Jason’s Ranting & Raving

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Archive for June, 2010

Setting up Eclipse with Windows 7 issues

Posted by jaystile on June 22, 2010

I’ve bought myself a new PC which came with Windows 7. I’ve been running versions of Ubuntu on old hardware since version 6.04 and I thought I’d give the new Windows a test drive. At work we run on linux distros so this is almost a new experience for me. My friend really likes Windows 7 and to be honest I was getting a little sick and tired of external hardware not working. Specifically my webcam (which Logitech doesn’t for Windows 7 for some damn reason, I’m done doing buying anything from them) and the scanner my other friend let me borrow.

I’m working on a few side development tasks on my own. I program a lot of java so I went through and installed the latest JDK and tried to find where in the heck you set the environment variables. But I got that resolved. Next, I go and download Eclipse. I extracted the zip file with the default Windows 7 ‘Extract’ option. When I tried to run eclipse I get a weird error about a shared library not being found.

Anyway, I went searching for the answer and it looks like the Windows 7 zip handler doesn’t handle the eclipse-jee-galileo-SR2-win32.zip very well. So, I downloaded cygwin, extracted the zip, moved the eclipse folder to /cygdrive/c/eclipse. Tried to fire up eclipse again and it failed with a permissions exception. chmod -R 755 /cygdrive/c/eclipse and I was up and running. You can color me unimpressed that Windows 7 failed to correctly extract an archive.

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A little scary story (for kids, I think)

Posted by jaystile on June 20, 2010

My daughter is in girl scouts. Tonight, she and her troop are having a backyard camp-out. For a few hours I helped prepare for the event by cleaning and keeping my daughters out of my wife’s hair. I grilled up some tasty burgers & hot dogs for the troop. Cleaned up vomit after someone nearly choked on an apple, changed the garbage, and was all-in-all a dutiful dad and husband. I even built a wood fire in the grill so we could roast marshmallows over the flames. The girls are around age six and I was told there would be stories before bed. I wanted to tell them a scary story, but my wife said, “NO!” Here is that unheard story.

Sarah with the long pigtails
There once was a little girl named Sarah. Her house was on a quiet street in a quiet neighborhood. Every morning, she would get up, put on one of her favorite dresses, make her bed, and brush her teeth. Then she would take out a brush and brush out the few snarls in her soft hair, gather together some pig tails and braid them. She would then tie them together with a beautiful pink ribbon. Sarah really liked making her hair look nice. Her mother would say to her, “Oh Sarah, your pigtails look so beautiful today!”

It was summertime and Sarah loved being outside. She would look for bugs under the rocks in her mom’s flower garden, lie in the grass and watch the clouds roll by, or watch the neighbor’s cat sneak up with its tail twitching and try to catch birds. Sarah enjoyed the outdoors, but it was lonely on her quiet street in her quiet neighborhood for there were no children for her to play with. One day, while Sarah was making chalk drawings on the side walk she looked up and saw another child way down at the end of the street. Sarah waved and the child waved back, but the next time Sarah looked the child was gone. The next day, Sarah was watering the plants in her mom’s flower garden. When she looked up she saw the same child from the other day standing across the street. It was a little girl about Sarah’s age. The little girl had on dirty clothes, her hair was in tangles and she didn’t smile, but she yelled across the street, “I really like your pigtails!” Sarah, yelled back “Thanks!” and the child ran away. Sarah was disappointed because she wanted to make a new friend.

A few days went past and Sarah did not see the little girl. Sarah went back to watching the cat, looking for bugs, and staring at the clouds. She fell asleep in the soft grass of the front yard. When she woke up the girl with the dirty clothes and tangled hair was standing above her. “I really like your pigtails”, she said without smiling. Sarah was startled and said, “Thanks. I’m Sarah, what’s your name?” The little girl said to her, “I like your name and I really like your pigtails.” Then she turned and ran away. Sarah called out after her, “Wait! Please come back!” but the girl with the dirty clothes and tangled hair was gone.

Weeks went by and summertime was coming to a close and Sarah forgot about the little girl with the dirty clothes and tangled hair. Sarah had been asking her mom if she could camp out in the backyard. Her mom agreed and Sarah went about setting up the tent, unrolling her sleeping bag, and settled in for the evening. She noticed a lot of different noises at night, but her mom had told her what to expect, “You’ll probably hear the hooting of an owl, the chirp of crickets, and the wind rustling the leaves.” Sarah was a little nervous with all the new sounds, but eventually she got used to them and fell fast asleep in the warm night summer air. Sometime during night she woke up. It sounded like something was by the tent so she listened closely. Yes, something was moving around the tent. She turned on her flashlight and could see the the tent being touched from the outside. Sarah was so scared that she couldn’t make a sound. Then the she heard the outer flap of the tent unzip, “ZZZZZZIIIIIIPPPPPPP”. She could see someone reaching to the inner zipper, “ZZZZZZZIIIIIIIIPPPPPPPPP”. Sarah screamed! “Shush!” Sarah’s mom said. “You’ll wake up the neighbors! I was just checking to make sure you were doing alright. I’m going to bed, good night. And no more screaming!”

Soon, Sarah settled back down, turned off her flashlight, and listened to the sound of the wind blowing through the leaves and laughed because she had been so scared. “I really like your pigtails.” someone whispered. Sarah sat up like a bolt and turned on the flashlight in an instant and screamed! Sitting in the corner was the girl with the dirty clothes and tangled hair. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you”, she said when Sarah tried to catch her breath. “My name is Sarah too, can I stay and camp with you?” Sarah with the pigtails was scared and confused, but the dirty Sarah smiled a beautiful smile. Sarah with the pigtails calmed down and dirty Sarah starting talking with her and asked her lots of questions about herself. Sarah with the pigtails felt happy because someone was finally interested in her and wanted to be her friend. After talking for many hours the Sarahs decided to go to bed and fell asleep.

In the morning, Sarah with the pigtails woke up in the soft grass in the front yard. Confused, Sarah walked up the steps of the front porch and tried to open the door, but it was locked tight. Sarah rang the doorbell and heard the footsteps coming down the hall. The door opened and her mother looked down and said, “I’m sorry Sarah can’t come out and play, she’s grounded for screaming and waking up the neighbors last night.” “BUT MOM, IT’S ME! “, Sarah cried. As the door shut Sarah could see dirty Sarah standing in the house and she had Sarah with the pigtails hair on her head like a bad wig. “I really like your pigtails”, she whispered. The door shut and Sarah reached up and touched the top of her head and her hair was all gone.

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A Free Range Kids Conversation

Posted by jaystile on June 11, 2010

Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy


The hairstylist, Elaine, complimented me today on my very outgoing 5 year old daughter. My daughter had made the rounds after her haircut to each of the stylists. She introduced herself and made small talk while Dad was getting his hair cut. She even helped sweep up the hair and straighten the shelves.“Oh, she is so friendly!”, said Elaine

I responded with, “Yes, we don’t teach Stranger Danger in our house. We teach the girls not to go anywhere with a stranger and to stay away from stranger’s cars. But it’s OK to talk to people and even except a piece of candy.”

Elaine obviously misheard me at the point. She chimes in with, “Yeah, you should never take candy from strangers.” At this point the chit-chat changed into a lecture given by myself exhorting the values of free range children. The self reliance, problem solving, and social skills to name a few. And to point out that we should only be concerned about everyday type risks and not the 1-in-a-million type risks.

Needless to say, Elaine was unwilling to back down from her position that there is danger everywhere. Yes, I agree, danger is everywhere and one should teach children to be on the lookout and how to handle different situations. “Always wear your helmet; Look left-right-left again before crossing the street; Never go anywhere with a stranger; Put on sunblock and your hat! (We live in Colorado with 5280 less feet of atmosphere to stop those UV rays); Wear your seatbelt; Slice away from your fingers (My girls help with dinner preparation)”

With a little more (less than polite) back-and-forth, I repeated from “Free Range Kids” by Lenore Skenazy that there was not one recorded instance of a child’s candy being tampered with at Halloween. This is what transpired (and you can see where I lost my patience):

“There has never been one recorded case of someone tampering with a child’s candy”
“Oh yeah, it happened to my brother!”
“What happened?”
“Someone put a razor blade in his apple!”
“Which one of your neighbors was trying to kill your brother? Did the police come?”
“We were trick-or-treating… in another neighborhood…”
“And the first thing your brother did when he got back home after a hard night of trick-or-treating was to dive into his candy bag and say ‘I really cannot wait to eat this healthy delicious apple!’ ha-ha-ha”

Laughing at Elaine’s preposterous story earned me a lot of razor burn and deep scratches on my neck. It was totally worth it.

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