Jim Carson One of these things is not like the other

Jim Carson
Cool Geek Tricks
Garage Door Automation
Garage Door Automation

A few times a year, the last person coming into the house via the garage will forget to shut the door, leaving its contents vulnerable to critters or the unruly, post-apocalyptic mobs speeding through our quiet suburban streets at night.  The obvious solution is to check it each night before I go to bed.   But that’s a […]

More Reflections on MOOCs
More Reflections on MOOCs

I was forwarded Owen Youngman’s article in The Atlantic by a friend who wanted me to reflect further on my over-zealous consumption of  Massively Open Online Courses (or MOOCs).  It seems about right: When I took my first in 2011, the concept was very new.  I’d planned to take one, but opted for all three courses, intending […]

What Is Your OTT Strategy?
Illustration by Brad Clark at http://www.plus3video.com

As I was walking through the exhibits of O’Reilly’s “Making Data Work” Conference a few weeks ago, a vendor stepped in my path: Vendor: “What is your organization’s Hadoop strategy?” Having done a metric crap-ton of events as a vendor, I was sympathetic to what he was trying to do.  However, his premise of a tool being the […]

Common name on common service

With increasing frequency, I’ll receive email intended for another Jim Carson with an account on gmail.  If it’s from an individual, I’ve had moderate success with providing a gentle, personalized note telling them that they’ve got the wrong email address. I’ve given up with any emails from companies as they’ll either go to great lengths […]

Experiences from jailbreaking my iPhone – Part 2
Experiences from jailbreaking my iPhone – Part 2

After getting things mostly back to where they were, I had a jail-broken phone with ad-blocking software.  The next task was to find some cool, prohibited apps and put it to The Man.  Here’s a partial list of what I liked: Ad Blocker and Ad Blocker Networks – this was my first purchase. The latter, an additional add-on […]

Experiences from jailbreaking my iPhone – Part 1
2013 Egg Dyeing

I used the Evasi0n program for jailbreaking the phone. In brief, it involves backing up the phone to iTunes, letting Evasi0n do its thin Reasons for jailbreaking: Curiosity. The seductress of “let’s break something” whispered sweet-nothings in my ear. Use a different browser. More specifically, I want to install ad-blocking because some of the sites […]

Never make a wookiee angry.
Never make a wookiee angry.

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Reflections on Coursera
All Your Bugs Are Belong To Us

(This has nothing to do with anything other than my wanting to break up the text with some photos.  This was taken at a virtual cache near Erie, PA.)

Charles “Dr Chuck” Severance put together an interesting video on his reflections on Coursera from his “Internet History, Technology, and Security” class.  Some areas in the video that I’d call out: 01:42 – 02:45 — Chuck shows us how cozy his instructor’s room is.   He expands upon the technology setup here, but it’s basically a couple […]

Mac FizzyCalc
Tiger Mountain Mocha and Lemon Bread, available from Issaquah Coffee Company

During the summer of 2011, I had some mythical Spare Time to blow the centimeter-thick layer of dust off my programming skills and port FizzyCalc, a Windows-based geocoordinate conversion utility that I’ve used for solving several puzzles in my obsessive hobby, geocaching, to the Mac.  Mac FizzyCalc celebrated its 2500th download in November, a year after it was […]

Math-challenged shopping cart

I have an upcoming had a project at work where I’d benefit from being better versed in a specific technology.  After combing through the library holdings, and needing something longer-lasting than Intralibrary loan, I found some promising reference materials on Amazon for $40 each.  Tech books have a poor payout / useful life ratio, so I […]

CROC 2012

Over the Memorial Day Weekend, I had an opportunity to head down to Pendleton for the tenth annual Century Ride of the Centuries (aka “CROC”).  This was my seventh visit in eight years — having skipped last year’s — and especially anticipated because the Bar M Ranch was reopened as a camping option. What a […]

Cyan > (Magenta + Yellow)

I have noticed that my Lexmark printer consistently uses 2 1/2 times the Cyan ink cartridges as the other colors (magenta and yellow), which ruins my plans to buy the bulk pack of all three. The consumption is not quite as much as the black cartridge, which I expect, and can forgive as it’s one […]

Online classes

This fall, Stanford has been offering free online classes this fall in three subject areas of computing: Artificial Intelligence, Databases, and Machine Learning.   It’s different from MIT’s excellent OpenCourseWare series in that Stanford is offering a course you can play along with while MIT is providing the materials for self-study. For two of the courses, two […]

The new Gmail look and feel…

Google’s rolling out their new look and feel to Gmail. After playing with the beta for most of the week, I have two complaints. 1: I would like a more contrast between messages.  Here’s the main window using the current, “classic” look and feel: Whattaya think, should I put Fathi in touch with the ICC […]

Hard Drive Destruction

Since I’m starting a new major project, the family wanted to spend a lot of time on a staycation this weekend.  One of the activities was a field trip to Creation Station, a store with, well, bunches of stuff that you would have tossed out, except when you see a lot of them neatly arranged, it […]

It’s the small things…

WordPress.com has a new plugin package, “Jetpack,” that incorporates their stats and a bunch of other random functions that replace the original WordPress Stats module. While skimming through the list, I came across this: For the Math geeks, a simple way to include beautiful mathematical expressions on your site. That way is… LaTeX, which I […]

Random passwords

Long ago, I hit the threshold where the number of accounts I had and needed passwords for exceeded my ability to remember them.  I thought it reasonable, then, to have tiers of passwords: Banking and financial – alphanumeric, mixed-case, non-alpha characters.   An unpronouncable base plus an unique addition for each institution. Shopping (where a […]

My first iPhone hide

As GPS-enabled phones become more popular, there have been a lot of geocaches placed by people using phones.   Many of these will have serious “adjustments” to their posted coordinates because the person placing it just took a single reading, using whatever their phone was reporting and called it good.  Usually these adjustments are anywhere from […]

Seiko battery replacement

Since my watch’s battery died about two and a half years ago, the watch has been sitting in the back of a desk drawer with my vast collection of hotel conference pens, soaps and mints.  The clock on my phone has been fine, except during a conversation last week when I really needed to know […]

Nikon D40 won’t power up

“Hey, we have some time before the flash mob thing starts, let’s run through the (water art thing)!” And I snapped a photo “before.” And shortly after I got back to my chair, my Nikon N40 wouldn’t power on. It got a little wet, but not the worst I’ve done. Still: crap. Once home, I […]

Mapnificent

The other day I came across Stefan Wehrmeyer‘s very interesting tool, Mapnificent, which estimates how far you can go by public transportation in a specific period of time (defaulting to 15 minutes). There is an option to indicate you have a bicycle available. Obvious uses of the tool are looking at commute times and evaluating […]

iPhone 4 travel map

Since the phone tracks where I’ve been, I thought it’d be fun to map it out using Pete Warden’s iPhoneTracker application.   I spend the most time in the Pacific Northwe’t: I had forgotten about my trips to San Jose: While I was in Houston and New Orleans (separate trips), there was some opportunistic geocaching, spreading […]

Saved by Calculus

On the flight to Houston, I was seated two seats over from a very strange, inebriated young woman. Tammy, from Billings, Montana, struck up a conversation with the guy between us, soliciting information from Derek, Married Guy™ from Canada, sharing truisms like “anyone who doesn’t know what they want to with their life by the […]

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 […]

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