Thursday, May 1, 2003

Blathering Blatherscythe!

Bah. I wanted to install MT-RSSFeed so I can sort of mangle a "friends" page of my own, like what people get on LiveJournal. Looks like some necessary Perl modules aren't available on my server. I tried installing them into my own space, but they require too many other things.. I might have to ask the administrators to install them, but for something as simple as a LiveJournal feed, I can probably just whip up some small program to do it. You don't need a full XML parser for that stuff..

Posted by mike at 01:28 AM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Mmmkay.. Looks like the U Job Center keeps jobs posted on their website even after they aren't really available anymore. Got a note from them this morning saying that there have been too many applicants for a job I tried to apply for, but the job was still listed on the website last I checked. Oh well, that job was for the Army High Performance Computing Research Center, which kind of goes against my morals these days anyway.

Looks like there are too many people looking at too few technology jobs at the U, or maybe I just need to get a bit faster at applying for the jobs.

Posted by mike at 09:33 AM | Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Looks like some movie theaters ran X2 at midnight, but it looks like these are the times for Block E this weekend (though you can't buy tickets for 4:30 and 5:00 on the web).

1:00pm* | 1:30pm* | 2:00pm* | 4:00pm* | 4:30pm* | 5:00pm* | 7:00pm | 7:30pm | 8:00pm | 10:00pm | 10:30pm

Posted by mike at 10:03 AM | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hello Kettle? This is Pot..

Sometimes they annoy the hell out of me and ask me to join their cult, but other times Greenpeace is awesome.

They're handing out decks of cards to a meeting about the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Image from Ananova

Posted by mike at 02:10 PM | Politics , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Let the Flamewar Begin

The Twin Cities Linux Users Group is having a meeting on Saturday, May 3rd. It'll just be open discussion, which would be good if anyone wants to learn more about Linux in general.

Or, meet people at Pizza Luce Friday night for the (usually) bi-weekly TCLUG beer meeting.

Posted by mike at 05:10 PM | News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It Doubles as a Cluebat!

Must buy this book. Slashdot review of it here.

Wireless is fun, but totally insecure.

Posted by mike at 05:27 PM | Wireless | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 2, 2003

Star-Trekkin' Across the Universe

Saw the "Cogenitor" episode of Enterprise last night from a recording on my computer. Contrary to what some people are saying, I think the show's last few episodes have been some of the best I've seen. I'm getting a little worried about the big new direction they're thinking of going in. That article sounds so weird, it makes me wonder if someone confused May Day with April Fools Day.

Sexuality is not something I ordinarily like to discuss, because it tends to remind me of how I'm not getting any. However, the "Cogenitor" episode got me thinking. It's all about a species that has three different genders. The species is advanced and very intelligent, but they treat the people of the third gender as something halfway between a pet and a sex slave. These others don't get beat up or anything as far as the story is concerned, but they get passed from one couple to the next as the couples want to procreate. They don't get any education and don't even have names.

This isn't an entirely new idea for the series to cover, but it's at least an extension of things that have happened in the past (or future, depending on how you look at things) of the Trek universe. There have been other episodes (in Next Generation, at least) dealing with gender.

Anyway, I think there are some deficiencies to the episode, but it was good enough to keep me thinking afterward, which I think is exactly what a good Star Trek episode should do. It didn't have a happy ending, something any good series has to do from time to time, since real life doesn't have happy endings as often as we'd like.

Now, for the upcoming season, they're apparently trying to get a major disaster/war worked into the story line. It also looks like this involves time travel, which is really one of the biggest complaints people tend to have about Star Trek. Why the producers think this is a good idea is beyond me. This series has always struck me as being more "Republican" than the others, and I just have a sense that they're trying to work in a September 11th-esque element and push it for their own gain.

However, I suppose having the Enterprise series as a prequel to everything else is pretty restrictive to the writers, and this time travel scenario is a way to break out of it. I know I've seen good episodes from the previous series (plural) that have dealt pretty well with a lot of interesting issues. So, if they're doing what I think they're doing, there's a certain non-zero probability that they'll pull off something truly worth watching that could help us understand the supposed "new world" we're living in.

Posted by mike at 02:10 AM | September 11th , TV , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'll Have a Coke

Woke up with a strange feeling today, like something bad is going to happen. Maybe something good is going to happen. More likely, nothing is going to happen.

Dan, Kari, Adam, and I went to buy Friday tickets for X2 last night, then stopped in Borders for a while, and finally spent 45 minutes or so at Applebee's doing Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Edition trivia. I think I got the most questions right ;-)

I was kind of surprised to know so many answers. I guess I'm much better at the 20th Anniversary version than the other versions, though I'm not quite the right age to be really good. I think some of Erin's older friends can totally beat my ass at it ;-)

Posted by mike at 11:05 AM | Adam , Dan , Erin , Kari , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to Get Bored in One Easy Step

The first debate between Democratic presidential hopefuls will take place tomorrow. I'm sure it'll be live on C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2, but I can't figure out when yet. Supposedly, ABC will tape it, but nobody knows when stations will play it. Some might run it in the evening after the news, or possibly shove it into a late-late-late-night time slot like 12:30 or 1:30.


Don't people spend enough time in the bathroom without the Internet?

Posted by mike at 07:49 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 3, 2003

Blockbuster Time

Just got back from seeing X2. Very good movie, though I think they relied too much on the music to push on your emotional buttons in intense scenes. At least it wasn't that annoying electric guitar stuff like in Con Air and half the movies Mark Mancina scored ;-)

Anyway, you get to see a lot of people rip it up in X2, which is pretty entertaining. It was a heavier body count than I was expecting, though, and I got a little disturbed when audience members started laughing at some points where people died..

Still, a good movie, though you probably need to see it with someone who knows a fair bit about the X-Men saga to understand some of the things that happen (especially the little bit at the end).

On a lighter note, I'm very excited to see Finding Nemo when it comes out. Pixar totally rocks. It was also cool to see The Matrix Reloaded trailer on the big screen, but I could tell that the projector was cutting off a bit on the edges of the picture.

I watched the trailer so many times while playing with encoders that I saw some bits were missing. Most of the time it didn't matter, but there were some bits where something important got cropped out. I think this also happened in X2 a bit. In one scene where Mystique is in close quarters with Wolverine and frequently changing form it was impossible to see the hair she had, so you couldn't really tell who she was pretending to be.

Well, at least I only paid the student discount price ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:36 AM | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 4, 2003

Happy Feet

Went to Ground Zero and had some fun dancing. Didn't really get into it until around midnight, though. I probably throw myself into the dancing a bit too much, so I only last a few minutes on the dancefloor, so I guess I'd better learn how to slow it down a bit. Also, I should do some walking or running (though I really hate running). I used to walk a few miles almost every day, but I haven't gone more than a few blocks for quite a while.

Anyway, I was kind of disappointed that Beth didn't come along tonight. She kind of picks on me, so it's a bit weird when she's around, but she did dance with me the first time I went to GZ -- resulting in the strangest yet most hilarious three minutes of my life.

Now it's time for me to go drink a gallon of water and go to bed.

Posted by mike at 01:28 AM | Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Full Circle

I've been dealing with some personal stuff over the last few months, which explains my reasons for doing and not doing a bunch of things like diary entries and looking for work. Unfortunately, I find myself at a point not much different from where I was 2 1/2 to 3 years ago, in a low energy state just doing what needs to be done to tread water in life. Stuck in a monotonous routine on good days or feeling completely lazy on bad ones.

Perhaps it's just a passing feeling, rolling in and out with the weather we've had today, but it's never very easy to know for certain.

I suppose I tend to wait for things to happen too often, mostly because I don't want to impose on other people. When I do try to do things, they always happen at the wrong time, like wanting to travel when there's enough ice and snow out to keep you from even venturing past the front steps.

Oh well, I've just got to get a job and get into a new routine, I guess.

Posted by mike at 08:49 PM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 5, 2003

But I'm No Good At Poker

Heh.. Um... 'kay..

You are Gambit!

You are a fierce fighter and a good friend to have. Your preference for solitude and your attractiveness make you very intriguing to those you meet. Unfortunately, close relationships are few and far between for you because you often have trouble opening up to others.

Which X-Men character are you most like?

brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by mike at 03:31 PM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This One's Only Bullet-Resistant

Looks like Monk will be back on the air next month. On June 20th, there's supposed to be a new episode on USA Network, but apparently no one knows if it'll be on ABC again. They'd better run it if they expect to get any viewers this season..

Posted by mike at 04:10 PM | TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Gah. What kind of a world is it when you can't say "Sweet zombie Jesus" on TV? That and "Holy zombie Jesus" got cut from the last two reruns of Futurama on Adult Swim on Cartoon Network. Well, "Jesus" got cut out, so Professor Farnsworth just said "Sweet zombie _____." I seem to recall there was an episode of The Simpsons where Homer said something similar that got cut out in reruns, but I forget.

I suppose that's one thing that is fueling the DVD sales of TV series -- the desire to see the uncut versions of these episodes.

I tried to watch a bit of Gladiator on ABC over the weekend, but they cut out a lot of stuff. They basically cut out 75% of the shots where people got hit, so you see people fall down and don't really know why.

Oh well, I guess they are owned by Disney...

Posted by mike at 11:28 PM | TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Today's Episode Brought to You By the Number 12

Why have so many things over the last few years been named after the letter O? It's not even like all of the e-services or i-product names that have come out for electronic or Internet-related things. I'm not talking about predicates or suffixes, just one letter.

There have been movies, stories, magazines, and now performance routines.

There was even a court case that came up between Oprah's O magazine and «O», a fetish mag from across the pond. Apparently the fetish mag had been around longer, but I'm pretty sure a judge decided that someone could tell pretty quickly by looking at the cover whether it was an Oprah magazine or the other one.

Cirque du Soleil has decided that one word is too much, and has gone down to just calling their routine “O”.

There was the movie O that came out two years ago, apparently an update of Shakespeare's Othello (which I didn't know until just now). But I imagine the name has been used for other movies (porn, porn, porn..).

Anyway, I just find it interesting that people tend to name things similarly on occasion. This is just one weird example where the name is really short and extraordinarily non-descriptive.

Posted by mike at 02:47 AM | Movies , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Dog!

Woo! The Indiana Jones trilogy will be coming out on DVD in November. Just in time for my birthday wish list ;-)

Posted by mike at 03:06 AM | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Great Googly-Moogly

Ah yes, didn't you always want to run a caching proxy server written in Bourne Shell script? Well, now you can! apt-proxy is a slow-ass excuse for a daemon. It barely manages to do what I want it to do, since it slows things down as much as it speeds things up.

For people who want to know what I'm talking about, I installed some software on the computer I'm using as an internet gateway which keeps copies of software updates that I download. This makes it easier for me to go back to an old version if I have to, and it speeds things up when I have more than one computer downloading the same package. Unfortunately, the caching software was written by someone who should have known better.

Posted by mike at 11:25 PM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 7, 2003

Change the Music

For anyone who's gotten tired of the song selection in DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and has decided they've paid enough money, there are alternatives. I stumbled across pyDDR on HappyPenguin. There are others out there too, like DWI (Dance With Intensity).

Posted by mike at 06:17 AM | Music , Software | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I Need A Good Multitasker

So, you watch Good Eats whenever you get the chance? Ever given Alton Brown a tip? Show your true geekiness by putting together your very own Good Eats Geek Code.

Posted by mike at 06:55 AM | TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Push My Buttons

I bought a Logitech MX500 mouse shortly after I moved because the PS/2 port on my computer started acting flaky. The mouse pointer jumped all over the place. I thought the mouse had died, but it now appears that the port itself has gone bad, as my new mouse (a USB and PS/2 one) exhibits exactly the same problems when it's plugged into that port. Fortunately, it works fine on a USB port.

Anyway, this mouse has more buttons than I know what to do with. Well, not quite. When I first got it, the buttons were mapped really weird under Linux. Some of the extra ones would repeat the functionality of other buttons on the mouse. But, now I have most of them working like they should.

To get the buttons working, I had to edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and edit the section for my mouse. It now looks like

Section "InputDevice"
        Identifier      "Mouse1"
        Driver          "mouse"
        Option          "Protocol"      "ExplorerPS/2"
        Option          "Device"        "/dev/input/mice"
        Option          "Buttons"       "7"
        Option          "ZAxisMapping"  "6 7"
        Option          "SendCoreEvents"        "true"
        Option          "Emulate3Buttons"       "yes"

Note that this is for a secondary mouse entry. I still have my old PS/2 mouse configured as Mouse0, so if you only have one mouse, you'll have to remove the "SendCoreEvents" option and probably change the Identifier..

Unfortunately, editing the config file is not the only thing I had to do. I also have to run `xmodmap -e "pointer = 1 2 3 6 7 4 5"' to remap the scroll wheel "buttons" to 4 and 5, so that they will be accepted as scroll wheel buttons by most applications. Actually, I also have to run `xsetpointer Mouse1' or `xinput set-pointer Mouse1' before doing that, since I have to select which mouse I'm modifying. I may have to swap the order of the mice in my XF86Config file..

Additionally, I had to setup and run the imwheel program in order to get the extra buttons to do anything useful. Here's the contents of my ~/.imwheelrc:

#Default Settings
@Priority = -1000
None, Left, Control_L|Left
None, Right, Control_L|Right
Control_L, Left, Control_L|Left
Control_L, Right, Control_L|Right

Now, I run `imwheel -b 006700', and the buttons on the side of my mouse will take me forward and backward in my web browser window.

Geez, I don't know why more people don't use Linux :-p

Posted by mike at 09:19 PM | Hardware , Software , XFree | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 8, 2003

One Man's Junk...

Well, just when you thought eBay couldn't get much stranger, this comes along. Okay, maybe it's not that strange, but a guy basically sold his yard full of computer crap. Supposedly somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 pounds of the stuff. Fun.

The high bidder paid $10.

Posted by mike at 02:15 AM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Wandering Man

Went to Fairview-Riverside today for an appointment, then decided to stop in and see some people on my way back. I tried stopping by my old boss's office, but he wasn't around. It was when he usually went to lunch, so I decided to see if Sarah was at Rarig. She was, so we chatted a bit.

She mentioned that a place she had planned on moving into last year was owned by one of the Eischenses, who are well known in the area for being bad landlords. Students sue or attempt to sue them on a regular basis, but I guess they tend to countersue. That's not a pleasant thing for a student to think about.

Some people have discussed the article I linked to, some of them saying that if a place is not in good repair when you move in, you get what you deserve. However, I know Sarah got a bit sucked in by the whole thing, since there were a lot of promises made about fixing up the place she wanted to move into. In a way, I suppose she was fortunate. They didn't get the place cleaned up in time for her, so she ended up moving into a different place.

Anyway, it was good to chat with her again. Hopefully we'll get to hang out a little this summer, but we'll have to see how that goes. She said to expect something in the mail from her, but she didn't say what.. I have no idea what that could be..

After chatting with Sarah, I wandered back over to Carlson and talked to Carlos. Sounds like they've had some rough times there since I left, but probably no worse than anything I'd seen. I guess he's become a master at re-installing the Oracle database server and can do it in less than a day now. The Storage Area Network (SAN) is up and running, though apparently the storage controller (running some bastardized version of Windows NT 4) crashes on a fairly regular basis. Fortunately, that only causes things to freeze up for a short while until it reboots, and no data gets lost.

I pointed out the Soekris hardware I've mentioned here before to him. He thought they seemed to be reasonably priced (I think the prices aren't great, but definitely better than most other "embedded" products I've seen). Anyway, they'd be good for many things they need to do there with wireless firewalls and stuff..

We discussed SQLite a little bit, since it was mentioned in the recent Linux Journal. That's one of the backend options for Movable Type, so I'll have to take a look at it and see if it can make the editing interface for my website more responsive. Right now, it can take 30 seconds or more to update certain pages, which is no fun at all.

Anyway, after I got home, I was glad to sit down. I had some muscles on my sides that were hurting from walking so far (well, it's not so far, but I haven't been walking enough for the past few weeks). I'll have to see if they hurt tomorrow. If not, I'll have to go for a walk. If they do hurt, I'll have to go for a walk on Saturday and let the muscles heal a bit..

Posted by mike at 04:32 PM | Sarah , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Okay, I don't know what the hell is up with this. Some judge decided to award $104 million to September 11th victims. Okay, fine. The strange bit comes when you find out who the defendants are. In addition to the expected Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida, the Taliban, and Afghanistan, we have Saddam Hussein and Iraq. What the hell is up with that?

The judge even acknowledges the frailty of the evidence:

The judge wrote that lawyers relied heavily on "classically hearsay" evidence, including reports that a Sept. 11 hijacker met an Iraqi consul to Prague, Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites)'s remarks to the United Nations (news - web sites) about connections between Iraq and terrorism, and defectors' descriptions of the use of an Iraq camp to train terrorists.

*sigh* What is this? Juvenile court? I thought hearsay was not considered in our court system.. Bah.

Posted by mike at 06:25 PM | Law , September 11th , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Luggables Are So 1980

I want a portable music player. Unfortunately, there aren't any good ones out there that support my favorite file format, Ogg Vorbis. There are hardware players that support it, but there are drawbacks. Many of them are large (ie, for cars or if you don't mind strapping a UPS to your back), while others aren't really meant to do that job (like the Sharp Zaurus PDA).

Hopefully, some company out there will produce a hardware player pretty soon. There are a few that have quietly agreed to look into the possibility of maybe supporting it, but nothing really definite yet. If any of them do, Neuros will probably be the first. It also looks possible that the iPod might be able to do it, if it gets re-installed with Linux first ;-)

Posted by mike at 07:14 PM | Hardware , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 9, 2003

Lucid Visions

I had some fairly vivid dreams last night. Not as vivid as they get sometimes, but definitely clearer and more memorable than they've been for a while. They tend to be more engaging when I've actually had an interesting day, so visiting Sarah and my boss probably had something to do with it. However, the dreams seemed completely unrelated to anything I've really ever done.

I was in some sort of symmetrically-shaped hotel, so several times I found myself wandering down the wrong hall and entering what I thought was my room but really wasn't. Strangely integral to the whole thing was one of the Hilton Sisters, who led me around the place a bit. The odd thing is that I know absolutely nothing about them beyond what I learned in the ads for their E! True Hollywood Story (which is, nothing).

There was other stuff that I can almost remember, but my dreams almost always have the quality that the more I try to remember, the quicker the memory goes away.

Posted by mike at 11:06 AM | Sarah , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Did Stuff And Got Things

I managed to exercise a little bit today, and went for a walk to Dinkytown and back. The main reason for going was to drop off the Mother's Day card I got for my mom at the post office. I'm not sure if I put it in the best place, though. I put it in the mail slot inside the post office.

At the post office back home, there are two mail slots inside, and two mail drop boxes in front. In both places, one is designated for in-city mail, and the other is for out-of-city. The mail will get there either way, but it's just faster if you put it in the right place.

Anyway, so my mom might not get her card until Monday. Oh well.

While I was in Dinkytown, I dodged some Greenpeace people and then went to Cheapo to get some music. I picked up the soundtrack to A Life Less Ordinary (another movie Ewan McGregor sings in -- or at least pretends to) and also The Matrix Reloaded. Yes, I got the soundtrack a week before I have any chance of seeing the movie.

Strangely, the soundtrack even has it's very own website. Hopefully, it's the only place you'll ever find a link image like this. Don't worry -- the Dave Matthews Band song is remixed by Paul Oakenfold ;-)

Posted by mike at 03:39 PM | Exercise , Family , Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Does Not Compute

Okay, I'm almost done listening to both soundtracks. So far, I'm much happier with my Life Less Ordinary purchase. It even has a nasty message emblazoned on it, so I get to feel like a filthy lawbreaker ;-)

For promotional use only.
No sale allowed.
Must be returned on demand
of copyright owner

Anyway, check out the track listing. Of course, it helps that it cost $7.50 used versus almost $20 for the Matrix soundtrack (which has 2 discs).

I might change my mind after I see the new movie, though.

Posted by mike at 07:26 PM | Movies , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Zarro Boogs Found!

I've been monkeying with compiling software so that it is optimized for the processor in my computer. I've been trying to use the ‘apt-build’ utility to download code, compile with optimization, and install, all in one go. Linux geeks will realize that this is how the Gentoo distribution works (and *BSD geeks will say that it's nothing special).

Anyway, ‘apt-build’ is a finicky program, though, and doesn't work quite as advertised. Part of the problem is that it is dependent upon the ‘apt-get source’ command, which doesn't work right on my desktop. My system is set up to track two different versions of Debian GNU/Linux at the same time, obtaining packages from the newer of the two (the “unstable” version) only when they don't exist in the more stable one (“testing”, in this case).

The problem is that whenever I get the source packages (uncompiled) rather than binaries (compiled), the system only wants to download the newest version it sees. Unfortunately, this means I have to manually find the right files and download them, which is a real pain. There's an open bug for it, but they call it a “wishlist” item -- meaning it might never get fixed.. Oh well, I can dream.

On my laptop, which is only running “unstable”, I came across a bug in a utility called ‘apt-ftparchive’. The program is meant to build special files that you need when setting up archives of many binary packages. Unfortunately, the newest version is broken, so I had to fix that before compiling more stuff on my laptop.. I pushed it back to an older version (at least there was one I could access!), and continued monkeying.

I think I'll have to explain some more of what I've been doing, and post a mail message to the TCLUG mailing list.. I think a fair number of people will be interested in what I've been up to..

Posted by mike at 02:41 AM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I think the next place I live must have a vent hood over the stove. Maybe I just need to change what sort of foods I cook, but I'm having a heck of a time being able to cook stuff without having the smoke detector go off. I suppose opening the windows before I start cooking might help.

Anyway, before today's cooking escapades, I had a dream about a female friend of mine from back home that I've known since preschool. Oddly, I've probably had more dreams about her than any other friend I have, though there's never been any reason for that to be the case. I guess I did consider asking her to the prom, though a friend of mine beat me to it.

Anyway, I decided to send her an e-mail and see what's up. She's a teacher these days, so usually pretty busy. Fortunately, summer's coming up, so we might be able to get together and hang out.

Update: I forgot to mention that my mom called just a few minutes after I woke up, thanking me for the Mother's Day card (wow! it made it!) She made passing reference to the girl I mentioned, so I feel like I'm being a good little boy and following all of the cosmic signs.

Next big question to deal with: Since my mom already thanked me for the card, do I have to call her tomorrow? Well, yes. I just have to do something tonight or tomorrow that merits discussion, since I don't want to call and do a “Hi! Happy Mother's Day! Bye!” type of conversation.

Posted by mike at 01:47 PM | Abode , Family | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Beer Prayer

I'm not a beer drinker, but I have friends who are. They might enjoy this, which just popped up on IRC.

<RiasTroll> Our Lager,
<RiasTroll> which art in barrels,
<RiasTroll> hallowed by thy drink,
<RiasTroll> I will be drunk
<RiasTroll> at home as in the tavern.
<RiasTroll> Give us this day our foamy head,
<RiasTroll> and forgive us our spillages,
<RiasTroll> as we forgive those who spill upon us.
<RiasTroll> And lead us not into incarceration,
<RiasTroll> but deliver us from hangovers,
<RiasTroll> For thine is the beer, the bitter and the lager
<RiasTroll> forever and ever ...
Posted by mike at 08:52 PM | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 11, 2003


I think I'll write something and then go for a walk and get some supper.

I haven't done much today, mostly just mucking around with my computer. I submitted a few bugs to the Debian folks. One was for xscreensaver, and another one was for grep. I guess they were both minor bugs and should have been categorized as such, but I decided to just have them set as “normal”, and let the package maintainers change it if they want.

I'd like to go through some of the Debian bugs and fix any that I can, but I haven't found any that are simple enough for me to fix yet..

I've been a bit bored, so I started running webcollage on my desktop. It reminds you of how much weird stuff there is on the Internet.

I was looking at Ming yesterday and today. It's a neat library for creating Shockwave Flash objects that can be used with web servers. I kind of want to try it as a method for animating radar images. The National Weather Service might actually be interested in it if I can get something to work -- they currently use Java to make their animations, but Java always causes nothing but trouble for me..

Posted by mike at 06:15 PM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's People!

Uh oh. Just got Erin to sign up on Friendster.

Posted by mike at 06:48 PM | Erin | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 12, 2003


Ah, the wisdom of Slashdot (in reference to Saturday vs. Sunday mornings):

When I was a kid, I thought the cartoons were hilarious and the Christian Evangelists were boring.

Now I think I that the cartoons are boring and the Christian Evangelists are hilarious.

Anyway, that's in reference to a story about how cartoons have disappeared from Saturday morning TV.

I get disappointed at what is run (or what is not run) on Saturday mornings now, but sometimes there are surprises. I recently noticed that Fox was running the old Back to the Future cartoon (interestingly, Dan Castellaneta does the voice of Doc) -- though the timing is probably just a marketing gimmick of a sort, since the DVDs were released recently...

Well, whatever.. It's better to get kids to get out and do something on Saturdays, I guess. It's kind of weird though, that people my age are mourning the passing of something like this. But, I suppose it's only on hiatus.

Posted by mike at 12:17 AM | TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Silly Images

I went out for a late lunch today and got some Chipotle. Saw a few unusual things. Someone had a Segway parked and locked on the sidewalk about a block away from Chipotle -- first time I'd seen one in person. But, it wasn't moving, so it wasn't too interesting..

Before I went in to get food, there was a guy about a block down the street that had been stopped by the police. They were all still sitting there when I left, which is pretty bad.. They must have been there for more than 20 minutes.

I wandered down Main Street and saw some nice greenery. I thought it was so nice that I wandered back to my place to get my camera and take some pictures.

I took some boring pictures of stuff, and then started seeing some geese while I was on Nicollet Island. I wandered around some more, and spied some geese swimming in the river. Then I saw some baby geese!

I tried to follow them and get better pictures, but there was brush in the way, and there appears to be some construction work being done on the island. I walked around to a different part of the island to wait for them to swim by, but they had other ideas and came up on land to meet some other geese and rest, I guess.

hee hee.. fuzzy..

Posted by mike at 04:10 PM | Photography | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Inky Blackness of Space

Yay! My disk quota (how much space I'm allowed to use) on this server has recently been increased from 60MB to 100MB. Sweet!

Posted by mike at 04:37 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack


In joyous recognition of my newfound disk space, I bring you big pictures. Some of them look cool, and others are kind of FYI.. Two of the coolest pictures are campus at night (1.2MB) and flaming Dan (1.2MB).

Posted by mike at 06:10 PM | Photography | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Label Me

I stayed up late last night making a patch to the Linux ‘mount’ command. I was trying to get the system to mount disks via their volume labels rather than specifying the exact device to use. This is important for hot-pluggable drives, since you never know what order they're going to show up in. Depending on when I plug in my external FireWire drive and my digital camera, they can show up as either /dev/sda or /dev/sdb in the Linux nomenclature. This is similar to how drives magically pop up as the next available drive letter in Windows.

Anyway, mounting devices via their label makes it so I don't have to know the proper name -- the computer figures it out for me. Well, as long as I've remembered to label things uniquely.

I got the label support working for the Linux-native disk format, but I need to do some work if I want it to work with Windows-format disks. The Debian maintainer of mount has labeled that support as ‘wishlist’, so it's unlikely he'd fix it..

Posted by mike at 11:51 AM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Code Code Code

What I did today. Basically what I said I was going to do today.. I still have a few more bugs to squash tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have to make it so I'm able to mount and unmount labeled vfat filesystems as a user rather than the superuser. I can mount them now, but can't unmount them, so I guess I'm already over halfway done! ;-)

Update: I just had to add two lines of code, ones that the original programmer should have had in there to begin with (well, similar to what should be there, at least). He must have been having an off-day..

Posted by mike at 11:53 PM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


Awww Yeah...

Someday, when I have a job again and want to build a God Box, I might get something like that..

Posted by mike at 11:28 AM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This Is My Wang

Sorry about the title—I've been reading Penny Arcade all day today, and have an odd desire to use the word “wang.” But, it's oddly relevant to this, since I've been mucking with something long and.. er, uhm..

I installed some new drivers for my sound card recently. The drivers I had been using seem to be unmaintained these days, and they are out-of-sync with some of the tools I need to use for turning on and off various features.

Anyway, I got my computer rebooted and brought up a mixer. The image there is actually expanded (it almost goes all the way across both of my monitors!), but I was shocked at how many different things there were to twiddle. The fun thing is that nobody really knows how it works, so it took me a good 20 minutes to actually get sound to come out of my speakers when I started.

But, I'm sure other people I know regularly manipulate much bigger wa—er, I mean, mixers than mine..

Posted by mike at 07:53 PM | Music , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You May Feel a Slight Tingling Sensation

Bah. I've been tired all day long, and all I really want to do is sleep, but things keep me up. It's hard to get to sleep in my apartment sometimes—mostly because I still have memories of all of the creepy-crawlies that showed up in the first few weeks I was here.

I haven't seen any for a while, so I suppose I'll calm down in the coming days and weeks. Still, there are strange moments. I thought I felt something tickling the soles of my feet just as I was trying to get to sleep, but it was just my imagination.

Oh well.

Posted by mike at 11:13 PM | Abode | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 15, 2003


I need a girlfriend.

Yeah, I know, that's been a recurring theme in my life for (/me counts the years)


Um. Yeah.

I need a girlfriend.

Scratch that, I need like 5 of them—I need to catch up

They need to be hot.

And have boobies.

boobies are good

Posted by mike at 10:47 AM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I applied for a few jobs last night. They were all a bit out of my comfort zone, but they seemed interesting. But, doing something somewhat different for work than what I do for fun would be nice.

One job was with SGI. It's kind of a sales job—something about figuring out whether systems will handle customer requirements. Basically, I'd be a guy giving the sales reps their numbers. (okay, that sounds a lot less interesting than it did last night, but I don't think it'd be a bad job—and I might get to play with fun SGI boxes ;-)

Another one was doing phone support for networking eqipment (VPN servers, etc). I think it said it was in support of field techs rather than customers, so it would be less mind numbing.. I'd also test configurations on hardware at the “home base”. I'm pretty good at troubleshooting, so it could be a nice job for me.

The job that started me on an applying binge (okay, 3 isn't a binge, but whatever) was a testing job. Write scripts, have a program run and verify that the output matches what we expect. Seems kind of dull, but I suppose it would generally be something new fairly often. Probably no worse than my Carlson job in the “fun” department..

Posted by mike at 11:08 AM | Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I've been monkeying a bit with my phone (Motorola C332), sending different commands to it. I bought a USB cable for it a while ago so I could try using it as a modem. It turns out that I can actually access the phone book and some other bits of the phone. I signed up to to get some developer access from Motorola, so hopefully I'll be able to get the full supported command set at some point.

I started playing with this because I came across gsmlib yesterday, but it didn't work. That library and tools supports a different variant of the commands than my phone does, so the library will have to be extended to handle that at some point..

Wish I Could Fly Like That

Saw The Matrix, and it was good. I think I personally liked it better than X2, but it still had problems. I think some of the fight scenes went on a bit too long, and maybe it was a bit funnier than it really should have been (going the opposite way of X2).

Maybe I just like pseudo-philosophical movies ;-)

I dropped my brother off after the movie and got diverted from my usual path home because I saw some flashing lights up ahead, and took the long route back, which goes past Dan/Josh/Erin's place (maybe I should just start calling it ”JED's place“). I saw some people standing in the driveway, and went over to see what was up. I guess they were looking at the after-effects of the Moon's eclipse.

I wanted to hang out a bit, but I needed some sleep. I almost got sucked into going along when Kjersten said something along the lines of, ”Isn't it sad when you like movies better than reality?“ Some of my reasons for liking movies better than reality were standing right there at the time, so I didn't really want to think about it too much.

I went home, reminded that the world I want isn't real, no matter how hard I want it to be. That's got to be the worst part of a movie like this..

Ah well, off to bed. I hope I have pleasant dreams tonight.

Posted by mike at 11:06 PM | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 16, 2003

Can't Stop Thinking

(Yeah, it's late.)

The clock ticks away, oblivious to my weary state.

The wind carries the scent of the short grass down into my room.

I lie in bed, staring into the darkness.

In that dark, when I can almost see her shadow, my hand reaches out to search.

My mind expects my hand to find wisps of hair and soft skin.
But nothing is there.
My hand seeks sideways and upward, cautiously hunting.

It is not meant to be.

My hand falls back to my side, defeated.
A fan's cool breeze is all that it found.

The wind carries in a new sound as headlights pierce the darkness.

I remember where I am, that I'm alone.

Why must nights like this go on forever?
Have I somehow wronged the world to end up confined in this open space?

Lying in bed, I try to curl up and hide from the world, hoping to make it all fade away.

For a moment, I regain control.

Yet, my open window still lets the wind trickle down my wall.
A twisted hair on my neck gets caught in an eddy and springs upward, begging it's neighbors to do the same.

The world won't go away that easily.

I try to reconcile with the world and let bygones be bygones as I recall the good fortunes that have been bestowed upon me.
I repeat my promise to try to live the best way I can, to use my knowledge and understanding, to try to make things better for myself—for everyone.

But still, the world feels it must hide the answers to my true questions from me.

The sound of her voice. The shape of her face. A mere letter of her name.

They will remain mysteries for one more night, so I wait.

The clock ticks, and I am awake.

Posted by mike at 02:27 AM | Self | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Colors! The Colors!


Why can't XFree86 get updated a little more frequently on Debian? They're always many moons behind the curve..

I want XFree86 4.3.0, which supports color cursors and other nifty things. I remember, back in 1996, when I ran OS/2, having some pretty color cursors. Since then, I've only had sad black-and-white ones.

Ah well, it should at least show up by Christmas..

Posted by mike at 02:08 PM | XFree | Comments (0) | TrackBack

About That

So, I've been kind of sliding downhill this week, especially the last few days. Every so often, I get reminded of the things I want but can't have. I must be that some curse was laid on me while before I even got into high school.

This is why I don't watch MTV.

Well, that, and the music usually sucks when they actually play it.

Good music can help me feel better, but sometimes it's impossible to find something new, or it tricks you and reminds you of a feeling you'd rather forget. Plus, a song just loses it's flavor after your mind has chewed on it so many times..

My mom and dad are coming up today so that we can have a birthday dinner with my brother. They'll be back up tomorrow, taking him home. It'll be good to see them. It usually makes me feel a little better when they come up. But, there's still that nagging feeling they can't do anything about.

Ah well, maybe I'll go out dancing this weekend. I remember I really needed somewhere to go to let stuff out the first time I went. There's good music, but that place can also (obviously) remind me of things I don't like. At least it lets me burn off some energy.

Posted by mike at 03:03 PM | Family , Music , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Kinda Sorta Betta

Yeah, I was feeling pretty empty today. I tried to take a nap while my clothes were drying, and sort of succeeded. I finally felt better when I got up and looked in my mailbox to find a response to this:

> Anyway, I just added onto the mount-by-label support that mount has. 
> You've been able to mount filesystems by their volume labels for a
> while, but only well-thought-out filesystems like ext2/3, reiserfs, etc.
> (though mount-by-label support in the current version seems a bit
> wonky).  Nobody bothered with vfat support until now.

you are an uber-geek. :)


Systems Administrator
Real-Time Enterprises
Posted by mike at 05:31 PM | Self , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 17, 2003


I'm a pretty good troubleshooter. I can track down all sorts of problems. But when I'm having problems, there are no keywords to punch into Google. There is no config file to fix up.

I just have to keep breathing, get up in the morning, and do what I need to do to get through the day.

Posted by mike at 10:01 AM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Grease vs. Hair

Went and had the oil changed in my car. It ended up being a lot because it was recommended that I get the automatic transmission fluid replaced along with a radiator flush. So, I ended up paying like twice of what I thought the high end might be.

Of course, I went there on the weekend, so prices might have been higher.

Anyway, they recommended that I get some service done to the spark plugs too, but I guess that'll have to wait until next time. I didn't want that bill to get any larger...

Anyway, the car seemed a bit funny when I started it up—the idle was very low. Then again, it had been running just seconds before, and it seemed fairly happy on the way back to my apartment. I'm still a bit nervous about traveling any significant distance in it, though.

Well, now I'm off to try and find a place that will give me a haircut on a Saturday. I find myself echoing some of the sentiments that Erin implied, though I haven't gotten militant about it yet—I'd need to have some level of style first. Still, I highly prefer to have women do my hair. Whoever it is should communicate with me (meaning they speak English and not Engrish) and demonstrate that they have an idea of where they want to go.

But hell, it's hair. It grows back. (except there are some spots where I think my hairline is starting to recede.. nnngaaah!)

Posted by mike at 01:59 PM | Car , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Did I Have More Fun than You?

Went to Ground Zero. Played around, had some fun, and probably tore apart whatever holds my knees together.

Oh well.

Posted by mike at 01:13 AM | Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saving Private Lynch Was Just Hollywood

At the time Private Jessica Lynch was retrieved from a hospital in Iraq, I was mostly watching The Daily Show, so I didn't hear much about it. The story was blanketing the cable news channels and other TV news outlets, though.

I smelled something funny with that story, and it looks like people who were suspicious of it were probably right. The BBC has a story explaining that her retrieval was a Hollywood-style stunt. Dr. Anmar Uday said this:

“It was like a Hollywood film. They cried ‘go, go, go’, with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital—action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan.”

It's possible the doctors were lying or stretching the truth, but I generally have a lot of respect for the BBC..

Posted by mike at 03:31 PM | Daily Show , TV , The Media , War | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Someone At Fox News Is Crying

With all the screwed up news stories being discovered lately, I think The Daily Show will have to start giving out some sort of award for “Best fake news from a real news outlet.”

Posted by mike at 04:26 PM | Daily Show , TV , The Media | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I'm halfway considering that it would be nice to sue our old landlord for some sort of emotinal damages. I knew when we were forced out of the old place that I was only beginning to get over some things that had been holding me back for a while, and I needed to be living in a place with friends. Moving out exacerbated some problems, but it separated me from some other troubles, so I don't know if I'm better off or not.

Of course, it's nice that I have my own fridge now, so I can buy stuff without considering whether it'll fit into the freezer or not. I can have juice and my 2% milk in the carton. My bathroom is surprisingly clean, though I can only blame myself when I forget to flush (my toilet does seem to have some backwash problem, unfortunately). The trash doesn't fill up every day, and I actually have enough space to spread out my stuff.

But, I have about the thinnest social network I've ever seen in anyone. Well, whatever its' state, I've got to start actually using it.

I sent off a note to Erik, seeing what he's up to these days. I suppose he doesn't get much of a chance to check his e-mail now, though.. I'm going to be heading home tomorrow after I pick up a birthday gift for my dad, so maybe I'll give Erik a call when I get back. I also sent a note to a friend of mine back home, but I don't know if she'll be around or not. She was thinking of moving to St. Louis, if I remember right, so it's hard to say if I'll be hanging out with anyone in the next few days..

Posted by mike at 06:48 PM | Abode , Erik , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 19, 2003

If Nixon Could Do It...

Well, Erik's going to China today or tomorrow (got a post-midnight message saying “tomorrow”, so who knows). Hopefully he'll have fun.

Posted by mike at 09:45 AM | Erik | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sit-Down Stand-Up

So, I went home. I took a detour to Roseville so I could pick up North by Northwest on DVD for my Dad. I got Robin Williams: Live on Broadway for myself, though maybe I just should have rented it. It's good, and any of my friends can borrow it, but I probably couldn't watch the whole thing with other people around.. When I watch it again myself, I'll probably have to fast-forward through some bits.

I've always liked what I've been able to see of Robin Williams, so I guess I expected a bit more of the uncensored version of him. There's a lot of good stuff, but running around saying “Fuck off!” every 30 seconds doesn't really rise above the rest. I'm kind of disappointed..

I was remembering that I had high praise for him back in high school. When my graduating class wrote up profiles of ourselves, we were asked to name people we most admire, and I picked him because he could “bring a smile to anyone's face.” I still think that's true, but it might not be all smiles that he brings.

There were moments when I was watching the video and thinking of the kick in the pants I got when, weeks before graduation, my profile somehow randomly got printed right next to the profile of the girl I'd had a crush on all those years. Seeing her face next to mine—sporting huge ugly eyeglasses and dorky grin—did not sit well with me. But hell, she probably threw up when she saw it.

Oh well, I suppse I still managed better in high school than this poor kid.

Posted by mike at 07:30 PM | Comedy , Family , Movies , School , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

I SCOld You!

So, this dumb company SCO is busying its lawyers with a lawsuit against IBM regarding some supposed intellectual property theft. SCO says that IBM took source code that SCO owns and cut-n-paste it into the source code of Linux. SCO hasn't really been very specific about what happened, and from some of what I've read, it sounds like they may not be concerned with Linux itself (if you want to get technical, Linux is just the kernel of an operating system—you can't really do anything useful with it until software is loaded on top of it), but with the surrounding libraries of code.

Many people say that the case is moot because even if IBM stole code from SCO and put it into Linux or the assosciated software, SCO probably took that code and redistributed it under the GNU General Public License, meaning that SCO effectively relicensed the code to be free. While that may technically free IBM from any wrongdoing, it would still be a nasty thing if it happened, and I'm sure people would want it to be corrected.

Of course, an interesting implication of the code being licensed under the GPL is that the Free Software Foundation has been granted control of the license. This isn't what always happens when code is GPLed, but many people do it.

Anyway, some people at SCO are still being jackasses and making all sorts of grandiose claims. Fortunately, Eric S. Raymond (ESR) has written a position paper that shows just how arrogantly they are acting. Of course, the position paper itself probably goes a bit too far at points, but it seems to be largely correct. It makes for interesting reading for anyone who likes learning about computing history.

SCO seems to be claiming that it has a great market share, has the only Unix-on-Intel implementation ever created, has software that is scalable to 32-CPU machines, and other outrageous statements. Many of their claims could be said to be merely filled with too much bravado, but the idea that they made the only flavor of Unix that runs on Intel-based processors is an outright lie. I can't blame ESR for getting a little worked up in response..

There are some rumors floating around that IBM may hire ESR as a Unix historian to help on their side of the case, so we'll see what happens. I'm not sure what effect that would have on the paper he wrote..

Posted by mike at 11:48 AM | Law , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So That's Where the Variety Show Idea Came From

Here's a neat story about Alf Clausen, the composer for The Simpsons. There's a lot of stuff there about the show that I'd never really considered before..

Posted by mike at 01:21 PM | Music , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Mowin' Mowin' Mowin'

Mowed the parents' lawn today with our family's electric mower. It's fairly quiet and doesn't make you stink of gasoline exhaust, but the batteries make it pretty heavy and it was only barely able to finish off our lawn (and these batteries are only a few months old).

When I get a lawn of my own, I'm thinking I'll have to try and find one of those old-style push mowers (my first inclination would be to call it a “cylinder mower”, but apparently that's the British name—Americans supposedly call them “reel mowers”). I saw someone using one at the church near the 5th St. pedestrian bridge that crosses 35W. He didn't seem to be having any trouble with it, so I believe that stories of them being hard to push are probably overrated—I certainly doubt the battery-powered monster I just used is any easier to push..

I wouldn't be surprised if the gas-powered lawnmower, like many other waste-inducing American icons, was a Cold War weapon of a sort. Not only did we have to have nice, big, green lawns (even in the middle of the desert)—we had to beat the shit out of each and every blade of grass every week..

Anyway, while I was mowing, I was unfortunate enough to come across a dead rabbit. Fortunately, it hadn't been dead long enough to attract bugs and stuff. It was stiff, though, so it had probably been dead around a day.. I checked online to see if anything special is supposed to be done with dead animals these days (as they can be indicators of disease and whatnot), but I didn't find anything.

Posted by mike at 04:10 PM | Abode , Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The Not-So-Great Adventure

Went home. Stuff happened.

I actually got a vacuum cleaner. A Eureka WhirlWind LiteSpeed 5740A, which appears to be highly rated on Epinions. Got it at Sears for $100.

I've used it a little. One of the quietest vacuums I've ever heard (though you can still definitely tell it's a vacuum). My mom was acting jealous when she saw how much stuff it picked up from the floor she'd vacuumed a few days before.. I figure that it was probably just picking up bits of disintegrating carpet, though..

We all watched North by Northwest after our excursion to Sears, and it was a good movie. You get to see a young Martin Landau! I never knew he was young! The cinematography seems so weird, though, since everything pretty much has the feel of being on a soundstage, even though some of it must have been shot outside. I'm not sure if that was the original intention, or if that's just what happened when the film got cleaned up to be put on DVD.

At any rate, it was nice watching it on my parents' TV, which produces a very clear picture. If I remember right, it's the 27" Samsung TXM2796HF. It's a flat-screen CRT that can do progressive scan and possibly better, but the documentation is a bit thin on the precise capabilities. My parents were out looking at TVs and decided on it because it looked much better than the standard interlaced Sony TVs of the same price range. I forget exactly what they paid, probably around $600.

There are a few things I don't like about it, the most prominent of which is the fact that the scan lines start to get bent about halfway down the screen. They start slightly angling like a roof or a caret (^), but the effect seems to get reduced when the CRT warms up.. Still, I was pretty amazed by the image we got while watching the movie.

The TV didn't come with an HDTV tuner, so I'm considering giving one to my parents as a thank-you for giving me way too much money during college.

Posted by mike at 04:14 PM | Abode , Family , Hardware , Movies , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 22, 2003

That One Sucked, This One Blows

This is just one of those odd things that happens to me. I got a new vacuum on Tuesday, an inexpensive cyclonic upright. Sears had a bunch of other vacuums there, including a Dyson or two.

Today, as I'm gloating over my new weapon against dust mites, I discover that James Dyson is the British inventor of the cyclonic upright vacuum. Apparently, he originally invented it in a period starting in 1978. Here's a description from Amazon:

In 1978, after being inspired while housecleaning, inventor and designer James Dyson decided to create a vacuum that didn't lose suction power with use. Five years and more than 5,000 prototypes later, Dyson introduced the first cyclonic vacuum. Using a powerful centrifugal air system, this early machine outperformed other uprights with its efficient design and unflagging suction. Established vacuum companies of the day failed to take Dyson up on his ingenious design, so in 1993 he opened his own factory in England. Within two years, the Dyson cyclonic upright was outselling every other vacuum in the UK. The vacuum was so popular, in fact, that Dyson had to go to court repeatedly to stop big-league manufacturers from infringing on his patent. Today, the Dyson vacuum is still the only one on the market with a unique eight-chamber cyclonic construction. Dyson scientists and engineers continue to refine the original design, along with perfecting other inventions like the two-drum washing machine. Now sold the world over, Dyson products have come to represent breakthrough technology, innovative design, and unparalleled performance.

Now, my impression of one of the models I saw at Sears was that it was kind of big, clunky, and overpriced. I have little desire to ever spend $400+ on a vacuum.

Anyway, so I'm just about to go to bed when I see this article from the BBC mentioned on Slashdot. James Dyson invented (or, it looks more likely he forced one of his minions to invent) a funky-looking waterfall that makes it look like water is going uphill.

It's just weird how things connect sometimes.

Posted by mike at 01:04 AM | Hardware | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Togetherness, Brought To You By Perl

Since the guy upstairs from me was playing music at 8 AM, I got up and started hacking together a “friends” page of my own. It's not much yet, but you can see what I've done so far.

The script is meant to be embedded inside another page at some point. We'll see if I ever get that far.

It appears to only work when people have paid accounts on LiveJournal.

Posted by mike at 11:55 AM | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Is Funny Spelling Related to Aaron Spelling?

I just paid for some new hardware for my oft-delayed Fibre Channel array project. I bought 5 Fibre Channel drives sometime last year, and they've been sitting around doing nothing while I tried to find a cheap enclosure. I finally lucked out and found a relatively inexpensive SCSI enclosure for $45, and I also got some adapters to plug into the back of my drives.

I plan on ripping out the SCSI guts of the enclosure and replacing them with the adapters. I guess the expense of the whole thing ended up being somewhat more than I had hoped. My drives (36GB) were about $200 total, plus $200 for the host bus adapter (the controller that goes in my computer. The new items add another $200 or so. I had hoped that I could do this for less than $500, but I guess not.

If I knew it was going to cost $600-700, I probably would have looked at getting an entire FC array kit. Here's one for $900 or so.

Posted by mike at 02:19 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Join the Syndicate

In theory, people can syndicate my journal and integrate it into their own friends pages on LiveJournal. I don't have a LiveJournal account, so I don't exactly know how this works. I found a post by someone about this, along with lots of others.. I guess I'll keep Googling..

I suppose I'll have to muck with how Movable Type generates the feeds. You can try index.xml or index.rdf. I'm not sure which one is more appropriate.

Update: LiveJournal has a FAQ page about this. The best sources to use for my site are probably the RSS 1.0 index.rdf or the RSS 2.0 index2.xml, which I added recently.

When someone starts using one of these, please let me know, so I can tailor the format of the RSS feed file appropriately.

Posted by mike at 03:14 PM | Internet | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

Erin must have accidentally clicked “Yes” once in the past when she used my laptop to log into LiveJournal. The password was still saved from many moons ago. The upside is that my site is now syndicated on LJ. The downside is I now feel like a dirty, dirty bastard for following through on the thought of, “Hmm, the password field seems to be filled in. Let's click ‘Login’.”

At any rate, the password is now purged from my laptop's memory (I never saw it in plaintext, just something like ‘******’). Yeah, that's not much consolation..

At first, I thought I'd come across some random security hole in LiveJournal, but this seems like the vastly more likely reason..

LiveJournal seems to be kind of dumb when dealing with RSS feeds. All of the entries I can see now have exactly the same date on them on the LJ page. I do have proper date fields for each entry in my source file, but LJ just doesn't interpret them, apparently. Still, this should work itself out after a while—LiveJournal times will just be off by up to an hour.

Posted by mike at 07:28 PM | Erin , Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I Thought Aggregation Involved Small Rocks

I'm tired and just about to go to bed. But, just so I don't forget, I'd like to point out some stuff that Jamie Zawinsky has come up with. There are some scripts for his Cheesegrater that I'd like to look at more thoroughly at some point when I'm awake. The portalizer script looks like it might be something I could use here.

Related to that, I discovered that JWZ has a LiveJournal. I would have figured he's too much of a hacker to use LJ. It's like Bill Gates using AOL or President Bush riding on a trike (okay, maybe that one isn't as big of a stretch as it should be ;-)

Posted by mike at 11:15 PM | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 23, 2003

The Page Contained No Data

Someone mentioned smstools to me, after I mentioned on the gsmlib mailing list that it doesn't support my phone. Unfortunately, it looks like smstools is very much focused on sending/receiving SMS messages, while I'm more interested in downloading/syncing the phonebook and other data stored on my phone.

I got Adam to befriend my LiveJounal syndication. This should mean that anyone can now access it, as the “cost” of using it has gone down. The problem is that it's currently only updating every 24 hours, but hopefully it won't keep doing that..

Posted by mike at 01:03 PM | Adam , Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

At Least It Doesn't Emulate the CRT Whine

The most recent version of xscreensaver contains a nice little gem. Remember the Apple ][?

Ahh. Memories.

Posted by mike at 05:32 PM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

So, Do You Like, Like Like Her?

Been having some curious thoughts about a girl. Not the one I had been thinking about, but one of the many girls I know who smokes, drinks, etc.

How do I know so many girls that do so many things that I don't?


Posted by mike at 09:08 PM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Them Thar's the Internet

So, I wonder if I'd have a life if the Internet had never come along? Would I have found the means to socialize with the outside world? I don't know.

I suppose I'm just living vicariously at the moment, though I guess that's what I did a lot back in high school before the Internet got big. I'd sit in class and listen to people tell stories. I just never had my own stories to tell for one reason or another.

People just seem to assume that I don't want to be around people since I never share much. But, I'm sure a lot of it's my fault. Maybe I'm just interpreting the whole situation in the wrong way.

I'll blame my slow wit.

Actually, the Internet lets me cover up my slow wit a bit. That's probably why I like it. Sometimes I feel like writing a big important e-mail to someone, but that gets troublesome on occasion. I get too many expectations and whatever.

A journal is better in a lot of ways. It lets me mete out my frustration in smaller doses.

But, the Internet doesn't solve everything. Due to some of my frustrations in life, I actually tried some online dating , but there are just too many people out there who end up being like, “I'm a busy Ph.D. student—too busy planning to take over the world to date anyone.”

I see that and I think, “well, I'm just a boring guy trying to work his way up to leading a semi-normal life.”

But, I suppose I had to try it just so that I could see how things go at a place like that. I just get tired of waiting for things to happen sometimes, so I have to try something different. Too bad so many of the places that offer to help are probably just moneymaking or e-mail harvesting scams..

Posted by mike at 12:00 PM | Internet , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Power

Now that I got my daily frustrations out of the way, time for some fun stuff.

I'm still looking for a job, but when I find one, I'm probably going to go on a shopping spree—I need some new computers.

For ages and ages, I've wanted a server. Something with a good amount of disk space set up in an array, possibly with a connected tape drive or other backup medium. In theory, the server should handle

  • Mail: IMAP services
  • Directory: LDAP services
  • Storage: possibly home directories, also synchronization space for my laptop
  • Printing: because I don't like having my printer running off my firewall ;-)

It'd also be nice if the server had some hefty processors, so I could farm out my software compiling. If I do that, it could also build CPU-optimized software packages for my desktop, laptop, and any other systems I own.

Second, I'd like a dedicated system for TV recording and possibly viewing. Since MythTV lets me separate boxes that play video from ones that record video, this doesn't have to be an extremely fast box, but it would be nice to get a real performer so the video is encoded at good quality. Also, having multiple tuner cards so I can record more than one thing at a time would be great. This system should have lots of cheap disk space. Having a DVD burner on it would be great too, then I could save a lot of the shows I like.

Third, I'd like a new box that I can play with and break things. A machine where it doesn't matter if I corrupt the filesystem or need to reboot it just to try something out.

Also, it'd be nice to get a new firewall box that can give me wireless access. I'd like to get a Soekris box, but maybe I'll just add on to the machine I have now.

How much will this all cost? Lots.

I guess I'll hold off on my God Box ideas for now. That'll have to wait until I have Real Money™.

Posted by mike at 12:52 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm Special

I was getting annoyed this afternoon. I was trying to take a nap, since my upstairs neighbors were being quiet for once. I got called by both of my parents independently, plus my laptop was annoying the crap out of me by trying to compile stuff all day long. The hard drive makes very loud clicking noises when the head moves back and forth, so it can be really distracting.

I'd IMed Dan, but he was being unresponsive (I have a knack for messaging people just before they step away from the keyboard), so I went to take a shower. I'd been working up the guts to yell at people for not talking to me when I noticed Adam had left me a voicemail about going to Ground Zero tonight. I called him up and he even said my name's on the list to get in for free.


I guess I've been on the list before, but I didn't know it. That's kind of neat. I never figured myself for someone to be on a list. I suppose this one's nothing special, but still...

Anyway, now I'm doing some laundry so I'll have some clean clothes when I go. Not that it will matter after I dance for 30 seconds, but I like to at least make an effort..

While I wait for that, I think I'm going to go buy some carbonated beverages. I think I'll try and find some of that Mountain Dew Live Wire stuff. Is that the name? I forget. Whatever it is, it's orange.

Posted by mike at 06:48 PM | Adam , Dan , Family , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Sleep? What's That?

Ugh, ended up sleeping a lot later than I expected. I was tossing and turning all night, though. My brain was too active, I guess. On the upside, that must mean I actually had some fun last night. Also, I finally feel awake for once—I think I've been pretty sleep-deprived lately.

I joined Adam, Kari, Becky, and Spike in their activities by going to Ground Zero and watching some Sex and the City. We also had some pizza, which was good, but it felt like it took forever to get delivered.

I wasn't quite feeling like myself at Ground Zero for some reason. I think I had a headache—I just couldn't move in the ways I wanted to. Maybe I used up my monthly dancing quota last weekend ;-)

I probably just need more exercise.

Anyway, it's fun to go there and get at least one or two girls to smile at me—that really makes my day. But, I have to admit, it's probably all due to the shirt.

Posted by mike at 01:37 PM | Adam , Kari , Music , Spike | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 26, 2003

Party At Spike's! Bring Your Porn Stories!

Went to Spike's to get some grillage. At first, I was a little concerned that things would be a bit boring, but I guess that's because nobody had started cooking anything yet ;-)

Talked a bit with Dan, and mentioned the Apple ][ screensaver. Told him to befriend me on LiveJournal, and also mentioned that there are a bunch of other things you can get through the RSS feed syndication system on LJ, including comics.

Other than that, I chatted a bit with Kjersten (not quite sure if that's how she spells it), and convinced Dan to regale us with tales of his travels. I thought he'd been on more than 4 trips across the pond, but I guess I feel better now knowing that he only has me beat by one (though that first trip to Norway was when I was only a baby and couldn't even sit up for more than a few seconds at a time—or so the story goes..)

I got reminded that Dan ran into trouble with people going on strike. Lots of people seem to have trouble with that when traveling in Europe. My second trip to Norway, which took place when I was in 7th or 8th grade, involved us taking a harrowing train journey from Copenhagen to Oslo because some airport workers had gone on strike. We ended up getting to our destination, just 18 hours late or something like that...

Kjersten had lived in Scotland while taking some classes for a while, so she was excited when Dan mentioned his trip there. I guess they both actually knew someone from the Milwaukee area that had been involved with both of their trips too.

The rest of the group there talked about a lot of different things, running from racial stereotypes to racial stereotypes in porn. I didn't really have much to add to that conversation, but I thought it was interesting that Kari mentioned at some point that she knew another Korean in school, but both of them were adopted, which I guess confused a lot of people. Anyway, I just thought that was interesting since I grew up with an adopted Korean in my grade, and her brother was in the same grade as my brother..

After that, Kari took us all on in a few rounds of Halo, and beat all our asses. I may have to try again sometime. It takes me a few times to get my brain to understand game controls like that.

I think I do better with inverted controls in Halo (pointing up makes you look down, and vice-versa), but I generally prefer to have one less axis of control to worry about. I've kind of forgotten how I play in Quake, but I think I generally just use the up and down arrows on the keyboard to propel me, then use the mouse to look up and down (non-inverted) and turn left and right. I generally don't like being able to look in a direction different than the direction I'm moving..

Anyway, stuff happened.

Blah, blah, blah..


Posted by mike at 12:07 AM | Dan , Kari , Spike | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Took a wander around Nicollet Island today, and filled up my camera's memory card with pictures. It was nice to get out and see some greenery and the river, though it wasn't very easy to shake the nagging thought that I was probably within about 30 feet of a paved surface almost the entire time. Oddly enough, I mostly took pictures of bridges and other manmade objects peeking out of the woods..

Saw that Erin has returned. I wouldn't have expected her to be back so soon, but she's sick.

Ugh, I breathed something in through my nose while I was out, and now it seems to be stuck tickling the back of my throat.. I coughed and sneezed to try and get it out, but it doesn't seem to want to go. I suppose it might just be a phantom sensation, or maybe I'm getting sick like everyone else..

Posted by mike at 04:20 PM | Erin , Photography | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, May 27, 2003


Went to Cafe Latté with Dan, Kari, Spike, Sarah, and Josh. The last time Sarah had tried to bring us (well, the last time I'd been invited along, at least), we sort of got snowed out. The place ended up being closed that time, so we went to Ciatti's next door instead.

Anyway, finally got to eat at the intended target this time. I don't think any of us really knew how the system worked there, so we probably ended up buying more food than what we needed. I got a large salad, a sandwich, and a drink, which all added up to around $13—a bit much. I think the next time I go, I'll just get a small salad along with a drink (or water), and spend money on some of the nice desserts they have there.

We had some pretty good conversation, too. Somehow, Spike and Kari seem to induce topics related to Asian culture, which is cool but odd at the same time. As far as I understand, neither of them grew up learning much about Chinese and Korean culture, respectively. The American education system didn't help out much in this regard, since it's generally so Europe-centric.

Still, I made mention of the fact that Erik's now in China, so we have a guinea pig of sorts to test out our cultural theories ;-) I gave Sarah his e-mail address since she apparently didn't know it..

This might not have come up if it weren't for the fact that Sarah and I sat across the table from each other for once. I don't think that's happened for years.. She usually ends up in the corner or something because Josh's left-handedness causes conflicts.. I was again surprised at how easily we talk, given the chance. Usually, I worry that she doesn't like to talk to me, but times like that remind me that we're still friends.

Anyway, good friends, good food, and good entertainment afterwards when we all watched The Big Lebowski at JED's place. What more could you ask for on a holiday (well, other than a non-sick Erin—get better! ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:11 AM | Dan , Erik , Erin , Food , Josh , Kari , Sarah , Spike | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Baby Back Ribs

When I went home last week, I was kind of hoping to meet up with a female friend of mine from high school and way back, but it didn't quite work out. But, it turns out she was out in Seattle—at the same place Adam went—watching her sister graduate.

Ugh, my back's been bothering me lately. Unfortunately, I haven't been exercising, so it's probably all my fault. So, either I need to exercise, or get a girlfriend who will rub my back. Or both. Both would be good.

I think my back got a lot worse when I went home, though. The bed in my room there is a bit old and is not nearly as firm as I need. Aaagh!

Posted by mike at 11:30 AM | Adam , Exercise | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Jeez. Wikipedia is totally addicting.

Posted by mike at 05:05 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Wiki! Wiki! Wiki!

See previous entry

Posted by mike at 05:16 PM | Internet | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Infringe! Infringe!

I need to find a copier in the neighborhood, so I can deduct my cable bill from my rent. Should be $20 less for a month (though I'm going to give two bills this month to get the timing in sync). Too bad cable will be more expensive next month as the promotional 3 months goes away..

Posted by mike at 02:38 PM | Abode | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Fibre for the Diet

Got the major missing components of my fibre channel array today. Wow, buy them the same day on eBay, and they show up on the same day.. Whodathunkit?

Well, they did come from the two opposite sides of the continent. My USPS package came from New York, and the UPS package from California.

The USPS package arrived early, like 9:00 or so, but the UPS guy took his sweet time in getting here. I thought for sure he'd drop it off between noon and 2 PM, but I didn't get it until at least 4:30. I guess this building must be on a different route or something.. Oh well, the package wasn't even scheduled for delivery until tomorrow anyway.

Now I just need some mounting rails for putting 3 1/2" drives in a 5 1/4" slot, and another fan or two..

Posted by mike at 08:44 PM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, May 30, 2003

I Feel Good. I Feel Great. I Feel Wonderful.

Something's a bit weird about me today. I think I haven't been eating right. Oh well, at least I got out of the apartment—I went to Snyders, made some copies of my cable bills (to submit with my rent), and bought some filing folders so I can organize my bills.

I only get a few bills each month, but they're already stressing me out. I guess things get a little confusing since my rent and cable are pre-paid, but electricity and cell phone are post-paid.

Still, I'm starting to feel the bills, so hopefully I'll finally be motivated for finding work on Monday. It's the start of a new month, a way to get going fresh..

The weather is kind of keeping me inside at the moment, though I think I'm going to have to do something later. I'm just off-kilter right now and need something to put me in balance. Maybe someone will want to go see Finding Nemo with me, though maybe that should wait until Sunday or Monday.

Posted by mike at 03:32 PM | Abode , Movies , Self , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Flute Jokes

Haha.. I was just whistling along to a song a bit, and then I realized my lips were pretty weak. I guess it's because I haven't been playing any flute.


I did happen to catch my reflection in the mirror a while ago. I thought that I was a pretty handsome dude and it shouldn't be so hard for me to get a girlfriend. I guess it's good I thought that, since I don't always.. Ah well, there's always tomorrow (GZ! ;-)

Hmm. I'll have to make sure I go out for a walk or something and get my blood pumping a bit.. I felt a bit winded last weekend, but it was really crowded and seemed hotter than usual too.

Now, I should try to get some sleep for once.

Posted by mike at 10:52 PM | Music , Self | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Speaking of...

I like my version better

<Rias> What's the difference between a bj and a baloney sandwich?
<AAA-4hire> oh funny, now everything is funny
<Mulad> the bj tastes better?
* Rias/#tcgeeks peers at Mulad
<Mulad> lol
<AAA-4hire> haha
-:- Topic (#tcgeeks): changed by Rias: <Mulad> the bj tastes better?
<Mulad> heh
<Rias> :)
<AAA-4hire> so??
<Rias> kinda wrecked the joke too!
<AAA-4hire> what is the diff?
<Rias> AAA: wanna go to lunch?
<Rias> :-P
<AAA-4hire> bah

Oh yeah, this is just underlining my hate-of-baloney stance, not the other way around. Just so you know.

Posted by mike at 11:37 PM | Comedy | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 31, 2003

That Line from That Song

Oo! Sunny! You know what that means!

Yep, I have to do laundry, clean dishes, buy food...

Posted by mike at 12:38 PM | Abode | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Congreſs

It really piſsed me off in high ſchool when I was reading ſtuff dating back to the Conſtitution, but now you have it, The Straight Dope on long s. There's alſo a nifty little Wikipedia entry.

Posted by mike at 02:24 PM | School | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Heh.. Movies Are Awesome

From Go:

Burke: Now, as law enforcement officers, Irene and I, we cannot recruit distributors from inside the force. It's against the rules. So what we do, is we look for people in other industries.
Irene: Like the entertainment industry.
Zack: Uhh, wait, wait. You want us to sell Amway?
Burke pauses, and looks perplexed
Burke: It's Confederated Products, it's, it's... it's a different company. It's a different quality of product.


Zack: I need to do something terrifically unwholesome after that. I need to bathe in sin.

I agree.

Posted by mike at 06:23 PM | Movies | Comments (1) | TrackBack