Driving in New Jersey

15 September 2014

I was — as one of my friends put it — "born, raised, and pretentiously educated in New Jersey" before moving to California. It's been four years since I left the Garden State, but I come back pretty often to visit family. One of the best parts of visiting is being constantly reminded how good the typical New Jersey driver is, and how my own driving skills have degraded while being away.

Here are some things I don’t do quite as well anymore:

  • Tailgating. Together, we’re all Jersey Strong.
  • Make turns without a turn signal.
  • Cutting people off Merging almost on top of someone next to me.
  • Squeezing in between two cars; one of which is tailgating the other.
  • Drive more aggressively assertively.
  • Change lanes without a turn signal.
  • Show off how long my middle finger is to fellow travelers.
  • Ensure my car horn works by using it every minute.
  • Responding to the honker behind me, by showing them how well my brakes work.

Nothing says “Welcome Home!” like driving in New Jersey.

Do I Need a New Computer?

13 September 2014

Instead of assuming you do and spending a ton of money, ask yourself these three questions first:

  1. Does my computer turn on?
  2. Do I have a solid-state drive (SSD)?
  3. Do I have enough memory/RAM?

If your laptop looks like this, you probably should get a new one.

Most people’s computers are just fine. But if your computer is damaged to the point where it won’t even power on or the display is not functional, you probably need a new computer. But if the chief complaint is how slow it is, you can usually alleviate that – at a fraction of the cost of a new computer – by exploring the second and third questions.

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Slick Carousel Operational!

12 September 2014

Alyce has mentioned how great it’d be to add a photo carousel to my blog, especially for the photo-heavy posts. I always agreed, but really never put in the time to get one in. Until today! After trying many alternatives, I got Ken Wheeler’s slick integrated. From start to finish this endeavor took a while so I’m hoping Wheeler’s claim that slick is “the last carousel you’ll ever need” holds to be very true.

Some reflection on the past three hours:

  • Jekyll has made blogging a breeze, but my lack of command over how it generates my blog made this a somewhat frustrating exercise in trial-and-error.
  • CSS files are terrifying!
  • I thought GitHub Pages (where my blog is hosted) blocked all scripting. Fortunately, it allows jQuery and Javascript!
  • The Firebug extension is pretty great. It helped me figure out what was going wrong as I was attempting to integrate the various libraries.

And now… The carousel in action!

This is from the movie 5 Centimeters per Second!

Pretty slick, huh? If you’re in the market for a carousel, check out slick today. If you’re feeling particularly generous, give Ken Wheeler a follow on Twitter. He’s earned it in my book.

Devious iPhone 6 Gigabytes

11 September 2014

Storage capacities. That’s the deviously smart thing about the new iPhone 6 and larger-than-life iPhone 6 Plus.

So many gigabytes!

The “base” iPhone model has and still costs $199. Before the iPhone 6, the base iPhone model had 16 GB. You could double the capacity to 32 GB for $100, and with another $100 you could double that to 64 GB. With the new iPhone 6 models, you still pay $100 for capacity upgrades, but now your first $100 doesn’t double your capacity, it QUADRUPLES it from 16 GB to 64 GB. Another $100 on top of that JUST doubles the 64 GB to 128 GB. One day that second $100 will quadruple your 64 GB into a wonderful 256 GB.

I think the most devious thing is keeping the “base” iPhone 6 model at 16 GB and not making the “base” model have 32 GB in storage. It keeps costs down for Apple and will likely encourage people to upgrade to that 64 GB model. If paying $100 to double your capacity didn’t seem appealing, paying $100 to quadruple your capacity will likely win more people over. Wow!

GTFO GoToMeeting!

10 September 2014

A few days ago, I dragged three different versions of GoToMeeting from my Applications folder to the trash. A few days later, I found myself deleting the same three copies of GoToMeeting again. How the hell did GoToMeeting reinstall itself? A few tweets to the helpful person behind @GoToMeeting confirmed my worst fears…

GoToMeeting runs a background agent that exists outside the app bundle and automatically updates itself. Turns out, it will also reinstall the app and it will even install three different versions of itself! How annoyingly convenient!

GoToMeeting’s instructions for disabling automatic updates involve waiting for GoToMeeting to reinstall itself and then disabling automatic updates from within the app. I REFUSE!!! I’m getting rid of this nuisance now.

Fortunately, cleaning up GoToMeeting permanently isn’t too difficult. It just requires killing a launch agent configuration file, but if you want to be thorough you can wipe the entire folder that contains the background updater. To the command-line!

# if you like playing it safe, replace -f (force delete) with -i (interactive delete)

# delete the launch agent configuration file
rm -fv ~/Library/LaunchAgents/com.citrixonline.GoToMeeting.G2MUpdate.plist

# delete the folder that contains the background updater
rm -rfv ~/Library/Application\ Support/CitrixOnline/

Good riddance, GoToMeeting!