Archives for March 2005

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Staking Out Cookie Territory

So yesterday I'm walking across campus to get on my bike and head home, and I pass a girl, probably seven or so years old, selling girl scout cookies in the center of campus. Now, that's nothing unusual. But this girl had a whole setup going. She had a table, a chair, and next to them she had probably a dozen boxes of cookies. Not the little for-sale boxes, but the boxes those boxes get shipped in. Either this girl is the ultimate in little girl scout businesswomen, or she had some help.

Still Infatuated With Connectivity

It's quite possible that the coolest thing about being able to have this anywhere Internet access via my phone is that suddenly I have connectivity on the roof of my apartment building. I have some laundry in the dryer, so while I'm waiting I grabbed my laptop and headed up here to hang out for a half hour or so. It's so nice just to be outside after all the crappy weather we've had lately.

Speed wise, my connectivity is testing at about 120 - 140kbps. That's not as fast as EDGE is advertised as being capable of, but it's good enough for me. The one thing I do need to lessen for this is my dependence on ssh. The latency times (600 - 900ms) are just high enough to make interactive typing less than appealing. It's workable, just not fun for email.

Woo hoo! Truely Mobile Internet

Success came quicker than I might have thought... I'm now posting this via a GPRS/EDGE connection through my cell phone. I'm using my phone as a Bluetooth modem to give connectivity to my laptop.

Enough technical terms for you?

In layman's terms: My cell phone -- a Sony Ericsson s710 with service through Cingular -- offers internet access, in the form of Cingular's MEdia Net functionality. The phone offers the functionality to act as a modem, and in fact can connect wirelessly to the laptop as a Bluetooth modem. My laptop doesn't have Bluetooth built in, but I have a little bluetooth adaptor that plugs into the back of the computer (USB). So, to get internet access on my laptop the computer sees the phone as a modem and "dials" the internet (really it just tells the phone to use a certain profile). The phone connects to the internet and returns the connection information to the laptop. Voila, I'm on the internet.

Breaking Things, Getting Ready, and Getting Access

It turns out I broke authentication on Tuesday afternoon while putting some code changes in place. Oddly, I was still able to post Tuesday evening after the DLANC meeting, but the code was broken so I'm not sure how that worked. Something still looks to be a little wacky, but it should just affect authenticated access, so none of you should see it.

That doesn't have anything to do with me not posting yesterday, though. I didn't notice until this morning. Yesterday I was just busy studying for my last midterm before spring break. Now I have classes today, work tomorrow, and then Monday Kathy and I fly to South Carolina for six days.

I'm working on getting internet access working through my phone. If I can get that going I'll use that while I'm in SC. I have my laptop able to make the phone connect to network and from the console it looks like the ppp connection starts up correctly, but something still isn't working right through kppp. I think I'm close, though.

podcast 0.1

When KCRW started podcasting I mentioned I wanted to write a script to manage downloading the files and getting them over to my cell phone each night. Well, I haven't quite done that yet. But I have written the first steps, and put my perl podcast app over at eScripting. This is the first thing I've put up there in a bunch of years. last shows a change in July of 2002. I'm using the URI::Fetch CPAN module that jim mentioned a few weeks ago.

My Windows Don't Block Smell

CSI:NY is shooting in my alley today, which is fine. We got the notifications a couple days ago and they did a really good job of detailing what would be happening when. Here's the problem, though: right now they're grilling some really good smelling meat directly below my window. Delicious aromas are wafting in through my windows. That's just unfair.

Flexcar: A Full Weekend

This weekend I actually used Flexcar quite a bit. Kathy's car is in the shop, so I first picked up car 6926 (which Flexcar's site at the moment lists as a mini-van... I assure you it isn't) on my way back from work Friday and we made our way over to the west side. Then Sunday I again got a car -- though this time car 6925, just for variety -- for church and errands. I'm really enjoying the Civic hybrid, and I finally noticed that the trip odometer would let me get a MPG number for my time in the car. Average MPG's for the two trips: 38.1 and 38.6. — Continue Reading...

Another Big Park

This weekend I was introduced for the first time to Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Baldwin Hills. For a big city, Los Angeles keeps surprising me with these massive parks that you don't really understand the scale of until you're there. Griffith Park is amazing, and I've been there many times, but I had only driven by Kenneth Hahn SRA before Saturday. The site was home to the Olympic Village for the 1932 games, and then did some time as an oil field before the state bought the hilltop in 1983 and made it into a really nice looking park. There are pictures in my flickr gallery.

Scott Garner: 0-2 in My Book

You may remember that a little over a week ago I criticized Scott Garner over at LAist over a piece he wrote on the committee subway vote. Garner at the time wrote this:

Regardless, Labonge and his subway-lovin' wrecking crew will take their fight straight to the man tomorrow, going before the full MTA board to make their case that a subway that actually relieves traffic is a pretty darn good idea.

What are the odds that they'll be successful? About the same odds that Jamie Foxx will go home empty-handed on Sunday, but good on 'em for trying.

Of course the next day the board passed LaBonge's motion 11-2.

Today Garner has another piece on the subway, of course making no mention of his previous piece. And then he goes on to criticize the MTA's art program... — Continue Reading...

LA Weekly Interviews Henry Waxman

The LA Weekly is running a good interview with Henry Waxman. Waxman is the congressman who's famous (or infamous, depending on how you want to look at it) in transit circles for getting a law prohibiting federal funding be used on tunnelling under portions of Wilshire known to have methane gas pockets. I recommend reading this interview, but you'll have to get past this right at the beginning:

Ever wonder why a leg of the Red Line ends at Wilshire and Normandie, miles short of the museums and office buildings that would make it worthwhile to thousands?

Well, see, here's the thing... I've never wondered that, since the Red Line goes to Wilshire and Western, which is a bit farther down the street. Sometimes I wonder if people actually fact-check these things.

It's Test Day

I haven't mentioned much about school here lately. Today, though, I have two midterms. The first one was this morning, in my class Public Service in an Urban Setting. Questions dealt with Los Angeles' widening "two-tier" economic structure (expansion of the poor and the rich while the middle-class sort of disappears), philanthropic practices of different ethnic groups, service learning, and one more that I can't remember at the moment. I felt like I did pretty well. Of the four essays two had multiple options and two were mandatory. I lucked out with feeling comfortable on the required ones while having a definite favorite in the choices.

And now in an hour and a half I have a midterm in my anthropology class, Exploring Culture Through Film. This one I don't feel at all as comfortable about, but my saving grace will be that it's (at least largely... I think all) multiple choice. I like multiple choice.

Trying to Find a Music Player

I'm getting lazy in my old age. There used to be a day when I would write my own mp3 players, but these days I just want something that works and that I don't have to fuss with. I've run xmms since 2000/2001 or so (before that I ran a little perl client called smartplay for a while), but I really do want something more these days. Particularly I want something with easier/smarter playlist handling. So just a few minutes ago I decided to give a shot to rhythmbox on the GNOME side and juk from KDE. The short answer: they're both good starts, but both have issues. — Continue Reading...