Pinterest Quora and Experts Exchange or The Most Annoying of the Web

Google needs to stop indexing Pinterest and Quora until they change their sites significantly.  While I appreciate that both of these sites have every right to operate as they do, I don’t believe information that requires registration should be used in search results PERIOD!  Experts Exchange used to be the major offender here.  Among the answers to a programming question, this site would always pop up high in the results.  Upon accidentally clicking on it I would end up on a page requiring login and payment.  Yes, I do know that in their case you could just scroll to the bottom but the intention was to execute a version of the old “Bait and Switch”.  I have no interest in becoming a Pinterest or a Quora subscriber, yet, using Google as my primary search engine, I constantly end up on these sites trying to see a grayed out answer obfuscated by a registration requirement.  It seems that Google got wise to the Experts Exchange scheme.  The same needs to be done for these two sites a s well.  If I were to use similar, questionable SEO tactics on this blog, Google would no doubt penalize me for it.  I don’t hide keyword text on backgrounds of a similar color and the like for this very reason.  Why are Pinterest and Quora still getting away with it?  I, for the most part, am not interested in social media.  I do not want to share my search habits, likes and interests with other surfers much less corporations.  Of course I will not register with either of these sites and permit them to mine, share and profit from my information.  Google’s most important product is their search and it’s results are directly related to the composition of and value inherent in the World Wide Web as we know it.  Indexing content that is not accessible without registration, participation or payment is detrimental to the value of the entire medium.  Please continue working to maintain, preserve and enhance our web by ignoring text which is accessible only to spiders and customers.

Play Framework 2.4.3 – Problems Building Example Templates in Activator


If you have downloaded the Play Framework version 2.4.3 code lately and are “playing” with Activator, you will probably notice that most of the examples will not build successfully.  The error you encounter will look something like this:

(*:update) sbt.ResolveException: unresolved dependency:;2.3.6: not found

Here is the fix that worked for me:

You need to load a more current sbt-plugin.  Wish there was a cleaner way to demo Play as I do like it a lot so far.  Go to “code” and select Project.  Select the “plugins.sbt” file and edit the line under “//The Play Plugin” to read:

addSbtPlugin("" % "sbt-plugin" % "2.3.9")

Then, in the same directory level, either edit the “play-fork-run.sbt” file to match changing the version number to 2.3.9 or you may even be able to delete it as it usually will be rebuilt when the project is built again.  I would suggest editing it as I’ve seen a few projects that die during the build because they are looking for it.  Not sure why as I am not an expert on this build system yet 🙂  At this point, if you have activator set to a”compile on file change” it should already be working.  If not, click compile and everything should work for you now. Have fun with play!

Disable Automatic Startup of MySQL on Ubuntu

After installing MySQL or MariaDB on your Ubuntu machine, you will notice that it is configure to automatically start.  The install sets rc.d up for it on all runtime levels.  While a running database server isn’t a huge strain on the machine, why waste memory when you don’t have to.  I generally disable this the way you would any init.d service that you don’t use all the time.  Simply type this at a command prompt

sudo update-rc.d mysql disable

and your development machine will no longer start the database automatically.  If you are going to be using MySQL a lot and want to re-enable automatic start, simply type the same changing disable to enable.  With auto-start disabled, you can start/stop your database service by typing

/etc/init.d/mysql start

/etc/init.d/mysql stop

/etc/init.d/mysql restart

Simple enough but I had to look it up the first time 🙂

Problems Installing Mariadb 5.5, 10.1 on Ubuntu 12, 13, 14.04 etc.

Just a quick note to help anyone who runs in to the same thing I normally do when installing mariadb on a dev machine.  Without going in to all the hows and whys of the problem, when installing maria on ubuntu, it is highly likely that you will run in to some problems related to the mysql client stuff already on your machine.  As you go back an forth updating and upgrading to try and get your machine back to a state in which it will install any software at all, you will likely end up with apt reporting duplicate sources or some sort of conflict between the maria stuff you’ve tried to install and the mysql stuff that was already there.  In the end, the whole upgrade process is messed up and you still don’t have a working database.  For me, the simple way out given that I’ve managed to do this to myself again is to purge both clients and try the install once more.  Hopefully this will work for you.

First, completely get rid of the two conflicting clients:

sudo apt-get –purge remove libmariadbclient1

sudo apt-get –purge remove libmysqlclient18

and then try the mariadb install again.  It should work now.

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install mariadb-server-10.1

Finally try a

sudo apt-get upgrade

to see that everything is back in order.

All should be back to normal on your Ubuntu 14.04 trusty machine.  Have fun with the best MySQL fork!

Not Apple Compatible… Not My Problem

First I would like to point out the time capsule.  One of my favorite items in the Apple ecosystem, the time capsule, comes in at $359 on Amazon for the new, 3TB version.  What is the time capsule?   It’s an external hard drive.  That is basically it.  It is not an ssd or 15k rpm sas drive either.  It is a standard 7200 rpm sata platter drive.  It could be a heavy duty one but as I’ve seen no mention of this, I highly doubt it.  I believe it comes with backup software.  I’m used to getting this for free in my OS so I can hardly consider that much of a bonus.  While the time capsule is a strange shape, it is an attractive enough box and if that is hugely important to you, it definitely looks different than competing options.  Where it really differs though is price.  You won’t have to look hard to find a wireless 3tb hard drive for under 150$, even for a mac compatible one.  I’ve seen them as low as 100$.  So what is the exta $259 for?  No wonder Microsoft is trying to copy everything Apple does lately?  Well, if you want to spend nearly 400 bucks on an external hard drive for your laptop, that’s your business.  What has really been annoying me lately is the number of one line reviews I see on Amazon written by frustrated Mac owners.  I, like most of America, shop on Amazon.  I shop their a lot.  If I need Q-Tips, I am likely to pop open a browser tab and drop them in my Amazon shopping cart real quick.  I love what Amazon has done to make shopping easier.  One of the most useful things about shopping there is the review system.  It is easy to make product choices primarily because other Amazon customers do such a good job of sharing their product experiences through this excellent system.  Once in a while you will see an unhelpful one written by a troll who has never even seen the product they are discussing.  This is rare though and i found most of the information volunteered to be very helpful.  What is far more common is simple 1 line review accompanied by a 1 star rating like that which I saw this morning researching projectors.  It read something like “Not compatible with my mac.”  ?????  Are you kidding me?  I use Linux.  Would there be any point in me going through the entire Amazon catalog, one starring every single piece of software and hardware that did not work right with my esoteric operating system choice?  Absolutely not.  In the case this morning, this pointless review was buried by so many 5 stars that it had no affect on the average score.  Had there only been 10-20 reviews, a one star would have dropped the average for absolutely no reason.  I can understand the person’s frustration.  He bought an expensive machine and now is having trouble with the fact most others have opted for less expensive ones.  After spending all that money, he is stuck buying other expensive items to ensure compatibility with the original choice; items like the aforementioned time capsule.  In the case of the projector, I know of no available option from Apple.  I’m sure something out there will work with it.  This particular projector apparently did not.  My point is, this is no reason for a one star rating. From the other reviews, this looked to be a great product.  If you bought the projector and it broke 2 times, give it a 1 star.  If you were giving a presentation, it started smoking and then burst in to flames, give it a 1 star.  If it doesn’t work with your mac, get something else, but don’t ruin such a useful system as Amazon reviews because of your personal problem.  You deserve 1 star not the product.

It’s a 10 Miracle Leave In

To balance out all my negatives, I figured I would start saying some good stuff about products that I actually like.  The first one that came to mind today is something that I depend upon regularly and have since my sister suggested it maybe 10 years ago.  If you have long hair it is likely you have split ends to some degree.  I have a terrible time with them.  Even using high end shampoo and conditioner, I can end up combing out a handful of hair after each shower.  As a guy with long hair, this really bothers me as most of my friends are at some point of going bald.  Even the thought terrifies me.  This is probably the best defense I’ve found on the market.  What you need to get is the It’s a 10 miracle spray on.  They have other products and if I have any complaint with the company, its that they make it so easy to actually grab the wrong one.  Right now I have both their shampoo and conditioner which I grabbed accidentally when rushing in to get more of this stuff.  Spray it on after your shower.  You can spray it all over as it doesn’t put out much per squeeze.  Then, squish it through your hair.  Let it dry for about 5 minutes (its never good to comb wet hair even though sometimes you have to if you have bad tangles) and then comb it out starting at the bottom and working up.  You will notice an improvement in your hair immediately.  It is easier to comb and frizz free all day.  This is a great product and the company charges for it.  I think the last bottle I got was over 40$.  It lasts a long time though and if you have hair like mine, it is worth the cost.  I would hate to go a day without it.  Their other products are ok, however maybe not worth the cost.  I usually use Redken shampoo and conditioner but always follow up with It’s a 10.  Try it, it works.  Make sure the bottle looks like the one below.  You can get it at Hair Cuttery for about as cheap as I’ve found it.  The type with keratin is a few bucks more.  I get that usually, however, I really can’t say that I can tell a difference.


It’s a 10 miracle leave-in review

Purchasing/Renting Land in Second Life is Annoying

If you have ever bought or rented Second Life property, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  The land search tool offered through your viewer is practically worthless.  It is not worthless by design.  Most all the important data should be there in columns.  Price, area, price per meter, etc. are most everything you need to compare properties and identify those you would like to visit.   In addition, columns such as lindens per prim or some intensity of use rating would be helpful, however, given the way in which the existing columns are misused and ignored, what would be the point of adding them.  It is actually hard to find a listing for which the seller has bothered to fill out any of this stuff accurately or honestly.  The listings returned by a search can be sorted by these columns.   The default price now seems to be just 1L, entered this way i can only presume so as to not end up placed at the bottom of a sort on price.  Undoubtedly, if only a few people did this, those that did would get better placement.  Now that everyone does, the entire column is useless along with the L per meter one.  All information regarding price, size and prims is now reported in the description(name) field where it cannot be sorted upon or automatically plugged in to revealing calculated ratios.    Each “name” reads something like “Land Sale DSE Res L$2062wk/1406p/6144m Aloha Pearl (SE)”.   To compare competing properties based on price per unit, you must enter this data manually into your own spreadsheet.  When you finally narrow your choices in this laborious way and  go to visit the properties you have selected, you often find that a lot of your calculated price per prim and price per meter numbers are wrong.  Whether this is a deliberate “bait and switch” or simple data entry error, it definitely adds to my growing frustration with the whole process.   Would it be so bad to make it easy for people to compare properties on metrics such as price per unit?  The system is already set up to work like this.   Yet the last I checked there was not one seller who had bothered to provide the correct information in the correct fields.    Just as in some rl markets which require regulation to create reasonable and efficient pricing, I believe that the only way this situation will change for the better will be through some sort of Linden edict.  If I can come up with a market driven solution, I will happily share it, however for now I am pretty much at a loss.  This probably has to come from the top.  Please fix this.  Land is potentially the most important part of the entire SL economy.  It should be much easier to make a good purchasing decision than it currently is.

Incidentally, SL land ownership is at its lowest point in 8 years.

Windows 10

I’ve gotta say, the direction Microsoft is going with their OS is really messed up.  Windows 7 was a good operating system.  Functionally, 7 and Ubuntu are really close.  It was stable, powerful, the best windows yet.  Kindof like NT used to be.  Then came windows 8.  The Microsoft guys didn’t really get what Apple was doing but you could tell they really wanted to.  Or else, they were directed to.  I, for one, wish they would stop all this.  Without getting too much in to the specific functionality decisions that resulted in crappy products such as the new Windows Mail, i would have to say nothing about this strategy makes any sense to me.  Sure, Apple has been gaining market share.  Apple software works in a way, is marketed in a way and is distributed in a way that appeals to their customer base.  This does not mean that it is better.  It just turns out that there are people out there that do like it better and have switched from what used to be the only option, Windows.  This does not mean that everyone likes it better and will eventually switch.  In fact, I would think that the Apple model of dumbed down, optionless, over priced, scrutinized by big brother computing products may never achieve better than the market share they currently enjoy.  Meanwhile, those who like windows have been suffering as Microsoft flounders to duplicate the success of the Apple ecosystem.  Quit it.  If we wanted an Apple, we would have bought one in the first place.


Quick Question

How many times has MIA used the word Banana in a song? Just curious. If there was a record for such a thing, I think she’s got it.

Refugee education number one
Here we go

Say it again now
Say it again now
Say it again now
Say it again now
Say it again now
Get yourself an education

My stains hang low
On my shirts like a-ya-ya
Monkey brains and banana
I’ll hit you with my antenna
Put soap in my eye
Make it red so I look raa ra ra

Bought up a baby in a bandana
I boarded a Boeing eating a banana
Bounce on the bed
Battling with heads
It’s based on a story that nobody read
Bought up a baby in a bandana
I boarded a Boeing eating a banana
Bounce on the bed
Battling with heads
It’s based on a story that nobody read


Go low, go slow
Run like a polo
A banana pole like you’re
Climbing up a yoyo

It’s really a crime that she didn’t make this list:

Guns and Bananas Guns and Bananas.  Is this the key to understanding the 3rd world.  Maybe?

I think I will try and catch her live on August 27th.

Apple #$&(*

Building up to a master list of things that I hate and things that I don’t I wanted to take a moment out to talk about my second generation Ipad and my experiences with it in 2015.  Yes, it’s an old tablet.  I got the thing used when it was the current model.  At the time, I also had an Iphone (4 or 4s maybe) and was still open to the idea of adding even more apple products to my life.  Remember the logo at the top of this page?  This was the apple I grew up with.  I got my start on an Apple IIe with a 1mhz processor 64k of ram and a floppy drive.  This was before hard drives, multi-core cpus and multi-tasking.  The machine ran would run 1 program at a time which was limited to what could be stored in the 64k or accessed from the 5 1/4″ floppy.  While a lot of kids were playing with logo, i started with applesoft basic, a fairly capable (for the time) interpreted language which sufficed for most typical programming tasks.  From this I graduated to assembly language and macro(lumping several commands together in to one call) assembler.  The big rivalry at the time was between the Apple II and the IBM pc.  Up against the monolithic IBM, Apple was anything but the choice of the conformist.  For the time, the II was a great machine; the perfect way to explore computing at home.  It was a high end solution for sure with  a price tag many times that of it’s less capable competition.  However, you did get what you paid for.  I was blessed to have gotten such an introduction to the field as provided by this (for my parents, oddly extravagant) purchase.  My how times have changed.  Well, eventually I got tired of my Iphone.  It had a terrible habit of hanging up on people when it touched my face, had a screen so small that most of it’s “smart” capabilities were difficult to use and, as with most apple products, had a price tag much higher than competing products.  When it was time for a new phone, it just did not make sense to pay 600-800$ for something I could get for under $200 running android.  In the meantime I also had a chance to try out a macbook air for a few months while on a contract job.  The hardware was great and the build quality unmatched.  It was amazingly portable and felt very durable due to it’s forged aluminium frame.  Unfortunately, I was never able to get used to it’s shoddy, pieced together OS.  I can’t understand how osx is viewed as “easier” by so many people.  Most standard tasks (installing a program for example) seemed to take several more steps than in windows or linux.  These additional steps were never that intuitive to me either.  While I don’t use windows that often and spend most of my time in linux, when I do boot up to windows, most everything makes sense.  When I don’t know something, I can usually click around and figure it out.  Not so in osx.  It feels like things have been made simpler by removing important options.  When you still want to control options that have been deemed superfluous by Apple and thus removed or hidden, you usually have to do a lot of digging.  It is like having a stereo for which the manufacturer has simplified the front panel by deciding what volume you should listen at and removing the knob.  Other people hit the power button and all listen at volume 7.  They rejoice in the simplicity of no longer having to decide what volume is best for them and having to adjust it with an antiquated knob.  I, on the other hand, break out my screwdriver and sort through schematics until I finally find the tiny rheostat hidden behind the transformer, change the volume to 8 and then put things back together, leaving the screws out so that I can with less trouble go in and modify the configuration again.  In fact, even on a day when volume 7 would have been my choice, I still cannot accept it.  I will still disassemble my Apple stereo so as not to have to listen at a volume that has been imposed upon me.  Meanwhile, the confused folks at Microsoft, as baffled as I am that the market is embracing the Steve Jobs’ edict of less options for more money, are scrambling to duplicate Apple’s success by removing options themselves.  They are having a tough time as they, like me, really just don’t get it.  The results can be seen in clicking the mail icon in windows 10.  It is a mail client, at least it is part of a mail client.  It has a very clean interface whether you are looking at your inbox or its sparse configuration panel.  How have they achieved this?  They have removed options.  In fact, they have removed almost all of them.  It sends and receives mail and that’s about it.  Gone is all the confusing flexibility of a typical modern email client, the panels of configuration options that only a few people might need to do their job, and the pages of help necessary to describe all of this annoying functionality.  There is a frightening paradigm emerging here.  A product that does less and offers less choice is now somehow better.  Is this the future?  God I hope not.  For Apple though, it appears to be working.  People will stand in line at the release of each shiny new brick, rejoicing over it’s simplicity of design and embracing the revelation that we are all pretty much the same.  It’s kindof like high school fashion.  If you all choose to not conform in the same way what do you have?  This pretty much sums it up.  And it is working really well for them.  They definitely seem to understand the consumer better than they understand themselves.  Otherwise selling $200 pieces of hardware for $400 simply by removing most of the buttons and painting an apple on them would be impossible.  The one thing I do appreciate about Apple products is the quality of this overpriced hardware.  And this brings me to my final issue.  The macbook air was a great machine from a hardware perspective.  So is my Ipad 2.  They are both lighter and more durable than the competition.  The one thing you do get for your money when buying a high priced Apple product is excellent build quality and design.  After years of abuse, my Ipad still turns on and the battery still lasts quite a long time.  This has created an issue for Apple and they are working to resolve it.  For me, as long as my tablet serves my needs, I see little need to replace it.  It still works great so why get a new one.  Apple hasn’t come up with any new ideas that would compel me to upgrade so how will they get me, and the millions of others happy with their Ipad 2, to consider making another $800 purchase in the near future.  Apparently, the retina display wasn’t quite a big enough change to elicit the buying response they were looking for.  One thing they could have done would have been to not continue to upgrade the operating system on older models.  They could have abandoned the Ipad II as being too old, end of life.  For me, this would have been fine.  I still would have been able to web surf for a few more years and the major pieces of software I use (like kindle) would have been upgraded regularly for the older OS regardless.  Instead, Apple does continue to send new operating system updates.  And here in lies my final problem with an Apple product.  With each of these updates, my Ipad gets slower and slower.  This is not unheard of in the computer industry.  Typically, this has been an acceptable way of encouraging people to upgrade their hardware.  It is simple.  People don’t replace things unless they have to.  With a product that has moving parts, like a car for example, these parts are engineered to wear out at a certain time which eventually leads to a new car purchase.  It would seem though that Apple Ipad customers were not responding to the slowing down of their tablet by replacing it at an interval that fit with revenue projections.  They were just dealing with it.  Waiting longer for something they clicked to do something, setting it down and going to get a cup of coffee while it started up, etc.  Basically, the company needed for something to break, for example, wifi.  And this gets to why the only Apple product that worked for me, no longer does and has been replaced by a non Apple product.  If you have an Ipad 2 and innocently upgraded to OS 8 or 8.1 or something about a year ago, you may have noticed that your wifi performance has become unacceptable.  Whatever was done to the code that previously worked since you bought the thing has made it perform terribly.  Mine drops the connection if i am farther than 20 feet from the router.  Even in the same room it can have trouble holding a connection.  I am not sure what specific decision was made in regards to compatibility with certain routers and certain wifi technologies.  That is, I don’t know what the specific excuse was for no longer allowing the wifi hardware of the Ipad 2 to communicate with certain routers effectively.  However, apparently something has changed and as of my upgrade to OS 9.1 last night, it still hasn’t been repaired.  Whether or not this bug was inadvertent at first or not, from the online chatter it is clear that a lot of people are experiencing it and that nothing has been done to resolve it.  My complaint is not that Apple should still be supporting my old Ipad with bug fixes but that they should not introduce a bug that was not there when new that effectively cripples the device and then not revert to the working code or supply a patch.  If you are having this problem, don’t bother with the answers you find online.  Short of a solution that involves jailbreaking the tablet and hacking the drivers, nothing works.  I’ve wasted time turning it on and off, airplane mode, reseting wifi, resetting the whole OS, etc etc.  There is nothing you can do within the confines of the standard operating system to resolve this bug that has for whatever reason been deployed to your machine and maintained through several updates spanning over a year.  I really wanted to like Apple.  Hell, I started on one.  Even though most of their products simply do not work for me, the one that did, my tablet, worked great for me.  I even tried to overlook some of their questionable business decisions such as their requirement of mac ownership to deploy ios apps or their attempt to crush adobe by not implementing flash on their mobile products.  However, this recent move to eol of my otherwise perfectly functional Ipad is unacceptable.  I can only think of one motivation for installing a crippling bug on your customer’s tablets and not bothering to repair it and I refuse to play along.  I bought a kindle.