a realistic dose of cynicism

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Parking fail.

I was out with Lisa today, and we went to South Bay to take advantage of Olive Garden’s neverendingpastabowl. Before we parked, I saw this, and I was so taken aback that I grabbed my phone and took a quick snapshot. And I know I’m sometimes impatient with other drivers who clearly need to have their driving licenses revoked, but this is just something else entirely.

I’ll probably submit this to failblog. It seems… strangely fitting.

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The magic of Launchy.

I’ve talked to someone at Sun who, three months ago, was a die-hard PC fanatic, and would never dream of even touching an Apple product. He recently purchased a 15.4″ Macbook Pro through Sun’s employee discount for a very sweet price. If the price didn’t sway him, the operating system did.

“Everything I can do on a PC… I can do on a Mac. And it’s soooo much easier.”

One of the redeeming qualities of Apple’s Leopard OS X is something called Quicksilver. But before I introduce Quicksilver, I’m sure many a PC user has seen something like this:

How would you find… ANYTHING?… in that mess of folders and shortcuts? (Before you freak out, this is not my computer. This is a computer my mom and dad have used in the past. I would never let my Start Menu look like that.)

Enter Quicksilver. Say you’re on a Mac, and you want to launch… Safari. (in all reality, I’d choose Firefox. but I digress…) Instead of… (Actually, I have no idea how to do anything on a Mac) you could hit Command-Spacebar, type in “saf” and hit Enter. Quicksilver searches for indexed applications, files, etc. beginning with the string “saf” and allows you to launch them quickly and efficiently. Mind you, this is still merely scratching the surface of Quicksilver; it’s much more than an application launcher. But how can I get this functionality on Windows? (hey. I like my games.)

Enter… Launchy! *dramatic music* Launchy is essentially a keystroke application launcher. You hit Alt-Space (default, imitating the Cmd-Space on Leopard), and Launchy will… ahem, launch, as a antialiased smooth-looking box in the middle of your screen. Type the first few letters of what you seek, say, “fire” for Firefox and Launchy will display what you seek… press Enter, and Firefox launches! but that’s not all…

(that is, by the way, my wonderful desktop.)

Launchy will index your Firefox 3 shortcuts by default! Simply launch Firefox, type about:config into the AwesomeBar, search for browser.bookmarks.autoExportHTML, and change its value to true. Want to visit deviantART without opening up Firefox and clicking on your bookmark?

Best of all… when you’re not using Launchy, it simply fades away into the background, waiting for you to Alt-Space summon it again, to do your bidding.

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Say it to me now.

By the way, I accidentally deleted my first post and had to re-create it with Google Cache. WordPress is silly in that it can’t undelete posts. but anywho,

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Once”, you’ll immediately recognize the title of this post. It’s the first song that Glen Hansard plays after the intro credits… and it’s nothing short of the most intense acoustic song I’ve ever heard. Intense? Acoustic? Are you intrigued yet?

I used to play guitar almost every day, but this year, I’ve been taking a break from it in favor of Team Fortress 2. Probably a mistake, but I’m willing to live with it. This song… this song is why I’ve picked up my guitar again.

This is him playing an acoustic version… can’t find the original movie version on YouTube. I absolutely love how he’s still playing the broken guitar as he did in the actual movie. Be patient, it gets intense around ~1:10. Here’s the original movie version: [myspace video]

And a tab, for those of you into that kinda thing: [ultimate guitar]

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Keyboards and giving props.

The culture at Sun is generally one where positive reinforcement is encouraged; i.e. c’mere Jerry, good boy! here, have a treat. *mmmm* Unfortunately, I’m not a puppy. In fact, the maximum number of puppies that I see at work on a day-to-day basis is one. But I digress.

At Sun, we use special keyboards. They’re called Sun keyboards. (who would’ve guessed?)

In addition to having the fancy Sun branding, they’ve got a bunch of extra keys on them… like Meta, Alt-Graph, Compose, Cut, Copy, Paste, Undo, oh, and most importantly, the Props button.

What is the Props button you may ask? Simple. You press the Props button when you want to give props to someone. It’s commonplace to go to a colleague’s office… if they’ve been doing well, you can give them props. When you think you’ve been doing a good job… go ahead, give yourself some props, MASH that Props button.

Seriously, I have no idea what that button does. Or Stop, Again, Front… heck, on some keyboards, there’s an F13, F14, and F15… and no Escape key. There is no Escape key.

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Don’t be that guy.

Yesterday, I went over to Lisa’s to hang out and have dinner. (mmm… KFC) We hung out for a bit before deciding that we were really hungry. Upon approaching my car, I hear a loud hissing sound! I thought, ‘that doesn’t sound right.’ Upon closer inspection, a sharp piece of metal had wedged itself in the tread of my rear driver’s side tire, now rapidly deflating. I call my dad… and we agree that the best thing to do is probably change the tire with the spare.

I’ve encountered this situation before, mind you.

Around this time last summer, I was in a car with two friends from high school, who we’ll call Mish and Bau. We were going to Fire and Ice in Harvard Square. Anyhow, Mish was driving, going 80mph on I-495, when suddenly we are startled by the loud *POP* of a ruptured tire. We pull over and begin changing the tire.

If you’ve never had to change a tire on the side of a highway… either you’re 12 years old, or very lucky thus far. I-495 is a highway that large tractor-trailers routinely travel on. The posted speed limit is 65mph, but in reality, it’s more like 80mph. There is very little in the world scarier than changing a driver’s side tire in the breakdown lane, lying on the ground and fumbling with the jack while multiple fifteen-ton diesel-powered MACHINES OF DESTRUCTION whizz by your head at breakneck speed.

Fortunately for me, I was not helplessly stuck on the side of a highway; I was on a small street in a quiet Boston suburb. With a little help from Lisa, we changed the tire, and went on our way to KFC. (No, I’m not joking. KFC is goooood.)

This reminds me of the Office episode, Women’s Appreciation (s3e22). On their way home from the Steamtown Mall, Meredith (who I’m sure many of you would agree when I say that I’d rather walk home than have her drive me) is driving and her car blows a tire… the rear driver’s side tire. (Interesting… it’s always been that tire. I sense a conspiracy afoot.) Michael, being the only man in the group, decides that he should show his manliness, and begins changing the tire. Unsuccessfully.

And thus, for all those tl;dr folks, this is my message to all men who have never changed a tire before:

Don’t be that guy. You are SO MUCH BETTER than that guy.

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