Monthly Archives: November 2009

I doubt it’s cost effective, but it’s still worth doing?

When I picked up Nefarious from school today I noticed that the Christmas lights on the street seem to be solar powered. The Christmas lights are plugged into an outlet box on the tree from which a cable runs through the air to a pole — which seems to have solely been erected for its holiday purpose — twenty feet away. That pole is topped with a small solar panel hooked up to servos that allow it to track the winter sun through the sky, and below that, what I assume is a battery box. On one hand it’s really cool (if a bit unsightly), but on the other hand, the cost of traditionally powering the lights off the grid for the lifetime of this solar setup has to be lower than the cost of building and putting up the pole and everything else? I suppose sort of like buying a Prius over an old 40 mpg Beetle — you’re not actually saving energy, but you are investing in a culture transforming idea that hopefully changes the world for the better in the long run…

Sorry about the cruddy picture. It was taken out of the truck window.


Saved by the bell

I stayed up later than I should have last night fiddling with the software, trying to figure out why my default icon wasn’t updating, not realizing that it actually was, but I just wasn’t seeing the change because Windows was caching the old one — I finally discovered that when I changed the filename, which seemed to make the cache update. So I was very tired this afternoon, and after completing way too many calls between my doctor and the pharmacy who seemed to be having some communications problems (which will probably mean a sore day this weekend due to a prescription scheduling issue), I fell asleep on the couch. I was woke up at 3:05PM by the doorbell ringing, a package of books for Nefarious from her mother. The timing could not have been better, because if I’d slept ten minutes longer — which I surely would have done and then some was I not woken up — I would have been late picking Nefarious up from school, and probably would have been woken up by a concerned and then angry call from the school staff.

When I got to school I was greeted not by the normal chess game, but instead by complete chaos. The school was having a bake sale, with the upper year kids manning the food tables, as well as a fortune teller’s booth at each end with a couple kids doing faux palm reading and tarot with regular playing cards. The supplies disappeared quickly, and Nefarious and I only got a small stash of treats, with puffed rice brittle for me. As for the glitter-shawl-draped dress-up gypsies, for some reason almost everyone’s prediction included “one day you will have a pet monkey.”

Later on at home we read another couple chapters of the second Harry Potter book, and since Friday is movie day and the first book is finished, we watched the first movie today as well.


Major ZenCASH Update Posted

I’ve made many improvements to the software, including rewriting and updating the Kijiji implementation (Kijiji is a much bigger pain in the ass to work with than Craigslist), writing a very useful “search inside search results” feature that does live searching of the results, and lots of bugfixes and GUI improvements. The source code — all 4,600 lines of it — has been updated as well and includes all the icons as and support files. Click here to visit the Zentastic Craigslist Assisted Search Harvester project page.


Balloons are childlike good omens

A good day for a six year old is finding a stray balloon in the parking lot, which is what happened today. In other good six year old news, I brought an optical illusion along to show her friends when I picked her up from school, and we are within ten pages of the end of the first Harry Potter book — leaving off with Harry screaming “NEVER!” at Voldemort. We’ll read the last few pages of the book before school in the morning, so I imagine she’ll dream up an alternate ending in the meantime.


For supper I cooked cod with a mild balsamic, lime, and rosemary marinade alongside purple cauliflower (which has been in our last four meals as we worked our way through it) and asparagus with rice, which was quite delicious. Tonight I’ll continue puttering along on the search tool — there’s really not much left to do but I keep adding features and it’s up to a whopping 4,200 lines of code or something like that — and then I’ll watch UFC before bed. Tomorrow I have more doctor’s appointments, but nothing exciting — I’m now in limbo for about a month and a half as I wait for some scans and genetic testing.


A food experiment: Ring Popsicles

Nefarious and I had a couple of ring pops some time ago, and after they were consumed, a little plastic ring was left with a mounting stub where the stone of the ring would be were it real. We mixed up a bunch of strong cherry Kool-Aid and put it in an ice cube tray, and into it we suspended the plastic ring, resting it on a couple of dissected straws so it wouldn’t sink in. The flavor was pretty terrible I’m told, but the idea worked nicely and we’ll probably try it again.