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Real Life Debugged

Oleg Savitsky and Fedor Emelianenko

I had the AWESOME opportunity to meet and photograph MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko in August at Zealous Nation MMA, the facility my trainer Oleg Savitsky owns in Middlesex, NJ.

Oleg scheduled an invite-only Mixed Martial Arts seminar with Fedor and asked me to be the photographer. Fedor is, like, number one in the entire universe, ever.

Fedor and Oleg have competed against one another in World SAMBO competitions and they are friends and colleagues, now through M-1 Global.  Fedor kicks some massive ass, and also happens to be a really nice guy, like Oleg. I was so excited to meet him!

Little did I know I’d somehow manage to lose every single picture I took of this exclusive seminar except the last 10.

more…

I’m doing a little feasibility project for work, and digging up dirt on bathroom scales.  (Don’t ask - really - my specialty is *not* bathroom scales. It’s actually kumquats as alternate energy sources, but that’s not important yet.)

ANYWAY, I was online looking for customer complaints.  Because, you know, manufacturer’s blame EVERYTHING on us stupid customers.

Then I tripped across the beauty by Savvy Shopper over at Amazon.com:

Nowhere in the description did I see this [bathroom] scale displays only in kilograms. The description says maximum capacity 330lbs. That certainly would lead most to believe it displays in pounds. I don’t want to do mathematical problems when I step on my scale in the morning. Although, this may be good for my brain, that wasn’t the reason for my purchase. I will be returning it.

Oh, Snap!  It warms my heart to see reality, truth and sarcasm (along with the product itself) flung back at idiot manufacturers.

My What a Lovely, Yet Worthless, Picture
Thursday, October 14th, 2010 | Author: lisaksimone

I recently joined the Visual Analytics group on LinkedIn as I drag my many ad-hoc and homemade visualization techniques into the 21st century.  Representing data without bias, but with clarity and with usefulness is hard.

Years ago, one of my favorite data mining profs intoned, “If tortured enough, the data will confess.” - Lyle Unger, UPENN.  Whether good or bad depends purely on intent.

One discussion in LinkedIn focused on an odd graphic from the Wall Street Journal article “Broader U-6 Jobless Rate up to 17.1%: Why the Jump?”

What the heck does this picture mean?!?   It’s got some red stuff on it, should I be worried?

more…

Drat those trial software versions!
Monday, October 04th, 2010 | Author: lisaksimone

I just *love* this stuff.  Trial versions are just that … stuff you get to use for a trial period.  Which (except for roll-under bugs that appear everywhere) tend to expire in reasonable time frames.

Below is a picture I took in Guam a couple weeks ago during a (painfully too long) layover.  Which might be more palatably (is that a word?) thought of as a surface interval between diving WWII wrecks in Truk Lagoon (awesome) and sharks and cool critters in Yap (no mantas.  Rats).

This display was, heck, 8 feet across.  All day it displayed video and ads.  In the middle of a pretty cool extreme sports-kinda video, the following appeared:

“BroadCam Video Streaming Server Upgrade Special..

“You have used BroadCam Video Streaming Server for a while now.  It is about time you should upgrade to the Professional Version.”

Coooool.  Just gotta love it!

So I got a new job doing embedded systems forensics - debugging medical devices that have possibly Gone Wrong.  Turns out my Phone on Fire book was an excellent calling card, as the position requires the same problem-solving brain twists as my own technical mysteries!

Pretty cool when your potential boss has read part of your book.

Anyway, we’d been working towards a Final Written Offer Letter for a little while.  I got a Verbal shortly after the interview, a Tentative Written Offer Letter a while later, and over the next couple months I completed two pretty comprehensive application packages about 1/2 a ream thick.  It would have been less stressful if Microsoft would have let me open my own thesis, but it got all registry passive-aggressive on me.

The final weeks we ramped asymptotically to 99.999% Goodness with the Tentative Official Offer Letter.  (My language, not theirs.)

So, happily, I get The Official Call from HR and I’ve passed all security clearances, have garnered the last 0.001% and am now officially 100% approved as a new hire!

… and (baited breath) shortly there after the long awaited Official Official Offer Letter arrives via email!  I double click, excited the day has finally arrived …

… and I can’t open the document.

 

Click to view

 

 

 

 

Gaaaaaa.

more…

I had a challenge getting my blog up after Wordpress was hacked a month ago.

Today I find that every image I’ve uploaded into every post does not appear.  Just Like This.

** pulls hair **

more…

How Could They Have Missed This Software Bug?
Thursday, June 03rd, 2010 | Author: lisaksimone

The correct prize for an apparent $42.9 million slot machine jackpot that a Thornton woman hit at a Central City casino should have been $20.18, Colorado gaming regulators said today. [Denver Post 5/19/2010]

Ouch.  I bet there was a whole lotta screaming going on, starting with great enthusiasm and then ending badly.

The machine was a progressive, meaning that the payout is based on previous bets and other similar machines.  In order to win the Big Payout, the player must bet the max, which in this case was $4.  The player had bet only the minimum, $0.40.

The Colorado Division of Gaming’s forensic investigation found that the slot machine malfunctioned and displayed the wrong payout because of errors in “mathematical calculations built into the game software.”

That’s a heck of a big mistake.  Seems like an extra (missing?) if() statement would’ve caught that one.

I thought USB Cufflinks were a joke, but during a visit to Pasadena this winter, I found a Lego USB stick.  I thought that was pretty cool and would have made the purchase if not for the $39.99 price tag for 256KB.

Yes, srsly.

But Cufflinks.  Hmmm.   2GB each for a black tie evening of 4 GB.  My inner geek says, “Cool!” but I’m left wondering if I’m truly swayed by coolness, or after a longer pondering would file it in the “just because they can do it” category.

When, exactly, would USB cufflinks be a lifesaver?  Can you think of a situation during which one would be expected socially to wear cufflinks when easy access to several Gigs of data might be required?  And seriously, someone else wouldn’t have one on a key chain somewhere?  Even those little USBs fit nicely into an inner jacket pocket to maintain the smooth trouser look.

Fashion and function merging once again.  Because if you lose a snazzy cufflink, you’ll always have a data backup on the other arm.

Simple task - a job application requires the abstract of my PhD dissertation.  So I find the file, double click, and … ERROR.

Huh?

(Yes, I hear you cry!  I knew where the files were!)

You see, about 5 years ago I spent a couple days pulling stuff off boxes of floppies before the data puddled into magnetic goo.  Surrounded by mostly 3 1/2’s and many 5 1/4’s (and several disk backup tapes), I found my dissertation and with mixed memories (yes, the terror does fade with time), I tried to open the files.

Back then, Microsoft presented me with a different, although more frightening message when I attempted to open the files.  Something about not being able to read the old Word file format at all (Yikes!).

Had the ghost returned?

more…

The folks at ReclaimPrivacy created a simple little tool that scans your Facebook privacy settings and gives you a nice summary.  It highlights where you are sharing information with the world, and points you to where you should reassess your settings.

Mashable’s review article with a sample view.

The Tool at ReclaimPrivacy.

Yes, some tech savvy folks have said, “Well, searching through all the settings really isn’t that hard.”  But with most folks NOT being savvy, and NOT really understanding what info is so public, this is a nice tool for everyone.

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