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I have to say, Dreamwidth is looking more and more appealing, simply because the folks at DW are working so much harder to produce a good site.

I've finally knuckled under, and just started a full journal import from LJ to DW. Partly that's for backup purposes -- it looks like most of the old LJ backup tools are now dead. But more, it's because DW is actually searchable, and that does sometimes matter to me. (Like right now, while I'm doing the Timeline.)

I'm fond of both sites, but still mainly using LiveJournal. But that's increasingly out of habit -- DW just plain works better, and the differences are starting to really show...
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*Sigh*. Okay, I should have dealt with this six months ago, but life has been crazy. Suffice it to say, I thought I had a plan, which has turned out to be inoperative.

I am in need of a good accountant ASAP, probably for the next two years -- I'm specifically looking for someone who is experienced with estate law. The immediate need is, of course, to help me with the taxes. It isn't so much that the numbers are complicated as that my situation is unusual, and I have little faith that TurboTax can cope with it. I need to understand things like how to handle Jane's life insurance; what to do about the (very large) payments I made for her final health and funeral bills (which I believe will *eventually* get repaid from the estate, but I don't know whether I should be accounting for them this year); and perhaps most important, what to do about the estate itself given that it is still in legal limbo, with me having no power to manage it yet. (I believe its formal income this year should be small, but it's all horribly weird since I haven't been able to actually deposit any of the checks it has received.)

Also, in the medium term, I'll hopefully finally be appointed administrator of the estate -- at which point I need to understand my legal obligations in considerable detail, especially with regard to how to manage it during the process.

So: anybody got a recommendation? It would be much appreciated...
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I'm not going to name names, but suffice it to say I'm currently reading into a third-party package that we're integrating with. The package itself is pretty nice (and the APIs are a thing of beauty -- a compliment I rarely pay), but *man* the documentation is annoying.

It took me a while to figure out why it was bothering me so much, but I think it's the way that the docs walk you through every piddling step, to the point where something that *should* be a more or less obvious ten-second description takes a ten-page slog. Admittedly, that's sometimes necessary for end user documentation, but seriously: this is aimed at programmers and system administrators. That level of detail is just annoying for its target audience.

And it suddenly occurs to me that this feels very much like it was written by someone who doesn't really understand the system they're documenting, or the people they're writing for. I mean, yes, it's useful for you to describe the XML configuration structures in detail. It is *not* helpful to document every single line individually -- including (separately) the opening tag, contents and *closing* tag. Mostly, it looks like documentation by someone who thinks XML is a programming language, and doesn't understand it as well as the typical reader.

Basically, it feels like CYA documentation, with an emphasis on "thorough" rather than "useful". Which is annoying to me, simply because I can't hand 500 pages of documentation to our people in the field, so we're probably going to have to write the *useful* docs ourselves...
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Somebody at Ars Technica got really punchy this week. This article is a fine piece of dry silliness, although it kind of takes you out into a dark alley and beats you over the head with the metaphor until you cry uncle.

(To be fair, Microsoft does seem to have opened the door for this with its own bit of inspired ridiculousness, which appears to be frighteningly real...)
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As I write this, it’s exactly one year since Jane died. I’m doing reasonably well, but that’s still not easy, and it drives home that I have some unfinished business. At the funeral and the memorial service, I focused on telling people about how she lived -- that’s the most important part. But I also need to tell the story of how she died.

This isn’t going to be easy, either to write or read; I’ll be kind of surprised if I can get through it without breaking down a few times. I’m not going to fault anyone who wants to just skip it, and I’ll put it behind cut tags. But I need to get it out of my head: I need to know that the story is written down and known, so that I can move on from it. Also, it’s rather cathartic (and somehow very appropriate) to dredge through the history and thread it together into a coherent story for the first time. So there will be some other significant passings and events woven through here: this is partly a story of Jane’s life, partly of her death, and partly of how the past ten years have affected me.

So I’ll be serializing that in the coming days. Could take me anywhere from a couple of days to a month to write it down, depending on how things go. It’ll have the “Timeline” title and be tagged as jane throughout. It’s going to be in approximate chronological order, but often with broad dates: my memory for details is infamously bad, and I’m not going to make myself crazy figuring out precise dates. God bless LJ, for providing me with a record of much of it.

As part of that, I’ll be opening up and linking to a bunch of deeply-locked LJ entries, chronicling what happened in real time. It looked like I was being fairly quiet online at the time; in fact, I was posting more frantically than I ever have in my life. But Jane was very private about it -- she always worried about people pitying her -- so I had to keep it quite locked-down at the time. Now, with a little distance, I think the genealogist and historian in her would prefer that the story be known. Please take it in that light, and remember her strength, not the frailty of her final days.

(I will only be unlocking my own entries, not hers -- her journal is her own, and I’m leaving it as she did. Forgive me for linking to some entries that will always be locked, often quite tightly, especially in the early history: this is as much for my future reference as anything.)
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This week's really interesting article from my LinkedIn slush pile is this one from Mashable. Everyone's been making a huge deal about the SOPA bill -- the Internet has been a mix of sites that blacked themselves out voluntarily, and those full of soundbites about the bill. This article is a fine contrast to that: the author actually dissects the bill, and explains why the language is broad enough to do enormous damage. The sponsors of SOPA and PIPA are back-pedaling furiously (and I'm pleasantly amused that *all* of the current presidential candidates have come out against the bills as currently written), but it's still worth a read if you want to understand the issues here.

The interesting side-note, though, is that the article isn't written by a lawyer, but by a programmer. That's not actually surprising. Good programmers are practiced in reading eye-glazing bodies of text, and understand what they really mean: not what was intended, not what they *say* that they do, but actually reading carefully, following the logic and figuring out what the results are. It's one of the least fun parts of the job, but is all too often necessary. (One sign of a really experienced programmer is the ability to catch many bugs simply by reading the code, never having to run it.)

And in many ways, reading contracts and law is similar. Far from identical, mind: they have their own distinct jargons, and are often quite intentionally ambiguous, and you have to understand that going in. But those programmer skills are still helpful in separating what someone *claims* is written down from what it really says. In the case of SOPA, that's crucial. The claims about the law are semi-benign, and the sponsors might even believe that's what they've written. But in fact, the law as written is much broader, more ambiguous and more dangerous than those claims -- as the article points out, the result is that the law criminalizes an enormous amount of legitimate Internet activity, and makes it all but impossible to run most websites safely.

So sometimes, it's not a bad idea to have a programmer look through your legal documents. Not just any programmer -- it requires one who has the skill and experience to read carefully, in great detail, understanding what is said and what it implies. And most programmers will not thank you for it. (Most legal documents are horrible spaghetti compared with decent code.) But sometimes, it's helpful...
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Anybody who cares about politics in the slightest, or who simply wants a little insight to cut through the media nonsense, should read Andrew Sullivan's article in this week's Newsweek. (Really: go read it -- it's a nice calm rundown, point-by-point, of the *reality* of the past four years.) He says far better than I can what I've been observing for a long time now: that President Obama has been not just less monstrous than his critics make him out to be, but actually a remarkably *effective* (and even surprisingly honest) politician.

I quite agree. Sullivan's main point is that Obama spends (by political standards) relatively little effort on hype, instead focusing on getting things done. He's gotten a *huge* amount done already -- and as Sullivan points out, if you actually pay attention, it's clear that he is running an eight-year presidency, focused on making serious long-run changes instead of popular quick political hits on the issue of the moment. No, he hasn't created Shangri-La on earth, but he never claimed he would. (Even if some of his more fevered supporters during the campaign believed it.)

I voted for him in 2008, to be the practical, smart, moderate technocrat that the country desperately needed. He's delivered surprisingly well -- better than anyone else in that campaign likely would have, and far better than anybody in this year's pack of Republican midgets plausibly might. No, I haven't agreed with every decision he's made, but that was expected: I voted for a leader, not a panderer. The worst I can say about him is that he's not as clever about the vicious game of politics as some in Washington. But choosing to focus on getting things done instead of political sound-bitery is not a weakness.

I intend to vote for him again, and there's not a hint of apology or "I guess he's been okay" in that. He's been presented with some of the most trying circumstances in decades, and he hasn't let them stop him from getting things done. He deserves to be re-elected; moreover, it is in the country's best interest that he be.
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Give LinkedIn credit where it's due: their weekly "7 things you need to know" spam is actually the most interesting email I get from any social network. Very business-focused, but I always keep one foot in the business side of things.

This week has a pointer to a fine short article on the concise definition of an entrepreneur. Simple, to the point, thought-provoking and IMO pretty accurate. Worth a read, especially if you're interested in the startup side of things. (And Mark Cuban's 12 Rules for Startups sound pretty on-target to me as well.)
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So the Republicans yesterday managed to do something that I hadn't actually thought possible: they made me sympathetic to Mitt Romney. Yesterday's pile-on was *so* cynical that I found myself feeling sorry for the poor bastard, and the way that a completely out-of-context remark turned into a firestorm.

For those who aren't following the blow-by-blow in the Presidential Gladitorial Stadium: yesterday in NH, somebody asked Romney about Obamacare, and specifically what he would do instead. A fine question, and his answer was that he believes that individuals should get their *own* insurance, instead of being indirected through company plans, so that they can make up their own minds. Unfortunately, the way he put it was (paraphrasing from memory): "I want to be able to fire my insurance company. I like to fire people, and the insurance company shouldn't be any different."

Admittedly, it was an incredibly dumb gaffe (especially because he committed the cardinal sin of confirming everybody's worst expectations of him), but it's been blown a tad out of proportion by the other candidates shouting from the rooftops, "Romney likes to fire people!".

That isn't really what annoys me, though -- he kind of walked into the firestorm, and should have known better. What annoys me is that, in the heat of the soundbite moment, everyone's ignoring the fact that he said something *really* interesting. I mean, saying that we should replace the current insurance system with direct insurance to individuals is not some sort of minor tweak -- hell, it's not even a patch the way the new healthcare law is. It implies a total overhaul of the system.

Consider: Romney is 100% correct that the key flaw of the current system is the indirection in it. You may hate your health insurer, but you usually have little say in the matter -- you get the insurance that your employer dictates. And the employer's considerations are a bit ethereal from your point of view, having only a modest amount to do with you personally: instead, they are focused on finding a reasonably good price for insuring a pool of employees, and providing enough quality of care that it is at least not a net negative in trying to hire people. This isn't exactly a recipe for effective and appropriate competition between insurers. Plus, since your cost of care has little to do with how much you pay, you have little incentive to use the service appropriately. What Romney is suggesting, essentially, is that we should really break this system down, and redo it in a way that promotes effective competition and provides better motive to use it well.

In airy economic terms, this is entirely sensible -- the economist in me kind of loves it. Unfortunately, it has a lot of fairly horrible real-world problems -- not least, the fact that insurers really do not want to insure anybody who really *needs* it. I suspect that it could be made to work, and it wouldn't actually surprise me if it could eventually work considerably better than what we now have, but not without a lot of interim pain and eventually a *massive* new regulatory framework.

None of which anybody is talking about. Instead, everybody is talking about the soundbite. The more highbrow networks are talking about the people talking about the soundbite. Nobody is talking about the incredibly controversial thing he actually said, which is far more interesting.

*Sigh*. It's going to be a long year...
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It occurs to me that I should mention this publicly: I'm staying the weekend at Birka, so that I can attend Curia. I got in a bit late, so I'm currently at the Hilton Garden Inn; that's manageable but not ideal. So if anybody has a reservation for the Radisson that they have decided they don't need, please drop me a line. Thanks...
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Having just gotten the new phone, and upped my available space manyfold, I am doing a lot of reviewing of apps, and thinking about what else to get. Here are my newest must-haves. What apps do you consider particularly great for an Android phone?

WidgetLocker: I loves me my Android 4.0, don't get me wrong. But they removed exactly one feature from 2.x that aggravates the snot out of me: stock 2.0 had a little slider on the lock screen that let you quickly and easily silence the phone. Since I'm in and out of meetings all day, this really matters to me. But it was removed from 3.0 on the tablet, and turns out to be just plain gone from 4.0. Humph.

Still, this is Android, and *every* problem has a solution. In this case, that's WidgetLocker, a super-configurable replacement lock screen. It lets you put more or less whatever you want on that initial screen, including my much-loved silence slider.

So far, I'm generally liking WidgetLocker, although it isn't quite perfect. I gather it needs to sit on *top* of the system security, and my phone (by company mandate) needs a pass-pattern, so I have to drag to unlock it and then input the code. And it appears that switching to Airplane Mode doesn't work correctly until I unlock WidgetLocker.

Still, being able to make things more or less as I like them is a win. Four out of five stars for this useful toy.

JuiceDefender: Battery life on the Nexus isn't bad -- with LTE turned off, I get about a full day of moderate use. Still, I was often finding myself on the edge, and it was a constant struggle with the old Droid.

See "every problem has a solution". In this case, JuiceDefender seems the right tool for the job. This is a powerful system tool that is built around the theory that your phone's battery is *mostly* getting eaten by the radios. Besides the phone radio itself, you're running 3G, Wifi, Bluetooth, and all that stuff -- most of which isn't really *doing* anything most of the time aside from looking for new data.

So JuiceDefender gives you deep control over those radios. It comes in three flavors: a free version, a fancier version that costs a few bucks, and an "Ultimate" version that is expensive only by Android standards (at five dollars, well worth the money). Ultimate provides three levels of control. You can accept one of the three built-in profiles; you can go for "custom", which lets you manage a few high-level knobs yourself; or you can go for "advanced", which provides you with a ridiculous number of switches to make your phone behave exactly as you like. I've barely scratched the surface of the really cool features, like the one that changes the radio profile based on your current location.

No question about it -- this is a power tool, and it isn't a simple panacea. By the nature of what it's doing (turning off your data connections at various times), it means that you get notifications slower under at least some circumstances. And the Ultimate version is certainly more powerful than most people need, although I think it's worth supporting the program just on general principles.

But it does what it claims. At the cost of getting IMs and things a little less promptly, it claims to be doubling my daily battery life, and that matches my anecdotal observations. Well worth getting, and I plan on fiddling with it to get it "just so".

Enjoy Sudoku: Hands down, this is the best sudoku implementation I've ever come across. The UI is easy and intuitive -- better yet, it optimizes for the device you are using, using the extra real estate of a tablet well. It hooks up to an online database of layouts, and shows you how you do against other people who are playing the same layout. If you like Sudoku, this one is a must-have.

Drop7: At any given time, I find the need to have a current "tetris". You know: the annoyingly simple game that nonetheless eats your brain? You can always tell that you've fallen for one of these games when you find that you are dreaming about playing it?

Drop7 is one of those: another little drop-things-into-a-grid puzzle game. But this one has a fine twist: you are dropping numbered blocks in, and each block disintegrates when it is in a row or column with exactly that many blocks in it. It would probably be entirely beatable, but sometimes you wind up dropping in grey shells with no visible number. If a block next to one of these shells disintegrates, it cracks; after another, it opens and shows the number inside, at which point you can start to eliminate it. After each "level" (a certain number of blocks dropped), a row of grey shells pushes up from the bottom.

Very simple time-waster, with a pretty clear limit to how long you can play a game: each level is shorter and shorter, so eventually the grey shells overwhelm your ability to crack them open. And so, in that classic intermittent-reinforcement way, you wind up playing again and again.
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The adults in the family collectively decided to give charitable donations to each other this year, in lieu of physical presents. But there was one exception: my brother-in-law gave us HP Touchpads.

The Touchpad is an interesting toy. It is the one tablet released under the new WebOS operating system, originally developed by Palm and then bought by HP before they got cold feet. From the high-level view, it's a fairly normal tablet, much like the Android Xoom that I've been using for most of this year or the iPad that Kate got for Christmas.

That said, it's a pretty device. The OS is responsive, and more intuitive than most. The number of apps is sadly limited (and presumably unlikely to get much larger), but most of the ones they do have are pretty and well-implemented, including a genuinely nice Facebook app. It integrates smoothly with whatever accounts you have in the cloud, with little difficulty. My only real complaint is that the email app isn't threaded, which makes reading Gmail on it a bit strange. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do with it, but having an alternate tablet is potentially handy.

Overall, it's a shame that the thing didn't get its day in the sun -- while I think WebOS had a very uphill battle against Android and iOS at this point, I would have liked to see another viable entrant into the field. (Yes, yes -- they've open-sourced the operating system. That's lovely, and I can hope it goes somewhere, but it is almost always the corporate equivalent of a shrug, indicating that they have no idea what to do, so they're making the crapshoot that somebody else will find a use for this code. Works maybe one time in fifty.)

On the other hand, there's the device I bought myself a couple of weeks ago, which is now very much my Precious: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

This is the reference phone for the new 4.0 release of Android, AKA "Ice Cream Sandwich". I had decided some months back that I was going to buy the first decent ICS phone that came out on Verizon. (Basically, I have an Android 3.0 tablet, and the UI is *so* much nicer than Android 2.x that I decided I wasn't going to buy another 2.x phone. And my Droid 1 was on its last legs.) So I spent several weeks haunting the rumor sites online, wandering down to the Verizon store every time the rumor mill said that the phone was about to come out and being turned away. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, the stars lined up and they actually released the damned thing; I bought mine an hour later.

In a word, it's really quite sweet. The dual-core CPU is faster than my tablet, and the screen is incredibly sharp. The 4G service is crazy-fast, although I leave that disabled most of the time to preserve the battery. (For most purposes, 3G works just fine -- IMO, 4G is still a bit of a solution looking for a problem, although it's nice not competing with everybody else for the bandwidth.)

The only debateable downside is that the phone is *huge* -- big enough that it actually sticks out the top of my shirt pocket. OTOH, that is a somewhat natural side-effect of having the biggest screen on the market, which is part of the point. And despite the size, the phone is reasonably thin and pretty light, so I don't mind the length.

The ICS interface is a delight -- this time around, they've finally gotten pretty much all of the elements right, so that the UI is fast, easy and intuitive. It loses the four hard buttons previously built into the phone, instead displaying three soft buttons when appropriate. Switching between apps is much easier than in the base version of Android 2.x. The onscreen keyboard is *vastly* improved over previous versions of Android, enough so that I don't mind losing the hardware keyboard I used to have. The lack of Google Wallet makes me sad, and I'm disappointed in the few apps that haven't yet caught up, but for the most part my upgrade experience was smooth as silk.

All in all, it's a fabulous toy, powerful enough that I'm now doing a lot on my phone that I had previously done on the tablet. Android has pulled level with the iPhone in pretty much all respects here (and is much more customizable if, like me, you like some control over your experience). There will undoubtedly be more ICS phones coming soon, but for now, I don't see any reason *not* to go with the Nexus if you are a Verizon customer and like the idea of the huge screen...
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A lot of you know this already, but for those who hadn't heard: Niki is moving back to Philadelphia. We didn't have a big fight or anything (never mind the rumor mill, which has apparently kicked into overdrive); we still care for each other a lot. But we realized that the relationship wasn't going where we needed it to, and decided to move on while our friendship was still strong. And while she's developed a lot of friendships up north, the core of her personal support system is in the south.

I hope that the folks down there welcome her back, and value her properly. She'll be much missed by many people up here...
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Got back last night from a week in Florida. Some impressions...

Spending a week mostly solo is really pretty weird. Kate and I traveled together, and got to see each other a couple of times while we were there -- it turns out that her folks' condo on Ft. Myers Beach is close enough to my parents on Sanibel for each of us to visit the others' family once. But that's quite different from taking a vacation as a couple, which is what I've been doing for 25 years. Given that I don't sleep quite as well on my own, don't sleep quite as well when it's warm, and don't sleep quite as well on strange beds -- well, the multiplication there meant that I was kind of tired by the end.

That said, it was a broadly good trip, if deliberately unstructured and lazy. I rented a bicycle, and at least got back to the point where the 14 mile round trip to Pinocchio's (the island's ice cream shop) felt natural. Bicycle is how most residents get around Sanibel: only tourists (and some families) drive on-island. There are fine "shared use" paths along most of the major roads, dozens of miles of them, and the island is practically pancake-flat, so even the 7-speed bike I rented was largely overkill.

Of course, the paths are shared with lots of other things: pedestrians, but also various other contraptions, including Segways. (I got to introduce Kate to the island via Segway Tour, which I always find delightful.) Prize for strangest use goes to the guy in the falling-down thing: standing on a sort of triangle, with one foot on each of two corners, and a steering column attached to the front one, moving forward in a controlled fall as he swiveled side-to-side down the path.

I read many of the comics that I brought along, but got heavily side-tracked by deciding to get caught up with Girl Genius, in preparation for my GG LARP in May -- I wound up reading about a solid year's worth, to get myself back into the story, which probably took an entire day right there. Found that the game (which was written almost six years ago) is screamingly non-canon in at least two major respects, but it does look like I got a lot of the details right from early hints that the Foglios dropped.

The entire family was there -- that was fun, if occasionally a tad overwhelming for me. I can cope with eight adults for dinner, but when you add four children (ages 10, 7, 3 and 1) into the mix, and it got a bit -- boisterous. That said, the kids all seem to be growing up well, and are fairly well-behaved for their ages.

With all those kids, Christmas itself was of course all about the presents. There had apparently been some conspiracies that I'd missed (Legos for Joshua, American Girl for Riley), but my presents seem to have gone over well anyway: I got building toys for all of them. K'nex for Joshua and Riley (a big complex roller coaster for him, a ferris wheel for her), but the real hits turned out the be the Tinkertoys for Miles and Megablox for Parke -- all of the kids spent much of the following days playing with those. Lovely to see that the classics can still draw them in, even without lights and buzzers.

The big attraction for the trip was the new house, which was either 2 or 20 years in the making depending on how you look at it.

Dad and Sandy have been vacationing on Sanibel for a *long* time now -- not sure exactly how long, but "decades" is a fair characterization. After some years of paying a fortune to other people to rent condos for a week, they decided to switch places, bought a condo themselves, and have been using that largely as a rental property ever since. That worked out quite well, so some years ago Dad asked my sister and I whether he could take a chunk of our trust fund, and use that to buy another one. (Hence, I kinda-sorta technically own property on Sanibel.) Those have been their toys for a number of years, gradually remodeled into things of beauty -- good enough that they manage to find renters almost every week despite the current economy.

Anyway, a couple of years ago, they were down on the island, staying in our condos for a week or two. When their time was up (and they had to give it back to the renters), they saw that there was a blizzard up in NJ, so they decided to rent a place for another week or two. At the end of which there was *another* blizzard, so they decided to extend their stay yet further. At which point they realized that this was getting silly, and they may as well just admit that they wanted to move to Sanibel permanently. So that's been the big project for the two years since: finding a suitable empty property, designing the house (I think I saw a dozen-plus versions of the blueprints), going through *vast* amounts of red tape, building it and eventually moving in at the beginning of December.

The end results are really magnificent, well worth the effort. It's sort of two-story, but is really a sort of raised ranch: due to flood dangers, the main body of the house is the second story, set on top of mammoth pilings. It's a fairly open floor plan, with the main space being the living room, kitchen and dining room all flowing nicely together, making it feel big and airy despite none of the rooms being huge. Along the back of the house is a second-floor deck that *is* pretty huge, and the sliding doors to it run the entire length of the living room, so the living room and deck can just flow together if you open it all the way. That overlooks a full-sized pool, and the whole thing is surrounded by an enormous mosquito cage, so you can comfortably spend most of your time outside.

All in all, the place is just beautiful. The only weakness, by popular agreement, is a lighting system that only an engineer could love. Pretty much every light in the house is individually controllable, and there are wall plates festooned with buttons everywhere, with the result that figuring out which switches you want to use for what is actually pretty difficult. Dad and I spent a bit of time talking about that, and tossing some ideas back and forth about how to make it more usable; he's going to sit down and fiddle with the programming when he gets some time. (And I am very amused that my gradually developing UX experience proved actually useful.)

So another Christmas past. The plane rides were blessedly easy (Weds to Weds is a fine way to schedule a trip to Florida), and getting to snuggle with Kate on the plane made the time pass much more quickly. But I do think I'm going to sleep better now that I'm home...
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[Yes, I've been pretty quiet on LJ lately. Suffice it to say, I've been busy living, so haven't had quite as much time to spend talking about my life. But I'm in a mood to post, so time to clear out some of the things I've been meaning to talk about in recent weeks.]

As many of you know, [livejournal.com profile] ladysprite and [livejournal.com profile] tpau are doing a *lot* of fund-raising for the Komen 3-Day walk this year -- they've set an ambitious goal, and I'm rooting for them to make it.

One of the many aspects of the fund-raising is a raffle they are running at Arisia in a few weeks, and it is looking downright remarkable. They've gotten donations of dozens of prizes, many of them quite neat, with more continuing to come in. For my part, I've contributed a small stack of classic fanzines from our considerable library of them, including early works by several major SF authors.

If you're going to be at Arisia, you can buy tickets in person there, but if not, they're selling tickets online -- see here for the details. I highly recommend it: this raffle looks to be bigger and better than many entire conventions manage, and it's a really great cause...
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What is the sound of a Jaegermonster launched to America by electric catapult?
How many litter boxes are required by an invading army of cats?
Can TransPolyU's Drama Department cause the spontaneous creation of new timelines, through the scientific application of bad acting?
And what is the secret of the Hidden Castle?
These questions and more might (but probably won't) be answered in Girl Genius: Agatha Heterodyne and the Perfect Construct!

This four-hour LARP was originally run (twice) at Intercon G, and was a fine romp. Next year, as part of Anna and Becky's fundraising for the Komen 3-Day Walk, we will be re-running it. The game will take place on Sunday May 6th at Camelot. The game is for 27 players (tentatively, pending rewrites); we hope to do two runs.

We'll be talking it up steadily in the coming months, but I encourage folks to put it on their calendars, and sign up as soon as you are able, at http://arbradley.net/collectInfo.html. Casting will begin in a few months, with an eye towards giving those who are interested a couple of months for costuming.

Spread the word, and hope to see you there...
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Horribly interesting little article making the rounds -- apparently C|Net's download.com is now wrapping some software in trojan horses that do things like add an unwanted toolbar to your browser, change your preferences, and so on. The story's still evolving, but it sounds like, if you've been trusting them for downloads, it may be time to seek other sources instead...
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[Context: Carolingia will be holding round 1 of the Baronial election tomorrow evening, at 7:30 at MIT in room 2-105.  This vote is open to Carolingians, somewhat loosely defined: paid members, Council officers, and anyone who has attended a Carolingian event in the year to October.]

This is the hard part.  Campaigning for the group comes naturally to me -- I've been recruiting for the SCA for 25 years, and doing publicity in general for longer than that.  But campaigning for me feels rather odd.

But now's the time to put that aside and be honest: I'd appreciate it if you'd come to the vote tomorrow, and consider voting for me.  I wouldn't be running if I didn't think I was the best person for the job right now -- I've got a lot of ideas of things we should try, but also a solid sense that this has to be collaborative effort.  I wouldn't be the grandest Baron Carolingia's ever had, but I'd be one of the friendlier  and more imaginative ones, and at the moment I think that's more needed.

And yes, I think tomorrow matters, even if nobody's being eliminated.  It's going to indicate the opinions of the people who actually made the effort to come vote in-person, not just the ones with paid memberships.  It's largely symbolic, but we're at a point where symbolism matters.

I want the job: it's going to be hard work for whoever wins, and more than a little scary, but it has the potential to be real fun if approached properly.  So I hope you can and will come tomorrow, and cast your vote.


jducoeur: (Default)

January 2012

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