Lucky Dragon

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  • Happy Birthday, Eeyore!

    Posted on April 25th, 2009 Jeremy No comments

    Eeyore's Birthday PartyWe went to Pease Park to participate in Eeyore’s Birthday Party today, and had a blast hanging out with friends, juggling, and people watching. I am disappointed to report that, unlike past years, I did not see the dude who paints himself silver and walks around in a thong. I did see Leslie wearing a cheerleader uniform though, so I guess it’s a wash.

  • Old Settler’s Music Festival

    Posted on April 20th, 2009 Jeremy No comments

    Carrie and I went to the Old Settler’s Music Festival out in Driftwood on Saturday. It rained in the morning, but by the time we got there, it was merely overcast, and the sun showed up a few hours later. Here are some of our favorite musical acts:

    • Lone Star Swing – Great group. One of my favorite moments of the day was when Paul Glasse, the mandolin player, ripped into an acoustic version of Air Mail Special. It was an amazing song, but I would love to hear a mashup with the Ella Fitzgerald version, with her vocals on top of Paul’s mandolin.
      Old Settlers - Lone Star Swing
    • Dan Navarro – I thought Dan was ok. Carrie really dug his version of We Belong To The Night.
    • Sarah Jarosz – Excellent music. She rotated between playing the banjo, guitar and mandolin, which kept it fresh. Sarah is one of those teenagers who burst onto the scene, amazed everyone, won a bunch of awards, and is now touring the world. That is both awesome and a bit depressing.
      Old Settlers - Sarah Jarosz
    • The Lovell Sisters – Three sisters, three instruments: mandolin, fiddle, dobro. They had some great vocal harmony moments, which I am always a sucker for.
    • The Travelin’ McCoury’s – Best set of the day. Traditional bluegrass, performed by masters. Thinking back, I don’t have any particular favorite moments – it was like a huge wall of sonic excellence.
    • The Travelin’ McCoury’s & The Lee Boys – This was an interesting experiment – a fusion of bluegrass and sacred steel.  Their cover of Walking in Jerusalem was especially fun to listen to – I lost track of how many times they passed solos around.
  • Easter Eggs

    Posted on April 13th, 2009 Jeremy No comments

    Carrie, Christina and I dyed a bunch of eggs for Easter. This is the first time I’ve dyed eggs in a really long time, and I’m quite happy with the results:

    Easter Eggs

    Star Wars Eggs

    More Easter Eggs

    Marbled Eggs

  • SXSW 2009: Film Report

    Posted on March 28th, 2009 Jeremy 1 comment

    Here are a few of my favorite films I saw at this year’s SXSW Film Festival:

    • Lesbian Vampire Killers (Trailer, IMDB) – Narrative. As the name implies, it was awesome. To clarify, the vampires are lesbians, and there are people who attempt to kill them (as opposed to a group of lesbians who attempt to kill vampires). Destined to go down as the Shaun of the Dead of vampire movies.
    • Trimpin: The Sound of Invention (Trailer, IMDB) – Documentary. There is an artist in Seattle who makes cool musical sculptures, and his name is Trimpin. This is his story. I have added him to list of people I would hire if if I got rich –  Trimpin would be in charge of doing Awesome Musical Stuff. The next time I am in Seattle, I will have to stop by the Experience Music Project and check out the gigantic self-tuning guitar sculpture. Apparently a few of his pieces were on display during the fest, but I missed seeing them. Dang!
    • Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Trailer, IMDB)- Documentary. Yes, this is a documentary, not a mockumentary. It follows a Canadian metal band that’s been around since the 80’s but never broke through. Just watch the trailer. Oh, and here’s an interview with the lead singer, Lips.
    • The Dungeon Masters – Documentary. Follows the lives of three different Dungeons & Dragons game masters. This is one of those documentaries that starts off focusing on an interesting topic and then quickly pushes it to the background in order to do a character study. Regardless of the quality of the film, this style always feels like a bait and switch to me. While I think that the filmmakers chose some very interesting and strange people to focus on, I am not particularly thrilled that they are effectively representing the gaming scene. Hopefully audiences will realize that not all gamers like to paint themselves black and have extremely large dice collections – For example, my dice collection is only medium-sized. That being said, I did enjoy the film.
  • Apple VGA Adapter Cheatsheet

    Posted on March 22nd, 2009 Jeremy 4 comments

    Many years ago, Apple gave up on the standard VGA port and decided that all of their laptops should have very small proprietary video ports. This is an issue for anyone who would like to actually use that port to do something, like connect an external monitor or a video projector.  To make matters worse, Apple changes the video port every two or three years and never puts any kind of identifying marks (other than a generic video symbol) on either the port or the plain white video adapters. Then, just to keep you on your toes, they only provide small, bird’s eye view photos of the adapters on the Apple Store, making it rather difficult to purchase the correct one.

    If you have an Apple laptop and need to give presentations, then the solution here is simple: Just purchase the adapter, put it in your laptop case, and never lose it or accidentally leave it at home. Easy, right? Of course, if you are supporting a large number of presenters at a conference (for example, SXSW Interactive), then you need to be able to assist all of the presenters who show up without their video adapters. That means you should probably have a pair of each kind of video adapter, labeled, on you at all times. Here are all of the Apple VGA adapters, listed in reverse chronological order:

    Mini Display Port to VGA (MacBook Pro, current gen MacBook, 2nd gen MacBook Air) – This is the ‘new standard video port’ that Apple is using across their entire line of laptops. Since these are the most recent Apple laptops, this will be the most commonly requested adapter going forward.

    Mini Display Port

    Micro DVI to VGA (1st gen MacBook Air) – Used only for one model for one year, you will probably not get too many requests for this one.

    Micro DVI

    Mini DVI to VGA (Intel Core Duo iMac, MacBook, 12-inch PowerBook G4) – This one was in use for a while, and there are still a substantial number of these laptops floating around, so don’t be surprised when someone asks for one of these.

    Mini DVI

    DVI to VGA (PowerBook G4, various PC laptops) – Apple hasn’t used this one in several years, but many PC laptops have a standard DVI port that will need to be converted to VGA in order to connect to a projector. This is a good one to have on hand. Note: Because both ends of this adapter are standards-based ports, you can find them for half the price over at


    Mini VGA to VGA (12-inch PowerBook G4, iBook) – This is the oldest of the adapters. I haven’t had any requests for this one in a while, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have one just in case someone needs it.

    Mini VGA

    I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the very first generation of iBooks did not have a video port at all. There were some very sad presenters that year. I have seen some USB-to-VGA adapters on the market, but I do not have proof that any of them work with the first gen iBook. There’s not much we can do for these folks other than have a USB flash drive handy to transfer their presentation to another laptop.

  • New Board Game: Dominion

    Posted on March 7th, 2009 Jeremy No comments


    At last night’s game night, Henry showed up with a new board game: Dominion. Now, being the game geek that I am, I had already heard some of the hype around this game. I was, to say the least, skeptical. After all, games aren’t supposed to just show up and rocket into the top 10 of the BoardGameGeek Top 100 within a month or two of their release. Let me cut to the chase here: I was wrong. After playing it twice, my verdict is that this game rocks. It plays quickly, has an excellent mix of luck and strategy, a smidge of player interaction, and a ridiculously high amount of of replayability.

    When you open the Dominion box, you will see 500 cards and a rule book. No board, no pawns, no dice – just cards. The 500 cards are divided into over 30 stacks: 3 stacks of Treasure (money) cards, 3 stacks of Victory (point) cards, 25 stacks of Kingdom (action) cards, and a few stacks for use with some alternate rules. Each game, you put all of the Treasure and Victory stacks in the middle of the table, and then select just 10 of the Kingdom card stacks to be used – that’s where the replayability comes in, since you can make every game different by changing out one or more of the Kingdom card stacks.

    Each player starts with an identical, small deck of cards. The initial cards are used to add better Kingdom and Treasure cards to the deck, which will in turn enable you to buy Victory cards. This is the meat of the game: deciding what cards to add to your deck, and then deciding how best to use them when they are drawn later on. Do you add more Treasure so that you can buy more expensive items, or do you add a Kingdom card that lets you do something advantageous (like draw more cards from your deck), or do you go straight for the Victory cards (which are useless in your deck, but required to win the game)?

    I will be the first to admit that, as is typical in many European games, the theme is rather thin, and I am not sure how the cards will hold up to the significant amount of shuffling the game requires. Those two quibbles aside, Dominion is a really great game, and you should definitely try to talk one of your friends into buying it so that you can play it. Thanks, Henry!

  • Ratatat

    Posted on February 24th, 2009 Jeremy 1 comment

    I discovered a new band this past weekend called Ratatat:

  • 10 Tanks of Gas

    Posted on February 2nd, 2009 Jeremy No comments

    Today I finished the 10th tank of gas in my new Fit. The EPA mileage estimates for a 2009 Honda Fit Sport with manual transmission are 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Here are my mile per gallon stats:

    1. 33.91 mpg (317.0 miles, 9.349 gallons)
    2. 33.13 mpg (310.4 miles, 9.368 gallons)
    3. 33.84 mpg (337.7 miles, 9.979 gallons)
    4. 34.93 mpg (339.6 miles, 9.723 gallons)
    5. 35.13 mpg (341.9 miles, 9.737 gallons)
    6. 35.93 mpg (330.0 miles, 9.185 gallons)
    7. 35.02 mpg (327.0 miles, 9.337 gallons)
    8. 33.71 mpg (277.3 miles, 8.225 gallons)
    9. 36.98 mpg (346.8 miles, 9.377 gallons)
    10. 35.68 mpg (357.0 miles, 10.005 gallons)

    That gives me an overall average of about 35 mpg. Not bad! The car is totally stock, and I am primarily driving in stop and go traffic on the way to and from work. I try to start slowly, shift around 2500 rpm, and coast down hills. Also, I have not needed to use the air conditioning very much. The biggest factor, however, is the realtime and per-trip mpg displays on my dashboard.

    There’s nothing quite like instant feedback. If I zoom up a hill, my realtime readout gets into the low teens and the per-trip display may drop a tenth of a point or more. Conversely, when I set the cruise control to 60 mph on a flat stretch of highway, I see the realtime mpg go above 40 mpg and the per-trip meter starts ticking upwards. I have to wonder what would happen if these displays were required in all cars. In fact, if you own a car made after 1996, you could add such a display right now by purchasing a widget that plugs into your cars OBD II connector. Although I have not used it, the ScanGauge II has been recommended by several people over at and

  • Favorite Album of 2008

    Posted on January 17th, 2009 Jeremy No comments

    Abigail Washburn

    I honestly never thought I would be very interested in an album featuring two banjos, a violin, and a cello, and yet here I am declaring that my favorite album of 2008 is the self-titled Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet (YouTube, Amazon). Carrie and I saw them perform during SXSW last March, and it was my favorite performance of the whole festival. I’ve listened to the CD many times, and still thoroughly enjoy the so-ridiculous-it-wraps-back-around-to-incredible fusion of Chinese and American folk music. Abigail’s vocals are amazing, and I probably don’t need to mention that Bela Fleck’s banjo skills are superb. Casey Driessen’s violin is solid, and Ben Sollee alternates between making his cello sing and rocking out some fresh rhythmic sounds. Check out the overture that kicks off the album.

  • Five Nines

    Posted on January 10th, 2009 Jeremy No comments

    For many IT folks, the holy grail of high availability is “five nines”. This means that over a particular period of time (usually one year), they will be able to achieve 99.999% availability for a particular service (such as email).

    Availability % Downtime per year Downtime per month Downtime per week
    90% 36.5 days 72 hours 16.8 hours
    95% 18.25 days 36 hours 8.4 hours
    98% 7.30 days 14.4 hours 3.36 hours
    99% 3.65 days 7.20 hours 1.68 hours
    99.5% 1.83 days 3.60 hours 50.4 minutes
    99.8% 17.52 hours 86.23 minutes 20.16 minutes
    99.9% 8.76 hours 43.2 minutes 10.1 minutes
    99.95% 4.38 hours 21.56 minutes 5.04 minutes
    99.99% 52.6 minutes 4.32 minutes 1.01 minutes
    99.999% 5.26 minutes 25.9 seconds 6.05 seconds
    99.9999% 31.5 seconds 2.59 seconds 0.605 seconds

    The problem is that each additional nine costs quite a bit more money than the previous one, and at some point the person signing the checks is going to put away their pen. So, the trick lies in first determining what range of availability is desired, then assigning a dollar value to each level of availability, and then finding a balancing point between availability requirements and your budget.