self with corona Travels and Images

WEEK 22 2003

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Picture of the Week

Lancaster Weather

A Year Ago, This Week

Saturday 31 May 2003

Saturday - up at my Dad's. I took off on Friday afternoon, and arrived early evening. It was a very drive, but a lot more bearable in a bigger and reliable vehicle than the Probe. I averaged about 20.3 mpg - ouch. I'm used to the Probe's thrifty 31+ mpg. On the other hand, the Explorer uses regular, while the Probe needs super. And the Probe has not been enjoying the warm temperatures we've had lately.

I brought up the (Win2k) laptop, and was easily able to log onto the net via my dad's wireless setup. A bit of fiddling and I was also able to get file sharing and printer sharing working with his Win98 desktop box. Unfortunately my efforts to do the same with his WinXP laptop were a miserable failure. By the time I was done he had lost all wireless connectivity altogether. Fortunately WinXP has that system restore function, and it only took a couple of button clicks to set it back to normal. I need to remember to deliberately force a system save before doing stuff like that - I was lucky that my father had done a system upgrade earlier in the day.

The weather was lovely. Dad and I took a drive over to Benecia and visited my brother. On the way we stopped at the roadside viewpoint to look at the construction progress on the new Benecia bridge. There are now pilings visible for the bridge, which weren't there a few months ago.
pilings for new benecia bridge piers may 2003
You can make out the pilings for the bridge piers just rising from the water. On the far shore there is some of the bridge approach under construction, and one bridge pier in progress. On the right of the image is the old train bridge, which many claim was warped in the great Port Chicago ammunition explosion during World War II, and is therefore unsafe to ship traffic since its drawbridge sometimes will not open... On the very right edge you can see part of the existing  vehicle bridge.

Friday 30 May 2003

Friday - I was out in the back yard yesterday, looking at the patio construction progress. The patio post foundations have now been poured. I've always been a do-it-yourselfer type, but I have been "getting around" to building the patio for the last several years. I finally broke down and have paid someone to do it. It feels strange - I come home, happen to look in the back, and people have been working on my house. Strange, but sorta nice, too.

patio post foundation
One of the foundations for patio posts.

I've noticed lots of toads in the back yard lately, but just a few of the beetles that were so numerous a couple of weeks ago - it reminds me of the use of differential equations to model predator-prey relations.


Rechargeable battery differences? I have some Radio Shack branded and some Powerex rechargable NiMhs. I'd never noticed any particular difference before last weekend, but the Powerex and RS had been recharged at the same time, a month or two ago, and the RS were dead, while the Powerex were still good. Interesting.

Thursday 29 May 2003

Thursday - Dinner tonight was at Don Cuco's, and included a (rather watery) Margharita, and a dip in a friend's pool afterwards. Ahhhhh. It only hit 99 today, down from the 106 of yesterday...

A temperature story. Yesterday I had just left work, heading home. A mile or so into the trip I heard a small noise, like a rock hitting the underside of the car. I paid it no mind, until it happened again, a minute or two later. When it happened a third time I had a sudden bout of satori. Quickly pulling in to the base gas station I opened the car trunk. Inside three cans of soda had popped open.  The heat, and then the motion of the car had been too great for the poptop lids! Fortunately the cans were in a plastic bag, and upright, and a huge mess was avoided. I gingerly lifted the six packs out of the car and cooled them with water from the service station's service hose, then replaced them in the front of the car - and under an air conditioner outlet - for the rest of the drive home.

I decided to get the Redhat 9 laptop on the internet Wednesday night. I had a cheap pcmia 10/100 card, so I plugged it in at 8:57 p.m.. By 9:06 I was surfing the web via my local net and the DSL/DHCP router. And I'd never done that before with Redhat.
screen shot of redhat laptop connected up
Do you Yahoo? I doooooooo.......

Xapm anyone?. I am looking for a small battery-life-left utility for the Redhat laptop. It needs to be APM, not the more recent ACPI service. There is a utility that you can run at the command prompt, but it's not as useful. I'd prefer something that just sits on the toolbar.

I saw a great signature file, somewhere:  "May I be just half the person my dog thinks I am."

Wednesday 28 May 2003

Wednesday - hot agin, homer. Not much of a spring this year. I have the new (to me) Explorer, and will try to post a picture soon. It fits in the garage just fine. We were concerned that with the large beam across the garage that the roof rack might be too tall to fit, but everything is fine. It feels enormous when driving, yet it is based on the Ford Ranger, a small/midsized pickup - it's probably the last twelve years of driving that Probe, right?

I now have four cars. Bah. I called and put the Explorer on my insurance today - anyone want an old Mercedes with no top gear? How about an eighteen year old truck with no air conditioner? Runs good, except when it dies for no particular reason.

We had a brief power outage at work, just long enough to kill the jobs on machines w/o UPS'es. I used the opportunity to hook up the CD burner on the machine with the new power supply. The burner now works fine, apparently the lack of power started a week or two ago, and one sign was the bad burner. I'd disconnected it, but after replacing the power supply thought it worth trying again. A useful hint, I guess, that the power supply may be failing if your burner seems to fail.

I asked if we can buy UPS'es for the other machines too.

I missed a doctor's appointment yesterday. D'oh. I thought it was next week.

Tuesday 27 May 2003

Tuesday - back at work. It's HOT up here - after the 65 degree marine layer in San Diego it's a bit of a shock. It might have hit a hundred.

I feel a bit refreshed after the long weekend - a month or two off would be just the ticket I think. Instead I installed a new power supply in a PC at work. A 350 watt Antec, replacing an Enermax of unknown size. Everything seems just hunky dory now.

Playing around with test cases still. It's funny how hard it can be to answer simple questions sometimes, like, "does it work?" Oh well. Working a bit on more aircraft modeling, and on parallel processing.

As far as parallel processing goes, if you want to run SCALAPACK, then you need BLAS, PBLAS, and BLACS. Optimized for your parallel interface and chipset...

earth as seen from mars
The Earth and Luna, as seen from Mars! Courtesy NASA.

Monday 26 May 2003

Monday - Memorial Day. The site I hyperlinked has a lot of interesting information on the history of  this day, which dates back to the American Civil War.

The Picture of the Week is of my father's friend, Johnny Frye. He perished in battle at Okinawa, in 1945. My father lost a number of friends in the second world war, and I asked him to send some information about them. Long ago this boy lost his life on a remote pacific island, and no doubt it was just about the end of the world for his parents and family as well.

Americans are still paying this ultimate price, in many places around the world, particularly Iraq. Here is The Final Roll Call, a page of the fallen in Iraq.

Sunday 25 May  2003

Sunday - on vacation.

Picture of the Week
Picture of Johnny Frye, 1944, Scofield Barracks  
Photo Notes: As it is Memorial Day I thought a tribute to one of the fallen was in order here. Johnny Frye was my fathers friend, and fell at Okinawa.  The picture above was taken at Scofield Barracks in Hawaii, not long before that. Here are my father's words, in an email to me:

Hi. Here is a picture of Johnny Frye.  We were high school
buddies.  We graduated together.  Strange, strange, I
remember that during the ceremony, when you move the
tassel from one side of the mortarboard to the other,
instead of doing it with his right hand, he just gave a jerk
of his head and it  flipped over to the other side.  That
brought the house down.  Everyone applauded.  That
was sixty one years ago.  I have never recalled that
event until today.  When I enlisted, I asked him to
come with me,  but he refused,  saying he didn't like the
ocean.  Later the army got him.  My mother wrote
me that he was at Scofield barracks in Hawaii.  My
ship was there so I went out to Scofield and asked if
I could see him.  They were great, they took me in a
jeep to his tent,  I had lunch with him, and later they
gave him a pass and we went down to my ship and
had supper.  We watched the movie on #3 hatch, and
then he had to go back.  I never saw him again.  He
was killed  on Okinawa.  I wonder if he went there on
my ship or one of the others in our squadron (24 all told).

love dad.

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