List of Posts

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m not a religious person, and I normally don’t go all “I’m thankful for…” on this particular day of the year, but this year I’m making a small exception. It’s been a crazy year both personally and professionally, and I wanted to give thanks where thanks is due.

Thanks to my family, my loving husband Mark and my two wonderful children Sam and Sasha for making every day special. And thanks also to my mother, who helps us out in a thousand different ways every single day.

I’m thankful for my health to be back on track. It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride these last ~14 months, but it feels like everything has finally settled out.

Last, but certainly not least, I’m thankful to everyone at RP3 Agency for giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do, with the best group of people in the world.

I wish everyone all the best for a healthy, safe and joyous holiday season, whatever your holiday of choice is.

i want to work on a project that heavily uses flexbox. even if it’s personal or internal or never sees the light of day, i won’t ever really, truly wrap my head around it until i’m actually using it for something.

It’s a Boy! (Royal Lineage Redux)

He’s here!  The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to an 8lb 6oz son who will someday (presumably) be King of the United Kingdom (and a bunch of other places).

Hey little guy, here’s where you come from:

Prince George of Cambridge < William, Duke of Cambridge < Charles, Prince of Wales < Queen Elizabeth II < King George VI < King George V < King Edward VII < Queen Victoria < Edward, Duke of Kent < King George III < Frederick, Prince of Wales < King George II < King George I < Sophia, Electress of Hanover < Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia < King James I (a.k.a. King James VI of Scots) < Mary, Queen of Scots < King James V of Scots < Margaret Tudor, Queen of Scots < King Henry VII < Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond < John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset < John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset < John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster < King Edward III < King Edward II < King Edward I < King Henry III < King John < King Henry II < Matilda, Holy Roman Empress < King Henry I < King William I “The Conqueror”

See https://taupecat.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/royal-lineage/ for the addendum.

Adios, tumblr.

By now, you have heard of Yahoo!’s acquisition of tumblr. for something in the neighborhood of one BILLION dollars.

I’m not terribly anti-Yahoo! or anything like that.  I’ve been using it (more or less, lately a lot less) since it’s URL was http://akebono.stanford.edu/yahoo/.  But it’s not where I want any part of my digital home to be.  Also, I’m kind of afraid of what will happen to tumblr. long term, as Yahoo! doesn’t have the best track record of maintaining its acquisitions.  Flickr languished for years under Yahoo!’s ownership, and only recently has shown any signs of life.  I suppose some credit goes to Marissa Mayer for reviving the once-proud Flickr, but I dislike her for other reasons (need to work from home? fat chance!).

Also, I don’t use tumblr. in the way that you’re “supposed” to use tumblr.  I follow some people who are active on it (mostly people I know IRL or am conversant with on Twitter), but I almost never log on to read it.  Mainly, I use tumblr. as my forum for things that are essentially tweet-worthy, but are longer than 140 characters.  That’s pretty much it.  So it’s not like I’m really going to miss its social aspects.

So I’m moving everything I had on tumblr. here to WordPress.com.  Why the hosted solution and not my own self-hosted WordPress site, http://www.taupecat.com/, or even my “family” self-hosted WordPress site http://family.rotton.com/?  Basically, it boils down to context.  The stuff I shared on tumblr. (and will now be sharing here) are one-offs.  Rants, frustrations (see the recent posts about WMATA), random thoughts about the British monarchy, etc. have no real place in my “professional” or even my “family” web presences.

So from here on out, anything that I would have posted to tumblr. will now be posted here, and linked out through the Twitters, per usual.  And the release of WordPress 3.6 is well on its way (I’ve been running it on my family site, and it is nice!), so soon I will have access to the tumblr.-inspired post format UI that no doubt you’ve been hearing about.  I welcome you to join me!

Update On My Issues with WMATA

After contacting WMATA about how I got overcharged for parking at the White Flint metro garage earlier this month, I received refund instructions and was able to reclaim my $3.50.  However, in their explanatory email, there was no acknowledgement about my suspicions on the cause of the problem.

Well, it happened again yesterday.  Yes, I’ve sent another email about the overcharge, and I’m now 100% certain that my initial suspicions were correct.

I entered the metro system yesterday afternoon from Bethesda with $21.90 on my card.  Exiting the system at White Flint, my card was debited the $2.60 peak rate and the remaining balance on my card was $19.30.  Since my autoload threshold was $20 (note the past tense), the next tap would add $20 to the card.  That next tap came about 5 minutes later as I drove out of the White Flint WMATA garage.  The autoload happened, but so did the $8.50 non-rider parking rate.

So again, I’ve email WMATA requesting a refund, and reiterating the problem.  I suppose they consider people who don’t realize that this problem exists is another stream of revenue or something.  In the meantime, I’ve disabled autoload, a wonderful convenience that just isn’t worth the hidden surcharge.

My bigger gripe is with how governments and quasi-governmental agencies are so completely tone deaf when the citizenry tries to help by pointing out problems in their systems.  I have the same beef with Alert Montgomery, who cannot send a coherent SMS message if my life depended on it (which, theoretically, it could) and completely ignored my attempt at suggestions on how to improve it.

Hey, guys, you’re here to service us, your constituents and riders.  Pay a little attention, why don’t you?

WMATA Is a Bunch of Incompetent Hacks

…or Why I’m Probably Going to Disable Auto Reload

Tuesday night, when coming home from @WordPressDC, I got charged the non-rider rate coming out of the White Flint WMATA garage instead of the rider rate.  This is the second time that this has happened to me, and the last time it did (in March), I barked about it on Twitter. @WMATA’s response was to call the parking office.  I never followed through that time, but I did today.

Let’s say the woman I talked to on the phone was supremely unhelpful.  (I know, you’re shocked.)  She clearly had no interest in understanding what happened or my theory on why it happened.  She directed me instead to email the parking office for a reimbursement.  Okay, done.

But back to my theory on why this is happening.  I have my SmarTrip card set to auto load $20 every time the balance dips below $20. I think getting off the metro Tuesday night triggered the recharge threshold, and when I tapped the card on the garage exit gate, it recharged the card but forgot that I had just gotten off the train minutes before.  I recall that this was the exact same scenario the last time this happened.

In my email, I implored WMATA to fix this bug in their system.  I’m going to give them a chance to do so, but if it happens again, I’m going to cancel Auto Load.  The convenience of not having to deal with the add fare booths is not worth $3.50 a month.