Friday, June 29 2012
[17:39:43] matt []/Trip I recently looked at purchasing a washer and dryer online at

a) The compare tool often hides prices that you could see on the previous page
b) The compare tool offers no way of highlighting differences, or hiding similarities between all shown items.
c) I can configure installation on the washer, but the dryer always throws an error when trying (or vice versa; I forget which way it was now).
d) The dryer doesn't come with all required parts. That's fine, and helpfully sears at check-out has a section for me to select necessary parts. This selection uses radio controls, so I can select the power cord if I want, or the exhaust vent, but not both. This almost certainly came about because the default option is "no required parts", and someone testing said "Hey, how can you select "no required parts" and a required part? They shouldn't be able to select both!" and thus this cluster was birthed. This wouldn't be as frustrating except that:
e) On the item page, or even at check-out when viewing the cart, there is no list of related accessories or parts, like pedestal bases or power cables; the best you can do is search through the product sheet for the serial number and then search for it, comparing numbers. (Sometimes the numbers included are for the wrong/non-matching colour.) BHPhoto is an example of a site that does this correctly, and remarkably so.

Friday, October 21 2011

Lightfield Cameras
[15:17:17] matt []/Psi.dementia Lytro, based on the founder's work while at Stanford from around 2005 through 2007, has started taking orders for hand-held light field cameras that should ship in early 2012.

They sound cool. The practical use at the moment is not entirely clear, but I'd expect some pretty interesting exposures to come out over the first few years that just weren't possible before (with consumer-level equipment). Given the dimminuitive size of the Lytro device, it seems reasonable to carry as a replacement for a point-and-shoot, and as a companion for a larger SLR or medium-format camera.

On the subject of medium formats, there is a page from someone from the University of Maryland providing a how-to on converting a medium format Mamiya to a light field camera for only $5--and the cost of the medium-format system which will be magnitudes more than the $400-$500 charged for a much smaller Lytro device. Nevertheless, it may help you understand a little bit more of what's going on.

Saturday, October 1 2011

[05:11:18] matt []/Merch The verdict on the Richmond Pamukkale showers: mixed. Strong pressure, western (American) style fixed-head with curtains. Very narrow causing curtains to be pushed even furher inwards, and with oscillating temperatures as if the heater kicks on every 45 seconds or so. They have a generic soap dispenser in the shower, as opposed to providing bath gel and shampoo, let alone conditioner, as a cost saving meassure.

Wednesday, September 28 2011

[06:04:50] matt []/Merch We have given in, and while many of you were probably eating dinner and jumping into bed, we woke-up and hopped on a sun-rise baloon ride. All at the low-low price of $324 (with 24 passengers, that brings the gross for each baloon to about $8k [€6k] considering the advertised price is a bit higher than we paid). They had decent tea and chocolate-filled cookies beforehand.

Wednesday, February 23 2011

[18:36:22] matt []/Merch I suggest avoiding They called at 11:52PM to tell me there was an urgent issue with my reservation and have subsequently been unreachable at either of their 24hr numbers or by eMail. Calling them back this morning from two separate services indicated they were having phone problems (not enough incoming lines) and trying again now gets through but does not reach a human and gets dropped after 91 seconds on hold.

Monday, February 21 2011

What sealed Nokia's fate? YAA from The Reg.
[21:05:19] matt []/Psi.dementia

Symbian smartphones became increasingly complex and buggy. They brimmed over with features, but users had to pay a premium to add a data plan to use them fully. The features were hard to find, too. So smartphones remained a niche for technology enthusiasts. (Symbian was turning a tidy profit by 2006).

Then Apple entered the market with a device that was a merely-OK phone, but offered something radically new: a new user interface that made much of the functionality manufacturers like Nokia had built into their devices quite usable. And Apple had a bundled data plan, so trying it all out was risk-free.

At last, here was an integrated mobile device that didn't suck. Pure-play PDAs had disappeared, but their replacements left a nasty taste. Both reading and writing about these were no fun.

Wednesday, March 24 2010

[20:21:29] matt []/kerberos Fail from the non-GUI scripts, and possibly the cause for the GUI installer? They're unversioned, but don't find the most recent tarballs for the rootstraps. This means you need to manually delete them if you re-run them since they have old files that are 404 hard-coded, re-download them, and hope that someone doesn't have an old cached copy in-between.