Archive for May, 2003

The end is near

Thursday, May 29th, 2003

Wow. Two weeks from Saturday and I walk. Creepy. Now what? “And now life really begins.” Name that quote! Immediate family members are exempt from this quiz. Speaking of quizzes, I’ve only got Dead Week and Finals Week left and that’s it!!! Wow. So, the entirety of all my remaining school work is: final project in astronomy, take-home final in math, final in CIS 111, and a final in astronomy. Oy. That’s it. Hurts my head.

The forums have been a big sluggish lately, and I’m currently working on improving the design a bit to make it more efficient. This is only a stopgap solution, though. What I really want to do is redesign the whole thing from scratch. This was my first attempt at creating a web forum, so naturally I hate it. I’ve got some new ideas on how to do it better, so I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, it should be business as usual here.

Oh, and in case anyone’s interested in what I’ve been doing for CIS 111 this term, here’s a link to all the silly assignments I had to do. The username is “111” and the password is a three-digit representation of Kim’s birthday (month&date) minus one month. I’ll put up the number after the class is over. They have us password protect the folder so the other students can’t cheat, I think. In any case, I don’t wanna get in trouble for compromising the “security”. Enjoy!

A bit better

Tuesday, May 20th, 2003

Well. Last week really sucked, didn’t it? And it seems I’m not the only one for whom it was troublesome. I don’t recall who it was I was talking to, but others seemed to have been having hard weeks lately as well. My condolences. At any rate, “I got better.”

Currently, I’m in the Cal Berkeley Main Library computer lab writing this. They didn’t hassle me coming in, so I guess I’m cool. Let me bring you up to speed on how last week got better as it turned into this week. Thursday night was both cool and sucked for a couple reasons. I’ll tell you why it was cool, but you already know what I’m going to tell you: I saw the new Matrix movie and it was a lotta fun. Glad that I went. Not everyone liked it, but I still thought it was cool. Friday was the first day of my hall trip, and everything went smoothly. We got the vans, got the food, and got out there all occording to plan. We all had a good time playing on the beach, sitting in hot tubs, hanging out and going shoppping. And Saturday night we had a big campfire on the beach and made smoores. Good stuff. We used an entire can of lighter fluid. Not because we had to, but because it was there!! Good times. The trip back had no problems and we even left on time.

The next day I drove down to California with dad and here I am. The drive down went quickly and we’ve got tons of bugs on the front of the Toyota Camry we rented. Rental car, ‘cuz mine’s in the shop, you see. Oh, and I got a call from my mechanic. He says that no, I don’t need a new engine block, and no, I don’t need a new cylider head. This is good news. It’s still gonna be ass-expensive for the other stuff to get repaired (head gasket, et al), but this is as good as I could have hoped for. Anywho, this Camry should get Matthew and I home just fine by Wednesday.

Speaking of Matthew, I’d just like to take this time to tell the world how irritating his keyboard and mouse are. First of all, he’s got this trackball, and unless you’re used to a trackball, it’s a little slow going at first. Now, this isn’t really a problem in Windows, but if you’re playing a game, for example Counter-Strike, it’s certain death. This sucks. His keyboard however, is damn impossible. It would have taken me about three hours to type this much on that thing. Not only is it a “Devorak” keyboard (supposedly more efficient key layout; the letters are all in the wrong places), but it’s also flat, split in two, and the letters are in a grid and not offset. This madness can only be explained by “Matthew is a nutjob”. Anyways, that’s why I’m in some lab on a crap-tastic tiny ViewSonic monitor. It’s so small (14″, I think), that the text box I use to enter these news rants in didn’t fit in the width of it. This had the unfortunate side-effect of having to scroll back and forth with each line of text. Lucky for me, I’m so very clever…

<DAMN I’M GOOD TECHIE TALK>
Like most lab machines, the Powers That Be limit what programs the user can run, how much of the filesystem I can see (Only A:, it seems), and if I can use the right mouse button (no, I cannot.) What I wanted to do was connect to my webserver and modify this page slightly to make the textbox a bit narrower. However, I need to run a SSH client to do that, which is not an icon on this computer’s desktop. BUT, I remembered that one used to be able to do a “telnet://telnet.foo.com” from the address bar of a web browser. So I tried that, and low and behold, I can connect to EFN, cuz they still allow telnet access (UO only allows SSH.) I then SSH from EFN to my webserver and make the change. Damn I’m good!
</DAMN I’M GOOD TECHIE TALK>

Well, that’s it for now. I’m gonna wander around Cal Berkeley for a while and see what mischief I can’t get myself into. Ciao!

Worst week ever

Thursday, May 15th, 2003

This week has totally sucked for a variety of reasons. It started with a midterm on Monday and got much, much worse.

First of all, there’s the trip I’m taking this weekend with 20 of my residents. This is a MAJOR headache getting it all planned out. Earlier this week I had a big hassle of trying to scrounge up drivers. I had been asked the Housing department to put on a van certification class for about a month and the answer was always “in a week or so” or “soon.” Well, it came to the last week and then they said they couldn’t do it. So I was really pissed off with the Housing office cuz in my opinion they totally dropped the ball on that one. In any case, it’s been worked out so we’re good for drivers now, but I was stressed about that for all of Monday and Tuesday and part of Wednesday. I was also stressed out due to a amazingly small amount of money I got from Catering for our meal points for the trip. Drew said that I can get another purchase order (PO) from our hall account to suppliment that, so I’m not as stressed as I was. I’m going shopping for food for the trip tomorrow after I get the vans from the Oregon State Motor Pool. The only worry I have for that is how I’m going to get to the motor pool. Now, normally I’d drive there, but this brings me to my other, much larger stresser for the week.

My car is in the shop right now. I’d been having some weird readings on the temperature gauge, so I took it in to have it checked out. Apparently I have “major engine problems”, which I immediately hear to mean “your car is totalled.” It seems I have an “internal engine coolant leak”, which is most-likely caused by blown a head gasket, which will cost almost $1500 to fix. Believe it or not, but this is the best-case scenario. It could also be a cracked piston head or a cracked engine block. I really don’t even want to consider what that will cost to fix. If that’s the case then I’ll probably just not have a car anymore. I’m not sure what new engines run, but I’d rather not think about it. So, consider this a request for any donations to the cause from anyone whom I’ve ever given a ride to in the past. I certainly do not have this kind of money at hand myself, and I’m really not sure what to do. Thanks.

So yeah, this week has really sucked. Each day has had something go wrong in it. At this point I’m saying “at least it can’t get any worse”, but that’s really temping fate and I’m not sure that’s wise. Today, Thursday, should be better. It’s busy but not terrible. I’m here at work ’til 4, then I’ve got a couple of small errands to do before staff meeting at 5. After staff, I’m going to see dad for a while, then I’m going to pick up Megs from work (with dad’s car) and go see the new Matrix movie. Should be a good day. I’ll let you know. You’ll understand if I’m a little pessimistic.

Always amazing

Wednesday, May 7th, 2003

I always find it amazing how many posts I get on my really short news briefs. This is not the first time it’s happened here and it’s happened on Kim’s site, too.

Some of you may have noticed that the site was down this morning. Obviously if you can read this, it’s back up. What happened was that the CIS department restarted the web server and so I had to restart my database daemon so my site will work. It doesn’t come back up automatically when the server is rebooted (I don’t have that kind of access on the server), so I have to start it manually. I do have it set up to try restarting the database twice a day in case it goes down, but it hadn’t got to that time of day yet. Anyways, bottom line is that it’s working now. Yay! As for the weirdness in the forum, I have no idea. I don’t feel like messing with it right now.

My computer is still weird, but it’s behaving better now. I haven’t tried the Linux side in a while, but I have no reason to believe that it’ll behave better. On a somewhat related subject, I’m looking into a new motherboard for my system. One that’ll support the KT400A chipset, SATA hard drives, 6 USB2.0 ports, and possilby even Bluetooth technology so I can interface it with my cell phone. Won’t that be somethin’? 😉 Anyone got any suggestions?

Misc. stuff

Sunday, May 4th, 2003

I’ve done a few new things to the site here. One change is that I redid the web comics page with brief descriptions all new graphics I put together myself. Another couple things is that I added a new survey and a new ChrisCam pic. And lastly, you know that little random quip up at the top of this page? Well, when I originally designed it, I had the tag above my name. Later on for style reasons, I moved it below my name. Problem was that some of these lines sounded much better coming before my name. So I now have it so some of them show up above my name and some show up below it. The majority are fine below it, but there’s about a dozen or so that will appear above “Chris Brunner” now. Enjoy!

Next phase

Thursday, May 1st, 2003

Well, I ran a RAM testing program all night last night. It ran a loop which took about half an hour per iterration, so it completed 22 tests by the time I stopped it this morning. No errors found. I guess my next move is to check out the hard drive more closely. I’ve got another one that I can swap in and play around with for a little while to see if that one exhibits errors as well. I also should probably test out the IDE cable while I’m at it. If it still shows problems, then I’ll move on to removing other hardware until it goes away. If I’m down to bare bones at that point, then it’s either the video card or the motherboard. I’m more inclined to believe the motherboard at this point because it’s where the RAM goes and that’s been acting weird lately. Of course, if the hard drive swap shows no errors, then I’m taking it as inconclusive until I run with the second drive for a long time, which is a major pain in the ass. I won’t have all my stuff, and I’m not even sure there’s an OS on the other drive. I haven’t used it in about a year or so. At one time I had four hard drives in there: an 8GB, a 6GB, and two 4GB drives. I was really getting tired of keeping track of which drive had which data, so I got one big one (60GB) and got rid of all the old ones. One of the 4GB ones is SCSI, and it’s in my closet. Another 4GB one I think I gave to Drew. I think dad has the 6GB one in his computer at home, so that leaves the 8GB one still in my case. It’s been there for a year, completely disconnected from anything inside the computer–I really didn’t have anywhere else to keep it. Anyways, it gets one last ride as I need it for a guinea pig. I’ll let you know how that phase goes.

In other news, I went paintballing last night. Good times. I got a few new marks on me now, but nothing serious. I haven’t been in a long time, so that was good to go and do. Also, my hall took second place in the complex-wide scavenger hunt. We got a lot of stuff, but another hall got it faster. Oh well. We’re still in first in the overall Battle of the Halls competition.

Tonight Megs is coming over so we can catch up on some TV shows I’ve been taping this week. We’ve got Alias from last Sunday, Kenshin from Tues-Thurs, and The West Wing from last night. Should keep us occupied for a while.

I guess that’s enough for now… Oh yeah, welcome to the month of May!