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March 2003 Archives

March 7, 2003

I'm a peripheral visionary... I can see into the future, but just way off to the side.

I re-upped my Slashdot subscription today. I forgot that it was only $5 for 1000 pages. That's a pretty good deal, actually. :-)


We spent all week frantically working on a proposal that was submitted this afternoon. Woof -- my wrists hurt. But it was good stuff; lets hope it gets funded.

March 11, 2003

Do we take a direct flight back to reality, or do we change planes in Denver?

This is sooooo true:

The tyrany of e-mail


Arun listened to the song "Slut" by Velvet Acid Christ this entire past week. He listened to no other music the entire week (I assume that this meant wearing sound-cancelling headphones whenever he could possibly have been in range of anyone else playing any other form of music). That's most excellent.

March 13, 2003

So if we head down this street, we'll hit I-94?

JeffJournal celebrates its first comment ever.

Sadly, it seems to be a "hello I'm John Smith" kind of comment, but nonetheless, it's a comment. So clearly, JeffJournal has entered a whole new phase of coolness.


Here's a list of long-lost / otherwise not-seen-in-a-while friends who I've heard from recently:

  • Spammy H (now Spammy T): Good friend from undergrad days. Got an e-mail from her the other day out of the blue -- she's doing well. Good to hear from her.
  • Gretchen F: Had lunch with her yesterday as she briefly stopped through Louisville while meeting a client. Had a great lunch, talked about all kinds of things past and present. It's less often that one gets to actually meet and talk with old friends, but it's so much more rewarding than an e-mail. :-)


Someday I gotta update JeffJournal to have the nice human-interface stuff that I enjoyed with the previous incaration of jjc...


I spent yesterday afternoon in Windows... not quite "Hell", but definitely at least "Purgatory". I was having problems with sending outgoing mail. The e-mail client (Eudora) would go 98% of the way across when sending the mail, and then stop. And never go any further. It took me forever to figure out that it was actually a problem with the anti-virus program (Panda), not Eudora. It seems that Panda scans outgoing e-mails by insertting itself as a proxy for all outgoing port 25 traffic. Somehow, Panda was dying, so the mail client was left hanging and would eventually time out.

Uninstalling Panda and re-installing it solved the problem. Lame, lame, lame...

March 20, 2003

All those hours I spent talking hockey with him and he pretended to be interested.

Wow. Here's an actual user review from Amazon.com for "The Chicago Manual of Style":

Yes. You thinking about buying this book. Now, dont get me wrong. You are in need of help. For anyreason. Now, if you need writing Im never in need of this or what ever. Anyway I dont even care. Now Chicago style is very comprehension and mit. The factor we often forget with race or problems is grammar and those who dont HAVE a dream, By this Im not talking to you directly nor do I expect you to talk to me. Whoever is yelling at you is no relation to me. Chicago. And.

I'm sure it's a joke, but still. Amusing. And.


I have new stuff in my .emacs. Very exciting.


Nic Henke from the University of Pennsylvania came to visit us at IU this week, and we did good things with bproc and LAM. Yummy!


I forget what 4 was for.

March 21, 2003

So then did the American yum yum clown monkey also represent the FCC?

I got another comment on a journal entry today (http://jeff.squyres.com/journal/archives/000341.php). Man, I'm cool now. 2 total comments -- that's almost one per year!


Did you ever notice how some people put their hands on the phone while it's ringing, but will distinctly wait for at least a second or third ring before they actually answer it? Sometimes they're even looking directly at the phone -- distinctly not doing anything else. So it's not that they can't answer the phone -- it's that they won't answer the phone. For another few seconds, that is.

And this isn't just limited to land lines -- I've seen people do this with cell phones, too.

I don't understand this. I always answer the phone either right away, when I finish my current thought (i.e., allow myself to be interrupted), or not at all (don't want to be interrupted).

So what is the reason for this ridiculous behavior?

  • The person doesn't want the caller to think that they're sitting right there, ready to answer the phone. But they are. Sitting right there. Ready to answer the phone. Hence, you're already a loser -- do you really think that the caller doesn't already know that?
  • The person doesn't want the caller to think that they're not busy. But won't that be determined by the conversation? i.e., unless the entire conversation is going to be "yeah... yeah... yeah... look, I gotta go, I'm really busy...", then what's the point? (i.e., you wouldn't stare at the phone for 10 seconds before answering it if you really were that busy).
  • Let's not forget that the ringing sound heard by the caller is totally unrelated to the ringing sounding on the telephone. Both ringing tones are solely for convenience, and may even be played by two entirely unrelated pieces of equipment (e.g., each party may hear a ringing tone generated by the local phone system -- although the called system acknowledges to the caller some kind of signal indicating "the phone is ringing", the actual audible ringing tones may not be transmitted, and may be generated locally.

    <rant>This is why sometimes the caller is surprised when I pick up when my phone rings the first time, "Wow!" they say, "it didn't even ring!" No, bozo, it just didn't ring for you. On, no, sorry, what I meant to say was: yeah, that's because I knew you were calling. I'm a just a friggen' genius that way.</rant>

    So even though the caller may or may not have heard any rings at all, you are sitting there, waiting for you to hear two rings. For no reason.

I have a solution for this idiotic behavior. All people who wait for at least the second ring to answer the phone (hitherto referred to as "second ringers") need to be directly wired to the ringer in their phone. Then, let's see how many rings it takes them to answer.

March 23, 2003

Son, I look at that like a dog looks at a doorknob

Another blast from the past today: LT "Tex" from SOBC e-mailed me to say hello.

Of all things, he contacted me because he saw some of my posts in the 53 listserv. Indeed, when I visited USARC a week or two ago, several of the higher-ups already knew who I was from my activity on the 53 list. Fortunately, this was a Good Thing. :-)

Moral of the day: watch what you say on public listservs -- you have no idea how far your words will be sent!

xmms sucks

The randomizer in xmms is truly horrible.

Out of my playlist of 1966 songs, it has played Chumbawumba at least 4 times today. I only have 34 Chumbawumba songs in my playlist (numbers 150 through 183). That's about 1.7% of my entire playlist. Yet xmms has chosen within that 1.7% at least 4 times today.

Perhaps its time to upgrade... Err... no. Apparently, v1.2.7 (the version that I have) is the most recent version.

<sigh>

March 27, 2003

Where art meets reality

Classic. I just ran "sudo" on a RedHat 8.0 machine for the first time ever. The first time you run sudo on a machine, you get a standard warning with two main bullets in it. With RH 8.0, I notice that they added a third bullet:

March 29, 2003

Large retroverted smets

A long standing problem with my cell phone was fixed yesterday.

More to the point, I learned something about my cell phone. With the help of Verizon tech support.

For quite some time now, the little envelope "you have mail" icon has been flashing on my cell phone. I'm talking many months here -- since October or so. My phone was trying to tell me, "you've got mail!", but I didn't. I knew this because I would call my voice mailbox and it would tell me "You have no messages."

Yet still the envelope icon would flash. Ever onward.

For some reason -- I think I was waiting for a lengthy compile -- I was looking at my cell phone the other day, and I was thinking about the ever-flashing icon. So I though, "I wonder if I upgrade the firmware, it'll fix this. Sure. I'll try that."

But then I couldn't remember the super-special number to call that upgrades your firmware. Doh!

So I ended up calling Verizon tech support, and they were able to tell me the number straightaway (*228, for those of you who care). While I was on the phone with them, I asked about the flashing icon. The guy looked something up and said, "yes, we can fix that -- I need to do something over here."

Fantastic! Not only was calling Verizon tech support the right move, I didn't even need to do anything! The ultimate in tech support for lazy people! Talk about enabling... Anyway, he did a few things and asked me to power cycle my phone.

"Is it still blinking?" he asked.

"No. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. I guess it's still blinking," I said.

"Hmm. Do you have any text messages waiting?"

"Err... what? My phone can do text messages? People have sent me text messages?"

Apparently, this is what happened. When you leave a voice mail on a Verizon cell phone, you have the option to "leave your callback number." I never knew where that number went, because it doesn't become part of the voice mail message. Well, it turns out it goes into a separate queue -- your text message queue. It futher turns out that someone left me a callback number way back in October, and that's when this whole ever-flashing fiasco started.

So my phone was doing exactly the right thing -- I just had no idea that it even had that capability.

Computers. Someday I'll understand 'em.

Blog upgrade

Since I was terribly unmotivated today, I upgraded to MoveableType 2.63 (my blogging system). How exciting. I also took the opprotunity to install the "Smarty Pants":http://daringfireball.net/projects/smartypants/ plugin that automatically makes "smart quotes" in HTML (a la latex). Finally, I installed the "Textile plugin":http://www.bradchoate.com/past/mttextile.php which has a lot of the features that I used to enjoy in jjc (and many more) -- stuff that effectively makes formatting HTML a _heckuva_ lot easier. Woo hoo!

About March 2003

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in March 2003. They are listed from oldest to newest.

February 2003 is the previous archive.

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