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Timmerov's Blog
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
my subconscious brain is active at night. it leaves me ideas in my head for my conscious brain to find in the morning. the beautiful and talented alisa calls this detritus. these ideas are often kinda off the wall random. in the interest of marital bliss, i've learned to not just blurt them out first thing in the morning. and to save them for later. or not. so anywho, the other day i woke up with this gem that i haven't shared with my beloved yet. (hi sweetie!) we have in the past talked about opening a bed and breakfast when we "retire". but where? when? what kind? heh. so this morning i saw it crystal clear in my mind. the guests haad arrived. they were dressed like either the crew of firefly or passengers. i was dressed like captain reynolds and introduced my wife, saf/lis/bo. i welcomed them aboard. the b&b building was a replica of serenity. the guests had paid a premium to pretend they live in a space ship for the weekend. and to have a bit of make believe adventure. like on the show.
Monday, January 30, 2012
  rutabaga press
so the other day we had the urge to crush a rutabaga like you do garlic. course a rutabaga is somewhat larger than a clove of garlic. so we couldn't use the garlic press. um, anyone know where we can get a rutabaga press?
Sunday, January 29, 2012
  3rd party
there's a whole lot of people who are unhappy with both political parties. someone should start a third party that more closely represents middle america. even if it was a small party that held a small number of seats, it could have enormous political power. cause neither the right nor the left would be able to do anything without the support of the middle. and you know, damn, wouldn't that be nice? so anywho, this is a thought experiment that's rattled around in my brain before. i called it the american party. for obvious reasons. but the beautiful and talented alisa named it inadvertently the other day. we were bitching about how stupid some of the presidential candidates are. are they there solely for entertainment value? but it's not just them. there's a whole lot of stupid everywhere in congress. she said, we need smart politicians. we need a party of and for smart people. we need a smart party. yes. yes, we do.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
the signature event of cub scouting is the pinewood derby. the scouts make their cars and race them. it's huge fun. i'm the pinewood derby chairman. heh. i'm the only pwd chairman the pack has ever had. and this is my last race. my youngest is a webelos. and will cross over to boy scouts later this spring. in previous years, we've had two workshops. this year we have only on my garage. in previous years, we've drilled holes in the cars to be filled with bbs and other weights. too many scouts for that this year. most of the scouts or parents used a hot glue gun to attach weights to the cars. it works. but it's kinda ugly. some of them used a chisel to carve a "grave" in the bottom between the axles. this makes a much prettier car. but it's hard work. and it's easy to remove more wood than you intended. like right up to the axle grooves. which has to be repaired. so anywho. i was thinking one should be able to do this with a router. i still have a couple of uncut blocks. maybe i'll make a little jig to route this grave in all the cars. maybe just the outline. then the scouts can chisel out the wood to the appropriate depth without risk of damaging the axle slots.
Friday, January 27, 2012
let's put this piracy thing into perspective. the mpaa threatened to stop funding obama's re-election campaign because he folded to the will of the public who really didn't want to be the victims of sopa like legislation. the horror. anywho, the quote that got me is that avatar was illegally downloaded 21 million times. which sounds like a lot. and it is. okay. let's put that into perspective. suppose all of those 21 million pirates paid $20 to see the movie instead of stealing it. that'd be $400m. avatar is the best selling movie of all time. grossing some $2.8 billion. that's 14%. piracy in pc games is estimated at 40%. anyone else think the mpaa should sit down and shut up? but wait, there's more. pirates generally, don't have any money. that $20 to you and me is more like $300 where the pirates live. so if you somehow magically perfectly prevented piracy, every 1000 illegal downloads would lead to a single sale. 21 thousand extra sales of avatar. for $400k. which means the real honest to god losses for the motion picture industry are like 0.014%. so QUIT YOUR GORAM BELLYACHING! sheehs.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
how can we, in good conscience, on one hand criticize other governments for censoring the internet, and on the other hand support a bill that does exactly that? someone define hypocrisy. i'd look it up myself. but i'm writing this on blackout day.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
i kinda like the analogy between online pirates and maritime pirates. at least as far as it goes. pirates raiding ships off the coast of somalia cost us consumers money. there's no doubt about that. the response is to send warships. which also cost us money. there's no doubt about that either. i as a fiscally conscious consumer don't really care where the money goes. i only care that the "tax" above and beyond the cost of the product is minimal. sometimes it's cheaper to pay the pirates. sometimes it's the warships. sopa/pipa is like sending an armada after a couple skinnies in a skiff. the cost to the consumer is just way too high.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
i have a confession to make. joe and i have this little game company, delta tao. it's been around since the 90s. back then piracy was a huge issue. a lot like today. the solution then came from the technology sector - copy protection. this was basically chunks of the software that was supposed to allow legitimate copies to run but disallow stolen copies. for the most part, it was a miserable failure. it was either so laughably weak that it was easy to circumvent. which was annoying. or it was so strong that it made the product seriously irritating to use. after a few years, the technology companies realized treating their customers like criminals was self destructive. today, it's rare to find products that are copy protected that way. it's cheaper to accept piracy than to prevent it. lesson learned. we went further. and made piracy work for us instead of against us. i explain. we were small. we had no money. no budget for advertising. it doesn't matter how great spaceward ho! is, no one will buy if they never heard of it. the only currency we had was product. which found its way to the pirate boards where word spread about this great little company that makes awesome products.
Monday, January 23, 2012
the other day i was watching an interview video with penn of penn and teller. one of the topics was people profess to believe things that are batshit crazy. oh yes! absolutely! we believe in magic underpants. people coming back from the dead. flying people. space aliens. water to wine. bread to human flesh. children popping out of guy's heads. talking snakes. it's all absolutely true. that's exactly what we believe. except they don't really. i explain. some guy kills a bunch of people. goes on trial. his defense is what? a talking snake told him to do it. cause nobody on a jury of his peer really believes in talking snakes. cause if they did, they might acquit him. hey, talking snake. miracle. for some reason, god wanted them dead. and he got to be the instrument of divine and holy retribution. hallelujah! praise jebus. thank god, god didn't tell a snake to tell a crazy dude to kill my family. course this hypothetical scenario doesn't really happen. why not? the simplest explanation is that people don't really believe the batshit crazy things they say they do. but apparently the need to be irrational about something is an extremely important part of being human. even to the point where a guy is willing to kill someone who implies they're really sane and not irrational at all.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
  shoot straight
social interaction is a really complicated process. quite probably too complicated. way way way too complicated. quite simply, people don't say what they mean. there's this crazy linguistic dance that people perform all day long. probably without even realizing. hrm, kid. your room is a mess. means: clean this shit up right now. anyone want to go to the grocery store with mom? no. was i really asking? no. anyone who doesn't participate in this crap is an outcast. a social pariah. i'm kinda glad autism is getting the attention it is. cause these are people who are not genetically equipped to deal with such subtle nuance. the best possible outcome is all them helicopter moms make a big enough stink about their precious snowflakes that saying what you mean becomes socially acceptable. wouldn't that be nice.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
huntsman withdrew from the gop nomination race. yeah, i know. no one ever wins the nomination without winning south carolina and either iowa or new hampshire. and since romney won both of the latter, the chance of having a reasonable person running against obama went from super slim to non-existent. so my head says it's the right play. still, my heart is sad.
Friday, January 20, 2012
ever tell the mark he's the mark? heh. bad idea. it just pisses off the mark. they often fly into a rage of denial. and do stupid shit just to prove they're not the mark. stupid shit that smart people wouldn't every do normally. i make it a practice of not telling marks they're the mark. unless i have a personal interest. like say the player is playing my mother. cause the mark is happy as long as he doesn't know there's a giant leech on his face. shame on me for even thinking about making him unhappy. the problem is when the mark votes to stick leeches on everyone's face. then you have to inform the marks they're marks. and hope that enough of them will get the message enough that they'll change their vote. or at least, stay home. just as good would be getting the people who wouldn't ordinarily vote off their couches and into the polling stations. cause yeah. who wants to be proud of having a leech on their face?
Thursday, January 19, 2012
in the software business there's something called rtfm. read the fucking manual. in the past, these were written at the same time as the code was being written. the manual often represented how the code is *supposed* to work. which may or may not reflect how the code actually works. ie specification and implementation are usually close to but not exactly the same thing. so switching topics, i'm all for cutting taxes on job creators. that's a great plan. let's do it. well, that's the spec. the implementation of tax cuts for the "job creators" doesn't match the spec. the implementation rewards making money without regard to the number of jobs created. the code is broken. file a bug report. and fix it.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
  sopa/pipa just say no
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
with great power comes great responsibility. so sayeth uncle ben to spiderman before he was spiderman. with privilege comes responsibility. can't have the privilege of driving a car unless you take the responsibility of following the laws of the road. so sayeth timmer to his sons before they're 16. heh. living in this country is a **huge** blessing. and with it comes responsibility. there are always going to be rich people. and this is a good thing. people should be rewarded with great wealth for their hard work, innate talent, and/or pure dumb luck. the ability to get rich, or at least richer, is what gets people to put in more hours than the minimum they need to survive. so what's the catch? what's the responsibility? it's to examine how people are getting rich. if it's indeed one of the aforementioned methods, more power (and wealth) to em. but. if people are making money and giving nothing in return, well then. that should set off your spidey sense. so don your super suit. spin your webs. and leave the bad guys trussed in sticky goo.
Monday, January 16, 2012
a pickpocket takes your wallet from your pocket and gives you nothing in return. well, nothing of tangible value anyway. clearly, this behavior is bad. and it's illegal. same thing with a con artist who swindles away your cash leaving you with nothing. clearly bad guys. so how come speculators aren't in this category? they're called wall street investors. but really. what do they actually do? they borrow your money. gamble with it. and maybe sometimes beat the other speculators. but on average, they can't. it's literally impossible. it's like paying the con artists to run cons on everyone else. in the end it's a wash. except the con artist gets paid. the speculator gets paid. which takes money from the pool. if you got rid of the pickpocket/con/speculator, there'd be more money for the non-pickpockets/non-cons/non-speculators. ie you and me. do people just not realize that the money to pay the investment managers comes from us? ie directly from the gains of our investments. it's like a tax. paid to royalty, who unlike elected politicians, has no obligation whatsoever to spend it for the benefit of anyone but themselves.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
what is the purpose of government? heh. right now i bet a bunch of you are thinking golly, that's gonna take me a long time to answer. but really it shouldn't. the sole purpose of government is to maximize the gdp of the country. or more precisely, the gdp per capita. that's it. that's all it needs to do. how the people (the capita) decide to divide up that wealth is their business. not the government's. but but but, how's that work? i explain. invading armies are really bad for the gdp. so the government needs to maintain a military. crime is bad for the gdp. poverty, drug abuse, pollution, accidents, and more. all bad. these are things the government should regulate. currency, infrastructure, education, health care, research. these are all things that help the gdp. but aren't going to naturally fall out of a free market. government intervention is appropriate. unlike say gay marriage, abortion, religion, bridalplasty. these have no measurable effect on the gdp. and ergo, the government should stay the hell away from these topics. it's really that simple. or should be. would be if i was the man. timmer for president.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
anyone ever notice that ipad upside down is ped! no? hrm. i'm sure it means something. or should. so when you see someone using an ipad, point your finger at them, put on your crazy face, and yell PED! i once had a whole train car full of commuters doing it. kinda unnerving. but fun.
Friday, January 13, 2012
onlive gave all the employees an ipad last year for christmas bonus. it was way cool. ipad1-3g even. the one that comes with real gps. it makes a really nice thing to take geocaching. course the current addiction is dungeon raid. anywho. mine died. heh. i call it mine. mostly the boys use it. i took it to the genius bar. twice. the first time it overheated and shut down while the guy was trying to do the low level restore. the second time i didn't use it and kept it cool. it completed the restore before completely rolling over playing dead. the genius guy couldn't even run the diagnostics. and it wouldn't even try to boot unless it was plugged in. so he declared it a dead battery. which made me eligible for the out of warranty battery replacement program. so, for $99 plus tax title and licensing, i got a new ipad. just like the old ipad. except it works. even though it's shiny and new, the warranty is still expired. ah well. beats the $319 plus tax price the first guy quoted. and beats the $629 upgrade to an ipad2 price. so yeah. my "free" ipad only cost $107.25. was it worth it? google what we did with it. and you tell me.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
i found three bugs in one of our products today that have been there for many years with no one ever noticing. neat huh? how could that possibly happen? glad you asked. i'll tell you. the first bug is someone used %s in a printf instead of %ls. a wchar* is a lot like char* except there's a zero after every char. which terminates the char* after the first char. heh. so instead of printing 'timmerov' it printed 't'. big bad boog there, eh? heh. the second boog isn't that the !message shouldn't have not been !printed in the !first !place. heh. yeah. if statements should be as clear as possible. sometimes it takes a while for my old brain to grind through tortured inverse logic. you really don't want to use ! on a function that returns an error code. bad idea. so anywho, the third bug was that the log message was being logged before the log message logging system was set up. so the log message wasn't actually being logged. just like it shouldn't have been. so everything's good right?
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
  new neighbors
we're getting new neighbors. the house next door has been vacant for several months. not sure why it took the family so long to do something with it. maybe they decided to sell it in tax year 2012 instead of 2011. dunno. and sell it they did. they listed it for $100k below market value. it generated a whole lot of interest. it was like a frikkin new year's day parade. heck, we thought about making an offer. it seemed like they just took bids and accepted the highest. which is kinda weird. i think i would have encouraged a bidding war. but i guess they wanted to sell. the first buyer withdrew. so they took another round of bids. and they've closed in two weeks. crazy. i haven't met the new family. but apparently their oldest is the same age as our youngest. and they have a younger about the age of another kid in the neighborhood. private school types. so they should be able to keep up with our kids. heh. that's good. maybe we can finally get the falling down fences replaced.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
  rubik's cube
so i got (another) rubik's cube for christmas. i played with it for a while. but it's been sitting around in my newest favorite pattern for a while now. not sure how long it's going to stay that way. if you're curious, every piece is in the right place. but every piece is oriented incorrectly. no idea how long this will be my newest favorite pattern. my oldest rubik's cube is from when i was a kid. it's unusably loose. i cut two corners off of every sticker to make arrows. so in addition to solving the edges and corners, you also have to get the center pieces oriented correctly. unlike the corners and the edges, the center pieces are independent of each other. ie it's possible to rotate one center piece a quarter turn. i have one other rubik's cube of note. i re-assembled it inside a jar. makes for a kinda nice conversation piece. guys who build ships in a bottle are pompous dorks. but solving a rubik's cube in a jar is cool. definitely, cool.
Monday, January 09, 2012
  bubble up
gee. this sounds familiar. it's all about how reagan screwed you. they say trickle down is really trickle up. though it seems more like a flood than a trickle. colbert called it tinkle down. cause they're pissing on you. i prefer bubble up. money floats to the top. please oh please let the bush tax cuts expire. and let us go back to sound financial practices. where we cut taxes on the midddle. and raise taxes on the top. and cut handouts to everybody. and yeah, that pretty much means we need to get rid of every congress critter who pledged to not raise taxes under any circumstances. huntsman sounds good. i'm sure there must be other like minded conservative candidates. they need your votes. hell, america needs these votes. or we're doomed.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
  star ship
so i started building a star ship today. i call it a star ship cause it travels between stars. as opposed to a space ship. which merely travels in space. local space. like within 200km of home kind of space ship. and of course, by building i mean designing. and by designing i mean do some envelope calculations on what it would take. star ship one is the size of an airplane. the destination is a habitable planet 8 light years away. i have a rocket engine that's 100% efficient at turning mass into thrust. i call it the over-thruster. in honor or buckaroo bonzai. i figure the citizens of earth will be so juiced about the prospect of colonizing another planet that they'll happily give me all the energy earth produces for 5 years. this is enough to accelerate star ship one to 10% of light speed. which gets me to pandora in 80 years. give or take. which i'd have to call plausible. which is a pleasant surprise. cause everybody-knows style wisdom says travelling to another planet around a different sun is impossible. and it's not impossible. it's just really really expensive. i need to be rich. so very very very rich.
Saturday, January 07, 2012
so we were watching kung fu panda 2 the other night. thanks netflix! the favorite scene of the beautiful and talented alisa is when po and the fab 5 are hiding in the dragon costume. and they run around town "eating" the wolves. never would have guessed my beloved would be so tickled by a poop joke. but whatever. my favorite part happened at the dinner table the night after the movie. my son did that foot thing. then he tried to roll a pea on the back of his hands. what are you doing?!?! he lacks inner peas.
Friday, January 06, 2012
  solar oven
i think solar ovens are pretty cool. i want one. i made a pizza box version a while ago. it didn't work worth a shit. so i've been looking at parabolic mirrors. they'd have to be kinda big to collect enough solar flux to be as hot as the burner on a stove. like 1-2 square meters. making a parabolic mirror seems kinda hard. one could make a mold out of clay. or foam. and then what? maybe melt some acrylic mirror onto it. sigh. making one parabolic mirror is beyond me. give up? never! i'll make two parabolic mirrors. obvious, right? it's pretty easy to bend a mirror in one direction. just string it like a bow. voila! the big mirror focuses the light down onto the small mirror. which focuses the light left/right onto the pot. now we're cooking with solar fire. heh. sorta. my "mirror" is shiny furnace tape on pressboard. it's mostly reflective but not very mirror like. we'll see if it is actually reflective enough to cook with. if not i'll have to put $200 worth of mirror acrylic plexiglass on my birthday/christmas wish list.
Thursday, January 05, 2012
  rubber fail
so i was washing dishes last night. i disassembled the blender. and noticed the rubber seal ring was a half ring. hrm. i looked around for the other half. nowhere in sight. so i took the half ring to the beautiful and talented alisa. where's the other half? probably in the bread crumbs. so i got out the jar of bread crumbs and slowly poured them into a bowl. nothing. for the longest time. then one tiny piece. then bigger pieces near the bottom. okay. so the bread crumbs went in the trash. so everything's good. mostly. they also went on the swedish meatballs. uh oh. heh. i'm gonna pretend we didn't feed the family rubber bits in their dinner. cause the rubber bits were all at the bottom of the jar. and we would have used the top of the jar for the meatballs. right? definitely. please don't tell the boys otherwise. thank you.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
told you so. a while ago i wrote about rent seekers. i had never heard the term before. but i predicted that we would be hearing it a lot more in the press. so guess what. i just read a pro-coal article that called the renewables crowd rent seekers. which isn't quite right. a true rent seeker would be someone who says, i own the wind. and if you want to set up a windmill, you have to pay me royalties. or: i own the sun. so pay me for your solar panels. so yeah, i agree with many of the things in the article. most green technology sucks. we should definitely turn our garbage into biofuel. but not corn. that's idiotic. we should build windmills in those rare places where they're economical. and we should improve our electric grid. and we should develop flexible technologies that consume power when it's available. but man, i'll be really sad if we have to go back to coal.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
a long time ago a buddy of mine told a joke. i didn't get it then. it didn't make any sense. though he seemed to think it was fucking hilarious. so apparently i've filed that one away in the back of my brain to chew on from time to time. still didn't make any sense. recently i heard the same joke. but this time the joke teller actually delivered the punchline. so 20+ years ago said buddy posed the question, if you woke up in a tent in the middle of nowhere with a sore butt hole and lube on your dick, would you tell anyone? no. bwuhahahahahahahh! that's the funniest thing he ever heard. yes, bwuhahahahahah! that's even funnier. get it? yeah, don't feel bad. he never delivered the punchline. sheehs. so here it is. for what it's worth. would you tell? no. wanna go camping? wee. hopefully now i can repurpose those brain cells for something more useful.
Monday, January 02, 2012
so i'm kinda pendantic about can and may. like the little leaguers ask, coach! can i go to the bathroom. and i look at them hopping from foot to foot. and i say, if you *can* find a buddy, you *may* go to the bathroom. usually one can tell from context when may is meant when can is said. and vice versa. and it's usually not the difference between life and death. usually. but not always. like say, you're a teenage girl. with cancer. and the doctor says, you can't get pregnant. cause she'll have to either terminate the pregnancy or terminate the treatments. which were pretty much her only hope for survival. so anywho. she told her boyfriend. cool! you can't get pregnant. so guess what. she got pregnant. and now the boyfriend's an unwed teen dad. so yeah. speak english with precision.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
  check it twice
okay so i was inspired by yesterday's post. i'm gonna be so rich. this is what i'm gonna do. i'm gonna start a website where you can make a list of stuff you want for christmas. you add stuff to your list. you add people who can see your list. here's the really cool part: they can make notes on your list *that you can't see*! so the mother-in-laws don't all get you that really cool smiling clown sweater. or people can pitch in to get you that high end camera you want for your photography class. or a telescope. or a first car. or school books. or man, the list of possibilities goes on and on. i'm gonna be so rich.
most every day i wander the corridors of my mind and open a door at random.

blogs of friends
bad astronomy
freedom to tinker

web comics
casey&andy (complete)
cheshire crossing (complete)
order of the stick

doonesbury (sunday only)
foxtrot (sunday only)
wizard of id

cool science facts (idle)
exploding unicorn
some ex-intern's
hyperbole and a half

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