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Journal: Guardians of the Galaxy 1

Journal by stoolpigeon

Took my family to see Guardians of the Galaxy last night. I had only heard good stuff about it and it was a fun movie. What's funny is I thought it was pretty good while my wife and kids thought it was amazing. My son kept going on about it and my wife said she wanted to go watch it again. Usually with a film like this it would be the other way around and I'd be the one who was more enthusiastic. Funny.

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Journal: AZ and back on Nvidia 3

Journal by stoolpigeon

Got my main machine running with the Nvidia card again. I crack myself up. It seems to be working o.k. so far. We'll see how long it lasts.
 
Being in Arizona this summer was nice. It was crazy hot of course. That's the norm. But it has been a while since I'd been able to really enjoy the desert. I did miss it. I love the big sky, the cactus, the beautiful sunsets and the smell. We had some storms and there is a very unique odor that is a wet Sonoran desert. I love it. It brought back a lot of memories from my childhood.
 
Our family got to go to a Diamondback's game and timed it very well as they won, which is something they aren't doing a lot this season. It was a lot of fun for my son, who is a big baseball fan. In fact, a friend let him be a part of time with a batting coach once a week while we were home. That was very generous and was great for my boy as well. There is little league in Hungary but not the same level of resources as in the US.
 
We went out shooting one day. What could be more American than that? It was a lot of fun for my kids. A very strange thing has happened while we were away. It is pretty much impossible to buy .22 ammunition near where we lived. I don't know the causes but it was crazy. I have a couple .22 rifles and a .22 pistol that I thought would be great for the kids to shoot. I couldn't find ammunition for them anywhere. Fortunately I had friends who were able to give me some.
 
I have a lot of friends who are gun enthusiasts and I don't know if my kids appreciated the variety of weapons they got to try out. They did have fun - though I couldn't afford to do that too often, even if we did still live there. I always enjoyed archery a bit more. No need for hearing protection, less expensive over time and no cleaning when you are done. But still the fun challenge of hitting a target from a distance.
 
We spent a week up in the mountains. I took the family to Woods Canyon Lake, up on the rim. It was super, super busy. The campgrounds were all full and the lake was pretty crowded. We were driving out and my son says, "It would be cool to see an elk." I said, "You wont see any around here today. Way too many people around for that." Not two minutes later here comes an elk with a big beautiful rack just wandering on through. We pulled over and watched it for a while. I'm guessing it's become accustomed to people. That's not good - but it was cool to see.
 
I think next time we visit Arizona (probably in 2 or 3 years) we'll hike Havasupai and the Grand Canyon. The kids will be old enough and it will be a good chance for us to do something like that together before the kids start leaving the nest.It is hard for me to think that we've come that far.
 
Oh - back to the gun thing quickly - my kids were worried about getting shot at all the time. It's funny how crazy that aspect of American life is when you've stepped outside of it for a while. I had to keep reassuring them that they were not in constant danger of being gunned down. They hear about shootings in the US so much, and it's something that pretty much never happens in Hungary. I didn't realize how much they'd thought about it though or how it worried them until we got home. I used to be a big pro gun ownership guy but not so much any more.
 
That said - I don't plan on getting rid of the guns I do own there. If we moved back I would teach my kids to be more proficient with them. As long as the laws are the way they are I think it's better to take that approach. And it was nice for the times we were in areas where I was concerned about animals. I didn't normally carry but I did in a few situations where I knew we might run across javelina and some other critters.
 
I don't think there's much else of note. It was great to see friends and family but I don't need to record any of those details here. Oh - movies. We say Edge of Tomorrow. Pretty good. Also went and saw the latest Transformers. Not the best but still delivered what I want most out of that kind of movie - giant robots fighting. I watched Pacific Rim on the flight over. That movie really delivered. What else did I watch on planes? Grand Budapest Hotel. Rather charming I thought. Fiennes is an amazing actor. The new Captain America which I thought was pretty week. I can't remember what else I watched. I know at least one other movie. You know what else? Americans love to talk about movies. We really do. Not necessarily to any depth but more recommending them to one another, recounting favorite scenes, etc. It's funny how often we do that. I wish I could remember the other one I watched on the plane. My kids watched Mr. Peabody and Sherman. I was napping then but caught a bit of it on their screens. OH - when we saw Transformers they had a trailer for The Giver. I just read that a couple months ago. Judging by the trailer they are pulling a Running Man. The movie will vaguely resemble the book - sort of. But all amped up hollywood style.
 
All right - back to work.

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Journal: The Upgrade Went Well 2

Journal by stoolpigeon

I had one package that caused some warning but it was really out of date so I just removed it. It was VLMC and I'm not going to be using it on that machine anyway.
 
I finally got my taxes done. Life was so crazy this year that I just kept not getting around to it. Which is stupid on my part as I'm just leaving money sitting with the government that I could be using. I had a really odd thing this year, my Foreign Earned Income Exclusion was smaller than it has been in the past. I don't know why- but I doubt it's worth the time and cost to find someone who would know. With 3 kids and our income not too high, my tax liability is very, very low. And so it's all pretty small amounts involved.
 
We've been back a couple weeks now and I'm back to the weight I was before we went to the US. For that 6.5 weeks we visited we ate out a lot. There were a lot of places we missed that we wanted to eat at. And of course lots of good Mexican. That's pretty much impossible to get here. And in general we just consumed more. I think the first time we went out, they gave me my huge glass of diet coke that they would refill the moment it was empty and I must have gone through like 6 of those before we had even finished the appetizer. So funny.
 
Anyway, if we lived back home we wouldn't eat like we did when just visiting. The one thing that really struck me is how much more expensive fast food has become in the 3 years since we left. It used to be around 20 bucks for our family to go to McDonalds/Burger King. Now it's more like 30.
 
Of course gas and milk still felt ridiculously cheap compared to here in Hungary. I know why gas costs so much here, not sure why milk is so much. Probably due to the same reasons though - government choices. Just not sure which government, in which direction. Are Hungarian dairy prices inflated or does the USDA (or whoever manages dairy in the US) keep US milk prices artificially low? It was also fun to be able to buy milk in a gallon container. Buying it a liter at a time is a pain. Our kids go through them quickly.
 
That's all for today, more tomorrow.

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Journal: Catching Up 3

Journal by stoolpigeon

I haven't written a journal in a while. We spent a good chunk of this summer in the U.S.A. It was a pretty full/busy time. We came back and then left again for a couple days hiking in Austria. Now we are home for a bit. I don't plan on going anywhere until next month.

I'm upgrading my Dell to Fedora 20 right now and trying to clean up my office. It's funny. It's a Latitude D620 and when I got it in 2006 it was the most powerful computer I had ever owned. It's got a dual core processor and has 2 gig of ram. At the time that blew me away and now I just use it for stuff where I don't mind how slow it is.

It is nice and sunny out. I brought a hammock back from Arizona - now I need to figure out how I'm going to put it up. Today would be a perfect day to take a nap in the sun.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

C makes it easy for you to shoot yourself in the foot. C++ makes that harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. -- Bjarne Stroustrup

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