Definition of Un-American

Published on 19 Oct 2008 at 12:15 pm. 1 Comment.
Filed under Election 2008.

There’s nothing more un-American than calling someone un-American because they have different views than you.

Sarah Palin has been quoted as saying “I enjoy visiting the more ‘Pro American’ states”. If some states are more ‘Pro American’ then by definition others are “Anti-American”. This is and old tactic, that is being brought up again in this election, however it has no place in any election. Republican representative Michele Bachmann tells Chris Matthews on Hardball that the media should probe congress for “anti-American” views:

Please define the parameters for finding Anti-American views Michele, I suspect it will be anyone with views different than your own.

These comments lead to $640,000 in donations for her opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg in the first 48 hours following their airing. This was more than he had raised during the entire third quarter.

Send To vim for MacOSX

Published on 14 Oct 2008 at 11:07 pm. No Comments.
Filed under Mac.

Vi is still the greatest editor ever. I guess I never really learned how to use Emacs properly. One of the first things I do when I configure a computer is install VIM and setup a “send to vim” right click (comand) context menu. With vim available already as a command line I figured I could probably write some apple script to start a terminal and fire up VIM using the context menu.

A visit to the VIM site informed me that there was a MacVim Project which looked nice. I enjoyed the graphical version of VIM for windows so I grabbed that. It had an integration option that added a menu to safari and some other apps allowing me to select to edit in MacVim, but didn’t integrate into the context menu.

A little more searching lead me to OnMyCommand. Wow. This thing is just awesome. Once installed there are a ton of pre created onCommand scripts to choose from. Everything from basic stuff like “Move To” and “Copy To” to CVS checkin, graphic file conversions from one format to another, MD5 hash generation, man page lookups, all kinds of stuff.

One thing that I already loved about MacOSX was that when I highlighted some text the context menu already had “Look Up in Google” and “Look up in Dictionary”. A high % of the time when I highlight text it’s gonna end up in google’s search box. Another really cool feature I found was drag to paste. Nothing is really as fast as command-c, command-v but you can also highlight some text and drag it to another area that accepts text, including terminal windows and it automatically copy and pastes the text. Another nice little surprise touch.

So back to the VIM.  I found a script on that page that said it would edit the file contents in a terminal with vi. That seemed like a step in the right direction.

Back in the OMC directory is a program called OMCEdit, upon opening it up I found that I could download all of the pre-created scripts without having to go after each one individually….This just got a whole lot better. Once downloaded the script I was after at that time was #21. I installed the example scripts from the directory “Examples” > “First Time Users Start Here” as a quick way to write the config file and get the onMyCommand menu to show up. I then selected “Command Library” (ive already done the download at this point) and selected #21 and hit “Append To Commands”.

Boom now I had the ability to send to vi. This was the command line vi, and since I had just rebooted from installing it fired up 5 terminal windows (my standard terminal startup). However once terminal was already running it only fired up a single window, that window didn’t have my default settings for background and text color however.

So now I accomplished my original goal of having a context menu item to send a file to vim. However the gvim I just downloaded is pretty nice, so I want to add an onMyCommand for gvim. Back in Applications > OMC I fire up OMCEdit. I hit the little + in the bottom left corner to add a new Command. Title it “Edit file contents in Gvim” leave all other defaults the same and in the Command window I entered:

/usr/local/bin/mvim __OBJ_PATH__

mvim is the script that comes with Gvim that allows you to send a file from the terminal command line to gvim. I installed mvim in /usr/local/bin so I had to put the full path. If you installed it someplace a little smarter like /bin or /usr/bin you wont have to enter the full path. In fact just to be sure I moved mvim to /usr/bin and re-entered the command as:

mvim __OBJ_PATH__

Worked like a charm! So now I can send any file to vim in a terminal or gvim for editing.

Here is a pic of what the command looks like:

(click for larger version)

Apple Please Fix The iPhone Keyboard – I found the fix!

Published on 13 Oct 2008 at 7:21 pm. No Comments.
Filed under iPhone,Tech.

Ok so yesterday I posted how much I love the iPhone and my new MacBook Pro. I also promised to talk about things I didn’t like. The clear leader in this category is the iPhone keyboard. Most frustrating is the auto correct, which hacks half the stuff you type. Luckily for us in the next firmware there is an option to turn off the auto correct. Fix #1 coming soon….

However the typing on the keyboard just isn’t efficient. However a company already created a solution. Download the free app from the Appstore called “WritingPad” by
Unfortunately all it does is write notes, however the keyboard operation is brilliant. You simply drag your finger across the keys to spell the word you are trying to type. It draws a line across the letters and when you stop dragging inserts the best possible fit that it thinks you were typing. It is spot on nearly 100% of the time. However even when it’s off a bit, it lists right below the text a list of other possibilities and allows you to easily scroll through them and select the word you wanted. The real kicker is that if it doesn’t find the word and it’s one you type a lot (like the name of my business) then you can add it to the dictionary. This is an option sorely missing from the apple “auto correct”

Steve, I’m asking you personally, please buy up this company’s technology up and make it the default on the iPhone, it’s the way the keyboard on the iPhone should work, and I’m surprised you didn’t think of it first. Anyone reading this who has Steve’s email, please forward this post so he can add this keyboard technology to the iPhone. Thanks! 🙂


Published on 13 Oct 2008 at 8:30 am. No Comments.
Filed under Boating.

Newport Mark III Sail BoatA good friend recently inherited a 30′ Newport Mark II Sail Boat like the one pictured here. While cleaning it up and checking it’s seaworthiness we stayed the night on the boat in dock. It sleeps 5 comfortably and even more if you get cozy. It’s got a sink, stove, shower and toilet. It’s pretty sweet. However after spending the night on the boat it took me literally a week to get my “land legs” back.

I’m not sure if this is because I slept on it or what but it was not a pleasant experience. For a whole week it felt like I was still on the boat. I’ve been back on the boat since for shorter periods and haven’t had the same problem, so hopefully it wont be an issue. It’s docked at the oakland yact club and I can’t wait to take this thing out on the bay on a nice day. One problem, neither my friend or myself know how to sail. We are going to see if we can find someone to come teach us on our boat, if not we’ll have to take a course somewhere. Eventually I’ll find out if I am a boat person or not. Seems like a really nice way to spend some free time.

Why I Switched To Mac – Yes “I’m now a Mac”

Published on 12 Oct 2008 at 11:15 am. No Comments.
Filed under iPhone,Mac.

I was just trying to do a screengrab on my Macbook Pro running MacOS 10.5.5 and like a lot of things on the Mac I didn’t know how to do it….I looked for a print screen button…no such luck.

A quick search told me what I wanted to know: command-shift-4 (i still like to call ‘command’ “open apple” cause im oldschool) allows me to select a portion of the screen to take a picture of and save it to the desktop, command-cntrl-shift-4 put it in the clipboard. Since I was going to paste it into Photoshop I chose the latter. So I do my command-cntrl-shift-4 and cross-hairs appear, allowing me to select a potion of my screen, which I do. I then release the mouse button and I hear the shutter sound of a camera…I literally giggled.

How cool is that? It’s such a simple little thing, but struck me as genious. It was the perfect feedback I needed to know that my action had been successful. Now it’s not that big of a deal really but having just read Steve Krug’s book “Don’t make Me Think”  I guess it hit home a little more.

Now this camera noise isn’t why I switched of course, obviously I didn’t even know it was going to happen. It is however what caused me to write this post. As I learn to use all the features of my new OS I have been jotting them down in a text file I can read from the web, but I figured I might as well post them here, for google to find and possibly deliver to future switchers, so more on the screengrab stuff in another post.
This post is already longer than anyone should read, but the willingness of people to waste countless hours on myspace/facebook/blogs continues to baffle me, so I am sure someone is still reading at this point….

So the reason I switched initially comes down to one word: iPhone

I knew I wanted an iPhone but the first gen without 3G or GPS just didn’t provide what I wanted out of a phone. So I bought an AT&T Tilt, which I loved, I highly recommend it if you have to use windows mobile. Even with the Tilt tho I spent hours and hours customizing it, trying custom firmwares and applications to make it perform exactly like I wanted. However my Tilt developed a charging flaw that many exhibited and had to be returned under warranty. So I had to spend time putting the original firmware back on to make sure I was covered under warranty.

About the time my Tilt came back the 3G iPhones came out, and Appstore was added. I had two choices. Spend hours and hours customizing my Tilt again or buy something that “just worked”. I chose to buy the iPhone at full price of $399….even tho I was already with AT&T I was only 1 year into my current plan (way to support current customers AT&T by not offering a discounted early upgrade). Oh and the best part was I had to buy into another 2 year contract. So wait, I have to sign a 2 year deal, and I get none of the discount provided from signing the 2 year deal? Makes perfect sense!

The iPhone JUST WORKS. Out of the box, it does everything I want it to, and if it doesn’t there’s a free or cheap app available for instant download on the Appstore that probably does. Probably.
There’s a particular thing the iPhone doesn’t do however and there’s nothing on Appstore for it yet. So I decided I wanted to attempt to develop an app. After a little research I found out that in a Micro$oft-esq move there was really no iPhone dev tools for windows. At this same time I was packing up our apartment in preparation for a 6 week sint in Hawaii (I am staring out an Aiea apartment window overlooking Pearl harbor as I write this).

My windows laptop at the time was ok but not great, and with a ton of web coding to do while in Hawaii and leaving my 24 & 21″ LCDs behind I decided to buy a used Macbook Pro with a nice 17″ monitor that could do 1680×1050 resolution. I figured I could “muddle by” with it and decide if I really liked it enough to switch when the new MacBooks came out later this year. Plus I brought my copy of WindowsXP so I could always install it with BootCamp and boot XP if I didn’t like MacOS. Sounded risk free to me.

WindowXP remains uninstalled.

I can’t go into all the great things about the Mac here, this is already too long. However the first “wow” item was the spaces. Before I got the triple head LCD setup going I often bought programs to provide me with virtual desktops. Out of the box spaces is better than any of these ever were. So now instead of “muddling through” with 1680×1050, I have 4 easily accessible and configurable 1680×1050 desktops.

As a unix coder I can’t believe I didn’t switch earlier. I found on the plane ride that apache and php were already installed so I could start coding even without internet access. I configured my terminal to automatically fire up three coding windows and a log file window on startup and got to work. Once we landed I generated my ssh-keys and now have my servers setup for auto login and sftp. All this on top of one of the most intuitive and well designed UIs I have ever seen. It’s like having a linux box that can run all the apps I want and has a great X UI without any configuration.

Anyway I can go on and on as you can probably tell. I saw my first “Im a PC” commercial yesterday and it made me laugh. Microsoft must be in panic mode if they are out right copying the Mac ads. They should be in panic mode. These computers and devices “Just Work” perfectly out of the box, and I am positive that the iPhone itself is going to lead to many many more switchers. In fact the guy in line behind me at the Apple store was upgrading his first gen for G3 and he had switched to Mac due to his iPhone. I suspect this will be a common story to come, making AAPL under $100 looking like an incredible deal, specially with a rumored $800 macbook.
Remember you can always dual boot Vista. You never will.

More things I like (and some I don’t) about the Mac to come.

Winning Low-Limit Hold’em – First Poker Book I Read

Published on 9 Mar 2006 at 5:49 pm. No Comments.
Filed under Poker.

Poker Poker

Since it’s been so long since I got around to posting on here I thought I’d finally get back into it by doing reviews of all the poker books I’ve read, and there are many. I figured a good place to start would be the first book I ever read. Winning Low-Limit Hold’em by Lee Jones. I had been playing poker for a while when my buddy Matt let me borrow this book. This was back in the early 90’s before the poker boom and at the time I didn’t even realize there were books on how to play poker. I had been playing on Yahoo games for play money for some time. This book really opened my eyes to the fact that there is a lot of analysis that can be done at the poker table. I photo copied the starting hands chart from the back and caried it with me to memorize. It really is a great book to start with, and as the name states it is for “Low Limit Hold’em”. The ideas in this book work great for low limit, where the blinds are 2-4 and below. However it is my personal opinion that if you just stuck to what you read in this book at higher limits you would get run over and have an overal negative expectation. So if you are just starting out in Limit Holdem and want to win at the penny tables give this book a read.



Published on 26 Aug 2005 at 9:25 am. No Comments.
Filed under Tech.

Well I haven’t kept up on the posting recently but I have been busy working and trying to get ready for our wedding which is next sat Sept 3. Also my comcast cable was out for nearly 4 weeks and after having 5 different service people out they were finally able to fix it. I was sick of waiting tho so I signed up for speakeasy DSL. The speakeasy DSL is 6MB down (and yes i get nearly all 6MB) and 768k up. That’s a big improvement over cable. So now it’s up just in time for me to head to CA for 2 months for the wedding =P Also I was unable to play poker during that time, with the new “no disconnect” tables on party I wasn’t willing to risk a 2k hand and have my internet go out, hence no poker posts either. Anyway speakeasy is nice, specially if you have an unlimted newsgroup account. Anyway don’t expect to see much on here till I return from CA. If you are coming to the wedding I can’t wait to see everyone, should be a fun party!

Be Nice to the Weekend Warriors

Published on 18 Jul 2005 at 1:11 pm. No Comments.
Filed under Poker.

If you play a lot of poker you will notice the games are a lot different at nights, on the weekends, and especially Friday and Saturday night. Also around the 1st and the 15th of the month when people get paid. These are all times when all the people who play for pure recreation are playing, and often times they are intoxicated and definitely not playing their best, which might not be a very high level even when sober. These are the people who feed the game of poker and allow the 5% of players that make their living that way to live. These players will often play reckless, make calls and bets that some would call “stupid” and make all kinds of other strange plays at the table. We love these people. Yet repeatedly I see a few players who constantly berate these players. STOP.

There is one player in particular in the game I play who constantly calls people “fish”, tells them how bad they play, calls them other names, and is just generally rude. This person is a decent player who beats the game for thousands of dollars in a session, but I know for a fact he could be better. Anyone who feels the need to do that to other players at the table doesn’t really understand the game, and is not playing at their highest level. Hopefully he will grow out of it, but the problem is many winning players do not continually try to improve their game. They can beat it for plenty of money and so they will just stick to what works. I am always trying to improve my game and once your table play is at a high level improving your game mostly revolves around money management and self control. Self control when on losing streaks, self control when someone sucks out to one card on a big pot, self control when people are berating players at the table. What that winning player must not realize, or I don’t think he’d do what he does, is that the only reason he can take so much money out of the game is because of all the players that come up, get lucky sometimes, but mostly just donate to the game. Mabye once his rude behavior drives off enough of the players he might have to take a second look at his game and realize his table banter is not doing anything good for the game. If everyone played the way he seems to want them to play by what he says to them then the game would be boring and nearly impossible to beat. Why would anyone say anything that has a chance of making your opponent play better or even take a look at what they might be doing wrong. Fools.

So if you ever have called someone a fish at the table, or have ever told someone they did something stupid, then I think you are the idiot. Of course I have done it in the past, but my game has moved beyond that, and I see that those players are the only reason winning players can win. I want to do everything I can to make sure they have a good time at the table, whether they are losing or winning at the time.

World Series of Poker

Published on 14 Jul 2005 at 10:55 am. No Comments.
Filed under Poker.

I played in the World Series of Poker this year. The Omaha hi/lo (also known as Omaha O8) $1500 buy in limit event. I hate limit poker but it is the only kind of Omaha Hi/Lo event they have. In my opinion Omaha Hi/Lo should always be played Pot Limit. In fact I think Pot Limit poker is the best. Pot limit requires more skill than both limit and no limit because you have to build a pot and also can face large bets along the way, unlike in limit. However unlike No Limit you also can’t just push all in when you think you have the best hand so you need to know when and how to let a hand go later if the signs say you are beat. However I digress, I’m sure I’ll post more on Pot Limit later.

Anyway I flew out to Vegas just for the WSOP and stayed at the RIO. The rooms there are very nice and very affordable. If you are going to stay off strip you should check it out. Specially their wine bar where I spent some time after getting knocked out. I lasted just over 4hrs and made it through about half the field. Not too bad for my first WSOP event. I was happy with my play and played my game and did not play scared. The highlight was probably knocking out Jon Juanda, which wasn’t much of a feat since when he got to my table he was short stacked. I had two pair and the nut flush draw and he had a low draw and the same flush draw but lower and I raised him all in. I made my flush and his low missed. After that Mike “The Grinder” Mizrachi and I got involved in a big hand where we both flopped and flush and both had good low draws to go with it. His flush was T high and mine was 8 high and when the low missed he took about half my stack. He went on to make the money. After that it was all down hill as I only had about 8x the big blind. I’ll be back next year and probably play in a few more events including some (yuk) holdem.

Also some guy from the Boston Globe called yesterday and interviewed me for about 20 minutes regarding the WSOP and poker in general. The WSOP gave him my phone number after asking permission. If I end up in an article I’ll post more about it here.