Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Want My Time Back (pt. 1)

Part One of a series that will continue as long as people are dumb.


The device or person in question has to fill all these requirements to be considered a total waste of my time.

1. Posted on at least 3 blogs in my feed.
2. Adds nothing to humanity in terms of knowledge or culture.
3. Does nothing even remotely useful.
Bonus Points: Excessive or inappropriate use of technology.

The first "winner" is the "Butt-Crack Detector."

This device lets you know if your crack is showing by measuring the light hitting a photo resistor.  It then vibrates to let you know of your unfortunate state, so that you can then pull your pants up.  First, buy clothes that fit. Second, wear a belt. Problem solved.  This device is particularly egregious in that it uses a microcontroller to run the whole mess, when all you really need is a transistor.  BEAM robots have been doing this for years; all they had to do was stuff one down their pants and that'd have been that.  Intelligent clothing my ass.  Wake me up when we have intelligent people.

Also, I'm not linking to these things.  If you really want to see it you can google it.  But I'm warning you: you'll want your time back.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On Riding a Bike in Santa Cruz

Hi Bicyclists,

Please, PLEASE, take the lane.  I know it's scary, and then you want to worry about the cars backing up behind you.  But if there is no shoulder then you should be in the lane, not hugging the curb.  Curbs are death. (The assumption here is: if you aren't willing to ride in traffic, you likely aren't comfortable doing a lateral hop up a curb at speed.)  

I've personally seen several people eat it coming down the hill from the Health Center because they were over in the gutter: The pavement there is terrible, and unless you are adept at handling a bike, it can (and often will) throw you.  Today I saw the aftermath of two accidents involving bicyclists within an hour and ten minutes of each other in the same 1/8th mile stretch.  That's not good.

As much as I advocate drivers not killing bicyclists, we need to do our part.  Don't camp the right on trucks. Don't ride the gutter. Use lights (I've almost hit other bikers at night when they weren't wearing lights). Ride on the correct side of the road. Use common sense.  All that good stuff.

Avoid bad pavement, don't get run over: Take the damn lane.



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Twitter, Bloging, and Reader

My blogging rate has been impacted twice in the last two months: First, I started class, which is always a time sink, and I started using Twitter. Twitter is a good thing, in that it allows me to whip out the short posts, comments and status updates that I don't like putting in the blog itself. However, Twittering does relieve the desire to blog, and so I'm not blogging as often as I should.

I'm very tempted to turn my blog into an expanded version of the shared items from my feed. According to Google, "From your 90 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 6,708 items, starred 19 items, shared 135 items, and emailed 3 items." (Yeah, I do have a burning information dependency.) Even if I only add commentary to one shared item a day, Id still have a much healthier blog, and I'd feel better about it than adding notes in reader. It'd integrate well into my current reader use, which is the most critical aspect.

In other news: School, work. Yup. Looking into this whole Bike Coop thing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Alarm Setup

The lamp-on-a-timer setup is working out pretty well.  It's 2 for 2, and every morning I've working up swearing at the light, which is intensely unpleasant at 6:30am.  Sweet.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wake me up, before you go...

Due to my near chronic lack of sleep, I have a near chronic inability to wake up in the morning,  It takes roughly the same amount of time from when my alarm goes off to me being alive, as it takes me to lay down and fall asleep.  One of these I can fix, the other less so.  To that end, I've taken my old desk lamp, placed it near my bed, and put a 100W equivalent CFL in it.  The lamp is tied to a timer that will activate it shortly before my alarm goes off.  If all goes according to plan, I'll wake up suddenly and vigorously; so much so that I will find it quite hard to go back to sleep.  If not, I'll either have to find a brighter lamp, or rig up a tazer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Concise Explanation of the Financial Crisis

The mad cackling that many of you have been haunted by late at night was me; I'm sorry. The same group, and random passer-byes, have also been subjected to my discourses on the current state of the economy.  Sadly, there wasn't a good one-stop place to give people a run-down on the situation, and I tend to be, well, terrible at explaining this.  (Mostly because I've been explaining it whilst intoxicated, which has also illuminated the difficulties and perils of discussing economics in a bar.)  Fortunately, the BBC has an excellent article laden with a good number of charts and a blissful dearth of text that provides a really good recap of what's happened up till now.  The article, via the BBC.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Food Diary: Defunct

After the not terribly startling relation that my diet was terrible, and my exercise routine a joke, I stopped posting my shame publicly. Or at least that's what it looks like. Actually, I'm no longer getting paid to sit in empty labs for three hours, and consequently my available time to post here has been greatly diminished. However, I do enjoy work quite a bit more now.

In other news, I managed to reference Jane Austin in an unrelated history discussion today. I find that terribly exciting, which you can take as a good indicator of the despondency which has wracked my days. I shall post here again, if I live. (gah.)

In other news, I am thinking about getting some funding from Crown, or the Arts department at UCSC to build a large sound installation on the cliffs by Bonny Dune or Davenport. I'll post the outline of it once I get the details worked out a bit more.