Showing posts from 2020

That awkward moment...

In an earlier post, I talked about the importance of not taking life too seriously , one of the more interesting occurrences I have found in in life is when their is a 'mismatch' on the volume level of seriousness. In this article, I talk about the 'flipside' of that volume meter. "Getting along with others", in conversation or otherwise requires all of the involved parties to hold some level of trust between one another. That trust is easily misplaced, when one or more parties have the seriousness dial turned way up, and others have it way down. In a recent episode  of Seth Godin' s"Akimbo" - The Hedonic Treadmill , the start of the episode is an interview where the interviewee talks about an amplifier that has a dial of "11" ? Why - because if they want it to be louder they can go 'past 10' all the way up to '11'. The interviewer asks, well 'Why don't you just make the "10" louder?" and the awkwa

There's a bug in the keyboard driver...(dear liza)

  Some bugs are harder to find then others.  To successfully find and repair a bug in the code requires it to be re-producible, the easier to reproduce the faster it can be troubleshooted and fixed. Some bugs however are really hard to find, yet alone re-produce.  Take for example the mysterious keyboard driver 'bug'.  You may have noticed it yourself. Suddenly pushing keys doesn't seem to do anything or strangely typing a key opens your menu instead of typing that 'F'..has your machine got a virus? ..become possessed by daemons? or every feel you are sure you pressed CTRL-C only to not be able to now PASTE it into your document? There is a BUG in the Windows keyboard driver, it has been there at least since Windows 95..perhaps even longer. No it is not 'sticky keys', but it has a sort of similar effect. The keyboard maintains a 'state' flag for certain keys, like 'caps lock' or 'num lock' or 'scroll lock', when you press a ke

Microsoft Chromium, Edge and what it means for you.

In the beginning, the internet was void and mostly barron, except for a few nerds/geeks, and university professors sending electronic mail - Then came  the browser, it was called 'Mosiac' and it was a good browser.  Later as the internet grew, it became more and more apparent that browsing the web was what would bring the 'Internet' out of the realm of only universities, geeks and nerds..and into the world of the mainstream 'regular joe'  Netscape started creating an selling it's own web browser 'Netscape navigator', and had a few years (months?) of glory, but with the release of Windows 95 and 'Internet Explorer'.  A free web browser built into Windows, who would want to pay for one instead..and thus began the 'browser wars' Although the browser wars were primarily a fight against market share, the method used was to create 'special' features for programmers that would make the browser do 'cool things' that the other

Pizza and Personal Growth

  The first time I ever saw a Pizza in my life, I was like 'You want me to eat that?", Come On...It looks like someone vomited on a piece of dough..that is disgusting ! No - this isn't another post about judging a book by its cover , it is about the idea of 'mindset', and the ability to change it. I was so sure - without tasting it - that the pizza had to be disgusting, I put my foot down 'NO WAY - AM I EATING THAT THING!!'.  Of course this came with the age old parent adage 'Try'll never know if you like it until you try it'. But I was sure, I would not "like it", and my mind was made up - It wasn't going to happen, no way - 'No Way - Nuh Uh' Growth requires the possibility of admitting, just maybe, perhaps - You could be  wrong. Influence is what happens when we slow down - push aside our own mindset, listen to another perspective and think (even for a microsecond) - you know what - maybe you are right! ..and in t

Grade 11 - Travel Group - Operation Halifax

 In May of 1993, I took my first adventure - class trip. Below are excerpts of my journal entries and photographs from that time.  May 17 - 20 - 1993 Of course May 16th was awesome too - being my 17th birthday and all that, but the trip is something I don't want to forget On May 17th we left the school at 8:30am. Our bus driver who we called 'Frankie', although I never was really sure if that was his real name or not, took us towards Halifax. The 5-6 hour trip was fun too filled with music, talk, and other gossip. (The Rankin's song Tell My Ma - seemed to play a lot).  Our Bus - Driven by 'Frankie?' We got to Keddy's Motor Inn in Halifax around 2-2:30 to check in. Then started our 'tour' of Halifax. Monday evening we went to the MicMac mall, I didn't buy anything but I did have fun riding the escalators.   On Tuesday, May 18th - we were really moving. By 11am we were out of Halifax and on our trip to Middleton. While there we visited an old scho

Try to be more like Switzerland

  Some days it seems like everyone has a "side" and everyone believes his/her side is the 'right' side.  The smallest consequence of this leads to a lot of un-necessary rudeness, at the worst, down right fights, and wars. In the middle of all this people exclaim like "they are just being honest" and "it's just how I feel"  What happens next? - we get a world wide pandemic - a crisis that forces everyone to put aside their differences and work together. In a not so recent Lifehacker podcast episode ( How to Deal with Rude People ), I loved the way comedian Danny Wallace put it... if you are speaking out and telling yourself that "You are just saying what everyone else is thinking" - if that is your excuse for being rude, perhaps take a minute and ask why it is that those who are thinking it have made the choice, to keep it just as a thought, and not speak it out loud. ? Commitment vs Being Committed Many people will tell you commitment

VHS to Digital DVD Converter Adapter - USB Windows and Linux !

I have been feeling a bit nostalgic lately and decided to try and transfer some of our families old VHS 'Home Movies' So I went ahead and bought a 'USB' VHS/Converter -> The specific one I bought was on Amazon It was disappointing that the description makes no mention if this device works with Linux.  I my house I run mostly Linux distros at home. The idea of setting up an instance of  MS Windoze just to record the videos on a laptop was not too appealing. I was however presently surprised - After plugging in the device it quickly showed up as /dev/video0 on my machine. As I have had some previous experience with Linux and TV Tuner cards, it was my hope that I could simply cat the device to an output file cat /dev/video1 > myhomemovies.avi Alas it would not be that simple, and I got the error "Invalid argument" I then turned to VLC. VLC did capture the v

My first failing grade - and lessons learned (eventually)

  I was always a 90's student in elementary school (back in those days - we actually got grades). So when I started junior high and I got back the results of my first English test, I got 30! Yes that's 30 out of 100 possible points. The worst grade I ever received in my entire life! I was furious, I bet my English teacher could even see the steam coming out of my ears as I spoke to her about it after class that day.  Me a 30? - Did she not know how smart I was? There must be some sort of mistake, I don't make 30's. Did she have it 'in for me' (not unlike my Grade 3 teacher did). The teacher quietly and politely asked me how long I studied for the test. Why a full 2 hours the night before I proudly told her!.  Her response was simply 'interesting'.  So I have been teaching you this content for about an hour per day for day the last 90 days, so about 90 hours of information, and you prepared for it in 2 that correct.  YEP! (said I).  Well it seem

My white whale

  I wonder if everyone has a 'white whale' that is their obsession, like Moby Dick and Captain Aheb  OR is it a specific personality trait that some have and others do not (or more likely possess to a variance of degrees?) My first "white whale" that I can recall is programming the Vic 20 in the late 1980's.  That flashing - blinking cursor edging me on to make it "do something". The 'something' I imagined 'should have been' quite simple in my mind. The VIC20 had a very limited (3K) of memory, and although a lot of games and programs were written for it, The process of loading and starting a game was annoyingly teadious.  Sometimes, I would get up pre-breakfast, pop the tape in the datasette, hit load, and then proceed to go eat my breakfast, before the game would be ready to play.  It seemed to me there should be a simple way to have a menu of what was loaded, simply pick the item from the menu and 'GO'.  Of course the limited sp

Be Yourself...But who are you?

The other night I had the opportunity to watch "A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood"  a story about Mr Rogers, but not exactly the movie I had expected it to be.  The movie is not as much about 'Mr. Rogers' as it about the man Mr Rogers is trying to help  Lloyd Vogel. The story centers much more around Lloyd with Mr Rogers being more of the "guru" figure that helps him. As I watched it I sort of imagined a gentle - kinder version of 'Socrates'. What prompted me to write this entry is the way he 'ends his show' telling children - 'You've made this day a special day, by just 'being you', and I like you just the way you are.' What an amazing message! right. ??  We don't have to grow up to 'be something' we already are something, we already matter !! What is particularly interesting about the 'just being you' attitude is that it has the pre-conception that you know "who you are". To discover thi

Don't take life too seriously

No one has to tell us 'remember to breathe', we do it without thinking, its 'autonomic'. Sometimes I wish 'don't take life too seriously' was an autonomic response as well. For as long as I can remember I have been a very 'serious person'. Sure - I like watching comedy movies, and a good laugh. Though I tend to take what I do (particularly in my work life) very seriously and personally. You might be reading this and thinking 'So what??? ' it's good to work give it your best, to be all that you can be.  Some of you are probably wishing that more took their work more seriously - Am I Right ??? The problem is when something doesn't happen the way I expect it to happen...the way I want it to have happened it can cause me a lot of frustration and stress.  Imagine a volume meter from 0...10 of the 'this is serious!' is  turned up to 10 (maybe even 11 or 12). The whole world can feel like it is falling apart, and hearing the

Learning from your mistakes (and why it's hard)

 I have often heard people say "It's okay to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them", other versions include  - those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it., and  Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it The quote is a good reminder, that we improve both as individuals and as the human race by making mistakes, by failing. The best example of this was watching my children learn to crawl for the first time.  It is basically a trial and error process.  My kid gets up, tries to push forward a bit, and falls, tries again and..falls...and get the idea.. until eventually, the child is now moving so fast around the house you barely have time to put gates up around the house for safety. I fully admit I make mistakes, probably around a hundred or so before I even drink my first tea at breakfast, and I am very confident I have made the same mistake twice. Recognizing mistakes isn't really the problem - knowing how to prevent?, a

The Brain, pattern matching and more

It seems always easier to recognize in someone else, then in oneself. Perhaps it starts with a small but unpleasant event.  Your faucet starts leaking, you have to call the plumber, you are reminded of that time your dishwasher broke, and then when your car needed new brakes, your mind is now flooded with memories of every negative experience that has happened in the past 12-18 months, and you reach the "inescapable" conclusion that you just can't "get ahead" that there always seems to be something just around the corner waiting, lurking to ruin your day, your's just not fair, when will you ever get a break? You suddenly look to your 'neighbor' and wonder why he/she seems to get all the easy breaks, while you are stuck dealing with some new shitty thing each and every day!   Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay The brain, for all its wonders and marvels, is at its core, a pattern matching device, when an event happens it searches for relati

Business Analysis and the Theory of Constraints

During one of "infamous" my lunch time walks, I was pretty excited to hear "MBA213" - Mastering Business Analysis Episode 123 "Applying the Theory of Constraints What was even more interesting is the person talking in this episode  Clarke Ching  tells a very similar story to how he got into the Theory of Constraints (TOC) as my own story. For me, it was around 1999, when I first came across "The Goal" in audiobook format. It was also my first experience with the 'business novel'. The Goal was written by Elijah Goldratt and Jeff Cox, and is an amazing story of Alex Rogo a 'middle manager' of a manufacturing plant, and he interactions with "Johah" his old college professor giving him his sage advice. I absolutely loved the book and at the time was working in a quasi-manufacturing company, I was also learning to be a quality assurance manager, and the two fell hand-in-hand. The key concept in all of Goldratt's business nove

Public vs Private TV & Radio

Recently came across an interesting post on the Hanwell Community page about the new Radio station. For the past couple of years the rural community has been hosting a radio channel during the yearly 'Hanwell Days' Reading this post, coincidentally occurred shortly after watching the 90's movie "The Arrival" I suppose I have always had a bit of a fascination with radio at least since my dad showed me an old AM Transmitter he built when he was a kid.  It was in a wooden box, with knobs, switches, and vacuum tubes, with good old label maker style wording.  Wish I had a picture of it today. My dad never really believed in public radio/tv.  The fact that the Canadian government funded CBC drove him nuts. I ,of course, being a teenager who knew everything - took the opposite opinion on this.  Public radio allowed anyone to broadcast anything (regardless if that 'thing' made money or not). Artists could focus on the quality of the art itself.   Take for example

You should be able to do that...

Everyone in life has different *things* which cause frustration.  For me often the primary source of frustration is around language and communication. A recent lifehacker podcast "How to get Your Point Across Online"  reminded me of how easy it is to fall into the trap of 'You should be able to do that...' There are many things I am not very good at, at least not in the not so humble opinion of others. I am not a multitasker, I cannot listen to/respond to more than one conversation at  time. I cannot remember things well (or where I put them) without prompts or reminders, and I quickly become anxious when confronted with a new situation that scares me, and it takes time for me to process my emotions. It is so easy for others to dismiss my 'quirkiness' as a flaw either in my ability as a person or in my personality. I suppose in people's mind we setup a "personna" of what every person should be able to do, and if they cannot just 'do it',

The book and its cover

It is odd how we make decisions, sometimes really big decisions are made not based on logic or careful evaluation but on less important almost meaningless characteristics. Consider selling your house, you go to your realtor, perhaps he comes in an looks around and suggests some options.  Some of these options may include 1) Having your house professionally staged (rented furniture and accessories brought in, which are not part of the sale but make the house look nicer 2) Painting the walls a 'neutral' color to attract buyers 3) Having the scent of fresh baked cookies in the house as potential buyers walk in. Of course, none of the options above have  anything  to do with the house, the house could be beautifully constructed built to last 200 years or thrown together with some DIY project by a couple of guys on a weekend, and yet the advice is the same. Now - look at it from the other perspective. Ever go house shopping?  You walk into the house look around with your partner, on

Brad's Weekend of Coding - Day 3 Summary

I started Victoria day with a "long sleep in", by that I mean I didn't get up until about 10:00am. I then proceeded to spend most of the day tunnelling away at AES encryption in PHP. It was rather frustrating and not working quite the way I wanted. Several problems I ran into including: Not saving the Initialisation Vector (IV), which (upon encrypting) generates a random series of bytes. The idea of this is that if you encrypt the same phrase multiple times, each time you will get different crypted values.  The problem however is that if you don't somehow save / remember the (IV) it will not decrypt properly. Not saving the 'TAG'. I didn't even know what the 'TAG' was. Apparently, when encrypting, the 'TAG' is a self-check or 'finger print' of the encrypted string.  One the problems with many encryption algorithms (particularly based on 'XOR') is that when you decrypt you can't really be sure the decrypted message