Monday, December 23, 2002

Work has consumed me these last few weeks. I'm not entirely sure why or how. But I can't stop thinking about the projects I'm working on.

The scary bit is that I don't mind. It's like work has become some kind of escape (!). Even my birthday just kind of came and went.

Part of it is that I have made significant, measurable progress on said projects, which always brings a high. Like a drug addict, though, I keep going for that next high, postponing other commitments.

At least I got all my Christmas shopping done on time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

(defun clMatchPermutations (match_rules objects)
(let ((match_args (car match_rules))
(match_body (cdr match_rules))
(match_results (tconc nil nil)))
(setq match_fun (eval `(lambda ,match_args ,@match_body) (theEnvironment)))
(mapcar (lambda (argset)
(when (apply match_fun argset)
(tconc match_results argset)))
(cdar objects))
(cdar match_results)))

One of those deep-thought days. As usual, I had interruptions every 15 minutes or so, but I managed to shrug them off. I managed to get hard-core pattern matching algorithms proven correct and implemented (though not quite debugged).

Usually when I write code I feel like I'm being lazy, as if writing code is not real work. I don't usually get the euphoric feeling that I do after grunging out a difficult line integral or somesuch. Today was a nice exception. I feel like I did bona fide intellectual work.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Name that list!

United States138
New Zealand135

Saturday, November 16, 2002

dac is ideal for high performance applications

dac is a suite of components and controls that are data aware by design rather than merely data bound
dac is designed as a secure environment
dac is not responsible for lost or damaged files
dac is a caring school
dac is housed
dac is my second home
dac is a scientific society of the ministry of information
dac is a dac is a dac
dac is placed after an adc
dac is part of DAC Group Ltd which also owns a security guarding company, an alarm company, and a CCTV company
dac is also continuing to feature the embedded systems showcase highlighting vendors of embedded systems
dac is similar to the whole abc
dac is back
dac is to set the asd threshold voltages
dac is updated and disappears
dac is very thin [don't I wish]
dac is shown
dac is used to convert a parallel digital input
dac is david andrew clayton
dac is enabled or disabled
dac is os/2
dac is then processed or conditioned to produce the required output signal characteristics
dac is in the range of 2%
dac is now complete
dac is patent pending technology that stands for dynamic adaptive compiler
dac is pleased to be a part of the give the gift of sight program
dac is good news for MUNI
dac is authorized under the agreement
dac is also the first fully designed integrated circuit
dac is stored into counting registers formed from parallel data entry up/down synchronous counters
dac is a critical part of the signal chain
dac is a new festival of audio and visual arts located in Cambridge, UK
dac is also available in horizontal mount versions with overall height of less than 0
dac is growing and taking on a larger caseload
dac is India's national initiative in high performance computing and has been engaged in research and development
dac is insulated with PE foam skin which exhibits only 45 pf/m
dac is too small
dac is the primary communications vehicle between the home medical equipment industry and Cigna Healthcare Medicare Administration
dac is shown mounted in the upper forward part of the right window
dac is implemented and can be used for offset corrections
dac is properly configured in $cyril_conf/serial
dac is a direct out
dac is an association specially for abyssinians and somalis
dac is seamless from top to bottom
dac is transferred and how is it calculated?
dac is available to assist us companies interested in developing export programs
dac is fully compatible with this process and will automatically detect if a cd disk is hdcd encoded and then perform the correct decoding
dac is proud to support
dac is built using a 0
dac is substantially more sophisticated and costs more to build
dac is driving a servo amp
dac is composed of seven members
dac is less flexible
dac is expensive because of complicated adjustments and support circuitry
dac is a dual high speed differential digital to analog converter specified to operate from a nominal +1
dac is binding
dac is to create a consolidated float data set usable by scientists for
dac is a non profit organization that is dedicated to providing the children of our neighborhood with quality sports programs
dac is immediately on your right
dac is the new crystal 4390 24/96k
dac is entirely minimalist in form and function

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Somehow my deadlines have mysteriously morphed without anyone bothering to tell me.

I'm working on [insert secret project here], and was supposed to deliver a rough usage model by Friday and the first-cut at a spec by December 16th. Somehow, this has morphed into delivering an implementation tomorrow.

Um... huh?

What's worse is that my customers are not internal. Cadence is expecting this, well, now-ish.

Who's responsible for this fiasco? I'd like to choke the living daylights out of him.

Saturday, November 9, 2002


Back from the honeymoon on PEI. Pictures forthcoming.

But I'll leave you with this note: if you're an innkeeper, do not let an engineer have the suite with the jacuzzi tub.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Hm. Building Mozilla for 64-bit Suns takes a long time. As in I started last Wednesday; built during the wedding; and it's still building today.

The builds are getting interrupted due to various bugs in Mozilla itself (so I have to edit the code and figure out why the compiler is rejecting it). But, still... this is on a farm of 40 Sun Blade 100s.

My Athlon box at home runs circles around a farm of 40 Blades.

That is just pathetic, Sun.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

I'm married!

And I'm so happy! I've never been so happy in my life.

Despite last minute fiascoes, everything went off almost perfectly. It was kinda cold and wet on Saturday so we had the ceremony inside, in the backup room. Ah, well. We still got to take pictures outside and all of my friends and relatives got to see the fall colors in their fullest.

And, wow, do I have some terrific friends and relatives! Everyone was so helpful and cheerful. It sounds like everyone enjoyed the rehearsal dinner, reception, and post-wedding barbeque we had. About 95 people attended!

And, of course, I now have a wife whom I love and adore very much.

Monday, October 21, 2002

I don't want to work on this anymore.

This problem has no solution because it's subjective. So I'm writing a metasolution through which people can write their own quasisolutions. Or something like that. Yes, it's about as exciting as it sounds.

I see these electronic design kits for what they are: a lot of patchwork built upon patchwork with tiny pieces of string and small staples barely holding the whole thing together. Any time I try to build something on top of it, another part comes toppling down. After awhile, it gets very frustrating.

I want to scrap the entire thing and rearchitect it myself from scratch. Sadly, that's about as practical as the phone company ripping out all the wires at once and replacing them with fiber. Or the waterworks digging up all the streets in Pittsburgh at once, removing all the rusty old pipes, and laying down new pipe.

Rome wasn't built in a day. But this software sure looks like it was.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I get no respect.

scaryr: Oh, I know what to name your eventual children, by the way.
kangadac: Uhoh.
scaryr: You can have two girls and a boy or three girls.
scaryr: Ada, Pearl, and Pascal/Pascale.

Wednesday, October 9, 2002

The board of directors are here, and we had to hob-knob with them during lunch. Add that to a 110 minute meeting at 9 am this morning, and today should suck.

But it doesn't, because I got my Beauty and the Beast DVD from Amazon today! Woo hoo!

Monday, October 7, 2002

That's gotta hurt...

I had a 2:15 appointment to interview someone for a testing position. Oddly, I found John, the guy who was supposed to interview him before me, sitting at his desk.

Me: "John, did you trade with someone else?"
John: "No... X and Y both decided this morning that he was all talk."
Me: "Did we at least take him to lunch?"
John: "I dunno... they decided this around 10 am."
Michele (office manager): "Oh, we did. But then we took him to the airport five hours early."

Heh... how bad do you have to be that you don't even make it through half of the interview?
Also, I'm not sure what's happened, but the most recent updates to Google have caused it to start sucking ala Altavista. I'm getting a ton of irrelevant links and 404s on the first page, and frequently on the first link. Suddenly, clicking on "I'm feeling lucky" doesn't seem such a great idea...
I haven't updated in awhile out of fear that my entries would be too angsty.

That fear hasn't abated, but oh, well...

Less than three weeks to the wedding. I'm getting a tad weary of being asked if I'm excited. I'm not excited. I'm fretting. People say that no matter what happens, it'll turn out fine. Then they proceed to tell me the things they would've done differently. Gee, thanks.

Work is getting more stressful. My usual workload has tripled, mainly because there are a few others who are bored and have decided to get their noses into things that I've worked or am working on.

I can't find my cell phone for the life of me. The last time I used it was at my desk at home. It's neither there, nor in my backpack, nor at work.

My car needs its 30k mile overhaul. As if I have the time to do that now.

To access my 401(k) plan information, I need a PIN number. However, to access their customer service representatives to get a PIN number, I need a PIN number. Anyone see a problem with this?

Saturday, September 28, 2002

To-do list, redeux

Ok, let's see...

  • Get tuxedo measurements from groomsmen

  • Try to contact the few people who didn't receive invites because they've fallen off the face of the planet

  • Finalise caterer contract

  • Make some prototypes of constraint templates

  • Get noise canceling headphones

  • Give Tam feedback on honeymoon plans

  • Order rings

  • Get marriage license

Thursday, September 26, 2002

I am back.

And I'm exhausted.

My grandfather passed away at 1 pm on Saturday. I'm glad that I could be at his bedside.

The funeral was yesterday. I was one of the pallbearers; it was an honor.

I didn't touch a computer for a week, and didn't miss it one bit. Though now I have 450 emails to catch up on, and don't have a clue as to what's going on in the outside world. I also am now way behind on wedding planning. I need to get back into my routine.

I think that things are going ok with my family. They're figuring out what to do with my grandmother, who needs near-round-the-clock care.

Drove back from Chicago yesterday; got to Pittsburgh around 1:20 am.

Most of all, though, I miss my grandfather.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

... well, to-do list will have to wait. I have to head out to Chicago... looks like my grandfather only has a couple days left. :-(

My to-do list

Things seem to be cropping onto this faster than I have been taking them off as of late. Not that I couldn't keep up; I'm just being lazy.

This is my attempt to break my laziness through public humiliation.

  • Get tuxedos

  • Get addresses for remaining invites that were either returned or never sent

  • Call caterer (where's my menu?)

  • Get prescription filled

  • Water plants

  • Make curry

  • Implement MTM query functions for NeoCell

  • Make some prototypes of constraint templates

  • Get wedding program to Pastor Janet

  • Meet with Tom regarding professional development

  • Get noise canceling headphones to drown out loud damn annoying tech writer who sits in front of my office (just had to shut the door... grr...)

  • Make honeymoon plans more firmish (plane tickets?)

Monday, September 16, 2002

I've just about had it with Linux.

It's not as great as the proponents claim. I can't believe an environment this buggy and architecturally flawed will ever be accepted into the mainstream. The NFS implementation is god awful... it's been losing my home directory every 10 minutes this morning. (No problems from our Sun or HP boxen.)

And the device drivers... eaugh.

I'm close to the snapping point and either installing FreeBSD or writing my own microkernel system from scratch.


Saturday, September 14, 2002

It's Saturday... the band is playing... honey, could you ask for more?

Today's A Prairie Home Companion was a reply of a May 2000 show they did at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

Just listening to Garrison Keillor describe Pasadena made me miss it. And Caltech, as well.

And I'm starting to enjoy Nickel Creek (one of the guest bands on the show).

Thursday, September 12, 2002

The social aspect to IRC and fora...

Ok, Josh, post your comment *here*. :-) I'm prolly going to take some flak just for talking about this, but here goes.

It's difficult, if not impossible, to put out an entertainment product (e.g., Avalon) and manage the fan forums (and by this I mean discussion boards, e-mail lists, IRC channels, chat rooms, ...).

Managing a forum when you're the creator makes it (seem) official, regardless of whether this is intended. If (when) the people on it get out of hand, it makes your product seem less polished. Take steps to correct this, and you're accused of trying to stifle "free speech" or manipulate people or other nasty things. It's ends up being a lose/lose situation.

Which brings us to the #avalon "problem." It (the version on Nightstar) was once the official real-time discussion forum. Of course, some people hung around quite frequently, and a community/clique (you choose the connotation) formed. Time passes. Those people have now gotten to know each other. Any newcomer is going to feel, well, like a newcomer. He/she will be at a disadvantage. Some people enjoy being in those shoes, but many do not. If the channel is still "official," this presents an image problem...

I'm beginning to understand why products which have garnered a fanbase -- whether it's Star Wars, Macintoshes, Porches, Sunbeam Toasters, etc. -- do not attempt to have any sort of "official" fan forum.

Now, Keenspot provides a forum for webcomics hosted there. I think it's best to prevent any sort of community/clique developing there for the reasons listed above. But people are going to want to discuss and form social groups, so it's good to provide links to unofficial, fan-run areas (with a huge "this is not official" disclaimer). If someone is turned off by one group, he/she can just go to another. If none of them are appealing, a new one can be formed...

With regard to the Keenspot-hosted Avalon forum, I think it's too late. If Josh tries to move it off-site, he'll be accused of those things mentioned above. Hopefully, this won't be too much heartache since Avalon is due to run its course soon.

Josh's earlier comment (posted to the previous entry) was along the lines of, "I thought that I was the only one with the thorn in my side, and that was 4-5 months ago" [i.e., it's not a thorn in his side anymore] [Sorry, Josh, I've lost the actual text! Let me know if I'm misremembering.]

Anyway, the impression I've gotten is that others want the connection removed because {they don't want it mistaken for an official forum, they don't like Josh, much of what takes place isn't Avalon-specific, just because, ...}. My intent was to provide a technical solution to the "you can't rename an IRC channel" issue. If people want to keep the #avalon name, fine by me.
It has become clear that the naming of the #avalon IRC channel has become a thorn in the side of many.

Before, it was mentioned that renaming a channel is not technically feasible (e.g., infrequent visitors might miss the announcement that it had been moved). However, I believe I have come up with a solution to this problem.

Visit #test30 on The ChannelMover bot will inform you that the channel is no longer in use and mention its successors. You will receive in invite to join #test50 (which on some IRC clients will cause you to automatically join the new channel). After a short delay, you will be kicked off of #test30.

This, of course, does not answer the question of what #avalon (on should be renamed to.

Questions and comments regarding the technical aspects of this are welcome (post a comment to this entry). Anything else will be deleted.

Monday, September 9, 2002

Hm. Interesting morning.

Been doing some build system setup here, trying to reduce the amount of network traffic going to our poor overloaded server. Problem is, compiling a compiler takes an awful long time...

Went to Waterworks Mall to deposit a check and do some browsing (Barnes and Noble, Radio Shack, etc.). Lots of police and media at the Ames store there; seems that an employee was stabbed while trying to stop a shoplifter. No ambulance when I got there, so it must have happened well before I arrived.

Got an Uncle Sam's pizza cheesesteak sub for lunch. Mmm... Not good for my waistline, of course, but my stomach is in bliss.

Tam's sick. We have the filters running full blast in case it's allergies, but it sounds like it's more than that. :-(

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Intel Reduces Q3 Sales Forecast

Santa Clara, CA (DACWIRE) - During a mid-quarter analyst meeting today, Intel
Corporation executives revised their third-quarter sales forecast further
downward in a widely anticipated announcement.

Citing weak demand for personal computers and consumer items, Intel spokeman
Mark Wittenberg stated that the company hopes to sell "six, maybe seven,
Pentium 4 processors this quarter" after slashing prices on their main
product by up to 28%.

Sales of server and low-end processors followed the trend, with Celerons
targeted for eight units sold. Wittenberg declined to forecast sales for
their Itanium server products, but many analysts note that most server
vendors are refusing to use the chip even for free.

Hewlett Packard, which assisted in the early stages of Itanium's development,
reportedly "won't even touch it even when Intel is offering them $10/chip"
to incorporate them in their servers, according to Merrill Lynch analyst
Joe Osha.

Should sales of the Itanium chip continue to remain flat, Intel may be faced
with a tough decision regarding warehouse space. "We're evaluating our
options, but burying them in the Nevada desert seems to be our leading
choice," said Wittenberg.

A call seeking comment from Atari, which faced a similar decision in 1984, was
not immediately returned.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Surprisingly, this actually generates results:

158 sydney /usr/src/linux: find . \( name \*.c -o -name \*.h \) -exec grep -l 'NO!' {} ';'

Monday, August 26, 2002

Signs that it is going to be a bad Mondy

  1. You realize that your car payment is due today (and the bank is an hour away).

  2. You attempt to print a check for said payment, but the printer is out of color ink and refuses to print anything, including an entirely black-ink check.

  3. You cut yourself while shaving. Badly enough, in fact, to require a band-aid on your face.

  4. You dress for work, putting on a button-down shirt, dockers, black socks... and accidentally put sneakers on without realizing it.

Yes. I'm pretty much resigned to writing this Monday off.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Miserable day here. Very wet and rainy, amongst other things.

Computer wouldn't boot this morning. I'm awfully tempted to dump Win 2k -- it seems to get less stable with each supposed critical fix. This morning, winlogon wouldn't run (UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP blue screen). Grr.

We're on the second (and thankfully final) day of our engineering and sales meeting. These suck, because they're planned by sales. They're awful at planning, and what they do plan is utterly pointless. Our group found out that we were supposed to give at update about 5 minutes before the actual presentation.

Heading down to Virginia today. Hopefully the rain won't affect traffic on the turnpike. Heh. Who am I kidding? :-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Playing financial whiz this evening. Or pretending to...

All too often, I get the feeling of, "Dang, are they billing me again, already?" when reviewing my statements. But every time I go and check, sure enough, it's time for them to bill me again.

Except this time.

I discovered that my web site operator (the folks who host on a machine somewhere in the bowels of New Jersey) have been double billing me for the last six months, i.e., billing me twice a month instead of once. It's a small enough amount that it's slipped under my radar screen.

I think it's a bona fide error, though, no malicious intent. There were some changes to my account around that time when it started, so I'm guessing it's operator error. We'll see what they say...

Monday, August 19, 2002



;;  journal.txt

;;  dac's journal entry


;;  Copyright (c) 2002 Neolinear, Inc. All rights reserved.

;;  $Id: journal.txt,v 1.1 2002/08/19 13:22:30 dacut Exp $



Yes.  I think work has finally gotten to me.


Thursday, August 15, 2002

Don't much feel like working, so I'm ripping CDs to MP3s. I have to say, though, that the LAME encoder used by default in CDEx is, well, lame. Fast, yes. But, oy, does it produce an annoying ringing sound.

Using Blade instead, which is much slower but higher quality. Also allows higher bitrates.

I also have an annoying pain in my gut that's been there since last night. It does seem to be focused on my right side, but I wonder if that's just my imagination since someone I know just had his appendix removed. Seems to be diminishing... if this keeps up, though, I'll have to see a doctor or something.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Bah. I'm a wimp. I'm typing this from work.


"Today's air pollution forecast for Pittsburgh: Air Quality: Unhealthy. Pollutant: Ozone." It's also supposed to get up above 90. Ugh.

Maybe I should try working from home today. Hrm...

Monday, August 12, 2002

Return from Paradise...

Well, I'm back. Interestingly, while I was in the air on US Airways, they filed for bankruptcy. Fortunately, they didn't force us off the plane at 33,000 feet.

Reunion was terrific! Sooo many people I haven't seen in ten years. They're all doing well; most are married with one or two kids. Most are still in the San Diego-ish area, but somewhat northward -- many people are fleeing to Temecula due to absurd housing costs in Escondido (where I'm from, about 40 min north of downtown SD).

Just as before, the cheerleader/football people were pleased to see us geeks, and vice-versa. I guess we had an atypical class in that regard. A lot of them were taking honors classes and such, and certainly did not fit the "dumb jock/airheaded cheerleader" stereotype. This pleases me.

Friday, August 9, 2002

Sandy Eggo!

Heading off to visit my ol' stomping grounds. It's my high school class' 10th reunion.

Yes, that makes me an old geezer to many of you. But I'll be an old geezer in San Diego, so :-P

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Wedding invitations: done!

Well, the first batch, anyway, which is everyone we had addresses for. We were over the 1 oz limit, so they're all going out with 60c netstamps rather than the 37c normal stamps.

Lowest zip code: 02139
Highest zip code: 99762
Shortest distance: 0.3 miles, zip code 15232
Longest distance: 7,503 miles, Okinawa, Japan 901-2303

Monday, August 5, 2002

Got my Lord of the Rings DVD today! Yay!

Morning meeting went ok. Jon (NeoCell chief) pointed out some deficiencies in my (very abstract, very high-level, very rough draft) design, which is a good thing. Not what I wanted to hear, of course, but sometimes what I want is not what is good for me. This feedback will help me to refine the design.

Nonetheless, the idea is fundamentally sound, or so it seems. Unusual, yes, and there's a large risk of customers refusing to adopt the idea. It could be a big flop. But what invention that was worth a damn did not have such a risk?

Of course, the riskiness of an idea is not an indication of its goodness. As mathematicians would say, riskiness is a necessary but not sufficient property of a good idea.

Friday, August 2, 2002

I'm not feeling well, and I don't know why.

I've been jittery the last few days, butterflies-in-the-stomach-type of a feeling. On the plus side, this has suppressed my appetite a bit. I'm guessing it's stress-related combined with my excessive intake of coffee.

I'm proposing a fairly dramatic shift in direction of some projects at work, which brings the necessary politicking. Campaigning for a technological decision is not unfamiliar territory to me, but it still wears me down. And then there are the wedding-related items, a trip next weekend, trying to play money-manager with stocks, ... oy.

At least it looks like we're going to get some desperately-needed rain here today:

The National Weather Service says severe thunderstorms may develop
over the head of the Ohio region this afternoon and tonight. Wind
gusts could exceed 60 mph and hail could reach 1 inch in size. If
rain amounts go over 2 inches, there will be ponding of water in
locations with poor drainage.

The high heat and humidity will help develop scattered thunderstorms
by late afternoon. National Weather Service Pittsburgh expects a
front, from the Great Lakes, will move slowly southward across the
head of the Ohio region tonight... and this may help storms to become
better organized and severe.

Consequently, the skywarn net may need to be activated late this
afternoon and tonight. Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I've given up trying to use the Sun workstation on my desk at work. It's painful. Sun equipment used to be prime stuff; not anymore. The cheap PC next to it is much faster.

Though not as fast as it could be. I opened up the disk defragmenter, but, surprisingly, it didn't look like there was much fragmentation. Well, at first. There were only a few spots of blue on the "Analysis Display," while a good 95% of it was solid red.

Then I saw the legend: "(Red) = Fragmented files (Blue) = Contiguous files". Heh... oops.

Monday, July 29, 2002

My headphones broke today. This wouldn't normally be a newsworthy event, except (a) they were a gift from my parents, and (b) I quite liked them, as they were very comfortable to wear and produced a nice sound.

On the up-side, I think I can fix them with a dab of superglue.

I seem to be in a devil-may-care attitude about work as of late. Not that I don't do it. Just that the code I'm writing is architecturally clean, and I'm refusing to bend to our product teams' demands to pollute it so they can integrate it more easily.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

How cool would that be?

Friday, July 26, 2002

Mm. Rain. I like a good rainstorm. Though I might shut down my computer after I write this, since it's a thunderstorm.

Purchased a cheap GPS unit today (should arrive Tuesday-ish). I've wanted to do some mapping for awhile now. Combined with the old laptop I acquired at work and some home-brew software in the works, I should be able to make my own maps, figure out where I got lost, etc. I enjoy wandering.

Not much else. I'll spare my few readers the usual rants about the screwed-up-ness of the NeoCell team and corporate life in general.

Friday, July 19, 2002

The Dow Jones is down more than 250, and was down 300 at one point. Gulp.

Yet I reaffirm my position by putting in a buy order (in an index fund which tracks the market). Either Tam and I will profit at others' irrational market fears when this all blows over, or the U.S. will collapse and any money we have will be worthless in the market, in the bank, or in our pocket.

When viewed this way, there's no question about what to do. Buy. Why everyone else is selling puzzles me.

Anyway... back to work, and no more day trading today. :-)

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Solaris to me: "Idiot. This disk doesn't have the magic number."
Me: "Um... ok. Put it on."
Solaris to me: "Sure. Which of the 27 format commands would you like to try?"
Me: "Well, uh... how about this /sbin/fdisk thing?"
Solaris to me: "WRONG ANSWER!"
head hurty worse
Me: "Uh... how about /sbin/fdisk /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s0?"
Solaris to me: "WRONG ANSWER!"
Me: "Uh... how about /sbin/newfs /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s0?"
Solaris to me: "WRONG ANSWER! Seeing a pattern here?"

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Been awhile since I've posted. I've tried a number of times, but never quite got the motivation to finish an entry.

Anyway, finally got the wedding invitation paper. Now the onus is on me to get them done. Which means we need to figure out wording, finalise guest lists, etc.

I wanted to go visit my brother in Germany some extended-ish weekend in August, but it looks like the >$1500 plane fares will prevent that. Blah.

On the other hand, I did get my ticket for San Diego today. Well, almost. I have a voucher from USAirways for $105 (from a ticket I purchased but never used). You would think that USAirways' booking would be able to deal with that. Nope. I have to go to the ticket counter at the airport today. Bleh.

At least the voucher brings down the airfare to a reasonable level. USAir has the only direct flights from Pittsburgh to San Diego (by virtue of Pittsburgh being one of their hubs), but they charge quite a bit extra for them. It would've been cheaper ($340 vs. $475) for me to fly through Chicago on a comibination (!) of United and American flights. With the voucher, the difference is only $30, which doesn't bother me. I like direct flights, but not at a 30% premium.

Oh. We (Neolinear) made money last quarter! A lot ($1.7M). This surprised us, given the economic downturn. And we didn't even have to cook the books. :-) Even our stingy CFO said it was a good quarter.

On the downside, I've managed to crash Cadence about five or six times between yesterday and today. That's worse than our tool, and they (supposedly) have a real product validation team. EDA tools suck. We make Microsoft look good. Heck, we even make Sun look good.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

I win. For once.

Yesterday, I received permission to use a private Cadence programming interface. This allows me to write code that is better integrated with their stuff and saves me about 8 months worth of work trying to hack together my own equivalent interface.

Today, I just got an additional pair of golden handcuffs slapped on me. Apparently, we had an excellent quarter so they tossed a few thousand stock options my way. It's all on paper, we're not publicly traded, and I don't fully vest on this new set until July 2006, but still... this pleases me.

Monday, July 8, 2002

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who appreciates a clean, consistent architecture.

If the NeoCell team were to build a house, you would have the most immaculate, well-built hallway ever. Every right angle would be 90.0000 degrees. The ceiling would be exactly 10 feet. The walls would be Pantone White 773, with the lighting set so that you could see where you were going, without a dark corner in sight.

But every room off the hallway would be in a different style, with trap doors looming, gaping holes in the ceiling. Doors would be broken off of hinges. To get to the master bedroom, you would need to enter the bathroom, crawl through the medicine cabinet into the kitchen, watch out for the exposed wiring near the sink, and open the refrigerator door to get there. When you finally got there, you would find that someone had parked their car on the bed.

The ironic bit is that the subcontractor for each room would be extremely proud of his work. There would be no inspection; after all, each subcontractor was hand-picked and to have his work second-guessed would be an insult and a wasted expense. A year down the line, the general contractor would wonder why he can't seem to sell that house.

Saturday, July 6, 2002

Grr... Injured my left middle and ring fingers today, making it difficult to type.

Tam and I had fun swimming, though. We were out on Lake Arthur, and came across a huge slab of concrete about four feet below the water. We puzzled at first: was it an old parking lot, or boat ramp?

Tam finally figured it out: it was old U.S. 422. Yep... they just made the lake right over it, without bothering to remove the highway itself.

The injury came while I was clearing away algae trying to find the yellow diving line... I jammed my fingernails right into the slab. Ouch.
Tam and I went to Moraine State Park yesterday and went swimming in Lake Arthur. Muchos fun.

And then I went to Dick's Sporting Goods today, because they were having a sale. And bought, of all things, a wetsuit. Hopefully, this will enable me to continue swimming through September or even October. Oooh...

Well, not this October. I'll probably be frazzled with last-minute wedding stuff. But, eh, it'll be there, waiting for me... :-)

Monday, July 1, 2002

Sunday, June 30, 2002

I'm tired of dealing with wedding plans that mushroom out of control.
I'm tired of people trying to pass the blame.
I'm tired of careless drivers who yak on their cellphones, weaving in and out of lanes, not using their turn signals when they change lanes, and leaving them on when they don't.
I'm tired of control freaks at work who think it's their job to tell others what they can't do.
I'm tired of excuses.

Friday, June 28, 2002

According to their website, the 7-Eleven company has 385 stores in the United States.

For comparison, there are 8,924 in Japan and 2,908 in Taiwan.

I find this somewhat amusing and disturbing.
... I toured these townhouses today, and they're nice. Right on the Allegheny. Five minute drive to work, 30 minute walk.

$300k, though? I think that's a tad high, and I don't think I'd enjoy paying a $2400 mortgage every month.
I'm unhappy when a release build is horked.

I'm downright pissed when I'm the one responsible.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The final numbers aren't in yet, but it looks like the stock markets will close very nearly unchanged. I guess a lot of other people had the same idea I had.

I did put in a buy order for 100 shares of WorldCom at 10c, but they stopped trading on it before the markets even opened. Ah, well.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

I'm beginning to see why some stockbrokers jump out windows when the market crashes. (No, no, I'm nowhere near that mindset, don't worry. :-).

It's disheartening to see your hard-earned nest-egg vanish so easily. I've been watching non-trivial amounts of money vanish every day now for the last five weeks or so. Despite spending no money and working ten hours, I end up poorer when the sun sets.

Of course, you have to keep in mind that it works both ways. During boom times, I can sit and home on my lazy butt and make money.

In related news, I'm none too happy about WorldCom misplacing $3.8 billion dollars. That's not going to be good for the market tomorrow. (On the other hand, I already have my buy order in place for the index fund I invest in, so... :-)

Monday, June 24, 2002

Hm. The light fixture above my desk is flickering, and the wires are hot.

It doesn't take my EE skills to figure out that this is A Bad Thing™.

Is there any way to get objective information about what Arafat really does? Some sources claim that he supports terror, others say that the terror attacks are not connected to him, and still others are mum on the issue.

It seems that the informed sources, when it comes to the Middle East, are anything but unbiased. I'll have to resign myself to continued skepticism on the reporting on this issue.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

I am so sore. But quite happy.

Just got back from a weekend trip to a cottage out near Ligonier. Went swimming last night and this morning in a pool/pond (constantly getting fresh stream water, and has all kinds of random fish in it). Given that I don't usually swim and don't get as much exercise as I should, I will be sore tomorrow. Eh.

Also had lunch with Tam and Alli (Tam's friend whose family owns the cottage) at the Ligonier Tavern (which was a surprisingly good restaurant).

Friday, June 21, 2002

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

I think we're about to be bought by Cadence.

We got a strange e-mail from our HR director/VP of Finance regarding stock options, and how, from time to time, we should evaluate whether we should exercise our options and purchase stock. I thought nothing of it at the time.

This morning, however, Cadence sent out a press release regarding a customer success with NeoCell, one of our products (Cadence markets and sells NeoCell). In this press release, there is not a single mention of Neolinear, and no mention of NeoCell being a registered Neolinear trademark. Management is brushing this off as an oversight. In my experience, though, marketing droids tend to be obsessive about making notes about trademarks.

I don't want to work for Cadence. They tend to squash any innovative ideas, internally. Their turnover rate is abysmal -- most of their good coders left.

Monday, June 17, 2002

scaryr: I don't trust sushi at all
scaryr: It's got a real mean streak.
kangadac: If it's mean, um... that's not right.
kangadac: It's raw, yes, but not *alive*.
scaryr: I still don't trust it.
scaryr: Sushi betrayed my great-uncle, actually.
kangadac: How so?
scaryr: Sold him to the Russians for a piece of tin.
kangadac: You sure you haven't been hitting the liquor cabinet?
Woohoo! Tamara () now has a LiveJournal!

Hm. This means I can get in trouble on here now... :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Just started a new LJ community. Hop on over to Questionable eBay Items.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Happiness is...

A box of Barnum's Animal Crackers and Irish creme coffee.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Science Fair Volcanoes...

...had nothing on me last night.

Tamara got me a root beer kit for my birthday last December, and I finally got around to starting a batch a couple weekends ago. We tried some on Sunday. It was awful. I think I didn't put enough sugar in, and the yeast started fermenting.

I decided to rectify this last night. I opened the bottle, put a funnel in, and started pouring sugar in.

Instant 4-foot geyser. Root beer *everywhere*. One girlfriend rolling on the floor, unable to stop laughing.

So, yeah. That was one pissed off colony of yeast. I'll have the last laugh yet, though, when I enjoy my root beer.

In other ponderables -- why is nearly *everyone* on my LJ friends list depressed? *Hugs* from Tam and myself. Cheer up!

Monday, June 10, 2002

Just after I got MorningGloryCam running and stable, my other computer (the one I usually use for e-mail and such) dies.

Fortunately, it's fixable. A voltage regulator chip was not glued to the board properly, and time and heat caused it to lift right off (and relocate itself at an odd angle). Unfortunately, I don't have the proper tools for this. As a result, DigiKey is now a few hundred dollars richer at my expense.

I'll be spending my time on this computer until Thursday or so.

Sunday, June 9, 2002

Saturday, June 8, 2002

Friday, June 7, 2002

Well, it seems that CowbellTiara is a personal project by professional artist Akitu Taira. Pero, one of my office mates, translated the pages for me.

My boss is out of town next week, so that means I can show up to work anytime I want. Wait. I already do that. Hrm.

Oh, and it looks like CORBA won out. Time to dust off the CORBA books.

CowbellTiara Banner Image

First, does anyone know what CowbellTiara is? I love the pictures I've seen from that page. Unfortunately, all of the information is in Japanese. (Hm, maybe I can get Pero to translate for me...)

Secondly, I've become the inadvertent sysadmin.

We have a ~1 terabyte directory, /zone, in which quotas are not enforced. So I've been dumping a lot of useful utilities into /zone/dacut. However, some of the soon-to-be-released items I'm working on are starting to rely on said utilities. Having software builds depend on the state of a user's directory is a no-no!

As a result, I started moving various items into their own directories. Then people started coming by. "Dave, do you know why {gcc,makeinfo,mozilla,etc.} isn't working?"

Heh. Turns out that word has gotten out that having /zone/dacut in your path is a useful thing.

Well, I'm spending the day recompiling stuff into proper directories. They needed to be updated, anyway. And the system I had for doing so was unmanageable. Some good will come out of this.

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Hm. I desperately need to fix this ad-hoc RPC* mechanism I've created with something more standardised. The only problem is which standard?

There's CORBA, SOAP, DCOM, RMI, SunRPC, etc., which all have their pluses and minuses. The problem is that each one has what appears to be a fatal negative for this project. Grr.

*RPC = remote procedure call. This allows parts of a program to run on a different machine in a way that is (ideally) transparent to the programmer.

Monday, June 3, 2002


Today is timecard day. I hate timecard day.

Well, I used to. You see, we fill out our timecards using a web application. Each time you submit an entry, it takes about 10-20 seconds for the server to process. There are at least three entries per day (clock in time, clock out time, and then you bill your time to one or more projects). This means that it takes upwards of an hour to fill out the timecard.

Since all my time is billed to DARPA, anyway, I have since written a script which automatically fills out the timecard for me. Even better, it randomizes the start and stop times slightly, filling in between 9 and 10 hours (which is reasonably accurate for the time I spend here -- anything past 8 is ignored, anyway, since I'm an exempt employee, so...).

Sunday, June 2, 2002

So they do flip coins.

Here's how the National Weather Service has created this week's forecast for Pittsburgh:

335 PM EDT SUN JUN 2 2002






Friday, May 31, 2002

An entry in Tom's () journal made me start playing with MapQuest this morning. So I started mapping out ridiculously long trips from Pittsburgh (to San Diego, Calgary, etc.).

I figured, hey, lives way out there. I entered Fairbanks, Alaska into MapQuest and...

The location you entered cannot be routed, because it is not close enough to a road. Please try modifying your location.

Hm. I tried entering in other addresses (University of Alaska at Fairbanks, etc.)... always the same thing.

Sorry, pbee... looks like someone stole all the roads in Fairbanks.

Monday, May 27, 2002

On second thought...

Conjecture 4a:
It is impossible to construct an expression language which is not a limiting factor by conjecture 3.

Corollary 4b:
It is impossible to construct a program which fulfills all three characteristics.
I'm recording this as a reference for myself when I wake up tomorrow. (Conjectures ranked in order of how certain I am of them, from most to least)

Conjecture 1:
Of the set -- short, powerful, maintainable -- all computer programs exhibit at most two such characteristics.

Conjecture 2:
Programs which exhibit zero or one such characteristic have their programmer as a limiting factor.

Conjecture 3:
Programs which exhibit two such characteristics have their expression language as a limiting factor.

Conjecture 4: (which I would like to disprove)
It is impossible to construct a program which fulfills all three characteristics.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Quidam, Quidam,
la nuit recule
D'un rêve à l'autre tu valses.
Du creux de toi
c'est bien le mal
qui dresse tes silences.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Sigh... I suppose it had to happen someday.
U.S. Protests Mexi-Canadian Overpass

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Some might accuse me of being obsessed with Quidam and Cirque du Soleil as of late. To them I say: "Guilty as charged."

The characters: a young girl fumes, she has already seen everything there is to see, and her world has lost all meaning. Her anger shatters her little world, she finds herself in the universe of Quidam. She is joined by a joyful companion as well as another character, more mysterious, who will attempt to seduce her with the marvelous, the unsettling, and the terrifying.

If only I could go to the universe of Quidam.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

Every now and then, I find something truly bizarre on Amazon...

Friday, May 17, 2002

I'm completely brain-fried. I've had my nose down in this code for so long and I need to come up for some air.

But I'm happy with it. Not only does it work, but it's elegant and reads well. I'm one of those people who demands elegance in my code, and have been known to rewrite thousands of lines of working code to achieve it.

You'd think I was talking about a poem or somesuch.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Heh... aggressive, aren't they?

Included at the bottom of some pr0n spam I got...

You have received this email because you have DOUBLE optioned to receive a free porn membership through a partners website and agreed to accept adult offers and specials.

How does one double option to receive a free porn membership? "Spam me, baby... spam me again!"

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Dumb and dumber

I feel like I'm losing my capacity to learn new things.

First, I held a meeting this morning (well, I was forced to, by upper mismanagement) which didn't cover much ground. It felt like my brain was unable to hold onto the topic; I was parsing sentences without understanding them.

Now, I'm trying to read some stuff on Mathematica's MathWorld site; for example, this discussion on fractal dimensions. I *know* that I was able to understand this, once upon a time. I could crank out problem sets regarding proofs of such concepts. Now I see a bunch of symbols and terms which form no concrete idea in my mind.

Perhaps I'm just losing my discipline -- that is, there's no incentive for me to study this, so I'm not putting the effort that used to come naturally into it. I'm worried, though, that it's deeper than that.
I must be moving slower in my old age or something. I intended to leave work a bit earlier than normal, say, 6-ish. Yet I was still the last one out, around 7:30-ish. Tam got home from gymnastics around what I thought was 8, but was really 9. Ate dinner somewhere in there, caught the tail end of a movie on T.V., wrote up a few bills, and set the oven up for its self-cleaning cycle. And it's now 12:40. Oy.

Let's see... that's 6 1/2 hours. I'd've sworn it was only 2 or so.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

So, um... Verizon has decided that it's too much trouble to actually *send* me a phone bill every month. They just enrolled me in their "convenient" on-line billing system and have stopped sending paper bills.

It wouldn't be so bad if (1) I didn't get 404s navigating through their secure site, (2) they hadn't decided to shift the billing schedule so that this "month" only has 20 days, and (3) payments through their online site would post to your account within a week. Sheesh.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

I saw Quidam today (Cirque du Soleil touring show). It was absolutely incredible. Must buy the soundtrack. BTW, Aki, they're heading to Boston in the August timeframe.

Not much else to say. I'm working on a home-brew neural net project. It's taking its time.

Friday, May 10, 2002

I'm currently trying to factor RSA-576 (a 174 digit number).

Not that I enjoy factoring huge numbers. I'm just trying to win the $10,000 prize.

It's a pretty futile effort on my part, though.

Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Matsushita is developing something called Brain-on-a-Chip. It sounds quite interesting, even if the name is a bit spooky.

I'm getting a bit worried about the fact that American companies aren't willing to take risks like this. We abandoned fuzzy logic and robotics because they didn't get a significant return on investment in 18 months. The Japanese, on the other hand, persisted and are now starting to come up with some quite innovative products (Aibo, etc.) which we simply lack the expertise to produce.

This is also the same timeframe which saw the demise of the research houses of Bell Labs, PARC, HP, and -- just a couple weeks ago -- a good chunk of IBM (which is selling their storage systems division to Hitachi -- a field they invented, for crying out loud).
This drawing algorithm is turning out to be much more complicated than I had first expected.

Imagine 10-15 colored pebbles laying on a sheet of paper in an orderly fashion. You're given a felt-tipped marker and are asked to group together all the blue pebbles by drawing circles and/or arcs. The result would look something like:


I'm now trying to do this programmatically. The code already knows where the blue ones are, where all the other ones are, etc., so there's no identification that needs to be done. But trying to code this behaviour is turning out to be rather frustrating.
Nice, quiet day at work.

The fact that our e-mail server is down is entirely coincidental. Really.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002

For some inexplicable reason, I'm exhausted today and every line of code I write is utter crap.

I'm also rather annoyed with Cadence's product validation team. Finding bugs is good. Flaming the overworked developers about them is bad.

From: Thomas Sarno
To: Dave Cuthbert , Phil K. Yoon
CC: , Susan Raam , Karun Sharma

Ah, finally! we are beginning to look at computer solutions to identifying and correcting problems in a more automated way than having ME (the unknowing virgen) try functions, one-by-one, guess syntax, etc., etc., etc. I applaud this type of thinking, and congratulate and encourage the individual who has originated it!

This was the type of solution I proposed in my question #4, days ago: at least give us the input statements, so that we can more intelligently guess what the software will accept, rather than the current MANY trials-and-MANY-errors, which gets us a LOT of attention here by MANY people at MANY levels, all with the same pleasant, interesting query: "You're LATE testing the Neolinear
Constraint APIs! WHEN WILL YOU BE DONE?!!!!! GIVE US A DATE!!!!"

Please, guys. There's obviously problems with the docs that could be solved fairly quickly: fix the busted syntax (test it ....! :^0 ), and then stick in examples. Circular definitions yield no information to the uninformed: "The execscript is the name of the execscript to use." Thanks! Now, what IS it? What does it look like? Where is it located? Does it have a NAME?

Please take a little of your precious time to drop a few pearls of your wisdom before the great unwashed masses who are eager to learn and to pay big buck$ to you .......


-----Original Message-----
From: Dave Cuthbert []
Sent: Fri 5/3/2002 7:37 AM
To: Phil K. Yoon
Cc: Thomas Sarno;; Susan Raam; Karun Sharma
Subject: Re: ANSWER: pinfixedside

Hrm. These latest items all appear to be issues with the SKILL
parameter type templates on the creationProc lambda functions.
Unfortunately, it's rather easy to shift by one on them, and it appears
that I did just that.

I might try to catch a cycle or two of John Gianni's time to see if
there's a SKILL lint check that can be created to try to catch errors
like this.


Monday, May 6, 2002

How is it that "steal a jumbotron" matches no documents in Google?

Sunday, May 5, 2002


Heh... well, I'm trapped tomorrow. The Pittsburgh Marathon causes road closures forming an island, and I live inside that island (near mile 14 on the map).

Interestingly, all three main bridges out of the city southbound will be closed or inaccessible from the north due to construction and the marathon. Note that the airport lies to the south. Hmm...

Thursday, May 2, 2002

Bleh. It is entirely too warm in my office. But that's what happens when you stick three guys and five machines into a tiny room with little ventilation.

I had a strange nightmare last night. Something about visiting my brother, whose apartment complex had an 11pm curfew enforced by small robots which patrolled around. They detected your presence using a microwave system which, when aimed at you, caused you to shake and get uncomfortably warm, even if you were inside the apartment.

His cat knocked over some cards on the floor, which set the enforcer bots off. A supervisor came by to make sure he didn't have any guests there, so I hid behind a door in the bedroom. He acted chummy, but I could tell it was forced. And rather than search the apartment himself, he set his two kids loose, looking under the bed, etc.

Very big-brother-ish. Very unnerving.
Whoa... a three-way tie for first place in the NL West. And the Padres are only a game out. This has the potential for a rather interesting race this year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2002

Oy... I'm extremely tired.

We had the meeting on how to have effective meetings today. It was actually significantly better than I had expected. However, I took unfair advantage of it: from now on, I'm refusing to attend meetings which don't have an agenda. This will either help keep the meetings short and succint, or keep me away from meetings. :-)

But I had to get to work extremely early for this, which meant cutting my sleep back. So I took a nap when I got home... and slept from 7pm to 10pm.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Too tired for a real entry. So I'll leave you with this.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Tam and I had our first premarital counseling session with my pastor last night. It was actually fun; we got to talk about all kinds of things related to the wedding.

I was caught completely off guard when asked which readings I wanted. I guess I had assumed that these were set by the church. So, our homework assignment for the next session is to figure out which readings we want (one Old Testament, one Psalm, one gospel, and one epistle; sorry, Hokie, no Revelations :-P).

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Viewsonic sucks. MBNA rocks.

Hm. My credit card was declined for the first time today. Odd. I always pay it off every month, and have a ridiculous credit line (almost half my yearly salary... yeah, as if I would buy a car and put it on my card).

Anyway, I got on the phone. Turns out their fraud detector was tripped. Interesting. The automated system starts listing off the problematic charges. Ok, the first one is fine. Um... no, I don't recognise those other four attempted today *at all*. So I press no, and am connected to a human.

Turns out that all five are from Viewsonic (I placed an order with them yesterday). I told the rep that one of them is fine (dollar amount matches my order), but the other four (one charge and three authorisations) are wrong. She quickly removes all of them, reactivates my card, makes a note on Viewsonic's file, and tells me to contact Viewsonic.

So I give them a call. First, I'm on hold forever. Then the guy who answers is a tad rude, and clearly doesn't believe me. He also insists that the billing attempts were accurate and standard practice. Finally, he tells me that the item I had ordered isn't even in stock.

After some arguing, I gave up and left it at that. If they're going to make it that hard for me to spend my money, I'll just take it elsewhere.

Kudos, though, to the AI fraud detection system that MBNA has in place. It zapped all of the suspicious charges before they could reach my account, saving me much headache later on.
Ok. I could understand being fascinated by this for an hour if I were a medical doctor. But I'm not.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Whee! I have a new workstation now. It's a Blade 100, so not as fast as my old Ultra 10, but, eh. At least it has SunOS 5.8 rather than 5.6, and it's running in 64-bit mode, which is nice.

But they gave me a Unix style keyboard instead of a PC style one. Arrgh! And the repeat rate is too slow (and only root can change it on a Sun... sigh). Ah, well. I'd use my PC-style Sun 5 keyboard, but Blades need a USB keyboard. Guess it's time to place an order with Sun...
Heh. I check my friends list today to find an icon flipping me off. How... interesting. I suppose my day can only get better from here. :-)

Sunday, April 7, 2002

So... it's getting to be that time of year again. The lease: to renew, or not to renew, that is the question.

First, the rent at my current place is probably going to skyrocket since property taxes took a huge jump. Staying at my current place will probably be out of the question.

Second, you can only get year-long leases in Pittsburgh. I'm not convinced that I can tolerate another full year here. I desperately want to head back to someplace west of the Rockies, preferably back to San Diego.

Third, the wedding is in October. And Tamara likes her job, and it's not one she can telecommute for. And she isn't terribly keen of going west of the Rockies.

So... I guess I'm stuck here. Now, as for finding another place to live... well, I'd like to stop throwing away money every month. But buying a place here? If the houses and neighborhoods weren't bad enough, the fact that it could collapse into an unmapped, abandoned mine at any moment and insurance won't cover a penny of it...

Oh, and I get to fly out for a friend's funeral on Friday. Yeah, I'm not in a terribly chipper mood.

Saturday, April 6, 2002

In memory of Paige Blankenburg

>I wanted to let you know that my sister, Paige, passed
>away early this morning at 1 A.M. after a valiant
>effort to save her life.
>My parents and I were able to be there and say
>good-bye to her. Paige looked beautiful and peaceful.
>I know that your thoughts, prayers, and well wishes
>were hard at work, and I could feel them with us.

Goodbye, Paige. You will be missed.

Friday, April 5, 2002

Hm. It came to my attention today that I'm working in the skunkworks.

But it's nothing evil, sinister, or bad. Just confidential. Well, ok. Maybe a hint of sinister, as it will force engineering out of their comfort zone. But it's for the better good! Honest!

I've had my nose buried way too deep in work the last two weeks. I desperately need to come up for air this weekend. Maybe remind Tamara that I'm still alive. :-)
To whomever it was who decided that 64k was an acceptable limit for the size of Java methods:

You are an idiot.

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

I should put something here.

But I truly enjoy reading and replying to others' journals so much more.

Wednesday, March 27, 2002

Oh, hey. I have Friday off. I completely forgot about that.

So tomorrow's my Friday. Cool.
Bleh. Now I remember why I don't log onto #avalon anymore.

Sunday, March 24, 2002


Just did my taxes, which involved a major reorganisation of my desk and writing a check for almost $2,000 to the City of Arm Pit... er, Pittsburgh.

And now I can't find my securid token, so I can't log in to work.


Saturday, March 23, 2002

Back alley geekdom

This site just has danger written all over it. Very seedy manufacturing operation in China.

And, yet, I can't stop browsing through it.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

In the same vein as polarbee...

What the... ?

I swear it was in the 50's when I left this morning.

Now it's below freezing, and the snow is sticking to the ground. And it's supposed to get down to 14 tonight.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Why do I have this sudden urge to learn Latin?

Monday, March 18, 2002

This entry intentionally left blank.

Friday, March 15, 2002

We have all day meetings on April 30 and May 1 at work.

They're bringing in someone to train us.

The topic is how to have effective meetings.

I only wish I were kidding.

Monday, March 11, 2002

Straw poll time.

The servers at work are pretty much dead and/or dying. I haven't been able to use my Unix box for more than an hour so far (I got in at 9 am, FWIW).

Should I go home and/or do other random fun-ish things, or should I be a good corporate drone and stare at my screen?
Released Melbourne 0.1 last night. That was good. They're building NeoCell 3.1 with it now.

Melbourne would rock your world, if only it weren't something as unsexy as an API for annotating constraints onto an analog circuit. ;-)

But it's released, and the NeoCell team can go find something else to bitch about now.

Today will be a flick day at work. Meaning I will shoot a few hoops, browse the web, perhaps do some wedding planning, and toy with a new project I have some interest in.

Thursday, March 7, 2002

I am *this* close to going postal on the next person who walks into my office with a stupid request.

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

Another DDJ entry...

Ok, this one disturbed me. From Ed Nisley's Embedded Corner:

You wake in a cold, shaking sweat at a dark, early hour. Today is the final exam of a course that's required for graduation. You remember registering for the class and buying the books, but somehow you never attended the lectures or did the assignments. Suddenly, it's the end of the year and you won't graduate because you screwed up.

The fact that you've been out of school for, oh, a quarter-century or so has no effect on the intensity of The Dream. It's the same heart-stopping jolt every time.

Sound familiar? Every techie I've asked has experienced some version of The Dream. It rarely involves a major course, but the class is always required and inexplicably overlooked. Each person I asked seems relieved to discover that someone else has The Dream, too.

Liberal arts majors have nightmares, but generally not The Dream. There's something different about an engineering eduation or, perhaps, about the people who become engineers. They know, deep down inside, with absolute certainty, that failure is their fault, that the universe isn't forgiving, that it's their responsibility to Get Things Right.

Oof. I couldn't believe it when I read this. It feels like there's someone in my head, watching my thoughts-- I have that exact dream about 3-4 times per month. I'm never quite sure what course it is, but it's usually a Hum or some seminar course or E 10 (technical speaking), which I placed out of. It's never, oh, EE 14, EE 52, Ph 2, AMa 95, etc... those required, slap-you-upside-the-head, do-all-the-homework-and-study-your-butt-off-and-only-get-a-C courses.


Monday, March 4, 2002

Ah, Mike Swaine

I always enjoy reading his columns; this month's "Swaine's Flames" hits the mark perfectly:

I met a girl who sang the blues
and I asked her for some HP news,
but she just smiled and gently coughed.

I went down to the gadget store
where I'd bought oscilloscopes before,
but the man there said they'd spun that business off.

And in the boardroom the children screamed,
directors cried, and Carly schemed,
but not a word would they say--
about the old HP Way.

And the two men I admired most,
their fabled legacy is toast,
their business on a downhill coast,
the day that HP died.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

I miss...

Well, a lot of things.

I've been having a lot of dreams about Australia lately. I must live there, someday, hopefully soon. It's hard to describe, really. Just that, on my visit last year, I felt right at home.

I miss late night chats with Caltech friends on the rooftops of random buildings. I miss eating at The Pantry in downtown L.A. at 4 am. And singing, with Donna playing the piano. And all the other intense wackiness of that atmosphere.

I also miss having my own electronics bench. And having access to the EE stockroom, 24/7.

I'm longing for wide open spaces. Pittsburgh, aside from being miserable and dreary, is much more closed-in than it needs to be.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

I didn't really read this, did I?

E-mail I got in response to a question I posed about the design of our core software...

Dave Cuthbert wrote:
> I'm not sure what neoCellRefreshSchematicInfo does. Are you caching the
> results from _lxElaborateSchematic? (This isn't a good idea, despite
> its slowness...)

Yes, it caches the results from _lxElaborateSchematic.
Each example function calls neoCellRefreshSchematicInfo
at the beginning hoping that a user does not modify the
schematic while the function is being executed. ( which
isn't so bad I think. because most functions can be
finished in a few seconds at tops )

We're hoping the user does screw up to ensure the correctness of our software?

. I'm just reaffirming that our NeoCell team can't design its way out of a paper bag.

Monday, February 25, 2002

Bleh. I'm hungry, and I should go grab lunch, but I can't get motivated to move from my desk.

This is odd.
Well, got out of that meeting without it being held.

To recap: I interviewed someone on Friday for a position in my group (which currently consists of two people, myself and my manager -- we're looking to expand). Had the basics of the knowledge we were looking for, but in-depth was less certain. He also lacked some of the basic programming knowledge we generally expect, sending up a few red flags.

On the other hand, he seemed fairly bright and adaptable, and was generally a nice guy.

Since he was interviewing for my group, my opinion weighed a bit more than others. Generally, I have a pretty good idea of whether someone is a thumbs-up or thumbs-down. In this case, I was quite uncertain.

I don't like having so much influence on someone's future without being more certain. I especially dislike telling nice people no.

In the end, enough people gave him a thumbs-down to make the meeting unnecessary.

Next meeting (10 am): Angry-ish manager does not like our imposing of a deadline (Rodney, my manager, has decided that I need a firm date by which my work with this other group will be completed, so they can't keep tacking on requirements and getting my labour for free). At the moment, I'm hoping to duck it. We'll see.

Friday, February 22, 2002

Ahh... Friday...

Did one of those four hours of sleep things last night. Which is luxurious for you college folk, yes, but I'm an old man, see...

Summary of the last 24 hours:
7 pm - 4 am: alternate between researching scripting languages, watching the women's figure skating finals, and writing slides for my talk.
4.30 am - 8.30 am: sleep.
8.30 am - 9.15 am: get ready for and commute to work.
9.15 am - 10 am: solve a number of build issues (seems like a number of people's systems decided to barf at the same instant).
10 am - 11 am: beat laptop and projector into submission.
11 am - 12 noon: interview someone.
12 noon - 1 pm: give successful talk (with projector going on the fritz midway through).
1 pm - 2 pm: more build issues.
2 pm - 2.30 pm: post talk on web site.

Hectic. But I survived, and it actually went fairly well. Yay me. :-) It's just good to know that I still have what it takes to do a kickass job even when sleep-deprived and under a lot of pressure. Every now and then, the ol' self-esteem likes a boost like that.

Monday, February 18, 2002

I couldn't resist...

I Am A: Lawful Neutral Elf Ranger Mage

Lawful Neutral characters believe in the triumph of law and order above all else. It does not matter whether the leader is for good or evil; the leader will be followed, because the order they provide is the most important thing.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Mages harness the magical energies for their own use. Spells, spell books, and long hours in the library are their loves. While often not physically strong, their mental talents can make up for this.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy of NeppyMan!

Advance Australia Fair!

Yay! Our second gold medal, won by Alisa Camplin in aerials! Good on ya, Alisa!

(Ok, I'm not really Australian... but that doesn't mean I can't celebrate, dammit.)

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Must... get... out... of... Pennsylvania... before... it... sucks... my... life... force... out...

Thursday, February 14, 2002

Almost all mistakes are correctable. Some corrections take time, others cost money. Mine cost $430 today.

(Blew up my processor last night due to mishandling while transferring it back and forth between motherboards. Bought two processors from CompUSA (ugh) so that I don't repeat my mistake. Paid too much, but they're the only ones in the area who carry stuff like that and aren't fly-by-night. Why don't we have Fry's here?)

(Oh, and for the curious: I blew up a Duron 850; replacements are a Duron 1200 and Athlon 1800XP).

Friday, February 8, 2002

For some reason, the thought popped into my head this morning: "Hmm... it might be a good idea to go back to grad school and get that PhD." This happened shortly after I woke up, and hasn't dissipated from my mind yet.

Am I going to be bothered by this until I either die or get that ", Ph.D." appended to my name? Why do I care? I shouldn't, and I keep saying I don't... but deep down, there's something in me that does.

I actually do have a few good ideas for a thesis, and, if I had Rob as my advisor, I'd probably get done with it in 2-3 years (I've already gotten an M.S., so a lot of the basic stuff has been taken care of). And I could continue to get a paycheck from Neolinear while doing so...

Anyway... Tamara's going skiing today. She wanted me to come, but... oy, do I dislike the activity. Something about the idea of throwing myself from the top of a hill with large sticks strapped to my feet that turn in every direction except the one I want them to be in, where the object is to attain some deadly speed... eaugh. And don't get me started about the ski lifts. The height is fine... it's the whole getting off bit that I have problems with.

Friday, February 1, 2002

Oh, and we're getting some freaky weather here. It started off around 60F today, and is now down to 42F. Intense winds (I'm watching some birds having trouble coping right now). Sunny earlier, but now it's completely overcast.

Even more odd: the fierce winter storm that plowed through the Midwest and is now hitting New England missed us completely.
Being able to shower at work when you feel kinda scuzzy is rather nice.

Today's Friday. I haven't written a line of code this week. Combined with the end of last week, that amounts to [thinks] 8 consecutive days of zero useful productivity.

Oh, I did generate work. Lots of pages of stuff that I was required to do, actually. Just nothing useful in my mind.

Ah, well, lesson learned. Avoid interacting with the NeoCell team at all costs. You will be Dilberted if you do so.

OTOH, I have been writing code for some of my other hobby-projects. I also have something in mind for Carn... heh heh :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Hm. At what point did I deem it an acceptable response to a user complaint to just hit "forward" on Netscape and type in someone else's name?

I am amused by my newfound state of apathy. :-)

I haven't written a line of code for work in the last week. Yeah, I've been in documentation hell. Lots o' specs and the like, all talking about the code that I'm going to write. A page to describe what eight lines of code--five of them comments--will do.

And people wonder why the industry average is five to ten lines of code per developer per workday.

Friday, January 25, 2002

I just discovered that the Fox Chapel Giant Eagle (grocery store) carries sushi! Made by an honest-to-god sushi chef every morning! And it's actually quite good!

Exclamation points!

Who would have thought that something like this would ever exist in Pittsburgh?

Thursday, January 24, 2002


>Which Eva character are you most like? Quiz by .

I didn't think I'd relate to any of the characters until I got the result. Yeah, I think Ritsuko fits.

Feeling a bit lethargic today, but otherwise not too bad.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Oh, am I ever pissed...

I have obviously made some powerful supernatural being angry today.

Let's see... where to start?

First, let me describe the apartment building in which I live. There are three floors, two apartments to a floor. For some reason, the apartments are numbered 16, 17, 26, 27, 36, and 37. 16 and 17 are occupied by grouchy retired couples. The rest are 20-somethings.

The guy in 16 steals my paper every morning and is completely unashamed of it. We've finally resorted to getting two papers every morning. The lady in 17 gets angry if you're doing laundry and she happens to want to do laundry at the same time. Weird, but I've come to live with it.

I had to mail off three pieces of mail today, so I stuck them in the cracks on the mailbox, like everyone does. Well, the lady in either 16 or 17 has decided she doesn't like this and has resorted to leaving me nasty notes and throwing my mail on the floor. For some reason, this made me rather annoyed. Anyway, I picked up the mail and dropped it off at the post office on my way to work. It's only five extra minutes, but, dammit, I should be able to send mail from my apartment!

Anyway, I get to work... check e-mail... hmm. What's this? Oh, looks like Cadence has been working on something that will completely screw up what I was doing. I'm just getting this spec today -- it was written on January 26, 2001, for crying out loud. Even worse, a salesguy promised a customer that we'd have this done by April; Cadence won't release their version until June.

So I can't continue to work on what I've been doing (won't pass Cadence's review), yet I can't take Cadence's vapourware and deliver it to the customer. I am s-c-r-e-w-e-d.

Friday, January 18, 2002

Bad Machine Day

I was working from home this morning when my connection blinked out, wiping out about an hour's worth of work. Grr.

Anyway, I came in to work to find my machine disconnected. Grabbed the sysadmins, forced them to get it hooked back up to the network. They said they reused the port because the light wasn't on.


Apparently, my machine has decided to go into a save state, sleep, reboot, restore state loop. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easy way out of this (it's a Sun box) at the moment.

I think I'll just write the day off as a loss.

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Hm. The NeoCell team is having a meeting to discuss whether to approve/go forward with the spec that I wrote, but neglected to invite me. Heh. I should be insulted, but in reality I'm glad. One less meeting for me to go to, and it's not like they have any power to approve/disapprove the spec. Plus, the fact that I'm not there makes me less accountable.

Woohoo! Go lack of accountability! :-)

In other news, Tamara and I have a site and date for the wedding! October 26th of this year, at Hidden Valley Four Seasons Resort. You can take a look at the pictures we took of the site here. Also got a dress for Tamara last night; pictures of that are here: [1] [2] [3].

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Hm. You know, life would be a lot easier if there were no managers around.

My manager is fairly good, though. He buffers the "input" from other managers well. Even so, it is a bit easier when he's not around; then, when other managers pull me into a meeting and try to get me to agree to work on this "little side project" for their group, I can just say, "Well, I can't agree to anything without making sure Rodney's ok with it first." And then the issue gets put off a bit (sometimes indefinitely).

When Rodney *is* around, then the issue has to be resolved, and there are usually compromises involved. It becomes one of those days when you feel like you would've gotten more done if you hadn't gone to work in the first place.

Today is quickly becoming one of those days, unfortunately. Maybe I'll leave early... hmm...

Sunday, January 13, 2002

It's been a long hard day fighthing with pdflatex, but I finally have the pretty specification document I've long sought.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

Heh... we just had a company-wide sales meeting (with a talk given by Graham, one of the head Cadence marcom guys). After hearing their sales strategy, I likened it to drug dealing, which Graham agreed with.

I guess that means I'm not really a software developer, but a designer drug developer. Interesting.

Wednesday, January 9, 2002

One more thing: these LiveJournal icons don't quite match my actual mood. :-) Yeah, I'm drained, but in more of a "I've spent a lot of energy and need to regain it" sense. Not in a "oh, woe is me" sense.
Today was one of those days where I actually did get a lot of work done, but didn't quite finish any particular task. That's annoying.

Was supposed to pick Tamara up at 7:30 tonight but got wrapped up in work and didn't manage to leave until 7:35. By the time I got there, it was 7:50 and she had already started walking home. Oops.

It's only 11:20, but I'm already quite tired. Probably a good thing, though, since I have an 8:30 meeting tomorrow morning. So I guess I'll just drift off...

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

I was having quite the productive day until I got dragged into a meeting at 2:30. I feel so... Dilbertish.

It was a meeting with a lot of silent pauses. One where you think about everything you're going to say, because if you say the wrong thing you'll come to regret it later. I hate being asked to dumb down my work so that others can interface to it more easily.

I think the end result was a compromise that will leave everyone unhappy.

Monday, January 7, 2002

One of the unfortunate things about being out of school/academia: you're no longer marching toward a single, clear objective. If you're not careful, you end up doing the drunken walk example from statistical physics: yeah, you've been doing a lot of walking, but because you're going in random directions you haven't gotten very far.

Ah, well. I have some ideas on how to break this spell... problem is, I need others to buy into my ideas. Dammit, Jim, I'm an engineer, not a salesman!

In the meantime, I'm going to relax with a cup of Earl Grey and watch the snow outside.

Thursday, January 3, 2002

The recession is SkyMall's fault!

Not really sure why, but I took the copy of SkyMall assigned to my seat from my Continental flight.

I have to say, though, that SkyMall is (was?) a bit of marketing genious. I mean, really... who would ever buy the overpriced and useless (but shiny!)... well, junk in there?

A $59 fountain pen, in an era where most people won't even touch a ballpoint pen, preferring e-mail.
The $34.95 elephant sculptural wall sconce, which adds an "exotic touch".
And what home is complete without a $699 popcorn machine and antique cart?

The answer is: nobody in their right mind! Which is why SkyMall is perfect. You have a captive audience being subjected to overbooked flights, cramped seats, abusive airline staff, lousy food, and a screaming baby two rows behind them. They'll do anything to get their mind off of their current predicament.

Yes, even leaf through a catalogue full of overpriced, useless, but shiny objects. And perhaps even pick up the AirFone (which, at $2/minute, is something else you'd never use except for the fact that calls to SkyMall are free--brilliant!) and buy one of those objects.

Now, just imagine what would happen if all those people suddenly realised, "Hey, I don't actually need any of this junk!" (Or, better, "My spouse is going to kill me when he/she finds out how much I've spent/how much space this will take up in the house."). And remember that consumer spending accounts for 60-some-odd percent of economic activity...

It's food for thought (yours for only $96.99).

My sleep schedule seems to be a bit off. I fell asleep around 8:30pm and woke up about 30 minutes ago... and can't get back to sleep. This hasn't happened to me in a long time.

But the more troubling news is that I can't find the new DigiKey catalog I got in the mail yesterday. They're getting really thick these days -- almost 1000 pages of EE geekiness and I can't find my copy.