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September 2003 Archives

September 1, 2003

It's like Shakespeare said: All the world's a stage, and Windows is crap

Tracy and I visited her family in Iowa for the long weekend.

Her relatives have a getaway home on the Mississippi in Harper's Ferry, IA,and one of her cousins ows a cottage on an island a few miles down on the river. It's very cool -- the island is less than 100ft wide. Their house is elevated almost 30ft on struts. Right now (i.e., during the fall), the river level is very low. However, during the spring floods of '93, the river water came right up to the floor of the house. Millions (if not billions) of gallons of water -- it's staggering to conceive of that much water.

I accidentally let my laptop battery drain over the weekend. Whoops!

Stargate SG-1 is a great show -- very creative. The episode Wormhole X-treme is one of the funniest episodes of the whole series. Hilarious stuff. :-)

Since we've decided to go with our own server, it looks like I won't be using Typepad anymore. Typepad is great -- don't get me wrong -- but since we're going to be paying for our own server and hosting, I don't want to pay for a secondary service.

September 2, 2003

My karma ran over my dogma

MS Exchange and VMWare NAT do not mix. Words to remember.

Remember that iwconfig must have "s:" as the beginning of an ASCII WEP key. Otherwise, it will be rejected.

I am fighting a battle between MS Exchange and DateBk5 with regard to timezones. I fear that the differences between the two will end up causing endless violations of causality, perhaps inadvertantly triggering the implodation of the universe.

I am pleased to see that Brian B. has chosen to have random blog titles.

September 10, 2003

Google... calculator?

Darrell just pointed this out to me, and it's the coolest -- Google's calculator. Here's an example: ever wonder what 1.21 GW / 88 mph was? More fun ones:

You gotta love a company that continues to explore and do "fun" things just for the sake of doing them.

September 11, 2003

She hijacked a busload of penguins

This has now happened to me too many times to be a coincidence: People send me personalized mailing labels. For no reason. They're correct labels -- they have my name spelled correctly with my correct home address, and a variety of decorative designs ranging from American flags to annoying smiley faces. On the infrequent occassion when I actually send a snail mail, these labels are quite handy -- they save me the trouble of writing my own address block in the return address area of the envelope. So I'm thankful. But I'm still mystified. I never asked for these labels, and as far as I know, I've never been charged for them. They just show up (in the mail, of course -- which just seems funny to me: send materials for mailing things through the mail). This has now happened several times, and I have a veritable plethora of valid mailing labels sitting in my drawer. Don't get me wrong -- I do appreciate having a free stock of mailing labels. But where does it stop? Will I soon have a house full of mailing labels? Even though I do sometimes send snail mail, it really isn't all that often. Will I soon have a filing cabenit full of labels? And soon after that, I can imagine horrific images of my entire office brimming over with mailing labels (just picture a few labels leaking out of the windows onto my lawn, like a leaky faucet). Will this mass of mailing labels someday become so large and dense that it causes the implodation of the earth and transform it into a black hole? What fiendish, morally bankrupt person would be responsible for such an outlandish scheme? I have taken it upon myself to ensure that this doesn't happen. The goal here is to distribute the mass so as not to have them all concentrated in one place (thereby avoiding the impending implodation). I think I might have to start affixing 2 or 3 labels per envelope just to get rid of the things before the next batch of labels [inevitably] arrives (in the mail, of course). Perhaps I should start sticking them on other items to help deplete my stock: milk cartons, blades of grass, small dogs. Does this happen to anyone else?

September 13, 2003


Actually, a reiteration of an old rule. NO ONE SHALL SPEAK OF THE NOTRE DAME GAME UNTIL YOU ARE SURE THAT I HAVE SEEN THE WHOLE DAMN THING! If you don't know if I've seen the whole thing, ask. Three people today -- and all of these people know that I have Tivo -- essentially told me the outcome of the ND game before I had seen the whole thing. Grrr....

September 16, 2003

Verisign totally sucks

I can't believe Verisign totally sucks.

September 17, 2003

WOPR lives!

The various network incarnations of squyres.com will soon be moving to a new home. Several ND grad students (and ex-ND grad students) have banded together for this endeaver. We bought an old server from dotgoneassets.com, set it up with Debian (now named WOPR), and shipped it out to a hosting service in Kansas. It'll take a week or three before everything switches over to WOPR, but the machine has been live on the net since 14:08 CDT today. Woo hoo!

September 24, 2003

Renice? You must mean kill -9

Bonk. Today was the first time I've ever experienced totally random BSOD-like behavior from Linux. i.e., a total crash for no apparent reason. I was not installing, re-configuring, or tweaking anything with the kernel. Nor have I done so for quite some time (weeks). I was simply editing a C source file in emacs, when BLAM! My whole system freezes and the caps lock and scroll lock LEDs started blinking. A few quick searches showed that it appeared to be a Linux-related problem (i.e., others have run into it), and that it was a fail-stop problem. So I rebooted (sigh) and opened up my C source file to find it totally trashed. #$@%#@%#@!!!!!! Also, my dad noticed today that lists.squyres.com was misbehaving -- things he had sent didn't seem to be getting redistributed. I logged in, and sure enough, the load was astronomically high and, well, basically nothing was happening because a) it's a 100MHz machine with b) very little RAM and c) a slow disk. So it was thrashing like crazy and no real work was happening. Apparently what happend is that over time, with random network outages, various processes piled up until my machine reached Armegeddon. Rebooting cleared it all out and the spice started flowing again. Can't wait to transfer all this stuff to WOPR... (we're having a DNS propogation problem right now -- looks like Tucows may have screwed up our domain entry. Doh!)

September 26, 2003

Academic stagnation

I was greatly saddened yesterday. We are working on a research project that is similar in some ways to a well-publicized project from a different university. One of my students recently contacted the researchers of that other project, asking to see their code so that we could learn from it. The head researcher replied saying, "please have your professor contact us, and detail how you will be using our code." So I replied telling them that we explicitly would not be copying their code (although I didn't mention it, the reason we don't do that is because we have a traceable copyright history and are therefore extremely cautious about what code we accept into our tree) -- we only wanted to see the underlying vendor-provided API's in action as some examples of their use so that we can learn from it (the vendor has told us that documentation is "lacking", at best). The head researcher did not reply to me until I pinged him again (almost a week later) essentially saying "no, we're not going to give our code to you." He mainly cited copyright concerns (apparently they have been burned before). This saddens me on a fundamental level. We both work for universities (pretty big ones). The core values of a university are information sharing and distribution of knowledge. Yet we were explicitly denied in this exact kind of information sharing -- sharing that would have fundamentally contributed to the general state of knowledge and advancement of research technologies. How exactly can this be reconciled -- when I explicitly stated that we would not be copying any of their code? Making it more general -- their code would have been a teaching tool for us. Indeed -- if the lack of sharing of research could somehow be justified, how can a university justify themselves in not teaching a fellow academic? This is incomprehensible to me. We'll proceed without their code. We'll write our own code, and it will be entirely unrelated to theirs. It'll be darn good code, too. I'm just fundamentally saddened that a group of fellow researchers snubbed us so directly, seemingly flying in the spirit of open collaboration. To use a phrase that Rich loves: that's intellectually bankrupt. (yes, if you noticed, this was somewhat vague in exactly what the project was, who I contacted/was denied by, etc. That's intentional to protect the guilty)

I ordered a cradle for my Clie today. The cable that came with it works fine, but a cradle is just so much more convenient. I had to order it directly from Sony, and they're back-ordered. [sigh]

WOPR finally resolves in DNS! We had some problems with that -- we chose a new domain name to be the "admin" domain for the machine and registered it well over a week ago. Unfortunately, we all forgot that .org is the only TLD that still enforces a two-DNS-server rule (we only had one listed), so it refused to resolve anything. But that's all fixed now, and e-mail to and from that domain finally works. This allows us to keep moving forward to get WOPR ready for production...

Yahoo! has been announcing for the past several weeks that they were going to break compatability on 25 Sep in order to fix some security problems with older clients. And as advertised, yesterday they did. gaim released a new version in the morning that supported the newest Yahoo! protocol. And it worked just fine. For a while. Last night, I got kicked off Yahoo! when I had a connectivity blip and found that I could not get back on Y!'s IM service (the exact error message from Y! varies). Doing a little web surfing, apparently everyone is having this problem (including other 3rd party IM clients: Trillian, Fire, etc.). Looks like Yahoo! did something a little more substantial after-the-fact. We'll have to see gaim can continue to interoperate. :-\

About September 2003

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

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