“New” Computer

So Steve talked me into an upgrade. I needed to install Windows 7 anyway, and so here was the chance. Bette was gone for the weekend and I had a nice block of time. I ordered a used Gigabyte mobo with processor from eBay. Hmm.

So I opened up the box, and found that the mobo was packed in plastic bubbles – not antistatic. No I/O plate. No warranty papers. I hate eBay. So I hooked up the computer and restored the BIOS. Then restored the overclocked settings to default.

Ran to Best Buy for a new 500Gb HD. Might as well start fresh – then I can mount the old disk for fast copying.

Did the first install of Windows 7. It booted into setup and sat there for 10 minutes easy. Nothing. Googled, found this was normal, some suggested disabling USB, some said poke the CD-ROM drive. Crappy installer. Finally got it to install. Runs nice with 4Gb.

Steve told me to run prime95, a prog from the GIMPS Mersenne Prime Search people to load the heck out of the CPU and then use CoreTemp to read the temp. It went up to 60C, but no higher. Not the best, but I really don’t load it that much.

I installed and then tried to activate Windows 7. Of course, it said “Cannot use this key on a new install”. How is that useful on a clean install disk? I Googled a bit and found if you reinstall by starting Windows and running setup off of the DVD a second time, it classifies the 2nd install as an upgrade. So here we go. UDPATE: Called MS Support. After a bit of phone heck, I ended up with a highly competent tech (from India?) named Rahul who did not drag me thru rebooting and stupid things. He just got it fixed.

In bringing up the new box, PocoMail was great – just point at the old install, copy, bam. I lost the Quicken installer for 2009 Home and Business, but 20 mins on the chat support gave me a download link for the replacement.

UPDATE: Win7 has been great. Only problem is, is not compatible with my HP LaserJet 3150 MFP – HP discontinued support for Vista.

Download CoreTemp
Download Mersenne GIMPS

“The Dining Room”

We saw this play before at the Woodstock Stage Left Cafe, and it was really good. Bette saw that it was here again and she jumped.

It was in the parish hall of the First Congregational Church in Huntley, with an old beat-up dining room table. The players came in and out of the kitchen from doors on either side. Actually, a nice set-up for the play.

We sat in several rows of folding chairs, the single problem of the night – it is hard to sit in folding chairs for 2.5 hours. They served coffee and slices of the birthday cake from the play at intermission. Nice touch.

And they did a great job. I would see something like this again. They announced, thanks for supporting local theater, which is in danger of disappearing. Here is the front line. Support them.

Thursday – Kuya’s, Google and Dessert

Art came by after a meeting downtown. He is ethnic Chinese, but grew up in the Philippines, so he thinks of Filipino food as home cookin’. So we headed off to Kuya’s, a place he heard about, only a few blocks from the hotel, once we found it. Parking was a little challenging, found out later they have a lot in back.

It is a wonderful Mom and Pop place, but a very long room – hard to look around. Booths down one wall, and long tables down the other, and there were several larger parties using them.

The waitress came out and was very friendly. Art ordered Lumpiang Shanghai (Ground Pork Egg Rolls). They are about the diameter of a Chap-Stik, 2 inches long, fried, and filled with pork. You get a plate of about 20. Yum.

We tried to find something that this Haole could deal with. Art picked Pork Adobo (Marinated Pork chunks in soy sauce, vinegar, & garlic) which sounds a lot like something in Mexican places, and a vegetable plate (Pinakbet, Mixed Vegetables cooked w/ Shrimp paste, Pork, & Shrimp) with Okra and eggplant. This was served with garlic rice.

Art wanted to get the Halo-Halo Special dessert, but we were both full, and Art had some food left over to take home. Maybe next time.

Yes, they have wine – I had a house Cab. Ok. They don’t have beer. Strange. Art said a San Miguel would have been good, but they have it at Trader Joe’s.

As a Yelp reviewer said, interesting restrooms. I’ve seen much worse. Art said he would bring his brother back there, so I guess the food passed inspection, and you don’t eat in the restroom.

Then we drove off to Mountain View and other points to see the high tech sites, the Google campus, a Microsoft building, LinkedIn, and Yahoo.

Microsoft Office

Yahoo Office

LinkedIn Office
Microsoft Office Yahoo Office LinkedIn Office

Cupertino for One Infinite Loop, the main Apple campus. I always liked that street name.

One Infinite Loop
One Infinite Loop

Of course, the best were the Google buildings “pi” and “e”. Geeks.

Buildings Pi and e
Buildings Pi and e

Then it was off to Golden Island Cafe for dessert. I had a Red Bean & Sweet Tofu dessert. The waitress brought the cream on the side, but I used it. It was excellent. I think Art had a Sago of some sort, but I am not sure. Art?

Kuya’s Asian Cuisine
460 San Mateo Avenue, San Bruno, CA 94066
Golden Island Cafe
146 E 3rd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

Michael’s Uptown Cafe

I just found notes on this – must be from 2003 – our Sarah’s friend was finishing college at IU in Bloomington IN, and we went to visit her. She was working on the Little 500 (think the movie) and we managed to drag her for dinner. So I found these notes in an old notebook:

I had salmon – OK, with pilaf. Excellent sweet corn salsa. Bette had pesto ravioli with goat cheese. I got to try one. Yum.
Salads are ala carte for $7.50. Wine was in small glasses for $6. For three people, $110. Nice place, but seems a little much $$$ for what you get. Maybe lunch is better.

Michael’s Uptown Cafe
102 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408

Qt Training Report II

The Qt WebKit stuff looks really nice. 40 lines to add a lite but featured browser, and you can have Javascript call C++ and vice versa – so buttons in HTML can start C++ processes, and C++ can modify the DOM directly ala Ajax. Social embedded should be a piece of cake. He showed an app with a contact book showing a small google map for a person based on their address or location. Harder part might be authentication and security.

Just downloaded some of the KDE project to see how a BIG project handles Qt builds via CMake

Qt Training Report I

So far so good – Monday was architecture, Tuesday was specific core libraries and classes. We do exercises on the computer a couple of times a day to demonstrate topics. Today we did one on creating a paint application using the Qt libs. Tricky.

I have done all successfully without too much trouble. My background in Win32 API, MFC, core products, MSVC and the two weeks of playing in the code have helped a lot conceptually. The QtCreator IDE is OK, but the instructor, Romain, a Frenchman who just started up this office recently, prefers to use Eclipse. I have been playing with the C++ toolchain in Eclipse and checking it out and trying to do the exercises using it.

8 Attendees, three from Nokia (the new owners of Qt) who are here to replace the Symbian GUI with Qt on Nokia phones. One consultant learning. Two guys from Georgia, the country, not Atlanta who use it in their product already.

The Georgians, Zurab & Zurab, and I went into SF last night and ate at the wharf and looked around, and saw the GG bridge. When we got back we split some Georgian cognac and talked about the their work on the new Nokia phone that runs Qt apps – but it has 40G of memory and is real fast. Not your average phone now, but mobile and small devices seems to be an area that Qt is really hitting hard. Romain says the consulting market is pretty good for Qt programmers.

Tomorrow and Friday we should be getting into more specific questions where I will bring up my issue list. Some of them have already been answered.

Romain highly recommended CMake, a build system for C++ projects, and has specific support for Qt apps. It handles platform and compiler changes transparently and is good for large libraries like ours. I am playing with that on a background thread – there is a Hudson plugin also.


BJ’s Brewhouse

For dinner, needed something light. Found BJ’s Brewery website, I had seen it in the Marriott list, and considered it. It is a chain, so I was not real hopeful. Tonite, it was raining, don’t want to go far. They have “PIRANHA® PALE ALE CHILI”. Sold.

So I drive the 0.1 mile, and go in. The parking lot is insane at 6PM. Don’t know why. Basic brewpub decor, ask at the desk – they have food at the bar. Pretty busy for a Monday night.

Finally muscle into the bar in front of the four TVs. Three basketball games and a “classic” NFL game from 1985 – Bears vs. Green Bay. Whoopee. Read my book a bit – “Digital Fortress” by Dan Brown.

Takes a while before the bartender notices me. The dude to my left comes in after, gets called first. Orders house vodka tonic. Likes it. I order a Russian stout. Also the Chili + house salad with balsamic.

Chili? Good, not great – a little too mushy. Not hot, but warm. Eh.

Stout? Good.

Then I asked for a half a HARVEST HEFEWEIZEN®. He said he didn’t have halfs – but brought me a “tasting” glass – 3/4 a pint. Boy, he got a good tip.

Oh, my. Exploded with flavor. Wonderful. Sweetish, but a hint of bitter. As they say, no lemon required. Tastes like it is already living in the glass. Gotta get Art here to try it.

Sunday in Northern CA – Dinner

After I pointed out and he passed a bunch of places to eat on the way back from Point Reyes, Art said he had a place in mind, good Chinese. Fine. He is ethnic Chinese, grew up in the Philippines, and knows Chinese.

So we head down the 101 to Millbrae, and exit into an ethnic wonderland. Chinese shops, produce vendors, various restaurants, all rolled into a sleepy downtown area (on a sunday night).

We parked in a municipal parking lot, and walked a few blocks to the Shanghai Dumpling Shop. We entered, a waiter looked up, Art flashed two fingers, and the waiter motioned to a booth.

The interior is bright yellow, and over the kitchen is a bright red roof. Nothing dark here. Tables in the middle of groups. We arrived early, and people kept coming in, mostly Asian but many other ethnicities, brought together by good food. A nice place. A woman came out of a back room with a huge bowl full of something ground. I suppose it was dumpling filling.

The menu was a trip. Their translator was obviously not familiar with English, or not a marketing major, or he would not have “Boiled Tendon” or “Pork Esophagus” on the menu. My favorite was the three types of eels. Ick. Art says the fried ones are like fried calamari. I could do that.

Art and I got the Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Soup Dumplings), which were excellent, served in a bamboo steamer right off the pot, and the Green Onion Pancake, which was really a round flat french Fry, also good, but very dense as some reviewers have mentioned. Then we split the beef in satay sauce over rice noodles, cooked in a clay pot, bubbling. Yum. We thought about the sesame chicken, but I can get that at home. Then again, I might just go back and try it. No booze, but lots of good tea.

Leaving, we stopped in Dean’s Produce next door, and picked up some apples and plums. Lots of interesting cheeses, and Romanian and European stuff. Olive oils. Made me wish I did not have to pay $100 to fly it all home.

Then Art suggested a Chinese ice cream parlor, so we walked three blocks to the Sweet Indulgence Dessert Cafe at the corner of Broadway and La Cruz. We walked in and the place was empty. It hat bright color, funky plastic cone furniture and a collection of manga toys in the case by the counter. Posters of the drinks on the wall so you could point and ask. A cute Asian woman came out from the back and I asked her what was good. Art explained that I was from Chicago. That said it all.

She recommended the jasmine tea with tapioca. I don’t remember details, but it came cold or hot with balls of tapioca in the bottom, with a big fat straw to suck it down. So as you slurp, the balls of tapioca slide up the straw (thanks to the angled cut at the bottom of the straw. That took me a while to figure out). The tea (with cream) was good, the tapioca was interesting, but tasty. Kind of fun. Art had some sort of shake. There was a case with what looked a lot like gelato, but the flavors of Red Bean and seaweed did not sound like gelato I know…

We went back and talked with her at the anime filled counter. She is a Hong Konger, owns the place with the other woman in the back, and they are struggling with everyone else on the block with the economy. Then a bunch of kids came in and ordered tea and stuff from the case.

She is going to Chicago to study at a French pastry school. For 5 days. Then she has to come back and work. Late nights. I give her a lot of credit. She wants to go to France to learn pastries. I do wish her well.

Shanghai Dumpling Shop – 455 Broadway – Millbrae, CA
Dean’s Produce – 451 Broadway – Millbrae, CA
Sweet Indulgence Dessert Cafe – 298 Broadway – Millbrae, CA

CR-V Mileage

Our 2009 CR-V with AWD has gotten 31 mpg on the trip to work, but much less on the way home. I suspect the trip to work is downhill.

There are two Trip displays, A and B, with independent average mpg displays. Trip A is the one I reset to check short trips. Trip B I leave and it becomes a cumulative measure.

Today my A and B values were 23.4 mpg. I suspect this is what I will get on average based on the driving I do. Honda estimates 21 city / 27 highway. So we are bit better, and much better than the van (15mpg downhill) but not as much as I’d hope.