torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
I am, needless to say, way behind on LJ. I'll try to skim the back issues today, but I might miss something... if there's anything I really need to know about, please point me at it.

I now have my new phone (a Samsung Intercept, under Virgin, with a no-really-truly-unlimited data plan) so I can surf on my breaks and when I'm not at home; I'll hunt for an app to essentially RSS my LJ friends page. It might be too slow for most things without an 802.11 network to suck off of, so I'll have to figure out how much I can keep up with. Still, I can hit email, lily, and IM easily enough, which means I'm much more connected than I was.

I like the phone a lot. I've spent a few hours customizing and learning it -- it came with pretty much no user manual, but Android seems easy enough to figure out. (If you're interested, it came with Eclair.) I've gotten a few apps (Weatherbug, ConnectBot, Meebo, Astrid, Just NotePad, Ringdroid, Shazam, and Barcode Scanner), most of which are just improvements on the existing functions. I can even scan (and make) QR codes now! \o/

(Sorry, geek moment there.)

Work is pretty good, I feel like I'm on top of it so far, and I'm not having trouble with the energy output. I'm sort of zoning out today, but that's to be expected; the first week is always rough. Fortunately, I don't have much on my plate this weekend, so I can take it easy.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (omg)
Bahahahahaha!

They look tasty -- but I'd spend WAY too much time trying to ensure color-correctness...
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (dork)
No, not the one next to my handle.

I'm using that one because I just spent about an hour making this one:



(because I so needed yet another userpic.)


Take it if you want it, just note where it came from, please.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (omg)
While watching videos off a DVD with [livejournal.com profile] hopeforyou, I decided to go look up something on the web. My browser folded and wouldn't come back up. So I went to a terminal and typed 'ps aux | grep firefox', to find the errant process and kill it. It gave me a BUS error and died. buh??

After attempting it again, I tried 'ls'. "Input/Output Error." um...

'w', 'uptime', and 'sync' all threw I/O errors. 'dmesg' segfaulted. Urk.

Looks like my hard disk may have died. Well, crap.

I sighed, then decided we might as well finish watching the episode (the system ran fine as long as we didn't try to run new commands or access the disk). It behaved until I packed it up and took it home. I tried to shut it down, it (predictably) failed, and I took it down hard with the expectation that it wouldn't come back up. Trip to Fry's in the morning...

I booted it to see what would happen. And.......



It loaded as though nothing was wrong. I logged in. It behaved normally, and still is. Combing through the logs showed nothing from before I rebooted (figures)... but during boot time, I caught it scanning two areas of memory for "low memory corruption". A search on the web, and careful reading of the log, revealed that the symptoms were most likely from low-register, dedicated system memory getting corrupted, which is why basic commands failed but the rest of the system (on higher registers) ran fine. The best part: it's a software issue, probably related to a sloppy BIOS, not hardware at all.

My computer is fine now, and likely to remain so. But what a way to worry me two days after a full OS upgrade!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (drink)
This has been the last 24 hours for me.

I did manage to fix my laptop, fortunately, but not exactly the way I would have liked.

The story, in brief )

...except that I still can't log in to facebook. I need to test whether it's my account, rather than the browser. Still, it makes all of this a little ironic.

Edit: I solved the Facebook problem, by dint of the classic strategy: install a Firefox debugger and try to reproduce the problem. Voila, I can log in!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (mad science)
[livejournal.com profile] mactavish was the first of my friends to put these on her LJ, and after [livejournal.com profile] hopeforyou sent me the site link for Science Scouts last night, I felt I should pick my own badges.

I have to say -- I find this far more satisfying than Girl Scouts ever was. :)

Troop Badge
The plant kingdom rules! badge. The non-explainer badge (LEVEL I) The I’ve eaten what I study badge. The works with acids badge.
The I’ve set fire to stuff badge (LEVEL III). The statistical linear regression badge. The somewhat confused as to what scientific field I actually belong to badge The experienced with electrical shock badge (LEVEL I)
The cloner badge. The I’m a scientist who is fundamentally opposed to administrative duties badge. The I know what a tadpole is badge. The has frozen stuff just to see what happens badge (LEVEL III)
The will gladly kick sexual harasser’s ass badge. The sexing up science badge. The I’m pretty confident around an open flame badge. The arts and crafts badge.
The talking science badge.


(Someone needs to make a little app to output the HTML for LJ -- I had to do this by hand.)

Edit: added the "Talking science" badge, as required. :)
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
I didn't expect anything from this year's event; I just went to bask in the geekiness. I came away happy.

I got to see the Crucible fire trucks again (so strange to think of such a thing as comforting). We discovered that if we want to see the naval battles, we need to grab tickets early on. The steampunk carnival was small and clever, complete with a woman who can play a theremin as accurately as a violin. We got good seats for Mousetrap this time, and a decent position for one of the Tesla coil demos. The Long Now project finally has a full-size piece of the ten-thousand-year clock built -- the chime assembly -- and it is, for lack of a better word, mesmerizing. I got complimented several times on my xkcd "Stand Back: Science" shirt, and saw many other people wearing that or other xkcd shirts. I hurt my brain again trying to figure out the chemistry behind walnut hull gasification. I bought a solar LED lantern kit which I hope I'll have time to assemble before Burning Man. And there were other cool things, familiar and unfamiliar: the giraffe, the Orb Swarm, the mechanical hand, so many others.

I went with a family friend (Beth), [livejournal.com profile] eastbaygreg, [livejournal.com profile] farmount, and a fellow grad student, Margaret. I ran into a co-worker, surprisingly; I had no idea that Yan would be manning the booth with the giant bacteriophage model. We also ran into [livejournal.com profile] hopeforyou and [livejournal.com profile] starry_sigh, whom we had hoped to see there; I saw the back of [livejournal.com profile] roadknight's head in the crowd. I had rather expected to recognize more people, but other than a couple of "oh, hey, you look familiar" encounters, that was it.

That's okay. What I love is plunging into a crowd of strangers and knowing that we all speak a common language. There is a group of people who are "my" people. I need to be reminded of that sometimes, as I while away the months in Davis: that there is a place where I belong, where I can go after all this is over. That's why I went today.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
I'll keep this short, for you non-linux geeks out there...

I've been having trouble with sound ever since I got this computer. Occasional tinnyness, the sound would vanish and require a reboot to start up, I had to fight to get sound with YouTube videos (it took more than one round of fighting, after some upgrades)... just constant hassle. It's one of the few routine functions I've had serious trouble with under Ubuntu lately.

I figured it was a hardware issue. Turns out that no, Ubuntu switched to PulseAudio with the first version of Ubuntu I installed on this machine (Gutsy Gibbon) and continued it in the present Intrepid install. The net is full of linux users bitching about PulseAudio. Its plugin for Firefox was probably what was causing some of the instability with my browser. So I finally got fed up today, and decided to take it out, root and branch.

I found a handy howto, followed the instructions to rip out PA and put in the old, standard, compatible dinosaur known as esd... and despite warnings that I would lose my login/logout sounds, I found that everything works. Youtube has sound, VLC has sound, I get login sounds, all without any struggle. I suspect this will get rid of my intermittent sound and FF hanging issues, too.

Hurray for OSen where you really can customize them, down to ripping out basic parts. It's great when it works. :D
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (squee)
I got a little package in the mail today. UPS stuffed it in the mailbox, which puzzled me for a little bit as I hunted around for the parcel that was listed as "delivered". They're not supposed to do that. :)

I used up daylight hours to unpack it, which (in this season of spending every available moment in the garden) says a great deal about its importance.

My first thought: it's really small. It fits in the coin pocket of my jeans. I now have a little, bitty, shiny, kickass mp3/mp4 player. This makes me happy.

details )

So I have portable music, and a sweet kitty asleep on my bed, and seeds sprouting in the light rack, and the melon bed is dug. I'm going to go have dinner. Life does have its up sides sometimes. :)
torquill: The devourer of worlds is not impressed. (devourer)
I'm feeling a bit cranky. I'm also tired. That means I don't want to work hard outside; I'd rather tinker on the computer. Since I'm out of sorts, I want music. In fact, I have the time and inclination to compile a bunch of tracks off the random AHDJs discs to make a "best of" of my favorite tracks, so I don't have to go paging through each 8-hour disc trying to figure out where the good tracks are. I also have another five discs or so of music waiting to get put on glass media so that it can go out to get playtested in the car.

Then I remember that the last few times I've tried to burn a disc, K3B has aborted with a cryptic error. I tracked it down to some issue with cdrecord, though I'm not sure whether it's a bug in the version, or an interaction with permissions which may have changed with the last upgrade, or...

I keep thinking "oh, maybe I should just go find out", except what's wrestling with a cryptic bug which has patchy coverage on the help forums (last I looked) going to do? Make me cranky and tired. Right.

Maybe I should just go read my book.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (teh mad)
I've been fighting with my wireless drivers.

It feels like I'm always fighting with my wireless drivers. )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (wave)
She's gotten better at writing exams.

Killing time by babbling )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
I got a lot done today, and I'm still going.

I haven't really paused to compile a list of things I'm thankful for... that's mostly because I tend to do that about once every week or two all year. I tend to be very aware of just how lucky I am in what I have, including the friends around me. I very narrowly avoided being in a completely different, and much worse, place than I am now, and I'm reminded of that almost daily.

So I spent my time instead doing stuff that needed to be done. I'm tired just reading the list. )

Then there was the computer excitement. )

I've eaten well -- the Williebird was great as always, and the gluten-free stuffing (which is always a gamble) came out very well this time -- and I've had some pie. I'll tweak my laptop a little more, then go out and finally soak in the hot tub, which I've been waiting to do for days. Then I get to enjoy another day off tomorrow. Life is good.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (teh mad)
I can't get the wireless connection up anymore. It keeps coming up with "TX timeout" errors a second or so after associating and starting the DHCP request... there's very little out there about this, except that I found a recent discussion on a kernel mailing list about it. Apparently it is a known bug, and they're still hashing out why it happens; the symptom is that the timeouts crop up after a random amount of time, or after reawakening a hibernated system. Not entirely sure that mine failing every time on startup is quite the same, but I'll keep looking.

Frustrating. This might be fixed in the next stable kernel -- but I keep thinking that it was working fine last night!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (happymaking things)
For those who don't read geek, the upshot of the previous post is that I've got wireless access on my laptop again. (A routine update managed to break it in a big way, and I've been fighting for a few days to get it back.) There are still a couple of kinks to work out -- namely that the signal isn't good enough for me to use it in the living room, as I used to -- but the overall setup seems to be cleaner and happier than it used to be.

It was more painful than it should have been, less painful than it could have been, and I'm happy to be cable-free again. Yay!
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (geekchick)
Okay. Just for my own notes, really... Realtime notes on getting my wireless working. )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (geekchick)
I upgraded some packages on my FC4 system, and it managed to break the ndiswrapper setup for my wireless card.

cut for the jargon-phobic )
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (weirdness)
Am I the only one who listens to "The Statue Got Me High" and thinks of the Melkur?

(Talk about geek confluence... not sure how many people out there would even get both references.)

Edit: Apparently no, I'm not the only one.
torquill: Art-deco cougar face (geekchick)
I just signed up for a UC Davis email account. ("astewart" was, amazingly enough, not yet taken.)

Back when I was applying for college in 1993/94, one of the perks I was really looking forward to was getting an email account. It was something that only college students and some employees got to have; my brother had one, plus access to the school mainframe, and I thought it was soooo cool. I couldn't wait, and filled in the spot on the (paper) college application with excitement.

Then I got a xocolatl.com address the next year, and I had my choice of email on a (seriously outdated and overworked) VAX cube, or a little BSD box running in a friend's house. I learned the joys of Pine, and I was one of the geeks because I had two email addresses.

Signing up for an official Davis account gave me the same excitement. I have, what, four email addresses, not counting the official ones (admin@, webmaster@, etc.) already... but I filled out the form with glee. Okay, it's another step to establish me as a member of the student body -- but it's also that I have an official university email address again! squee!!!



*deep breath*

We are marked by the era we pass through. Yea, truly.

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