Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I have been charged with the honor/distinction of managing the audio equipment for the conference, which includes two translator stations and appropriate broadcasters and recievers for a group of spanish speaking attendees and a group of Romanian attendees. This has involved a lot of running around, obtaining and configuring all manner of cables and adaptors. And radios for the recievers.
I was up until 5:45 yesterday morning (Tuesday) getting things ready, got six hours of sleep (yeah, I know- that's plenty. Yeah, right.), then continued running around all afternoon getting everything ready to go for the opening session at 7:00 pm last night (Wednesday).
I was pretty zonked all afternoon.
Until I went to Coffee Dan's.
About two years ago, a friend of mine told me about the most wonderful coffee store right down the street from us. At the time (yea verily, until this evening) I was not a coffee drinker, so I never bothered to check it out. This afternoon, zonked that I was, I went to see what I could find at the coffee place.
Coffee Dan's is a side business of West End Roastery, a manufacturer of coffee roasting equipment which is reputed to be some of the best in the world. They sell a variety of coffee beans (whole or fresh-ground) from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Hawaii, and probably several other places I didn't notice. They also sell coffee beverages- coffee, esspresso, cappucino, latte, etc. I ordered a latte with macadamia nut syrup and was astounded. It was amazing. It was just incredible.
I also bought a pound of fresh roasted (1 or 3 days) fresh ground (on the spot!) Costa Rican coffee. I tried it out this evening (Wednesday), and I think I'm now a coffee drinker.
Quinton would be proud.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The last several weeks have been very busy for me. They've gone by really fast.
To recap: I had final exams in the third week of July, so most of that
month was taken up by studying and reviewing for Evidence and Criminal
Procedure. I don't think I did too well on either test, but I'm pretty
certain that I did well enough that I won't have to do them again.
After finals, I went home for a week. It was a quick week.
The next week (first week of August) I started the second semester of
third year, and was involved in a wedding.
The week after that was trying to get ahead a few days in studies for...
Last week I took an Appellate Advocacy course. It was intense.
Basically, our assignment was to prepare oral arguments for a Supreme
Court appeal concerning the Newdow Pledge of Allegiance case.
This week I'm catching up on the 'normal' study schedule.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Normally, I'd try linux right off the bat, and go from there, but this particular Mac boots from OpenFirmware 2.0.f1, which is really finniky about what it will and will not boot from. Of course, I learned this the hard way.
I tried booting from the current Debian-PPC installation cd (sarge), but that didn't work. Then I tried the boot floppies. Those didn't work. Then I tried some other flavor boot floppies; they didn't work either.
Then I tried NetBSD. They had reams of documentation about getting your OldWorld mac booted up and running NetBSD. Their documentation on OpenFirmware was such that every other linux distro I saw that 'supported' that model referenced it. And they had boot floppies. That booted.
The NetBSD installation boot floppies would boot, just like they were supposed to; they would read the initial ram disk, just like they were supposed to; and then they would completely freeze, just like they WEREN'T supposed to. Fortunately, the NetBSD install guide had a troubleshooting section which included symptoms, causes, and cures. The symptom of freezing right after hardware detection was documented, but the cause(s) listed were "multiple and varied". There was no cure.
So, back to Linux.
After much reading and digesting, it appeared that the easiest way to boot linux on a mac was to use BootX, the Mac equivalent of loadlin, to boot the linux kernel from a running instance of MacOS. Once we got that figured out, it was very easy to load a kernel and start the install process (debian sarge).
I found an installation guide here (http://mfdh.ca/apple/debian_on_oldworld_mac.html) that was very helpful.
The installation went very smoothly- I used the default partitioning scheme, which was to use the entire disk. It created a small partition at the beginning of the drive, type Apple Something, then the / folder, then a 211ish meg partition at the end for swap. It downloaded the base system, install the Quik bootloader, and prompted for a reboot.
The instructions I was following said that before rebooting, I needed to manually edit the quik.conf file and point it at the correct kernel location. Since the instructions were from 2002 (four years ago!), I figured that that step was probably outdated, and that the new debian-installer would configure everything correctly.
I was wrong, apparently. I followed the installer's directions and rebooted, but it wouldn't boot. All it did was sit there at the grey screen with the little disk icon in the middle that would flash "?" repeatedly. I understand that's symptomatic of an inability of OpenFirmware to locate a bootable device.
So now I've got an installed debian system with no way to boot it. The debian boot floppies didn't work, virtually all the installation guides said the only to boot linux on those machines was to use BootX, and BootX requires some sort of MacOS to be installed on the system. Note that I had reformatted the hard drive during the installation, and MacOS jus' didn' exist there anymore.
So, the search for boot floppies commenced.
Today I was able to locate a repository of install floppies from a debian developer that are supposed to work on OldWorld macs. I think they use some sort of modified miBoot to effectuate the boot process, but at any rate, some of them work.
I've been able to boot the system with this disk, and load a debian-current ramdisk from a floppy, but so far I haven't been able to find a module floppy (net-drivers, cd-drivers) that is compatible. The ones from the debian-current set don't work (different kernel, I suspect) I'm still searching.
I'm going to try these disks next.
I just found another repository. I'm going to give these a shot.
It's referenced in this thread.
It's working! It's Working! It's Really Working!
To outline the basic install process:
Disk 1: Boot floppy. This is used to load the linux kernel and a very small set of modules. Typically, this will boot, then ask for a ramdisk.
Disk 2: Initrd.gz Initial Ramdisk. This could be either a basic shell, or the next stage of an installer. For Debian, it's a very basic install setup.
Disks 3/4: Drivers. Debian uses 2 disks for this, one for network drivers and one for cdrom drivers.
The installer takes over after that, and installs the system either directly from the internet or from a cd-rom.
I was able to use this file for disk 1, this file for disk 2, and this file for the network drivers. You'll notice that Disk2 is from a different set- this was necessitated by the root disk from the 2006-04-04 set being too large for a floppy.
The installation should be finished sometime later this evening- I'll update when I know how it goes.
I'm having trouble with Quik- the ppc bootloader. I can't seem to get in installed and configured properly.
2006-06-15 I'm giving it another shot with Debian Etch. After the initial setup, I can run the installer over an ssh connection!
Hm. It didn't work. The system install, it had an error when it attempted to install quik, I installed quik manually, it said everything was good, but when I rebooted it, it wouldn't load. So, back to square 2.
Well, after much consternation, the project is on hold. I found additional instructions on this page concerning OpenFirmware configuration, but it requires you (me) to create floppy disks from disk images that are exclusively MacOS compatible. Meaning I need to have a running MacOS system with a floppy drive!
I've got access to several MacOS X systems, but none of them have floppy drives. So, the project is on hold pending the availability of a USB floppy drive.
I've successfully installed Debian Etch (as of 2006-06-15) on the machine. Quik reports that it is correctly installed. OpenFirmware reports that it cannot open the boot device (ata-int/disk@:,).
Updates will be appended to this blog entry as they occur.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
And here I sit, manning the Front Desk. There's a wedding tomorrow, and a pre-wedding picnic this afternoon. My schedule didn't leave time for the picnic, and I was on site, so... I'm here at the Front Desk, outlining Criminal Procedure.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Friday, May 26, 2006
Last night we celebrated the conclusion of the session with a close down ceremony conducted by ... me. There's a lot more that goes into a closedown ceremony than I originally thought.
Monday, May 08, 2006
I've looked at online organization/project workflow/collaboration sites (basecamp, backpack, et al) and a common theme that's stood out has been the Project Overview pages.
The Project Overview is essentially a timeline/project/todo list, with everything arranged in one central location. There could be links to project pages, specific deadlines, etc., but the key factor was that it was all condensed into an easily graspable overview page.
Saturday night, it clicked.
I could create a "project overview" page for my school assignments! Each topic could be a department, with a column for the assignments related to it. Each assignment would be a "primary entry" in the topical column, with explanatory/related assignments in a tree structure below it. It would all fit on a landscaped 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, which would be clipped to a 8.5 x 11 sheet of cardboard. It would be sturdy and rigid (physically, anyway) and would 'float' above the scattered papers. And it would work.
In theory, at least. We'll see how it goes.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Everything fit together. The graduation went well, I went out to dinner with the friends, and turned in the assignment at 23:59.
All in all, it worked out very well.
Friday, May 05, 2006
I currently have a (largely unused) monitor on my desk that's back and out of the way. If I add an external keyboard and mouse to the laptop, I can set the laptop on edge between the monitor and the wall, and enjoy the increased flexibility of a lightweight and portable set of input devices.
Details to follow.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Sunday, April 30, 2006
It was not unexpected- for several months the screen had been progressively drifting farther and farther into the red end of the spectrum, and lately had been given to flickering wildly at random intervals.
Saturday, though, was the last straw. The flickering had gotten so bad that I had to connect it to an external display device (A beautiful 17" LCD monitor- magnificent!) because of the flickering.
Late Saturday night, I researched the problem and found that the symptoms my laptop had been showing were consistent with either a burned out power inverter for the backlight, or a burned out Cold Cathode Flourescent Lamp (the backlight). Between the two options, the power inverter would be the cheapest and easiest to replace, so early Monday morning I went to ebay and bought a replacement power inverter.
I didn't get around to installing the new inverter until last night, when I started the journey to the center of the machine. I learned quickly that when a laptop is the machine, the center is protected by an inordinate number of layered components, and the journey is very circuitous.
To get to the power inverter, you first need to detatch the front bezel of the screen;
To detatch the front bezel of the screen, you must remove the screen from the laptop;
To detatch the screen from the laptop, you must remove the fan from the processor;
To remove the fan from the processor, you must separate the keyboard bezel from the laptop;
To separate the keyboard bezel from the laptop, you must remove the keyboard;
To remove the keyboard, well, you get the idea.
Thus, to replace the power inverter residing on the interior of the screen, you must take off virtually every removeable component of the laptop.
The trip was made possible through the excellent documentation IBM makes available on their website, the Hardware Maintenance Manual series. There's one for just about all the hardware IBM/Lenovo manufactures. It would have been very difficult, if at all possible, to replace the appropriate component without the Manual.
All that to say, at about 4:05 this afternoon I successfully replaced the power inverter. And then found out that the power inverter wasn't problem. The CCFL (backlight) was burned out, and I wouldn't be able to get a replacement bulb probably until the end of next week.
And then it hit me:
I have a non-functioning thinkpad somewhere in my room. The thinkpad has a screen. The screens are the same size. The bulbs are the same length. They're interchangable.
So I took the second laptop apart and removed the bulb. It took about an hour or so, I think. Mabe an hour and a half.
The "new" bulb matched the dead bulb almost exactly. The length was the same, the connector was identical. The only real difference was the connector wires- the "new" bulb's were about an inch and a half longer than the dead bulb's. Fortunately, there was enough extra space in the screen bezel that everything fit.
So, after spending another hour or so reversing the disassembly process, it's fixed!
Total dollar cost: $8.99
Remaining parts: 1 Power inverter, slighly used; most of an i1400 laptop, sans backlight.
The experience: Priceless.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
This could introduce a whole new demographic to the wonder of non-social blogging. I wonder.
And the extra link should give my blogspot a higher pagerank. This could be interesting. I'll to look into it.
Monday, April 24, 2006
The cloudy region of the weather has passed - it's generally clear now, with the remaining storm clouds to the south east, accompanied by sporadic lightning.
From the statewide weather radar, it looks like most of the severe weather has moved to the north east, and is now over Tulsa. The tornado warnings are all gone now, replaced by a few scattered severe weather patches.
Further bulletins as events warrant.
The tornado warning has been extended to 2:00 this morning.
The only tornadic activity in the state is located towards the south - looks like about halfway between the City and Texas border.
There's reports of large hailstones in various places (Yukon? Skiatook?), but there's nothing like that here yet.
It's raining now, and the power just blipped. I'm glad I'm running on batteries. :-)
There's a tornado front in town, and so far there's been two that have touched down in El Reno, a few miles west of here. It's moving east, so we're keeping our eyes on it.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
This drive results in the strong urge in individuals to create or destroy.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
I didn't notice it, but I did see on Tuesday that there was a peding credit in an amount that didn't look like my paycheck.
It was my refund from the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
That was fast- two business days, tops.
Friday, April 14, 2006
NOTE: PLEASE PRINT AND KEEP THIS EMAIL FOR YOUR RECORDS
Your return with SSN ending in XXXX was accepted by the IRS. No further action is necessary.
If you have any questions regarding your account or return please visit our Help Center.
Be sure to check out www.taxslayer.com for tax preparation tips, life insurance quotes, online IRA's and other ideas that can save you money!
If you have any questions please visit the Help Center
*Refund distribution subject to IRS & bank approval.
We cannot guarantee date of receipt of refund.
Now all I have to do is wait for the refund!
After lunch, I filed again. It turned out that the first time around, when I was entering my W-2 information I selected "Statutory Employee" as the value for Box 13. Oddly enough, this had an effect on the total amount of taxes due- income for Statutory Employees, apparently, isn't taxed.
It looks like my return is correctly filed now, with a 50% reduction in refund. At least it's still a refund.
Edit: I've been reminded that it is possible to file as early as February. I have yet to confirm this rumor...
Thursday, April 13, 2006
"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: 'Mankind'. Basically, it's made up of two separate words: 'mank' and 'ind'. What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and so is mankind."
- Jack Handey
Y'all are just going to have to learn to cope.
I just finished filing my taxes - I started just about an hour and a half ago, and a good portion of that time was spent trying to find a link to the relevant 1099 forms on the account pages of Edward Jones and my credit union. As it turned out, Edward Jones apparently DOESN'T PUT 1099-DIV FORMS IN THE SAME SECTION AS YOUR E-STATEMENTS! THEY DON'T PUT THEM ANYWHERE! YOU HAVE TO FIND THE PAPER COPY THEY MAILED YOU THREE MONTHS AGO!
As you probably guessed, I'm a big fan of getting my account information online, as it's almost always better organized online than in real life. However, I'm getting a refund this year, so I'm a bit ambivalent at this time about how Edward Jones organzes their account information portal.
I'll probably get all worked up about it again a year from now.
I should put it on my calendar...Edit:
I e-filed through TaxSlayer. Their free e-file page can be found here, as linked from the IRS e-file page.
I'm not quite sure why, but I'm really excited about this. I don't use a calendar for personal stuff on a regular basis, and even if I did, I don't have a lot of events to keep track of. But still...
Google Calendar! It's Google! It's a Calendar!
Did I mention that I'm a bit excited about this?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Overall, it seemed like a good game. For years I've heard stories of how violent hockey gets, and references to bloody noses and such, but I had no idea how it all actually played out- it wasn't bad. I've seen worse in the lobby here :-) (okay, on very rare occasions)
The final score was OK 5 to CO 4. It was getting very close for the last three minutes, but we won!
Saturday, April 08, 2006
It's just gorgeous.
I'm sitting here at my desk feverishly attempting to finish a writing assignment that's not done yet because I didn't do it earlier, when I should have.
I haven't been outside in two full days. Except for traversing the parking lot to and from a vehicle, I haven't been outside in the sunshine in ... 4 weeks? 5 weeks? It's just a guess- I don't remember when it was.
I need to get out more or less frequently.
Monday, March 06, 2006
I'm really interesting. Now you all know that.
Oh, and my life really isn't that boring, but it can tend to seem like it occasionally. Boring with intermittenent bursts of high-priority need-to-e-done-right-now activity.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that "glow in the dark".
There's more to this than just wierd colors- the cloners were able to change a surface protien on all the organs of the pig- inside and out, the pig is green. One potential application for this is growing artifical organs that are 'pre-doped' with a genetic protien from the future recipient, reducing or eliminating organ rejections.
Of course, there's always the practical joke side of things, too.
Thursday, January 12, 2006
As a side note, I think I'm going to try to post more regularly, but less deeply. If I think I have to write something interesting about my life every time I post, it's a bit more intimidating. We'll see how it goes.