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MultiViews

Ever since I read the article Cool URLs don’t change, I have wanted to try out extension-free URLs. However, the few times I attempted, my .var files, as outlined in Apache’s online documentation on the subject, didn’t seem to be working very well. So I finally read further down that page and came across an alternate method of achieving the same ends: Options MultiViews. I quickly wrote myself up a .htaccess file, and voila: you can access files without their extensions now, like http://arcanius.silverfir.net/wp/index. Apache automatically searches for matching files and serves the best one it finds.

The reason behind doing something like this is that, for example, one can change server technologies (although I’m not about to switch from PHP), without changing URLs. For example, the above link would point equally well to index.html, index.php, index.asp, index.jsp, index.InsertServerTechnologyHere, etc. Likewise, one can use a similar methods to automatically switch between image technologies, because checksum-arcanius-banner points equally well to a .png (which it is) or a .gif, or a .jpg, or any new image technology that might come along.

So, MultiViews is a good thing, in my View. Oh my goodness I’m hilarious!

I’m Not Gonna Die… Yet

I went to my doctor today, and heard this good news: its probably not too serious, but I’ll give you a call if I’m wrong. Yes, my heart isn’t going to be stopping suddenly anytime soon. This is good news for me, considering that I’m also on a streak of emotional stability that hasn’t had me in the dumps long enough to want it any other way. In other news, I get to be a drugie for another 3 months, my finger will probably heal on its own if I manage to keep the swelling down, and I’m going to keep my dependencies limited to a single substance for now (woohoo!).

Kickoff

Yesterday was arguably the biggest day of the year for the FIRST Robotics Competition – the Kickoff. Before the kickoff, only a handful of people in the world have any idea what the year’s game will be. During the kickoff, tens of thousands of people become aware, more or less simultaneously, of what the game is. Unless you live in or around Seattle, Washington. This is because the organizers of the Seattle Remote Kickoff decided to tape delay the most precious information available to any FIRST team – first by three hours:

In an effort to work with teams that need to travel to get to Seattle (not to mention those that hate 6AM wakes ups) We are planning on a tape delay of the kick off. We are planning on starting the Tape at 10:15-10:30 am at Roosevelt. This will allow a relaxed time for us to watch opening events and learn about the game. Expect tape to be done between 1 and 1:30.

Of course, they didn’t tell us this until five days before the event, after the TRC already had its entire day scheduled around a 7:00 am kickoff. Sure, the extra hours might be nice from a sleep standpoint, but from a “this is something special” standpoint, it was the wrong move. However, we were able to adjust to this unexpected event, and we rearranged the day, albeit shorted by 3 hours, around the new schedule. But then it got worse… On the day of the event, we recieved the following communication:

Not sure what it looks like out your window but I have snow in Belfair and in Tacoma. Just spoke with Eric Muhs. Rather than risk life and limb we thought a 12 noon start time would be better for all involved. So teh update is Kickoff (kit pick up) is at Noon Sat at Roosevelt.

Remember, this is the day of. We have made some significant stides in terms of communication among club members, but there is no way we could inform everyone who was planning on coming – much less know who exactly was planning on coming – of the new delay. Besides, the email seemed to say that the kickoff was now only “kit pick up” – as in, the video would not be shown. So, Amy met the arriving students at the school and told them to return at 2:00, when Brad would be around (he would have been around at noon, except for the initial delay at the start of the week). I made it there late, as I actually had some snow at my house. But according to a friend in Tacoma, there was none in Tacoma, and there was nothing significant lower down in Bellevue or in any of Seattle. In short, the delay was unneccesary as well as a terrible idea – last minute changes to events where more than 200 people are expected to attend – not such a good idea I think.

But, back to the story – I went to pick up the kit at noon – a process that went smoothly enough – but it turns out that they were showing the video. And all of our students weren’t scheduled to be anywhere until 2:00. So, we just picked up the kit of parts and high-tailed out of there, assembled a few things back in Larry’s garage, then headed to the School were we showed the kickoff to the students by way of a DVD Larry burned from his home theater recording of the kickoff. It was considerably better quality than the webcast I watched, which was nice.

After the movie, we began talking about strategy (as opposed to robot design, which is something else entirely). I think we will mostly be keeping our strategy to ourselves. As much as we love all the other FIRST teams, we tend to be kinda exclusive when it comes to these things. I don’t know why exactly, but it seems to be a tradition now… kinda fun actually :-).

Upgrade to Acrobat Reader 7

From adot’s notblog via Bernie Zimmermann, I learned that Adobe had released Acrobat Reader 7. And everyone’s biggest complaint has been adressed: it is much faster. No longer do you have to dread accidentally clicking a pdf link. It was so bad with version 6 for me that I disabled the plugin version, so I wouldn’t have to face the frozen browser syndrome while the acrobat reader of death opened up. Now, I might switch back – its hard to tell, as I’ve gotten used to saving the things, or having more of my screen to see them with. But at least Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 is fast enough to make the decision possible again.

Anyway, to make it easy for you, here is a link to just acrobat reader, with no extra installtion junk attached (like Yahoo companion, etc).

Pompeii

I think the name of that doomed city might be a good name for my Philosophy teacher. It rings of pomposity, and this is a man who likes to hear himself speak. Add on top of this that its a day class that has thrown a monkey wrench in my schedule, and its unfortunate that I may have to take this class to get my associate’s degree from BCC. And since I won’t know about my transfer credits for two months (got to love the efficiency of the system) I either have to dealy a quarter, or hedge my bets and just take this class. Still, I have yet to see a bookstore like short enough to justify standing in, so I am without the required text. Doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, because, truly, this guy doesn’t stop talking except to wait to tell you how your comments are simply the mistakes of a beginning philosophy student. I guess not everything can be math and science, but you’d expect that a Philosophy of Science instructor might know enough about science to know that Coulomb’s law has nothing to do with magnetism. Well, at least he was aware of the name of the law, and was in the right ballpark. I guess I should count my blessings. Still, it feels like its gonna be a long quarter.

‘Hawks

Unsurprisingly, the Seattle Seahawks lost to the St. Louis Rams, their 6th straight playoffs loss, tying an NFL record. It seems fitting that the play that sealed the fate was a dropped pass – not a perfect pass like so many of the drops have been, but definitely a catchable ball, especially for a reciever in the NFL.

Hey, at least with my low expectations I’m not all that disappointed at the loss.

And Mr. Torborg, I need you to contact me.

Sugar Bowl

Well, Oklahoma got whipped again, this time by USC… on the other hand, a PAC-10 team won it, and I don’t mind USC, they seem classy enough for it to me. It is also nice to hear more and more people calling for a playoff, even if its just 4 or 8 teams.