Apple lameness – Python edition

I am an Apple person, fully vested, using their computers, their devices, and in general I am very satisfied. But I just had a bad experience, and I need to vent.

I upgraded a few weeks ago to OS-X 10.9 (AKA “mavericks”, and it has gone reasonably well. However, 10.9 seriously broke python. First, Apple is always 2 or 3 releases behind. Usually not a big deal, as I am not on the bleeding edge, more of a hobbyist.

But 10.9 broke it badly. Like it was throwing segmentation faults non stop, and pretty much unusable. Hell, I couldn’t even load the built in math module without it tossing a segmentation fault.

I had set up my python the way I like it, I added the good packages (Apple does include numpy, but they miss a lot of other very useful modules) I use. Took me some time to get it all setup the way I like it, and they frigging broke it.

Sigh, so I spent about 6 hours yesterday. Installing and compiling 2.7.6 which fixes what Apple broke. That required reinstalling the command line tools. Then I had to update and install numpy, scipy, matplotlib, and about 2 dozen prerequisites for these modules. Grrrr. That seriously interrupted my drinking time…

I almost decided to go back to using EPD, but I know that pretty much sucks. Sigh.

Apple does so much well, but when they mess up, they mess up mightily. I hope they fix this soon.

(Oh, and the newest version of matplotlib has the XKCD graph styles. Totally worth the upgrade…)

Back on Spotify

A couple months ago, I took the plunge. I canceled my Spotify premium account, and was grooving on the Apple iRadio option on iTunes. While I missed the “on demand” library, I thought that the radio stations on iTunes radio were great, with a very good algorithm at grouping songs in genre’s and subgenre’s.

But a couple weeks ago I reactivated my Spotify premium membership. It was an easy decision, as with the launch of iTunes 11.0.3, the version that brought the radio, it also brought a version that was a buggy piece of crap.

It used to be that the Windows version if iTunes sucked, but the Mac version was pretty solid. But this changed that equation for the worse. Instead of fixing the windows version, now the Mac version is garbage. It crashes, it hangs (I have force quit that program more times than I can count), it uses huge amounts of processor time (often pegging one processor), and in general it just sucks.

Yes, the radio stations on Spotify are less awesome, but at least their software doesn’t make my machine whimper and crash.

I will continue to listen to iRadio, but Spotify will remain a monthly charge. And I get all their on demand music that I don’t get on iTunes.

Caffeine free 1 Month

Hi, I am a coffee-aholic, and it has been 4 weeks since my last date with the evil bean. I have a love hate relationship with coffee. I didn’t start drinking the evil brew until my 3rd year of university. Since then, I have been on and off the bean, often going several months before I break down and tuck into a mug of jo’.

Like any true addict, as the effect begins to wane, I crank up the quantity that I consume until it adversely affects my sleep patterns. Then I need to go cold turkey.

I am now 1 month into a caffeine free period, and I just made it through an intense week of sales meetings and training, usually the highest stress, least sleep week for me. And I survived it without resorting to the bean (but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t mightily tempted).

I know that it is a matter of time until I fall off the wagon, but until then, I will be living coffee free.

Drive thru culture goes too far

This is America, the place where the drive through was invented, and perfected. We expect to get our food instantly, coffee and donuts at any time without having to leave our cars.

However, I have noticed some people who are slavish to the drive through culture.

When cycling, on the weekend mornings, I ride by a Starbucks with a drive through. There are often 15 or 20 cars in line at the drive through. So, assuming 90 seconds per car, you are looking at 15 – 20 minutes minimum to get your coffee. Why on earth would you not just park and walk in? I don’t think I ever waited more than 5 minutes in line at even the busiest Starbuck’s I have been in.

I occasionally will stop and grab a donut on the way into the office (Yeah, I know, they are bad for me). They have a drive through, and it usually takes about 30 seconds from ordering to driving away with my satchel of fat pills. Last Friday, I had a hankering, and got stuck behind a behemoth SUV who was ordering 3 dozen donuts, picking them out individually, and then they finally paid with a credit card. Really? Just park your damn SUV and walk in for that. Sheesh.

But I often see people idling in queue, waiting on their takeout order.

Why I rarely use car washes

When I bought my Stewie, I made the commitment to keep it clean. I washed it every week, waxed it typically once a month (give or take) and polished/sealed the paint every year. I have all the gear, and all the chemicals to do this, and I actually enjoy it.

However, lately I have been pretty busy, and my schedule has slipped. I have gotten lazy, and there is a pretty decent hand wash place nearby. My time is valuable enough that it is worth the $15 to get my car cleaned. They do a good job, and take pretty good care of the finish. Not as good as my three bucket wash, but it is a good compromise.

But it reminds me of what I hate about commercial car wash places. They have a “greeter” who keeps trying to up-sell you. Are you sure you don’t want the VIP wash for $12 more? “no”. But it comes with a free exterior wash in a week. “no”. How about a hand wax/detail? “no”. You can bring it back for it later if you are in a hurry… “no”.

Now, I get that they are comped on how much they sell, and I appreciate the effort. But, the third time I decline, GIVE UP THE GHOST and move on.

And then there are the vultures who want to repair your windshield. For the record, I have several repaired dings in my windshield (hey, I live in Arizona, the capital of cracked windshields), and it never fails that they zero in on me to offer their services. They are almost worse than the greeters.

At least the team of finishers do a great job, and are appreciative of the few bucks I toss at them as a tip.

It is time to get back in the habit of washing my cars myself. I need to lay in some supplies, but that is cheap.