• • Trucksess.com • •

Journal 2002-03

Current entries

2002-03-31, Sun (Day 605, temperature at 10:00: 25.5°C, difference: -0.6°C, Easter): Today is Easter but Israel declares a war on terror against Palestine. Go figure.

I worked on my econ problem set for much of the day. In the afternoon two publications sitting on the tables in the McCabe second level lounge distracted me. The first piece that got my attention was an article about levels of radiation present on airline flights. This Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article made for good reading. It said the worst flight of the 14 they took in terms of radiation dosage was from Newark to Hong Kong. This was the longest flight but more of a factor was the location of the fight path. There is more radiation closer to the poles and this 15.5-hour flight flies near the Arctic Circle and goes over Russia’s Siberia. Going on this flight would expose you to 3 chest X-rays of radiation or 53.1 microsieverts. At the peak of the exposure the radiation level was 3.1 µSv/hr.

One sievert unit is equal to 8.38 roentgens according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This document also says a chest X-ray is 50 µSv, while the WSJ said 15 µSv. The article used the chest X-ray as a way of making the measurement more understandable but the lower conversion value makes it seem that the flights had more radiation since they translate into more chest X-rays. For example that Newark-Hong Kong flight would have only been one chest X-ray with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory conversion.

The WSJ continued that domestic flights didn’t have as much radiation primarily due to the lower altitudes. The government recommends a dosage for general civilians of no more than 50 chest X-rays a year. Therefore it wouldn’t take much before a passenger would go over the yearly limit if they flew the Newark-Hong Kong route regularly. The London to New York route had pretty high radiation levels but the Paris to Buenos Aires route even though it took twice as long had a lower exposure. Since the second route flies more over the Equator the radiation dosage is less.

I finished this article and continued with my problem set for a bit but then I saw an article teased on the cover of Wired about an autism epidemic in Silicon Valley. Never mind the cover story about the future of war, “How to Beat a Terror Network,” “Decentralize or Die,” and “Welcome to Surveillance Nation.” I read the autism article, which discussed Asperger’s syndrome. This affliction is characterized by being intelligent but not having social skills, the tendency to focus on patterns, and getting absorbed in a single topic.

The cause of Asperger’s syndrome appears to be genetic and people who work in IT tend to have a genetic predisposition towards Asperger’s. These IT people find a mate who also likes to code and therefore concentrate, an example of assortative mating. Their offspring are likely to develop Asperger’s since both partners have the predisposition to disease. I took the pop quiz to see if I could have Asperger’s and it said I was fine, even though I scored midway between the control score and the Asperger’s syndrome 80% tendency threshold.

I read a few other articles in the Wired issue and then read the cover stories. By then I think it was after 15:00 so I quickly got back to work. After dinner in the evening I finished my problem set and then back in Worth I read Gnutella Forums posts and then worked on a new archives page for The Phoenix Online that dynamically shows small icons of the cover and is dynamically generated. If I wanted to get eight hours of sleep I would need to stop before 02:00 so I stopped sometime before then.

2002-03-30, Sat (Day 604, temperature at 15:23: 26.1°C, difference: +2.4°C): I did get up at 10:00 but I was tired enough and it was somewhat cloudy that I decided to sleep some more. I got up in the mid-afternoon so I only had one meal in Sharples today but it was a larger than average meal. They also had chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, which I was excited about. In fact I got so much of it I couldn’t finish it.

I started the laundry before dinner but I couldn’t use most of the machines until after dinner. Even though I went to the Cabaret on Thursday partly so I would have more time for events this weekend, that reason made no sense this week as the movie this weekend was “Monsters, Inc.” for both nights. I saw this movie over break and there was no second movie this weekend. The Cabaret took over LPAC for the weekend and there were no events listed for Lang.

The Sager party was this weekend but I would only go if someone gave me something to wear since it is a crossdressing party. Norense said he might go as is and I agreed to go with him as is since he was going like that as well. It turned out Norense didn’t knock on my door so I don’t think he went and neither did I. As a result I didn’t go out tonight. Now I feel better that I go to events during the week since that time period is now offering more.

I read Eudora e-mail later this evening. It takes an hour for me to go through a week of e-mail so I have 20 hours of e-mail to get through. I played SimTower before going to bed.

2002-03-29, Fri (Day 603, temperature at 09:26: 23.7°C, difference: +0.3°C): I dreamed I was entering the Ridley Middle School via these elevators on the basement floor. I had to enter the building in an elevator that only stopped on the bottom and top floors (-3 and +3). I then had to directly transfer to a local elevator from the first without stepping out into a hallway. I ran into problems so I had to try a few times for the switch to work. The elevators were medium-dark gold colored. The lighting in the elevator wasn’t that great since the gold-colored wall surfaces reflected poorly.

Now I am in the lobby of the middle school and I am complaining about all the rules in the school mainly having to do on limitations on where certain stuff can be carried. For example I was walking with a group of people down the hall to the music classrooms but before we could do so this woman had to leave behind this light-colored blue and green envelope in her hand. There was a rule that said you couldn’t carry those light-colored blue and green envelopes down that hallway. The people in the lobby told me that an administrator was attributable to making these rules.

While outside the middle school before I got on the elevator in the beginning of my dream, a pointy metal arrow punctured the skin on one of my limbs directly from the top.

I went to breakfast today since I got up early enough. The Internet connection was down this afternoon and while it didn’t affect me greatly I wanted to see if I could establish a connection in LimeWire to the on-campus computers running Gnutella. I had a few IP addresses to try and only one of them worked. This machine apparently was not connected to anyone else. From this person in nearby Willets the speed was remarkable, 450 KB/s. Normally in LimeWire I get 2 KB/s.

It is reaching a point where I will just have to go file by file through my computer hard drives and delete stuff. I intended to do this since September but it takes a long time so I keep putting it off. Several times I would run very low on drive space so I would look for big files or recent downloads to trash but I tapped these sources enough where they no longer have any significant files to delete. Now it seems that in order for me to continue using my computer I will need to go through all of my files. Realistically this could take weeks since I could delete or archive a number of files if I just took care of that task but the time to branch adds up.

For example, I haven’t been fully reading my Swat mail since the summer and at the beginning of this semester I got caught up to 2001-09-20 but I haven’t worked on the back e-mail since then. If I read all my mail I could archive this period and start a new, small mailbox, and also switch to IMAP. The thing is I need to read all of that mail, which consists of at least 1,000 messages.

This Friday afternoon was quite nice with clear skies and warmer temperatures. I went to the Intercultural Center at 19:30 for the film showing of “Brincando el Charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican.” I read Gnutella Forums posts in the later evening and played SimTower.

2002-03-28, Thu (Day 602, temperature at 10:00: 23.4°C, difference: -0.8°C): I slept an extra hour so I started for good at 11:00. I had a WA meeting for my econ paper at 16:00. Eric gave some helpful remarks and there weren’t a deluge of comments written on my paper; I was pleased.

Tom left for Pittsburgh after dinner and John will be in Boston for the weekend. I went to the student publications office at 18:45 for The Phoenix editorial board meeting and Jeff was there so we could setup the FireWire drive to backup the server. The meeting was early since Dee said earlier today that a number of staffers wanted to see the Cabaret at 20:00. They left for LPAC rather early while Jeff and I watched the backup progress on Milhouse. At 19:55 Jeff and I felt like dispersing as even though the sustained speed of the FireWire drive was 130 MB/s and peaked at 400 MB/s for large files, it still will take a good amount of time to backup 15 GB or so of data.

So Jeff left to get food and I left for LPAC. It seemed weird trying to go to the Cabaret at the last minute since if they started on time I wouldn’t be able to get in right away and there may not be seats. If there still were seats only the bad ones might be left and I might not spot the Phoenix group that went. If I did see the group there might not be a seat next to them. Without an open seat next to the Phoenix group I would have to sit somewhere else and would feel socially awkward.

However, I still tried going to LPAC tonight since I wanted to see if I could get in and this action would free up my weekend entertainment schedule for other events. Tonight is the opening night for the Cabaret and there are performances tomorrow and Saturday.

There was no line at the door, there were plenty of empty seats in general, and it didn’t take long to find Phoenix people. The seating configuration had a large center area with numerous round tables with a couple chairs around each one. The side seats flanking the center table area were turned perpendicular to the stage. The back rows of the Pearson-Hall Theater were available like always. Phoenix people were sitting at a few of the round tables. I approached them and asked if there was an open seat. Brendan suggested there were loose seats on the side wall. I grabbed one and brought it to the table.

The performance was good although there were a few rough edges. Sitting with Brendan and Nathan, the former who brought a pocket dictionary and both who have done theater work, gave all of us a more critical view of the performance than a typical audience member.

I read Gnutella Forums posts after the show. After 01:00 I played SimTower for a couple hours. I intended to play the game during spring break and failing that I was going to play it last Friday afternoon. I was too busy during break writing the backup script and last Friday I was catching up on sleep during the day. So I found the time to play the game now. I took the large tower I was building over winter break and redid the elevators so each floor had more elevator connections but I made the standard elevator shafts higher.

2002-03-27, Wed (Day 601, temperature at 09:52: 24.2°C, difference: +1.1°C): I dream I am watching an Action News weather graphic titled “Windy Anomaly” as today in my dream the area has had very high winds.

After stopping by Kari’s office this afternoon about this week’s semantics problem set I went to McCabe to write up the problems. I noticed the front cover of the Delco Times had the word “tragedy” and “Park” on it. It looked like Ridley Park and when I revealed the entire cover that’s what it said.

At first I thought it was a murder but when I saw swimming club I thought drowning but then I saw “Police Chief Marks found dead in the swim club lot.” So I figured he was gunned down. Then I saw apparent suicide and was bewildered. I spent some time reading the article and was just stunned. Since my family is away today I photocopied the article in case they didn’t get today’s paper. Also note that part of my dream on 2002-03-24 was in the vicinity where the suicide occurred.

I resumed the semantics problems, finished, and went up to the publications office at around 17:00. I used the new version of the Quark xPort script that can associate images with articles so the images can be processed automatically. The script also ran slower and with 16 pages done for the first deadline it was tough finishing the first batch of pages early.

I still did get back to my room by 18:30, which is slightly better than last week. I put up the early edition and went to Trotter 203 at 19:00 for MST3K. Tonight was the showing of episode #506, “Eegah!” This movie from 1962 was about a caveman who abducts people to his place in the desert. There were a few amusing chords during the movie.

In the first third of the movie I got the idea to e-mail E.B. and ask for any information about Oregon since she is from that state. I sent the message to her before leaving to the office at 22:00.

I thought that Nathan and I were going to get out of the office earlier than in the past but the image AppleScript caused problems and other oddities slowed things down. Nathan finished and left sometime after 03:00. I didn’t leave until after 04:00 since I wanted to do the art before leaving the office and returning to my room would induce sleep cues.

The backup script didn’t garner as many speed complaints this week although Ivan said it crashed Moe a few times. However the backup script didn’t get up to the current date with the copies. One G4 didn’t even get past the 100-week period and the others reached various dates in 2000 and 2001. This discovery was a bummer as it shows quite clearly that I need a faster algorithm yet once again.

Doing the art was far less of a hassle this week since Nathan’s script had Photoshop make the full and icon images as well as FFO files. I just had to merge the FFO files and run my insert image AppleScript to place the image include into the correct article pages and make the pop-up pages. This second thing is what actually caused the slowdown for doing art. I was running the insert image script over the network so it took four minutes to run per article. In the end I just did the last three articles by hand since I didn’t feel like waiting.

Ideally the insert image script shouldn’t even be necessary if the article pages automatically loaded the image.php include and the pop-up pages were generated dynamically. I didn’t put the include in the article templates since the code in the include isn’t optimized. I wouldn’t feel comfortable placing the image include in pages where the unoptimized code wouldn’t be used but it still would be loaded. For the second condition I would need to add code to image.php to do dynamic pop-up pages.

I went to bed after 05:00. It is late enough in the year where it gets light at this time so going to bed late this semester will be increasingly more difficult since I will have less or none of my sleep in full darkness.

2002-03-26, Tue (Day 600, temperature at 11:00: 23.1°C, difference: -0.7°C): I slept an extra hour since I felt particularly tired. By getting this extra sleep though I lost an hour to do stuff making the rest of the day slightly more compressed. After lunch I started my semantics problem set due Thursday. I continued working on the set following afternoon classes.

After dinner I continued working on my problem set and got the problems worked out before leaving the library at around 00:45.

2002-03-25, Mon (Day 599, temperature at 10:00: 23.8°C, difference: +1.7°C): I listened to Kevin’s radio show on WSRN this afternoon and did searches for my name on Google. Jesse and John brought up Oregon at dinner.

I went to the Sager keynote in LPAC Cinema at 19:30. I had the feeling that E.B. was going to be there and she was. I sat with Lillie. Later tonight I went to the SWIL movie “A Matter of Life and Death” at 22:00 which had a very funny Frenchman in it. Before and after this event and the keynote I did reading for semantics in McCabe.

2002-03-24, Sun (Day 598, temperature at 10:00: 22.1°C, difference: +3.5°C): I dream I am outside the Acme in Folsom, Pennsylvania standing near the railroad tracks. The store is getting a new large black sign but it looks older than the one it has in real life. The sign installation is on an Action News news brief.

Next, I am in my room on a high floor but I am in a different building that is still a dorm. This exotic vine, with a nested mouth and claw in one area and people on the vine in another area is growing outside my window. When I welcome the vine, which is harmless despite its menacing appearance, people from my hall come in my room to chill for a few minutes. My computer crashes and I am still running Quid Pro Quo.

Another part of my dream involves being high above Las Vegas at night in a helicopter. There is a structural problem with one of the casino buildings. The existing structure of the casino is a single-side long stair step pattern on the narrow dimension of the rectangular building.

Today I finished my econ paper draft this afternoon. Following dinner I went to a lecture at 19:30 in LPAC Cinema about Japanese-American prejudice during World War II. After the lecture I got caught up with ten days of Gnutella Forums posts. I visited so many message threads that I got a 400 Bad Request error since my cookie string for my session was too long. I needed to delete the cookie for each thread to continue reading posts. I also upgraded to the latest version of LimeWire Pro.

It’s been a year since I started using LimeWire; recently I feel that LimeWire is not really good but there aren’t more than a couple peer to peer options for Mac Classic users. I’m starting to feel like 68K users did when the Power Macs started gaining popularity. My computer is getting behind the times since I’m not running OS X.

I can run Windows and Linux on my iMac, which would alleviate part of the problem but using Virtual PC for Windows introduces another problem. Running Windows daily would cause my backup partition to fill up much more frequently and I would need to do more time-consuming recycle backups. I could run Linux but I’m not sure why I don’t do that more.

The new version of LimeWire slightly lessened those feelings of being left behind since it has a slightly different look and is more responsive but I still feel shortchanged. Essentially I miss the old days of Napster, which was a Mac application that wasn’t written in Java, used a reasonable amount of memory and worked well.

I went to bed at about 05:00 since it took several hours to get caught up with the Gnutella Forums posts.

2002-03-23, Sat (Day 597, temperature at 09:06: 18.6°C, difference: -0.8°C): I was waken by loud music in the building. The song was new and good but since I was waking up to this I thought it was 12:00 or later since no one in the past has played music early in the morning. I got up and it was only 09:00. Mike was playing Steely Dan’s “Babylon Sister.” I didn’t know the title of the song at the time. I e-mailed Mike late this evening for what it was.

I did the laundry, went to lunch, and started perusing the eight issues of the Wall Street Journal that I had to find a piece to review for my econ paper. I found very few candidates and the ones I did find I was not particularly fond of. By then it was nearly 15:00 so I tried the Brookings Institute, which Prof O’C also suggested, and I found a number of candidates and some of them looked like good pieces. I went to Beardsley public area to start writing the paper.

I took a break for dinner, continued writing in Beardsley, and went to a lute recital at 20:00. Following that I went to LPAC Cinema for tonight’s movie, “The House of Mirth.” The movie was still going on at 21:51, which the other first arrivers and I found out when we entered the darkened cinema. E.B. and a guy walked out of the cinema along with everyone else at about 22:00. E.B. said sarcastically that the movie was good to us.

I sat a row behind the people I arrived at LPAC with. Even though this turn of the twentieth century movie was supposed to be somber and not humorous we found funny stuff with it and laughed loudly at various points during the movie. We were likely annoying people and pissing them off but we couldn’t help it.

I got back down the hill heading to Worth expecting to hear loud music since there was supposed to be a party in the Worth courtyard tonight. However the music I heard was quite subdued and when I passed Willets I saw a party in Mephisto’s. I saw a sign in the Worth courtyard that the party was relocated there since it was cold tonight.

2002-03-22, Fri (Day 596, temperature at 07:03: 19.4°C, difference: -4.2°C): I woke up on the Kohlberg bench at some point before my first class started. I didn’t want to go back to sleep again since I might sleep too long and miss my class despite having been in the building. I did want to look like I was doing something so I made the subconscious decision to look at my econ notes. Since I was so tired I didn’t really understand what I was looking at. I remember Kate was at the end of the hallway that was closest to me although I could have been imagining this or mistaking her for someone else.

I was the first in the classroom so getting there was a success but I kept falling asleep during econ anyway since I got no more than two hours of sleep. Prof. O’C seemed like he was trying to get my attention and I was trying to stay awake and take notes but I wasn’t doing a good job of it.

Looking back at my notes now I apparently only wrote down what was written on the board, as I didn’t have much for the day. Normally I also paraphrase various things the prof says, which adds to the length of the notes but this class meeting didn’t appear to have this supplement. My handwriting for that class was also uneven in letter spacing, ink intensity, and contained large scratch outs.

I was more awake for social psych and my notes for that class looked more typical. I ate lunch with Kai, Marilyn, and Emily in the Sharples big room closer to the serving area. This part of the big room is prone to more unexpected outbursts and we were sitting next to a table that was just doing that.

I went to bed at about 14:00, expecting to get up as late as 21:00 to catch up on last night’s sleep. I got up at 17:08 and I could have went to dinner then but I went back to bed so I could keep my sleep as contiguous as possible. I ended up waking up at 19:58. I got myself together and when the time came I went to Upper Tarble for the 22:00 showing of tonight’s movie. By getting up at 20:00, I missed the early evening events so I had a fair amount of time before the late evening events started.

The movie in Upper Tarble was “Mulholland Drive.” The first showing of the movie ended a few minutes after when the second version was supposed to start. The projectionist bellowed twice before starting that the movie was in VHS and since it was projected onto a large screen it would look bad.

It didn’t look that bad but the sound was lacking. This problem was in part due to a sizable number of people showing up to this screening and the party in PACES. Not only was the music from the party carrying through to Upper Tarble with a noticeable degree, people from the party would hang out in the hallway on the side of Tarble and talk loudly. These factors made the movie experience not so enjoyable. What made it worse was this movie was a somber and long one and didn’t seem fitting to have a party atmosphere bleed into it.

I went to bed soon after the movie since I wanted to get up earlier tomorrow to start writing the draft of my econ paper due Monday.

2002-03-21, Thu (Day 595, temperature at 10:01: 23.6°C, difference: +0.7°C): I felt out of it for almost the entire day. I thought afternoon classes were going to be a drag but at least semantics was fine since complicated things today were engaging but anything less wasn’t.

There were complaints yesterday about the backup script in the publications office being too slow and I wanted to implement the new core that I started putting together Tuesday night. I worked on the script after class today in my room and went up to the office following dinner to continue. Ed board was at 19:00.

Nathan and I were in the office until almost 07:00. I was working on the script for most of the time but near the end I was waiting for the copies to complete. This script is faster but I don’t know yet if it will be better for responsiveness. I put in a line in chksrc() to delay for a minute if Photoshop is the frontmost application.

The core of the script no longer has a recursive method for getting the paths of all of the files. Instead it asks for files modified in the past day via a single OSAX command. If older files haven’t been copied yet it starts at the beginning by copying files more than 100 weeks old and then goes day by day from that point until the present. To give an example of how this method is more efficient Scratchy had 1.39 GB of data copied before I ran this updated version. In the span of a couple hours 2 GB in total was now copied. So the new version did in two hours what my old script would take days to do.

This updated version hasn’t been tested as much though and I would like to rewrite this script into two files to workaround the Script Editor 30,000-character limit. Right now when I add stuff and run over I need to trim or delete comments, which has the side effect of making my script harder to understand. I would rather want to rewrite after Retrospect is regularly running on the server so my script would cover data copying patterns that Retrospect isn’t doing as well. Retrospect is not well suited for minute-by-minute backups so I could focus on the versioning aspect of my backup script then.

While working on the backup script, Nathan worked on the Quark xPort script and the image script. Nathan fixed some bugs with the headline grabber, added subhead processing, automatic file saving since the automatic numbering works properly now, and made sure the names in the byline are capitalized. He also had Quark xPort display a listing of the images on the page. When images were selected for an article a data file was written that kept track of what article file number goes with what image.

The image script uses this data file to get the images off the server like the old image AppleScript did but it also renames the images with the article file number. Additionally, the script makes FFO files that contain the credit and caption. Nathan also had the script call a Photoshop action that makes icon and big versions of the images. He also tried writing IPTC data to the web images but that gave an error. Despite this problem the rest of it is so cool and the amount of time this setup will save will be significant. I haven’t done the art for the online edition since the 2002-02-21 issue and this automation will make it easier to get art on the site in a more timely manner.

After returning the publications key to Ben West I went to my room to rest for a bit and take a shower. This morning was really nice; I forgot how nice it is first thing in the morning. I went to Sharples for breakfast and after that point I got really tired. I remember being in the bathroom but I was going really slowly and to keep from falling asleep and falling down I was singing. I was singing stuff that was made up. I didn’t want to go to sleep in my room since I would probably oversleep class so I walked up the hill and starting at about 08:45 napped on the long bench on the second floor hallway outside Kohlberg 226, my first class.

2002-03-20, Wed (Day 594, temperature at 09:03: 22.9°C, difference: +0.5°C): I got up at 09:03 without an alarm and since I didn’t want to miss econ again I stayed up from here. There was enough time to eat breakfast so I went to Sharples. I also had nearly enough time to go for a walk so I did that also. It rained today into the early evening. I got back my econ and social psych midterms today.

I met Kari in the afternoon to go over the last problem set in semantics. Temple called me about the longitudinal study at 15:30 and I took a half-hour to answer those questions. By then it was 16:00 and I only had an hour to work on the backup script. I went up to the office after 17:00 and left sooner than usual since the auto numbering on the Quark xPort script saved more time than I thought.

I put The Phoenix Online early edition up and went to Trotter 203 for the MST3K showing. Tonight’s episode was #408, “Hercules Unchained.” Fewer people were here tonight than on 2002-03-06 and that was when people had midterms. I don’t know what the typical attendance for this event is yet.

I continued working on the backup script after the show ended at 20:42 until 22:00. I still needed to do some work on it so I put the rest of this week’s articles up and then worked on the script in the office. I started running into problems beginning with the Script Editor refusing to open the file since it was too large. To get the file open I needed to use Smile. The G4 I was working on in the office was slowing down so I couldn’t test the small changes I would make to the code quickly enough. By then it was after 01:00 so I stopped working on this project for the night and did the front page. Nathan and I finished at around 02:00 and I went to bed soon after 03:00.

2002-03-19, Tue (Day 593, temperature at 10:00: 22.4°C, difference: -0.5°C): Class this afternoon seemed drawn out due to my tiredness. When I went to work on my semantics problem set after class I kept falling asleep. This drowsiness continued into the mid-evening.

I finished the problem set at 23:30 and checked from my computer the distributed backup status in the office. It appeared to be working although almost all of the stuff from Storage wasn’t copied over. New items from Current Issue were on at least one of the computers though. I wrote some sample code that should do the backup faster based on what I found out in 2001-12. I found this idea out by looking at an old e-mail I wrote to Nathan. I went to bed at 02:30, early since I didn’t want to miss econ again.

2002-03-18, Mon (Day 592, temperature at 11:06: 22.9°C, difference: -1.1°C): Classes resumed today. I got up at 08:49 in a slight panic thinking that I slept through my alarm. Realizing that I didn’t I went back to bed. I then woke up at 11:02 and was bewildered that I managed to oversleep through econ class. Part of it is due to the cloudy day and with the sun not shining directly in my face I didn’t think I needed to get up in the morning.

I got dressed and went to Kohlberg. I waited for econ to end and then I entered the classroom to turn in my problem set and talk to Prof. O’C about class. In the afternoon I listened to Kevin’s bluegrass WSRN radio show from 14:00 to 15:00. I caught the journal up and went to dinner.

I noticed after dinner that only half of my icicle lights were working and the section near the door was completely out. I thought a bulb had blown out but I couldn’t fix the problem. Additionally the lights appeared to have shunts so a burned out light shouldn’t disable the entire circuit. What probably happened was at least one of the sockets became loose over the past day. I checked them tonight but that made no improvement.

Annoyed by this problem, I found out the Target/Genuardi’s shuttle runs on Sundays so this failure happened on the worst day of the week. With my room at half-brightness it was difficult to see so I put a bulb in the top lamp of my lamp tree and pointed the beam towards the corner near my door. The beam was somewhat distracting but the room brightness was about normal. However, when this lamp is plugged in the radio connected to my computer loses a fair amount of reception ability. I managed at first to get everything to work but this solution is really just a workaround until I get more lights.

I sent Nathan an e-mail about my T1/ISP idea and went to Kirby for the SWIL movie, “Five Million Years to Earth.” However the SWIL non-members couldn’t find it so they showed “Stepford Wives” (1975) instead. This movie was difficult to follow at times until the very end when everything became very clear.

I went to the office for two hours after the movie to fix two bugs in the backup script. One had to do with copying busy files and the other improved keyboard typing responsiveness.

2002-03-17, Sun (Day 591, temperature at 13:23: 24.0°C, difference: -3.2°C): I got up after 13:00 and went to the office with food. I fixed the bugs I noticed yesterday save for the IP address folder bug since I thought it was fixed by chance but I found out late tonight that perhaps it wasn’t. I went to Sharples for dinner and returned to the office for the rest of the evening. I didn’t see any Phoenix people today but Halcyon and Spike people were in the office this evening.

At about 00:00 I switched gears and worked on the Quark xPort script. I read the code first so the changes I made would integrate well. I changed the last modified dates to be based on the current time and added automatic file numbering. There still are outstanding issues from last September I still haven’t done yet. Nevertheless the two changes I made today will in part save repetitive time needed to update the XML template manually twice an issue and provide a more accurate date modified. The file numbering will also make saving files easier since I won’t have to remember the highest number I saved.

I got back to Worth after 03:00 and sent a few e-mails out. Most of the mail content had to do with informing selected Phoenix people about the backup script.

I inadvertently left my alarm on over break, which is understandable considering I left for break after dinner in a rush given the middle school play was at 18:45. I thought that the battery might not have enough power to sound the alarm for Monday morning so I did a test and the alarm did sound. Even earlier today I still felt that I would oversleep and miss econ though. Considering I went to bed after 05:00 at the very beginning of dawn that was a valid feeling. I didn’t expect to go to bed this late. Despite the time I took a shower before going to bed.

Considering how this break reminded me of last fall break where I spent most of the time working on one thing gives the indication that this academic year has a symmetric repeating quality to it. To give another indication of that claim it rained today but there was a wintry mix at around dinner with a dusting on some patches of grass. After winter break it snowed, which was the only significant snow this season. Two plane incidents occurred a few days before and after 2002-01-01, the shoe bomber on a 2001-12-22 transatlantic flight and the small plane crash into the Bank of America building in Tampa, Florida on 2002-01-06. The shoe bomber was subdued before he could detonate the explosive in his boots and the Bank of America building didn’t catch fire. The question about this symmetric pattern is does 2001-09-11 have a counterpart.

2002-03-16, Sat (Day 590, temperature at 13:02: 27.2°C, difference: +3.6°C): At home I left the backup script running overnight on the 5,500 item 50 MB Netscape 6 cache folder. Previously my script didn’t have a good time with this folder. Part of it is due to the unrealistic nature of this folder; I didn’t set Netscape to cache this many items but a bug prevented these files from being cleared.

When I was doing maintenance on John’s computer on 2002-03-05 I noticed this problem with Windows IE 5. In this case though Internet Explorer was set to cache a large amount, 271 MB which translated into more than 30,000 cache files. I lowered the setting and cleared cache files. While Windows Explorer didn’t display the files, virus scan and Scandisk both reported those files as still being there. Tom didn’t know why that was happening.

My script only copied 3,000 of the cached items before running out of memory. This morning I quickly added error logging and computer specific configurations so I could use the script in the publications office. It was at this point that I was running into significant problems with the 30,000 character Script Editor code limit. I had to shorten a few things and make a Date time library but I still didn’t have much room to spare.

I got on campus at about 13:00. My computer was off the network early in the week and when I got to my room my iMac was on but it wouldn’t wake up. I think my computer went down since it was warm in the room. This spring break was warmer than normal similar to how spring break during my freshman year was.

After unpacking I went to Ben West for the student publications office key. I went to Parrish with food for lunch and dinner since I expected to be in the office the rest of the day. It took two hours to get the four G4s I was going to use for the distributed backup checked with TechTool and prepped for the backup script.

I then spent the rest of the evening starting the backup script and configuring iDo. It took a fair amount of time figuring out how to copy over the iDo.hourly script without breaking the link iDo had with the old hourly script. It turned out in AppleScript I couldn’t copy the folder above the folder containing the script but I could copy the folder that was immediately above.

Nathan and Liz came up to the office in the late evening. I left the office after 04:00 and left the backup script running. I found out later that a recursive bug with the IP address folder prevented the disk copy from proceeding past a certain point and as a result it didn’t make much difference leaving the computers on to do more of the copy.

2002-03-08, Fri (Day 589, temperature at 10:00: 23.6°C, difference: +2.3°C, Spring break starts): I had a dream that my parents knew to get me laundry detergent even though my primary bottle ran out and I hadn’t yet told them.

I also dreamed that I was sitting in the passenger seat of a silver-colored car parked in a lot in Chester County. Dad gets out to go in a store nearby. After a few seconds I have the feeling that I am at risk. A person dressed in black approaches the door pointing a shotgun at me. The car window is closed. Knowing that this is a carjacking I immediately get out of the car but my muscles are freezing somewhat. I slip out of the partially opened door and briefly think fight or flight and choose flight. I get a few steps away and the gunman shoots me in the lower back anyway. I fall to the ground a few feet away from the car near the right rear wheel.

I find this dream odd as I don’t ever remember being shot in my dreams and the only gun references I have in my recent memory are MST3K (the women used guns throughout the movie) and the anti-gun ad in this week’s Phoenix.

Today was the last day of classes before spring break. I printed out last semester’s journals after lunch. I talked with Gator at 15:00 about the generator in the Worth N basement. The generator wasn’t starting up.

I left for home after dinner. Even though I still haven’t done the art for the past two Phoenix issues, given Sharples stops serving food after today it would be more costly to stay here than just go home and eat for free.

The Comcast network connection at home appeared to be a third of the @Home speed and on par with the Swat connection at about 270 Kbps.

In the evening I went with my family to the Ridley Middle School to watch the play “Toga! Toga! Toga!” During the play I thought of an idea for my home after Swat to get a T1 for a faster Internet connection. Since this line starts at $300 a month, to cover the cost I would have 56K dial-up accounts use a portion of the pipe.

I told my parents about my Oregon idea, which they understood, due to my technical career inclination. I did research about the T1 idea until about 04:00. It seems like the most expensive piece of equipment will be the modem rack.

Over break Dad and I visited Nana twice. I also drove with Dad every full day I was home, 2002-03-09 to 2002-03-15. I spent most of my time working on a distributed backup script. I intended to leave the script running at home when I left for break and also have it run in the student publications office for the Phoenix partition. What actually happened is writing the script took full time starting on Sunday and I didn’t finish enough of it to leave it running at home in confidence. Even though I am short on time I still am going to return to campus on Saturday so I would have time to get the script working in the office before the week starts.

2002-03-07, Thu (Day 588, temperature at 10:00: 21.3°C, difference: +3.2°C): I took money out after going for a walk to replenish my cash on hand. However, due to spending, this withdrawal did more to keep my cash on hand constant than adding to it. Before semantics I went to the Tarble Atrium in Trotter to start my econ problem set. Class this afternoon was difficult since I only got four hours of sleep.

I continued working on the econ problem set after class, after dinner, and after ed board. The set is due on the Monday that classes resume but I figured I wouldn’t have time or feel like doing it when I get back from break. Ed board was at 19:00 and was short.

After finishing the problem set at 21:00 I decided to read Gnutella Forums posts. Even though I could do this at home whereas I can’t easily do the Phoenix art and proofing at home I am more behind in reading the posts, considering frequency, than in doing the art. I got tired after 01:00 having not finished getting through the posts again. Thread rating was disabled so I was able to get through the posts faster since I didn’t have to load two extra screens per post but it didn’t provide enough time savings to finish.

2002-03-06, Wed (Day 587, temperature at 10:00: 18.1°C, difference: +0.2°C): My dream was rather involved but I don’t remember anything from it. The econ midterm was practically over before I could realize it. I got up at 10:00 like I normally do. The midterm started at 10:30 and ran until 11:25. Following that period I felt better even though the midterm itself was not bad.

While going for my walk after lunch I looked at the Science Center construction from Cornell. I saved MacFixIt reports from the Google cache for most of the afternoon. I went up to the office near deadline both times like I have been doing recently. This week the deadlines were met on time partly since the paper is only 20 pages and people want to get things done with break around the corner.

I got back to my room at 18:30 but I was thinking that there probably wouldn’t be entertainment this weekend but I still wanted to do something. I checked tonight’s events and there were two movies at 19:00. The time was earlier than I would have liked but I still wanted to go do something and get the early edition up first. I updated the article templates with the new right rail feature collection and then put the early edition up in no more than a half-hour.

I briskly walked up the hill at 19:10 to Trotter 203 to watch Mystery Science Theater 3000. This MST3K episode was #610 “The Violent Years.” The short before was “A Young Man’s Fancy.” The short was really funny showing how life is so pleasant with modern conveniences. The plot of the feature movie involved a group of women who turn to crime.

After the showing I put The Phoenix cover up, renewed my Libertarian party membership, and added an issue date column to the popular page. I got the rest of the issue online by 00:00 but it took another two hours to get the final front page up. There were a lot of things going on so Nathan and I kept forking but this caused everything to slow down. Dee and Liz stayed in the office to do academic work.

Nathan showed his image caption and file moving script in action, which is very cool. The current version takes Quark files and gets the caption styles and image references from them. It then puts the captions in a file and then locates the best type of image and copies it to a folder on the desktop. If there is a color corrected version of the image that is used first, if not then the uncorrected color digital camera image. If the script can’t find that image type then the black and white image is used.

I didn’t leave the office until after 04:00. I sent out the headlines e-mail and went to bed.

2002-03-05, Tue (Day 586, temperature at 10:00: 17.9°C, difference: -4.4°C): After eating a large lunch with Jesse and going for a walk I went to the third floor of the Tarble Atrium in Trotter to continue studying for my psych of self-control midterm. Kari had us do in-class exercises for semantics that ended up taking the entire class period instead of the 15 minutes she expected them to take.

Andrew was still out of town at the exam time so Joanne Bramley, the psych department administrative assistant, proctored our exam. Jessica my RA was the social psych midterm proctor on Monday. Today’s midterm wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I started studying for the econ midterm afterwards before dinner.

I went to Palmer after dinner to check John’s computer since a computer virus was set to strike tomorrow by zeroing out data. I updated his virus definitions, did a scan, and installed ZoneAlarm, a software firewall.

I updated my virus definitions and ran a scan on my computer when I got back to Worth. I went to the office at 20:00 for mini ed board but the meeting was delayed by at least a half-hour. In the meantime I continued studying for econ. Following the meeting I continued studying in McCabe stopping sometime after 00:00. I felt rushed near the end though.

Seth left a voicemail about problems in the publications office, which I returned. Dee told me the server got unplugged and a number of files got corrupted but not necessarily the files that were open.

I then spent almost three hours saving MacFixIt archives from the Google cache since last month the archives turned into a pay service. I found this as a shock when I found out earlier this evening. Even though I have a midterm tomorrow morning, I felt it necessary to save the bulk of the data now since tomorrow afternoon the cache may be updated and then I wouldn’t be able to access the cached archives.

2002-03-04, Mon (Day 585, temperature at 10:00: 22.3°C, difference: -0.9°C): The social psych midterm wasn’t that bad but there was just enough time to answer the questions and not much more. I finished right at the end with no time left to adequately read over my responses. Others had to rush at the end. Interestingly enough I was writing fast and brief at least for the first half of the exam so anything more involved would be problematic. There were 26 short answer questions in a 50-minute exam period.

Later in the afternoon I started studying for my midterm tomorrow afternoon in psych of self-control. Even though this was another Andrew Ward class I found studying for this midterm more difficult. My notes were incoherent as the class structure was not conducive to taking notes.

The Ridley School Board meeting was tonight but since I had an econ lecture at 19:30 I went to the latter instead. I also didn’t go to the SWIL movie “Dungeons and Dragons” since I needed those two hours to study for tomorrow’s midterm. It turns out it would have been nice if there was more time to study today. I wrote up a sheet summarizing my self-control notes like what I did for social psych on 2002-03-02 but I realized that my notes didn’t cover everything in the readings. So I started summarizing by each reading. However there were at least a dozen readings so while my first article summary was long and complete most of the rest were limited to one sentence that only covered part of the article.

I finished at about 00:30, made a sample page of Phoenix Online right rail features, and went to bed after 02:30.

2002-03-03, Sun (Day 584, temperature at 09:53: 23.2°C, difference: +1.7°C): My dream involved some rather strange, difficult to define things. I was with my mother trying to get these things much smaller than us outside of an octagonal enclosure to go into the octagon. I myself was in the octagonal enclosure but when we were having problems convincing them to go into the octagon, I got out of the polygon to persuade the things to be moved. When each thing was persuaded its color changed. I had all of them persuaded, but no one took the action to have all of them enter the octagon. Disgusted, I grabbed my coat and left.

I put screw art on The Phoenix Online as a slide show around lunch and then I went to Papazian for the second part of the experiment that I started on 2002-02-24. Following that I went to McCabe to do my econ problem set. I solved the problems rather quickly and then I switched to studying for my social psych midterm. Following dinner I wrote up my econ problems and then went to Lang for an Orchestra 2001 concert that John was performing in. I returned to McCabe to continue studying for social psych. I left a few minutes before 00:00.

2002-03-02, Sat (Day 583, temperature at 13:56: 21.5°C, difference: +1.0°C): I went to Sharples after 14:00 for a late lunch. Following that I went for a walk and then started the laundry. It didn’t take long for it to be time for dinner and tonight was the Screw festivities so I planned on staying until 19:00. John was in Philly for an Orchestra 2001 concert so Jesse, Tom, and I watched the Screw antics. Jesse and then Tom left and I hung around. At one point there were a lot of people standing around but nothing was happening. Then all of the sudden a lot of people cleared out and it looked like things were over since it was getting close to 19:00. I did see a lot of props but not a lot of shouting.

I returned to Worth after 19:00 to find that a load of my clothes was still drying. It had been going at least two hours when I only put money in it for one hour. The left dryer runs longer for each cycle and multiple cycles create an accumulated difference. My clothes, even though they were the darks that normally dry last, had a burnt smell to them. I put the whites in on the same credit that had been going for more than two hours now and then prepped for the evening. Before going to the “Dust” project in LPAC Theatre at 20:00, the long dry cycle had finally stopped so I continued it for another cycle. The performance in LPAC was a collaboration between Indian and Western dance.

There was a Q&A following the performance and this one was more organized than the Jump Rhythm Jazz Q&A on 2002-02-23. However, by staying for the full Q&A I didn’t get any refreshments. I went to the Kohlberg Coffee Bar to start studying for my social psych midterm on Monday. I left a few minutes before 00:00 and went to bed an hour from then.

2002-03-01, Fri (Day 582, temperature at 10:00: 20.5°C, difference: +1.7°C): I ate a granola bar this morning and it didn’t taste excellent but it also didn’t taste bad. Worse, I felt hungry after my first class so it didn’t work that well.

Lunch seemed a little odd. Kai and I walked into the big room to see if we saw Kevin. We didn’t so we put our stuff down with some other people. Then when I came back with my food Kevin flagged me down. He was sitting alone but his table had more room than the table I put my bag at. I took a chance and moved my stuff there. Kai and Madalyn didn’t sit with us though so Kevin and I joined them anyway. However their table was a mess since Kai’s milk spilled due to Steve and it got on Marilyn’s chair. So Kai dumped a glass of water on the chair to clean it off but it left the chair wet. I noticed that the chair was still wet so it was then dried off before Marilyn came back.

After lunch Kevin and I went for a walk in the Crum. The woods seemed pretty dead considering it is the winter and there is a drought. In the afternoon I looked at The Phoenix Online popular page engine since yesterday the counts were very low and then they jumped up after 24 hours had passed since the current issue went online. I found out that if multiple requests for any article were in a single update period only the most recent request of all of them was added to the cache. When the cache was refreshed for an article all of the results for that article were then included. I fixed that bug this afternoon while I was dozing off. It seems that I am losing the ability to stay up as much as I used to and I need to sleep more.

I met John at Kirby for the 19:30 showing of “Goonies.” However the projectionist couldn’t find the reels. So he showed tomorrow’s movie “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” instead. This movie was quite strange. The music was very good.

I read Gnutella forums posts afterwards but I got too tired at around 02:00 so I needed to go to bed without having caught up reading the posts.


Journal 2002-02

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