This is what I do when I’m not at work.

10.3.9 -> 10.4 Upgrade Successful

Posted: April 30th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: computers, technospiel | 1 Comment »

Last night I blew off pre-arranged plans and the bar scene to spend a little quality time with my home computer. It had been a while since I set aside special time for just the two of us. But with that inviting OS X Tiger box set sitting on my desk, there was not much else I could think about.

Of course, I immediately went and bought a fresh eBook copy of Joe Kissell’s Take Control of Upgrading to Tiger and spent about 2 hours poring over it before issuing any commands (because doing this has prevented me from suffering major upgrade headaches in the past). By 3:00 AM, I had backed up my data in three different places, cleansed and purged the main drive of excess, and let the upgrade roll. So far, so good.

I wanted to mention here that the OS X Panther-to-Tiger upgrade went smoothly. Every time Apple comes out with a new OS product, I am subjected to oodles of stories from people wanting to complain that “The upgrade trashed my system.” I love how they cannot get more specific than that, instead slandering the software with language of the grossly misinformed. (These are also usually the same people who never perform a backup of critical data and then whine when it disappears).

Partially because of the prevalence of such horror stories and partially because of my neurotic Sys Admin nature, I always wipe my hard drive clean and perform a “Fresh Install.” This has always produced spectacular results in terms of stability and OS integrity. However, this has also come with a tax — a time tax — in returning your system to its normal state of end user customization. This year I reckoned I had paid enough tax to Uncle Sam and I wanted to avoid paying the time tax again. This is why I opted to test out the Upgrade option for Tiger.

Well, the prep time was around three hours, but not everyone moves as slowly as I do. Once I began the installer and selected which software bits I wanted it to install, the upgrade process took less than 20 minutes (dual 1.42Ghz G4 tower with 2GB of RAM). A few seconds later I was rebooted into the new OS X (Tiger or 10.4) and began checking out my files and applications to make sure things went as planned. I have noticed no major problems with the upgrade as of this writing.

Dashboard is a relatively cool new widget thingy meant to save all us busy people a fuckload of time by placing commonly used applets in one viewer screen. While I definitely like the look and feel of Dashboard, I have noticed that it can really put a hurtin’ on CPU performance. And if you remember the system stats from the above paragraph, you might wonder too at just how processor-intensive this tiny little application actually is. In fact, I want to see it operate on a system with a “more normal” amount of RAM. I imagine on the stock systems Apple ships (usually 256MB of memory) that Dashboard would bring everything to a cool-looking grinding halt. Hmmm… Did they test this before shipping?

First impressions? Well, Tiger is exactly like Panther, but with a slight increment in the version number (and it cost me over $70). Over time, I hope to publish more helpful feedback on the product, but for now everything looks status quo — which, if you’re one of the Mac faithful, is a very good thing. I’m primarily interested in ever-increasing stability and speed improvements. The benefit or advantage of all the little changes/applications has yet to be seen. Just don’t charge me 70 bucks for something that slows down my fancy computer, please.

Oh Ess Ten Dot Four: Liger

Posted: April 23rd, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: computers, humor joke | No Comments »

Since I love to keep last week alive, here is a rehashing of something funny I saw somewhere on the Internet.

OS X Liger: It\'s got skills

The Apple nerds of the world anxiously await this freakin’ awesome software release from Cupertino. However, if they haven’t incorporated two-way stateful syncronization of iCal data, then I’m gonna call Steve a “bodaggit” and elbow him in the stomach. Oh, and thanks for jacking up the Educational price (by roughly 75%), you egomaniacal SOB.

“Napoleon, don’t be jealous that I’ve been chatting online with babes all day.”

I Drank Bourbon At The ΣΑΕ House

Posted: April 20th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: local, random | No Comments »

Late last Monday night, the following cryptic note was left on my neighbor’s mailbox.

Meet me on the corner of Cameron + North Columbia Tomorrow at 3 PM — Have news of the utmost importance

Sometime Tuesday afternoon, my neighbor walked over and delivered the note to me, which neither of us could figure out. We both, however, did assume that the potential news was of the utmost importance. I didn’t recognize the handwriting and was perplexed at who would be able to get so close to my house, yet just miss the correct spot. Were they using an out-dated Google Satellite Map?

It was only by pure luck that I had an appointment cancellation that afternoon and was available to investigate this dwelling mystery. I biked up to the proposed location and sat in front of The Carolina Inn watching to see who would show up. Soon enough I noticed one or two folks gathering at each point of the intersection. Then a bouncy young gal in a bright yellow t-shirt approached us and invited us a few feet down Columbia to sit in front of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (ΣΑΕ) house (which happens to look upon the porch of Abernethy Hall).

Walker Percy was an alum of both UNC-Chapel Hill and the ΣΑΕ fraternity. Percy ultimately became one of the most renowned authors to hail from the South. Damn near his entire work/creative life is archived in Wilson Library‘s Rare Book Collection. Katie (yellow shirt) is a big fan of Walker Percy and wanted to give us a genuine introduction to her favorite samples. Since Percy favored a good drink now and again, Katie made sure to have some bourbon on hand. I believe it was Old Crow, vintage unknown.

Walker Percy gathering - photo 1 Walker Percy gathering - photo 2

Katie was also kind enough to bring sugar, mint and shaved ice for those of us too weak to take our bourbon neat. So the eight of us sat around drinking Mint Juleps and neat bourbons (5 to 2, respectively), reading and enjoying glimpses of Percy’s wit and earnestness. It was a moment intended to “cut the phlegm of a Wednesday afternoon” and by that measure it was a rousing success. Here’s to the magic of a temporary autonomous gathering!

Walker Percy gathering - photo 3

“Because the hardest part of life is an ordinary Wednesday afternoon.”

My Very Own Freaknik

Posted: April 17th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: events, local | 1 Comment »

So Chapel Hill has this lovely little event each year to celebrate Spring. It is called Apple Chill (which, in a delicious play on words, sounds a lot like “Chapel Hill”). This street fair closes off nearly a mile of Franklin Street, the main drag in Chapel Hill and where all the rioting takes place when there are sporting events. It also occupies just about every police officer, security worker, event staff, parking attendant, you name it for the entire day. I’m not sure there was this much security back in the day, but nowadays they are keeping the Chill on lock-down.

“Why?” you may ask. Well, Apple Chill is no longer for Chapel Hillians, Orange County residents or the locals. If you ride a hot rod street bike or drive a pimped out Impala with enormous chrome dubs in North Carolina, then you know about Apple Chill. And your community probably is aware of it, as well — which brings a lot of hotties and crowd-watchers. For years I’ve always trucked on down to Franklin for the event and every year I come home with a sunburn. It has always been a lot of fun and offers some amazingly dangerous food stuffs. They’ve also got covered the gamut of crafts, face painting, henna, pottery, dance competitions, and the like. But the real event (as far as some of us are concerned) is the endless parade of flashy cars and suped-up motobikes.

Usually, I do the smart thing and walk up to the festival, but this year I had time and gas to kill before going to Uzi‘s picnic later in the evening. So I wanted to drive around to check things out. It was stop and go in every direction. For the most part, we were all just sitting in place for five to eight minutes before creeping up a few feet. Unreal, but fun because of the ruckus going on all around (and I had Alva in the car for her enjoyment). It took us an hour and a half to complete a 6 mile loop around the UNC-Chapel Hill campus.

Apple Chill Bikers

This line of bikes was down Merritt Mill Road, but could have been any direction. The crotch rockets were out in full force, but I wish I had gotten pictures of the custom cars that had their wheel size printed on the rear panels. The biggest I saw was a bright green Impala with 24″ adorning its tail.

Video Cameras Out The Sunroof

The other popular thing to do was to hang out a window or sunroof in some fashion. The folks doing this were of two camps — either video taping the show or being a part of the show. I think this guy is checking his cell phone and being a videographer all at once.

Alva models this blacked-out hooptie

Alva models one of the coolest cars I saw parked during our circumspection of the periphery. Last year we did the same walk around Apple Chill, but she was a young puppy then.

The View from West Franklin Street

Here is the view from the middle of West Franklin Street (near Penang and Carolina Brewery). See the larger image to view the masses of people up at Franklin & Columbia.

In case you don’t know about Freaknik, it was a pretty rowdy party that gridlocked Atlanta for a day each summer between 1990 and 2001 (altho there appear to be discrepancies as to the actual demise of the event). Regardless, it was always fucking crazy. I had the pleasure of being trapped in the middle of a Hotlanta Freaknik a time or three in the mid-90s. While I never had a problem with any party participants, I did realize that if I pulled any bullshit I would have immediately gotten my ass beat. For the most part, Apple Chill does not share this aggressive vibe (altho the PR agent for the NC Gangs Coalition sent a memo this year warning of ‘escalated violent activity’). Thats why I like to think of Apple Chill as my very own down home genteel country time Freaknik.

Alan Embraces 21st Century Computing

Posted: April 16th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: characters, computers | 2 Comments »

Today was a lot like Christmas. It was a crisp, beautiful Saturday — blue skies, perfect temps and endless sunshine. (Just what the Doctor ordered.) And a friend of mine who had been coveting a Mac Mini for some time took the plunge. Amen! Another convert (and another kickback for me from Apple HQ).

[For $599 you get a 1.42 GHz G4 processor, 80 GB disk storage and DVD-playing/CD-burning combo drive, all in the tightest, most portable package available. (Plus a bunch of Apple software and, of course, the pièce de résistance OS X.) Sounds like Apple is ready to make headway into the lower-priced computing market. All you need to add is one figgity-fat stick of DDR RAM to complete the package.]

Alan and his Mac Mini

Alan was smiling and giddy like a little kid the whole ride back. Plus he was cradling the computer in his lap as if it was a newborn (which, in a way, it most certainly is). It was hysterical. Best wishes to Alan and his new baby. (And since he now has a Mac, we can expect a bunch of kick-ass shit on his websites any day now.)

I didn’t buy anything (thank goodness!), but I did have a fun time joking around with the saleswoman. We wanted to record this historic purchase with our fancy digital cameras, but were informed that Apple does not allow any photographs to be taken inside their stores. As soon as the shutter clicked, giant, robotic gorillas descended from the ceiling and began pummelling us about the head and neck. We barely made it out of the store, but we got what we came for.

Punk Rock By Nature

Posted: April 14th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: interwebby, photography | No Comments »

Punk Rock by Nature

Just like the other 3,000 or so links I come across in a day, I have no idea where this one came from, but I do know that this photograph makes me very happy for many reasons. I don’t know this Mexican Pictures guy from Adam, but his work conveys a wealth of knowledge and understanding. Accordingly, his site has been added to my Photo Blogs roll.

Are Moderates The New FORD?

Posted: April 13th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: observation, social | No Comments »

Back in Auto Mechanics school, we shared a lot of jokes. Mostly about cars, but the range of topics was truly all over the place. Most too foul to repeat here, but one that I will share is about the crappiest auto manufacturer under the sun, Ford Motor Company. I’ve always despised Ford for building such shite and then having the audacity to claim innovation and reliability. Those two claims couldn’t be further from the truth, so I was highly amused to find out that Ford was an acronym for “Found On Road Dead.”

Of course, there were some staunch Ford fans, but these people lived in the Realm of the Fool; denying an entire world of scientific and experiential fact. The brand they chose to latch onto was simply the bottom of the barrel. Probably an ignorant ideal passed along from older male family members, but a fallacy nonetheless. I know some people who view the world like this, but unfortunately for all of us, it ain’t just limited to which type of car you drive.

My friend TJ the DJ had “an interesting idea” recently. Namely, compromise. Going “middle of the road” to solve disagreements instead of circling the wagons and shooting fiery arrows into the other camp. In this post, he chastizes us all for acting like children, unable to get past our egos and comfort zones in order to explore greater truth. Hey TJ — I couldn’t agree more. 🙂 Then he moves on to a feisty challenge for all participants in the argument, which is that we should all start writing for “the other side” so that we may establish common ground and improve our situation from a wiser, more secure vantage point. I think this is a great suggestion and would like to see it widely adopted.

I’ve been writing for a Conservative audience for years. Only problem is, they seem to be wrapped so tightly in vitriolic rhetoric that they are unable to see how far they have drifted from True Conservativism.(tm)

For all the examination I’ve given, the fundamental problem I keep coming back to is our “Culture of Judgement.” All walks of life want to dwindle away their days casting aspersions (usually inaccurate and overly harsh) on the people around them. It is a crucial and exhausting problem, for it seems to have no end. Also troubling is the fact that this interest in judgement never seems to turn into a stint of Self-judgement. Critical of everyone but not myself, it seems.

And I continue to target organized religion. Either as the thing that needs to be destroyed completely or the thing that needs to be shared, understood and accepted amongst peoples. Religious division and fervor are truly the root causes of our global social problems today. All the followers have “divine knowledge” that their sect is “right” and none want to adapt to our rapidly changing world. It is really disturbing that medieval fictions and the fear they produce have such a powerful grasp on the minds of millions of world citizens. This intellectual stranglehold is keeping the entire human race from self-actualizing.

The fact that the aims of religious groups continue to defy and subvert science should be as alarming as a million PCP-laced terrorists on our doorstep.

Sadly, this perspective only seems to be reached by people who avidly read the news and is not shared by those who watch the news.

[MIT just announced a lecture series on religion that looks promising. I wish I could take off a few weeks and head to Cambridge to participate. Maybe they will Open Source that knowledge like they have with so many other classes.]

So the question remains. “Is being in the middle of the road a guarantee of getting squashed?” Is there any opportunity left for moderates to bridge the gap between the extremists (who don’t seem to be listening to anyone, not even themselves)? Are we cursed to devolve into segmented in-fighting that will only drive us backwards?

Before I even click “Publish” I can feel the hate mail coming on. Out of all the topics I get flamed for, religion is always the one that brings out the ugliest in people. (Isn’t that strange? I thought religion was supposed to bring out the best in people. When did that change?) I used to get quite upset at their venom-tongued feedback, but now I just sit back and smile because obviously I am poking at their sorest spot. Failing logic or reason, they are much more capable of spewing bitterly ironic personal attacks. These examples of acceptable hatemongering are why I don’t much trust religious folk.

A Dangerous New Precedent Has Been Set

Posted: April 13th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: music | 4 Comments »

I have steadily avoided giving my personal info to the iTunes Music Store, in hopes of not starting a music-buying avalanche. Well, until tonight. They finally broke me.

The Emancipation of Mimi

That’s right. My first ITMS purchase was “The Emancipation of Mimi” by my girl Mariah. They were offering the whole album plus two bonus tracks for $9.99. What am I gonna do? I’m not made of stone!

Dan called me from New York a few days ago to tell me that he had just seen a promo poster for Mariah’s new album. His exact words were “She looks exactly like Beyonce.” I think Beyonce be tryin’ to look like Mariah.

Amanda Egge Is So Hot

Posted: April 12th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: characters, interwebby | 1 Comment »

Amanda Egge is a Super Hottie

Okay, so I just discovered Amanda Egge today (as a result of her posting a comment to the Terri Schiavo blog), but I’m captivated by the image of her as “Bambi” working for K-Mart. HOT!

So she is a comedian and (just like all other women I’m interested in) she lives far far away from me. This sucks big time, but I’m probably too small a fish to swim with this California girl anyways. Regardless, given the opportunity I would like to be sandwiched between Amanda and her photoshop skillz winner, Carrie Higgins. Why can’t I find women like this on the East Coast?

I would like her to drop by and give me some lessons in stand-up comedy. In exchange, I would be happy to turn her on to Yoga Booty Ballet. (I can’t believe they stole my idea of incorporating booty dancing with yoga).

A Toxic Cloud Hovers over RDU

Posted: April 12th, 2005 | Author: | Filed under: health, local | No Comments »

Last night I went to meet some friends for dinner at Jason’s Deli in Durham. The whole ride out there was somewhat surreal because everyone was driving annoyingly slow and this hazy cloud of yellow “sand” was blanketing the skies. I don’t think the blinding pollen swarm was responsible for the slow driving, but perhaps the allergy medication of the drivers was to blame. Regardless, a short 10 mile drive took over 30 minutes. (Drivers around here really need to pull their heads out of their asses.)

During the meal, a disagreement arose over whether it was possible to use MP3 files as ringtones on certain mobile phones. I asserted that this was possible, but that it was a hodgepodge of exclusive phones; some which accept .wav files, some .mp3s and some midi. So we wanted to go to Best Buy to have their highly-technical sales staff settle the argument. The distance between the deli and the electronics store is roughly equivalent to three city blocks. Thinking we were invincible, we set off to find answers to our important questions.

We didn’t even get 10 steps into the journey before the biggest puskit of the group started crying about “Oh, my eyes! I can’t see!! My eyes hurt! Waaahhh!!!” After getting summarily ridiculed and putting contact lenses into one’s filthy mouth, we were back on the path to Best Buy. But with each vehicles passing, more toxic pollen dust would scatter and we would have to relive the whole temper tantrum experience. Everyone else’s eyes were getting clogged, but only one of us was having a seizure over it. Halfway to our destination, I contemplated turning back because the whining was too much to bear, but since we had come this far it only seemed natural to finish the quest.

When we finally made it the 900 or so feet to the store, we saw that the doors were blocked with metal gates and the remaining employees stood inside laughing at us — blinded and beaten by the pollen sirocco. By this point, none of us could see, we had completely run out of water and Jay J had already consumed his ice cream cone topped with pollen sprinkles. The situation was getting desperate, but I knew that we couldn’t panic. If we panicked, we’d be dead meat out at the No Hope Commons and surely the buzzards and bats would begin their gruesome flight patterns overhead.

Thankfully, we all made it back to our automobiles and I was able to free myself from the noisy shackles of Sir Whines-A-Lot. The drive home was the exact same experience, but I could actually discern that the pollen haze was growing thicker and angrier. I am hiding in my house until this health epidemic passes.

Black hood coated in yellow pollen         White car covered in pollen

The first picture is of a car hood that is supposed to be black. You can see how aggressively the yellow mess bonds to paint (or anything outside). The next image offers more perspective into the terrible suffering caused by nature. First cold and now poison. What’s next?