I just love being a geek sometimes

Sometimes having programming skills comes in very handy, particularly when you’re trying to be as lazy as you can possibly be.

I have a MythTV DVR system setup in my apartment.  One of the features of this system is that any of the Linux systems (Which is all 5 of my home computers) on my LAN can connect to the backend server and be used to watch live TV or shows that I have recorded on the backend.

In my home office, I’ve got two PC’s setup.  This allows me to use one as a TV while I’m working on the other.

This setup suits my needs nicely, but there was one minor annoyance.  I had to move from computer to computer any time I wanted to adjust the volume, change channels, skip commercials, etc.

Most people would just accept it as is (well, most people wouldn’t have built their own DVR either, heh), but being a geek it was time to flex some creative mental muscle.

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Telecommunicators single release

(There is an embedded player on this post, but you may have to scroll down a bit to see it.  For some reason it’s inserting a huge whitespace before itself)

I recently went to the Telecommunicators single release show for “Sorrows”.  A friend and karaoke regular of mine Matt is the lead singer and plays keyboard in the band.

As a karaoke DJ in Nashville, you can imagine how many people I’ve met in bands of one sort or another over the years.  Honestly, beyond politely listening to them talking about their plans and wishing them well I don’t usually really pay much attention.  I have had some regulars who were successful musicians in one capacity or another, and some who went on to become so, but it is certainly the exception to the rule.

The first time I went to one of their shows I really didn’t expect much.  Don’t get me wrong, I already knew Matt was a great singer and looked forward to seeing him and my other friends at the show, but my expectations were tempered by past experience.  It takes far more than just a good voice to make a good band.

I was VERY pleasantly surprised!  From the first song in their set I became an instant fan.  This was no cheesy cover band, they had their own songs with their own unique sound, a sound and style that very much appealed to my tastes.  I didn’t have to give sympathy applause and empty polite compliments, I honestly loved the music.

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Windows, Linux, and false perceptions

One of my co-workers came to me today for some help with a Windows laptop.  He had just nuked and paved (aka reinstalled) the OS on it, and was having a horrible time finding the correct drivers for several devices on the system.  After using a Fedora live USB stick to identify what the hardware actually was (which I couldn’t readily find out in Windows), I finally managed to get everything working except for the audio.  This wasn’t some obscure audio chipset, it was just one of the normal Intel ones based on the AC97 codec.  I eventually got sick of banging my head against it and handed it off to one of our more Windows fluent people who finally managed to get it working.

I had completely forgotten how much of a chore it could be to get everything working on a Windows box after the OS install.  I’ve been spoiled by recent versions of the Linux desktop distros (Fedora in particular).  As long as your hardware isn’t extremely bleeding edge or exotic it usually “Just Works” under Linux these days.  The only thing I’ve had a hard time with at all in the last few years was that after the PulseAudio transition it was hard to get sound working in apps running under wine (which allows you to run Windows apps under Linux), though even this has been sorted out now.  Most native apps never had any problems at all.

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Media coverage of the great TN flood of 2010

While the local media outlets were on top of things, the national media seemed to respond with a big “meh.”  Where was the obsessive coverage that seems to be the standard for natural disasters (or any story really) in recent years?  Where was the outcry to help those who lost their homes and businesses?

We literally had the most rainfall recorded in Middle TN in a 48 hour period in recorded history.  In other words, we have never had anything of this magnitude since they started keeping records of weather.  The damage estimates are in the billions, and they can’t even really get a good grasp of how bad things really are until the waters recede back to somewhat normal levels.  This is probably the single biggest disaster this state has ever experienced as far as property and infrastructure damage is concerned.

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