Archives for December 2004

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the finishing is the hardest part

It's been quiet here over the last few days as I've been absolutely enveloped in this last paper for the semester. I'm writing about game development inside Second Life, and it was supposed to be due at 6pm, errr, I guess that's yesterday now. But I got that extended. The professor wasn't coming in until tomorrow morning to pick up the papers, so he said as long as mine was in his box by then it would be fine.

And so I'm sitting here at my laptop at 2:30am, one paragraph into the 11th page of a 12 page paper (12-15, but for me, 12). I haven't written a conclusion yet, but my last point sort of culminates the argument raised in the previous three so I don't think my conclusion's going to be that long.

I hate finishing papers. I've said pretty much all I want to say, but now's the time where I just have to wrap it all up, and I don't think I'm very good at that.

I put section headers in this paper. I don't usually do that. One of them is:

Scripts in the Hands of an API

I hope my professor gets the Jonathan Edwards reference. I thought it was clever.

I'll post the paper up in verbal in an hour or two. Sometime over break I need to post all the other things I've written this semester.

laugh it up

I just made a joke on Second Life about Swatch internet time and no one laughed. That's pretty sad.

Dude, Swatch says it's 431.

it's late, or early

So why am I up at 4am playing a computer game? Because I have a paper due on it Tuesday afternoon, that's why. The game is Second Life, and to be fair it's really not a game so much as it is a virtual world. It's the closest thing I've ever seen to the metaverse in Neil Stephenson's Snowcrash. Aside from eating up any and all system resources you give it, it really is a cool deal. Today I finally got Windows running on my desktop so that I could get this up and make the final push for this last paper.

What I wanted to point out right now, though, is how absolutely out of place I am at a late-night Goth party. The first shot shows my arrived-in attire against that of the others. The second shows my attempt to be a little more appropriate for the setting.

The funny part is that in real life I tend to show up to parties dressed just like that top shot. I guess Second Life is a good reflection of reality.

i wondered about that hot smell...

My computer freaked me out a bit a few hours ago. It started just randomly turning itself off a little while into a run. I think what happened is that when I pulled an internal hard drive this afternoon the SCSI cable lodged itself against the CPU fan, meaning that when the box got repowered the CPU was running heat sink only. Some internal temp controls were probably shutting everything down when the CPU got too hot.

Now I've got a mess I've got to get back together, and I still need to get Windows running correctly.

bottleneck identified

In my living room I have a 10Mbit hub. It connects the computers in the living room, my room, and Chris's room. For normal traffic the fact that it's old and 10Mbit doesn't matter. But today I've been copying a partition's worth of data between my laptop and my desktop. I want to say it's around 10-12gigs worth of data. I didn't think about that when I started, but now a good two and a half hours later I can definitely say that I need to go out and buy a little 100Mbit switch. My transfer rate has been right around 1MB/sec the whole time, which is consistant with being about 80% of the potential for a 10Mbit connection (and 80% utilization is about what you expect to peak at).

If it really is 10gig, it should finish soon. If it's 12 I might still be waiting a while.


From a little blurb in the Downtown News about Ed Reyes getting appointed to the MTA board:

The MTA oversees more than 73 miles of bus and railroad lines in Los Angeles County.

That 73 miles is just about right for rail, but since what they wrote includes bus -- well, there's only so much you can include in "more than".

According to the fact sheet, the MTA has 189 bus routes, 18,500 bus stops (isn't that high? almost 100 stops per route?), and 2,100+ buses in service on any given weekday. I really hope all those aren't on the same 73 miles.

I know it's just bad editing, but that's what I expect of the Daily Trojan, not the Downtown News.

eThreads2 update

Technical stuff to follow. Avert your eyes if you'd like...

Even though you haven't seen much change out front here, there's been some cool stuff happening on the eThreads2 backend. I mentioned earlier in the week that I had added a memory cache. Well, since then that's been rewritten and reworked to be a transparent part of my normal cache structure. There's still some work to do, but I'm going to throw that after the break.

I just got ping support working again, so now my #1 target is comments. Alan's been getting on me about that, letting me know how I've missed his wisdom without them.

Click the post title to

Continue Reading...

training training training

Don emailed me last night and accused me of having an attitude on the blog lately. Well, I'll try not to carry that over to this post, but...

I just absolutely confused some poor Cingular customer service rep. I knew so much more about how things work than she did that it wasn't funny. Here's the deal:

Kathy and I have a familytalk plan with Cingular. We've had a 1250 minute national plan to share between us, but over the last several months we've built up quite a stash of rollover minutes (1800 of them, to be precise). I figured we might as well use those instead of just letting them sit around, so I called up 611 to bump our plan down to 850 minutes (and save us $20/mon until we need to bump back). Here's where it gets complicated. I wanted to go ahead and make the change now, since why wait until our billing cycle flips on the 6th to start saving money? So I asked the CSR to check if the minutes on the pro-rated old plan would cover our usage already this cycle.

Right about there I lost her.

She said she would recommend waiting until the end of the cycle, to save some money. I asked her where that savings would come from. If I made the switch today the first 5 or 6 days of the month would be on the pro-rated 1250, basically giving us either 208 or 241 minutes (depending on if the change would pro-rate 5 days or 6) and costing either $12.90 or $15.48. The rest of the month would be on a pro-rated 850, giving us 712/685 minutes and costing $50.32/$48.39. So the effective plan for the month would be either $63.22 and have 920 minutes (pro-rate at 5 days), or be $63.91 and have 926 minutes (pro-rate at 6 days). Either way it's well under $80. So what I wanted to know was basically if right now would split at 5 days or 6, so I'd know if we'd be under the minutes for the first part of the month.

She asked if I would hold on a second while she went to check.

She came back and said they didn't do that.

"You don't do plan changes mid-month?"

"No, we do, we just don't do the pro rate and the minutes and that stuff."

At that point I cut my losses and had the change be effective 1/5/2005.

art walk wrapup

Yesterday's Downtown Art Walk was great. If you missed it definitely plan to make the rounds next time, on January 13th.

I started my walk a little around 5:45pm, when I looked at the map one final time and headed for #3, the M.J. Higgins gallery in the former Inshallah building. As with several other galleries this go 'round, they're very newly opened. Good stuff, both paintings and some "found objects" type furniture and other decorations.

Next I hit up #6, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, which features high quality prints of digital work. What's fascinating to me is that if I walked into the gallery off the street knowing nothing, I'd have had no idea the works were digitally produced and then printed by the printer sitting in their back room. Part of that was the particular exhibition, but also it's a function of what an amazing job their Epson Stylus Pro 10000 does.

Next door is #7, the future site of the El Nopal Press. As of last night they were featuring what they called the "show before the show". On display were a printing press and some architectural drawing for what the finished space will look like.

Across the street is #8, Bert Green Fine Art. Largely it was the same stuff I saw last month, with a few new pieces here and there to replace what's been sold. Very good stuff, and there's one piece in there that I absolutely love (the "Coming Soon"/"American Hero" piece that I can't seem to find on the gallery website). I also really like the Devon Paulson pieces he has up.

Down at the end of the block and up the elevator was #9A, Duarte Photo. Their works are much better than their website, which is Flash only with no accomodation for those who don't have it installed (like me, here at work). By now you should know how I feel about Flash. Anyway, cool work and a huge space in Spring Arts Tower.

At Duarte I ran into Jaime Green, and walked with him down Spring a few blocks to #11, 727 Gallery. They're displaying a very nice collection of photos centered on the community gardens southeast of USC.

By the time I left 727 it was a little after 8:30 and I was tired of walking, so I walked the block back to my apartment and put my feet up for a while. It's always good to leave some places for next time.

One thing that really stood out this month is how the area on 5th street between Spring and Main (which lacda's Rex Bruce told me has been appointed "the nickle", first by the homeless and now by the galleries) is really becoming a vibrant center for Gallery Row. Last month there was one gallery -- Bert Green's. This month there were three. Next month there could be two more. That's amazing.

the fine line between spam and not spam

I got a mass campaign email from mayoral candidate Bernard Parks yesterday. It was announcing the opening of his new campaign headquarters, to take place Saturday. I was going to write a post about how I didn't sign up to get emailed, and wonder how he got my address, but then I realized it's listed on the DLANC contacts page. I'm guessing they got the address through that page or another DONE (Department of Neighborhood Empowerment) list.

In that case, I approve. I am an elected official (I still laugh when I say that, even though it's true), and as such I should be accessible by those who have LA issues, especially those relating to downtown. And as someone who works in City Hall, isn't Parks a DLANC stakeholder?

blockbusters and borders, all via the red line

Real quick before I pop out to the Art Walk... Today in less than two hours I successfully took the subway to two Blockbusters and to a Borders, where I bought a book I'd been looking for.

I left my apartment at 3:25 and walked over to 5th/Hill. There I caught the N. Hollywood red line, and took that to Hollywood/Western. Walked upstairs, crossed Hollywood, and dropped off a dvd. Crossed again, back downstairs, got to the platform just as the train was arriving. Went back SE to Sunset/Vermont, walked upstairs, went a block east to Sunset/Virgil, and dropped off my other DVD. Then I decided I wanted to get System of the World, so back down at the platform I again caught the N. Hollywood train (which happened to show up at exactly the right time) and took it to Hollywood/Vine. Walked one block south to Sunset/Vine, and bought the book at the Borders there. Then back to the station, wait for the absolutely packed Union Station train, and ride back to Pershing Square. I arrived back at my apartment at 5:15.

december downtown art walk

This month's Downtown Art Walk is tonight, and is definitely worth checking out. Last month I got around to 5 or 6 galleries, and I'm planning to hit up a few more tonight.

To me the coolest thing looking at that map is to see the amazing concentration of galleries opening up just north of me. Look at what 5th street is becoming right there. And from what I hear, there's still another place or two to come. A few months ago all those storefronts were dead, now they're springing back to life.

I especially want to see the new exhibition at 626 Gallery, directly across the street from me. Their first show was really good, even for me, Mr. "I don't understand art."