somewhat daily mutterings

/Miscellany Ooooh, I'm Neo

You are Neo
You are Neo, from "The Matrix." You
display a perfect fusion of heroism and
compassion.

What Matrix Persona Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted: Sat Jun 28 19:00:50 -0700 2003

/Miscellany Very Weird Hack

OK, so I think some genius figured out how to hack my Recent Googles feature. There is no content on my site that matches:

"Santorum lube fecal matter anal sex"

Yet, there's a referer_log entry indicating that Google referred just such a search to my site (to the Programming category. I looked up the IP address of the searcher, and determined that it's from New Jersey. The genius must have faked referer headers to my site to make it look as though content matching the search was served from here. A cute trick.

Posted: Sat Jun 28 18:07:57 -0700 2003

/Programming/Projects/Gemcast FYI: Lines of Code for gemcast v0.0.4

Stats produced by the 'loc' script included with the gemcast distro:

Including def/end
     455
Excluding def/end
     300

Posted: Sun Jun 22 00:25:54 -0700 2003

/Programming/Projects/Gemcast New gemcast Features!

OK, I'm excited. I finally got around to adding a couple of new features to gemcast. First, each entry's Category line is now a link so you can jump to that particular category and read only that category's content. I started implementing this in code when I realized that I could do it via the template if I'd only publish the site's base URL as an template replacement attribute. So, it still took an additional one line of code, but obviously nothing fancy.

Secondly, I finally got around to "fixing" my Category sidebar box. Rather than show only the categories that are under the current category (which I think was a bit confusing), it now always shows all the categories available on the site, regardless of your location on the site. The result is that the site's structure much easier to see. This mainly took a little adjustment of the FileStore#getAllCategories method. Maybe one day I'll fix the display so it will look like a pretty hierarchy, instead of a filesystem dump (which is basically what it is).

These changes comprise gemcast v0.0.4. You can download the source here.

Posted: Sat Jun 21 22:02:49 -0700 2003

/Cycling Red Rocks Ride

Brian, Jason, and I did a fairly long ride up to Red Rocks today (for me it totalled 47.5 miles). This turned out to be a relatively arduous ride for me -- for some reason, my legs were just not working very well. Plus, Brian has been training on parts of this ride (including really hitting the hills hard), so he really smoked me a few times. I let him know he'd pay, and dearly, for dropping me on these climbs :-).

Anyway, the ride up to Red Rocks is pretty much all a gentle climb except for the less gentle parts, and Red Rocks itself has some really intense, but short hills. My heart rate got up over 170 many times today, and over 180 on some climbs on the return trip, when I wanted to ensure that I didn't get dropped again (I led, but only barely). When I got home I was really toasted.

Stats for the trip: 47.5 miles, 16.1 avg (sheesh), 148bpm avg heartrate for a 3:30 period.

Posted: Sat Jun 21 22:01:24 -0700 2003

/Programming/Java Where do JDK 1.4 Preferences Go on OS X?

In case you were wondering (I was), they go in a 'plist': com.apple.java.util.prefs.plist

Posted: Wed Jun 18 21:28:12 -0700 2003

/Computing/Mac iTerm - Terminal Replacement?

I'm trying out a new OS X terminal emulator called iTerm. It has a nice tabbed interface, and supports the groovy transparency that is so very important these days.

iTerm

It does have a few problems, specifically with cursor control and color text painting (nothing major). I also have to run my '.profile' by hand after entering a new shell. But the tabs are pretty handy, so I think I'll stick with it for a while.

Posted: Wed Jun 18 20:29:12 -0700 2003

/Programming/Java BeanShell is Very Cool

BeanShell is a very cool Java application that basically provides a loosely-typed shell environment based on Java syntax. The shell has access to all the classes that are found in its classpath. All I've done so far is play with it a little, but the author, Pat Niemeyer, has put in so many options for running the interpreter (embedded, as a servlet, etc.) that it's a bit mind-boggling. I highly recommend that Java and/or scripting geeks check it out.

Posted: Wed Jun 18 20:22:56 -0700 2003

/Miscellany Blast from the Past!

I just watched the Martian Invasion episode of Thunderbirds, the 60's era marionette science fiction show that I loved as a kid (the episodes are on DVD now - I rented this one from Netflix. While the character movement is as stilted as I remember, I still can get into the cool models that made up the sets and vehicles, and Thunderbird 2 is still the coolest of the Thunderbirds craft.

Thunderbird 2 In Flight

Posted: Sun Jun 15 12:56:07 -0700 2003

/Miscellany Back Problems

I haven't ridden my bike since Monday due to a "tweak" in my back that happened Tuesday morning. There I was, nearly ready to go and lift weights, when I turned to grab a tissue, and bro-o-o-i-i-n-g my lower back tensed up without warning (I never injure my back when doing heavy lifting or exercise - it's always random like this). So, I tried not to panic and basically went about my business (except that I didn't lift). I went to work, and did generally OK, except for some stiffness after sitting for any period. But Wednesday morning, my back was very stiff, and I ended up not going to work. It wasn't totally debilitating - I just couldn't stand the idea of driving my car. By lunchtime, when I had loosened up, I really just didn't have an interest in going to work. It's been getting progressively better the last couple of days, but I still am avoiding any hardcore workouts (I've been walking quite a bit). I hope to get a bike ride in this weekend.

All of this is much different than it used to be when I had a "back attack". I'd always miss at least a week of work, and would basically lay on the floor, flat on my back, watching TV or reading. It was always super-painful to stand up and move around. Well, a couple of things changed my mind about that sort of treatment. One, believe it or not, was Howard Stern, who reported how his doctor told him that his back pain was psycho-somatic and that his attitude had a lot to do with the pain. The other was a book I read at my in-laws a few years ago, I think it was called The Back Book, where the author said basically the same thing: so, you have a bad back -- deal with it. Don't let it freak you out. Accept it and move on. That's basically been my attitude ever since. I accept that I'm going to hose up my back occasionally, and when it happens I try to be as nonchalant about it as possible. I try to stay at least somewhat active. I think that works pretty well. I'm pretty sure that all my laying around when my back was messed up in the old days just contributed to the back being more stiff, and therefore more painful. Your mileage may vary.

Posted: Fri Jun 13 20:47:25 -0700 2003

/Programming/Projects/Gemcast Major gemcast Refactoring

I've been meaning to add new features to gemcast (the engine that runs this weblog) for some time now. But in order to add the features, I've really needed to revisit the overall structure of the current code. That bit of work has held me back -- until today. I stayed home with a funky back (and therefore really wasn't up to driving), but later in the day I felt pretty OK, and decided to crack open gemcast again and see what progress I could make toward future enhancements.

It turned into a pretty major refactoring, with the introduction of a couple of new "modules" (not in the formal ruby sense, but in the sense of .rb files containing related classes - very loosely analagous to Java packages), and the deletion of a couple more, all in the interest of cohesion and dependency management. Over time, I've reflected on some problems that the original gemcast had (and still has, to some degree), which allowed me to make some pretty decent changes. This release has no new functionality, but is cleaner than the previous release, and hopefully gives me some room to do what I want in the future. Version 0.0.3 is available here.

Here's a dependency graph of the new version of gemcast:

Voila!!

Posted: Wed Jun 11 19:44:04 -0700 2003

/Programming Something Worth Re-reading

I've been navigating around on my site, looking at old weblog archives, etc., when I (re)discovered this not-too-old quote from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance from my old weblog. It's worth revisiting now and then, because it is a very eloquent way of writing about quality, and is very much the way I approach my job.

Posted: Sat Jun 07 23:38:43 -0700 2003

/Motorcycling First Service for the Goblin

The Green Goblin

I hit the 3000-mile point of my ownership of the Green Goblin (my "palmetto green" '95 BMW K1100RS) a couple of weeks ago, so I've been meaning to get him in for a service. Today started out very rainy and overcast, but once the clouds moved out it was absolutely perfect - about 65 degrees and sunny. So, I called the dealership and made sure that I could get a "drive-in" service. They could fit me in, so I took off.

Here's what I had done:

  • Oil Change (even though BMW only calls for 6000-mile changes, I think I'll stick with 3000).
  • Brake system flush. My brakes had been feeling a bit spongy, and while it probably only required a bleeding, I decided to go for broke (literally), and get the flush.
  • Fork oil replaced with 10 weight (up from probably 7.5). I did this because the front end of my bike has seemed a bit mushy since I've had the opportunity to ride other bikes (the comparison may be unfair, however, since most of the other bikes have been BMWs with telelever front-ends).
All of the above cost me about $160, and that's after my 10%-off BMW Club deal. At least the brake and fork service were elective. I hope not to pay that much on future visits. The bike immediately felt a bit more "solid" with the heavier fork oil. I'll have to do more riding to get a real feel for the change. While the lever response was very good, the brakes felt very weak on the first few applications, so I headed back to have the service manager look at them (I was afraid some oil had been spilled on the rotors). We couldn't really see anything obvious, but he cleaned the rotors anyway. I took off for home, and a few stoplights later, the Goblin was braking like I'm used to.

Posted: Fri Jun 06 23:00:00 -0700 2003

/Programming Heh heh heh

Posted: Fri Jun 06 18:42:56 -0700 2003

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