Older blog entries for bgeiger (starting at number 147)

criswell: Uh huh.

While at the mall the other day, Electronics Boutique had a sign outside saying: "Get an XBox and two games! (when you trade in a PS2 and 3 games)" So, basically, when you trade in a superior system and three games, you get back an inferior system with only two? Riiiiiight.

The only console game that really intrigues me is Steel Batallion, but that's mainly due to its sweet control system. Does anyone know if it's possible to get an XBox controller to work with a PC, especially one that complicated?

Now I remember why I haven't bought a console since the N64. (Only one game for that, even.)

I'm nine pages into a ten page paper on the evolution of typesetting and word processing. I haven't even reached word processors yet. In fact, I'm just now getting around to mentioning the PC.

In addition, I'm also working on a (very) rudimentary website for the same class. Instead of having a single HTML file and a handful of images, like most in the class, I'm making mine with PHP and PostgreSQL.

We have to have five JavaScript features that supposedly improve the user interface. I can't think of more than maybe two (rollover image buttons and form verification).

pet peeves
I think this will become a common entry.

Here's my pet peeve for this time: "The proof is in the pudding." The proof is not in the pudding. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Get it right.

o/~ i would give everything to be your everything o/~ -- stereo fuse, "everything"
more internet woes
The second DSL order barfed too. I can't get a straight answer out of Verizon (the phone company, not Verizon Online), so I told them both off.

More news on the wireless ISP idea: I called Pure Connection again. After confirming that they don't have service in my area yet, the receptionist (who, considering the small size of the company, might be a technician, or even a manager, I don't know) said she'd bring the idea up with her boss, since this area (meaning, basically, me) is in desperate need of broadband and has no other option.

I figure the least I can do, for their trouble, is give them a tiny bit of free exposure. If you're in the Orlando area and have no other means of broadband access (or, like me, you want to tell Verizon where they can stick it), check them out.

I backed up the hard drive on my firewall (not hard, since it's 250MB out of a 1GB drive). I still haven't reinstalled OpenBSD, but that's mainly because I'm not looking forward to setting up pppd again (it was a major hassle last time).
I'm four pages into a minimum-ten page paper about the evolution of computerized editing and typesetting, and I still haven't reached the ENIAC yet. This might end up being a 20-page paper.

My tools: XEmacs and LaTeX. My adversary: M$ Word.

Sigh. Nothing yet. :-(
o/~ what do i have to do to make you want me? o/~ -- stabbing westward, "what do i have to do?"
15 Nov 2002 (updated 16 Nov 2002 at 03:52 UTC) »
internet woes
My ISP is selling its dialup operations to EarthLink. I thought I would take this time to flee.

But it was not to be.

Verizon's database has my phone line listed as being capable of ADSL speeds up to and including 7.1M down / 768k up. However, once I signed up, they turned around and said, "sorry, your line is shit." Time Warner also told me to piss off, saying they have no plan to implement RoadRunner in this area.

There is a wireless ISP in Orlando, but I'm not within range for that, either. The only broadband solution available in this area seems to be satellite-based, and the latency on that is a killer (I can't even ssh over it!).

So, I guess I'm stuck with EarthLink for the time being. This royally sucks.

Postscript: After another call to Verizon, the DSL order is back on, or so I hope. Supposedly it was an old order in the system that caused the new order to barf. I'm not getting my hopes up too much, though, and I'm not cancelling my dialup account yet either.
I downloaded OpenBSD 3.2 and was getting ready to install it to my firewall (which right now is running 2.9), so I could rest assured that it was capable of handling the inevitable flood of cracking attempts that supposedly come with any broadband connection. Even though the DSL installation fell flat (see above), I think I'll upgrade anyway... I need to clean things up and install snort.
The sword of Damocles is hanging dangerously low over my head, and the horsehair is beginning to show signs of weakening.
I would wait until the end of the earth for her. She may take me up on that.
responses (post script)
cmiller: Ooof. Sorry, man.

I was on ithink.net. Too bad... they were only the second decent ISP I've been with (after Young Harris College, back when they offered service to non-college people...)

kgb: I actually went last Saturday. It was fairly crowded, but someone from our group (from the International Circle) was chosen^Wdragged up front by the bellydancer...

Not only that, but I also got to try escargot in France. It actually wasn't bad... it sorta tasted like chicken, but I could barely tell through the sauce.

o/~ it's been awhile since i've gone and fucked things up just like i always do o/~ -- staind, "it's been awhile"
10 Nov 2002 (updated 10 Nov 2002 at 23:10 UTC) »
micro response
jds: Amen.
8 Nov 2002 (updated 8 Nov 2002 at 19:20 UTC) »
mglazer: You need professional help. Go seek it. In the meantime, shut your yap.
User Interface Design is getting more annoying by the day. Last Monday, we were discussing inappropriate terminology, and he brings up the example of requiring the user to decide if he wants a "literal" or "Boolean" search. He asks us if we know what a Boolean search is.

I promptly gave the right answer (multiple search terms with and/or/not). However, the professor claims I'm wrong, then goes on to describe, in great detail...

... a binary search. (you know, the old "sort it then look at the halfway point and determine if it's too high or low, then choose the midpoint of the appropriate half and recurse").

A few of us actually broke out laughing.

I firmly believe that the professor believes that JavaScript is going to save the world, and the Web, to boot. I'm still trying to think of a polite way to tell him he's full of shit. I'm also writing my assignments in PHP, which will generate much of the JavaScript I need.

Windows XP seems to be better than any version before it. (damning with faint praise.) Anyway, once I turned off the Barney/TeleTubby theme, it's actually tolerable.
I don't know what to say. Nothing's happened yet, although I would very much like it to. I can tell we're getting closer... but is it just friendship, or is it something else?

A few days ago we worked together on the website she designed for her church. It's almost done, but there are a few things we'd like to get working soon (recordings of the pastor, etc). Of course, I'm continually finding things that "aren't done" or "need more work", just so we have an excuse to see each other...

I've been forcing myself to drink much more water than I used to (I'm aiming for about a half-gallon per day). It would seem that I'm chronically dehydrated, so hopefully this will help me return to normal.

I'm also drinking at least one large glass of orange juice per day; the rapid temperature swings around here (it dropped 40 degrees Fahrenheit in one day and is supposed to return) seem to reduce peoples' immune systems. I'm trying to keep mine in good shape; I don't want to get sick.

design a system even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it -- shaw's principle
jfleck: You want sandhill cranes? You can have them.

Not only do they wake up the old farts around here, they get in the way of traffic; they stand in the middle of the road and refuse to move unless you get out of your car and chase them off. But Lord help you if you so much as ruffle their feathers; they're an endangered species and the EPA ain't friendly.

By the way, are the sandhill cranes over where you live the same species as the ones over here in Florida?

garym: Yeah, that's a good idea. We can only hope. (Well, those of you who actually know enough to do so can start, but I'm still trying to cure my chronic recto-cranial inversion syndrome.)

Gentoo is a good start on this front. Granted, it's got a long way to go (it does absolutely nothing with regard to the kernel), but it's better than the precompiled-binary standard.

I also agree that Unix in general isn't ready for the desktop. As a matter of fact, I'm hoping to set up a business with Windows XP clients and a headless Linux server running Samba. Ideally the Linux box will be completely hands-off from their POV, and all configuration can be done remotely.

I finally gave up on Win2k Advanced Server and decided to go with XP Professional. (Yeah, yeah, I know, but it's no worse than 2K once you turn off the Playskool theme...)

I was actually beginning to enjoy some of the XP 'new features' that Unix has had since the early seventies: the ability to have multiple users logged in at the same time (even if only one can be active), et cetera.

Then I hooked it up to a NT domain. (Samba.)

Little did I know that by doing so, I lost the biggest advantage XP has over 2K. Now, I have to log out and back in to do anything as an administrator, and we're back where we started.

The User Interface Design prof is still a moron. We have to use JavaScript for our assignments now. He was demonstrating a JS-based slideshow page (no automatic control, just next/prev buttons), and I asked what the advantage was of using JavaScript over standard HTML or serverside technologies (PHP, etc). He stammered something about being able to have bigger shows or bigger images or something. Moo, splat.

Part of good UI design is being able to back away from technologies that don't fit the task at hand. He doesn't seem to grasp that. That said, I'm going to write PHP scripts to generate most of my JavaScript. Yay.

I have a presentation in Communication for Engineers class next Saturday. I have to speak (for about four minutes or so) about the software used for this project (controlling air compressors for efficiency).

This could fit under "school", too...

In Computer Organization class, we have to learn to write in assembly language. Unfortunately, the assembler and emulator we have to use is DOS-only.

I'm attempting to write a compatible emulator (and later an assembler). According to the professor for this class, students at my level did this routinely, back in the 'good old days' when he was a student.

Even with quite a bit of documentation (the book for this class includes the 68k Programmer's Manual), I can't figure out how to break things up cleanly. For example, opcodes are of varying length, from what I can tell. Maybe it would help if I learned to use one before I tried to emulate it...

By the way, I've looked at UAE's 68k emulation... holy crap. This seems like one hell of a rite of passage...

the church bells won't ring tonight because father flanagan's got the clapper
COP 3514, Program Design
The instructor for Program Design let me take the final when everyone else took the midterm. I got an A.

CEN 4721, User Interface Design
I think this professor is turning into my "daily moron"; not only does he read directly from the book most of the time, but when he's not, he's usually talking about things like how Java applets are run server-side. Suffice it to say that my bullshit meter is pegged from the moment I walk into class until I stagger out...

CDA 3100, Computer Organization
Had a test last Thursday. I think I did well.

ENC 3211, Communication for Engineers
We've had a group project, which is to write a proposal for some sort of 'innovation'. Since one of the guys in my group has been working on something dealing with centralized control of compressed air supplies, we've been writing about that.

If anything, it's an excuse to (re)learn LaTeX, and use it as it's supposed to be used, instead of beating it into submission trying to get it to create résumés, etc.

I spent eight hours trying to install Windows 2000 Advanced Server. About four of those hours were spent trying to get Setup to format the disk properly. Little did I know that Windows still suffers from the 1024-cylinder limit. (Compounding the problem was the confusing error message, suggesting that the hard drive was dying. And they say Linux is cryptic.)

Once I got the system installed, I sat there for about an hour trying to learn how to add new users to the system. All of the references I consulted mentioned the "Users and Passwords" item in Control Panel. Advanced Server, however, does not have this item; the relevant controls are hidden about four levels down. (And they say Linux is user-hostile.)

Now, trying to get things installed, I find myself bouncing back and forth between my user account and the Administrator account. With Linux, this would be a simple matter of su-and-go. With Windows, however, it involves shutting down everything currently running, logging out, logging back in (with a user-hostile login box - I can't tab between boxes for some reason) and then remembering where everything is. (And they say Linux slows the user down.)

But, I need Winblows for my game fix...

I either need to spend more time at the Adventurers Club, or less... the actors know me by name. I wonder if they rent rooms there... if I ever need an apartment...
I'm working on it.
Tried playing at Epcot. Embarassed myself thoroughly. (There are no ridges on the pad, like there are on arcade machines, so I can't keep myself registered, and eventually start missing steps, literally... I step and hit carpet.) Injured my heel, too. Hurts like hell.
Speaking of Epcot, the International Circle is headed out there in a couple of weeks. I'm going to be one of the semiofficial 'tour guides', since I already know the place.
o/~ ever since I met your daughter I've had trouble making water, so I guess we're even all around... o/~ -- Author unknown
I'm working on a paper for my User Interface Design class. More than 10 pages, double-spaced, with a minimum of 6 sources. The topic can be anything, as long as it has to do with User Interface Design or Human-Computer Interaction.

I originally chose "The Evolution of Word Processing and Computerized Typesetting", but I'm beginning to doubt there's enough there to work with. If anyone would mind suggesting other topics, or even just where to look for information on this one...

I bought the Rogue Spear Platinum Pack for $20. Man, I'm way out of practice.
kgb invited me to come to Boma with him, his wife, and their family and friends. That restaurant is amazing. (Everyone raves about the Zebra Dome desserts, but I'm not fond of them; they seemed too sweet.) Afterwards, we met up at the Adventurers Club. Not only was I there Friday, but also Thursday and Saturday. (Having a Premium Annual Pass hath its privileges.)
Absolutely none, unless you count classwork.
constants aren't; variables don't
The lecturer in Program Design cut me a deal: I can take the final exam when everyone else takes the midterm. As long as I make a B or better, I'll be set.

Program Design is one of the two "GATE courses" (Computer Organization is the other); I have to make a combined average of 3.0 or better on all attempts to take any other CS courses.

I think she's doing this just so she doesn't have to put up with me anymore.

Met up with kgb and his wife today in Epcot. They graciously invited me to have lunch with them in Morocco. The food was good, and the bellydancer was... entertaining. ;-)

After my Computer Organization class, we met up again at the Adventurers Club. Fun times.

Got an assignment in Computer Organization, about implementing various gates with only NORs. I had it done before class was over. The questions formed a sort of progression: first NOT, which we needed for OR, which we needed for AND, which we needed for XOR. Besides, he specifically said that efficiency didn't matter for this assignment - that's what Logic Design class is for.
I don't think there's much chance of this progressing beyond a friendship. Swing and a miss. Strike three. You're outta there.
o/~ so here i go, it's my shot, feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that i've got... o/~ -- Eminem, "Lose Yourself"
29 Sep 2002 (updated 30 Sep 2002 at 03:57 UTC) »
I'm still in favor of throwing mglazer and mslicker into a cage. Standard death matches are "two go in, one comes out." In this case, I'd prefer "two go in, none come out." </gripe>

mslicker: If tk actually wants to make a point, why doesn't he show all of us why his pet software can't be implemented in Forth. I've got a better idea: how about you prove that it can? You're the one making all sorts of claims about Forth's supposed (and rarely-applicable) advantages; the onus probandi is therefore on you.

Also, arguing over whether something can be written is pointless; anything that can be written in one general-purpose language can be written in another, with very few exceptions. The question, though, is whether one language is more suited for a task than another.

criswell: I see those ads pretty often, myself, and yes, they do take in novice Winblows users. The worst kind are those that have absolutely nothing to do with what they're selling, and masquerade as error dialog boxes... IIRC, they're selling some sort of software firewall/IDS setup.

desrick: Um... what?

program design
On Wednesday, as an in-class exercise, we were supposed to rewrite some crappy code. (pdf) (c source - all [sic], BTW). Basically, we were supposed to get rid of all global variables.

Instead of having to pass four variables in/out of each function, I created an array and an enum to name them.

The class lecturer (turns out she's not a professor after all!) came up behind me and started griping at me, and told me not to use an array.

I said, "Fine!" and rewrote it... using a struct. I know, I could have just as easily rewritten it to use four separate variables, but this is still more understandable, and as a side benefit it annoys the lecturer.

Of course, there was no class Monday since the lecturer had car trouble. I ended up teaching for a half hour or so, because everyone seemed to be asking me the same questions (especially since the lecturer couldn't explain the material to save her life).

I may have scared her off by letting her know I have feelings for her. Only time will tell.

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