Stuff that isn't technical, and ended up here anyway. It'll eventually move elsewhere.

Artsy Stuff

This is a notebook of what might be called "art", but it is just really some digital doodling. I'll be pulling stuff down over time, and maybe posting it in /misc.


This book is made up of posts about society, the future, etc. These are my ramblings, more or less. I'll slowly migrate these to text files, and then delete them from here. I want to review my past ideas and see how I was correct or incorrect.

This blog originally started as a personal interest blog, but has changed to be a content bucket for technical notes, tutorials, and fixes. The political stuff will go up on LA Indymedia, and other Indymedias, from time to time. They'll also go on my Facebook account.

Pupilary Distance

The technique here is cool. You can find out how much your eyeballs pivot, and how far apart the lenses need to be.

I got 65mm and 70mm.

A Depressing Realization about Tutorials on the Web

I love the people who write tutorials (and fixes) on the web. I owe the vast community of writers so much, because they've taught me so much. It's the reason why I write these short notes, to be found by search engines, to help someone in a small jam.

DIY Fixing ic! Berlin glasses if you sat or stepped on them

So, when I had some money, I blew it on these "designer" ic! Berlin frames. They look really high tech and cool, and they allegedly avoid damage by having these hinges that pop apart under pressure.

Here's a video of how it's supposed to work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

Here's another one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...

Too bad the ones I got don't actually pop apart under pressure. I'll explain how to fix them in this blog post.

def fn(arg1,x=arg2,y=10,*args,**kwargs): GO PYTHON!

def fn(arg1,x=arg2,y=10,*args,**kwargs):

That's kind of ugly, but the design is elegant. With that declaration, the function supports positional arguments, required named arguments, optional arguments, an arbitrary number of additional unnamed arguments, and additional arbitrary named arguments.

It allows function calls to be simpler and more readable than they would be without this flexibility.

Metro PCS contract, and an opt-out letter to preserve your right to a court trial.

I was getting an annoying update of the Metro PCS contract, and ended up reading it. Attached is a marked-up contract with interesting parts highlighted. The plain contract is available on their website - this is highlighted as a kind of commentary.

The most irritating part is where the company forces you into arbitration, and then into relinquishing a trial by jury. While I'm not that opposed to arbitration, it is not nice to give up the right to be seen in court.

I Think I Got Scammed - My Battery Desulfator Experience

I just bought one of those "battery desulfator" devices on ebay. The brand was wizbangplus.com, but there are numerous different brands, and there are some that are added to battery chargers. This essay explains why I got bamboozled.

Blog comment response about burrito survey.

I was reading an old blog post, and found an annoying comment, and responded at length with some info which i've learned in the past decade or so.


John 2/3/14, 2:03 PM

Why is Markdown Cool? (It might write better HTML than your's.)

I went to the UseR conference, and R-Markdown was all the rage. My boss/coworker/?? asked me what was so cool about it. I've been using plain Markdown around a year, and think it's kind of cool, but my initial impression was that Markdown was kind of lame.

Chinese-American Cantonese Restaurants in Los Angeles

Personally, I prefer the Hong Kong style places in Monterey Park and Alhambra, and got used to them in the past 30 years or so, but it's not true that LA doesn't have old fashioned Chinese-American food anymore. People say it, but that's because they're eating at fusion restaurants or a newer place.

Uncle John's Cafe

Using Muriatic Acid (Pool Acid) to Clean the Toilet

We're in full drought mode in LA, and that means we follow the eleventh comandment: if it's yellow, let it mellow, and if it's brown, flush it down.


Recipe 1

Recipe 2

Umeboshi is a pickeld apricot that's popular in Japan and increasingly in America. Most people have seen a tiny red thing in their bento-box that's extremely salty. That's umeboshi. However, the kind you make for yourself is different. For one, there's no red food coloring, and it's larger and more fleshy and gooey.

Solar, Green, and Cheap Power Websites

One of my fave YouTube channels is Green Power Science. There are a lot of guys doing this stuff (yeah, it's mostly guys) and there are even some real scientists doing this at Lawrence Livermore Natl. Labs, and they've done some interesting presentations at UC Berkeley for years. Here are some links to more grassroots resources. Lots of interesting DIY experiences.

Knowledge Publications

How to Register Trademarks, Cheap

I've only done this once, but, it was easier than expected. You don't need to pay a service hundreds of dollars to do this.

It costs $325 for the one trademark, but the costs can rise if your mark is used in different contexts. If you use the online forms and are well-prepared, you can save some money and get it done for $275.

This article is intended for ultra-small-time operators and microbusinesses that have more ideas than money, experience, or connections (or attorneys).

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