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January 2002 Archives

January 9, 2002

I'll give him 10 more minutes, but that's it!

It was the end of an era last week.

The server lsc.nd.edu was put into semi-retirement last week. As Brian put it, it's now officially in "no-code" status (medical term meaning that if you flatline, no attempt is made to revive you). All web pages are now finally off that web server (it only relays to iu.edu now), and no one uses it for e-mail anymore.

Even I moved my main .forwards to point to osl.iu.edu. So I IMAP (SSL, of course) to osl.iu.edu. So lsc.nd.edu is now just waiting to die. That is, it's waiting for Dog or Curt to turn it off.

When the server is actually turned off, the name lsc.nd.edu will be transferred to wizard.cse.nd.edu so that .forward files will continue to work.

That server has worked faithfully for years. Thanks, lsc.


The Army has a highly-touted on-line electronic training package called CBT (web-based) -- can't remember what it stands for offhand. There's oodles of courses on all kinds of subjects. It's available to all Army personnel (and DA civilians).

They have a very small number of unix courses -- 4 Linux courses were all that I found. I clicked all they way through the first one (took about an hour) and then took the test. The course material was a bit dated -- it referred to RedHat 6.x stuff. Some of the material and test questions were over-simplistic -- I got two or three "wrong" because they assumed things or ignored all the details.

Since I didn't learn anything new from clicking all the way through the course material, I just took the tests for the other three tests without clicking through the corresponding material. I got 95%+ on the three tests.

I then caught the CBT Linux support dude on IRC and told him that the material was dated. He said that they were working on a whole new Linux course.

Whatever.

It looks like they also have various Microsoft certifications available through the site; I might do one or more of them just for the heck of it, especially since they're free.


When I walked out the front door of Greely Hall the other night, I apparently came out at exactly the right time -- the sun was setting was completely eclipsed behind the mountain, and the clouds were ringed around the peak.

It looked exactly like there was a ring of fire in the air above the mountain. Amazingly beautiful.

By the time I got in my car to drive away, the illusion was gone. I had really come out of the building at exactly the right time.


Even though several people told me it was "ok", I found a policy the other day that prohibits the use of personal PDAs with CECOM computers/networks. Oops (I've been synchronizing my personal Palm m100 with my Outlook calendar/tasks/etc.).

Once I found this out, I started the procedure to get an "official" PDA. To make a long (uninteresting) story short, I ended up with an HP Jornada. It's a WinCE device.

It seems to be functional, and has a few features that are nicer than my m100 did (especially w.r.t. synchronizing with Outlook).

  • my inbox shows up on the Jornada
  • all items are synchronized in real time instead of having to explicitly push a "synchronize" button
  • it can view excel and word files
  • You can connect to the Jornada through Windows Exploder and drag-n-drop files into it

Of course, typical to Microsoft products, it doesn't completely work. It doesn't have time zones (a feature I really love about DateBk4). After booting, the first time you remove the Jornada from the cradle, it won't synch anymore.

That is, when you put the Jornada back in the cradle, the synch software on the desktop tries to connect to the Jornada and eventually fail. <sigh>


The OCG annual meeting is this week at MSC.Linux headquarters in Orange County. Too bad I can't be there. :-(

Brian will be there in my place (well, strictly speaking, he was going to be there anyway -- but he'll be taking my place in the OCG Steering Committee meetings since I won't be there). We (the Steering Committee) have worked a bunch to firm up the OCG bylaws (there were some ambiguities from the original draft). They'll be voted on

I've heard that I will be nominated to the OSCAR Working Group Chair. We'll see what happens.


I'm taking a "Dity VAP" (Do It Yourself Vulnerability Assessment Program) class this week -- it's a Level 1 Certification class for the Army. Today was the first of three days.

The first half of today was spent reviewing the rules, regulations, and laws governing what we are and aren't allowed to do. It was pretty interesting, actually. It's a sobering thought that the first and fourth amendments (free speech and proper search and seizure stuff) apply to me -- from the other side. i.e., since I'm effectively the government, I have to ensure that I don't violate the first and fourth amendments by tramping on civilian rests.

Woof.


I chatted with Lummy this weekend and have officially decided to return to working for Indiana University on a part-time basis. Now that I've been here in the Army for about 2 months, I've got a handle on what the schedule here is like, how much work I have to do, and whatnot. After discussing the matter with MAJ F, I'm sure that I can do part-time research work for IU on nights and weekends and not impact my performance for the Army at all.

However, since I will now be paid for the work that I'm doing for IU, I can no longer use Army computers and networks for the things that I get paid for (dissertation work will technically still be ok in off-duty hours). So I got an account with a local ISP here in Sierra Vista -- I'll be doing a bunch of my work through a dialup modem. Uck. But I'll survive.

I have a built-in modem on my Dell laptop -- a winmodem. I've never bothered to try to get it to work under Linux because I never had a need to. So I did a little research on the web and found the linmodem project and downloaded an RPM binary for my Mandrake 8.1 kernel.

It worked like a charm the first time. It dialed out perfectly, and made the connection, but apparently the ISP hasn't created my account yet because the authorization failed (the sales droid told me this afternoon that they were doing maintenance tonight and might not have my account created until tomorrow morning).

January 10, 2002

I guess I picked the wrong week to quit drinking...

A friend of mine assisted carrying the Olympic torch the other day in Racine, WI.

Rock on, MAJ Roger N!


I saw the movie The Dish this past weekend. A fun movie about a remote satellite dish in Australia that has assisted in many NASA missions -- including the first trip to the moon.

It's got great engineering and British/Australian humor. Some great classic lines -- I'll be using some of them for titles of future ThunderJournal entries.

I give it 15 minutes.


I also rented The Score this past weekend with Ed Norton, Brando, and DeNero. Good flick, but somewhat weak ending (I called it long beforehand). It wasn't that it was predictable in the end, it was that I expected more of a followup to the predictable end.

But it was still good, so I give it 7.5 minutes.


I forgot how painful it is to access the internet on a dialup modem. Even though I routinely get 50kbps and have a second line in my apartment specifically for modem use, the bandwidth and latency is just horrible.

I'm so spoiled...

<sigh>


There's a new version of pine out to fix a minor security issue. They haven't been having a good track record lately...

But I still love pine.
:-)


Today was the second day of my security class ("Dity VAP", actually -- "Do It Yourself Vulnerability Assessment Program"). It was somewhat interesting -- specific instructions on the ISS scanner. It's a nice program, but it does have a bug or two.

Ah well; software sucks. :-)


I saw another fantastic sunset today -- the sun was setting behind the mountains again, and it reflected off a wall of clouds making it look like there was an enormous fire behind the mountain. Even more spectacular, the sunlight reflecting off those clouds bounced off the clouds on the east horizon -- so it was a kinda double sunset. Cool.

January 24, 2002

So you realize that your haircuts are *one ninth* as expensive as mine...

Someone said something to me the other day.

Some of you know the full scope of the rating scale that I use for rating movies; some of you don't. For those of you who don't know the full meaning of the scale, suffice it to say that any number of minutes means that I enjoyed a movie -- there's a different scale for movies that I don't enjoy. 60 minutes is the highest rating a movie can receive.

Someone pointed out to me that I have rarely rated anything over 15 or 20 minutes. Hence, I must be one heckuva an impatient person.

Actually, this is not the case. I'm a very patient person.

It's just a question of scale and comparison.

So Perk, when you find that one special woman who makes everything else worthwhile, that one person who makes everywhere feel like home, that soulmate who never leaves your side -- regardless of physical location -- then you'll understand how your standards can get set arbitrarily high.

That is why I cannot rate movies very high; my standards have been set too high.

:-)

January 30, 2002

Jim _never_ has a second cup of coffee at home...

I had a really long journal entry that has been accruing over 2 weeks.

Somehow it's been lost -- the file has disappeared from where I thought I had it. :-(

Doh!

Out of frustration, this entry will hit some of the high points since my last entry and probably not have much detail. :-)


Tracy was here 1.5 weeks ago for the long weekend. It was a great visit. But too short, of course. :-( We combined doing a bunch of nothing with some sight seeing, going out to dinner, doing some logistical stuff, and seeing some funny melodrama theater in Tucson.


I've rented a few movies lately -- most of which I can't remember offhand. The most recent of which, however, was American Pie 2. Quite amusing. I give it 15 minutes.


In making some slides for LAM the other day, I discovered that one cannot [easily] use four differently colored rectangle objects to make a mobieus strip in Powerpoint (i.e, arrange them in a square with one end overlapping the end of the next rectangle in the clockwise direction). Doh!

Come to think of it, you can't do it just about any modern paint program that uses integer layers for representing depth. You can do it with more than four rectangles, of course (putting them adjacent to each other, making them look like four rectangles), but that's not the point.


Someone rebooted milliways into dual processor mode on Friday and it was causing mailman to go into fits (python doesn't seem to work on smp RedHat).

Doh! :-(


I've switched most of my IM messaging to the gaim client. It speaks all kinds of IM protocols, including Yahoo! and MSN -- it's handy to have both of those in a Linux environment.

Two features notably missing in gaim, however, is the ability to transfer files via IM and the ability to conference multiple users (Y! allows that). Hopefully, gaim will someday support that.


I've also recently switched to xchat instead of BitchX as an IRC client. I've never been an big IRC user, but I've used it periodically in the past, and have been using it more since I've gotten down here to Arizona, particularly to communicate with the other OSCAR developers.

Did I mention that I'm now the chair of the OSCAR Working Group of the Open Cluster Group? It's mainly an admistrative position, but it's cool nonetheless. I was elected at the OCG annual meeting in California -- and I wasn't even there. :-)

BitchX is well known for being an extremely scriptable and configurable IRC client, but I've never taken the time to learn (http://www.bitchx.org/ has very, very little documentation). The IBM OSCAR guys have shown me the goodness of xchat because it's all pointy-n-clicky and does much of what you would want your IRC client to do.

Also acting on the IBM OSCAR guys' advice, I registered the nick jsquyres on irc.openprojects.net. Not that there's oodles of people out there with a last name of "Squyres" and a first name that begins with "J", but what the heck, eh?


It's supposed to snow heavily here starting after midnight tonight
-- between 8 and 12 inches. We'll see if that really happens. :-)

We do get snow here in Sierra Vista (mainly because we're at such a high elevation), but it typically melts by mid-morning. So if we really do get more than a trivial amount of snow, that might cause a bit of a stir here.


My sisters and I went in together to get my dad a Iomega Peerless 10GB drive for Christmas that came with a $60 rebate. I just noticed that the rebate has to be received at Iomega by 31 January -- Doh! I'll have to overnight it tomorrow to get there in time. :-(

About January 2002

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in January 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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