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I used to joke that I spoke three: English, American, and French.


Programming languages do not count. 🙂

V Lock

You know that feeling you get when you see an invention and think "Why didn't I think of that?"

The V Lock is one of those ideas. Car keys that just contain a memory chip and sit inside what amounts to a digital card reader with an "On" button nearby are another.

The latter, however, had technical hurdles to clear while the V Lock could have been created in the 1400s (or, heck, the 1400s BC by the Egyptians or something).

The Talent Code

I've been reading the book The Talent Code and have recently finished.

The basic idea is that talent - skill - is something we can all learn, and that the best way to do so is via what the author dubbed "deep practice."

Deep practice involves taking things in chunks, going slowly (often, but not always), and operating at the edges of our abilities. It involves continuously making and correcting small errors.

Iron Baby

MacBook Says No AirPort Card Installed

My wife's computer - a MacBook (13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) - has recently had a hard time with the AirPort card. After waking it from a sleep once, she told me that she couldn't connect. The network settings said the AirPort was off, but clicking "On" didn't do anything. She's running 10.6.3.

I tried creating a new location (it failed), as recommended. I repaired permissions (several hundred were fixed) and trashed I rebooted. It worked.

She slept the computer and it failed again. I reset the PRAM and rebooted. It didn't work. I rebooted and it worked the next time. Then she sleeps it and it goes away.

I took the computer apart so far as taking the battery, HD, and RAM out, but wasn't sure where the AirPort card was located to check for a loose connection. Someone on this page says I'd have to remove the Camera cable guide, LVDS cable guide, Display assembly, and Display clutch cover to get to the AirPort card, and while I'm technically quite capable of doing so, I'd prefer to know what parts those are (a diagram and some pictures) before I go that far.

What You Praise

From pages 135 and 136 of The Talent Code:

First, Dweck gave every child a test that consisted of fairly easy puzzles. Afterward, the researcher informed all of the children of their scores, adding a single six-word sentence of praise. Half of the kids were praised for their intelligence ("You must be smart at this."), and half were praised for their effort ("You must have worked really hard.").

The kids were tested a second time, but this time they were offered a choice between a harder test and an easier test. Ninety percent of the kids who'd been praised for their effort chose the harder test. A majority of the kids who'd been praised for their intelligence, on the other hand, chose the easy test. Why? "When we praise children for their intelligence," Dweck wrote, "we tell them that's the name of the game: look smart, don't risk making mistakes."

Eventually the students were given a few more tests, concluding with the final test - one of equal difficulty to the first. The "effort" students improved their score by 30% while the "intelligent" students did 20% worse.

I can think of at least two areas in which this might be applied - one is golf instruction. The other is with a certain very intelligent seven year-old.

Five Guys to Erie

Five Guys (Burgers and Fries) is apparently coming to Erie. Along with Chipotle, yippeee!!!!

The food options in Erie were just upgraded about 2000%.

I Passed the PAT

According to Chuck Evans, only 2% of people pass the PAT (Playing Ability Test) the first time they attempt it. Only 50% who ever attempt it eventually pass… ever.

I can now count myself among the 50% who pass. And, I'm pleased to say, among the 2% who pass the first time.

I took my PAT today at Tan Tara Golf Club. We played tees that rated out to 69.7, so the target score was 154 - a pair of 77s. You know how golfers tend to shoot the same score regardless of the tees they play? Yeah, so the course rating being lower doesn't really help.

Large MySQL Databases

I'll search the web later for answers, but I thought I'd put this up now and see if anyone had any more directed things so I could narrow my focus a bit.

I have a MySQL database that's now 1 GB in size. It has 235 tables, the largest four of which are 263.0 MiB, 343.5 MiB, 239.6 MiB, and then just 55.9 MiB.

The database powers a vBulletin forum.

Generally things are fine, but I'm always looking to optimize. I had a fairly optimized setup for vBulletin 3.0, but with 4.0 a lot changed, I think, and I'm looking for some specific MySQL (MyISAM table types) things which can help.

Any ideas? I'll answer any questions as best as I can too.

PAT Coming Up Soon

I have my Playing Ability Test in a few days. I'm anxious. I'm not competing against other people, and the forecast is for 45 degrees or so with rain and a good amount of wind, which will simply make shooting the appropriate score much more difficult.

I've seen the course once - we played a practice round yesterday - and I know which areas to avoid and which ones are okay. I think I know which clubs to hit off which tees. I have some sight lines. The greens are relatively simple to figure out. I know how to get to the course.

I have to shoot a pair of 77s. Or at least one 82 to "kinda" pass - but obviously I'd love to be "one and done." We'll see…

ClickToFlash Dead?

Is ClickToFlash dead? Where are the updates?

I know there are a few later betas to be found in the forum, but momentum for the main page of the site has completely halted lately.

1.6b9 has issues. 1.5.5 isn't great either.

C'mon, Wolf (et al). 🙂

Categories of Icon Design

The way I see it, Mac application icons fit into roughly four categories.

1. Object + Tool
These icons are the simplest and, I believe, the most commonly used. An icon in this category is often represented as the object on which work is done and the tool with which the work is accomplished. For example, a pen (the tool) sitting on a piece of paper (the object) would represent a writing application.

These types of application icons are typically the safest and clearest types of icons, but they are potentially the most boring as well.

Examples of Object + Tool: Preview, Audio Hijack Pro, CSSEdit, TextEdit (duh), Billable, Layers, OmniGraffle, VueScan, Scorecard, Disk Utility.


AirPortLocation is a pretty nifty utility that can change a lot of preference settings depending on your physical location.

I'm using it because at home my MacBook Pro uses a pre-determined IP address while at the Golf Evolution studio I use whatever DHCP address the Verizon MiFi assigns to my computer.

I'll also use it to change my desktop picture and a few other things (it'd be nice if the option to turn off Time Capsule backups was added) like my default printer. And… well, that's about it.

Laminate Flooring vs. Real Wood

Two questions for those who may have done this type of thing before:

Question One: Cost
Is wood flooring - real wood - worth the cost over laminate flooring? We're looking at installing this in a bedroom.

Question Two: Ease
How easy is it to install wood or laminate flooring? Is one easier than the other? Do either require a lot of special tools? The room in question has carpet installed in it currently. I may have to rent (or buy) a saw of some kind, but I saw things about joint pullers for the last board in a row and undercutting flush saws and things like that in a quick Google search.

I'll google it later and watch some videos on YouTube, but I was looking for some other homeowner feedback in the meantime.

BMW 3 Series Start/Stop Button

So a friend of mine has a BMW 3 series sedan. It's nice (awkwardly low seats for someone used to driving a Touareg, though).

It's got a "Start/Stop" button that works after you put your key fob in the little holder.

I joked around today and asked "what happens if you push the button while you're driving down the road?"

So we coasted into a parking spot, car in "Drive," and pushed the button.

The car turned off!

So we tried it again and it turned off again!

My friend is too much of a chicken to try it at 15 MPH despite the fact that the brakes didn't engage or anything.

But what's up with that? I suspect that at some speed it won't just turn the car off while it's still moving, but what gives? Why would it let you turn the car off at 3 or 5 MPH to begin with?