Random recommendation: Virgin Mobile

After resisting smartphones for many years, I got one a few months ago, just before I moved. It turns out that they’re pretty nifty. Who knew, right?

I got an LG Optimus V on Virgin Mobile. One of the big things that had been stopping me from getting one before was that I couldn’t quite bring myself to pay as much as you have to for a phone plan with data. Virgin Mobile gets around this objection by offering phone + unlimited data for $25/month… which is frankly insanely cheap compared to everyone else that I looked at.

It runs Android, and is pretty easy to root and flash to a newer version, which I have done. I held off on it for ages, but then my wife did it and I was impressed enough by CyanogenMOD to want to do it myself.

It’s not a fancy phone; it has a smallish screen, and not a terribly powerful processor. But sufficient for my needs.

So, consider this recommended. If you’re cheap like me. 🙂

Signs of adulthood

I bought a house.

Strangely, this makes me feel like more of a “grown up” than producing a daughter did. Possibly because health insurance meant that producing the daughter cost appreciably less. Actually, according to the explanation of benefits letters I got from my insurance company, childbirth was almost exactly one third the cost of a house. America is crazy.

This lets me add a little bit of extra context into my post, though. Here’s where I’m sitting right now:

IMG_2590

Unmentionable

So, funny thing, I realized that an important life event occurred when I wasn’t paying much attention to this blog, and I never got around to mentioning it.

I have a daughter now, and have for a bit over two years now.

She’s pretty cute.

Danielle

Engagingly quirky

WordPress 2.7.1 has a wonderful quirk of immediately redirecting the “new post” page to a page that appears to just be the row of buttons from above the editor.

It’s probably a Firefox 3.1 quirk. But it’s still annoying.

Intrepidly lacking

I updated my desktop to the new Ubuntu release (Intrepid Ibix)

This is mostly good, but I discovered a problem as a side-effect of them improving their mouse support. Now that my mouse is auto-detected with all its buttons, the side-button no longer defaults to being a middle-click. I like having the side-button do middle clicks.

So, no problem, I thought. I’ll just go rebind it. There is doubtless something in the mouse settings that lets me adjust this – I mean, Windows generally handles this fine, so surely Ubuntu will be at least equivalent.

This turned out to not be true.

After a lot of searching, I found the community documentation for the Logitech Marblemouse USB, which (sort of) discusses how to remap buttons.

So I ran:
$ xinput set-button-map "Logitech USB Gaming Mouse" 1 8 3 4 5 6 7 2 9

This didn’t remap it, per se. It swapped clicking the mouse wheel and clicking the side-button.

(I’m not certain that this will persist through a reboot. I might need to meddle with .Xmodmap.)

It’s a weird place to be lacking what I consider basic functionality.

Ubuntu: sharing music with iTunes

  1. sudo aptitude install mt-daapd
  2. Edit /etc/mt-daapd.conf so that mp3_dir = [your music directory]. (Also any other configuration changes you might want to make; the file is well-commented.)
  3. sudo /etc/init.d/mt-daapd restart

Really this would work on any Debian-derived distro… but I’ve only tried it on Ubuntu.

Update: It looks like mt-daapd puts an admin interface on http://localhost:3689/ (with the default password being ‘mt-daapd’), which you can use to configure things like the location of your music. So you might not even need to do any config file editing…

Disadvantages to a Hollywood office

Yesterday when leaving work I stepped out the back door of our building and almost blundered through someone filming a scene for something.

The back doors of our building had been made over into a hospital entrance, and someone who was the very embodiment of The Wise Old Bum was dispensing advice to people in scrubs, while some sort of faux-homeless band played on the bridge crossing the alley to the parking garage.

Weird.

Switch

I’ve been running Ubuntu on my home computer for a week and a half now. That’s right, I’ve joined the “A-list blogger circle-jerk”. For certain values of “A”. Specifically, the value “F”.

I’ve mostly found alternatives for all the programs I used. The only area where I’m not quite satisfied is a music player; I used foobar2000 on Windows, and I haven’t found one to match it yet. (I’ve settled on Quod Libet at the moment, though its UI is a bit lacking.)

WoW works, but I seem to be paying a ~10fps tax for running it under Wine. It’s a pain, but it’s still playable.

I still have XP on a partition, but I haven’t yet run into anything I need to boot into it for. This is a promising development.

I’m looking forward to Hardy Heron’s release. It’ll come with the newer nvidia drivers, which apparently improve performance. This will be appreciated, as I’ve been unimpressed by canvas in Linux-Firefox so far.