I read this somewhere

Written by Barry Warsaw in historical on Mon 25 January 2010.

I read this somewhere:

When we opened the door to this wonderful place, we were stunned!
Literally.  Uncle Fledge had to be led in by the hand and seated in front
of the massive TV.  He'd never seen anything so big.  Grandma loved the
"hot" tub and even with her massive girth, it came up to her chin so she
could relax.  The little family of hamsters or weasels kept wanting to
join her, so that's what the broomstick is for (in case you're wondering).

Uncle Fledge is a skier but he loved the game room so much, he played for
36 hours straight until he got pokey finger.  Then Aunt Weebus dragged him
out to the slopes.  Good thing too because we were getting tired of White
Lion on the jukebox.  Uncle Fledge and Jimmie's favorite band, how did you
know?

Martha was kind of obsessed with the telescope but Billy brought his
laptop and then it was family YouTube time.  The view is spectacular
though.  Grandma loved watching the bears ice skate on the lake.  Never
seen that before she said.  The twins wanted me to add that the bunk beds
are fun, and the triplets loved having their own rooms.  Mom and Dad
retired to the jacuzzi for 8 hours, and little Moby had to keep refreshing
their champagne.  We loved the Bears Den and will definitely be back.

- The Kimmels, the Conans, the Boxxees, the Fledge Jrs & Srs, Phil, Sarah,
  Monk, Billy, Jimmy, Sandy Candy & Mandy, Uncle F. Aunt W, Grandma, Tina,
  Mallory, Frank, Stu, Mack T, Mack F, Tug, Willy and "Beans".

MBP

Written by Barry Warsaw in technology on Wed 09 December 2009.

So I got my new Mac Book Pro, named it "hemispheres" as mentioned in my previous post. I'm very happy with this machine, and here are my early impressions.

The SSD is pure win. It's quiet, cool, and fast. The biggest immediate downside of course is the cost, but as a refurb, this option was made much more affordable. It'll be interesting to see how it performs over time as there are known issues with the long-term use of the technology.

My two biggest concerns were the screen and the keyboard. I absolutely love my previous generation MBP keyboard, as it's about the only laptop I can comfortably use for 8 hours a day. The unibody MBPs have a completely different keyboard, with a different feel, but I hadn't used one for a long hacking session so I was unsure how it would feel after a few hours under my hands. I'm very relieved to say that while it has a different feel, it's still incredibly comfortable to use. Apple seems to know what they're doing.

I have had a few problems hitting the right keys, most notably not quite getting the shift-2 chord right to produce an @ sign. The reach is a little bit longer it seems so I often end up just typing a "2", somehow missing the shift combination. I have a few other common typing errors, but for the most part I'm getting used to it.

The other big uncertainty was the antiglare screen. I absolutely love the matte screen on my old MBP and hate hate HATE the glossy screens that seem to come on most laptops today. Honestly, if the MBP didn't offer a matte screen as an option, I probably wouldn't have bought it. Of course, now it's a $50 upcharge, but I …

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Hemispheres

Written by Barry Warsaw in music on Fri 04 December 2009.

The relationship between the bass player and the drummer is one of the most profound and important relationships in rock music. I've been incredibly fortunate in my musical life to have played with a number of drummers with whom I've had a deep and usually immediate musical connection. Almost all are still close personal friends. For me, playing with a good drummer is probably one of the most important reasons to stick with a band long term (it's a necessary but not sufficient condition).

I've been with the U-Liners now for quite a few years and I've enjoyed every minute playing with our drummer Larry. He's in the Army band, so clearly he's talented, but it goes deeper than that. His feel is impeccable, his timing is great, and he hears everything. What I really love about him (and many of my other favorite drummers) is that he's solid but knows when to go for it. It's the occasional waltzes on the edge that make for an exciting, emotional musical moment. It can't be too often, but it has to be there. An element of risk is involved, and I love more than anything else, those improvisational moments within musical structure of the song, because that's where the magic happens.

This week has been extraordinary too because I've played with three of my favorite drummers of all time. Larry of course (and we have a gig this coming Saturday night), but also two great drummers and long time friends. Last night the U-Liners played a show that Larry couldn't make, so my friend Torro sat in. Torro and I go way back (he was best man at my wedding) and is an amazing musician. And at a jam party last Saturday night, my friend Keith came up from Florida and …

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Laptops

Written by Barry Warsaw in technology on Wed 02 December 2009.

I really need a new laptop. While I love my 3.5 year old Mac Book Pro, it's by now showing its age and the abuse I've given it. It runs Fusion to give me an Ubuntu desktop, but because the disk is almost full I have to run that from a USB drive, so it's slow. I know I can upgrade the disk, but the machine is a Core Duo only, so that probably wouldn't help much. I also have an old IBM Thinkpad X40 which has an excellent form factor, but a small screen, and the motherboard power jack has an annoying habit of screaming at a high pitch when plugged in, so it lives in its dock, making it heavier and much less portable. And this thing is really slow.

What to do? Well, I've been looking around and with Cyber Monday (do you hate that marketing term as much as I do?) I knew there'd be some great deals around. One of the best, which if you're reading this the same day I post it, is on Lenovo computers (formerly IBM), including steep 35% discounts on Thinkpads. I know, I should get one of those!

I looked at the x200s and the x301, the former being closest to the X40 form factor, but with a WXGA+ 1400x900 screen (yay!), no trackpad (boo), and no built-in webcam (boo). The latter has the same WXGA+ screen (yay), a trackpad (yay), a built-in webcam (yay) and default solid state drive (yay). It's still under 3lbs (yay) and only .5lbs heavier than the x200s in its stock configuration. But it's about $800 more before you start customizing it. Still the discounts really bring both computers into the realm of possibility, especially for a work computer that I'll be using constantly …

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Mailman and LMTP

Written by Barry Warsaw in technology on Sun 29 November 2009. Tags: mailman,

So, I spent quite a bit of time this weekend making sure that Mailman 3 works with LMTP delivery from Postfix. With some help from Patrick on the mailman-developers list, I've gotten this working pretty well. I also took the opportunity to play with virt-manager on Karmic. It was pretty darn easy to create a virtual machine, load it up with Ubuntu 9.10 server and test Mailman in a fairly pristine setting. The one gotcha that I ran into was having to run virt-manager under sudo, otherwise it could not create the VM files under /var/lib/libvert/images.

I'm going to release Mailman 3.0.0a4 today. It really took me much longer to get this out than it should have. I removed the dependency on setuptools_bzr because it really sucked having to build bzr just to install Mailman. The whole reason for the setup dependency on setuptools_bzr was to allow me to be lazy in creating the MANIFEST.in file. I bit the bullet and created that file, but it took surprisingly many iterations to get it right.

On another front, after my bout with the flu and trip to Dallas, I'd been pretty remiss in updating my two Gentoo servers. They were way behind on patches, so I finally updated the public one, which was a royal pain in the butt. Still, it was doable. The internal server is running EVMS which is no longer supported by IBM or Gentoo. I think this will be the final straw that forces me to install Ubuntu on that machine. I'm dreading moving all the services and files off of it in preparation for that. It's going to be a time consuming job. Fortunately, I have a spare box that I can bounce the services to, and backups of …

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House, Music, Hacking

Written by Barry Warsaw in music on Mon 10 August 2009.

Well, it's been a long time since I posted anything here, and a lot has happened. I won't bore you with all the details, but suffice to say it's been an interesting ride. The good news is we were able to move back into our house in August and life is good. We're not completely done, but we're getting back on track and moving on with our lives.

Max started middle school so I am officially a morning person now, and I've even caught the Facebook bug. We got a cat.

I want to expand this blog to cover things technical and personal, and I'm going to spend a little time every week posting something here. I was going to say "something interesting" but it probably won't be, so you're just wasting time reading this. :)

The email-sig is very interesting lately. Python comes with a package to parse, generate and manipulate email messages. It's actually very functional in Python 2 but mostly because we cheat. In Python 2 we can be lazy about what's a string and what's a byte and email exploits this profusely. I know this because the email package is severely damaged in Python 3, where the distinction between strings (unicodes) and bytes is explicit. The email-sig is tasked with maintaining and developing the email package and we're struggling with many tricky issues. And y'all thought email was simple because 99% of it is spam.

Python 2.6.3 was released last Friday, but it was broken and no one should use it. It's my fault as the release manager for wanting a shortened candidate cycle, but I'm still not convinced that a long cycle would have avoided the regressions. 2.6.3 broke the logging module and setuptools, so I released Python 2.6.4rc1 on …

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Roof

Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Fri 06 March 2009.

Okay, we have roof and insulation estimates. There are basically three options. The most expensive involves using this foam insulation between the attic rafters. This would give us essentially a conditioned attic which would be usable in for living space in the future. Given the price, and what we're going to use the attic for this seems overkill.

The second option involves insulating between the joists in the second floor ceiling but there are problems with this approach because batt insulation to code won't fit in the old shorter joists. So this option will include building up the joists to accept the R38 insulation.

The final (and cheapest) option seems best to me. This involves using 12" rafters in the new roof so that it can accept the 10.5" R38 batt insulation. We're going to go this route and it'll cost us approximately $6500. I have to hand it to the builder for really working with us to make this as palatable as possible. It's definitely not something I expected to spend money on and it's definitely a painful hit, but in the long run I think it will work out by giving us much better insulation and usable attic space. I also think it will be easier for the builder.

Now we just need plans for the roof, and the county will probably have to approve it. (I wonder how much that's going to cost?!)


Insulate? Holy Moly!

Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Fri 13 February 2009.

We got quotes on the roof insulation. Wow, it is not cheap and it makes the whole roof proposition an even harder hit. It's going to add $2000-$3000 onto the total cost of the roof. Tom will work up specific estimates and we'll go over these at our next production meeting.

Nothing is happening at the house.


Waiting

Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Wed 11 February 2009.

Not much is happening, as we're waiting to decide about the roof. We need to get insulation numbers. Tom really thinks rebuilding the roof is the best thing. I tend to agree, but we need to make it fit the budget.

We told Tom about the placement of the kiln, which we want to put in the unconditioned space. This shouldn't be a problem, but we're still waiting to see the electrical bid.


A new roof?

Written by Barry Warsaw in house on Tue 10 February 2009.

The builder is recommending that we rip off the old roof entirely and rebuild it from scratch. The cost came in at $4700 but that does not include insulation (or the 20% change order markup), so we'll need a complete price in order to decide if we should do it. This is a big hit to the budget, but it seems like it's really going to be the best option. We'll need architectural and structural plans for the new roof, which basically must look like the original roof in front (hip with dormer) and like the plans in the back (hip joint to match the front).

We looked at the shingle colors - I think Jane would love to go dark dark, but that's not nearly as energy efficient as a lighter color. I think we'll end up compromising on something like Forest Gray which is just a shade or two lighter. Wouldn't it be great if we could just layer solar panels over the entire roof? Maybe in Max's first house.

We met the stucco contractor today, who dropped off some samples and a color palette. Seemed like a nice guy and he offered to take us around to some of his jobs to see his work. I'm sure Jane will take him up on that. Sounds like he can basically match any paint color in the stucco; we also need to pick a finish. Jane's leaning toward the coarse grain for the majority of the house, with a fine finish for the trim. The really coarse finish just didn't do it for us.

The cabinets are killing us! We did a plan at HD for some fairly standard KM cabinets. I'm not very psyched about them, and it's really difficult to get cabinets that don't look like they belong …

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