Month: September 2015

A thought about veganism

So it hit me the other day.  If you’re vegan for the respect of life then I would assume that include plant and microbiotic life.

Take bread – or at least bread anyone would want to eat. A lot of breads use yeast which  boys and girls is a microbiotic.

And then plants. Plants are alive too. Just on a time scale we have a hard time seeing. And recent research has identified the pathways plants use to communicate stress. So when you eat that broccoli, just think of the distress caused when it was cut from the root.

And need I mention monocultures like bananas. Or how much genetic engineering we’ve done on corn. For example here’s what corn looked like before man tampered with it, it’s called Teosinte.

And here’s the evolution of corn we eat today:

Yep – we tampered with it a lot.

So if you can’t eat any animal product, and I would posit you cannot eat microbiotics like yeast and or even pickled products. And now we know beyond a shadow of doubt that plants are in fact alive and can communicate then it means you have nothing left to eat and your veganism is idiotic.

So just eat air. You’re welcome. Or eat whatever the hell you want and stop buying so smarmy and self righteous about being a vegan.

Why I believe Thinking Phones Sucks

At work we use Thinking Phones for DID extensions and pbx like functions. We pay between $16 and $18 per month for each line of unlimited service.

That’s all well and good.

But the problem with Thinking Phones is that they are in no way proactive or even that good with customers especially when it comes to toll free services. For example on the 31st of August we put in an order for 15 toll free numbers. It’s been seven business days since then and we still don’t have them. I finally got a Customer Manager on the line today and he told me for one or two they can provision right away, for bigger blocks they have to go out to third party vendors like Verizon and at&t. Ok – so we told them we were in dire need of at least one toll free number in the 844 range. Several of us reached out to them and as of COB today no luck.

I’m going to propose we do it a little differently – go on the web and lookup toll free service providers. Then purchase one and point it at a hunt or pickup group of fifteen localized DID extensions. Then set the outbound CLID on those phones to be the toll free number for all calls outside our PBX. It can be done.

You can always tell there was a holiday weekend

Because public transit systems go to absolute shit.

Today’s was interesting. Got to the North Quincy station at 4:08. Usually it’s just a couple minutes and the Red Line into Boston is there. Not today – no it got there at 4:17PM which means I missed the 4:35PM commuter back to Providence. Had to wait until 5:00PM for the next one. And of course the Red Line drivers go REALLY slowly between North Quincy and JFK.

And then there’s RIPTA – now up to 7PM the #27 and #28 bus run every twenty minutes, staggered so service to Broadway where I live is every 10 minutes. Not so tonight, Got to the berth at 6:30PM and waited – at 6:45PM and no bus I walked home.

Now I understand that after a holiday weekend you’ll have your no-shows as far as co-workers and bus drivers. But really this type of behavior on the part of RIPTA is irksome – because all the buses are GPS tracked. On the entire 20 minute walk home I didn’t see on westbound bus at all.

I’ve now made a resolution to put money aside and buy a car. I’d rather put up with traffic then to have trains to stupid things like move like a snail, or park in Mansfield for 10-15 minutes so Amtrak trains could go by us.

Now I know, I-93 and i-95 could be slightly hellish. But I’ll take that hell over commuter rail and subways.

The Labor Day Weekend

So here we are on the 2nd day of a 3 day weekend. This should be the norm for the business world, with a 3 day weekend, the week beginning on a Tuesday.

But I digress. It was also the weekend of 22 years together for Keyron and I. It’s been pretty good 22 years too on the overall balance.

So Friday evening we went to dinner at Sura. I had the Stone Pot Bibimbap, and we had some fried pork and beef pot stickers, and edamame too. Shared a bottle of saki too. Yeah, it’s a place that started off as Korean, now is more Asian Fusion but still very good.  Only reason we went there is because our usual haunt just down the street is closed for renovation.

Yesterday we did the usual weekly thing – got all the grocery shopping done. That included a new waste barrel for the kitchen. And to atone for the heavier meal Friday I did a beet and kale salad for dinner.

Visited a friend for ours for a few hours and developed a new theory on a certain life event going on. Let’s just say I hope the theory isn’t right.

Then this morning, well, 10:30AM so late morning, we had breakfast at the Classic Cafe down the street from us.

Overall a very nice and relaxing weekend. Just the way they should be. Right now I’m just reading the Hithchikers Guide to the Galaxy ‘trilogy’ again. It’s an amusing read – and I recommended it to a co-worker. I had quoted a part of the book and he realized the lyrics to one of his favorite songs derived from the book.

And in the background I’ve got Pandora streaming away. It’s funny – commercial radio annoys me too much. WIth rotations that are too tight and the same across the dial I’d rather use the streaming services or my own music library.

Some more observations on humanity

So this week I had a few more thoughts on my fellow humans.

Monday morning – I likened the exit from the train as the Walk of the Living Dead. Seriously.

Then today I observed that people wonder why there are so many fatal car accidents. All you need to do is observe behavior in a supermarket and it tells you all you need to know about drivers on the roadways. I’m dead serious about this.

Then something else happened on I-95 southbound and northbound. In the first case a guy cuts me off in my lane. Had to pretty much stand on the brakes at that point.

Then coming back, guy just fades into my lane, no signal, nothing. Then proceeds to slow to 40MPH. What the fuck!

I’ve read of the issues facing Google’s autonomous cars – where for example they have trouble negotiating four way stops because human drivers keep edging out and the car has no idea what to do.

Now if it’s all autonomous cars and they can talk to each other the problem with four way stops is negated. I for one can’t wait until the preponderance of cars are autonomous vehicles.

Astronomy: Venus is visible again

For my viewing, the early fall and even late winter astronomical items are more interesting. Right now I consider us to be very close to early fall. And that’s borne out by the fact that on my commute to the train station at 5:30AM I can clearly see Venus shining in the east/southeast direction, about 25 degrees up in the sky.

And pretty soon we get a bit of a lineup with Saturn, Mars and Venus. And then around January we get to see Jupiter again.

But then interesting stars will start showing up, E.g. Sirius, Procyon, and Rigel.

It’s tough being an amateur astronomer in a city. The light pollution not to mention weather conditions means we get a lot more cloudy nights than clear. But with a decent set of binoculars which I’ve had for a few years now you can pick out some of the lower order magnitude stars.

One thing I do like on OS-X

Is the terminal – you can do split windows etc. Very cool. On the windows side MTPutty comes closest to this but misses by a mile.

And the fact that OS-X has built in VPN capability – no more mucking about and installing say a Cisco VPN client – it’s built in. But then it’s built into Windows 10 too.

Using a MacBook Pro OS-X Yosemite

So I never thought the day would come. I started on the new job three weeks ago and I was issued a MacBook Pro running OS-X Yosemite (10.10) I had a somewhat crestfallen look on my face when I saw it but I’ve adapted nicely.

I have to say functionally not much different than Windows and vice versa. Things I do like about it are I’l list.

  1. The Retina display is REALLY nice and sharp.
  2. The OS is intuitive – well, only because I’ve used Macintosh computers in prior days all the way back to the origin. So it wasn’t such a stretch to remember where things were. And there’s very little difference now between OS-X and Windows.
  3. The design of the case is really slick.

Now the problems I have with the machine:

  1. Only two USB ports. Oh sure they give you two thunderbolt ports too. But like Firewire what the hell can you attach to those thunderbolt ports that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
  2. There’s no easy way to install things on the command line in OS-X. You have to download an app called Brew to do it.
  3. The App store isn’t used for just apps but systems updates too. And you cannot update without a god fucking damned Apple ID. That really irks me, plus you have to tap in a credit card too. After all they don’t distinguish between systems and applications so they need to bill you somehow for the apps.
  4. The machine is plenty fast but every now and again I’ll detect a freeze up – just wait a couple seconds and the mouse will return.
  5. As to Safari – the behavior of hiding the scroll bar over on the right in a web page is stupid.
  6. The clickable gesture touchpad. Ick! I know, everything is going gestural, even my Windows 10 box at home uses them. But the other thing, the whole mouse pad clicks down. It’s really annoying. PC manufacturers figured out detecting force on a touchpad long ago – why the hell is Apple still using it. It feels cheap.
  7. No on board ethernet port – which means you have to suck up on of your USB ports with a network dongle.
  8. No easy dock capability. My Dell E6420 has a big old dock connector on the bottom of the machine. The Mac world you have to buy a $300 to $400 Thunderbolt dock. The dock for the E6420 is less than $100.

So there you have it, my honest view of a brand new 15″ MacBook Pro. I honestly doubt I’d buy one for personal use knowing what I now know. And I still have the memory of an older MacBook that could not connect to an 802.11G network, only 802.11A/B. Of course they fixed it – for $79 you could download the next version that DID connect to 802.11G.

It’s funny the place I work is a mixture of these Macintoshes in the dev side – and Lenovo T420 and T440 machines on the business side. And I will be the first to admit even the Lenovo boxes feel cheap as hell. But then even IBM’s ThinkPad felt poorly constructed and mostly plastic too so nothing changed there. I’ll stick with my Dell machines – they’re built solid. In fact the E6420 I have – I could get the external casing and turn it into a ruggedized machine. And I bet it wouldn’t cost a fortune. Plus the case on the this E6420 is magnesium.