Author Archives: thepsylum

where’s the fast-forward button?

so it’s late on a sunday night, and i’m as listless as ever. Sure, i did a few things today, but for the most part i was lazy today, which is kind of unfortunate. I was given the offer to spend some time practicing driving, which i passed on. I was given hours on end to do as i pleased, and i still haven’t worked on any of my website(s). I really need to find a new hobby, or maybe i just need to be more active in the ones i have. checking out twitter, facebook, aim, and my rss reader doesn’t really count as a hobby in my book..

At least I’ll be busy this upcoming week, as i need to begin the packing process for my apartment. hopefully it won’t be too bad. I really only have to pack up my computer and kitchen. Most of my possessions are ready to go as is (i think). Also, a new bonus is i have a real couch, so i can sleep on that the night before i move, instead of taking my bed apart the morning of a move, hooray! the other nice thing is my move date is flexible again. I just need to find a good day when friends and a moving truck can be had. I’m still shooting for the earlier the better. I’m hoping to have a small “concert series” in my old apartment, if i can find a way to arrange it. Any local Pittsburgh bands interested in playing a free/cheap show in the southside? inquire within.

The other item of interest is the Stanley Cup Final. Though the Penguins are down a game as of right now, I’m confident they’ll come out swinging tomorrow, and handily use home ice advantage to capture the 2 games in the burgh. I just wish i didn’t have to wait 2 days between each game (though i know as a player you really need a bit of rest when you’re playing at this level). I was tempted to head up to Detroit for tomorrow’s game with some friends, but it didn’t quite work out, so I’ll just have to hope i see some reasonably priced tickets for the home games and snatch some of those up later this week. Have a good holiday tomorrow, everyone.

new spots

This past weekend I finally finished archiving the most of the contents of my MacBook Pro so I could install the new version of Mac OS X: 10.5 (Leopard). Overall the install went fine.. I opted to use the case-sensitive HFS on this go around. My first impressions are that the UI does look a little more polished and standardized now. Several of the settings dialogs have been revamped too. The networking settings for one are a lot more cohesive now. Though I have to chuckle, i feel like the settings are also growing to look more like the network settings found in older versions of windows. I must admit i haven’t played with all of the new features too much yet (spaces, time machine, etc).

As far as programming things go though, I am impressed by some of the following things: a new /etc.d/ way of creating a standard PATH variable across the system, the use of XQuartz (an eventually mainline version of compatible with the mac) which attempts to init transparently for X apps, the newer terminal and XCode tools, and finally a nicer way to change your shell (since i’m a tcsh user). It’s also nice to see some applications deciding to use brand new frameworks in order to really enhance their quality.

the year of pigs and rainbows

I’ve been meaning to write something about the new Radiohead CD for a week or two now, but hadn’t gotten around to it. Having seen a few other artists publicly announce that they were planning on doing something in the same vein in the coming year was a welcome sight. Even if In Rainbows drew the ire of some downloaders (myself included), there is definitely something to be said for just going for broke and trying something new. I will undoubtedly re-buy it not for $0 once it’s available in a format worth my money (whether that means they release it on CD at a reasonable price, or I can download a pirated rip of the from the boxset that I can download instead). I have no problem paying for my music, but I am picky about quality, as well as someone who likes having artwork or a physical disc.

All of that aside, we are in a ‘new world’ now you might say. Many artists finally realize that if you can get yourself known on the internet, you have a good chance of making money there. It almost seems funny to me, that many bands who are on independent labels are seen as those barely scraping by. However, a lot of the larger bands who are backed by labels don’t seem to make much more off of the CDs they sell, and they also seem to sound a lot more bitter. Why else would Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails tell his fans down in Australia to pirate it until the prices the industry are charging come down, or further that he likely won’t resign with another label, and go Radiohead’s route or something of that nature. The industry was good a decade ago when the internet was not the media rich social network it is today. As it stands today, you can get your music hosted on several sites that follow music, along with streamed and recommended by sites like or Pandora, and then keep your own website to stay in touch with all the fans you make. The same could not be said for the early 90s.

I know a guy in a band who plays local’ish shows, and occasionally plays solo as well. He’s a great musician, a huge lover of music, and an all around nice guy. I received a message from him on Tuesday with a link to a news article about a private bittorrent site being taken down. We both knew about the site, and this was kind of shocking news (as it was to many people on the internet who use bittorrent). What was more shocking to me was some of the outrageous press reports I read as I scanned the net for updated information related about what to me was a large news story. I’m glad to see that many sites are finally speaking up to put out more correct information, including artists whose music was available on the site. I fully believe that at this point in time, something like this is more likely to backfire on an industry only starting to warm up to internet distribution. Most people have already found ways to get what they want, how they want it, and when the want it on the internet, for free. Just as many do it legally through sites like iTunes (or their sales wouldn’t be so tremendously high).

I sincerely hope that a middle ground can be reached soon that will allow the consumer out there to get the quantity and quality available by downloading music (legally or otherwise), without all of the hassles that were originally imposed on consumers willing to skip traditional the distribution scheme. For those who still prefer getting a physical disc (like myself), I’d hope artists could do something like In Rainbows, and allow consumers to just get the CD (not the megafan boxset that I couldn’t personally commit to). If the price was reasonable, I’d have no problem buying it online if I could download it the same day and wait to get it in the mail, or be able to print out a voucher for pick up at some local store when it was released at a later date.

cut him!

Tonight I got to go see an (8 weeks!) early screener of the new movie Kite Runner. Having read the book two summers ago, I was actually fairly excited, since I had thoroughly enjoyed the book when I read it. First off, I would like to let anyone who has read the book know what you’re probably wondering, this movie is actually a pretty awesome adaptation of the book (in my opinion). Most of the important parts of the story were included, and the actors did a fairly intelligent job of indicating the emotional and implied storyline that you really only get from reading the novel. What does this mean? Well for me, it was a reasonable retelling of the story, with some fairly cool visuals, as well as some highly ethnic (and enjoyable) music. For those that haven’t read the book, I still think it’s a great movie that can stand on its own. Hopefully it’s good enough to entice you to read the book (you’ll absolutely love the book if you enjoy the movie).

activity: medium

So, amazingly enough I’ve been doing some interesting things lately. You know, like when I was younger and went to see shows? Well, I saw a few different shows this past week. I also stopped by the Church Brew works tonight to see what Geek Night was like. Unfortunately, I didn’t really get to see anyone from work, or chat with any fellow geeks. I’ve also finally begun swimming again, on a semi-regular basis. This is definitely a Good Thing ™, since I’ve been growing more and more out of shape during my college tenure.

In other events-worth-mentioning news, Jury Duty was not so bad.. Nobody was called, I was let out after lunch, and I got a cheap meal and used CD for practically nothing (hooray for instant stipends). I also went to the Pitt Career Fair to represent my company yesterday. I saw a few old classmates, and met a few kids who were definitely excited to be free of college and join the real world to do cool stuff. Kind of like me, except for the free networking I had from my old jobs. I guess the only other thing of note lately is that I’ve been on a reading spree. I got 6 books for next to nothing from a free amazon gift certificate I got not too long ago. Now that I’ve finished the Harry Potter series, I’m moving on to several other sci-fi/fantasy series that I’ve always meant to check out, so hopefully they’ll hold my attention for the next month or so. If anything is particularly sweet i’ll be sure to drop a note about it on here. Until then, enjoy life, my few blog readers.

the verdict is in

So tomorrow I have to respond to a Jury Summons (i.e. actually go downtown and sit around). Its unclear if I’ll actually get picked for a trial, or if it will last more than 10 minutes, who knows.. they make it all kind of vague. In some ways I don’t mind, I get paid by work to follow through with my civic duties, plus I guess I get a small stipend for going down there. Also, it’s a new experience, something i’m always up for. Plus, i’ll get some more time to do some reading while I wait, who knows, maybe i’ll even come close to finishing a book (8 hours is a long, long time).

There’s lots of fun concerts coming up in the next month (a surprise, I know!), so i’m definitely going to be checking all of those out soon. Just to name a few.. Paul Luc, Finger Eleven, Minus the Bear, Saves the Day, Johnette Napolitano, and a few more. If you know of another sweet show I don’t, let me know by leaving a comment or shooting me an email.

kickin it old school

Last night I went to see Paul Luc with Kim (who got the cd, and all the bandmembers signed it). Then we went out for some more drinking and met up with a friend. Tonight one of our friends is turning 21, so that should be a good time as well. I also started on my slow attempt to get back in shape. I went swimming at Oliver Bath House for an hour today. An hour is pitiful, but I’m out of shape, so hopefully the more I go, the better I’ll be able to do.

To anyone out there who has an Ipod classic, who used to have one of the older revs, does the UI seem to run slowly to you? I was playing with one at the apple store the other day and it seemed to react really slowly. The music interface on the Ipod touch is definitely one of the most refined ones I’ve seen, but 16GB just won’t cut it (unless I get one for free :). Seeing as the classic has twice the space and battery life as my aging Creative Zen Xtra (and I could use it as a raw hard drive) I’m actually considering getting one. I was disappointed that the Shadyside Apple Store had none of the 160GB ones out though, so I could compare just how much thicker it really was, but if they don’t have them out next time I’m sure I could ask them to get one for me. That store also doesn’t have the new mini power adapter for the MacBook Pros (but then, I guess most stores don’t have them yet). What I really need to do though (tech purchase wise) is to get a 2GB stick of ram for my laptop, not from Apple if I can pull it off (it’s sooo much cheaper that way).

As a random last side note, I’m somewhat impressed with Pittsburgh’s tech influence as of late. Not only did we have the most bloggers per capita, we have like 4 or 5 lifecasters on (maybe more), who knew?

too long

Wow, i managed to forget to update this thing already. I guess a quick update is in order.. Over the last few weeks i’ve gone to California for a business trip. I stayed in a small area called Menlo Park, which is just next to Stanford and Palo Alto (home of facebook). That was interesting, the weather was nice, but it was mostly work, so not all that much to write home about..

Aside from that trip, it’s been mostly the same old shit. Work, come home, hang out, whatever. I did manage to read books 5 and 6 of the Harry Potter series, and go see the fifth movie (which is an ok movie, but a horrible adaptation). I went out to a friend’s birthday soiree in shadyside, and a housewarming in the strip. Both events were nice, plus I don’t get to visit those parts of town much. Now that I’ve left Oakland, I pretty much stick around Southside. Let’s see, I also finally bought an external hard drive. It’s a nice 750GB from Western Digital which was on sale at Best Buy, I saw a metallic looking one for 75 dollars more at the Apple Store tonight, so ha! In other positive news, my “online transcript” at Pitt lists me as graduated with my Masters Degree. With that, I am officially done with school (in what I hope is, forever).

The remainder of this month looks to be not tooo boring. A friend is turning 21, Mad Mex is having several specials, I have potential Jury Duty, we’re getting more serious about furniture for our apartment, and I should finish dealing with post-graduation services loss. Oh, and maybe if I’m really cool, I’ll work on my domain (or at least my side project). Anyhow, that’s enough rambling for tonight.


Life has always had irrationally quick ups and downs for me. Most of which even my friends weren’t aware of. Lately I’ve been having trouble picking how i actually feel from hour to hour. Work is really exciting since I’m finally coding again, but it’s also really depressing since I’m sort of drowning in the depth of it. And I’m not just talking about the depth as far as there’s a lot of codebase, I mean it’s also deep; as in way more abstract and cleverly planned than I have ever dealt with. I won’t say I’m not up to the challenge, I just occasionally wish I could make things “work,” and get that instant gratification of “oooh look what I did!” This reminds me that I should be doing side projects, whether personal or open source, but after a day on the computer, I only want to be lazy or braindead when looking at a monitor, not trying to motivate myself to do work.

To that end, I’ve been trying to do more non-computer things to keep me at least from becoming lame. I just read “I hope they serve beer in hell” by Tucker Max. It was a short, easy to read, and mostly hilarious book. Perfect to get me back into reading, since I kind of dropped the ball on that when I started college. I’m hoping to read at least a few books a month from here on out, even if they are tech/work related. I want to watch more movies too, or go to {baseball,hockey} games if possible. I basically just am realizing that all I did in college was homework, party, concert-go, and piss around. Now that homework is gone and partying has become a different beast, pissing around is not what it used to be, and Pittsburgh frankly sucks as far as concerts go as of late. I guess all this faux-motivation will just have to evolve into something that turns a profit in terms of my need for interesting experiences.

locking in

So I finished two weeks of work. I actually committed a change late on friday (nevermind it didn’t change any programmatic behavior), so it’s like i’m a real developer again. I also got paid for my first week of work, so I can finally start paying my credit card back down. I kind of chose to let my debt grow (a lot) these past 2 months while I waited to start my new job. on the bright side, it looks like I might be able to pay it off before my promotional APR disappears.

I guess life is pretty much going ok. It’s nice to be able to get to know more people from work, and be able to hang out at fun places on the southside. I’ve been taking advantage of iTunes’ free tv shows, but I really really need to get an external harddrive so I can keep downloading, I can’t watch them fast enough to archive for more space. The apartment needs some stuff too, as well as some decorating. I guess I’ll just have to aim to get my credit card on its way back down while I spend whatever amount on the stuff I’ve been waiting a long time to get. Anyhow, I need to start getting ready for another night out, peace.