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REVIEW: Proline PL1100 portable piano bench

The Proline PL1100 piano bench is a Guitar Center offering. It is comfortable, reasonably sturdy, lightweight and inexpensive.

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Just-In-Time in Open Tech

It has become a commonplace in my circles that modern open source has a just-in-time nature that is rather amusing. One goes to look for an open source software package to perform some obscure function, and finds something that was just created last week that does the job perfectly. I have lots of examples…

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REVIEW: The Lego Movie

The Lego Movie is great fun, and I recommend it. Surprisingly, it sometimes manages to avoid the pitfalls of a product-placement movie for Lego products and concentrate on telling a good story. The script is good, the voice acting is good, the music (by Mark Mothersbaugh) is excellent—honestly worth the price of admission in its own right. It is highly implausible that this film should be rated PG instead of G, but there you are.

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Portland is a very small town

Went into the IPRC today to register for Raiders of the Lost Archives. While I was there, I took a look at the 20K+ 'zine library in question. About the third 'zine I picked up was by local artist and software engineer Shu-Ju Wang, who was my coworker at Tektronix TV Measurement in the 1980s. I still see her husband Mike Coleman, my boss from that era, occasionally at local events. Portland is a very small town.

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You had me and you lost me: Ingress

In the past I've had a lot of fun playing Ingress. The game has horrible design problems, but it is nonetheless the premiere alternate reality geogame due to its massive worldwide scope. It was fun to drive and walk around wherever I was and visit portals (and kill them, don't get me started), and for a while it was fun to hang out with the Ingress folks and meet new people. Then stuff started to happen…

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My son is awesome

I sort of can't say how amazing my son is. He participated in a speech tournament for the first time this last weekend, and did a really credible job with Cross-examination Policy Debate and Impromptu Speaking in spite of basically no coaching. Then yesterday he made a French Onion Soup for his French class with only minimal advice from his mother. It was really really tasty. He's always doing something cool like that. Ben = awesome. Fob

Generating long random passwords

I decided to try to use CACert.org as my SSL cert provider before giving up. They really wanted me to give them a truly random 32-character password string. Here's what I did to get them one…

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REVIEW: Planters's Five Alarm Chili Dry Roasted Peanuts

I ate a six-ounce (170g) bag of Planters's new Five Alarm Chili Dry Roasted Peanuts this evening. Purchased for about $2.25, the peanuts were quite tasty. The nutrition information is mixed: for me the highlight was only 18g of non-fiber carbohydrates in the whole bag. Lots of sodium, though, and lots of fat; not clear to me whether those actually matter for most people, but some folks care. The "five alarm" part was, as expected, overrated. The peanuts were coated with a medium-spicy powder that contained a lot of chili and had a bit of a smokey flavor.

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No CERT for you!

I applied to get a free site SSL certificate from StartCom for po8.org today. After jumping through their stupid hoops, I was informed that "my application would need to be reviewed manually." Later, I got the email from StartCom reproduced below…

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Weirdly astigmatic

My laptop lid looks trapezoidal this morning. The top is clearly narrower than the bottom. This is because I am very astigmatic and not wearing my glasses. I can actually read well enough to (barely) make out the small print on the screen, but here's this gross geometric distortion that's a strong persistent visual illusion. It's weird.

The first time I noticed it I didn't realize what was going on. I had to get out a ruler to convince myself that the thing wasn't just styled funny. Apple product, after all. Then I realized, and laughed a bit.

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