Month: August 2009

Geek Stuff: Editing – and why WYSIWYG sucks

So I have a hosts files on my machine that blots out ads but sometimes it causes problems with sites like flickr, etc. So I need a quick way to hose it out of the hosts file.

The DOS editor blows. So I found this neat little program called WinVi. For those unaccustomed, vi is an editing program for Unix/Linux.

So I know there were about 4,000 lines in the file. In vi you just type 4000dd. It deletes the lines. Hit the dot (.) and it repeats last command.

Then Esc:+wq! writes the file out, and quits the editor. How much better could it get.

Granted doing this in wordpad I could select one line then shift click select the last line and hit delete, then do a File/Save, File/Exit.

I prefer the keyboard.

BTW, vi dates back to when you accessed a Unix host via a dial up that was maybe 110bps or less. You had to have a shorthand to do editing.

Then some genius decided vi wasn’t good enough, so then came vim. Vim colorizes based on context which is nice.

But the malcontents out there said no and now you have emacs. I don’t use emacs nearly as much as I use vi. For quick edits you can’t beat vi.

If you can do it in Europe, you can do it in the U.S.

Check out this video of Vauban in Germany. They went completely without cars.

When I think about it, here in the northeast we could do that very easily. For example within walking distance of me I have schools, markets, malls, restaurants, bookstores, pretty much everything I need as an urban dweller.

I’d like to see us take the Federal Hill/West End neighborhoods and make them bike only. I can see elements of this creeping into re-designs of roadways of the city where there will be dedicated bike lanes as well as shared lanes, etc. But Take my area, it’s bounded on one side by Westminster St., and on the other by Atwells Ave.

Here’s the google map. Areas in blue are bicycle or public transit only. No cars.

Areas in green are shared by public transit, bicycles and cars.

A good start if you ask me.

Welcome Back Whitney

It was interesting to see Whitney Houston achieve true diva status. Lovely new talent in the 1980’s, then the descent into relationship and drug hell in the 1990’s. Only to come back like the phoenix in the new decade.

I remember my first exposure. It was 1985. Her song “You Give Good Love” was a hot property.

Remember, in 1985 CD’s hadn’t yet totally replaced vinyl, so we had her first album in vinyl format. I was doing a radio gig from 1985 to 1987 every Saturday night and Sunday evening as part of what was called the “Soul Patrol”. No religious connotations, it was the soul music that we loved though that wiggled out quite a bit into r&b, some jazz, etc.

That one song, “You Give Good Love” was played so much that the turntable needle wore a hole through the vinyl.

So it’s good to see her back in the swing.

Mike Enzi, Gang Of Six Republican, Admits He’s Simply Blocking Health Care Reform

Well now, even the Dems abandoned the public option? They need to be made fully aware that it isn’t reform if they leave that part out. And to stop worrying about their republican ilk.

The game is up, we know about the industry dumping money into election coffers, we know about the Republican tactic of no ideas, and of obstruction. What’s left is for those of us who know the game to raise our voices and let them know we’re not going to stand for it.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Public Option is "Bad"

Good Article on the Birther/Healthcare/Socilist BS out there

Check out this Newsweek article.

In other words – Machiavellian thought. The ends justify the means.

Doesn’t surprise me since I consider that type of behavior to be intellectually lazy. It reminds me of the guy who attended an abortion protest. He asked the participants if they though abortion should be illegal and every one answered in the affirmative. He then asked each a second question: What crime should a woman who seeks an abortion be charged with? The blank stares were stunning.

I may have high Machiavellian tendencies but that’s just from working in state government for 5 years.

But I see this same method being used to stop marriage equality too. Look at the likes of Maggie Gallagher, or even RI Director Chris Plante. They usually tip-toe around even mentioning same sex marriage but I found a video clip of Maggie just bashing the hell out of the idea.

It’s come to the point in time where most of the people (aka sheeple) can be lead along because our education system has failed. This was by design mind you, for a population capable of critical thinking skills is a danger to the status quo.

For example, what would have the administration of George W. Bush been able to get away with if the majority of our 300 million plus could actually compare and contrast, to think about what they were shoveling instead of blindly trusting them to do the right thing.

We’re in the age of psyops. The CIA perfected it, and now it’s used on us on a regular basis. Look at the credit bubble, the housing bubble, et al. The message all along was “buy, buy, buy”. Some of us ignored the message. We also ignored the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) being served by the Bush administration. Maybe it is because years ago I switched off the television and radio. There are those who promote the idea that people who don’t watch television or listen to the radio are somewhat socially inferior.

But the reality is, does it really matter what TV characters do, or what ads tell you to buy, or tell you that you need? Instead we ought to devote more time to knowing what government is doing, to mentoring, volunteering, knowing your neighbors, in essence making it a better place.

Geek Stuff: Fixed earphones

Well, I bought these little $14 earphones that hook over the ear. Love em’ since they stay in the ear.

Recently as all head and ear phones are wont to do, the left channel got dodgy.

So off to the electronics store and pay the $1.50 for the 1/8″ stereo plug. Bring it home. Now here’s the clutch part.

The wires are coated with a colored enamel. You have to burn it off before you can solder them. Cranking the solder station up to 650F did the trick.

Looking at the connector you’ll see the big ground connector rising up. That goes to the bare copper wire.

The tab on the left is for the left channel and is connected to the blue wire.

The tab on the right is the right channel and is connected to the red wire.

The trick is, don’t use too much solder else you’ll bridge the contacts for left/right. This means you just made your head or ear phones mono instead of stereo.

I did thread shrink-wrap tubing onto all the leads and once I’d soldered it I shrunk the tubing down to prevent oxidization and to eliminate the possibility of the wires themselves shorting.

Then one bigger shrink-wrap tube over the whole shebang and thread the barrel onto the connector.


Tested out fine. Clear left and right channel separation. Matter of fact it sounds better than with the original connector because it’s gold plated.


The original had just a thin plate on it. I love these $1.50 connectors. I know, I know. I should have just bought a new set what with labor. Job took about 15 minutes so at $80 per hour that means 1/4 of 80 or $20. So it cost $21.50 if you apply the displacement principle.

But I love soldering things, fixing things, and building things so subtract the enjoyment factor (Tickets to a movie are what, over $10 now, and popcorn, say $7, so $17). So total cost now drops to $4.50. Less than the $14.99 I paid.

See, you can justify pretty much anything.


Had to modify it a bit. I just wrapped the wire around the posts and soldered it that way. Better surface area. Also made sure I clamped the cable on this time. That way no strain can pull the conductors out.

Airline lies – more info

Check this out.

Now I’ll tell you why I’ve been stuck on a tarmac as many times as I’ve flown.

One was for an overturned fuel truck in Newark, NJ. Had to shut the aircraft down for that too so no air circulation, nothing. 4 hours.

One was for a mechanical fault, 3 hours.

But none were for weather issues. If you search on keyword “United Airlines” in this blog you’ll see about my odyssey two years ago.