December 04, 2002

And the sun'll come out, tomorrow.....

So, it turns out, sometimes you just need a nice long holiday weekend, and a virtual kick in the pants.

I feel way better about things now. It's been months in coming. Yet, while I'm sure I'm not totally done yet, I'm going to allow this as a sort of victory. The start of December really seems to be bringing a new level of comfort with the day-to-day. For some reason, things don't seem too bad anymore. The New Year is coming soon, and, though only one Rain has passed, it feels to me like Mother Nature is just about to start the new season.

California definitely has a fun seasonal process. The hills, which dry out all summer, turn green this time of year. It's almost like Spring starts in this area with the onset of what is Winter elsewhere. I like it. And the timing couldn't be better.

Another thing that's really nice, is the return of an old friend. This internet radio station had, at one point, been deeply tied to my emotional feelings about my ex girlfriend. It went silent, because of federal music licensing regulations, early in the relationship. I sort of mourned it, at the time. So, it's fitting then, that as I come out of mourning for love lost, it, an old friend and a former emotional consort, should return. Bring on the Groove Salad, in this season of renewal and new growth!

November 24, 2002

Maybe if I track my life entirely online....

Well, it probably wouldn't help. Sure does seem like life's been hard lately. If this were a slightly more anonymous forum, I'd go into all of the particulars. Since it's not, I'll just got into the personal ones, 'cause, hey, no on really reads this, and its therapeutic.

It's embarrassing to say, but adult relationships are hard. By way of some more context: last February, I met a wonderful woman. In the proceeding months, I fell, hard. She's wonderful.... everything I can imagine wanting in a woman. She has such a perfect little piece of the world (both emotionally, and, it turns out, physically). I was totally in to her.

For reasons I'm still not totally clear on, but which boil down to the hardest thing for me to deal with ("It just wasn't right"), she broke it off. About 3 months ago.

Now, people who know me will know that I'm normally a fairly optimistic person. I see the world with rose colored glasses the likes of which would make most people pinch themselves. I try to give my all to anything I care about. And that's where it breaks down.

And then the real downward spiral starts. Because, standard Goliath style, the higher you rest your day-to-day view of the world, the further it falls when something dares to make you question things. Or, perhaps, the coating on the rose glasses isn't as thick as it was when I was younger. In any case, it sucks when things turn sour.

And sour they have. Worse feelings of longing I have never felt. I don't know if I'm following a standard pattern or what, but, I went through denial (first few days), followed by uncertainty, then a period of sort of hating reality. Finally, I thought I'd take her up on her offer to be friends. Whoops. I've got no idea how that works, at least, not in this context. I certainly wasn't ready. And the feelings I have are deep rooted. Two months later, it became clear to us both (well, her first, seems to be the way of things...), that friendship wasn't the thing. No, no. Bad idea.

So, we were keeping in touch, to the tune of however often she felt like calling and chatting. But, the chats were always strained. And I always went through a couple of days after each one, just trying to regain my precious day-to-day comfort level with the business. I've lost many nights of sleep to circling through it all, over and over.

Anyway, about the same time as that discomfort was hitting, I started thinking maybe making some new female friends, or sort of dating a little, might be worth a shot. Nothing toward a LTR, and, yeah, I know I'm sort of playing with fire to do things like that, but, still. It seemed harmless enough, and maybe it might burn away some of the ol' loneliness which was killing me so much.

Right. So, I went on a couple of dates, mostly with people I met off of the w4m section of Craig's List. Once more, bad idea. I'm just totally emotionally unavailable right now. Sure, I can do the standard "BP talks up a storm" bit, but not really connect with anyone beyond that. Ergh.

Getting toward the end here, I promise. Agitated flows of consciousness like this are hard to write and still sound cohesive. So, after messing up the last date I went on, it was back to CL tonight. My mistake. My ex, who had told me she didn't expect to date again "for a long time", had posted the most thoughtful CL ad I've yet read. I didn't know it was her for sure, but the coincidence would have been amazing. What do I do? I make a hotmail account, and send her the sweetest response I can come up with. All of the scabs are off at this point, and I don't even know if she wrote the ad yet. I try sleeping, but I'm too agitated to doze, so I check my mail. Sure enough, she'd written back to the ad. So, mature and rational thinker that I am, I call her. Nothing resolved, no forward progress made, but, hey, at least I got to admit to it. In the end, I'm going around burying all artifacts of her. I'm too much of a packrat to delete anything, but at least I shouldn't be seeing her name too often.

So, here I am again. Totally wrecked by my still barely fading feelings for her. She's uninterested. Probably scared, certainly annoyed. I'm helping no one with this behavior. Adult dating is hard, and I'm worse than average at it. I know there are other women out there, hopefully even the one who it will ultimately work out with. But all that is hopelessly irrelevant to my mind at this point. All I know is hurt, and frustration. From rose colored glasses to depression. *sigh*

Anyone in the Bay Area know I good mental professional to refer me to? Talking to my website can't be the best way to get on with life, and I can certainly use all the help I can get at this point.

October 24, 2002

The Game

Treasure Hunts are fun, but exhausting. Want to read about my experience? Check it out here

August 31, 2002

More thoughts

Well, I had thought things were turning around, and I'd have a happy story to post here by now. It looked like, a few days after my last post, everything was going to be ok. I can live without stuff, though I still feel pretty upset about having someone in my place taking stuff. And, it even looked like things with the wonderful woman were going to work out. Turns out, it was all a clever, convenient and apparently self-serving ruse. I guess that's how it goes.

Ah, well, I'm only 24. Maybe I'll go back to school soon, and work on a PhD.

August 16, 2002

Perhaps its time to blog again

Well, it has been quite a while since I've pointed out anything for this forum, eh? I guess I'd gotten out of the habit, since so much else has been going on.

But, as with many previous times in my life where things sucked, here I go again.

So, here's the quick summary of the last year or so of my life:

  • Moved to San Francisco
  • Started working at PARC
  • Bought a car
  • Made lots of friends.
  • Kept working at PARC, as it spun out.
  • Started dating a wonderful woman.

So, that's up until fairly recently. Well, then, all heck broke loose. Things between me and the woman didn't live up to her requirements for a long-term future, so she decided to break up with me. That was Sunday. Kind of a murky day, to be sure. Monday came and went. Then Tuesday, I got home to find that I'd been robbed. Significant quantities of stuff (mostly small electronics or portable media) were now missing from my place.

Alright, so, what's my point? Well, eventually, I plan to come back here and mumble on about how things are going, but right now I can summarize pretty easily - things suck. I mean, I went from last week, when life was pretty darn good, to this week when everything pretty much is exactly the opposite.

Not the deep rumblings I'd thought I'd come up with when I sat down to write this, but, then, I guess I'm out of practice. Hopefully, tomorrow will be the beginning of the next life's-so-great-I-forget-to-blog part of my life, and it'll be another year until I post again.

May 26, 2002

What's next?

Think I'd disappeared? Well, no, just gotten lame about updating my life to the web.

Not to worry, though. I probably won't be writing a whole ton, but you can see a glimpse into some of what's going on in my life by visiting my picture archive, taken with my new digital camera. At least, the ones that the people in them don't mind seeing published to the outside.

April 07, 2002

Computer Science - what is it, really?

The history of Computer Science is an interesting one. But, I'm not going to go into that here. What I am interested in discussing is the current nature of computer science.

So, what do I mean by "nature"? The problem is, that Computer Science has the term "science" in its name. To many, this implies that the subject area is scientific. Study a problem. Hypothesize some new result. Check for reproducibility. But, most would agree that the Scientific Method seldom applies to work in the computer science field.

August 12, 2001

Cars, furniture, settling in

Wow. I've sort of gotten caught up in things. I should really be more attentive to my website, right? Tricky to integrate it into your daily life, when you've never had reason to before. I may be a computer geek, but that doesn't mean that when I'm tinkering with computers I always think to sit down and document it. Hopefully it'll occure to me more often soon.

So, with that said, I'll just hilight the most recent stuff, and figure on filling in more when I (*cough* *cough*) start making more regular updates...

The biggest thing is that I just bought a car. It's my first time buying a completely new car, and it's pretty scary. Yeah, I've got a job where paying the payments is no biggy right now. Heck, if I buckled down, I could pay the car off really really quickly. But what if, heaven forbid, my job disappeared next month? Yegods.

The car is a black 2001 Mazda Protege ES 2.0. Basically, it's tricked out with almost all of the packages that they stick on to make the fancy version of the car - ABS, sunroof, CD player. Other than that, it's just the nice car it's reputation holds. Consumer Reports had liked it best in the compact car category for the last several years. It lost to Civic this year, but, hey, the Civic's a good car too. It's just less comfortable for me to sit in.

So, that's it, it's done. I brought it home last night. Now it's a "used" car. Isn't the market fun? The thing still has double-digit miles (I'll take care of that little detail right away, don't you worry...), but it's value has dropped by multiple thousands of dollars. Sheesh.

Even besides car shopping, life lately has been pretty hectic. Rich, my roommate, got here finally two weeks ago, while I was at the wedding of Krystal and Eric in St. Louis. Since then, we've spent every weekend day and several evenings searching around for furniture, planning our home layout (which, being the geeks we are, includes not only what furniture, but how to hide the computer pieces in the house so no one notices them unless they want to use them), and generally "settling in". I thought I'd been doing that in the previous month and a half I was here - no so. This is easily a factor of 2 more busy. But, it's paying off. This past week, we've managed to acquire a set of stereo equipment with a rack, a TV stand, then a Panasonic 27" TV, a PlayStation 2, a nice comfy couch, a reclining easy chair, and 5 chairs for the dining room table. Rich also got some bookshelves and a really cool desk, and he's still looking to replace his futon with a "proper" bed. Whatever. I like my futon.

It looks like we're almost done "settling in", though. It'll be nice to start thinking of other stuff to do with the weekends. Bike treks somewhere. Hiking in the hills. Perhaps even wine tastings in some of the nearby wine country.

July 03, 2001

What, it's July, already?

Wow. I've been really lax about adding to this thing. Maybe it's the whole being busy thing. Well, maybe not. Who can say?

Anyway, here's the quick recap on my life: slowly cleaning up the house, buying necessary things (can you believe I didn't buy a broom until this past weekend? So many more things like that, too). But, life's good.

Lately, I've been seen biking to work (a bit over 2 weeks now), biking to other places (mmm... cheap electronics at Frys), occasionally borrowing my sister's car (thank you Brenda!), occasionally visiting with my sister and her boyfriend, and generally just getting used to California.

That brings up another thing. It occured to me recently that, when interviewing and visiting to find an apartment, California seemed really, well, "foreign". Actually, it wasn't so much that I realized how I'd originally thought of it as foreign, it was how I realized that, of late, I don't find it the slightest bit abnormal. Heck, I'm even beginning to understand the local geography, learn some road names, and get errands done. It's amazing.

DSL is up. Not only that, but so are the fabulous 8 static IPs that went along with this particular version of it. Good deal. Been too long, and a big chunk of IPs is going to be handy. Soon, I'll get a machine from work, and I'll be all set to get plenty of work done from home. Wonderous. :)

I sort of implied in a recent mass e-mail that I'd keep this set of pages updated, so expect me to at least be much more annoyed whenever I start an update after too long. Maybe I'll even eventually get this whole process included into my daily routine, and it won't be any big deal. Here's hoping.

Last thing - I've finally begun the attempt at making the fine VNC product far more secure. No code's been written yet, but I've stirred up some mighty nice discussion. If you want to know more about this (or, better, are interested in helping), drop me a line.

June 16, 2001

Finally, some furniture!

Well, sorry for going so long without an update..... I haven't had any furniture. I hopped on a plane the Thursday before last. Then, I've been living in Menlo Park with no furniture. Hasn't been that much fun, I must say.

Which brings me to the point of this short little update - I've got furniture! Yayh! Look for actual content to fly up on the site now that I've got connectivity and time again. Big house, only me here, but, once I finish unpacking, preciously little to do.

And that brings up another good question - what should I do with my free time? Anyone got any good projects? Immediate targets I want to consider are:

  • Finishing up some half-written articles for here
  • Working on a SSL or otherwise "just works" encryption for VNC
  • Buy some furniture
  • Buy a car

Anything else I should be doing? Drop me a line, either as a comment on this article, or via e-mail.

June 04, 2001

Busy, busy!

Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks. I've got a new place (yeah! Check out the pictures here under 526 7th Avenue). I've also got a new phone, and I've done a lot of spring cleaning...

Anyway, I'm still busy with it, so this is just a quick message to make sure no one believes I've abandoned the site. I'll be back to it, soon, and with a vengence. Going to be a long month without much furniture...

May 11, 2001

Hooo ahhh!

Isn't life great?

Or, well, if not life in general (don't get me wrong, I think it's pretty great, but that's not my topic here), finishing up with parts of life. In my case, I've justed finished up with 5 years of college. Over 1/5th of my life, right here at Washington University in St. Louis

So, what have I learned? Lots of stuff. But, that's what you're supposed to learn from coursework. There have been plenty of other lessons, that are, perhaps, better learned by the college student weaning him or herself slowly off of the dependence on "home", and slowly into an "adult" lifestyle.

Some notable parallel lessons from school:

  • Always keep track of friends. Thank goodness for e-mail!
  • If you're not careful, you'll find out you learn more by the process than the particulars.
  • Always do your work. No matter how much you want to just let your grade recover. You learn more by trying and failing, than not trying at all.
  • Deadlines can always be bent. But, remember that, according to Physics, you're either weakening the internal structure, or you're transferring potential energy to another part of the system. This applies to the learning process, too.

Anyway, I turned in my last assignment for this part (will there be others? Who can say?) of my Washington University career Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, around midnight. If none of my profs make a last minute decision to fail me, I'm done with my MS. I'd finished my BS requirements a year ago. In a week, I do some marching, and come away with some hard-earned (and quite expensive!) degrees. A mere 3 weeks after that I start my new job, and new life.

Not that this is such a sad time. I'll miss the midwest, and many of my friends here. But, I miss my friends from high school too - and I still see them. Life goes on, though, and now it's time for my life to go on.

April 25, 2001

Nostalgia can be fun!

So, just recently I was going through some old e-mail from an online sevice (or, er, here's the wayback machine link, since the original seems to have stopped responding) I was an active member of many, many years ago.

As I was reading through my old e-mail, some of which, as the true packrat and information sludge collector that I am, I will probably eventually be displaying on this site. In the process, I came across the first couple of messages which, were the preamble to a "normal" pen-and-paper penpal exchange. Yes, it did work backwards - I met someone online, and corresponded with them via snail-mail. Whatever. This was all very long ago.

Anyway, when I was reading through the e-mail, I got the great idea that I should see if I could get back in contact with my penpal, as it had been quite a few years since we'd been in touch. Fortunately for me, she has a relatively uncommon first name, and so I was actually able to find her fairly quickly.

The coolest thing, I think, was that, when I wrote her, she said she'd tried to look me up about a year ago!

Moral of the story? I dunno. I guess that you shouldn't forget about friends, no matter how long-lost they are. True, not everyone remembers friendships in the same way, nor are all of your old friends going to necessarily be interested in resuming the lines of communication. But if, just possibly, they are willing.... it'd be a true shame not to have looked them up. The world's too small a place, and our lives are too short, to overlook what great happiness comes of having friends.

April 14, 2001

Doesn't that suck?

Has it really been so long since I've posted? I was working on one, but then I made the mistake of browsing to one of my bastard friends websites. Don't go there if you're running IE, really.

Anyway, my life's crazy. I've been doing 40-60 hour weeks, most of it programming or problem sets, for about the last 3. It's nuts. But, it's drawing closer and closer to a conclusion. And, the relocation people are keeping me busy. Something like a call a day I get from various folks. Whoopee. More when I'm not dead tired...

Woah, it's like, professional!

Ok, no, this site didn't suddenly become more professional. It's just now being hosted with a professional hosting company. What does that mean to you? Well, it shouldn't mean much. But, in effect, it means that this lovely site will still be here through my coming move, and the turbulent network time beyond.

The biggest question is if the hosting company considers this to be too much of a drain on their resources. Their definition would have to be pretty strict - most of the pages here are generated very quickly. Even on my non-Zend optimized machine I was previously running the site from, a page load barely touched CPU or processor. We shall see. It's certainly not a disk thrasher, but it still might be considered "too much". Adjustments will follow, as necessary.

March 20, 2001

Looks like it's California for me!

Well, PARC offered me a job. The details are well within the lines of "satisfactory". And, the job still sounds great. So, to end the saga of "what will BP do when he graduates" - we find the answer: go to California.

I guess I'm going to follow the old "Go West Young Man, Go West" attitude. I'm excited about that. Now, it's just time to, you know, finish my academic requirements. I'll probably take up residence in some part of the Palo Alto/San Jose area about June. Expect to vanish for a few days/weeks while waiting for DSL or Cable modem to go up there.

More later. You'd think things would get easier right after Spring Break, not much harder. Ugh.

March 12, 2001

California is pretty this time of year....

So, I just got back from California, where I was interviewing for a position at Xerox PARC. And, boy, is it pretty out there! Man. If you haven't been, you should definately check out the SF/San Jose area. Maybe it was just a nice late-winter weekend, but, really, it was very nice.

With that said, I have to talk about my trip some. Interviewing at research institutions is great - they give you a little intro to what they're doing, run you through your paces on things they think you should be able to do, and then you get to talk about the interesting stuff they do. I've now interviewed at two different research labs (the other, MIT Lincoln Labs, in November), and both experiences were great. In this case, I was interviewing with the Advanced Systems Development group, a part of PARC that's responsible for finding interesting projects nearing completion (or, well, near enough to be moved on) within the full-scale research going on elsewhere in the labs, and build a hardened ready-for-market sort of project. Or, possibly, discover that a technology isn't good enough for deployment. In any case, they get to play with everyone else's toys, and see a conceptual semi-working research prototype through to the finished stage. Kind of like a bird's mother seeing the baby safely to the point of flying and self-sustainence. It looks like a lot of fun.

Anyway, here's hoping they find me a worthy member of their team. California's beautiful, their lab's beautiful, even the research is beautiful. Hrm. Sounds like a line from Cabaret - "In here, life is beautiful- the girls are beautiful- even the orchestra is beautiful!" Sorry. Theatre withdrawal. I hope there's an active community theatre somewhere near Palo Alto. Too much work makes Bryan a dull boy. Hrm. Anyway, back to PARC - the work looks challenging but fun... what more could I want for a first job out of the academic world?

March 02, 2001

Looking for some good writers!

Do you like the premise of this site? Do you think you have something interesting to contribute yourself? You, too, can be a contributor to! Just go to the left side of the screen, and select "Submit News". Looking for ideas? Check the forums! All submissions are welcome! Know someone who you think is really smart? Recommend the site, and suggest they contribute some of their dizzying array of knowledge back to the rest of us. That's what this site is all about. Don't delay!
Ed: This is an old question - the blog world has pretty much decided where to go since then.

Pain comes in waves....

So, the cold's not even entirely gone. Sheesh. A friend of mine suggested it might be a sinus infection following the cold which is hold me up. Frankly, I don't care, but I do want to stop being congested. Sheewiz.

This sure has been a long week. I've had demands all week long. Big problem set in Machine Learning. Exam in Astronomy. Demands from my residual project for Dr. Kimura. Grading the first set of labs for CS431, and holding offer hours, and a "response" to some theory papers that Professor Loui had us working on. And that was just Tuesday through Thursday. Ugh.

Anyway, heading into the weekend is nice. Next week really only has the uncertainty of the first exam in Machine Learning. No one really knows what to expect, so I'm not sure how nervous to be.

But, my travel to interview at PARC has been confirmed. This will be my second trip to the West Coast. I'm sort of glad I already interviewed at Microsoft, it sounds like Seattle had a little trouble with that earthquake yesterday. I haven't heard from any of my friends who work out there, which, unfortunately, is not unusual. I hope everyone's alright.

Put up the LinkExchange banners on the site. I did this years ago for B.P.'s Domain, the website, and it worked out really well. But, I was also in the first, oh, 50,000 sites to sign up for LinkExchange. The number for the account I got for geekdom is obscenely huge. Worked up a banner, in typical simplistic style - lots of animation. But, it's under 10k, and its done moving in 7 seconds. Hopefully it'll draw in some new visitors. If you're reading this after following a banner ad, chime in below, eh?

Random musings: technology that might allow "printing" of computers keeps popping up on Slashdot. I can't tell you how excited this makes me. If it works out, the result would be the ability to make custom computational hardware on the cheap. Really cheap. Like on the order of 10s of dollars for entire machines. Which more or less means to me we won't be calling them "machines" so much anymore. That full-fledged computers will become literally as common as electrical outlets. Why use a light switch when you can print out a custom control panel?

And, even more interesting, is what this kind of technology could do for the field I'm just about to enter. It seems as if the field has just begun to enter the era of the conventional computer everywhere. Several of the embedded proejects I've been involved with or seen working are targetting small form-factor, but essentially totally complete PCs for their systems. They're just cheap enough, that why would you hassle with a reduced system and require the programmer to mess with it? But, if we can print out new circuits to test them, CS might venture back to the EE world, studying VLSI and circuit design much more closely. Compilers might once again see a resurgence, as people work out how to build efficient multi-layer boards from high level language code. If prices drop so greatly, researchers will be able to get access to so much more CPU time. Put this together with the growing wireless and broadband and distributed networking trends - what do you see? You see some Sci-Fi futures coming true. Computational power everywhere. Enough CPU power in every room of your house to run a nice voice recognition/voice synthesis. Why not give up on switches, and switch over to Star-Trek style voice commands to control our appliances? Suddenly Big Brother is cheap and could be commonplace. We must focus on privacy and security as the barriers to truly ubiquetous computing continue to drop.

Hrm. I'd probably really better rescuplt the above into an editorial. Look for that soon.

February 26, 2001

I am SO disturbed!

Have you ever seen something so gross, well, so gross that you couldn't help but SHARE IT WITH EVERYONE? Ok, maybe not quite that gross, but you get the idea.

Anyway, one of my roomies was nice enough to share the Stinky Meat Project with me. Go there. Now. Just don't do it if you've just eaten. Really.

Boy, I'm so glad I'm still not feeling well. This might have extended it a bit....

February 21, 2001

Cold's suck!

You know what? Colds suck! I developed this year's version (soar throat for a day or so, followed by congestion and running nose for, well, going on 4 days, now transferring its momentum into deep-throated painful coughs) just this past weekend. No fun. Especially not in the midst of the mid-semester crunch. Seems to be going around, too. There was a constant cacophony of sniffles and coughs in all of my classes today. And a constant fog, emanating from somewhere deep within my sinuses. No good at all.

That's it for now. Just a quick note to say I'm miserable, and wish the rest of you well.

February 15, 2001

Ah, so that's the problem!

Hrm. It's pleasing to see that at least one or two people have thought to contribute to the geekdom process. Someone even paid enough attention to my Quick Quiz to find an error in it I hadn't noticed since I wrote it, over a year ago. That's cool.

Anyway, today was a good day. As some of you may know, I've been sitting on a job offer from Lincoln Laboratories, a primarly government funded "national needs" sort of research lab. I'm pretty psyched about it, because it looks like a great direction to go. Of course, I'm also a little leary, because it's government research. You know, they only hire American Citizens, they only make you get a security clearance, that sort of thing. Not that I'm against that sort of environment, it just sheds a certain light on the direction of my work if I take a job there.

On the other hand, ever since I saw them at the fall Career Fair, I was excited about the possibility of working for Xerox PARC. For those of you not familiar, this is the highly underrated lab Xerox created like 30 years ago to explore new ways to use technology. And, boy, have they. Researchers at PARC invented, and invented. The mouse. The GUI. Ethernet. Current stuff includes directions like digital paper, very-high-resolution displays, and, well, lots of other stuff. Anyway, before I drool all over the keyboard, you can see why I like them - they do cool stuff. Unfortunately, Xerox by and large didn't listen to them (did the Alto get a huge product push? No. Did the Mac, so heavily based on the work that made Alto? Well, that's history...). And, now Xerox isn't in the best, uh, long-term financial situation. So, anyway, though it's a bit scary to be trying to get a job with a company that most investors consider largely doomed, I'm still excited. PARC has a lot of value that transcends just belonging to Xerox, and I've been told they're looking to get a few more investment partners.

But, long story short, they've asked me to come out for a visit. I hope I impress them. Beyond that, only time will tell.

So, that's what it's down to. I graduate in May. From there, I'll either go to work at Lincoln Labs, or PARC. Since I imagine a lot of other folks reading this are graduating soon, why not drop a comment at the end here and share where you'd like to end up, and what your prospects are. If you've already got a job, tell us where you'd like to go next, assuming your current job isn't so awesome you'll die if they ever have reason to ask you to leave.

Anyone else notice my sentences are really long and gangly? It's how I talk, so what's so wrong with writing the same way? Huh? Yeah, that's right!

February 14, 2001

Transparent Windows, good or bad?

If you know what Litestep is, chances are you have seen those screen shots where some of the windows are transparent. Now that Windows2000 comes standard with that feature everyone can have their own transparent windows: transparent taskbar, Netscape, ICQ, you-name-it-we-can-do-it. Is this really a good thing? I don't want to look at my desktop while I am editing my homework. I don't want a chaotic desktop. Then again, I wrote the first transparent plug-in for Winamp. What can I say... :) It's cool.
Note:Chime in folks. Transparent (yes, there'll always be overhead), or plain-old overlaid windows? Do you need that Winamp transparency plugin? Grab it here

Another day, that much less sleep....

I shouldn't even be messing with this. What a day.

Sometimes I really wish I'd, oh, I dunno, finished my work last semester. Job hunting and classes really don't mix, you know that? Now I'm being swamped by follow-through for an independent study (interesting stuff, manageable, just hard to get the others working on it to be motivated, or help me feel motivated), and follow-through for the project from the other class I took an incomplete on last semester, where the prof expects 80-100 hours of work to go into the final project. Yikes!

Anyway, that, and I just discovered that PHPNuke doesn't timeout very quickly on its "headlines" updates. Slashdot is down, so it was stalling page loads. Very not-nice. I'll have to look into why it would be so non-robust to things like that later. Now, after being up and busily working for nearly 16 hours, it's time to head off to sleep. More interesting gripes, hopefully, to follow.

February 12, 2001

Relationship irony

A funny thing happened this weekend. My ex sat down a couple of rows in front of me at an a cappella concert. Why is that funny? Funny you should ask....

See, the last time I had seen her, was, well, at an a cappella concert almost a year ago. In a nutshell, that event was also the first time I'd seen her in a long time.... it had been about a month since she dumped me. At that point, we hadn't said a word to each other in that last month. And, I didn't say a word to her then either. Why? Well, I was stressed out from the day (8 hours of largely not-according-to-plan, broken promises, ugly a cappella concert prep), and wasn't ready to confront her. And I didn't even have the faintest thought in my head that I'd be running into her after so long. So I didn't even talk to her. We communicated a bit after that by e-mail, but really haven't spoken since.

So, you might ask, where's the irony? Well, see, I wanted to talk to her then. I'm the "closure" type, and I hadn't gotten anywhere near enough closure. Spending a month groping about what "could have been" doesn't really help you feel better about yourself. But, when she sat down in front of me this past weekend, a similar situation in so many ways, I had no desire at all to speak with her. Something about a lack of closure and a year of largely unanswered correspondance. I have a nagging feeling any attempt at conversation would have been unwelcome, anyway.

Call me a cold, heartless bastard. I prefer to think maybe I'm finally getting the message. Disagree? Let me have it in the comments section!

Weblogs are all the rage, eh?

So, weblogs are a big things these days, eh? People keep an "online" diary - preserving their thoughts for posterity. To the world. It's certainly a nifty concept. And, yeah, I'll buy into the idea.
Open the article to read on...

Basically, the thing that bugs me about weblogs is the target audience. I pretty much don't expect anyone to read mine. Who would? I suppose it could serve as a replacement for the periodic mass e-mails some people use to keep friends apprised of their situations. Or, it could be a way to gain fame on the Internet - but how? I mean, unless you're already doing something noteworthy, it's not like writing a weblog is going to make you more interesting to your friends.

To me, the primary appeal is to "document" myself. Yeah, sounds weird. But, anyone who knows me knows that I like to talk. A lot. And, so what? This way, I sort of feel like I'm puting my thoughts out "into the ether". If anyone wants to collect them, they're free to. If I say something profound, it may be that someone notices someday. And, otherwise, it's something to be proud of, and *cough* forward friends and relatives to when there isn't enough time to really catch up.

Well, figure I'll start docmenting my life soon. Just got this system setup (kudos to the folks who authored the environment, PHPNuke! It went in easily, once I got PHP set up. Rocks, too!), so it'll be a learning process. That, and I'm trying to catch-up/graduate. Oh, what fools these mortals be....

More about me (Web calendar, background, technology geek)

Ok, yeah, so there are going to be a ton of articles up front. That's life, I suppose.

Anyway, here's some more info. For one thing, I'm a tech-collector. I build my own computers (including the one this site is being hosted on). I dabble in technology wherever I can. This has, unfortunately, lead to less-than-stellar resume fodder, though. More on that later, I'm sure.

Anyway, one of the things I live by is the Palm. I have a Palm IIIe now... I originally had a PalmPilot Pro, which had been upgraded to a PalmIII board. But, I wore it out after about two years, so I had to buy a new one. I tried living without it, and it was just too tough. So, I bought the Palm IIIe. Anyway, Palm then nicely bought out Since then, they fixed it up so that it supports the Palm better. I now regularly sync my Palm with that website. So, not only do I always know what I'm doing, but so can the rest of the world! I try to keep recently-added events in the web calendar (I'm still not quite sure why there's no way to say "Just always display" for newly added events - you've got to trudge out to their website and do it yourself. Trying to sell more banner ads, I assume). Anyway, you can check out my current schedule at this link. Aren't you excited? I thought you would be.

I pretty much tinker with hardware whenever I can. I've been trying to find a comfortable way of combining free Internet phone services (see such great places as or, to a lesser extent Net2Phone. Anyway, it's hard to make things work out to be nicely within the usable range. Either there's too much delay (much better with lower-latency links, like DSL or campus ethernet), or there's a problem with the amplitude of the sound. More often than not, it's the amplitude that is the problem. People can get used to some extra delay, but not being able to hear each other makes it very hard to communicate. Anyway, updates on that sort of stuff later.

I have a passion for audio electronics. I dunno why. I just do. On my limited budget, I've acquired a bunch of speakers, an SBLive sound card (you simply MUST experiment with this card. Get the APS drivers for it, too!). Put together a little bit of multitrack missing software (n-Track studio. Decent multitrack with editing controls, for, uh, $30? Not bad), and an optical out to my portable MD recorder, and all is well. I regularly use this setup to variously screw around with sound, or record live performances. I've mixed sound for something like 14 hours of live a capppella now. I'm just a sound phreak. No doubt more on that later, too.

Man, I'd better stop now. If I add too many more promised future topics, I'm never going to get to write anything new, but just have to finish all of my old thoughts for the rest of the time I have this weblog. That could be many, many years. Yikes.

February 11, 2001

Weblogs are all the rage, eh?

So, weblogs are a big things these days, eh? People keep an "online" diary - preserving their thoughts for posterity. To the world. It's certainly a nifty concept. And, yeah, I'll buy into the idea.
Open the article to read on...

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