Printer

I got a printer this weekend as my Christmas present to myself. I got a Canon PIXMA MP600, a multifunction color inkjet.  The multifunctions have gotten cheap enough recently that there isn’t much point in getting something else.  I wanted to be able to scan and print photos.

The copier function came in handy today. I also used it to print addresses on envelopes. And write the first paper letter in a long time.  I am planning on printing labels for Christmas cards and maybe some photos for including in them.

Google Maps for Treo

Google just released Google Maps for the Treo. It is a Palm application which downloads the map over the Internet. It has a simple and usable interface that can use the scroll pad and keyboard for most operations. It can search for addresses and display driving directions. It can also show satellite view and traffic info for major highways.

The lag of downloading the maps can be a little annoying when scrolling to new areas. And since it uses the images, the space and time is larger. Zooming in and out seems to download new images. It requires Internet access so it won’t work outside of cell phone range. I have been having with Mapopolis which keeps crashing on me and isn’t usable with the keyboard. But it can work offline with maps and addresses stored on the card. And it GPS which can show the current position and do dynamic directions. A mixture of the two which worked smoothly, downloaded maps as needed, and showed your current position would be perfect.

No Googling

I suppose I should announce that I didn’t get the job at Google. Some of the interviews didn’t go that well. i struggled with some of the technical and puzzle questions. I guess it is good that I don’t have to make a decision about moving and changing jobs.

The weird thing is that I didn’t have any hesitation telling everybody at work once I found out the news. And the people at work were pretty understanding about doing the interview and being not quite good enough. The other weird thing is that a few days after I found out, I saw this comic from one of my favorite web comics.

Google Reader

I have started using Google Reader. The new interface works pretty well. It works even better with the Greasemonkey script Google Reader Optimized to simplify the interface and increase the size of the reading area. The mobile interface is especially nice. It works better than all of the programs I have tried. The only thing I don’t like is reading long articles. I would prefer if only the summary or first few paragraphs were displayed with a link to the rest of the article.

To San Jose and Back

I flew to San Jose on Tuesday night and then flew back on Wednesday night for an interview at Google on Wednesday. I didn’t find out until Friday that they wanted an in-person interview and until Tuesday morning when I would be flying. A recruiter from Google had contacted me a few weeks ago after finding my resume in their archives from when I interviewed there five years ago. It sounded like Google is hiring tons of developers and expanding greatly which is impressive for a company of 10,000 people.

I also had dinner with some friends, Doug and Liza, while I was there. I drove out to their house in Benicia and got to see their baby daughter Morgan.

More Wireless

I setup wireless in my parent’s house today. I actually brought along my Linksys WRT54G from home. It was the one I had flashed with DD-WRT and was using as a bridge.

There are at least a dozen wireless networks visible from their house up on top of a hill. There is an open and unfiltered one close enough to use. There is one for the school across the street. There is free one for Socal Free Net unusably far in Carmel valley. Half of them are using the default SSIDs: “linksys”, “default”, “NETGEAR”. There does seem to be some correlation between openness and default settings.

Beach in November

I am (mostly) in San Diego this week for vacation. I went to Torrey Pines State Beach today, the one nearest to my parent’s house in Del Mar. The weather was sunny and warm. Not warm enough for shorts but warm enough for sandals. The water was probably to cold to swim in. I really like coming to San Diego in the winter when the weather is nicer than Portland. All the sun makes a big difference to my mood.

Small Airplanes

I just had an interesting experience flying from Waterloo, IA to Minneapolis. I am sure anyone flying from an small airport has had the same experience but it is unique in mine. I guess I have always gone between cities; even the few turboprops I have flown were between San Diego and LA. And the “small town” of Lihue is a major tourist destination.

The Waterloo airport is a small regional one: two gates, one small baggage claim, one airline, one floor, and one check-in counter. Not only was there no line to check-in, the attendant only showed up to take my bag. This was the return flight for the flight down from Friday. Just after everybody got off, they opened the security check point and took everybody through. There was barely a line. And then immediately boarded the flight. I think the ticket agent was the same women who checked IDs at the security checkpoint.

The plane was a Saab turboprop. The plane had three seats across, one and two, and 12 rows. They had us all sit in the back for balance reasons. The copilot was also the cabin attendant and gave the safety briefing. He even read off the individual connecting flights; he had everybody’s names and itinerary. I think we took off early since all five passengers were on-board. The flight was only 40 minutes long.

Airports and Wireless

I am in the Minneapolis airport waiting for a flight to Waterloo, Iowa where I will see my brother and family. This is the second time I have traveled with my laptop and it is very handy while waiting in the airport. I can read email, chat with friends, and catch up on reading blogs. I can even connect to work and fix bugs. The Portland airport is even better since they provide free wireless. In Minneapolis, I paid $8 for the day.

Connectivity is a public good and free connectivity is even better. But there will always be locations where there isn’t connectivity. Currently, this includes flying. Online applications will always have problems with areas of poor connectivity. Instead of always-on web applications, a better model is email where it is possible to download messages and work offline. It is better to be online to have immediate communication and to be able to access email from anywhere.

FC6 on MacBook

I am writing this on Fedora Core 6 running on my MacBook. In general, it works pretty well with a few problems. The wireless works great with the madwifi drivers from livna.

The biggest problem is that suspend and hibernate don’t work. Suspend seems to work but does not restore. Hibernate suceeds with the most recent kernel but that kernel does not boot reliably.

I hadn’t noticed that I wasn’t running at the ideal resolution, 1280×900. 1080×768 looked a little squished. I had to switch to the ‘intel’ driver for Xorg for the graphics to work at the ideal resolution.

I just installed the compiz compositing window manager. The flipping effect when changing desktops is a nice touch even though it is a little blurry and jumpy.I understand what people were talking about with the wobbly window effect.

The Mighty Mouse is not detected automatically by the Bluetooth system. I have to run ‘hidd –search’ and occasionally restart the hidd daemon. The scroll ball only works in one direction. Unfortunately, moving the scroll ball horizontally scrolls vertically.