We should totally kill this guy

Venezuela has offered fuel, food and water to the hurricane-hit US. What I find most interesting about this article isn’t the fact that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez offered such services to, but the nuggets buried farther down.

Last week, Chavez offered discount gasoline to poor Americans suffering from high oil prices and on Sunday offered free eye surgery for Americans without access to health care.

Why the heck would we want to assassinate a guy who offers poor Americans discounted gas and free eye surgery? Meanwhile, we give truckloads of money to the Iraqis just so they can turn around and buy rocket launchers to blow us up with. Yeah, that makes sense.

Colleges dealing with "helicopter parents"

If I were the type of person to have a “Hero” tag with an American flag behind it, I’d be using it for this post. Colgate College has decided that hovering parents have gotten out of hand and that they’re undermining important lessons learned outside of the classroom.

… at freshman orientation here last week, parents heard a different message: Colgate is making educating students a higher priority than customer service. The liberal arts college of 2,750 students has concluded helicopter parenting has gotten out of hand, undermining the out-of-the-classroom lessons on problem-solving, seeking help and compromise that should be part of a college education.

I’ve said many times that I learned just as much, if not more, about life outside of the lecture hall than I did inside it. You learn to multi-task. You learn to be accountable without your parents holding your hand. You learn that red gym shorts and white socks don’t mix. You learn that hangovers suck. You learn that slushies at 4AM from 7-11 can sometimes fix even the worst problems. Most importantly, I learned two things with regards to my parents and life in general.

  1. I could, afterall, survive without them on my own two feet without getting killed.
  2. Begrudgingly, I learned they did know quite a lot about life and they did a great job preparing me for the rigors of daily life.

As Denis Leary puts it, “Life sucks, get a fucking helmet, okay?

MVC Framework for PHP5

I am currently writing an article about PHP5 and MVC frameworks for web programming for onlamp.com. Part of writing the article required me writing an MVC framework to showcase the theories and ideas behind MVC programming. The result is what I simply call Framework. The following are the installation instructions.


$ pear install "http://www.joestump.net/code/Framework/Framework-0.0.6.tgz"

As new version become available you can also use the above command to upgrade by replacing install with upgrade and the URL for the newly released version. Once it is installed check out /path/to/PEAR/doc/Framework for installation instructions and the article describing how MVC frameworks work.

You will also need Smarty installed in your path as Smarty/Smarty.class.php. Once that is done it should all work fine. Please feel free to email me with questions and concerns, however, this is not supported code at this time and not to be considered stable in any way.

UPDATE: You will want to check out the PEAR category on my site for the latest version of Framework, which is currently 0.1.1

Robertson says he was misinterpreted

If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.

[…]

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

Not sure how we could have possibly misinterpreted those statements. The first line, to me anyways, certainly sounds like Robertson was implying we assassinate him, which is against US law.

Get off your fat ass already

Whatever you do, do not click this link. I use the linked photo, which you should not click on, as evidence of my rant today. I found a link today about an obese woman who filed a complaint about her doctor after he told her bluntly that her health problems were directly related to her weight. God forbid my doctor tell me I’m a fat ass. I’ll have to possibly beat him up or something along those lines.

Ask any doctor in the US what problem is approaching epidemic rates and most will tell you either childhood obesity or obesity as a whole. And, I’m sorry to tell you this, but if you are 50 or 100 pounds (that’s 22.67kg or 45.35kg for you Europeans who can’t use a calculator) overweight then you need to put the fucking foot long coney dog down. And when someone calls you fat don’t go and pick up another foot long coney dog.

I’ve battled a bulge for a few years now. I blame it on a combination of going from an active high school basketball player to a lazy college student with horrible eating habits (never mind my affection of dark beers). Last year I lost about 30 pounds which dropped me from 265 pounds to a fluctuating period between 235 and 240. For my height, 6’5” (195.58cm), I was still 40 pounds overweight. In July I started dieting and exercising again and am now down to a much more trim 220 pounds. I’m still about 20 pounds from where I need to be and I plan another round of dieting and exercise now that I’ve figured out a diet and exercise habit that works for me and keeps me at a level weight.

So, if you’re overweight and need a place to start I’ll give you my “secrets” to losing weight. Remember, I just lost 24 pounds in three weeks. Pay attention class, you don’t have to be fat anymore. Unless you’ve got some pituitary problem.

  1. Quit eating like an idiot. You know those cheese fries have 1,500 calories in them. Depending on your sex and body size you shouldn’t be eating over 2,500 calories a day.
  2. Quit eating refined sugar, refined flour (white bread, doughnuts, etc.) and “trans fats”. These things are processed shit. You might as well suck fat straight from Carnie Wilson’s ass.
  3. Evidently there are these things called fruits and vegetables. I know, I was shocked when I found out about these as well. Eat some every day.
  4. Get a gym membership and go every other day and do something. You’d be amazed how quickly your body remembers what it’s like to be active. I went from huffing and puffing my way through half a mile at 5.5 to handling 1.5 miles at 6.5 with relative ease.
  5. Switch to diet pop or juice. Better yet, drink lots of water.
  6. Low carb worked for me. If you’re a guy with relatively decent amounts of muscle this diet will work wonders for you. I do not recommend living life this way. I cycle this diet in whenever I feel like losing weight. When you’ve hit your target start introducing whole grain / whole wheat breads and cereals back into your diet.
  7. Allow yourself one cheat meal a week.
  8. Pick a goal and a prize to reward yourself when you reach that goal. If you can, find someone to diet with you and “compete” for a prize. Lauren told me if I hit 220 pounds I could by myself a PSP. It honestly helped during that last rep or that last half mile.

The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s not the doctor’s fault that I was fat or that this woman was fat. It was my fault. I was choosing to not lose weight. I’m working hard to retrain myself. I’m eating healthier and smaller portions, exercising on a much more regular basis and taking vitamins. It’s not easy, but I’m confident I’ll hit 200 pounds sometime in the near future. You can too, if you want some more input on my dieting experiences let me know. I can’t promise it will work for you, but I’m always open to sharing ideas.

I leave you with a quote I heard from someone who was talking about temptation and dieting that has stuck with me while I continue to try and lose weight.

I’d see people eating something I missed, like a doughnut or cheese burger, and remind myself that nothing tastes better than being thin.

Kitchen gets a new wood floor

I’ve been working overtime along with the building manager, Dave, to get our new kitchen into place. The first step was to remove the entry closet. I’ve always thought it was much too large in relation to its relative utility. The decision was made to remove the closet to increase counter space and add a pantry.

Next up we removed the most worthless wall ever created in the entire world. I’m not even sure what its purpose was, but you can see we still need to move the electrical switches over to the wall next to the door. That should be taken care of tomorrow evening along with a few new outlets.

After removing the wall we still needed to lower the counter top, which will allow us to put a huge counter top as well as drastically open up the kitchen and living room. We plan on extending the counter top into the living room area to provide a small bar area for eating and entertaining the few guests who come over.

Finally, we did the floor. Dave got me started with a few of my more difficult cuts and a mini tutorial and then headed out and left me to my own devices. Before I could get started Brad invited me out to lunch in Madison Park. Once back from lunch I fired up the table saw and started cutting off my fingers – er – putting in the rest of the floor. There are some minor blemishes in the floor that I need to ask Dave about, but overall I think the floor turned out great.

Whatcha gonna do when the pest control comes for you?

From the “I can’t believe they are this power hungry” department comes a story of a pest control company who was recruited by the police department to “help fight crime”.

Technicians from Truly Nolen Pest Control of America are being trained by local law enforcement to spot anything unusual as they visit customer’s homes.

This is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start. In fact, I’m trying to think of something to say, but I’m pretty much in shock right now. As we all know the police have pesky rules (which are quickly fading away thanks to the likes of the PATRIOT Act) that disallow them from entering a suspect’s home or anyone’s home for that matter without “probable cause.” However, if you invite someone into your house, say a pest control company, and they spot something and report it that’s “probable cause.”

Sneaky little fuckers aren’t they? I should call pest control …

Sony PSP Review

I’ve been waiting to write this review for quite some time. I wanted to really play with my PSP before I sat down and wrote up a review for all three people who read this blog on a regular basis. If you’re in a hurry the short review is that the PSP kicks ass, but leaves you wanting more.

The first thing you notice about the Sony PSP is that they seriously tried to put the kitchen sink in this thing. In fact, I think they did manage to get a water fountain in there. The unit comes with an amazing LCD capable of doing 480 x 272 resolution, WiFi, IrDA, Memory Stick DUO and a UMD reader. The UMD format holds about 1.8GB of data and is cable of storing music, videos and games on it (sometimes all on the same disk).

The good stuff …

  1. The graphics and controls are great. There’s even an analog joystick that’s simply amazing.
  2. The built in WiFi simply works and it works well. It does fast scanning and even tells you if the access points are open or not.
  3. The new 2.0 firmware, which despite being “Japanese only” can be installed easily from the internet, comes with a Mozilla based browser. To put it simply, the browser kicks ass. It renders sites amazingly and the UI is top notch. I barely miss my keyboard doing simple browsing.
  4. The 2.0 firmware supports a wide range of codecs and image formats, including Apple’s AAC format, MPEG-4 video, etc.

The bad stuff …

  1. The LCD’s apparently have dead pixel problems. The one I bought didn’t have any dead pixels per se, but does have some “fussy pixels” that come and go. I’d recommend the Best Buy service plan, which will replace the unit after 8 dead pixels, while the Sony warranty won’t replace the until there are 38 dead pixels.
  2. Unless you’re lucky enough to get the 1.5 firmware (not 1.51 or 1.52), you won’t be doing any homebrew stuff on your PSP. I was really hoping to get install MAME, but until they crack the 2.0 firmware I’m out of luck.
  3. I want something that makes it simple to put video onto the PSP. There are a few programs, but the process for ripping a DVD and putting it onto a PSP is tedious at best. If I own the DVD I shouldn’t have to to purchase a special PSP movie to watch it on my PSP. It’s so shitty that I’d rather buy the UMD than tinker with ripping the DVD and converting it.

If Sony was smart they would …

  1. Add a VoIP client. It has WiFi and an interface port next to the headphone jack. They could easily add the ability to use a headset. I would pay for a soft phone for this thing in a second.
  2. Add chat software and/or voice-to-text software. They should release a headset and allow me to talk into the headset for chat over the internet (ie. iChat) or create voice-to-text software.
  3. Start selling and external hard drive or add a USB driver so I can plug in any USB hard drive and watch video, view images, etc.
  4. Sell a UMD writer and blank UMD disks.
  5. Sell and SDK and allow developers to start creating and selling homebrew games and applications.
  6. Create PIM/Calendar/Email/RSS clients for the PSP. I can’t stress this enough. I want a simple PIM/Calendar app for my contacts and calendar, iCal/Address Book integration, a simple IMAP/POP email client and an RSS aggregator. The aforementioned SDK would clear these needs up in less than a month I bet.
  7. The browser needs flash support so web developers can create flash games specially formatted for the PSP.

The short of it is that the Sony PSP is an AMAZING platform. If someone created one of these and opened up the platform with an SDK every kid on the planet would want one. What I’d recommend is creating an online store that would allow independent developers to upload and digitally sign their applications. They would then sell them through the store with a cut going to Sony. This would allow independent developers to create games, while keeping the platform closed and reducing the ability for people to copy video games. I could be sitting at a cafe and someone with a PSP could walk in. In order to play against him (or her) I’d need a copy of the game. No big deal, just go to the PSP store and download the game before playing.

I love the PSP and I’m quite addicted to Need for Speed Rivals, but I really hope and wish Sony will listen to the tremendous demand for an SDK and find a way to coexist with the independent developer community.