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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Is that a wig?

14 Aug

This evening, while sitting down with Chris Suter trying to work out the finer details of an algorithm over a pint, I was approached by a woman who asked: “This is probably an offensive question, but is that a wig?” in reference to my hair.

For the record, my hair is real, as unlikely as that may seem at first glance.

 
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Disturbing discovery

14 Aug

I came home to find a dying cockroach on my kitchen floor.
That discovery alone is not all that disturbing. I do live in FL, after all, where palmetto bugs are a fact of life and can be found just about anywhere for no good reason at all. No, I quite expect to very occasionally stumble across one in my home, so that was not of much concern to me.

What did concern me was that this cockroach was on its back mostly dead, missing at least two legs on the same side. This raises two questions:
1. If this cockroach came into my house that way, how did it manage to get that far before losing it?
2. If this cockroach came into my house fully intact, how did it end up that way?

I suspect that I would rather not know the answer to the latter question.

 
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Have some tips!

26 Jun

In order to improve the quality of your life, I am providing some tips! I’ll start with some geeky stuff and move on to life tips.

Did you know that there is built in pager functionality in MySQL command line? I sure didn’t! It’s pretty cool, and extremely simple to use:
mysql>pager less
PAGER set to less

or, as Travis suggests you can even use vim:
mysql>pager vim -
PAGER set to vim -

Another MySQL tip is one that I figured out for my own uses a while ago and didn’t think much of until both Skyler and Travis also needed the use of it: it’s quite easy to search for tables containing a certain column.
For example, if you need to find all tables that contain a UserID, the following will do the trick:
SELECT table_name FROM information_schema.columns WHERE table_schema=’your_database_name’ AND column_name=’UserID’;
It’s great if you name all of your columns consistently and are doing this just because you don’t want to have to look that information up, but don’t rely on it when you’re trying to mess with an externally developed project. For example, Bugzilla actually has several different names for the UserID column depending on which table it’s in.

One last MySQL tip: disable name resolution if you haven’t done so already. MySQL attemps to do a reverse lookup on IP every time a connection is made, whether it needs to or not. Normally that behavior is fine, but if your DNS server goes down, becomes unreachable or (even worse) becomes slow, it can take MySQL up to 10 seconds per connection to authenticate or time out. It becomes incredibly easy to use up all of your allowed connections when this happens.

On to some life tips:
I recently bought a 2005 Scion xB. Aside from being a hideous solar yellow, it’s a great car and I got a great deal on it, so I couldn’t say no. A lot of people were surprised that I was able to pay cash for the car, considering that I don’t make a lot of money. The trick is that years ago I resolved to only ever pay cash for a vehicle, so I’ve only purchased vehicles I could afford at the time, while setting aside what would otherwise go towards a car payment. For the past 3 years I’ve been driving a jalopy that I bought for $800. About a year ago I bought a Yamaha C3 scooter for commuting to work and other in-town driving to save gas, for about $2,000. So for the past 3 years I’ve spent $2,800 for transportation. How much would I have spent on car payments? Let’s be conservative and estimate a payment of $300/month.
$300/month * 12 months/year * 3 years = $10,800
Having saved that money (while collecting interest!), it should be no surprise that I had enough to pay cash for a nicer car. And of course I still have my scooter for in town commuting, so I’ll continue to get excellent gas mileage in town and keep the wear and tear on the car down to a minimum, and based on the above math the xB only has to last me about 3 years to pay for itself. Chances are, of course, that I’ll get many more years of service out of it than that. Moral of the story? Don’t pay any more for a vehicle than you can afford. Sounds obvious when you put it that way, doesn’t it?

And now, a housekeeping tip from Skyler. If you enjoy cooking but hate doing dishes, a nice “trick” is to cook a relatively simple meal, something like rice where it’s not very involved but a bit time consuming, where you kind of have to be around keeping an eye on it. Once you get your dish going, you kind of have to sit around the kitchen anyway, so you might as well do some cleaning. It feels much less like a boring waste of time if you’re already stuck in the kitchen doing something you like. I tried this last night and it was much more tolerable. Now if only I could find a similar trick for making picking up after myself more enjoyable…

On the topic of being messy, I highly, highly recommend getting bunches of tackle organizers for all sorts of organizational needs. Tackle organizers come in all different shapes and sizes, and many have removable dividers (like this one) for ultimate flexibility. Have a junk drawer, or two or three? Put your crap in these and then put these in the drawer, it’ll be easier to find your stuff and you’ll probably be able to make more efficient use of the space. I also use one of these in my toolbox, and one for my sewing supplies.

 
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Posted in life, SQL