Month: January 2013


Well, for the second time in as many weeks, I find myself taking a day to reinstall Windows 7. The last one was for a cousin; this latest was for me.

As I mentioned the other day, something went wrong with my Win8 installation and it wouldn't boot. And, since I was running a Release Preview that was set to expire by the end of the week anyway, I decided it would be kinda stupid to spend any time trying to fix it, so I just backed up My Documents and reinstalled Win7.

Win8 is pretty much what everybody's said it is: a perfectly decent touchscreen interface with some discoverability issues, awkwardly grafted onto a traditional Windows interface, Frankenstein-fashion. Seeing as I don't have a touchscreen, I see no reason whatever to keep Windows 8.

Well, that's not entirely true -- some of the tweaks to the traditional Windows interface are damn fine: I like having a Task Manager that doesn't just report CPU and RAM usage but also hard drive and network activity (meaning no more "What the fuck is making the HD light blink like crazy when nothing's taking up more than 1% of the CPU?!"), and a filecopy interface that isn't a fucking 1980's holdover designed for transferring files between a 1.44MB floppy and an 80MB hard drive. I had a job once that consisted of copying databases -- single files ranging from 15-40GB -- to laptops all day. And when there was a network hiccup, it would abort the transfer and I'd have to start all over from the beginning. Almost as annoying: copying a user's entire home directory, hundreds or thousands of files, and if a single one fails, the entire transfer cancels itself.

Windows 8 has finally baked in filecopy tools that allow for pausing and resuming file transfers -- not just in command-line tools but in the standard Explorer UI.

Course, you only get that if you upgrade to Win8. Don't want a silly-ass tablet-style interface on your desktop? Well, then you get to stick with the old Task Manager and filecopy, too.

Meantime, I had a job interview today. And if all goes well, I'll have a lot more Windows 7 installations in my immediate future.


Per uploader Brock2097:

Frank Zappa and Prazsky Vyber, "Improvizace V A Dur S Frankem Zappou," performed live on June 24, 1991 at the "ADIEU C.A." concert in Prague, Czechoslovakia, to celebrate the collapse of Soviet rule in the country. Released on Prazsky Vyber albums "Adieu C.A." and "Komplet."

Ahmet Emuukha Rodan

Ahmet talks a bit about his name, his dad's love of monster movies, and his children's book, The Monstrous Memoirs of a Mighty McFearless.

Games a-Breakin'

I can't get Windows to boot at all on my main computer -- the Win8 preview doesn't expire until next week, so I think it's because I stuck my helper card back in so I could get a stable Mac boot. Which apparently means I can't get a stable Windows boot.

I tried to play The Walking Dead on the HTPC in the living room, but the controls don't map right on my Cordless Rumblepad 2, x360ce doesn't work, and my Xbox 360 wireless controller receiver seems to have died when I tried disconnecting and reconnecting it. I've got a third-party wired Xbox controller, but for some reason that doesn't work either.

And my Wii is now ejecting every disc I put in it.

Come on, games! I've been productive this week! I finished two submissions, scheduled a job interview for Monday, and have a potential programming position lined up for a few months from now! I deserve a little time to kick back and play games!

...guess I'll just have to work on one of the several dozen on the list that aren't Walking Dead or a Wii game.

My Latest Barrier to Productivity

So yesterday I set up an external hard drive for my audio recording. Because as it turns out a 40GB hard drive is not a good long-term choice for audio production. (In fact I'm surprised I've gotten as far as I have using a 2005-vintage Mac Mini in the first place.)

Setting up an external hard drive turned out not to be as easy as it should have been. Pro Tools kept giving me a crypic "DAE error -9131", because apparently this is 1993 and it is still considered acceptable for a programmer to throw up an incomprehensible number for an error message instead of telling the user what the fuck is actually wrong.

An hours-long troubleshooting story short, I found the solution via Noize at Gearslutz. It involves not merely reformatting the external drive, and not merely repartitioning the external drive, but repartitioning it using the old, pre-OSX Apple Partition Map. (I also disabled journaling because another post somewhere recommended that, too. Plus that way I can hook it up to a Linux box and mount it read-write.)

After that, though, I had a good, fruitful few hours. And then I took a break and biked downtown. When I got back my voice was hoarse and I found I couldn't record any more for the day, but as it was I was already a week and a half ahead of schedule so I'm not too worried. And I came home to a note from my contact on the project about more possible work in the future.

It's early days yet but I've certainly received a lot of encouragement.

Fucking Government Bureaucrats

So I'm doing a bit of freelance work right now, on a royalty basis.

I wasn't sure how to fill this out on this week's unemployment claim. They ask, Did you work or earn any money during the week of [whenever]? Well, I worked, but the work hasn't yet earned me any money, and because the money is based on future sales, I have no way of accurately estimating what it will be.

Given this problem, I submitted a question to the unemployment website as soon as I knew I would be doing the work, to make sure that I filled out the form accurately and correctly.

I got a call two days later -- at 7:15 AM, because of course an unemployed person is going to be awake at that hour -- from someone who had never heard of an unemployed person working for royalties before, but who said she thought it would be okay if I answered Yes to the "Did you work or earn any money?" question and then filled out the amount as $0.00.

Because -- and here's where I start nitpicking about the definitions of basic fucking English words -- the word or does in fact indicate that if you meet either one of the listed conditions, the answer is Yes.

But I guess when whatever government bureaucrat wrote that question wrote it, what they really meant was and, not or. Because yesterday I got a notice that my claim had been denied for failure to report wages.

Now, to be clear: I am not blaming the nice lady who I spoke to on the phone for this mess. She did the best she could with an unusual and unfamiliar circumstance.

I blame whatever nitwit wrote the question, and also whoever decided that the solution to the "Wait, this guy said he worked but earned no money" condition would be automatic rejection instead of, say, flagging the account and getting a human being to spend five fucking minutes reviewing it. Because of course in addition to my having submitted a question on the website and spoken to a representative on the phone, I also noted that I was working for royalties on the list of jobs I had applied to over the week (which is also an asinine requirement and which I have discussed previously).

Sure is nice to know nobody reads those fucking things, even if your claim is flagged.

Guess that reassures me some that nobody from DES is likely to stumble across a blog post titled Fucking Government Bureaucrats while I'm waiting for them to fix this and send me my check.

Hopefully I will get my money by the end of the week. In the meantime, I guess I learned my fucking lesson: when dealing with government agencies, never use any logic complex enough to destroy a robot in a 1940's science fiction story.

You can't tell them, because that would hurt and you mustn't hurt. But if you don't tell them, you hurt, so you must tell them. And if you do, you will hurt and you mustn't, so you can't tell them; but if you don't, you hurt, so you must; but if you do, you hurt, so you mustn't; but if you don't, you hurt, so you must; but if you do, you—