Mar 282023

The implosion of Twitter since ElMu took over has been pretty epic. I had set a deadline for myself of March 19 to move off since that was the day they decided to force us to switch off of SMS 2FA. I was getting prompted frequently in the Twitter app. I’ve been pulling up Mastodon side-by-side with Twitter to try to add people in Mastodon (my Mastodon user name is in my Twitter profile). It’s a slow process. Mark Cathcart pointed out correctly that Mastodon is not a sure thing since you’re at the mercy of the owner of the server that your data resides. I need to look into that some more. It’s another reason I haven’t completely left Twitter. The death of 3rd party API access to Twitter has meant that Tweetbot is dead and that was a big reason I still used Twitter. It was light years better than the Twitter mobile app. Tapbots has created a mobile app for Mastodon called Ivory, but it’s a subscription model that I had avoided with Tweetbot by staying on an older version prior to the subscription model. I’m basically straddling both apps right now for all of these reasons. I joined Twitter during SXSW 2006 and had a pretty good experience even now which I attribute to curating a good list of people to follow from early on and then ignoring the algorithm tabs like “For You”. I end up picking “Following” on Twitter and Instagram to just see the people I follow and not the bullshit the algorithm picks for me. I’m really getting fed up with Instagram. I’m closer to bailing there than Twitter. But so many businesses use it as a platform for notifications that it’s hard to quit it completely.

 Posted by on March 28, 2023 at 9:28 pm
Dec 122015

We’re using React at work for a current project. I thought I might start checking out React Native as a side project to get me working more in React and to see what I can get going on iOS.

The React Native Getting Started page is pretty good, but upon trying to run the AwesomeProject sample, I got errors related to watchman in the console the first time and then a subsequent error similar to

Error building DependencyGraph:
TypeError: Cannot read property 'root' of null

followed by a stack trace. The simulator then loaded with a red screen and another set of errors. I went to the React Native Troubleshooting page, but didn’t find my error there. After googling a bit, I found that

brew update && brew reinstall watchman

did the trick for me and got me running. I also got warnings about running with iOS 7.0 as the target. I don’t know if that was the default from the React starter or some other default, but I just set that to the latest (iOS 8.2).

The issue navigator in Xcode is also giving the following error, but I haven’t sorted that one out yet. It didn’t keep the project from running.

(null): Directory not found for option '-F/Applications/'

Stay tuned as I post my progress here with trying out React Native.

 Posted by on December 12, 2015 at 2:54 pm
May 312013

I’m somewhere between San Diego and Austin flying back from a business trip. It’s the last day of May. School is about to end for the kids. It’s a time or change and Spring cleaning. We’ve been doing a lot of purging and cleaning around the house. Now it’s time to purge the bits.

I just deactivated my Facebook account and deleted the app off of my phone. I’ve been meaning to do this for months and decided that it was just time to kick myself in the ass and do it. The last straw was the targeted Mother’s Day ad that I got with my mom’s picture embedded in it. I know that’s the sort of thing that they’ve been trending towards, but it wasn’t until it was staring me in the face that I really grasped how much that bothers me. They’re constantly altering the privacy settings in a way that also bugs me.

I’ve also been bothered by the ease of it. It keeps me from really interacting and writing longer posts. I’m checking it too often instead of actually doing something or interacting with family and friends. I’m hoping to see friends follow me to Path or Twitter or just stick with good old email or phone. I’ll miss out on some of the interaction, but the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks. So…hope to see you here or elsewhere.

Mar 252010

Decided I’d title this whatever song was playing on the iPhone when I started writing. Seems appropriate, I guess.

The last post was a little less than a month before M. was born. He’s nearly nine months old now. Needless to say, I think my blogging urge is being fulfilled by Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Delicious, YouTube and whatever little posting I still do over at Metroblogging Austin.

Is a new baby a good enough excuse? Do I need an excuse? Should I keep updating WordPress versions to keep ahead of the script kiddies (probably)? Should I change the theme (probably)?

It’s also been nine months since I quit the main band. I’ve had a couple gigs with Victims of Leisure since then, but we haven’t played or practiced since before Thanksgiving. We’ve got one coming up this Saturday for the gig at the Parlor next week (April 3). I’m not sure I even know how to hold the drumsticks still (or remember the songs). It could be ugly. Better be sure I have plenty of beer so I’ll play better.

We finally tried out a Skype video call with my parents using the webcam that I got for Xmas this week. Ours has been working since the beginning of the year, but it took this long to get my parents going. Now my mother-in-law is running out to get a webcam as well. Yes, we’re just now joining 2004 and doing video calls with far flung relatives. If you’ve got a webcam and are on Skype, come find us. It’s the same damn username that I use for everything.

Aug 032008

The first official post from the phone. We’ll see how this goes. Expect typos. The kids start summer camp tomorrow. I’ve got a gig tomorrow night at Hole in the Wall. I’m loving having a decent sized iPod to use in the car. (My first, how sad is that? Checked out We Jam Econo, the Minutemen documentary, last night. Good stuff.

Jan 032008

JustSayHi - Science Quiz
I passed and, in my defense, I think I answered most of the important questions. I missed 2, 3, 7, 11 and 13. I never learned much Astronomy or Geology, so I missed several of those. I guess I didn’t remember all of my Biology either.

 Posted by on January 3, 2008 at 5:48 pm
Nov 132007

Something appears to have gone horribly wrong with the auto-posting feature from The formatting’s all screwed up. It appears to be attempting to insert newline characters and is no longer linking anything. I’m not very motivated to go track down the problem, but it just started in the last few days and appears to be intermittent as I got one good post in between. I’m not sure if it’s WordPress or delicious screwing things up. I tried sending something to delicious, but didn’t get a response.

It’s caused me to be pretty lazy over the last several months with posting. I suppose I’ll just turn it off.

 Posted by on November 13, 2007 at 3:01 pm
May 252007

I can’t let today pass without acknowledging it, since, like so many of my contemporaries, the premiere of Star Wars was a defining moment of my childhood.

When Star Wars was released on May 25th, 1977, I was 5 and a half years old. I can’t remember if we saw it opening day, but it was definitely in the first few weeks. I do distinctly remember sitting in the back of my next door neighbor Glen’s mom’s car, a white late-60’s model Mustang (his last name was Ford, oddly enough), and telling them that I was going to see a space movie as we came back from the water slide park. Even though I had no idea what I was in for, I was clearly looking forward to it. I remember that it was playing at the huge (for 1977) Northpark Mall theater in Dallas. I remember the theater being packed. I think I remember waiting in line, although that may have blurred with waiting in line for Empire Strikes Back.

The most vivid memory, however, was the opening crawl that gave the back story of the movie, followed by the opening scene of what seemed to be the largest ship in the universe to me at the time, that nearly interminable passing of the Star Destroyer across the screen was the most awesome and thrilling thing that I’d ever seen. It was massive. My 5-year-old brain could hardly take it all in. I still remember the wonder of how BIG that thing must be (only to have it shattered later when they tried to imply how much bigger Darth Vader’s flagship, The Executioner, was in the next film).

The whole film was an amazing ride and I remained transfixed throughout. I remember re-enacting whole scenes over and over again with my friends: the ending throne room scene, complete with fake medals; the assault on the Death Star with my bunk beds as two X-wings; molesting Princess Leia (wait, that’s later). I remember all the crazy speculation afterwards of what happened to Darth Vader as he careened off into space on his own after being knocked away from the Death Star by his own wing men (courtesy of Han Solo and the Milennium Falcon). As I mentioned in a old post, Joe Gross from the Austin-American Statesman pointed out ( link b/c of the Statesman’s shitty policy on keeping old articles accessible) when Attack of the Clones was released 5 years ago, the original was great precisely because it left so much to our own imaginations and let us fill in the details before and after. I ordered the first promotional pack of figures through the mail as soon as they were available.

Regardless of how badly George Lucas has screwed up the memory of the original, it’s that wonder of first viewing that allows him to sucker so many of us in time and time again. It’s why many of our own kids sleep on Star Wars sheets and pore over Star Wars Encyclopedias or watch the films on DVD.

BTW, when I was 5, we had to go back to the theater to see it again or wait for them to re-release it in the theater, which I remember them doing more than once. We didn’t have VCRs or DVDs for that matter. It took them FOREVER to release the VHS versions even after everybody and their dog had a VCR. If memory serves, we didn’t get legitimate retail copies until 1989 or so. Now get off my lawn, you kids!

Here’s a few links that also commemorate the occasion.

 Posted by on May 25, 2007 at 2:59 pm
Feb 092007

I just read an awesome article by Bruce Eckel, author of Thinking in Java, about Java, Javascript, AJAX and Flex among other things. It’s really about how to write web applications in general. Bruce has been around since the beginning. I remember downloading the first edition of Thinking In Java way back when. He was one of the first authors I remember that provided his book in electronic form for free.
This quote jumped out at me:

And more and more often, when I use web applications like GMail, my “control-c” copy operation stops working. It could be Windows, Firefox, JavaScript or something else but it seems to be associated with web apps and it’s been happening for at least a year. And frankly I don’t care why it’s happening, and neither does any other consumer. When things this simple are broken, the outlook is not promising.

I’ve noticed this as well and hadn’t spent the time narrowing it down to blame GMail. Anyway, I haven’t had much exposure to Flex and my experience with Flash was the same as his originally. Cost was a big barrier to entry. Apparently, that’s no longer the case. Time to take a look at Flex, I think. Where the hell have I been?

[tags]bruceeckel, java, javascript, ajax, flex, ria[/tags]

 Posted by on February 9, 2007 at 4:58 pm
Feb 082007

Wil has a post up on Suicide Girls this week about the fall and decline of video arcades. He also mentioned it on his own blog. The comment thread over there is pretty good. Of course, his experience echoes that of many of us born in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Arcades were HUGE in the early 80’s. Permit me to wax nostalgic as well, most of these locations are in and around North Dallas and Richardson, where I grew up.

My first arcade and the one that will always have a place in my heart was the one at the Putt Putt near Richardson Square Mall. It was called Twin Rivers but I can’t remember exactly where it was. It was a wonderland to an 8-10 year old boy. They had putt putt, of course, but they also had a fair sized arcade and batting cages. The first game I remember really well was Space Wars. It’s got a long geek history and is arguably the first video game, but I remember the version released in 1977, right about the same time as Star Wars. I remember spending time before playing looking at all of the options you could set via the numeric keypad between the two controllers. I was completely in awe of the thing. It seemed huge. We went back there many times and it was always a huge treat. I remember playing Star Castle and Battlezone among others.

Next up is my first encounter with Space Invaders in the bar of a country club in either Queens, Brooklyn or Long Island for my uncle’s wedding in 1980. I was bored out of my mind and somehow weaseled my way into the bar area to play a couple games of it.

The Loews Park Central movie theater is another one that figures prominently. We went to see a lot of movies there in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They always had two or three arcade machines to the right of the lobby. Asteroids was parked there for years and that’s where I played it the most.

The Tilt arcade in Prestonwood Mall was probably the longest lasting and last major sized arcade I frequented. It’s where I remember noticing the decline of arcade games, signaled in retrospect by the prominent place that Dragon’s Lair grabbed at the front by the entrance when it was first released and where it remained for quite some time. I remember playing Spy Hunter and Robotron there.
There were a whole bunch of places within biking distance. We actually had a neighborhood arcade for a brief time in probably 1980 or 1981. It didn’t last long. After that, there was the Dairy Queen that turned into a bunch of other independently owned businesses like Hamburger USA and Bunkie’s Donuts. I remember playing Defender for the first time there. There was also a Pac Man at the convenience store a few blocks farther away. At one point, a neighborhood friend figured out that that UT-Dallas had a couple of arcade games. At that point, it was only a graduate school, no undergrad and no on campus housing. It’s changed a lot now. I remember us sneaking around because I don’t think we were technically allowed in the room with the games. I distinctly remember playing Donkey Kong or Donkey Kong Jr. there.
The White Water amusement park in Garland was another summer haunt with an arcade. Time Pilot was the big game for me there. I loved that one for some reason. Wil’s description of the chlorine smell and feeling in your hair and eyes goes with that place for me, along with fading astroturf (come to think of it that was prominent at the Putt Putt place too).

In high school, we all got hooked on Xenophobe because three could play at one time on a split screen. They had one at the convenience store on Northgate Dr. across from UD, but we also played it at the Dave & Buster’s at 75 and Walnut Hill.

As I mentioned in my comment on WWDN, in college, I had one brief resurgence of video gaming in the arcades along The Drag at UT in Austin. Le Fun and Einstein’s were the two arcades across from the University. I *think* both of them are closed now. We played Addams Family pinball and Rampart.

On the home console front, I got an Intellivision not very long after they were released (Sea Battle, Mind Surgeon, B-17 Bomber). It was pretty cool, but I was always jealous of the more mainstream Atari 2600 owners. I followed that with an Apple IIe which I used to play Miner 2049er, Lode Runner, Choplifter, Karateka and Castle Wolfenstein incessantly and not much else. We got a Nintendo when they came out and I took that to college and played Tecmo Bowl way too late with my roommates (Ronnie Lott!). I pretty much missed the Doom and Tetris craze and picked up with Quake at my first real job back in Austin. We played that like crazy. I followed up with Quake 2 and 3 and then Half Life, Team Fortress and CounterStrike. After that I had kids, so the gaming dropped off until I had a brief and intense obsession with Grand Theft Auto III.
We finally let my son start using the PS2 this past year. He’s got a Game Boy SP as well. He’s currently obsessed with Lego Star Wars I and II.

And so it continues…

P.S. I left out that I actually owned a cassette (kids, ask your parents) of Buckner & Garcia’s Pac Man Fever, a whole album of video game related songs, each one worse than the next. I can only recall the title track and “Hyperspace”…Hyyyyyperspace Push on the button and I’m back in the race. Sorry. Click on the link for 30 second clips of all the songs in their 1982 crappy glory.
[tags]arcade, wwdn, nostalgia, 1980s, pacmanfever, dallas, richardson, austin, spacewars, xenophobe, rampart[/tags]

 Posted by on February 8, 2007 at 1:30 pm