Showing posts from July, 2014

#189 - The Month of Many Challenges

Motto: No hablo Espanol
This is going to be a short and sweet Column. Tonight is Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm more excited than you can imagine. I'm going to wear my Captain America shirt and maybe bring my hammer of Thor. The 30 Day Challenge for July was to learn as much Spanish as I could using the app Duolingo. I did an okay job, but slacked off near the end. Melissa did a much better job than me. When I hear her practicing it makes me feel bad about myself. Her sentences are like "I do not own a house because I do not have much money", whereas my sentences are like "The cat drinks milk" (El gato bebe leche, BTW). I'm going to continue on with Duolingo. I want to learn Spanish. I always assumed I'd learn another language at some point. Just like I never assumed I'd ride a rollercoaster...
August is shaping up to be the "Month of Many Challenges". See the Top 5 below. I'm off to go lift weights, get a haircut, and watch a mo…

#188 - Feature: .txt files (also the fitness baseline results)

Motto: Keep it Simple, Stupid

I love .txt files. A .txt file is the simplest possible text storage on a computer. It's a file that is literally just text. No formatting. No pictures. Nothing fancy. It's the kind of file you edit in "notepad" on Windows. The file size is absolutely tiny and it can be opened with just about anything. The size of the file is just the number of characters (in bytes). Let me NOT digress for a second:
Computers store things in bits and bytes.A bit is just a 0 or a 1.That translates physically to a high voltage or low voltage on a memory register, or a pit or a no-pit on an optical disc.A byte is just 8 bits. (8 is 2^3)A .txt file is literally just a bunch of ones and zeros that the computer looks at, breaks up into chunks of 8 (or 16, depending upon the character encoding), then translates those chunks into characters and displays those on screen.A common example: ASCII character coding -> if your computer sees "01010010" it k…

#187 - LightWORKS

Motto: IT'S ALIVE!!!

This is a continuation of my previous few Columns. Re: Linux & video editing I've determined a new problem regarding Linux and video editing. The better of my two GoPros uses a filesystem type that Linux is incapable of reading. This filesystem type is hardcoded into the GoPro. There is no correction. The workaround is to use my Chromebook and a large flash drive to copy videos from the GoPro to the flash drive and then copy the videos from the flash drive to my Linux machine. It's annoying, but hardly a show-stopper. Glad that I found yet another use for my Chromebook! Overall, I'm very optimistic regarding Linux and video editing, though. Why you ask? I learned Lightworks... kinda. My analogy comparing Lightworks to a weird foreign language with horrible yet strict grammar rules still rings true - but I learned how to speak the sentence that I need to speak. I can take a clip, cut it down to a specific size, insert it into the timeline, an…

#186 - Fitness Baseline

Motto: Bro, do You Even Lift? (or run? or stretch?)

I've been working my new job position for a few months now. I see parts of it creeping into my regular life. I've begun thinking about some things in terms of "deliverables" and begun using terms like "baselining". Today's post was written to satisfy an idea I had earlier today. Also, the Top 5 is kind of interesting.
Melissa and I were talking about our medium-to-long term plans and goals. We touched on our 3-5 year plan. Nothing set in stone, but we've introduced each other to our desires and expectations. One of the things we agreed on was the a continuation of the "healthy" focus we've had. In fact, we want to become even more health-conscious. I told her that, even though I look a little better than I used to, I don't really feel any better. I don't feel "fit". I wouldn't feel "fit" until...
Then I trailed off.
Then I made this face:

What is my definit…

#185 - Editor Rant

Motto: This is a Column for Me, Not so much You

Like I said in the motto, this is a rant... and it's a rant that's very "inside baseball", as they say. Feel free to read it, or skip it, either way. I warn you about this because I can't think of a single reader this Column applies to. If you want the gist of things, I'll include a TL;DR at the end. I have made videos on and off the past 10+ years now. I'm definitely not an expert video maker, but I think I'm at least "decent". I've managed to do generally everything I've tried to do when it comes to editing. As of last month, I had experience with 7 different editors. As of yesterday, that number is 12. My transition over to Linux has been admittedly painful at times, but I've managed to work through everything... except for video editing. I cannot find a video editor that suits my purposes. Lightworks When I made the jump to Linux, this was my plan. It's a very legitimat…

#184 - Writing for Writing's Sake

Motto: This Column is about Nothing

This is the first of a one-two punch. I wrote too much for one post, so I broke it up. There will be another post tomorrow... that was written today.
Every person has their own writing style. Ever Ye Purse sin haste air roan rye tin sty ell. I seriously considered writing a whole Column like that one time. When I realized how terribly annoying it was to decipher, I abandoned my plan. My writing style is apparently pretty obvious in the Column. I write with a distinct "voice". It's a quality that I've never fully understood, but have been accused of for my entire writing career. Yes. I have a writing career. I'm allowed to use those words in that fashion. I'm allowed to because I have a writing career. Circular logic works because circular logic works. This is a part of my writing style: Rad Lad's bad dad's sad CAD pad fad had Lad a tad mad. As is this: (nothing goes here, I was just pointing out that "…

#183 - Lonesome George

Motto: The Tyrannosaurus Wrecks His Car

Despite the title of this post, this Column will not be about a massive, old tortoise.
My brother & father-in-law are in Philmont for what I've come to learn is basically the culmination of Boy Scouting. My boss told me that he went there when he was a kid and it is responsible for some of his fondest memories. That's awesome. I am in this spot right between super jealous and not in least bit jealous of them. Philmont is fun, but demanding fun.
My wife is gone with my mother-in-law and her siblings to Colorado. They are also doing outdoorsey-type stuff. Melissa said she climbed Red Rock Canyon with a GoPro strapped to her chest earlier today. Typical Melissa, doing things I'm way too much of a wuss to do.

Here's what all that boils down to - I'm alone for the next few days.

Well, except for Thor 2, Loki, and the birds that decided to make a nest in our plant:

While I'm alone, I've decided to take on a number of persona…

#182 - 30 Day Challenges are Not Dead

Motto: Matt Cutts I've been lazy with the 30 Day Challenges lately. I'll admit that. But I have not given up on them entirely. They've definitely been in the back of my mind. With this post I'd like to start taking them more seriously again. Let's do a recap of how things are going so far: January

The goal: Eat a Paleo diet & do CrossFit

How it went: Way better than you'd expect. 

What I learned:
I was too focused on "weightlifting" and not enough on actual fitness. Weightlifting is a huge part of fitness, but it's not everything - and I had forgot that. 

Also realized how much better I felt while eating paleo. I wasn't ever sickly feeling. Never gaseous. Never bloated. No "bathroom issues".

Both of these experiences have had long-lasting effects. February
The goal: Read 5 books
How it went: I read 3 books. I picked a dumb month to do a quantity-based goal - February is short. Also I switched goals about 6 days in, which made it even s…

#181 - More on My Computer Reset + Portal

Motto: Now I'm thinki00ng with Portals.
So. It's been a week since my last post. Why the semi-unusually long break between posts?

That's what happens when I accidentally reset my entire computing architecture to zero then spend all my spare time learning how to operate on Linux, learning what's possible, and making myself a new computer home. My old laptop, running a new OS, is now capable of video editing, photo editing, Android development, media streaming/backup, and videogaming. I set up those 5 things over the past 7 days. They are all free; and they all work just fine. In fact, I'm much more fond of my computer now than I was about 10 days ago when it ran the Windows setup I'd built out over the past 8 years.

I realized I'm not going to miss Windows 7. 

I also realized that my Playstation 3 is entirely unnecessary. 

My laptop is very much capable of playing games. Steam is cool. Games are easier to get, cheaper, and everything runs off a common platform. I…

#180 - Google I/O 2014 & Computer Reset

Motto: El Google

Google I/O happened. I had to work during most of the keynote, but it was still fantastic.
Here's the changelog:

Material Design is Google's new design direction. It is supposed to give the users a sense that the user interface is made up of physical objects (materials) that act in a physically intuitive way. UI elements slide around in an intuitive and consistent manner. Bold, simple, colorful, intuitive... I think I'm going to be a fan of this new direction.

Android everywhere! Seriously. Android for your phone, tablet, wrist, television, car, and even your Chromebook. Let me detail these things in descending order of things I'm excited about:

Android Wear - Android for your wrist. Google has made the first smartwatch that makes sense. The watch relays notifications from your phone. It is a low-barrier of entry into Google Now and Google Voice Actions. It acts as a Bluetooth key into your phone, Chromebook, or whatever else they decide to do down the road…