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WEEK 12 2007

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 24 March 2007

Saturday - I went with some friends up to Tehachapi, to visit another friend. It was a beautiful spring day, 70F, blue skies. A nice day for a picnic.

I brought the camera and new lens, but didn't use it.

The PDA maintained a charge, but it only discharges while in an out-of-service area, so I won't know whether it has recovered until tomorrow. A friends identical model is acting up in a different way: it won't ring in any mode but "Classical Windows". A third won't accept incoming calls. I suppose it is just bad hardware/software to blame. There is no reason to throw it out - it works well enough, it just has quirks.

The reading list update (audio books marked with an asterisk):

#1 The Island at the Center of the World*
#2 Enders Game*
#3 Constructional Steelwork Simply Explained
#4 Riding the Bullet*
#5 Sea Change*
#6 Dykstra's War,
#7 Six Frigates*
#8 The Green and the Gray
#9 The Hills is Lonely*
#10 Hell's Gate
#11 The Voyage of Kristina
#12 Wyrms
#13 The Worthing Saga
#14 Expiration Date
#15 John Paul Jones*
#16 Dinner at Deviant's Palace
#17 By the Wind
#18 Skeletons on the Zahara*
#19 Blue Gold*
#20 The Androids Dream
#21 Some Golden Harbor

Friday 23 March 2007

Friday - I bought some chicken yesterday, and intend to cook it tonight. We'll see how well that goes. I'm trying  to eat healthier but am not much of a cook.

My PDA battery has started running down during the day. I fixed this before by turning off the phone during the day (there is no Verizon service at work), but now that doesn't seem to work. I updated the firmware, but that was several weeks ago, and everything was fine until yesterday. Yesterday the PDA was dead, or nearly so, before I got home and stuck it in the charger. Today I was very careful about going to "flight mode" as soon as I was at work - and made a note that the battery was at 90%. As I left work (only eight hours later) I checked the battery and it was at about 20% - with the "flight mode engaged" check mark clearly visible. By the time I arrived home it was in the "danger" region, less than 10%.

Bah. I'll charge it tonight and do a reboot, perhaps that will help..

"For years astronomers have tried in vain to blow up an Earth-size star using strings of computer code. Finally, mission accomplished." Ominous sounding, but it turns out to be a simulation. Whew. There are a couple of neat animated movies of just how a star explodes - and it is not a neat symmetrical (spherical) detonation.

Book #21 was Some Golden Harbor, by David Drake. More sci-fi war stuff. I read a couple in this series last year I think. Not really very good. It's an attempt to transplant the Napoleonic sea novel (Forester and O'Brian) to interstellar space travel, and it just doesn't work.

Friday Cat Blogging: Phoebe.

Thursday 22 March  2007

Thursday - it was a cool day, with warm patches of sun shining down through cool clouds. Rather nice. If I'd had the day off I could have tried out the new lens.

It was a busy day at work instead, with a review of a systems requirement document (boooorriiinnnnggggg) and working with visitors from another site. The last was actually fun to do, as it involved design, rather than analysis.

I was reading the obituary for John Backus on Tuesday, and, for a few minutes there, I was actually interested in computer science again. Compilers, parsers, grammars, all that good stuff. But that moment has passed. Project work doesn't leave all that much time for just thinking.

A friend just called - their car radio has locked itself up, because of a dead battery. It's an anti-theft deterrent, but now they have to find the manual with the serial number so that they can reboot the radio. Rebooting the radio - we live in remarkable times.

Wednesday 21 March 2007

Wednesday - I noticed on Monday that my apple trees had blossomed in the two days since Saturday. But we've had a cool spell, and some high winds, yesterday and last night. Snow even, on the mountains to the north. Fortunately the blossoms seem intact - hopefully the bee's can pollenize them in this 60-ish weather and sprinkles.

I stopped by King Photo on Saturday and had some new passport pictures taken. I did this a year or two ago, but never sent in the application. This time, for sure :-)

While there I bought the EF 50mm lens for the Xt, f/1.8 II. We'll see if a fixed focal length lens is indeed better. The older f/1.4 50mm is apparently better, but it's also 3-4x the $80.00 cost of this lens. I noticed that reviews mentioned the poor quality of the lens barrel - and the shop keeper made a point of recording the serial number of the lens for "warranty purposes". Heh. Hopefully it'll last long enough for me to get a feel for it's capabilities.

I sent the URL of the ship locater page I mentioned last week to a friend.  He looked at it, and we had a brief email exchange:

Me: Check out this link...
Him: Hey, the Glomar Explorer is off New Orleans. Do you suppose it is looking for a Russian sub?
Me: Probably looking for the remnants of the Army Corps of Engineers reputation.
Him: They'd have better luck looking for subs.

Tuesday 20 March 2007

Tuesday - went out to dinner with a friend from work. We chose the new Chili's in town - a mistake, as it was mobbed. I'm not sure why, the food isn't all that special, nor is the decor. So it goes. They do carry Newcastle beer on tap.

In sad news, John Backus, the inventor of FORTRAN has passed away. [via Transterrestrial Musings]

 Monday 19 March 2007

Monday - today is the Spring (Vernal) Equinox, wherein the day and night are of equal length (or close). There are other definitions.

I ran across an interesting image of Global Warming True Believers in Boston last week. On being queried about the whole thing one marcher replied that her feet were cold but her faith was strong, or words to that effect. It's become, quite literally, a religion to some people, rather than a matter of fact and debate. Sad, really.

It seems as though the protest worked...

I understand that both Al Gore and Bjorn Lomborg are to testify to Congress about this. I don't expect anyone's mind will change.

Sunday 18 March 2006

Sunday - after fooling around for a bit I went down to the boat to put the vinyl lettering on the boat. I only had time to do one side, what with talking to the other boat owners, but it looks pretty good I think. The boat name is yellow on the blue gunnell, and the hailing port black lettering on the tan topsides.

It was overcast, 68F and windless, which is actually rather nice for working outside on a boat. No complaints there...

This is my five year anniversary for the blog. It doesn't seem that long .

Book #20 was The Androids Dream, by John Scalzi. It was a fun sci-fi romp, with good banter between the characters. I finished it on Saturday. Library hardback.

Book #19 was Blue Gold*, by Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos. I wasn't too impressed, but perhaps it was a bad abridgment. Audio tape. I don't know why you'd abridge a book so short to start with. This wasn't narrated by the person that usually narrates Cussler's work, Michael Pritchard (who also did last week's Skeletons on the Zahara, which was passing strange to hear.)

Picture of the Week
Peach Blossoms

Photo Notes: Peach Blossoms.

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