Archive for category Meta-Fyngyrz

What’s that Smell?

As they train to become a doctor, new interns are taught about many different diseases that produce various sets of otherwise similar symptoms. In conjunction with this new and complex knowledge, they are also taught this truism: “When you hear hoofprints, you must not initially assume a zebra is in the vicinity.” This pithy remark is meant to impart that, for instance, if a patient comes in bleeding from an orifice, one must not immediately assume that Ebola is in the building; more likely something much more common is in play, such as hemorrhoids or perhaps an unfortunate excess of enthusiasm coupled with a new, ahem, toy.

One of the clearer signs that I was becoming a competent programmer was that the problems in my code began, more and more often, to in fact, be zebras. Instead of a misplaced character or a missing clause or some kind of blatant conceptual error, the abject weirdnesses that were most often populating the realm of my final, demonstrably accurate diagnoses came to be things like operating system bugs, broken libraries, incomplete emulations and exotic compiler bugs. Zebras.
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Using the Pi as an aquarium pump controller

Just a short post to follow up on the how-to Raspberry Pi post. I went into detail on how to get one going, but I never really said what I was doing with the thing. So, in case anyone is curious:

First I installed all the software I wanted. I set the Pi up as a headless (no monitor, keyboard or mouse) network-controlled computer. I installed a wifi dongle so it became a headless, wireless network-controlled computer. And then…
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Cellphone Etiquette During Conversation

Wandering though life, I often encounter the occasional person who seems to have missed an etiquette class. Or several. In particular, I have noticed that a very large number of gaffes occur during face to face conversation. So as a gift, I provide the following guide to using your cellphone when in conversation with family, friends, co-workers, and friendly companions:

Rule #1: Don’t.

Rule #2: See Rule #1

If your phone rings, vibrates or plays an obnoxious ringtone (all ringtones are obnoxious) there is only one polite action: Turn it off or mute it, while apologizing: “I’m sorry, I forgot to turn my phone off. Fixed!” Slip it back in your pocket and deal with it later.

You may also benefit from my handy guide to Cellphone Etiquette at the Table.

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So… why “fyngyrz”? Pick, planchette, pluck.

The answer to that is pretty simple, really. Back in the day, I was all about guitar. I worked, dreamed, and struggled with guitar, and like many young men of my generation, I had some pretty high hopes. Alas, that career came to a screeching halt when I was offered payment in cocaine instead of money by an (otherwise) reputable studio you might very well recognize. studio-mg74 Both insulted and somewhat paranoid, I no longer made myself available to them as a studio musician, and that was the beginning of the end. It all worked out for the best, I think; turned out I was a pretty successful engineer, and on top of that, I actually enjoyed the work. From there, I began to focus on programming, and here we are today.

So anyway, here’s something from back in the day. It was recovered from 2nd-generation tape masters and consequently suffers from some sonic crud (not to mention the damage done by the mp3 encoding) but you’ll get the idea. It’s structured as a jam rather than a straight cover; a vague, building meditation upon a theme. Here you go:


Instrumental, Washburn MG-74 guitar, Gibson Les Paul studio bass.

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Buitoni Toaster Pizza

Buitoni Toaster Pizza.

Buitoni Toaster Pizza

Buitoni Toaster Pizza

Seriously? Yes, seriously. These were amazing frozen little za’s you put in, heated a bit, let sit so they’d defrost all through, then put in for a final heating, and finally let sit for a minute after that, and then you could eat them. Oh, man were these amazingly good. A great sauce, excellent cheese, and the shell came out as a lightly browned, delicious crust.

You could do it wrong — over- or under-cook, not let it defrost completely, not wait that extra minute and burn the heck out of your mouth… all risks eminently worth taking.

Ever think you might like to do me a favor if it was easy? Then please go to Buitoni’s facebook page and nudge them about this. Or search Google and find the Buitoni Toaster Pizza page, join, “like” them, and say something nice to encourage them. I guarantee the odds are very high that if you love good pizza, you’d like these. It wasn’t fast food. It was something else entirely. Call it an accident, or a fortuitous event in frozen foods, but don’t write it off.

Buitoni Toaster Pizzas. Oh, man.

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Just a story from /dev/random

the-zaWhen I was a kid, we had a wonderful, wonderful pizza place about 9 miles away from home called Nedzip’s Pizza. It was on Front Street in the little town of Port Jervis, NY. This pizza was, and I am so, so serious here, just the best. Perfect every time.

So this one time, my mother and I were out in the car waiting for our order, across the street a little bit diagonal to the pizza place, right next to the Texas Hot Dog emporium. A roller grill, the usual range of hot dog goodness, but after all… hot dogs. We were not there for hot dogs. It was summer, and our windows were down.
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New WordPress version, new MySql version, hoop jumping, aggravation

So, my legions of loyal visitors (notice how I don’t assume you read any of my drivel, just that you visit), my hosting provider informed me that things were changing, and I’d have to update what database I was using and what version of the underlying language, and that also meant new blogging software, and so… the site was down for half a day or so while I located the hoops, jumped back and forth through them, and towards the end, contemplated setting them on fire.

But it’s done now. I think. Perhaps.

However, should you encounter weirdness, by all means let me know and I’ll see if I can work out what I did wrong, or whatever. Sorry for being down, wasn’t my intention.

Cheers!

–Ben

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Cellphone Etiquette at the Table

Wandering though life, I often encounter the occasional person who seems to have missed an etiquette class. Or several. In particular, I have noticed that a very large number of gaffes occur at the dinner table. So as a gift, I provide the following guide to using your cellphone when sharing dinner with family, friends, and friendly companions:

Rule #1: Don’t.

Rule #2: See Rule #1

If your phone rings, vibrates or plays an obnoxious ringtone (all ringtones are obnoxious) there is only one polite action: Turn it off or mute it, while apologizing: “I’m sorry, I forgot to turn my phone off. Fixed!” Slip it back in your pocket and deal with it later.

In an upcoming post, I will cover cellphone use during conversation with another person. I’m sure you all look forward to that.

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