Monday, August 2, 2004

Dem Bones Dem Bones

It feels like one of my ribs spontaneously cracked. This happened Thursday when I was just sitting at my desk doing nothing in particular. I should go to a doctor about it. I just wish my life was in a happier place at the moment.

Posted by mike at 10:14 AM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

My Father Was a Poor Virginia Turd-Miner

Wow. I've got quite a headache.

I might end up doing a presentation for the LUG on User-Mode Linux if anyone else actually wants to have a meeting this month.

I'm interested in setting up a uClibc build environment in UML at some point, although there seem to be problems with the current version of UML—the console keeps freezing on me…

Posted by mike at 11:00 PM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Sweet Home…Uh…Nevada.

Having trouble getting your Wi-Fi connection to work?

Record-setting Wi-Fi dish

These guys can help

Posted by mike at 08:26 AM | Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, August 6, 2004

Bicycle Race

Well, I'm still planning on doing a UML presentation at the TCLUG meeting on Saturday. At the moment, I'm looking at using the Prosper class for LATEX to make the presentation and build it for PDF output. I don't think I'll do anything really complex with it, though. Maybe load an image or two, but my LATEX skills haven't been exercised in a long time.

My car is still acting up. I guess I'm thinking the fuel pump is on its way out or has loose wiring or something. I just hope it doesn't conk out in the next few days. After I get paid next week, I plan to take it in to have it checked out, and I might try to borrow my brother's car (though that's a manual and I haven't driven one of those for quite a while—I'd have to practice driving around a bit before getting on the highway, I think).

But, heck, the number of possible things that could be causing the hesitation seems nearly endless. Could be a sensor, the computer, something messed up with the throttle body, trouble with the engine vacuum, and who knows what else.

However, since I replaced the O2 sensor, it seems to be using less fuel, so I guess that's good with new record unadjusted-for-inflation oil prices out there. I continue to seriously consider getting a TDI Volkswagen—if only there was a Biodiesel pump in Minneapolis (the fuel would be expensive in the short term, but as I see it with China and India using more gas, the price can only get more attractive—of course, I actually need money to get a car).

Posted by mike at 07:08 AM | Car , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm Not Nearly As Think As You Confused I Am

I'd like to post a bunch of news links, but I've got to get around to finishing my UML presentation. My day has been really busy. I spent 5 hours on user support stuff, and didn't succeed in finishing everything I wanted to finish. Oh well, the installer for version 2.0.3—in which you can do amazing things like actually change your IP address—is almost ready for testing. Hmm. I just hope that my under-the-hood tweaks to clean up underlying code (which was mostly working anyway) didn't break anything. Mostly it was just replacing frequently-used filenames with variables.

Okay, you sucked me in. Some news/misc links:

Posted by mike at 09:01 PM | Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 7, 2004

Insane in the Membrane

The presentation got off to a rocky start, but ended alright I guess. I can't be faulted for not knowing all that much about something I've just mucked with for a week.

I watched To Die For on DVD finally. I'm surprised how much of the movie I recognized from catching fragments on TV. It was pretty good, but I guess I just don't like Joaquin Phoenix at all. Looking at his face for too long makes me want to break things.

Now I'm tired and confusing my sentences. Sleep is probably a good idea. Too much of my brain has been used for too long this week.

Posted by mike at 06:14 PM | Movies , Self , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 8, 2004

Are You Fornicating with the Devil Again? Gosh!

Heh. I guess I had no idea that Brother Jed toured around the country: here's his schedule. He even has a Wikipedia entry. Heh, he's even celebrating 30 years of campus evangelization this year. You better come out and heckle—looks like he'll be at UMN early next month.

Posted by mike at 11:01 AM | News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Take Me to Your Leader

The miracle of Älmhult, The Guardian:

Like at least one other major world religion, Ikea began in a shed.

Heh. Now I understand.

I did my weekend-ly train ride, but decided to keep going down to the MoA on the bus. After getting off there, I heard some people mutter about IKEA, so I figured I'd head over there after getting some lunch. They definitely have a lot of parking there, but walking or driving in or out of there sucks. Managing to avoid getting run over either inside or outside of the store seems to be an interesting challenge.

Still, like everyone notices, the prices are good, at least for furniture (but I've always thought that furniture has been massively overpriced anyway, so their prices seem about right to me). Anyway, it's kind of weird to have it right next to the MoA if you think about it. On one side of the street is a location entirely dedicated to being overpriced, and on the other you have the opposite philosophy.

I was mostly there researching options for a new computer desk and an actual kitchen table. I suppose I should keep chairs in mind later too. I don't have money to buy anything there yet, but hopefully I'll be able to do that in the coming weeks. I wasn't planning on getting anything, though there was a lightweight bit of stuffing for a comforter that I got since the one I have at home is waaayyy too heavy for use in the summer.

I think I found some good candidates for my kitchen and computer, though I'll have to bring some measurements along next time if I really want to figure things right.

Heh. I thought their 409 ft2 house model was neat, though ;-)

Posted by mike at 07:02 PM | Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Dissonant

*checks calendar*

Hmm.

*looks outside*

Hmm.

Posted by mike at 07:02 PM | Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Slow-Mo

Support took less time today (finally), but I worry that it's just because I caught up with stuff that piled up over last weekend or something. Oh well, support is a neverending thing. At least several minor things are a lot better. I suppose there might be one more release fixing mostly minor things, and then I can start on the bigger stuff.

In my dreams, ha ha!

Posted by mike at 08:47 PM | Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, August 13, 2004

Hey Look At Me I'm a Rockstar

If anyone is listening and can tell me the track that is played on the trailer for Jimmy Fallon's upcoming movie Taxi, I'd appreciate it. I know I've heard it before, but can't really place it. Seems like it must have popped up in an ad for a video game at some point.

Now that I think of it, it was probably Grand Theft Auto: Vice City—though I've never played that game and don't know if the song is in it. Hmm. If that's where the song is from, I guess it's not really surprising they'd use it to promote a movie about cars, bank robberies, etc.

Work was, well, work this morning. Tried to do my normal routine of support in the morning. I thought I'd be able to get done with that early, though I guess that didn't really happen.

It was my boss's birthday today. He was going to try and get his wife to go see Alien vs. Predator, but apparently that wasn't going to happen this evening. So, he dragged my workmate and I out of the office and over to the nearby theater to see the movie. About what I expected, I guess, though actually somewhat more plot than what I figured would show up. Considering the number of people that were at the 1:30 PM matinee, I won't be surprised if it ends up as the top movie this weekend. Not that it deserves it, of course.

Anyway, after the movie, we go back to the office. My boss finds out that his parents aren't visiting this weekend (he's originally from Alaska), which throws his weekend out of balance since he'd been planning on visiting Bemidji with them. Then it turns out that his wife had bought tickets already to go see AVP in the evening as a surprise. So anyway, I didn't envy him having to go home and make her feel better after the whole weekend turned upside-down.

Now, my workmate has got to spend the weekend in jail. Apparently it was either that or pay a bigger fine for his drunk driving conviction earlier this year. The advice my boss gave was simple: “Just don't do anything stupid.” I'm sure he'll be fine.

Sometimes it's good to just have a boring life.

Hmm. I noticed that Anne Hathaway was on The Graham Norton Effect last night. Yes, promoting her G-rated movie. That was kind of funny.

But apparently she's going to be topless in her next movie, so I guess it all evens out.

Posted by mike at 08:18 PM | Movies , Music , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Do Doo Do Doo

Weird. St. Anthony's mayor, Randy Hodson, died on Thursday after a plane crash. I had seen a blurb on TV last weekend where he was saying that his modified 1966 Pontiac GTO (supposedly worth $80,000) had been stolen while he was out of town.

Posted by mike at 09:19 AM | News | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Would You Die for the Mother-in-Law Land?

Woo! I got my $548 property tax refund deposited on Thursday. That means I can go shopping.

Maybe.

Yeah, I think it's just one of those things I got because I made too little money (relatively speaking) and paid too much in rent. That'll probably never happen again.

Posted by mike at 03:04 PM | Abode , Money | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 16, 2004

Out of the Ashes Rises an Idiot

So there's going to be a vote in Colorado on whether or not they should have their electoral votes be allocated proportionally or just stay with the old winner-take-all system that most states have.

The really funny/sad thing is that the main opposition group is named Coloradans Against a Really Stupid Idea.

*sigh*

Posted by mike at 01:17 PM | Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Rubber Band Man

It took me a long time to get anywhere at work today. Well, anywhere that I actually wanted to go, at least. I'd upgraded my desktop machine's kernel yesterday afternoon. It turns out now that I'd pretty much gotten everything right the first or second time, but some problems with our Internet gateway box caused trouble. Turns out that the Linksys WRK54G doesn't handle TCP ECN packets properly. Oh, my favorite little networking bug…

Anyway, for the longest time I thought there was something fubared with my network driver. In the end it was just a simple little tweak to fix. Oh well, at least I brought the kernel from Red Hat's random 2.4.20-8 up to 2.4.26 and then 2.4.27. Now, the 2.6 kernel I have trouble with… 2.4 I can still wrap my head around.

The old kernel my system was using had all sorts of missing things that I wanted, so it was good to start over. The audio driver for the onboard sound was missing, so I haven't had any music for weeks while my coworkers have spent much of the day with their headphones on.

One big problem with the way my computer was set up was that the Serial ATA driver would sit there pondering its existence for about a minute each time the computer booted. This tended to take so long that when I'd reboot the computer (unfortunately something I have to do fairly often), I'd totally forget what I was doing by the time it finished. It's so much nicer without that delay.

I noticed that the processor I have in that machine seems to be a HyperThreading P4, but for some reason I couldn't get an SMP kernel to properly compile. I guess I can fiddle with that later, no that I've figured out the most pressing issues. However, the most annoying thing is that the video driver I use for the Radeon 9200 video card in the box requires a recompile for each different kernel, and it doesn't like switching between different versions at all. So, no graphics for me when I'm doing this testing. It wouldn't be so bad if it was at least a Debian box where I could easily download the text-mode packages I need.

At the end of the day I finally fixed a bug that I had actually almost tracked down yesterday (I must have gotten distracted then or something). Oh well, I guess I got some support done too.

My car still seems to be acting up a bit. Looks like the oil is starting to run low. Maybe I should add a quart, or maybe I should just get it in for service a bit early. Well, actually, with the driving I'm doing these days, I probably qualify for the 6000–7500 mile oil changes. However, it'll still be three months pretty quick here.

Now it's hard to say if I'll be able to get out of the parking lot tomorrow morning, as they're going to be removing a tree next door, and will have equipment in the way. Maybe I'll just have to go into work early.

This Dutch Elm disease is sure going crazy, though. A bunch of trees were taken down nearby earlier this summer, and a few have popped up since then. Of course, the thing that probably annoyed me the most so far was that somebody broke down one of the small saplings at the park that was put in place of an old tree that had been cut up. It's hard to say if they'll replace that one too or not.

Hmm. The weather definitely seemed weird on my way home. It was with the creepy hazy sky where nothing has any definition and you can hardly tell if there are actually clouds or if the whole world has just turned gray. There's just no texture to the sky, so it just feels ucky.

I got some music from the Best Buy. We'll see if my purchase was really the least objectionable or not. I also stopped into Target for some birthday cards for my aunt and grandmother. So now how should I pay the 80¢ postage? Two 47¢ stamps is not enough, but three is way too much. Well, considering the time and effort it would take to get proper stamps… Oh, also at Target, I got some 12-packs for $2 each. That was sweet.

Posted by mike at 08:20 PM | Car , Hardware , Internet , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I May Not Know Karate

Wow

With the presidential election less than three months away, University [of Minnesota] employees have contributed nearly 30 times more money to Kerry than they have to President George W. Bush, according to the latest campaign finance records.

That's carazay.

Posted by mike at 07:41 AM | Politics | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PHP Number 5

Our music server at work only has about 5 GB of files. Weak.

I'm glad that the potholes that bugged in 5th Avenue are gone now. However, most of the road is gone too—ripped up in preparation for repaving, hopefully. However, it seems that they haven't finished 6th Ave yet (looks like only one layer of asphalt has been put down), so I'm a bit worried about how long it's going to take.

I'm curious if the Gopher Motor Lodge will ever reopen. That building has been under construction for a long time, though it looks like nothing has really happened to it for the past year. They must have run out of money or something. I don't know why they decided to put that silly copper sheeting on the sides. Heck, the building might be green by the time it opens.

I'm trying to remember if I actually did anything of substance at work today. I got bounced around between so many projects it's not even funny. I was sort of directed through a weird content management system named Mambo. Not really sure what I think of it yet.

I need to do something to get my website working better. Right now it seems to use massive amounts of CPU time, which doesn't seem good (especially since it's not really my server or anything, and I'm probably sitting on borrowed time as it is). Unfortunately, the server has a somewhat limited tool set to play with. I might try getting things moved over to SQLite again, but some Perl modules barfed pretty badly the last time I tried to compile them. I'd also like to move away from Movable Type since it's not open source, but so many things seem to require databases (another reason to look at SQLite, I suppose), more extensions to PHP than what I have available, or other languages like Python.

Bah.

Posted by mike at 09:39 PM | Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 21, 2004

It's French, Bitch

Another weekend where I did a lot of walking, though a lot of it was inside. I went to the MoA via the light-rail+bus route. That bus kinda sucks, but at least they've had a new onramp to highway 62/highway 55 for the past week so that it doesn't have to do that stupid U-turn anymore. I'm amazed that none of the buses rolled over making that maneuver.

Actually, I walked through Minnehaha Park, following the creek down to the Mississippi and back. Okay, well, I took some of the trails that didn't go right next to the creek, but I figured I should take a different route down there (still, I think I've only gone that whole distance once before). Then I went the rest of the way down the line.

Dick Day and other Republicans in the state legislature really like to mention that a lot of riders are pretty much joyriding. I'm not sure how many people are totally joyriding, going on the train just for the sake of going on the train. I think most people actulaly go to a destination and come back. If they took the train to add to the “experience” of it all, that's fine by me, and it probably kept a car out of someplace it didn't need to be.

Anyway, my mall experience was pretty much like any other I've had. I hardly ever buy anything there. I'm just not the target audience of that place. Usually I just get some faux Chinese/Japanese food at one of the food courts. I had wandered up to the movie theaters to see if they were playing Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, but no dice. I saw that Collateral was playing, so I bated my time by traversing all of the different levels in the mall. I got back up there and waited in line for a ticket when, at the last second, I noticed that Garden State was going to be showing in an hour. So, I ditched the line, got some of the aforementioned Asian food, and wandered around a bit more.

I really liked the movie, except the ending just didn't do it for me. Definitely the most formulaic point of the whole film. At least they had that awesome trancey track that has been used in the ads come in at that point and lead into the credits. So I had to sit and listen for a few minutes—that song has been haunting me since I first saw the trailer. I checked at Sam Goody afterwards to see if they had any copies of the soundtrack, but their soundtrack section was extremely stunted, and I'm not sure if they had anything for any movies released this year. So, I went and made what is probably only my second online CD purchase since CDNow got bought out by Amazon (and I think the only thing I bought in the intervening time was a Car Talk CD).

Also, in my movie post-mortem browsing, I saw this in Roger Ebert's review, which kind of made me thing not so highly of the movie:

She is Sam (Natalie Portman), [a girl] you sometimes find in the movies, a girl who is completely available, absolutely desirable and really likes you

Oh well, so the guy gets the girl. What do you expect? Just if I could get the girl once in a while, that'd be good. So yeah, I'm kind of in the standard haze I get into after seeing movies that have anything to do with relationships. I definitely identified with Zach Braff's character a bit, but it's sad to think that at least he was doped up on lithium, Zoloft, Paxil…

Posted by mike at 10:22 PM | Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Boubonic Chronic

I'm up late. I suppose I'll hit the hay soon, but for now I want to post something. Anything.

So here it is:

The Gimp knows toilet paper

Posted by mike at 12:44 AM | Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I, Donut

There's craziness going on with the Crosstown interchange because the city of Minneapolis wants better busway lanes going down the middle of Interstate 35W. The city is threating to block any work if they don't get what they want. Wacky. There's this Strib editorial saying that they're probably right.

Here's the current design plan for the interchange (it's linked to the original Flash version that you can zoom in on and stuff):

Looking at that, it's crazy to say, but it'll probably be an improvement.

Posted by mike at 08:10 PM | News | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, August 26, 2004

It's Brown Alright…

Grr. I forgot that Amazon might send my stuff via something other than USPS. UPS can't get into my mailbox. Then I have to call and say I'll pick up instead and blah…

Maybe I should have just told them to deliver it to me at work, but whatever. I still have to wait until tomorrow regardless.

Posted by mike at 07:51 PM | Abode | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Minneapolis and Jew

I'm heavily overplaying Frou Frou at the moment. Oh well, it'll be fun while it lasts.

I'm playing around with web design bits now, not that I'd ever really make it as a web guru. However, I can still borrow from the might of others:

  • JSCookMenu is probably the nicest menuing system I've seen on the web. Granted, his demos don't look all that hot, but if you ever end up using Mambo, you'll see how good they are. The drop-down menus on the Mambo demo site (username/password: admin) show what it can do
  • Open Source Web Design has a bunch of nice templates that you can use, modify, or completely mangle if you so choose. IMHO, a lot of them suck, but maybe it's just because I don't like the color schemes (then again, picking good colors is pretty damn tough).

This research is partly due to work, and partly just because I'm interested in making my own site better. Of course, my site will never be cool, but I can at least tweak little bits here and there and hope for the best.

Posted by mike at 03:26 PM | Internet , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, August 30, 2004

Da Ali G Show

I'm still getting job rejection notices.

The U is a tad slow.

Posted by mike at 09:11 AM | Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Republican't

Some days just make you debate communism.

Posted by mike at 09:19 PM | Corporations | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's How Baby Birds Would Get Their News

My mom came back from her trip to Norway today, and we all met her at the airport. My dad drove up from home, I drove over from Inver Grove Heights (IGH to locals, apparently), and my brother took the bus+train+bus option. My ride along I-494 was remarkably soothing. There was traffic, but I didn't have to think about it too much. I guess that's what you get with the wider spacing of entrances and exits there. I-94 between St. Paul and Minneapolis can be pretty stressful in comparison.

I guess we could have possibly met up with my grandmother and aunt (who also went on the trip) because they had to go through security again after they cleared customs anyway, but my mom didn't realize that too late (I can't blame her—I'm sure I wouldn't have thought about it either). That's definitely something that sucks about airport security these days.

Anyway, we just ended up going to a Burger King up on Hiawatha Avenue for supper. Now that I think of it, there must have been something closer on I-494, but I don't know the food options in that area of town very well. Unfortunately, getting back on Hiawatha Ave to go south and drop my brother and I off at the car again (we hadn't decided where to eat, so we just carpooled) was a bit of a challenge. But, we had a decent meal and were able to chat about my mom's travels.

She said that everyone over there hates Bush (heh, the president, not the band), but I'm not surprised.

I haven't grown tired of Frou Frou yet, which is awesome. I suppose someone will release one of the tracks on the radio in about a year, by which time I most certainly will be sick of it.

Most of the MP3s at work were encoded very poorly (well, for my tastes), so I kind of limit my playlist these days. Of course, poor qality isn't the only issue—my boss is definitely a practicing Baptist, and has a lot of sermons on there, plus some woship music. So, it seems kind of weird to see that sitting next to the Polyphonic Spree tracks I brought in (even though I have fairly mixed feelings about most of that group's music).

Posted by mike at 09:37 PM | Family , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack