Sunday, March 29, 2009

New chair

I had to get a new chair. The old one the gas lift went out, leaving the chair sitting at the bottom with no way to raise it. It was holding up good, but the seat was a bit hard and you can't get just replacement lifts so I decided to replace the whole thing. Now I just need to pack the old one up for disposal (probably take it to work and put it on the furniture junk-pile there for the recyclers to pick up).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A really bad week

This man has to qualify as having the mother of all bad weeks. A resident of Nagasaki, he was in Hiroshima on business on August 6th when the US dropped an atomic bomb on the city. He survived it, albeit with injuries, and returned home the next day to recover. Just in time to catch the second atomic bomb. That has to qualify as using up your entire lifetime's quota of bad luck in one go.

And if you think that's bad luck, apparently there were 8 other people unlucky enough to have been in both places at exactly the wrong times.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Machine migrations

I'm looking forward to when I can build a new machine, but dreading the migration. Right now on my current machine I've got the current files, plus an archive of the previous machine, which contains an archive of the machine before that. Less a few things I bulk-deleted, of course. None of which is particularly organized. The next migration I definitely need to get things organized and cleaned up. Also, I want 2 machines: one Linux for regular work, one Windows for gaming. I'm tired of having to reboot to switch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Motorcycle crash

This is why I've little respect for drivers today. From today's local paper:

Multiple-car crash kills motorcyclist on Route 163

2:00 a.m. March 13, 2009

A pickup swerved out of control on southbound state Route 163 and struck a motorcyclist, who was hurled into northbound lanes and suffered fatal injuries yesterday afternoon, authorities said.

The motorcyclist, whose name was not released, died at a hospital.

Traffic slowed to a crawl for two hours past the scene that involved four vehicles. The motorist who was thought to be responsible for the crash by cutting off a green Ford Ranger pickup did not stop, the California Highway Patrol said.

CHP officials said a witness saw a pickup change lanes abruptly in front of the Ranger south of Kearny Villa Road about 4:45 p.m. The Ranger driver veered onto the right shoulder, then steered left across the lanes and broadsided a white Ford sport utility vehicle.

The white Ford flipped onto its roof, causing minor injury to one occupant. The Ranger then struck the motorcycle, which burst into flames. Its rider flew over the center divider and was hit by a northbound compact car, the CHP said.

The two left lanes in each direction were closed until nearly 7 p.m. The entire southbound freeway was blocked for several minutes while CHP officers took measurements related to their investigation. –P.R.

Notice that the cause of the crash drives off scot-free. His driving record won't be affected. He won't lose his license, or even have his insurance rates increased. He'll remain a threat to everybody else on the highway. Meanwhile his victims will have to pay the price. Worse, the driver of the Ranger will probably be ruled to be at fault simply because the police have to pin the responsibility on someone. It'll probably be "failed to maintain a safe following distance" behind the pickup that cut him off. As if you can read the other guy's mind and know he's going to cut off your following distance before he does it. Faugh.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hard drive prices

Hitachi 1-terabyte SATA hard drive. $90. GAH! I can build a multi-terabyte RAID array at a price point not too much higher than my traditional price point ($200) for a main desktop hard drive.

Karnor's Castle

This thing was the hardest dungone in the EQ2 RoK expansion. When it was released, it would eat level-80 raid-geared players alive and spit their remains back out. The first time we went in, we died literally in seconds. We haven't gone back since.

Until last night. We went in with 5 people, including a level 72 paladin. We burned our way through to the very back to get the drolvarg L&L book with no problems. Even on bad pulls with 3 mobs, we didn't have any deaths. And we got a nice set of legs for the paladin off the boss near the book. Then we went downstairs and almost got to Xalgoz. The last mob was a nasty pull, it's a 3-group that flies around high up, hard to spot and hard to keep track of when it comes in. Our healer got caught right in the middle and AOEd to death, and that was that. We're going to have to go back in and clear that place.

It did demonstrate why we need new computers, though. Major chunkage and 3-4FPS frame rates the whole way make it hard to pull cleanly. Our computers are just old and need upgraded to the current generation. My plan is to buy motherboards with the most current AMD socket on them, then buy CPUs with fewer cores but higher clock speeds (EQ2 doesn't take great advantage of multiple cores, it needs clock cycles) with the plan being to upgrade to CPUs with more cores as clock speeds on them climb.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Computer parts prices

Gods, I'm out of the loop on computer component prices. Just checked on memory with Crucial. DDR3, 4Gb kits, down in the $100 range. I'd expected at least twice that. Motherboards and CPUs likewise a lot cheaper than I expected.

I seriously need to build new computers. Primary desktops are single-core Athlon XP 3200 class, at least 3 generations behind the curve. AGP video. Need new machines.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Proposition 8 and the CA Supreme Court

Arguments to overturn Proposition 8 finished up today. Now, myself, I don't think the justices are going to go for the "revision to the state constitution" argument. An amendment is a revision, and it's allowed. There's no language in the state constitution itself barring amendments from changing existing terms. If that's all that's being argued, Propsition 8 stands.

I'd argue on two different grounds.

First, that while Proposition 8 defines marriage to be between a man and a woman, it doesn't remove the language elsewhere in the constitution that requires the state to treat all citizens equally. As long as that other language stands, Proposition 8 can't simply handwave that requirement away. If two men show up wanting to be married by the state, the state has to treat them the same as it would a man and a woman until a constitutional amendment removing that requirement is passed. And Proposition 8 doesn't remove that requirement.

Second, Proposition 8 is an infringement on freedom of religion and is barred by the US Constitution. No state is allowed to have provisions in it's state constitution that violate the US Constitution, after all. Religions do define marriage, that's what the Religious Right is in an uproar about here. But not all religions define marriage as being only between a man and a woman. By writing that definition into the constitution, Proposition 8 interferes with the right of those religions to marry couples according to their beliefs. You can only do that if you can show an overriding societal need for that interference and that there is no less intrusive way of meeting that need. Proposition 8 doesn't demonstrate that there's any overriding need to bar same-sex marriages, so it fails the test.

Development frustrations

One of the most frustrating things: finishing up implementation of a feature, sending it up for build, and then being told that the feature isn't wanted anymore. Ah well, at least they're not making us revert it all back out again, it'll just go unused.

You'd think the business analysts could get things like this straight, figure out what's actually going to be wanted before development starts.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The economy

Don't look to the Crash of '29 and the Great Depression for a model for the current economic situation. Look instead to the Panic of 1873, the events that led up to it and the Long Depression that followed it.

Oh, and OPEC wanting oil at $70/barrel? Not happening, guys. Not unless they cut production by 100%, and maybe not even then. And they aren't going to shut themselves down to force the price of oil up. OPEC needs to accept that, given the current economy, their desires are just unrealistic.

Stock market

Looks like the Dow's headed to a close below 7000 for the first time in over a decade. The S&P 500 is flirting with the 700 mark. If the Dow closes under 7000, I expect a bad reaction the rest of the week. I'm also expecting the markets to continue to decline. Now's a good time to be solidly in money markets and other safe investments. Should make for some good profits once things bottom out and start to recover, though.