Web Dev / Smart Phone

Because the site I work on is used in numerous types of browsers, setups, and configurations I need to make sure that it, at least, works in 800×600 resolution. The problem? I run 1280×1024 on my workstation. So I made a background image for my desktop with a 800×600 overlay on it so I can quickly snapy my browser window to 800×600 for debugging. You can grab it here.

In other news my phone is smarter than me. It has the game Othello on it, which I’ve been addicted to since we got it for Nintendo (yes, Nintendo – we were real gamers back in the day playing on 8 bit systems). I have been playing it on Very Easy and Easy, but recently it’s become boring so I decided to make the move to Medium. Since then I haven’t won once. Actually, I’ve mostly be getting stomped. I wouldn’t care so much if this were a random card game, but the reality is it’s a strategic game much like chess. The thought of the phone whipping my ass is only more sobering after one realizes there are two MORE levels: Hard and Very Hard. *Sigh*

GM Kills EV

General Motors has decided to pull its electric cars from the market in California. What I find so sad about this situation is that it seems no one cares about clean air. All of you idiots out there driving around in huge SUV’s (someone please validate why they need a Ford Excursion) are ruining the air for the rest of us.

I may not go so far as to say you’re supporting terrorism, but I will say that you are supporting the destruction of our air and water supplies. Call me a tree hugging hippy, but when your grandchildren miss school because of air quality (as they already do in Mexico City) you have no one to blame but yourself.

What is it with America’s psychology? Despite being 5% of the world’s population we generate 40% of its waste. The average human produces a whopping 1,400 pounds (that’s almost a ton) of waste each year.

Here’s another interesting fact. Oil consumption between 1978 and 1983 went down in the US due to more oil efficient cars hitting the street. That figure is now increasing since the introduction of SUV’s.

Oh my gag

For those of you who haven’t realized the zend that is Maddox , let me clue you in. He recently tore apart 26 Things That A Perfect Guy Would Do.

This is a perfect followup to the other post today. I’m guilty of doing some of these things, but not *all* the time. I think that’s where girls and guys part ways in the world of reality. Guys do it so girls will like them not realizing that girls want them to act like that all the time and vice versus.

Lauren and I get huffy from time to time over this exact thing. I fart, she hates it. She “cuddles” (read keeps me awake) with me at night, I hate it. She expects massages and I expect her to make decisions from time to time, neither of which happen. What keeps us together is that we at least *attempt* to work with each other on these issues. I love Lauren to death, but God almighty I wish she could decide on a place to eat once in awhile.

Pyschology of Programming

A Slashdot thread about the Psychology of Programming really hit home today. After having my almost zendlike coding state shattered I left work in a huff.

Much like authors and artists, programmers suffer from “writers block” and when they are in the mental state to program it’s a fragile state that should be respected. I know wonder how much productivity has been lost because of such interruptions to my “flow” through the years …


Psychic: Fuckus!
Brodie: That’s what I’m talking about!
TS: She said “focus”
Brodie: Whatever.

On Saturday I did something I had only heard about in fair tales; I conducted a focus group for our new website. To put it lightly it was mind blowing. It was interesting to see how their clicking habits compared to how you had designed pageflow. Not to mention the things that were totally overlooked.

I had them do a few tasks that I needed users to be able to do with little problem (adding stuff to their cart, signing up for an account, checking out, searching, etc.). It was interesting to see where their eyes focused on the page, what confused them, and what path they followed to find products.

A friend of mine turned me onto what appears to be a wealth of information concerning web user interface. I found a few particularily interesting, such as the Top Ten Web-Design Mistakes of 2002 and Writing for the Web.

White Castle

Whoever invented this shithole of a fast food resturant should be shot. Me and my colon have a huge beef with him. All of my friends, Paul, Noel, Stat, Schenkel, etc. love this place for late night trips after the bar.

Saturday, after Marquette got spanked and Syracuse’s freshman phenom showed the world what was up, I caved and went to “the Castle” with Lauren and my friend Josh. I got a “sack” of 10 with no pickles. When I got home I choked down (literally) eight of them. The last two I gagged on and was only able to swallow with a healthy swig of Rock n’ Rye.

Needless to say, this came back to haunt me the next day. Some of the rankest foulest odors on the planet came from my lower bowels all morning. Thank goodness I was by myself at work. This all culiminated in quite possibly a 10 on the Rate My Poo scale. I hope Mr. Castle is happy now, because soon he’s gonna die at the hand of my angry colon. I’m off to go get a colonoscopy now …

New site coming online

I’ve been coding a totally new site for my company. Their old site was originally coded by me when I was first starting out coding PHP and, to put it lightly, it’s a disaster. After I left a few more coders tore through it and now it’s just a big mess (not that I had coded a great system to begin with).

The new system has wacky features like normalized tables, templates, a little OOP, and database abstraction.

I’ve spent the last three hours today putting all of the servers in the back room on batter backup. The owner of the company managed to get about 20 APC 700XL’s for free (don’t ask) so I’ve been using them freely.

I think the moral of the story is when I look through my old code and think about the old server setup I can’t help but think that I’ve really come a long way. I mainly have Jeremy, Matt, and Seth from Care2 to thank for that. Jeremy and Matt taught me to take it slow and be methodical. Seth, aka the MySQL mage, taught me the ways of research. I guess I can’t forget to thank Pizo for turning me onto PHP in the first place. Ahhh… Nestalgia.

What about due process?

I’d like everyone to read this story about a United States citizen who is being detained without facing a judge. Why? Because the government says he is a “material witness” in an ongoing investigation. According to this interpretation of the Patriot Act anyone could be held indefinitely.

Yes, he is an Arab. Yes, he made donations to Islamic charities. Yes, he has been a citizen of the US for 15 years. Yes, this won’t happen to you because you’re an Anglo American. Yes, he is being denied his right to due process. Yes, he is being denied his Miranda rights. Yes, he is being strip searched everytime he leaves or enters his cell. Yes, this is America. Yes, I’m scared.

At odds with myself

Sometimes I confuse myself. I’m constantly fighting with myself over issues that I face. The son of a hard working middle class Midwesterner is constantly at odds with the well read, socially active, soon-to-be college graduate.

In other words I swing widely from left to right. I believe in abortion, but I think there should be limitations placed on it. I believe we should have a large military, but I don’t think it should be used proactively. I believe in welfare, but I don’t think people should get a free ride.

I guess some would say I’m smack in the middle of most political issues, which is why I label myself a realist. Which is why I’m sad when people label themselves “left” or “right.” The reality is that the world will never free of pollution (although we can take measures to drastically reduce it) and that the world isn’t about to, collectively, find Jesus (although many of the principles taught in the Bible about living peacefully are great words of wisdom).

History's Lessons

I tried to track down the author of this quote but couldn’t manage to.

Those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.

A friend of mine recently forwarded me a link to a brief history lesson that could shed some light on current events.

While I’m not sold on the possibility that Bush and Hitler have much in common, there are some striking similarities.

There have been a lot of forwards going around the Internet with remarks from WWII (aka The Greatest Generation) generation. While I totally agree WWII was an instance of good winning over evil. However, we shouldn’t forget that that same generation gave us Japanese internment camps and the Cold War. They also talk about how their families defended America’s freedom in the face of fascism and that the antiwar protestors should “shut up.” Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but isn’t me speaking against my government (also known as the right to free speech, the right to assemble, and the right to free press) one of those rights your fallen family members fought to defend?

My point is that our differing views, diversity, and ability to speak out are exactly why we have fought so hard in the past to defend our ways. Why can’t those who are for the war see that?