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April 2003 Archives

April 2, 2003

Sashquatch eggs

Hahah! It finally happened. This morning, I did a "cvs up" to get the latest code for my Instant Messenger client (gaim), built it, and launched it. I immediately got the following message from AOL: bq. (06:38:31) AOL Instant Messenger: You have been disconnected from the AOL Instant Messenger Service (SM) for accessing the AOL network with unauthorized software. You can download a FREE fully-featured, and authorized client, here "http://www.aol.com/aim/download2.html":http://www.aol.com/aim/download2.html. Which is ok, because I barely use my AOL IM account anyway. I actually don't understand why AOL protects its IM network so fiercly -- given that they are not meeting their marketing numbers and not experiencing rapid growth anymore, why wouldn't they allow others to interoperate with their IM network to boost popularity? No -- that's a rhetorical question -- don't bother answering (I don't really care). But it's still funny. :-)

Towards 7.0

Lots of good stuff happening towards LAM 7.0: * Sriram just committed a first version of the CR SSI * Manish just committed a first version of mpiexec * Shashwat may actually have Totalview queueu debugging realy for 7.0 (but hey -- 7.1 will be just fine, too!) * ROMIO extensions are proceeding nicely * It looks like we actually beat LAM 6.5.x performance by just a little * The overall code tree is getting more stable Woo hoo!

When I wake up, I'm getting a CAT scan!

The American Way: Spend More to Save More. Last week, I got my Verizon bill in e-mail (as usual). A quick cursory glance showed something wrong -- a few dollars more than the usual bill. I clicked through to the web site and looked at my call detail -- ah yes, I remember calling 411 a few times. No big deal. But this finally gave me the impetus to research Tracy's and my calling behavior and see if we need to downgrade our plans and spend a little less on cell phone bills every month. And _Holy Schnikies_ -- yes, we needed to downgrade. Despite my lovely wife's insistance, she barely uses her phone. I have the numbers to prove it, regardless of what she says. ;-) After a confusing tour of Verizon's web site, we finally decided to go with a family share plan thingy (where two phones share a combined set of minutes) for a substantially smaller price per month (i.e., have a shared plan instead of two separate plans). So we went to the Verizon store and asked a few questions and found out that the deal really was as good as we though -- we'd end up spending significantly less every month. So this is a good thing. Yes -- you in the back, with your hand raised... Yes, I suppose we could have done this a while ago and saved money, but... hey, screw off! I'm telling a story here. So we signed up for the new plan (total cost: negative dollars -- it didn't cost anything to switch and now we're suddenly paying less). Woo hoo! Then the sales guy said, "I notice that your phones are pretty old -- we have the 'New Every Two' program..." "What's that?" I asked. Turns out that Verizon gives you $100 towards a new phone every two years. So both Tracy and I got $100 free to upgrade our phones. _Holy Schnikies_! Woo hoo! We both chose phones that were less than $100, so the _entire_ transaction (changing plans and getting brand new phones) came to a whopping zero dollars. Yes -- you in the back (again)... Of course we had to sign a contract. Duh. But we have been cell phone customers for years, and it's not like we're going to stop using our cell phones. Let's recap: * We walked in there to change to less expensive plans * We're now paying substantially less per month * Verizon effectively paid us to upgrade our phones * We walked out of there with more money and better phones How's that for a good deal?

On an unrelated note, "Tony":http://act.hagale.net/ sent me his style file for his MoveableType blog. He's got significantly more features than I do (including a bunch that I want but didn't want to spent the time figuring out how to do ;-), so I might be changing some of the way that JeffJournal looks in the not-distant future.

It's got butter on the table, right there between Butter James and Butter Peter... an almost mind-blowing vortex of art and material...

I mowed my lawn for the first time this season this past weekend. It was so cold that I could see my breath, but the lawn needed mowin'. The joys of home ownership.

I borrowed Lummy's Windoze laptop the other day to give a seminar and noticed that he had GUI icons for SSH and SCP. "Hmm," I though, "What's this?" I had always known that sftp existed, but I had never used it before. Wow -- it's so cool. It's _sooooo_ much nicer than popping open a command window and using the clunky (but extremely functional) pscp. The problem is actually not so much pscp as it is the crappy Windoze shell. Regardless -- using the GUI drag-n-drop SSH SFTP interface is awesome. It's site-licensed to all of IU and its faculty/staff, so I happily have this installed on my vmware installations. Granted, I could (and probably should) setup samba for real Windoze and Unix filesystem transparancey, but this was trivial to install and setup (i.e., I didn't have to read/learn anything, and had instant results). Someday I'll setup Samba, when I have a little time on my hands (hah!). But for now, I'm just thrilled that this new mechanism works and is significantly more convenient than the previous one. :-)

gaim is funny

I think my IM client ("gaim":http://gaim.sf.net/) played April Fool's jokes on all of us who keep up with the CVS HEAD. The title on any window that I pop open on MSN is " is a stupidhead". The main gaim window that shows my buddy list is titled "Biatches list". All the icons are very Dali-like. Trippy.

April 8, 2003

Unhealthy looking cross between a possum and a racoon

I upgraded to gaim 0.60 on my laptop the other day (on my desktop, I keep up with the CVS HEAD, for no apparent reason). I was somewhat disappointed -- the font sizes were tiny and it didn't allow me to change them. [shrug] So I downgraded back to 0.59.whatever, to find that my buddy lists had been converted and lost. Ugh! I finally got them back, but lost all my aliases. Oh well. I'm not complaining (much), actually. gaim -- although it's lacking some notable IM features -- is actually a pretty good program, and it's impressive that its main maintainer keeps chugging out the code. Kudos to him!

There's two main features missing in the textile plugin for MT that I enjoyed with jjc -- quick shortcuts for horizontal separator bars (like you see above), and surrounding text in the <code> HTML tags. Maybe someday I'll go look at the code and see if it's easy to add those in (I'll bet that it is :-) ).

Nic H. found a bug that's been latent in LAM since December of last year. It only surfaced last week because of a second bug, but still -- kudos to Nic! And kudos again! Because we're going to enter our "pseudo-freeze" in the [hopefully] month before we release LAM 7.0, I think we're going to run a contest based on points for all of us finding new bugs. Something along the lines of each new bug report will earn between 1 and 5 points (depending on the level of detail and accuracy of the bug report). The winner will be the person with the most points when we finally release 7.0 (hopefully mid-May!). The winner will get some fabulous prize. :-)

April 10, 2003

Mr. James, what did you mean when you wrote, "Bad clown making like super American car racers; I would make them sweat. War, war."

Taxes are done. We only owe a little this year, mainly due to my weird work-in-Indiana-but-live-in-Kentucky status. Coolness.


We finally cleaned up a bunch of bugs in the LAM/MPI startup protocols such that the whole test suite can run properly. Woo hoo!


Thunder over Louisville is this weekend. We're going with a bunch of GE folks -- a ball game followed by the airshow (hmm.. I wonder if the military presence will be somewhat reduced this year...) followed by the Thunder fireworks show.


A friend just told me that his organization uses AIX for its web servers. _Wow._ 'Nuff said.

April 11, 2003

<heavy_accent>You must die -- I alone am best!</heavy_accent>

I'm working on the gm RPI. I've found a case that repeatably hangs the state machine, so I'm diving into it to find out why. Wow -- I forgot how twisted this code is. Actually, it's not _twisted_, it's more like _complex_. It's actually laid out fairly well and broken up into a million pieces, and *THANK GOD* I left many really long comments to explain what the heck is going on in the code. Can you say: Holy special cases, Batman!

April 12, 2003

Half received unexpected messages and the women who love them, today on Oprah

By accident, I found some keystrokes in Mozilla that I've long since wanted: the ability to switch between tabs: C-PgUp and C-PgDn. I haven't found these documented anywhere. Yay!


Wow. Here's a special case in the gm RPI that I've been chasing all morning... * A peer process sends a message to me * I have not yet posted a receive for this message yet * The envelope is received, and I notice that it doesn't match any of the posted receives. So it's marked as unexpected, and placed in the proper area. * The message is "short", meaning that there's still another message coming -- right behind this one -- that holds the actual content of the message * But the underlying message transport (gm) indicates that there's no message here yet, so we return into the main MPI progression, and back up to the user program * The user program then posts the matching receive * Down in the RPI, the receive is matched with the half-received unexpected message. * I setup such that the next received gm message from this process will go directly into the user buffer * ...but the request was still marked "ACTIVE", so it followed the normal (expected... as opposed to "unexpected") message progression, which meant posting it to the "pending receive" queues, even though it was already halfway finished. So I had previously done about half the Right Thing -- I recognized that the short body was still pending, and tried to setup to receive into it. But I left a little bookkeeping undone, so Badness occured sometime (randomly) later. Wow. As I said last night, "Holy special cases, Batman!"

April 13, 2003

Bouncy, crunchy, filppant rubber balls

We've been having the _worst_ time with anti-virus software at my church. :-( It's one of these all-in-one packages that scans everything -- downloaded files, e-mails, etc. Over a month ago, it stopped working: when sending certain e-mails, the whole anti-virus subsystem would just hang. It seemed directly related to the content of the e-mail (as opposed to, say, the destination address). The AV vendor (no names mentioned, but it's not Norton or McAfee :-( ) has given me a complete runaround in "helping". Their consistent answer has been, "Please uninstall and re-install". I tell them that I did that and that it still hangs when sending certain e-mails. They said "Please uninstall and re-install". In fairness, they have come out with (so far) 2 new updates that supposedly fixed the problem. But neither have fixed it -- the software still hangs upon sending some e-mails. Their solution? (even after I've told them that the newest versions still do not work) "Please uninstall and re-install." I'm trying to decide whether these tech support people are arrogant jerks who know nothing and also assume that the user knows nothing, or whether this is the general level of technology of Windows software (i.e., that Windows itself is so unstable that many problems -- even _repeatable_ problems -- can be solved by repeatedly uninstalling and re-installing an application, and the application itself is not at fault). It's a tough call. :-( And note that their uninstaller does *NOT* completely remove the software from the system. You have to go manually remove all kinds of registry entries and leftover files. Half the time, their uninstaller doesn't even work _at all_ -- you have to go remove *all* files and registry entries. We bought this software at the recomendation of someone else because it was significantly cheaper than Norton. What a mistake this has turned out to be. This person has even had the nerve to tell me that I really shouldn't complain, because my church is such a small organization and that big software companies like (our Anti-Virus Vendor) don't pay attention to the little customers like us. I was speechless when he told me this. Their software doesn't work! Of *COURSE* I have a right to complain! I've had to give several users "Administrator" privlidges so that they can disable anti-virus protection when sending e-mails. Arrggh!!

April 16, 2003

Oh come on, people... there was blood in the water, you all smelled it... I just did something about!

So if Neelix was picked up relatively near the beginning of Voyager's journey across the dela quadrant, and Voyager was among the most advanced (i.e., fastest) ships in the whole delta quadrant, how is it that he kept running into people that he knew after three years traveling towards the alpha quadrant on Voyager?

I downloaded and installed the _Phoenix_ browser to see what all the cool kids are talking about. Seems pretty nice -- it supports all the things that I'm used to in Mozilla, but -- as others have mentioned -- in a smaller, faster, sleeker way. My desktop is a 2.4GHz machine, so it's pretty fast already, but there is a slight noticable speed difference in each of its operations (rendering, making new tabs/windows, etc.). It has a few new features that were somewhat nice, too: easily downloadable themes (and lots of them!), a downloads sidebar, the more advanced history stuff (can't remember if Mozilla has that or not, but IE certainly does), etc. Seems cool. I'll stick with it unless something Bad happens.

LAM/MPI is chugging along towards 7.0. Woo hoo!

Are you trying to say Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?

A sad day. As some of you may know, I typically use quotes of some form or another for the subject lines of my jjournal entries. I have a running text file of them where I add new ones and mark ones "USED" that I have used in journal entries. This helps me prevent from using the same quote more than once, for example. I typically have my quotes grouped by subject. My last entry had the title "Oh come on, people... there was blood in the water, you all smelled it... I just did something about!" Sadly, this is my last available quote from the _News Radio_ section. Now that News Radio reruns are no longer on A&E, I don't get a fresh injection of quotes anymore. Doh. :-(

Yesterday, while driving home from Bloomies, I made a record _23_ voice memos on my phone. Granted, doing voice memos on the phone is a new thing for me (I used to put my palm pilot on the steering wheel and try to write on it -- sometimes with more success than others...). Clearly, the voice memo thing is a much safer (and FDA-approved!) method for me to remember things. But stil. 23. That's a lot.

I forgot to mention that Tracy and I went to the Louisville festiville this past weekend. We went to the minor league Louisville River Bats baseball game where we could see both the game and the air show going on over the Ohio River at the same time. We had seats in the upper deck along the third base line. I was looking to my left, watching the planes, when *[THWOCK]* -- I got _pounded_ in the chesk. Now if you've ever had the experience of getting unexpectedly and soundly thumped in the chest, let me tell you -- it's a little startling. It's not something that one expects when calmly minding one's own business and watching planes fly over the Ohio River. Needless to say, I had a few choice words to say about the matter, which unfortunately were not quite suitable for the children sitting around me. Whoops. Fortunately, though, I think I was so startled that I said them all quick quickly and unintelligibly. So anyway -- I get chest-thumped, and instantly spin my head to see what the heck smacked me. Just in time, I see a baseball bouncing off me and veering over the railing and falling into the lower deck. Yes, that's right -- I got hit by a [foul] line drive. Never even saw it coming. It's not something that you would expect -- to have to dodge a fast moving baseball that is aimed straight for you. Sure, you'd like to catch the odd foul popup, but you usually get pretty good warnings of those. This one came in with no warning bells, no sirens, no "Hey look out!" (not even from my lovely wife, who was sitting next to me, and who *was* watching the game :-) ). Seriously, I think they should put a proximity sensor on the ball so that if it's going to hit someone, it can shout, "Look out, old chap, I'm about to hit you!" (with an English accent, so that it can reassure the potentially helpless victim that the baseball, too, is just as helpless as the person it is about it hit). All I got was a bruise and a little soreness, but no real problems. The usher came down and spoke to me no less than 4 times asking if I was all right. So all in all, it was actually quite amusing, and it makes a good story. :-)

April 19, 2003

We're hemrogaging space dollars

Well, I borked LAM 7.0b1 already. I left some unititalized variables down in the smp coll SSI. Doh! Fortunately, there was at least one other Big error that borked b1 as well. So it wasn't *completely* my fault. ;-) Actually, I'm not worried at all. Finding bugs are what betas are for.

So here's something that surprised me today: I bought 2 hard drives today, one for Tracy to store her MP3s on (since she got a portable MP3 player for her birthday), and another for a linux machine. Guess which was easier to install? And I mean *significantly* easier! That's right -- linux. By far. The Windoze XP box involved multiple reboots, failed detections, unclear directions, and about 2 hours. The linux one involved running a single program (the Mandrake system configurator thingy), it noticing that I had a new disk, and ran its GUI disk partitioner thing for me. It even moved all the relevant files over to the new partition for me (I mounted in on /home, but already had a few files under /home). Elapsed time: about 10 minutes.

Our Tivo updated itself to version 4.0 today. Woo hoo! It has a feature that I've long been waiting for -- grouping of recorded shows. So my wife's 6,000,000 _Mad About You_ episodes are all listed under a single folder. Even cooler that than: if you go in that folder, the shows are listed by their episode names, not just _Mad About You_ -- cool! I can also now plug my Tivo into my home LAN and have it update over the net rather than via phone. But I don't have any strong incentive to do that -- I'm not considering the Home Media Option (at least not yet). It's the little things in life. :-)

April 20, 2003

This LAM is your LAM, this LAM is my LAM...

LAM 7.0b2 failed a bunch of stuff right away, but I'm still not concerned -- they're mostly a bunch of build system issues that we have not tested in quite a while. This is what betas are for. Fixes are being applied quickly, and b3 will be out soon. The mini-llamas are doing a good job of testing; it's great to have so many people working on this. I anticipate having better test coverage than we've ever had before! Woo hoo!

This is what I'm saying

A bunch of stuff happened this weekend: * Euro-MPI/PVM paper deadline got extended to 5 May. Whew! * Mowed the lawn. Grass was really long. * Tracy and I won the Game Night trophy (a stuffed rooster) for my flying tackle of the mulch around Janna's backyard trees while trying to catch an "errant tracball throw":http://www.thinkertoyscarmel.com/tracwham.html. I'm told it was quite spectacular. * Finalized our tax records for 2002. * Found out that my family will all likely be visiting here at some point this summer. * Got someone interested in helping do the web development at my church (which is good, 'cause I was doing very, very little, and my artistic web skills suck). She even does it for a living, and looks like she's pretty good at it. Woo hoo! * Did a whole bunch of filing and organizing of various home records (how exciting -- but I feel "caught up" now) * Found out that some friends of mine are going through a tough time. Consider yourself notified to keep a special intention in your thoughts. * Tracy's fairly-new MP3 player is now non-functional. More to the point, the crappy Creative Windows software that comes with the player is non-functional. Attempting to do _anything_ in the software makes it croak with a "PlayCenter has encountered a problem and will now quit." popup error box. I have uninstalled / reinstalled no less than 432,453.7 times. Shockingly, it's still broken. And tech support is not open on the weekends.

April 23, 2003

High priority ACKs

LAM 7.0 marches on. We keep finding bugs in the beta tarballs, which is a _good_ thing. Finding bugs in a beta tarball means that that tarball was a success. Oh yeah -- correspondingly, we are fixing all the bugs that we find. :-)

I talked with Creative tech support today and got a pretty helpful guy (most importantly, he was not condescending, like many tech support people tend to be!). He was fairly technical, and after a while, we figured out my problem. So my wife's MP3 player is working again -- turned out to be a stupid registry problem in Windoze XP home. After I cleaned out lots of bogus entries in the registry, it all started working again. Blah! Why don't Windoze installers remove their own keys when they remove an application? It's fortunate that we found this; today is the last day that I could return it to Best Buy for a full refund with no questions asked.

April 26, 2003

Here's to the wingman

Tasty ench'ladas. 400 for 15 mins. They come out juuust right. To complement them, I suggest gin and tonic. Limey alcohol. Could it be better? I don't think so. Nor do you. Yeah. Never better.

Topic switch -- beep beep. Saw _Anger Management_ today. Eh. There were some laugh-out-loud lines in it, but all in all, I give it 1 minute. I did see a rockin' preview for _The Matrix Reloaded_ -- much longer and more intense than the ones you see on TV. Wow. It's gonna rock!

April 27, 2003

Drunk ducks

Wow. I just noticed that LAM's configure script is over 1MB long. 'nuff said.

April 30, 2003

Klakness is goodness

Klak is back. Back is Klak. Klak klak klak. Just heard from CPT Klak in the first time in over a month. I'm glad to hear that she's ok. Woo hoo!

About April 2003

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

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