Saturday, October 30, 2004
Compulsory blog update
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Friday, October 29, 2004
Sun Ultra 10s are so slow!
They're so slow, they leave a slime trail on their way to their spot in your lab setup! Plus it took me two weeks to get one. In an exercise in absurdity, I'm compiling NetBSD on one. It should be done in about... three days or so. I could get at least two glasses of water out of the slow water filter thingy at work. Every once in a while, make time to work on a slow piece of shit. Chances are you've been taking years of computing speed advances for granted.
I thought it was funny that when I do anyhting to put data on the screen (for instance, an ls -l that's more than a page long), the computer stops all processing. It has the default Ultra Sparc 10 framebuffer, whatever that is. Anyway I'm a dork.
Retiring to a cruise ship!
That's what the doctor started me on on Wednesday, FYI.
New Pride of Aloha Review
Dear Ms. King,
Last month, I mentioned that one of our managers, Bill Lester, would be sailing on Norwegian's Pride of Aloha with his extended family and would provide a firsthand report regarding the ship's widely reported service shortcomings. The ship has received more negative press since its launch in July than any
other vessel I can remember. Bill just returned from his Hawaii cruise, and he had this to say:
"On the positive side, the crew was friendly, the food was good and freestyle dining was convenient. We ate in the main dining room and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table. On the negative side, the timing for our port calls in Kauai and Maui was changed by several hours from the schedule, but no announcement was ever made to inform guests. Word spread by word-of-mouth among the passengers, and we had to confirm the actual port times at the front desk on both occasions. Also, availability of the ship's shore excursions was very limited for those who had not booked in advance of sailing."
I asked Bill about service levels onboard, and he described them as "mediocre". He added, "There was nothing outstanding about the ship, the onboard activities or crew. Our room steward took care of our room but did not add any kind of personal touch or have a presence in the vicinity of our room that would earn an above-average service rating."
Nevertheless, Bill states that his entire group--parents, aunts, uncles, significant other--enjoyed themselves thoroughly. And in contrast to the widespread grumbling from passengers on
earlier sailings--with good cause, from what I understand--Bill heard no negative comments from other passengers except for those related to the changed port times.
"I would recommend the Pride of Aloha as an excellent way to see the Hawaiian islands in one convenient trip, especially for first-time visitors to Hawaii," he said.
I want to point out that Bill was booked as a regular, paying passenger and his affiliation with Vacations To Go was not known by anyone on the ship.
It would appear that Norwegian has overcome most of the problems that plagued the early sailings of the Pride of Aloha, when passengers suffered long lines at restaurants and shortages of everything from plates to waiters and cabin
stewards. Norwegian has blamed those problems on staffing complications related to the requirement that this unique, US-flagged ship must sail with an all-American crew. This meant that the line was not allowed to transfer experienced international crew members from other ships in their fleet for the launch, which is common in the industry. High crew attrition has also hurt customer service, and Norwegian has reportedly replaced more than half of the 750 crew members in the past three months. Fortunately, the ship now appears to be fully staffed and the crew is performing adequately, if not admirably. Certainly the number of negative comments we have received has fallen sharply over the last 45 days, and we have begun to receive positive comments from returning guests as well.
Now the challenge for Norwegian is to rise above mediocrity and capture the true Aloha spirit onboard, and do justice to the magnificent Hawaiian islands.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Here's Lucky and Colleen actually being friendly. Later, Lucky sniffed Colleen's back so she hit him in the FACE!
The outside of my office. Note that my officemate has some sort of HTML comment instead of a name. He's not here much but seems nice despite the horror stories I heard. Young Fred (as I have nicknamed him) is in to Nascar. That explains why he has a giant Jeff Gordon poster. At least you'd think so, unless you are a few offices down from me and claim that the "man poster" is evidence of "fruityness".
One angle of my desk. You can see the flat panel is sitting on the official work monitor stand. Oh, I just noticed that box under my desk! I meant to put it out. You'd think it would have obstructed my legs whenst using the laptop. I haven't used it a lot today, it's been busy.
Another angle of my desk. I have a pretty nice collection of systems here, all nice P4's except for that HP box to the left. It has a PA-RISC and runs HPUX 11.11. That's probably why it's turned off and unplugged. Just kidding. The monitor is not sitting on a computer, that's an ADIC VLS tape library. I think I asked my parents for an ADIC VLS tape library for christmas one year. That's a funny joke to everyone except my parents.
Sager NP3790 card reader
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Cause of electronics/computer addiction
I just had an idea about the possible cause of my addiction to electronics and computers. Jeff should remember the now out of business New York retailer Crazy Eddie. When I was a kid I loved those commercials. I asked my Dad to take me there all the time. I don't think I ever told him how disappointed I was that Crazy Eddie wasn't at the store. I do think he decided or figured out that I didn't really like Crazy Eddie's because he didn't take me there all that often. I was pretty young at the time so I don't know if his prices really were insane. Anyway, just like everything else, there's a web page dedicated to Crazy Eddie. Hello (a tool that lets you, among other things, post pics to blogger) can be a real piece of crap sometimes so here's a picture about that.
Friday, October 22, 2004
Subject: INTERNATIONAL ORDER
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 23:48:49 +0800
From: "emma qaz" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I AM dan horst FROM USA I WILL LIKE TO PURCHASE SOME
ITEMS IN YOUR STORE THEN I WANT THE ITEMS TO BE SHIP
DOWN TO MY COMPANY IN NIGERIA,SO I WANT YOU TO MAIL ME
BACK IF YU CAN SHIP INTERNATIONAL ORDER,THEN MY METHOD
OF PAYMENT WILL BE CREDIT CARD, DO MAIL ME BACK ASAP.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
America, fuck yeah!
Saw Team America: World Police this weekend. It's a great movie. They really made it funny on so many levels. For instance, the puppets - the limited, awkward motion and poor details were pretty damn hilarious (and intentionally so... like a Thunderbirds/MST3K demon love child of some sort.) I wish there was more of Sarah and INTELLIGENCE though. Anyway, go see it if you can (fuck yeah).
In other news, the new job partied like it was 1999 today (you know, before the tech bubble burst). Happy hour, a tradition the department I now work in apparently celebrates fairly frequently, involves beer, ice cream, and partying for free during working hours. Crrrrrrrrazy! No pictures, but continuing the 1990's theme take a look at my web cam. The Nascar stuff isn't mine - I'm sharing the office with Young Fred the Intern.
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Deep thoughts by Tracey
After listening to the comedian's CD and discovering that the jokes he told didn't REALLY happen in Miami, Florida as he claimed, in a disgusted voice: "I thought he was telling the truth!"
Friday, October 15, 2004
I"M A PAIN?
Tracey just told me on the phone that I'm a pain to wake up in the morning! She couldn't get out of bed this morning because it was supposedly too cold. hahaha
Child's play 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Google desktop search
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Sexy notebook action shot
Got a new laptop - it's a Sager 3790 from powernotebooks.com. It's really nice. Mike opened his WoW beta account with it and the framerates are really good. It's a lot snappier than the Dell D800 it's replacing - think that's because it doesn't have all that spyware on it? (Just kiddin'!) Now I'm beginning the maddening task of reinstalling it. All told it will probably take over 12 hours to get it to where the D800 is. Sigh
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Thoughts on World of Warcraft hype
I was in the World of Warcraft stress test. This was the beginning of my infatuation with this game. The game is changing too much to pin down specific things that are good and bad. It is worth mentioning, though, that the developers design philosophies have been very encouraging.
A lot of MMOG/MUD veterans know that MMOGs are a treadmill. This is a term coined to describe the repetitive nature of so many things you do in MMOGs, whether that is killing, improving your skills, or improving your reputation with different game factions. Warcraft has a level treadmill, yes. It's not a god mode type game. A recent post by Blizzard developer Eno illustrated this as follows:
There is a saying "the sweet is not as sweet without the sour". Game rules are neccessary for the long-term success of the game. If everything is easy and loot drops like candy while everyone is in god mode, then the game itself loses meaning. We, of course, realize that players would love instant travel, god weapons and a free money making tool, but ultimately this would lead to a less satisfying experience over time.
This really shows what Blizzard is fighting to balance. Yes, they have to balance the abilities of one class over another, and one faction over another, and risk vs. reward and so forth, but that's not their main focus. Their main focus is making the game fun at any given moment. If they succeed, they will certainly be the first.
There's more about their fascinating philosophies in this developer diary (an excellent read). From the second paragraph (emphasis mine):
We knew from the beginning that players had an expectation going into World of Warcraft for a good raid game. Early on in development, we planned out everything that we felt would make for good raid content. We really tried to go top-heavy with it, to make these raid encounters truly spectacular, because we knew we weren't going to put in a steep leveling curve. We aren't going to bog people down in the normal leveling process, so we expect that there will be a lot of people at maximum level and they'll be anticipating some truly epic challenges.
So, here I am again, falling for the hype. I am so excited about this game it's not funny. Please don't let me down, Blizzard!
Monday, October 11, 2004
I'll sell millions...
Honey Bunches of Paint Chips (and Oats)
Ba ba ba, ba boo boo, ba boo boo...
Sunday, October 10, 2004
The first debate Bush conspiracy
This is a little hard to find due to the difficulty in picking out search terms. Here's a link to a reprint of one of the best articles summarizing the "Bush was wearing a wire/earpiece during the first debate" theory:
(Incidentally, turns out the best terms are "bush debate bulge". Heh)
Friday, October 08, 2004
Wow, that's a small motherboard!
When almost your whole motherboard can be cooled by a single spanning heatsink, I'd say you've just opened up a whole new world for case modders and home theater nuts. The Nano-ITX board on display, the Epia-N, uses an 800MHz Nehemiah processor—certainly enough to play back movies and browse the web.
- Closing on refinance (sucked, took forever)
- Stupid tech at work
- Somehow didn't get halloween horror night tix from work
- Surfing for new phones, all the cool phones have big problems
- Customers on side-job are frustrating
- Co-worker (Raul) just spent five days in the hospital because his heart stopped
Moto MPx220 tickled my fancy. Here's the scoop near as I can figure. The phone is exclusive in the USA with Cingular and Best Buy right now. BB is carrying them, and they're probably unlocked too. They are 500 w/o service, 350 w/service and some breaks for 1 and 2 yr contracts. There are some big problems with these phones. Low battery life, bad RF, cheap feeling, volume problems, terrible cam w/useless "flash"... Moto hasn't put out a good phone in a while and this isn't bucking the trends. The 6620 still looks nice but it's big and expensive. Guess I'll hang on to the SL56 for a while, since it's working and all. The merger needs to happen soon, it seems like Cingular is actually getting sets before ATT (that never used to happen).
Not that today hasn't been without good news. WoW open beta looks to be right around the corner. I bet signups will start early next week.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
I listen to a handful of other channels. U-pop is good when they play non-US stuff. I used to listen to Discovery but if you listen for about a month you've heard everything (probably 3 or 4 times) and they hardly ever update. Decades, occationally. Cinemagic is pretty awesome. So, there's a lot of kind of esoteric programming that I listen to, as well as the uncensored comedy channel - I certainly get my money's worth with the amount of time I spend in the car.
My other radio habits include Stern, though. With yesterday's announcement, I bought 100 shares of SIRI. I'm not ready to pick up the equipment yet. The 2.5 generation stuff is what's out for Christmas and none of it is bowling me over. The PnP receivers are pretty blah. The only thing remotely interesting is "Sirius Connect", the Sirius version of XM's "XM Direct". I don't know if either XM Direct or Sirius Connect will work with the Prius, but I suspect both will in the end. Either way, I'm definately not getting XM Direct now.
Sirius Connect is a possibility. If the Sirius PnP receivers aren't any better by say... Mid 2005, I'll look into it. XM's Delphi Skyfi2 is setting the bar right now. XM seems to be the innovator in hardware and pricing as well - not looking forward to a $3+ increase in subscription fees. Let's hope the PnP receivers get better. I need a pause button for phone calls.
I bet I'm the only one who doesn't have this link: w.bloggar
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Let's just take this slow, OK? No promises, no commitments. It's just for fun. I'll come visit you when I have something to say to the world at large. If you need me, look me up. Everyone needs an outlet. It's not good to bottle it in.
Anyway, you're sexy. Your look, your features... Who knows? Maybe one day we'll get serious. No promises - old habits die hard. For now, let's just keep things casual.
Thinking of you,