Rik's Ramblings

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dinner Night Supporting Dartmouth Bands - December 4, 2012

We have a fundraising dinner night on December 4 for Ben's school band: Dartmouth Bands

It's a hectic time of year, so lighten your load a little. Give the kitchen a miss and head down to Mountain Mike's for pizza, beer and a break.

Flier is valid from 11am until 9pm, so use it for lunch, or dinner, or both!

Tuesday, December 4
11am - 9pm

Mountain Mikes
1532 Branham Lane
San Jose


You don't need to be in the band, or have a child at Dartmouth middle school. Please print out the flier and head down to Mountain Mike's on Tuesday December 4.

25% or your food order purchase is donated to the band.

Click to Download Flier for Mountain Mikes Dinner Night.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This Years Big Christmas Blockbuster - MineCraft Lego!?

Wow, I was shocked to see this selling at $100 a week ago, but now it's up to $115.

Buy it now before the price gets ridiculous.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Twice in the last week my car's ABS has kicked in

Maybe I need to cool off a bit with the aggressive driving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Google Play Music - Just not Compelling

At one of those many tech talk events I attend I was talking to a guy from Google. After much discussion on various shite, one thing he asked me, rather perplexed was:
"So how come you don't use Google Play Music? You seem to use every other google service".

My initial tought was:
"Well it might help if I'd heard of it! What kind of silly name is 'Google Play Music', and what the f does it do?"

I actually wasn't sure what it was. I made the assumption it was an MP3 store, but that was a guess. I actually said, perhaps rather embarrasingly to move on from the subject.
"Oh, I just use Pandora for all my music needs, but I promise to give it a try when I get home. I'll even buy a song.".

OK, it was a bluff! But I did give it a try when I got home. I didn't bother to buy a song though.

Actually a couple of things came to mind later that I wish I'd told him.

Change the name
While Google Play Music has all the nouns and verbs necessary to clearly describe the service, it ain't exactly catchy.

Maybe call it YouTunes.

Integrate it to the Listen app on Android
Now Listen is something I do use. Maybe if I could get to Google Play from that I would have discovered it by now.

Local content via DLNA
I might use a google music player app to playback local content if it could integrate with my DLNA server at home.

You could then be smart and cache some of my home content onto the device or even into your cloud, so the tunes would be accessible from any of my devices, at home and even on the road.

Naturally, this would also give you the benefit of knowing what music I listen to, and you could more effectively sell me new tunes.

Upload via Barcode
Allow me to upload all my existing CDs to your massive cloud infrastructure by simply scanning the bar code on the back of the jewel case.

For those of us who still have lots of CDs, it would be a big incentive to use your service if all my existing CDs were available there. What I suggest is an Android app that uses the camera to scan the barcodes off CD cases. This would save me ripping CDs and allow you to more effectively sell me new tunes.

I could have sent the guy an email to suggest this to him, but let's face it, the outcome would he either (a) he'd ignore me as I don't work for Google, so I don't know anything, or (b) he'd steel the ideas, take the credit for them and probably patent them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Code Names

I was just thinking about project code names.

Engineers (or maybe it's product marketing) always want to have code names for projects.

For a while I had a personal convention of calling all the stuff I worked on by my own codename - assuming it didn't already have a corporate codename.

I had a marine theme (well I am "ukdiveboy" after all).  I had that podcast app called "Grouper" and a testing framework called "Cephalopod".  There were other's too, I won't bore you with them.

But having kewl project code names apparently is hard work.  For a while at work we had some good code names.  For instance, a number of projects named after awesome rock stars: Hendrix, Zeppelin and Floyd.

Then there was a time when it got stupid.  Someone decided fish would be good.  Naturally I liked the idea (see above).  But the implementation lacked imagination.   It started off well, it started with "Albacore".  I liked that.  Good start.  A type of Tuna. The fish theme also adopted a convention of being in alphabetical order, to make it easier to remember which project was supposed to finish first.

Sadly, the second fish chosen was "Babel fish".  It was crap on two levels.  Firstly, it's not a real fish.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge HHGTTG fan, but I am under no delusion that a Babel Fish is real (as much as I would love it to be so, to definitively prove the non-existance of God).

The other thing that annoyed me about the Babel Fish, is that everyone in management pronounced it with a short 'a'.  I was brought up calling it a BAYbel fish, having enjoyed the TV series of the seventies.  Now, I never heard the original radio show.  But I'm going to assume that, if it was called a BAYbel fish on the TV show, it was also a BAYbel fish on the radio show (written by Douglas Adams) and therefore it is a BAYbel fish, even when misappropriated as a product codename by product managers.

Actually, the real reason I was thinking of product code names is that I just saw a picture of a blowfish.  Yes, you guessed it.  The next project was codenamed blowfish.  Now, maybe I'm overly picky, but I didn't like blowFISH, or the following two code names catFISH and dartFISH.  Can you guess why?  That's right.  They contain the word FISH!!  At this point we seem to have degenerated into simply calling the projects B-fish, C-fish, D-fish, and the whole pretence of a codename has lost its significance. 

I would have been very happy to see "Baracuda".  It's a type of fish that doesn't have the word FISH in it's name.  Although at least DARTfish was better than one of the names I saw briefly on a slide, which was DOLPHIN.  While there is a type of fish called a Dolphin-fish I'm pretty sure the person who picked Dolphin was thinking of flipper - though I may be wrong.

We didn't get past D-fish, which is a shame.  I actually had a wager that for "G" they would use Goldfish.  Sadly, we never found out.

I did enjoy another suite of codenames.  They were alcohol based.  This was a great excuse to drink in the office.  I remember Absynthe, Armaniac, Amaretto, they were good alcohols.  Barley Wine tasted terrible.  I can't remember much after that.  Not sure if we stopped, or I was just too drunk to care.

I suppose it's good I don't work on Android.  I'm not much of a candy fan.

I think Indian food would be a good option - I do like savoury and spicy food.  Biriani, Korma, Madras, Tikka.  Yeah!

OMG, I've become one of those people

I've become one of those pople who sit outside coffee shops with a tablet and a keyboard.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, with Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard

I always say, "see, what's the point of a tablet!  If you're going to add a keyboard to it all you're doing is buying an underpowered laptop without a keyboard, then adding a keyboard.  At that point all you've got is an underpowered laptop that cost you twice the price of a laptop".

Now I am one.  And look at me, it's worse still.  I'm blogging this from my phone anyway, I'm not even blogging it from my 'crippled laptop'.

@coffeesociety, via a #palm pre

with #Samsung Tab 2 and #logitech BT keyboard

Friday, November 09, 2012

Corporate Passwords!

I love corporate password policies:

Your Password must be between 8 and 20 characters in length. At least one non-alphabetic character is required and spaces cannot be used. Your Password cannot be the same as your Username. It cannot be repeated within a cycle of 5 Password changes. Your Password should be difficult to guess.

"... difficult to guess" - and fucking impossible to remember.

It's time to stop using passwords.  Put a chip in my head please.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wow, does time fly or what!

Four Years ago I was celebrating Decision 2008.

Here's hoping for Fou' Mo' Years.