Jim Carson Notes to self

Jim Carson
Fitbit Charge HR review
Fitbit Dashboard.  Jes continues to kick my ass.

Since my Fitbit Force was recalled earlier this year, I’d been pining for a simple motivational aid.  Microsoft’s Band looks awesome, but it’s sold out as soon as they get another batch of units.  The Garmin VivoSmart had some interesting features, but lacks stair climbs (important to me because I do so much of that in a […]

Windows Update
Do they speak English on Code 80242009?

Another, big batch (27) of security patches landed on my Windows 7 desktop. Since I’m likely to be running long, data-intensive jobs, I have it not apply them right away. Sensing this large group would necessitate a reboot, I avoided installation until lunch time today. The philosophy is simple: computing should not be about constantly […]

GoogleSoftwareUp clearing CS_VALID and Mac Freezes

PSA: In case someone else encounters similar symptoms where your MacBook freezes and the only indication is an error GoogleSoftwareUp clearing CS_VALID, I hope to save you a wasted evening of trying things and reading forums… Symptom: My heretofore reliable MacBook started going into “beach ball” mode.  The active application remained responsive to keyboard, mouse […]

Dolphin Kick

When I first heard someone mention the term dolphin kick, I thought it was a reference to the 1980s Patrick Duffy show, Man from Atlantis. The BBC says the dolphin kick “replaces a standard underwater leg kick with a whipping motion that minimizes water resistance.”[1] It’s a little easier to make sense of this if […]


I’ve been researching date/time formats for inclusion in a software product, and wanted to share some of the thought processes involved.Use case: an engineer or scientist wants to plot something over some time period. All time periods are possible, so we must provide years down to minutes. For example, a coastal engineer surveyed said he: […]

Notes from SC10

King Neptune, outside Mardis Gras Land A few weeks ago, I spent a week in New Orleans at Supercomputing 2010.  (Sometimes my job has perks.)   I wrote a really long summary of this for internal use, but thought I’d share some of my notes: Jack Dongarra of Oak Ridge National Labs offered his perspective […]

Why Not a Netbook

Late last fall, when I was first contemplating replacements for my four year-old Dell Inspiron laptop, Netbooks piqued my interest.  I gave them serious consideration as a replacement machine, but there were three major problems: 1. Screen sizes suck, especially the vertical. The most common (at the time) were 1024×576, which was a huge step […]


I have to agree with Elizabeth that the whole taking a phone call in the middle of a meeting is off-putting.  Some of my coworkers are notorious about this, often jumping to address a quadrant 4 domestic issue.  I do try to ignore any calls until after the meeting’s over.  One exception is if my spouse’s […]

Presentus Interuptus

For most of October, I was on the east coast attending conferences.  I saw a toxic number of PowerPoint presentations.  I was astounded how many times the presenter was interrupted by operating system over-zealousness. One guess as to which one. “Balloon tips,” sometimes also known as “What?!  I don’t care.  Let… me… aaaarrrrrrgggggghh. Just fucking […]


All I wanted to do was migrate my work-related forum to a new host.  Here’s how it should have worked: Copy stuff over Edit configuration files Populate database rock on Here’s how it actually worked: Copy stuff over Edit configuration files Populate database Software was unable to connect to a database because php5’s developers do […]


Today was my monthly volunteer stint at a local grade school. To recap my previous three sessions: Episode One, writing station: The exercise was to learn the parts of speech by practicing Mad Libs, then create one’s own Mad Lib. A Mad Lib is a story where one provides the nouns, verbs and adjectives, often […]