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Journal: SC2 on the MBP 4

Journal by stoolpigeon

When StarCraft II came out I bought it. Unfortunately I didn't play for too long. My machine could barely run it. As I progressed through the campaign it became increasingly laggy as the scenarios became more complex. There were also some fundamental changes to gameplay that I didn't care for. I never liked the missions where I didn't build a base but instead followed a path, picking up a few units here and there. There were these along with missions that were very time oriented and you have to constantly hurry. So I stopped playing.
 
I was sitting last night, just relaxing, and thought - that Macbook pro I just got is pretty beefy. I wonder what good games are around for Mac. I was looking at some lists, realized when I saw SC2 on one that I already owned it - and installed it on my machine. I've been watching a lot of SC2 matches on youtube. I'm a HuskyStarcraft fan. That's gotten me to thinking about playing some on battlenet. I know I'll never be that good - but especially after watching his Bronze League Heroes casts, I think I could still have fun. It seems I have a better chance of getting matched up with people closer to me in ability than I did with the old original StarCraft.

User Journal

Journal: Systemd, Plymouth, KDM, weirdness

Journal by stoolpigeon

Very recently my Fedora machine stopped booting to the graphic login. It would be humming along, I'd see my little "f" appear, then I'd drop back to a text list of boot up events and it would just sit there. I could hop over to another tty and log in and then startx and log into KDE.
 
I've been busy so I didn't have time to try and figure it out. Today I finally could do a little research. I found stuff like this and this. There was a lot of other stuff too - but what I couldn't find is a single explanation of just what is going on that I could understand. I hate changing stuff in my system without knowing why I'm doing it or exactly what it is I'm doing.
 
In this case a quick "mv /var/log/journal /var/log/journal.org" did resolve my issue immediately. On reboot everything performed normally. But why? And this has been going on for a long, long time. That first link is a bug report that was opened just shy of a year ago. Not sure why it just hit me within the last few weeks. I'll keep digging when I have time to see if I can ever find an explanation of just what is going on.

User Journal

Journal: Aw man 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

Wont say what site or where - but I'm working on migrating something that was hosted in one of our offices to a shared hosting environment.

They had everything you can imagine copied into the site folder so I'm working through and removing stuff I don't need to upload to the new host. I find a directory that has phpmyadmin stuff in it. On a whim I pull up the production site in my browser and head over to that folder - logs me in automatically and I can browse all tables in the db. Just told the new ops director and I think he might pop a few veins.

User Journal

Journal: Emergency Alerts 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

I am currently using a Moto G as my primary phone for a bit. I brought it with me to Moscow. As soon as I got here I started getting "Emergency Alerts" like crazy. I think I had 40 or so the first afternoon.

So I googled it and found out about a US system for this kind of thing. I also found out how to turn it off. I couldn't find any info. on an equivalent Russian system. Whatever is making it happen, I can't read them. I just see random characters on my phone. Maybe if I used Russian the characters would render properly - dunno.

Anyway it's so odd that I thought I would mention it.

User Journal

Journal: Good evening, everyone everywhere. 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

This is the Voice of Freedom broadcasting from somewhere in MagyarorszÃg.

I'm exhausted - should have never gotten the CBS NCAA tourney feed working at home. Slept 2 hours this morning. Fly to Moscow Wed a.m. dark and early. Life is hectic and I just keep looking at April 6th and telling myself I just have to make it that far.

I'm being melodramatic but this next couple weeks will be rough. Last week was superb - I'll post a write up later.

Pax

User Journal

Journal: Couple Weeks With A Mac 19

Journal by stoolpigeon

Picked up my new 13" Retina Macbook Pro ( not the same as a plane Macbook Pro - these guys are so good at marketing.) I've been using it for two weeks. I'm learning.
 
My favorite surprise was when I opened up the terminal app and started trying out commands. Everything was working so I went to see what environment I was in and saw that it was bash. This made me very happy.
 
I think on the gui end it is o.k. I prefer but I'm getting use to the way OS X wants me to do things. I've had to learn some weird gestures to get at what I want quickly.
 
Here are some of the issues so far. Installing software sucks. It comes in different file formats and how it gets done varies wildly based on where I get it from. It's confusing as all get out. Without a package manager I guess updates will be on a per software basis and apparently uninstalling means removing the program and then hunting down any bits it leaves behind. That's pretty idiotic. I had a hard core Mac guy try to explain to me why this was better.
 
There is this gigantic track pad below my keyboard and I wouldn't care if palm detection or whatever you want to call it worked better. As I type this the window is scrolling up and down as my hands periodically bump into the track pad. So far I can't find a setting that lets me try to fix this sorry state of affairs. This is my big issue with the lack of options. If things work correctly it's fine. If they don't, you are just hosed. And it never works correctly as much as the people who make these things think it will.
 
Battery life on all Apple products I've interacted with lately is just flat out impressive. This laptop is no exception.
 
It's the most expensive laptop I've ever owned. That changes my whole approach to how I travel with it. I have to be a lot more careful. I didn't realize how much I appreciated not worrying about my $400 Acer so much. This is more on me I guess but it's still a function of the machine. I do appreciate that full disk encryption is now a part of the OS. This puts it ahead of windows and helps it catch up with Linux a bit.
 
When Mac people are explaining some amazing feature to me that I've been using in KDE for years and years I do chuckle a little inside. Virtual desktops for example.
 
Multimonitor support is weak. It doesn't work as well as it does on my Win 7 machine. I don't think I'm alone in this. When I go to conferences it's a pretty steady stream of guys coming up to present and plugging their machines into the projector. It's the Mac guys that have the most trouble.
 
Speaking of that - my life was increasingly becoming dongle/incompatible power cord free. Apple just set me back quite a few years as I am not back to carrying around a bunch of wire and related junk that all just do one thing for one machine. I am not a fan of that whole mess.
 
It's very early on. I may end up turning into a true believer. Or maybe I'll have better options by the time I'm ready for a new machine. I'd love something with this build quality that ran Fedora well.

User Journal

Journal: Future Location 9

Journal by stoolpigeon

The fact that slashboxes have stopped working and I didn't see links for writing journals in the beta has me thinking that the site will move away from the level of personalization that it had before. So I'm thinking through what I'll do as a replacement. The idea I keep coming back to is I may go ahead and use a subreddit as my new journal. It would be a place I could post - people could follow it and respond if they were interested. It's possible to set one up so that people can read and comment but they can't submit posts themselves - basically what the slashdot journal is.

That seems the easiest. I have my blog too - but I've always liked having a 'spot' that is part of something bigger where I can post like this.

User Journal

Journal: I Will Return 5

Journal by stoolpigeon

Next week my wife is in Antalya for a conference. The day after she gets back I fly to Manila. I start by going backwards - which I usually try to avoid but it was impossible this time. I go to Amsterdam, then to Tapei and finally I will arrive in Manila. The upside, I guess, is that Schipol is a nice airport. Not as nice as Munich International, but nice.
 
My schedule there is 3 days of meetings, a day off and 3 more days of meetings. The day off we are touring Corregidor and I'm really looking forward to that. I've been to PI quite a few times back in the day when I was a trusty shellback and what not. I flew into Manila when I was just out of boot and on my way to my first command. Didn't really see any of the city though. We arrived late at night and they put us on a bus out to Subic. Should be nice. Nice and hot anyway. I'll be going from highs around 10 (admittedly warm for this time of year) to highs around 30. Between that and the humidity I'm gonna be looking forward to getting home as far as the weather goes. A little practice for when we are in Phoenix this summer.
 
After I get back from Manila I'm home for a few weeks and then I head back to Moscow. I come back from there to Hungary but instead of going home I'll be working at a conference in VisegrÃd. I'm giving presentations on some new mobile tools that we are rolling out this year. It's a nice place but I'll be glad when that is done and I'm back home in my own bed. My sweet, sweet American king size bed that sits up on a frame and box springs. I do love Europe so much but not the beds as often.
 
I've heard - just heard - that there is a way as an American to get a 3 year, multiple entry tourist visa for Russia. I'll be looking into that this summer. That's the only pain to going. Wizzair makes Moscow close and cheap. It's getting the visa that makes it a hassle. I get a visa like that I could just about pop over there whenever the mood hit me. When I wrap up the stuff I'm doing at the Moscow office I really want to get up to our office in St. Petersburg.
 
I finished up the Coursera Android course and I pick up my new Macbook pro when I'm in Manila. Then I'll start working on learning iOS development.
 
Oh - that brings me around to an interesting and tech related thing. I have enjoyed using Android Studio which is built on JetBrains stuff. And last year-ish (2012 maybe even?) I bought licenses for some of there stuff when they did this crazy sale. I'm looking at doing a lot more dev myself - html/js/css stuff, java, php - all kinds of junk. So I figured I'd see about just renewing the license on IntelliJ. The problem is their options just didn't work for me. $100 to renew a personal license is a little steep. I could reimburse it but then it's a commercial license and that's triple. They have a free license for FOSS projects but honestly while I slap open licenses on the stuff I do, none of it meets their criteria for community involvement. I'm not a student either. So I'll be going with other options. Maybe Eclipse

User Journal

Journal: Bosch 5

Journal by stoolpigeon

When we moved to Hungary we had to buy appliances as Europeans believe in big power. And I wouldn't want to have shipped stuff like that anyway. We bought a refrigerator from Bosch because we figured it would be high quality.
 
The compressor on it died the 28th of December. We called out a guy and he informed us that he could replace it for about $250 or we could have it done under warranty. We thanked him and called the warranty people. They came out and told us it would take a week to get the new part. That week turned into two. Finally a guy came out to install it. We were done.
 
That night it died. I think he put it in wrong but I'm not sure. Either way I had to call them back out. They new guy that came said the new compressor was "kaput" and that it would take a week to get one. That was last Tuesday. They are supposed to come put it in tomorrow. So we are coming up on real close to a month.
 
I don't think I'll be buying one of their products again after this.

User Journal

Journal: Setting up my AndroidStudio project on GitHub 4

Journal by stoolpigeon

I started a project to do my homework for the week in the Android class I'm taking. I've been doing the bulk of my work on a desktop machine in my office. This week-end I also set up a dev environment on my Fedora laptop at home. I don't want to have to monkey with copying files and carrying them back and forth so today I set up a GitHub repo so that I could use it to keep things in sync.

I'm no git expert. In the past what I've done is create a project in github with a couple pieces in place. Then I pull that down to a directory on my machine, add the files I need and then push all that back up.

Today I took a little bit of a different approach. I created the project. Then in bash I went to the root directory of the project and set things up. It took me a minute to get it all figured out. The git reference on remotes was a huge help. There is also the JetBrains documentation on git with IntelliJ which is what Android studio is built on.

For my own reference - once I got the project built I needed to add everything. First I went to github and made a repo - but I made it empty, not like I usually do. Then I went to the root of my project in bash.

git add .

and then make an initial commit

git commit -m 'initial commit'

I set up the remote

git remote add origin https://github.com/bittercode/learnandplay.git (bittercode is my github user name and learnandplay is the name of the repo I set up.)

Then I pushed the code to the remote

git push -u origin master

And that put it all up at github. Now I should be able to go home and pull it all down there. I also set up AndroidStudio so that it now handles all the git stuff. When I created a new activity it asked me about adding them to git - so I just said that it should default to yes and now I'm on the fast track to happy days.

User Journal

Journal: Semicolons 9

Journal by stoolpigeon

Almost all the coding I've done in the last couple years or so was in Python.

I finished my first homework assignment for my Android class and started the second. The first required zero programming and the only files I edited were xml. For the second assignment I'm doing something a little more ambitious and actually writing a little Java. Stinking semicolons. I keep forgetting those little buggers.

I mentioned the IDE thing - holy cow have they gotten more useful. When I want to use some library I just start typing in what I want in the code and a quick keystroke automagically adds the import. Good gravy. The UI editor - if I add a hard coded string - a couple mouse clicks and it generates the necessary entry in the strings.xml file for me. I don't even have to go look at it. It's weird. It takes me back to my old VB 6.0 days.

On the up side with the semicolon - at least I use a US keyboard. On the Hungarian keyboard it requires using ctrl+alt along with another key.

User Journal

Journal: Android Studio/Eclipse Retraction 3

Journal by stoolpigeon

I wrote yesterday about my issues with Android Studio and that I was using Eclipse instead. I wrote too quickly.

Apparently there are some bugs with Eclplise, ADT and Fedora 20 maybe KDE is a part of it too. Anyway I can't keep it going and Eclipse crashes regularly and quickly. This made me go back and look at my issue with Android Studio. An error in the text I used for a text box on one of my layouts was the issue behind it locking up. I had to run the app from the console to figure this out and then fixed the text with Kate and I'm back in gear.

I started the class late so I've been playing catchup. So I don't have time to dig any deeper right now on the Eclipse issues. I've got the first little app mostly done and now I'm working on the second. They are due in five days. After that if I have time I'll keep poking at Eclipse to see if I can find the issue.

User Journal

Journal: Android Studio: The Early Days

Journal by stoolpigeon

Android Studio is still in beta and obviously not a finished product. This should not be news to anyone. I am currently participating in the Creative, Serious and Playful Science of Android Apps course at Coursera. I'm really enjoying it. Professor Angrave does a great job with the lectures and it is completely practical. I've taken a few jabs at getting started with creating something for Android but I believe this will get me further than any of those false starts.
 
He uses Eclipse in the lectures but I figured I would use Android Studio. They are close enough that I was able to keep up just fine. But today, trying to complete the first homework assignment, I ran into so much trouble that I switched over to Eclipse myself. The IDE kept hanging up and wouldn't come unstuck. I killed it and restarted it. No joy. I killed it, logged out, logged back in and restarted it - still stuck. I've got to get a couple little things done by the twelfth and that was it.
 
Plus, as I watched the lectures it was apparent that the Eclipse environment is just a lot further along in a lot of respects. This makes sense. I'll keep checking in on Android Studio over time and if Google puts any effort into it at all I think it will become the best tool for Android development but right now it's too bumpy.
 
I've got some ideas for stuff that I plan to make. If I get anywhere with any of it - I'll post about it here of course.

User Journal

Journal: Buying a Mac, Pictionary 9

Journal by stoolpigeon

I've mentioned it in conversation. I've been going back and forth in my mind on what I would do. I need a new laptop. My old travelling laptop, an Acer, still runs fine but it is incredibly slow and takes forever to start. At the time I purchased it, this was not a big deal. There were a few primary concerns back then. One was battery life and the other was size. I was on long flights a lot and I wanted something that would let me make better use of that time. The Acer was perfect and the fact that it was very inexpensive was a huge bonus. I knew it would be slow but that really didn't matter. Most of those trips were to conferences that I was putting on. I'd boot up every morning and be plugged in and running all day. I ran presentations from it and handled email, google docs, etc.
 
Now my work style has changed a bit. When I'm home I don't really use my laptop much at all. It takes too long to start when I'm doing something quickly and now my phone and tablet handle most things I want to do briefly anyway. I stream a lot more video now but the little Acer can't do that well at all. When I am traveling I'm not at conferences. I'm working in national or team offices in our various countries. I'm checking networks, assisting in admin stuff for software, all kinds of things and I'm usually moving about - working with different people. The Acer just doesn't handle all that too well and my last trips to Albania and Russia I got really tired of telling people, "Just give me a few more minutes. I'm still getting my machine started."
 
I have had the Acer for over 4 years now so I think I got a great return on what I spent for it. And it still works, it just doesn't fit my current needs. I will probably set it up for one of my kids. It will be fine for them to use in doing homework and stuff. But what will I get to replace it? Well here is where I'm a little torn. At the same time I need a Mac. I want to be able to do some mobile development and our staff use a mix of Android and iOS phones. I can develop for Android on Linux or Windows but the iOS stuff requires an Apple machine. In my perfect world we'd just use Android but that's not reality. The reality is we have a lot of people that use a lot of Apple products.
 
I don't know why. I do - but I mean personally I don't get it. I don't like Apple products for the most part. My admittedly limited experiences with OSX have been unpleasant. I think it is not easy to use and the interface is rather poor and limiting. I'd much rather be using Linux. So it has not made me happy to see more and more of our staff move to Mac. As a nonprofit I hate to see us paying a premium to use what I don't think is a superior platform. And once many of our high level leaders made the jump I saw more and more people follow. So this long explanation is so that I can say - in a lot of ways it makes sense for me to get a Mac laptop. I can do the iOS work on it, I'll learn more about the Apple ecosystem so I can support others, and I'll have a machine that fits my current work better once I learn how to use it. The one thing holding me back is that I'll become another leader that leans people toward Apple.
 
I guess I just need to get over it. But I got wound up about it again today when I read this HN post. What this guy went through to fix his power button behavior - all the software and fixes people recommend in the HN comments to fix functionality- and yet people give me crap about Linux being too difficult. Unreal.
 
On an unrelated note, we had friends over for a little get together last week. One couple is Hungarian and the other Albanian. We decided to play a game. Someone (not us) suggested Pictionary. We got it out and started playing. It was horrible. We quit pretty quickly. As the only native English speakers my wife and I had a huge advantage. I've played that game many times and until this time never realized how much culture fits into it. Both other couple speak English very well but there were so many phrases and other things that made it hard for them. We switched to ticket to ride - the European version. It was a lot of fun. And now we were the ones with a very slight disadvantage. We played with each couple as a team. The other couples could each speak openly in their native languages about what they wanted to do but my wife and I could not. It was a lot of fun.
 
So it seems so stinking obvious but it is wild to really see it right in front of you - how much language and culture are all tied together. It would have been really interesting if we'd had someone from the UK.

Polymer physicists are into chains.

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