double true

This summer casa rakkaleff will play host to one confirmed set, and several possible sets, of out of town visitors. Partly to aid in their planning, and partly to pretentiously show off my complete world knowledge, I am making a customized Google map. Maybe other people would like to see it too. The url is a bit silly, so here's a tiny one.

I haven't been reading as many tech blogs as I once did, so maybe people have talked about "My Maps" ad nauseam. In which case I apologize for what follows.

I've tried out the "my maps" feature once or twice. It's a nice way to give people directions to the office. You can put whatever you want in the location bubbles, so you can make your map link self contained.

But it doesn't end there. You can get really fancy with it. You can use all kinds of different pins, filling each with a hidden meaning. Lines can been drawn. And though the interface for this is incredibly weird, it remains less weird than the interface for shapes. Which is like reverse polish vector drawing; it seems like it's backwards, but it's pretty handy once you get the knack.

All in all, it's a cool feature. I hope somebody got a founders grant for this one.

Rails and Plugins

Rails is great, and plugins make it even better. Except when they don't.

I've been doing a lot with Bookton on the weekends. It's changed my opinion somewhat of plugins for Rails. Today's experience is a good example.

I was adding TinyMCE to the system. The easy way is the TinyMCE Plugin. The only problem is that it doesn't work, at least not in Rails 1.2.3. What probably happened is that the plugin was written several point releases ago, and it just hasn't been updated yet. I could spend a lot of time trying to figure it out...

Or I could just copy the TinyMCE directory in to my project, add a couple of lines of javascript to my main layout and call it a day. This is what I did. This is what I do for about half the plugins that I use. The other half, I have to say, work well with no big issues. (acts_as_ferret is great)

I'm still a rather large fan of Rails, but the rose tint is starting to fade off from the standard issue goggles.

is it just me, or does the whole town smell like natural gas?

As we were arriving home from Uwajimaya I asked Rakka if she smelled natural gas? No she said, it was just me.

So we get home. As we're taking stuff out of bags, she notices that one of the cream cookies she got were durian flavor.

Time passes.

She opens the durian cookies. Hey, she says, these smell like them too. She thrusts the bag at my nose so I can smell. Here is a quote about the odor:
"... its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away." -- Richard Sterling
He is correct. Rakka has wrapped it in 7 plastic bags, taken it out to the trash, and turned all the fans on. I can still smell it. She says she's gotten me back for all the kimchi I eat. I think she owes me, now. Oh my god it's bad.

Oh, thanks Joost. This is the latest version. I downloaded it a half hour ago. I've spent all the intervening time using this exact binary. Granted, I was using it to remove the piles of cruft that you so kindly added to "my channels". A process which you make incredibly painful.

You can't choose the item in "my channels" and click remove. The only remove button is on the "Channel Directory" page. While I can search, it doesn't take me to the channel directory page. So I'm left clicking through the entire list of channels trying to find the stuff I don't like. That's not a good position to put your users in.

And then it crashes, and won't start again. You know what? I give up. Again.

There's nothing on there anyway.

laptop a go go

Went to the apple store with the boss today. Finally got the laptop we've been talking about for the last year or so.

15 inch macbook pro. the fast one with the extra ram. Squee! So nice. Now I just need wireless router to make it really fun.

quirks mode: detective robert goren entertains

Rakka has gotten me hooked on Law and Order: Criminal Intent. It's kind of embarrassing. I always thought the L&Os were sort of cliffs notes for cop movies. I still think that, but I don't really care. Once I realized that you're not supposed to watch it for the plot it got much better.

It's really all about Vincent D'Onofrio's character. The tweaky, quirky detective with the funny mannerisms. He's really good at it. It's almost like he's a realistic Monk. There's just something fun about watching it.

The rest of the cast are really good too, don't get me wrong. Kathryn Erbe compliments him perfectly. But she's sort of the Abbott to his Costello. And as important as the straight man is, you always remember the ham.

art star spotting

It's strange. Seeing famous people on the street. The other day I was on my way to the bus, talking to Rakka on the mobile. And there was Dale Chihuly, complete with his trademark blue shirt, eye patch and rotundness. I should have gotten an autograph. But I was so focused not missing my bus that the only thing to come of it was a bit of Newhartesque phone conversation.

me: Hey, I just passed Dale Chihuly!
me: No, he's pretty short
me: I, I don't know what he's doing in Ballard. I think he was going to radio shack.
me: Yes, I think they do have radio shacks in Tacoma.

thunderbird contacts import interface

I know TB only has a few people working on it, and this is a little used feature, so I can cut them some slack. But this interface is so terrible it's hard to describe.

The left column is the destination (thunderbird address records), the right is the source (in this case, gmail address records). In order to line them up you have to move things up and down in the left column, to match with the right.

It's made especially clunky by the fact that clicking anywhere in either column toggles the check box. ugh.

I'd almost rather they didn't offer the feature at all. At least not until they had time to do it up right.