Direct from Nevada City – Captains of Crush!

October 26, 2008

My friend Ron recently sent me an article from his Stanford magazine on Randall Strossen and the “Captains of Crush gripper” that his company (IronMind Enterprises) sells.

Captains of Crush Gripper

Captains of Crush Gripper

No, I’m not thinking of a new career in strength training – the tie-in is that Randall & IronMind are based in my small town of Nevada City.

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Skype warns against bad hair days

October 4, 2008

I was in Japan for a friend’s wedding, and finally was motivated enough to sign up for SkypeOut service. At 2ยข/minute, it made being on hold with Travelocity a bit less painful.

During the sign-up process for SkypeOut, I an unusual icon at the bottom of the page:

So I guess this is the international icon for a “Bad Hair Day” emergency, and you’re not allowed to use SkypeOut to contact a professional stylist.


The case of the curious power drain

October 4, 2008

I took my MacBook to the Nevada City 4th of July parade, to save some spots at Wisdom Cafe. This is your classic small-town event, with fire engines, jazzercisers and The German American Friendship Club in full lederhosen.

After about an hour of work, my battery life was down to less than an hour, instead of the 3-4 hours I was expecting. Hmm, maybe my battery is dying. But I can hear a faint humming noise, which means the hard disk is spinning continuously. And I had trouble putting my Mac to sleep before I left for the parade.

I fired up Activity Monitor, and saw that something called “ditto” was using up 95% of my CPU. Firing up the Terminal, I executed “ps auxwww | grep ditto” and got:

kenkrugler 15193  98.2  0.0    75624   1024   ??  Rs   Tue02PM 3942:21.74 /usr/bin/ditto -xk - /Users/kenkrugler/Desktop/.BAHO26HV

Executing “man ditto” in the Terminal tells me it’s used to “copy directory hierarchies, create and extract archives”. What’s odd is that it’s been running for 3942 minutes, or almost 3 days.

Then I remembered that a few days ago, I’d renamed a .jar file to .zip and tried to expand it, to show somebody the structure of a jar file. But the Archive Utility hung, or rather it refused to finish or quit. So I had to force-quit it.

Which apparently left the underlying “ditto” process running, and what looks like a fully expanded version of the .zip file in a hidden “.BAHO26HV” directory on my desktop. I restarted my Mac, deleted the directory, and everything returned to normal (less 3 hours of battery).