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Paul Huff
05 April 2009 @ 02:43 pm
Richard Stallman goes mainstream.  
I know that Richard Stallman is still fighting the good fight, and he's got lots of battles to fight that he still thinks are important, but honestly, I think the original goal of the FSF has pretty much been reached.

I bought one of them new fangled Flat Panel LCD HDTVs a couple of weeks back, because I'd been thinking about it for a while, had some extra cash that I'd been saving since Christmas, and that model was the one Consumer Reports recommended, and it was on a good sale because the next year's models are coming out now.

I finally got to set it up yesterday, and I opened up the manual and inside I found a copy of the GPL and the LGPL. Because my TV uses free software. Now, I'm sure not all the software on the TV is free, and that's one of those battles that Richard Stallman will probably continue to fight, but honestly, if major manufacturers are including Free Software, and as a consequence, the GPL in their products, I think the war is going pretty darn good.

Thanks, Mr. Stallman, for making our world a better place.
Paul Huff
26 March 2009 @ 10:55 pm
There's something quite hypnotic about watching house buying shows on HGTV. I'm not sure if it's just because we're going through this process right now, if it's the reality TV angle (this is an actual person making a huge financial decision), or just the fact that looking at housees is kind of fun, but man, it's addictive.

Of course, when they go to Italy I can't help but get sucked in.
Paul Huff
22 March 2009 @ 10:44 pm
Ummmm. A new house. A new tv. A new class?  
We're hopefully moving sometime in the next two weeks. This is unclear, because the bank has decided to be the slowest ever in granting us a loan. We have good credit and a full 20% down payment, so things should be okay, but the whole world has decided that now is a good time to refinance (they're right) and so it's clogging up the works. So, hopefully sometime in the next week our bank will come back to us and tell us that they will in fact loan us the largest some of money I've ever contemplated and we'll then be in debt to them for the next 30 years.

And then we'll move into our house. Which will be suh-weet. Then, we'll put hundreds of dollars into fixing the gutters which the original builder didn't do. And we'll get to do all kinds of fun maintenance things. And we'll get to setup the large LCD TV I just bought. We've never owned a TV which wasn't donated to our family before. Our current TV sits on a stand which a friend of mine pulled out of the garbage. It's literally a piece of garbage that has been in our living room for the last 4 years. On top of it sits another TV that a different friend gave us as they were going into the Peace Corps. They came back prematurely, but assured us they didn't want it back. We watch design shows on HGTV sometimes on it, and they say, "We've painted this wall a nice blue color" and we look at each other and go: "I never knew that blue was so green." The TV doesn't work great. So, I saved up a bunch of money and bought a new fangled HDTV flat panel thingee which will be arriving at the in-laws in a few short days. It will go into the new house. We might even buy something that's not a literal piece of garbage for the TV to sit on.

Then, I might start taking an auto repair class because in Salt Lake all the school districts have all these cool community education classes. Thesis writing, you ask? Aren't you supposed to be writing your thesis this spring? Yes, yes I am. But, the class meets once a week for 4 hours, and I'm gonna be using my really old (but also suh-weet) 1988 Toyota Camry to drive back and forth to Provo from our new house once school starts back up in the fall, so the car kind of needs to be in good repair, and an auto repair class would help me learn how to do that. So, I think I can probably still write my thesis and take and auto repair class. Maybe.

We'll see. Maybe that's just a ridiculous idea. I mean, me? An auto repairer? I'm just not sure.
Paul Huff
05 February 2009 @ 07:29 am
House buying.  
You know how Congress is all trying to stop house prices from dropping too much because people are going into foreclosures and stuff? (see here if you don't know what I'm talking about). As somebody who's in the market as a home-buyer right now, I've got two words to describe this idea: terribly bad. The problem with the home market right now is that we've had a bubble and so things are horribly over-priced. People got these false inflated notions of their homes' values and now refuse to sell them for what they're worth, or think that they can sell total crap and it's a great value. If you saw the number of not really ready to sell houses that I've seen in the last two months, you'd agree. It's crazy what some people are trying to pass off as worth the price of a home. In this particular case, being in the market, I can't help but think that government intervention (as with the American car market) is just gonna prolong the problem instead of fixing it because the market has spoken: houses are overpriced. Seriously, if you saw these houses...
Paul Huff
12 January 2009 @ 12:34 pm
My wife, the domestic goddess.  
I just want to share with you two quick things about how amazing my wife, Melissa (mhuff) is.
  1. She decided on Saturday that she wanted a new skirt. So she sewed one. And wore it on Sunday. It took her about... oh... an hour. That's amazing. I wish I could be like, "I wish I had a new <insert piece of clothing>" and then just go make it. Also, for Christmas, she sewed toy diggers for the two boy cousins in the family (Caleb is one of them.) How amazing is that?
  2. She made this incredible set of _pizza_ rolls. Now, if you know me, you know I love pizza. The pizza roll is not one of those crappy Little Gino's things, oh know. It's a full on delicious piece of dough wrapped around pineapple, pepperoni and pizza sauce. And it's phenomenal.

Yeah, that's it. My wife. The amazing domestic goddess.

*resumes eating pizza roll*
Paul Huff
04 January 2009 @ 10:12 pm
Things I've done with my Christmas break:

  1. Enjoy lots of quality time with the fam (I love you, sweets! I love you, buddy!).

  2. Install a power switch in the marantz.

  3. Eat lots of sweets.

  4. Watch lots of movies.

  5. Watch lots of TV.

  6. Lolly gag about.

  7. Sleep in.

  8. Read some Neal A. Maxwell.

  9. Play some video games.

  10. Ski.

  11. Sled.

  12. Try and buy a house (with varying levels of success).

  13. Hack on the thesis (with varying levels of success).

  14. Exercise a few times

  15. Hack on some emacs code.

  16. Hack on the arduino.

  17. Drive to Salt Lake like 40 times.

Things I haven't done that I probably should have during my Christmas break:

  1. Spend less time fiddle farting about and more quality time with the fam.

  2. Exercise enough.

  3. Read enough.

  4. Work on thesis enough.

And that's all. Tomorrow I turn 30. Wish me luck.
Paul Huff
31 December 2008 @ 12:14 pm
A Confession.  
Sit back, relax, and I'll tell you my sins.

A long, long time ago... Maybe 6-7 years. I was at the DI. (The DI is the Mormon equivalent of a Salvation Army store.) I'd been shopping the DI for months, hoping to chance upon one of these, a Marantz stereo. My buddy had one, and he said they showed up at the DI fairly regularly if you shopped long enough... So, there I am, shopping at the DI, when my buddy comes up to me and says, "Hey! I found a Marantz!" He'd been shopping in another part of the store and had seen the stereo and came and got me. Then he told me a story. He'd been eyeing the Marantz and was talking to a guy who was also eyeing it. The guy said, "I'm not sure about this," and my buddy said, "They're sweet little machines." "I don't have the $5 though," the guy said. "Too bad, they're pretty sweet!" my buddy said. Then the guy got a little glint in his eye and said, "Watch this!" and picked up the marantz and slid behind a little employees only area and put it back in the back part of the store where customers aren't allowed. When he stepped back around he said, "I'll go get some money and be back." And then my buddy came and got me. And I decided that I wanted the Marantz, so I asked the people in charge if the guy was allowed to keep things back there, they said no, and put it back on the shelf. So I took it to the front and paid my $5.

I've tried to rationalize my behavior in a lot of ways. But basically I snatched up the Marantz like it was going out of style (well, technically it _had_ gone out of style 20 years earlier..., but you get my drift.) when somebody else had left eagerly to return and buy it and then founnd it bought. Everytime I think about this story I feel a big twinge of guilt.

The Marantz in question had a lot of problems: it's missing a few switches, it has a busted speaker protection relay that needs to be cleaned, and it had a short-circuited power switch leaving it in a constant state of being on. The only way to turn it off is to unplug it, and in our current setup, that's not really possible.

So, over the last couple of days, I've been trying to find a way to get in and clean the speaker protection relay (it makes the speakers cut in and out all the time: pretty annoying) and trying to find a way to get a power switch in that sucker. I managed to get a power switch in this morning, despite a comedy of errors involving me: slicing both of my index fingers open, and burning my left thumb and index finger on a soldering iron. I also don't really have big enough solder or a hot enough soldering iron to make the kinds of solders that the thing has inside, but what I did should be good enough in a pinch, I think. If the solder melts and slips off the connections I made to the switch should still be viable.

But no matter how much I tweak the marantz (I found a neat site that gives all sorts of sweet repairs and mods you can make to them to get them back to working condition), I think I'll probably always feel a twinge of guilt everytime I look at it.
Paul Huff
28 November 2008 @ 11:57 pm
A Christmas List  
A Christmas List: Big Ticket (>$100 — in no particular order): Medium Ticket: ($30 - $100 — in no particular order): Small ticket: (<$30 — in no particular order): And that's enough for now. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
Paul Huff
24 November 2008 @ 09:50 am
I finally upgraded to Firefox 3.  
And I hated some behavior the new url bar had. If you're like me (which most of you probably aren't) you have like 10 thousand windows open and sometimes you start typing a URL and need to switch to another widow quickly (apple-tab in Mac OS X, alt-tab in pretty much every other windowing system ever) to figure out the rest of the URL you're typing. I do this like a hundred times a day: I start typing a URL (http://....) and forget the rest of the URL I'm trying to get to. Under the default firefox 3 settings on OS X, the url bar (location bar, address bar whatever) auto-highlights whatever you're typing when you tab back to the window. Which means if you start typing the rest of the address it overwrites what you've already typed.





So, here's how you fix that:

In Firefox type this as the address:


And then click "Yes, I want to void my warranty" or whatever.

Then find the following settings:


You can set it to false by double clicking on it.

Then find, right below it,


and double click that.

Now if you really _want_ to highlight the whole bar you can double click on it, but it won't auto-highlight the location bar by default when you tab away and tab back. Yay.
Paul Huff
05 September 2008 @ 08:07 am
Another business plan.  
A sleeper-friendly bedroom door. No door is designed to be opened and closed quietly so as not to make a peep, disturbing a person potentially sleeping inside.

Design a door with non-noise producing hinges, with a knob that doesn't make a sound, and with some kind of latch that doesn't make a loud snapping noise when you haven't pulled the door completely shut, even when it seems like you have.

As an added bonus it wouldn't have a large gap underneath which lets lots of sound into the room. Doesn't have to be sound proof, just noise-reducing.

Please, oh wise entrepreneurs scouring the internet for ideas: take this idea, and make the door, and I'll buy some. Lots of them.