Sunday, July 21 2013
Gretchen drove down to the City this morning after walking the dogs. I'd made us a french press full of coffee, but she was in a hurry, so she took her fraction of it in a travel mug. The caffeine dose was so high that, many hours later at Wendy's apartment on the Upper East Side, she would have trouble getting to sleep.
This evening I did some further work with the rebuilt XBMC-based media computer ("Leopard" — not to be confused with a version of the OSX operating system). I needed to make further tweaks to the Harmony Remote's programming in order to make menu navigation intuitive and effortless. Unlike some universal remotes, the model of Harmony I have only has a single directional button cluster. But in controlling a media computer with a directional menu system, two clusters would be useful: one would simulate a mouse in situations where either something was impossible to reach via the menu system (or when you find yourself on the underlying Linux desktop), and one would simulate cursor buttons for use when navigating the menu. Since a functioning XBMC system makes little use of the mouse, I ended up moving the "mouse-simulating" functionality down to the Harmony's little-used numeric keypad, where mouse-north was 5, mouse-south was 0, mouse-west was 7, mouse-east was 9, and mouse-left-click was 8. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 remain functional on that keypad, allowing me to enter my password (which, on systems like this with few security requirements, consists only of digits from within that range).
There were still things I wanted to do but couldn't figure out, such as installing the Firefox web browser in a way that is reachable via the XBMC menu system. Without a good web browser, it might be hard to do some of the things I'd like to be able to use a media computer to do. Gretchen, for example, sometimes wants to watch streaming basketball games without having to sit at her computer.
In terms of food today, the main thing I ate was a packet of Trader Joe's Chana Massala to which I added a quarter can of refried black beans, a quarter can of pinto beans (this was partly a refrigerator cleanout project), mushrooms, and sriracha. I devoured this concoction Ethiopian-style (without utensils), using soft corn tortillas instead of injera. It tasted much better than the sum of the parts.
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