Jessie

Jessie Mihalik has a degree in Computer Science and a love of all things geeky. A software engineer by trade, Jessie now writes full time from her home in Texas. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing co-op video games with her husband, trying out new board games, or reading books pulled from her overflowing bookshelves.

Please Say a Prayer for My Mom

Through a series of unfortunate events, my mom ended up in the emergency room several weeks ago. While the doctors were doing an MRI to check for internal bleeding, they found a suspicious growth in her liver the size of a grapefruit. It turns out that it is cancer.

After several rounds of testing it was determined that the tumor in her liver was actually a secondary tumor. Several more rounds of testing found a tiny spot of cancer in her breast, but the doctor is not sure it’s the primary tumor, even though nothing else showed up.

The tumor in her liver is too big to operate on, so she is now on chemotherapy to try to shrink it. We’re hoping that the chemo treatments are successful so she doesn’t have to do radiation.

It’s a frightening eye-opener to realize that with all of our science, technology, and medical advances that something can still be “inoperable”.

Overall she is doing pretty well. Her first chemo treatment went okay and she wasn’t too sick, but she still has five more to get through. I would truly appreciate it if you would say a little prayer for her health and recovery.

My New Theme Song

So yesterday I was sent a link to the new Weird Al music video, White and Nerdy. I’ve always been a bit indifferent to Weird Al, some of his songs are good, some not so good, but this one is awesome. Check it out and you’ll see what I mean. :)

P.S. For a true nerd, the Wikipedia article lists all kinds of cool stuff about the video.

Customizing the Editor in Fugu

When I changed hosts for my blog, it also meant that I could no longer just SMB the files around. I had to find an actual SFTP/SCP-client for my Macbook. A quick Google search turned up Cyberduck and Fugu. I arbitrarily chose Fugu. (Turns out this was the right decision. Dustin convinced me to try Cyberduck; version 2.6.1 crashed three times in a row while I was trying to type in the hostname. But I digress…)

Fugu is pretty slick, but it would only open files for editing using one of the preset editors, none of which I had. I decided to see if I could change the list of available editors to include TextEdit, since I was only editing basic CSS.

Turns out you can. Here’s how.

1. Right click on the Fugu application and choose “Show Package Contents”

picture_1.png

2. Navigate to Contents, Resources, ODBEditors.plist

picture_2.png

3. Open the ODBEditors.plist file in TextEdit. Scroll to the bottom of the file and either create a new entry or modify one of the existing entries. I modified the emacs entry, since I don’t plan on ever using it. You can copy and paste the following into the file:

Updated text version thanks to Rich:

<dict>
    <key>ODBEditorBundleID</key>
    <string>com.apple.TextEdit</string>
    <key>ODBEditorCreatorCode</key>
    <string>ttxt</string>
    <key>ODBEditorLaunchStyle</key>
    <integer>0</integer>
    <key>ODBEditorName</key>
    <string>TextEdit</string>
</dict>


Original post text version:

<dict>
    <key>ODBEditorBundleID</key>
    <string>-</string>
    <key>ODBEditorLaunchStyle</key>
    <integer>0</integer>
    <key>ODBEditorName</key>
    <string>TextEdit</string>
    <key>ODBEditorPath</key>
    <string>/Applications/TextEdit.app</string>
</dict>

Original post image version:
picture_3.png

4. Save the file and you’re good. Load up Fugu, click Fugu, Preferences. In the preference pane, click the Files icon. In the External Text Editor, choose the name of the editor you just created. In my case, TextEdit.

picture_4.png

Viola! You can now command-J to edit files with your chosen editor from Fugu.

The MacBook Pro – Let the Lusting Begin

Every time Steve Jobs takes the stage in his signature black turtleneck and jeans, I cringe. Not because I particularly dislike his wardrobe or even Steve J himself; I cringe because I know he is invariably going to inspire a nearly undeniable urge to decimate my budget. He has succeeded once again.

If you haven’t heard about the MacBook Pro, a quick Google search or a stop by the Apple website will get you up to speed. An Intel Core Duo processor, 15.4″ widescreen, built in iSight, a screen as bright as their cinema displays, Front Row and remote included, and their new “patent pending” MagSafe power connector are a few of the major bullet points.

But really, the most important factors are that it’s an Apple Intel notebook, it’s amazingly thin, and it’s wrapped in shiny aluminum (although I was hoping for carbon fiber… I guess there’s always next year…). I must have one. Now.

I’ve managed to hold off the temptation so far, plunking down $3k on a notebook wasn’t exactly in the plan, but damn if I don’t want one. Badly. I’ve even managed to get it in my shopping cart a couple of times, most notably after Steve J said “If you want one I suggest you get your order in early” during his keynote. That simple phrase must’ve set off the zombie obedience mode in my brain, because before I knew it, I was happily configuring away at the Apple store.

I have to keep reminding myself that I’m holding out for revision two. It’s basically a constant chant whenever I read anything about the MacBook: “revision two, revision two, must wait, revision one always sucks, revision two will be awesome, but look at it! <drool>, no! focus! revision two.”

We’ll see if I cave… :)

Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle is the latest Studio Ghibli release from acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki. Dustin and I saw the film with its original Japanese dialog and subtitles at one of the theaters here in town.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about the movie. It was as beautiful as Spirited Away and as mysterious as Princess Mononoke. Miyazaki has the incredible ability to create a modern animated film that looks like it was originally drawn decades ago during the early years of animation.. on the surface. Suddenly, though, you see the enormous amount of detail each and every scene incorporates. On animation alone I’d be tempted to say that this film surpasses Spirited Away.

It’s the story, however, that differentiates the two. While Spirited Away had a fairly straightforward plot, Howl’s Moving Castle has a plot full of twists, turns, subplots, and dead-ends. Overall it is a fairly simple story: Sofie, a young girl working in her late father’s hat shop, gets cursed by the Witch of the Waste and turns into an old woman. Sofie then sets out to find Howl to have the curse removed. I won’t give any more of the story away, as you should definitely see it yourself. I will say however, that there are plot elements that just do not seem to flow well with the rest of the movie. At some points, I was left wondering what I had missed.

This confusion led me to read the book by Diana Wynne Jones that was the basis for the movie. It is an excellent book and an easy read; I think it took me around five to six hours straight to finish it. The book differs greatly from the movie and while it does provide some useful additional information, most of the more puzzling movie scenes are not in the book at all. If you do read the book before you see the movie, don’t be surprised when the two bare little resemblance to each other.

Overall, I think I still think Spirited Away is my favorite Miyazaki film, with Howl’s Moving Castle coming in a close second. Perhaps if I see it again, or in English, I might change my mind. If you have not seen it yet, it is definitely worth the eight plus dollars of admission to see it in the theater.