You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station: Chris Hadfield: 9780316379649: Amazon.com: Books

This looks amazing:

Chris Hadfield's book of photography from space,

Divided by continent, YOU ARE HERE represents one (idealized) orbit of the ISS. This planetary photo tour — surprising, playful, thought-provoking, and visually delightful — is also punctuated with fun, fascinating commentary on life in zero gravity.

Via Amazon:You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes: Photographs from the International Space Station

The End And The Beginning of My Virtual Life

My iPhone died today. I’m not sure why, but it couldn’t have been good when the speaker dock I’d been using started making more squawky noises than usual – sometimes with shocklingly loud humming and buzzing that came through the speakers. It somehow managed to charge the phone where my older docks did not, but it was never a happy marriage, and David had remarked that it was unshielded, so there’d always be interference. So he’d already found a little wireless speaker called “Mini Jambox” that would be my Hannumas present, and he’s getting a GoPro.

But the iPhone? It’s my life, or a big part of my virtual life. It’s constantly at hand, and being without it isn’t really an option, because all my calendar listings, notes, emails, and a ton of other stuff is on it.

iphone5c-selection-green-2013

Welp, since my iPhone gave up the ghost, refusing to power up via battery and unable to connect to wifi to be reset, off we went to the local AT&T store to get a replacement, as we figured it had finally gotten the shock of its life and gone poof. Alas, the bright guy at the AT&T store didn’t have any of the Chosen One (an iPhone 5C) in stock. We liked Glenn, he pounced on us very politely when we walked purposefully into the AT&T store, and if only things had gone otherwise, we wouldn’t have had an hour’s worth of woe and gnashing of teeth at Best Buy.

But off we went to the Best Buy, where at first things were off to an auspicious start: not only did they have the 32G 5c in stock, they had it in white AND blue AND green. Faced with an actual color choice other than the Model T (black) and the Model A (white), I froze all deerlike in the headlights and blurted out “Green!” Well, in retrospect, maybe the blue would have been the less neon-y choice, but the color is kind of minty and it’s growing on me, and it goes with my deep blue/purplish Hannemas present (but I’m getting ahead of myself).

Anyway, we started the process of de-commissioning the old phone off of our account and enabling the new, but Houston, we had a problem: the Best Buy tech person said that she’d typed my phone number in correctly (…) but they had de-commissioned David’s phone (and he had a conference call to take in less than an hour back home). The tech rushed to get this corrected, IMing the AT&T people frantically, and finally calling (on her own iPhone) to have them fix it.

Unfortunately, the fix meant somehow that both SIM cards (on David’s current phone, and on my erstwhile new phone) had been disabled. So she had to get two new SIM cards out, enable each and install each in the proper phone, and insure that the phones had the right phone number. While that was playing out and we were politely trying not to freak out too much, the tech had a floor runner fetch a green iPhone case and comped it to me for the trouble. Well, heck, I still could have had a blue case, it’s got holes in the back that would be like fun polka dots in the contrasting green. Anyway, eventually she got the SIM cards installed, David called my new phone, it worked, and we were good to go.

Back home again, I started rebuilding all my email passwords, swearing at Yahoo for making the “forgot my password” process such a nightmare (for various reasons, I have several Yahoo email accounts, to go with various social IDs). David had to step in and straighten that out.

I was relieved that my apps had made it through the ordeal, even though I hadn’t synched the old phone to iTunes since September. And now I see that a bunch of my songs didn’t stay in iTunes… there’s a lot more of them on my laptop, which I *thought* I had gotten to synch up to the desktop. I can see that the end is not in sight, but will try to get the old library to synch to the new one. I also still have the Gateway computer handy, which may have the synched library. It needs to be decommissioned, if not.

MiniJambox

David decided to give me my prezzie early, so I powered up the MiniJambox, installed the app that makes it easy to configure and paired it up via Bluetooth with the new iPhone. As an added bonus feature, it also acts as a speakerphone, and a full charge lasts 10 hours… AND it can get Siri talking, too. I started fooling with some of the other features, as it can connect to Spotify, Rdio, and something called Deezer through the app. It sounds terrific, it’s compact and nicely designed, and comes with a mini-USB charge/synch cable and an audio line in/line out double-ended cable (for those times when using Bluetooth to connect isn’t… what, necessary? It paired like a dream).

I signed up for the Spotify free trial and the Rdio free trial. Apparently some services on either will remain free, but playlists and albums are a subscription deal after the trials; I will pass on paying. After all, I still have bad vibes from when Last.fm, the original source of much scrobbling, took their free service to a subscription model, and I went in search of free internet radio apps that scrobbled to my blogs. While I’ve got the free trials, I’ll listen to as much stuff as I can.

HolidayMinionRush

My last big worry: did my Minion Rush game app survive and make the leap across the chasm, with more than 400,000 delicious bananas and quite a cache of game tokens, not to mention my level 26 ranking? Yes, thank goodness, it did – such a funny game – if I’d been reset to 0 loot, 0 tokens, 0 levels I’d have been pretty sad. And right after downloading the delightful Holiday Lab update, too! It’s so Christmassy (say that like “it’s so fluffy!” and you’ll have it right).

So the resurrection continues (it’s not blasphemy unless it’s capitalized, right? Right.). My work life will be full of music (and no more buzzing and crackling). And my play life will be renewed too, because we’re thinking this Jambox thing will be great to bring on future trips… more on “future trips” later.

My Husband The Action Figure. Complete With Redshirt And Tricorder

My friend Ellen in Germany saw a recent story about getting 3D printed action figures on her blog recently (see Creativ Zeit)

However, my brother-in-law Mitch and I had already conspired together to produce this masterpiece:

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This came about because Mitch found a website that with a few photos could generate a Star Trek action figure of your choice with your head or the head of a loved one on it. He also found a website that could generate .OBJ files, which can be opened in Blender.

So I told David I was working on a weird “art project” for Second Life in Blender and told him I needed him to take my picture “in the round” so I could see if I could generate a 3D head in Blender… and then added, “let me take your picture too, so I have a couple of things to work with.”

Worked like a charm.

I ended up taking a shit-ton of photos of David, as he rotated around in an unused office chair upstairs in the guest bedroom, and I have a similar number of photos that he took of me. The results were only sort of okay looking in Blender; David’s head was malformed due to the website software having trouble differentiating between the pale wall behind him and the pale reflected light on the side of his head.

My 3D head image came out a bit better, but had an odd cast in the eye.

Ginny360Head

David didn’t want his 360-degree head getting out there in the wild, but he really likes his action figure. For the record, he’s Engineering, not a “redshirt.” And Mitch and I agreed that the tricorder was the prop of choice.

Nerds Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Roman Numerals To Identify Star Trek Movies

My husband David and I were watching a cable rerun of one of the original-cast Star Trek movies last night, because we are nerds and thus we have no life. The official title of this movie is something long and involved: Star Trek (Insert Roman Numeral Here): The Search For Spock.

At least in our house, the official name of this movie is actually “Star Trek: You Klingon Bastard, You Killed My Son. You Klingon Bastard, You Killed My Son. YOU KLINGON BASTARD, YOU KILLED MY SON.

It takes place on the Genesis planet, immediately after the events in the previous movie, Star Trek: KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! which of course was a sequel to the very first Star Trek classic-cast movie, Star Trek: VEEJUR NEEDS SPACE GUITARS.

In like fashion, the only way I can remember the Star Trek movie that follows ST: YKBYKMS is by calling it either “Star Trek: Double Dumbass On You,” or “Star Trek: Save The Damn Whales.” You may also remember it’s the one with the antique nuclear wessel.

The one after that is either “Star Trek: Oh, God!” or “Star Trek: Uhura’s Embarasssing Fan Dance,” and the one after that is generally “Star Trek: The Last Hurrah,” or “Star Trek: FFS, Let Picard Drive Next Time, Grandpa!”

And so on. The “Next Gen” installments, being more recent, have aged a little better for me. Some of them were excellent (“Star Trek: Very Manly! Lots of Testosterone!*“), and one or two of the later ones (“Star Trek: Sexy Bald Captain’s Clone”) were stinkbombs.

The new reboot was rousing, but inevitably, in my mind it has become both “Star Trek: You Romulan Bastard, You Blew Up My Vulcan!” and “Star Trek: Sector 90210.” The newest installment, which is still in “teaser mode” is likely to become Star Trek: Sexy Hot KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” if the hints and spoilers are accurate.

So anyway, in spite of some serious scenery noshing mostly by Shatner, we enjoyed watching “ST:YKBYKMS.” Our affection for the characters still overcomes our dislike of the hokey plot elements. Also, this movie is the one with Christopher Lloyd doing a little “Spaceman Jim” riff when he drops into laid-back English while using his communicator screen, instead of barking orders in monosyllabic Klingon. I started watching pretty early on; the makeup on the Klingons looked pretty bad and you could see where the prostheses began on the upper cheeks.

This is also the one where the mighty Enterprise is given the space-operatic version of a Viking funeral; since Starfleet wasn’t going to refit the old gal, it seemed fitting that Kirk destroy her (with the classic destruct sequence from the old series). That’s okay, they get a shiny new one in the next movie, but not before limping home (and back in time) in that creaky old Klingon Bird of Prey with the rather useful cloaking device. Oh, that reminds me; the next movie after this one also goes by “Star Trek: Everybody Remember Where We Parked The Car.”)

How do you remember multiple-installment genre movies? How the hell does anybody remember all the Friday the 13th and Halloween installments? My system works for me, but admittedly it worked better when there were Shatnerisms to play with.

*Before Star Trek: First Contact was released, I distinctly remember reading an interview somewhere with Jonathan Frakes, who directed in addition to playing Riker. The interview included a tease of Frakes directing Patrick Stewart hunting Borg survivors on the Enterprise armed with a prop plasma rifle. Frakes was shouting encouragement, such as “very manly! Lots of testosterone!,” and so that is how I will always remember this movie.

Still No Amazon Affiliates Love For Illinois

As a resident of Illinois, I can’t participate in the Amazon Affiliates program due to a law passed in the state awhile back that was supposed to protect brick-and-mortar businesses from online businesses that didn’t charge Illinois tax. I thought maybe that might have changed since there had been some stories about the law being ruled unconstitutional, but not according to this newly updated boilerplate from the Amazon Affiliates page. I still get their emails, I just have to keep hoping this will change someday.

In addition, if at any time following your enrollment in the Program you become a resident of Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, you will become ineligible to participate in the Program, and this Operating Agreement will automatically terminate, on the date you establish residency in that state. In addition, you must promptly notify us in writing of your Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island, or Connecticut residency, which you may do via the Contact Associates Customer Service form available here.

via Amazon.com Associates Central

Gobekli Tepe: Amazing 11,000-year-old site predates Stonehenge by thousands of years

I’m watching an H2 program called Civilization Lost, covering little-known sites that hint at entire civilizations that have been lost to history, the segment on the Turkish site Gobekli Tepe was striking to me. The History 2 channel seems to be slightly more “woo-woo ancient aliens!1!” than the regular History channel. Also covered: Varna, Tel Hamoukar, the Minoan culture, and others.

Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced its the site of the worlds oldest temple.

via Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

Happy Easter! I’m Off To Sing The Hallelujah Chorus

It’s that time of year again – I’m singing at the Easter Vigil tonight at St Nicholas, and we’re doing the Hallelujah Chorus tonight and tomorrow. Much like in 2007, in fact, but we’re much more experienced now, and the freshening we’ve felt with Father Manny beginning his tenure has been a LOT of fun!

I’m also the web and social media boffin for St Nick’s so I do the website, Twitter, Facebook, and whatever else that’s internet-y. So I’m always interested to know how people find St Nick’s. I’m also on the Welcome Committee, just  so that all makes a kind of sense.

Work is good too – not that busy, but expected to get busier after the “spring break lull.” One exciting thing: we’re all going to be working from home, the entire office. It’ll be a big undertaking but I’ve asked to be put on the list for the first wave. One of my teammates is already working from home and loves it, and I have a spare bedroom that’s small enough to be kind of ideal for a home office. All the tech gear and connection will be handled by the office, so we’ll be very interested to see how they deal with the wiring.

I’m looking for computer parts these days anyway; my desktop computer lost the graphics card I upgraded it with (WAAAAH!) so I’m limping along on the default one. So far it looks like we’ll swap for a bigger case and power supply, and then there’ll be room for a good quality graphics card. Hoping to spend less than $500 on it, maybe a lot less as prices are about to come down.

Anyway, Easter. My music is all collated, in spite of the best efforts of my choir mistress to keep throwing new pieces of music and hymns in that she planned for but never gave out because it was “in our Anglican DNA” and thus something we ought to know. Ah, well, it’ll be a good service and I’ll be very, very happy when we get through the “big stuff” like the Hallelujah Chorus.I also get to chant in the dark, which is always… fraught, but fun when it sounds good.

More later. Happy Easter, can’t wait to see who Bunny Stig turns out to be at church tomorrow.

Google Reader Sharing Still Crippled

I’m still pissed off about the Share feature of Google Reader being ruined, and it’s weeks and weeks or months and months since I did any blogging of stuff I ran across in the Internets tubes.

Somebody at the Google Reader user forum, in a thread entitled “I HATE the new format” came up with a possible solution: share your old Shares page to Google Plus (ugh) and use tags to add items to it. However, it was dependent on another site, which has since shut down (and I suspect Google of being evil).

Farther down in the thread, someone else points out a link that at least shows you your shared items in a Google Reader link, but it leads to the same old familiar page. However, it’s now possible to use Reader’s crippled Share button to add items to my Public Google Plus page… from my REAL Shared Items page.

It’ll only be updated from iPhone or iPad as there’s no app for the desktop that allows old-style sharing. That guy at Hivemined has lost all credibility with a very, very enthusiastic group of potential users; he grabbed the limelight and then didn’t know what to do with it, and in the end we’re all burned.

 

 

via I HATE the new format. Why don’t my shared items show up on my shared page. – Google Groups

425-390-8105 Is Probably the ANTI Do Not Call Database

I received a call at work from a Renton WA number, and immediatly after got a spam text message. When I called the Renton number back, it was a voicemail saying “Welcome to the Do Not Call database. If you would like to be added to the database, enter your 10-digit phone number.”

Note, no “Federal,” no mention of a US governmental entity. So I assume that it was actually an opt-in database for phone spammers, based on a bit of Googling around as seen below. One commenter remarked that it’s probably “out of country” spammers using some kind of bundling service based in Washington state.

Link: 425-390-8105 / 4253908105 1/5