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December 04, 2007

Snow!

Anyone remember this post?

Well, welcome to this morning:

12042007076 12042007077 12042007078

October 13, 2007

A painless Windows(tm) install during a somewhat more painful windows install...

Funny tidbit: after much delay, the promised replacement windows are being installed in our new rental. They got here at about 10:30, and are still here, making their expected average installation time pretty close to 1 window/hour. (2 men, taking no obvious breaks!)

Meanwhile, I needed a copy of Windows on my Mac, and I went and downloaded a trial copy of VMWare Fusion, a Windows XP 64-bit trial, and installed the later within the former...... in less time than it took for them to trade out one single physical window.

sigh <sarcasm>Yes, I obviously wanted to stay home for the entire day on a Saturday.</sarcasm>

June 25, 2007

Why I'm going to miss California...

When I first met Joy she’d clipped a weekly weather forecast from the newspaper, and posted it to her door in her graduate student housing. The clip had been up for several years when I met her, but the irony still stood true: the forecast bent over backward to use varied euphemisms for “it’ll be sunny most of the day”, and, the forecast was correct about 80-90% of the time.

As I started contemplating the big change that was coming, I started peaking at the weather a little more often than I had. Sure enough, even the online electronic forecasts have this problem. Here are two clippings from weather.com across the last two months:

sigh I’m going to miss the Bay Area.

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June 12, 2007

The big announcement: CMU HCII, Pittsburgh, grad school!

To complete the blog-reawakening, I promised to explain the big change coming up in my life: After 6 years as an individual contributor at a fine private-sector research lab, I've decided it's time to complete my ultimate plan, and go back to school for a PhD.

After much work, applications, exams, discussions and soul-searching, the final decision was to join the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. My plan is to pursue a PhD project which focuses around the issues of Usable Security, that is, building systems that are more secure than their alternatives, but also have a better user experience. See, for instance, PARC's Network-In-A-Box project for an idea of what I mean. CMU's HCI program appears to be ideal for this, with a world class HCI program, as well as ongoing research which targets the same field.

Pittsburgh will be an adjustment after 6 years living in Silicon Valley, but I'm definitely looking forward to the program.

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June 04, 2007

The long Blog drought....

So, it's been far too long since I've posted anything to this blog. This is related to a lot of compounding time-sucking problems, alas. To force myself to catch up, here's a list of topics that I'll blog on Real Soon Now. I'll update this entry to point to each post, just in case you run across this post before you see the others.

Stuff that's been going on since January:

Update: All caught up.

November 09, 2006

Going out on a limb - ways to reach me.

Well, since I constantly play with new VoIP and other services, people often complain that it's hard to reach me. To further complicate this, I'm going to publicly post a new set of contact info.

E-mail: mb85uugv@boxbe.com
Phone: (650) 963-4822

Those of you who know me know that neither of those are contact info I've given out before. Why am I willing to post this publicly to my blog? Well, as a sort of experiment. The e-mail address is from boxbe.com, which has the nifty model of offering mail forwarding if:
1. The sender is pre-authorized -or-
2. The sender passes a captcha -or-
3. The sender pays to have the message delivered.

Neat, eh? Want to reach my inbox? Know me, prove you're a human (and willing to spend the time), or pay me for the right for me to see your message.

The phone number is my GrandCentral number. They seem pretty well funded, so, let's hope this one will last for a while. It's local for my Bay Area friends. It actually does reach me anywhere, at least, with a far higher probability than my own experiments. And, if you start spam-calling me, they have at least some facilities to let me block the call.

I guess we'll see how well it works to publish working but some intermediated contact info. And, for those of you who can't keep up with my contact info - give these methods a try if you want to try to find me.

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July 15, 2006

The view from the other side...

Well, I'm a married man. Joy and I were really pleased with how the various festivities turned out, and really glad to have gotten to spend so much time with our guests.

The photos will probably be churning for a while, but, early stuff is up. Also, if you know me and use Flickr, let me know, so I can invite you to the private wedding photo conglomeration group.

Here's the set of favorites from the honeymoon, to get you started: Typical Kauai

The rest of the honeymoon photos are here:

DSC00232.JPG

And, the wedding photos can be seen here, so far (sure to be a work in progress for some time...):

May 02, 2006

Now a Mountain View resident....

And, I love the Bay Area weather reports for this time of year:

Finally, the rain is over!

April 27, 2005

I'm such a classy guy!

Well, at least, now I'm a Class M1 licensed driver in the state of California. :)

It took almost an hour and a half. Here's how it went: * 9:25 leave for DMV. * 9:40 arrive at DMV, for 10am appointment. * 10:15 get into discussion with examiner, who wanted to claim that my Piaggio Typhoon was not of sufficient size to warrant an M1 license * 10:20-10:40 Wait for examiner to return with some sort of decision. * 10:40 Get to take the test. * 10:45 pass, head home.

Alright, so, here's the beef. I'd totally agree - it'd be nice of the Typhoon was a “moped”, or M2-class vehicle, under CA law. It's not, and there are several reasons why. To be a moped, or “motorized bicycle” in CA, a vehicle has to produce less than 2 bhp (~horsepower, measured directly from the drive-train without emissions systems), top speed of 30, and either pedals, or electric.

The Typhoon has no pedals, tops out over 40mph, and generates more than 2 horsepower. There's no way it falls into the moped class. And there's one really good reason beyond the specifics of the law, much to my annoyance - mopeds are allowed to use the bike lane. Scooters that can hit 40mph or more should really not be allowed in the bike lane. What's more, the current CA law is clearly trying to create some advantages for low-emissions (at this point, == electric) vehicles, ie, giving them access to the bike lane, and removing the yearly registration fee (another moped perk).

I certainly want all of those perks. The bike lane would be lovely. Not having to pay more for insurance, and not having to renew my registration would both be lovely. But there are only two motorcycle classes in CA, one is M2, the other is M1. If my bike's not M2, then I need to pass the M1 test.... which the examiner really didn't want to let me do. I already had an M2 license, who would want to go through the hassle of the DMV just to re-get the same license, and still be road illegal?

sigh It's done. It was a stupid, slow, bureaucratically complicated ride, but it's done.

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April 19, 2005

Profiles, attack!

Ok, just the second one, though I rarely even post to my blog twice in one day. I had to do this one, because of the intriguing possibility of it recognizing my midwestern origins, as all of my friends constantly claim they can.

However, it failed, and horribly. Maybe Ohio isn't in the midwest, as people from elsewhere in the midwest are always telling me.

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English
15% Yankee
10% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern

A little too.... accurate.

Wow, I had to try this one too. Who'd've thunk it'd have me down so well? sigh

You Are 27 Years Old
27
Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.
13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.
20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.
30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!
40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

April 13, 2005

Advertising is inescapable these days....

I'm sitting on hold waiting to make an appointment for a drive test at the DMV. I'm now up to almost 25 minutes of waiting, which is bad enough (for everything but drive tests, you can use either the telephone automated system, or the website), but they're playing an actual local radio station on the hold. What does this mean? Well, 25 minutes is enough time to get stuck in at least one many-minute-long commercial spree.

Since when should calling the DMV require me to listen to advertising? What, they're too good for muzak?

Ah, but there's a happy end to the story. After 25 minutes on hold, wasting my time in the morning, the DMV unceremoniously hung up on me, without so much as ever letting me hear a live human's voice. sigh At least I didn't have to listen to any more advertising...

March 23, 2005

Cool Wushu demo this next weekend in the city?

Anyone out there interested in going to see the Hong Kong Wushu Team perform this Saturday? It's a free event, in the city. More details here. Joy and I are planning to make the trip, if anyone else would like to come/meet us.

Update: Oh, right. That's April 2nd I'm talking about, which isn't for another week yet. Still, any takers?

January 13, 2005

Blast from the past....

The Net really does never forget:

This is my response to the 4 questions of the Kidlink program. And, yes, I've had some form of Internet e-mail since I was 13, in 1991.

Here it is

December 01, 2004

AnnualCreditReport.com - a good idea, but...

Wow, I read yesterday on Cnet or somewhere about annualcreditreport.com (no link, because they won't let you link to it directly, for some odd form of “security”), the jumping-off point for taking advantage of your new rights (now available to western states, staged rollout across the US) to a yearly copy of your credit report from each of the major reporting agencies.

Since the law didn't go into effect until today, I waited, but went ahead to try it out this morning around 10am.

Nothing worked. I went through the first questionnaire on the site, and selected getting a credit report from each of the big 3. The site basically kicks off a request at each credit agency's site, so you get redirected (with a frame at the top, so you can go back and continue).

Equifax's website gave me a “unknown partner” kind of error - presumably, they forgot to flip the switch to turn on support for the free reports for the new central site. Fine, disappointing, but fine.

TransUnion just was slow until it returned a non-descript “Communication Error”, stating that it couldn't process my request at this time. At least there was a useful back button, which got me back to the AnnualCreditReport.com, at least. This is useful, because the base site uses a lot of secure forms, so you get warnings from your browser if you hit the actual back button. But, still, no credit report for me.

Finally, Experian gave me a bonified, we-don't-know-what-we're-doing error, from the NSAPI plugin level (NSAPI is one of the in-server programming techniques, a bit faster but seemingly less common than CGI). Right, so they can't even make their error messages pretty. Perhaps they're under too much load, after maybe having been the only ones who had a working system at the outset, 'cause the error message says stuff about being unable to connect to a backend server.

In the end, I went back, manually, to annualcreditreport.com to see if I could try again, and got just a “Error 500: null” response. Really.

Anyway, sum result? Wasting 15 minutes of my time, and still no credit reports. I used one of the “free credit reports” sites that's really a loss-leader for a subscription credit monitoring service a few months ago, and it went far far better. Lucky us, the western states, getting to work out the kinks for everyone else....

November 02, 2004

I voted!

Just to stick it in the record, I voted. I think I was about the 82nd person to vote in my precinct. I wonder how many people are registered for that precinct?

Haven't voted yet? Get out there, there's still plenty of time!

November 01, 2004

Fun party pics....

Here's a collection of fun photos from our Halloween party on Thursday. Thanks to all who came for making it a lot of fun!


October 07, 2004

Yowsa'...

Well, I am kind of looking forward to the Trey Parker/Matt Stone movie, Team America: World Police, coming out soon, now with merely an R rating, but, sheesh, their quiz is harsh:

September 17, 2004

More on the wiki...

I guess that last entry was too abbreviated.

For those of you who don't know what a Wiki is, see the totally appropriate WikiPedia definition of what a Wiki is.

For anyone who tried, my personal Wiki isn't supposed to be unviewable, just only editable by me. Hopefully, the next release of this software will address that limitation of how the main page advertises the resident wikis. In the meantime, you can browse, read-only, the content here.

One of the reasons to play in this space, although hard to do with the mix-match of problems with the setup I have at the moment (hard to control collaboration, no obvious view-only URL, no actual purpose for the wiki, etc.) is that it not only supports Markdown for an easier-than-even-normal Wiki experience, but it also supports RSS feeds (even for authenticated wikis), to help foster collaboration in these days of RSS-as-primary-notification medium. Well, for geeks like me it's those days, at least.

It's also really easy for me to add a closed or open space for anyone who'd like to have something they can “own” a little more themselves. Just ask.

September 15, 2004

Want to play with a wiki?

Well, I did, so I set one up. Until someone subverts it for Spam, it will be open, here

Plus, this is a Markdown-supporting Wiki. And, we all know I love Markdown. :)

August 05, 2004

Painless number port...

I switched from Cingular to Sprint, somewhat impatiently, about 2 months before my contract with Cingular was to expire. You know, gadgetlust. Anyway, Cingular told me that I couldn't transfer my number without canceling my service... yeah, like that was in my contract, and you couldn't provide me service on another phone number in the meantime. Punks.

Anyway, I had to wait until earlier this week, when my old contract expired, to be able to transfer my number. In the meantime, I had a number that had previously belonged to someone with debts, and/or a lot of money. In any case, someone with friends that called during the day, which mine rarely do. Fortunately, they were all mostly local, and I know pretty much all the numbers of my local friends, so I avoided many of the otherwise really annoying calls by sending them directly to my voicemail.

When the time came for the number switch, I was hoping that it would go smoothly, after reading a lot of troublesome accounts, mostly from the early days of number portability, last November. I called up Sprint, kicked things off. The only hiccup was that, for some reason, Cingular still listed my old address on my account, even though they knew my new one (and, in fact, were sending bills there, when they had occasion to forget about the "no paper bills" setting on my account). No big deal, it turns out, so long as everything else was pretty much right. I was told it would take about 2 hours, and it took, oh, maybe 2½. I left work with two numbers, I went to bed that night with only one. Pretty nice stuff.

Other than that, I had to argue with Cingular a bit when closing out my old account. First, I was told that, since I hadn't given them 30 days notice, they'd still charge me for my whole last month, even though my contract expired during the first week of my billing month (like heck! I reduced my plan, told them long ago I'd be leaving, but you can't give a date, 'cause it might screw up the port if they cancel your account too soon). Anyway, I complained, and the guy fixed it, saying how easy it is to get confused with all the "new regulations and whatnot". Whatever. They wouldn't've done it right if I hadn't've expressed the willingness to complain. They still might - they fix the overbilling retroactively and mail an actual check to me to settle up the differences. Punks.

I also had to complain again, because they still hadn't given me the unlocking code for my phone, something they, theoretically, should've been willing to do after about a year on my two year contract. In the end, I think it was just a problem-case to enter correctly into the software which looks that sort of stuff up... they didn't give me a lot of trouble, they just made me wait on the phone until the "guy who processes most of these things" had a chance to look it up.

In the end, I'm back to one number, one bill, one phone, plus a spare unlocked GSM phone for traveling. And it only took an hour and a half on the phone to make it all happen. sigh

June 28, 2004

Web comic presentation?

So, as some of you may have noticed, J and I are busy trying to find the time to make web comics. I hope someone laughs a little at them - we're having a great time putting them together, but it's a lot of work to make these things if it's just for our own entertainment.

Anyway, we're rapidly approaching the point of putting together a sort of full-length comic. The first half (yes, it'll be a cliff hanger and all, so you'll get only half at a time) is nearly drawn, according to J, and it's nearing 30 distinct frames - so, if we're lucky, probably in the neighborhood of 10 pages, if it were to be printed.

Therein lies the problem, of course. We're making a web comic, and the web isn't the same thing as the printed page. So, J and I have been discussing ways to sort of blend the two.... "animation", pre-loading, really-long scrolling (one dimension only, hopefully), etc.

But I'm not really satisfied - does anyone have any suggestions for how to make "comic of more than 3 or 4 frames" work in the web browser context?

June 21, 2004

Experiment in eBay/Supply economics

So, with the recent increases in Gmail invites, I decided it would be fun to experiment with eBay and the (expected) drop in Gmail account invite prices as supply flooded the market.

Here's the trend that I got:

Personal Google Gmail trend

If I had any invites prior, I'd expect to have seen the high end be closer to the ~$80 that I saw around June 1, but this is only my data, so I'm only reporting that.

Likewise, the number of Gmail auctions went from hundreds at the beginning of the month, to 4000-5000 open auctions over this weekend.

Worth noting: It costs ~$0.50 to open an auction of this type on eBay. So, closing prices over the weekend were dropping below break-even for most people tinkering in the market. In other words - gmail accounts really should be free, unless sold as larger lots. Unsurprisingly, there are several of these "5 gmail invites" or "10 gmail invites" kinds of auctions running right now.

And, yes, I have a couple left, which I will happily dispense to people that I know. If you know me, write me (here). They seem to keep topping off my invite balance anyway...

April 02, 2004

More personality testing....

Inspired by Meta....

I AM 45% GEEK!
45% GEEK
You probably work in computers, or a history deptartment at a college. You never really fit in with the "normal" crowd. But you have friends, and this is a good thing.
(I think they got geek confused with l337 h4ck0r...)
I AM 46% INTERNET ADDICT!
46% INTERNET ADDICT
I could go either way. Deep into the madness of nights filled with coding CGI-Scripts and online role playing games, or I could become a normal user. Good luck!
(Fwew! Well, *that's* a relief!)

March 30, 2004

Good entry on working environments...

It comes from the direction of a VC, but I think it applies pretty well to how I find myself working. It was true in school projects, it seems to be true of my experience in the world of the working.

http://www.ventureblog.com/articles/indiv/2004/000475.html

March 25, 2004

A long streak ends....

Most of you will be surprised to hear this, but I caught my first computer virus today.

Yeah, I ran a BBS for 5 years, during the later part of their heyday. I was a typical geek Internet addict through college (and, well, beyond). But, still, even though I rarely used virus scanning software, I never caught a virus.

I never expected I was magically invulnerable... I just don't do a lot of stuff that makes you susceptible to viruses. I don't use the standard package of software. If I was using Microsoft Windows, I was using Eudora or PINE for e-mail. I didn't truck in Office documents, thus reducing my risk of exposure to Macro viruses. I monitor my systems, at least in aggregate, so I can see things like how much data they're sending across the network. I've had a few machines (mostly Linux machines, and not, to my knowledge, since about 1998) rooted.

Heck, I've even received a ton of inert viruses via e-mail. And been accused of sending virii by brain-dead mail scanners unable to realize that many e-mail viruses of late fake their return address. But I've never contracted a live one before. Of course, it's on my home desktop machine, which I have around mostly for video playback/encoding, game playing, and DVD/CD burning. I easily spend 90% of my computer time interacting with either my Powerbook or my various Linux servers.

Anyway, the scans are still running, as that machine has ~300gb of storage, over half of which was in use. But I think it's contained. And that it's not a big risk anyway, as the last several variants of this one all "phoned home", to DNS names which have since been taken down... it's supposedly a backdoor virus Also, there's no weird traffic on my outbound links, so, besides feeling a little violated, I think I got away pretty much ok.I still have to figure out what its infection vector was, but I'm working on it.

January 30, 2004

What moving away from the midwest will do for you.....

Besides the obvious opportunity to, you know, see stuff, getting out of the midwest opens up a lot of opportunities for us middle-class or less types.

Prior to job seeking, and ultimately moving out to California, my "visited states" map was much more polar:

Now, after living here for a while, and a ton of weddings last summer, it's more like this:


create your own visited states map

Alright, well, it'd be much more drastic if I did it county-by-county, or number of visits to each, or something. Outside of the intersection of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and the two satellite cities I'd visited a lot (Chicago, and St. Louis), all of the rest of the states were touched mostly at borders.

Thanks to kwc for the link

January 12, 2004

More on automatic notes to the web...

Well, I found a way to put it all together that makes me fairly happy.

First of all, I was wrong. Circus Ponies Notebook actually already does the unique web URL thing... I wrote in a feature request, and the answer came back to, well, look at what it already does. I just hadn't paid enough attention to the output it was generating.

For instance, here is a page of notes I took over a year ago. They also appear to go by this address, because I entered that in the little info dialog for the page in the notebook.

Family video project

J shared me with a neat idea she had for a project a month or so ago. She wanted to interview members of her family in short video form, and create a set of DVDs for a future gift back to all who participate.

I didn't initially warm up to the idea. She feels a bit stronger about it, largely because her mom passed away a few years ago of cancer, and she wishes that people like me, who came along later than that, could've had something to know her by.

Eventually, I came around... mostly when I realized it gave me an opportunity to buy a new gadget or two. Actually, I felt some of the same desire to preserve my family. We're all notorious for avoiding being captured on film or other reproducible media. After having brought it up at home while visiting this holiday, I can see why - there were quite a few embarrassing photos and videos my parents dragged out.

Anyway, the project is going to take forever. Over the holidays, J and I took about 13 tapes worth of video, probably more than 10 hours worth. We were hoping for about a 20 minute interview per person... and most of J's family hit this mark. A bunch of my family, unsurprisingly, were more verbose. Oh well. We've probably still got that much more video to collect, and probably over a much larger time: we got all of the easy-to-find people already.

Next up is planning how to distribute people amongst the DVDs, and the slow and fairly time-consuming process of "importing" the miniDV tapes to my various arrays of large hard drives. Each tape can hold up to 10gigs worth of video, so it's going to take some careful storage management.

There were lots of good stories told by the old-timers. I hope to eventually add a category here and transcribe some, if only because it's going to be a long time until the Google of video search comes along... not to mention a long time before I start posting any kind of videos like that to the web.

Anyone have any thoughts on the various semi-pro video editing tools? I'm leaning towards Final Cut Express, but I've seen another couple of sets of tools around that look good, particularly PureMotion EditStudio, which, at least if you believe their hype, is a pretty quality product for a pretty decent price.

December 16, 2003

Automatic notes to web?

Besides just writing directly to a weblog, I've been experimenting with various ways to ease the "collection" to "sharing" stage of learning.

Most people who've seen me in a work setting know that for the last two years, I've pretty much taking notes directly into a laptop or palmtop. But, it's still hard to share those notes.... mostly because they need reformatting or better editing to make themselves useful widely.

Poor man's way out? Circus Ponies Notebook, web export, WebDav, and a conveniently mapped view into the DAV space. Unfortunately, Circus Ponies doesn't seem to have a stable page reference between exports, so I still can't easily link to content exported this way. Feature request in the works....

Why are so many useful features so hard to get at by users who don't know how to/have access to standalone internet hosts. With the current convergence toward NATing home networks, even stuff like the easy web sharing in Mac OS X don't really get us anywhere.

The RSS revolution!

Well, I don't know whether or not all the hype (like this eWeek article) is warranted, but RSS is cool, and I'm finally make the last few steps to use it in my own web workflow.

Maybe it'll even get me to post more.

I set up NewNewsWire Lite today, and, I admit it, it does make it a lot easier to stay "on top" of things, without having to scan as much text with, you know, my own eyes.

Not that I plan to move away from my cushy Mac OS X environment, but what are the favorite readers amongst you all out there? I'd kind of like to see if I'm missing anything valuable in functionality.

December 03, 2003

Digital IQ test

It's his fault, Ken started it.

212? Shouldn't I be able to score higher than that? Alright, well, some of their questions actual reward the wrong way, and I've never written a virus, so...

November 20, 2003

Followup

Yeah, yeah, I never post. So sue me. Work's been hard lately.

Anyway, vanity searches can be fun. Just search google for "halloween castro matrix twins". My gallery of pics is current reigning champ. It seems J and I must've arrived too late, since we didn't see any other Matrix Twins out there. But how can you be a twin when you are only one?

*sigh* Back to work...

November 01, 2003

Halloween in San Francisco is great fun!

More on the experience of apparently having a very successful costume later, but check out some pics

August 13, 2003

Should we take on the RIAA?

No, no, not literally take them on. Let the culture change around them, as it seems to be (and why does no one quoting their sales as down over the last two years try to correlate that to the larger market situation? Sheesh).

What I'm interested in is a possible experiment. The RIAA seems to be using automated systems to look for infringers. But they're not being very selective. Some people propose honeypots, but I have another idea, which seems totally socially and legally valid, which would cause them to reconsider their methods, and stop accusing people for completely invalid reasons.

My suggestion is for people to begin making mp3s of their reactions to music that they love. I'm going to try to put together a sample site soon, and maybe even be willing to host a bunch of the files. Sit down with some earphones, some sound recording software, and have at. Try to make the mp3s the right length, and go ahead and name them after the song you were listening to. Obviously, you should own a copy of the song... that's the law. If you can find a link to the album at Amazon or that it's for sale on iTunes, that'd also be useful to note.

Anyone with me? Feedback is appreciated.

July 19, 2003

Catching up....

Ok, I'll face it, I'll never actually catch up. But, hey, it's been a busy month.

Between June 21st and July 4th, I saw 3 weddings, requiring an eventual total of 8 flights, including 4 overlays. Ugh.

When I got back, I spent most of the week catching up. The following Monday, a project I worked on a year ago got hit by the slashdot effect. Here's a couple of the logs from PARC during the onslought:


The PARC external website traffic log. It's limited to 10Mb/s, so, yes, it was maxed out most of the day


This is a different PARC network segment, where the download server. We processed more downloads for Popout Prism that day than by several times than the project had ever experienced prior, in more than a year.

Click through and look at the other two graphs in the image gallery to see how much this kind of traffic is out of character (the other two images are weekly graphs, taken at the same time).

Interested in learning about Popout Prism? Check out the project information page.

June 11, 2003

My, how the time flies!

I noticed at lunch today that the date was June 11, 2003. As it might not surprise any of you, that's two years since June 11, 2001.

Who cares? Well, no biggy... but it's been two years since I started working at PARC, or, well, Xerox PARC, but we've been a changin' lately, and now we're just plain PARC.

I wonder where I will be two years from now?

Oh, and, as a humourus side note, I guess I'm now being properly recognized by Wired magazine, see Ken's writeup

June 09, 2003

Geekdom more popular than my wildest dreams!

Technorati: Keyword Search

June 02, 2003

More personality testing....

I guess this is a popular thing these days, since everyone keeps sending me links. This one is from Amanda's blog. Check out your score


Myself, I'm 42.60355% - a Major Geek

In the spirit of personality tests....

Oh, how embarrassing! Jed sent me this one, and the results are:
Which OS are You?
Which OS are You?

*sigh*

Changing my last answer (especially after seeing the first result), changed my categorization to Mac OS X. :)

Blogging, and bad language patterns....

Yikes. Looking back on my fledging start at blogging, it seems as if the language structure "So, ...." is a little too popular way for me to start an entry.

D'oh. Gotta' be more varied in my language structure. Think blogging will be a good way to track changes in my(/the world's) grammatical structure and slang changes? You bet!

So, you think Silicon Valley is well connected?

Right, so, I just moved. I now live ~150 feet from Stanford Research SRI, .1 miles from the downtown center of Menlo Park, and yet I'm too far away to get more than 384Kbps/128Kbps DSL. And you can't even get Cable Modem here.

Why should this be happening in the middle of Silicon Valley? Sad.

May 29, 2003

Matrix Persona

So, after Ken did it, I had to give it a try.

Result:You are Agent Smith-
You are Agent Smith, from "The Matrix."
No one would ever want to run into you in a
dark alley. Cold as steel, tough as a rock,
things are your way or the highway.


Well, that certainly explains a lot. :)

May 23, 2003

May the trackback mania begin!

So, my friend Ken discovered that I put this blog up. His blog is a bit more well-established, as you can see here:kwc blog. He's the one who first took MovableType seriously enough to install it. I found that I'd actually tried to install it once before, in the 2.5 version era, but had aborted. There's no turning back now...

Thanks Ken!

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

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....