Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pride of Workmanship

The new cable box is pretty good, though it lacks some of the niceties of the old one.

One thing I can't believe--makes me groan whenever I see it--is that the movie guide is in alphabetical order, but includes "The" as part of the sort.

So, you might see:

The Apple Dumpling Gang
The Color Purple

(Sigh.) I've learned to accept the use of ASCII-like sorting, such that all the numbered entries appear at the top (40 Year Old Virgin should go in "F"), but this is just plain don't-care-sloppiness.

The guide itself seems to have different content, and less guide info, including missing the information about when a program is going to stop being available.

Meanwhile, the new cable box takes, I'm told, 45 minutes to reboot. Let that sink in for moment. 45. Minutes. Actually, when we rebooted here, it took 4 hours, because it's not just rebooting, it's downloading information, and lots of people were apparently rebooting at the same time.

I can download many gigabytes in four hours. Why do I get the feeling that this particular application hasn't been optimized?

Signs You've Lived On The Westside Too Long #1

Me: "Wow, I can't believe you play the lottery!"

Him: "Yeah, well, invading Iraq was stupid, too!"

Me: ...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Friends and Parents

I ran across Shannon Love from Chicago Boys the other day on the 'net. I'd tell you where, but I can't recall. It was a piece about "kids today", describing some perceived bad behavior of teens. (One item involved a kid not finishing food he got at a buffet because he discovered he didn't like it, or had discovered something more to his liking. That doesn't exactly appall me.)

Anyway, I made a comment about being a parent first, to which Love responded by saying parents shouldn't be friends at all. I've heard this sentiment before, and it always amuses me because it invariably downgrades friendship--and, in a weird way, parenthood.

Parents do have a unique responsibility to their children: They keep them physically safe and prepare them for independence. But the very act of good parenting reduces the need for parenting in the future, right? At which point, what sort of relationship will you have with your child? At some point, the parental role is more honorary and even nostalgic than actual.

And here's another thing to chew on: One role model that serves children well is how to be a good friend. Say, the kind of friend that doesn't "let friends drive drunk". If you're only dealing with your children from the rarified atmosphere of parental authority, how do you suppose they're going to deal with others?

This is just the tip of a very big iceberg, and I'm not planning to write a whole bunch about parenting, but I thought I'd get that (partly) off my chest.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Project: Delphi for .NET review

CodeGear has come out with a new version of Delphi for .NET development.

The company seems a lot more vital than Borland, though I can't comment on their "Application Lifecycle Management" business. Maybe that rocks the ALM world.

But as far as development goes, CodeGear has revitalized Delphi and made forays into PHP, Ruby, and Eclipse-specific Java tools.

In fact, my current problem is that an important outlet for me,, isn't particularly interested in non-dotNet/non-Visual Studio stuff. It's always been an MS-sponsored site, but the previous editor (Esther Schindler) was willing to entertain anything she thought would drive eyes to the site. This isn't to suggest that the current editor (Jeffrey Cogswell) is doing anything wrong--it's entirely possible that the readership is only interested in MS stuff--but that I need to find more outlets.

I've been considering starting my own online tech magazine, which probably isn't very bright given the other projects I have going, but I miss the days of PC Techniques. I need reviews of software tools, but I love light-hearted writing and little projects that remind us why we got into the business to begin with.

In the meantime, I have a review in progress about Delphi-dotNet for DevSource.

New Link: Retromedia Forum

The Retromedia Forum is place where real filmmakers hang-out and discuss the craft and the business. Yeah, real low-budget filmmakers, but don't be such a snob. These guys make more movies and do more business in a year than your average big-budget guy has done his entire life.

Seriously, Fred Olen Ray, who hosts the joint, is filming something like four films back-to-back, which I think is only going to last him till Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Loretta King has passed....

No, not Coretta Scott King, that was a while ago.

Loretta King, star of Bride of the Monster, died on September 10th of "natural causes".

Janet Lawton: When did I tell you my name?
Dr. Eric Vornoff: You didn't. But since you were unconscious, I took the liberty of looking into your purse.

New Link & Etc.

Re "& Etc.", I love bi-lingual stuttering like "The La Brea Tar Pits" and "The Hoi Polloi".

Added a link to "Loaded Questions", which features Kelly Hewitt's marvelous interviews with various authors. Kelly and I have run the Loaded Shelf and Kingdom RPG together for over three years.

I'm fooling with blogger's templates and so far, I'm not terribly impressed. It seems eager to discard changes you make. (I realize the technical difficulties of changing from one template to another, mind you. But it all makes me want to develop my own software....)

Ken Burns' WAR

Because the cable box is out, Burns' WAR documentary is on.

Frankly, it's not that interesting to watch people play it, no matter how fast. It's just luck.

As a person of possibly Belgian descent, I'm distressed by the lack of stories from Flemings. I think I'll soothe my cultural wounds with a waffle.

Cable Box: "Oh, crap!"

We got a new cable box on Sunday.

First of all, you gotta give Time-Warner props for volunteering a guy to come out on Sunday. This was in response to a call I made Saturday morning at 2AM because the rain had knocked everything out (phone, 'net, TV).

The guys doing support are actually pretty cool. Every now and again I get one who sounds incredibly bored, but mostly they're grateful if you treat them like real human beings.

Anyway the new box is pretty slick, except that it's not working. And for all the world, the little LED read-out looks like it says "OCRP", which I immediately read as an "ORLY"-style "Oh, crap!"

It's actually reading "OCAP" which apparently stands for "Open Cable Application Platform". (Sight unseen, I have to wonder if that "O" there isn't being abused.)

We're currently in the stage of "Yeah, I liked the old one better" and this is not diminished by the recently discovered fact that it takes around 45 minutes to boot the damn thing. (Apparently, it can take less or more, the vagaries of which also do not build confidence.)

We replaced the old one because we had to reboot it daily (at least) to keep the video-on-demand working. We rebooted this one for the same reason and it never came back up. Let's hope it's not a daily thing.

I could sure use my Zodiac about now.