Search Results: "jbailey"

25 April 2010

Jeff Bailey: Sexing the baby

Tuesday's the next ultrasound. Any guesses if it's a boy or girl?

14 February 2010

Jeff Bailey: LED lights

Anyone know if the LED lights are any good yet? I'm tired of CFLs burning out in less than a year for the cost and am switching back to incandescents for now. Replacing these things yearly can't be resulting in a net improvement for the environment.

30 November 2009

Jeff Bailey: Conversation

"Hi! We can schedule your MRI for tomorrow"

"Perfect! It's for a t-spine MRI with contrast covering T1-T6"

"No, no contrast."

"The order was specifically with contrast"

"Our radiologists said that it's not needed for a thoracic spine area, and we don't like injecting people with extra dyes"

"Perhaps the radiologists aren't aware that I have a small pile of titanium in my spine. My surgeon specifically requested these two scans in this configuration."

"Well, surgeons aren't often aware of the differences between the scans."

"My surgeon is the co-director of the spinal research institute at the UCSF. I'm pretty certain he knows what he's asking for."


1 November 2009

Jeff Bailey: Crap error messages


When writing software, *please* don't give error messages that are only meaningful to developers of the software. Microsoft used to be awful for this: "System fault at DEAD:BEEF, please contact your system administrator". Which would've been cool, except that I *was* the system administrator.

My most recent encounter with this was this morning with bzr (On my work laptop, so it's Windows):

C:\Users\jeffbailey\workspaces\webhack\Webhack>bzr push lp:~jbailey/webhack/trunk
Connected (version 2.0, client Twisted)
SSH C:\Users\jeffbailey/.ssh/id_rsa password:
Authentication (publickey) successful!
Secsh channel 1 opened.
bzr: ERROR: RemoteRepository(bzr+ssh://
is not compatible with
different rich-root support

Umm. What? Okay. I work for a search engine. So I fired up Yahoo!^WGoogle to figure out what the message could possibly mean. The top result is Bug 172360 in Launchpad:
"branching from rich-root to non-rich-root gives confusing errors"

Sounds perfect, until you see that the bug is marked as invalid.

Something got missed here. If your user says "I don't understand" - they are NEVER wrong. It doesn't matter if you think they should've understood. It doesn't matter that you think you explained it well enough. The user doesn't understand, so you lose. Actually, it's worse. *they* lose.

There are lots of other bugs leading up to how I got to where I was seeing this in the first place. But none of those are as important as the fact that the developers thought a user saying "I don't get it" wasn't worth the 30 seconds of adding the text "The best way to fix this is to run: bzr upgrade --default " + branch.url;

Update: Jelmer pointed out to me in a comment that it wasn't the devs who marked it as invalid, it was the submitter. He's reopened it. This just further supports the notion that users are insane and need hand-holding. =)

11 October 2009

Jeff Bailey: Karmic review

Angie has my old laptop that some might remember from a couple Ubuntu developer summits. Adam Conrad used to refer to it as the surfboard: a lovely 15" widescreen laptop. It's my test machine for Ubuntu updates and so far I'm loving Karmic. This machine has been continually upgraded since either Hoary or Breezy without a reinstall.

Jaunty was miserable. Bugs in the Intel drivers meant that DVD playing stopped working, sounds would occasionally lock up, and things were just painfully slow. Karmic to the rescue. I did the update at beta time like I usually do, and without any further effort:

* Flash just worked.
* DVD playing in totem just worked.
* Boot time was slightly quicker
* nethack-gnome continues to work (despite being removed from the archive a few releases ago)
* Suspend/resume continues to just work.
* Atheros wireless continues to just work with the free kernel drivers.

I then added the dev channel of Google Chrome, which imported all the Firefox bookmarks and started to remove some optional things that Angie doesn't use anymore and don't run well on the now 5 year-old laptop. I took out openoffice, a pile of -dev packages that were leftover from when I used to build glibc on this thing (This laptop had the Hurd running on it at one point... *g*), and then discovered the System->Admin->Package Cleanup (Or at least, it's called something like that, the laptop is in French) where I could start to remove unused packages. I did a few rounds of that, some apt-get autoremove. I took universe and multiverse out of the packages list and did some more removals, making sure to leave in things like deborphan and the gstreamer packages that are in universe and multiverse. Lastly, I did a round of deborphan to take out some pieces that were just hanging out.

As a final step I've updated to grub2. I don't have a separate /boot partition on this machine, so I haven't been brave enough to convert it to ext4 yet.

The boottime at this point still feels a little long for what this laptop does. While at Canonical, I played with some appliance configs and had from kernel load to running firefox in a dozen seconds or some. This laptop doesn't have anything I'd see as unusual for daemons - there's no mysqld, sshd, or anything unneeded like that. But to have everything Just Work(tm) at this stage is amazing.

Nice job. =)

update: Angie's asked me to figure out why the screen saver kicks in after 30 seconds instead of 10 minutes like it's set to. But still, if this is the worst that goes wrong with this release, then it's still a wild success already at Beta.

20 September 2009

Jeff Bailey: Home Media Server

I'm been wrestling with the idea of a home media server for a bit. Our home computing needs are pretty light, they only thing either of us really do outside of a web browser these days is ssh (me) or nethack (Angie). Outside of the laptop we have a pretty standard non-connected house. The only case where I'd really like to change this is music. We don't generally watch TV (and when we do, it's usually DVDs that we've actually purchased), but we do listen to a fair amount of music. The CDs tend to get scattered around the house and then mauled by our velociraptor offspring.

I looked at the Squeezebox, which would be perfect if it wouldn't mean replacing a whole bunch of perfectly good stereos with a whole bunch of nicer-than-we-need stereos.

The solution I've hit onto is this: a NAS with an FM transmitter on the site. The LineX one looks like it would do a nice job since it just acts as a USB speaker. The question then is figuring out if there's software or whatnot to drive such a thing.

What I think I want:

* 802.1n NAS with no moving parts. 2 64GB USB keys in a RAID-1 config would do the job nicely.
* Enough horsepower to play Oggs, MP3s and FLACs.
* Remote song selection through an Android app.

Anyone know if anything comes close to this? The best thing I can think of is perhaps Debian running on a Linksys NAS box. If I could get that far, then the software seems pretty straight forward if it doesn't exist in some form or other in the Debian archive already.

16 September 2009

Jeff Bailey: Google Shadow Government

There's a fabulous sign outside of the Googleplex:

Of course, perhaps I need to look a little more sinister:

But hey, at least citizens of Google, Inc. all have medical...

(Thanks to Oleg for the photos!)

1 June 2009

Jeff Bailey: In defense of traditional marriage

(Thanks to Mark Hamilton for the link)

14 May 2009

Jeff Bailey: Stupid Locksmith

Our place has a fancy magical lock on the front door that has been sticking lately. We phoned the locksmith who put it in to discover that he apparently can't talk to us because we're not the registered owners of the lock.

Right - when we bought the place, we apparently don't automatically get the title to the locks on our front door. The former owners could phone at anytime and get into our place. If we were locked out in the middle of the night, he couldn't let us in.

Fuck that. Will replace the lock myself with a crowbar if I have to.

2 May 2009

Jeff Bailey: Mother's day

I subscribe to the iRobot mailing list for new products, discounts, etc. Today I got an email talking about great deals for mother's day. In case of you out there think this is a good idea, let's state this clearly:

This is not a good idea.

Giving someone a gift that reminds them of housework is a fast path to tears. Even if they're a geek. Just say no.

24 April 2009

Jeff Bailey: Language lessons

Through a program at work, I just got access to Rosetta Stone. I've been a bit worried that with a primarily English-speaking workplace and an English-speaking home that my French would stagnate. It turns out that my account has access to all the languages, not just French.

So which other language should I learn? For fun, I did the first lesson of Latin (got 81%) and Japanese (83%).

And now I'll have dreams of this voice going "Hoooah toe teh mah jusa".

Mmmm. and now I want juice.


22 April 2009

Jeff Bailey: Cuteness

This morning Leif and I were playing and I looked at him and said "I love..." and point at him. He looked up at me with bright eyes and said "DOUBLE-YOU!"

It's his favourite letter at the moment. =)

13 April 2009

Jeff Bailey: Suggestion for renaming of Karmic Koala

Dear Ubuntu Technical Committee,

Please consider the following proposal to both delay the 9.10 release slightly, and also to deviate the naming sequence slightly to use a previous letter that was skipped.

I propose that the next release of Ubuntu be 9.11, and be called "Bumbling Bush"

Sincerely Yours,
Jeff Bailey, Ubuntu Core Dev.

11 April 2009

Jeff Bailey: Creationism Museum

On our move down to California, Angie, Leif and I stopped by the Creationism Museum. I mentioned this a couple of Augusts ago. Unfortunately, I didn't want to post about it without having the pictures, and I've only just finally got around to uploading them. I suck, news at 11.

We went with Stephanie, and had a great time. We got there a bit late, so didn't get to see the floor show and stuff, but we did get a chance to see the exhibits. The people there were a little reminiscent of the TV show Circle Square, where the people were just a little too friendly, and blinked just a little too rarely.

How we heard about the creationism museum was from an Interview on CBC, where the guy who opened the museum talked about how they were trying to show a different interpretation of the results of archaelogical digs, and how they saw this as a religion, and that science is just another religion. We were a bit shocked when we got to the US to discover that the guy is somewhat less rational there, claiming that what they're doing is good pure science, etc.

The premise is an interesting one: They start with the literal truth of the bible and then interpret everything against that backdrop. The argument is a vaguely reasonable one: Scientists do this all the time using what they've learned in school. They've learned that the universe is billions of years old, and therefore will do carbon dating a certain way, etc. If you start with the bible saying that the universe is 6000-odd years old, then results wind up getting interpreted differently.

The key to most of how the world wound up the way it is is apparently tied up in two major events: First, the story with the apple (Sorry I'm a little light on details, I didn't grow up Christian) caused people to start eating meat and wearing clothes.

Aside of the moment, my in-laws have a great fridge magnet from "God's original plan was to hang out in a garden with some naked vegetarians"

The second big event was the great flood, which killed all the dinosaurs, caused turbulence, moved continents around, and some other stuff.

Amusingly enough, when looking for a link to the CBC review, I found a review of a complaint about the interview:

Anyhow, had a great time. Enjoy the photos. =)

24 March 2009

Jeff Bailey: A set of thoughts

Showtime, synergy!

22 March 2009

Jeff Bailey: Citibank

Apparently Citibank doesn't even trust Citibank.

Citi Mastercard took my minimum monthly payment out of my account despite me having paid the account down to zero, so had to issue me a refund check. It's drawn on the Royal Bank of Canada.

Awesome. =)

21 March 2009

Jeff Bailey: Jaunty pre-beta

As an Ubuntu core-dev (although a lazy one. I really should hack on something again. I blame having a toddler), I try to at least do a run of testing around beta time on my machines. So far I'm really impressed. For the first time wifi, suspend, sound, 3d, and youtube all work out of the box. Usually at beta time, I expect that none of those will. Playing a DVD kills X, though. (Well, if I do it twice. The first time it'll kill the app, the second time it'll kill X) Tried with totem-gstreamer, xine and mplayer so I'm pretty certain that it's X. Luckily it's an Intel card, so hopefully it's early enough to file bugs and get them fixed in time for release.

Nice work!

13 March 2009

Jeff Bailey: The 70's called...

My coworker scares me. He wants 70's wallpaper. From the gallery that he's looking at:


10 March 2009

Jeff Bailey: Anniversary

Hey [info]auzure_skies, Happy 7th wedding anniversary. =)

I love you. =)

9 March 2009

Jeff Bailey: One-year surgery update

It's crazy to think that this is just past the one-year anniversary of my surgery. A year out and I can lift about 12kg (25lbs for the Americans and Iranians), I'm not on routine or regular pain killers of any sort. I still have to take it easy and need to make sure I get to the gym more often - when I don't I start to get pain and have trouble keeping up with Leif. I have discovered that I can't sleep on airplanes anymore, even in Air Canada business class. So, no more red-eyes for me. It's hard to shed a tear over that one. =) I suppose I have a lot of little limitations like that, but a year in I don't notice them so much anymore.

I shudder a bit to think that at this time last year, I was just home from the hospital. A long walk for me was a trip to the mailbox: I was only up for it every couple of days, and it took me about 30 minutes, including stops for sitting.

Thanks for your love and support, everyone.