April 2003 Archives

Step's to Arbitrating your own stupidity

This is my generic OMG-I'm-a-dumbass-but-I-will-press-on algorithm for success in life. It's not easy being a 21st century tech-neanderthal.
  1. Realize that you have committed an act of stupidity.
  2. Apologize to people affected by your stupidity.
  3. Attempt to correct for your stupidity. Begging for help if necessary.
  4. Ardently plan to prevent stupidity in the future.
  5. :: post to your blog! ::

Hating MS Office

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Microsoft office is lame. I was using excel to forecast my grades. I can scarce believe this error message that describes that you can't have two files of the same name open. Who the hell thought of that? That makes it impossible to compare to revisions of a file without renaming one of them. How lame is that.

Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot

Interesting. Very interesting. Richard Restak gives this is a series of 28 steps that one can take to actively enhance ones brain. It's a good quick, but useful read if you get the time. Very approachable. Of particular interest to me were the discussions on metacognition, memory, learning through old age, and brain cell behavior through old age. I'll list the 28 core points.

  1. Learn about your brain
  2. Apply your knowledge of the brain to organize your ideas
  3. think of the brain as a montage engine
  4. learning capacity stays with age
  5. learn & use your motor skill
  6. profit from the link between learning, memory, and intelligence.
  7. Improve your memory
  8. Develop emotional memory
  9. Think in terms of brain geography
  10. Develop linkages
  11. Do things that stimulate lots of the brain
  12. let the brain be the brain
  13. practice forms of mental hygiene
  14. use emotions to advantage
  15. reduce stress
  16. harmonize with body rhythms
  17. concentrate
  18. train in logic
  19. develop a tolerance for uncertainty
  20. meta-cogitate
  21. read widely
  22. heighten your senses
  23. experience art & music
  24. exercise
  25. use your hands
  26. relaxation exercises
  27. use technology ;)
  28. act in harmony with your talents

Tech Support

Tech support sux. It's like a rule. Here are some rules for corproate marketing monkeys that have no clue.
  • Customer service doesn't mean apologizing for hold time.
  • Award winning support doesn't mean a polaroid for employee of the month
  • 24hr support doesn't mean the janitor sleeps by the phone
  • "Tech Support. What is you problem?" is not a valid greeting.

  • what about 802.11.g?

    Hey Jim, what do you think about the new 802.11.g standard that is comming out? I think its an interesting idea but I already have enough 802.11.b toys right now to play with. ( witch cost me some serious 'jack' I might add) anyway more power to masses I guess. Greg Jetter Jr

    Greg, MHO, I think it's all the same until it reaches 100Mbps. If I have a boat of data to move I either firewire or 100Mbs it. The wireless network niche in my life is for small easily accessible chunks of data in a small area. More simply, I wander my house and browse the web, listen to tunes, or labor on the net. Plus, the market is so shaky. There's a damn alpabet soup of 802.11{?}s.

    I can see that other people in remote locations or with specific organisational needs might be more interested in using the wireless technology for a direct ppp-ish link. I'll bet the speed and symbol to data ratios of the next generation of wireless frequencies and protocols will appeal to this type of dedicated link user. Everybody, even us liesurites, will like the improved speed, efficiency, and hopefully security of those technologies.

    I don't see myself needing to upgrade soon. I've spent maybe $500 on network equipment and maybe $200 of that is wireless. The airport cards in the laptops were trivial. I think that wireless is pretty cheap. That's not to say I've not sunken a boat or two on other things, but the wireless has to be less than 10% of the cost. I'd be interested, Greg, in what you spent, on what equipment to provide what solution.

    Cheers, Jim

    Rise of Linux

    I don't usually mirror /. articles. Hell, I don't mirror, but this article from The Economist struck a chord. A few weeks ago I saw on top of Oracle's page, "Oracle Makes Linux Unbreakable" or some such. It's awesome and incredible to see linux where it's made it today. It seems like a second ago when I heard about it from a friend with the privilege of paying MIT for education. That was in 1995. The Penguin wasn't a logo and the kernel was barely version 1.0 and you still had to explain it to your computer counterparts. Now linux is rising. I have mixed feelings of intellectual righteousness and nostalgia for the clubhouse.

    French Class Bloopers

    I'm in a french 2 class. I did it in highschool. I'm taking it distance ed so there is a lot of recording and the like. I'm using mp3 but teach wants tapes. So I dub them off to tape, but here's the originals of my composition. It's a little one pager about me and my family. It's a laugh to listen to.

    Java Process Scheduler Goes Applet!

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    I should be studying for my physics test next tuesday. Or finishing the CS203 assignment that is also due...tuesday. But instead I hacked on my proc scheduler becuase Guild came over and he ... well ... made me because I started bitching about manifest files or some shit. Try it! Like the title says it's an applet now. Some details...

    Anything that has to be opened out of a jar file over the internet will be fundamentally gay and impossible. Getting things out of jar files isn't easy. Google solved most problems for me. Even java has it on some remote developer faq.

    This is what my applet html looks like

    <OBJECT classid="clsid:8AD9C840-044E-11D1-B3E9-00805F499D93"
        width="0" height="0" align="baseline"
        <PARAM NAME="code" VALUE="JunkApplet.class">
        <PARAM NAME="type" VALUE="application/x-java-applet;version=1.2.2">
        <PARAM NAME="archive" VALUE="cpu.jar">
    <PARAM NAME="scriptable" VALUE="true">
        <EMBED type="application/x-java-applet;version=1.2.2" width="0"
           height="0" align="baseline" code="JunkApplet.class" archive="cpu.jar"
               No JDK 1.2 support for APPLET!!

    It's more complicated and lamely-gay than you want to have to read about. But it loads a class file from a jar file in both ie & netscape.

    The class is just a stupid Applet with an init that creates a new CPUSchedulerFrameForApplet. I had to change my image loading code to be more like this using the URL class. I also had to remove any file IO from the applet. I didn't want the main app to lose functionality. So I branched CPUSchedulerFrame into CPUSchedulerFrameForApplet. CPUSchedulerFrame retains all the original app functionality and file IO. Both are compiled in the jar and tar.gz, and it is a lot of redundant code, but it was quick and easy and nothing but net.

    This is a good release to round out the app. A lot of OS students have written me about this project. But they were generally daring enough to wonder why I hadn't done an applet, download the broken jar, and finally compile it themselves from the quite useful tar.gz. Now you can *really* use the applet from the jar file, run the jar file on the console, and read the source in the tar.gz file.

    That last batch of fixes made it infinitely usable by anyone who could do java. Now I think it will be more approachable. It will appeal to the "instant gratification" crowd. It would be invaluable for introducing schedulers in the classroom.

    Plus, it's just swanky as hell! `