Archive for June 2005

Chopsticks and popcorn

First let me start by admitting that I didn’t come up with this idea but I do feel I can expand on the concept a bit.

Most people employ one of the following ways of eating popcorn. The painfully slow one piece at a time method. The hand full in your face, funny sound snarfing method. Bite off all the “fluff” and save the core for later method. The one I used to use, grab a hand full and pick each piece out of my hand with my tongue. All of these methods have one common problem. Fingers touch food so any liquid on the food is transferred to fingers.

There are basically two solutions. First, no butter. Butter is great so I’m going to scratch that off the list. Second use a tool to move the popcorn from the container to your mouth. I’m going to go off topic here for a minute. I’m tired of all the comedians making fun of chop sticks, “I know they’ve seen the spoon. They have shovels.” I’d like to see them eat sushi with a fork. Chopsticks have survived for a reason. They are much better for picking up odd shaped objects than a fork or spoon. Back on topic. Keeping our hands clean requires a tool that can pick up odd sized, odd weighted objects. Popcorn will just fall off a spoon. The ideal tool, CHOPSTICKS! They allow you to move popcorn from the container to your mouth without getting your hands greasy. This leaves them nice and clean to touch other things. Such as your date.

Wait, there’s more. For an even better time try dipping your chopsticks in sticky liquid. Honey, peanut butter, whatever you have around. Then slide them in the popcorn to make something of a popcorn on a stick.

No More Pens.

That’s it. I give up. I have tried every pen ever made and I can’t write with any of them. I’ve been fighting this battle for years. I finally got sick of not being able to read any of my notes about two weeks ago and went hunting, once again for a solution. I found it in the form of a device that I once used almost exclusively in grade school. The PENCIL! More precisely the mechanical pencil. Amazing! This device, with the ability to have it’s marks erased instead of scratched out has saved me much frustration over the past weeks. If I focus and write slowly I can actually read my notes. It’s amazing. I do still catch myself writing to quickly and smearing words but when I do this I simply erase it and write it again slower.

Upgrades – Get them done!

Most developers are afraid of upgrades of software they don’t control. Most are fine with pushing their own changes into production but very few rest easy when it comes time to upgrade the database. They have little to fear with MySQL if they stay on top of it.

Between every release of MySQL A list of changes is published into the manual. For example when upgrading from 4.1.11 to 4.1.12. There is also a set of pages which describe changes between major versions. If you pass these around to your engineers and something is likely to go wrong chances are one of them will spot it. Lots of people make it to this point ok. What they do next is what kills them. Instead of scheduling time to fix the problems in their application so they can upgrade MySQL they put it off and never upgrade. A few more versions are released and suddenly it becomes a big job to upgrade. Next a new minor release of MySQL comes out say 4.0 to 4.1 now the engineers want all the new features of 4.1 (sub queries is big here) but they can’t get them because they are afraid of all the changes between 4.0.15 and 4.0.24 plus the new changes in 4.1 breaking their existing code.

So stay on top of your upgrades. When a new version of MySQL comes out you to can have all the shiny new features with nothing to fear.

The More You Know – Murder

murder (mûrdr) noun: A flock of crows.

Gotta Love The Government

About a week ago I received my tax return check. Today I received a letter informing me that they couldn’t direct deposit my refund and that I would get my check in about three weeks…..

Fry’s Hardware Purchase.

2G Ram.
250G SATA HD.
Adaptec SATA Controller.
Stupid SATA Power Adapter.
1G SD Card.
I love Fry’s. No prices on this one because I can’t find the receipt.
[update 6/6/2005] This whole section if for me to keep track of my bad habits. Not to brag about any new crap I get.
[update 6/6/2005] This is actually a combination of two trips made in different weeks.

Howto Yahoo!ize firefox.

I personally like my firefox to not be so google heavy. Mistyping something in the address bar and having it send me to the first google “I’m Feeling Lucky” link is somewhat annoying. Here is how to switch firefox use another search or none at all if you want. I’m going to switch it to use yahoo but you can choose whatever you want. First let’s break into the secret firefox configuration. In the address bar type about:config as shown below:
Yahooize Address Bar.
Now we can change all kinds of neat things in firefox. In the filter area choose ‘search’ this will give us most of the search things we need to change. The things I change are

browser.search.order yahoo
browser.search.order2 google
browser.search.defaultenginename yahoo
browser.search.selectedEngine yahoo
browser.search.defaulturl http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=sfp&p=

Next let’s switch up the keyword url. This is the annoying one that triggers when you type anything into the address bar that isn’t a valid url. In the about:config page change the filter from ‘search’ to ‘keyword’ Then you can either disable the keyword searching or change the url to be something else. I use changed it to use yahoo with “http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=sfp&p=”

After making your changes restart firefox. It’s now Yahooized! or whatever you chose. Enjoy!

[update 6/11/2005: Try Yahoo Mindset instead of the normal yahoo search url: http://mindset.research.yahoo.com/search.php?p= ]