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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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Updateything!
pinkie pie
mendel
Long time no post. It's always long time no post, isn't it? Sigh. Got the Christmas icon back, at least!

Here's a weird one for you: I installed Windows (XP Pro) on my laptop the other day. Yes, yes, hell's frozen over, I know. I need to work in both Windows and Unix regularly, so I had to have some compromise. Until now the compromise has involved running the Windows apps I need (Office, Notes, Remedy, MMC, mostly) either in Crossover Office or via RDP on an old P3 under my desk at work, but more and more I realized that there were a bunch of things where I could benefit letting Windows have control of the hardware, from proprietary VPN clients to games to soft phones. So I bit the bullet and set things up dual-boot, although I haven't really needed to boot back into Linux yet.

I'm satisfying the Linuxy side of the picture with cygwin, and so far that's been sufficient -- well, that plus a native EXT2 driver. Still reading my mail in mutt, still editing in vim, still IRCing in Gaim, still surfing the Web in Firefox, but it's nice to be able to sync the Blackberry, use Google Earth and Sketchup, connect over a VPN instead of an SSH tunnel to work, run MMC locally, and so on. I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how well things seem to be working, especially wifi, bluetooth and so on that were all a bit persnickety under Linux. The laptop runs 10 degrees cooler on the CPU and 20 degrees cooler on the hard drive and memory, too, which surprises me.

It's odd to have to catch up on the last four or so years of must-have software, though. If there's stuff you think I probably don't know about but should, let me know!

Other than that, not much going on lately. I took nyxie out last weekend to Domus Cafe for her birthday. Tasty! She had a barley-mushroom-truffle "risotto" and salmon with (more) truffles, and I had a hot and cold foie gras appetizer and crispy duck. It was the first time we'd been to Domus. The decor and service were almost a little too plain -- I know that it's more of a bistro-type restaurant, but the atmosphere didn't really flatter the food compared to some other places around here I'm fond of, like the Urban Pear. Still, everything was very good.

I booked my GMAT for January 31. No turning back now! I've been doing well on sample tests so I'm not too worried. I just need to practice and practice and practice. Such a bizarre, impractical test!

Curling's going pretty well. I'm still only making about a quarter of my shots, but that's average from what I'm seeing. Apparently serious amateur curlers average about 50% of their shots, so it's harder than you'd think! Even championship curlers come in somewhere around 85%. In the new year we're done the instructional part of the rookies program, and it's all league play from then on. I've got a decent team who play hard but don't take themselves too seriously, and somehow I ended up being skip, so it should be a challenging few months!

Must post more often. Nag me if you see me.

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Picasa is all that and more. I use it mostly under Leengux, in fact, but it's ridiculously easy to use. I have quibbles and wish it was open source, but it's made my photo workflow that much nicer.

Huh! Who knew? I'd only read about it, but wrote it off as being more targeted at people like, say, my parents. I'll check it out, thanks!

I gave it a spin and was surprised. Ease of use is amazing. I want the digiKam devs to try Picasa and go "HOLY SHIT WE GOT SOME CATCHUP TO DO."

I don't like some things it does, some defaults, the red eye repair is easy but I'm not that keen on some results and "fill light" seems to increase saturation as well as up the gamma. But that's correctable as well. It's worth a fiddle if you've got folders of shots you've never quite bothered getting around to going through and putting up - it makes the boring bit between taking the shots and having people admire your genius a bit easier.

Wow, that's pretty neat. I don't have a lot of pictures lying around here to test on (albums on flickr, backups on CDs stored away), but I was playing around a bit on whatever it was able to find and I'm impressed. If I'd have looked at the interface before using it I probably would have passed on it, but the limitations make it more useful, not less.

Rich,

I'll second the recommendation for Picasa. I'm using it now and have been very impressed with how it helps with the little things around changing pictures. I also like the "non-destructive" nature of it, i.e. it doesn't alter your original images on disk, so you always have them there.

Congrats on skipping, too! Nice that they do that in the Rookies program. That program wasn't around when I learned at the Granite, and so I jumped straight into the Monday night Men's Draw league. This was great and I learned an amazing amount... but the odds of someone getting new getting to skip - or even be a third - in that league are pretty slim given the high level of expertise in the league. Now that I'm down here in VT I am skipping, but that's largely because we're just building a curling community down here. Enjoy it!

Dan

Congrats on skipping, too! Nice that they do that in the Rookies program.

I should be more clear on what transpired: At the Christmas party, four of us were standing around having a drink and I suggested that we should form a team. That met with agreement all around, so I said "Who should skip?" and the other three looked like deer in headlights. Then they all pointed at me. Okay, then.

I like to think it's a vote of confidence though.


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