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WEEK 21 2009

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Saturday 23 May 2009
Saturday - Not a lot to say. Did a bunch of chores around the house and yard. Even did a little bit of reading for work. Shopping. Books to and from the library.

Caught up on the TIVO, though there wasn't much there. There was the NCIS finale, which I had thought was the episode of a week before. Watched a couple episodes of The Gilmour Girls, on DVD. I hadn't remembered that the guy from Supernatural was in it. He looks a lot younger, and in GG his character is named Dean, which is the name of his brother in Supernatural (in which he is Sam).

Book #22 was Hammerfall, by C.J. Cherryh. It was OK, written in a workmanlike manner, but not much really happens. Our hero travels about a sandy world on genetically modified camels, trying to save people. Eh. It's apparently part of a series - maybe it would be more interesting if I had read the others.

Friday 22 May 2009

Friday - put in a mornings work, then a quick pass through Fry's, then back on the road up north. The 405 was a mess, it being a holiday weekend, but I was home in just over two hours.

Book #21 was She and Allan, by H. Rider Haggard. The is actually a 'prequel' to She, though I don't think they used the term then. It was OK, not really shedding much light on Ayesha. Anyway, Allan and Umslopagass help her in a great battle against another immortal (Haggard liked to stage great big Zulu battles) and in return she shows them the afterlife - a rather gloomy chapter, actually - and they decide it was all a dream hoax.

friday cat photo's

Riley and Phoebe sharing  a warm spot
Riley & Phoebe in a rare moment of napping together.

Thursday 21_May 2009

Thursday - a vast number of people* have asked me how the binhex editor worked, for recovering data from the corrupted file on the PDA.

Ans: It worked pretty well. First the the file was transferred to my windows laptop and I used the bin hex editor on it there. I've a screen shot below, highlighting the area (using HxD Hex Editor, downloaded for free from CNET) showing the hours worked.

HxD BinHex Editor

You can see that, for example, on April 9th 2009 I worked from 8:10 until 6:21, with only a 30 minute break. Acckk. There were about two weeks - 10 occurrences - of this stuff, so that worked out OK.

In tangentially related news, according to a Slashdot article last week, Microsoft is discontinuing MS-Debug, which is a hex editor that's been in MSDOS and Windows since the beginning of time. Maybe before. It doesn't do Vista's 64 bit stuff, so they are finally dropping it. I'd completely forgotten about it, but I suppose I could have used it to do pretty much the same thing-

bin hex editor using MS Debug on windows XP

Here is a screen shot of the same file, using DEBUG running in the dos box on the WinXP laptop. I had to rename the file, since Debug only understands the old 8.3 conventions. To get this screen I used:

> debug aaa.pwi
-d 100 400

In other, only mildly related news, "edlin" at the DOS prompt will still bring up an extremely antiquated editor... I prefer gvim.

* Actually nobody did, but what the heck.

Wednesday 20_May 2009

Wednesday - the "other programming" was renaming hundreds of gigabytes of video files - thousands of them - to a specific convention. Basically one has to open an excel file, read a number, turn that into a video name, change the name so that it reflects the database structure, change the name in the Excel file, copy the old file to the new name on the drive, and save everything (never, ever, delete original data).

Vbscript to the rescue. One gigabyte takes about 3 minutes to process, so 325GB of data should take about 14 hours on my laptop...except that it doesn't have a big enough drive (only 80GB) so we'll run it on the new dual-core HP Touchsmart at work (600GB), and it'll be faster.

Once we've Office on that machine.

The first pass at the scripting is done, and it should handle 90% of the work. There are some special cases to program in, and that will be another 9%. That last 1% will probably just be hand editing. It's not worth the effort to automate everything.

Well, time to go home. There is a church in the building, directly below me. Since 6:00pm it has sounded like they are casting out demons, or at the very least handling snakes....

Tuesday 19_May 2009

Tuesday - back at work. Mostly just finishing touches on the programming from last week. I've some other programming to do this week, then need to read a set of plans and specs for a project I'll be working on.

I think I mentioned the little laptop, the Acer AspireOne. It works well enough for light duty, but lacks an external drive. A friend recently returned to me an old USB  external CD drive - he said that the software bundled with it didn't work on XP. I haven't tried burning anything, but it works well enough for reading stuff, and installing some SW from CD.

Acer Aspire One
The old Plextor CD drive is about as big as the AspireOne laptop!

 Monday 18_May 2009

Monday - Book #20 was Allan Quatermain, by H. Rider Haggard. Rip-roaring action in old colonial Africa. Even a century later it is a good yarn.

I read the electronic version, by the way, downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg in EPUB format.

So, we are on pace for fifty books this year. Not much in the way of history, science or technical, but I've been pretty busy.

#1 Accelerando
#2 The Surgeon's Mate*,
#3 Hanging Woman Creek,
#4 She*,
#5 True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole
#6 50 Acres and a Poodle*
#7 The Lord Protector's Daughter
#8 Simple Courage*
#9 All The Windwracked Stars.
#10 Escape from Hell
#11 Ayesha, The Return of She*
#12 Washington Schlepped Here*
#13 Crusade: Destroyermen, Book II
#14 Shakespeare: The World as a Stage
#15 The Precipice*,
#16 The Ionian Mission*
#17 Last Call,
#18 Maelstrom: Destroyermen Book III:
#19 Imager
#20 Allan Quatermain

Sunday 17_May_2009

Sunday - I forgot to mention - on Friday night I went with friends to see a production of The Full Monty. I wasn't too enthused - I offered my ticket to someone else, but they wouldn't take it - but it turned out to be a lot of fun. The performance was at the LPAC (whose seats are getting a bit rundown) and by the Cedar St. Theatre troupe. They were amateurs and it showed, but they were also enthusiastic and hard working - and that showed too. It was a great show (I'd never seen it before) and they got a well deserved standing ovation at the end.

Book #19 was Imager, by L.E. Modesitt. Modesitt is a good writer, with an imaginative way of creating worlds. Unfortunately his protagonists and their path to adventure are almost indistinguishable from one book to the next - he seems to have taken Joseph Campbell a little too seriously. So I checked out this book from the local library, and will probably read the sequels from there as well.

Picture of the Week

Snow in the foothills
Photo Notes: Snow on the Tehachapi foothills.

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