Come, come, ye students!

Two years ago, I moved from the Philly area back to California.  I got rid of a lot of stuff, but also shipped a lot of things or took them on the plane with me.  Too much stuff.

Now Nathaniel and I are headed back east, making a similar trip, but with two people.  Nathaniel's belongings have always been sparse, but I know I need to pare down again, which I look forward to doing.

Originally I thought we would rent a truck and tow the car, then I thought we would drive the car and tow a trailer, and then I decided that the cheapest option would be to drive the car and ship some things (books, bulky blankets, etc.).  Media mail is cheap, so books weren't a problem, but I also discovered Amtrack Express Shipping for the other stuff.

The way Amtrack Express Shipping works is you give them a whole bunch of boxes as a "shipment", total weight being a max of 500lbs.  Each box can't be bigger than 3'x3'x3' or weigh more than 50 lbs.  Then, they weigh it all together and from Emeryville/Oakland drop off to Newark/Philadelphia pickup, it's  $67 for the first 100 lbs, 57 cents/lb thereafter.  For reference, USPS Media Mail over the same distance is about 50cents/lb, for a 20-50 lb box, but you can't pack your media items with soft-but-useful things like clothes, for instance.  All other kinds of shipping are well over a dollar a pound.

I think we'll ship books, Ruddy the Big Red Blanket, winter clothes, and other bulky things this way.  Then we can pack up the car with some small furniture, my guitar, and the bikes (there's a bike rack), along with other small stuff like the clothes we'll need for the trip, artwork, and maybe the two small plants that I'm fond of.  If we end up using the whole 500 lbs for shipping, that's only $300, less than the cost to get a hitch for the car, let alone to rent a trailer, plus it won't decrease our gas mileage as much.

grumpy pedestrians

I was walking three abreast on a room-for-four-abreast sidewalk, and was deep in a conversation with a coworker.  I saw a woman coming directly at me, made eye contact, and she seemed to glare boldly ahead, but it's the city and I don't expect people to be friendly.  There was room to my left, but I turned sideways as she passed so she would have more room, seeing as she didn't alter route at all.  As she passed, she said, "What?  You can't share?"  I understand her position, and I certainly could have been more polite, but there was room for her and I felt like she went out of her way to be rude.  When I walk alone I try to walk around groups and not through them.  I suppose all I can do now is not pass on the grumpiness.


Collaboration Summit

Today I had a chance to attend part of the 3rd Annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, the Desktop Workgroup. The general topic we discussed was the relationship between the desktop and the cloud.

One of the things covered in the minitalks was Tomboy, an open source note app. First off, I had no idea that Tomboy existed, and I desperately need it...I have lots of info squirreled away as email drafts, in Google Docs, and as items in Google tasks and TeuxDeux, not to mention the stuff that goes in physical notebooks and on my hands. But seeing as all the apps I currently use for notes are web-based and Tomboy is desktop-based, what about when I'm on the go? Well aside from using its syncing feature to connect multiple systems, Snowy is in the works. (The name comes from Tintin's dog, as the original icon for Tomboy was a drawing of Tintin.) From the link: "Snowy is a web application for synchronizing, viewing, sharing, and editing your Tomboy notes online." This tickles me. It also uses Django, which I want to explore.

Other minitalks were on StatusNet (see also) and Mozilla Weave. I liked the StatusNet philosophy that the goal is not to replace proprietary applications (in their case, Twitter) but to offer open alternatives. A lot of things online are free: Facebook, Twitter, and a whole slew of Google applications. And a lot of users don't care if they are open--they're free, that's all they need. On top of that, many free online apps are "fopen" (used by a presenter, meaning faux open) so developers don't really care either--they have a solid API to work with, that's all they need. So what should be the goals for free software in the web-app world?

Some people were narrow-minded, focusing only on enterprise (Along the lines of "Why do businesses care if their online doc apps are open or not? Why bother with web-apps?") or so tied to the AGPL that they used words like "evil" to describe proprietary software. Discussion strayed onto Ubuntu One and why it's server-side software isn't currently open, and accusations and moral declarations were flung around the room. As a result, Dave Neary made an excellent comment about how some things are accepted as morally bad, like murder and spamming, but that there is also obviously a gray area. How do we interact, have productive conversations, and collaborate with people who have different views on what is evil (or good)? This obviously applies to more things than open-source software.


these dreams

'Nother dream last night.  Strange since I usually remember my dreams so rarely.

I was floating down a river with a galfriend in one fo those big yellow rafts, us laying down parallel to each other, our heads a little propped up.  I know Nathaniel is walking around the dry way, up in the rocky Moab-ish hills, which takes longer.  I was spending time with my galpal.  We float fairly quickly past a water-bottomed gorge--the river we're on feeling more like a themepark ride or a mountain road, set up higher, so we're looking down.  There, close to us at the start of the gorge (rock on the other side of us) are two people in a swan boat which is actually a very calm swan, getting ready to launch.  Further up is a blue motor boat with nobody in it, just floating along, and next to that passes a swam, much more active that the one with people on it, ruffling its feathers and all, and the same size as the motor boat, aka HUGE.  We pass that, me thinking that it was a bit odd, and then on our right appears an even bigger valley, basically a big plain with some grasses.  It ends with me feeling like we'll meet N soon.

I think there were more adventures that my galfriend and I had before the swans, but I don't remember them.

I think this dream was caused at least in part by my internal tension regarding how to allocate my time between friends, family, and N.  I'll work on it with time, I guess.