Dispatches from Andyland "Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!" — The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

October 24, 2007

What happens to a Sukkah after the holiday? It depends

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 7:46 am

OK, I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks, and haven’t taken down the Sukkah. I almost did last weekend, but was waiting for some help taking down the decorations. Unfortunately, my procrastination caused a big problem. Last nights winds snapped the ropes I was using to steady it, and picked it up off the supports and blew both over the deck and against the house.

Michelle wound up taking care of the whole thing, dismantling it enough so it wasn’t going to cause damage to the house. Its an odd conversation that I’d have with here that goes “where is your electric screwdriver? Is it charged?”

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October 22, 2007

My Nokia E61

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 10:34 pm

I just bought a Nokia E61 from a guy from craigslist. Its pretty neat so far. Its a business oriented unit, probably something like a Blackberry. Large screen, mini-qwerty keyboard, a web browser that supports javascript , css, and flash (although I’m not sure if that is a feature or not.) Unlike the E62 that they sell in this country, the E61 also supports 802.11, and can be used as a VOIP SIP client.

October 18, 2007

Why don’t I ever hear…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 6:21 pm

Why do I often here people say “The thing I don’t like about Objects in Perl is the way they feel like they were tacked on as an afterthought.” but its less likely you hear “The thing I don’t like about parameter passing in Perl is the way it seems so tacked on as an afterthought.”

Maybe a better way of putting it is that Perl’s object system, or its argument stack seems much more “exposed” compared to other languages.

October 13, 2007

Making music

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 10:25 pm

Sam had a project for science at school to make a musical instrument. Most of the kids made string or percussion instruments, and Sam wanted something different. This is what we came up with.

Its sort of a flute-ish sort of thing. I guess sort of a fipple flute, sort of like a recorder. We made it from a piece of tubing that goes with a shop vac, and a wooden dowel.

We put the dowel into into the shopvac tube and made one cut the size of the mouthpiece, and another angle cut for the mouthpiece. Then on the whistle body itself, we cut a window, and then filed the lip at an angle. The the angular piece of the dowel became the fipple, and the surrounding piece of plastic was the rest of the mouthpiece.

The fipple was pushed slightly into the instrument’s body, and I made s small cut at the bottom of the mouthpiece so that it could be stretched and fit over the body as the same mark. This made a small windway through the mouthpiece, over the fipple. Everything was glued into place with a hot glue gun. Holes were drilled for the finger holes. (I was probably a little bit off for the holes. I wasn’t very careful with them. I guess I considered this a sort of proof of concept prototype.) Sam then finished it off with the silver stickers. (which were sort of the edges of a page of stickers. Those little stray pieces that are between the real designs. Reusing those junk pieces seemed to be right in line with how this project was carried out.)

Sand and file everything down a bit, and its ready to go.

A Fipple Flute
The mouthpiece

October 8, 2007

whine, whine, whine

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 11:31 pm

I don’t think I’m going to get much sympathy from anyone, but now that my commute is so much shorter, I don’t have time to listen to all the podcasts I used to listen to. Something like NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me used to take just a drive to work to listen to, now it takes several days. That crowds out time for other things included This American Life, The Sound of Young America, Radio Lab, the Google Developer Podcast, or Beat the Press.

October 3, 2007

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Andrew @ 10:10 pm

I was reading the comments in Reflections of a Newsosaur’s Brain Drain and it had a certain amount of resonance. It sounded like he could have been looking at my last job. And then I saw the comments. Anonymous post after anonymous post that I read and thought. “Oh, that’s the one that probably came from one of my ex-co-workers”, and then the next one and the next.

Either a lot of people are in the same situation, or most of the comments came my the people I used to work with. A large news site (“You’d know the name”)  where there is  discussion of whether to explain “what the underlined words are for”. That sounds about like the environment I left. A computer programmer turned newspaper journalist thinking the online staff is a bunch of “lunkheads”? And that he could make it better if they just gave him the server passwords? Except that I don’t know of any  ex-computer programmers among the reporters (or what any of their former jobs were), that complaint sounds like it could have easily come from my my last job. A redesign bringing up a turf-war of “control”? That sounds familiar too.

Unfortunately, I sort of hope that all of the comments came from the company I used to work for. That would mean that there is some hope that some other organizations might be in slightly better shape.

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