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Below are the 16 most recent journal entries recorded in Frederick's LiveJournal:

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
5:36 pm
Com arg wav
Commentary on the Portal 2 ARG: http://valvearg.com/wiki/Com-arg.wav (not actually an audio file).

Note in particular:
* Estimated time to 'solve': 7 hours
* Actual time to solve: 7 hours 16 minutes
* Combined might of internets is terrifying

I remember watching as this was solved .. they're right, the combined might is terrifying!
Monday, October 8th, 2007
3:12 pm
Twice is coincidence
Twice now I have lost all my data *while setting up or doing the backup*. I have never otherwise had a loss. Clearly, backups themselves are what cause the problem.

Also, RAID-5 doesn't protect you from disk failure, if multiple drives in your brand-new unit fail simultaneously.

Can anyone recommend any resources for recovering deleted files from an ext2/3 filesystem? My old filer still works perfectly fine, and has been shutdown since I moved everything over.

Current Mood: depressed
Saturday, September 15th, 2007
4:30 pm
recommended careers
1. Biomedical Engineer
2. Computer Engineer
3. Electrical Engineer (I am detecting a pattern here)
4. Chemical Engineer
5. Environmental Engineer
6. Hydrologist / Hydrogeologist (why not just say "Hydraulic Engineer" and be done with it?)
7. Aerospace Engineer
8. Computer Support Person (Ha! Unless they meant BOFH)
9. Oceanographer (If I get to dive a lot, sure)
10. Geologist
11. Engineering Tech (hunh?)
12. Explosives Specialist (I could do that)
13. Mechanical Engineering Tech
14. Physicist (only #14?! shows what they know)
15. Astronomer (could easily have done that)
16. Agricultural Engineer (you mean, "farmer"?)
17. Mechanical Engineer
18. Mathematician
19. Optometrist
20. Business Systems Analyst (Ha! Unless they meant BOFH)
21. Web Developer (nah, already helped develop one web already)
22. Database Developer
23. Computer Programmer
24. Video Game Developer
25. Electrical Engineering Tech
26. Electronics Engineering Tech (pretty fine hair to split)
27. Avionics Tech
28. Broadcast Technician ("In five, four, three, ..., ..., !")
29. Multimedia Developer
30. Race Car Mechanic (could be fun for awhile)
31. Optical / Ophthalmic Lab Technician
32. Motorcycle Mechanic
33. Diesel Mechanic
34. Automobile Mechanic ("well, thot's yer problem roght thare!")
35. Aircraft Mechanic
36. Heavy Equipment Mechanic
37. Heating, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Tech
38. Small Engine Mechanic
39. Cable Installer and Repairer
40. Production Woodworker
Monday, August 6th, 2007
7:19 pm
where the fuck did xcalc go?
Sunday, April 15th, 2007
11:28 am
From Risks Digest: Boy falsely jailed because of DST changeover

In a nutshell: on 11 Mar 2007, a school received a bomb threat and through their phone logs traced the call back to a 15-year-old boy, who was arrested and incarcerated for twelve days despite the fact that the boy's voice sounded nothing like the voice on the tape.

Of course the authorities had forgotten about the early onset of daylight savings time, and the boy had actually called the school *an hour before* the bomb threat.

After he protested his innocence, [...] the principal said: 'Well, why should we believe you? You're a criminal. Criminals lie all the time.'
Twelve days?
Thursday, October 12th, 2006
9:32 pm
For the record (well, for the search engines): I had a problem with a SONY STR-DA50ES, where shortly after power-up it'd start flashing "PROTECTOR (FAN)," and the relays would never click on. I'd had the problem twice in the past, when it cleared itself up after some hours or a day or two. But not this time.

There are only a couple mentions of this on the net, one saying "it's a capacitor problem" (but, frustratingly, not saying _what_ capacitor), another (regarding the STR-DA30ES) saying it was a bad solder joint on the bridge rectifier feeding the +5V line.

The service manual has complete circuit diagrams and component board traces, but nothing about the firmware or error messages. I worked out the fan protection circuit, and worked out that I could tie the thermistor monitoring line to +5V to trick the controller into thinking the temperature was okay (working on the theory that a capacitor had shorted out). This let the relays click on, but the display would still flash PROTECTOR (FAN).

After finding the STR-DA30ES mention, I probed the bridge (D955). I got about +1V on the DC side -- it should have been around +9.7V. This line feeds a couple regulators to make the +3.3V and +5V lines, but they too were less than 1V. Weirdly, the AC side of the bridge had 0V. The AC line from the transformer had around 9.7V. Narrowing in on the section in-between I found that fuse F953 on the main board had blown. I'm not sure why there was +1V on the DC side of the bridge (though there are multiple power circuits in the system), but the low +3.3V and +5V lines are apparently enough to piss off the controller chip, and I guess the thing it first notices is the wrong voltage on the thermistor monitoring wire.

Shorting over the fuse made it work. I'll hit radio shack this weekend for a new fuse.

So, dear future reader who found this through a net search, check fuse F953. It's on the main board (the big one along the bottom), in the front corner that doesn't have the fan connector. Glass cylindrical fuse.

(And to my puzzled friends who watch my livejournal: hey, this was an easy way to publish something for the search engines to find. And I guess the moral of the story is, check the obvious things like fuses first.)
Wednesday, October 11th, 2006
9:05 pm
SFPD Personhunt
A large fraction of SFPD descended on my neighborhood today. Seems they thought someone involved in a shooting in Hunter's Point had holed up in one of the houses across the street.

I had a great view from the window, so I took pictures.
Wednesday, September 13th, 2006
12:19 pm
World Hearing Voices Day
It would seem that tomorrow (September 14th) is "World Hearing Voices Day." (Google knows all.) This may be more widespread than we'd thought.
Monday, January 9th, 2006
12:21 am
I've never been at the zeroth percentile before
I don't much do these quizzes, but this one amused me..

Triumph Speed Triple
You scored 7 moxie, 5 zeal, and -4 pomp!

You, Sir, are a Hooligan. You have a bit of an attitude, and you don't
care what people think about it. Your idea of a good time is seeing how
far you can carry a wheelie between lanes of traffic. You crash a lot,
but that's part of the fun, isn't it? Anyone who doesn't like it can
sod off.

Your weapon is the Triumph Speed Triple, a powerful and godawful ugly bike that fits your personality perfectly.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 73% on moxie
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 77% on zeal
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on pomp
Link: The Motorcycle Personality Test written by iocaine on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test
Sunday, October 23rd, 2005
12:40 am
Cathartic robots
I'm not much of a computer game player. However, there are a very few games that can captivate me.

SNIPE is a very simple DOS game, which runs in 40x24 text mode. You move around in a toroidal maze -- actually, "you" stay in the middle of the screen while the maze moves around you -- shooting at little bugs that hatch from nests. It's all very simple, you can only shoot in eight directions, in some modes your shots can bounce, and the little snipes can shoot back. It's very simple and pretty fast; it doesn't take much brain activity, so it's good for shutting down the higher parts of your brain and satisfying the biological need to run around and shoot things. I find it very cathartic. It got me through college.

Unfortunately, I haven't had a DOS machine in many years, so I haven't played it in awhile.

Nethack is the game that taught me programming. Well, I knew BASIC from high school, and I learned C in a computational physics class, but it was from reading the HACK 3.0 source code that I learned such things as linked lists. Nethack is a descendant of rogue, which I'm going to assume you know. There was a PC version of rogue floating around campus, it was all multicolored and pretty. Then there was HACK, which was richer, but merely black and white. I wanted to colorize HACK, and start adding to its richness, so when I discovered that the source code was available (my first encounter with open source), well, I spent the night in one of the labs, printing it all out. Several months later, I had a colorized, richer version.

I've been playing nethack for 15 or 20 years now, off and on. I've contributed to the game (check out the extended credits!), I've ported it, I've plumbed its depths. I usually play an Archaeologist ("Utah Jake"). But I have to admit, in all these years, I've never actually ascended. Archaeologists are hard.

And finally, there's Total Annihilation. It's an early real-time strategy game that runs on windows 95. It's pretty basic; you control a robot army, some units can create more units, and you have to worry about two resources: metal and energy. There are immobile units (solar collectors, laser turrets, artillery cannons, more), walking robot units of various types, different types of tanks, various aircraft, etc. On the strategic level, there's a balance you have to strike between building up your economy and attacking your enemies. On the tactical level, you can control units individually, or set them off to go patrol an area and do the right thing. It has a good UI.

I really like pitting these robot armies against each other. I find it cathartic, blowing them up. And although I can think circles around the little AI that runs the computer-driven opponent, I still like outsmarting it. Sometimes I play the game in a way a friend of mine called "Sim Fortress": I build up a defensive structure which I think I can leave on autopilot, and then I go away and let the game play for a day or so.. to see how good my defense was. I nearly always win, which can be really flattering when I need that.

Something like a year ago, I took my old windows machine apart. I no longer needed to do my own taxes (which was the main reason I had a windows machine); I needed the motherboard for my new firewall; and I needed to pack up my lab so that it could become Gina's office. I bagged and tagged the parts, things got reused elsewhere, but I knew I had my CDs.

A couple months ago, things (esp. work) made me, well, desire catharsis. What was supposed to be a quick "put a machine together" became a multiweek struggle to get the damned win95 system to install, but I finally sorted it out, and tonight, for the first time in too long, I got to blow up little robots.

And that made me very happy.
Saturday, September 24th, 2005
1:38 pm
grand jury
I've just been fucked by the legal system, though in a different way than usual.

I had jury duty last week, which they kept putting off until I got the call on Friday. Turns out they were picking the next SF grand jury, and I ended up one of the 30 chosen (out of how many ever hundreds they started with).

The grand jury will meet just about every tuesday and thursday, plus other days as needed, from November through February. They estimate 240 hours total, which would be 30 eight-hour days, except that they only do it a few hours a day, so it will be god knows how many days.

And they don't care if it totally fucks up your job, they explicitly said they *don't care*, and you can't get out of it for that. (They even said that self-employed people, for whom this would cripple their businesses, couldn't get out because of that.) I guess they claim "it's often only a couple hours, or a few hours a day," but as I work in Mountain View, and take a commuter bus, that pretty much means I will have to miss the entire day. (And my employer is not very keen on "working from home.")

(Footnote: the grand jury doesn't sit on cases. When the DA (or equivalent) wants to prosecute someone, they present their evidence to the grand jury, who decide if he's got a case or not. If he does, they hand down an indictment, which is essentially permission to proceed with the prosecution.)

Maybe I can get my company to write a letter about how I'm tech lead of a project that's launching during that period, and if I miss that many days I'll have to relinquish that post, but being tech lead of a successful launch is what I was needing for my next promotion, etc. etc. I suspect the court won't buy it though.

During the questioning ("can you be impartial and only consider the evidence," etc.) I asked "What if I disagree with the law; what if the case is something that I think shouldn't be illegal?" This is a legitimate concern (I strongly feel that some things just shouldn't be illegal, like drugs, porn, prostitution, etc.), but of course I was also hoping the DA or judge would throw me out because of that. They weren't buying it. "You're going to look at the evidence and decide if it reasonably appears the suspect broke the law." Not "did something wrong," or "should be prosecuted," but "broke the law."

But still, when we go back in for more instructions, I'm going to press this point and say that it's going to lead to conflicts of interest. However, it sounds (from when other people had objections, to e.g. some types of "possibly graphic or disturbing evidence,") that at best I can just recuse myself from those cases. I don't know yet if they just take a vote, or if (like in normal juries) we have to reach consensus. If the latter, I'm going to make a lot of enemies.

On the other hand, maybe there are going to be zero drug prosecutions in San Francisco this winter.

Words of advice: they do this three times a year, for four month terms, beginning November (and presumably) March and July. If they always do the selection six or so weeks ahead of time, that tells you what weeks to avoid having jury duty. Also, being a full time student, having plans to move out of the city, and not being able to speak English can get you out. (Though in the case of the one person who had just moved, the judge did say he would notify their new county that the person had moved and was now eligible down there.)

Just planning on claiming "Gee, I never received the summons, you should have used registered mail" doesn't sound like a good option. They took a roll call of how ever many hundreds of people were there, and those not present had warrants issued for their arrest. I suspect nobody will go hunt them down, but having your next traffic stop turn into a night in jail before you can go explain your case to the judge doesn't sound like fun. Though compared to having your job totally fucked, I suppose it's a close call.

I have one final chance at not having my job screwed up: of the 30 of us on the short list, they'll actually impanel 19. I'll find out November 4th. I'm not holding my breath, though.
Monday, September 5th, 2005
9:33 pm
Burn night
Three years ago, I met Gina when I camped in her Burning Man camp. We'd known of each other before, through mutual friends, but had never actually said more than "hi." But starting with a conversation about our favorite San Francisco steak restaurants, we got to know each other.

On Saturday, I asked her to marry me.

She said "yes."
Friday, July 29th, 2005
8:59 pm
Wednesday, May 11th, 2005
10:35 am
matching bumper stickers
on either side of the license plate:

God is in me          He is coming!

we nearly drove off the road laughing.
Thursday, March 10th, 2005
12:10 pm
signs of doom
You know you're working for a Big Company when the mandatory reeducation camps show up.
You are invited to attend a program called "Keeping it Legal." This is an interactive one hour workshop where you will learn what your personal obligations are to avoid engaging in conduct which could give rise to claims of sexual harassment. [...]

We are considering this class to be mandatory.
Tuesday, January 4th, 2005
10:38 pm
A picture I took the other day at alcohol week has had its fifteen seconds of fame.
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