Saturday, December 26, 2009

VLC includes Santa Hat icon, offends Buddhist?

A few days ago I noticed my VLC icon, the much beloved cone, had donned a red "Santa" hat. I thought it was a cute little "easter egg", and thought nothing more of it. This morning I was wondering if there was a plugin or if it would be easy to make a feature for VLC that involved the icon randomly swapping hats. Deerstalkers, fedoras, pressman's hats, baseball caps...just hats. For fun. I came across a recent thread on the VLC dev forums where someone was requesting the hat be removed or a patch be made to allow users to toggle the hat on or off during the Christmas season. This person was apparently incredibly offended the some developer thought it would be cute to give the cone a recognizable hat for a few weeks out of the year. I'm really curious if this person also gets offended at restaurants that put up orange and black streamers or cardboard witches in late October, or people who wear "What would Jesus do?" bracelets. I found a little survey generator and I'm going to try to embed it here and see if I get enough readership to actually collect some useful data here. Just for my own edification.

The link to the thread is here:

[The survey period is over, it has been removed.]

Monday, December 21, 2009

Halleluja! AT&T: 1 year later

In the wake of the SNL skit poking fun at AT&T's signal problems, I noticed it has been almost a year to the day since I bought an iPhone. Now while I managed to escape their service in July it took quite a bit longer for me to escape their contract. And I only now assume to have escaped the contract as I can no longer log into their website and I haven't recieved letters from any collection agencies. AT&T has failed to directly contact me on this issue: I'm just guessing.

So the adventure started because Verizon refused to allow me to try the Samsung Omnia without locking me into a 2 year contract. I had allowed my agreement to lapse and then purchased a BlackBerry Storm. But, when I tried to exchange the Storm for the Omnia I was told that I would be bound to a new 2 year agreement. Apparently the 30 day trial is shared between the phone and the service and any change to either within that time negates the trial.

The Omnia was Verizon's final chance to retain me as a customer at that point and since they wouldn't let me see if I liked the phone enough to keep their service, I canceled my contract and left the store...heading over to the AT&T with my head hung in shame I asked for an iPhone. The rep hooked me up with my account, activated the phone, applied my RIT employee discount, sold me some screen protectors, and sent me on my way. Aside from a few odd hiccups at Wal-mart involving the phone refusing to work since it thought the SIM card was out, nothing seemed odd for the trip home. I brought the phone home and immediately set about jailbreaking it. The phone was working out pretty well for a while, apart from some of that GSM noise and sketchy signal. Over the next few months living in Rochester the signal problems grew worse and the noise became more annoying. I'm not sure if it was actually making it more, or if I'd just slowly grown to hate it.

AT&T support seemed only grudgingly willing to help me concerning my poor reception. While I understand the description of the issue leaves a lot to be desired as a technical support request, these people are being paid to at least try, which they did not. And from a customer perspective separate from the technical problem, they didn't help me at all. These people refused to admit there were any issues, kept repeating that I was in a good signal area like saying it again would make it true, and they wouldn't even consider compensating me for the poor service by giving me even one-time discounts.

I was dropping calls sometimes 3 times within a minute. It was horrifying. And I wasn't even in a major metropolitan area, I just had poor signal. And it wasn't my phone because as soon as I left my room, or stepped outside if I was in a particularly sturdy RIT building, I was able to use the phone perfectly well. As a former Verizon customer for several years I had never experienced the frustration of a dropped call. In fact, I can't remember it happening to me before this, EVER. This constant dropping of calls and failing to ring even once caused my overreacting mother to call the county Sheriff's office to investigate my apartment and make sure I was ok. I have NEVER been so angry at a phone company.

Eventually, after almost 4-5 months of this I got them to consider this might be their problem. They offered to replace the SIM card on the phone, which I knew wasn't going to help, but I decided to play along since they were finally paying attention to me as a customer and not the enemy. Unfortunately, just a little after this I had to graduate and move, so we postponed the replacement until I had settled in my new apartment. When I called again after moving, the rep at the other end, while being slightly kinder than anyone else I'd spoken to up until this point wasn't any more helpful. I was told I was 3 miles away from the nearest tower, with the maximum range of GSM being...survey says...3 miles. The guy basically told me I was out of luck, there's nothing they can do regarding compensation, my options were either step outside every time I need to make a call and hope they build a tower nearby in a few months or switch carriers. So took the sensible option: I switched to Sprint when the Palm Pre came out in July. After ~8 months, I was finally free. Or ... crap.

While Sprint was being really good to me, discounting me for poor service and eventually giving me a device which gives me flawless reception in my apartment for free, AT&T was trying to charge me a cancellation fee. They sent me 2 bills, each 2 months apart for the fee. They didn't call, they just sent me sporadic bills. I finally called them and I was again confronted as the enemy. I got through the first level which told me nothing could be done, and the next level who told me they couldn't do anything, and that level's manager who told me I was completely unjustified in asking for the fee to be dropped. (The fee they charged me to cancel the service I wasn't getting...yeah.) But he'd put it into arbitration just to get me off the phone. A representative from the cancellation department would contact me within a week.
A week went by, then 2, then a month, then 2...and no call. Eventually it was December again, and I decided to pop into my account to see if the fee was still there. And much to my surprise I no longer had an account with I can only assume that AT&T finally decided to drop the cancellation fee they had no basis for charging me. Greed is not a basis. But they must have been so embarrassed at their own unreasonable handling of my case and took so long to make a decision, that they decided not to call me.

So, 1 year later... AT&T has completely spoiled any chance of my considering them a responsible entity. They are a bad company, with a crappy network, a slew of crappy phones, and some of the worst customer service I've ever had the displeasure to receive. They are a joke, and it is a very sad way.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bourgeois Beer: Sam Adams Utopias

With a price tag of ~$200 per bottle, Sam Adams Utopias is a beer for those who feel a little heavy in the wallet. As it is also released only every 2-3 years, and it very hard to get ahold of, it has a reputation of being a fine beer for those who seek new and extreme flavors out of beer.

Some tag Utopias as a "Super-Beer", and with an ABV of 27% it's certainly something beyond mortal beers.

I managed to get ahold of a bottle through a friend of mine who still lives in Rochester near Beers of the World. I wasn't able to find it in the liquor stores near my apartment, which is ironic given my proximity to Boston. I picked up the bottle when I visited my parents for Thanksgiving.

The bottle comes with a serial number which doubles as a discount code at the Sam Adams store for a free Utopias signature glass made by Reidel. Now that I've finally got ahold of that glass and sampled the Utopias out of it, both chilled and at room temperature, I feel it's time to write about it.

At first, the swirl and look. The beer is almost completely un-carbonated, it sits heavy in the glass. Swirling it causes a noticeable coating to form on the side of the glass. It's not Stone Russian Imperial Stout or Old Engine Oil, but it's pretty thick. The beer is clear and dark, mostly an amber color like most beer. A little more towards the dark brown of a stout than the golden color you'd get in most lagers.

At the sniff you start getting into it. There are hints of dried fruits, brown sugar. There's also a similarity to the Dogfish Head 120 IPA, or Imperial IPA, owing to the incredibly high alcohol content. It almost seems like it's trying to be a low power liquor or high power wine, like a warm tawny port or a sherry. Some sort of fortified wine or burnt red wine. A lot of reviews place it similar to a brandy but I think the fortified wine label fits better, it just doesn't have that angry burn of a full-on liquor. When chilled more red fruits come out of the sniff, wild berries, blackberries.

On to the main course, drinking the beer. The mouthfeel is very satisfying. It's lighter than it looks but still thick enough to coat the tongue. Also not so thick it feels like I've chewed off a chunk of something. The beer itself is not like anything I've ever tasted, not with regards to beer, anyway. Just like the smell, it's more like a burnt wine than anything. There are hints of lots of farm fruit, but it's all subdued. Strawberry, black berry, raisins, red grapes, cooked apples, etc. They all taste more like a jam than the fruit itself. That subdued, soaking in sugar idea. When it's chilled it tastes more like a cleaner, more refreshing beer. Some of the sweeter flavors are toned down making it fruitier, more like a lambic beer. Even cold it's still incredibly complex. Warm, the beer takes on darker and sweeter tinge. The alcohol is also more pronounced. The dark brown sugar that was almost completely vanquished by cooling it takes center stage when it's room temperature. The burnt wine flavors are also a lot more prominent when it's warm.

My recommendation for this beer is to chill it first, then allow it to warm as you drink it, so as to get the full representation of the flavors. Some of the more subtle fruit-based flavors get lost in the alcoholic might of the brew when it's drunk at room temperature.

Also, my recommendation for this beer is not to buy it unless you're in it for the experience. The flavor just isn't too incredible, mostly because it doesn't taste like beer. You can get the same ideas by mixing a dry port wine with a really grape-y red wine...and maybe some of thick stout. This beer is in the same vein as the Thomas Hardy's Ale, that I also didn't like. Both that beer and this one are way too similar to a wine.

While I have a tremendous amount of respect for the brewmasters that crafted these, I just want a clear distinction between beer and wine...these ground breaking beers blur the lines a little too much for me.

Drink on, folks!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

How customer service SHOULD work.

I have my own opinions on how customer service should be done. When I previously worked in the service industry I applied my ideals to great success. However, it the rest of the industry seems to have the opposite ideas. So when I do find customer service that treats me with respect as a customer and not a walking checkbook, I'm always pleasantly surprised.

This is how NOT to do it:
Pretty much since the first day I took my iPhone home I had problems with reception. I was far-ish from a tower and the signal didn't penetrate into the finished basement that served as my room. When I moved to my new apartment in Norwood, MA, I had even WORSE reception. I was told by AT&T customer service this was because I was barely at the maximum range of the nearest tower. I was also told there was nothing I could do but continue to pay them for a service I wasn't receiving and hope that eventually they built a tower closer to me. But he couldn't tell me when or where the next group of towers was going to be. When I left AT&T because I wasn't getting any service, cellular or customer, I was charged a very large early-cancellation fee. While I fully admit that I canceled early, I contend that the lack of reception was a valid reason. When I confronted them regarding the fee they claimed there was nothing that could be done, and refused to consider the validity of my reason for dropping them. When I finally got them to agree to think about dropping the charge they told me they'd pass the request to the appeals department which would contact me within a week. It's been maybe 2.5 months and I haven't heard back from them. This tale is so filled fail, it actually makes me sad. Not like Bambi's Mom dying, but still pretty depressing.

On the other hand, I had the same problem with my Sprint phone since I got it. Very poor reception. Pretty much had to leave the apartment to use the phone. However, when I called their customer service I was offered an option to remedy the situation almost immediately. I was offered a device that's effectively a CDMA mini-tower. Since I was using it to upgrade from NO reception, not just poor reception, I would be charged half price for this device and I wouldn't have to pay the monthly fee for using the device. 2 months later when I examined my bill, I had been charged full price for the device and had usage fees for it. I immediately used online chat to confront them about the charges. The Sprint rep took maybe 5 minutes to review my file and then told me "Yup, you're right! Our bad!" And instantly removed the charges. There was no escalation, no hassel, no confrontation. When I got done with them, I was grateful for the assistance and actually happy about my choice of wireless carrier. I was so ecstatic about the fact they didn't try to bend me over and take all my money, I didn't even attempt to have my late payment charges removed. I'm left with the impression that THIS is how customer service is done.

So, congrats Sprint for getting something so simple right, when everyone else is hell bent on getting it wrong in the hope of making a quick buck by wringing your customers for money you don't deserve.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mojo Rising: AutoFocusing on Dialogs

While I have every confidence the documented controller.setInitialFocusedElement() method will work during scene pushes, the story is somewhat different if you only showDialog(). I'm currently adding the final touches to my first complete Palm Pre application, in preparation for a postmortem blog post on developing with Mojo.
One of those final touches was automatically focusing on the text input widget when the dialog was shown. This simple thing took me over 2 hours to figure out and required reading through the actual framework code provided by Palm.
For whatever reason some methods of the scene controller aren't fired on showDialog() like they are on pushScene(). Might track down more on this later.
For now, to get Mojo to automatically focus on an element when a dialog is shown, do this:

1. When creating your view, add a tabindex="0" to the div which will become the widget. Or use the Mojo.View.makeFocusable() method, which currently does the same thing.
2. In the Assistant object you passed to the showDialog() method as the "assistant" property, add the following line of code to the activate() method:

Alternatively you could just call:
However, the advanceFocus() method of the scene controller object is annotated as private so using it is likely not the best practice. There also might be a better way to get the sceneElement, but at the time of this posting I am far too tired to look it up.

More Mojo Rising coming soon, folks.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I hate sports.

How very unamerican of me, but I've never been interested in sports. Not really interested in playing and DEFINITELY not interested in watching. I fail to see how watching other people play a game can be enthralling, and why is chess boring to watch but football is popular? Are viewers just getting off on the movement? Is it a living vicariously thing? Whatever, I don't get it...but that's not my point.
I know I'm not alone in my lack of enjoyment of sports, there are plenty of people who are just plain don't care and want absolutely nothing to do with it. That's not really my point either, though.
What's bothering me is how it's assumed that sports is such a part of mainstream life that EVERYONE wants to participate in it.
I recently got an HDTV and subscribed to Verizon's FiOS TV service. As part of this service I've been gifted with what looks like a dozen sports channels, NFL, Nascar, NHL, NBA, etc. And that's just the HD side of the dial. But I don't get Shotime, so I can't watch Dexter. I want to watch Dexter, I don't want to watch sports...and more to the point I will NEVER want to watch sports. There is no way for me UNorder the sports package, but to get Shotime I have to sign up for a movies extras package that costs $14.99 more a month. I get the movie channels being their own package, they're specialized and generally of a higher caliber than the other channels. But sports programming is specialized, regardless of whether its proponents would care to admit it. Why can't I opt out? I'd gladly pay for the movie channels if I didn't have to pay for this sports crap I'm not watching.
Anyway, I was almost over my nerd rage at that annoyance when I went to update my phone's OS. Out of the box, and again with this update, the phone has some stock applications. Many of these are useful generic things like youtube, google maps, sprint navigator, etc. But the update also re-installed 2 sports specific applications: NFL and Nascar. Now I'm not really complaining about the inclusion of these applications in the phone or the update...I'm sure NFL and Nascar paid Sprint or Palm some good advertising money to get a presence on the phone. The problem I have is that I can't get rid of these things. Well, that's not true: I can. But I'm not the vast majority of the population. The only way to get rid of these applications is to 'root' the Palm Pre, that is use the hidden developer mode to gain shell access to the phone, then use that command shell to delete the application directly from the phone. The UI that you would normally use to remove any other application simple doesn't give you the option to remove these.
While that situation doesn't have the trade off the TV one does, there's nothing I could be getting instead of these applications, it's still frustrating I can't get rid of these things that are absolutely useless. I don't like sports, I want to get rid of these applications, I want to get rid of these channels.

Liking sports is a choice you made, not liking sports is a choice I made. Why do you feel your choice has the right to screw with mine?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Javascript Shenanigans: Advance Javascript Resource

I was wandering around the internet at work today and stumbled upon this excellent application at John Resig's site
I'm a little annoyed I hadn't found anything like this when I was looking for JS resources when I was trying to figure out some of the more advanced things like closures and prototype hackery. This starts slow but gets good fast:
Learning Advanced Javascript

Be enlightened.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Javascript Shenanigans: How jQuery works. Kinda.

Every time I re-read the source code to jQuery I understand something new about how it works. It's actually rather enlightening, figuring out how it works.

I'd like to explain the way the "jQuery" code from the previous post works, since it uses a decent amount of more advances javascript and led me to a greater understanding of the language.

So, this:

(function () {
$ = function(elem) {
return new $.prototype.init(elem);
$.prototype = {
init: function(elem) {
this[0] = elem;
return this;
each: function(f) {
for (var i in this[0])[0][i]);
return this;
$.prototype.init.prototype = $.prototype;

Broken down:
First, to make sure that everything is setup as soon as the file is loaded (before any of the document is even parsed by the browser), the setup is wrapped inside an anonymous block. I'm not sure what the proper javascript term for this is, but it's very similar to the "static { }" block from Java, where any code contained within it is immediately executed as soon as the class is loaded by the JVM. As an example:
(function (val) { alert(val); })("HI MOM");
Would immediately alert the string "HI MOM" before any content loads.

After this, we define the $ function. The function does the simple job of returning a new instance of "init". While creating instances of functions may look odd, Javascript allows this. Functions are often used to declare what's commonly thought of as an object. While "function $(elem)" is legal, I find the "var $ = function(elem)" notation makes a little more sense.

Javascript does not formally define its classes, so multiple instances of "object" can each have completely different properties and methods. Properties and methods are assigned at runtime. The .prototype method, mentioned in the previous post gives us a way to make sure all instances of an object have specific members. So, $.prototype is an object containing additional members of the $ object, which will be applied to every $ around.

In it, we define an init method which stores us a reference to the element we gave it, and then returns an instance of "init". After that we define an each method, which simple iterates whatever "this[0]" is and returns. While it's not strictly necessary to return from this function it let's us do something really cool: chaining. Look it up at jQuery's site, it rocks. This each method accepts a single parameter, a callback function, which is executed on each iteration of the loop. Rather than simply calling the function like "f()", we can use the more flexible .call() method. This basically allows us to "redefine the execution context for the given function", or in simple terms it lets us change the value of the "this" variable.

This final line adds $'s prototype to init as a prototype. This is why jQuery plugins are written
jQuery.fn.nameofmyplugin = ...
In real jQuery, jQuery.fn = jQuery.prototype, so your plugin adds another object to $'s prototype, which also adds it to $.init's prototype.

g'night. tired. bye.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Javascript Shenanigans: Why I hate Prototype

Surprise, I'm not dead yet!

So anyway, I've been doing a decent amount of Javascript lately. This includes pure JS, and a few frameworks...jQuery, Prototype, and Dojo. I'm going to ignore Dojo for now since it really is a whole other beast than either jQuery or Prototype.

jQuery and Prototype behave in similar ways, providing a helper function like $() and allowing you a relatively standard API to do things that certain browsers do differently (like CSS). But jQuery is nice in that it stays out of your way, Prototype intrudes. It's the asshole that starts staring over your shoulder and saying everything you're doing is wrong as soon as it walks into the room.
Technically, Prototype grabs your keyboard and starts keymashing.
Odds are pretty good that a pure javascript application will stop working as soon as prototype is included in the page.
Take a look at the following example:

window.onload = function () {
var arr = [0,2,5,7,3];
for (var i in arr)
The variable arr is an array with 5 elements. The first alert returns the expected "5", so you would expect that the "For .. in" loop (or a foreach loop) would alert you 5 values. In pure JS it does as expected, but when prototype gets in the game the for loop runs 43 time. Holy hot damn, what just happened to my code? Well, now you can't use foreach anymore because prototype all up in da hizzy.
The root of this problem is in the way that prototype works: by extending the DOM and javascript itself, through the "prototype" method.
In my copious free time I decided to see if I couldn't figure out how each of these frameworks implemented their "each" iterator function.

So, this emulates prototype's behavior:

Array.prototype.each = function (f,context) {
for (var i = 0; i<this.length; i++),this[i]);

Yes, prototype is somewhat more elegant than this, but the basic premise is the same.
While jQuery's behavior is a bit more complicated than this (And I'm pretty certain that this is because John Resig is an immortal space traveler, come from the stars to give us amazing client side scripting languages), I feel it offers a better way of achieving the same effect.

(function () {
$ = function(elem) {
return new $.prototype.init(elem);
$.prototype = {
init: function(elem) {
this[0] = elem;
return this;
each: function(f) {
for (var i in this[0])[0][i]);
return this;
$.prototype.init.prototype = $.prototype;

This allows you to iterate over the array in much the same way, except it doesn't modify the array so our original example would still loop 5 times and not 43.
But why does it work? Next time, on Build Environment.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Level 3, BEGIN

So it's been a long time since I've written anything, and that's because since I last wrote here I got a full time job, graduated from RIT, and moved to the Boston area. But now I have some time and figured I might as well put something up.

Right now, my brand new Palm Pre is syncing a small selection of my music library from iTunes, which in and of itself it kindof cool. The iTunes syncing is amazingly easy, but I'm going to hold judgement for now until it finishes. If it got my contacts it'd be sweet. The rep at the Sprint store was able to sync from my iPhone several things, but I didn't see the contacts list. We'll see if iTunes syncs them. I did add my facebook account and as promised it created a contacts list from that information, but I was driving at the time so I didn't see if they were combined with other contacts.

On first impression I'm a little ambivilant about several aspects of the phone. I like the weight and I don't mind at all that it's a little thick. But the slider and the keyboard feel a little cheap. Although the one handed mechanics of the slider are great. On the software side of things, finding certain settings is a little odd sometimes, but the app catalog is ULTRA easy to use. And the phone is FAST. Everything is FAST, loading new applications, quitting, backgrounding, switching, using. It's all so very smooth.

WebOS 1.0.2 is out, I'm going to update to it.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

In which goals are fulfilled, part 2.

It is now after 1am, and I have returned from my Scotch tasting at my friend's house. We lined up several grades of Johnnie Walker Scotch, as well as an Islay single malt called Caol Ila. The center pieces being the Blue label and Caol Ila.
I broke the foil seal and uncorked my bottle. Sniffing the cork and the top of the bottle, I got my first hint of what I'd been coveting for a long time. The smell of peat was immediate, followed by a nice soft oak and an undercurrent of an almost syrupy sweetness, like maple syrup or grenadine. I couldn't get anything more out of the smell other than whisky and soft.
The taste of it, cut and uncut, was delicious. Everything that came through in the smell, everything I always imagined GREAT Scotch would taste like was there, and all in perfect balance. Not too much of anything, or not enough. Wood, smoke, earth, sweetness, apples, nuts, spices, vanilla. It was all there, sitting nice and warm in my mouth.
I'm afraid I lack the professional taste to fully describe the whisky, all I know is that it is was really worth the wait. It may be the smoothest and most well balanced whisky I've ever had.
For now it will stay on my shelf, only to be enjoyed in the best of company.


Friday, April 10, 2009

In which goals are fulfilled, part 1.

Almost since I've been drinking, I've drank whiskey. Not exclusively, but after a few months of the obligatory cases of mass produced Beer of Questionable Quality, my first real purchase request was for whiskey. Any. Since then my palate has become more discerning. My 21st birthday gift to myself was a bottle of The Glenlivet 12 year single malt Scotch. Today, I purchased a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label blended Scotch Whisky. Since I began reading about Scotch, this particular name was mentioned over and over again, for taste...quality...class. I've desired this whisky for years.
I decided to buy the bottle about a week ago. My tax returns had arrived and I filed for my final RIT tuition refund, I was feeling rather minted. To this effect I placed an appointment in my Exchange calendar titled simply: It's time.
I waited anxiously through the week, until finally Friday afternoon rolled around. I left work with a good friend of mine, who shares my appreciation for fine whiskeys, and collected my better half, who shares my appreciation for fine states of inebriation. We went to a local liquor store, whose staff have come to recognize me due to the intensive research I usually put into my purchases. The store's owner was busy ringing out another customer, so I approached the other register and stated a request I'd been waiting to make:
I'd like a bottle of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch.
The store owner heard this, and immediately stated that he would be helping me today.
A few minutes later he returned from the back with a blue leather case, and set it on the desk. He opened the two clasps on the box, and opened the lid: revealing my bottle of Scotch, and small leather booklet. I paid, which was anticlimactic. I wish I'd have had the foresite to visit my bank and get several $20 bills.
I returned home and opened the case, the smell from the inside is a rich scent of age, class, and wood. Something I haven't smelled in years, not since I had the fortune to open the case of a very old and very expensive violin. I never had the pleasure of playing that violin, but tonight I will have the pleasure of drinking this Scotch.

Good things come to those who wait

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Name NASA's Node 3 Contest

So I noticed something today on Facebook: A group for the purpose of altering the outcome of the contest NASA is running to name the ISS Node 3 module, so as to name the module the Colbert.
I voted and then noticed the names the NASA has proposed as well as the write-in's. Some of them have a pretty decent comedy value.
Here's the list.

Earthrise, Legacy, Tranquility, Venture, Vision, Hope...all lame. Ignore them.

Serenity, clearly winning. But consider why most people are voting for it. The Serenity is a ship of pirates, named after the pivotal lost battle of a lost war. It is constantly in disrepair, barely kept running from stop to stop and only then by girl-genius mechanic Kaylee. Ok, maybe a bad namesake.

Enterprise. Seriously, stop naming things after the Enterprise unless they're gonna be epic. The Node 3 is an over glorified bathroom and air filter. Not epic. Picard wouldn't even shit in this thing much less captain it.

Xenu. Are you serious? I appreciate the irony of naming something which would have a positive impact on the lives of several people with very public lives after the fictional "bad-guy" in the creepiest religion to be created in the last 100 years...but really? Xenu? On the ISS? Well, he is from space.

Vista. This is obvious. Naming the Node 3 after the worst technical and public relations screw up in the history of Microsoft? Seriously, people hated the Bob less. Do you want this thing to crash and burn?

Buddy. Ok. Makes sense. It fits the purpose of the module. Really nothing to say except IT'S LAME! BUDDY! Might as well call it Bob!

Synergy. It makes sense, matches the purpose, and follows the feel of the names before it. ...It's better than Buddy.

Horizon. Sorry guys, this is way to close to "Event Horizon" for my liking. We all know how that ended.

At least no one wanted to call it Miranda.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Real RIT, thoughts and concerns

So I haven't posted in a while, so I figured I'd writing an editorial about some RIT stuff.

SG recently challenged several RIT administrators to live in the dorms, eat at Gracies, walk the quarter mile, and park without a reserved pass. I unfortunately couldn't make it to the closing meeting, but I did read through the blogs that were posted by the administrations and they seemed very positive. I'm not sure they got the "full" experience. It seems the admins completely missed out on several joys of campus living I got to experience.

1. 15 hour days. The reason sleep schedules are so odd in the dorms is because of how hard students have to work to survive. Between classes and work, some of us start at 8AM or earlier and don't get to put face to pillow until almost midnight. When you're looking at something like that, try to imagine what video games at 3am feel like. NOW try to go to Gracie's and eat that salad or that wrap, after a long day of frustrations that started way too early.

2. Sexile. It happens, even at a place like RIT. I bring it up because of its affects primarily on morale. Yes it keeps you up sometimes, and sometimes keeps you from getting into your room to do your work. But unless you get your own chance to do some sexiling, being forced to do your work in the hallway or the lounge because your roommate is bumping uglies is a pretty crushing blow to your morale. Couple that with the bonechilling cold of walking the quarter mile in winter and all the other frustrations of life at RIT (Parking, bad professors, over priced food, class registration, etc) and you have a recipe for a miserable existence.

3. Parking. Someone had to say it. It was part of the poster. When did these administrators have to deal with THIS daily thorn in my side? As far as I know, never. Actually, from what I read on the blogs, they marveled at how easy it was to walk to their offices from the dorms. SG, what gives? I wanted to see Destler tooling around E and F lot in his Prius for 20 minutes trying to find a spot not marked reserved. These administrators have dedicated parking or easy access to reserved passes, in the spirit of the challenge shouldn't they have had to deal with parking like the rest of us do? Yes, this is the DORM challenge...but why would you so obviously ignore commuters? Personally, I'm a little disappointed by this.

4. Food outside of Gracie's. Yes Gracie's is bad, we all suffered but then moved on. Unfortunately the food on the rest of campus isn't particularly good...or more to the point, fairly priced. It really puts my nuts in a twist to go to the SAU and see people running the line to grill twice as fast as people going to the Deli, walking out with these greased up cheeseballs that cost worlds less than getting a salad and yogurt. Living at RIT, going to class, suffering the weather makes it hard to WANT to eat healthy, and the PRICE makes it hard to afford eating healthy. It's crap. Sure administrators can deal with it since they pull down some decent change, but what about the student employee limited to 20 hours a week for minimum wage? The cost of good food on campus hurts.

And I'm sick of writing. Go go gadget "Publish Inane Rantings to Public" button.