kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)

Done All domains are off GoDaddy now.


If Bob Parsons whats to kill elephants, shamelessly and misogynistically exploit women, and support laws that will destroy the Internet as we know it, they're going to do so without my money.

kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Unlike Steve Jobs, unless you're in the tech industry, there's a pretty fair chance you've never heard of Dennis Ritchie.

However, to those of us who make a living writing software, Dennis Ritchie was well known as the creator of the C language (considered by many to be the "mother tongue" of computer programming languages - the language from which many, many others were derived). He was also one of the key developers of UNIX, which underpins the majority of computers on the planet (directly including OS X, indirectly Linux and many others - here's a "family tree" of everything descended from UNIX).

Considering that PHP, the language I primarily work in, and Objective-C, my current favorite language both derive from C, I'd say I owe Dennis a pretty significant debt. I raise my glass to you, Mr. Ritche. RIP.

Steve Jobs

Aug. 25th, 2011 11:47 am
kiranlightpaw: (apple)
So, unless you've been living under a rock, you now know that Steve Jobs is no longer CEO of Apple. Yesterday, he resigned from his position as CEO, but announced that he will remain on as Chairman of the Board. In essence, he's doing what Bill Gates did at Microsoft: leaving behind all the boring parts of being CEO.

There are some parts in this that I think are important to keep in perspective:
  1.  Steve Jobs is not leaving Apple. He's stepping down as CEO, but staying on as Chairman of Board. He remains Apple's largest shareholder as well.
  2. Tim Cook has been effectively running Apple since January as acting CEO. Essentially, this is just formalizing that arrangement.
  3. We all knew this day was coming. Steve won't last forever, but he's still gonna be involved in Apple for now. Just at a higher level.
A lot of the media seems to have taken his announcement as his "grand finale." As if he's riding off into the sunset never to be heard from again. This just doesn't seem the case to me.

Still, reading the platitudes from the press is yet another indication of how one driven individual can do amazing things by inspiring others to do amazing things. This list of quotes in the Wall Street Journal was a great read. But of all the quotes, this one struck me as particularly prophetic:

“The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it to a nationwide communications network. We’re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people––as remarkable as the telephone.” 

He said that in an interview with Playboy in 1985.
 
Also, on a side note, Tim Cook is now the CEO of Apple. He's also an Auburn grad (he even spoke at Commencement a few years back), so a big bit of pride for my alma mater there. :P
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
"No dictator, no invader can hold an imprisoned population by force of arms forever. There is no greater power in the universe than the need for freedom. Against that power, governments and tyrants and armies cannot stand." - G'kar, Babylon 5

"People with a passion can change the world for the better." - Steve Jobs
I sit here watching Egyptians partying in Tahrir Square on the Internet. Mostly because Al Jazeera is the only group that hasn't just totally halfassed the coverage of what has unfolded a half a world away. However, I did flip on CNN to watch some coverage on there.

The interviewed several of the protesters and organizers. All of them young - even relative to me, and I ain't exactly a greymuzzle - and all of them taking the time to actually thank for making the revolution possible. What were they thanking? Facebook and Twitter. One guy even said he hoped he could meet Mark Zuckerberg and thank him personally.

It occurs to me that these are the Digital Natives coming of age and taking power. To these people, the Internet is an integral part of their life, and have no memory a time before using the Internet to communicate. They think nothing of talking to people around the world. They've been exposed to worldwide ideas. Social and political borders mean nothing to them. They're all old ideas. The ideas of their parents.

We are just now beginning to grasp the social ramifications of a worldwide network that connects all people. The Internet is, for lack of a better analogy, like a virus that infects the world's population. People can access the world's repository of knowledge, and talk with people around the world with minimal effort. They can organize with minimal effort. This communication infects them with ideas of freedom and a desire to communicate.

Now, to be sure, the Internet didn't get out there and protest. The Internet didn't physically stand in Tahrir Square and chant protests against Mubarak. The Internet didn't take gunshots for freedom. But the Internet and social media did provide the tools and the framework in which the revolution could be organized. People will always be the ones taking action. But the ability to communicate - quickly, efficiently, and massively, in such a way that was unthinkable twenty years ago - is going to completely reshape the way the world works going forward.

Iran was the warmup. Egypt and Tunisia are the warning shots to nations around the world: neglect your people at your own peril.

Now, as for Egypt. The optimist in me hopes for a democratic republic. The pessimist in me fears a military dictatorship or, worse, an Islamic dictatorship. I guess we'll know soon enough.
 

FlightPrep

Dec. 19th, 2010 10:39 pm
kiranlightpaw: (pissedoff)
Those of you who follow me on Twitter might have noticed me railing against a company called FlightPrep. You may be wondering, what exactly is the big deal?

The short of the story is, there were a bunch of websites out there dedicated to flight planning. Some of the best ones (SkyVector, Flyagogo, NACOmatc and, best of all RunwayFinder) allowed you to plot a course overlaying a VFR Chart the same way you would in Google Maps. You could modify your route simply by dragging it about, and click airports along the route to get current weather reports. It was kinda like Google Maps for preflight intelligence.

Well, along comes this company called FlightPrep, who decided they weren't getting rich enough (just ignore the owner's $500k boat). So they convinced the USPTO to give them a patent on, bluntly, drawing digital lines on a digitized chart. The filed for the patent in 2005 (after a number of the sites above were already online), but used legal sleight-of-hand to get it backdated to 2001. Eventually, after a number of rejections, they were able to find a friendly clerk and were awarded the patent.

They then immediately lawyered up and started going after all of these free flight planning websites, many of which were simply hobbies of some pilots who also happened to know how to program. They requested that these sites "license the technology" (what a ludicrous thing to say, being that the sites pre-dated FlightPrep's patent) or face lawsuits with damage claims of $149 per unique IP per month.

So what happened? SkyVector settled and "licensed." NACOmatic, Flyagogo and RunwayFinder all shut down under threat of lawsuit. They've also gone after FlightAware, Jeppesen and the AOPA with no success, so far.

It's pretty clear that, instead of innovating, they're litigating. Rather than develop some radical new technology, they're abusing the patent system in an attempt to corner the market.

Bluntly, I'm pissed because they robbed me of a tool (RunwayFinder) that I loved and that was highly useful for a student pilot.

But, general aviation is a small community, and the backlash against FlightPrep has been a beautiful if small-scale example of what happens when you abuse your target market. Within the course of a week, they've become a pariah and the most hated company in general aviation. They had to close off their Facebook page because it was being overrun with people voicing their opinion, and their products are receiving highly negative reviews in all markets. The story even made it to TechDirt (thanks in a very small part to yours truly).

But, while this is all great, it doesn't bring back RunwayFinder. Even though Dave from RunwayFinder has decided to fight back, he faces a long uphill climb to have this asinine patent thrown out.

In the end, it's just sad. As I said, GA is a small community where nobody is getting rich. We're all supposed to be on the same team.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Finished wiring in the closet this morning. It turned out to be a bigger project than I was anticipating. Started last night identifying the outlets (when I initially wired the house back in 2007 when I bought it, I didn't do a good job of identifying the drops), putting them through the wall and punching down the keystones. This morning I made cables and connected everything up to the switch before work.


Before


After
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Seriously thinking about tossing a copy of Fuzzball MUCK on my server and going all old school. Anybody'd be in for it?

HOT

Jun. 14th, 2010 11:48 am
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
I put off mowing the lawn all weekend, mostly because it was so fucking hot I thought I might burst into flames if I went outside. Ended up waiting until 7:30pm last night just to get started ... and it was still in the upper 80s.

Picked up a Saitek Yoke and Pedal set over the weekend so I can practice landings in the sim.

New Server

May. 31st, 2010 09:17 pm
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Ordered a new (used) server: a Dell Poweredge SC1425. This one will replace the one that's been in various racks over the last four years ... the same one I infamously drove overnight to Atlanta to install back in 2006. I figure it's time to finally retire it.

Old and busted: 1 2.26ghz Celeron, 1gb memory, 150gb hard drive. New hotness: 2 2.8ghz Xeons, 2gb memory, 1tb hard drive.

The parts should be arriving this week. Hopefully, I'll be able to rack it before the end of the week.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
So Sunday night, my iMac shit the bed.

I'd been having strange problems the few months leading up to it. Mostly random freezes. I always notice when they happen because I leave Mail.app running all the time to filter my messages, so when my iPhone would start going batshit crazy, I'd know it had crashed again. It actually happened while I was at FWA this year, so all weekend my phone was constantly buzzing.

Well, Sunday while we were working in the yard, I had set up a DVD rip job to run, and while we were working it randomly reset itself and got all sluggish. That night, I tried to boot of the Snow Leopard DVD to run Disk Utility, and it couldn't even mount the drive and refused to repair it. Couldn't reboot either. I tried DiskWarrior, and that fixed things up enough to boot it, but it was REALLY SLOW (it took 10 minutes to boot). It was good enough to get the last few remaining files that hadn't been backed up yet onto the external drive. Then, I tried reinstalling, and it never came back. My conclusion, since I could still boot fine from the DVD, was dead hard drive.

The original hard drive was 500GB, but I figured I'd upgrade while doing this. Ordered a new 1TB hard drive via a deal at work and had it overnighted. It arrived yesterday. And, after some interesting surgery (who says you can't work on Macs!), got it installed, formatted, and Snow Leopard reinstalled.



You know, I remember the first computer I owned that crossed the 1GB barrier, back in late 1999. I guess I'll have to remember this one, too.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
When you work across multiple devices and multiple computers on a daily basis, keeping the information you expect to be there the same across all of them used to be a monstrous pain. This is where synchronization comes in.

I have 3 "computers" I use every day: my iMac, my Macbook Pro, and my iPhone. On each of those computers, I have several programs that may need to access the same type of data.

Bookmarks are synchronized using Xmarks. This allows me to sync them across Safari, Google Chrome and Firefox. And because the bookmarks are sync'd to Safari via a background process, I can use Mobileme to sync them to my iPhone. All this happens in the background, without me having to think about it. I just add a bookmark somewhere, and minutes later it's reflected everywhere else.

Email rules, accounts and signatures are synchronized via Mobileme and appear on all my computers and my iPhone. Contacts are sync'd via Mobileme and appear everywhere. Same with calendars, except calendars is the real win. I can make an calendar entry on my iPhone, and it's instantly sync'd to my calendars on my laptop and desktop.

I have some files and programs that I need access to, I sync those with Mobileme across all my devices via iDisk. I can access those everywhere, even on my iPhone. I even created a directory in there called "Scripts;" with a change to my bash path on my Macs, any scripts I write are sync'd too.

And all this stuff happens more or less instantly and completely transparently to me. Via the Internet and over the air for the iPhone. I don't even have to plug anything in. It just happens. I can't believe computers ever worked any other way, and there is no way I can do without it now.

Xmarks is free. Mobileme is $99 a year, but totally worth it simply in the headache I save in not having to deal with disparate data spread over 3 devices.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
"Twitter me gently, twitter me sweet.
I’ll follow you anywhere you tweet.
The system is fragile, the birds are weak.
So twitter me gently and I’ll be complete."

-Matthew Ebel, Twitter Me Gently
It's that time of year again. Time for me to start ordering all the things that will break be used at Furry Weekend Atlanta this year.

One of the things we're doing this year is retiring our thin-client based registration and sales system in favor of more modern, small form factor computers. The thin clients have worked well for 5 years now, but they're getting increasingly hard to find and expensive to use. So the new system will be based on used Dell GX-270 SFF machines running Ubuntu Linux to avoid any licensing issues.

So I soured the web for a merchant that would cut us a deal on 20 of these machines, and finally found one. 20 machines for $1300 including shipping, or $65 a machine, is about what we were paying for the thin clients, and these will have a lot better lifespan and be eminently more usable. They also support wireless, so less running cable!

So I placed the order Friday two weeks ago. And within hours I had shipping information. And then I found out about Sarah's grandfather and that we'd be going out of town precisely when FedEx was supposed to deliver the computers. Crap. So I call FedEx and arrange to have them delivered the following Monday when I will be home.

So fast forward to Thursday. Just after the funeral. We're eating lunch at the post-funeral meal, and my phone buzzes. I check. Emails from FedEx saying they've delivered all 20 boxes to my house in Alabama. Where its raining. Great. Wonderful. 20 boxes are probably sitting in the rain in front of my house. So I call FedEx. The agent on the phone was singularly unhelpful, too. He just said, yeah, they've been delivered, nothing he could do about it or knew why it happened.

I called [livejournal.com profile] koakako and asked him to run by my house and rescue them when he got a change. Then, in frustration, I sent out a tweet: "So Fedex just really fucked me. And not in the good way either."

About 20 minutes later, my phone buzzed again. Someone had replied to my tweet ... from FedEx, asking me what the problem was. I replied back with a few tweets about how $1300 in computer equipment was sitting in front of my house when I was 1,000 miles away, and sent her a tracking number.

Didn't hear anything for about an hour and a half.

Then, I got a tweet back. "The terminal sent a driver to pick up your packages. They are now on hold."

Yay Twitter. And sure enough, Monday afternoon, my packages were delivered. So while I still don't know why my message to hold the packages was never received here, I nonetheless applaud FedEx for using a very Web 2.0 way to solve the problem.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
Rare public post from me.

I need an artist. :P

I've been working on a little Mac programming project, and I'm getting dangerously close to an alpha release. However, one of the things holding me up right now is that I need some artwork. Notably, a logo, application icon, and some toolbar icons.

The ideal person for this job would have at least some experience in designing icons and be aware of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines in regards to icon design.

This will be a paying gig. While the application is going to be given away free (I'm writing it to teach myself Objective-C and Cocoa programming), I can't expect you to work for free, so I'm sure we can come to some kind of arrangement.

If you are interested, or know of someone who might be, please drop me a line at kiranlightpaw@gmail.com.

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Kiran Lightpaw

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