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December 5th, 2008

10:38 am: Solar Powered Food
I find Michael Pollan's ideas intriguing and I would like our government to subscribe to his newsletter.

Cheap food is food dishonestly priced -- it is in fact unconscionably expensive.

The technologically inclined will note that printing a second barcode is not required to disclose the length and complexity of the food chain. A national database of the supply chain keyed to existing barcodes could be created without any government intervention at all.

I'm looking forward to the First Chef's menus and recipes.

November 23rd, 2008

10:40 pm: Inefficient Inertia
A computer case comes with a 67% efficient power supply "for free". Well, really cheap, because a case with no power supply is harder to find, is usually a much higher-end case, etc -- so avoiding buying an inefficient power supply really limits your options. This means that the cost to the consumer of a case with an "80+" rated power supply (which actually delivers 90% efficiency) is essentially $100 more than the 67% PSU.

My workstation's components consume roughly 200W, which means it is going to draw 222W with the 90% efficient PSU or 299W at 67% efficiency. If I leave it running 24x365, that 77W difference amounts to roughly $75 per year I'm paying $0.11/kWh. The cost/benefit analysis now has to include an interest rate, so most consumers have already decided that "it's not worth it" to lay down the extra cash right now. But given the option to spend $20 or $40 more for that energy savings, most people would take it.

This assumes that you're given the option up-front or that you're hand-picking components. The problem just gets worse when you've bought a complete system with a house-branded (or completely non-standard -- e.g. IBM or Dell) power supply. Now you have to void the warranty to make it more efficient or possibly cannot find a compatible upgrade, at which point we have definitely entered the "not worth it" category. But simply the inertia of "if it ain't broke" is often enough to keep you literally throwing away enough energy to read the complete works of Neal Stephenson under incandescent light.

Now I need to get some numbers for switched-mode wall-warts as compared to their evil linear versions. I'm guessing that you could make back the $5-$10 fairly quickly (especially if one accounts for the labor and opportunity cost from unplugging them as per the commercials' admonishments.) But the story is the same: take the stupidly inefficient token power supply out of the box and send it to be recycled. I'm looking at you Linksys.

November 16th, 2008

05:32 pm: Upside down tomatoes... FAIL
Second year of attempting the upside down tomato planter and definitely going to be the last, since we planted one in the ground which out-performed the two hanging tomatoes put together. I don't know if they do well in some other climate, but the Portland weather is apparently not for them.

Ah well, now I have more room to hang bird feeders. And, whew! I'm glad I didn't buy the elastic buckling FAIL accessory product.

October 20th, 2008

04:23 pm: USA hats not made in USA
How does it make any sense to buy a hat made in China that says USA on it? That must be what McCain means when he says "patriotism" - buy imported crap and don't pay your taxes, right?

Well, at least I can still buy pants made in the USA, even if there's no reason to wear pants anymore because all of our tools have turned back to into dirt and we don't have any work to do because clueless consumers have wrecked the economy by borrowing money from China which they then sent to China in exchange for some shiny trinkets.

Current Location: soon to be owned by China
Current Mood: angryangry

May 20th, 2008

11:17 pm: Better Movie Titles Department
"The Golden Compass" should have been "Gandalf Rides Again, Now with 100% more Sam Elliott!"

So there is no sequel? Rumor has it that a better title (ahem) would have gotten more theater sales, but hey at least we have books. I might have to take a look at these to investigate the "good guys have cats" theme.

11:56 am: firefox address bar text size
What a terrible interface for people who *just* want to increase the text size in the address bar (and aren't particularly patient when it comes to software anyway.)

 cd .firefox/default/*/chrome/
 mv userChrome-example.css userChrome.css
 echo '#urlbar {
   font-size: 60px !important;
 }' >> userChrome.css

Supposedly there is a plugin of some sort for hacking your blah.css files, but whatever. This is worse than 'about:config', which I thought was already as "not discoverable" as it could be. I think configuring firefox falls somewhere between vim and emacs.

Anyway, now that I've managed to get the internet to tell me how to do this with firefox, it appears that mom would prefer to run konqueror anyway.

February 6th, 2006

10:30 pm: TMI
man false

"... do nothing, unsuccessfully"

But then it goes on to tell you this old gnu saw:

       The  full documentation for false is maintained as a Texinfo man-
       ual.  If the info and false programs are  properly  installed  at
       your site, the command

              info false

       should give you access to the complete manual.

OK guys, this one doesn't need need an info manual. That, and info is sort of a holdover from before we thought of HTML and this whole internet thing anyway. Maybe a manpage for kdm is in order rather than a book about false.

On a more productive note, I put /etc/ under svk. Takes about 5 minutes. Go here and do it now.

(Why did I think I needed to read the manpage for false anyway? ... (/me ponders) Oh. Back to discovering debian's mysql security setup.)

Current Music: nothing (sad, isn't it)

December 2nd, 2005

10:05 am: Palm is Dying
Because hotsync is not so hot.

After a couple of weeks of not using my palm, I had a whole slew of reminders on the screen (I did the things, just wasn't carrying the palm so didn't check them off (whew!)), which reminds of everything that is wrong with the palm. It spent most of that time on my desk, plugged into my computer, and yet it didn't bother talking to it about what was going on.

It's like when you want to introduce a couple of shy friends to each other and you ask them to meet you somewhere. You're late and they end up sitting next to each other in silence until you get there and tell them each other's names.

This, and the rise of the (stroke of ergonomic genius) qwerty thumbpad are just a couple reasons that I think (or hope) palm is in a slow death spiral. If only it were faster ... shorting their stock would give a decent ROR.


November 29th, 2005

12:19 am: bloggity blog
Finally got use.perl.org to give me a cookie (maybe something to do with privoxy.) So... with all of the recent coding that's going on, maybe more writing happens there than here (not like I've got 10k screaming fans at lj anyway.)

Today's highlight: uber, uber, Über!

September 2nd, 2005

03:31 am: casting director
I somehow got roped into being the "casting director" for Blink, which means that I'm making the bodycast. Ugh.

Six hours and I'm not quite done yet. I suppose nurses do this sort of thing in shifts. That, and they probably use pre-plastered rolls of bandage.


Current Music: System of a Down - multiple times
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