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Journal: Another good use for the Checkpoint Flyer and Super Ego

Journal by timothy

Earlier this month, I was at CES, looking at cool gadgets and shooting some video for Slashdot, and last week I did the same in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. Since shooting video is something I'm (let's be kind) inexperienced at, esp. with camera-attached doodads (mixer, shotgun mic, lav mic, tripod), this got a bit awkward at times.

I tried a few different bag configurations on the CES show floor. What I finally settled on was this: In my conventional-looking (but Li-Ion battery-equipped!) PowerBag backpack, I carried very little -- basically, my laptop, some food, and whatever paper goods I picked up in the course of the show, like brochures, etc. For almost everything else, I had my Checkpoint Flyer, sans removable laptop case.*

- Mic packs (one receiver, one transmitter), mics (lavalier, handheld, shotgun) and mixer (and a few associated cords) went into the larger outer pocket
- flexible tripod (a Gorillapod knockoff from Vivitar) stuck, with one leg out, in the flexible side pocket
- camera, well padded, in the central portion; I kept its hotshoe mic-mount attached.
- headphone case fit in the smaller of the outer pockets (one of my favorite uses for that pocket!)
- spare batteries, SD card in the flat inner pockets
- notepaper and such in the large (magazine) pocket; gum and pens in the smaller (boarding pass) one.
(This list is not exhaustive; I was carrying wallet and other small things not here accounted for.)

I realized toward the end that the extra attachment points (sorry, custom work -- thanks, Tom! You really should put them on every Flyer ... ) I have on the Checkpoint Flyer mean I could have attached some other things on the outside, in pouches, if I'd thought to bring pouches of the right size.

In Detroit, I did not carry around the backpack, and I switched from the Checkpoint Flyer to my Super Ego. The Super Ego is bigger, but I'm not sure it was actually any better as a video bag, because it lacks the nice top-zipping outer pockets on the Checkpoint Flyer, and it's not quite as easy to swing easily through a crowd. It still worked well for my purpose, though; I could put the camera away quickly in the central storage space when I wanted to have both hands free, and I stashed most cables and mics in the two outer pockets. (No room for the shotgun mic this way, though, so that went in with the camera itself.)

Upshot: Though neither is a specialized video bag (and I felt it at moments), both the Flyer and the Super Ego did a great job as impromptu production assistants ;)

* Why not carry the laptop there? Because I was carrying a laptop too big for the inner case I have. That's why. Why carry the laptop at all? Because I needed it as a middleman to transfer files from my camera to the guy who put them into a watchable form, from the show's press room.

User Journal

Journal: SWTOR

Journal by mfh

Anyone else enjoying SWTOR as much as I am?

Sith Inquisitor, Sorcerer Heals... the whole game is just amazingly fun.

And no pandas to be seen, at least in the immediate future.

User Journal

Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

Journal by CleverNickName

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

User Journal

Journal: Suggestion for users.pl 8

Journal by mfh
It would be nice to have the karma scores on each reply to your posts here, so that you can get a sense if replies are worth reading. Also it would be really nice to have a link to user.pl on the masthead.
United States

Journal: Open letter to Maryland governor Martin O'Malley

Journal by timothy

Governor Martin O'Malley
100 State Circle
Annapolis, Maryland
21401-1925

Dear Sir:

Now that both Arizona and Utah have named official state firearms (Colt Single Action, and John Browning's immortal 1911, respectively), I think it's time that the great state of Maryland upstage these upstart also-ran states -- more like territories, really -- by officializing an official firearm as well. After all, Maryland has what is truly the most martial of all state songs. Citizens of what other state are enjoined to "remember Howards warlike thrust," or "avenge the patriotic gore that flecked the streets of Baltimore"?

Further, as a born Marylander, I have a gun in mind that reflects well the government of Maryland's view of citizens' right to carry arms for their own self defense and in the defense of liberty. Please consider any of the options from this entire line of products.

Of course, in light of modern circumstances in the Old Line State, the actual gun chosen should be locked up and behind glass, rather than out endangering the children.

Cordially,

Timothy Lord

User Journal

Journal: Hello Again Slashdot 6

Journal by mfh

EDIT: I accidentally submitted this journal entry as a story because of all the changes in the Slashdot UI. I assumed that Slashcode would be more intuitive than this. The following is my latest journal entry, now that I've figured out where it goes.

Hello folks, just touching base with my Slashdot journal. It's been a long time since I've written anything here and I'd like to start by saying I've made a lot of changes in my life since then.

I quit World of Warcraft, fully stocked my kitchen with fresh veggies and healthy food, joined a gym, started working with a trainer and I'm fucking happier than I've ever been! :)

My job is going well, I'm getting ready to buy a new 4wd SUV and I'm happy with my life again, thanks to my family and IRL friends. Any suggestions on fuel efficient vehicles that fit this description are welcome.

I missed Slashdot quite a bit since I was last here and just to let you know I've been over at Reddit, but that's kinda fun and stuff although it's not the same as the nerdy goodness of this fucking awesome website.

I wanna wish all you guys health, wealth and happiness.

User Journal

Journal: MS "Malicious Software Removal" tools 3

Journal by shadowbearer

Still. Doesn't. Work.

  In the last two weeks, I've had one Windows 7 machine, two Vista machines, five MCE machines, and 10+ (see below*) XP Pro machines with the MS MSR installed which were hosed to the point where I had to struggle to get them to boot into the GUI so I could run conventional tools against them.

  * The windows bootloader would run, but no splash screen, blank or with a blinking cursor. Safe Mode only sometimes worked. For the XP/MCE machines, doing a repair from disk would at least get one a GUI long enough to run tools like combofix and fix it.

  Inspection of the copies of the registry hives of the above installs showed that all but two of the above machines had the MSR tool installed, and updated. That did not stop those systems from being invaded, and in at least one of the Vista instances, rootkitted.

  I have to conclude that the people here who think that Microsoft's MSR tool works are either astroturfers, or naive.

  I'm tired of this shit.

  Some people would say "Hey, it bring you $income"

  I would rather be doing hardware replacement and teaching people how to use computers.

  At least there, I can say that I did the work.

  Virus removal, when they get infected again, despite how I secure their system, despite how much they follow safe surfing, makes me look like a charlatan.

  I've been moving the most badly affected customers over to Ubuntu for about a year, and THEY don't call me so often. It just works.

  I've been doing this for more than two decades, and I'm tired of the consumer approach to software.

  FIx your shit, Microsoft. (Oh, and you can damned well support the XP variants better, since that is what a large majority of your customer base is still using.)

  Posted Angry as I've spent too much damned time this week doing the same damned thing I was last year... and the year before that... etc... ...

  This post may contain potentially incoherent ranting and/or opinions. Read it at your own risk. No lawyers were harmed during the production of this post; although it's my sincere wish that some of them would have been thru circumstances outside of my control.

    SB

 

User Journal

Journal: Hallowe'en: Gripes and plans 1

Journal by timothy

Gripes:
- Some municipalities set arbitrary trick-or-treating times that differ from dusk-and-later-evening of the 31st of October. That's stupid.
- Some kids don't even say "trick or treat!"

Plans (as candy giver, short of a full-fledged haunted attraction):
- Sound effects
- Kids should be (mildly) scared in exchange for the dispensing of candy
- The stench of sulfur (or at least smokebombs)
- Candy should be a surprise -- in a black fabric bag or something, maybe something that feels gross (but quite hygenic, etc)
- Strobe lights
- rocking chair with no one in it
- hissing air
- bubbling cauldron
- maniacal laughter in the background

One day I'd like to find my detailed notes from many years ago on this topic ...

User Journal

Journal: Dreams: Lucid one of 20100802

Journal by timothy

Dreamed I was in law school again, but it was more like business school (and not necessarily Temple, or Philadelphia), in that for one of my classes, there was a giant project made in cooperation with 3 or 4 others. One of them was Ryan L., a high-school classmate. In my dream, which took place near the end of a semester, but before the start of finals, I got an anxious call from Ryan, who had just put some finishing touches on our group's project. He was unsure whether it was truly ready, but the time to submit was upon us. I assured him that it was fine -- he and I had done most of the work on it, and his work in particular was very good.

Then, I went to class; I arrived later than I usually do, and so took a seat at the back. I hadn't brought my computer, but did have blank paper on which to take notes. The professor (who I think was just made up for the dream) announced that he wanted to use the class that day as a debate exercise, on the topic of so-called "smart guns." I remember thinking something like: "This is like having a detailed discussion about the number of angels on the head of a pin -- skipping over the more important question of whether there's any such thing to start with."

I immediately started writing down a few thoughts on my note paper, a list that read like:
- Doesn't exist
- Doesn't work
- Laws bind the law abiding
- hundreds of millions of plain old guns already
- 2d amdt

I noticed that in the back of the classroom (basically, right next to me), there was a giant plastic beachball, some sort of advertising tchotscke; I noticed that it was printed with the name of a local Volvo dealership, in particular. It was blue and white patterned, and 4 or 5 feet in diameter. I wanted to have a sharpie, in order to write down some arguments, and then just start tossing the ball forward.

User Journal

Journal: Dreams: Two (1.5?) lucid ones from 20100709

Journal by timothy

20100709-crazy-dreams

1) Dreamed that I posted an innocuous message of good cheer / hello to the facebook profile of A. Promptly received cease and desist / stay-away order from her lawyers, which arrived in the form of two email messages. Boggled me.

2) Seemingly separate dream, with that one above as backstory:

a) Broke out, "V for Vendetta" style, from an alleged mental hospital that was actually a prison for political prisoners, in which the prisoners (me among them) were kept sedate through drugs and intimidation. An elaborate plan of distraction, revenge, and escape gained me my freedom.

b) I was lying low in or near NYC, and by chance met up w/ A, and actually had a pleasant and nice conversation over coffee, did some up-catching for a while, was pleased to hear of her life's successes. I hoped to be on her good list, or at least off the bad list, definitely a higher priority (at least for that time) than my ongoing evasion of the human authority figures.

User Journal

Journal: 20100709-dreams

Journal by timothy

15-minute nap (no pillow, low carpet, hot)

1) Real-life anime style terrorist attacks in my dream; the sides were neatly uniformed in their colorful future clothing, and everyone knew who were the bad guys, who were the good guys. My view of the action was cinematic, changing in perspective and composition every few seconds. Commandos in (red? or purple) overwhelmed the terrorists (in red? or purple) who were just seconds from launching their attack. A short shooting battle; after seconds, a few bodies on the ground on both sides, the others involved either disappeared on in pursuit.

2) Followed by: on a fairly fast train, daytime, going somewhere between Portland and Vancouver, BC, (or, I thought, This might be London) with a view out the large windows onto what I somehow knew to be the area west of the train, from which I could see only the buildings nearest to the train's path. Beyond that, and creeping between the buildings, was a thick grey-white fog. I was in a small compartment of my own, cognizant of how dream-like it was, but within the dream thinking how it would make a good setting for a science-fiction story, and yet mentally wishing into existence various buildings and other features, which resolved themselves as I imagined them into being. Complex buildings with swooping extensions of polished metal, others with elaborate lights. The buildings I saw I knew were mostly commercial or industrial, but they were well-kept and appeared to have been designed with aesthetics in mind.

United States

Journal: Big Trip 2010: No. 8 2

Journal by timothy

(A multi-day omnibus)

3d July: Blake Family Reunion in New Market, TN. Guesstimate, 65 people in attendance, all descended from John Blake of South Carolina in some way, 6 or 7 generations back from me. Food, and the fun coincidence of discovering that a cousin of mine (Paul Blake) is a game designer who works for a company that licenses plush Monty Python toys. "Oh, ThinkGeek sells those," I said. Some fun boggling ;)

Plentiful food and delicious babies, or the other way around. A very different kind of atmosphere than the reunion I'll be at in August. At the Blake reunion, not that everyone actually knows their identifier offhand, everyone at the Blake reunion who is a blood-line descendant (rather than married in) has a numeric code associated which indicates their place in the tree. There's also a formal "business meeting" aspect to the gathering (for the announcement of births and deaths), a signing book, nametags, etc. Some very interesting folks there, but in truth I don't know many of them except by sight. Talking w/ Paul, his wife Diane, and Sharon Blake (widow of Cleland Blake) was excellent -- best choice in seating I could have made, with 10-month-old Emily Blake presiding from the head of the table, too.

However, no fireworks, after there were apparently some complaints from milquetoast complaining types from the church on whose grounds the reunion annually takes place. I suspect this means my dad did not clean up the mess after he brought them in my stead last time. (And today might have been bad for it, anyhow; at least as the reunion was getting started, there was a funeral underway elsewhere on the church grounds.)This is too bad, because kids should have a chance to learn that fireworks are a fun, reasonable, appropriate thing to use, but they need to be respected -- careful of fingers, eyes, other people, flammable surroundings, and with plenty of water on hand. Thorough cleanup afterward, too, esp. at a place like the old Caledonian Presbyterian church in New Market. I don't want every kid to grow up to be complacent about idiot laws restricting their use, just like I don't want them to grow up thinking that guns contain their own malice aforethought.

Did some yard work, which felt good.

Independence Day:

Fireworks in Knoxville -- quite a good show, esp. considering that some of the best views of the show (right by the bridge on which sits a city fire truck) are from completely uncrowded spots. Took some pictures -- I'm happy with how good some of them came out, even with my 4-year-old, AA-powered pocket cam. Show was only 19 minutes long; I wonder if it's because I just read (thanks to Ruthy Scotty pointing out the article) that fireworks shows are tending to be shorter, or because it's the case, that it seemed shorter than the two other times I've seen the city's display.

Afterward, we touched off just two fireworks: 1 was a plastic finned rocket (nice height, but the "burst" was pretty anemic), and the other was a "Color Me America" 20-shot square cake, perhaps 6 inches on a side, which was *excellent.*

5th July: Oak Ridge, TN. We visited the Museum of Energy at Oak Ridge -- well worth seeing. Replica of Little Boy, as well as (and this is the highlight) historical displays about the creation of Oak Ridge as a secret city ("Secret City" is a tag on all sorts of things around town). Many of the exhibits, as I remembered from the last time I was there more than 20 years ago, are oriented toward kids, but that's fine. I wish there was some higher-level content as well, and that some of the displays were better labeled, but I found no shortage of things to look at. Life inside the city during the war must have been very strange -- residents were pretty much there for the duration, and only after the war was its presence allowed on maps, etc. Interesting to see that even in this Federal microcosm, state segregation laws were in effect for housing and employment.

One of my favorite things: part of the museum (reached by descending an outside staircase from the 2d floor) is a reconstructed "Flat Top" (type B-1) house, one of the pre-fab housing types that filled up the city as it boomed to 75,000 residents. It's small, but seems to be a livable little unit. Says the sign outside, it's actually based on a plan from the TVA (gub'mint run amok), which had built similar ones for workers during dam construction in N. Carolina.

Later that day, we stopped for Korean food at a place I'll give a happy 2.5 stars, called Kaya.

On the way back, we stopped at the Fireworks Supermarket on exit 407 for a few sundries, incl. another "Color Me America," because that (it turns out -- oh happy day) is the "free gift" that a promotional sticker gets.

6th July:
Brief stop at Bush Beans's new visitor center; the "country store" pretensions aside (plastic, sterile, overpriced), the small walk-through museum attached is free and well-done; historical exhibits about the company, but also about the modern history of canning, showing how certain labor-intensive jobs have been made easier, etc.

But the real destination was the Tennessee Museum of Aviation in Sevierville. If I had more of an aviation background, I'd like this place even better, but even in my state of ignorance I find the planes and other artifacts worth several hours of fascination. Migs (17 and 21), a few helicopters (incl. a Bell 222, which I would like to have for myself, thanks), jet cockpits which you can sit in, a Mustang (no Spitfires at the moment), a replica Wright Brothers glider ... worth the $12-13 (less for older, younger folks). No comparison to the StratComm museum near Omaha, or the Smithsonian's Air & Space museum, but that's OK. As a regional museum goes, this is a real winner.

7th July:
Today is a work in progress. Working on Slashdot; later, will do some yard work. Talked w/ B&N rep. about the Nook I've got to play with, finally figured out where something I downloaded to the device disappeared to. I'm slow to the whole e-Book world, but am fairly impressed with the thing.

It is easier to write an incorrect program than understand a correct one.

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