Travels and Images

WEEK 39 2004

Last Week- Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week

Picture of the Week


Lancaster Weather NOAA
Lancaster WeatherUnderground

A Year Ago, This Week Weekly Picture Archive

Saturday 25 September 2004

Saturday - well, where did the day go? I 'edged' the lawn - hopefully the last time this year, as it is cooling off and the lawn should start hibernating soon.

A friend picked up a wireless card for her laptop and I installed it. It went very smoothly, no problem. Then I installed Zone Alarm and AdAware and Firefox. And no, I'm not repeating myself, this is the second time I've done this in three days. But it goes very quickly. I also defragged her hard drive.

When I tried to install the cue cat software from Azalea there were issues. Originally designed and coded for Win98 there are issues with WinXP. It would report the info from below the bar code on books, rather than the ISBN stuff. Well, so it goes, can't win 'em all.

Friday 24 September 2004

Friday - I was supposed to go to the LPAC in the evening but a call from a friend in need took priority. I hear it was a fun performance there, russian (cossack?) dancers. I finally picked up a copy of 'The System of the World', now I just have to avoid racing through it.

Thursday 23 September  2004

Thursday - working away on things.

A friend (old co-worker) stopped by last night, with her husband, and we all went out for dinner. Chicken taco's and a beer. She's going to start teaching introductory calculus in a month or so, so we all discussed strategies and lesson plans about that.
It sounds like fun.

 We also stopped by their house where they had just installed a broadband connection, and I put the Zone Alarm (free) on their PC as a firewall,  Firefox 1.0 (free) as the browser to be used instead of IE (no popups, no security issues) and AdAware (free) to help with spyware issues. Basic stuff that everyone needs today...

The old wireless router here stopped working again. I'd bought a new one the other day, about a third the size but the same brand, Netgear. So I turned off the modem, old router, computer, hooked up all the cables, turned on the modem, the router, and then the computer. A 'Wizard' comes up: "Detecting your connection type, please wait."  A minute or two passed, then "Static Route detected, please put in DNS, Gateway, IP address...  Arrrgghhhh. It's DHCP, not static you idiot machine! And nothing I could do would get me past the accursed wizard. I tried entering nothing at all - no go, returned to page one of wizard. I tried entering false addresses - no go, I was returned to page one of the wizard again - with every entry wiped out. I tried logging on through the wireless - no go. Message was that I'm connected to the wired desktop. Turn that machine off. Same message. Arrrggghhhh. I tried a numeric IP address - got the wizard once again.

So, the break from duty seems to have cooled off the old router, and I can use it again. But I've a $50 piece of equipment that is totally useless for anything. I'm not going to drive back down to the Fry's in San Diego to return it - 180 miles one way with gas over $2.00 a gallon? What a waste. I'll try some other things, maybe they'll work, but this is ridiculous.

I think the Linksys guys must have worked at Microsoft. Microsoft XP is like that - wrongly intentioned help forced upon you until you want to scream. Which is why I (and many others) have stuck with Windows 2000. But now Microsoft has announced that they will no longer patch IE for Win2k. B******'s that they are. No big deal, Firefox or Mozilla are much smaller, faster, cheaper and secure products.

I expect lawsuits from Microsoft any day now...

Wednesday 22 September 2004

Wednesday - it is actually fall, this being the fall solstice. So the feeling of fall makes sense I guess. From last year:

equinoctal sun

Some pontifications about elections and paranoia (both sides):

Interesting article over by Shannon Love at the Chicago Boyz, about the paranoia amongst the left:

"I have noted a generalized paranoid and conspiratorial tone on the part of the Left in many areas. It's gotten so bad that I think that even Kerry gives off this creepy Nixon vibe.

Where does this paranoia come from?

I think this paranoia springs from the Left's statist world view. If you believe that the world is easily ordered and centrally controlled and you are losing a competition badly, your immediate assumption will be that you have been out-organized and out-controlled. Since they can't see the levers of control that their model says must be there, the levers must be hidden and therefore part of a conspiracy. It's very logical given their statist axioms."

I would make a case for a little more generalized model here - I think perhaps many people have an worldview expectation of a fair cause winning. Right makes might! God is on our side! If they believe that they are acting correctly this doctrine of fairness demands that their view win out. And if it doesn't they can either confront the dark fact of (a) being in the wrong, (b) the fairness worldview being wrong, or (c) evil forces acting against them. In a healthy society options (a) and (b) predominate. In an unhealthy society it is the option (c), paranoia, that wins out.

The paranoia - on both Left and Right - is something I've noticed myself. It's worrisome - if a large group of people in our society simply can't cope with the fact that they lost (this time), what does that suggest for the future of a participatory democracy? Every election someone wins and someone loses, that's basic. And no-one likes to lose, that's basic. But if you assume that you can only lose because the other guy cheats - well, that's pretty much a setup for "anything goes" tactics in return and civil war (or at least civil unrest), sooner or later.

We already have various pundits immediately claiming the forged memo's from Memogate/Rathergate/Danron were done by Karl Rove. The head of the DNC has suggested it already, publicly. It's amazing, there isn't a shred of evidence of any such thing and yet it's immediately suggested. And of course the belief that the Swift Boat's group is funded and run from the White House is widespread on the left despite the fact that it would be political suicide for the Republican Party. Going back a bit we have the 'stolen' election in 2002 and Hillary's perceived victimhood at the hands of the VRWC (Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) of a bit earlier.

Of course, it's not one-sided - many on the right are convinced that the Liberal Media Bias against the conservatives in this country is very real, with memogate just a sampling (due to incompetence) of what's really going on.  There's also the MoveOn.orgs connections to the Democratic Party. And of course, there's that whole Vince Foster thing during the Clinton terms in office. Historically a fear of secret communist cells was a staple of the right during the 1950's, with nefarious plots ( Fluoridation, anyone? ) seen everywhere.

On a somewhat smaller scale, a some pundits have suggested that the Clinton's are deliberately sabotaging Kerry's campaign to clear the way for a 2008 run by Hillary. ( Parties run the incumbent in elections, where possible, so a Kerry victory in 2004 means that he would probably run again in 2008, and she'd have to wait until 2012 to run, by which time she'd be in her mid sixties and a lot of the currently extant Clinton organization and viability would have been lost. Time is her enemy. ) Competing conspiracies alert!

Politics is hardball, that's understood. Unfortunately, in the heat of battle both parties are aiding and abetting this conspiracy meme. Democratic pols are sponsoring a (unpassable) bill for reinstating the draft and Kerry is going around telling people the president wants to draft their kid. The spokesman for the White House (and Pat Buchanan) say that Dan Rather conspired with the DNC to bring down the current president with known forgeries.

My point is: it's damaging to our society. And I think that once a person or culture goes down the road of believing in secret conspiracies it is really hard to turn back.

On the other hand, that kid down the street that plays his music so loud - I just know that it's to annoy me. But that's different.

Tuesday 21 September 2004
Tuesday - it smells like fall. Crisp air ( Santa Ana's down below ) and even the scent of logs in fireplaces. It'll turn back to being  summer before cooling off in October, but I'm reminded that it's my favorite time of year, fall.

There's a new Starbucks down the street, a mile or two. Yippee!

Dating to save people from hell. I don't make this stuff up. ( via Rocket Jones )

Monday 20 September 2004

Monday - back again. Did anyone miss me? Probably not...

Later Sunday afternoon I was behind a couple of semi's on 138, which is a hilly two lane highway. Was I upset? No. It's a very dangerous road - dozens of deaths on it (so it's now officially a double fine zone). But people still want to speed, and will tailgate, pass on hills over double yellow lines against oncoming traffic, and depend on you to hit the brakes to save their lives. I really don't like that road, and won't drive it at night. Being stuck behind a couple of trucks meant that fewer people were tailgating me, apparently accepting that they would have to poke along at a measly five over the limit for the next ten or fifteen  miles, until they could pass and wind it up to seventy or eighty again.

Work. We've (Tim has) been doing mesh refinement, trying to find the lowest number of node/elements that has a converged lift/drag for an analysis. Because we are unwilling, and it's impracticable, to double the mesh each time, we've (Tim has) just been adding a half million elements at a pop and then checking. It's tedious, and so far there is no clear asymptotic value for L or D. Bah. I should have bought that Pentium 3.4Ghz. Or an Athlon FX 53, better yet. Or finished the parallel processing thing.

Graph of solver speed on different cpu's
"Engine Room - Kirk here. I need more speed!"

Sunday 19 September 2004

Sunday - out of town.

We accomplished the move, fairly easily. It helped that Tim is a very organized individual and had everything pretty much boxed and ready to go. We started at around 8 a.m. and had everything loaded and unloaded by 2 p.m. Excellent. The new place is nice - a yard for the little one, a swimming pool and park nearby, and the scent of rose bushes wafting in through the windows.

It was cold coming back to the valley. As I dropped down into the AV from the east I looked at the thermometer and it said 62F. I opened the window, yep, cold out. There was a large cloud sitting directly over the center of the valley, with the sun shining down in pillars through silver edged rents. Perhaps a remnant of a hurricane off Baja? A dramatic sight from the eastern heights, but I didn't bring my 'good' camera and my 'car camera' failed last year - no pictures for you, dear reader.

Picture of the Week

Highway 138 out near three points

Photo Notes: Sunset on the highway near Three Points.

Last Week- Sun- Mon- Tue- Wed- Thur- Fri- Sat- Next Week