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WEEK 1 2006

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First Post, 17 March 2002
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Saturday 7 January 2006

Saturday - a nice warm day. Just a hint of a western wind, a breeze really. Went for a nice walk, ~5 miles, towards the west valley. Took the 6600 - stuck it in a coat pocket, but it was so warm that I soon took the jacket off. To ensure that I didn't drop the PDA on the ground I used the inner zippered pocket, which would have made answering the phone difficult, had I actually received any calls. I can put it in a jeans pocket, but then I always seem to turn it on to some function, despite having the 'button lock' feature enabled. Maybe I'll get a belt holster of some sort.

Went over and visited with my friends in the evening - the band down the street was playing again. But it's Saturday night, what can you do??

An odd occurrence: I went over and checked my mail, and someone drove up in a U.S. Mail jeep as I was doing so, and asked if I'd seen the my mailman come by. I said "no" but showed him the junk mail I'd just retrieved, and he said

"That's yesterday's mail. We're looking for him..."

The Zen Micro hasn't had it's battery recharged since leaving my Dad's place, but it's still going strong. Well, the indicator shows just a little charge left, 1 bar instead of 3 bars, so it's hard to say. But that's six hours on the interstate, plus four days at about two hours of play per day, so about 12 hours total. Not too bad. I think they advertised 15 or 20, so perhaps running the battery down is "conditioning" it. I'm having somewhat the same experience with the XV6600.

The PDA will also play MP3's, so perhaps I jumped the gun on buying the Zen. I need to get the little cable to connect to the FM transmitter and compare the two. The Zen has a nice "resume" and plays all the files in a folder, so I have to see if the XV6600 will do the same. It should, but the OS is a Microsoft product, and you just never know with them. Or with Verizon, for that matter. The drive in the media industry to "lock" people into specific formats and devices is very strong right now.

Friday 6 January 2006

Friday - got the "mex" files thing going, mostly due to reading the user forums. The manuals, as is usual with any software, were useless. Once you knew what was going on they made sense, but as tutorials they weren't much help.

Read the Caleb Carr book, The Italian Secretary. Disappointing. Not up to the quality of his own  novels. And I find the fawning depiction of the scottish queen, Mary Stuart annoying. A foolish and treacherous woman that managed to get herself, and others, killed.

Thursday 5 January  2006

Thursday - back at work, wrestling with MATLAB. Supposedly one can compile and run external codes from it, written in FORTRAN, C or JAVA ("mex" files), but there were issues. The default install of MATLAB is under C:\Program Files\MATLAB, and it turns out that any spaces in the MATLAB path name breaks the compiler switches. That is, the default install breaks the functionality. So I had to uninstall and reinstall MATLAB, in a different location. And it still didn't work. Turns out that the scripts for the particular FORTRAN compiler were missing from the distribution CD, you had to go download them from the website. And so on.

Had to go talk to the neighbor kids about their loud music. Great. Every few months I guess.

Wednesday 4 January 2006

Wednesday - back at work, and tired. There wasn't a lot going on, and that was good... Stopped by the library on the way home, with an overdue book. Picked up a Sherlock Holmes novel, by Caleb Carr (who wrote The Alienist). It should be a good, if short, read.

Tuesday 3 January 2006

Tuesday - after some morning errands I hit the road. The little Zen Micro performed superbly - pumping out the chapters of the book, Master and Commander, by Patrick O'Brian. The weather was good, traffic moderate, and I was home about 6:30 in the evening.

It was actually clear at times, Monday's rainstorms having cleared the air, and I could see across the lower San Joaquin Valley to the snow crested Sierra Nevada's. I even took a picture.

 Monday 2 January 2006

Monday - a federal holiday, so I have it off as well. I meant to drive back to Lancaster, but the weather was terrible, storms up and down the state. By the time I had finished packing it was noontime, and there was a good chance that I'd be trying to drive through a rain-or-snow storm in the mountains. So I took the wiser course, and delayed departure until Tuesday.

One of the storm's dropped 4.3" of rain in 24 hours. Amazing.

Did I write about trying to run Windows Update for my father's computer? It's a nice little 2Ghz HP laptop, with XP on it. But the Windows Update on the Microsoft web site didn't want to run. It complained about not being able to run "Active X". So I spent a LOT of time, swearing, checking repeatedly that scripting was, indeed, turned on (not a good thing, in general). and that other things, like firewalls and routers weren't blocking the Microsoft site. B***ards. What should have been a five minute process took hours of my time. I think that it's patched, but I'm not really sure.

I don't think people realize just how shoddy and second rate Microsoft Windows is. They are accustomed to it, and don't really expect anything better.

Sunday 1 January 2006

Sunday - not a lot to say. Peg didn't enjoy the fireworks, but I  locked the bedroom door and let my Dad deal with her. I slept, in fact, in my father's den, rather than the guest bedroom. The people down the street were having a party and had their music pumped up to unpleasantly loud levels, and the guest room was a bit quieter.

Picture of the Week

Riley, makes himself at home on a quilt

Photo Notes: My guest room has a nice southern exposure, and is warm; a door left open and a quilt left out are just an invitation for a cat to make himself comfortable.

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