Keith's Blog

We have a winner

First post in awhile...

While doing some code merging today, we found this

n += lpad = ( n += rpad ) % 2;

Just sit and enjoy that for a moment.

Waiting outside my door

I found this waiting outside my door this morning. I grabbed my camera, and snapped some shots. Macro shots are tricky while hand-held, but I got one sharp picture of it.

In this 100% crop, you can see the eye cluster quite clearly.

Car woes

Last weekend, I turn my car on, only to discover that the engine began making a very loud and unpleasant noise. I then got out and opened up the hood. The engine was violently shaking forward and backward!

I later tried it with the A/C off, and it didn't have the problem. So I took it to the local Pep Boys, and they told me it would cost about $500 to fix, oy.

So, in frustration, I started looking at new cars. The Honda Insight, with it's impressive 66 MPG caught my eye. However, there aren't any available for test driving anywhere in the area. That's the problem with a low production vehicle.

At the Honda dealer, I test drove a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid, and a brand new 2006 Honda Civic. The '06 Civic Hybrid only comes in CVT, and I want manual, so I didn't bother test driving one.

Both Civics drove well, but the clutch engages right at the floor. I'm used to a car that engages at about 25% of the clutch throw. This simply meant my test drive was a little shakey and uncoordinated.

I was quite amazed by the short throw and power of the new Civic. It's 140 horsepower really outshines my current Civic's 116.

In the end though, with even the used hybrids going for $18K+, and the new Civic about the same, I decided to keep and fix my current car, and go for something new in a year or two.

The power of clipart

Today I gave a presentation on a the software I've been working on since April. The audience was technical, and I knew they would scrutinize everything from my design decisions to my implementation choices. Knowing this, I knew I had to make a powerpoint presentation that would wow them. I found the answer, clipart.

The clipart both amused, and relaxed the people in the meeting. They all loved to see which clever little graphic might grace the next slide. Doing a presentation? I highly recommend relevant but cute clipart.

Here are some examples of the clipart I used

Bouldering at Pirate's Cove

This Sunday I climbed at a small little sandstone crag called Pirate's cove in Corona Del Mar. It's a line of about 15 foot tall cliffs along a sandy beach right next to Newport Harbor.

The climbing was less than stellar, as many of the holds are made of sand, and basically you end up rubbing them down with each climbing attempt. Also, with sand on the bottom of your shoes, the holds are dreadfully slippery. This being a bouldering crag (no ropes), you also have to deal with the fact that if your foothold blows then you fall (on sand, (or people)). There was one fun traverse that involved getting one hand on a big sloping hold, and swinging your feet out without footholds, then grabbing the huge handhold with the other hand.

The bizarre part was when this lifeguard came up to us, and went on a rant about how when we climb, little kids there see us and want to emulate us. Then they fall and get hurt. So therefore we shouldn't climb. "Think of the children!" We climbed anyway, but mentioned to any kids that happened to look our way that they shouldn't try this at home.

The beach was pretty disgusting actually. There was a ton of trash, and actually a few used diapers just sitting on the beach! It's a sad state where some people care so little that they would just leave a diaper sitting on a public beach! Before lunch, we washed our hands *very* well, due to the probable high bacterial content of the sand there.

Probably not a crag I'll be going to again.

New Super Mario!

An update on the new DS game I bought, New Super Mario Bros. It's awesome!

It's just like playing the original all those many years ago on my Nintendo, but with graphics just improved enough to look good, but not enough to take away from the gameplay. Speaking of the gameplay, it's basically Super Mario Bros style with many SMB 3 updates.

I'm just about ready to play the first castle in the first world, and I'm already hooked.

I highly recommend this game if you happen to have a Nintendo DS.

Out with the old, in with the New

I pulled out the box containing my old Super Nintendo (SNES) from the closet today. I hadn't hooked it up for several years since I have all the ROMs and an emulator for the PC. I even have a gravis gamepad that is similar to the SNES controller. So, instead of throwing it out, I decided to see if I could trade it in.

I went down to the town center game store, and put my SNES on the table. The clerk was immediately excited. His face beamed as he said, "yes, we do trade for those". He then called the owner, and asked if he could buy it once I traded it in. Never thought a 15 year old game system would fetch such excitement.

For 1 SNES, 2 controllers, 1 Original Nintendo controller, 5 or 6 SNES games, 2 Gameboy games, and cables, he offered me $21 in store credit. The store doesn't do cash. Since it was ending up in the trash anyway, I took the store credit, and put it towards the new Super Mario Bros for the Nintendo DS. Basically I got a $40 game for about $16. And my closet has one less box occupying its space.