Monthly Archives: February 2007

Random Quotes

I was looking through an old file of quotes on my laptop this evening. I’m not entirely sure what I was in search of, nor that I found it, but it did bring to mind some quotes I really like, and some things I need to think about again these days. Mostly so I don’t forget them, but also to set them out for you to ponder as well, here are a few:

There are many degrees of sight and many degrees of blindness. What senses do we lack that we cannot see another world all around us?

-Frank Herbert

Love does not begin and end the way
we seem to think it does.
Love is a battle, love is a war;
love is a growing up.

Love takes off masks that we fear
we cannot live without and know we
cannot live within.

– James Baldwin

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and techology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

– Carl Sagan

Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age.

– Jon Stewart

Many a man is praised for his reserve and so-called shyness when he is simply too proud to risk making a fool of himself.

-J. B. Priestley

Ow… Priestley, that was a little close to home.

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Why Nerds

I don’t often go for Craigslist, but Scott sent me this link: Why Geeks and Nerds are Worth It”, and it is awesome, so I’m copying it here, with props to the original poster (note that the original poster was female).

I really like numbers 1, 3, 11, 12, and especially 15. Props to all my fellow nerds, as well!

Why Geeks and Nerds Are Worth It…

Date: 2005-04-03, 9:30PM PDT

In the wide world of dating, there are many options. Do you go for the flashy guy with the smooth smile, or the dude in the corner typing away on his laptop? The following are reasons why I think my fellow females should pay more attention to the quiet geeks and nerds, and less attention to the flashy boys.

1.) While geeks and nerds may be awkward, they’re well-meaning 9 out of 10 times. That smooth dude with the sly grin and the spider hands? Wonder what HIS intentions are… plus, I’ve never had a geek guy not call me when he said he would. Score major points THERE.

2.) They’re useful. In this tech-savvy world, it’s great to have a b/f who can make your laptop, desktop, and just about anything else that plugs into a wall behave itself.

3.) They’re more romantic than they’re given credit for. Ok true, their idea of romance might be to make up a spiffy web-page with all the reasons why they love you, with links to pics of you and sonnets and such… but hey. It lasts longer than flowers, plus you can show your friends.

4.) Due to their neglected status, there are plenty to choose from. You like ‘em tall and slender? There are plenty of geeks/nerds who are. You like ‘em smaller with more meat on their bones? Got that too.

5.) They’ve got brains. Come on now, how can intelligence be a bad thing?

6.) Most are quite good at remembering dates. Like birthdates and such, especially if they know it’ll make you happy. Due again to their neglected status, they’re more attentive than guys who “have more options”. Plus, with all that down time without a steady girlfriend, they’ll likely have mental lists of all the things they’d love to do once they GOT a girlfriend.

7.) Sex. Yep. Sex. I’m not really familiar with this myself, but I’ve friends who’ve been intimate with geek guys and it’s raves all around. They say a virgin wrote the Kama Sutra… all that time thinking about sex, imagining sex, dreaming about sex, (they are male after all) coupled with a desire to make you happy? Use your imagination.

8.) They’re relatively low-maintenance. Most can be fueled on pizza, Twinkies and Mt Dew. No complicated dinners needed here, so if you’re not the best cook, eh. Can you order a pizza?

9.) Most frequent bars as often as slugs frequent salt mines. You won’t have to worry much about your geek guy getting his “groove” on with club hotties because, frankly, he’ll be too busy rooting around under his computer wondering where that spare cable went. You won’t have to worry about him flirting with other women because, 9 out of 10 times, he’ll zip right by them in a perfect b-line towards the nearest electronics store. I’ve seen this happen.

Me: “Eww. Victoria Secret’s Models… They’re so skinny. How is that feminine? You can see her ribs!”

Geek Guy: “ooooooo…”

Me: “Hey!” *notices he is staring lustfully towards the computer store*

Geek Guy: “What?”

Me: “Never mind…”

10.) Although he may not want to go to every outing with you, you can arrange swaps, as in, you’ll go to his Gamer Con dressed as an elf princess if he’ll take you to the ballet. Plus, if he doesn’t want to go someplace with you, you won’t have to worry much about what he’s up to. You’ll probably come home to find him asleep on his keyboard in a sea of Mt. Dew cans with code blinking from the screen. It’s ok. He’s used to this. Just toss a blanket over him and turn out the light.

11.) His friends aren’t jerks. I can’t stress this enough. You’ll more likely get “Omg! A GIRL!! Can I see?!” than “Hey hot stuff back that ass up here and let me get some grub on…” They’re awkward geeks too and will, 9 times out of 10, treat you with the utmost respect and, more than likely, a note of awe. A cute girl picked one of their clan to date? It could happen to them! Hope! Drag some of your single girlfriends over, open up a pack of Mt. Dew, crack open the DnD set and get working. Nothing impresses geek guys more than a girl who can hack-n-slash (well ok maybe if she can code… a geek can dream).

12.) They’re rarely if ever possessive. They trust you, so you can be yourself around them. You like to walk around the house in a ratty t-shirt for comfort? He won’t care. He does too! They won’t get pissy if you don’t wear make-up or don’t want to bother primping your hair. If you gain a few pounds, they won’t try their best to make you feel like crap.

13.) They’re usually very well educated. Physics majors and the like. See #5. You won’t have to listen to him blathering on about his car (ok maybe a little), he’ll have loads of other interesting things to talk about. Politics, world events, how much the chicken burgers down at the local place rock, so long as you douse them in hot sauce…

14.) You’ll almost never have to hear, “Yaw dawg whazzap!!” plop out of their mouths. Unless it’s in jest. They spell properly, use correct punctuation, and are able to tell the difference between the toilet and the floor. They almost never get “wasted”, so you won’t have to worry about coming home to find him and his friends passed out on the floor amidst a pile of beer bottles. Mt. Dew cans, perhaps…

15.) And the final reason why geeks and nerds make great boyfriends: They actually give a damn about you. Not how you look (though that’s a plus), not how skinny you are, not how much make-up you primp yourself up with, but they like you for you. That kind of thing lasts longer than “DaMN baby you got a fine ass!!!” Believe me.

It's the scrollbar, idiot!

Update: As Craig pointed out, the original version of my page flashed blue before changing orange. That was my bad. Here’s what was wrong, as an FYI:

Original Stylesheets:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="csdeptb.css" title="Blue Layout" />

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="csdepta.css" title="Orange Layout" />


<body onload="setActiveStyleSheet('Orange Layout');">

The problem? Both stylesheets were loaded by default as preferred stylesheets, and since the blue sheet is listed first, it took precedence, rendering the page blue. Then on page load, I fired off a javascript call to set the orange sheet as active. This was to work around a weird IE glitch where it didn’t always load the second style sheet. BUT, this resulted in the page being blue until it fully loaded, and then changing orange. The solution? List orange first, and make the blue an alternate stylesheet, like so:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="csdepta.css" title="Orange Layout" />

<link rel="alternate stylesheet" type="text/css" href="csdeptb.css" title="Blue Layout" />


<body onload="setActiveStyleSheet('Orange Layout');">


So I’ve been having fun over the past couple days playing with HTML and CSS for a CS 640 (Intro to Computer Networks) assignment. The assignment is pretty trivial: basically, create the homepage for a fictitious Computer Science department. The home page should include 3 HTML documents (a home page, a faculty page, and a course listing), and two interchangible Cascading Stylesheets to play with colors. I put the shell of the page together pretty quickly, and then I’ve been spending some time playing with fancy CSS effects instead of doing my circuits homework 🙂

The page, for any who are interested, is located here: CCM University’s Computer Science Department

One annoying “bug” I kept running into was that my nicely-centered TABLE (yeah, I know… <TABLE>s are SO Web 1.0. Get over it.) kept shifting slightly to the right on the main page (index.html), and then back slightly to the left on the other two pages. I looked into this for probably 30 minutes, trying to find some extraneous tags or something that were screwing up the spacing.

(It’s a little hard to see on the thumbnails, but note the scrollbar appearing. The motion is easy to see in the fullsize pics.)

Main page (shifted right):

Faculty page (shifted left):

Then on one refresh, I noticed that the scrollbar appeared, and I slapped myself in the face. DUH. Longer pages (faculty.html and courses.html) –> don’t fit on one screen –> Need a vertical scrollbar –> Need to shrink the size of the content pane –> A centered element shifts to the left by half the distance of the scrollbar’s width.

My forehead hurts in shame.

To attempt to redeem myself, here’s a 30-second code snippet for centering stuff in CSS:



<LINK REL="stylesheet" TYPE="text/css" HREF="style.css" />


<TABLE class=framework> <!-- Desire to center this table -->




body { text-align: center; } // Center for IE

.framework {

     margin: 0px auto; // Center for Mozilla

     width: 800px;

     text-align: left; // Prevent IE hack from inheriting



Free Energy

So I’m fairly upset with myself for not working on my latest Circuits assignment a lot earlier…

I turned it in at the end of class today, but I’m not hoping for much. Why not, you ask? Well, let’s just say I had to start fudging calculations when I found an input resistance of -5002.14 ohms. (I arbitrarily dropped the negative…)

Non-nerdy explanation of why that’s bad: Short answer: It’s impossible.

Long answer: You can imagine the circuit I was looking at like a water pipe with a filter/funnel in it. The filter is designed so that for just a small amount of water going through, it’s not too hard and the water pretty much goes right through. But, the more water you try to send down the pipe, the more “clogged” the filter gets, and the harder each molecule of water has to work to get past the filter. How “hard” a molecule has to “work” is like the resistance number I calculated for my circuit: Maybe the filter is designed so that each molecule needs 500 Joules of energy to get past the filter, per gallon of water that flows through. So, if 1 gallon flows, each molecule needs 500 Joules. If 2 gallons flow, each needs 1000 Joules, and so on. The more water flowing, the more energy needed. This is basically how resistors in electronic circuits work.

Now imagine what it would mean if that number was negative… i.e., you get energy back by pushing your way through a filter. And you get more back the more water there is. It doesn’t make any sense, which is why I know my homework is wrong. 🙁

To quote Wikipedia, “Absolute negative resistances without an external energy source cannot exist as they would violate the law of conservation of energy.”

:sad face:

Road Trip!

I’m off to Michigan Tech. University in Houghton, MI to visit Scott this weekend. Ashley, Jared, and I will be driving up this afternoon and back down Sunday. Should be a pretty awesome time: I haven’t been up there in two years.

Have a good weekend, everyone else!

Light-dependent LED reverse-bias voltage discharge times (my 453 design project)

Light-dependent LED reverse-bias voltage discharge times (my 453 design project)
Originally uploaded by CCmcGeek.

Measuring the light-sensitive fall time of the voltage across a reverse-biased LED. The LED essentially acts like a variable capacitor, so the RC constant of the exponential decay depends on the intensity of light hitting it. We observed significant variations in fall time with one LED being exposed to ambient light vs being covered with a hand. Unfortunately, we aren’t getting any kind of useful results when we include more than one LED in the circuit… stay tuned for more details.