We got back from Ireland a few days early. The trip was great but was cut short when I called home in response to an email to learn that my brother had been in a bad skiing accident. It looks unlikely that he will pull through. We are flying to Reno in the early morning to see the family.
I am annoyed. Yes, I know… anyone who has ever been a passenger in my car as I navigate the streets of Brooklyn knows that it is not difficult to get me annoyed. But I am annoyed nonetheless. All you non-geeks can tune out now.
I downloaded a handy little program to help me identify huge files on my hard drive (I once found a 4 gig log file). What I disocvered is that of all the folders on my hard drive, the HP drivers for my printer compose the the fourth largest. Why in the hell does HP think they need to have a 166 MB driver download to run a friggin printer? They bundle in a ton of crappy imaging software and trashy spoolers, readers, and massive help files that are just not helpful because they are just not needed. I have a 500 MB folder on my hard drive because HP thinks they can be a software company. They can just stuff it. I will never buy another HP.
But HP is not the only offender (just the worst). Adobe are a bunch of chumps as well. For some reason they feel that a program to open and read a PDF file needs to be a good 90 MB to work properly. Huh? The disk space required for Acrobat reader 5.0 is up to 24 MB. 7.0 requires up to 90 MB. And the only real difference I see is prettier buttons in 7.0 and about 10 times as long to load. No thank you, Adobe. Go find a bigger throat to cram your massive wares down. I found a handy tiny little PDF reader called Foxit that is 1 MB, does not require 20 minutes to download and 15 to install, and runs blazingly fast. Cheers to the little guy! Now I need someone to make smaller drivers for my printer.
What is with these companies? Do they think bigger software will translate to bigger market share? Is it directly proportional to stock price? I hope both companies tank. It is a sick form of arragance that they think they know what users need better than the users do. Make your crap optional! Don’t get me started on Windows, that bundling argument is so old.
New Site Design
Also, stay tuned. I am talking to a very interesting company about doing some work for them. I will update both of my loyal readers when I know more.
Afterthought: Am I a dork for trying to find a good image to post with this entry? I feel like the blog looks a bit empty without a nice image to lead in to the blog entry. But what image works with this entry? I am open to suggestions.
Back in New York, and it feels good. I thought I might miss Ithaca more than I do, but I feel somewhat at home in NYC after just a week or two. Both of my regular readers (You guys do still come, right?) may have noticed a new block of text at the top directing people to my consulting site. I have been doing enough consulting that I thought I would open up virtual shop in earnest. So if you know someone who needs a hand with their website, direct them to AmmonBrown.net. I will make their wildest dreams come true.
On another note, I was pondering my name today. It is so unique that anyone who wants to find me will. I was on Friendster for a while and I heard from people I had not heard from in years. They just randomly decided to pop the old moniker into the search function and I was one of the few Ammon Browns in the database. For that matter, I am the top result in Google for my own name. If anyone ever wonders what ever happened to that hilarious yet weird genius they once knew, I am just a few keystrokes away. I find myself wondering if I have ever said things on my blog that would shock some people. I am pretty sure that I have said some things that cast me is a questionable light with employers… but oh well. I actually talked to someone about a job I am interested in and he told me he had a good old time going through my blog for two hours. I got to wondering if that puts me at a professional disadvantage since they know considerably more about me than I do them or if it arms them with enough information to make a sound prequalification. I have to talk to a lot of people with the assumption that they already know me, because they do.
What a strange internet I live on. I love the way the web has shrunk my world while expanding my mind. Rock on!
I had to make this blog entry. If I didn’t make it before the 18th, I would have gone a year with only seven posts. Am I really that much of a slacker? Perhaps I am. I am unemployed again after having screwed things up at my little jobby job. I really feel like I am unfit to do much of anything. For the forseeable future I will be a poker player and hopefully a student before too long. I did nail the GMAT, so perhaps business school is not out of the question. However, I just don’t know if I want to go back to business school. There is a lot I don’t know right now, so I am sitting on my arse and trying to figure it all out. Give me a year or two, I might get a clue.
“Let’s sit down and grab a baguette,” I said. “No, it does not really look like rain,” Christine replied. About 7 minutes later we were stuck in a torrential downpour in the only place in Paris where there is no cover for blocks around. We wound up huddling under a small wall on a bridge over the river Seine to try to stay out of the rain, as you can see in the picture. Finally, we just decided to go ahead and get drenched. It has been a while since I willfully got soaked in the rain, and Paris turned out to be the perfect place to do it. I had a ton of fun!
So Paris was two weekends ago. We walked around the city for hours and went to a few museums. The WWII exhibit was quite cool. I knew so little about the French perspective on the war that it was quite fascinating to learn about the resistance and the Vichy government. We also saw Napoleon’s tomb. A huge coffin for such a tiny man. Probably the lamest museum I have ever been to was right next door. It was French military uniforms throughout the centuries. I am sure those little Frenchmen looked dashing in their poofy shoulder pads, but why should I care? We left quickly.
This coming weekend we are heading to London and from there to Valencia, Spain. I have never been to Spain and I am looking forward to using my Spanish and seeing a new country. So far this summer Brussels is the only new place I have been.
And to follow up on the last post, no we did not get booted. I cut a deal with the landlord to basically rent the apartment downstairs but stay in ours. He is a complete ass, but manageable. The weather in this country SUCKS! The clouds move so fast that I expect a sonic boom at any time, and you can set your watch to the intermittent rain storms. It should only be this cold in August in Antarctica. However, we are still enjoying it but starting to miss home. We fly back on the 20th, and I think that will be just about the time I really start hating this place, so the timing could not be better.
The word boot can mean many things. In the UK it can mean the trunk of a car, it can mean to vomit, or it can mean the tire clamp used on illegally parked cars. For my purposes this morning it means the good old fashioned American kick in the pants. 86’ed. There is really no experience quite like being awoken at 9 AM by a landlord you did not know you had who barely speaks any English and finding out that you are being booted from the apartment you had apparently rented illegally. Oops. As it turns out, the person we rented our summer apartment from in the Hague was not entirely forthright in letting us know that we should vacate the apartment if the landlord decides to drop by to fix the roof. Now we are looking for a new apartment for our last month here. Gotta be out today. How fun for us! Why could he not have come by a few days ago when we were back in the US?
Yeah, we flew home. I was in Vegas for two weeks and Christine joined me for the weekend. I was there for a trade show and the World Series of Poker and then we had a mini convention for the web site I work for. It was a great time, we got to meet people who we only knew by screenname. I would like to post pictures but I kind of have to move now. Ugh. The Hague is fun for the most part, I will post more when I know more. You know better than to believe that.
NEDERLANDER! Yes, I am oficially part of the Nederlander family! For those of you who are clueless about my life at the moment, I am living in Den Haag (pronounced Den Hu-ggh with a loogie sound), Netherlands. Christine is doing an internship here prosecuting Yugoslavian war criminals and I am just tagging along.
I have been here for 2 weeks and I already feel like a local. I bought a cheesy used bike today so I can get around. Since the Netherlands are so flat I can get anywhere on my bike. The first day we got here was rather odd. Apparently it was the day of the Pentacost and everything was closed. We were beginning to wonder if there were any people living here or if everything is just closed on Mondays. Thankfully that is not the case. We have been in a hotel until our apartment was ready. We are subletting a very nice apartment. It is up three flights of murderous stairs in the attic of a converted brownstone. We have no front door, but anyone who can make it up those stairs is welcome to our paltry belongings. They’ve earned it.
Den Haag is a bigger city than I had thought. It is about 400,000 people so there is plenty to do. We went and saw the third Star Wars movie and giggled at the funny words on the subtitles. I feel bad chuckling but sometimes Dutch is just kind of a funny language. I have made minimal effort to learn it because everyone seems to speak English. The only person I met who did not speak English was a cab driver, but that is no different than when I lived in New York City.
One fantastic thing about the Netherlands is all the Turkish people. As a result of their presence there are tons of ‘Snackbars’ that serve Turkish pizza. Yum! Nothing like a tortilla covered with indeterminate meat product and wrapped around random vegetables with garlic sauce on it. For 1.50 Euros it is the cheapest way to eat.
So this is home until August. So far I am having a great time. I have been spending a lot of time in a hotel lobby, as they have free wifi. I would say I was in a coffeeshop, but that has a very different meaning here. We are planning a weekender to London and maybe one to Spain or Italy if we can find really cheap flights. Maybe Prague if it tickles our fancy. I will try to be more dilligent about updating this blog now that interesting things are actually happening to me!
Ever seen two Galapagos tortises having ‘relations?’ I have. At the San Diego Zoo on Saturday. Could not stop laughing! I guess the third grader in me will never die. 🙂 I was in San Diego after going on a cruise that I won playing Poker. On the cruise I won an additional $10K+. If you were unaware, I keep a separate blog under my poker persona “ammbo” where you can find my report on the poker tournament. If you are looking for more frequent updates than here, tough. I am a slacker on both. Christine and I had a good time on the cruise. We got to hang out with my boss, his wife, and their 16 month old child. We went back to Mazatlan, Mexico for the first time since out honeymoon but our favorite smoothie place seems not to have survived the three years since we were there. It was a great trip but I still feel worn out. If only vacations were not punctuated by a day of travel I would be a happy man.