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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.

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: Slashdot bug-of-the-week 6

I think someone else may have already mentioned this a while back but I hadn't seen it myself before today. The zoo.pl script (used for friends in particular) is broken.

More specifically, it seems to be broken when I try to call it up in firefox. If I am running chrome it works as it is supposed to. If I try to use it in firefox I get a non-helpful error.

This wouldn't have been broken by virtue of being used (and abused) by a former slashdot employee who was known for carrying an extensive perma-hate list of foes, would it? Naah, that doesn't sound that likely.
Republicans

Journal Journal: Let me get this straight... 23

A while ago, some billionare brothers, who hardly pay any taxes and never give more than casual lip service to things like the plight of workers or environmental stewardship decided they needed a way to pay even less in taxes and care even less about the part of the world that is not insanely wealthy. They decided one way or another that the best way to meet this goal was to start their own political movement; which they ironically called the "tea party". This party promised uninformed voters the world.

The Tea Party rather bluntly declared itself to have objectives including avoiding taxes altogether and the destruction of the IRS. They made various claims of income taxes being unconstitutional and also statements of how good god-fearing Americans should do everything they can to avoid paying taxes, including not filling out tax claims at all. Then, in a rather strange twist this new political movement filed with the IRS for tax exempt status - rather than just simply avoiding taxes altogether in the way they had advocated for their followers to do.

And now, this group that has openly called for the end of the IRS and taxes, is crying foul that the IRS was investigating it.

When people left the country to avoid the military draft, they were shunned as outcasts, hippies, cowards, commies, and Un-American. But now we have a group that is openly opposing the government and we are being told - even by the supposed leftist media - that they should be greatly rewarded for their courage.

What the fuck happened to this country?
User Journal

Journal Journal: "The market is the state. In fact that is true today."--Fustakrakich 28

I have said many times that the difference between capitalism and socialism is one of cardinality. Socialism is the singular corporation. Capitalism, if it be more than oligarchy, is a full-on multitude.

It has to happen if we are to shed our animal desires and become human.

Dude, don't bogart that joint. I want to know what magic definition of "human" you're operating under, who manages that definition, and the size of your kickback for being such a useful patsy.
Full disclosure: my definition is the liberty-conveying one found in the New Testament, and I'm not buying any of these variations on Marx. Karl, indeed, preached "The Kingdom of God, hold the God," with the corpse piles of the last 170 years to show for it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Does anything work anymore? 3

Does anything around here work anymore? I go to the zoo.pl page (uid changed to mine to protect the guilty) to try to change friend/foe/neutral status, and I get:

OK

The server encountered an internal error or misconfiguration and was unable to complete your request.

Please contact the server administrator, admin@slashdot.org and inform them of the time the error occurred, and anything you might have done that may have caused the error.

More information about this error may be available in the server error log.
Apache/2.2.3 (CentOS) Server at slashdot.org Port 80

I have to click in three different places to find the right link to let me do a JE.
I was gonna give a laundry list, but fuck it, it's just pissing in the wind. I figure Dice was able to buy it for, what, the price of one week of coffee at Starbucks?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Great Samizdata quote 8

If you want to introduce someone to libertarian thinking, encourage them to try this experiment. Spend a few days reading nothing but technology news. Then spend a few days reading nothing but political news. For the first few days theyâ(TM)ll see an exciting world of innovation and creativity where everything is getting better all the time. In the second period theyâ(TM)ll see a miserable world of cynicism and treachery where everything is falling apart. Then ask them to explain the difference.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Project idea

I have two dual-core 64bit laptops.
Thought is to take, say, Arch Linux, and craft a minimal configuration that:
  • Installs to a thumb drive
  • Supports virtualization
  • Boots itself to one core, then the other
  • Can bind both the host and guest instances to external mass storage
  • Can at least fake some Big Data work

My MacBook Pro's meager 4GB of RAM is probably suicidal for this sort of thing.
However, the intent here is to do preliminary research, and document that I have enough technical chops not to kill myself in a real situation.
I priced the gear I'd need at MicroCenter today. $500-$600. Once I've got the distro configured, and can do a double-USB boot trick, plunking down further cash won't be totally idiotic.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Black Spyder is cool

It took me a while to figure out how to identify a user by ID. You can't just randomly put that query string variable in the URL and get any joy.

My Slashdot UID is 8191. Less than 10K, *and* Mersenne prime. #InfowarsPickupLines

— Smitty TheWackoBird (@smitty_one_each) April 26, 2013

Click the Twitter hash link for some quality abuse of Alex Jones.

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"Your stupidity, Allen, is simply not up to par." -- Dave Mack (mack@inco.UUCP) "Yours is." -- Allen Gwinn (allen@sulaco.sigma.com), in alt.flame

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