Dad as Mom

My wife had been on bed rest for the last three weeks or so of pregnancy. We tried having her be at home alone with the kids, but that really didn’t work out very well. She had to get up too much. So I tried to finish up what I needed to at work and then just took off (with permission). I have a great employer, by the way. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories is awesome.

Anyway, I’ve tried to keep going with my math review. I had completed lesson 80 of Algebra 1 when I came home. 15 days later (through yesterday) I’ve completed lesson 88. Not quite the rate I was expecting having so much “time off.” It’s OK, though. I was home to help my wife and kids, and I’ve done that. And I thus have a renewed respect for my wife (she works HARD). Doing about a quarter of what I had been doing per week is better than nothing by a long shot. It’ll be much easier to hit it hard again after I get back to normal life since I didn’t take the whole time off.

Also, I now have a new kid! Abigail is awesome. 6 kids. Insane. And again, my wife is amazing.

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Stupid Errors

By far and away the majority of the errors I make at this point are what I’d call “stupid errors.” Things like forgetting to carry a negative sign down when writing the final answer. Or (the one I hate the most, probably) forgetting to write the units. That one really perturbs me because it really matters.

Anyway, currently I’m marking every little error as a straight-up wrong answer. Because it is wrong. If it’s not really an error, such as writing the answer in a different but not incorrect format, I don’t mark it as wrong–heck, Saxon explicitly states that they’ll record the answer in different formats to emphasize that some things are up to the individual. However, if the format for the answer is stated in the problem, such as “Write exponents in the denominator” and some are written in the numerator, I definitely mark the entire problem wrong.

My theory behind doing this is that it hurts. “You get more of what you subsidize and less of what you penalize.” This is a penalty. A self-imposed one, but a one I care about. But the upshot is that when I really get a problem set completely correct (only 3 times, unfortunately), it really feels good. And I can tell it does change things. I used to struggle with that whole units thing; I don’t think I’ve missed that in a while. My current bugaboo is not noticing an answer stipulation, like mentioned above with exponents in the denominator. But I figure if I keep marking it wrong, I’ll pay closer attention and be better off in the long run.

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Through 41

Finished Lesson 41 of Saxon’s Algebra 1 today yesterday (this didn’t post last night for some reason). Easily the furthest I’ve gotten in a math book in 5 years.

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Saxon Algebra 1: 21 Lessons In

After a mighty struggle to figure out which math book I ought to start with, I decided to take the high road by going for the lower-level math book first: Saxon Algebra 1. I’m pretty sure I completed this entire book at some point, but that was probably at least 7 years ago.

I started…last week some time (Thursday?). I don’t know the exact date. And then this week was really weird because I had the week off to do some work around the house. But I’ve still managed to continue to do math each day. I think I’ve done at least one lesson per day (Sunday excluded).

I completed 3 today because I was feeling slightly ill and took the day off from house projects. I think I tend to miss 2-4 problems per lesson; almost always due to stupid errors. I’m not sure how to cut those out except practice. I missed two in one lesson today solely because I transcribed the original problem from the math book incorrectly. That’s really infuriating. But at least I’m getting practice in it and presumably will get better over time.

Anyway, I’m trying to keep my nose to the grindstone. If I keep up this rate, I should get through this one shortly and be on to Algebra 2. My honest goal is to complete Advanced Mathematics by the end of this year and be ready to kill it in Calculus at the beginning of next year!

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Back here again

I temporarily had an actual dedicated URL of my full, but I decided not to renew it.

So I’m posting here again. I may try to get my old posts all consolidated here. We’ll see.

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Download mode without power button on S4

I could not find directions for this online, so after I figured it out, I figured I’d post it here so it’s somewhere when someone else runs into this issue.

I don’t have a power button on my S4. It was defective and bootlooping, so I had it removed, but removing it removed a solder pad too, so I can’t put a power button back. Adb to the rescue!

Naturally, you’ll have to have debugging enabled, ADB installed, a working USB port, etc., but there are directions for that elsewhere.

I could get into recovery by means of:
ADB reboot recovery

But once there, selecting is accomplished with the power button, at least with the recovery I had. D’oh!

After not finding any directions and trying a bunch of things, I finally just tried the following, which worked:

ADB reboot download

Done. Booted right into download mode.

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Back to Windows?

I might be going back to Windows. I’m just getting sick of Linux. There are a few things I like: resumes from hibernate faster, it isn’t Windows. OK, so really that basically means there’s one thing I like. Everything else is harder. I’ve given it a fair shake. More than a fair shake, I think. I’ve used it exclusively at home. For more than a month. The only real benefit I’ve wrought is my more and more frequent reluctance to use my computer. Hmmm…

I’m on Windows 7 again at the moment. I feel ever-so-slightly guilty about it, and also about the way I activated it. It’s the same license that I had on a different computer, but I’m going to remove it from that computer before booting it up again (I’ve done this before). When the phone thingy asked me how many computers I’ve installed this on, I said “one.” I had said “two” last time, because that’s how many I had previously ever installed it on, but then I had to talk to a CS rep and explain that I was removing it, etc. I know what they don’t want: they don’t want the same license used on more than one computer at a time. I’m honoring that. But I don’t want to lie, either. Anyway, I guess I’m interpreting it as meaning how many do I presently have it installed on, because I think they just want you to know you can only have it on one. Which, again, is fine by me. I think they need to clean up their wording, though.

Unfortunately, the above issue is really the *only* real advantage Linux has over Windows for me is not dealing with licensing. That’s a real advantage, but then again, Richard Stallman is so annoying about it that it might only be a tie. I’m really not a fan of Richard Stallman. Blech.

Things I was having issues with in Linux:
Fonts. I have no idea why, but fonts would sporadically go nuts. I couldn’t see the top half of some, others would be difficult to read, etc. It was really irritating.
Heat. Right now, on Windows 7, my computer is relatively cool. I’m not doing much, so that’s to be expected, but the same can’t be said for Linux. Frequently, it’s just danged hot. And if I am doing something that requires a lot of power, it’s entirely likely that it’ll just freeze up. Very annoying.
Scrolling. I think I fixed this largely in Linux, but it was hard to do.
Mouse movement: It’s still just better in Windows. Smoother, faster, more accurate.
Updates: Good grief. I thought Windows updated frequently. Sheesh, every time I boot Fedora I’m asked to update and reboot. ?????

Also, though it’s certainly not the main issue, Linus Torvalds does regularly come across as a jerk. He has personality, which I like, but flipping people off and cussing out less intelligent geniuses is kind of unnecessary.

Anyway, yeah, I have no idea if anyone cares, but that’s that for now. I’ll probably still dual boot for a while, but I don’t know how often I’ll actually venture into Linux anymore.

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Back to Xfce

So, I’m back to Xfce on Fedora 20 and I’m staying put for now. Gnome has its advantages, and I could probably make it work, but I simply don’t have time to figure out all of its quirks right now. It hit me the other day that I really just need to settle on a desktop environment for a while until I have time to fritter away. Life’s busy right now (calculus 2, baby coming, big projects at work, etc). Xfce is easily the most usable without massive changes being required.

Things I like about Xfce:

  • Speed. It’s fast on my semi-old computer (Thinkpad T60). Even things like hibernating or starting up are just so much faster than Gnome or (especially) Windows 7. It’s easily the biggest boon for me and a strong reason to use Linux at all, in my opinion.
  • Ease of use. It’s not hard to find things, everything seems to work reasonably well, etc.

Things I don’t like:

  • I wish I could just click the start bar and type like I can in Windows, Gnome, or even Unity. Sometimes that’s just the fastest way to find something you don’t use much.
  • It’s missing some default programs that Mint had that I like (USB writer, LibreOffice, Firefox), but those can be added back.
  • It’s functional, but could look better. I.e., it ain’t purty.

When I have more time, or if I get a faster computer, I intend to give Gnome a more full go. I think its paradigm will work better, ultimately. I just don’t have time to figure it out and make it work sufficiently on this older laptop.

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White Text on Black Background == ACK!

This should be illegal. That is all.

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Gnome 3

So, I’m trying to really try Gnome 3. There are a few problems:
1. Heat. It’s definitely hotter than Xfce.
2. Fonts. Some fonts, like on my blog, for instance, are fuzzy. I got most of them fixed, but some remain fuzzy. I don’t like that.
3. I really don’t like the main bar being at the top. I know that’s because I’ve been using Windows for 20 years or so, but I’ve been using Windows for 20 years or so. It’s not easy to change, especially when my work computer still is the other way.

But, otherwise, I think it’s going well. It’s nice to be on the “main” desktop supported by Fedora, since I’m going with Fedora. Most questions online seem to assume it, so it’s nice to be on the main. I’m not sure if I’ll stick it out, but it’s good to give it a go.

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