Posts in Category: Uncategorized

Work environment vs productivity

I don’t often agree with DHH, the opinionated creator of Ruby on Rails. But in this case I do agree with him. A B- [work] environment merits [a] B- effort. If you want your employees to go the extra mile for you you have to treat them with the respect and freedom they deserve and create the right environment. If your work environment is not the best you should not feel the need to give your absolute all back. This is something I can identify with. I hope one day I can give some employees that A+ environment that lets them shine.

As more details about Aaron Swartz case come out the more angry and sad I get

I have been taken aback about the suicide of internet activist Aaron Swartz since I first read about it. Anyone who bothers to read the details comes to realize that the US prosecutors office was needlessly pushing for a conviction of Aaron. Their motivations were likely political, as a backlash for PACER, Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, and his involvement in stopping SOPA. The latest article to catch my attention is a long and detailed accounting of the investigation by Quinn Norton in The Atlantic, who was dating Aaron at the time of his arrest and a target of the aggressive prosecutors. I think the most telling thing is her accounting of how angry prosecutor Steve Heymann and his assistants got, especially during her grand jury testimony.

Quinn’s article really gives you the sense of the helplessness and isolation one would be under when the full might of the US judicial and intelligence system is bearing down on you. It sounds like a work of fiction that should be on TV or a movie but it’s real life. It makes me both angry and sad that we would needlessly put others though this type of thing.

Then hot on the heals of Quinn’s article is news that US Attorney General Eric Holders feels Aaron’s case was a “a good use of prosecutorial discretion.” Most people I know think this the case was an abuse of prosecutorial discretion and a huge overreach by the US government.

Getting rid of purple GRUB2 screen in Ubuntu 11.10

In Ubuntu 11.10 (and maybe earlier) they thought it would be cute to change the background of the GRUB2 boot screen to purple, making it match the rest of the Ubuntu color scheme. I hate the background color though. It looks especially bad on my laptop where it looks like the screen backlight had gone bad. So after some Googling around I figured out how to change it. As root you will need to edit /lib/plymouth/themes/default.grub.

$ sudo vim /lib/plymouth/themes/default.grub

The file is only three lines long and looks like this:

if background_color 44,0,30; then
  clear
fi

Change the first line to read:

if background_color 0,0,0; then

That’s it! Enjoy.

Farmer says CO2 injected underground is leaking

From the “I told you so dept.” I knew it would happen, just a matter of when. Didn’t think it would be so soon.

A Saskatchewan farm couple whose land lies over the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project says greenhouse gases seeping from the soil are killing animals and sending groundwater foaming to the surface like shaken soda pop.

The gases were supposed to have been injected permanently underground.

Cameron and Jane Kerr own nine quarter-sections of land above the Weyburn oilfield in eastern Saskatchewan. They released a consultant’s report Tuesday that links high concentrations of carbon dioxide in their soil to 6,000 tonnes of the gas injected underground every day by energy giant Cenovus (TSX:CVE) in an attempt to enhance oil recovery and fight climate change.

Paul Lafleur of Petro-Find Geochem found carbon dioxide concentrations in the soil last summer that averaged about 23,000 parts per million — several times those typically found in field soils. Concentrations peaked at 110,607 parts per million.

Lafleur also used the mix of carbon isotopes he found in the gas to trace its source.

“The … source of the high concentrations of CO2 in the soils of the Kerr property is clearly the anthropogenic CO2 injected into the Weyburn reservoir,” he wrote.

From the Winnipeg Free Press via Watt’s Up With That.

If you want to know more about this project Modern Marvels did a segment about it during it’s Environmental Tech episode.

Earth Hour is a failure.

This was too funny not to repost. Apparently yesterday everyone was supposed to turn off the lights for one hour as a sign of solidarity for climate change. Anthony Watts reports that out in California Earth Hour did not make a dent in the electrical demand load reported by CA-ISO, California’s eletrical system regulator. In that blog post is a quote from an outspoken global warming skeptic Ross McKitrick.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Haiti just went back to nature. For humans, living in “Nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance.
…through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children
…then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization is something to be ashamed of.

This sums up a lot of how I feel about the global warming/carbon issue. McKitrick said it a bit more artfully than I would have been able to. Original credit for posting this quote and linking to McKitrick’s reaction goes to the No Frakking Consensus Blog.

We’re in!

Well all my complaining in my last post may be taken to be null and void considering what I’m about to say next. But I stand by my position. The first time homebuyer tax credit is/was creating artificial spikes in home prices. All you have to do is look at how home sales and home prices fell in December. But now we are part of the club. We are homeowners! And this is the main reason for my lack of posting for the last three months.

The homebuying experience was interesting and stressful and we learned some things to look out for next time. But we have closed! We are 75% moved. And lots of repairs and painting is under way. Hopefully I’ll be able to make smaller posts along the way as we fix some of the issues with the house and mold it into our vision. Now that I finally installed the WordPress2 iPhone app that actually works with me self-hosted blog that will be easier!

MaxQData is here…

and the website is down so I can’t download the software and get it setup.
Fail Picture
Actually I’m getting a DNS error so it could be Comcast as well. I choose to go with the HiDef model (10Hz vs. 5) mostly on the more is better premise. I also picked up an HP hx2490 PDA off eBay to use with it. It’s a Windows Mobile 5 device and comes with some internal persistent memory as well as a CF slot. It will be nice to use the PDA for a calendar and tasks with all the wedding stuff that has to be taken care of. If only I could get the Google Calendar Sync to work. This line seems to be ringing more and more true:

Out of order? Fuck! Even in the future nothing works. – Spaceballs

P.S. – Thanks Uncle Sam for buying me some cool Data Aq stuff, even though the economic stimulus ain’t gonna do squat.