30 Jul 2001 tripp   » (Journeyer)

Things I've learned recently:

screen rocks. It's wonderful having four pine windows open, each on a different mailbox, and not having to worry about shutting them all down and opening them all back up whenever I change locations. It's also great just being able to remotely detach my laptop's session when I happen to log in from somewhere else, and catch my pine session right where I left it.

Now if we can only get this for GUIs. I mean, aside from using VNC. Though I suppose there's no real shame in that. Hmm...

Keep your books up to date. I am now in the middle of the pain of entering two and a half years of back accounting information, so I can catch up on my taxes and turn in some expense reports for a former employer. This would have been so much less pain if amortized over those years.

By the same token, what kept me from doing it as I went was a lack of tools that I considered "up to the task", and a lack of time to invest in seriously writing them. The various proprietary packages had too much baggage (beyond their proprietariness), and I didn't want to wrap myself up in that only to not be able to get my data back out when I was ready to move on or write something.

So, in a way, it's actually good that I'm doing it all at once. Even though it's a lot of work, because I'm doing it over the same few days, it's all going in relatively consistently. If I did it over two and a half years, I can see my ways of dealing with various entry challenges drifting over time.

This would be a good time to give kudos to the GnuCash folks. Even though I have nits to pick on every scale from the trivial to the Colossal with the package and the code (because I'm that kind of asshole :) ), I respect mightily the work they're doing and the size of the task they've undertaken. And, the bottome line is that, for all of my "I would do it this way" and "it doesn't work the way I want it to" blustering, the shit works, which happens to be the single most important goddamned thing to me right now.

I hope that previous paragraph comes out as the compliment I intend it to be :) If not, and you're a GnuCash developer, send me your PayPal info and I'll buy you a beer as a more succinct statement of my appreciation. Hell, even if you did read that as a compliment (and you're a GnuCash developer), send it anyway. Because, hey, free beer. Cold beer. :)

MDF is friggin' heavy. I'll post pics later, but the short version is that I got tired of trying to cobble together shop cabinets out of the random (too small) pieces of OSB I had lying around, so I went out and bought 5 sheets of 3/4" MDF, 1 sheet of 1/2" MDF, some 1/4" Luaun, and some 1/4" Masonite. All of it, piled onto a little Toyota pick-up, made the lee-springs bend entirely opposite of the way they're supposed to at rest. Of course, these springs were already in pretty bad shape. Or were they? And don't get me started about getting it all into the shop. Ugh. And this is supposed to be a relaxing hobby. Whatever.

MDF is doubley-friggin' dusty. I suppose, for the benefit of the non shop-inclined out there, I should recap what MDF is. It stands for Medium Density Fiberboard, and is a manufactured sheet lumber product that has excellent dimensional stability (ie: doesn't warp, swell, etc., with changes in humidity), machines very well (ie: routers and table saws love to chew it up with nice, clean, precise edges), and takes paint very well.

The problem is the very reason it machines so well: it's made up of highly compressed, very small wood particles. This is not that particle board crap that all of the crummy furniture you buy at Wal-mart is made from. This is like cardboard dust (yea, dust) that's been packed together with adhesive. So when you machine it, you get back cardboard dust. And it gets everywhere. I had to go get a special bag and HEPA filter for my Shop-Vac(tm) just to suck it all up without stopping every five minutes to clean the filter.

Plans are helpful. For the aforementioned shop-cabinets, I went all-out exhaustively anal in planning them. I fired up Visio (yeah, I know, I'm a bad person) and laid them out in excruciating detail. I made a sheetgoods cutlist, along with little machining diagrams to tape to each piece as it went through the shop. When it finally came time to run everything through the sharp, fast-spinning things, it went down without a hitch. I was incredibly surprised, because my entire woodworking history to date has been a serious of fuckups :|

No, really. Plans are helpful. Of course, there were a few things that I decided to "free-hand", because I hadn't completely finished the plans in one or two minor places. Want to guess what happened? Yeah. I fucked it up. Sigh. Fortunately, as I mentioned, they were relatively minor details, and I managed to hide them well enough :) But still, it's annoying.

I should start woodvogato.org, for the two people other than me that actually give a shit about free software and woodworking :)

Ah, well. Back to the bookkeeping grind. Soon, I'll be in good with the tax man again, and will be able to focus my energies on software instead of vague, unidentified worrying.

Latest blog entries     Older blog entries

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!