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Tell 'em to win one for the Zip

Sodas are relatively cheap on post; $0.50 in the machines.

There are an amazing 14 bugle calls a day here at Ft. Huachuca.

Here's the list:

  1. 0555: First call. First signal for formation or roll call.

  2. 0600: Reveille. Raise and honor the US flag.

  3. 0635: Mess call. Announce the serving of the breakfast meal.

  4. 0715: Sick call. Announce the beginning of sick call.

  5. 0731: Drill call / Church call. Call for soldiers to begin training or attend church.

  6. 1150: Recall. Call to reassemble, indicating the end of the training period.

  7. 1200: Mess call. Announce the serving of the noon meal.

  8. 1245: Drill call. Call for soldiers to begin training.

  9. 1615: Recall. Call to reassemble, indicating the end of the training period.

  10. 1630: Retreat. Retire and honor the US flag.

  11. 1635: Mess call. Announce the serving of the evening meal.

  12. 2130: Tattoo. From the Thirty-Years War -- call to prepare to be called to quarters.

  13. 2145: Call to quarters. Call before Taps to summon soldiers to quarters.

  14. 2200: Taps. Last call at night; lights out.

The bugle calls are played over speakers outside all over post. Most of them apply to the enlisted training that goes on here at Ft. Huachuca (Ft. H. is a TRADOC post -- Training Doctrine -- so there's a bunch of enlisted and officer schools here for various Military Intelligence types of things).

Not to be outdone by Ft. H. itself, Greely Hall (my building) has taken to playing Christmas music in the hallways randomly throughout the day.

I got stopped for a random search at the gate yesterday morning. Good to see that tough security measures are still in place.

I love the alarm clock in my cell phone. Here's why.

Seriously -- have you ever used the alarm clocks in hotel rooms? They usually work, but sometimes they're analog (which leads to inaccuracy), sometimes you screw them up and set them to "PM" when you meant to set them to "AM", etc. Plus, the exact controls for setting an alarm clock, while relatively standardized these days, are never exactly the same, so you have to figure it out every new place you go.

I don't know about you, but when I'm getting ready for bed, I just want to set my alarm clock and then go to sleep -- I don't want to have to expend brain power to figure out a new alarm clock when I'm ready for bed. Is this rocket science? Absolutely not. But it's more complicated than it needs to be.

Having an alarm clock in my cell phone means that I always use the same interface, thereby helping avoid the possibility that I screw up and set the wrong wakeup time. Plus, the phone is digital so it syncs with whatever the local time zone is -- it's always on the "right" time.

This translates to a lower degree of stress when I go to sleep.

So I literally sleep better knowing that I have an alarm clock in my phone.

I upgraded my phone a few months ago ("upgrade" is probably a strong word; it went for "not working" to "working"; I guess that's the ultimate upgrade). I basically got the same phone, just a newer model. I asked the sales lady if the new model had the alarm clock feature. She looked at me really weird. "No one has ever asked me that question before," she said.

If only everyone used their cell phone alarm clocks, the world would be a happier place.

Since I've now got new tapes to record some CDs on (to listen to in my car), I've thrown away a bunch of my old tapes. On the one hand, I've thrown away part of my history -- many of those tapes dated back to high school. On the other hand, they really sounded crappy.

Before I deployed, I put a bunch of CDs on my laptop for casual listening. There was a mish-mash of MP3s and Ogg/Vorbis files (I had totally forgotten that some of them were oggs, actually). I discovered that I created the Ogg files poorly; the filenames didn't reflect the track name. Doh!

So I'm re-creating all of them with the latest, greatest CVS copy of the Ogg encoder. I'm also encoding them at 160kbps (all my other stuff is at 128kbps) to see if they sound any better. Lummy swears that he can tell the difference between 128 and 160kbps MP3s.

Ogg is still in a "beta" state; I'm holding off on re-encoding all my CDs until Ogg goes stable for a little while.

The director of CECOM was here this past week (a two star general). He came by for about an hour for a briefing from IFS on Tuesday. I got about five minutes of his time to brief him what I was doing.

After I was finished, MAJ F. told him that I am one of the reservists activated for Enduring Freedom. He asked me what I did in civilian life, so I told him that I am working on finishing my Ph.D. in Computer Science at Notre Dame. We chatted about this for a minute or two, and I (of course) ended up pimping LAM to him.

He asked for an abstract of my Ph.D., so I printed one out for him, as well as the abstract to a general LAM talk that I gave last year at LLNL.

How cool is that?

The Subversion project appears to be coming along nicely. I played with it a bit last week; I'm looking forward to when it goes stable.

I submitted a small patch w.r.t. checking the version number of the Berkeley DB package; it was accepted into the code base.

While I do enjoy the fact that my Palm Pilot talks to MS Outlook, it has [of course] some annoying "features":

  • For events that are created in Outlook that are later synced to the Pilot:
    • They are created in the "home" time zone on the Pilot rather than the "Arizona" timezone, which is the time zone that I have my Pilot make new events in
    • They use the default pilot alarm rather than the DateBk4 alarm (although sometimes they use both alarms -- I haven't figured out the exact correlation yet)

  • For to-do items that are created in Outlook that are later synced to the Pilot:
    • They don't set a default due date, so even if they are completed, they carry forward and are displayed on the next day

  • For events that are created on the Palm and layer synced to Outlook:
    • Outlook ignores all time zone settings. For example, if I set an event at 8am EST on the Pilot, Outlook will make the event at 8am, not whatever the local time should be (6am, since I'm in MST). This is perhaps the most annoying "feature".

I'm pretty sure that at least some of these are problems with the Chappura PocketMirror conduit, not Outlook itself. But they're still annoying.

It's snowed here twice this week; it's been in the 30s and 40s all week. The snow melts by mid-morning, but it's stayed white up on the upper parts of the nearby mountains the entire week. I've had to scrape my car just about every morning this week. Ugh.

It doesn't help that my ice scraper sucks. I drove all over town yesterday looking for a new ice scraper. Everyone is sold out because of the recent weather. Double plus ugh.

The scenery here can be quite amazing at times.

Explanatory note: Ft. Huachuca is backed up to the edge of several mountains. When you drive on to Ft. H, you're driving straight towards the mountains. Sierra Vista is directly next to Ft. H. The area around Sierra Vista is miles and miles of open land. Visibility is typically around 30+ miles.

Yesterday morning, when I was driving to Greely, the mountains were absolutely breathtaking. There was a set of enormous thick, full, smooth clouds directly on top of the mountains (and not another cloud in the sky -- they were only over the mountains themselves); they looked like an entire second set of mountains on top of the real mountains. Not only that, but they were low enough such that the tops of the real mountains were obscured; there was no gap between the bottom of the clouds and the tops of the mountains.

With the winds at the top of the mountains, it looked like the cloud mountains were "spilling over" onto the real mountains; a truly beautiful effect.

Later in the day, I looked up at the mountains again and noticed that the snow abruptly stops about halfway down the mountain. I would have expected a gradual tapering off of the snow down the sides of the mountains (since there's no snow on the ground in Sierra Vista), but it's actually a fairly abrupt change. Pretty neat-looking.

As I was driving onto Ft. H. this morning, there was a 3/4 ring of clouds around Sierra Vista, bounded by the mountains. It was pretty trippy; it was like Sierra Vista was in the eye of a storm. The skies directly overhead were completely clear and the mountains are in full view, but starting about 5-10 miles out, the horizon consists of a dark, murky mist that gradually merges up with the blue sky above it.

It was kind of like Sierra Vista had a wall of clouds around it. Trippy.

In light of last week's failure in setting up the firewall, Ken (the contractor sysadmin) and I spent some time yesterday setting up a standalone lab in the machine room to play with firewall configurations. We setup the firewall itself, a simulated "outside" machine, two simulated "inside" workstations, and a web/mail server that will sit in a "DMZ".

Hence, the firewall will have 3 NICs: one to the outside world, one to the inside world, and one to the "DMZ". All incoming traffic will be funneled to the DMZ -- no incoming traffic will be allowed to the inside world.

So we'll play with that over the next week or two before we try to go live with the firewall again.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 16, 2001 2:04 AM.

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