This is the website of Abulsme Noibatno Itramne (also known as Sam Minter). Posts here are rare these days. For current stuff, follow me on Mastodon



July 2024

Last Day of my Staycation

I took the last week off from work for the purpose of working on a variety of personal projects.

The above is the timelapse from my home office webcam for my last real day of vacation. Hit play to start it. I’m currently experimenting with a fisheye lens so you can see the whole room, although with a bit of distortion. But this way you can see what Alex, Roscoe, and if you don’t blink Amy too, are doing in the room, rather than just seeing a closer view of me at my desk. :-)

It has been a good week. I got a few things done, although of course not as much as I would have liked. I made a decision early in the week not to worry too much about it, and also use the time to just take it slow and relax a bit. So I didn’t push myself. I’m still a bit under the weather and tired… and I’ll probably end up trying to finish a few more things over the weekend even though that is harder when Alex isn’t in school. So I’m not sure I’ll head back to work fully relaxed and rejuvenated, but it was still good to take the week. I should use my vacation and personal days a bit more than I do. I always end up leaving those on the table because I don’t use them.

Anyway, good week over all. Glad I did it. :-)

Hours of Doctor Who per Calendar Year (1963-2013)

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 17.05.30497

The first new Doctor Who of 2014 airs on August 23rd, less than a month away, with a new Doctor to boot.

So with that in mind, I present a chart I worked up showing just how much of the show there has been in the 50 year history of the show. As you can see, there has been a lot of variation over the years. To date, there were more hours in 1964 than in any other year, with 19 hours, 2 minutes and 12 seconds of Doctor Who. That record looks pretty secure.

(Source: Wikipedia)

A Ladder for Ivan’s Beep


Nice new ladder. 22 feet when fully extended. Less in other modes. Enough for our needs in any case. But it will probably still be months until I actually unwrap it and get to changing the battery on that smoke detector that Ivan complains about every few weeks on the podcast. :-)

Alex’s First Chess Game

So Alex grabbed my iPad, as he often does, and this time I happened to be looking at a chess program at the time. So he decided to play. He didn’t know the rules or the objective, but if he tapped a piece, it showed the legal moves it could make. So he played a game.

[Date “2014.04.07”]
[White “Alex Minter”]
[Black “tChess Pro (iPad) – Difficulty 565”]
[Result “0-1”]
[TimeControl “300”]

1. e4 d5 2. e5 e6 3. f4 Bd7 4. f5 exf5 5. g4 f4 6. g5 Qxg5 7. Nh3 Qd8 8. Bg2 d4
9. Ng5 Nc6 10. Nh3 Nxe5 11. Ng1 Bc5 12. Ne2 f5 13. Nec3 dxc3 14. Bxb7 cxb2 15.
Be4 Qh4+ 16. Kf1 Qf2# 0-1


Obviously he lost. But hey! Next time we’ll start explaining what you are actually supposed to try to do and such. :-)

A Man and his Duck


Amy caught me napping the other day, and took this picture… On MY phone. I just found it today!

Backstory: Alex wanted me to watch him play with some stuff he had set up in the hallway, but I told him I was tired. So he got a cushion from a Poang and laid it out on the floor for me to lie down on. And he gave me his duck. I apparently fell asleep in the middle of the hallway with the duck. Amy found me and took the picture. I woke up an hour or two later and moved to the bed, completely unaware that a picture had been taken while I was asleep on the floor… With the duck.

Doctor Day is Here! #SaveTheDay


Excuse me while I geek out for the day.

Halloween Timelapse 2013

It is easier to see Amy decorating than any trick or treaters, although you can see them if you pay attention. And for some reason it went slowly on some parts with no visible action the next day, but hey, timelapse!

A Short History of Top Books

On March 10th, I announced a new thing I was doing, the “Top Read and Tweeted Kindle Books” list. Well, I set it up using Twitter’s RSS feeds as the source, and they turned those off earlier this week. I think I could probably redo it using Twitter’s API (which is probably how it should have been done in the first place, but I was more familiar with the other way), but realistically, that would take me time that would be better used for other things, especially since I haven’t gotten any comments on this thing since I launched it, and I was probably the only one looking at it. So, goodbye Top Book thing. It was fun while it lasted!

It was actually interesting to watch over the past three months though.

Here is a chart of the performance of every book that made the Top 5 at any time during the run of my list. (The lines are extended to show 7 days before and 7 days after the days each book was actually in the Top 5.)

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 19.26.48

Click to embiggen if you want.

During the 95 days I have been running this analysis, there have been four books in the #1 slot:

Gone Girl and Gatsby swapped a bit before Gatsby took the clear lead.

Inferno is obviously crushing everybody at the moment. Almost 2% of everybody tweeting they finished a Kindle book recently were tweeting about finishing Inferno.

As of 2013-06-11 21:36:35 UTC when the last tweet was processed by my system, this was the Top 20:

Rank Tweets Book
1 325 Inferno by Dan Brown
2 127 The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3 101 Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
4 68 Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
5 40 Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
6 39 Entwined with You by Sylvia Day
7 37 The Magpies by Mark Edwards
8 36 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
9 35 World War Z by Max Brooks
10 (tie) 29 The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
12 (tie) 28 The Hit by David Baldacci
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
14 27 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
15 25 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
16 (tie) 24 The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
How to Talk to Girls at Parties by Neil Gaiman
18 23 Life Of Pi by Yann Martel
19 (tie) 22 The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

If anybody else out there would miss this though, let me know of course. :-)Anyway. Fun stuff. I would have had fun continuing to track this for awhile. But as I mentioned, probably not worth fixing.

Top Read and Tweeted Kindle Books

Time to put out the results of one of my latest projects.

If you want to jump straight to the end result, just check it out: Top Read and Tweeted Kindle Books

It is currently set to update automatically every hour.

For more details of what this is and what I did, read on…

Over the last few months, 15-30 minutes at a time, as I had a few moments, I’ve been working on putting something together that I’d been curious about for a long time. Namely, a while back a feature was added to Kindles to share that you had finished a book. When you get to the last page of a book, it asks you if you want to put a note on Facebook or Twitter that you have finished the book.

This naturally leads one to wonder… well, at least it leads me to wonder… which books people are finishing and how that compares to standard lists of what books people are buying. After all, probably most books that are bought do NOT actually get read, certainly not all the way through. These social media posts might give at least some window into that.

Now, to be clear, in the end, looking at these can NOT tell you about what people are reading. For one thing, it is just Kindle books. For another thing, it is only people who bother to connect their social sites to their Kindles. And then it is only the books that they choose to share publicly… there is surely lots of reading people just don’t want to share.

But I thought it would be interesting anyway. I concentrated on the Twitter side because I thought I had an idea how to do that. When people finish their books they can choose to edit and customize what they Tweet, but if they don’t, then the tweets have a standard format, and I could grab and parse those tweets. So I started collecting and grabbing that data. Then I set up stuff to remove as much of the “extra” stuff in the tweets as I could (although when people add custom stuff, I can’t really catch that), and then do some sorting and counting and such to come up with a ranked list. The parsing is by no means perfect, but it is good enough for now.

I tried looking at the last 10,000 tweets, but there were still way too many ties in the top 20. So I looked at the last 20,000 tweets, but given the current rate of these tweets you would have to go back farther in time than I wanted, so it would be pretty slow to respond to changes. For now I’ve settled at the last 16,384 tweets. Why 16,384? I am a geek, it is a power of two, it is between 10,000 with too many ties, and 20,000 with too much time, and at the current rate of tweeting it is pretty close to a month of tweets.

In any case, I put the last tweaks on this in the last 24 hours, and I figure now it is ready to go live.

To get the latest up to the hour counts, go to the page I’ve set up for this: Top Read and Tweeted Kindle Books

As of the hour I am posting this though, here is what the list looks like:

Data as of 2013-03-10 20:00:16 UTC, covering 16384 tweets over 31.96 days.
Includes tweets from 2013-02-06 20:54:17 UTC to 2013-03-10 19:58:16 UTC.

And there it is. Not quite the same as the bestseller lists, but fun to look at and see how it changes over time.

Oh, and yes, I know that it would be trivial to manipulate this list, since it just counts tweets in a specific format, and anybody could tweet as many tweets as they wanted in that format, no reading of a book required. But hey, still fun.

Mystery Solved


  • Sometime in late January, our downstairs toilet starts not draining properly
  • Brandy spends several weeks fruitlessly plunging it and using all sorts of drain cleaners and toilet snakes.
  • Each time, it seems like it kind of works for a very short time, then it starts backing up again.
  • We are busy. We have other bathrooms. It sits with an out of order sign for weeks.
  • One of the many times that Alex tells us “downstairs potty broken, mommy fix it soon” we think to ask…
  • “Alex, did you flush anything down the toilet that doesn’t usually go down the toilet?”
  • “Ahh… (thinks for a few seconds)… Yes!” (It had now been many weeks since he must have done it.)
  • “Uh, Alex, what did you flush down the toilet?”
  • “My penguin light.”
  • “Alex, why did you flush your penguin light down the toilet?”
  • “It not spin. Me done with it. Flush down down down! All gone!” (Or something similar to that, I didn’t write down the exact words at the time.)
  • We are busy. Several more weeks pass.
  • About an hour ago, I get home from work, Brandy has removed the toilet from the floor.
  • I help turn it sideways so we can see in the bottom:


  • Yes, indeed, there was the handle of Alex’s penguin light. It was one of those things where you push a button and the little lights inside the globe at the top spin around. But this one had extra plastic bits to make it look like a penguin with a Santa hat on with the lights spinning in the stomach of the penguin.
  • So after a few minutes of lifting the toilet up, flipping it in different directions, and shaking it, out popped the penguin.
  • Amy has told me that I am not allowed to post the pictures I have of the actual penguin, due to it being disgusting and caked inside and out with human waste and all, but if anybody wants to see pictures, just ask, and I’ll happily send them along.
  • We’d been talking to Alex since he told us about flushing the penguin about how that was why the toilet didn’t work, and how he should never flush things other than the things that normally go in a toilet. But we took this opportunity to show him the penguin and ask him if he would ever do that again. He said he wouldn’t. We shall see I guess.
  • As I was writing the above, Brandy calls and asks me to come down so I can help her with something. I say “just a minute” while I finish writing one of the bullet points. Then I go down. By that time, she had decided not to wait for me, and had already put the toilet back on, and it looks like it is just about all set again.

Anyway… I know just about every parent gets this at one point in time, but it was our turn this time. Fun fun toys in the toilet fun!