Posts from my general blog

Welcome to 2019

2018 is done and dusted and I've spent some time over the last couple of weeks pondering things that I want to achieve in 2019.

I turn 40 in May and I want to have shed the spare tyre I've been building up on my waistline. I'm cutting down on my caloric intake and getting back into the habit of intermittent fasting, aiming for two days a week where I don't eat for 36 hours.

I also need to improve my general fitness, so I'm going to get back into the habit of doing the 7 minute workout 5 days a week, and swimming 500m+ once a week.

We have a few home improvement style projects around the house:

The most crucial one is dealing with the increase of ground water that has been seeping down the hill and onto our property. We've already dug 3 trenches to install ag pipe and drainage pits that have improved the situation somewhat, and yesterday I planted 4 Man Ferns which I hope drink up a portion of the water. I think we'll need to dig in another couple of runs of ag pipe.

We've got a plan to set up an outdoor dining area in the backyard, including a pizza / bread oven and table. Much of the effort has already been completed, but there is another big push required to get it completed.

Under the house needs a better flooring solution, including a ramp to make getting the lawn mower in and out easier. I also want to improve the storage system and work bench space.


Oh hi there!

Had a spare moment to myself today and was trying to recall some tid bit and realised that the easiest place to dig it up was actually on my own site; fuzzyslogic.com — imagine my shock when I loaded the page to find that the latest content was from 4 months ago...

Oh hi there!

The whole point of the system I'd rigged up is that the site would magically contain all the content I'd posted on my other sites, added to my favourites on many other sites, or added to my "snippets" collection.... something which I just sort of continuously do.

A quick bit of troubleshooting later, it turns out that my exception handling for when one of these sources dies wasn't great. Soundcloud appears to have changed something and broken the way I was collecting favourited tracks and it was crashing the site updater. As I don't actually use Soundcloud to find new music any more, I've killed off the collector. Though, not before fixing my exception handling so that if another source has issues in the future it won't bring the whole show to an end.

Not that anyone cares, I'm pretty sure no one actually visits fuzzyslogic.com except for search engine bots.... right?

Oh, and me when my memory of where I saw something on the net fails.

As a side note, I no longer use Soundcloud because Drew tricked me into signing up for a 90 day free trial of Google Music and I found it so excellent that I've actually allowed them to direct debit me to continue using it. I could insert the "Fry shocked" gif again, but I'll spare you.

In other, other news... this is the first time I've "blogged" in nearly 2 years. More "Fry shocked" gif could be used. I sort of miss it as an outlet.... maybe I'll start again. Or maybe not. Come back in a month and check hey?


Time to Rethink fuzzyslogic.com

I built the current version of fuzzyslogic.com with the idea that it had to be able to handle the fact that internet services come and go. I made it simple for me to switch from one hosting provider to another and be able to add and remove the collection of content from sites and services as they came and went. These features have worked wonderfully; when I moved to the US I switched from an Australian host to an American one, I've switched from using wordpress to blogger for my blogging service, I've switched from spurl to diigo for online bookmarking.... etc.

However, there was one single point of failure in all this; Yahoo Pipes. It is an amazing system that not many people have heard about, basically it allowed me to feed in a stack of rss feeds, munge them all together and spit out data in a format of my choice.

Now Pipes being shut down.

At the end of August 2015 the back end system for fuzzyslogic.com will stop pulling in new content because Pipes won't be there to do it.

I'm forced to consider what to do. Since I built all of this around Pipes I've learned to love a python library called Beautiful Soup, which I could use to build a custom system to replace what I was using Pipes for.

However, I have to stop and consider the fact that I haven't really been making much use of fuzzyslogic.com anyway. Combine that with the fact that no one else actually visits the site anyway..... then maybe I don't really need to invest any effort in keeping it running.

I could kill off the host all together and shift the domain name over be hosted by my registra or simply point it directly at the fuzzy's logic blogger site. This would be saving me US$5 a month and never having to worry about updating a web server or even monitoring one.

The only other things I've been using the web server host for is running my RSS aggregator which I can replace with another service such as inoreader.com, running an IRC bot in a channel which has recently been replaced by our group using Slack and storing random files (which I can use any number of cloud storage places for).

I've got a little over a month to think about it.... but at this stage I'm leaning towards shutting down the web server.


2014

Already a month into 2015 and I haven't really found the time or inclination to do any kind of 2014 wrap up post. I think mostly this is because last year was epic for a whole bunch of reasons which are completely unlike any I've included in a previous year wrap post. Normally I talk about games, movies and tv shows. I sprinkle in some stuff about technology and news.

Last year I became a Dad.

Games, movies, tv shows and technology all seem a little less important now.

I don't really want to post about all the amazing things, lessons and hurdles we faced as new parents; as proven by the fact that I set up daddyslogic.com and posted to it a total of about thrice before realizing that I was better off spending the energy being a Dad than posting about being a Dad.

The people who care about my trials and tribulations as a new Dad are on Facebook, where I've spammed a near continuous stream of photos and quips about the whole ordeal.

The one thing I will say is that I have found time to get deeply addicted to online sim racing, specifically iRacing. I started a blog for that too; fuzzysracing.blogspot.com. My interest in sharing thoughts and information about that topic hasn't waned yet.


Google Thinks I'm Interested In

You can find out what topics Google thinks you're interested in via this link.

Here's mine:

  • Action & Adventure Films
  • Android Apps
  • Android OS
  • Antivirus & Malware
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Audio Equipment
  • Banking
  • Blu-Ray Players & Recorders
  • Bollywood & South Asian Film
  • Business & Industrial
  • Business & Productivity Software
  • Cable & Satellite Providers
  • Camcorders
  • Camera & Photo Equipment
  • Cameras
  • Cameras & Camcorders
  • Chips & Processors
  • Computer & Video Games
  • Computer Components
  • Computer Drives & Storage
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Memory
  • Computer Monitors & Displays
  • Computer Security
  • Computers & Electronics
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Dance & Electronic Music
  • Data Backup & Recovery
  • Desktop Computers
  • Electronic Accessories
  • Email & Messaging
  • Flash Drives & Memory Cards
  • Game Systems & Consoles
  • Games
  • Hard Drives
  • Headphones
  • Home & Garden
  • Home Theater Systems
  • ISPs
  • Ink & Toner
  • Input Devices
  • Internet & Telecom
  • Internet Clients & Browsers
  • Jazz
  • LCD TVs
  • Laptops & Notebooks
  • Mac OS
  • Memory Card Readers
  • Mobile & Wireless
  • Mobile & Wireless Accessories
  • Mobile Apps & Add-Ons
  • Mobile OS
  • Mobile Phones
  • Movies
  • Music & Audio
  • Music Recording Technology
  • Network Storage
  • Networking
  • Networking Equipment
  • News
  • Online Video
  • Operating Systems
  • Photo & Video Software
  • Power Supplies
  • Product Reviews & Price Comparisons
  • Recording Industry
  • Security Products & Services
  • Shooter Games
  • Smart Phones
  • Software
  • Software Utilities
  • Sony PlayStation
  • Sound & Video Cards
  • South Asian Music
  • Speakers
  • Stereo Systems & Components
  • TV & Video
  • TV & Video Equipment
  • Tablet PCs
  • Televisions
  • Travel
  • Voice & Video Chat
  • Web Services
  • Webcams & Virtual Tours
  • Windows Mobile OS
  • Windows OS
  • Xbox

Not bad.



Podcast Sync

I listen to audio books and podcasts using a SanDisk Sansa, I prefer this over using my mobile phone for a few reasons. The main ones are:

  • battery life; the sansa lasts weeks with out a recharge

  • it clips onto my collar and I use a very short set of headphones

I use the Juice podcast receiver application to download and manage my podcast subscriptions. I have it rigged up to download new podcasts every day and delete any file over 14 days old (for some podcasts I set up a longer purge time).

I then have a batch file which calls xxcopy to sync the mp3 files from the podcast download folder on my laptop onto the sansa. Here is the batch file:

[code]@echo off
set SN=19088743
set "extDrive="

for /f %%D in ('wmic volume get driveLetter^, serialNumber ^| find "%sn%"') do set extDrive=%%D

if not defined extDrive echo Error finding external drive & pause & exit /b

xxcopy C:\Users\fuzzy\Podcasts "%extDrive%\PODCASTS" /KS/H/E/R/Q/BB/ZE/oD0/ZY/YY/EXC:\Users\fuzzy\Utils\podcast-exclude.txt[/code]

Now there are a couple of things which you'd have to edit if you were going to make use of this:

  • plug in your mp3 player

  • check what drive letter has been assigned to it

  • open a cmd window (start -> run -> cmd)

  • execute the following: wmic volume get driveLetter, serialNumber

  • copy the serial number listed next to the drive letter of your mp3 player

  • edit this number into the line in the batch file to replace my serial number: set SN=19088743

You'll also need to edit the paths to your podcast directory on your PC and the output directory.

The C:\Users\fuzzy\Utils\podcast-exclude.txt part is the location of a text file which contains a list of any folders which I don't want to include in the sync.


Windows 8.1 Upgrade

I had a few issues while attempting to upgrade my laptop from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

  1. If your harddrive is encrypted with something like TrueCrypt, you'll have to decode it, apply the upgrade and then re-encode it.
  2. A batch file script I use to sync podcasts between my PC and mp3 player had once gone a little nuts and written some files to my system reserved partition. This meant that there wasn't enough free space in there for the 8.1 upgrade to do its thing. I had to use a GParted Live CD to work out what was wrong and clean up the podcast mess.

Once the install of the 8.1 upgrade was completed the first thing I attempted to do was connect to one of the servers I manage via remote desktop. I usually do this by selecting the appropriate entry from my start -> run history. Imagine my joy to find out that all the entries for all commands had been removed. Thanks MS.


Mobile Phones

I've posted previously about how I was very late to the smart phone "revolution" and as my experience of living with an Android device in my pocket has continued I thought I'd give a little update.

As quick Too Long; Didn't Read update, here the 5 key reasons I'd continued using an old nokia handset while the waves of the smartphone sea crashed around me:

  1. I'm at a computer for around 12 hours a day.
  2. When not at a computer I actually like being disconnected from email, the web, etc.
  3. Simplicity. I don't waste brain cycles on apps, updating, upgrading, replacing, recharging.
  4. Size. The nokia 6100 I used back home in Australia was the smallest and lightest phone nokia have ever made. It was also practically unbreakable.
  5. Cost.

The change came when my new employer declared that they'd pay all the contract fees of a phone plan, including the upfront cost if it was under $50. Therefore, if I was happy with an older handset it would cost me nothing. If I wanted a new shiny Galaxy S4 or HTC One, I'd have to fork out the $200 upfront cost.

I can report that I've had my 1st taste of the "upgrade cycle", just this week I moved from the HTC Droid Incredible which I had been given by my employer as a temporary phone until I worked out what I wanted for a longer period. The Droid was a good entry point for me, not large enough to annoy me as I carried it around in my pocket.

My plan was to wait until the Galaxy S4 was released and cross my fingers that the S3 would drop down into the $50 upfront bucket. Initially verizon lowered the S3 from $200 to $100. I was disappointed, but I'd got used to the Droid and even though it was running the old version of android I figured I'd just stick with it and keep an eye on the $50 bucket.

The S3 had a special draw for me, beyond being an excellent handset; a barometer. This would allow me to use the BASEline flight computer app to track my skydives.

Color me surprised when on one of my random checks of the verizon page I noticed that the S3 was now $50. I organized to get switched over to the S3 and have been wonderfully surprised. Yes it is bigger in my pocket but it is lighter, which is more important. I'll accept the size increase because the screen is so much better to read from. Android 4 is really quite an improvement and the overall speed increase is huge.

I've also got to admit that I've become extremely addicted to Real Racing 3. I did not expect to find that one of the best racing games ever made would be for a mobile device.... and free.

In other mobile phone news, if I had ~$700 to blow to buy a handset outright, I think I'd be very interested in the Ubuntu Edge. I think they're on the right path and that the end game for mobile devices is that they will become true "convergence" devices which can replace desktop computers for general computing tasks.