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Journal Journal: PackageKit and Apper

Fedora has yum for installing packages and I am a big fan. In front of yum is PackageKit. PackageKit checks for updates and does some work on my behalf. As I use KDE - the gui provided for interacting with PackageKit is Apper. Apper has been around for a long time and it's a nice way to look for packages and software that I might want. I like to browse through it sometimes and see what is up. When it installs updates for me it lets me know if I need to log out or reboot for everything to be in effect.
 
The down side is that Apper absolutely sucks at letting me know what is going on. During a normal update what it presents as information to the user is usually completely disconnecting from what is actually happening. It will, for example, say it is downloading and sit at 10% for a long time and then suddenly jump to cleaning up and some much higher percentage. If there is a problem it will fail without really giving any meaningful feedback on what went wrong.
 
It's interesting because I would assume the point is to make it easier for people but in reality it does just the opposite. I really need to stop using it for updates and stick to only using yum from the command line. If I open up console and run a 'yum update' I get constant feedback of exactly what is happening. I never have the issues I have with apper. If it fails it tells me why and often gives me very useful suggestions on what to do to fix things. I love yum and how friendly it is. Apper on the other hand is just a way to cause myself grief.
 
I'm thinking about this especially today because it made my morning difficult. I haven't been in the office in quite a while. I knew I'd have a lot of updates waiting for my desktop system. Sure enough the little notifier icon was there. Now - I didn't initiate the updates from there. KDE now has a little panel widget that will let you start updates without opening apper up - but it sucks too. It gets ahead of itself and tells you that you need to log out/reboot before the updates are even all applied. So when I see the icon there, I just opened apper to the updates tab. I looked over what was available and told it to start.
 
It chugged along for quite a while and ultimately just sat there - doing nothing that I could tell. There was no disk activity - I couldn't see anything going on but it hadn't finished either. Eventually I killed it and restarted the machine as there was a kernel update.
 
Well - that created quite a mess. With yum I was eventually able to get it all cleaned up. I had some duplicate packages, some unfinished transactions and some other nonsense. So as I said, my new promise to myself is that all future updates take place in bash with yum.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fedora 17 and Scanning from HP All-in-One 3

I have an HP Officejet J6480 All-in-One that we use for printing and scanning stuff. It works pretty well. I had managed to avoid inkjet printers until the kids got to school age and then we needed color. So the ink thing is crazy (and I can't find the cartridges here in Hungary - which is really annoying. I think HP limits what they sell in different regions to control pricing. Stupid.) But other than that, I've been pretty happy with it.
 
When I moved our PC in the office out to the living room and hooked it up to the TV - I put my old laptop running Fedora 17 in its place. I'd never used that machine with a scanner before so I had to figure out how to set it up. I googled around a bit and found a few things I needed to install but the various parts were spread around, so here it is all in one spot.
 
I probably didn't need to install all these things. But I figured some might be helpful so I grabbed them anyway. Disk space is cheap. The packages I installed were

  • sane
  • sane-backends-drivers-scanners
  • xsane
  • simple-scan
  • skanlite
  • hplip
  • hplip-gui

Now I think if I'd done hplip-gui it probably would have pulled hplip as a dependency. As it was this took very little time. Just quick "yum install" and the package name. Once I had them all I ran hp-setup and walked through a little wizard that made it all work. It was very easy. Skanlite is the main KDE scanning application I guess and since I use KDE that's what I went with. It works pretty well and does what I want. I have just scanned stuff as images. I haven't tried messing around with OCR. I haven't used simple-scan. I just grabbed it to have other options if I needed to trouble shoot any issues.
 
The printer/scanner is on the network and not connected to the computer via usb. The HP setup program handled this without issue. The whole thing was just very, very painless and I love sharing stories of when Linux works so well.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Pretty In Pink

Just watched it for the first time. Nostalgia city. They should have kept the original ending.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why does McDonalds want to make me fat? 15

From Food Business News:

NEW YORK â" For McDonaldâ(TM)s Corp., it may seem like a supersized dilemma: Offer a healthier menu or serve customers their coveted fattening fare?

Itâ(TM)s a matter of social responsibility versus sales, said Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer, who addressed the topic during the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York on May 29.

âoeToday, we are in this time period where people are defining quote-unquote âhealthyâ(TM) and ânon-healthy,â(TM)â Mr. Thompson said. âoeAnd the question really is, in the restaurant business, what does the customer want? ⦠Whatever it is a customer wants, we will be selling more than anyone else.â

Ok, Mister Bernstein, I say you're full of shit. I think you WANT us to all be fatasses.

I usually go home for lunch, but my car's in the shop today and don't have time to walk home, eat, and walk back, so I walked down to McDonalds. McDonalds is a lot closer than home. They had a promotional thing up with some new quarter pounders, so I decided to try one. I got the habañero Ranch quarter pounder, which I will get around to trash talking later. I ordered a small fry and a small coke to go along.

"That will be $7.52".

"How much was the burger itself?" I forgot what her answer was but it seemed like a hell of a lot for a hamburger. When I was 12 a McDonald's hamburger, fries, and small coke was 37 cents plus tax. Of course, the minimum wage was something like a dollar back then. She told me the price, I winced and said "too much, but I'll pay it anyway."

"The value meal may be cheaper," she said. I said ok. She rang it up. $7.01.

A burger with a small fry and small coke costs more than a burger with a medium fry and a medium coke. Why does McDonalds want me to get fat? I wound up throwing half the fries away, that's way too much food. Plus McDonalds fries are nasty. I didn't like the burger, either. False advertising if I ever saw it. Habañero? Really? Habañeros are one of the hottest peppers there are, and that burger had no hint whatever of any kind of hot pepper.

Of course, there's a sit-down restaurant that's even worse on the spicy front, on the corner of Second and South Grand named the (checks Google Maps... WTF, google? I search for 2nd and South Grand and it gives me 2nd and North Grand. Should I start using Microsoft Bling? Drags map down to South Grand... here it is) sorry, called the MeKong Cafe. It seems that General DuCatt or however you spell it traveled back in time from Cardassia and opened a barbershop in Springfield... anyway, the MeKong's window says they specialize in Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai food. Having been in Thailand in the USAF and loving that food, I ate at the MeKong diner once.

I was not impressed.

Thai peppers are ounce for ounce some of the hottest peppers there are; they're tiny little things, half an inch (couple of centimeters) long and eating one will bring far more tears to your eyes than eating a jalapeño. I grew some, years ago -- they're great for getting rid of a sinus headache. Like Mexican food and for the same reason, Thai food is hot. Damned hot. Shirt wringing wet hot, which is why spicy food is so popular in Thailand and Mexico; Thailand is almost at the equator. The whole year I was there it only got cooler than eighty F once.

So I'd stopped at this so-called "MeKong" restaurant and ordered cowpot. Cowpot is Thai for "fried rice".

"Um, what?" the oriental waitress said, obviously not being from Thailand or, indeed, South East Asia at all.

"Thai fried rice," I said.

"Do you want it hot?"

"Of course I want it hot. I want it to taste like what I ate in Thailand. Blistering hot."

It was wimpier than Chinese fried rice.

There are a lot of fake foreign restaurants at that corner, probably catering to all the government employees that work in two large buildings that sit caddy-corner from each other there. There's a Taco Gringo, which is about as far from Mexican food as you can get, a Chinese place called China One, and another oriental restaurant named, hilariously, Dynasty.

Sheesh, I thought software devs came up with stupid names, like GIMP and WinCE. But a restaurant named the Die Nasty?

Anyway, back on topic, it isn't just their "value meals," either. Why is a hamburger with one patty and one slice of cheese more expensive than a hamburger with TWO patties and a slice of cheese?

Why do they want everybody, especially the poor and/or frugal, to be fat?

I will say one nice thing about McFatsos, though -- their side salads are really surprisingly good. Yeah, it's hard to screw up a salad but Burger King manages to. I'll get the salad, take it home, and eat it with a steak and baked potato. THAT's food, not faux cowpot or a hamburger with bacon (to disguise the taste of the beef, of course) or a taco some gringo made.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dirty Old Man

This is actually a few years old but I've never posted it on the internet, but I did drunkenly sing it at a karaoke bar. One woman was laughing so hard she literally fell out of her chair, although I didn't think it was THAT funny. When I got off the stage I told the bartender "I want whatever she's having!"

I heard this song on the radio this morning and I said to myself, "those geezers are even older than me!" So I changed a few words...

Hey, baby, if you're feelin' down
I know what's good for you all day
Are you worried what your friends see
Will it ruin your reputation fuckin' me

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Yeah I'm a dirty old man
A dirty old man

Don't drive no big black car
Don't like no Hollywood movie star
You want me to be true to you
You don't give a damn what I do to you

I'm just a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man

Well, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
A dirty old man

I've been trouble since I don't know when
I'm trouble now and I know somehow I'll be trouble again
I'm not a loner, but I'm always alone
Every night I get one step closer to the fucking grave!

'cause I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, dirty old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

C'mon, c'mon man
Dirty old man, old man
Dirty old man, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man

Hey, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, yeah, I'm a dirty old man
Dirty old man, dirty old man, yeah!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Keith Richards is ten years older than me 1

I live in an house on the ninety-ninth street on my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy whos all dressed up like a union jack
And says, Ive won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn, baby

The telephone is ringing
I say, hi, it's me. who is it there on the line?
A voice says, hi, hello, how are you
Well, I guess Im doin fine
He says, it's three a.m., there's too much noise
Don't you people ever wanna go to bed?
Just cause you feel so good, do you have
To drive me out of my head?

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn baby

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired and I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just like
A flag stuck on my window screen

I said, hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around cause twos a crowd
On my lawn

Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Hey! you! get off of my lawn
Don't hang around, baby, twos a crowd

(Sorry, I had to do that. Wait 'til you see what I do to Foreigner's Dirty White Boy)

User Journal

Journal Journal: John thinks I'm a space alien 10

Back by popular demand...

"Hi, Steve, how ya doin?" Ruthie said as she got a mug out of the freezer.

"Hi, Ruthie. Pretty good, except I don't think I'll ever get that book finished. I keep finding mistakes," I said as I sat down next to Crazy John and pulled out my wallet. Ruthie handed me the beer she'd just poured.

"Computer's battery died so I thought I'd get a beer or two while it was charging," I said.

Crazy John really is insane; he suffers from schizophrenia and its delusions. They tell me he used to be really intelligent, but one night he was beaten, robbed, and thrown in a dumpster and left for dead. He was never the same afterwards.

John's passion is his main delusion - that he was once abducted by space aliens and that space aliens have infiltrated our world. I try to debunk the poor fellow's insane ramblings with scientific facts. I've explained how Einstein had worked out relativity and the cosmic constant, that the faster you go the slower time goes and there's no way to go faster than light, obviously not mentioning space warping which some theorize might someday get us past that hurdle. He talks of Area 51 and I respond with how unlikely that even if there were space aliens, they wouldn't be the least bit humanoid. In fact, that's where the idea behind Little Green Men came from -- talking with Crazy John.

He gave me a pointed look, and by that I mean he actually pointed at me. "I know who you are!" he said sternly.

I was amused. "Of course you do, John, I've been drinking with you for years!" pretending to not know what he was talking about. He changed the subject. Sort of.

"Where did that face on Mars come from?" he asked.

I groaned; not this nonsense again. "It's a trick of the light and where the position of the camera is, John. Other photos of the same rock show that it doesn't really look anything like a human face. It's the same with the Martian bunny rabbit."

"What bunny rabbit?"

"There's a rock one of the robot rovers took a picture of that, from the angle it's taken, looks just like a rodent. There are a lot of other things like that."

I tried to explain the concept of Pareidolia to him, pointing out so-called images of the virgin Mary made from rust running down overpasses and things, but he would have none of it and simply changed the subject again. "There is one thing that will go faster than light," he said. "Human telepathy!"

I rolled my eyes. "Show me some proof of telepathy's existence, John. If you can show me someone who can read my mind or even some biology that shows it's possible I'll believe it. But I've seen no documentation of anyone actually being able to do it."

I finished the mug and put it and another buck and a quarter on the bar, and Ruthie poured another beer. John got a weird look on his face and wandered off.

Good, I'd had enough crazy for one day.

Ruthie shook her head sadly. "Poor guy," she said.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Writing a book is easy 24

Writing one that doesn't suck is really, really hard. For me, anyway.

The crude first draft of Nobots posted here sucks, and sucks badly. There are inconsistencies, typos, misspellings, crappy grammar, sloppy writing, and a host of other errors that make it suck.

It's done, but not finished; it still needs sanding and polishing. I tell myself it's finished when I can go through it five times in a row without making any changes, and so far I haven't been able to get through it once without changing something, and can't go through it five times without finding an error of some sort.

I've been spending almost all my free time working on it, which is why you haven't seen me here much in the last few months. I wish I could afford to retire so I could work on it full time, I could probably finish it in a couple of months.

Oh, well, like those other losers say in Chicago, "there's always next year." I'll finally have a lot more time for reading and writing and learning next year.

User Journal

Journal Journal: CiviCRM Lesson of the Day

I have a little project this summer that I am building on top of CiviCRM running on Drupal. Our organization uses CAS for single sign on. And it's nice on the account of there is an easy to install and configure Drupal CAS module that just drops in oh so pretty.
 
I set up the site I'll be using to work on the project and I installed Drupal, installed CiviCRM and then I installed CAS. Then I logged in via CAS and that created a second user. I made that second user an administrator and started to mess about. The problem was I couldn't get to a lot of things, the menus (or the lack thereof) didn't make a whole lot of sense. I've never really dug into CiviCRM before so I wasn't sure what was up.
 
  Then today I took another stab at it and decided to turn CAS off and log in with my initial account. And it was all sunshine and happiness. Stuff worked, whole new menus appeared. Stayed logged in there, turned CAS back on and logged in with the other account in another browser and it's borked. I was a tad stumped. I dug around, looked at records in the database, and in general pondered. On a lark I pulled up the CAS user's profile in Drupal and filled in the fields that the module didn't fill in when it created the user. That did it. I'm not sure exactly why. Not sure if I will bother finding out. Just need to make sure going forward profiles are completed. Now you know too.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Weird Youtube Chrome Thing 2

I have the oddest thing going on. Youtube videos that I play in Chrome on my Fedora box give the people high pitched voices. If I switch to Firefox on the same machine it is fine. So strange. I don't know if things are slightly sped up or what. Right now I just watch youtube videos in Firefox. I think vimeo or other sites work fine.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Netflix 4

There are 3 Netflix generated series that I know of - Lilyhammer, House of Cards and the 4th season of Arrested Development.

Lillyhammer looked a little interesting to me but I never got around to watching it. From what I saw it looked like it would get violent and that meant I'd be watching alone and I had other stuff I wanted to see with that time. Breaking Bad being the main thing. I only have so much free time for shows and even less for stuff on my own.

My wife was interested in House of Cards so we've checked it out. I don't know if we'll keep watching. It has some good acting and I really enjoy a lot of it. But there are portions that just push too far into my 'icky' zone. I think a lot of crummy stuff goes on in Washington but I'd like to hope that so much of it isn't concentrated into one couple. And if so, I probably just don't want to know. When episodes finish I just feel sad and I don't see that getting better. At first I liked it because no one was getting killed so that made it kind of relaxing. But it's gotten a little too gross for me. And I'm having a hard time with how he rubs what he does in the face of so many. I think the guy would go down eventually if that were the case. Anyway - I may just watch it occasionally to see if it gets better or if I get completely turned off to it. (so I just reread this in the preview and I'm cracking up - don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't watched but a lot of unintentional double entendre there.)

I never watched Arrested Development before beyond a couple episodes. A while back I started from the beginning and it just cracks me up. I find myself laughing so hard that sometimes I have to go back a bit because I miss stuff. I am in the third season now and we'll see how the new fourth season holds up. It is one of the funniest shows I've seen in a while. Right up there with the earlier parts of the American version of The Office.

The part that is interesting in a way is that on the one hand, this platform lets shows get made that I would never have seen on regular broadcast television. But it also lets the creators take it in directions that are more than I can handle from entertainment with some of the content. Not held back they can pretty easily exceed my rather conservative take on violence, sex, and morality in general. I can handle all that pretty easily in comedy because it is satire or farcical but when it is more serious I have a hard time. So I am at once hopeful for a Netflix original sci-fi series while at the same time nervous about the prospect. Not that it in some way harms me if someone makes a show I don't watch.

User Journal

Journal Journal: GameChanger.io

This is about baseball and feel free to read or ignore accordingly.
 
My son plays on a little league team. This year we started using the software associated with GameChanger.io And I have to say that it is really slick.
 
I should start with an admission that I never learned to score baseball games. I don't know what little things to write in the little boxes and other than K for strike I don't know what it all means. Of course beyond knowing how to fill in a score sheet there is all the knowledge required of knowing what the heck just happened and what you call it. A lot of it is subjective but not all of it - lots of rules and such come into play.
 
GameChanger doesn't make it so that anyone can sit down and score a game but it makes it a heck of a lot easier. First off - you don't need to know the little symbols and such any more. The app for scoring is very visible and walks you through what is happening. Now I'll be the first to say that a person who knows what they are doing with a scoring sheet has got to be faster on paper than a person using the app. I'll give that - and learning can't be that hard. But after the game is over, this thing is awesome.
 
Once the game is over I go home and sync the data. (If I run the app on my phone with data connectivity then it's constantly updating and people could even "watch" the game on-line.) Then I instantly have access to a wide array of stats for the game. It also generates a summary of the game that reads like a newspaper report - highlighting players who had a big influence and key plays. I have to think this thing is popular in the U.S. The headline to our last recap was "The DiÃsd Dodgers (Majors) can't capture shootout, lose 14-12 to the Ãrd Indians" It has a lot of highlights naming specific kids.
 
Another cool feature is that it's possible to have 3 coaches/admins for free. So we don't have to pay to use this. If parents want full access to all data they need to subscribe. I think it's a great business model and I know we sure appreciate being able to use it. Getting new equipment and even new balls is so expensive for us here that we appreciate anywhere we can save. And when I have any extra we try to invest that in outfitting the Hungarian kids with better equipment.
 
It's some really well done software and if you are involved in any kind of youth or recreational baseball program I really recommend checking it out.
 
It's funny having baseball here. On the one hand I'm stoked my son gets to play at all. We didn't expect that. The down side is that the level of play is really low. We lost last night because we finally played a team that wasn't horrible. Until now we've been undefeated but not because we are all that good. It was good for the kids to see that. I think they knew it intellectually but not in their gut. We play some other better teams next week-end.
 
My son had a great game except for the fact that he pitched for the second time ever (in a game) and struggled. I liked that too though. It gives him a chance to learn how to deal with struggling and adversity. I was curious if after the game he would say something about not wanting to pitch any more. He didn't. He said he wants to keep going. I try hard to make sure he always knows he only has to do that stuff as much as he wants to. I don't want to push him at all. But I prefer to see him not give up when he runs into some bumps. I want to see that carry over to things that are more important than sports.
 
He hit very well, except for his last at bat which came after his tough time pitching. He was still upset and struck out. He'd already had a walk and two hits so it wasn't a big deal but I hope it helps him see that emotions can put you in a downward spiral. That's another life lesson I want him to pick up on. I love that he's a big hearted kid and he really cares about things. But in life there are times when performance is crucial and performing your best means shutting down the anger/sadness/fear. A lot of that comes from repetition and getting used to the environment but on the other side is just learning to maintain calm and keep moving.
 
It's a lot of fun coaching and being out there. It's always amazing to me. I'll stand there and think, "I'm at a baseball game in the middle of Hungary. This is crazy." Pretty cool.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Distros and Packaging 1

I've been using Linux for a while now. I had a few false starts but once I was using it for work that was pretty much it and I don't think there's been any time since then that I haven't had at least one machine I use on a daily basis with some Linux distro on it. Almost exclusively RedHat/Fedora stuff but sometimes others for short periods of time.
 
For a long time I didn't really have a mental concept of the distro and all the software that it packaged as separate things. I just saw it all as one whole. And it's a really nice way to manage things. I've grown to really love the fact that when I pull updates for my system, I'm updating almost everything - not just the OS. I don't have too many programs installed that I didn't get via my package manager.
 
As I've continued to learn and I've become more cognizant of the projects that provide that software I've been able to see one of the down sides. I tend to not be as aware of software that isn't available that route. Or things are not as up to date many times. Another issue can be stuff that just isn't available at all. It's not really the end of the world, just something I've been thinking about a bit lately.
 
A good example is the python plugin for KDevelop. It's ready and it's out there, just not through the Fedora repos. This is open, community built stuff so I saw it as a chance to chip in. I found the people who package the other KDevelop stuff for Fedora and asked about getting involved, maybe in packaging this plugin. They got back to me quickly and were very kind. They gave me links to the appropriate documentation and suggested that I might want to start with something already in the system. As I read through all that I realized that getting involved and learning all the processes and what not wouldn't be a trivial task. I can totally understand how and why it would be this way. It's just that I don't have the time to navigate it all. So I just check periodically to see if what I want shows up as available. It hasn't yet but I think it's just a matter of time.
 
I wouldn't want to move away from this model. I do think there are opportunities to lower the barriers to entry. Maybe this is because I just don't understand the issues involved. I certainly want to be able to trust the Fedora repos. I don't want my machine compromised because any idiot can throw stuff in there. I wonder if there are ways to mitigate risks but make it easier to contribute.
 
I do think this is one huge plus for Linux over Windows. I really like my update/install mechanism on Linux much better than what I've got on my win machines. And I mean the way it can be used for everything. The repos I have enabled right now are from Fedora, RPMFusion, Google and Adobe. So it's not just the stuff from the distro itself.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Couple Reviews Coming Up

I've submitted a review for "The Human Division" by John Scalzi. I usually have pretty good luck with those getting accepted but if it doesn't I'll post it here in the journal. It's the latest (fifth I think) book in the Old Man's War series and it's pretty stinking good I think.

As soon as I finished it I started reading "Portal" by Eric Flint and Ryk Spoor. It's the third in the Boundary series. I read the first two over the last couple of weeks (with a break in the middle to read The Human Division) and I'm really liking the series. It's under the hard sci-fi category and I have had a ton of fun with it. It's also much more in the style of what I think of as more positive, adventure oriented sci-fi. It feels a lot like a bunch of my favorite stuff from the 50s. I'll review Portal as well once I get it done.

May cover some tech books this summer if I have time. I haven't written many reviews in a while and it's something I really enjoy. I just haven't had the time for a while. Anyway - I recommend both books mentioned above. The Boundary series really needs to be read in order. The Human Division does not require reading the other OMW books first. It wouldn't hurt but this doesn't rest too heavily on the previous books. In fact - if you wanted - you could read this latest and then go back and read the others and really enjoy it I think. Though the first 3 do need to be read in order. And the 4th is pretty optional. That's Zoe's Tale which is a retelling of The Last Colony from a different perspective. I enjoyed it but I think some people thought it was just the third book over.

I have really enjoyed everything by Scalzi that I've read except for Redshirts. Didn't care for that at all. But I will say this - he is efficient. I would say that Zoe's Tale and Fuzzy Nation are both smart ways to capitalize on his current position. And I don't say that as a bad thing - because I really enjoyed them both and frankly anything that keeps the guy writing more sci-fi is fine with me. So some may criticize the guy but I think he's smart. Now if either of those sucked I'd be less positive about it - but the guy is just solid.

Not sure what I'll be reading for fun next after Portal. I've been casting about for some good fantasy after all this sci-fi but haven't bumped into anything that really grabbed me yet. Feel free to throw me some suggestions below.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The New Google Maps

I requested and got access to the new google maps. I would imagine they are rolling it out pretty quickly.

It's pretty nice. I think the search interface is much better. It's easier to look at the results as they are shown on the map. It's pretty spotty for where I live. I did a search for tire places and some showed up but lots of them around me did not. I'm not sure how they get on there - if it is something the businesses need to do themselves or there is a missing link in the chain somewhere else. I still saw more than I expected to find. I needed to search in Hungarian but that makes sense.

A search for restaurants by where I live was really lacking. This makes me wonder how useful maps will be for travel.

The cards that come up for search results are really nice. I like that interface quite a bit. I like how it fits in with the way that Google Now presents information. The only issue I've had with Google Now so far is that it tries to anticipate what you want and can give you information you don't want. To be specific, when the Penguins were playing the Islanders in the first round - I googled the Islanders following one of the games to look at the team roster. A day or two later, google now gave me a card showing the results of the previous nights game - that I hadn't watched yet. I removed the card and the alerts stopped. I'm glad I hadn't googled the Penguins or maybe I'd have kept getting updates.

This is also a reminder that everything I search or do logged in with my google account is being recorded and acted upon in one way or another. I know this wont sit well at all with some people.

Finally - I can't see all the features of the new google maps. It tells me I'm running in "Lite Mode" because I'm on Linux. You only get the full experience on Mac, Windows or Chrome.

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