the weBLog

Sunday, February 29th

States and Countries I've Visted

music: Kidrock - Only God Knows Why, Pearl Jam - Yellow Ledbetter
mood: Mixed



create your own visited country map



create your own personalized map of the USA
Arcanius on 02.29.04 @ 04:43 PM PST [link]


Is There A God

music: Enya - Storms in Africa Part 2
mood: Pretty good

Today, I woke up at 1:00, moved some things at Orson Clay's house, did a bit of yard work, played a little bit of CS, and then worked the rest of the night. So it wasn't too eventful. Instead, you get this wonderful morsel that I posted in response to the topic "Is there a God?" on the silverfir.net forums:

People have wondered for a long time about issues such as why children in Africa starve. The thought is summed up well in this quote from a play whose name I do not remember, but the play is loosely based on the book of Job from the bible.

"If God is God, he is not Good,
If God is Good, he is not God,
Take the even, take the odd."

In other words, if God were good, he would prevent bad from happening if he could. But bad things still happen, so he must not be all powerful, and therefore isn't "God." On the other hand, if God is all powerful, then he must not be "Good," because of all the bad stuff that happens in the world.

The logic seems strong at first, but in fact it suffers from the fallacy known as a false delima. Take a college logic or philosophy course for the full explanation, but basically this means that the question presents a limited number of choices when there are in fact more choices. Another possibility is that God is both all-powerful and very good indeed, but that there are more important good things that outweigh preventing starvation in Africa.

What could possibly be more important than that, you may ask - and to that I have one word: freedom.

If there is a God - and if he is good (although I think a God who was not good would be rather pointless) - then the reason that he doesn't prevent bad things from happening in this world is that it is so much more important for him to allow us our freedom to make our own choices - even if those choices lead to the death of innocent children in Africa, or the slaughter of millions in wars.

Anything that is more important than that is VERY important indeed, and knowing this you have the responsiblity to make your choices carefully. After all, look at the price paid for you to have that choice.

Its much more than the "freedom" puchased by the blood of revolutionary soldiers or preserved by patriots throughout the years. It is a true freedom to choose purchased by the suffering and death of billions of human beings. Use your power to choose responsibly.
Arcanius on 02.29.04 @ 12:49 AM PST [link]


Saturday, February 28th

Schools

music: Linkin Park – Step Up, Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven, Metalica - Until it Sleeps (with SF Orchestra)
mood: Dampened

Today, the official transcripts from BYU finally arrived in the mail. I put them in an envelope with the transcripts from BCC and drove to the UW to drop them off personally. Even though its almost two weeks after the deadline, the office accepted them with no problem – apparently the deadline, as with many other admission guidelines, is flexible. Of course, I suspected this, since last time I applied to the UW during my senior year in high school, I didn’t get everything in technically on time, and I was still accepted. Now it’s just the waiting game to see if they’ll let me in a second time. I think my chances are good, but then I’m ridiculously self-confident.

For a random diversion, check out this way to cook a salmon.

In photography, we did sepia toning. The redeveloper has a pretty terrible sulfurous smell to it. Glad we only had to deal with it for one day. We also did show and tell of our self-portraits. I chose the solarized shoes and the sprinkled-on developer prints because they were the most interesting, even if they weren’t necessarily the best technically. He didn’t have much negative to say about the prints, which I hope is a good sign for the grade on this… That’s one thing that annoys me about art classes - there is so much subjectivity. Maybe that’s what attracts others. It takes all sorts, I suppose.

Registration for Spring quarter at BCC starts March 2, and now I have to start thinking about what I’m going to take.

Arcanius on 02.28.04 @ 02:49 AM PST [link]


Friday, February 27th

Counterstike

music: Offspring - Self Esteem
mood: Beat

Today, I played too much Counterstrike. I am very tired. Goodnight.
Arcanius on 02.27.04 @ 01:42 AM PST [link]


Thursday, February 26th

The Return of the King

music: Blind Melon - No Rain, Seven Mary Three - Favorite Dog, Gary Jules - Mad World (from Donnie Darko)
mood: Content

Using: Mozilla Superpig and Mozilla Spaceant

Today, after the usual school thing, dropping off my photography assignment, and working (collected about 100 vhs tapes from various lists, joy), I went with my dad, Gary, Rich, and Earl to the Cinerama to see the Return of the King. I had seen it before, at the Factoria cinema, and I actually came away a little disappointed from that showing. Tonight, I learned that it was not the film that was disappointing – it was the theater. I saw the first two Lord of the Ring movies at Cinerama, and enjoyed them both. Now I have seen the third at Cinerama, and am wonderfully wowed rather than slightly dismayed. Congratulations to Peter Jackson and the whole crew that made the movies. This movie, and the entire series, best be getting some major recognition at the major award ceremonies.

Last time I saw the movie, and even more so this time, the most powerful scene for me was the lighting of the torches that Gondor used to call for help from Rohan. It sent shivers through me again. I remain unsure as to exactly why – perhaps it was the fact that the guardians of the towers, as portrayed, spent endless days watching for the signal that might have never come – but when it did come they were ready and performed their duty. Or maybe it was something else. Regardless, that scene was powerful.

I didn’t mention last night that I had ordered some items from U.S. Bearing in Seattle – namely some sprockets which were shipped from Portland, some chain, and a shaft. Well, initial reports had the package late, and when it finally showed up, missing important items and with other items in duplicate. I was ready to write a huge rant about US Bearing. Fortunately for them, and for the robot and FIRST team 492, things conspired for our good. The missing item was found after tearing the box apart, the duplicate item came in handy when the first one got destroyed, and everything turned out happy. Way to go US Bearing!

Donniedarko.com is interesting, if you have seen the movie.

Arcanius on 02.26.04 @ 01:21 AM PST [link]


Tuesday, February 24th

The day in review

music: Music: Linkin Park – Lying From You, Cranberries – Zombie, Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger, Phantom of the Opera - Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
mood: Generally good

Using: Mozilla Lightningdragon

I’m up to about 92% better now; I still have a lingering cough, but physically I’m fine otherwise. I had fun at tennis, although I arrived a little late, then talked to the woman from Poland to help her with her English, something I do maybe twice a month. Next came math (gradients!) and then I spent the next four hours in the darkroom. I now have enough pictures, I think, to turn in tomorrow. It’s just a matter of selection and touch-up at this point. Dust is still my nemesis, but I have developed some fairly good anti-dusting techniques that seem to be working. First I take a brush and quite violently chip away any deposited dust from the negative, then I brush away the finer dust, then I spay the thing with canned air all the way back to the enlarger. It works about 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time, I scream. And then repeat the process.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day. I have school, which will consist of just a Math and turning in my assignment (I don’t know if I need to stick around), then work, and then right after work I’m headed off to see Lord of the Rings at the Cinerama. After that three-and-a-half hour marathon, I will return home, then sleep, then go to tennis where hopefully I will have figured out who, besides Michael Change, served underhand in a major tournament.

Arcanius on 02.24.04 @ 11:16 PM PST [link]


Monday, February 23rd

Math, Photography, Counterstrike


100/103 on the calc test. Lots of darkroom time tomorrow for the self-portrait assignment. I have dust problems. Dust, and good calc test score make me think of counterstrike. This post will be short.
Arcanius on 02.23.04 @ 11:06 PM PST [link]


Sunday, February 22nd

Sick Scott Sprockets

music: Linkin Park - Nobody's Listening, Weird Al Yankovic - Trigger Happy
mood: Mmmmm

I’m still sick. I made it up to about 85% recovered and I’ve just hovered there ever since. Its very annoying, and not at all usual. I want to be well again!

I’ve started to recover my counterstrike skillz. I started out 6-12 today, but then went on to get to 30-18, meaning that I was, for that period, 24-6! That’s pretty good methinks.

I got to talk to big Scott for the first time in a long time. This is why I miss him:

Scott: yooooooooooooooooooooo
Me: hi there'
Scott: hey
Scott: wazzup in Ryan land?
Me: um
Me: I want my teeth to have that after-dentist feeling, so i amusing my leatherman on them
Scott: cool
Me: also, I enjoy photography, but not photography teachers so much
Scott: did you know that the amount of integers (positive and negative) is the same amount as just the positive odd integers? Is that messed up or what?

Tomorrow, bright and early, I get to call all around to try to secure two sprockets, a 32 tooth with a hub and a 45 tooth plate, both #25. We need them by noon on Tuesday, so we’ll probally be paying more in shipping than for the actual sprockets. It’ll be interesting. Then comes math and we find out if I get to continue playing counterstrike. Then I get to spend the rest of the day in the photo lab. Wahoo.

Arcanius on 02.22.04 @ 10:53 PM PST [link]


Saturday, February 21st

Dubiously Useful Information

music: Linkin Park - Krwlng (Mike Shinoda ft Aaron Lewis)

I think I aced the calculus midterm. In celebration, I played Counterstrike. The ban will return, though, I suppose, if I don’t end up getting the grade I expected. Nevertheless, it was nice to get back into the game… My skills aren’t nearly as refined as they were when they left, but the instincts are still mostly good, and I’m hovering around 1:1 ratio-wise.

I visited the robotics “team” at the school today during testing. All of one student was there… Hopefully we get a better showing at the practice competition tomorrow. The arm still pops chain quite easily at half power, and its painfully slow, my fault. But the autonomous code is buggy as all-get out – Larry and Dave’s fault. There is plenty of blame to go around. J We’ll see how we are compared to other teams, and hopefully we’ll keep working on the robot for a few more days instead of packing it up tomorrow.

I saw Secondhand Lions – the idea was decent, but it was pretty overacted. The flashbacks were fun, but the touchy-feely parts of the movie were so forced it lost significance for me. Can’t suggest it too much, unless you’re into that kind of movie…


Adam: i drank red bull today
Adam: it didnt give me wings much less energey
Adam: have you ever had red bull?
Ryan: never
Adam: do you know what it is
Ryan: I have a friend who drinks them before he goes snowboarding
Ryan: he seems to think they helpo
Adam: lol
Adam: i drank a 24 ounce uh... something
Adam: it didnt do anything to me
Ryan: I'll add your lack of energy experience to my repository of dubiously useful information


You know you're too old when someone asks "do you know what it is" is reference to Red Bull...

Time for more CS or sleep, whichever comes first…

Arcanius on 02.21.04 @ 12:12 AM PST [link]


Thursday, February 19th

On International Voting, Politics, and Democratic Rights

music: Silverchair – Tomorrow, Enya – Tempus Vernum, The String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park - By Myself, Screaming Trees - Shadow Of The Season, Linkin Park - Points Of Authority (Live In Texas), Screaming Trees - All I know (#5 on top-107 of 1996 countdown on KNDD 107.7 the end, back when the station actually meant something), WMEA All State Choir 2001 - I Am the Resurrection and the True Life, Offspring - Self Esteem, U2 - Staring At The Sun, Screaming Trees - Dollar Bill, Brigham Young Univeristy Musical Groups - Battle Hymn of the Republic, Wynton Marsalis – Pachelbel’s Canon for 3 Trumpets & Strings, U2 - Hawkmoon 269, Seven Mary Three - Cumbersome
mood: Thoughtful

In another attempt to delay studying for calculus, I was visiting Passive Digressive, the blog of a friend of a friend (of a friend?)… Anyway, it’s often interesting, as was the case today. Today, Chris was promoting theworldvotes.org, a worldwide initiative designed to give “people all around the world a voice in the forthcoming U.S. Presidential Election.” While of course unofficial, the idea is interesting. I left the following comment at Passive Digressive, and will repeat it here for those, like me, who are be too lazy to click on over:

According to the website, right after I registered to vote:
People registered to vote:
Africa 137
Asia 181
Australia 109
Europe 4712
North America 493
South America 28
Europe seems to be much more politically active than any other region... but then, this initiative started in Europe, so I guess that is to be expected. For a worldwide sampling, Asia, Africa, and South America are terrible underrepresented, and as far as North America is concerned, the location of the only people that actually get a real vote, its odd that we are outnumbered by our friends in Europe 10 to 1.
Furthermore, it seems as if a given person can sign up however many times he or she wants as long as they have enough email addresses to go along with the sign-ups. And of course, people with shared email addresses or no email addresses are disenfranchised.
Nevertheless, regardless of the strange numbers, and the decidedly skewed results this will produce (as would most any attempt; the problem is much too large and complex), the results of Theworldvotes poll will be interesting to see...

So of course this gets me onto the topic of politics, which is not something I’ve discussed much on this here Blog, despite my very opinionated nature on the topic (just ask any of my friends who have ventured into the realm with me). And having an opinion on politics is as good as having an opinion on just about anything and everything else, because politics is really about everything. Sure, its about taxes and foreign policy and transportation (or the lack thereof) in a given metropolitan area; those things that are covered by the media as political topics that “the people” care about. But its also about what you can do in your backyard, what you can learn in your school, how much money you can make, why you get paid the same as the guy next to you when you do the job three times better, why criminals get better in jail, and why rape victims suffer for the rest of their lives in private hells. Politics includes whatever you’re thinking about now, touches on the music you might be listening to, influences the tv show you’re not watching because you’re reading this; it even played a major role in forming my ability to think and write about this, and your ability to access and view it. Anyone who claims to be uninterested in politics either doesn’t know what politics really is, or is genuinely uninterested in life. For most people, I suspect the former reason.
I think that’s a good taste of what is to come if I am to really get onto the topic, which will be more and more likely to happen as the major elections of 2004 grow closer. But back to the reason I started talking about politics in the first place, that “theworldvotes.org” website. From that site: “Who can vote? All citizens around the world who are committed to building a democratic international system of governance that is based on respect for universal human rights.”
Wow, what inspiring words! A democratic international system of governance! Respect for universal human rights!
What do those phrases mean?
Who determines if a particular right is universal or not? For example, there are some, perhaps many, who believe that universal healthcare is a right. I don’t agree (To remain more concise, I won’t go into specifics why here). There are others, perhaps the same people, who believe that people have a right to work. Again, I don’t agree. Who is right? Are these false “rights” to be included in the “universal human rights” that this “international system of governance” is based on? If so, am I not allowed to vote because I am not committed to building such a system? Is then the system still democratic, having excluded me?
Food for thought until next time… I have more, but I also have a calculus test.
Oh yeah, go sign up and vote, we need to represent the good ole USA.
Arcanius on 02.19.04 @ 02:29 PM PST [link]


Wednesday, February 18th

Running Away


I am in terrible shape. I went for a run – or rather, tried to go for a run – and it ended up being a glorified jog down and a walk back up the hill. It didn’t help that I am still a little sick (75% recovered, but not yet whole), and I was coughing by the time I got to the bottom of the hill, but still, I have a long ways to go before I get back to the condition I was in September of 2001. I think it is worth the effort, though. All the better to play ultimate with, which I will be doing a lot of when I start at the UW (hopefully on both playing and starting).

I had a plan to study for Math when I got home today. I somehow ended up getting almost none of the plan accomplished. Instead, I very efficiently wasted time until I finally started watching Donnie Darko (which is not a waste of time) for the second time in 24 hours. If language and a very mysterious plot don’t turn you off, then take some time to watch it.

This got me to talking to a friend about my early exposure to movies:
Me: I used to not like movies much
Me: I didn't see them very often; when I did, they were generally bad experiences
Friend: serious?
Me: I once saw two movies in the same day: Bevis and Butthead Do America and Mars Attacks
Me: B&B was the superior movie
Me: which is really kind of sick
Friend: I saw Mars Attacks, thought it was really dumb
Me: yup

Which brings me back to the original topic, I’m not so good at studying, because I’m not so good at staying on task, especially when I’m around a computer (and thus the wandering of topics and the hour it takes me to write this one page.

While on the jog/walk, I took a shortcut back through the woods. While not exactly scary, since I was in Bellevue’s Lakemont area, it did get me to thinking about some of the topics covered in John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart,” which I have been slowly reading (thanks to Heidi for the excellent gift!). That is, part of my heart does long for danger, to prove to myself that I can overcome difficulty. My experience in this arena is limited. Hikes and camping trips touch in the area, but they have always been so controlled, so planned. The road trip was a good step in the right direction, but it was too limited also. My calculus class doesn’t look like it’ll be the one since once again I’ve found a way to not care about studying when it really counts. A midnight hike around Salt Lake’s foothills with Clifton was a good experience, as was the climb to the top of a peak as a thunderstorm approached and my brother called me off during my Spring term down at BYU. It hasn’t been enough. Of course, I should finish the book too.

Arcanius on 02.18.04 @ 11:33 PM PST [link]


Tuesday, February 17th

Sick, both me and the robot

music: Scorpions - Rock You Like A Hurricane, Pearl Jam - Better Man
mood: Ugh

I’m still really sick, so I’m trying to get as much sleep and vitamin C as possible so I can recover in time to study and pass my next math midterm on Friday.

Today I went to classes, picked up my parents at the airport (they were ~40 minutes late due to strong headwinds), then stopped by the school to see that Atlas, the robot, had broken its arm chain (#25, rated at more than 900 pounds!) and blown a couple of 20 amp compressor fuses, so basically only the drive train worked.

Arcanius on 02.17.04 @ 10:27 PM PST [link]


Monday, February 16th

Sickness, Science, and Robotics

music: The String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park - Cure for the Itch, Linkin Park - One Step Closer, Linkin Park - P5hng Me Axwy
mood: Like crap

Using: Mozilla Lightningemu and Mozilla Superbug

I am sick and I feel terrible. I think I picked something up at the concert; I haven’t felt up to snuff sense. Also, I had trouble getting to sleep; I’m attributing this to a lithium dependence – although having no schedule also contributed. And the lack of sleep contributed to me getting sick. It’s all one vicious circle. It did get me to thinking about things, however – because of scientific advance, I who know very little of the biological sciences that can be known, know far more already than almost everyone just 50 years ago, and certainly more than everyone a hundred years ago. The same goes for most scientific topic – physics, chemistry, economics (although this country is woefully economically illiterate). I’m not sure it works with astronomy, where those proposing new theories seem to have gone off the deep end… seriously, how much more convincing is the big bang theory (“boom and it was all there”) than the creation theory (“boom x 7 days and it was all there”)…? Seriously, more than any other division of science – but not exclusive of the other sciences by any means – astronomy has become the religion of disproving the need for a creator. Where I am right now, I don’t claim to know either way – but at least I know that I don’t know. As the old saying goes, “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” Which is not to say that I don’t encourage scientific thought and theorizing. As I stated early, the scientific method has brought the quality of life forward leaps and bounds. It has done far more that can be seen by the average person than any other philosophy or religion. But that doesn’t mean that blind speculation that happens to match with some results is a legitimate theory either.

Arcanius steps off soapbox…

Today was another late start, but not nearly as bad as before. I fixed a program on my mom’s computer at her office (its great having the password of the IT guy there… oh wait, I am the IT guy there), and then I went to IS to watch the Robot drive around. We already broke the arm (its too powerful, I guess that’s my fault)… but the ball-picker upper and dumper thing worked pretty well once when we turned off one of the motors. We later removed that motor and assembly to save weight, and will test tomorrow whether the new system works. After testing, we returned to Larrys where new pillow blocks were constructed for better turning and Dave, Tim and I built a goal grabber. Larry then started working on fixing the arm. Saturday we get to test the thing out on as close to a real field as we will see before the real competition. That is the date we are shooting to be complete by. I still think we should use the next five days we have to tweak things, but people are getting pretty tired of the hectic schedule.

I’m off to sleep off this sickness and dream of lightweight mechanisms to lift a 130 pound robot five feet into the air.


Arcanius on 02.16.04 @ 10:40 PM PST [link]


Progress on oasis

music: WMEA All State Jazz Band – Millennium, U2 - Love Rescue Me, Seven Mary Three - Cumbersome
mood: Not bad considering

Currently using Mozilla Powercat and Mozilla Waterjackalope.

Seen on oasis earlier today:

oasis plan # who
ryan pts/0 Feb 15 21:46 (192.168.10.100)
root pts/1 Feb 15 21:58 (192.168.10.100)
bob pts/2 Feb 16 00:09 (192.168.10.200)
ryan pts/3 Feb 16 00:53 (192.168.10.100)

Its symmetry is so beautiful I could almost cry.

Progress on oasis is going very well. Today, I finished up the install procedures, and then Bob and I got normal user accounts set up and starting making tweaks to our shell environments while we began emerging the programs that will make oasis the most capable and robot Silverfir.net server yet. It is considerably slower than the testing I was doing on Kleinoscope, but that’s what you get when you use a processor with less than one quarter of the clock speed. Nevertheless, oasis has RAM and to spare – 640 mb to be exact – and should be an excellent server machine. I am even experimenting with file system backups – I may yet be a legitimate sys-admin.

That comprised most of today, along with some reading and whatnot. Tomorrow is robotics; we’ll be test driving the robot in the closest thing we’ve encountered to the real field to date.

Arcanius on 02.16.04 @ 01:15 AM PST [link]


Sunday, February 15th

Now what?!

music: Eve 6 - Leech
mood: Effervescent

Now I'm using Mozilla Moonwhale!

o.O




Arcanius on 02.15.04 @ 01:49 AM PST [link]


Valentine’s Day Special

music: Spacehog - In The Meantime, Philharmonia Virtuosi of New York – Albinoni – Adagio, Academy and Chorus of St. Martin in the Fields - Il es ne le divin enfant, Haydn, Joseph - Symphony No. 104 in D - Finale (Spiritoso), Copland, Aaron - Rodeo - Corral nocturne & Ranch house party, Weird Al Yankovic – Albuquerque, George Winston - Loreta And Desiree's Bouquet - Part 2, Silverchair – Slave, Silverchair - Across The Night, MXPX - Move to Bremerton, James Horner - Creating 'Governing Dynamics', Eve 6 - Leech
mood: A little wasted

My current web browser is Mozilla Supervulture. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it’s a great web browser based on Mozilla Firefox. Actually, Supervulture is Firefox, but with a plug-in. You see, Mozilla’s sleek browser project has undergone a name change in each of the last two versions. Firefox was formerly known as Firebird, and before that, Phoenix. Each of the previous names was objected to by other software groups, but regardless of the reason for the change, its kind of funny that the name has changed so much. So someone went ahead and used Firefox’s excellent extensible architecture to make a plug-in that randomly changes the name for each browser window you open. The plug-in is called Firesomething, and a Google search will find it for you. This never would have happened had Bernie Zimmerman’s not posted about Firesomething in his weblog. Google it, I’m too lazy to put the link in myself (I’m thinking of switching blogging software again – maybe to b2 or a modification thereof that makes links easier for me to put in.)

By the way, Firefox (or whatever its nom-de-jour is) is an excellent browser, and I would suggest changing to it from any other web browser.

As promised, my adventures with my computer from Friday… Working at accomplishing one of the items on my to-do list, I was turning oasis, my former desktop machine, into the replacement for the current silverfir.net server. I’m now giving the different incarnations of silverfir.net version numbers… wadi was v1, currently you are being served by v2 (named sf2) and soon you will be served by oasis (v3). Well, I wanted to test out the SCSI drives from the dead-by-power-supply as-of-yet unnamed dual P-II 300 machine. So took out the 13.6 gb hard drive that will still (theoretically) boot win2k with all sorts of useful utilities, and put in the two SCSI hard drives. I installed the PCI SCSI adapter in oasis and started the machine up. It froze in the middle of the boot-up screen. I rebooted, took the card out and rebooted. Things started up fine (with the exception of anything actually booting, since it had no bootable devices connected). I turned it off, put the card back in, and it froze in the same place as before. Resigned to the fact that the system wouldn’t accept the SCSI card, I took it out again and took out the SCSI drives as well, putting in the two 80 GB drives I got from Fry’s last year. Then I booted the machine again, with the Gentoo 1.4 LiveCD in the CD Drive… but this time, the machine froze in the same place as it has with the SCSI card. I rebooted, and then the CMOS setup screen came up, saying that the system had frozen last time because of an incorrect frequency configuration. So I set the proper settings and rebooted again, and then nothing showed up. I was beginning to get worried, and at the advice of Dan, I started stripping the computer down to find out where the problem was. I got to the point where all I had installed was the graphics card – and I even tried a PCI graphics card. Everything else was unplugged. And nothing showed up on the screen. I tried a new power supply, reseating the processor, memory, dusting, and everything else I could think of, and I was ready to declare oasis deceased. In frustration, I began doing things that make no sense to anyone but me – including a little prayer. Apparently that worked, since the next thing I tried was plugging the floppy drive back in – and on the next reboot, things started working again. It’s the most valuable floppy drive ever – the one that makes the computer work. Also, thanks god, if you’re up there, for giving life back to oasis. I proceeded to put cards and everything else back in. I even put the SCSI card back in and it worked without any problems. I do not, however, understand SCSI and how it works in Linux well enough to get those drives working under Linux right now.

So, that was the computer adventure of Friday. It continued today as I shutdown sf2 (silverfir.net server v2) to liberate a cd-writer from it to give to Virginia Tech’s division of Society of Women Engineers along with the ide zip drive already liberated from sf2. I took the chance to further liberate sf2 of wadi’s old hard drive, which had been piggybacking in sf2 while I switched everything over after the hack, or whatever that was.

I quickly had sf2 back up, with minimal downtime. Then I put the 30 gb drive into oasis and started setting up Gentoo Linux on it, with remote help from Bobby. We started from stage 1 and currently oasis is bootstrapping, released from any shell and redirecting its output for future reference. Tomorrow we’ll continue the process. Gentoo is fun, powerful, and cutting edge, but setup is lengthy due to all the compiling involved. Of course, that’s because we’re starting from stage 1, the most basic place to start, but since don’t plan on doing this again on this machine, I think its well worth the extra performance and customization we’ll be getting out of the system. Thanks for your help Bobby.

Also today, I helped Adam set up PHP-Nuke over at http://adam.silverfir.net/. Go check it out if you have time. Today was good, even though I missed robotics. I’ll make up for that on Monday.

Arcanius on 02.15.04 @ 01:47 AM PST [link]


Saturday, February 14th

The Concert

music: Pearl Jam – Jeremy, Linkin Park – My mood: Oh yeah, Alright

When I woke up an hour after noon, my ears were still ringing. I was still thirsty. I was still wearing the Linkin Park T-Shirt I bought last night. These are all signs that it was one incredible night at the Tacoma dome.

Last night, I went to the P.O.D. / Linkin Park concert with Beth. We left Bellevue just after 4:00 for Tacoma. When we got to Tacoma, we stopped at a WaMu so I could get some cash, then headed towards the Tacoma Dome, arriving about 5:30. We then got into the significant but not monstrous general admission line. The line started moving about ten to six – and we quickly made our way into the Dome. During a quick bathroom break I was impressed that all the guys seemed to flush after themselves and wash their hands. This confirms my suspicions that most Linkin Park fans are well mannered. After working our way up to about the forth row of the pit, about half way to the right of the stage, the opening band came on.

The first act was called Story of the Year, and was quite enjoyable except for the foul mouth of the lead singer between songs. The most interesting part of their performance was the synchronized roundabout kicks, and the lead guitarist’s back flips and guitar-roundabouts. The music was all right as well in their short 30 minute set. Next up was Hoobastank, a band whose name I am unfamiliar with, but a couple of their songs sounded familiar, so they must be getting radio airtime. Musically, I liked Hoobastank better than Story of the Year, but they lacked the stage presence of the first performers. After Hoobastank’s 30 minute set and another short pause, P.O.D. took the stage and the pits, which had been getting rowdier steadily throughout the night, began to get brutal. Beth and I began having trouble staying together, and she soon decided that it was going to be a little too much for her, so she took off to find more suitable territory. While we had been as far up as the third row, by the time she took off we were six or seven rows back. But without another person to worry about, I was soon working my way back towards the front. I am not terribly familiar with P.O.D.’s music, although I do like Youth of the Nation quite a bit. I enjoyed most of their other music as well, and they got the pits liquid enough that I was able to make it to about three columns off center and back to the forth row from the front. By this time I was sweating pretty well, but I was not alone by any means. P.O.D.’s set included much more stage effects than the previous two bands had. Green lasers painted the backdrop and ceiling, lighted murals came out, and the lighting effects were generally more sophisticated.

After P.O.D. finished, a huge sheet blocked our view of the stage as Linkin Park prepared itself. It took them a while, and the crowd was getting restless by the time the filler music stopped and the lights changed, signaling the beginning of what pretty much everyone had come for. The roar of the crowd began rising, and crescendoed when then the huge sheet was backlit, and the silhouette of Chester appeared. Then the sheet fell and the music began and everything that had happened in the pits before seemed like child’s play. The crowd surged in every direction; the music was intense and wonderful; I knew every word to every song performed. At times I pressed my way forward in the crowd, and at other times I just myself go with the flow. The entire time I was taking pictures – enough that a few actually turned out decently. They will be posted.

I cannot recall exactly which songs were played and in what order – my mind was really overwhelmed with the sensory input – but I do recall some things: Among the songs played were Papercut, With You, Points of Authority, Somewhere I Belong, Nobody’s Listening, Breaking the Habit (with a new down tempo intro), Lying From You, Numb, From the Inside (my favorite from Meteora), Crawling (My favorite from Hybrid Theory), and In the End. Mike said, just before performing In The End, that it was getting to be about time for them to leave. I was switching batteries when he came out into the crowd, and got no pictures of it (in fact, I don’t even remember it happening – I was concentrating too much on not losing my camera in the crowd, but Beth told me about it later).

Linkin Park left after that, but we were not about to let them leave us without a few more songs. The group certainly has a sense of timing. As determined as everyone was to get them back by chating “Encore!” then “Linkin Park! Linkin Park” while people in the stands stomped their feet and we all generally made a bunch of non-stop noise, the crowd had almost loosing hope after the minutes that the stage remained empty. A stage crewmember even came out and took down some microphones. The crowd quieted just a bit – could they really be leaving without an encore? But then, up on his stand on the left of the stage, DJ Joseph Hahn reappeared and the Tacoma Dome shook with thunderous applause as the rest of Linkin Park came back onto stage.

The Encore, I actually remember quite distinctly, since the lull in music let me regain some composure as the pits calmed down for a while. They started with My December, with subdued lighting and Chester sitting center stage on a box singing. Then came P5hing me Aw*y, my favorite from Reanimation, followed by the traditional Linkin Park concert ender (if Live in Texas is anything to go by) One Step Closer. Three songs is a pretty generous encore, and so I decided it really was the last song of the night (they even said so, and I tend to trust these guys) so I decided I would surf to the front of the crowd. I let the guys near me know my intentions and they helped me up top. The crowd control guys got me down the front, and directed me to the right. It was much cooler out of the crowd – the first relief from the oppressive heat of thousands of bodies pressed together I had all night. Unfortunately, there were no good picture opportunities of the band while I was closer than even the front row, but I did get a few pictures of the crowd on my way out, and some wide angle shots of the whole stage during the last moments of One Step Closer. People dispersed pretty quickly after that. Beth and I found each other again, I drank about a gallon of water from the drinking fountains, and then we got into line so I could purchase a couple of Linkin Park shirts.

After that we headed home. Once home, I ate some salty chips (to replenish the salt lost to sweat) and made myself some chili. Then I downloaded the pictures and movies from my camera. It turns out the bass was way too much form my camera, so all of the sound is distorted during the movies except the parts where there is singing without heavy guitars. I also realized I was really tired, so I did a small post and went to sleep. I didn’t get up until 1:00 – and felt well rested, although my ears were still ringing slightly and I was thirsty again. Since then I’ve basically hung out here, since I’m so cool and Amanda is working all day. :-/

Arcanius on 02.14.04 @ 05:44 PM PST [link]


Linkin Park

music: System Of A Down - Chop Suey
mood: Tired but happy

I just got back from Linkin Park's concert at the Tacoma Dome. It was, in a word, incredible. A sensory extravaganza that can't be captured completely by words. Don't fret, I will try, but not tonight. I also have a gagle of pictures to upload. Also, I will try to remember to talk about my adventures with my computer today and other thoughts I've been having.
Arcanius on 02.14.04 @ 02:16 AM PST [link]


Friday, February 13th

UW Personal Statement

music: Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
mood: Purty good

I have completed a first draft of my personal statement for my University of Washington Application. Please read it and comment on any ways I can make it better:

I have always been a Husky. It simply took my mind three years to catch up with what my heart always knew. The essence of Husky is in my blood; after all, my mother and both of my sisters are UW graduates. In 1991, long before I thought about where I might attend college myself, we got our first TV – ostensibly to watch news on the first Iraq war. In hindsight, it seems that the purchase of that TV had a longer-term effect than that war did, for in the early 90s, my Saturday afternoons were consumed watching Washington’s perennial march to the Rose Bowl. After watching Mario Bailey make a few awe-inspiring catches, I was hooked.
Not all things go as they are meant to, however, and somewhere along my perennial march towards high school graduation, I lost track of my heart. When the time came to choose a University, I became a Cougar instead of a Husky. Not those Cougars, mind you. I would never stoop to the level of WSU. Nevertheless, I suppose it was a related species of the cat, the kind found at BYU in Provo, Utah. And for some time BYU seemed like the right match for me. I delved into my studies and loved it. That first year, the Cougars even won every football game I went to and every game I watched.
When 17 credits weren’t enough my first semester, I upped the load to the max of 18 and enjoyed school even more. The entire time, I took only the most rigorous classes in each field. While I was declared as a Computer Science major, I took the major-track chemistry and physics courses along with honors mathematics, history, and writing. While helping friends taking more mainstream classes, I discovered how much deeper my knowledge of the subjects was as a result of taking the more rigorous classes. Where my friends in more general courses had to memorize equations to pass tests, I didn’t because I could derive the equations from basic principals. Whereas my friends could tackles problems similar to ones encountered in class work, I was able to apply what I learned in one class in a meaningful way outside of that particular class. As an example, in a particularly grueling physics test I took, I was able to use an obscure trigonometric identity I had learned in my calculus class that semester as a shortcut to a tediously long derivation. Sure, I had to explain what exactly I had done to the grader, but the answer was just as correct as solving the problem in the manner prescribed in class. Experiences of this nature made the learning I was doing even more exhilarating. Alongside these scholastic feats, I was in peak physical condition with daily 6:00 am runs, the nearby Wasatch Mountains for a weekday hike, and chances to sharpen my Frisbee and football skills several times a week.
Yet amid the flurry of activities - or perhaps because of it – I didn’t notice that I was lost. I would return to my room every night, but it never became home. The Wasatch Front has its own beauty, but it cannot favorably compare to a cool, crisp, cloudless day hiking among the evergreens of the Evergreen State. While I managed to find a place at BYU, my heart knew I didn’t belong. When I attempted to stay through the summer, I burned out – a subconscious self-defense mechanism. Things didn’t go as smoothly as they had before when I returned to BYU the next school – and it was then that I discovered I needed to take some time off to find myself.
In the past year, as I worked and saved money for a return to school, the need for me to attend the University of Washington crystallized in my mind. More importantly, it feels right for so many reasons. For one, the UW has a FIRST Robotics Team, whereas there are none in all of Utah State. FIRST Robotics is a cause that I am very devoted to personally. I founded the Titan Robotics Club at my high school in my senior year, and for the past two years I have mentored the students of the Titan Robotics Club to help them develop self-esteem and technical, professional, and interpersonal skills. For these reasons, I will be proud to study – and to graduate – as a Husky. I won’t mind going to the football games either.


Here are the guidelines that I was supposed to follow.

Personal Statement: All applicants must write a personal statement and submit it with their application for admission.
Your Personal Statement plays a critical role in the admission decision. This is an opportunity for you to create a compelling context for the rest of your application file - to make the transcripts and numbers come alive. When you write your Personal Statement, we encourage you to share those aspects of your life that are not apparent from information provided in the rest of your application file. Tell us about the experiences that don't show up on your transcripts: your passions and commitments, your hopes, a personal challenge faced, a hardship overcome, or the cultural awareness you've gained through unique experiences or through the cultural environment in which you were raised. Your Personal Statement is the best means we have of getting to know you, so tell us who you are.

You should feel free to write about the topics in whatever format or approach seems most appropriate. Your statement should be approximately two pages, but if you find the topics in Section 2 relevant to your life experience, you are encouraged to write an additional page or two. To aid you in identifying the types of information that will be relevant to your application, please use the following guidelines:

Section 1. Please address the following topics as they pertain to you:
· Why do you want to attend the University of Washington? Do you intend to complete a bachelor's degree here? How will the UW help you attain academic, career, or personal goals? What can this university offer you that others can't? Do you have a compelling need to attend this institution?
· Discuss your college career to date. Which courses have you taken that are relevant to your intended field of study? Why have you selected these courses? Do you think that your grades accurately reflect your ability? If not, include an explanation of your past performance and include evidence as to why you expect to do better at the UW.
· If you've attended more than one college or university, explain your reasons for changing schools. If you've left school and returned after a significant absence from education, or attended part-time in order to meet other responsibilities or obligations, describe the reasons underlying those decisions.
Section 2. You are also strongly encouraged to include discussion of the following additional topics if relevant and significant to your life experiences:
· Describe your understanding of cultural differences, how this awareness was gained (for example, through unique experiences or through the cultural environment in which you were raised), and how it has affected you.
· Describe any personal hardships or obstacles you've overcome in attending college, and explain how they have affected your education.
o Examples: balancing work, family, and school; leaving college at age 19 because of financial hardship but returning "older and wiser"; adjusting to a new educational system after moving to the U.S. from another country; confronting a life-threatening illness.
· Discuss significant achievements such as academic awards, artistic achievements or awards, or work-related experiences, that complement your academic or career goals.

Arcanius on 02.13.04 @ 12:35 AM PST [link]


Thursday, February 12th

Finished downloads, Broken sunglasses, and other happenings

music: Screaming Trees - Dying Days, Linkin Park – Forgotten, Cinderella - Nobody's Fool, Soundgarden - Burden In My Hand, Debelah Morgan - Dance with Me, Linkin Park - Lying From You, Stone Temple Pilots – Plush, Oasis - Don't Go Away
mood: Purty good

Adobe Premiere Pro 7.0 Finally finished downloading (two different copies!) Between the two, I was able to get it installed. The first time I ran it, it took about two hours to load (ok, two minutes) before promptly crashing. I deleted the video that seems to cause the problems, and will encode to a more stable format until XviD figures itself out.

I read an explanation of the Telecine conversion that takes place to get movies (shot at 24 frames per second) to display properly in NTSC video (29.97 fps)… Its pretty crazy the steps they go though… also makes it a pain the butt to copy DVDs (I need to do this for a legitimate purpose too). If anyone wants to give me any tips, feel free.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and cool, crisp air but warm enough from the sunlight. It was the first day I needed to wear sunglasses in a long time. So I put on my sunglasses, only to find that one of the two screws holding the lens in had fallen out. No worries, I have another identical pair of sunglasses stored in another location, which I haven’t used in a while. I pulled them out to find that they had lost the exact same screw… How does this happen? And does anyone have some black very short #2 or so hardware I could use to fix the sunglasses?

It looks like Microsoft’s Automatic Windows security update installer just froze… wouldn’t it be great if someone hacked into that, and had it install viruses on every windows machine in the world… that’s world domination right there. Oh wait, Microsoft already does that…

I turned in my photos for assignment 2 today. I feel really good about it – I also learned about painting on developer today while I was helping Amanda in the darkroom and had some fun with those effects.

I also REALLY need to finish my UW Personal Statement and submit my app. And then get all the other materials sent to the UW. That has to happen within three days now. If you see me, bug me about it. Thanks.

I’m thinking of expanding my sourceforge project, photolog, to be basically what my site it now, but with greymatter replaced and with MySQL or filesystem-as-database support. And secure it all. It would be good html, css, mysql, and php practice. And it would make my site better. I’ll let you know how that project goes. Add it on to the to-do list.

Arcanius on 02.12.04 @ 12:39 AM PST [link]


Wednesday, February 11th

Mules, Donkeys, Software, and Hardware

music: Counting Crows - Long December, Wynton Marsalis – Pachelbel’s Canon for 3 Trumpets & Strings, U2 - All I Want Is You, October, Evanescence – Eternal, Pearl Jam - Don't Call Me Daughter, Metalica - Until it Sleeps, Linkin Park – Numb (Live in Texas), Technique, Screaming Trees - Dying Days, Linkin Park - P5hng Me A*wy (Live in Texas), The String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park - One Step Closer
mood: Mmmmm hmmmmmm

I decided late last night or rather, early this morning, after having Windows Movie Maker 2.0 Crash on me about three times per minute over a course of ten minutes, that I needed to try out a real video editing solution. Since that usually costs money, I thought I’d take other look at the wonderful world of peer-to-peer file sharing. I have seen people have success recently with Edonkey, so I downloaded the open-source non-spyware version called (in the great tradition of free software such as YACC’s emulator “Bison”) “E-Mule” (see SourceForge.net).

After installation of E-Mule, I quickly found Avid’s Xpress DV 3.5 and Adobe’s Premiere Pro out there. But it takes a bloody long time to get anything at all. But things slowly and surely seem to get downloaded. Unfortunately I have it installed on my laptop, and now I can’t very well take it with me without interrupting the downloading. So I’m going to add something to my to-do list once sf2 is no longer serving SilverFir.net, I will convert in into a windows box that I run programs like this on, hook up my external Hard Drive to so I don’t have to worry about demounting when I move around, hook the printer up to, so I can print from anywhere in the house over wireless networking, etc…

An aside: wow, this “Eternal” song by Evanescence is pretty awesome. I never would have heard this song without file sharing. And because of this song, I will listen to more music from this older Evanescence album. And I might buy it, because that’s what I do with CDs like I like. Dumb record companies/recording academy/RIAA who thinks that file sharing is so bad. Sure, there are people who download music for free instead of buying it, but those are the same people who would have burned the cd, or copied it onto a tape, or taped it from the radio. And villainizing people like me who use peer to peer as a sort of radio-listening service doesn’t make you any friends. I’m all for free enterprise, but copyright laws these days are far from what could be construed as the results of free enterprise. Corporations have for years twisted copyright to their advantage; now they complain when consumers, the very people who support the corporations, twist copyright themselves.

The hypocrisy is appalling; but sadly true. As is, I suppose, my hypocrisy when I download expensive software to try out, yet promise that I’ll pay for when I use it in a matter where it might actually make sense to wield that kind of power. But then I have justification there too – my using the software in a non-commercial manner (as I do) only strengthens the position in an industry of the software that I use. And I really do plan on paying for the software were I to use it for commercial uses. I just can’t afford the ten-bazillion dollars of license fees and upgrade costs when I only use the software once a month for only a few things.

The absence of these moral dilemmas is one of the most attractive traits of free software for me – And for tools where free software is on par with proprietary software, that’s what I tend to use (Mozilla FoxFire [newly installed – it’s the new version of Firebird {a new name for a new version so as to not interfere with another project called Firebird }], Thunderbird, Linux servers, Apache, etc)… Enough nested parrens for you there?

Third time though the Evanescence song… now on to Pearl Jam…

I think I’m going to try getting some actual sleep tonight, although I’m still itching to do a movie in windows movie maker with an updated XviD driver. And a million other things. Oh, I might as well tell you about today. After staying up till’ 4, I woke up at 8:20 only to remember I had forgotten my math homework and there was ice over my windshield. So I skipped Tennis, went to Math, did a bunch of photography, ate lunch with Amanda, did more prints and darkroom activities, and then went off to robotics, where the design for the arm changed again, but it looks like it’ll come together this time. Then I can work on the winch to lift the robot at the end of the match. Meanwhile, Bob is working on a mechanism to positively control the goal. Once those things are done, the robot will be able to do everything in the game except for knocking the bonus ball. And I think the bonus ball is useless, so I’m ok ignoring that.


Arcanius on 02.11.04 @ 12:08 AM PST [link]


Tuesday, February 10th

A To-Do List

music: Silverchair - Israel's Son, Alice In Chains - No Excuses, Andrew Lloyd Webber - Think Of Me (Phantom of the Opera), Seven Mary Three - Water's Edge, Soundgarden - The Day I Tried To Live, System Of A Down - Chop Suey, Van Halen – Jump, Temple of the Dog - Say Hello 2 Heaven, U2 - When Love Comes To Town (feat. B.B. King)
mood: Upbeat

I was reflecting recently on my short-term plans, so I thought I’d enumerate a list:
1. SilverFir.net
a. Decommission oasis as my desktop machine (I haven’t actually turned it on in weeks).
b. Remove the S.B. Audigy II Platinum and CD-RW drive from oasis and store for next desktop machine.
c. Move the SCSI cards and drives from the dead-by-power-supply server machine to oasis.
d. Install Gentoo Linux with EVMS (?), Apache, PHP, Tomcat (?), MySQL, Exim, ProFTPd, and maybe a few other services – all secure as needed.
e. Move oasis back to a higher bandwidth location, switch SilverFir.net DNS resolution back over as well.
f. At some future point, set up VPN or otherwise secure file sharing on SilverFir.net so I can access my [mp3’s | documents | videos | other files] from anywhere in the world with my laptop and an internet connection.
2. Other stuff
a. Research and purchase a digital video camera before the FIRST Pacific Northwest Regional on March 5-6.
b. Get 2001 TRC thank you awards that are sitting in Tim’s house to proper people.
c. Research and purchase components to build a new desktop.
i. Better than P4 2.8 Ghz (Current laptop)
ii. High end graphics card
iii. Flippin’ fast disk arrays – perhaps software RAID 0 for video editing.

d. Help design of kitchen remodel at my house
e. Talk to International School principal about keeping portables around after this year for use by TRC.
f. Finish writing thank you letters to the rest of my hosts on the road trip (Better late than never).
g. Study for math, so I can ace my next midterm, so I can play CS again.
h. I keep thinking of more things, but I’ll stop there.

Notice the order. This is why I’m not doing so well in math.

One nice thing about this computer: While its DVD reader only gets about 2x on rips, I don’t even notice any latency anywhere else on the system. I actually rather prefer it this way – multitasking as it was meant to be.

Well, today was rather uneventful. Math didn’t have enough content, I studied with Amanda for the test; consequently, we both did well. I then finished my second roll for the assignment due Wednesday, then developed it after quick lunch and picking up the DVD I am currently ripping (TRC’s 2003 Pacific Northwest Regional Matches) and dropping that off to a waiting Chris and Tim at BCC. Then I went to my mom’s office and helped her with some Word Page layout, then it was off to Tim’s to check on progress of the TRC’s video for the assembly on Wednesday. I also bid on a ATI Radeon 9700 Pro – but he decided a 240% annualized rate of return wasn’t enough for him, so I didn’t get it. Yet. But it did get me to thinking about getting a new computer, thus (1) and (2c) above. After that it was a quick jaunt home for dinner (Corn tortilla chips, cheddar cheese, and chili) before heading to the Walt and Karen’s place to carpool to Benaroya Hall in Seattle to listen to the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Catholic School’s Choirs perform. It was mostly good – my favorite of the night was Sacred Names’ school’s “Three Ways to Vacuum a House” which featured a vacuum cleaner prop and no director. Then it was back home to blog. A good day.

Now I just hope the nice nested lists copy over to Greymatter alright.

Arcanius on 02.10.04 @ 12:25 AM PST [link]


Monday, February 9th

The 46th Annual Grammies

music: The String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park - Somewhere I Belong, Three Doors Down – Loser, Linkin Park – Wth>You (Chairman Hahn ft. Aceyalone)
mood: Sad

They kind of sucked I thought. I mean, Linkin Park didn’t win anything, I somehow missed the record of the year, Evanesence won something but then I learned that they disavowed their spiritual roots – even Jennifer Lopez knows better than to deny her roots (“I still remember where I came from” – that’s her, right?). I didn’t even get any calc homework done while watching. Oh, and the costumes were mostly atrocious, with some fun exceptions.
Arcanius on 02.09.04 @ 12:00 AM PST [link]


Sunday, February 8th

CDex, Friends, and Dilligence

music: MASS Ensemble - Wing Beat, Allen Vizzutti - Notte A Roma, The String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park – Runaway, Destiny's Child - Jumpin Jumpin, Soundgarden - Burden In My Hand, Space - Female of the Species, Nirvana - Come As You Are, Collective Soul - The World I Know, U2 - Beautiful Day
mood: Been better

CDex rules again. I used it long ago to rip my CDs to mp3s, and then I switched to EAC. Then EAC stopped working on my laptop, and I used nothing for a long time. Then I got the latest version of CDEx and it is even better than it was before and it seems to make wonderful rips. Straight to mp3 via lame. And its open source. What more could I want? check it out @ sf.net (sourceforge.net, not to be confused with silverfir.net, although both are worthy projects).

I have some really good friends. In fact, I am amazed by the quality of my friends. You know who you are.

So far I have kept my counterstrike commitment, but I’m not doing so well with the studying commitment. Not enough library time I suppose (none, to be exact). Other commitments are doing even worse. I blame it on my lack of diligence. In my life, when the going gets tough, I have tended to pack up and leave. I was good enough at enough things that I guess nobody noticed. Or if they did notice, they didn’t do anything about it. But that is the past, and whatever happened, I have to deal with it now. I’m getting significantly better at facing down irrational fears, although it still takes the active intervention my rational self. My big need right now is to find it within myself to stick to something hard even if the outcome looks less than optimal for me. These two things are related because – as far as I know – I have always done well in school courses where I tried. However, because I tend to back off from things that aren’t looking to end well for me, I’ve never really tried at a course in which I was doing badly. Since it goes both ways, and I’m not really sure which is the cause and which is the effect, or if its some combination – but the end result is that I have never really been at risk of putting it all out there and failing in a classroom setting – or any other setting for that matter really. I’ve been planning on having this Calculus test change that – the first test didn’t go so well, so there is a real chance I’ll do badly in the class. And I want to ace it, which is still very possible from a raw points perspective. But I’m having trouble getting into gear of this – I have only done homework once. While I am not required to turn the homework in, it is very necessary to do it to get the proficiency needed for tests, which require both accuracy and speed. So unless I actually try here, I will remain uncertain of my ability to excel at school when failure is a real possibility. I will keep you posted.

Otherwise, it was a typical Sunday – dropped off movies, went to church, lounged around at home after eating… getting nothing done. Until maybe now, if I’m good, I’ll do something useful after this. We’ll see. Well, this is useful, isn’t it? Or is it? Meh.

I’m out of my Lithium – have been for a couple of days now. I take it for combating tendencies toward depression – and it does seem to level my mood. So I should probably get that one refilled, even ifs it’s just the placebo effect, it’s a good effect. And sooner rather than later I’m going to have to have my pinky on my right hand looked at. An injury that went away after I ignored it years ago came back in December and it’s lingering this time, and its probably time that I got it fixed for good. My guess is that it’s a fracture – and if so, it would be the closest thing to a broken bone I’ve ever had.

Arcanius on 02.08.04 @ 07:05 PM PST [link]


Multitasking and strange happenings at SilverFir.net

music: Stone Temple Pilots - Trippin' On A Hole In A Paper Heart, White Stripes - Seven Nation Army, Linkin Park – Crawling, Wallflowers - 6th Avenue Heartache
mood: Tired but satisfied

Multitasking is great: I’m chatting, administering SilverFir.net, watching a movie, and writing up the latest entry to the blog all at the same time. Well, I’m mostly watching the movie and chatting, which is why after an hour I’m only on my second sentence here. Two hours…. Three… ok, maybe multitasking isn't so great :-p.

...

Well, The movie was good, and the problem with SilverFir.net was extremely obscure. Somehow, the loopback interface wasn’t up – so “localhost” and 127.0.0.1 would give different results, and I couldn’t ping myself. Thanks to a user (see http://moretti.silverfir.net) wanting to install Uberblog (see http://dris.dyndns.org:8080/) the problem started showing symptoms, and after hours of struggle, was figured out and (hopefully) resolved.
I’m thinking I need to get the next version of SilverFir up real soon, because the current one is going haywire pretty quickly. Gentoo is looking like a good option. Now I just need a way to upgrade with minimal downtime.
Since I am thinking about it now, I have thought of an ideas that I think should be considered for Linux distributions: instead of putting files all over the filesystem when installing things (as Debian and Gentoo do), why not put all the files for a particular program in a single directory (say, /usr/local/programname… just like apache and mysql default to), then use simlinks for everything else – logs, config files, binaries – just put simlinks in the “regular” places - /usr/bin or /etc or /var/log, etc. That way, when a program is deinstalled, a cron job can go by and neatly clean up all the simlinks and there is no residual from the program. And deinstallation involves one rm command. Very clean, very simple. Maybe someday I’ll suggest this to someone who knows what to do about the idea.
Well today I made it to Larry’s about 10 – only Hilary and Eric were there. I stayed until around 5, by which time the mast of the arm was maybe ½ complete. I wish I were better at doing the arm project myself, but there are so many things that I just don’t think about yet. It’ll just take time I guess. After leaving Larry’s I made my way to Sammamish – stopping by Amanda’s place. She was at work, so I stopped there and let her know about the test on Monday. We’ll be studying before class Monday. o.O


Arcanius on 02.08.04 @ 02:36 AM PST [link]


Friday, February 6th

Sammamish (or not)

music: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge, Candlebox - Far Behind, Mamas & Papas - California Dreamin'
mood: Bittersweet

I never made it to Sammamish. I got about as far as the TV – with the newfangled cable TV we have, Monster House was on, and it sucked me in as I feasted on extra sharp white cheddar melted over corn tortilla chips. Then my dad got home, and we watched “Out of Time,” which I picked up at Blockbuster for free earlier today (got to love late Saturday nights and guaranteed in stock movies). Then my mom got home, and it was after ten, and I decided I would actually make it to Larry’s around 8:00 tomorrow, so I should get to bed. But first I voiced some worries about the TRC achieving its mission, using my parents as a sounding board. It was good to get some of my ideas – developed on my own and borrowed from others – out in the open. It helps crystallize them so they stick around, which is important, especially for good ideas.

I’ve found out that I’m no good at studying anymore. I tend to mess around on my computer instead of studying, unless I’m being really good. But I don’t have trouble staying on task in the photo lab, for example. So it’s a location thing. Maybe some visits to the library are in my future…

Arcanius on 02.06.04 @ 11:25 PM PST [link]


Gentoo Linux and Today

music: Linkin Park – Figure.09, Breaking the Habit, From the Inside, Session (Listening to Meteora), Linkin Park – From the Inside (Live in Texas), Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
mood: Mixed

I recently shifted strategies on my usage of Gentoo Linux on my laptop. Before, I was more worried about the fact that Linux didn’t seem to support my PC cards for war driving, that the frame buffer wasn’t working properly due to the infamously unsupported ATI Radeon IGP series. Then I realized that I was missing the point. When I got my first laptop, an antique Pentium 90, from my dad a year ago, linux was the only modern operating system that would work. And on that computer, the framebuffer was impossible (although PC cards did work) – but it was an excellent computer for me. It got me so familiar with Debian that I was able setup what is now running silverfir.net in about an hour – plus some tweaks since then. What I am now using Gentoo on Kleinoscope for is to become as familiar with Gentoo as I became with Debian, so that I can feel comfortable switching over. Already, I am pretty happy with Gentoo’s system. It looks like I can easily get not only Apache, MySQL, and PHP up quickly, but that other things I had wanted to do for friends, such as Tomcat (for Clifton at www.InLag.com), are going to be incredibly easy. Now I’m itching to get sf2 back offline (ie, use wadi to serve again) so I can set up gentoo on the faster box. Sure, I’ll have to compile everything, but I did that with all the important stuff in Debian anyway, since everything tends to be so obsolete. With Gentoo, cutting edge stuff is available, but its also much easier – and the defaults seem to work well with me, so far at least, so I won’t have to move outside of the wonderful package system that Gentoo has. And it’s a Linux, so the things that bug me about the BSDs aren’t an issue – such as the behavior of arrow keys in vim. I’ll let you know how things progress.

I was feeling a bit down yesterday and forgot to blog. But with the length each entry has grown to, maybe you all (whoever you are) needed a break. As for today, math was uneventful, and in photography we covered what will be on the test on Monday. Since Amanda wasn’t there, I am considering a trip to Sammamish… might lift the spirits a bit. Once I got home I vacuumed the truck – it was badly needed – and I felt good. Then I came back and spent some time on the computer, and I starting feeling a little down again. I think I need a little bit of time off the computer (except for blogging, this makes me happy, remember?) So here I go to suck the marrow of life. Wish me luck. =D

Arcanius on 02.06.04 @ 06:52 PM PST [link]


Thursday, February 5th

On photography and skiing

music: Blind Melon - No Rain, U2 - All I Want Is You, U2 - October, George Winston - The Holly and the Ivy, MXPX - Doing Time, Lynard Skynard - Sweet Home Alabama, Green Day - Welcome to Paradise, Smashing Pumpkins – Zero, Offspring – Keep Em Seperated - Nine Inch Nails - Head Like a Hole, Tonic - If You Could Only See, Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge, Smashing Pumpkins – 1979, Weezer - Buddy Holly, Wynton Marsalis – Pachelbel’s Canon for 3 Trumpets & Strings (The list is so long because I was multitasking while 'Blogging")
mood: High on life

Richard invited me to go up to the pass with him and a buddy of his. I hadn’t gone yet this season, so I readily accepted – but first, I had to go to photography. So I waited around for an hour – actually, I fell asleep reading the photography book (volume 7!). Then when class rolled around, our teacher showed up to tell us how much or a moron he was because he forgot the slides he was going to show us…
…So the seven people that actually showed all got up and left. I asked the teacher about the last assignment we handed in; in turns out its been sitting in the out box in the photo lab for a few days now. I grabbed mine out, but didn’t get around to opening it until later. Since Dan hadn’t arrived yet, I gave him a call as I walked out and let him know that class had been canceled. It turns out he’s terribly sick – so get well soon Dan! He asked me to take down his dry film for him – which I did (I actually recognized which film was his this time – another time, I couldn’t figure it out, and the teacher asked me to stop looking at other people’s film because “they might have pictures of themselves having sex with their children or something.” He seriously said that. I promptly stopped looking for Dan’s film, kinda freaked out. I think maybe Carlos has spent a little too much time around photo chemicals).
Anyway, back to the story…While on the phone, I overheard a girl from the class trying to arrange a ride home. Since I had some time to blow before my class was supposed to get out, I offered her a ride home. We had a wonderfully engaging conversation all the way to her house in Sammamish - and she’s cute to boot. Yes, I have designs. Its fun to be in this position again, its been a while. Oh, Amanda also opened up my returned photography assignment for me, and I got an A-. I’m happy with the grade – good, but still with room to improve. A lot like the photographs I turned in.
So, once I dropped Amanda (that’s the girl’s name) off and we said out good-byes, I headed back home to get my skis and then I headed down to Richard’s. A little later we took off to pick up Colin, a friend of Richard’s, and head to the pass. We got there just before 4, so we waited until 15 before then headed up and got the night passes. With a coupon, it came out to $20 a person – pretty good.
Once on the slopes, my skiing form came back to me pretty easily, but my quads aren’t what they were at the end of last season. I was feeling the burn pretty good by the end of the day. Of course I was with two snowboarders, so they wanted to do the terrain park while I was more interested in runs like triple sixty face. But I thought I’d give another shot at learning how to jump. You see, I had a bad experience when I was young. When I was 13 years old, I went off a big jump and ended up landing on my head. The ensuing black out has caused me to shy away from jumps ever since. When I did go over bumps, I tended to take it up in my legs.
Today, however, I decided it was time to face down that fear and give jumps another shot. I’m glad I did. With a few pointers from Richard and Colin and a little bit of practice, I was able to consistently land my jumps. It still doesn’t feel natural, but I didn’t wipe out on any of the landing, and by the end of the day I was catching significant air. And it’s exhilarating beyond anything I have done on skis before. I hope to extend my distance and airtime over my next few trips.
On the way back from Snoqualmie, we stopped at North Bend’s Denny’s for dinner. I had an excellent sirloin steak with applesauce and a baked potato. It hit the spot. Food is good. On the way out, I popped some money in the big machine with the claw that grabs stuffed animals – and for the first time in my life, I got one out. It’s a strange but cute green teddy bear in a black and yellow jester outfit. Hopefully I will post pictures soon.
With my recently won prize, endorphins from skiing and jumping, and a girl to top it off – life is good.

Arcanius on 02.05.04 @ 12:41 AM PST [link]


Tuesday, February 3rd

The Titan Robotics Club and The 2004 FIRST Robotics Competition

music: Christina Aguilera - Genie In A Bottle, Chumbawamba – Amnesia, System Of A Down – Toxicity, Linkin Park – Faint (Live in Texas), Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band - Battle Hymn of the Republic, Silverchair - Israel's Son
mood: Tadbit Frustrated

“What we really need… is a perfect CEO.” –Me
Three and a half years ago, with guidance from Larry Barello, I founded the Titan Robotics Club at my high school. That first year, the fledgling club raked in more than $22,500 in donations, entered two robotics competition events and sent 19 students to the Silicon Valley Regional of the FIRST Robotics Competition for $50 a piece. The fundraising of the first year has not yet again been matched – but of course we got a $10,000 head start that first year due to a grant from the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers. The next two years NASA treated us to $5000 – enough to cover entry to one regional. Each of those years, the TRC entered two regional competitions – one in Washington and one in California. This year, the NASA grant ran out, and so far the TRC has entered only one FIRST Robotics event – the closest one, in Portland, Oregon. What this translates into is that the TRC has pretty much had a flat level of income from the community, when KPCB and NASA are taken out of the equation. The first year, the extra money from KPCB let the TRC enter a second competition and subsidize travel costs. The next two years, the NASA money allowed the TRC to enter a second competition. This year, nothing – no extra money, just the basics: Students pay for their own travel, we enter one regional competition (even though the club got invited to the National Championships this year), and… well, who knows. It feels to me like things are winding down. But that is exactly the opposite of what I wanted. I want the TRC to take off. So, looking into the future, I have to figure out what it will take to get more students energized about the TRC. This is the great mystery…
For more on the TRC, visit titanrobotics.net

As mentioned above, the TRC participated in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC - http://www.usfirst.org). The FRC is a national competition of high school robotics groups teamed up with mentors of professional engineers and college students. Over 800 teams are at it this year. Every year, a new game is introduced, and a new Kit of Parts is released – and with the materials in the kits, each team tries to build a robot that will win the game. The compressed schedule simulates real-world engineering problems and forces students and mentors alike to balance the design, build, and test phases that every engineering project goes through. However, the six weeks of robot building are only the beginning. Every team enters one or more regional competitions. Throughout March and early April, weekends are turned into robotics extravaganzas, with thirty to sixty teams squaring off. These regional events are the real magic of the FIRST Robotics Competition. Sure, there may be better ways to teach the specific skills of welding, C programming, computer-aided design, turning drawings into pieces and pieces into robots, but there is no better way to get people who don’t give a hang interested in learning these skills in the first place. A FIRST Regional Event is part rock concert, part sports event, part nerd convention, and completely energetic fun. The FIRST Regional celebrates science and technology – flying in the face of our society that idolizes entertainment over all and pays more attention to the lives of sex symbols than to the amazing feats of science and technology (ie, Britney vs. Mars Rover). FIRST – For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology – is what we need more of.
And now, for a shameless plug: if you know of an individual or a company (including you and yours) that would be interested in supporting the worthy effort of a FIRST Robotics team… send them to this informational page

Arcanius on 02.03.04 @ 11:36 PM PST [link]


Monday, February 2nd

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.

Arcanius on 02.02.04 @ 11:51 PM PST [link]


BASE Jumping

music: Linkin Park - By Myself
mood: Generally good

Scott: hey
Me: hi there
Scott: ever thought about BASE jumping?
Me: no, nore have I heard of it, nor do I know what it is
Me: once you tell me
Me: I will have thoguht about it
Scott: gah! never heard of it!
Scott: wow
Scott: BASE = building, antenna, span, earth
Me: I think I'm a dysfucntional nerd around you
Me: haha
Scott: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BASE_jumping
Me: it seems like a worthwhile endeavor to me
Scott: heh
Scott: good
Arcanius on 02.02.04 @ 12:26 AM PST [link]


Sunday, February 1st

The Hack and Superbowl Sunday

music: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Breaking the Girl
mood: Feeling so good that day...

Linux kernels before version 2.4.23 had a security hole that would allow a non-privileged user to gain administrative privileges on any Linux system. Version 2.4.23 was released on November 28, 2003. Silverfir.net had been running with no significant changes to its setup since May, 2003. The kernel hole, along with a security hole in the gallery software I use on this site, PHPix, allowed attackers to gain privileged access to the silverfir.net machine. Apparently, one succeeded. But whoever it was, the attacker must have been disappointed at the level of machine he or she gained access to. A Pentium Pro 180 with a nice but unremarkable Internet uplink isn’t exactly a conquest worth bragging about. Furthermore, nothing even remotely commercial happens on the machine, and all of my email is boring. Besides, something seems to have gone wrong: with the privileged status, the attacker seems to have replaced my INIT – the program that starts up before all other programs and guides the system though its startup routine – a common first step once a root kit (the tools used to crack open a system once administrator privileges have been gained) has been installed. However, this seems to have made my system quite unstable, and with several convenient power outages (thanks Amy, and Puget Power), the problem soon manifest itself with silverfir.net becoming unstable and generating all sorts of errors. In due time, after I got around to reading the logs, and reading security news bulletins, I was able to piece the story together. Of course, I am dumb, and I haven’t updated my (extremely changed by me) version of PHPix yet, but I figure as long as users can’t gain root with a kernel exploit, I’ll let them run strange commands on my system until I get around to getting the real replacement server working (probally FreeBSD or OpenBSD on the dual Pentium II). But at this point, that is a ways off.

After watching the movie last night, I stayed up even later to, among other things, update this site. The result is that I slept in until 1:00pm today, just long enough to completely miss church. That wasn’t planned, mind you. I had breakfast, read some, and then watched the New England Patriots narrowly defeat the Carolina Panthers in Superbowl XXXVIII. I was cheering for the Panthers simply because they were the underdogs; things looked grim in the first quarter for them, but both teams picked up the offensive pace towards halftime…

Another aside: At BYU, I took an introduction to economics course that covered basic micro- and macroeconomic theory. One of the books I read for the class was called “Hard Heads, Soft Hearts.” Written by Alan Blinder, a liberal economist from the Clinton administration, the book is about how liberal fiscal policies could also be economically grounded. I hope that all politicians in this country, both “conservative” and “liberal” (although the differences these days are slight) would read the book and follow the advice. The reason I think of this now is that in the introduction to the book, Blinder declares that you can tell if someone is liberal if they root for the underdog team in a sports contest when they have no personal loyalties to either team. But he is wrong. I am one of the least liberal people I know (not necessarily to be confused with classic conservatism), and I enthusiastically root for the underdogs, as long as the one projected to win is not the UW, BYU, or a Seattle team. Take that, Mr. Blinder! But seriously, especially if you are liberal, read the book, then we can have a decent conversation about our politics.

…And back to the main story: despite the slow start, the game turned out to be quite good, except for the fact that we had the same ending that we had two years ago (although I did not watch that game, to be honest) and the fact that the Panther’s should have tried something really wild on that last play. Getting tackled should’ve been the last thing they let happened – I mean, seriously, who cares if you let the Patriots score again, you still loose, but try some laterals and pull your entire team back for some voodoo magic and at least make the final moments an exciting bang instead of a lackluster whimper. Oh well, I guess that’s what we have college football for.
Arcanius on 02.01.04 @ 11:42 PM PST [link]


Wow!

music: oasis - Champage Supernova
mood: Contentedly contemplative

Check out the page of Bernie Zimmermann at http://www.pleasureunit.com/bernie/. He is the writer of the only comment (so far at least) on my last post. Seeing websites that are pretty like his gets me to thinking about making my website pretty. In fact, it reminds me of a story about my early days with the Internet. And since I am in the mood, I will share the story with you…

My first website ever was titled “The Realm of Arcanius.” The name remains to this day – check out the title of this page. My brother was becoming interested in graphic design at the time (he was doing his senior project on computer aided graphic design, in fact) and he made me the logo, which really was the prettiest part of the site. And prettiness mattered, since I was locked in a battle for votes with my friend Dan’s “Lagomorph’s Lair” and he always seemed to be winning. I had decidedly more content in the form of stories, poetry, pictures, photos, and jokes, for what that was worth. But he had style. I have similar problems today. I am able to update this site fairly regularly (although I admit the pictures are getting stale), but I still have trouble making my sites all that pretty. I can make what I think are good looking logos and designs using Photoshop and freehand, but putting them together to make a good website had never been my strong point. My most successful websites have always been very simple, come-for-the-content websites. Of course, Mr. Zimmermann is a professional web developer – so I shouldn’t feel too bad that my site isn’t as good-looking as his.

So the story part of that (I know it wasn’t too clear) was that I made a website when I was in the eighth grade and I lost a competition to my friend. And I’ve kept the name ever since. So now, I might as well talk about how I picked up the name “Arcanius” anyway. Actually, I think I already talked about this (if you go to the first posts in the archives). But here it is again for those of you too lazy to go back (I would be too, so don’t feel bad). There was a game I played back in sixth grade called “Master of Magic.” It was fun, and it had two worlds – one called “Arcanus” and the other called “Myrror.” I took the former name, added the “i” (because I’m cool like that) and adopted it as my online name. I then proceeded to use the other world’s name as my password. In fact, you can probably find, somewhere, some account where “myrror” is still the password. But don’t count on it having anything useful if I haven’t logged recently enough to change the password.

And I might as well keep on going; it is good to remember. Well, the Lagomorph who always beat me in website design now attends the University of Washington – where I will probally be going by the end of the year. It is somewhat sad that we have drifted apart. We still get along, but we really don’t see each other much anymore – no real reason to, I guess. The same thing happened to Alex another friend from high school, and countless others as well. But some people I have continued to hang out with regularly – Scott, Maneesh, Amy. The difference is that the ones I have drifted away from don’t tend to find the time to do things with me, while the ones still in my life seem to always be willing to do things still. So it leads to a very simply but very important conclusion: continued close friendship takes continued inputs of time. There is simply no way around it. I will always be cordial with Alex and Dan, but already, I have nothing to talk to them about – they come online and I don’t message them, because I don’t have anything to say.

Now for an update on more current history: today. First, I did the Robotics thing, picking up a breakfast burrito as Casa D’s Tacqueria on Bellevue Way on the way to Larry’s house. Once there, Bobby and I worked on the design of the arm (we think it is pretty much finished now), participated somewhat in the betterment of the ball scooper-upper, and generally had ourselves a good time, before returning to 8, the eight-restaurant cafeteria in the basement of McMahon Hall. We seem to be eating there a lot, but Bobby does have 900-some dollars he needs to burn through before the end of the term, and I’m willing to help him as long as its not taking anything away from him. While eating and finalizing details on the arm, we watched the UW men’s basketball team put the spank on the Arizona State Sun Devils. Then we watched the Montlake parking area’s black of asphalt turn into glowing red of brake lights as thousands of fans exited the arena only to sit in their cars waiting to get out. Once the traffic had subsided, I returned home before running out to apply for employment at the low-risk, low-stress local Blockbuster, and to grab a movie and some groceries. I highly recommend the movie “Antwone Fisher.” I can’t say I cried, but my eyes did get damp. Of course, I’m pretty emotionally detached, so that’s a pretty good effect.

I’ll work on new pictures, and probably fix the error in PHPix which has hackers still attempting to compromise my system. Of course, I’m not sure if the hackers were directly related to Wadi’s crash, or if both events just happened to occur at the same time. In the meantime, I’ve thought of many ways that OS’s could be made more secure by default: some of these ideas are already implemented by Immunix, Inc. (www.immunix.com / www.immunix.org), although they use older technology. I’m too cutting edge (not quite beta, but everything up until thing pretty much) to deal with gcc < 3.0 or Apache < 2.0…. so while maybe its flawed in security, I get to learn and it’ll make me a better sysadmin in the meantime.


Arcanius on 02.01.04 @ 02:36 AM PST [link]




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