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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.

User Journal

Journal Journal: I'm not dead yet 1

Haven't been posting much - life has been keeping me busy. What are the latest haps in the pigeon roost?

Welllll - let's see. My wife is going to the US in June and my girls are going to a summer camp while she is gone. That means the boy and I get a week to kick it together. I'm really looking forward to that. He's 10 now and we have hit a point where we can have a lot of fun together. I help coach his baseball team, we have a little running foosball competition and we've had a blast watching ice hockey together this year - Go Pens! So I'm really looking forward to that.

In July the whole family will be spending about a week in VlorÃ, Albania. It's an old city - so old I'm really having a hard time getting my head around it. We'll be helping to staff an English camp there. After we will try to take a little holiday - maybe to Greece or Italy. Depends on the budget and time considerations.

Around all that I'll be working on building a contact management system for our campus team in Lviv, Ukraine. I'm not sure just what I am going to do - I'm a bit resource constrained. Right now I'm looking at building something using CiviCRM as a base. It's just me and no money - so I need a platform that will do most of the work for me right out of the box. We'll see. If it goes well I think I'll be able to bring some dollars to the process and get someone to build something beefier.

I've got some mobile dev work I want to start planning out as well. Which will also probably end up being contracted out. I sort of wish I could still spend day to day time writing code but it isn't in the cards. When I do have time I'm just too stinking slow and what I write probably has immense issues I don't even see. Got to leave that for the hobby stuff on my own time.

Weather is really nice right now here in the Budapest area. I need to get down town more. I was thinking about that today. Need to start taking some long lunches downtown. Bring my tablet and do some work from a cafe or something. I don't want to end up reaching the end of our time here and realizing I didn't take advantage of the location enough.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Android Studio

Announced at the google thing - Android Studio. It's an Android IDE built on the community version of the IntelliJ IDE by JetBrains. Here is a video of the demo. It jumps about half an hour into a much longer video and runs a couple minutes or so - then they move on to other stuff I didn't watch.

I own a couple JetBrain products - the pro version of IntelliJ IDEA and PyCharm. I probably posted about it when I bought them - I like the tools but the fonts are just a wreck on my 64 bit Fedora box. So much so that I just don't use it. With the Python plugin and php support on KDevelop I haven't thought about them much. (On an unrelated note - another editor I really like Komodo Edit - since it is built on Firefox tech it has the opengl issues I've mentioned here before.) Anyway I downloaded Android Studio to see - as all it cost me was a few minutes of time and some hard drive space.

I fired it up and created a little fake project. The fonts look good. This made me curious. I fired up IntelliJ, saw that there was a new version, installed that - and it looks good too. This is so sweet. And I don't know if this is because something is now better in Java, IntelliJ or Fedora - and I don't care.

User Journal

Journal Journal: KDE volume steps

If you use KDE like I do - you may be interested in this article I found linked on Reddit - Volume Change Percentages in KDE. The idea there is that by default Kmix will increment volume changes by 4% when you use your keyboard - but it's possible to change that value. You just need to make a change to kmixrc. But you can go read it if you are interested.

So over at Reddit there were some comments like "Thanks for pointing this out." and one question "Any way to do the same with veromix?"

Let me confess that my first thought was - "This is about kmix stupid." But then I thought more about it and realized that it may not be stupid and so I started to dig. I got the source for veromix and it took me a little while to find it - but I did find the file and line where the value is set that drives this behavior. I was able to change it in my system and now I have a 2% increment (veromix is set to 5%) and that makes me pretty stinking happy.

I've emailed the veromix author because I think it wouldn't be too hard to add this value as one of the setting options. I think I've got most of the work done for it. I don't have time today to try it but I will soon. I think that would be pretty sweet.

Open Source - this is an example of why I love it so much.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Whole Fedora/nVidia/Google Talk thing 2

I think I've got it nailed down a bit. When I run the nVidia drivers it is not using OpenGL. The Google Talk plugin needs OpenGL to work. I can force OpenGL to run. The the talk plugin works but Firefox will not run. If I switch to the Nouveau drivers then OpenGL will work fine without any messing about but again Firefox is unhappy.

So for right now - with my GeForce card my choice is Google Hangouts or Firefox.

I don't do the Hangouts that often. I may try just switching over if I need to. I usually have my little Windows laptop at my desk. I don't use it unless I need to go to a meeting but I could hop over to it for video chats if I don't have time to switch my graphics over on the Linux box.

It's not the greatest situation but I do feel better now that I feel like I have a grasp of the situation at least.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fedora 18, Nouveau and Firefox 1

What happens if I open Firefox on my Fedora 18 box and visit the Google Sites page that Sophie Schmidt made about her visit to North Korea? This happens. That's a screen shot of both my monitors. On the left is Firefox and on the right is Chrome which was open to the Journal Entry writing page here. And it got much worse once I closed Firefox. Plasma pretty much took a dump at that point and I had to log out/log in to get back to a usable desktop.
 
If I run with the nVidia drivers I don't have this issue with Firefox. And even if I don't run Firefox - little artifacts like those in the screen shot will build up over time with the Nouveau drivers. Pretty much immediately if I have any desktop effects enabled. So why don't I just use the nVidia drivers all the time? Well - because I figured out today that under the nVidia drivers using Google Hangouts crashes KDE completely. As in kicking me out and forcing me to log back in. And I need Hangouts for work.
 
Very frustrating. So I'm stuck back on the Nouveau drivers and playing around looking for some magical set of options that will bring some stability and maybe even the ability to use my beloved Firefox again. The only up side right now is that abrt wont be giving me crap about having a tainted kernel any more. I hate software that has to exhibit moral superiority.
 
On a side note - I guess I can't add tags to journal entries any more. I guess I never paid attention to them anyway. They don't show up in the je list and I just used titles to find stuff anyway.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Can you remember, remember my name? 3

The title has nothing to do with what I'll talk about - I just heard Perfect Strangers on the radio this morning and it got stuck in my head.

While it was playing I was thinking about something that happened a couple weeks ago when I was in Thailand.

I've been to Thailand quite a few times. My first visit was in the late 80's as a sailor and then I've been at least once a year or more in the last 4 - 5 years. I've been enough times that it's become quite routine. I know my way around the airport. I have a rough idea of what the markets will be like in whatever city I visit, etc. This time I flew into Bangkok and then had a 2.5 or 3 hour drive to where I was staying.

During the drive I was fighting to stay awake - but what kept jumping out at me over and over was, "Wow - there are so many pickup trucks here!"

I'm willing to bet that the number of pickup trucks hasn't recently surged in Thailand. My guess is that the reason I noticed it so much this time is that it was my fist visit after living in Hungary for a while. Going from the US to Thailand, the number of trucks I see on the road would not be noticeable. But compared to here - it was on my mind for the whole visit. And I realized something for the first time. I love stuff like that. I think it may be the biggest reason I love to travel. I quickly become used to the environment that I'm in and start to filter stuff out. I don't consciously notice a lot of things around me after a while. I don't know what the proper term is for this - I'm sure some of you do. It's that whole idea that fish are unaware of water. I use to have a snippet of a poem I kept taped to my desk,

" Oh, where is the sea? " the fishes cried,
As they swam the crystal clearness through;

" We've heard from of old of the ocean's tide,
And we long to look on the water's blue. "

I long for experiences that knock me out of this numbness to my surroundings. I love seeing cool and exceptional things too - but even moreso I think - I love to just get an awareness of what I take for granted. I'm the same way with people. I love to have friends and conversations that force me to look at things differently. I don't like for everything to feel obvious. There is of course a limit. I have a co-worker who thinks very differently from me. Enough so that dealing with him can be a real chore. The chasm is too much to cross. He's another American - which is kind of funny. Most of my friends and the people I hang out with here are not. Same idea - I like what my Hungarian, Romanian, Albanian, and so on, friends bring to the mix.

At some point I expect I'll end up living in the US again. Honestly I'm not too crazy about the idea. I've really taken to Europe, and this part of it in particular. If I had my druthers I'd retire to Slovenia. Maybe somewhere not far from the farm where my great grandmother was born. But at some point my kids will head home to go to university and I'll head back. Maybe it will be more interesting as I'll have been gone long enough to make America new.

My last visit back I'd only been here a little over a year. So it wasn't such a big deal going back. It was a little annoying but not so much more than it was before I left. The in your face over indulgence that permeates so much of everything in the USA gets to me sometimes. But it's not like it wasn't that way before I left. It's just that much more obvious now that I've had a bit of a break from it. The insulation from the rest of the world is also difficult - but again - I was already aware of that before I moved. It's just now I get to be around more people who live lives that are connected and aware of others outside their own single context. (And that part isn't a critique of the USA alone. I've met Hungarians who are largely the same in that regard. They are not really aware of a whole lot outside Hungary and even moreso outside Europe. And they aren't interested.)

So I'm a bit of a junkie for these new experiences/view points. Probably part of why I enjoy the books I do as well.

Well - nothing deep and I'm sure nothing new. Just a glimpse in my head from my morning commute. The one Google Now told me about before I left my house. That deserves its own JE.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Changing the ROM on my Galaxy S3 6

I bought by Galaxy S3 from T-Mobile, in the US last year. So it is the SGH-T999 model. I've been very happy with it. I've stuck to running it as stock for a couple reasons. The biggest is that I just didn't want to hassle with learning how to change the underlying software. Secondly, because I wanted to keep everything cool in terms of the warranty and what not. I even jumped through all their hoops to get my unlock code from them.

But I ran into an issue the other week that finally used up all my good will towards t-mobile. I went to use the phone as a hot spot and couldn't. It wanted me to pay for their tethering plan - which doesn't exist where I live.

I didn't have time right then to do anything but this week-end I did a little reading and today I installed Cyanagenmod on it. So far everything seems to be going very well. And I actually have control over the device that I paid (in my mind anyway) a pretty hefty sum to own. None of the steps were all that difficult and my biggest holdup was it would not flash the new rom until the battery was over 85% charged - which I thought was odd, but it worked out.

I'm getting all my stuff back to the way I like it and enjoying being on a newer version of Android than the one that Samsung and T-mobile officially supply for this phone right now. Which is idiotic.

So - moving forward I don't plan to purchase phones from t-mobile any more. I'll probably stick with Nexus phones from Google and avoid all this headache. I wont get another new phone for a while. I bought a new, high end phone so that it would last a while. But when I do I wont make the mistake of getting stuck depending on mobile phone companies.

KDE

Journal Journal: Calligra Author

Calligra Author was announced last summer. Things are still early and often there isn't much to see. (Clicking on the Author Handbook in the Author Help menu takes you to that page.) So things are still rather rough, but I bring it up because when I ran an update today Author got installed on my machine. I was excited to see that and ran it but there's not much to see yet. It's built on Calligra Words and still pretty much looks just like it. When you start Author you are asked to choose a template and none of those offered really make sense for Author, they are just brought over from Words. But I'm optimistic for the future.
 
I'd never noticed before but in the announcement for the project they said it would be compatible with Plume Creator. I checked to see if Plume was available in the Fedora repos but it's not unfortunately. It looks pretty interesting. They have debs, source and a windows installer at Sourceforge. Not sure if I'm interested enough to install it from source. Maybe later if they get it to 1.0 or something. Of course hopefully by then it'll get pulled into the repos.
 
So Author really isn't amazing or anything yet but it's good to see they are working on it and I'll be watching it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Kickin' it in Cha-am 4

It's freaking hot in Thailand. The night I left Budapest the outside temperature was 8 and when we landed in Bangkok it was 33. And humid.

But I can't complain, even though I just did. And it doesn't matter that much as all day I'm in an air conditioned conference room. I always enjoy being in Thailand, the Thai people could be the friendliest on the planet.

Got to go to "Monkey Island" and feed some monkeys. That was kind of cool. I've never seen monkeys in the wild before. Got a lot of work done with my co-workers from all over the world. They are good folks so I love when we get back together. Tomorrow I fly home (I've been here a week) and I'm looking forward to it. I missed the big Budapest spring snow storm but that should be melted and I can get to fixing up my yard.

I'll try to post some pictures later.

User Journal

Journal Journal: NHL GameCenter Live 6

2nd Edit- As Pudge points out the ability to turn off the box scores is right there. So I'm the stupid one on that count and all I have left is being slightly put out that I need to call to turn off auto-renew.

Little first world complaining here.

I did something last week I haven't done before. I subscribed to the premium NHL GameCenter Live service.It is a freaking train wreck. Let me tell you why.

The biggest problem is this - you cannot watch games that have already been played without seeing the score. Their interface for selecting games already played is by giving you a box score. Clicking on that will take you to a summary of the game with the final score repeated at the top. It is horrific design. I really don't feel like staying up until 1 or 3 am to watch a game - but if I want to watch it during the day it means I have to watch it already aware of the result. STUPID.

As I realized it worked this way I dug around their site looking for some hidden way to make it work in a desirable fashion and learned a fun little fact. When I subscribed to the service I also signed up to auto-renew every year and the only way to stop that is to call them on the phone. ON THE PHONE. Seriously. This is such a complete mess. So I'll be calling them on the stupid phone to talk to a stupid person about not making me pay again next year for their horrible stupid service. Idiots.

Edit - I have found one screen that shows past games without scores but they have a 3 day lag. Today, the 21st of February - the most recent games I can watch are from the 18th. Losers.

Python

Journal Journal: Github pays off 1

Well, Pyrrhic REE has contributors. Found them via reddit. This is cool because if things work out the project could end up being much, much cooler than it would ever have been with me working on it alone.Woot!

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