02/02/2004: "Maple 8, AmeriKits, Counterstrike Deprivation, Work Ethic, Debian Unstable, and So On"music: WMEA All-State 2000 Jazz Band - Black Orpheus, Linkin Park - By Myself, Sarah McLachlan - Building A Mystery, Smashing Pumpkins – Muzzle, Joan Jett - I Love Rock and Roll, Everclear - Santa Monica
mood: Pretty positive
Updated Photos! Updated Photos!
I’m sorry that they will take a little while to load; I am currently serving from my house and thus am limited to cable modem upload speeds. On the other hand, the computer is now much faster, so resizing to a size that isn’t cached should actually go faster. Now it is time to explain the last three photos…
Years ago my dad gave me a strobe light kit. A few days ago, I finally decided to put it together. I blame this decision on my choice to avoid counterstrike until I do well on a Math test. I have a lot of time to do good things that I should have been doing for a long time now. So, I started soldering the parts to the board. I am not an expert at soldering, but I did quite well. But then I got overconfident, and didn’t read all of the instructions, and ended up soldering one part of the wrong side of the board. So I unsoldered it - a tedious task - and ended up breaking one of the leads to the transformer I had misplaced. Well, I jammed the pin back in, but once the entire thing was soldered together, I got sporadic flashes at best, and no flashes at worst. It turns out that the particular component I had screwed up was the transformer that initiated the ionization of the Xenon gas in the flash tube. I explained the situation to my dad, and he thought of an old, broken Vivatar camera flash he had lying around. He found the flash and dissected it, then I removed the corresponding part from the flash and soldered it into the kit. I turned it on and – voila! The strobe light kit came alive. The final picture has the transformer from the flash circled. The strobe light isn’t actually all that impressive, because the rate of strobe is only several times per second at best, and the flash is never particularly bright. But the point of the project really was to practice to the mini-sumo kit I have had sitting around for about two and a half years. Maybe this year I will actually compete in an individual robotics competition… I’ll explain some day, but for now, I will move on.
As mentioned above, I have vowed not to play Counterstrike until I do well on a Math test. I still long to play - I’ll look at server stats and wish I were playing and load up HLSW to see which members of my clan are showing others what’s up… and almost click to join. But so far, I have been truthful to my vow. I hope I do well on the next test, though – I want to play again! But not playing has given me some time to study math. I actually did some problems out of the packet today; this is a first for me in this class. I plan at doubling up sections until I am up to date, hopefully with enough time to study as well before the test. So, strangely, avoiding counterstrike has helped me gain some work ethic and more life structure. Well, maybe that’s not so strange.
In order to compile modern versions of PHP for silverfir.net, I have to have the GCC compiler version three or above. However, Debian’s “Stable” distribution includes gcc-2.95 – and adding on 3.0 isn’t fun. So I tend up upgrade to the “unstable” version which isn’t really that unstable, just the packages don’t always work perfectly. So while I am generally very happy with Debian, and I understand it well enough to work with it well, I think things can get better. Some day, I hope I will find the OS that clicks with me. Until then, I will keep trying Gentoo, FreeBSD, and whatever else gets suggested until one of them starts to make sense to me.
Well, tomorrow is an early class and a long day – so that’s all for now.