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Brendan Baldwin

[ website | Brendan Baldwin Dot Com ]
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New Blog New Website [Jun. 30th, 2005|02:49 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
Hi again everyone! You probably noticed I'm not blogging on LiveJournal anymore. Actually I haven't done much blogging at all in the past couple of months. Well I'm back! But now I'm on my new website; in a move many of you will find obvious, past-due, or perhaps just annoying, I've registered my *legal* name for my new website. Please update your bookmarks, if you care :-)


Enjoy! See you there-- or maybe not?!

P.S. -- I'm still reading all yer LJ blogs too-- I just don't log in to LJ to do it anymore, since all you LJ-ers have RSS feeds, I just read you via NewsGator. The downside is, I still have to login to LJ to see the friends-only posts (which I do maybe monthly) because those don't syndicate through RSS (as far as I can tell).
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Lappy 686 Goes to Goes to Florida and Brendan Tries to get a Life [Apr. 25th, 2005|06:52 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
So I am sans home-computer for the moment as I just finally sent it in for repairs after getting completely fed up with my Sharp "desktop replacement" laptop's jet-engine db-level processor fan sounds and its constant overheating and rebooting whenever it felt like it. UPS came and picked it up on Saturday and is taking it to Florida where hopefully technicians will be too confused or out of proper parts and will just give me credit so I can get myself a Mac or something (wishful thinking!)

Anyways, the major point here is that I'm not spending time at home in front of a computer screen. This is confusing and freeing and actually feels like vacation.

Which is leading me to think a lot about what I really need/want a computer for in the first place. So much of my time is spent at a computer and thats how I make my living and get most of my information/news etc, but its been a while since I took a look at what the point is.

Incidentally, an interesting story (link is to CNN though this story is all over the web today) points out that "E-mails hurt IQ more than pot" which begs the question-- should I give up on email and just smoke weed so I can be smarter?

Of course that's against company policy, so I'll refrain for the time being.

Anyways, apologies to everyone who might be expecting me to carry on internet-based conversations over the next few weeks as I am taking the opportunity to step away from computers in my personal time until I figure out what the point is anyways.

Of course maybe my computer-related inspiration is just being dulled due to my job. I've complained about it for a number of months probably and I just need to push harder to find something good. So I'm going to redesign my site or at least add a portfolio to it ASAP and start writing companies that look like good places to work instead of waiting for the right positions to open up and hiring managers to call me back about positions I find on monster etc.

One other note, I've been keeping a paper journal recently which explains sort of why I don't really blog much anymore-- and just in case you were wondering if I've been sucked into yet another viral marketing scheme, yes, it's a damn moleskine. Seriously though, it's a sweet little journal. I actually have 2. One for work and one for personal use.

This weekend I went on a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio in Oak Park, IL. It was a great day. For starters it was great just to get out of the apartment and walk around on a gorgeous day. Secondly, it was just good for my brain to learn stuff while not plugged into the internet. Even though our tour-guide sucked, it was still an very educational and inspirational experience. It was reaffirming of the existence of "value" off-web. Not that it should be a surprise to me, but it still feels like it sometimes.
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Last Year Today (Almost) [Apr. 18th, 2005|02:56 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
On April 14th of this year, Natalie pointed out I had linked backwards to April 14th of the previous year on my journal, but I got distracted and forgot to do that. So here I go: Last year today (and four days ago)

One difference this year is that I'm not watching reality TV as much, although I admit to having seen most of the VH1 "Strange Love" (Flava Flav+ Brigete Nielson -- too lazy to spell-check her name sorry.) I also watched about 45 minutes of the Metallica documentary "Some Kind of Monster" before shutting off the TV in horror. I can't believe this is the same band that produced "Master of Puppets". Sad sad sad.

Also last year I had just started working at Citadel and pretty much thought I'd be a permanent employee by now, but that hasn't come to pass (apparently takes as long to go perm as it does to get a fricking software package installed on my workstation) and so I'm still a contractor and that's kind of why I'm busy looking for a new gig.

I also notice that last year I had just started rumblings about switching to Mac, and well a year goes by and I have finally made the decision. Of course I need to save up a little bit before I can do it, but I've been having issue with my Windows laptop and am going to send it back to Circuit-City (btw dont EVER buy a computer from Circuit City) and hope my $400 Circuit-City "City Advantage Plan" combined with possibly unfixable problems or outdated machine might force them to give me store credit or something...

But yeah-- Mac, and I'll be getting after Tiger is already released so YAY! "Smart Folders" -- I can't frigging wait! Plus I'm looking forward to using the whole Unix under-the-hood aspect of Tiger instead of Cygwin on-top-of-the-hood on Windows. I really tried to get my Debian Linux install working, but my particular laptop's NVidia chipset isnt supported so I can't really enjoy running X on Linux. Something to play around with another time I suppose. I love the command line, but I still need the GUI to do my front-end development, so I think going Mac is going to make me very happy.

I've been living with Natalie for almost a year and a half or so now and that is going awesome. Like way awesome. We're even talking about getting a puppy! I love you, sweety! :-)

And I'm not going to post anything here about my taxes this time, except to say that I'll be paying the piper with interest and then some this time.
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Bank One [Apr. 15th, 2005|12:07 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
So now that Chase owns Bank One, check out this interesting overdraft policy. Lets say as a matter of academic interest you have $100 in your account:

balance: $100.00

Lets say you make 10 purchases with your debit card that day. The first 9 purchases are for $1.00 items:

debit: -$1.00 x 9 = $9.00
balance: $91.00

The last purchase is for $101.00.

debit: -$101.00
balance: -$10.00

Now that last purchase puts you in the red for $1.00, triggering an overdraft fee of $30.00. That's not too exceptional. That's to be expected and I don't have a problem with that. That's part of the contract.

But the policy of the bank NOW, is to sort all purchases in descending order by value when calculating the transactions for the day. So the $101 gets processed first. Descending value vs time of purchase. So the overdraft fees in this case start with the last transaction of the day and cascade down to the tiny items that were bought first.

Then the next day you get a:

$300.00 insufficient funds fee

For going in the red by $10.00 goddamned dollars!

Of course it doesn't specify how the hell they calculated that amount -- you have to call them. Then they explain the policy and then you point out how lame it is and then they agree with you and put you on hold and you have to really push to get a manager and finally you get the $300 in charges reversed.

And then you go a less evil bank and open a new account.
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Scotland, the new Nigeria [Apr. 4th, 2005|03:36 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
Finally a new player on the block challenges Nigeria's monopoly:
From: DR FRANK JIM <frankjim@virgilio.it>

The Auditor/Head
of Department
Bank of Scotland,
United Kingdom.

Dear Partner,

In order to transfer out �15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million Pounds
Sterling)from our bank here,I have the courage to look for a reliable
and honest person who will be capable for this important transaction,
believing that you will never let me down either now or in future.I am
dr frank jim the auditor and head of computing department of a bank here
in Scotland, United Kingdom. There is an account opened in this bank in
1995 and since my inception into office in 2001,nobody has operated on
this account again,after going through some old files,I discovered that
if i do not remit this money out urgently, it will be forfeited for nothing.

I know that this message will come to you as a surprise as we don't
know our selves,and neither have we met.But be sure that it is real
and a genuine business.I will use my position and influence on other
staffs to effect the legal approvals and onward transfer of this money
to your account with appropriate clearance from foreign payment department.
With assurance that this money will be intact pending my physical arrival
in your country for the sharing and possible investments.Please reply
immediately to my private email address:(dr_frankjim2@yahoo.co.in).OR call
me with my telephone number[44-7040103950]

Thanks God and belss,
Sincerely Yours,
Dr Frank Jim
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Romancing the Mac [Mar. 30th, 2005|05:18 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
Regardless of whether or not I wind up ever switching to Mac, specifically, I love the stories surrounding Apple and was very pleasantly surprised to find a really nice website dedicated to such stories, created by Andy Hertzfeld and some other old Mac engineers, entitled Folk Lore dot org. Pretty cool.

In the meantime, before I get a Mac, I hope I can finish getting my old messed up broken laptop to have a functioning network connection so I can finish the Debian installation. Installing Linux over Windows, without access to a functional CD drive turns out to be a ROYAL pain the a--. I'm thinking of restoring Windows on this one (if I can) and installing Linux on my non-crippled laptop, thought the keyboard on that one is all jacked up due to an encounter with a spilled soda a couple years ago.
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iPod at Work [Mar. 30th, 2005|01:43 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
So I've been listening a lot to the mp3s available on IT Conversations dot com and the content is really great and interesting, but every now and then when I hit a problem at work which requires extra concentration I need to take the headphones off or I get distracted by what the speakers are saying.

Of course, sometimes when I take them off, the office environment is actually more distracting than a compelling discussion on a subject I'm interested in, and includes many highly erratic and jarring elements such as the guy behind me who is swearing about 90% of the day because he can't figure out some piece of code "god d*** sh** that's not it you f***ing piece of sh**"

I just remembered, there's such a thing as music! I have been listening to these IT talks so non-stop for the past few weeks I forgot I had music on my iPod. Okay, moments like this call for some nice droning trance music. Not distracting, but it blocks out the swearing.
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Job Search Goal #1 [Mar. 29th, 2005|04:29 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
I have decided that in my list of goals for my next job, at the top of the list is that I will not be required to sit at Microsoft-based workstation. I'll go with Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris, Java OS, even Mac OSX. Just no more Windows.

Windows has had more than 10 years to not be a steaming pile of dogsh!t and it really isn't making a whole lot of progress in that regard. Microsoft really should get out of the OS business forever and just stick to writing applications, which is all they're even slightly good at.

Imagine what might have happened to the PC industry if the IBM PC had shipped with a real operating system like Unix instead of the reworked CPM or whatever it was that MS snagged for their first "MS DOS". The experience of early PC computing would probably have been ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE better. I actually think the world might be a much more beautiful place.

I feel that every time I learn to be proficient with a commonplace *nix tool like SED, AWK, or even GREP that I'm unearthing amazing magical powers after being crippled by the "lets use a GUI wizard for EVERYTHING" mentality of Microsoft operating system tools.

But seriously, even if it's a little harder to find some work that's not in a Windows shop, I'm willing to take the time. It will speak volumes about the mindset of the company I work for.
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Not that this is likely to impact anyone reading this, but... [Mar. 23rd, 2005|01:26 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
[Current Mood |optimisticoptimistic]

I am now focusing 100% of my available energies (re: time spent when not at work) on my job search. So unfortunately I wont be working on Juju or anything else. I've been actively/casually looking for a better job since around December, and while I've found some interesting options, nothing has really clicked yet-- therefore I've decided to really 'put my back into it' and make this happen.

Considering I spend probably only 1% of my time dealing with friends and the outside world as it is, you probably won't notice the change. Hopefully though, I'll have some fabulous news about an exciting new job I'm working soon. Alternatively, you may see several job-search related rants. You have been warned.
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Interesting Interface [Mar. 22nd, 2005|02:59 pm]
Brendan Baldwin
I'm a sucker for simple and compelling. Here's a piece of software for managing recurring tasks (things like exercising or going to the farmer's market or whatever.) The tool is called Sciral Consistency.

It's $25 so I probably won't buy this or use it, but it's still cool-looking and I'll probably steal, er, repurpose aspects of the design in a future project if applicable.
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