking me a while to get used to the differences between it and Windows. I am looking forward to using GarageBand and some of the other Mac apps. One that I’ve been using is Delicious Library. I’ve wanted to catalog my entire media collection for a while and I couldn’t find anything that I liked for Windows that did books, movies, music, and video games in one app. I’ve been going through the painful process of scanning everything and posting it here. I’ll keep updating as I add more. There are only 2 boxes of books and a box of CDs left.

    I played around a little with iOS development last night. It seems like it’s so simple. I used one the Xcode templates to get a simple OpenGL app running in seconds. I really want to check out of lot of the built in features.

    I’m glad that I finally joined the Mac world. I may end up taking the mini to work just so I have more time to use it.

    Techie 2012

    Saturday, December 29th, 2012 No comments

    I had a lot of fun with new tech in 2012.

    In March I got a 3rd generation iPad. It was my first iPad. My boss, another co-worker, and I went to Best Buy and got in line the day they went on sale. It was kind of an impulse buy because I had decided to get an iPad 2 since the price was going to go down. I love my iPad! I hardly go a day without using it. It’s one of those things that you don’t think you need, but once you have one you can’t live without it. I think everyone should get one of these. As it turns out, I don’t mind reading on this as much as I thought I would. I never use that Kindle that I bought last year anymore.

    A few months later I bought a Nexus 7 because I wanted to learn Android programming and have a real device to test on. I do like how open Android is, but I still prefer iOS, probably just because I’ve had so much more experience with it. Sometimes I still don’t know what to expect when I press a button. It wasn’t until last week that I got a chance to start learning Android programming.

    On another sort of impulse I decided to go to the Verizon store on the day the iPhone 5 went on sale. I was fed up with AT&T’s service and decided to make the switch. And I had the urge to get a new phone and it would be another year before I was eligible for an upgrade with AT&T. I am very pleased with this phone except for the fact that I needed new charging cables.

    I pre-ordered a Wii U the day I heard that pre-orders were being taken. I love the gamepad and I love the Mario game that I got. My biggest problem is how slow everything is. I didn’t mind the long update before I could even play it that much because it gave me time to read the manuals. But you have to wait so long for anything to load. I really do need to spend more time using it, though. Maybe I’ll get more used to it.

    I won an iPad mini at my company’s Christmas party, which I have written about previously. I’m really digging this little thing and I had no interest in it before. It’s so light and it’s just the right size. My only problem is that it doesn’t have a retina display. The text is very small in the Kindle app, so I have to read on my big iPad.

    I wonder what I’ll get to play with next year. New consoles?

    iPhone 4s

    Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 No comments

    iPhone 4s

    My first Kindle came in the mail today and it made me realize that I haven’t even mentioned here that I got a new iPhone. Yes, it’s a 4S. I had a 3GS, so this is a big difference from what I had.

    I’ve had my new phone for just over a month and I’m really digging it. The retina display, the great quality pictures, and a bunch of new iOS features/apps are all making me a happy consumer. My favorite thing to do is to use Siri to set reminders or write texts or tweets. Asking her funny questions was fun at first, but it got old after a while. I think Siri alone has made it a worthwhile upgrade. So far I haven’t seen anyone looking at me like I’m crazy for talking to my phone.

    The new phone itch that I had for a while was scratched. How would I get by without my phone?

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    Tech Frustrations

    Monday, July 18th, 2011 No comments

    Technology is great, except for when it’s not.

    One day I came to work and I couldn’t sign into my PC. I went and got one of the user support people. He logged in as an administrator and determined that something had turned off the services on my machine. He, of course, thought that it was a virus. I’m not sure though. I’m pretty careful, but I do sometimes click on links that people post on Twitter without thinking. He turned on the services that he thought needed to be on and ran a bunch of scans, which turned up nothing. I couldn’t get any work done that day, but at the end I got my PC back. It has really been the same since. I wish I could get a new PC.

    The weekend before this past weekend, DirecTV came to install a 2nd receiver. This one went in the bedroom. From what I understand, the DirecTV installers are usually people that work at third-party companies that DirecTV hires to do the work. The installer got there at the beginning of the 4-hour range they gave me. He did all the wiring and connected the receiver in a decent amount of time. However, he couldn’t activate the receiver because DirecTV’s systems were down. He didn’t know how long the wait would be. He said that his supervisor (I’m assuming the one at whatever company he works for) wouldn’t allow him to leave a receiver that wasn’t activated. He would have to take the receiver and reschedule for another day, which would be 2 weeks later. Of course, I was angry because I had already waited 2 weeks for him to come in the first place. He called DirecTV to reschedule and they said he couldn’t reschedule for that reason. After sitting on my couch for a couple hours, he finally got approval to leave the receiver with me. He told me to call in later to activate it myself. He finally left after about 3.5 hours. I finally have satellite in my room. It’s great to have another option for TV viewing. Sometimes I get tired of sitting on my old couch. Also, I can sit in bed and watch Golden Girls reruns.

    It’s a good thing I got the new receiver in the bed room because my big living room TV is dying. On Friday when I turned on the TV the screen was flickering rapidly. I could hear a clicking noise every time it flickered. I’ve only had this TV for 3.5 years, so I was mad that it was malfunctioning. It’s a cheap Vizio, so I shouldn’t be surprised. It was my first HDTV, and at the time I couldn’t afford to get anything more expensive. After talking to Vizio and the company Vizio uses for repairs, we determined what the problem was and that it would be better to buy a new TV than fix this one. When I bought this TV, I also bought an extended warranty. I remember that I didn’t want to, but my roommate at the time convinced me to do so. Well, all of my warranty coverage expired on January 31, 2011, which was less than 6 months ago. If it had done this before January 31, I could have gotten it repaired or replaced for free. Oh well. I’m getting a new TV. It definitely won’t be a Vizio. I’ve already picked out a Samsung that I like. I’ve had great luck with Samsung products in the past and they’re not as expensive as Sony products. I’m going to wait until after my vacation this week to order so it won’t be left outside my door and stolen while I’m gone. Sometimes the Vizio will come on and not flicker, but when it does flicker I can go watch TV in the bedroom.

    These are first world problems if anything.