Saturday, March 28, 2009

Aerobics for Art

About a week ago a saw a facebook event for Betsy Dale, and art major at FSU, trying to get people to be in her thesis fillm. The description read as follows:
This video collaboration with Chris Cameron will be part of my Honors Thesis as well as my BFA Grad Show. We've already done a test shoot with a smaller group of people, so hopefully all the kinks are worked out.

Basically, I will instruct the group to do simple repetitive movements in order to capture the way multiple bodies work together to produce one mass movement. YOU DON'T HAVE TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT AEROBICS! The movements are based in aerobics, but are generally less aerobic and more awkward. I would like all different kinds of people - all ages, genders, backgrounds, fitness levels, etc. If you have a twin, please bring him or her.

The space is pretty big, so I need as many people as possible!

There will be food and I would owe you a ride, a drink, a something of your choosing. SERIOUSLY.... ask me and it's yours.

- Clothes you can really move in.
- Simple, mostly solid, colored shirts. I would like the result to be colorful, so if you have an unusual color, wear it. Also, collars are nice.
- Simple bottoms: jean shorts, tights, sweat pants.
- You will be wearing SOCKS only on your feet - no shoes. So please bring colorful socks.
- SUGGESTIONS: turtlenecks; I would like SOME people to wear an outfit with just one color (yellow shirt, yellow pants, and yellow socks; white shirt, white shorts, and white socks; red tank top, red sweat pants, and red socks.); knee braces or the things you wear when you sprain your wrist.
- I would like as much armpit hair as possible, so if you feel comfortable, please show it.
- Accessorize as much as possible. Bring any weird hats, gloves, belts, etc, you may have.
- Just bring stuff you want to wear and see if it works.

******If you are a twin please wear the EXACT SAME THING. Please try to look as identical as possible.******

- Don't wear anything with lettering or logos.
- Try to avoid the color black or any other very dark color, in high doses
- Avoid 80's aerobics.

Bring water and tennis shoes just in case.
I thought my orange jump suite would be perfect so this afternoon I threw it in the car with a pair of Kim's toe socks. On the way I started getting worried that maybe the jump suite would be a little too much, but it was actually quite a hit, even getting props from Betsy. The socks where pretty popular too. It was certainly more sane than the guy who whore a tight dress with Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe art for the print.
The filming was great fun. The tallest people stood in the back in the shortest in the front. Betsy sat on a stage near the camera and acted like an aerobics instructor. She emphasized that we make over-exaggerated movements. We all did our best to not giggle, because we where just having that much fun. We had two breaks, because the aerobics, with the over-exaggeration was pretty tough.
Pizza, cookies, drinks and vegetable plate was provided and kept us fed during the event. Afterwards I skidaddled over to Scott's for an omni-party, celebrating any and all holidays or reasons for celebration.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Google Notebook

I started using Google Notebook today to keep track of my pending tasks at work. It is a perfect fit for my needs. Last week and this week I have been swamped with work and have had a difficult time keeping track of everything. My geny reminded me of Google Notebook so I gave it a try and it is a perfect fit.

One day I will wake up in a Google house, eat Google food, and use the Google restroom and I will be too complacent to realize I've been pwned.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Common Sense, Common Nonsense, and Uncommon Sense

Last night I listened to Nobel Peace Prize winner Harry Kroto's interview on Science Friday that was recorded live here in Tallahassee at FSU, and he had a nice handful of interesting points. One thing he discussed was common sense, common nonsense, and uncommon sense. This ties in very nicely with a blog idea I had a few days ago relating to media outlets while catching a glimpse of CNN. Kroto has enabled me to explain my idea much more elegantly than before. So here it goes.
One of the reasons that I attribute to our general population's poor understanding of the world they live in is the poor source of information most of us utilize to learn about our world. If you are listening to NPR for your source of facts then you are getting common sense reporting. If you tune in to CNN, MSNBC, Fox, ABC, etc. then you are getting common nonsense reporting. If you pay attention to Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, and the like, then you are getting uncommon sense information.
By this I mean common sense to be what any average person should be able to conjecture by rationally ingesting the facts. Common nonsense is the kind of information that people not equipped with intelligent facilities would regurgitate. Uncommon sense is the kind of information that only people with higher than normal thinking capabilities would come up with. People with uncommon sense can put the facts together and echo them much better than the status-quo has the ability to.

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Open Source principles and Shared Community Development"

Within my group of contractors, the state had ceased funding for our DBA position (whose last day was last Friday) and they are now opening up a position for a senior programmer. One of the listed requirements listed for this position is that the person will fully understand "Open Source principles and Shared Community Development." That is a pretty cool requirement IMO.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Sometimes when I read, the words I am reading become three dimensional. I don't think it is dyslexia because it does not affect my ability to read. It can become distracting to a minor degree, but overall it is more weird. Some times the words can pop in and out of the page, or the lines of the sentences can move as if they where written on a stomach that was breathing slowly but deep. The problem shows up more when I am reading on a computer monitor that on printed paper. I wonder what it is all about.

Stem Cells, Ethics, and Ideals

Since Obama signed an executive order ending Bush's executive order that denies federal dollars for stem cell research on human embryos, the debate about stem cell research has hit the news again.

On thing I am noticing is how each side is careful to articulate their point. On the anti-stem cell side, the word "ethics" is thrown out there. Scientific research must fall within acceptable ethical boundaries. Destroying human life for the sake of scientific research is unethical, even if that research could lead to cures for many horrible illnesses.

On the pro-stem cell research side the word thrown around is "ideals." They argue that scientists don't study ideals, they study facts. Ideals are for politicians, not scientists.

I expect we will be hearing a lot more on this front. I also suspect that those opposing stem cell research will find themselves on the losing end of this battle.

Friday, March 13, 2009

No Backpacking for Me

So Andrew isn't going to be able to get the time off work for our planned hike. He works two jobs and both have something big going on that week.

Kim is going to be out of town that week with the kids to visit her mom in California, so I am going to use the spare time to work on my VW.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Florida Linux Show

Yesterday morning at 5 am I left my house and headed to Jacksonville to attend the Florida Linux Show. After entering Jacksonville right at rush hour I arrived at UNF a little after eight, just before the keynote speaker started.

The keynote was given by Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier, Novell's community organizer for OpenSuse. The most important thing I learned was that Suse is pronounce SueSah, not SueSea as I had been pronouncing it. *Nixers love to show how awesome they are by correcting people's pronunciations of different *nix distros. So I can count that as one more that I have right.

Speeches where given in forty-five minute block, with five going on at a time and a fifteen minute break in between. Poor Joe's laptop crashed on him early on in the presentation. That has to be pretty embarrassing when you are there to represent your product and it goes belly up on you during a presentation.
The first session I attended was Joseph Guarino speaking on the state of gaming in Linux and the potential market proprietary game publishers could grow if they supported Linux as a platform to release their games. His argument was essentially that gaming is currently already pretty good in Linux, and that most Linux users would be interested in purchasing proprietary games if they where released for Linux. Poor Joe had a pretty bad cough and was having a pretty rough time, but I think those of us who came to see him where understanding and kept with him despite the difficulties. On top of the cough the display on the projector kept blinking. He was running Kubuntu 8.10 I believe. Ugh, not a good day for championing the benefits of Linux.

I missed the next session and opted to hang out at the Ubuntu table and talk to the fellow Ubuntu Florida Loco chaps. I showed off KDE 4.2 running on my laptop (poorly). I also played with other computers running different version of Ubuntu. One guy had HP's netbook running Ubuntu 8.10. It was very slick. Desktop effects where nice and smooth too. A box running Mythbuntu was there too, but he forgot his bluetooth adapter which would have allowed one to control it using a Wii remote. Crashsystems gave me a talk on why he loves Python for web programming and doesn't care for PHP.

Most people I hang out with don't care to talk tech much, especially Linux tech talk, so it was nice to be surrounded by Free Culture geeks like myself.

After that was lunch, and I just spent my time hanging out some more. I completely skipped lunch because I wasn't paying any attention and before I knew it the sessions where starting again. I also spoke to the guys from the Ubuntu Podcast. I gave him my opinion on the use of the word Podcast (which denotes use of an iPod, which is anti-free culture.) My opinion basically being that the words audio cast and video cast are good substitutions, but ultimately I'm not the kind of person that really cares much. I also watched Smita give an interview with John Pugh, a Canonical employee, about the upcoming Jaunty release.
After lunch I attended Danny Wall's talk on Linux Clustering Services with a Focus on Health Care. He decided to take off the Health Care part because he felt like it was too specific. The clustering demonstration didn't go so well. He had four Red Hat virtual machines, but he didn't have everything setup right so the clustering didn't work. It then turned more into the benefits of open source and open standards in a business environment. One thing he said that I thought was really important was that he prefers open source, but he insists on open standards. Without open standards support from vendors it becomes impossible to make sure that your internal IT infrastructure can efficiently interact with each other. Open Source provides the leverage that IT professionals need to tailor applications to their specific business needs, which is a great benefit, but its absence won't put your business to a halt.
The next session was on Open Office with Don Corbet. It was suppose to be an introduction to Open Office, but since everyone who attended was already familiar with Open Office it became more of a round table Q&A. I shared my poor experience with Base, and we also shared our experiences with getting other people to use Open Office. The talk didn't really go the way Don has planned it, but I think through our interaction it may have turned out better.

After the Open Office talk I joined Christan Gant's talk about Open Solaris. Solaris is not a Linux distribution, so I thought it was kind of odd they where giving a talk at a Linux convention, but we use Solaris on our work servers, and I had played with Open Solaris when it first came out, so I decided I would go to listen to what they had to say. Christan is the Campus Ambassador for SUN at UF. After he showed off the features of Open Solaris he took questions. I asked him a few questions about ZFS, the role of Open Solaris and the future of Open Solaris. He had two other SUN employees there who answered some of my questions.

They where talking up Open Solaris as though they expect it to really be the next desktop of choice. I don't see how they plan to really compete with Ubuntu. Ubuntu gets to ride the massive amount of developers working on Linux, and the massive Ubuntu community making massive strides in very small time. Open Solaris only gets to ride on the open source projects that are multi-platform, like Firefox and Gnome, their paid staff, and their small community. I brought up that when I tried to use Open Solaris I found that tools I considered critical for use at my work simply where not available in Open Solaris and that they where simply waiting for someone in the community to port them. They simply responded that less popular software would probably take longer to be picked up.

At the end of the presentation I noticed that it was given on a laptop running Windows Vista. One would think that if they where serious about Open Solaris as a dominating platform that they would give a vote of confidence to it by running it on the laptop they are giving the presentation on.

The final session I attended was Jessica Corbet's introduction to Gimp. She went over some of the basic features of using layers and changing colors, hues, etc. She was running Gimp on OSX, but nobody gave her any flack for that. OSX is at least a Unix derivative.
After the event ended, everyone from the Ubuntu Florida Loco stood together for a group photo, and then followed it up with dinner at Seven Bridges, which I was ready for. I got to have a great chat with John, Doug, Smita, and Dan, who all seem to outstanding people.

I left Jacksonville around seven-thirty and arrived at my house at ten. I don't think I will be attending the event in Orlando in October, but I do plan on making next years' event in Jacksonville.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Welcome Planet friends

I just received word that I have been accepted into the world of Ubuntu Weblogs. For those of my friends, family, and other miscreants that follow my blog, it is an aggregation of blogs from people who use Ubuntu and blog about it. So all my blogs tagged 'ubuntu' will now find their way there.
I've been following this aggregation since it began I think, so I already know most of y'all. I live in Tallahassee, Florida and work as a programmer making a billing system for the states data and voice communications. It mainly includes PL/SQL and SQL on Oracle DBs running on SPARC systems.
I run a full Ubuntu setup at my house including a laptop and two desktops. The only exception is my XO and my wife's work laptop which has XP. I've also got both of my brothers running Ubuntu.
So I look forward to hearing your comments regarding my random ramblings and occasional thoughts.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mario Kart!

For Christmas I intended to get the kids Mario Kart, but it turned out to be one of those hot albums you had to commit murder if you wanted to buy for Christmas. I figured I should be able to get it shortly after Christmas, but that didn't work out either. So I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that it would be a while.
Kim and I had also been wanting to get Wii Fit as a way to play games and stay in shape, and indoors, all at the same time.
So Kim dropped by some store yesterday after work to pick a few things up and finds both Mario Kart and Wii Fit and buys them. This is a pretty big deal because Kim usually only picks up such stuff begrudgingly. This time she hunted down and purchased them of her own volition. Cool stuff.
I had been playing Super Tux Kart some recently and I've really been enjoying that game. The game is more or less another incarnation of Mario Kart, but free and runs on Linux. I had even been poking through the maze of code in the hopes that I might understand it and be able to contribute.
Now that I've got Mario Kart I will be hard pressed to find a reason to play Super Tux Kart much anymore. Mario Kart is just a great game. It is fun in every way a cartoony racing game should be. Hours of my life will soon find themselves sucked into this black whole of happiness. I'll probably wait a few months and get another wheel. We've already got three controllers so there will soon by multiplayer goodness including family members.
Another great feature of Mario Kart, that pretty much any modern game worth its salt includes these days, is online play. I took my hand at competing with others across the globe and pretty much got my butt handed to me time and again, but that's alright. I hadn't even had the game for twenty-four hours at that point. It was fun to watch others go at it with me though.
I need to break down and get myself a fourth controller now so we can all play together.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Receiving useful feedback on your work is always a great experience. Take for example this feedback on an article I wrote for a Firefox support article.
How the hell do I import bookmarks AFTER I'VE INSTALLED FIREFOIX!!!!!!




I quickly update the firefoix article so that user's would know the start oage. I didn't want to be a Microsoft moron so I also turned the whole page into an all-caps support article.

What's Grosser than Gross?

I hope the people of Mayo, Florida recognize the humor in this and it is an ongoing joke in their social circles.
This is just the kind of treasures one hopes to find when they set their GPS to avoid interstates.