A member of society once more

Posted in personal at 8:42 pm by danvk

After the wallet-losing debacle, I’ve been slowly replacing all my lost cards. Today was a good day. My replacement debit card arrived in the mail this morning. It’s never felt quite so good to pay for gas with a credit card, even at a ludicrous $3.479/gal.

My team at Google had having an off-site involving Go Karts this afternoon, so I took the morning and went to the DMV to replace my license. I’m incredibly impressed with the Santa Clara DMV. Lines move swiftly, and I had my replacement license within an hour. It’s a zero hassle process. Fill out a form, write a check for $21, and you’re good to go.

Driver’s License and debit card are the biggies. All that’s left now are random library cards, and there’s no rush there.


Ruby on Mac OS X

Posted in programming at 9:06 pm by danvk

Ruby as it ships on Mac OS X is spectacularly broken, especially the irb REPL program. I hate pressing backspace and having “^H” show up, and not having an up arrow makes debugging a statement painful.

If you use Ruby under Mac OS X, you owe it to yourself to follow these instructions to rebuild ruby and irb with readline support. Seriously, I have no idea why I never did this sooner. It’s easy as could be, and now I can press up arrow and backspace in irb.

Update: Also worth checking out: tweaking irb, which explains how to turn on tab-completion and persistent history between sessions. Scariest bit about that page: it ends with “(Hope this post serves your needs Dan.)” Yikes, it sure did!


Recent music and books

Posted in books, music, personal at 12:25 am by danvk


- A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory (1991)
- R.E.M., Murmur (1983)
- The Velvet Underground, Loaded (1970)
- Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1962)

Some albums are just inextricably associated with times and places in my life. Loaded wins that award for summer 2006. It’s hard to say how long you have to wait to know, but the early returns have Reasonable Doubt as the sound of starting at Google.


- Kenneth Browser, The Starship & the Canoe (1978)
- Eric S. Raymond, The Cathedral and the Bazaar (1997)

Hopefully I’ll write more about both these books in the next week or so.


Embryo ethics

Posted in news, politics at 7:49 pm by danvk

A&L Daily linked to an interesting article in The Boston Globe that attempts to examine the logic behind President Bush’s position on stem cells.

The article makes some good points, most notably that there’s no inherent logical contradiction in the president’s position. This is one of the reasons that stem cell arguments are so maddening. There’s a consistent position to be found on both sides of the issue, it’s just that most people don’t find the President’s side very compelling.

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What happened to the Daily Show?

Posted in politics, tv at 11:55 pm by danvk

I watched the Daily Show for the first time in months today. Did it have a noticeable “jumping the shark” moment? It’s not what it used to be. It’s entirely driven by news clips. Play a funny clip, Jon Stewart makes a face and says something sarcastic. Jon laughs at his correspondent being absurd. Jon does an uninteresting interview.

America: The Book was a highlight, but the Crossfire Interview was undoubtedly The Daily Show’s high point. In retrospect, I first remember having my doubts about the Daily Show shortly after the Colbert Report started. I still enjoy Colbert. Somehow their two styles clash in a way that’s very unflattering to Jon. Whatever edge Jon used to have, Stephen’s got it now.

I just watched the Crossfire segment again, and it still brilliant after 18 months. Where’s that Jon Stewart? I wish he’d just talk on his show, instead of falling back on all the news clips and “correspondents”. Maybe then I’d start watching again.

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