December 1st, 2005


As Time went on, They smiled less and less, and soon not at all..

I slept in until noon today to catch partially up on yesterday, went to work to handle some outstanding paperwork for the incoming systems, and my officemate noticed before I did that I wasn't looking too well.. A few hours later, I got one of those head-splitting headaches, and stumbled home. More sleep helped a bit -- I'm briefly up now, but will be heading back to bed soon. I hate these headaches though.

Actually, on that Beefalo film, I showed it to Beefalo, and she watched it intently. I almost feel like I'm more of a parent to the cats than before, because now that she realises the computer can give her visual experiences, she listens more to the music that I play on it. She's still not particularly smart about it, as she likes to sit on my gaming systems when they're on.


Listening to Dreams

Last night and the night before's dreams were particularly odd -- the thing I remember most was finding myself at a counter behind which was an airline person trying to sell me cheap tickets to anywhere. I was particularly interested in flying to Nova Scotia, and asked about there. I remembered talking with somebody about Nova Scotia earlier in the dream too. From the night before, I spent much of the dream on a Segway. I've actually been dreaming a fair amount about Segways recently -- I think it's because riding one was so much fun and so a good part of me really wants to get one after replacing my car. I don't know if it really makes sense - if I get one I should probably wait for models with better batteries and more speed (the two main issues I see with them right now are that the i180, the current model, will go only 15-24 miles on a full charge and at a max of 13 miles per hour. I'd like to see a max speed of 20mph and a max distance of 35mi). It says something about it that years after riding one, I'm still having dreams about it. Sigh.

Today at work the new racks will arrive by pallet. This is, naturally, before the "machine room" is set up with cooling, so they're arriving to go right into storage. It's a pity how that works out, but it does give me more time to order accessories for them -- my older servers don't have the rackmount kit yet (despite being 1U units).

Old people can be whiny losers too -- John Seigenthaler, a kinda-sorta known person in Washington circles, was the unfortunate victim of some vandalism on Wikipedia, and reacted quite badly to it.

In politics, when a party in a healthy democracy stands for something for awhile, and another party "muscles in" on its "turf", there's bound to be interesting reactions. This is presently the case with Sharon's recent move in Israel, where the Labour party is threatened by Sharon's new party (and especially by Peres leaving Labour to join him). Interesting times. Our democracy in the United States is like a toy democracy -- if we're going to do democracy (which might or might not be a good idea), we should have a real, healthy one. There is little honest sense in going halfway.


It's all the rage

Today was a very physically active day. The racks came in, and they're about 7 feet talk and 400 pounds apiece. After running up and down the hills of the pits of CS, I eventually found the driver, and guided him to the CS dock. Sadly, the CS loading dock was (surprise!) blocked by a dumpster, so after a few phone calls, I hopped in and we drove to the UC loading dock. Without the CS loading dock people, I had to call favours from friends to get some help lifting the things (they were too tall to exit the truck upright), and then after a quick lunch, I grabbed some people from my group to help remove them from the pallet, set them on their wheels, and drag them across campus. The blasted things needed to be closely managed to make it into Baker hall (making a slight spectacle) and to be laid down and slid on their side to get through the third floor doors. Then (surprise!) the room they were to be delivered to had magically sprouted computers and people since it was promised to us as a machine room. Eventually things were sorted out -- those people will leave our room over the next few weeks while I wait for the rest of the rack stuff to arrive, and in the meantime I moved some of their stuff out into the hall and put the racks inside. The other people in my group say I'm being too nice. *shrug*

All this, plus lugging the other rack components across campus left my arms almost too tired to lift my laptop onto my shoulder. I, did manage to bus out to Monroeville to retrieve my car. I'll be firing off an email to someone who already was interested in it, and if she doesn't bite, I'll make signs, and advertise on craigslist and

To pay back the two friends who helped me, I bought them lunch at the Italian place on Fnord Avenue a little ways down from campus. G had to leave early to make it to a class (we're all staff, but he's using the staff benefit this semester and I'm not. *sigh*), so on the way back it was just S and I. S and I talked a bit more about ethics of ownership and taxes, and I think I need to write a bit more about the things I've come to hold over the last few years -- there are things that I once would've been comfortable with that I now don't think I could do -- treating property as investment (as capital, hence a capitalist venture), many kinds of investment, etc. The theory behind Islamic banking isn't exactly what I've adopted, but I think different logic has led me to similar conclusions about the acceptability of some kinds of financial dealings. There is no shame in taking ideas from everywhere we might like -- some might spit on cultural appropriation, but I think it's beautiful and wonderful in almost every case. I do want to write more about guidelines for good socialist ethics in a capitalist society -- a surprising part of philosophy is being exposed to enough possible ways to lay out codes of ethics to make one for oneself effectively -- the field of possibility is not open and visible.

I've played a bit more with HP QuickPlay, and it's quite cool. It boots its embedded Linux extremely quickly, and while the interface is primitive, it is, as advertised, a good way to play DVDs or media without booting fully into windows. It's a cool idea, and it's done decently well. I've heard that some people have extracted the media players from the embedded partition and used them on their regular Linux install -- I might try that sometime. All in all, I'm pretty happy with my dv8000z. Hurrah.

I recently have been trying to decide if Dar Williams' video for As Cool as I am is irritating or cool. The song itself is really neat (I also like Are You Out There, Better Things, and If I Wrote You), but the video has a mix of cool imagery and really irritating dancing (the dance she does between the two walls is the irritating bit, for those who have seen it). It turns out that it's not hard to convince mencoder to reencode the asx stream into whatever form I like, so I get actual copies from what Yahoo music provides -- it's a bit of trouble, but mplayer is awesome for letting me do that, even if I have to spend about 10 minutes working out the proper incantation each time.

Tomorrow, CMUKGB is holding its birthday party -- it is 17 years old as an organisation. Afterwards, they're showing the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which I haven't seen in a group for a very long time. Unfortunately, this leaves me with an interesting problem of what to wear -- in times past I used to either go in drag (rarely, and almost always with the aid of some female I knew's wardrobe), slightly gothy, or just my normal self. I do not presently own any clothing for going anywhere in drag, and my goth wardrobe is pitifully small. It might be fun to wear something slinky to Rocky -- I'll probably check the odd clothing store on Fnord tomorrow while at work to see if I can find anything.

Finally, I figured out what to do if yum screws up and leaves you with multiple copies of the same package for the same architecture, a la:

tremor:~$ rpm -qa --qf "%{NAME}-%{VERSION}.%{ARCH}\n" | sort | grep iiimf

Note that it's not odd to have both i386 and x86_64 libs for the same package on an amd64 Linux box if backwards compatibility is installed. It is odd (and bad) that there are two copies of the same package for the same architecture there. The solution is to find the URL on the update server for both x86_64 and i386 versions of that package, and do as follows (as root):

$tremor:~# rpm --upgrade --force

That'll consolidate you to the versions of the package you provide (also nicely handles if you somehow manage to have an old and a current version both installed according to the package system). Note that you *MUST* specify both the amd64 and the x86 version of the package if you want to still have both when the operation is done -- otherwise both will be forcibly upgraded to the single package you specify. My previous solution to the issue wasn't so hot -- I forcibly removed (with --nodeps) all versions of the confused package and them yum installed them. This worked fine for most packages, but for a few, their removal broke yum, and this hosed the system. It's better to not get into this situation in the first place -- if you use Fedora, don't expect a single yum update to be well-behaved. Instead, I suggest updating yum, then glibc and zlib, and then carefully step through the packages to update them a few at a time. If you do this, none should crash yum, and you won't get into this mess. I've filed a bug, and hopefully Fedora 5 won't suffer this problem.