November, 2002

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Someone has been stealing my newspaper

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

The San Francisco Chronicle usually arrives on my doorstep around 5 in the morning, but I don’t usually get out the door to pick it up until 10 or so. For the past couple weeks I’ve noticed increasing incidents of the paper being missing by the time I get out.

However, given that the paper is bagged in an opaque yellow bag (to protect it from the winter rain), I’ve devised a plan to discourage the thief. Let’s just say it involves a rubber toy snake…

High tech, low tech, no tech

Friday, November 22nd, 2002

It was something of a relief that we finally launched GeForce FX this week. I say “relief” because for the weeks following the the chip samples, up until Comdex launch on Monday, NV30 (as we engineers prefer to call it) was basically all that many of us worked on, night and day, almost every waking hour. While it’s certainly cool to be working on the latest-greatest chip months before most people will even see it, it’s good to be working on a variety of different tasks and projects again. And I’m feeling the pressure ease off a bit now that I no longer have to send out daily status reports to (amongst others) the CEO.

On a totally unrelated note, I bought a nice, fancy Aurora fountain pen last weekend, in preparation for another round of holiday card-writing. Since then I’ve been practicing my cursive handwriting, which I’ve rarely used since grade school. What’s mainly wrong with my cursive hand is that it’s unevolved; i.e. it doesn’t display much personality, since its evolution has stagnated with disuse. Otherwise it looks fine (if I dare say so myself)—but very much the same as it did some fifteen years ago. Anyway, whenever I have a few spare minutes (and usually, minutes are all that I have) I’ll pick up a decent sheet of paper and write—usually random words and passages, typically song lyrics…

I’ve also been spending some time trying to revive my main workstation computer. So far I’ve figured out that the problem does not lie in the hard disk, nor the SCSI controller, nor any one of a number of peripherals. If it turns out to be the mainboard or one of the CPUs, I’ll probably build a new computer, re-using what parts I can… This business is proving to be something of a lengthy ordeal, though, leading me a new philosophy for building future computers: simpler is better. Fewer parts, less bleeding-edge technology, and simpler configuration should translate to fewer things that can go wrong. I do still enjoy building and working with my own computers but I think I’ve now seen how it can become as much of a chore as anything else.

My office aquarium’s ghost shrimp population is now down to two, but there have been no new casualties in the past couple weeks so I’m hoping that means that either the two survivors have somehow adapted to whatever threat that killed the others, or that population has dropped down to a sustainable level (depending on what theory you believe with regards to what was killing them in the first place). Actually, “two” is not an accurate count because it appears that there are a number of tiny baby shrimp hiding and swimming around in the java moss. I’m not sure how long they’ve been there but I first noticed them today, when I saw a tiny speck move around in a manner contrary to any possible water currents. I’m not sure how they will grow to adulthood, however, as any that venture outside the java moss will almost certainly be gobbled up by my ever-hungry fish. In that matter I will elect to let nature take its course—not that I have much of a choice since the baby ghost shrimp are too impossibly tiny to see, much less catch.

100 (plus 1) entries

Sunday, November 10th, 2002

Hey, according to GreyMatter that was entry #100. Not much of a meaningful milestone now that I think about it… and now there are 101.

What, November already?

Sunday, November 10th, 2002

[Remembrance Day poppy]

So much for blogging entries more regularly. This eve of Remembrance Day gives me pause to reflect… Interesting how it’s called “Veteran’s Day” here in the USA, the emphasis being on those who have survived wars, rather than those who have not. Some may point out that the US has Memorial Day, though myself I’ve seen little if any memorializing on or around that day, and nary a poppy to be seen on either days. Maybe it’s this collective amnesia on the cost of war that explains why so many in this country seem so eager to embark upon another one…

Anyway, that’s enough soapbox time for me. I’ve hardly had time to stay current with world events—or anything else for that matter—for the past month, as we’ve been insanely busy here at work. When I put in for a two-and-a-half week Christmas vacation last week my manager knew that it wasn’t negociable. Nevertheless I’ve managed to do a some non-work-related things these past few weeks:

  • Saw Baz Luhman’s (of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet (1996) fame… or notoriety, as the case may be) production of Puccini’s La Bohème last week. This is first opera I’ve ever been to, though being a Baz Luhrmann production it had to it more of a feel of a modern-day musical. It was an excellent show though I’m left with the feeling of not “really” having been to an opera; I’ll have to make a point of going to an opera of the more conventional sort sometime…

  • My friend Jae has been trying to introduce me to a friend of hers for the past couple weeks. I say “trying” because due to illness (hers and her friend’s) the date has been postponed thrice now. So I remain hopeful and patient, though the latter may simply be a side effect of the week going by in a blur—one of the benefits of being constantly busy is that you don’t have any time left for boredom or impatience.

  • Got some ghost shrimp for my office aquarium, about four weeks ago. Originally had 11, now only two remain. It’s unclear why they are dying off at such a high rate. Occasionally one just “disappears”; ghost shrimp hide well and are difficult to spot at best, so this observation is only conclusive after one has been missing for a few days. One possibility is that my fish are eating them. Rather, there’s no question that the fish eat them—the first few that died simply didn’t survive the handling and trip from the store, and I did manage to see their remains shortly before they were scavenged by the fish—but the question is if the fish are killing off the shrimp. I’ve observed some of my serpae tetra intimidating some of the shrimp in order to get the latter to drop their food, but I’ve never actually seen any fish attack a shrimp. It’s possible the water conditions are simply inhospitable and that the shrimp are dying off as a result. Now I’m looking for hardier shrimp that will survive the somewhat-high temperatures in my aquarium.