Rich's Rants

Wherein I occasionally rant on various topics including, but not limited to, PHP, Music, and whatever other Topics I find interesting at the moment, including my brain tumor surgery of August 2010.

Friday, February 07, 2014

8-hour ordeal. 17-minute interview

Yesterday, I went to my interview for the Paratransit (door to door ADA service).

I set it up while I could still "walk" down my seven front stairs in 1/2 an hour.

Wheelchair-bound now.

Several days of big snow.

Shoveled by "the love of my life" who's going on weeks of 15-minute catnaps 24/7 to care of me.

Three big burly guys in two shifts to haul my wheelchair down and up stairs:

  • Mike DeWhite
  • Duli
  • Robert Owens
My sister drove me to-and-fro.
Actually, Mike DeWhite with help from my sis (torn rotator cuff) and my SO (6 pins holding a steel plate in her broken collar bone) deserve special mention: Mike DeWhite man-handled me upstairs, with guidance from sis and SO.

Eight-hour ordeal. 17-minute Interview. Including snapping a photo for my ID badge.

My front lawn is way too short for a ramp.  Now I "just" need a $5,000 to $10,000 chair lift...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

End Game

Well we knew it had to happen in the end. 

The brain cancer has won.

You know how they say in the old movies, "Get your affairs in order, you have 3 to 6 months to live?"

Well they phrase the first part differently, the last part is the same.

I have been given 3 to 6 months to live by the doctors. 

Well I don't think the doctors know everything, and I'm trying this funny-looking headgear that makes me look like an Irish Rabbi. Things look bad.

I have granted powers of attorney, made out my will, blah blah blah.

I'm just gonna let them foreclose the house I love. 

I quit my job because I can't type, and a programmer who can't type is not a programmer. 
[I'm dictating this to my daughter, who's taken such good care of me.]

The love of my life hasn't slept for days taking care of me, and my family has had to bear the brunt of my care. I thank them for standing by me during this period.

I hate to beg for money, but I am in dire financial strates. There's a PayPal link in the top corner. Any financial help would be a blessing.

I am maintaining a THANK YOU page, but forgive if I don't update frequently...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Facebook Scrollbars

For reasons beyond my ken, Facebook has a fluid-height IFRAME that seems to "not work" for a lot of people.

Probably people like me who know just enough CSS to be dangerous.

You can Google for various wordings of the problem, and find half a dozen equally good solutions.

Except the ones that use FB.Canvas.setAutoSize, because that's been replaced by the seemingly the same behavior FB.Canvas.setAutoGrow.  So you have to change your code for a (meaningless?) backwards incompatible change. Thanks Facebook. Again. But I digress.
(I welcome comments that explain why this function was renamed.)

You can Google for the FB.Canvas.setAutoGrow solution, but here's a TIP:

If you attempted to get your application to "fill" the page by adding height: 100%; to your CSS, it sort of worked sometimes, but not others, and so you turn to the real solution above...

When you do that, it does NOT work. The 100% "fights with" the FB code to produce, shall we say, less than desirable results, like making your page roughly a mile high.

TIP Rip out those "height: 100%;" CSS attributes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Using Visioneer 7300 USB scanner with Mac OSX

Using Visioneer 7300 USB scanner with Mac OSX

So I have this Visioneer 7300 USB scanner that was acquired from a firing from a former job, since the owner didn't even want it back.

It's kind of a nice scanner, lightweight, with five programmable buttons on the front, such as scan and print with one click.

The UI for the button programming is about as bad as I've seen. I refuse to provide instructions because I basically click around semi-randomly when I try to program a button until it works. Kind of like Windows.

Anyway, I wanted to hook it up to my MacBook Pro, but it never seemed to work.

Then an upgrade to Windows made it not work there either because there was no driver allegedly, but I found that gimp could use something to make it work.

Actually, I think the driver for the PaperPort software was at fault, but I like gimp interface better anyway. Though gimp does take a long time to start up. Oh well.

So then I tried gimp on the Mac. With a bit of effort, I made it work.

  1. Starting on the sane homepage I found a supported devices link.
  2. I clicked through to the vendor-ordered devices and found my device.
  3. I then did the usual "sudo port search" to find sane stuff.
  4. I then did my usual "install everything that looks useful":
    • sudo port install sane-backends sane-frontends twain-sane xsane
    • You may not be that indiscriminate however. Good luck.
  5. I tried gimp in a terminal, and it wouldn't start.
  6. So I did "sudo port install gimp" to re-install that.
  7. Again typing "gimp" in a terminal seemed to work...
  8. However, while I had an Xsane dialog... in my gimp "Create" menu...
    • It couldn't find my device.
    • The console log in the terminal said:
      • Couldn't open firmware file (`/opt/local/share/sane/gt68xx/Cis3r5b1.fw'): No such file or directory
    • So I went on a hunt for Cis3r5b1.fw
    • I found a download on a Polish (?) site: Despite my complete lack of understanding of Polish, the download button was rather obvious.
      • Anybody remember when the internet was almost all English, and the Russian site 'demos" opened up and everybody and their brother sent them "welcome" emails and wanted to know what kind of demos they were working on and it was "Demos" the moon of Mars... I think they were astronomers or something. Sorry. I digress. 
  9. I created the gt86xx director in /opt/local/share/sane/ and downloaded the file there.
  10. A restart of X11 and gimp and Bob's your uncle.
  11. I made a test scan, and it took forever, and the white/black/grey scale was all whack.
  12. But the next scan seemed to go faster, and I assume I can tweak settings more or less at random until the colors/grays come out right.
Anyway, that's how I did it, and it might work for you, or not. And it even might be helpful for a different scanner. Or not.

Or even a different platform that can use sane. Or not.

I may have left out a minor step here or there. I'm horrible at taking notes because I usually figure I won't get it to work anyway.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Cost of Connectivity

The Cost of Connectivity

synopsis: The US Sucks

Public interest and consumer advocates have cited the U.S.’s recent decline in global competitiveness as evidence of the need for policy reforms that will spur greater competition and investment from the nation’s Internet providers. Meanwhile, opponents of this view have dismissed these international rankings as deeply flawed and akin to comparing apples and oranges. They cite the United States' significantly lower population density and larger geographic size relative to other nations at the top of the rankings,which tend to have smaller land areas and greater population densities. emphasis mine

Are the opponents of fair competition seriously suggesting that a survey of major cities around the world is biased to a great effect by population density?

Yes, USA has a serious "urban sprawl" effect. One has to only look at L.A., New York Metro and Chicago to see that.

But, really, is it any easier in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Paris, Berlin, London or Amsterdam to tear up streets and install fiber?

Actually, if you think about it, the "urban sprawl" makes it easier

Sure, buying the fiber and running it a longer distance is more expensive.

But they've got more "elbow" room in those cities.

How in the world did they find any room in Tokyo to run fiber? The whole city is a spire with tiny apartments/condos crammed on top of each other like a Jenga game.

Have you ever seen the traffic in Paris or London?

Hong Kong? You can't even breathe without invading somebody's personal space.

The US doesn't even have a single city in the top 50. You have to scan down to top 90 to hit Los Angeles.

Does that prove their point? Or does that population density make it much more expensive to run fiber?

In fact, if you Google for prices of laying fiber, you will find the same answer everywhere: Population density is the #1 cost factor. They're running fiber inside sewers just to avoid dealing with tearing up streets!