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Jun. 29th, 2014

A change of scenery

I am absolutely lost on this computer of mine.

When my old PC finally died and I built my new one, I tried several different Linux distributions and was dissatisfied with each for some reason or another. I ended up defaulting to Ubuntu because it had the fewest hardware problems out-of-the-box and because it was what I'd been using on the old PC. However, that has proven to be a frustrating and debilitating decision: I don't use my PC but once every several weeks. I hate the GUI. Seriously, I absolutely and completely hate the GUI. It frustrates the fire out of me. It's time for something new.

So, I'm going to try Arch Linux. I want to use LVM and have snapshots of my hard drive. I want to use stock Gnome 3, customized to look like Gnome 2, the only Linux GUI I've ever been comfortable with. And I want to WANT to sit down in front of my computer and work on feedparser. I haven't touched it in forever, and I know one of the big reasons is that I hate -- HATE -- using my computer, ever. I basically only use my PC once each month because I have to pay bills.

I usually dislike announcing an intent to do something but this is more for me than it is my readership. I want a stake in the ground to spur me on to actually fix this awful situation.

May. 6th, 2014

Raspberry Pi benchmarks

I had a bit of time today and decided to start using the Raspberry Pi I bought last year. I'm very interested in wringing performance out of it, so to the best of my ability I'm going to measure performance.

I had previously downloaded Arch Linux, so I put that on an SD card. Then I saw a blog post suggesting that a USB drive could increase the performance. So! I adapted the instructions and captured some benchmarks. Quick summary: the USB drive has a slower write speed but a faster read speed...but I have to acknowledge that the results might be better with a different USB drive.

The SD card (a 32GB Sandisk Ultra class 10 32GB card)

[root@alarmpi sdcard]# hdparm -tT /dev/mmcblk0

 Timing cached reads:   312 MB in  2.00 seconds = 155.98 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  54 MB in  3.06 seconds =  17.65 MB/sec
[root@alarmpi sdcard]# sync;time bash -c "(dd if=/dev/zero of=bf bs=8k count=50000; sync)"
50000+0 records in
50000+0 records out
409600000 bytes (410 MB) copied, 39.6374 s, 10.3 MB/s

real    0m41.003s
user    0m0.240s
sys     0m10.230s
[root@alarmpi sdcard]# dd if=bf of=/dev/null
800000+0 records in
800000+0 records out
409600000 bytes (410 MB) copied, 22.3598 s, 18.3 MB/s

The USB drive (a Lexar 8GB Jumpdrive)

[root@alarmpi ~]# hdparm -tT /dev/sda

 Timing cached reads:   308 MB in  2.00 seconds = 153.90 MB/sec
 Timing buffered disk reads:  58 MB in  3.04 seconds =  19.09 MB/sec
[root@alarmpi ~]# sync;time bash -c "(dd if=/dev/zero of=bf bs=8k count=50000; sync)"
50000+0 records in
50000+0 records out
409600000 bytes (410 MB) copied, 41.1666 s, 9.9 MB/s

real    0m45.185s
user    0m0.250s
sys     0m8.210s
[root@alarmpi ~]# dd if=bf of=/dev/null
800000+0 records in
800000+0 records out
409600000 bytes (410 MB) copied, 20.5428 s, 19.9 MB/s

Nov. 10th, 2013


While eating dinner with one of my brothers.

Me: I love you, Stephan.
Stephan: Thanks, Kurt.
Me: Really appreciate spending time with you, and especially when you sometimes aren't talking.
Stephan: Wha...
Me: See what I did there? That's called a 'neg'.
Stephan: Wow, you know that's really clever, Kyle! Whoops, I mean 'Kurt'. You see what I did there? Sometimes I purposefully get people's names wrong so they know I don't care about them at all. It lets them know I just don't give a


Oct. 2nd, 2013

Raspberry Pi server

I'm working on getting my Raspberry Pi configured as a web server. It's my intention to finally start hosting my own website again after many years of using hosted services. So far I've got the right software installed, now it's just going to take some time to configure all of the settings. And then it will take a while to import everything from my old Wordpress blog, Blogger, and LiveJournal. Tons to be done!

Apr. 9th, 2013

And after four days

And after four business days we're back in extended hours. At least I got a two-day weekend out of it. I didn't even make it into the building before I found out. I am absolutely exhausted and uninspired.

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Apr. 1st, 2013

April didn't come soon enough

Man alive, I've been working 12-hour days, seven days a week, for almost the entirety of March. It has been grueling. During this time I gained 10 pounds due to atrocious eating habits (like eating right before bed at 3:00am), my voice has become damaged thanks to stress- and diet-related acid reflux, and I've started waking up with caffeine deprivation headaches.

It all culminated in a very successful quarter-end, though. I got off work at 4:35am on Easter morning, slept for a bit, then went back for another 12 hours. When I got home this morning and checked my mailbox I realized that the stars were beginning to align for me: a Victoria's Secret swimsuit catalog had been mis-delivered to me. Ha!

Google has announced that they're shutting down their Reader service, so I'm excited to coincidentally have free time open up to improve feedparser. It's been a while since I've had time to solve complex problems, so I'm looking forward to relaxing with a hobby I enjoy. Stay tuned for another post in which I'll summarize the state of feedparser and what I'm planning to work on this year!

Feb. 6th, 2013

In Europe, day 4

Although my days have been largely consumed by meetings and discussions I've been finding time to enjoy Zaltbommel and its many restaurants.

Yesterday for dinner I had duck liver, quail, candied apple, pork and mashed potatoes, crème brûlée, wine, and a delicious Trappist beer named Dubbel at a wonderful restaurant in Rossum named De Gouden Molen (the Golden Windmill, I'm told). The night before that I had a Greek meal consisting of souvlaki, suzuki, fried potatoes, tzatziki, and vegetables. The beer of the evening was called Bavaria and was outstanding.

Tonight, however, my coworker and I were exhausted so we had a simple meal: McDonald's. Damn, baby, the Dutch have better french fries than we do, even at McDonald's! And the vegetables on my Chicken Sensation were fresh and delish! I've spent the evening relaxing and emailing while watching 28 Dresses and, now, the first Star Trek movie. It's airing on RTL7 (meer voor mannen). Even their Captain Morgan commercials are better than ours!

There's just one thing I need in this world: French vanilla coffee creamer. Everyone here laughs at me, even at the grocery store! Koffie met vanille?! marveled the clerk. Heaven help me, YES! All of the coffee here is unpotable? C'MON!

Anyway, now it's bedtime. I've got a big day of trainings and meetings tomorrow, and then I'm hoping to head into Den Bosch by train for dinner and to find a music store...

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Feb. 3rd, 2013

In Europe, day 1

I don't expect that I'll liveblog my trip to Europe, but I did have a great first day and I wanted to let everyone know that I made it safely.

My coworker and I arrived in Amsterdam at 7:30am, and we quickly got the rental car and headed to our hotel to check in and get some breakfast. We headed into Zaltbommel for lunch and ate at a place that appeared to be named, simply, "Restaurant". I had a cold-smoked salmon sandwich on pita bread that was unlike anything I'd ever had before. The pretty English-speaking waitress brought it to me while people's pet dogs wandered around the area and children played at the bar.

After a short nap I met up with my coworker at the hotel bar; he had struck up a conversation with a man who was from Dallas (small world) and happened to be born a stone's throw from the tiny West Virginian town my coworker was born in (very small world!). The man had already eaten, but he so strongly recommended a restaurant to us for dinner that he decided to lead us there in his own car despite the rain. The restaurant was named "Maxima" and was located on a street corner in Waardenburg. I had swordfish, salmon (or zalm #omgculturesnob), whole shrimp, and mussels for dinner with a side of the most delicious and least oily french fries I've had in my life.

And to the true culture snobs, my meal was not the least bit sullied by french fries. As a matter of fact I ordered a Malbec rosé instead of a white wine to go with the seafood, you haters!

I've taken some pictures, but I'm going to spend some time relaxing and getting ready for bed. I manipulated my sleep schedule to deal with the jet lag, by which I mean that I failed to sleep much the night before the trip or on the plane, so I'm well-exhausted now.

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Jan. 13th, 2013

I'll be in the Netherlands

Hey everybody, I'm going to be in Zaltbommel and Waardenburg, Netherlands starting February 4th for two weeks. If anyone would like to get together with me while I'm there, please let me know! I'd be delighted to meet with you, have a drink, and talk about feedparser or Python in general (or anything else for that matter)!

UPDATE: I'm going to be in Skopje, Macedonia starting February 18th for a week. I'd love to meet with anyone around that area, too!

Jan. 12th, 2013

A learning experience

While at a birthday party for a lesbian friend of mine, I was the only straight guest at the party.

Birthday girl: We're all doing jello shots!
Me: I've never done jello shots.
Birthday girl: Well you can't use your finger! You have to use your tongue to get all the jello out. It's a competition, so try to keep up.
Everyone does the jello shots
Me: How's this?
Unknown girl: Holy shit, he's like a washing machine!
Birthday girl: Seriously?! You beat out all of the lesbians?!
Me: Well sure. I just traced the letters of the alphabet.

While relating the story to another friend of mine.

Me: I felt really proud about that, like I'd achieved something.
Him: Yes, you're the King of Lesbians.

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June 2014



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