Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
User Journal

Journal: Annual check in 15

Journal by Some Woman

Hey, Slashdot was instrumental in finding Twue Wuv for me, so I couldn't possibly leave it forever. The 14 day comment limit, however, is unfortunate for those of us who stop by only every 6-9 months. :^)

I have read your updates and am interested in your lives and would love to leave a comment expressing as much.

So, hey, Red5, congratulations on the marriage and baby and stuff! And all the other babies that have happened in the past 5 years or so for everybody else! And marriages! And diplomas! And new jobs! And sorry/congrats about the divorces!

Android

Journal: Even Caffeine Is Failing Me Now 1

Journal by ackthpt

Who wants post caffeine withdrawals? Not me. So I drink watered down coffee. It only takes a small amount of caffeine to kick-start someone, anything after that is wasted and makes coming down off it that much more regrettable. I also like to sleep at night, not twitch and throw all my covers on the floor.

I'm tired. Bone tired. Caffeine can't do anything about that. Need to hit the hay earlier. Stop eating junk, too.

Gonna be a challenge though. Got an Android tablet today. Want to try all sorts of fun stuff. Install Apache and PHP on it. See if I can make it wireless server. That'd be killer fun.

Ah. But need sleep.

Decisions. Decisions.

User Journal

Journal: A couple brainstorms on theoretical biology 3

Journal by Raindance

I recently blogged a couple brainstorms on potential tools in the field of phylogeny-

Long-term alternatives to our current common-descent model in contexts where horizontal gene transfer is significant;

Logarithmic Evolution Distance, an intuitive computational approach to comparing genomes.

They were a lot of fun to think about; perhaps they'd be fun to read if you like theoretical biology stuff.

The Internet

Journal: Hacking the NHL All-Star Game

Journal by TopShelf

With Montreal hosting the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, Canadiens fans are obviously excited to vote online to get their players into the starting lineup for the Eastern Conference. The league found, however, that after barely a day of voting, the "Flying Frenchmen" were in position for all six starting spots, with vote totals that were often 200% higher than rival stars like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, who are widely regarded as the biggest names in the sport. A script posted on a Habs fan forum enabled users to automatically hammer away at the NHL's balloting site, in violation of the rules.

The league has belatedly added a captcha to the voting page to confound the Greasemonkey crowd, but this episode begs a question: since the NHL boasts that its avid fans are exceedingly techno-savvy, isn't this exactly the sort of competition they'd like to see? For example, alliances could be formed between cities in opposite conferences to get each other's players into the honored slots.

Last year, a similar (albeit more grassroots) drive nearly led to journeyman Rory Fitzpatrick getting named to the Western Conference squad.

Upgrades

Journal: Help me build a new PC 6

Journal by TopShelf

OK, here's the scoop; I may, through my own stupidity, have fried the motherboard in my desktop PC at home, and am facing the prospect of getting a new one, and I'd like to get some input on which direction I should take, since it's been almost 5 years since I last did this.

The PC that may be dead has a P4 3Ghz processor on an ASUS P4C800 Deluxe motherboard, 1GB RAM (DDR400) and some peripherals worth salvaging (hard drives, DVD drive, etc.). I was trying to plug in some additional memory, decided to take it back out and check a few things online before proceeding, and closed up the box. When I fired it up, a rather nasty smell starting coming out of the case, and when I powered back down, I realized I hadn't taken the memory card out after all, and worse yet, it was sitting halfway into the slot. Now when I try to boot I get one long beep followed by two short ones, and endlessly repeating cycle that I haven't been able to get definitive info on as to what it means (some say main memory failure, others the video adapter).

I'm trying to figure out if perhaps the existing memory got fried and putting different DIMMs in might resolve the issue, but I'd rather not pay for that only to find out that's not the problem, and the mobo is indeed toast. So I've started browsing online for a new rig...

What I Do: A little gaming (NHL08), but mostly intensive database and spreadsheet work. I have a blog where I dig into statistical analysis of the NHL, and I'm in the process of designing a database that would be updated after each night's games.

Since it's been so long since I've had a box built, I don't even know where to start. AMD? Intel? 2 or 4 CPU? 2GB RAM? 4GB? 32-bit or 64? I assume, based on everything I've read, that XP is the way to go over Vista (Windows only, please). I'm not looking to blow huge sums of money here, so I like to find sweet spots where the diminishing returns for that extra $ start to tail off.

User Journal

Journal: Mimeprisal... I'm in 4

Journal by TopShelf

Post a comment to this thread, and I will:

1. Tell you why I befriended you.
2. Associate you with something - fandom, a song, a color, a photo, etc..
3. Tell you something I like about you.
4. Tell you a memory I have of you.
5. Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
6. Tell you my favorite user pic of yours.
7. In return, you must post this in your Journal/Blag/whatever.

User Journal

Journal: Trapezium 6

Journal by ackthpt

[Here's a 2nd try, as the first attempt evidently went to bit heaven.]

Saturnday night I went out with other Santa Cruz Astronomy Club members to the Bonny Doon airfield. I live about 15 miles from the site and was a bit put off when upon unpacking found the power cord had left its storage compartment on my portable power pack. I'd been there before, leaving it home, but this time it appears well and truly lost. (Sunday I picked up a new cord at Radio Shack and used a tie-strip to secure it to the eq. mount.)

So muscling the LXD-75 10 inch SNT around was the order of the night. Not terrible, but it meant no tracking, which is the feature I depend upon most. Around midnight Orion cleared the trees and I swung the tube over to examine the Orion Nebula (M42), in Orion's sword. It's one of my favourite sights and this evening would be one of the best for viewing.

Early on I could easily make out the four brightest stars in Trapesium and continued to check up as Orion progressed higher. About 1:00 AM I was easily able to make out five stars, by 1:30 AM I was able to clearly see six, which is the full known compliment of blue stars in that stellar nursery. Cue massive geek astronomical excitement!

After a bit I swung the scope over to Fornax and Eridanus to scan for galaxies, which were in abundance. About 2:00 AM I was still wide awake, thanks to my 1L Sigg full of green tea, but knew I'd need to head home eventually or be the worse for it while unpacking and transporting all this wonderful dead weight back into the house. After returning home I was still pretty awake and enthusiastic enough to plan my viewing for the next week while downing some soup.

Sunday proved to be a difficult adjustment, even with the extra hour to sleep in.

User Journal

Journal: Whine Country Safari

Journal by ackthpt

I've been living in California for just over 10 years. Prior to moving here I visited friends, Mark T. (game designer/producer who lived in Sacremento for a while before moving to the bay area then back to the midwest) and Paul Z. (Stanford grad and worked in silicon valley for a variety of network companies) and got a little look at the Napa county scene.

After moving to California in 1997 I made a few trips up to Napa and one Sonoma visit with Paul. On these trips we visited well known and lesser well known wineries. Generally the more 'successful' turned me off with all the clothing, kitsch and food related items they carried, along with some prices which defied my taste for their wines.

I'm no wine connoisseur, I simply know what I like and don't like. I have found inexpensive wines in the past I liked fine. They usually came from unpretentious rustic wine tasting rooms. I took a trip through the Russian River wine country on Sunday and revisited some of these places I had in the past to see what they had and if I could score a couple bottles of something decent for not much scratch. Shock. Rochioli, which has IMHO a good chardonnay which was $11 or $12 a bottle last time through was now up to $30 a bottle and had a book on the counter showing how fabulously their wines had been received at the White House. Oof. Time to go.

Around the corner is Hop Kiln, which had some decent reds the last time I visited was now selling all the merchandise lamented above and their wines had also gone up a lot. Bye.

Next to last visit of the day was Ridge/Lytton Springs. Reknowned for their Zinfandels, I recalled a couple very good bottles several years ago and thought we might visit their rustic steel pole barn, which was inhabited by several large wooden fermenters and a number of cats. Shock. All new building, fancy stuff all around. The Zins were still good, still reasonably priced, but it's obvious success has hit these places. Further someone mentioned how good a year it is supposed to be fore Pinot Noir. I don't know Pinot Noir from Guinness, but evidently the film Sideways branded the variety a hot property and novuea riche (or wannabes) were swarming around looking for it.

We elected to search for one of Paul's favourites, Rochambeau and found an empty lot. Looks like they're going to put in a spiff new tasting room etc. We'll see. Last visit on the road was Rabbit Ridge which featured some very good moderately priced wines. I wish them success, with moderation ;-)

User Journal

Journal: Viral behaviour of Ideas and Deja Foobar 2

Journal by ackthpt

On Feb 14, 2002, to the best of my knowledge (and Google searching at the time) I coined the following from the All Your Base meme:

Rose are red
Violet are blue
All my base
Are belong to you

A variation I could find I had posted on the occasion of Rob Malda proposing in a most geekish fashion, using his own /. web site.

Now it seems to be everywhere, even on shirts at thinkgeek.com (I didn't think to submit it to them so haven't seen a penny of that.)

About 4 years ago I adopted my current sig.

A feeling of having made the same mistake before: Deja Foobar

It was common to refer to a programming error as a foobar in one place I worked, as they were usually the result of testing, rather than the older acronym fubar which I felt carried a stronger definition of erring.

The sig actually was born when I was reminiscing about Deja News, perhaps due to Google's revival of the Deja archives for Google Groups and coined the term deja foobar without particularly attaching it to anything. Eventually I would associate the term with the feeling of making the feeling of repeating programming mistake. And wanting a new, more original sig for my slashdot account made it such.

This is more easy to track than the AYB poem. I was almost immediately set upon by people pointing out I had it wrong and it should be fubar. As the original meaning was rather private I didn't care and shrugged off these "correction attempts" over the years. I recently wondered if anyone had picked up the sig and posted it anywhere.

Shock.

Indeed it has been, spelled foobar and fubar. Some others have even gone so far as to use it in their sig as well. The number of matches is surprising and shows how far an original idea spreads. Both are found with the core idea of 'feeling of having made the same mistake before' Interesting. I should probably post it to thinkgeek.com before someone else nicks it. :o)

Google results for
Deja Foobar
Deja Fubar

User Journal

Journal: Proto Boards!

Journal by ackthpt

So this MIT student walks through Logan (Boston, MA area) airfield terminal with a Proto Board on her jumper and the cops jump Her. Many that's lame, as lame as the half a fibre drum of nail trimmers I saw at an airport a few years ago. It doesn't smell like explosive, does it? I bet terrorists just laugh themselves sick at how jumpy they've made everyone. Like the british security agents who slaughtered the brazilian electrician.

Got me thinking about Proto Boards though. I was just thinking about getting a tiny one yesterday. I'm converting a webcam to an astro-imaging camera, by changing colour CCD to B/W CCD and adding some solid-state cooling to it. I've got a circuit board to make, but a small Proto Board would probably work as well and give me some flexibility the soldered PCB wouldn't. I'll have to see what sizes I can find.

User Journal

Journal: ITLAPD as it were

Journal by ackthpt

A funny old fing. I got into the pirate character for all of my posts on the 19th of Sept., "arrrs" here, "avasts" there and such. A bit of mental gymnastics trying to fit it all together and try to contribute to discussion.

Oddly, most of my posts which were modded were modded Funny, not insightful or informative or even interesting. Oh a point here or there, but still 80%+ funny, though the content wasn't meant to be. I'm sure it'll all come out in a month when someone metamods these things and thinks 'wtf!?!' since they probably won't make the International Talk Like a Pirate Day connection.

Databases

Journal: Which free (as in beer) database would you recommend? 6

Journal by TopShelf

At the risk of starting a classic flame war, I have a pressing request for assistance.

As a hobby, I blog about NHL hockey, in particular the extension of statistical analysis which until recent years has been about as sophisticated as ancient cave drawings. For the last year or so, I've pursued this by compiling data in spreadsheets for a series of ad-hoc analytical pursuits, but the time has come to formalize my data structures into a database with tables fed by scripts that parse game data as posted at NHL.com. But which free database should I use?

Some operational parameters to consider: I'm envisioning some basic data import tables (I'm developing scripts in Excel to pull the web data down and parse into columns), followed by a series of tables fed by programs which pull data together from a variety of sources (stored in table form for ease of reporting). Most of these tables would only run in the 1,000 - 100,000 range, while one in particular could run as high as 5,000,000 or so. There aren't many instances where multiple indexes over a given table would be required, but the reporting built off these tables could be computationally intense (i.e. exponential moving averages built off of subtotals).

So which DB should I choose? MySQL, PostgreSQL, Open Office's Base? I'm at a bit of a loss as to which direction to go in, and I'd rather not head down a particular path only to find it's not going to pan out.

Programming

Journal: How to bring mainframers into the 21st century? 8

Journal by TopShelf

I've recently been tasked with leading the integration effort for a large systems implementation here at work, and am facing a challenge more daunting than any mere technical obstacle; how does one best get hardcore old-school programmers to embrace a new way of integrating our applications?

We're replacing a large, homegrown COBOL application on a mainframe with a more modular, Java-based ERP on a midrange platform. The kicker is that we need to replace over 100 interface points between other internal systems and the legacy app, and the direction we're headed in is to leverage a GUI-based middleware product to accomplish that task, and take initial steps towards establishing a more loosely coupled, flexible systems architecture. I'm convinced this is technically feasible and will reap many benefits going forward (particularly as other major projects come along), but our developers have a hard time letting go of their point-to-point, custom programs with lots of embedded information directing processing for specific customers or situations.

This group is throwing every conceivable objection to the middleware approach, and most of them are failing to make much headway as we develop some pilot projects to build expertise, despite having had ample training and the services of a consultant to provide mentorship as they work their way up the learning curve.

The bottom line is that they are resisting this new method by any means available: submitting lots of trouble tickets for minor issues, not digging through the documentation and throwing up their hands in futility, etc. Has anybody else here in the /. community dealt with such a generational change in development technique with existing IT staff? We're all sympathetic for experienced workers getting pushed aside for younger talent, but if the old dog can't learn new tricks, perhaps it's time to head to the pet store...

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum

Working...