Category Archives: Life

Mood: Asleep

It’s way too early for me. I got up at 7:00, which is not something I do very often at all. I’m groggy and wearing my Destroy Mornings shirt. Still, it’s for a good cause! I’m seeing my girlfriend in half an hour or so and heading back home to visit family and friends. My little sister Jenna is turning five years old. I could have sworn that she was this little thing that practically fit in my hands only a few days ago, but somehow, she turned five.

I bought her this very cool Vtech Nitro Notebook, which looks and feels like a laptop (albeit a cheap one). She’s been wanting a real computer for a while, and though I won’t buy her a real one just yet, this will feel close enough for her. She knows the difference between real computers and toys, but she’ll still like it.

This thing has 80 built-in activities. English, Spanish, science, social studies, math, etc. It even has a My Tools area where you can populate an addressbook of names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. There’s a lot to this little device. One of the features they advertise that I like, though I have not tested it, is that the difficulty apparently adjusts to the level at which the user is at. So if she’s having trouble in an area, it’s supposed to become easier so she can begin to complete it, and then the difficulty will eventually go back up. We can check how she’s doing with this built-in progress report. On top of all this, it has some games and stories.

Cool toy. I want one for myself 🙂

SVLUG

Last Wednesday at SVLUG, I gave a talk (well, more of an interview in the format of The Actors Studio) on Galago, Project Soylent, the Desktop Notifications spec libsexy, and some other stuff (demos of Beagle and such). We scheduled this something like six months ago, and I was nervous as hell the day of the talk. It actually went really well, though, and people seemed genuinely interested. I had a lot of questions at the end about the various things I’m doing and plan to do. I wish I had it in some re-broadcastable format.

Heading out soon, so I’m wrapping this up for now.

Look ma, I’m growing up and everything!

My new furniture came today! The guys moving it into my apartment were not at all happy, due to these being very heavy and the fact that I live on the second floor. Ah well. That’s their job.

So I have a new entertainment center (actually, I’ve had that for a few weeks now), a reclining couch, and a reclining rocking chair. I really didn’t remember that the couch was a reclining couch. I guess I just forgot.

The new setup is quite nice. My old futon has moved to the office room, and these have dominated the living room. They’re fairly comfy, but they need to be worn in just a bit.

Ignore the cables everywhere. I’m still getting it all put together. I need to make some cables to run the rear speakers and everything else cleanly to the subwoofer and stick that on the side. I also need to figure out the LCD monitor. In time..

Stargate SG-1 Season Premier

Wow. The Stargate SG-1 season premier was on. It was… wow.. that was bad. I think I’m just going to sit in a corner and sob lightly for a while. I don’t think it could have been worse if they tried. They destroyed SG-1. Hopefully some good effort will be put on Atlantis. I guess I get to take SG-1 off my Tivo now 😦

Headline: “Victim Dead In Apparent Caltrain Suicide”

As we were getting ready in the morning for a day of furniture shopping, Jamie noticed that the train across the street came to a hault. Not long after, I heard sirens and looked outside the window to see some ambulances and fire trucks rush by. I noticed that the sirens stopped as they got off right by here. That’s when I noticed that the train wasn’t moving. I shuddered and said that something bad just happened.

We counted I believe 9 police cars. We could see the train, could see people on the train, but still had no idea what had happened. The train was there about an hour before we left. I knew it couldn’t have been something as simple as someone who needed medical attention. With all those police guarding the tracks and an hour-long stopped train, it was obvious that it was something more.

So I finally checked the local news, and saw this, courtesy of PaloAltoCaNews.com (article) :

PALO ALTO, CA – A person apparently committed suicide this morning by standing in front of a Caltrain train in Palo Alto, Caltrain spokeswoman Jayme Maltbie Kunz reported.

The incident occurred around 10 a.m. one quarter-mile north of the East Meadows Crossing in Palo Alto, Palo Alto Battalion Chief Niles Broussard reported.

This man committed suicide just across the street from my apartment, while my girlfriend watched. She couldn’t see it happen, fortunately, as there were trees there. It probably would have scarred her, I’m afraid.. Man, creepy stuff. I don’t feel at all comfortable knowing a guy killed himself by train right across the street from my apartment. *shudder*

Be afraid, be very afraid

There’s so much fear lately. This isn’t really new, but I’ve been hit by it twice in the past few days. The problem is that with fear comes distrust, and with distrust comes mistreatment.

During a very fun vacation at Disneyland (which I shall blog about later), my girlfriend lost her wallet, which contained her ID. She was going to take Amtrak back home from my place, but of course, you need a photo ID to get on the train or on the buses. This wasn’t that much of a surprise, I guess, but we started wondering what would happen if a person got mugged far from home and needed to find a way back — plane, bus, or train. Without ID, you’re stuck! I called up Amtrak and explained the situation, and asked if there were any options. Nope. The guy on the phone said that “with all the terrorist attacks in the United States nowadays,” photo ID is required.

I’ve heard this from others too. People are under this impression that we’re under seige 24 hours every day. I guess that’s what they’re supposed to think, given how the news depicts things, and our wonderful “You’re in danger!” color system.

“Terrorist” has become a catch-all phrase. If we still had a major threat of pirates (the sea kind, not the software and media kind), we would probably be calling them aquaterrorists.

The second incident was today when, after a very long day full of typical crappy Monday things (it’s surrogate Monday, due to Monday being a holiday), I decided to go to Fry’s to pick up a few things. Now, I ended up walking home today from work, and I keep my laptop in a backpack, so I entered Fry’s with the backpack on. I didn’t really think about it at the time, though. One of the employees stopped me as I was walking through one of the aisles, which is to be expected. They’re of course worried about someone stealing something. What I was upset about was how they treated me. I ended up in the middle of the front of the store, where everybody was walking through. They looked in my backpack and had me take out my laptop and show it to them.

I wasn’t too upset at this point, but then another employee came by and, with a less than friendly tone of voice, demanded to know what I was doing in Fry’s with a laptop. I explained that I had just walked in from work and stopped there on my way home. His response was “uhh huhh..” in that “Yeah, right” tone. He told me he’ll need to take the backpack. I asked where it’s going to be put, and they said “somewhere safe.” I asked where. He repeated himself: “Somewhere safe.” I asked where again. He finally told me that it’ll be behind the counter. I said, “The laptop is expensive and it’s my primary work computer. I want to make sure it’ll be taken care of.” He got a bit agitated at this point.

So, they stuck the backpack right behind the counter, where really, anybody could get it. I walked around for a few minutes and decided not to bother giving them my money today. When I went to pick up my backpack, the second guy gave me this look like, “Yeah, knew you’d be back so soon.” I picked up the backpack and left. The way they handled it was just embarrassing. Pulling me off to the side and talking to me like I was a person, rather than talking loudly and accusingly in the middle of a crowd, would have been fine. I’m now making those purchases at newegg. Fry’s lost a sale because two of their employees couldn’t treat me civily.

Fear is natural, and everybody fears something. The problem is when people let fear control what they assume of a certain person or class of people. And that’s something that’s now all too common in this day of “Don’t cross the street alone, the terrorists will run you over in their car.”

88 != 103. Incidentally, San Jose was lovely today.

I left work a little early today so I could pick up a package at the apartment office that just arrived before the office closed. I was on the phone as the bus pulled up, but I was busy fumbling for my bus pass, and didn’t read the number on the bus. There were two buses that went to that stop, and the 103 left, leaving the 88 to arrive. I assumed, therefore, that this was it. It wasn’t.

A long trip later, with plenty of stop and go traffic, I was in San Jose. I’m in Palo Alto. For those that don’t know, the bus route goes like this: Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and then San Jose.

A brief 10 minute wait in San Jose and the bus back home arrived. I fortunately managed to get a lot of work done on the libgalago GLib port on the bus.. And now I’m finally home. 3 hours later. Now I’m going to just sit here.. watch TV.. *yawn*

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

For about two weeks now, I’ve noticed that the lights in my apartment have been flickering a lot. I tried changing the bulbs and it did no good. Eventually I concluded that it was the portable heater causing it, until it started having this problem when the heater was off. Several times a day, the circuit breaker has been tripping. It’s all been getting on my nerves.

Today I noticed the lights fade off and realized that something was very wrong here. I headed to the breaker box and saw that the breaker was not tripped. However, there was a very faint smell, and a crackling noise. Uh oh. I quickly flipped it to off. Or rather, I slid it. No longer does it actually toggle. I can slide the switch to any position I want.

Fortunately, the crackling stopped and the smell quickly faded away. There was no heat on the breaker box. So now I have to get someone to fix this first thing in the morning. My fridge is plugged into this circuit, and I’m a bit worried about things going bad. I do have a mini fridge I’m putting some things like meat in. I guess I’m also worried about a potential fire. Ugh. At least now I know what the cause is, and hopefully it can be fixed quickly… Monday’s starting early!

Finally, a modern desktop

I updated my main desktop today, which I haven’t really used since getting my laptop. It went from Fedora Core 2 with gnome 2.8cvs to Ubuntu Hoary. The operation was a success and the patient is in recovery, except with one casualty: I lost my last 5 months of e-mail. I have a script to auto-archive e-mail, so I have the last few years worth, but I didn’t back up /var/mail… *sigh* So, if anybody e-mailed me something important, please send it again.

When In Doubt, Explode Violently

I’ve been sick with a flu the past week, which has been annoying enough, but last night we had a slight server issue. The computer back at my parents’ house that is home to a large number of my websites (ChipX86.com in particular), my e-mail, clients’ e-mail and sites, my DNS server, and several other things stopped seeing the rest of the network and therefore the Internet. My brother and I went through a long debugging cycle over the phone before giving up for the night. Today I had him bring things back to how they were beforehand, and now it all works. I still have no idea why. *sigh*

Anyhow, I’m going to start migrating things to my linode box. I don’t quite trust the one back home to last forever 🙂 At the very least, I should get an automatic backup of all system files and the important websites going, as well as the SVN repository.

I’m absolutely exhausted now, and should sleep, but instead I’m attempting to fix this bug in a change I’m doing in VMware, and I want to get some Galago work done and play some World of Warcraft. Where to start.. Food perhaps. Now I’m rambling.

Galago updates coming soon.