Obey Your Signal

Monday, June 30, 2008 

Happy Canada day!

obey your signal.jpg
(This is in Guelph. Canada Day is July 1)
Posted at 12:00:31 GMT-0700

Category: FunnyphotoPlaces

Rental car review Toyota Avalon

Sunday, June 29, 2008 

Rental Car Review: Toyota Avalon

Toyota Avalon.jpg

The Toyota Avalon is a very nice car – comfortable and large. The engine is powerful and the car is spry for it’s size, quite capable of zipping past a string of cars to make an exit.

We took it up commonwealth avenue in Boston, a street with a far, far less than perfect surface and it the suspension never got upset, nor did it get noisy in the car. While the car is roomy it is easy to navigate though narrow streets filled with stochiometric Boston drivers and pedestrians.

We found the stereo plenty loud and very quite good. The car came with satellite radio, which is kind of entertaining – a punk channel even – but doesn’t work all that well under trees or on narrow urban streets; just blacking out is a bit more annoying than the fade out of standard radio and we find ourselves tuning into the very fine local radio. The radio cover door is a bit over the top: why would you want to cover a radio? It isn’t for security – it’s just aesthetic and makes the radio hard to control when closed by the door edge is ugly when open.

  • Quiet – very quiet, very silent.
  • Comfortable – extremely comfortable and easy egrees. Well designed controls.
  • Engine – fast, powerful and quiet.
  • Suspension – very agile and stable. Never got upset.
  • Basic amenities – everything that could be reasonably powered is.
  • Stereo – excellent sound quality though the low frequency isn’t hip hop friendly.
  • Security – a large, roomy, secure trunk.
Posted at 08:00:28 GMT-0700

Category: photoRental carsReviews

Pretty Cool Contrail and Halo

Sunday, June 29, 2008 

Odd atmospheric effects for a summer day in California. This is a 22 degree halo, sometimes called an “icebow.”

Posted at 00:00:36 GMT-0700

Category: photoWeather

The new RCC at ORD B18

Friday, June 27, 2008 

It is very nice.

Good thing too, ’cause the old one kinda sucked.
Posted at 19:00:29 GMT-0700

Category: photoPlanesTravel

Bay Area Fires

Friday, June 27, 2008 

The sunset has been rather surreal lately. The skies are filled with smoke that it seems heavily overcast all day.

Freemont, Wednesday.

San Mateo, Thursday
Posted at 05:00:53 GMT-0700

Category: photoWeather


Friday, June 27, 2008 

One man’s misfortune is another’s booty.

A refrigerator the size of a Home Depot (same shelves too)

Cool power doors

Posted at 05:00:43 GMT-0700

Category: photoSRL

Hacking the ImageMagick Makefile

Sunday, June 15, 2008 

More upgrading follies.

ImageMagick was recently updated from to and I did a portupgrade -ra and eventually got the configure dialog. There were a couple of options I thought could be useful: WMF support and SVG support seemed to be useful. But, alas, I run my server without X11 – it’s just a server after all… the overhead of X11 is pretty pointless. Unfortunately the config dialog doesn’t do a dependency check or tell you anything, so selecting either or both of those options without selecting X11 breaks the build.

Now there is a simple way to force the config dialog to come back, but I couldn’t find it this morning and can’t remember. Every time I tried to build I got an X11 dependency error. So I tried deleting the SVG option from the top of the Makefile, which just breaks it worse. In the end I modified the test conditions and commented out the IGNORE statements for both WMF and SVG and forced –without for both conditions – that is build without SVG or WMF whether or not they are specified in the config file and skip the result of the check WITH SVG or WMF and !WITH X11.

Posted at 13:00:30 GMT-0700

Category: Linux

Rental Car Review Ford Edge

Friday, June 13, 2008 

Rental Car Review: Ford Edge

ford edge.jpg

The Ford Edge is an oversized minivan.  It drives like a van – a  bit clumsy and uncertain.  While it has plenty of interior space, it isn’t all that comfortable.  The stereo was fine and the power everything was entertaining (a power open/close tailgate is very silly but fun).  But as a car it was simply a pain to drive and maneuver – like suddenly gaining a lot of weight and no muscle.

  • Quiet – the suspension seemed a bit weak but after 64,000 rental km it might be worse than new.
  • Comfortable – fairly comfortable to sit in.
  • Engine – powerful, but not that zippy given the size of the vehicle.
  • Suspension – horrible: flabby weak and noisy
  • Basic amenities – power everything and then some.
  • Stereo – not as good as it could be.
  • Security – no trunk, can’t leave anything in the car.
Posted at 07:00:33 GMT-0700

Category: Rental carsTravel

Rental Car Review Lancia Ypsilon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 

Rental Car Review: Lancia Ypsilon

The Lancia Ypsilon is a surprisingly spry little car. It’s a typical Euro rental, a very compact little car with a manual transmission and a tiny diesel engine. But this little guy has a very turbo charged little mill that is quite zippy, even with four people in the car, very important in Italy where two lane mountain roads are shared by powerful BMWs, funny little farm three-wheelers, tractors, and large lorries.

The car is entirely functional in every important way: it is quiet, it is zippy, it holds four people comfortably, it actually holds some luggage. The lack of a trunk of any sort means you can’t store anything in the car when parked though.

We got the rental while taking a language class in Lucca – we picked it up in Florence and had no trouble driving it along the A11. We used it all week to commute between Pieve di Cerreto, where it made fine time up and down the hill, and Lucca. We had no trouble passing. We met a few couples in class and took them out in the back of the car, even a full-size Australian couple who fit just fine.

  • Quiet – Fairly quiet for a small car.
  • Comfortable – I didn’t try the back seats, but the fronts seats are fine, except for having the wheel well where your left foot should go.
  • Basic amenities – Power everything, but no outside temperature reading. I like knowing the outside temp.
  • Stereo – not bad for a single speaker solution.
  • Security – no trunk, can’t leave anything in the car.
Posted at 23:00:32 GMT-0700

Category: Rental carsReviews

Sunbeam in Venice

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 

We visited the Santa Maria della Salute in Venice early in the morning and a beam of light from the window was illuminating the statue.

Posted at 13:00:27 GMT-0700

Category: photoPlaces