Monthly Archives: February 2006

Put. Me. Down. Gently.

I’m safely back from California, as of 1:30 this afternoon. In short, the interview went pretty well, but I didn’t sleep or eat nearly enough. Now I’m playing catchup, with a midterm today and two on Thursday. I’d love to write more about the whole experience, but it’s taken me almost 15 minutes to write this; I’m completely exhausted.

Tidbit for the moment, though, is that we got to experience some… “interesting” yaw effects on our descent into San Jose. I’m not going to claim to be some super-experienced flier or anything, but that was without doubt the roughest landing I’ve ever had. I’m fine with turbulence that bounces the plane up and down (pitch, Kevin says), and the kind that tips the wings side to side (roll). The kind I was not much familiar with and am not a huge fan of, is turbulence that screws with yaw, which involves the nose of the plane being pushed left or right so that it no longer points in the direction the plane is travelling. Kind of like fishtailing a car, but in an airplane, way up above the ground. Reference this video of an extreme example by Boeing and Airbus test pilots that Kevin found for me. So that was a little nervous. Other than that though, all the flights went well, and I enjoyed them very much, despite having to study on a couple of them.

Bon Voyage

Have a good Monday and Tuesday, everyone. I’m up at this delightful hour, just about to leave for the airport for an interview in San Jose, CA. The good news: I get to fly, and I love airports and planes. The bad news: 100% chance of rain in San Jose today, and a high of only 61.

Not Adding Up (Vol. 3)


I got this in my email twoday:

We in University Housing continue to strife to provide a safe and inclusive community that supports your academic goals and personal achievements.

It annoys me grately that people right like this. I mean, that’s reely not even close. What’s more, that came from the Director of University Housing. I don’t think thiers a hole lot more to be said about that.

When the red, red, robn comes…

So it wasn’t actually a robin; it turned out to be a finch when I finally located it at the top of the tree by the construction “staging” area across from ERB, but it was still pretty cool to hear as I walked to my interview yesterday. It was at least 30 degrees, and it felt wonderful. Add that to the finch chirping to itself and it’s starting to feel like spring again!

This weekend I’m headed home to Green Bay, with a stop for a job interview in Little Chute on the way home. Hopefully I’ll finally be able to give my sister her Christmas present: we’re going to try and see Rent at the Fox Cities PAC, if it isn’t sold out. I’ll also get to see our newly-finished basement, and my dad’s new TV, which he bought while I was travelling back to Madison last time. So I’m pretty excited about that.

Autologout on a Mac

So here’s a tip for anyone who can’t figure out why their Mac keeps logging itself out unexplainedly without warning or permission. Short answer: it’s your fault (not to name any names, Colin). You should really read the boxes you click on. Such as the one in the pic below, from the “Security” page of the System Preferences. I thought I was reenabling the setting where it asks you for your password when you want to bring it out of sleep or the screensaver. Turns out I actually clicked the box farther down that automatically logs you out after X minutes of inactivity. So the unexplained “rebooting” that I thought was going on? Entirely my fault, and not actually rebooting. That’s what finally tipped me off to the System Preferences: I logged back in one time and ran uptime to show a friend that the computer had just rebooted itself. Turns out it actually hadn’t, which was when I realized it was just logging out. A quick Spotlight search within the System Preferences pane later, I found the applicable setting: (Make sure you UNcheck this.)

In other news, “the pulse” on facebook reports that 9% of girls and 16% of guys are looking for a relationship. That’s a problem for guys, because if I did the math right, and I like to think that I did, in order for those numbers to match up, the UW needs to be 64% female, 36% male. According to, it’s more like 55% female, 45% male. Fortunately, the 9% and 16% stats are from Facebook, and I can say for a fact that not everyone has their stats counted. I don’t, for one. (Not that counting me would move the ratio in the right direction.) Just thought that was interesting, and I couldn’t help running the math.

Interesting Perspective

As you may or may not be aware, Apple has begun the transition to Intel processors for its desktop and laptop computer lines. This means that their operating system, which was previously written for the PowerPC architecture, has been rewritten to run on the x86 (Intel) architecture. That is to say, the new versions of OS X could theoretically run on the computer you’re reading this from, even if you’re not sitting at a mac. That has a lot of implications for Apple, because a lot of hackers want to get OS X running on their own machines. Apple says that this is illegal, because it is against their copyrights and (i believe) requires breaking DRM technologies, which is a violation of the DMCA.

Here’s an interesting perspective from a slashdot reader:

So let me get this straight: In the beginning, removing an item from a store without paying for it was considered “stealing”. Then, simple copyright infringement became “stealing”. Now, Apple is saying that if I go to the store, buy Mac OS X, and get it to work on my computer, I’m “stealing”? WTF?

Of course, the only problem is that OS X for x86 is not for sale.

Something to think about, in any case.

This post is a hypocritical rant

At the risk of trite hypocrisy, I need to get a little bit of frustration out of my system. Feel free to pass on reading this one, I would my self.

What’s frustrating me? Among other things, Madison’s inflated self-image. The students here really seem to think they matter. Not that they don’t, in the grand scheme of things. Past graduates have and doubtless future graduates will go on to change the world for all of us. But that doesn’t excuse the rediculous self-infatuation Madison likes to indulge in here, where the students believe that their every opinion matters. I’m not talking about the people who get involved in clubs or orgs because they want to make their campus a better place for people to live, work, and study. I respect that a lot, and am in an organization or two for that reason myself. I’m talking about the people who think every minor point in every document they’ve ever read needs to be scrutinized, debated at length, and paraded before the rest of the school in the newspapers. Get over yourselves. Your actions and the actual good you do for the campus matter. An unintentional slight that some politician or another accidentally made and apologized for but you can’t seem to let go of do not matter, and the fact that you can’t get over it lowers your own respectability and credibility. Gah.

The other thing that frustrates me is people who don’t think. Especially at a university here, where we are all supposedly receiving an education, broadening our horizons, blah blah blah. Specifically, I am frustrated by people who don’t think about what they read or hear. Everything that is written or spoken was done so for a reason, with some motive. In an ideal world, the motive would be to share the news, or inform the public. In this world, the motive is generally to captivate and enthrall an audience of imbeciles. People who hear what they want to hear, and ride the emotional wave-pool generated by the speaker/writer. For instance, comments like, “People say Bush shouldn’t have started the war, but look at Truman, who started a war in Korea, which lost 55,000 lives.” Yes, ok. Look at the Korean War. My Grandfather fought in the Korean War. A lot of people died in the Korean War. What’s your point? To which the imbecile would respond “See? It’s not just Bush who’s started wars, give him a break.” Which simply proves that the imbecile is as dumb as his namesake. The real point has nothing to do with the war at all. The real point of that comment was for the speaker to keep the flame burning in one more brain-washed idealist and keep our country farther from true debate and more importantly, true compromise, unity, and progress. The same goes for the other end of the political spectrum, but I don’t want to waste the time opening for an example.

So, sorry for the rant. Sorry for wasting your bandwidth and for sounding trite. Sorry for the hypocrisy, but maybe this will help offset it:

The motive behind me writing this post was to express my disappointment in people not thinking, and my growing frustration with people who take the worth of their opinions far out of perspective. I hope to sway you by your having read it, into thinking critically at least a little about the next one-sided comment you hear. I’m not asking you to agree or disagree with what you hear; I don’t care what you choose, I just wish you would think about what the comment says separately from what the speaker intends by saying it, realize when you’re being played, and then choose whether you want to be agree or not. And I hope you understand how hypocritical it is for me to have written this post.

Again, sorry for your time; hopefully you’re not reading this far.

Really starting to hate ECE 340

I wish I had a camera to take a picture of the board right now. Here’s the variables we’re working with:

ID , iD , id
VGS , vGS , vgs

They all mean different things, and they all look identical in Prof. Jiang’s handwriting. There’s just no call for that.

Update 12:00 pm: We’ve now added

vBS and vbs, and presumably VBS
Bullshit anyone?