Return of the blog

Just a shade under two years after my blog first went kaput, it’s back. 2 VMs, one MySQL data recovery, and an absurd amount of time fussing with DNS later, it’s back.

I’m using wordpress.com this time around instead of fussing with my own setup; many of the plugins for which I self-hosted are now part of the core featureset, so I’m going to give this “cloud” business a run for it. I’ll probably fuss with themes a bunch more, so don’t be surprised if next time you’re here things are unrecognizable.

One thing I was frustrated by the last time I went to set up hosted wp was the way they expect you to set up your DNS if you want to do domain mapping; it turns out it’s pretty simple to map your domain directly to their set of IPs.  Once you have your domain mapping paid for and set up (from the “Store” link in the dashboard), do the following:

dig @ns1.wordpress.com example.com A

Then assign to example.com’s DNS the 6 A records that WordPress’s nameserver gives you.

At some point in the future they may change those IPs and your blog will stop working etc etc (which is why they’d rather you use their DNS instead) but for now that’ll do the trick.

This is fairly obvious stuff once you know what to look for but I haven’t seen it documented on the web, so enjoy 🙂

-Leigh

Magnetic fingernails

Background

A few weeks ago I went and got my nails done to try to rid myself of a life-long habit of biting my nails.  Some time later, I realized that the goop they put on my nails would be plenty to hold a small magnet and give me a sixth sense, as several others have done via subdermal magnetic implants.

ObDisclaimer before I go into the technical details: consult with a doctor/lawyer before doing this.  Consider carrying some kind of documentation (and a nail file) in case you have a medical emergency and need to be stuck in an MRI.  You may break things / lose data / get contact dermatitis from nail goo / kill kittens with your new magnet superpowers.  Don’t blame me :p

The basics of nail enhancements (the industry term; they are better known as fake nails 🙂 ) are as follows: your natural nails get filed down, and acrylic or gel is applied in a multi-stage process.  With gel, the nails need less filing, and each layer gets cured under a UV light.  If the technician uses a combination of powder and liquid, you’re getting acrylics.  Even if there’s a UV light involved – powder means acrylics.  Some crappy salons will just put a UV topcoat on and call it “gel” – be warned.  Also, many nail techs are used to working with biters, so even if you have sad stubby nails, don’t despair – they have a whole bag of tricks involving plastic forms, more substantial gel, etc. to make your fingertips looks unbitten.

Implementation

Pablos, [redacted] and I had our magnetic manicures done by Aiden at the Gene Juarez salon in downtown Seattle. You can reach them at 206.326.6000, and ask for her specifically.  She did a fantastic job and didn’t even blink at our weird request.  Expect to spend just under $100 with tip – it’s a fancy salon.  Bring your own magnets – we used the ones Nate recommended, tiny parylene-encases magnetic stirrers from here.  They are a buck a piece and come in a minimum quantity of 100, so find some friends who want to do this too.  Pablos’ and [redacted]’s are clear gel with white tips; mine are all clear gel, with pink polish over top, because I like pink.  One of the benefits of the gel we used – as acetone doesn’t dissolve it, I can take the polish off and change it.  It was fairly thick, with a noticeable bump, seen here in profile.  The gel is lightweight though, and overall my nails feel less heavy than when I had acrylics (with no magnets) on.  The magnets in mine are visible through two layers of polish; I expect another layer or a darker colour would address that, if you care.

During Saturday evening’s [redacted], a bunch of folks also had them stuck on with acrylics, using one of the cheap kits (made by Kiss Nails, I think)  one can get at the local pharmacy / big box / beauty supply etc.  Clamoring and Willow from Jigsaw Renaissance lead the way on that part of the project.

Results

I can feel ferrous materials strongly and easily with the backs of my fingers.  It’s a very gentle pull, and is totally fascinating.  I can’t feel much of anything through the pads of my fingers.  I feel a very light buzz near things with strong magnetic fields, but it’s really subtle to the point where I’m not yet convinced it’s real – I expect I’ll get more attuned to it in the next little bit.  For now it just tickles.zomg magnetfingers

I can pick up pretty substantial objects, like the magnet from inside an old hard drive.  I’m bad with weights but it’s probably 50 grams.

Aiden was a pro at getting the polarities all lined up, but you’ll want to think about how to arrange them.  Fingers sticking together or repelling?  I went with sticking together.  Hours of entertainment, I tell you.

So far I haven’t managed to erase any credit cards or hard drives with them, and I’ve been told by others that these magnets just don’t have enough power to do either.

Oh and as for nailbiting – while I haven’t gone back to natural nails yet, the enhancements I’ve tried – gels without magnets, acrylics without magnets, and now gels with magnets – have all made my fingers completely incompatible with my teeth.  I simply have no desire to bite on them due to the foreign texture, and the general neatness of the nails.  I don’t know for sure that I’ve broken the habit, but it seems to be a damn effective temporary measure.

After-care

Nails with enhancements need to be “filled” about every 2-3 weeks as they grow out from the cuticle, and breaks need to be fixed promptly or they will get worse and you may end up in pain.  You’ll pay about 1/2 to 2/3 the cost to have a fill done compared to the original work, and a few bucks per nail if they break.  I do not yet know how these will grow out.  I expect to be filing them down until the magnet is a half millimetre from the “free edge” (outward edge), then letting them grow out a bit so I can clip the magnets off.  I’ll probably have a fill done right at week 2, and add a second set of magnets at week 4.  YMMV depending on the size of your fingernails and how fast they grow.

Product reference

Aiden used CND‘s Brisa gel system on us.  If you’re into colours, look for a salon that does Calgel’s coloured gels, or Opi Axxium.  Those come in both file-off and soak-off varieties – the latter soak off with acetone, but are a bit softer from what I’ve read.  CND has a new product called Shellac which is more like a UV cured polish, but which may also be strong enough to retain the magnets.  YMMV; please let me know what works for you!  There are also plenty of products I didn’t list – these are the brands that seemed to have decent reputations on the intertubes and Amazon reviews.

New Ubuntu = awesome!

I just rebooted my work desktop into Karmic Koala, the new release of Ubuntu, my preferred distribution of GNU/Linux.  I don’t have much substantive to say, but the qualitative experience has so far been pretty amazing.

Not only did I get to work all day while the upgrade was downloading, only having to reboot at the very end, but everything worked as I expected when I rebooted – which is to say that the only thing which didn’t work was VMWare, which I expected to not work as with every kernel upgrade.  I might even take this as an opportunity to give Virtualbox a proper try (it was less than amazing last time I did).

Let me make that really clear – I only had about twenty minutes of downtime for the entire upgrade, and it would have been less if the installer had left upgrading Firefox until the end, as that was the only thing which broke (and even then, only partly – no new urls, but clicking through links was fine) while the upgrade was going on.  Try that with Windows 🙂

Things feel just a little snappier, just a little shinier.  I’m really impressed so far.  The new theme and icon set is lovely.

If you’ve been putting off trying out Ubuntu or Linux in general, now’s a great time to start!

Papercuts

No-context-needed IRC log time!

-!- zfe [n=Gianluca@88.252.29.47] has joined #ubuntu-women
<zfe> is this the kitchen?
<zfe> who would make me a sammich?
<redacted> zfe: No this is not the kitchen
<zfe> aren’t you women?
<redacted> zfe: you are welcome to go into your own kitchen and make yourself a sandwich.
<redacted> zfe: please read the channel guidelines in the topic
-!- mode/#ubuntu-women [+o hypa7ia] by ChanServ
<zfe> ok i will while you make me a sammich
-!- mode/#ubuntu-women [+b *!*=Gianluca@88.252.29.*] by hypa7ia
-!- zfe was kicked from #ubuntu-women by hypa7ia [http://xkcd.com/322]

Nicknames redacted to protect the innocent.

Living in the Future, or, HackLab Buys a Cupcake

On September 1st, I sent an email to the HackLab discussion list asking for folks to commit. Less than 24 hours later, members and non-members alike stepped up and pledged $700 in addition to my initial commitment of $200. Our MakerBot Batch 7 CupCake CNC will ship in early October, hopefully in time for MiniSoOnCon!

3D printing is so amazing. This is the MITS Altair of a DIY revolution whose shape I’m not at all certain of. I couldn’t be more exited to see what the hacklabbers make and how we improve the machine, too.

In alphabetical order, the donors were:

3ric Johanson
Alex Leitch
Byron Sonne
Chad Mounteny
Cheryl Mok
Chris Pilkington
Dale Babiy
Dan Kaminsky
Eric from NYC Resistor
Kate Raynes-Goldie
Sergio Martns
Seth Hardy

Welcome to the future, folks.

-Leigh

Python Open Mike

One of the early results from the dialog the Python community is having about diversity issues is a new blog – Python Open Mike.  The idea is that there are folks out there who have something to say that’s relevant to the Python community, but who don’t necessarily keep a blog themselves.  Open Mike is a venue for their posts.    It’s moderated, but easy to post to via email, and syndicated on Planet Python.  Though it came out of the diversity mailing list, it’s not intended to be restricted to diversity issues.  So if you have something to say about Python and are disinclined for whatever reason to set up your own, feel free to step up to the Mike!

-Leigh