Monthly Archives: June 2006

Layer Cake

My roommate and I watched that movie tonight. Pretty crazy.

I was only 45 minutes later than usual to work today, but ended up staying almost 2 hours extra. It was pretty cool, I actually felt like I got some real work done, from submitting the last of my contribution to the project I’d been working on for the first two weeks to starting my debugging with a pretty interesting/intense hour-and-a-half long hands-on tutorial.

Then to top off a night that went considerably better than the end of last, we have a racquetball court in our apartment complex’s office! Plus, my roommate has all the requisite gear, when you add in my safety glasses. That should make for a pretty fun summer. He’s a little bit better than I am, but not by so much that its unbalanced or not fun. It’s pretty awesome.

In other news, I now also have a wlan card for my desktop, so I can finally get this thing back on the internet. All around a good night. Definitely beats spending 3 hours trying to get home because you were too stupid to get back on the right bus and too trusting of the idiot that told you these other buses would be fine.

What's a five-letter word for "exhausted"?


It’s 2:38 am. I just got home from a concert. The story in brief:

Eric and I went to a Counting Crows / Goo Goo Dolls concert in Auburn tonight. He had had two tickets to the show and two tickets for a shuttle from the Azteca in Bellevue & back.

We went to the Azteca, got on the shuttle, and set off.

Thanks to traffic, we arrived 40 minutes after the show started.

Thanks to the opening act, we didn’t miss either band.

Fast-forward through a pretty good concert. (sorry, it’s late, I don’t have time to describe more than that)

Colin & Eric exit the amphitheater, and follow the sign marked “Shuttles/Taxis”

We arrive at a huge lineup of buses, thinking we may be in the wrong place, since we need one particular bus back to Bellevue.

We ask the guy doing crowd control if these buses take us to the shuttles.

He says “Yes.”

We get on the bus. 15 minutes later we’re at the Supermall in Auburn, WA, with no bus in sight.

The bus driver lady starts to take us back up to see if our shuttle might still be there, but she is radioed that a) the shuttle is gone, and b) she has to take us back to the Supermall.

We call my roommate (who’s a saint, btw) at about 12:25am and beg for help. He drives down to Auburn to pick us up, getting there at about 1am, and saving us probably $100+ in taxi fares.

Two side notes:
1) My cellphone battery had just died on the shuttle going out to the amphitheater from Bellevue, so I couldn’t do much calling. I never realized how inconvenient that is.
2) You cannot place an order at the Wendy’s so-called “pick up window open late” unless you are in a car. This has been observed experimentally.

We get back to the Azteca around 1:30.

I drive Eric home, and then myself. And now it’s 2:45.

What the adventure.

Good night.

I solved it!

[Update]: Well, it seems I’m actually rather stupid. Tim solved it in less than half an hour… over 5x faster than me 🙁 [/Update]

So I’ve been working this puzzle from the Google homepage ever since I noticed it (which would probably have been the day it came out). It looks like this:

The idea is to fill in 14 of those cirles with the numbers from 1 to 14 (inclusively), such that the distance between 1 and 2 is strictly less than the distance between 2 and 3, which is strictly less than the distance between 3 and 4, etc. (Distance is taken from the center of the circles, so assume the distance between two centers in the same row or column is 1, for simplicity’s sake.) You’ll note that there are 18 circles. You must leave 4 unfilled.

I’m pretty sure I worked on this puzzle for 2½ hours. Here is proof that I completed it. Note that I have blurred out the distance values calculated automatically by the puzzle, because it would be a huge clue as to how the solution works. [SPOILER WARNING] clicking this image will show you the solution. You have been warned.

It was a lot of fun, and I was pretty ecstatic when I solved it.

In other news:
I got to see Katie Roarty tonight! She was in town visiting her brother Matt, who (if I correctly understood) just graduated from college. Hurray for Matt, and for seeing Kate again (do you go by Kate now? sorry for not being sure…). I witnessed an intense nerf war and was nearly killed in the heavy crossfire. Fortunately the only true casualty of the night was a bit of free time when I got lost twice on the way home. (Yeah, so I wasn’t actually supposed to follow you quite that far, Kat[i]e… more like I should have veered left to end up on 520 again. Oh well, not like I was really going to break a record and make it home without turning around tonight, in a new place, in the dark!)

I also reinstalled Windows Vista as a clean install this time. Some fun statistics:
Installation time required for upgrade from Windows XP to Windows Vista, which resulted in a lot of broken or otherwise dead drivers & hardware (like my sound card): 2 hours and 20 minutes
Installation time for a clean install of Windows Vista onto a newly-formatted partition: 37 minutes.
Much nicer.

Here’s a fun UI bug: before activating Windows, this dialog box was exactly the right size. But now that I am reassured by the “Genuine Windows” emblem, it no longer fits, and thus I cannot see the whole emblem. Lol.

First Post!

From my desktop, reassembled, restored to working order, and ready for the adventure of conversion to Windows Vista Beta 2, occurring live tomorrow at 9:00 am Pacific at the Windows Vista Install Fair in Building 33.

Problems I anticipate tomorrow:

  1. Two massive (97.8GB and 111GB) ext2 partitions storing all of my data and media, which are accessible to windows via an open source driver and some registry hacks.
  2. A messed up ITE integrated RAID controller that is flaky even with the official Windows XP drivers
  3. Most of the programs that I have installed to test Vista with are designed for making rips of DVDs… not sure I really want to be filing bug reports about those.

Problems I never dreamed of that happened today:

All I can really say is UPS must have dropped this at least 3 times to pull this off:

“Please remain seated at all times while the vehicle is in motion”

You’ll note that that audio card WAS screwed in when it left Green Bay. So where’s the screw? Oh! There it is! Shorting out the video card! (Sorry, you can’t see it in this pic… bad angle) Good Lord.

But, since I had my camera handy, here’s a happier bonus picture of my office at Microsoft:

The two boxes at the left are mine. One’s a decent Dell, the other’s a 3.00 GHz Pentium D with 2GB RAM. It’s fast. You’ll see I’ve also got a pretty nice 19″ LCD (You have to be an FTE to get dual monitors), a wireless keyboard and mouse (though the “ergonomic” keyboard took some getting used to… even Enlight didn’t prepare me for using one full time.), a little 5-port switch and a 4-port KVM. I pretty much showed up on the first day, they handed me boxes with all this new stuff in it and said “go nuts!” It was cool 8-). Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the Microsoft cup, which I think at the time was just water, but could also have been free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, flavored carbonated water (“Sparkling Rain” or something like that), or almost any Coca-Cola product.

I’ll have to post another picture of my office next week, as I’m actually going to be moving offices into an “intern bay” with 5 or so other interns… that should be interesting.

The Grateful Dead

lol. you have to love musicians for not being afraid to call it like they see it:

JPB: I’ve got good news and bad news and good news. And the good news is that you guys have managed to buy every major legislative body on the planet, and the courts are even with you. So you’ve done a great job there and you should congratulate yourself.

But you know the problem is – the bad news is that you’re up against a dedicated foe that is younger and smarter that you are and will be alive when you’re dead. You’re 55 years old and these kids are 17 and they’re just smarter than you. So you’re gonna lose that one.

But the good news is that you guys are mean sons of bitches and you’ve been figuring out ways of ripping off audiences and artists for centuries…..

– John Perry Barlow, one-time lyricist for The Grateful Dead, and co-founder of the EFF

Move-in Phase 2

Well, I’ve been in my new apartment in Seattle for a week, but my stuff only recently caught up with me. (Via 6 boxes from UPS. 6!) As you can see, it’s still a bit of a mess:

All of my cords & electronics that I couldn’t live without. (Ok Jeni, now I’m a bit pathetic)

All this junk is also mine, including the speaker precariously perched on the armrest of the couch, with the sole exception of the No Fear energy drink. That’s my roommate Casey’s.

More pics of the apartment to follow… after I do a bit of cleaning.

Meanwhile, I didn’t get home to make myself a delicious bowl-of-soup-from-a-can supper until 7:45 tonight, because I made a detour through Goodwill on my way home. The mission? Find a desk/work surface that I can a) set up my desktop on, b) build electronics on, c) get for very little money, and d) transport in my rental car. Well, for $25, I found exactly what I needed to fit the bill:

The only catch is, I forgot about requirement (d) until actually trying to fit it in my car. Let’s just say, it technically fit, but merging onto the highways around Seattle with no ability to see out your left back seat window nor the left half of your rear view mirror is Dangerous. DO NOT ATTEMPT. I will be disassembling the desk/counter before donating it back to Goodwill in August.

Check this out, it started at Goodwill the same day I started at Microsoft:

Now for some updates. For real. Just not as much as I promised. Yet.

I posted a bunch of pictures from this past weekend on my new photo gallery site. You should all go check it out, and bookmark the site for future reference. I’ll be putting up a lot more pictures as I find time between setting up computers, work, and hopefully some travel in the near future. (I would have used flickr, but this one gallery = 56MB zipped, and flickr limits you to 20MB / month. Here I’ve got 20GB storage and 1 TB / month bandwidth.)

Alright, that’s it for tonight. Must go to sleep now so I can go in to work early, so I can leave early, so I can catch a movie at a reasonable hour tomorrow night, so my roommate can invite his friend Kate, who must work very early on Friday.

Aren't We Productive?

Today in a mailing list thread discussing the property of circular manhole covers that they cannot fall through thier respective manholes (assuming the manhole has a lip of nonzero width):

They said “manhole cover” which I assumed meant a 3D object, made of steel or aluminium, impressed with a non-slip pattern and a city engineering sigil, and with a slight upwards dome shape to resist compression. Though I believe we’re supposed to call them “personholes” in this day and age of political correctness.