SKerwin: January 2003 Archives

Happy Together

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It's going to take me at least a week to fully digest Adaptation. There's just that much to it. It may turn out in a week that I hate it, but early returns have it showing as the best film I've ever seen.

It's rare for me to see a movie and identify with a character; I'm just odd that way. I usually end up feeling for the villain, which I guess lends some credence to the opinion the rest of humanity has of me.

But Adaptation was different; I don't identify with Cage's character, I am Cage's character. I'm also the brother, and LaRoche, and the woman writer. It's a heady experience, being the entire cast. But it leaves the same difficult question I always end up with: does anybody else see this the same way I do? Do other folks love it for completely orthoganol reason, because they look at the characters and say, "hey, I know a loser just like that guy!"... I wish I could just pick something and beleive it.

Still. You are what you love, not what loves you. It's hard to believe; not hard in that the premise is difficult to understand or even unbelievable, but hard because it requires effort to believe it. Faith, I guess.

That's never been a strong point of mine. Which I guess ties nicely back into paragraph two, sentence two.

Give It Away Now

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I'm a lazy bum. We've been over this.

The boss leaves (with his boss, I think) for the fruit company tomorrow. Hopefully my pretty graphs will convince them of our dire need for new toys. Yeah, fat chance.

I've suggested that we release Hephaistos as freeware, and leave the source ajar. I anticipate legalistic objections, at which point I'll ask permission to distribute it on its own - so in a few weeks there might actually be something on this site. Scary, eh?

One nice benefit to Hephaistos is that I've laid enough of the ground work for Phoenix to be fairly easy. In fact, if the cat people ever cough up the existing 10.1 code, I could probably have a full Jaguar-friendly version of Phoenix inside of a month. Assuming, of course, that no emergencies intercede.

Which they will.

Rover is having troubles again; the latest firmware (version 3? 4?) fixes some of the bugs from the last rev, but now automatically advancing to the next track isn't always working. It seems to be specific to some tracks, but not specific to any files. I'm wondering if the famous W95 long file name FAT entry spoof is at fault.

Blame It On The Rain

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I'm morally opposed to using JavaScript to detect the browser and modify the HTML/CSS to account for quirks.

I'm also a hypocrite.

It all works out rather nicely, doesn't it?

The UMR bug has been offically attributed to gremlins. We can't reproduce it, and we can't be more than 99.9% certain that it was actually an issue, so we're going to ignore it until it comes back and bites us on the ass. Aren't we smart?

In the meantime, I'm going to suggest adding a special section to the user guides for all our products, advising users not to expose them to water, not to expose them to the sun or bright lights (it can kill them!) and most importantly of all, to never, never feed them after midnight.

I think that'll go over real well.

Just One Of Those Days

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Well, the new layout looks nice-ish in Win IE 6. I think that about covers everything, except of course Opera and iCab. I think it's okay for me to arbitrarily decide that I don't much like people who use Opera or iCab though, so I'm not going to worry about it.

I've got enough to worry about today.

I have sitting on my desk a second generation Universal Media Reader, exhibiting a bug that was supposed to be fixed in the second generation. This is of course after finding out a few days back that every single one of the second generation units had a new and exciting bug. This product will be the death of me.

Random thought for the day: why do I bother? I've always believed that everything in life is an exercise in optimization, and that it's simply a matter of making sure what you're optimizing. I used to think I was ahead of the game, because I was optimizing happiness while others were optimizing money. I wonder if I'm doing that anymore. I'm certainly not jumping-up-and-down happy living in intelligent storage land, but then I wasn't happy doing nothing either. I guess I need to either adjust my world view or figure out under what circumstance I would be happy.

I guess that wasn't very random, was it?

Slightly more random thought for the day: Why the hell would anybody use a TiVo to watch the Super Bowl? The commercials are at least half the fun!

Back 2 Good

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Well, I've started slacking off already.

>But I have an excuse! My computer finally got delivered today, after being stuck in shipping purgatory for over a week. Damned marketoids couldn't seem to understand that those of us who do work with computers need to have their computer to do work. Frelling morons.

But anyway, I'm back to something approaching a workable work environment, all things considered. Was busy all day, setting my system back up and verifying that everything arrived in the appropriate number of pieces. Had time to do some more testing with FirePower, and it looks like my initial dismay/shock/fear wasn't entirely founded; although a FirePower on the S800 card has slower writes than a PrinceDrive on the internal S400, it's still faster than a PrinceDrive on the S800 card. Conclusion seems to be that the S800 card or the PCI bus (or even the S800 OHCI drivers?) is at fault, rather than the OXUF922. Which is good, 'cause that firmware is messy.

Am I The Only One?

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The replacement Rover has been update with the revised Rover firmware and is working nicely. Now if only it would warm the hell up so I can actually use the damned thing.

Pet Names

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SDI/Phison wants to look at my hyperactive Rover (which, come to think of it, I haven't mentioned yet), so I got a replacement. This one's held together by itself instead of by Scotch tape, so I guess it's an upgrade. I can't wait to get a production unit with final plastics. And a Rover t-shirt. In fact, I almost want the t-shirt more. That dog is so fricking cute! It's like puppies and kittens fighting over beanie babies.

Father Of Mine

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So I'm sitting at my desk, scribbling randomly on my pad. Suddenly, I stop, look down at what I've written, and gasp.

Shocking.

It's not what I've written; it's how I've written it. I'm looking down at a perfect replica of Dad's handwriting.

As if it weren't bad enough that I sound like him on the phone.

Luckily, further experimentation seems to indicate it may be a fluke; I'm unable to consciously emulate his penmanship. It seems to be something that I'm only able to do when I'm not fully paying attention

In the world of intelligent storage devices, a new unholy alliance has taken form; this time it's Engineering and Tech Support, rather than QA and Marketing. Still rather unholy, though.

When I Come Around

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The answer to the question posed earlier is that neither one of those of projects are high on the priority queue; apparently I'm supposed to be updating drivers that I still don't have the source code to. Bloody El Gato.

The Uality issue is coming up again with respect to outgoing products. T__ is really fuming, and he's reminding me of how I used to care about these things. I'm wondering what sort of mental adjustments would be required for me to sell out. It seems like the thing to do.

Just Another Day

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Another day.

I was struck by an odd thought this morning. The Chinese food place at the mall has a rather grotesque name: Panda Express. Think about it; they don't serve pandas... Or do they?

In local news, I think I've figured out how Phoenix disk encryption could work without a custom partition map driver. It would have some advantages and disadvantages compared to my current plan, so I'll need to think more about it. Not having to replace/reimplement IOApplePartitionScheme would be a nice escape and would definitely be to Apple's preference, but it would leave me at their mercy for respecting the automount bit. I'm not sure which is more important to me. If I worked at a real company I'd probably ask my boss or the marketoids to make the decision, but I honestly don't have the patience to explain the question to them. Maybe I'll just flip a coin.

Need to check the priority queue, actually. Is Phoenix more important than Inferno?

Everything You Know Is Wrong

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I watched football today. And I enjoyed it.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about that.

In other news, it turns out that the mystery call from MN was from a client of mine who didn't realize using her MN cell phone in Naples was an odd thing to do. So much for mystery.

Video Killed The Radio Star

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It's a sitcom cliche, when everyone thinks the same thing but nobody wants to be the first to say it. Eventually it slips out accidentally or is revealed by a third party, and the tension ends and everyone's happy. It's a recognizable archetype to which everyone can relate, and it's the kind of thing that can be made to fit nicely into a half hour show.

In real life it's not so simple; there's always the question, does anyone else think this but me? And nobody wants to be the first to say anything, because all too often the agreement was a fantasy, pure imagination. Why can't real life be more like television?

The real problem is patterns. I see them, even when they're not there. I'm not quite at A Beautiful Mind level, but I'm close enough to see where it comes from. And, like the fictionalized Nash, all too often the patterns are entirely in my head; I want to see connections, I want to assume that if B follow A then A caused B. It's hard.

The Thin Ice

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It's not supposed to be cold in Florida. It's supposed to be warm and sunny, with cloud-free skies and a bright outlook. I shouldn't need to bundle up just to sit at my computer with the fan off and the window shut. This is not right!

SNL is funny again this week. I wonder if there's some kind of a complex numeric pattern governing that, like how the Star Trek movies used to be.

Stupid 'Nemesis', killing off a good pattern. Grr.

Never Is Enough

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Dilbert was funny today. This isn't surprising or unusual in and of itself; Dilbert is often funny. What's particularly notable about today's strip is that it seems to be about someone I work with.

Dilbert.com

The only difference is that in real life, it never turns off.

Ever.

The Call Of The Ktulu

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I woke this morning to the sound of my phone ringing. The area code was 612, which isn't one I recognized. I decided there was a definite possibility that it was my boss calling from Atlanta, and elected to let it ring. Whoever the caller was, he or she decided not to leave a message.

It turns out that 612 is the area code for Minneapolis, Minnesota. So now I'm stuck with the question: who the hell do I know in Minnesota? I'm pretty sure I don't know anybody. It's a tough one.

When You Dream

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It's hard to be meaningful in a word processor.

I can sit and think and come up with words and phrases that I think are absolutely beautiful, but the moment I lay my hands upon a keyboard it all evaporates. I'm not good with words - I can arrange them well enough, but I can never really say what I want to say.

Dreams fascinate me; not the events of dreams, but the concept of dreaming itself. I take it on faith that I must dream, but I can't recall ever remembering one. Instead I occasionally have sleepy imaginings, typically just as I'm falling to sleep or as I'm trying to get up in the morning. It's difficult to explain them. They bear a certain resemblance to what I've read of lucid dreams, but they still have a rigid enough adherence to the laws of reality that I don't think they're dreaming in the conventional sense. But then again, I'm not an expert.

I bring the subject up because I had one of these near-dreams last night that disturbed me greatly, and I feel like I need to get the damn thing out of my system before I choke on it. Is that what diaries/journals/logs are for? I hope so.

The dream was essentially of the death of my Mother. It's a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around; I've always been something of a "momma's boy". I know intellectually that everyone dies, but I still can't accept the possibility of a world without the people I love. Words are failing me, so I'll resort to a witless analogy:

I know that my arms are attached to my torso by tendons and muscles.

I know that if my arms were pulled with sufficient force in opposite directions, this attachment would come to an unceremonious conclusion.

That being said, I still believe that there's no way that could ever happen.

It's not often that I know I'm being stupid but I can't stop.

Box Set

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I've just now finished the HTML/JavaScript for this page to the point where I'd be willing to allow people or small animals to view it directly. The post below was actually written in the Atlanta airport (as it says... are you calling the post below a liar?) during my arduous and extended trip home from MacWorld. I've taken the liberty of inserting the week-old post into the brand-new page. It feels like I'm cheating, but I'm not.

MacWorld was, as always, an experience. There are a number of groups or classifications to which I belong that are occasionally sources of discomfort; I'm proud to be a Mac user, but some Mac users are just so frelling nuts that I'm embarrassed to count myself among their numbers. I often feel that way about watching Star Trek or Buffy, as long as I'm on the subject.

Why do people feel the need to turn an interest into an obsession? Why do some of them push obsession to the brink of religion? Why can't I ever write a sequence of quasi-rhetorical questions without ending in a lame joke?

I really need more of a background in psychology. People just don't make sense.

Leaving On A Jet Plane

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And so I've decided once again to start a weblog. Why, you might ask, am I trying this again? I've had two false starts, you might add, and it seems pretty clear at this point that I lack the self-discipline and pure self-interest necessary for such an endeavour. You might end your question by expanding the scope of your incredulity and pointing out that I never finish anything I start, and that I'm generally a worthless and lazy bum.

You've got some attitude, don't you?

The answer to the question that started that unfiltered torrent of vitriol is actually quite simple; I'm starting this project once again, despite my obvious inability to complete it, because I'm a very silly person.

The evidence has long supported this conclusion.

So now I sit, silly, in a relatively comfortable chair facing out a window in Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport. Yes, that's actually the name - it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, does it. The time is 5:36 AM EST, which is 2:36 AM PST. I give the Pacific time for point of comparison; I awoke yesterday morning at seven AM in San Francisco, and I have no yet slept. My sleep-addled mind calculates this as nineteen and a half hours without sleep; as is always the case - and doubly so in this state - my math is worth checking. But the end result of my rambling is fairly clear: It is late, and I am tired. My state of mind is most accurately described as 'absent', and I've miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep. Though, as if to quash any poetical leanings I might have, there are no woods in sight.

You've dodged that bullet.

How did I come to be in this chronologically-intense fatiguing mess? MacWorld San Francisco is to blame; that and my retrospectively hilarious decision to take the red-eye flight home Friday night.

I am, as has been mentioned previously, a very silly person.

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