Monday, July 30, 2007

 

New HBO Series

HBO has a couple of new series that I predict will be cancelled at the end of their first season. Maybe if more people watch them, that won't happen, so I want to do my part to bring attention to them.

John from Cincinatti is weird, but has the best opening credits of any series ever. I'll watch anything that has Rebecca DeMornay in it, but this one seems special. I don't know what's going on, but I trust that David Milch (the genius behind Deadwood) will eventually deliver. I am determined to learn how to surf before I get too old.

Flight of the Conchords is incredibly funny. I like how the "music videos" spontaneously arise during each episode.

Please watch them. If you don't like them, then you and I have radically different worldviews.


Monday, July 16, 2007

 

MacBook Display Problem


MacBook Display Problem
Originally uploaded by kristopherjohnson

A couple of weeks ago, my Macbook's display started "flickering." It seemed like I was getting some electromagnetic interference, so I didn't worry much at first. But, it got progressively worse, and now the screen is unreadable.

I took it in to the local Apple Genius Bar, and they took it in for repair. I should have it back in a week or less.

I'm glad I have a Genius Bar nearby, considering all the problems I've been having with recent Apple products. I've been using computers for almost thirty years, but have never needed repairs or service until I bought the iMac G5 and the Macbook.

UPDATE 2007/07/19: Got the Macbook back, and it's working fine now. According to the service form, the following parts were replaced:

630-7691  PCB, MLB, 2.0GHZ DC, SMS/KIONI
607-0199  ASSY, HEATSINK, M42(1.0mmConnect
605-0994  SVC, TOP CASE W
646-0302  DSPL 13.3 GLOSSY AUO

Saturday, July 14, 2007

 

Improving SCons Performance for MSVC8

The developers of SCons don't seem to be very interested in this, but I've found a way to dramatically speed up SCons builds for MSVC8 (Visual Studio 2005's C++ compiler).

We've got a fairly big codebase with a few levels. It was taking over a minute to read all the SConstruct/SConscript files, even when there was nothing to do.

I ran the profiler, and found that the bulk of the time was in minidom.py and expatbuilder.py. This was surprising, because I didn't think SCons used XML.

Searching further, it turns out that for MSVC8, to determine library and include paths SCons opens a registry key which contains XML, and parses it. For our codebase, it was doing this about 300 times per build.

So, I hacked up my personal copy of SCons/Tool/msvc.py, and now instead of over a minute, it only takes 20 seconds. I don't consider this a "patch", because I don't really know much about SCons internals, and so this could be totally wrong, but maybe someone can figure out the right way to do what I have done and get it into CVS.

The idea is to cache the results of _get_msvc8_path, so that the XML parsing doesn't happen every time. I added a global variable to msvc.py, containing an empty dictionary:

# START NEW CODE
# KDJ: cache results of _get_msvc8_path in a dictionary
cached_msvc8_path = {}
# END NEW CODE

Then, I changed a few lines in get_msvc_path as follows:

    if version_num >= 8.0:
        # ORIGINAL: return _get_msvc8_path(path, str(version_num), platform, suite)
        # START NEW CODE
        global cached_msvc8_path
        if not cached_msvc8_path.has_key(path):
            cached_msvc8_path[path] = _get_msvc8_path(path, str(version_num), platform, suite)
        return cached_msvc8_path[path]
        # END NEW CODE
    elif version_num >= 7.0:
        return _get_msvc7_path(path, str(version_num), platform)

Monday, July 09, 2007

 

Business Opportunities

Today I was presented with a business opportunity. I know a guy who knows a guy who needs some software written, but knows nothing about software, and I know nothing about how do do what he needs done.

Unfortunately, I am the kind of guy who, when presented with a bunch of stuff he has no idea how to do, says "I have no idea how to do that stuff. You should talk to somebody else."

This is why I will never be rich. The really rich guys are the ones who say "Sure, we know how to do that," and then charge $150/hour until the client runs out of money.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

 

Kristopher Johnson Photography

I've been made aware of "Kristopher Johnson Photography" (http://www.kristopherjohnsonphotography.com). I'm not that Kristopher Johnson, that's not my web site, and those aren't my pictures. (His are better than mine.)

My pictures are available on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kristopherjohnson/


 

Funny Pictures of Photographers

These pictures may only be interesting to other photographers. A couple of these pictures are a little risqué, so beware of who might be looking over your shoulder.

http://legko.be/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6053&Itemid=1


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

 

Peachtree Road Race 2007

Peachtree Road Race T-Shirt

What kind of idiot gets up at 5:00 AM on a national holiday to go run six miles in the heat? I'm that kind of idiot, and today I joined about 55,000 other such idiots in the Peachtree Road Race.

My goal was to run the full course, without slowing to a walk. This goal turned out to be unrealistic. I ran the first three miles without a problem, but then I reached "Cardiac Hill," a long uphill stretch so-named for the obvious reason, and also because there is a hospital conveniently located next to it. About halfway up the hill, I started feeling dizzy, and I decided it was better to abandon the goal than to collapse.

After clearing the top of the hill, I set a new goal: run the remainder of the course. That didn't work either; after a half mile or so I again started feeling queasy.

So, I set yet another goal: walk to the five-mile marker, and then run the last 1.2-mile stretch to the finish. I accomplished that.

I didn't really run a 10K today. I ran a 5K and a 2K, with a 3K walk in between. My time from start to finish was 69 minutes, 28 seconds. I expect to do better next year.

I'm not disappointed in my performance. This was my first time. I don't have any steep hills in the area where I usually run, so I wasn't prepared for Cardiac Hill. The course is tricky, because the first half is mostly downhill, giving you a false sense of optimism, and then the second half is mostly uphill.

After finishing at Piedmont Park, it is a half-hour walk to get back to the MARTA train station. That's something they don't point out in the informational handouts. I would have rested for a while in the park before starting the walk if I'd known.

So anyway, now I have the "coveted Peachtree Road Race t-shirt." It makes it all worthwhile.

I was impressed with how well organized the event was. Getting 55,000 into the starting area, lining them up, giving them water and t-shirts, and getting them back home seems to me like a major undertaking, but I never felt crowded, delayed, or unsure of where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do. MARTA, the city police, the Atlanta Track Club, and other involved parties seem to really have their @#$% together for this event.

I didn't take my camera with me. There was one shot I really wanted to take: a wide-angle shot of hundreds of runners lined up at the banks of porta-potties, taken from above the parking lot. Maybe next year . . . .


Monday, July 02, 2007

 

Pictures of Women

One thing that makes me laugh about eHarmony.com and Match.com is the terrible pictures that women post of themselves. Most of the pictures are of women at company Christmas parties, wedding receptions, or at other kinds of celebrations, which means that the pictures usually have the following features:

Another popular type of picture is the vacation photo. The kind where there is some great, big, important, old building filling the frame, but if you look really closely, you can just barely make out a tiny woman standing in front of it, wearing sunglasses.

C'mon ladies, this is simple marketing. If you really want the Right Guys to notice you, get a couple of good pictures of yourself. I don't mean Glamour-Shots-style pictures; you should just have some pictures that show your face in flattering light with a pleasant smile, without any distracting features. The smart women also have a full-length picture or two, because, well, men like to see that.

Don't worry if you don't look like a supermodel. Nice guys aren't looking for that; they just want to know a woman isn't hideous before starting a conversation.

I volunteer to take pictures of any beautiful women who need me to do so. I won't charge you anything, but you will have to have coffee with me. It's part of my creative process.

By the way, I haven't seen any of the men's pictures on the dating sites, so I don't know their common foibles. Maybe my female readers can let me know what men usually do wrong, so I can check my own pictures.


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