Posso prenderlo o lasciarlo

I can take it or leave itWonderful phrase this morning which sums up so much of life.Posso is a hard word for me. It means “I can” but for some reason the fact that it sounds like “possible” meant that often I would use it that way when in Italy. I know the Italians humored me on this point although I am sure being asked “e posso” when I intended “is it possible” but was really saying something like “is I can” made for humorous moments when I’d leave the store or restaurant.

All Ubuntu, all the time

I have converted two laptops over to Ubuntu. The first is the one the kids use. It was trivial to get this working; popped in the CD and it installed without issue. I wound up blowing the initial install away while trying to re-partition the drive. Otherwise things were fine, I got Edgy Eft installed. When Feisty Fawn came out the machine offered to upgrade and it was painless.My second laptop was much more difficult. First of all I want this to be a dual boot machine, XP and Ubuntu. I installed XP on a 20GB partition and then tried to figure out how to install Ubuntu. This machine has no CD drive. A colleague pointed me to instlux. The problems:1. The CD version doesn’t load USB drivers so you cannot use a USB CD2. The network version failed several times. This seems to have happened because I was hitting the mirror sites the day Feisty Fawn came out. Oops.Eventually the network version worked. So I am now almost completely running my personal life on Linux. Why the almost? I have not found a replacement for iTunes yet. I know there are some Linux-based media players out there but so far the few I have tried won’t synch to my iPod Nano. Until I can reliably get that working I will boot into XP, synch the iPod, and then go back to Linux.Do I miss anything else? So far the only thing I miss is Windows’ ability to handle photos in the shell. How ironic. I can’t seem to get thumbnails showing in the shell on Ubuntu; I suspect there is something that will do this but I haven’t found the magic yet.One last item: the naming of the versions. They went from Dapper Drake to Edgy Eft to Feisty Fawn. It’s really hard to sound serious when you tell someone you upgraded to Feisty Fawn. I think they need a corporate branding name in addition to the friendlier name. Ah wait… having seen Windows Ultimate for Professionals Limited Signed Edition maybe Feisty Fawn isn’t so bad.

My love-hate relationship with Google

Like many people I used Google’s search engine and a few other services. Some of the services are wonderful (GMail), some are pretty sad (Froogle). Some are just downright terrible.I’ve decided to keep track of these moments. Full disclosure that I once interviewed for a job with Google. For reasons I am still trying to digest they decided to pass. I won’t get into any of the details of that process as a)I’m a good guy and who really wants to sling arrows, cast stones, etc. and b)I signed an NDA.This morning then let’s tackle Google’s Java based GMail application for phones. If you navigate to GMail on your mobile device Google will kindly suggest “faster GMail on your phone”. That link takes you to a Java applet. And indeed the Java applet downloaded to my Windows Smartphone quite nicely. Of course it wasn’t obvious at all how to run the thing. You need to understand that this download was a MIDlet and run the MIDlet manager and select GMail from there. Not easy.You cannot completely blame Google for a bad Java experience; at least on the Windows device it’s something of a given. However you can blame them for some of the following glitches:1. There is no offline storage. Each time you log on you get to essentially download the messages all over again.2. The default setting for the body of the email is the numeric keypad. In other words to type “hello” you get to enter 4433555[pause]555666. leaving out for a moment that this ends up with the number of the beast, why not make the default setting for the body by T9?3. They use small fonts. I am not that old yet, but those tiny fonts are unreadable. Sure, I can hear you say, just change the preference from “young hip cool person with good eyesight” to “old person who will soon need a walker and a guide dog” setting. This brings us to:3a. Where are the Preferences? I am a long-time Windows user (full disclosure: I have recently started using Ubuntu and it is just wonderful how nice an OS this is. Someday soon I will write something about this transition to Ubuntu, but I digress in a parenthetical remark no less) so I expect Tools::Options. Nope. Okay, maybe sort of like the Mac it’s under… um… Apple::Preferences? Nope. It must be somewhere though right? In fact it is. Select the Menu key (obvious) and then select Go to (really, Go to? Won’t that take me somewhere?) and Settings! Ah ha! I am so stupid, of course it would be under Go to::Settings.On balance I use this application from my phone because GMail’s POP support is broken in multi-device usage (something I mentioned during the interviews, oops, there goes that disclosure but since I disclosed this in a GMail forum months ago I guess that isn’t a big deal, right?) and it is, on balance, better than using the micro-browser. Although to be fair they did a really nice job with the micro-browser version; clean, bright, relatively quick. Even works in the Java Opera browser midlet.—Side note: I applied for another AdSense account for this site and was turned down again. As the other post noted my site does in fact meet all the criteria, so why do they keep saying it doesn’t? I think it’s because they are scared. Yes, scared that I will attempt to write slightly humorous posts about them and they will…. well… continue to rule the Internet and reap huge financial profits. But I will show them, I will continue wrote posts with attempts at humor and they will continue to rule the Internet and make a ton of cash.—I fiori sono quasi in fiorituraThe flowers are almost in bloom. Which isn’t true. The flowers and trees bloomed two weeks ago when the weather turned sunny and warm. Since then we’ve had torrential rain. Stupid flowers.

Unhappy Meals – Michael Pollan – New York Times

Unhappy Meals – Michael Pollan – New York Times By the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma this article suggests that eating “food” as opposed to “nutrition” makes sense. Not a revolutionary concept perhaps but something that I take to heart. It is too easy to get caught up in making sure I eat protein for instance. I know that my body does best when I increase the level of protein I eat and lay off some other areas. But that doesn’t mean my body handles all good protein sources equally. For some trouble I have some trouble with eggs if they are cooked wrong; my body just doesn’t like it. But yogurt? Yogurt is something that usually calms down my stomach if it’s upset and gives me a decent boost of energy (of course there is a lot of sugar buried in most yogurt). Since I am running a weight loss bet with my brother, sisters, and mom I plan on spending some time experimenting with food that makes me feel good, helps me train, and sheds the pounds.I recommend the book by the way. I don’t know if there is anything new in it but it puts the entire package together nicely and suggests the right outcome for food-goodness; eat vegetables. Thankfully I like a lot of vegetables but somehow they are not always convenient so I skip them in favor of a piece of bread or a cracker or a hunk of meat. But read the book. If it has caused one change in me it’s that I am paying slightly more for grass-feed organic meat these days. No more grain-fed stuff if I can avoid it.

Non si preoccupi, io sar?? bene

Don’t worry, I’ll be fineWell that phrase sure fits today! My love/hate relationship continues today. I was fairly sure what I received yesterday was a rejection letter. I told my brother about it* and we commiserated for a while. Then I sent him the actual text of the email and he pointed out there was ambiguity there. Maybe it wasn’t a rejection letter, maybe it was just a bargaining chip, a way of opening the bidding so to speak? I don’t think so and have really accepted that this phase is over. I had some moments of sadness especially given the amount of work I had put in. But at the moment I am looking to the future and figuring out what next.* I didn’t really tell him. Many of our conversations are now via instant messenger or via email. I intensely dislike speaking on the phone so IM is very handy.

Ballano bene insieme

They dance well togetherApparently not. Maybe it’s opposite day. The odyssey is over or at least this particular odyssey is. This started in November. It has moved forward in fits and starts. The toughest part of course was taking the time to go to Zurich;excitement was high, I thought I had a 90% chance since the time went so well.Then of course the delays started. If it was going well, shouldn’t all parties want to tango? With every passing day I mentally dropped the odds until recently I was more-or-less resigned. But the final word was still like checking your lottery ticket; you know you aren’t going to win but there is disappointment anyway as you now need to return to your regular life. I learned this morning that the dance card was filled. I don’t know any details as yet, I suspect it was a borderline case and that old college career wound up hurting me. Can you believe it? All those years they said it would go on your permanent record and lo and behold it did!So now I am back to taking stock. What next? One thing that became clear throughout the dance was that I was thinking again for the first time in a long time. I was thinking about how to make things better, how to solve problems. I like that.—7:20 update: how ironic is this headline in the Seattle Times this morning

Site Updated

Small update today to fix up the permalinks. Mike was chiding me about the ugly /?p=123 style links. Here is the challenge though — apparently you need to run with an .htaccess file. But this only works on Apache and not with Windows IIS. I don’t have a solution to make the URL completely pretty yet but at least /index.php/name-of-post is prettier than it was.This type of glitch is precisely the sort of thing that leads me closer to converting my home server to Linux. We installed Ubuntu on an old laptop and it just works very well. There is a ton of great software out there. If I could get iTunes running on Linux I would convert more of the family. I need to get around to writing a post about moving from nothing but Windows for the last 10 years to trying out Ubuntu. Summary = it’s really a solid OS.I also updated my ping system. Mike’s new blog is getting hits already. Of course it would be nice if I started getting relevant ads from my service:-)

Non dimentichi il Suo ombrello

Don’t forget your umbrellaGood advice indeed. After setting a record high temperature yesterday today it is grey and rainy. Spring weather that is.Thankfully I got in a nice long ride yesterday. I rode almost 75 miles, most of it with Dave. If that doesn’t count as a great day then I don’t know what does.