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Journal 2003-04

Current entries

2003-04-30, Wed (Day 855, temperature at 08:45: 20.6°C, difference: -4.5°C): I finished breakfast before 09:00 so I had some time before art history class started to rest before giving the group presentation. I took a nap in the afternoon.

I went up to the publications office for the first Phoenix deadline at 17:00. I had time to go to Sharples more than a few minutes before closing. Student Council was doing the food tonight so there was steak, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and other niceties. The ice cream was much easier to scoop than on 2002-12-10 when Student Council also served Ben and Jerry’s.

I spent the evening in Beardsley computer lab writing my psychology class term paper. I went up to the office at 22:00 for the last Phoenix deadline of the semester and for me. The cover for this last issue was quite good. It seemed kind of weird to be doing the last Phoenix issue but I didn’t get that sentimental. The headlines script worked well and made producing the e-mail much easier. Soon after 00:00, I returned to Beardsley to continue writing my psych paper.

2003-04-29, Tue (Day 854, temperature at 10:32: 25.1°C, difference: +4.1°C): There was no environmental studies class today so I got up at 10:30. I spent a good portion of the day in the publications office writing a script to make a Phoenix headlines e-mail automatically.

The Sexual Health Counselors were screening the movie “Secretary” this evening, so I went to that. I finished the automatic headlines project after the movie. This project took a long time to complete not because I had a hard time extracting the needed data from the XML files but due to some programmatic problems I needed to solve so that the selectors for articles retained their presets. After the headlines project was ready I made various Phoenix Online workflow improvements.

2003-04-28, Mon (Day 853, temperature at 08:00: 21.0°C, difference: -1.5°C): I started my morning sitting at a booth in the middle room of Sharples. The art history group that was presenting on Friday continued today and took the entire class period so my group was unable to go. After lunch I went to the publications office to burn CDs for The Phoenix. Some of the discs I was burning before dinner gave verification aborted errors but when I did a file compare Toast found no appreciable differences with the source folder and the target CD.

I went to dinner a few minutes after 19:00 and returned to the publications office about a half-hour later. I ran out of time to start burning another CD before leaving again to go to LPAC for a Terpsichore dance concert. Despite nine dance pieces, the concert ended in an hour. Back in the publications office, I finished burning CDs and sat in for the mini ed board meeting.

2003-04-27, Sun (Day 852, temperature at 12:56: 22.5°C, difference: -3.5°C): I ate lunch after 13:00 and got caught up with e-mail today. Dinner was a little odd in that a guy played the guitar to women and then would ask them if they would marry him. I read two old New York Times this evening. I took a shower close to 00:00 and went to bed shortly after then. Despite going to bed so early I didn’t have that hard of a time falling asleep.

2003-04-26, Sat (Day 851, temperature at 11:19: 26.0°C, difference: +1.7°C): After eating lunch I went to Clothier Field for the last women’s lacrosse game of the season. Swarthmore lost the game to Haverford in second overtime, 12-11.

I did the laundry in the second half of the afternoon and finished it before going to dinner. I initially was going to spend much of the evening catching up on my Swatmail but I saw there was a student dance concert tonight at 20:00 so I went to LPAC to see it. After the concert until 00:00 I rotated last week’s web request logs.

After rotating the logs I went downstairs to a party in the Wharton basement. Despite there not being many people there at first the atmosphere felt really good. It later got more crowded. The music was really good, which was one of the reasons why I stayed until the party ended.

2003-04-25, Fri (Day 850, temperature at 13:36: 24.3°C, difference: +0.9°C): After reading today’s New York Times I wrote several journal entries this afternoon. I had not been reading the New York Times this week since I was spending much of my time in the publications office working on the direct XML project.

I went with Jesse to the Swarthmore College Orchestra concert in Lang at 20:00. For seniors, including John, this was their last performance with the orchestra. I went to Olde Club after the concert for a show by The Pirates, Circulatory System, and Lilys. I found the music good to rock to.

2003-04-24, Thu (Day 849, temperature at 09:07: 23.4°C, difference: +0.2°C): I took an hour nap until 18:00 and then went to dinner. I wrote my astronomy paper this evening before going to pub night.

2003-04-23, Wed (Day 848, temperature at [N/A]: [N/A]°C, difference: [N/A]°C): I went up the publications office for both Phoenix deadlines and worked in Cornell in the evening. This week’s Phoenix issue made use of the new XML system.

2003-04-22, Tue (Day 847, temperature at 09:06: 23.2°C, difference: +0.7°C): This afternoon I prepared for my part of the art history presentation for tomorrow. I did this work in Beardsley computer lab since I was typing up a presentation outline. Following that I went to Cornell to read tonight’s astronomy lab instructions. It was drizzling at the time so I thought there wouldn’t be lab tonight but Eric sent an e-mail at about that time saying the skies should be clearing right when lab starts. I was skeptical at first but his statement turned out to be the case.

I went up to the publications office in the late afternoon to continue working on the direct XML project. By 19:00 I reached a point where I started testing the new system on articles in last week’s Phoenix issue. At this time I went to dinner since Sharples was going to close. After dinner I went to Sproul 300 for the last astronomy lab. The skies were most certainly clearing up by then but more of a problem was that it was still light outside. There was some idle time before it was dark enough to go outside to observe stars. The lingering clouds were a hindrance at first but they later went away and the sky became clear.

I got out of the lab at about 21:45 and met my art history presentation group in McCabe for our presentation tomorrow. Once the meeting ended I returned to the publications office to continue working on the direct XML project.

2003-04-21, Mon (Day 846, temperature at 09:01: 22.5°C, difference: +0.5°C): In the afternoon and evening I worked in the publications office on the direct XML project. I also worked on a short paper for psych class in the early evening.

2003-04-20, Sun (Day 845, temperature at 11:08: 22.0°C, difference: -3.1°C): After eating lunch I went to McCabe to meet two others in my art history class to work on our art history group presentation. After that I went to the student publications office in the second half of the afternoon. Over the rest of the day and evening I finished client maintenance and resumed working on The Phoenix Online direct XML project.

2003-04-19, Sat (Day 844, temperature at 08:31: 25.1°C, difference: -0.1°C): I finished the laundry by 12:00 and then went to lunch. I went to the CS lab for the afternoon to work on my assignment due today at 20:00. After my program was due I walked down to the Bond parking lot for the 20:30 shuttle. Five other Swatties also got on the shuttle to ride to Bryn Mawr for the concert by Tracy and The Plastics, King Cobra, and Booty Olympics. We arrived at Bryn Mawr at about 21:00 and walked to the Marie Salant Neuberger Centennial Campus Center.

We get to the center and find a stage with some sound equipment there but no band equipment or the bands. There are chairs in front of the stage but no audience. Confused, especially since the concert should have been going on for an hour now, we asked a nearby desk sitter. She unfortunately told us that the concert happened earlier today.

We were disappointed but I don’t know how this could have been avoided since when I checked the online schedule of events again today it did say the show was tonight. On one of the signs hanging in the lobby of the campus center it listed the concert but both the location and the time were scratched out. Next to the cross outs it gave the earlier time and the different location, the campus center.

Our group sat outside the campus center to pass time before the shuttle back to Swarthmore arrived. Back on campus I went up to the publications office to do maintenance on two more clients and then went to the Multi party in Paces after 00:00. While walking from Wharton to Paces I saw a large group leaving the party.

Seeing that large of a group heading away from Clothier made me think the party was emptying out but in fact Paces was still really crowded and humid. The windows were open but that did little to bring in enough dry air. There were no party lights unlike the overly bright ones last night. As a result, it took a few minutes for me to see faces that I could recognize in the back room. The music was pretty good despite not being dance or top 40.

2003-04-18, Fri (Day 843, temperature at 09:01: 25.2°C, difference: +1.9°C): After eating lunch I went to LPAC Cinema to watch the senior speak-off. Those seniors in attendance voted for who would speak at graduation among the fifteen speakers who gave five minute speeches today.

I went to the publications office following the event to continue server maintenance. In the evening I read the New York Times in my room and then returned to the publications office. The maintenance tasks finished so I put the server back to its normal state. Once done with the server I then started working on client maintenance. I went to the party in Paces for a half-hour until about 01:00.

2003-04-17, Thu (Day 842, temperature at 08:00: 23.3°C, difference: -1.0°C): I dreamed I found old Seattle Post Intelligencers sitting on a table in a lobby in Parrish. This area on the main floor of Parrish didn’t look that familiar.

John and I gave our environmental studies presentation this morning. In the afternoon I went to the publications office and did server maintenance. After dinner I prepared for discussion in art history class tomorrow in the McCabe center area by the circulation desk. I went to pub night at 21:30. Near the end of the event people started dancing, which I partook in. I stayed afterwards to help cleanup.

2003-04-16, Wed (Day 841, temperature at 08:01: 24.3°C, difference: -1.1°C): Eric Jensen was back in class today, having returned from his research trip to Chile. The added heat today made my cheeseburger at lunch taste good since the cheese was warm.

I met John at 13:30 in McCabe to finish our environmental studies presentation. I went to dinner before 17:00. Part of the middle room is now closed off for changes to the new checker stands, making it almost impossible to walk from one end of the room to the other. I walked up to the publications office at 17:10 and continued working on the Phoenix direct XML project. I also updated the hiring information.

I finished my psych term paper proposal in Beardsley by 22:00. I also needed to print a bunch of readings out, which took a half-hour since some of them needed to be formatted and they were located in different out of the way places. I continued working on the XML project in the publications office this evening. The room temperature was warm at first but it rapidly dropped, further increasing the amount of wind today and leading us to close the windows.

By the end of the evening I rewrote the code that parses the XML file into a usable form and gets information from it. I reduced the amount and complexity of XML processing code a great deal and implemented almost all of the article fields. I also got caching for a single file to work.

2003-04-15, Tue (Day 840, temperature at 08:00: 25.4°C, difference: +0.9°C): I actually got up at 09:00 and then went to class. I worked with John this afternoon on our environmental studies presentation. In the evening I finished rotating the web request logs and caught up with Swatmail. After doing that I went to McCabe to start working on the term paper proposal for my psych class.

2003-04-14, Mon (Day 839, temperature at 08:01: 24.5°C, difference: +0.8°C): I got back to Wharton after lunch and went to run the Synchronize script again on The Phoenix Online local copy. When I ran the script late on Saturday it gave an out of memory error that seemed to have went away in all cases after running the script in the Script Editor instead of as an application. I was running it a few times to see if the error was going to show again. Milhouse was not on the network so I went up to Parrish to restart the server.

About fifteen minutes later I got back to my room and ran the Synchronize script again. I got a warning about the .htaccess file being newer on the secondary copy than the primary copy. Confused, I looked at more modification times and saw that the server timestamps were all an hour behind. At first I didn’t feel like going back to Parrish to fix it but I had to in order for the Synchronize script to work properly.

The server time was an hour ahead of what it should have been so I fixed that. Apparently if the computer crashes after daylight savings time switches over the time gets improperly set. My computer also has had this problem in the past.

After putting up yesterday’s journal entry I decided to update the Mac -> HTML script that I use to put my journal online in the Tex-Edit Plus application. In the existing script some of the entity codes were the improper values or didn’t exist at all. All of the tags were in capital letters whereas I use lowercase and I wasn’t completely satisfied with the spacing the script inserted. By 19:00 I had escaped all of the upper ASCII characters that have HTML escape codes so I went to dinner then and finished the script afterwards. Later this evening I went to the SWIL movie at 22:00 in Kirby.

2003-04-13, Sun (Day 838, temperature at 11:00: 23.7°C, difference: -0.7°C): I got up at 11:00 to get more sleep although that made the remainder of the day time compressed. I ate lunch and soon went to the train station. I was going to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for my art history class paper. Due to the SEPTA rail power project the R3 Elwyn train only went to University City so I had to take a shuttle bus to 30th Street Station.

One thing I noticed while walking around today was two plaques a few blocks apart that had on them the name of Philadelphia’s former mayor, Ed Rendell. Now he is governor of Pennsylvania. In a sense seeing Rendell’s name today in reference to when he was the mayor shows the groundwork he was laying for the governor’s office.

I got back to Swarthmore before 17:00 and went to dinner right before 18:30. In the evening I went to Beardsley computer lab to write my art history paper. After writing the paper I went to McCabe to study for my astronomy quiz tomorrow. I would have gone to Cornell but it would not have been open long enough.

2003-04-12, Sat (Day 837, temperature at 08:25: 24.4°C, difference: -0.5°C): I got up at 08:00 to do the laundry and prepare my room for family weekend. I first moved the newspapers that were in front of my couch under the bed. I don’t like putting things under the bed and my bed is low to the ground to begin with but I really had no other place to put the newspapers. I then worked on clearing off one seat of my couch. I also put my iMac poster up again. I previously hung it up right before winter break but it fell down while I was gone and I didn’t bother putting it back up again.

Right before 11:00 I finished clearing off half of my couch and finally was able to sit on it. I hadn’t finished the laundry but I still needed to meet my family for lunch at 11:00. I walked up to Parrish to find them and then we went to Sharples.

After my parents departed I went to Sproul for the afternoon to work on my CS assignment. I did make steady progress throughout the time I was there but the algorithm I was using would have done better in a loop. Had I used a loop each iteration would have been slightly different and I would had an even harder time implementing it that way initially.

After taking a break for dinner I returned to Sproul after 18:00 to finish working on my CS program. I left Sproul a few minutes before 20:00 to go to the chorus concert in Lang. The concert hall was mostly filled when I arrived so I needed to sit in the next to last row in the left corner. I went to the Piel a Piel party in Paces at 23:30 and stayed for about an hour. The atmosphere was really good overall.

2003-04-11, Fri (Day 836, temperature at 09:15: 24.9°C, difference: +0.3°C): Art history class today was pure discussion without slides so we formed a circle in our usual classroom. A large bee was buzzing around the room so we moved to the classroom next door within the first few minutes. Eric Jensen, my astronomy prof, is in Chile observing stars so another astronomy prof in the department, David Cohen, stood in for him.

I went to Kirby for the second part of the psychology senior conference. I had no problem taking a nap this evening despite it being a Friday night. I woke up at 22:00 and went to the publications office to make backup CDs of the client images. I also worked on my CS assignment due tomorrow evening. Preparing the images for CD burning took twice as long as I expected so I had a good amount of time to work on my program while I was waiting. I did take a break to go to the SAO party in Paces.

2003-04-10, Thu (Day 835, temperature at 09:00: 24.6°C, difference: +0.5°C): I went to Beardsley computer lab this afternoon to finish the outline for my psych senior project presentation at 19:15. I went to pub night after tonight’s conference finished after 21:30. Pub night was in Olde Club tonight with live band performances.

I didn’t know how tonight’s pub night was going to turn out with the different setting. Judging by how the first pub night I went to in Olde Club on 2002-10-03 was quite subdued and seemed to be lacking tables I was somewhat concerned. In reality tonight’s pub night was really good; much of it may had to do with the number of people who crowded into Olde Club.

Mixing two events I enjoy, an Olde Club show with pub night had a positive multiplier effect. Most of the beer was served from the basement where there also were tables to sit at. The bands played on the main level, which had the crowd level of a busy Olde Club show. I helped cleanup after the event, which was a quick process since others helped to some degree.

I posted to Blackboard for art history and then put online yesterday’s journal.

2003-04-09, Wed (Day 834, temperature at 08:07: 24.1°C, difference: -0.6°C): I actually slept until 09:00 today. I read two current newspapers quickly this afternoon and went to Sharples soon after 16:30 for dinner. I walked up to Parrish after the first Phoenix deadline after 17:10.

In the office I made some more progress with the direct XML project but I also encountered some snags. I didn’t see an easy way in PHP to parse HTML-like tags so I opted not to use XSLT templates. In basic form XSLT templates have a tag structure like an HTML document. I also had problems getting the eval() function to work with entire files. I figured out that problem when I got back to my room once the early edition was up.

In the evening I prepared an outline for my psych project presentation tomorrow. I went up to the publications office at 22:00 after the second Phoenix deadline. I did make some meaningful progress with the direct XML project late this evening. I saw how the parsed XML document was structured into an array, which I repackaged into another array and used that data type to place the article text, byline, and headline into a test output page.

2003-04-08, Tue (Day 833, temperature at 09:07: 24.7°C, difference: -0.2°C): I met John in McCabe this afternoon to work on our environmental studies project. In the late afternoon I read today’s New York Times and an old New York Times. I ate dinner quickly since I sat down to eat at 18:32 and I had a lecture to attend at 19:00.

I got to the Scheuer room for the career services lecture by author Kenneth Jedding. After the lecture I bought the book “Real Life Notes.” Following the event I went to Beardsley computer lab to revise my astronomy paper. I finished working on the paper soon after 22:00 and then posted to Blackboard for art history. At the end of the night I read an old Sunday Oregonian. After that I went to bed.

2003-04-07, Mon (Day 832, temperature at 10:00: 24.9°C, difference: +2.3°C): There was no art history class today so I got up at 10:00. This evening I read the recent New York Times issues that I didn’t finish on the date they were published. I went to the SWIL movie at 22:00.

2003-04-06, Sun (Day 831, temperature at 12:45: 22.6°C, difference: -2.0°C): I went to late lunch at 14:00. I read Swatmail this afternoon and went to dinner at 18:00. Early this evening I walked up to Liz’s room in Parrish to talk with her and Nathan. I continued reading e-mail afterwards and then went to bed.

2003-04-05, Sat (Day 830, temperature at 08:01: 24.6°C, difference: +1.8°C): I did the laundry this morning and did not have to wait for machines to free up. I went home this afternoon to install Norton SystemWorks on the Power Mac 7300. I worked through the applications installed, ran Norton Utilities, and optimized the drive partitions with Speed Disk.

Back at school I went to the movie in Kirby, “Adaptation.” The movie itself was really good and the suspense at the end was engaging.

2003-04-04, Fri (Day 829, temperature at 08:02: 22.8°C, difference: -0.2°C): After eating lunch I went to the publications office for the afternoon and early evening.

In the office I increased the memory allocations for a bunch of applications on all of the computers. I also changed the Phoenix PDF Page script to rename the EPS produced when images are not found. Renaming the EPS in turn causes the PDF to be distilled to also have the changed name. I then made a testing matrix of six pages and tested PDFing them on the ten clients.

I read today’s New York Times later this evening and then implemented the startup script. My computer kept doing odd things such as freezing or not wanting to open the trash window after I emptied it, giving a 110 error. I needed to restart a few times to get things somewhat ok.

2003-04-03, Thu (Day 828, temperature at 09:00: 23.0°C, difference: -2.0°C): In the late afternoon I went to Cornell to study for my computer science test tomorrow. After going to dinner at 18:00 I returned to Cornell to continue studying. I studied until 21:30 and then went to Paces for pub night.

The beer was out by 23:00 so I left early. In total I was at Paces for 90 minutes, which is half the time of the entire pub night event.

2003-04-02, Wed (Day 827, temperature at 09:00: 25.0°C, difference: +0.8°C): I spent the afternoon getting my journal caught up and then went to the publications office for the first Phoenix deadline. I put together the about us April Fool’s page and then started working on the live XML to PHP project.

This morning ITS changed the DNS record for phoenix.swarthmore.edu so that way it no longer redirects to /org/phoenix/. Many of the links on the site though start with /org/phoenix/ so I need to do a site change to fix that problem. This would also be a good time to have easier to maintain page templates and to do that I am going to use XML with XSLT templates. I do need to write an XSLT parser or similar since Sablotron isn’t installed by default on the SCCS and I want this solution to not require too many extra packages. Despite the extra amount of work needed, I am writing this project in PHP so I shouldn’t have much of a problem with it.

At 19:30 I went to episode #621 of MST3K in Trotter, “The Beast of Yucca Flats.” The shorts “Money Talks!” and “Progress Island, U.S.A.” were also amusing. The main feature was a very bizarre movie with little dialogue and many scenes with people’s backs towards the camera. When people did speak they were almost never facing the camera or they were so far away you couldn’t see their faces.

In the office for the second Phoenix deadline I continued writing the live XML project.

2003-04-01, Tue (Day 826, temperature at 09:00: 24.2°C, difference: +1.6°C, April Fool’s): Before going to class today I walked through some common spaces today looking for April Fool’s pranks. I saw nothing from a glance of the Sproul Sun lab, nor at Tarble. I saw some upside down signs in Parrish but only in a small section by the mailroom.

I spent much of the afternoon in the Sproul Sun lab working on my CS assignment due tonight at 20:00. The assignment was to map regions to a terrain and compute information about them based on user input. I went to dinner at 17:00 and got back to the lab at 18:00 to continue working until soon before 20:00.

Later this evening I found out that my computer’s built-in microphone wasn’t working so I spent some time troubleshooting that. When I would make a sound recording I would get this loud buzzing noise for anything. I did have an external mic to use as a backup, but I got the built-in mic working by turning off auto gain in SoundEffects. Apparently that setting was applying to the sound input available to the system and not just the SoundEffects application. Despite the effect being global the control was local; the gain control in the Sound control panel had no graduated effect on the sound level.

Also this evening I did a small assignment for astronomy and then answered study questions for art history. I also posted to Blackboard for the latter class.


Journal 2003-03

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