Back from the Grave

This blog has been offline for a couple months now on account of a host transfer.  Restoring WP from a backup is remarkably easy, but it nonetheless requires some directed attention, and I have been keeping myself plenty busy elsewhere.

There is a lot I have wanted to write about, but I encountered a major disruption last summer: I bought a house.  Six months later, I am still dealing with the transition – moving is something I am admittedly terrible at, so there are still boxes lying around the house that need to be unpacked.  That’s also been a major deterrent to learning new technologies, as my home doesn’t yet feel like the oasis to foster appropriate learning just yet.  But we’re getting close!

I actually have a lot I’d like to write about and explore in the coming months:

  • After attending ComicCon this summer I am interested in including more geek culture discussions in this blog.  ComicCon was amazing fun and introduced me to so many top-notch comic books – I fell back in love with the medium after the convention wrapped up.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff to chew over here: ComicCon itself was rife with major gender issues, despite strong attendance by women, and yet I’ve discovered some of the most progressive and groundbreaking storytelling and characters in the comics I learned about through ComicCon panels.  So there is a lot of fun stuff to unpack here; in the meantime, there’s Tiny Heroes, my good friend Mindy’s blog of a similar nature.
  • I am officially a Burner after attending Burning Man for the first time in late summer 2010.  Since I had just moved, my electronics work was limited to some simple EL wire soldering, but I have had a soldering iron and other hobby electronics components for a couple years now without having used them.  Getting over my fear of initially breaking into this stuff was really satisfying.  I do not think I have a passion for hobby electronics on its own, but I love to think about the things that I am capable of making for next year and for other aspects of my life now that I am digging into this new skillset.  So, more Maker-culture style stuff to come!
  • I finally upgraded our workplace install of Redmine recently and have been having fun digging into its backend (a necessity since the upgrade was not without its share of issues) as well as exploring the capabilities of the platform overall.  We have been using a very basic configuration for two years now and I’ve been brainstorming ways to utilize the system’s many configuration settings and plugin options to make Redmine work better for us.
  • I finally finished a yearlong project at work involving internationalization, QA, and version control, among other beasts. I am thrilled to be able to move on to new projects!  The work leaves us with more reliable systems, a better product for our customers and an easier way to identify and fix bugs on international sites and keep all servers up-to-date. Yeah!
  • I committed to developing the android app for my wonderful friends at Baby Ketten Karaoke after being jazzed by the Android talk at Open Source Bridge (way back in June).  I installed the SDK in Eclipse, nodded knowingly as the VM took several minutes to boot, cooed with delight at the Android emulator on my desktop, and shook my head knowingly when the inevitable memory allocation issues arose.  It does not take long to re-acquaint oneself with the achy joints of Eclipse development (quite a steep learning curve to utilize the software well) and I was reminded of the joys of scripting languages.  Then – you guessed it! – I bought my house and haven’t returned to the project yet.  This is also to my own detriment, as I would most likely be one of the app’s most faithful users.
  • That said, my darling G1 is on its last legs.  In the name of financial restraint, I am not replacing it until I have encountered a “crash count” of 500 (any Android “This application is not responding” or “This application has stopped responding” errors).  I actually am on my second iteration of this count as I tried to do the first tally on the phone itself and that went wrong pretty quickly.  So now there is a post-it on the back of the phone where I keep a tally; I’m probably still missing about 20% of the errors because I don’t have a pen nearby when I’m trying to SMS my mom and Maps crashes (this happens – a lot).  Yes, I could do a factory reset on the phone, but that would delay my being able to replace it via this game in the name of financial austerity, no?
  • I am overdue to write an entry about the coder’s sleeping schedule and its relationship to coder culture, especially after being diagnosed with Idiopathic Hypersomnia this last summer.  (The good news about the diagnosis & corresponding treatment: suddenly I feel awake during the day on a consistent basis! So much more room to accomplish things.)
  • I re-installed the operating system on my personal laptop, now entering its fourth year of life, in order to drag one more year out of it before replacing it.  I refuse to buy a new laptop until 1TB hard drives become standard issue (i.e. not just for the heavyweight machines – I like my laptops midsized.)  Re-installing an operating system is not particularly geeky, but this install managed to be rife with disaster, lasting upwards of 2 days (main bottleneck: backing up my data as the OS was gasping for life).  I owe a lot of gratitude to the Ubuntu boot disk (even though my personal computer is a Windows install – don’t hate!  I do all my boring, non-technical stuff on this machine.)  I’m really pleased to see how much the reinstall improved system performance, but I’ve been reminded by Code N Sploders that the constant noise made by this machine is not normal, and the speakers are totally failing (they let out a dreadful howl when bringing the computer out of sleep mode).

I’m also very excited about moving to my new host, as my host is not a company but my good friend Andrew.  My last host was terrible for many reasons, but was a good fit for the initial needs I had for my domain (in particular: getting email and a very basic website set up).  I’m really excited about having Andrew as a host because it means I won’t be restricted to a subset of technologies for hosting the infinite queue of webapps and personal tools that I want to develop (all created to serve selfish means; my motivation for personal projects is still solely rooted in whimsy and personal utility.)

In conclusion: the version of WordPress I was using on my old host was getting very old, so I’m really enjoying the improvements I’m seeing on the newest version.  Looks like it will make investing my time in this blog a much more enjoyable task.  First task: install plugins to scare away comment spammers.

Cheers and welcome to 2011!

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One Response to Back from the Grave

  1. Agnes says:

    Hi Addie,
    I am so excited to find your blog! I am not a programmer or engineer, but I am now working on something related to these professions. While doing research, I stumbled upon your blog and got interested. A lot of the technical stuff, honestly, I don’t understand too much … but I do appreciate your insights as a woman and a programmer. Besides, I am a cat lover too … that is always one thing that draws me to others.
    From this post, I know that you are extremely busy with your life. But if you have a moment to spare, do come over to my website and have a look … as I mentioned earlier, it is for coders and programmers. :-)
    Best regards,
    Agnes

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