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December 2007 Archives

December 19, 2007

SC and whatnot

SC’07 was great fun. I got to talk to lots of people — some new, some old, and some whom I’ve “known” for quite a while through e-mail but have never met before. Those kinds of meetings are always fun — you get to [finally] put a face to a name.

As usual, I also gave about a billion presentations about Open MPI, open source, etc. Since I come from an academic background, I also find those to be quite fun. After one of the presentations, Rich Wellner from the GridGuru blog came up to me to chat about my talk. This talk in particular was about open source and the Open MPI project — why Cisco is participating, how the project works, etc. He invited me to send him the slides from the talk and a few paragraphs for those who didn’t attend.

It took me a few weeks, but I finally got the cycles to do a short writeup and send him the slides. Rich posted them here:

I notice that yesterday, Network World also picked up this entry:

I don’t know if that appeared in the print version or only the online version.

December 30, 2007

Flashing blue LEDs

It’s the end of the year, and therefore it’s time for the annual race to spend all my FSA funds before 31 Dec 23:59…

Our Christmas holiday was in Louisville this year; my wife’s family came to us. I put up some pictures (warning: not a permanent link; it will be stale someday).

Google’s Grand Central looks quite interesting. It offers some of the same features as Vonage and some of Cisco’s IP telephony products, but also some others that I haven’t seen before (disclaimer: I’m nowhere near a telecom expert). When/if Grand Central enters the Google product mainstream, I think it could be quite useful for a specific set of use cases. For example, between Tracy and myself, we have 6 phone numbers: land lines and cell phones for each of Tracy’s work, Jeff’s work, and our home. Our families are always confused about which number to call to reach us. It’s not uncommon that they call/text/leave a message somewhere that is not seen for a while simply because we’re not currently watching that phone number / voice mail / text messages. It could be useful to be able to unify all of these for family purposes, for example — we’ll have to see. It will be an interesting balance between privacy, work policies, and home.

I notice that Kaitlyn and Kathryn will eat anything if you put ketchup on it. Including chocolate cake.

There’s been slow progress on a long-standing Adium bug that I filed in Feb 2007. Just today, we discovered that it may be a libpurple bug.

I still hate my Blackjack phone. I repeat this mantra not infrequently because something goes wrong almost every time I use it. The phone locks, bluetooth doesn’t work (or unexpectedly does work), it takes way too many clicks (on a tiny wheel which my big fingers frequently accidentally hit the wrong way) to do common actions, …or one of several other annoying things. The next version of Windows Mobile (v6) may solve some of the problems (the next version always solves everything, right?), but apparently it’s too buggy to deploy, and/or has incompatibilities with some Cisco corporate stuff. Our IT crew is pretty careful about that kind of stuff… Just like Grand Central: we’ll see what happens. ☺

I started [re-]using QuickSilver recently on my Mac. I tried using it long ago but was kinda confused and ended up ditching it. But I found a Google Talk video about QuickSilver recently that was quite helpful in orienting me to the whole zen / philosophy of using QuickSilver, and I’ve been enjoying using it since then. I’m sad to see that there won’t be any more development on QuickSilver; I didn’t quite get the zen of the new stuff that the author is working on (radially navigating pie-shaped wedges — I tried it and found it a bit klunky / hard to navigate, but then again, I think it was quite an early beta).

I’ve been trying out Google Reader over the holidays. It seems useful and allows me to have one central place to keep on top of several periodicals that I’ve previously been following individually (Reader will track anything with an RSS feed). We’ll see if I keep liking it over time.

December 31, 2007

iBought iPod

I bought my first iPod yesterday: an 80GB Classic (I actually got a Nano as a parting gift from Indiana University when I left for Cisco, but my wife claimed it immediately — I’ve never seen it again).

I resisted buying an iPod for a long, long time, mainly because I don’t listen to music on headphones very much. But I do listen sometimes (especially when traveling, while on planes, etc.). However, I had a better rationalization reason: Tracy and I maintain all of our music on our home iMac (several hundred CD’s — all of which we own, thankyouverymuch). I’ve kept copies of select music on my work laptop for convenience (e.g., to listen while traveling). But I keep running out of disk space on my laptop — it became annoying to balance the disk space I needed for work while maintaining a decent selection of music to cycle through. A good solution seemed to be to use an iPod to hold all of our home music and listen to it through my MBP (as a bonus, it’s a backup of all of our music). The 80GB model is more than enough to hold all of our music and seems to work well.

After buying the iPod, I spent an hour or two yesterday “cleaning up” our digital music collection — finding some missing album art, ensuring consistency of artist and album names, etc. I find myself doing this every few years, especially when moving to a new technology. Just for perspective: my digital music collection started years ago (early/mid-90’s?), using Grip and LAME/Bladeenc on Solaris to rip my CD’s to MP3s (some of the MP3’s I edited yesterday still had “Created by Grip” comments in the ID3 tags — wow).

While in the Apple store, I also played with an iPod Touch — just for the heckuvit. It’s quite a yummy device. The interface for the Calendar / To-Do stuff and adressbook stuff is classic Apple: elegant and simple.

About December 2007

This page contains all entries posted to JeffJournal in December 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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