Thursday, March 13, 2008

Syncronization again

Google has, in some ways, beaten me to the punch. For this I am actually grateful, since they built the calendar service, and the GData API they should have figured it out before me.

Unfortunately they're doing so in a bit of a different way than I am going about it so we may still be leaving some people in the dust.

The Google Calendar Sync utility:

The nature of the tool requires you to be using Windows, and Microsoft Outlook which is problematic. I primarily use Linux with Thunderbird at home, and I have the Lightning Thunderbird plugin to allow me to use it for calendaring. At the office I do use Windows mostly, but spend some of my time in Linux and Evolution or using Entourage on the Mac. Google cannot help me here.
The utility itself is a compiled executable and Google has not release the code, so developers don't know how the tool works. The Terms of Service also prevent developers from reverse-engineering to find these things out, so our only hope is to ask Google how this thing does what it does.

On a related note I've been making some progress with my own sync tool, but Spring Quarter here at RIT just started so my time is growing slim. With any luck I should have a working beta within a few weeks, but that probably will have limited support for recurring appointments, at best.


(Edit, I went to retag this and ate some of my article. Looks like their regex got a little too greedy)

Friday, March 7, 2008


Now that part 1 of the series has been imported to the new blog I think it's appropriate to finish the 2nd part of the series. Doubly appropriate after recently being deemed by New York State as not a threat to the road.

Unfortunately there are these great big JERKS on the road who mess with people who understand the true nature of today's article. The topic is SPEED and the jerks are the POLICE. Yes, the police are jerks. While I'll admit that in theory they do some good things for society most all of these things are not on the road. On the road these men are tyrants. Angry bullies who hide behind bridges and bushes and try to catch you driving faster than some arbitrary number that was posted on a sign somewhere IF you're lucky.
Adding to how much they suck is the DMV, keeping track of points and passing calculated judgment on the status of your driving license based on another arbitrary number. 3 even MINOR infractions in A YEAR AND A HALF can have your car languishing in not-being-driven-ness. I nearly got boned on my first ticket in 15 months because of the way the system "works".

So now that these JERKS and this crappy system have created an arbitrary middle ground, us drivers can create the extremes.

My roommate lives on the one extreme, the one they make movies about. Unfortunately a significant amount of you live in the other's a little unbalanced but true.

In theory many of us are taught that Speed Limit is a LIMIT, hard DO-NOT-GO-FASTER and this is enforced by the JERKS. However in practice this number is generally derived from a physics equations to determine the maximum safe speed in relatively inclement weather. In standard weather conditions, given any amount of skill, it's usually possible to drive twice the posted limit and still be completely in control of the car. Of course, if you're the target of this haven't got the skill. Sorry, buddy.

Safety on the road is paramount and if you can't handle a speed don't drive that fast but NO ONE can seriously expect me to believe they can't handle 65, 55 miles an hour. Although maybe if there's something else wrong with you but then you really shouldn't be on the road at all. This idiotic "SLOWER==SAFER" behavior so many of you seem to be indulging in is HAZARDOUS. Just as people without skill driving too fast is bad, ANYONE driving too slow is also bad. If you're so damn stubborn that you can't handle the idea of driving the speed of everyone around you then you are putting me in danger and I have every right to be mad at you. The speed of the road is determined by the drivers and not the number on the sign. If you're not driving at least the speed of the road you are creating congestions and unnatural traffic flow which makes it harder for everyone else on the road to adjust to the other drivers.

So driving too slow is bad, and generally lends itself to 2 other also bad things:
1) Everyone else assumes you're an 80 year old lady. Seriousy, stop.
2) You will turn too slow.

Turns can normally be handled safely at 15-20 miles an hour, up to 30 but not easily or comfortably. And these are the 90 degree intersection types of turns, not merging off the highway. So if you're taking your sweet time with a turn driving 5 miles an hour, other drivers will be forced to pull an "OMG GOTTA SLOW DOWN PERSON STILL THERE" because you are not following the flow of traffic and causing unnatural congestion. This is how rear-end collisions are made.

Way-too-long story short: Speed, if weather allows, for the love of all that is good and holy...SPEED. 15, 20 miles an hour over... Just do it.

And don't worry about JERKS, they'll just as soon pull you over for driving faster than everybody else as they will for driving SLOWER than everybody else. So just fit the traffic flow and let those of us who want to, go faster than your slow ass.

YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG! Part 1 (repost)

Since I started Build Environment I realized that the RIT Sentinel was probably not the best place for my person, non-RIT related I have imported my series of complaints against the poor drivers of NYS. This is the first in the series on the subject of turn signals, Enjoy...LEARN. Don't crash into me, I like my car too much.

There is a law of software design which dictates that the more lines of code a project has, the more bugs it has. I believe this holiday season has proven this also applies to drivers. It is this which compels me to write to you all tonight.

In this series, titled “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG”, I have appointed myself as grand master of all your crappy driving. So, stop what you are doing…pull the car over…YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.

The other day I saw a man driving some form of SUV. He had begun to exit the expressway and realized that he was doing so early…and pulled into that weird “buffer” area. He tried to re-enter the highway proper and turned on his TURN SIGNAL to indicate his desire to do so. The other drivers saw what he wanted to do, and reacted accordingly. Is the man a good driver? Possibly. Is what he did legal? Probably not. BUT he does know how to use a turn signal, which is a step or 3 beyond the rest of you bitches with your insane lane changes and random 2.5 MPH turns that come out of nowhere and take 3 seconds to figure out what the HELL you’re doing.
Seriously, people. The turn signal was put into the car so no one had to wave their arm out the window in funny shapes to tell other drivers what they wanted to do…am I actually to believe in this age of high communication that we can’t flip a freaking lever to tell someone else we wanna drive our car in the general direction of left?

So! Just incase you missed it the first time:
How to not crash your car into other people when changing direction in 3 easy steps!
1) SIGNAL your desire to stop moving straight.
2) Make your direction change. And try not to take forever with this…seriously. Unless there’s something wrong with your car there is no way your suspension is that bad.
3) Turn the signal off. Not doing this only flies if you’re over 70. Once you no longer want to change your direction, stop telling people you wanna change direction.

THERE you have it! A quick and easy way to not only stop offending the other people on the road but also to help lower your insurance premiums because when other people can react to you, since you told them what you were going to do with your car, they’re less likely to CRASH INTO YOU.
Dammit people. You are so full of suck.