Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

I'll keep it short the intro short this year. One word: Zombies.

The Loving Dead

Consumerism run amok;
A story every year.
Right up until we're out of luck
We run into our fear

That suddenly we lose all hope,
Infected by our state;
The zombies now rise up and scope
If brains are on their plate.

And yet I wonder why we care
When love is now on view,
Undead walk on as on a dare
To show the very few.

Apocalypse, in Zombie style,
Shows we can be prepared,
Yet Valentine’s Day sees this trial
Played out as if we shared

A reason why undead rose up
Throughout the world we know.
Did we not fill a certain cup
To signify our woe?

The walking dead, who wish us harm
Desire to eat their fill,
And yet we only feel alarm
When zombies make the kill.

Well, some of us have stockpiled so
To take out these undead.
But can we say that what we know
Will put us all ahead?

For this I know, if love be true,
These zombies stand no chance.
And suddenly, out of the blue,
There is no zombie dance.

What was consumed, but at a price,
We can now rest assured,
That Valentine’s Day is no vice,
And renders us all cured.

        -James Morris, February 14, 2013

Friday, October 12, 2012

Emoticats 2012 update

So there was my post from 2007 about Japanese emoticats. In 5 years times, of course, culture has refined, distilled, and crystallized what emoticats look like today:
Some things have changed, naturally. A little miffed that the clumsy Maru didn't make it in this collection.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Rant 2012 Version

Hmm...must be an election year. Nothing spectacular with this one: Ballad Verse, an election theme, jaunty mood. I knocked it out in a couple of hours. Hope you enjoy it!

The Election”

Election time is near at hand,

With candidates now known.

Debates revealed who's up, who's down,

Who's strong and who is prone.

Though Chocolate started off real fast,

His star began to fade

When sweets became an albatross;

“Bad for your health,” they said.

Poor Teddy Bear was as ill-starred,

A darling from day one;

But whispered through the whole campaign,

“He's soft,” and he was done.

Now Flowers thought he stood a chance,

And ran on issues green;

But money ties to Big Ag Biz

Lost votes he thought he gleaned.

The Greeting Card ran from the front,

And thought he'd sealed the deal;

But Tech and Conservation woes

Combined to lose appeal.

As runners peeled off one by one,

A Dark Horse soon arose;

Heart-felt Affection, grassroots style,

Had shot up in the polls.

But now it's time to make your choice.

Which candidate holds sway?

Elect the gift most worthy of

Serving Valentine's Day.

James Morris, February 14, 2012

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Rant 2011 Version

Well friends, if it's near February 14, it must mean it's time for another Valentine's Day rant. This year I went with iambic pentameter, four line stanzas, and an abab rhyme scheme, capping it off with a couplet. 30 lines in total. The tone is a little more sober than my more recent efforts, but it matches the subject matter, I think. No zombies, or teddy bears, or other fantastical elements. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

The Budget

Ah Valentine, your day has lost its sheen;

Its symbolism now commercialized

So far beyond just what it used to mean;

Now Love is wrapped in bows, all but disguised.

What happens when these fetishes get priced

So high above the reach of common folk?

Is Love worth less if lesser goods sufficed?

Would fewer even try if they were broke?

Uncertain is the economic clime

That greets this day we celebrate Romance;

The crass commercialism of the time,

No longer can continue its advance.

The celebrants now find the cost too steep

For what once was a trivial expense.

High value gifts once possible for cheap,

They now do not make good financial sense.

The syndicate of cards, and flowers, and plush

Retrench when they confront their ink of red.

Long used to profit margins much more flush,

They wither from the revenue they've bled.

Demand is low, and yet supplies still glut;

But forecasts must be met, so prices soar.

Consumers looking for a budget cut

All spent and worn, just feel gauged more and more.

With tightened belts and more so purse-strings taut,

Attendants of this love-lorn day seek out

A true display of what Love really ought

To be; A kiss, a hug, and leave no doubt.

Can Valentine's Day regain what was lost?

The choice is ours, for we decide the cost.

- James Morris, February 13, 2011

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Windows 7 and Microsoft Virtualization Tools

Well that's disappointing.

So I'm futzing around with my virtual environment on my Windows 7 box. I've got Microsoft's Virtual PC running a VM instance of Windows XP (otherwise known as XP Mode). I've got a project at work where I need a test bed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so I wanted to install CentOS 5.5 (because, duh, it's free. Unlike Red Hat) on a VM Instance. Now, technically, Virtual PC is only supposed to support Windows OS, like XP, Vista, and 7, but tons of Google hits show that people are using it to run flavors of linux. Unfortunately, you find out real fast that Virtual PC can only run a 32-bit version of an OS. The installation ISOs balked on boot because they're 64-bit linux. I'm not going to download another 5 GB of installation files just for the i386 version. Fine, whatevs, I'll install VMWare's totally free VMPlayer for running my 64-bit CentOS VM. But I didn't want to install yet another Virtual Machine emulator on my box, I just wanted to use what I already had.

So that got me thinking, just what options are there if you want to stay in Microsoft's world of virtualization tools? Which led me to this this link. Boy, that sounds really simple and elegant. I guess it works, and it would get me where I wanted to go, running 64-bit VMs on Windows 7. But...really, Microsoft? If you want to compete for real in the Virtualization Realm, you're going to have to come up with some competitive tools, not backdoor workarounds, that can be installed on client OS's, not just servers. Otherwise, developers, testers, educators, are going to abandon Hyper-V because you made it too hard, or too expensive, or both.

Okay, close tag on the <geek rant>.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Har! Shiver me timbers 2010

Iffen it ain't Talk Like A Pirate Day. Give 'em the stink eye if yer not served the finest gut-churning grog in the place!


Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Eh, Valentine's Day is fast approaching, and if you read this blog, you know what that means.

Since the dreaded day is on a Sunday, I'm posting this a little early. Not too much to say about this year's effort. Ballad Verse, no internal rhyme, more plot than poetics. Enjoy!

"Teddy Steps Out"

I don't know where I started from
Or how I came to be;
I sat upon a little shelf
With others just like me.

A plushy hide envelops us
As soft as soft can be;
And beady eyes gaze out upon
A bustling company.

Both large and tall they dwarf our size
And rush throughout the day.
Among these some will slow their pace
And turn to look our way.

Awareness of this time and space
We barely register.
But gradually we noticed that
Our members disappear.

My brethren silently communed
Perplexed at what we face.
We can do nothing but observe
A dwindling of our race.

“Where do they go?” And “Who is next?”
The questions come to bear.
“And is our plight related to
These beings all out there?”

It fell to me, by common choice,
To seek and to achieve
A way to stop the kidnappings,
But first I had to leave.

How did they part, my missing friends?
What secret conduit?
And then I was gripped from behind!
A Ha! So that was it!

I floated to a counter top
With flashing lights and beeps.
I then was dropped into a sack!
It sure gave me the creeps.

The darkness made my mind go blank
I faded for a while.
Eventually I came about
And saw a toothy smile.

A giantess had hold of me;
There still was too much glare.
My sight though dim could just make out
What seemed to be a lair.

So this was what befell my chums,
A fate I scarce could guess.
Was I a meal or sacrifice?
I quailed in my distress.

She crushed me in a bear hug,
Quite worthy of the phrase;
“Alas, dear friends, we'll meet again,”
I thought in her embrace.

And then, no more, I mean, that's it.
She placed me on a shelf.
Beside me were a motley crew
Who seemed much like myself.

Dimensions, fur, and countenance,
They were not uniform.
My brethren all looked just like me,
But these guys weren't the norm.

I soon discovered common ground,
A time line here held sway.
We each appeared a year apart;
And almost to the day.

There intermixed among us were
The trappings of a rite.
The color red had shone throughout,
Displayed around the site.

Some holiday, we figured out,
And this shelf was the shrine.
A “Valentine” was what we were,
A symbol or a sign.

What that could mean, I did not know.
The others knew not, too.
From shelf to shelf we had traversed
To mark some such ado.

Each passing year we always found
An add-on to our pack.
And steadily our number grew;
I rarely did look back.

I never did meet with again
My brothers from before.
I'd hoped their fate was much like mine,
New friends, and nothing more.

This Day for “Valentines” I came
To see as an affair,
To leave the fold and to step out
And join a bigger lair.

-James Morris, February 11, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

PetMo 10,000

Huh. At some point yesterday, some dude googling for Shakespug landed on my blog and became my 10,000th visitor. Grats!

Oh. I guess congrats to me, too.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Coming up for air update: Wireless Project initiative

So what the heck have I been up to all this time?! Well...while working like a dog, buying new computer and networking equipment, fitting in a vacation to see the bro who's a bro, while also drinking a lot of his awesome wine, somewhere in there, I decided to get off my butt and start a "local wireless initiative". Otherwise known as, er, getting rid of of many computer or networking wires as possible.

I started with my usb attached printer. Since I have a laptop that I normally don't keep anywhere near my desk (where the all-in-one copier/scanner/printer is), if I ever wanted to print something, I had to walk my laptop (remembering to unplug everything) over to the desk to plug into the usb hub. Ugh. So...I plugged a donated usb bluetooth adapter into my printer, and I can now stream print jobs from my couch 10 feet away (yeah, yeah, small condo). Totally free!

The next project was to get rid of the wired keyboard and mouse. I've shunned bluetooth solutions in the past because the laggy and unresponsive feel of the input was just something I couldn't live with, especially if I was going to be doing some serious gaming with these periphals. This year seems to be the renaissance of rf devices in the 2.4 Ghz range. And when this keyboard/mouse combination became available, I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. No lag, awesome keyboard, and mouse with some serious juice, including a couple of programmable buttons, and a scroll wheel that scrolls vertical AND horizontal. Wut?! Yeah. Really. All wireless, and not bluetooth. $70.

The last wire I had to get rid of was my USB external hard drive. I love it, it's light weight and portable, but...there's this USB cable that I always have to have plugged into the laptop if I wanted to access the files on it. So...I have this Wi-Fi draft n gaming router that I actually get 300 mbps out of, and it has a USB port on it. There is a firmware update for it that allows USB hard drives to be accessible from the WAN connection...duh! Update the firmware, install the network sharing utility (a modified hot-sync'ing utility, from what I can tell), and bam...wireless USB. Since USB 2.0 can transmit at a theoretical limit of 240 mbps, and 802.11n is as fast as 300 mbps, that means that I didn't lose any speed at all when I went with this solution. I can play HD content, wirelessly, from this hard drive, and there is no lag, or dropped frames, at all. To put it a different way. I can play all my video files from this hard drive at the same speed that I already enjoyed from a wired connection. Bliss! And free! (Well, the router cost a bit, but I didn't buy it for this project.) UPDATE: USB 2.0 is supposed to have a limit of 480 Mbps, so I already lost some there. I also noticed that while I could play 720p HD content with no lag, 1080p is a totally different story. Also, file transfer rates are way slower than a wired connection, only in the 1.25 to 1.75 MB/s range. These rates could be related to settings or firmware. DLink forums are rife with complaints about the firmware updates for this router, so be warned. I expected 1080p content to lag, but did not expect file transfers to be this slow. I'll provide an update if I figure this out.
UPDATE 2: After crawling through the support forums for this particular feature of D-Link routers, this is about the fastest it's going to get. Full HD content that requires bit rates of 8 mbps and up just will not be able to stream from the USB attached hard drive without some lag. Faster (and more expensive) external USB drives can get up to about 3.75 MB/s, or ~30 mbps. I'm getting in the 14 mbps range, but streaming without buffering is what causes the lag on 1080p content. I was able to configure my Media Player Classic Home Cinema to handle the buffering (using its max setting in the the "EVR custom pres" video renderer), but it still felt like a compromise. Wired USB compares at 189 mbps or 23.8 MB/s for real world file transfer speed. And no lag. Meh. My router has the capability of Wireless USB, but I guess I can live with one more wire into my laptop.

So what's left in the wireless project initiative? I now have only 2 wires plugged into my laptop: an HDMI cable into my receiver, and an AC Adapter. If a standard ever gets adopted between WirelessHD or UWB (Ultra Wide Band), and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg, then I can get rid of the HDMI cable. And...if the wireless recharging experiments finally come to market, I can get rid of the AC Adapter, too. Even so, I'm pretty happy that I was able to pair all my wires down to just these last 2, and all relatively easy, and affordably.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

Well, folks, it's that time of the year again. Of course we've seen the obligatory stories on anti-western sentiment around the world. Normally, I'm all for being against this holiday, but from the angle of attacking it as crassly commercial. But times are tough in 2009, and several economic sectors are hurting, especially retail, so I had a different idea about what should happen on this faux celebratory occasion. Without further ado, this year's effort.

Valentine’s Day 2009: The Valentine’s Day Bailout

So Bailout, TARP, and Stimulus
Are s’posed to save the day.
But Retail, just as perilous,
Has yet to get some play.

Now comes that madeup holiday,
Already in dire straits
From Anti-Westerns making hay
Of lewd romantic dates.

Don’t florists also need a boost
To sell their fragrant wares?
Or should consumers be induced
To buy some plushy bears?

And candy makers, what of them?
Maligned for years and years,
Expanding waists and LDL,
They’re now reduced to tears.

Ah, Valentine, what would you think
If you still lived today,
To see your feast day on the brink
Of fiscal disarray?

Consumerism, long denounced,
Its debt it can repay,
If stocks and bonds can get a bounce
Before Valentine’s Day.
-James Morris, February 14, 2009