Archive for June, 2006


Friday, June 30th, 2006

Here are a couple of trees a few steps from the Fortress of Solitude’s front (and only) door, as they appeared this evening at about 8:00. Those ones with the purple flowers are all over the place, and they’re dropping their petals at an alarming rate. They’re everywhere. Loyal Reader Number Four is pretty much constantly sweeping them up from in front of the FOS door.

Worked about three and a half hours today. I went in much later than usual and was home by 12:30. Can’t complain. I even got a thing or two done.

The rest of the day was spent pretty much slacking. We did go to the grocery store this afternoon, and Loyal Readers Number 2 and 4 washed the dog, but that’s about it. We read our books and I checked out an online magazine called Free Software Magazine. It’s pretty interesting – has something for people at all levels of Linux expertise. They have twelve issues out so far. Check it out. Maybe even think about subscribing, although I don’t think I will.

I also read most of the rest of the PocketC Architect manual. That led to a pleasant nap just before dinner. Oh, I also went outside and took a few pictures, one of which is above. Look for some actually interesting ones after the weekend. Or not.

I’m tired, so will head for bed. We’re looking forward to LRN1’s return home tomorrow morning. Travel safely!


Thursday, June 29th, 2006

Here’s my sister enjoying some roses in downtown Philadelphia during Memorial Day weekend. It was a beautiful day, wasn’t it? By the way, Sandy, you should really become a Loyal Reader.

I have to admit that I’m out of good blog pictures. There are lots of good ones on my Mac in Gardenville, but my Mac’s not here, so I’ve been relying on what was in my camera when we came out here and whatever I’ve been found the time to snap since we got here, and I’ve pretty much used all the interesting ones. Some readers might suggest that I’ve already gone past that point. I hereby absolutely promise to take some more pictures this weekend and I furthermore absolutely promise that at least some of them will be worth looking at. Really.

Loyal Reader Number Four has pointed out that I failed to mention the cool GE Advantium microwave/speed oven in yesterday’s Dream Kitchen post. So noted. Unlike the goofy heating shelf, we’re getting one of those.

Our loan for the Secret Undisclosed Location got final approval today. Nothing could possibly go wrong now! Of course, we still need to sell Chateau Pathetique, but that will happen. We’re exercising faith, and we encourage all our Loyal Readers to join us, along with a healthy dose of prayer. Please.

I think we’ve decided to go to the Alameda County Fair on Monday. Sounds like fun. Hopefully, it will be. Pictures and a report will be provided in Monday’s Morrowlife. Look for Independence Day ditto on Tuesday.

A quick update on the new job, from the one-month-point prespective. I’m really enjoying it. The challenge is huge, the technology is really cool, the people are friendly and interesting, and it’s great to be doing software again. I’m really glad we came here.

Speaking of work, the layoff notices are supposed to go out in Newtown in the next few days. We’ll never know if I would have been hit, will we? It really doesn’t matter, though. I’m much happier in Sunnyvale. I’ll be interested to see which of my friends are getting the old heave-ho.

Tomorrow’s my off Friday, but I have to be there to chair a meeting in the morning. I’ll try to stick around less than three hours or so. That cuts my five-day weekend down to four and a half days. No problem.

I bought an update to the development system I’ve been using on my gadget. This one has a lot more system interface options and will generate much more professional-looking programs, but is also small and well-defined enough that the learning curve is pretty small. I really like it. The upgrade cost me fifteen bucks. Quite a bargain. I’ve only produced a “Hello, World” program so far, but I hope to come up with something interesting soon. Suggestions from Loyal Readers are more than welcome. What would be a useful/fun/interesting/worthwhile Palm program?

Loyal Reader Number One is keeping in touch during his vacation via Morrowlife comment posts. Check ’em out. Yet another example of the impact of the modern blog. Thanks, LRN1!

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow.

Dream kitchen

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

Here’s the kitchen in the model for the Secret Undisclosed Location. That hood over the stove is fascinating – it contains a McDonald’s-like heat lamp. Perfect for those dinners when you get home late from work. Fortunately for me, our house doesn’t have one. I’m not quite sure what Loyal Reader Number One is up to there. Maybe he’s pretending to be a Famous Chef, looking down his nose at all the little Sous Chefs. Maybe he’s just about to sneeze.

Not a lot to report today. Loyal Readers Number Two and Four and I sat in the spa for half an hour or so this evening – quite relaxing. We had it all to ourselves tonight, so it was almost like having our own. I’m looking forward to having another one of our own in a few months, along with a neato pool too.

We’re trying to decide on the Funnest Fourth of July Activity Ever. Loyal Reader Number Four looked on the internet tonight and discovered several attractive options. We’ll probably end up going to the Santa Clara celebration. There’s supposed to be a lot of music, food, and other entertainment. Of course, the fireworks start at about 9:30. It’s close to home, so we can get there pretty quickly and even come and go if we like. It’s free, too. We don’t know about the parking situation, but we can probably work it out.

LRN4 also found a few other interesting places to visit on non-holidays as a side effect of tonight’s research. We might check one or two out sometime during the weekend. We have a meeting with the Pool People on Saturday, but that’s about the extent of our commitments for the five-day weekend (assuming I don’t end up having to go to work on my Off Friday). We’ve decided that we should be taking more advantage of the fact that we have practically no responsibilities for a couple of months, so we hope to go visit a few more cool places in the upcoming days. I’ll try to take some pictures for Morrowlife.

There’s been a very positive response to my idea of adding the comments to the front page. I’m still looking for a way to make it happen. Thanks for your comments, stay tuned, and feel free to send me any ideas for software to do the job, or any other suggestions. I may not implement everything, but I just might.

We’re watching an interesting History Channel show on barbecuing. Right now, we’re looking at the Weber Grill factory. Fascinating. I love the History Channel almost as much as I love the Discovery Channel (Mythbusters, Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, and – of course – American Chopper), which I love almost as much as I love HGTV (Design on a Dime and several others). Of course, nothing beats Rocky and Bullwinkle, but they’re pretty hard to find these days.

Time for bed. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Here’s a picture of Loyal Reader Number Two’s buddy from Pennsylvania. Photo courtesy of LRN2. Astute Loyal Readers will note that this individual has been featured in these pages before.

No post again yesterday. We were at the airport picking LRN2 up from his trip to Utah. He was in fine health and spirits, the flight went just fine, he found us without any trouble, and he had fun on his trip. Nothing to complain about there.

The weekend was also pretty uneventful. LRN1 went to Colorado on Sunday for a week-long visit with his old buddy. We miss you LRN1! Have fun, remember who you are, be safe (link warning: a little kid singing a dopey song) and have fun! And maybe recruit a new Loyal Reader while you’re out there.

We went to the Computer History Museum on Saturday. It’s just a few minutes’ drive from the Fortress of Solitude. It was absolutely free and pretty cool. They don’t have much in there yet, but they do have some really cool things, like a rack from ENIAC (subject of a fairly recent Morrowlife Book Club review) the only known part of Colossus in existence (a reel from the paper tape transport mechanism – see the picture in the link), and a whole lot of other early computer industry stuff. They also have a lot of computers that I’ve owned and/or used, including a Speak & Spell. Strangely, they don’t have a Texas Instruments PC, so I’m sorry I threw mine away all those years ago. They do have a Sinclair ZX81, which was the first computer I owned. It came as a kit and, believe me, putting it together was the best part of owning it. But it was a start. All in all, the museum is worth a second visit, which I hope to do before we move into the Secret Undisclosed Location.

Flickr isn’t working for me. I couldn’t post Friday’s picture – the site was in “maintenance” mode – and I can’t get into it today either. I get part of the splash page (without any graphics) and can never get to the login page. Weird.

Oops. It started working again. Never mind.

I have a great idea for the blog. I want to put the comments on the main page, increasing the interactiveness quotient dramatically. I’m not sure whether Blogger will allow that, though, so I’m looking around for other blogging tools. Loyal Readers are invited to submit ideas for accomplishing this Important Upgrade.

Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.


Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Here’s a statue of Admiral Somebody-or-other, out behind Independence Hall in Philadelphia. I wish I could remember his name. Maybe some Loyal Reader could do a little bit of internet research. I don’t feel like doing it myself (link warning – I did it myself after all).

I missed a couple of days on the old blog. Sadly, I don’t really have an excuse. Wednesday evening, we went to the Santa Clara library (great building, nice collection – especially of computer-related books, friendly people, comfortable chairs, too-small parking lot) and checked out a few books. I went home and started reading immediately and forgot to blog. On Thursday, I tried unsuccessfully to get Knoppix Linux to log on to my wireless network. It couldn’t figure out the password. I then tried to install Cygwin on my machine. It would install but wouldn’t open a terminal window when I tried to open it. Don’t know why not. The fiasco lasted until slightly after midnight, so I forgot to blog again. Sorry about that, Loyal Readers. It must have been a depressing couple of days for you. I’ll try to make it up to you tonight.

Or maybe not. There’s not a lot to report. The fascinating book I started reading on Wednesday is called Linux Application Development. It’s simultaneously interesting and incredibly boring, which is no small trick (link warning – bad rock music). It teaches the reader/programmer how to interact with the fine details of the Linux operating system. I can’t really recommend it to my non-programmer Loyal Readers, but for the programmers among you who are interested in getting started with Linux programming, have a look. It gives a good description of the relevant system calls, has plenty of code snippets, and actually has interesting, meaningful prose to boot. I’m putting it on the book club list, with the above caveats.

Yesterday, one of my many bosses told me there’s another program somewhere around Sunnyvale looking for a software leader. He told them about me and they were asking for a resume. I spiffed an old one up and sent it to him. He dropped by today and told me they called him back and told him they’re very impressed and presumably will want to talk to me. He’s kind of depressed because he’s happy to have me where I am and he hates to lose me. After only three weeks, they’re already fighting over me! Easy boys, just send money.

We’re thinking of going to the Computer Museum tomorrow. It’s right around the corner in Mountain View, and it looks like it might be a fun, although short, visit, since they’re still just getting established after only four years in their present location (it’s taking longer to set up the museum that it did to create all that history in the first place, but far be it from me to criticize) and there are only a few exhibits, including a big room with computers sitting on warehouse shelves. Critical though I may sound, I think it will be a fun place to visit. I’ll let you know.

Otherwise, not much is scheduled for the weekend. Of course, Loyal Reader Number One is leaving for Denver on Sunday afternoon and Loyal Reader Number Two is coming back on Monday, so there will be a lot of preparing over the weekend and a lot of catching up during the coming week. Maybe we’ll find time to make another library run. The one catch at the library here was that on your first visit they only allow you to check out three books. I guess they’re trying to minimize the damage caused by people who get a card with a fake ID and then steal a bunch of books. I didn’t know that was such a serious problem, but I’m learning to expect just about anything weird in Sunny California.

Speaking of sunny, it’s been very hot the last few days. We’re having high temperatures in the 90’s here. My company is part of an industry group that voluntarily cuts back on energy usage on hot days, so they’ve been turning the air conditioning off at 2:00 every day. It gets pretty warm in there by 3:00 or so, but it hasn’t been really miserable so far. They announce the plan a day ahead of time over a PA system in every building on campus (big brother is watching you!), so you can dress appropriately. There have been a lot of shorts, sandals, and hawaiian shirts this week. Of course, with Bay Area hippie software developers, it’s kind of hard to tell the difference. We’re definitely not on the east coast anymore.

Correction on the previous post: the picture was taken by Loyal Reader Number Two, using my camera. Thanks a lot, LRN2!

Gotta go. See you tomorrow.