Matthew C Good : Musician, Software Engineer, Hobbyist.

Life Posts

South Carolina Beach in Winter

Charleston is a pretty cool town. We rented bikes and cruised around on the beach, chasing seagulls, flying kites, and generally having a good time. Beaches in winter, who would have thought?

Steel Drums

So I was sitting at a fairly kitchy mall-adjacent caribbean-themed “seafood” loud hookupy barstaurant tonight, trying to amuse myself alone on business in Orlando, and suddenly, some dude started playing steel drums:

Yeah.  That.

I was also drinking wine, reading Barbara Kingsolver, and destroying a Cuban sandwich.  It was PREPOSTEROUS.

Teh Internets are Teh Idiots

Kristin and I had a bet going about which was bigger (geographically): the U.S. or China.  Right now, the bet is still unresolved, as they appear to be closely-matched enough to produce different results depending on the calculation method and assumptions.  In the process of looking for a definitive answer, I stumbled upon this soul-crushing piece of flabberghast-inducing stupidity on the brain trust that is Yahoo Answers:

My favorite part is that the apparent justification for such an apparently obvious conclusion is “what are u talking about?”  And this is the best answer, deserving of thanks.

Well, if that doesn’t just revive your hope for the future of mankind, I don’t know what will.

My Workspace

My Workspace

This was my workspace on 2-5-2010. Click for a humongous version (1.9mb).

Items of note:

  • Ohm’s Law
  • Medicine Man balsa wood glider (half finished)
  • Make:Electronics book, Maker’s Notebook
  • Woolly Mammoth clone guitar pedal, nearly done
  • 2.5 gallon fishtank, testing out temperature logging via LM34 and Arduino (see FishApp) for more details.
  • There are no less than five computers on/around my desk. Not all are visible.
  • Small cheap telescope
  • Printing plate of some old ship
  • Guitars.
  • More guitars.

The mess?  Oh, that just means I’m getting work done.

My thoughts on AMC’s Prisoner remake

Not Amusing.

You tell ’em, McGoohan.

The Orange Monster

Orange Monster Wants to Believe

The watch is a  Seiko affectionately called the “Orange Monster.”  It’s a huge, loud, fun, heavy watch – and it makes me quite happy.  I also made and put up a giant X-Files “I Want To Believe” poster.  There are several different images for this poster floating around on the net, and much to my chagrin, it turns out it’s NOT the one that I see behind Mulder’s desk in the series.  Ah, well.

Why My Next Laptop Will Be A Netbook

@joshuacaddell asked me why I wanted a netbook so bad on twitter today. The answer is too much for 140 characters, so here goes…

I think a lot of people don’t put nearly enough thought into how they use a computer before they purchase one.  This is especially true of laptops, since the ways people use them are (or at least potentially are) so varried and different.  They just buy something kinda flashy looking that is big and relatively powerful, because they want the kitchen sink.  The Swiss Army Laptop, as it were.  Of course, doing all things equally well sometimes means doing all things equally poorly.

Having been with my current ‘top for nearly 8 years now (and not being a very “typical” computer user), I have a pretty good idea of how I use computers.  Specifically, I like to take them places.  I crave long battery life.  I have a high-powered desktop to handle the really crazy stuff.  I have been doing a lot of web development rather than Win32 stuff.  I also have recently been very interested in microcontroller programming on platforms like the Arduino.  I don’t use MS Office much, and think I could get by pretty well with the Google Gears versions of Google Docs in many cases.

The particular netbook I’m interested in has a ridiculous battery life.  They claim up to 9.5 hours, but I’ve seen people citing real-world usage of around 6-8 hours, which is very impressive.  It’s sufficiently light and you don’t have to carry around a bunch of crap to make it work. (Don’t be fooled into thinking that all netbooks have great battery life.  Many are terrible.  I personally think the lackluster battery life of most netbooks defeats their purposes.)  The web dev work that I’d be doing on it is (for the most part) scripting languages and light database stuff (LAMP), which this unit could handle as a development machine.  Any ASP.NET or C#  development would primarily be off this computer, but I’ll probably do some basic edits to some stuff on this machine anyway in a generic text editor (it is occasionally handy to not have to rely on the Wizzards for everything).

I once heard somebody say that the easiest way to drastically improve the quality of your photographs was to carry a camera around with you everywhere.  The quality doesn’t matter; you’ll get better shots if you’re the only guy around with a camera when something cool happens.  The same principle applies here for computers, too.  I plan on making a rugedized & modularized Arduino to go with the netbook to carry around so that virtually anywhere I am, I can do really cool computing and interface with the “real world” in literally a few minutes.  That’s roughly equivalent to a super-nerdy MacGyver.  And that’s what I want.

Plus, I’m going to be building a powerhouse beast of a recording/programming machine for home soon anyway.

P.S. I don’t have a data plan for my phone, and probably won’t get one for a while at least.  So I will have to rely on WiFi for my internet connectivity in the short term.  Ergo, no service charge.  But that’s okay, I can do what I need to offline in many cases.

The Cube

I got tired of staring at the one barf-colored wall left in my cubicle – so I used Rasterbator to create a large elephant image from a picture I took at the Nashville Zoo.

Note the copy of “From the Earth to the Moon” in there, next to the CSS Pocket Reference and my Firefox mascot. I wish I knew which of Nashville Zoo’s elephants this was. Here’s the original:

I like my little workspace.

Some pics

Just a couple of recent pics from the mattlife.

Some of these I shot in raw and used Microsoft’s RAW thumbnailer/preview tool to export the jpegs… and i think that tool sortof does a terrible job of adjusting white balance and such… I need a better (free) program for that sort of thing. Perhaps GIMP.

Introducing the “I Heart Heart Cat Cat Map Map App App”

Hello everyone! I’m rolling out a stupid little app for my greenville friends today. If you’re not in my Greenville circle of friends, you may need a little background here…
Actually, this origin story has become the stuff of legend over time, so the following may be totally inaccurate.
A while back, two of my friends Kate and Katie found this horrendous sweater-shirt thing at the Greenville thrift store. It’s clearly a sweater material, but it has short sleeves? What the heck is that all about? It has the letter “I” on it, two hearts, and two cats. The inexplicable monstrosity has been ever since referred to as the “I Heart Heart Cat Cat” shirt. We’ve all taken pictures wearing it – this has sortof become a hazing ceremony for joining our group of friends. It’s a right of passage thing.
Now that a lot of our friends are traveling the world and doing cool things, we decided to take some advice from the whole “traveling garden gnome” thing, and take pictures of us wearing the shirt in cool places, in front of historic and famous monuments, and the like. Of course, we need a Google maps mashup to keep track of all this, right? RIGHT??
Well, either way, I made one. I’m calling it the I Heart Heart Cat Cat Map Map App App.

Kristin looks awesome in that one.
From a technical standpoint, not too much interesting going on here. I did use MySQL’s spatial datatypes (only POINT, really) for storing the coordinates. This isn’t technically correct since MySQL only deals with planar points and lat/long are curvilinear, but I’ve been sorta geeking out over GIS technology lately, and I really just wanted to get used to the OpenGIS stuff. Any distance calculations I’ll have to do out of the db, but I don’t really think I’ll be doing much of those anyway.
The other kinda cool thing I did was set up an approval system. Instead of having users and junk to deal with (so not just ANYONE can post an image), The system accepts all images, thumbnails them and such, and sends an email with an approval code link. I check out the thumbnail in the email, decide if it’s cool, and click a link to either approve or reject it. Neato.
So there you have it. Check it out now and then, as we should have some new additions happening soon, coming from Turkey and London (hint hint kittermans).