Wave invites

December 3rd, 2009

I have a few Google Wave invites. Let me know if you want one. (It will probably take a while between me sending the invite and you receiving it, though. They’re really slow for some reason.)

I’m slowly moving all my photos over to Flickr. You can see them at my Flickr user page. I may also be switching web hosts, but that transition should be relatively seamless if/when it happens.

At some point, my current photos site will be replaced by a wordpress plugin that pulls the images from Flickr. This is a plugin I’m writing, and intend to release in case others might find it useful, but there are a few other things I need to add before I release it. If anyone has a suggestion for what to call this plugin, I’m intererested in hearing it. I’m currently calling it “Simplr”, for “Simple Flickr”, but it turns out that there’s already a WordPress theme with that name, so I’m leaning away from that now. “Wickr” (WordPress + Flickr) is also taken. I want something that’s somewhat indicative of what the plugin does, but I don’t want anything that has the full word “Flickr” or “WordPress” in the name, because that could be considered a trademark violation. I also want something that’s easy to pronounce and reasonably easy to spell, so “Eakr” and “Eackr” (easy + Flickr) are also out. Anyway, leave me a comment if you’ve got a good suggestion.

California Wildlife

January 7th, 2009

A couple days ago, Kristen and I pulled into a parking spot at our apartment complex. While we were walking toward our apartment, a big mess of feathers flew over a fence, going right over our heads, squawking like mad. It was a hawk, clutching something bright green in its talons, and heading quickly toward a chunk of lawn near us. The bright green object was responsible for the horrendous squawking. It was struggling hard, and apparently losing a lot of feathers, since they were floating down all around. We were staring for a moment, trying to figure out what the green object was. I didn’t believe it at first, but it turned out to be a parakeet. I was able to confirm this when the hawk dropped the bird on the ground and flew away. The parakeet was waddling around clearly hurt. We walked over to check on it and it tried to fly away, but only made it about three feet before touching back down.

I’m not sure where the hawk got a parakeet. Across the fence is another apartment complex, so it could have been snatched right off someone’s balcony. Or it might have been a wild parakeet for all I know. It was a really strange sight, though. I was disappointed that I didn’t have my camera handy.

We actually went inside to get the number for the local animal hospital. Of course I also grabbed my camera. I wasn’t sure whether we should call the animal hospital or not. Either way, by the time we went back out, the parakeet was gone, so we didn’t bother, and I didn’t get any pictures. I don’t know whether it managed to get back across the fence, to its owner perhaps, or if the hawk returned. My money’s on the hawk.

Since I didn’t get any pictures, here’s a video of a hawk flying off with a baby deer.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Photos Up

December 20th, 2008

I’ve uploaded a bunch of new galleries in the photos.

Among them are:

There are a ot of pictures from our trip to San Francisco that I haven’t taken the time to post. I’ll put those up son a well.

More pictures

May 23rd, 2008

I’ve put up a few more pictures. I added pictures from California and pictures of Kristen’s graduation (2 sets) and Seleena’s graduation.

Also, for anyone who’s missed the memo, Kristen and I are now engaged. No, we don’t know when the wedding will be. Also, I’ve taken a job with Yahoo in Santa Clara. I start early June.

New photos up

May 22nd, 2008

I put up some new photos. The photos site now has the pictures Kristen and I took in Boston and pictures of my mangled car.

I have not put up pictures from Kristen’s graduation yet.

I hate traveling

March 22nd, 2008

I’m stuck in Tampa. I was supposed to leave at 12:47, now I’m rescheduled for 5:30, and who knows if I’ll actually get out then. I hate this crap. I’m stuck in the damned airport all afternoon, and maybe longer. Ugh.

Engr 596 Special Projects I A A – Excellent 3
Engr 597 Special Projects II A A – Excellent 3
Engr 691 Special Topics in Engineering Science I A A – Excellent 3
Engr 692 Special Topics in Engineering Science II A A – Excellent 3

Our Internet connection died at work this morning. I checked, and it turned out that our router was just fine, but it couldn’t get a DSL connection. Andy and I headed over to the comm room and poked around. Turns out that the phone line to our DSL modem had been pulled halfway out of the phone board.* We managed to reseat the wire and restart the DSL modem, and our connection was back.

Late this afternoon, Courtney noticed that he’d lost connectivity to google chat. We all confirmed that we had, too. Then we checked and found that several other sites were inaccessible. We initially thought the connection was down again, but it turns out that we still had live SSH connections to remote machines, and sites we’d been connected to for a while were still up. It looked like a DNS issue. So we grabbed the DNS addresses from our router and tried to ping them. I saw 25-33% packet loss. Ben got 75% loss. We managed to ping to other IP addresses without a hitch. We knew it was the DNS servers. Not much we could do about it, since the DNS is handled by Bellsouth. We could have set our own, but by then it was pretty late, and not really worth it.

When I got home, I checked my connectivity, and found that I couln’t get anywhere. I checked my DNS servers and sure enough, I have the same Bellsouth servers that we have at work.

What to do? SSH to a remote machine via its IP address (remembering the remote machine’s IP is the hardest part). Do a dig on the webserver at work and get its IP. After that, connect to the server via its IP address and go to the private wiki. Now log in and grab the university DNS addresses (which were thoughtfully added to the wiki long ago). Then set up a static DNS on your local machine, using the university DNS servers. Isn’t it obvious?

Seriously, after I did that, I thought about it for a second and realized that most people would have no idea how to do most of this (nor would they probably have access to the necessary resources). It’s really wierd that this stuff is almost second nature now. Who knew that such random geek knowledge would have tangible benefits?

I only hope that my exhaustive Futurama knowledge will one day prove as useful.

* A Bellsouth technician was in the building today for another company. I actually think he probably pulled the wire out on accident while he was poking around, but that’s not really relevant to the story.

Update: Turns out that the university DNS servers are having a bunch of problems, too. I assume they probably get their information from the Bellsouth servers, too. In any event, I managed to find a list of public DNS servers cached by Google, so I’m riding Cisco’s public DNS servers now. Woooooo!

My parents gave me a new camera a few days ago. Thanksgiving presents, who knew? It’s a Canon PowerShot SD1000. I quite like it. I know certain people will complain that it doesn’t have image stabilization. To those people, I say pft! It’s teeny, it’s intuitive, and it does everything I need. Getting the image stabilization would have been 38% more expensive, and the camera wouldn’t be as small.

I took a few quick pictures of the Christmas tree. These were taken in pretty bad conditions, but they turned out fairly well, I think. A little image processing to clean them up wouldn’t hurt, but I didn’t bother. Maybe later.

I was surprised how well some of the non-flash images turned out, especially this picture of Leon. It’s quite crisp, considering the low-light condition. The shutter was open an eigth of a second, which is longer than I’d have thought I’d be able to hold my hand steady. I used the timer so I wouldn’t be pressing the shutter button when the image actually snapped (but I was still holding the camera). I’m not sure if it really helped to reduce the shakiness, or if the camera just did a good job.