Astrid
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I'm still alive

I haven't left IJ permanently. I just haven't been back for a while.

Whoo-hoo!

Yesterday I turned in my last homework assignment of the year! All I have left now are two midterms, one easy and the other harder—but I'm prepared for it.

Iiii'm back!

I'm starting something new with this post; perhaps it will continue for some time. Since I signed up for twitter, I've been posting far less on IJ. I consider this a problem, and on the bus this morning I came up with a solution that I like. I'm going to use each of my twitter posts as a heading for a paragraph or two in an entry.

Laser Mate sucks impressively. Thank goodness for IDA Pro Free.

My friend Matt Westervelt is opening a store. It's going to be the sort of place where you can hang out, renting tools and making cool things. One of the tools he has is a Red Sail Laser Engraver from China. To use it, you have to run this janky program (named Laser Mate) that takes one obscure file format and converts it into another obscure file format so that the laser can etch your design on things.

This is sort of a pain, so I'm trying to make a program of my own that does the same thing but far less awkwardly. That's the secondary goal, however; what we really need is a system to bill for etching and cutting. I'm more or less done with a program that accepts a vector graphics file, and outputs what Laser Mate wants to see. It also outputs a description of how long the cuts and engraves in the final product will be. We're billing by the linear centimeter.

I stayed up until like 3am trying to read the compiled software. It's not incredibly difficult, but reverse-engineering is a very thoughtful, detailed task. Proper tools are essential, and IDA Pro is worlds above everything else I have available to me.

Hopefully Red Sail is less pissy about sharing driver source code than American companies. I don't see what the problem is anyway...

For some reason, hardware companies are very guarded about releasing source code for the software that you need to use to run the hardware. It drives me nuts, and I can't figure out why they don't want to release it. If I were a hardware maker, I would want people to be able to use my hardware however they want to. If I inadvertantly build in really neat uses for my hardware, wouldn't the extra sales to hobbyists be worth the trouble of sending out some more files? Defining a narrow API and not letting people go outside of it totally derails that sort of opportunity.

Because reverse-engineering is slow and tedious, I emailed Red Sail asking for their source code. Hopefully they don't mind sharing.

Ambulance broken down on northbound 23rd Ave at E Union St.

There was an ambulance broken down next to the bus on my commute to work today. They lit flares and put them in the roadway; there's not much more else to say.

Does anyone know @kuzushi or @kaips1? Who are they?

Two random people started following me on Twitter. I have a fairly strict policy for approving followers, that is, I have to know them outside of Twitter. Well, it doesn't sound that strict when I say it so. I keep my feed closed because I publish my physical location using Foursquare. I just don't like random people knowing, is all.

Tags:
I've been away.

23:34:57 <agdymahoozle> pot means you THINK you have great ideas
23:35:01 <agdymahoozle> and then you wake up the next day
23:35:07 <agdymahoozle> and your fork is wrapped in bacon

Silly Study of the Day

Somewhere on the tubes yesterday, I found a summary of an article called High IQ Is No Help for Those With ADHD, Yale Researchers Find. This seems pretty obvious to me, but ... whatever, guys.

Many of these people are told they can’t be suffering the loss of executive function (the ability to plan and carry out many day-to-day tasks) from ADHD because they are too smart, said Thomas E. Brown, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the study.

The high-IQ, ADHD group lacked self-management skills and the ability to focus. They tended to procrastinate and be forgetful and had difficulty in harnessing their talent to complete many daily tasks, the study found. In fact, 73 percent of the ADHD population showed significant deficits in five or more of the eight measures of executive function.

Or you could have just interviewed some of them. Nevertheless, this will be useful ammunition in the continual fight against misunderstanding.

I have a boyfriend!

It's Facebook Official (™). Andy and I are boyfriends.

I need to start actually doing this school thing. Not doing the homework and then skipping class in order to spare the embarrassment of being the only person in the class not turning it in is horribly self-destructive.

I have a math midterm in 7:49 for which I have not studied oin the slightest. It takes me two hours to get from my bed to class, which works out to … far too little sleep.

Spam

I'm reading <a href="http://www.paulgraham.com/spam.html>A Plan For Spam</a>, which is this guy's article from 2002 about how he deals with spam. It contains this oddly prescient passage:</p> <blockquote><p>Assuming they could solve the problem of the headers, the spam of the future will probably look something like this:</p> <blockquote><p><tt>Hey there. Thought you should check out the following: http://www.27meg.com/foo</tt></p></blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Now, picking a spam from one of my larger spam folders, with 11,000 messages &mdash;</p> <blockquote><p><pre>Enter Here... http://splintedwatches.cn John loved my new Chanel watch. Updated 2009 brand models now available! </pre></blockquote> <p>Crazy, isn't it?</p> Fucking hell, something's wrong with the formatting. I didn't change anything.

Facebook Meme

So there's this silly meme going around Facebook lately, where you write down 25 random things about yourself. It's not that bad, as memes go, so I suppose I'll participate. I won't tell anyone else to, though.

  1. I spend far too much time on IRC. For those who don't know, IRC is a multi-user chat protocol. It's those ‘chat rooms’ that we (or at least I) was, as a child, warned to stay out of because they're full of evil hackers. I, for one, can attest to the partial truth of this statement. I also run an unofficial IRC server for UW students.
  2. I have had an FBI agent knock on my front door unexpectedly, unsolicited, and, in fact, looking for me.
  3. Hugs are awesome, and I'll take a hug from anyone who's not creepy and doesn't smell.
  4. There are three teeth in my mouth that aren't the ones I grew up with. And nobody can tell which ones.
  5. I'm using “real quotation marks” in my HTML instead of "1970s teletype quotation marks".
  6. Oh, and I put the punctuation outside the quotation marks. Makes more sense that way.
  7. My hair used to reach to the bottom edge of my shoulderblades. Then I cut it off. I originally grew it out because I was irritated that both my mother and my girlfriend got a haircut at the same time. “If they won't grow their hair the way I like it, I suppose I have to do it myself!”
  8. I'm severely undernourished with respect to fruits and vegetables. I'm working on remedying this.
  9. Hospitals suck. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
  10. I use a different random password for every account I have. I Remember most of the ones I use regularly, which is about 15.
  11. I keep pressing ⌘Q instead of Option-Q, which keeps closing Terminal. I need to get used to Mac keyboards. Also, I sometimes try to use Ctl-A Ctl-A to switch between programs in Windows. Et cetera.
  12. Lego is awesome.
  13. I'm a transit nut, I like trains and buses. I also collect transit tickets, tokens, transfers, cards, and payment systems of all sorts.
  14. Once I rode the bus all the way from Seatte to Vancouver, BC. Crossing the border on foot was interesting... . Despite what the itinerary says, we came back on Amtrak.
  15. I've also ridden Amtrak across the country, from Seattle to Chicago to New York, and then to Boston. That was fun, and I'd do it again in a flash.
  16. I'm a phreaker. This means I know a lot about telephones.
  17. I'm a hacker. This means I know a lot about computers.
  18. Rarely do I notice the sun setting. Apparently it's dark now.
  19. I moved into Seattle on my second birthday precisely.
  20. I type a lot, so I have a real keyboard. It's five months older than I am. If you spend much time typing at all, I recommend you buy one. They're about $70; once you spend a few weeks typing on one you'll feel so much better. I'm sort of a keyboard evangelist. What do you spend most of your computer time doing?
  21. I'm a staff member on ticalc.org. And no, we're not a part of Texas Instruments.
  22. lm havnq a hell of a time wit h this stup,d hndhr,tnq rLqnjtsn. Welcome to the 21st century, where computers can transcribe handwriting with 98% accuracy. Apparently I'm the other 2% all by myself.
  23. I'm really good at starting projects, but really bad at finishing them.
  24. In high school I took Latin for four years. I should probably have taken it for three.
  25. This is not the twenty-fifth item in a list.

Tags: ,
Mood: lethargic lethargic
Cool?

So apparently I'm now doing telecom for Sakura-Con 2009. TProphet called me up and asked, basically. I haven't much else that I'm doing that weekend (Easter), though it is during the class portion of Spring quarter.

Perhaps it'll be a good resume-filling thing. TProphet was emphasizing how many single girls volunteer at sakuracon, though, which was a bit off-putting. He was also trying to get me to leave my house and do something today, being Friday and all. Not like I'd ever do that.

Mood: mildly pleased mildly pleased
Textbooks

Mmmm, textbooks. They cost lots of money, and little of it actually goes to the author.


Apparently instructors can get free copies by faxing a request on university letterhead to the publisher, or something similarly inane (and easy to fake).

Bills

I need to learn to keep track of things better. I have a bill due to be mailed tomorrow, and I can't find the stupid goddamn bill so I can tear off the payment slip. Or whatever it's called, the thingy that has a barcode of my account number so they don't have to type it in themselves.

Israel

With all the news about Israel and Palestine and that whole area recently, I thought I'd do the world a bit of good by sharing my opinion.

I think that the United States could do quite a lot of good by sending its soldiers in to help those poor people sort things out. They're just so confused. Poor things. And it's so little land, it won't take long at all.

(What's the big deal about that place anyway? It's a really small amount of land, and it's such crappy land to boot! They've been fighting for ages over this little scrap of land which is sort of like Death Valley, but has an ocean view. I just don't understand.)

Mail truck!

Wooo, there goes the mail truck outside my window.

Snow emergency is over. We're getting mail, and the libraries are open.

Seriously. 9” of snow + 1 week of sub-freezing temperatures = no mail. What is wrong with this city? I thought that the USPS is supposed to deliver.

Mood: pleased pleased
Christmas Eve

Last night at Christmas Eve dinner the cat peed in the corner of the living room.

Tags:
Mood: sore sore
I went to Hoover Dam

I went to Hoover Dam on Tuesday and took a few pictures. Here's a pan from the Nevada side, just above the dam. You're facing Arizona, and Lake Mead is on your left.

Mood: accomplished accomplished
Las Vegas!

This trip was fun. I flew down to Las Vegas from Seattle. Leaving home, I was late to the airport because of weather; the plane was also late to the airport so it was all right. I would have missed my connection in Long Beach CA so JetBlue bought me a ticket on Alaska. Their systems aren't integrated, so JetBlue had to cut a paper check to Alaska. (Fun fact: This check ($130) was approximately equal to the total fare I paid ($140).)

When I arrived, I came in several hours earlier than planned, so I was able to meet John Covert at his gate, which was in the same gate complex as I landed in.

Here should be paragraphs and paragraphs about visiting Death Valley, the Las Vegas Strip, and Hoover Dam. If I'm perseverant enough, I'll write them tomorrow on the airplane. In the meantime I'm skipping forward to tonight.

Aw fuck, I'm lonely and screwed.

In which I bitch about not knowing how to do things, and not wanting to spend money.

This afternoon (Wednesday afternoon), after I arrived at the airport and John departed on his way home to Massachusetts, it started to snow. Watching with a mixture of amusement and fascination, I commented on it to my friends over the free intertubes provided by the airport. Of course, when the departure time of my flight rolled around, there was a line of twenty in front of the departure counter, because the flight was cancelled. Sucks.

This was my first time being screwed on my own, I ought to say. I don't really have developed coping strategies, and I've never really done things on my own. Like an adult who doesn't know how to read but copes by coming up with excuses to get others to read for him, I've been getting along by travelling with friends who are more experienced or just more confident than I am. I've got some measure of confidence in my abilities, but not really that much. I just don't like to do things that need to happen. I just have trouble with maintaining myself, such as making appointments with doctors and so forth. So, I don't know, I had trouble with getting a hotel room and finding transportation to same. John was wonderful and threewayed me with an agent who helped me take care of registering the room, but I had to find my own transport.

Vegas has nothing in the way of public transit, and I didn't know any of it anyway. Cabs are a new animal to me, so first I looked for the shuttle bus terminal. This wasn't at all forthcoming. I bit the bullet and took a cab to this place, called “Tuscany Suites & Casino”. Cabs are expensive, damnit. The room's less than $22 after taxes (which is amazing, btw), but they make up for it by charging out the ass for everything else. About the only thing that's not an extra charge is an electrical outlet, and the bed. Room service is a $10 minimum, and everything costs $9 (clever, yes?). Local and toll-free calls are a $1 per call charge, while toll is a whopping $7 connect fee, plus AT&T rates, plus a surcharge of unspecified size. Wow. It's as if phone calls cost money again.

I don't really want to get dinner (this city isn't walkable at all, and the hotel food is expensive), so I'm considering just eating the rest of the package of oreos I have sitting next to me. Not healthy, yeah, whatever. Don't know what I'll do about breakfast tomorrow, maybe I'll skip dinner today and have oreos then. Breakfast is $9 delivered.

I don't know what there is to listen to on the radio, but there doesn't seem to be any dance station; it's all Latino music and christmas carols. This city is so focused on extracting money from people, and it's impossible to navigate in a reasonable amount of time on foot or transit. I don't want to ever live here.

Edit before I got to post this: Andy said he'd pay the $13 for wifi so I wouldn't be so lonely. *hugs* Andy, you're amazing and I love you.

A Meme to Call My Own

Here's a meme of my own. A list of links I have on the quick links bar in my browser.

Disaster Preparedness

  • Recent Earthquakes – A near-real-time view of seismic activity in my region of meatspace.
  • Seattle City Light: Power outages – All the current outages that Seattle City Light knows about. When there's an outage, this page has location of fault, description of work needed to repair, approximate number of customers affected (and the streets bounding the outage!), and the estimated time to repair. Good when you need to rubberneck at the tree on the lines because you don't have any power.
  • Metro bus reroutes – Nothing beats missing your math test because you didn't know where your bus's snow route is.
  • Real-time 911 Calls – Is there a fire next door? How many fire engines are coming? When was it called in?

Entertainment

  • The Daily WTF – Random insanity related to computers.
  • User Friendly – Apparently this was one of the first webcomics. It'd be on my friendslist if it offered an RSS feed.

Tags: ,
SO COLD

It's snowing! We only get snow a few days a year, so this is sort of a big deal.

I wish my family weren't too poor for either proper heating or decent insulation.

I wish it weren't snowing right now, or alternatively that I weren't on a flight at 10am tomorrow.

It'd be funny if JetBlue cancelled on me. (Sort of.) That'd be my third attempted, and third cancelled, flight on that airline. I swear it's like they don't want me flying with them.

I wish that we had really high-speed rail instead of airplanes. Trains are awesome.

Mood: cold cold
Oops, shit

Inspired by an article by Joey Hess (which I actually read a while ago), I finally managed to clean out my computer and put everything worth keeping into version control. The advantages are worth mentioning:

  • Easy migration. I can paint down a basic working environment on any machine I want to use. This can be done without putting any sensitive info on the machine, in under five minutes.
  • Backups. I'll always have every version of every file I've created. On a machine across town. This is always a good idea. I've been doing it sort of half-assed, in a way that wouldn't scale to more than two machines and that doesn't keep any history.

Of course, the migration didn't go without some hiccups. The most notable being that I mistakenly deleted all of my homework for the past two years, thinking that I'd already fed it in to the repository when in fact I hadn't. I'd added my high-school-and-middle-school homework archives, then I went off to do something else. When I came back, I was all “Oh, I've done all of ~/school/! I can delete it now!” Then, later in the evening, I blasted away my laptop and sucked down magicked copies from the repository, only to see this message:

[duncan:14:10:30 0 ~]$ svn co svn+ssh://slime5/home/svn/duncan/school/uw
svn: URL 'svn+ssh://slime5/home/svn/duncan/school/uw' doesn't exist
[duncan:14:15:50 0 ~]$

So it's well and truly gone. sigh. Such is life, I suppose. Most of ~/school/uw/ was homework, but some was neat stuff that's mostly gone now; some of it I can recreate but I don't know if I really want to.

And I'm off to the library to get fiction books, so I can hide from reality during finals week. Yay me! I'm so good at studying it's not even funny.

Tags: , ,
Mood: irritated irritated
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