Great, there have been rattlesnake sightings in the neighborhood. I knew there was a reason I wanted to move back to Alaska.

Notes from “The peculiar habits of successful people”:

  • Dilbert creator Scott Adams doesn’t use goals. He uses systems instead.
  • When Charlie Munger was a lawyer, he saved the most productive hour of the day for himself.
  • Nikola Tesla designed complicated inventions in his head before tinkering.
  • Several great thinkers, from Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein to Adam Smith, were prolific wanderers and daydreamers.
  • Someone once asked Warren Buffett the key to success. He pointed to a stack of books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”
  • To think outside the box, inventor Steven Sample solved engineering problems by imagining them in the most absurd way possible.

A SpaceX Falcon 9-R Dev1 test rocket was exploded in mid-air when something went wrong:

If you want to add menu items to your Dock menu in Mac OS X Java applications, I can confirm that this approach works:

I haven’t tried their software yet, but a friend of a friend recommends Boom, which is a “system wide volume booster and equalizer application that effortlessly improves the sound of your Mac.” Boom is actually a software application, not a hardware product.

I’m currently in the market for a new car, and as I was looking at small SUV designs, it occurred to me that if you think Samsung copies the heck out of Apple, you should check out these SUV designs from Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Subaru, and Honda.

I came across this beautiful song while watching a Season 2 episode of Continuum:

I’ve written before that I am unimpressed with the so-called Toyota quality (comments here, here, and here). After my 2006 RAV4 died last week I started looking for other vehicles, and last night came across this note: "Consumer Reports said it was dropping the Toyota Camry, RAV4, Prius V, Honda Accord V6 and Nissan Altima sedans from its 'recommended' list because of reliability or safety issues." After my experiences, I’m glad to see an organization like Consumer Reports say that Toyota quality is not what it used to be, to the point that they don’t recommend several Toyota vehicles.

“Stay in your lane.” ~ Kenny Anunike, Denver Broncos, when asked how he competes against someone as talented as Jadeveon Clowney (Clowney was drafted #1, Anunike was undrafted; they play the same position. Anunike was saying, “Just take care of your own business, don’t worry about other people.”)

I was thinking about products designed by committees recently, and it made me think of Conway’s Law (from Wikipedia):

“Organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.”

The amazing thing about Conway’s Law is that it was stated in 1968.

Also from Wikipedia, “Eric Raymond wrote, ’If you have four groups working on a compiler, you’ll get a 4-pass compiler’”.

Ahh, yes, Siberian huskies ... photo courtesy of the Free Spirit Siberian Rescue page on Facebook.

Some of the red chili peppers hanging at the Sage Inn in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mac OS X keystrokes that I use fairly often, but can’t seem to remember.

I always wondered how Tim O’Reilly could tweet about 100 times a day (including Google+ and other posts) and still do his normal job, and then I just saw these two tweets next to each other. It makes me think that some of these people have a service that tweets for them.

A great thing about this time of year is that at night I can see the Big Dipper in clear view from my bedroom window. The window faces almost directly west, and at 10:30pm last night the sky was clear and I had a great view of the Big Dipper, which was west (maybe a little northwest) in the sky.

In working on projects like SARAH and other apps where I’m trying to make a computer seem more “human”, I’ve been making my software reply to me in random ways. What I’ve found is that this ends up being an easily repeatable pattern, where you have a list of possible replies, and then you randomly return one of those replies.

A few years ago a took a very long vacation and spent a lot of time driving around Alaska and Canada. When I stopped at a restaurant in a small town in Canada, I learned this story about Robin Williams. (See my website, One Man’s Alaska, for more stories.)

As a quick note, you can play sounds (sound files) at the Mac OS X command line with the afplay command. The syntax is:

afplay sound-file-name

So far I’ve used it with WAV and MP3 files and it seems to work well.

Drupal 7 update “dom” requirements error solution: If you go to update a Drupal 7 website and get a “dom” requirements error, it turns out that you need to install the php-xml package, at least on a Linux system. The solution for me involved running these two commands:

yum install php-xml
service httpd restart

FWIW, this was not a requirement with early Drupal 7 versions, but was added somewhere down the road.

Robin Williams brief acceptance speech after winning the 1998 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the movie, Good Will Hunting.