Monday, February 27, 2006

makes a great gift

I decided to explore craigslist today. As usual, there's always something strange o'er there. This time it was in the garage sale section. Not sure how it made it there...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

terrible mapping experiences

So I've been trying to locate a few things using online mapping tools tonight. I started by using Google Earth, which is great for visually plotting locations. I then fell into the trap of using its search function. I was initially impressed by its ability to locate the things that I was looking for.

Some background: Someone I know is going to be moving to New Haven, CT this fall, and since they aren't any good at doing anything without my help, I'm looking for stores that we can go to to get stuff. You know, move in stuff. So basically a Target, Sam's Club or Costco, Home Depot or Lowe's... that sort of thing.

So somewhere along the way I decided to see if Google Earth missed any. Basically I was disappointed/surprised to see that the closest Sam's Club was 12 miles from downtown New Haven. So I check out the Sam's Club Web site. I could find the locate store function fairly easily, but it took me about 5 minutes to figure out that it would only work in IE because it uses a strange variant popup (aka "bastard popup").

The first online mapping horror: Sam's Club's map's inability to zoom out
As someone not familiar with New Haven, it would be nice to zoom out to get some orientation of where the place is in relationship to the city. No can do here. And what's up with the black and white Mapquest map? I thought they've always had color maps.

The second online mapping horror: Google Earth sucks
You know how I mentioned that Google Earth told me that the closest Sam's Club was 12 miles away? Apparently the location that Google Earth found and plotted was nowhere close to where the real Sam's Club really was. It was off by about ***8 miles!*** The worst part? I need to recheck everything that I've found so far. And you know what that means... more fun with store sites... ugh....

The third online mapping horror: Home Depot's stores disappear
I was happy with this to start. It was easy to find, and unlike Sam's, it actually worked on my browser. Always a plus when things work. At least I thought it worked. Try zooming in (so you can actually see where the two locations are). Note that the first location is in North Haven and the second is in Orange. Also note where these points are on the map. Click on the North Haven location, then hit the back button. Say you want to re-submit the data. After all, submitting the same ZIP again should yield the same stores, right? Kind of... What's the second store now? Wallingford? What happened to Orange? It's still on the map, but Wallingford is actually about 15 miles to the north of New Haven, not to the southwest as the map indicates.

Fourth online mapping horror: Costco's crap print map, now online
Try finding this location on a real map. Seriously, give it a shot. Here's a map from Google Maps. Note that Costco insists that I-95 runs straight north and south. As far as I can tell, I-95 goes northeast and southwest, with a smidge of northwest southeast. Actually, there is not a single point in the entire state that goes north-south, and definitely not when it intersects with Boston Post Rd. Oh yeah... even better, the map says that Boston Post Road goes northwest/southeast. In reality, the entire road goes perpendicular to what the map says. Very nice... The fact that the map sucks so much makes me not want to shop there. At least Google Earth found this one right.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

after dark

Reminiscing... I'm about to go across the room to read something, but I'd like to keep track of this upload so I know when to upload the next file... However, I know that before it's done the screensaver will start going. This means that either I'll have to disable the screensaver, or get up every 18 minutes to flip it off.

I remember a time when I had a screensaver that had this feature that would be great for this situation. The screensaver software was After Dark, the ever-popular screensaver for the Mac back in the 1990's. It had this feature where it would do different things if you moved the mouse to a corner of the screen. For example, if I moved the mouse to the top right of the screen, the screensaver would instantly come up. Similarly, if I moved it to the bottom right corner, the screensaver would never come on. Something that I could certainly use right now.


Oh... and for those of you who are wondering about the random scream, it doesn't mean anything. It's just a random scream. Bad habit, I know.



Thursday, February 16, 2006


I have my followup appointment with the surgeon today. Hopefully I get the all clear and everything is going well. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

stool softeners

Yet another post of poor taste...

But these stool softeners are amazingly consistent in how they operate. If I take them before bed, the results come at 11am the following morning. This is after 3 days of observation.

Definitely more effective than the Percocet. That neither had the painkilling effect, nor the narcotic effect. The generic was probably a placebo (at least that's the story I'm sticking to). Well, it's about that time....

Saturday, February 04, 2006

wish list?

My dad asked me about getting a "Jump Drive" today. Personally, I'm not a fan of calling those things "Jump Drives" since it's a brand name that is completely dead to me. Does anyone actually own a "Jump Drive" branded USB drive? For those who also have never heard of "Jump Drive," it's neither a drive nor does it jump. It's one of those small USB devices that you can save stuff to. Often accompanied by a lanyard or something.

My dad's request did get me thinking... perhaps I should get one. I'll add it to my list of potential toys to get prior to going to school.

Here's the initial list:
  • Portable USB drive - as big, cheap, and portable as possible. Current contenders: LaCie Carte Orange (8GB, 6mm thick, size of a credit card, and cheap!), Imation USB wristband (weak at 256MB), anything that can get perpendicular, another iPod?
  • Laptop - specs TBD. Something with a big screen. 1400x1050 minimum! No way I'm going back to anything smaller (unless um... money).
  • Desktop - maybe.... probably not. Faster CPU is the only thing I might need... to support my crack-like photography habit.
  • Clothes - I will need new clothes at some point, right?
  • PDA - may not be necessary if I find a small enough laptop that can boot up quickly... combining it with a phone may actually make it practical, but I like my phone. It's small, gets good reception, and the battery remarkably still kinda works. No crackberry though.

Friday, February 03, 2006

update.... plus the stupidest web blunder of the year

I'm alive. I made it through surgery. I can walk around, but my back hurts and it seems like my body doesn't want to stand up straight (yet). I do get to finally take the bandage off this afternoon and take a peek, so maybe that's something to look forward to. And I'm really really really bored.

It's only Friday, so maybe I'll feel good enough to go watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. However, the thing that scares me is Laz. If he tried to tackle me like he did Greg right after his surgery, I will have to kill him. Maybe I should get a restraining order first. It would be *very* unpleasant to re-open a wound that (or any other night).

So... you're wondering what the stupidest web blunder is? Try going to American Express' Web site. Seriously. Try it!

If you're like many people, you probably typed in "" But any luck? Probably not. Let me tell you why... The idiots at American Express decided that they're special and that they're going to use the URL That's perfectly fine and good, but you should at lease make work too, for all those people who might think that you guys would support the same www. subdomain that everyone else in the world seems to support. I wonder how many people will miss payments because of this...