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Archive for January, 2008

Pooping arctic fox in Canada

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turtle head, anyone?

Part III in my attempt not to bore you with too much computer stuff. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 15 comments » | Jan 31, 2008 16:30:21

Mac OS Leopard backup (and other) woes

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I don’t regret upgrading to Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard). The network improvements (no more 1-2 minute SPODs!) and Quicklook are features that have improved my productivity a lot. And luckily, I haven’t been hit by many of the compatibility bugs out there. There are, however, still a few things that are driving me crazy:

  1. SuperDuper! still doesn’t work. Not having a way to make a bootable backup is making me very nervous — especially when I’m in the field.
  2. Carbon Copy Cloner won’t automatically mount sparse disk images. This is bad because it’s the only way I do automated backups (to a sparse image on the network). It’s a known problem. Mr. Bombich plans to fix it in version 3.0.2, but it’s been months without a peep.
  3. Keyboard freezes occasionally when Microsoft Office 2004 is running. Infuriating.
  4. The new open/save dialog box doesn’t show mounted network volumes at the top level. Instead, it asks you to browse through servers in the SHARED section. Not convenient — and sometimes, it mounts a duplicate share using a different protocol.
  5. No RAW converter update for the Canon 1Ds Mark III. This isn’t Leopard-related, but it still sucks. I can’t use Aperture with any new images I’m shooting until Apple releases a RAW update.
  6. My Apple mouse sometimes freaks out and sends the cursor across the screen instantly. Also not Leopard-related.

Did I mention that I hate computers? I just hate this one less than I did my old Windows boxes.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jan 31, 2008 16:09:03

The funniest envelope I’ve ever received

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a gift from my sheep lover friend

I thought someone had actually signed me up for more information from the organization, if such an org really did exist.

The exact words that went through my head were, “HA HA, motherfucker.” (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jan 29, 2008 18:20:41

Eugene Hung on Jeopardy tomorrow night

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eugene, on jeopardy!

Hey, an old classmate of mine, Eugene Hung, will be on Jeopardy tonight (January 29, 2008) tomorrow night, January 30, in the Bay Area*. He’s a really smart dude. Good luck, Eugene! [video intro]

  • Eugene says, “Monday’s episode was preempted by State of the Union in Bay Area. Other parts of the country saw me [today], Bay Area has to wait until tomorrow.”
Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jan 29, 2008 14:07:21

Underwater abstracts from Komodo, Indonesia

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crinoid abstract (feather star)

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, 100mm macro lens, Seacam underwater housing, 2 x Ikelite DS-125 strobes, 1/200 sec @ f13, ISO 200

I should probably post something pretty every time I write something about computers. I took this shot of a crinoid last year on a trip to Komodo, Indonesia. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jan 29, 2008 13:35:37

Shell parameter size limitation: Argument list too long

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I just came across the very-common Argument list too long parameter size issue when running some shell commands during the Wetpixel server migration (currently underway!).

chmod 777 *
-bash: //bin/chmod: Argument list too long

I did a bunch of searches in teh Google, and because it took more than 5 minutes to find a good solution, I’m posting more information here. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Jan 29, 2008 12:21:48

Stephen Prutsman plays Tchaikovsky in Santa Cruz

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Geoff and I drove down to Santa Cruz this evening and met up with Warren, Elaine, Ray, and John to see Stephen Prutsman play Tchaik with the Santa Cruz Symphony. Stevie had left tickets for us at will call under his name, which was interesting because the folks behind the window refused to give them to us without photo ID. Uh… they were, like, comps from the performer? Of course my ID isn’t going to match. I had to call Steve and then hand the phone through the hole in the window for verification — and I hate disturbing performers before they go on stage.

The first piece (orchestra only) was awful. Someone in our group said, “it was like going to a five star restaurant and having the first course be half of a Big Mac… served cold.”

Luckily, Steve was on next. As usual, he was fantastic; whenever he was playing, the orchestra sort of faded out (at least, in my mind). There was no way the Santa Cruz Symphony was going to be able to match Steve’s musicianship nor energy, but they put good effort into it. Steve got a standing ovation, and followed the Tchaik with a jazz encore. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Jan 27, 2008 01:46:16

Too much computering around here

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A school of striped catfish (Plotosus lineatus)

I thought I’d break up all the computer stuff here with an underwater photo of a school of Plotosus lineatus. These suckers are poisonous and hang out in dense schools. Photo was taken in Indonesia last year.

Shot details: Canon 1Ds Mark II, 100mm macro lens, Seacam housing, 2 x Ikelite DS-125 strobes. 1/200 sec @ f16, ISO 200.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jan 26, 2008 11:55:55

Applescript to convert clipboard rich text to plain text

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I struggled for months with copying rich text into the clipboard and then trying to paste it back out as plain text. I do this a lot when copying and pasting formatted text into text areas in certain websites, some of which are sort of aware of rich text (the end result is never what I want).

Previously, I used my favorite text-only application, TextMate, as a cut ‘n paste proxy to get plain text. I’d paste the RTF text snippet into a new document, and then copy it out again to paste into my final destination. This was clearly not very the best way to do things.

These days, I use a combination of Applescript and Quicksilver. I can convert the clipboard to plain text in a fraction of a second. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jan 26, 2008 11:36:09

How to block and hide Facebook applications and requests

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UPDATED on June 12, 2010: How to unblock Facebook apps

I took the time this evening to write a little guide on how to make Facebook less annoying (see my profile). Don’t get me wrong — I love Facebook, but there were some things I had to do to make it usable. This is for those of you who don’t like all the stupid little apps that clutter up your request page and the profiles of so many people out there.

There are four little Facebook tips that I like to share with folks in need:

  1. Disable Beacon
  2. When your friends send you application requests, block first, then ignore
  3. Use IgnoreAll to batch-ignore application requests
  4. Minimize all irrelevant applications on profile pages

Details follow. (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 49 comments » | Jan 26, 2008 00:05:16

Mozart’s String Quartet in Eb K.428

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Today is random Eric-vignette day!

iTunes has just started playing the second movement of Mozart’s String Quartet in E-flat Major, K.428 (Andante con moto ). It always reminds me of Kilimanjaro; the walking bass line is what kept me sane during pretty much the entire climb. During particularly boring moments, I hummed one note under my breath for every step I took. The reason it was so embedded in my head was that we had just played it at a housewarming party a couple weeks prior…

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jan 25, 2008 14:29:21

Gadget advice from friends

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Eric: I am looking for a really-small USB headset. Friends: Have you tried Bluetooth headsets!? They’re small!! Eric: Yes, I’ve tried Bluetooth. It doesn’t work in urban environments. Friends: I like Bluetooth. They are really small. Eric: I hate Bluetooth. I had to retire my mouse because there is so much 2.4Ghz noise in urban environments. Friends: Have you tried Bluetooth?

I’m going to stop asking for input.

But special thanks to Roget, who has gone out of his way to be helpful. :) And also, Victor A., who suggested the Plantronics .Audio 400 foldable headset. This is the headset I use already. I’m looking for one I can use on the road (much smaller). I don’t think it exists.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jan 25, 2008 14:13:34

Mac OS 10.5 Leopard sudden logout/login

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BIZARRE. Just now, I was working in the following applications: Excel, Preview, Aperture, Photo Mechanic, and iTunes (playing music). I clicked over from Excel to Photo Mechanic, and my Mac Pro screen went completely blue. Finder re-launched, and it was like I had just logged in after a restart.

Obviously, I lost all my work since the last save. It’s the first time anything like this has happened. Scary (and shitty).

(I used to get kernel panics during the early days of Parallels — thankfully, those days are over.)

OK, so now the few of my friends still on Windows are going to chime in and tell me to use Vista. No.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 13 comments » | Jan 25, 2008 13:39:40

Ignore all Facebook application requests

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A friend just sent me this link, which looks useful. There’s also a video showing it in action.

Ignore all facebook requests button | One click ignores all applications / invitations http://www.ignoreall.com/ A button to ignore all facebook requests at once! One click ignores all applications, requests and invitations on facebook, group invitations and friend request stay!

Now we just need an auto-blocker. (I block each application when I see it for the first time because I’d prefer to only see each invitation once in my life.)

UPDATE More Facebook hints (how to make Facebook less annoying).

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Jan 25, 2008 12:59:01

Carolyn Nash’s birthday

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carolyn celebrates her birthday @ junoon

I really enjoy going to Nash events because in addition to celebrating whatever event is at hand, I get to see old friends that I don’t get to see regularly. It’s also a reminder of the career path I could have chosen had I not been derailed by the ocean (and by my own inability to stay confined within the tech world). (read more »)

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jan 25, 2008 01:14:45

Teleport: multiple Macs with single keyboard and mouse

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screenshot from my two computers

I used to be a frequent user of Synergy, but it would occasionally lose connection and require the service to be restarted. Also, with the recent upgrade to Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard), I’ve heard that it takes some tweaking to make it work properly.

I just downloaded and installed Julien Robert’s teleport (donation-ware), which is the best keyboard/mouse-sharing app I’ve ever used. Previously, I was forced to use Synergy because I had a Windows machine next to my Mac. But now that I’m 100% Mac-based, teleport is just about perfect. It has been very stable so far, and features pleasing interface cues to show mouse location (when not on the main screen) and the moment the cursor crosses screen boundaries.

I’m off to donate to Robert’s shareware fund. :)

UPDATE One thing I’ll have to get used to is Mail.app on two different keyboards. Before, I used Mail.app with Mail Act-On’s keyboard shortcuts exclusively on my MacBook Pro. As a result, I now keep hitting Option instead of Control — the lack of the Fn key on my desktop keyboard is throwing me off!

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jan 24, 2008 16:46:56

Delicious copyright violation

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There has been quite a bit of screaming turtle use without permission lately. Luckily, most have been innocent and fun (the most impressive being the screaming turtle tattoo).

My friend, Heidi (H-T), saw my turtle on the street in San Francisco last week, and her friend snapped a photo of the stand and e-mailed it to me. Apparently, a restaurant called “Honu’s” has just opened up, and my screaming turtle is announcing the news!

I don’t really care so much about usage like this. Still, my copyright is clearly visible on the image — just get in touch and ask. It isn’t that hard to do. I’d gladly have traded a free meal for me and a friend for the use of my turtle image. I’d even accept something like that retroactively. :)

UPDATE The owners of Honu’s Island Grinds wrote to me after someone called them and told them that they were using my image unlawfully. It was someone named “Kim” who called. Which Kim, I wonder?

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Jan 22, 2008 17:34:36

AAdvantage Citi credit card hassle

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Last month, I had an unauthorized $2,000 charge by Ron’s Honda Center in Soldotna, Alaska. I called them up and spoke with a nice guy named Terry, who told me that their computer systems showed no transactions of $2,000 during the month of December.

I called Citi to report the fraudulent charge, and spoke with a rather annoying service representative. 7-10 day replacement? And I have to get an affidavit notarized?

This was a fraudulent charge, and I need my card to be replaced now! I managed to get 24-hour expedited card replacement, but Citi should really be trying to replace my card as easily and quickly as possible without me having to make it an issue. This is why I like my American Express. They make things easy.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jan 22, 2008 16:06:10

Corinne, Jack, Ella, GG, Vienna

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Corinne visits

Babies Ella and Jack

Vienna, GG, and intern meet

2 girls, 1… errr, I mean, 3 birds, 1 stone.

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Jan 22, 2008 00:43:07

Bachelor day with Dave

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shooting guns is fun

Any afternoon with the girlfriend away (not mine) must include Prince Rupert’s drops and shooting guns, followed by dinner with a married woman and her friend.

Right?

Oakland, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Jan 22, 2008 00:17:12
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i hate computers.