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Friday, August 27, 2004

Custom Crack

Geneticists and researchers tell us that in the future it will be possible to make drugs that are genetically customized to particular individuals for both recreational and therapeutic uses, possibly without addiction or harmful side-effects. When that day comes, mine will probably approximate the effects of this.

To sum up: It is a video game...about Star Wars...that uses Legos. That bears repeating, so re-read that sentence and pretend I said it again. If a product could be engineered to stimulate my specific interests in such a way as to be completely irresistable to me, it would look strikingly similar to this. If I didn't already own an Xbox, it's probable I would buy one for this game.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I hate days that I spend fighting with my tools instead of actually writing code. I won't go into detail, but it was extra frustrating.

Finally updated my reading list. No, PHP isn't exactly bedside reading, but I'm not reading it for entertainment (unlike Code Complete and Learning Python -- really). Although I really, really wanted to use Python for the web app I'm working on, PHP just turned out to be the better choice. It's literally tailor-made for what I'm doing and -- most importantly -- it's already available for free on the web host. Looks like we'd have to pay them an hourly rate to recompile Apache with mod_python support. Oh, well.

The zombie book is a blast. You never know when you might find yourself in a zombie outbreak, and knowing how to handle it could save your life! Remember: Blades don't need reloading!

Weremoose and I have been craving some pen and paper RPGing, but we both lack good local groups to play with. We know people we want to play with, but since they're all scattered across the continent we're looking at ways to play online. Some combination of VoIP and online RPG tools like WebRPG or OpenRPG looks promising. The big question is what ruleset to use. We're not too interested in the D&D d20 rules. GURPS has the advantage of being cross-genre, while LA has the advantage of simplicity. We're not sure which is more important to us yet.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Worldwide Dry Erase Board

It just dawned on me today why blogs are so popular. Back when I lived in the dorm, the doors to our rooms (and often the walls around them) were vehicles of personal expression. We could put anything we wanted on them, and our friends and dormmates would pass by and read/look-at/peruse it. The world wide web successfully filled that need, but something was missing.

Then I read this article today, and realized what it was. Right in the middle of everyone's door was a dry erase board. That made the conversation two-way. You could put stuff on your door, and other people could comment on it. We often had top ten lists (which frequently became top 30 lists) on interesting topics or wars of words with other people's doors. Blogs are the dorm dry erase boards of the internet!

Our friend Bill is coming to town this weekend. Haven't seen him in over a year, so it should be a lot of fun. And we're nearly done with the floor! Only a couple more transition edgings to install in doorways!

Monday, August 16, 2004


The consulting meeting went pretty well, I think. There are some legalities to get straightened out on both ends to make sure everybody's covered, but shouldn't be anything major. If nothing else, it'll give me a chance to learn and use some non-Windows stuff, which will be nice since pretty much everything I do 9to5 is Windows. If anybody has experience with LAMP for web apps, feel free to share.

Pretty good weekend. Got a little more post-floor reassembly done around the house. We're hoping to finish that up before this weekend. The only major problem is that we can't get any paint to match our original wall color. We have a pint of the original paint for touch-ups, and it's fine, but all of what we've had mixed to match it so far has gone on a lot darker. Pretty frustrating. We may wind up repainting at least one room with a totally different color.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Going Rates

I'm meeting with a guy tomorrow about doing some consulting work for him. Basically I'd be doing the backend database and business logic programming for a web app he's designed. No tight deadlines, strictly nights and weekends kind of stuff. I just really have no clue what the going rate for that sort of thing is around here. NW Arkansas isn't exactly a hotbed of programming consultation, so I don't have any similar projects to draw comparisons to.

Any thoughts, suggestions, or words of wisdom from folks who know about that sort of thing would be appreciated.

Gonna go home and watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics. Since they've already finished in their timezone, it'll be nice to be able to watch without holding my breath and hoping nothing terrible happens.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Unexpected Benefits

We got the entertainment center and the major "sitting furniture" moved back into the living room tonight. We still have most of the baseboards to put back on, but at least now the bedroom looks normal, so when we go to bed tonight we can shut the door and pretend the rest of the house isn't still something of a construction zone.

The unexpected benefit is acoustics. Without the carpet soaking up the sound, our modest stereo sounds awesome! I now understand why classical music studios have traditionally had wooden floors. The sound just jumps off of it. Very nice.

Today's lesson on furnishings is that the bed apparatus in a sleeper sofa is only held in place by about six screws, it's easy to take out, and sofas lose about 70% of their weight without it. If nothing else, that makes it much easier to move. And since the structural integrity was unaffected, we just threw a piece of plywood in under the cushions for a seat, and now it's good to go.

That gives us plenty of time to decide what to do for a sofa. The choices are re-upholster it ourselves, have it done, or buy a new one. I'm heavily in favor of the latter two, especially the third. Could we do it ourselves? I know we could. I also know that people who do that get paid a ton of money for it, and there's probably a very good reason for that.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Hit the Floor

I did, in fact, literally hit the floor this weekend, probably close to a thousand times. My recap of the laminate flooring endeavor:

First, let me say that installing laminate flooring is not unpleasant. It's rather like a giant Lego/Erector/jigsaw puzzle combination. Kinda fun. Pulling up carpet sucks in at least eight ways that I'll refrain from enumerating here.

What I will enumerate, though, are the lessons I learned about flooring in particular. I think these would apply to other flooring surfaces, as well, so if you undertake such a thing, remember:
  1. Don't assume that your walls are straight -- they probably aren't.

  2. Also don't assume they're exactly perpendicular or parallel.

  3. Don't assume your floor is perfectly flat

  4. I suspect the difference between expensive and inexpensive flooring isn't that the expensive looks better, but that its edges don't chip and crack as easily as the cheap stuff. I have no experience with the good stuff to back that up, though.
We started in our front room, which turned out to be a good decision. It's a square room with no weird doorways to work around. It took about 5 hours to do this 9'x11' room (mostly because we were just learning), which was greatly encouraging. That was good, because the next thing we did was the 3'x10' hallway, with its 6 doorways. The first ten foot row of planks took me two hours to lay. The second and third rows took one hour each. The fourth and fifth took an hour total. That's five hours for one third the area as the first room.

If I'd started in there and thought it would all be that way, I would've sat down and cried. The 22' x 14' living room took about ten hours, but it was pretty straight forward.

Heather Marie was wonderful, pulling off baseboards and scraping carpet gunk off the floor while I cut and measured and hammered and cursed, and she spent a large chunk of her day off putting the baseboards back on. She's pretty incredible.

Now the biggest thing left is moving the furniture back onto the floor. That's not bad, except for our ugly 800 pound sleeper sofa. If that's an exaggeration, it isn't much of one. Not only is it heavy, but it has several large, heavy metal bars that hang beneath it all the way to the floor. The new floor. That I slaved over. Now I'm trying to decide if it's worth another $800+ to buy a new sofa that a) isn't ugly and b) won't destroy our new floor from its sheer weight. Anyone with experience putting preposterously heavy furniture on laminate floors, please feel free to chime in.

On another note, Guinness Draught in their special cans is pretty darn tasty. Remember: Guinness is Good for You!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Short on Time

No time for a major update this week, and probably won't be any until Sunday or later.

At work, we're trying to kill all the show-stopping bugs before the first public beta of our new version.

At home, Heather Marie and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary (which is today!) by replacing about half the carpet in our house with laminate flooring. We've spent all week moving furniture off the carpet and we'll be spending all weekend on our hands and knees sticking planks together.