Sunday, December 2, 2001

Advogato Entry 226

Stupid window is leaking again. Thought they fixed that..

A lot of melting snow today..

Before I forget ('cuz I know I will), I have to put down some infatuation-related thoughts.

I wrote a note to one of my friends, mentioning that I really like Sarah. I was hoping he'd have some great words of wisdom, but it didn't really happen. At least he wasn't mean about it or anything. The thing that I wanted to remember was that right now, all she sees is Josh. I'm nowhere near smooth enough to know how to change that, so I don't think that would be a good thing to waste time on.

I figure all I can do is be myself. I should keep trying to figure out how to get to know girls, rather than just waiting for them to walk into my life. I want to ask my friend to try to help me out. If he hears of things looking up for me with Sarah, I hope he'll let me know. I just hope I can accept that it might never happen.

I hope I can start talking about computer stuff in this diary again.. Less stressful..


Reminded yet again that I have very different perception of events when they are happening versus before/after. When Sarah visits, I'm in a different state than when she's away, and I think of her differently.

Sorry for writing this here.. I really need to find a better place to write down this stuff.

I've been meaning to have a diary program of some sort on my computer for ages, but I never got around to writing one (back in my DOS days), and I'm sure that there are umpteen packages for Linux these days. Web interface would be easiest, I suppose. Probably wouldn't be too hard to make one, just have to do it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Advogato Entry 227

Dammit.. Automata and I just don't get along. This is the third time taking that course, and I just might make it through this time. Sucks rocks.

Looks like I'll get an A in Internet Programming by hardly trying. Taking a `work factors analysis' course that I'll probably tank. Then there's this strange business school course I'm taking. I should pass it, but we get nearly zero feedback in the course. One assignment, two exams. The average time I'll spend on each exam will probably be around 20 minutes. Very weird.

Sarah surprised us by showing up after work. She needed cheering up as her boss was picking on her for some stupid reason. I guess she spent a lot of time ripping out and replacing an audio console at the theater where she works (`theater' as in plays, not movies).

Dunno what she can do about her boss, but I figured that she should get an ego boost if she can show off the work she's done. I guess she doesn't know who to show it to, though.

Well, I think about her too much, so I should stop. When I think about what to say to her, I tend to get stuck. I walked into the room last night with no idea of what to say. That works so much better for me, which seems strange.

Crap.. Now I really need to stop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Advogato Entry 228

Need to study today. Probably skipping a class to do it.

Wow. It's over 60°F outside! That's not right for December in Minnesota.. It's still cold up north, though.. A big front must be sitting right on top of us, so it's probably going rain a fair bit today.

Didn't see Sarah yesterday, so nothing to speak of. I thrive on news and facts, so my lack of ability to know things in this situation drives me a bit batty.. I have to get thinking about other things, or I over-analyze the little tidbits I have.

Put together a simple webmail CGI script for a class in a few hours last night. I could have made a better script if I'd just spent more time on it, but I've done too well on my other assignments in that class. I think I still managed to do everything that was required of me, except for trying to encode the username and password of the user somehow rather than just having it in plaintext in the HTML that got spit back out.

The Unix Users of Minnesota are hosting a talk at the University tonight with an assistant to the Attorney General of MN. The discussion will be centering around the Microsoft case. It'll be pretty interesting after hearing the Wine talk on Saturday from the Codeweavers CEO. I guess the AG's office got in contact with Codeweavers, asking for some input on the case. One suggestion from them was that a third party should review Microsoft's code, and document the API, which would then be available freely. Probably better than telling MS to do it themselves..

Thursday, December 6, 2001

Advogato Entry 229

I'm a citizen of the United States, I was born here and I'll probably die here, but I'm feeling more and more that I don't belong here. I don't support the military action taking place these days. I didn't vote for the President we currently have, and he's not getting my sympathy for having fallen into the situation we have these days.

I'm still proud of the fact I voted for Nader. Yes, I actually did think about the Middle East before I voted. Yeah, it's crappy that the US's current voting system made the last presidential election a big mess. I hope more people will work to fix it..

I feel I have little voice these days as the rights of me and my friends are slowly being eaten away. Still, I have to try do to a little. I'm going to try to see if I can come up with decent reasons why the Microsoft settlement sucks. After that, I'm planning on working with others to try to put together a summit on Intellectual Property (and some related subjects).

I've felt stressed about these things for a while, but I've avoided thinking about them because it's so hard for one person to change things. It's not impossible, but it really helps to have the support of others.

This leads me back to the feeling of being in the wrong place. I feel like I'm in a tiny minority. And, well, apparently I am (if you watch the polls out there). I'm really suspicious that the pollsters are somehow skewing numbers. I just can't believe the numbers that I'm seeing.

And, well, since I haven't heard anyone say it for a while..

Screw you, President Shrub..

Saturday, December 8, 2001

Advogato Entry 230

Tired. I got up early this morning. It's something that I do on Saturdays for some reason. It turned out to be somewhat of a good thing, as I gave Dan a ride to his GRE test this morning. He was planning on leaving at 8:00 to get to the exam, which was supposed to start at 8:30. It takes half an hour to walk there, though I don't think he knew that. He usually only walks half that far to get to class and work -- the exam was held on the opposite end of the campus.

The Minnesota campus is pretty big, it's on both sides of the Mississippi up here (granted, the river isn't too wide here, it's about as far north as barges ever get).

I was expecting to chat with Sarah, as she usually gets bored while working as a lab attendant on Saturdays. Turned out my AIM client needed to get kicked -- it was showing out-of-date info on who was online. My roommates were talking with her, so I was getting a bit confused.

Anyway, we're all going to the dance performance she's been doing the audio setup for. Hopefully it'll be good. She's been having a crappy time lately -- lost her keys to her apartment, car, and the audio studio she's been working at. Also lost a CD folder thingy with ~30 discs in it. Thinking of buying her some music for Christmas, though I don't know what.

Roommate just heading to bed, so I better quit.

Sunday, December 9, 2001

Advogato Entry 231

Tired again, though I got up later today. That usually happens, too. I didn't get up early enough to keep Josh from waking up Dan two hours earlier than he had to be up. Josh thought we were all leaving to see a dance performance at noon. Sarah had told me that it was 2:00. I'd asked her, since I thought I heard Josh say noon, which seemed really weird for a Sunday (or, well, any day). Anyway, I didn't correct him until this morning, as I thought I'd just mis-heard him -- I didn't know he actually thought it was the wrong time.

Anyway, it was a good show. Five different dance routines. They were all pretty cool, though the last one was the best, IMHO. It had some good music. I guess I first thought it seemed pretty superficial and simple, depending on the music too much. Maybe it was, but it got the biggest applause, and it felt inspiring. I'm not sure what it was supposed to inspire, though ;-)

I have yet another programming assignment due on Tuesday at midnight. I have a test this week, then finals start next week. I should try to attend all my classes, get some review in for the finals. I also need to try to fit in some time with an advisor, though I don't know if that will happen.

I think I forgot to mention earlier that the wireless project is finally getting off the ground at work. Students, faculty, and staff can log in with their x.500 IDs, and they can even set up a `permanent' (semester-long) account that doesn't require them to keep logging in.

It's still a very poor security model. I wish it could be made better, but I just don't have the time or resources to research the options as a student.

Of course, I'm lazy. I don't know why that is. I've blamed it on my lack of female companionship, but it's impossible to say if that's it or not. Sarah continues to fill up a big chunk of my thought process... I hope I can come to some resolution to this stuff rolling around in my head. Unfortunately, Christmas break will probably be a stressful time for me in this regard, no matter if she becomes closer to me or not. Well, I don't know if I could keep my thoughts straight if we became closer -- I've never been in that sort of situation. I do know that I'll start having strange thoughts if things stay the way they are now...

Hmm... I wonder if I'll be bringing my computer home this Christmas. I haven't had two monitors at home before. Dunno if I'd bring both or not. I should just buy a laptop like Dan's. Crap.. I'm almost ready to shell out what Dan did to get his. It was like $2500! I'd want something lighter, though. His feels like a brick (though he usually has two batteries installed at a time to increase the time he can spend away from a wall jack). Needs more research.

He's been having some trouble with his wireless card. He thought it could do 128-bit WEP, but I guess not. I've been asking some questions on the TCWUG list, though his computer is running XP, so I'm not going to get into too many details.

Sometimes I'm amazed at how good XP is. Linux is awesome as well. The difference to me seems to be that XP seems to be a lot of flashy stuff without a huge amount of substance. Linux is the other way around. Well, that's my impression at least.

Well, the thoughts have stopped flowing for today...

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Advogato Entry 232

While I wait for Amanda's configure to finish running on my SS20, I may as well put some words down.

Like I said, I'm compiling an Amanda client on an SparcStation 20 box. It's really only running one piece of software, something that handles room registration for classes and whatever. I guess it has data going forward a few years!

Anyway, it's going to be retired sooner or later. I'm hoping sooner, but who knows if that'll happen.

Chatted with Sarah on AIM quite a bit last night. She was working on an audio project, putting together some music. I guess she ran low on time, and isn't feeling so good about the quality of her work. I made some feeble attempts to cheer her up, but I don't know if they worked at all. About all I could do was wish her luck -- she's presenting it today.

Woo! Amanda finished compiling. Looks like I managed to install it properly, too.

Advogato Entry 233

Heavily considering shelling out cash for a Dell Inspiron 4100 with a UXGA display. My roommate got an 8100, but it's too heavy (and expensive!) I'm looking for something lighter than that, and not too likely to kill my pocketbook. I can get a configuration I like for about $1700. Well, I'll probably later spend another $60-$100 on a few hundred megs of RAM, plus some more for a wireless ethernet adapter.

I'd really like to get a laptop with Linux pre-installed, or no operating system at all, but that's not going to happen with the prices they're going at these days. I just can't justify the sacrifice when it comes to that much money.

Anyway, I guess I'm not sure if I really need the high-res screen. I'd probably be happy with SXGA (1280x1024) or SXGA+ (1400x1050). If I do get the UXGA screen, it'll have a pretty awesome DPI, though -- about 140! That also means that plenty of stuff will be downright tiny. Oh well..

I haven't been doing any open-source coding lately, but I've submitted a few bug reports! :-p I'm sure plenty of folks groan at that... It would seem to me that anyone who would like to contribute to open source should do some digging in bug databases. There are plenty of things to fix ;-)

Sounds like Sarah's presentation of her audio project went well, which is good. I, on the other hand, just managed to not finish my last programming assignment in Internet Programming. Oh well.

That class is kind of weird, though. The average score for the homeworks is something like 47/50 and the median score is 50/50 on most of them! Isn't that insane? It's not like they're the easiest projects in the world, though we weren't getting killed by them. I have to think, either the graders are too nice, or the students enjoy programming too much ;-)

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Advogato Entry 234

I think I'll hold off getting a laptop until after Christmas. Still not sure if I want the system I mentioned previously -- in total, I'd probably shell out over $2000 to get the system, more RAM, and a wireless card. I'm just not sure if I want to spend that much money. Also, the system would have to arrive by the end of next week. I don't feel like pushing the shipping industry any harder than it's already going :-p

Which reminds me -- I have some savings bonds I should cash in..

School-related activities are winding down for the semester. I don't have any more homework, and I worked my way down to two finals: one on Tuesday and the other on Thursday.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.. Dammit. I just know I'm going to make a mess of things. On the upside, I know I'm handling things much better than I could be. I have some e-mail laying around from High School when I couldn't keep my eyes off another girl -- I basically didn't know up from down back then.

Anyway, just trying to be her friend, I guess. Might get to go see Lord of the Rings with her next week. I guess everyone else wants to wait until next Saturday, but I'm expecting to be at home by then. Sarah wants to go on Wednesday (opening night), so that's probably when I'd go.


Whoops! My finals are on Tuesday and Wednesday. Glad I went to class today (er, well, one of my classes).

Friday, December 14, 2001

Advogato Entry 235

Stupid network! My apartment's T1 has been absolutely clogged lately. Too many people sharing or downloading stuff. Amazing that it can get pegged for days at a time. I mean, a T1 is relatively slow these days, but it's still pulling down 15 gigabytes a day..

Anyway, someone shoved notes under our doors earlier this week, telling people that they should stop sharing stuff or risk getting their access cut off. I think they may have cut my connection, though I haven't been using that much bandwidth. I haven't downloaded any music for weeks.

I have been querying the public SNMP data on our building's router, though, which may have made the network tech get mad. (Note the name of the community again... `public')

Blah.. I left a note with the office to check on it. Maybe I'm just being paranoid, and something honestly broke..

Dammit.. it's Friday. If it doesn't get fixed today, it won't get fixed until next week!

This is one thing that makes me wish I was back in the dorms.. (except traffic there gets restricted more and more with each passing year....)

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Advogato Entry 236

crap crap crap

Love is definitely a cool feature of being human. I just wish I knew where I misplaced the manual.. I'm really trying to push Sarah out of my mind. If I don't manage to do that over Christmas break, it will be a -- geez, I hate to say it -- painful holiday season. It kinda works now, but I'm only at the point where some thought about her pops in my head, and I swear under my breath. It seems like I've got a mild case of Tourettes ;-)

Anyway, it gets worse when I'm under stress, so I need to find ways to relax. May as well go out and get some stress squeeze toys. Heh, I need to work on my grip strength anyway ;-)

I had a somewhat crummy day on Friday. I was all worried about my Internet connection being down. I was certain that it wouldn't be fixed when I got home, or I'd have to rant at the network tech or something. I guess the expectation of having that way of venting just made things worse, as my connection was actually working when i got home.

``Come back and break it again! I need to yell at you!''

Anyway, I wanted to come home early from work, but managed to find some work to keep me there. Turns out that I've been using a bad version of GNU tar (1.13) for our Amanda backups. The index files were all broken, as some strange number was being inserted at the beginning of each line in the index. I upgraded tar on all of our Solaris servers to 1.13.25 (since they were the affected systems -- all of the Linux boxes had sane versions of tar).

Actually had to write a little code to go through and fix the broken indices. It wasn't much, though -- just a bash script for walking through the directory tree with a perl one-liner to strip off the leading garbage. The files also had to be gunziped and the gziped again.

Kind of funny, though. I think that script is probably the biggest time-saver I've ever made. It also actually runs for a non-trivial amount of time (though it's not like it goes and does stuff for hours). Finally, something that wasn't just a silly math problem that takes actual processing time.

Monday, December 17, 2001

Advogato Entry 237

Life is sucking, but I picked up some music today. Take off Your Pants and Jacket - Blink 182, and The Invisible Band - Travis. I like most of the Blink 182 CD, and it is up-tempo at least.. I wish they could cut down on the raunch a little, as I really hate getting reminded that I can't get any.. The Travis disc is much more subdued, but still good.


Disappointed yet again by the cost of stuff. I thought I had the grand idea of using a PC104-based system to decode an Ogg Vorbis/MP3 stream in the apartment. I've wanted to have some way to keep music always playing in the apartment, with people voting for what they want, etc. Hopefully a nice random song picker as well. Something that would reduce `train wrecks' that happen when jumping between disparate genres would be wonderful.

Anyway, when I saw the prices one place had for piddly 386 boards with 2MB of RAM, I choked. Perhaps they were old prices, but I was hoping to get the whole thing put together for, say $150. Perhaps sans hard disk.. Anyway, looks like that's not going to happen..

What the hell is with our weather? It's the 17th of December, and there is no snow in Minneapolis.

My first final is tomorrow. Haven't studied yet.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Advogato Entry 238

One final down, one to go. Need to do some work after my final tomorrow, and I should probably go shopping for some gifts.

Not much hacking going on, though I might do some work on an XMMS plugin (or something) for using the IR port on my Live!Drive IR to control music playback. Shouldn't be too hard to do, though someone will probably beat me to it.

Too bad I had to have the thing for a year and a half before I actually get to use it. I still think it's funny that the IR port is a MIDI device ;-)

With the Sarah situation, things are going alright. Nothing to speak of, just `normal'.. I figure that's the best thing for me right now anyway. Don't want to swing too much one way or another, or I'll drive myself nuts over the break. I just hope it stays that way..

Friday, December 21, 2001

Advogato Entry 239

bjf: All I can say is that most Americans are ignorant of the situation. The only coverage I've seen of it is in the print news (well, whatever shows up in Yahoo's most-emailed and most-viewed content). Then again, I've been watching TV news much less (usually only The Daily Show, if anything).. Amazingly, I'm still the most-informed person I know. Then again, college students tend to have plenty of other things to worry about. At the U of MN, a very large number of students work -- I guess the administration believes it's to the point of distraction, as the U has something like a 50% 6-year graduation rate.. I can't speak for any other communitites.

There are people who take an interest in that stuff, though. It's not something I think too much about. IIRC, Nader got somewhere around 20% of the votes on-campus in last year's presidential race. But I suppose that doesn't prove anything.


My brother and I came home yesterday. We brought the car up in early November, expecting to just keep it a week. I thought we'd have too many Snow Emergencies for the car to be easy to keep around, but only one big snow came (and that was just a few days after the car went up). Still bare ground in Minneapolis.

My mom mentioned that one of the instructors I had in confirmation class spoke up at a church service the other day to voice disapproval of bombing Afghanistan since, well, the Bible says faithful people should be peacemakers and shouldn't condone violence. I'm not really a religous person myself, though I agree with that idea.. At any rate, he's been known to voice his opinions pretty loudly in the past. I guess the pastoral staff wrote a long response in the subsequent church newsletter...

There are sane people in this world, just most of them are hiding :-p


What the?!? dammit..

Saturday, December 29, 2001

Advogato Entry 240

My parents are way too nice. They just gave me $1000 to go toward a new laptop I'm planning on getting. This is in addition to Christmas and birthday stuff, and my monthly rent and bit extra.

Still looking at a Dell Inspiron 4100 with an extra battery, a UXGA screen, and some other stuff. Should come in around $1700. Looks like the price went up a bit since Christmas. Looks like Dell's `free' memory upgrade to 256MB wasn't quite free..

Had a pretty good Christmas. So far, it hasn't been quite as terrible as I was expecting. I didn't have to worry much about my (step-)grandfather (he slept a lot) -- just kept my young cousin busy by trying to avoid playing with her and her Barbie stuff (didn't quite succeed at that, which is fine :-)

I got a nice portable CD player with a decent radio in it (better choice for me rather than an MP3-playing model, since I use Ogg/Vorbis for most things).

Helped my brother install a new 60 GB hard drive. Sheesh, disk drive technology doesn't seem to be moving so fast anymore -- I got one of those 18 months ago! :-p I'd installed to the exact same motherboard before, and I knew he needed a BIOS update..

Not doing any coding -- hell, I can't even read my mail very well right now. My computer at the apartment is sitting cold right now because the power went out a few days ago.. It's in an ATX case, and I didn't have it connected to a UPS (an older P100 sitting in the corner came back up, since it's in an AT case). A week of mail is sitting on it, and I can't read it until I turn it back on..

Bah. Well, the only thing bugging me is if Sarah sent me a Christmas greeting. I could care less about other stuff :-)