After far too long of putting it off I have gone through and automated some of our Android build processes. We increment our version code for every release build and set the version code to be version number . date code. So our AndroidManifest.xml looks something like this:

Linux Mint 12 doesn't ship with the application to edit the "Main Menu" by default. Since Gnome3 relies heavily on typing in application names, you need to be able to add new applications to the menu list.

When working with certain APIs it can be necessary to expose certain ports on your local machine to the world. In this case, I need to expose port 80, but most consumer ISPs (and work firewalls) block port 80 incoming.

A friend of mine (a tubeless fanatic) finally wore me down and I converted my mountain bike to tubeless this weekend using Stan's strips and Caffelatex sealant.

I'm currently working on a project with a shared library between Android and BlackBerry. For the most part this works well, but it's very easy to forget myself and write code that will not compile for BlackBerry. Since BlackBerry only ships development tools for Windows, you need to configure Eclipse to only allow code that will compile for BlackBerry. Simply setting the compliance level is not sufficient.

I recently had a need to split a single folder out of a repository into a new repository. When I was finished I wanted that folder to be in its own git repository and to be removed from the old. Splitting out the new repository is simple:

Off of the recent "iOS caches your every location, OMG" hubub...

There's surprisingly little clear information on how to implement a two-legged OAuth client in Java. I needed to do just that to interface with the SimpleGeo geo-information service. They provide a lot of valuable geospatial information for free. The only hurdle was accessing it.

The Idea Problem

Sunday, August 22, 2010 » ideas musing

Ideas are a burdensome thing. It's human nature to feel that something we thought of - an insight into the world - is an important thing and somehow unique, so we horde our ideas. We grow them, we ponder them, and then, after a brief amount of time, we forget them. With every idea conceived, played with, and then abandoned, there's a feeling of failure. One's inner voice pesters, suggesting that, with just a bit more time, or a bit more gumption, the idea could be implemented and developed and could save the world (or at least make one's life a little bit better). Still, there's no time for all of that, and most ideas just fall by the wayside.

Microwave Popcorn

Saturday, August 07, 2010 » food photography

Don't be a slave to consumer ignorance! Cook up the last of that microwave popcorn (if you can stomach the artificial ingredients), and make your own.

This is a work in progress, but it's the culmination of a bunch of various ideas pulled together.

Breakfast, Matthew Style

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Some mornings, breakfast is all about a quick and healthy start to the day.

As part of the creation of the "Silver Line" of the Washington Metro, the part of the Cross County Trail that crosses VA SR 267 has been "impacted" by construction efforts:


Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Off-centered People

Thursday, July 22, 2010 » beer photography

A fun little shot with the nearly empty glass of 90 Minute IPA (from Dogfish Head):

Celebrating the Tomato

Thursday, July 15, 2010 » food garden tomatoes

After a few months of hard work growing the seeds, cleaning up the yard, tying up the plants, and applying appropriate amounts of water, the first big tomato harvest has happened. Tonight's dinner consisted of eating tomatoes while harvesting, eating tomatoes while tying up the vines, eating tomatoes while thinking about dinner, and then, finally, eating tomatoes on black beans.

The Broken Bike Lock

Monday, July 12, 2010 » mountain biking

My ride-to-be yesterday started off pretty poorly, with a broken bike lock.

Green Pepper Sauce

Friday, July 09, 2010 » photography

from Chipotle, of course

Eclipse Helios - Improved code lint

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Given that the majority of my day is spent interacting with Eclipse, any chance that it might be improved gets me excited. So with the release of Helios I was quick to download and give it a try.

Posterous, Loved by Guys

Saturday, June 26, 2010 » posterous

Posterous is running their switch campaign right now, and while I agree with it (I'm a recent convert and I like the service), I found their blog of testimonies kind of amusing. Apparently (white) guys (and a cat) are Posterous's core user base.

Now that Gwyneth is riding all over the place, the focus is on getting Audrey comfortable on two wheels. It can't be easy being the younger of two by only a year; peoples' expectations are high, and it's easy for everyone to forget how much younger you are. Luckily Audrey overcomes this pretty readily. She might lack in stamina, and she complains when she gets tired, but when she really wants something she figures it out.

I spent some time recently going back over some of my favorite photos trying to pick out ones that didn't quite make the cut and see if I could salvage them. I think these turned out pretty well - the use of B&W helps a lot. All of these are from the same weekend (last Thanksgiving).

All mounted up

Friday, June 18, 2010 » bicycle home improvement

Given that all four of us are riding bikes now, we needed some way to store them. We don't have a garage, so hanging on the wall was our most reasonable option. It's a little crowded in that corner, but it actually looks pretty good.

You Shouldn't Do That

Friday, March 05, 2010 » rant technology

Finally I managed to make the bank representative understand that I knew how to type the security answers into the website and that I was typing them in correctly.  So she went off to talk with Tech Support. When she returned she explained to me that I had used special characters in the security answers, and the system allows me to do that. However, "I shouldn't do that", because it breaks things. Just use subversive security questions like these:

Of Books and Bytes

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Despite the hundreds of positive reviews surrounding the new Star Trek movie I didn’t watch it tonight expecting to see a good movie.  I didn’t have expectations of failure (although I wouldn’t be surprised given the franchise’s history), the quality of the movie was simply irrelevant.  I wasn’t going to see the movie, I was going to pay respect to an institution that has been with me for as long as I can remember.

You are lost in a maze of radiation

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 » geek wifi

When I explained that I was wiring the Vi's house with network cable in preparation for my move, my friends expressed curiosity as to why I wouldn't just use wireless. There are some obvious reasons like not wanting to have to buy adapter cards for desktop computers. The most important reason, however, is that this area is wifi-hostile. Nothing stays connected consistently, even in the same room as the access port. It's not an access point problem (we've replaced the one already). Just look at the insanity:

We thank you for your support

Friday, September 12, 2008 » travel

A good friend of mine has an incredibly clever shirt from a fundraiser by the Pecos, NM EMTs.  It's a great conversation starter and usually people think he's an EMT until they see the back.   Judging by the list, I'm definitely a potential supporter of my EMT community. The back:

I recently embarked on the installation of the SW-MOTECH Side Racks on my 2002 (1st generation) SV650n (naked). The installation is fairly straightforward, but I had some questions going into it, and I could not find any resources on the internet concerning the installation. The only installation booklet I could find is in German and is on the same Twisted Throttle product page. The bags I chose were the Givi E360 bags. This was a hard choice as I didn't want to choose a bag so small that it would be useless, but I also didn't want to sacrifice width more than absolutely necessary.

A Year of Rock Climbing

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It all began on August 17th, 2007, as these things do, with an invitation. Actually, the invitation came a few days prior as is common with such things. The 17th, however, was the crucial date, for that was when I got hooked. I certainly did not realize then that one seemingly harmless Thursday night would lead to me spending hundreds of dollars and countless hours on a hobby that had, before that day, never entered my thoughts.

Black Diamond ATC-Guide

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I just finished a solid two weeks of climbing/vacation - including my first experience seconding (10+ pitches) trad, and my first time leading trad (3+ pitches).  Besides the obvious conclusion (trad climbing is a** lot** of fun), I came out of this absolutely loving the Black Diamond ATC-Guide. I picked mine up on a whim when I lost my regular ATC (Black Diamond XP).  The Guide feels very solid and I thought I might get around to using the extended capabilities eventually.

The sea lion goes to rehab

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 » music

The television show Bones comes through again with another great song and another great artist. This time it's more of a hip-hop piece, although you can't quite tell that from the short bit that's played on the show. No, what grabbed my attention was the singing and the beautiful sample played in the background. The song is "Sea Lion" by Sage Francis. Enjoy: I love the opening melody, but the song quickly goes from there as Francis starts speaking/singing. The man has a great sense of rhythm and can certainly keep up. The lyrics are full of metaphor and are worth at least few listens (and a read-through or two). The full YouTube pages for both of these videos contain the lyrics to the songs as well.

Actually, it's more like the tortoise and the other tortoise, but I took some artistic liberty. Last week when the temperatures were soaring to the upper 90s I went for my semi-regular run at the local Sugarloaf Mountain. On the weekends Sugarloaf is home to an excessive number of otherwise exclusively urban explorers out looking to have a little fun in the wild unknown. During the week, however, it is a local treasure that I'm overjoyed to have been able to live near for the past year. This (relatively) small park is home to some awesome running trails, climbable rock, and a lot of wildlife. All within just about 10 minutes fun drive for me. This last time, despite the heat, I decided to reenact an old fable. The contestants: well as an awesome weekend in a cabin in the woods. When life hands you a heart shaped hot-tub, missing champagne glasses, and a missing TV... Well, you adapt.

I've been riding my motorcycle a lot more recently. Logically I can attribute this to the rising gas prices, but I don't want to complain about that.  Honestly, it is lot a more about the enjoyment I get from riding it. Riding the bike is so much unlike driving a car that it's hard to describe to someone who hasn't experienced it. You're not just traveling along through the landscape, you are part of it. The weather affects you directly (there's no avoiding it), and the road is just mere inches away from your feet. In the car, the transportation is something you participate in. In the motorcycle, you are the vehicle. In the car turns and bumps jolt throw you around, but on the motorcycle you and the machine move as one over the bumps and through the turns as if you are a single entity. It's easy to step outside and look at the entire endeavor as simple thrill-seeking, but it's not as simple as that. It's liberation, it's power, and it's wonderful. Riding a motorcycle through the
countryside through the turns and hills, it must be like what a bird feels. Commuting on a bike isn't quite as nice as all of that, but it's still a lot better than driving a car. Even in the oppressively hot summer, the drenching cold rain, the deluge of dusk-released bugs, and the occasional fear-inspiring lightening blasts, I'd rather be on the bike. That's not to say there aren't challenges... Take, for example, transportation of items other than yourself. Space on my bike is very limited. This morning, I wanted bagels. I had to resort to desperate measures.

I was recently going through some backups I created back in early 2000, when I discovered some pictures I'd taken with my first digital camera. I have no idea what the model of the camera was, but it was very much first generation. My grandfather loved technology, and I would often get hand-me-downs from him, one of which was this camera. It's shocking how far the technology has come since that time.

Canon SD870is Mini-Review

Saturday, May 31, 2008 » photography review

I've been a long time happy owner of the SD800 camera. Despite my objections about the megapixel inflation game that Canon is playing right alongside all of the other manufacturers, it's been an awesome camera for me. Sadly, my SD800 was stolen over the past weekend and I was forced to purchase a new SD870. My initial thoughts on this camera are below - these are as a comparison to the SD800 I purchased before. In a nutshell, I love the Canon SD series ("Digital ELPH"). They have small lenses and small sensors, but they can take some awesome pictures. They are small enough to be in your pocket at all times, so you end up taking a lot of shots with them that you'd never get with a bigger camera. Do they match up to a DSLR (or even a bigger "prosumer" camera)? Of course not, but they hold their own quite well. Canon in general has had my support for quite a while for a variety of reasons. This is my
fourth Canon digital camera (I've also owned an SD230 and Powershot S1), and I'm sticking with the company. Besides making good sensors and lenses, I am very happy that they also tend to use standard memory formats, unlike other companies. On a side note, my mother's Powershot S1 (my old camera) recently exhibited some odd behavior that was obviously due to sensor problems. It turns out Canon is well aware of this issue and is repairing/replacing all cameras affected by the problem free of charge (including shipping) out of warranty. For more details: In my mom's case, the S1 was replaced by an S5 free of charge. Thank you, Canon!

Syntax - Pride

Saturday, May 31, 2008 » music

If you search Google for Syntax - Pride, you'll find quite a few blog posts mentioning the song; most of which found it by watching Nip Tuck or Bones. The latter is where I first heard it (Season 1 Episode 16, I believe), and I immediately fell in love. Imagine my dismay to find out the group only lasted a year, and the album is not easy to find. Sure, I can buy it from Amazon (and other stores), but as an import, at $25-$30, and only as a physical copy. I've tried to stop purchasing physical copies of music, and the fact that arbitrary limitations keep me from getting this CD at a reasonable price frustrates me. The label, for whatever reason, doesn't want to sell this digitally, and so I'm forced to decide between not getting the music (ethically right), buying it as an import (it's too
expensive to justify), or resorting to other methods). I really do believe I should pay for the music I download (if for no reason other than to vote with my money), and I've all but stopped downloading music without without buying it (or it being released by the copyright holder), so it's hard to decide what to do. If I feel strongly enough about supporting the artists and paying for the music I get, then the answer should be simple. Is music important enough to violate your own ethical code, or is it so important that to do so is deeply wrong? I am perfectly comfortable with sharing mix tapes, but downloading the whole album is acknowledging the worth of the music to you. If it's worth something, why wouldn't you want to help support the person who made it happen? The song Pride is beautiful (although I'd drop the bit in the middle) and you should give it a listen. I anticipate hearing the rest of the album... somehow.

Rock Climbing - Great Falls, VA

Friday, April 11, 2008 » rockclimbing

Spring is finally here, and the weather has been taunting us with beautiful days and yet we've been spending most of our time in the climbing gym instead of going out on real rock. By yesterday we'd had enough - the weather was perfect and the rock was calling out to us. Forget pesky work (that's what vacation time is for), we were going climbing. The crew this time was my original partner in climb, Nick, and our new climbing partner Vivian.

This project is largely irrelevant, as the WMATA website now has a live Google Maps version of their rail map with the same exact information available. I did this long before they provided such a service and keep it around just because I found the project interesting when I did it.

Backpacking Checklist

Friday, March 28, 2008

For me, every backpacking trip is planned almost as if I've never been backpacking before. The only thing that changes (since I'm such a gearhead), is that I always have more to choose from each time I pack. Luckily, I always seem to remember the crucial items (often just as I'm pulling out of the driveway) - mainly because I keep most of the gear in the same place. While packing for the last trip I went on (to Ramsey's Draft, VA) I decided to end this cycle of forgetfulness and so I documented every item I packed (except for clothes). Now I'm finally putting that online.

At the time of writing this, I had only been riding for about 4 months, and, until that weekend, I hadn't done any trips longer than a single day. I wanted to make a longer trip, and the Blue Ridge Parkway seemed like the perfect choice. It's filled with long stretches of well maintained roads, lots of curves, and some beautiful scenery. The weather turned out to be absolutely awesome, so I packed up the bike and off I went. This doesn't really qualify as "adventure" compared to a lot of the other reports, but it was still a lot of fun. I don't have much to say, and the pictures are the best part of most ride reports. Hopefully someone's work day is a little less boring because of this. :) The plan was a two day trip from Washington, DC to... wherever I felt like stopping and back again. I ended up making it to about 50 miles south of Roanoke, VA. All loaded up and ready to go. She's not "adventure", but she tries. She might be ugly, but the beauty's on the inside (even though some
of it's leaking out in various places). The Nelson Rigg bags worked wonderfully.

This is meant to serve as a simple step-by-step instruction for cutting the springs on an EX500 in order to change the spring rate and feel of the motorcycle's handling. This is a poor excuse for getting the proper springs, and is not an exact science. More expensive options will potentially provide significantly better (and more predictable) handling due to the springs not necessarily having linear response and being more accurately engineered. Also keep in mind that spring characteristics change over use, so any calculations you make will be affected by your specific springs. Finally, the spacers used in this example have the potential of failing, which could lead to disasterous results. This was originally posted by me in this thread on cutting ex500 springs. I wanted to compensate for the lack of good pictures available on the topic. There is a wealth of information on this subject in that thread and in others on that board, so
be sure to read up on everything. The original post follows.

What follows is a general walkthrough/HOWTO for constructing a fiberglass subwoofer enclosure box that will nest within the spare tire well of a car. The car in question being a Subaru WRX Sport Wagon, although the principles will carry over to other cars equally well. Goals:

This was originally posted at: and was also posted with my permission by Anders.

A bit about my colorblindness...

Sunday, January 02, 2005 » colorblindness

My Colorblindness

I am color blind to a degree. I am not sure of the exact nature of my deficiency (it has been a long time since I was tested), but from tests I have taken online it appears that I have Anomalous Trichromasy (anomalous vision, all three color cones presnet) most likely Protanomaly (anomalous green cones). While I do have red/green cones, some are either missing or are not functioning properly. The image below was generated with the help of the Colorfilter link below.


Normal Google Logo


Protanomaly (anomalous red cones)


Deutanomaly (anomalous green cones)


Tritanomaly (anomalous blue cones)

The images for the normal logo and the protan logo are almost 100% identical to me. The deutan image is close to the normal logo, however the Gs are darker in the deutan link (slightly more purple). The tritan image looks nothing like the normal image - it is washed out (except the o and e) and entirely in shades of red.


I hate maintaining my cats' litter box, and so I turned to the Littermaid Automated Litterbox to solve my problems. Unfortunately, this box still has the unfortunate problem of needing to be attended to every couple of days. So, like any good hacker I went and hacked my cats' litterbox. The source product: