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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lazy Weekend

Christmas has already come and gone. Every year there is a huge build up beforehand, and when he big day comes around so much time is spent reciting the script of "tradition" that it's almost impossible to enjoy the actual day. Everybody has their routine for the day, and as a newly-married couple Dana and I spend our time driving back and forth to participate in all of it.

As Scrooge-like as I can be, it can be a pleasant day when you get down to it. The giving and receiving of gifts is always fun, and it's interesting to see what kinds of stuff people think that other people will want/use/appreciate. Knowing the recipient well enables the gift-giver to give a better gift then those who do not. Also, having a maintained and well-advertised Amazon wishlist can help improve your odds of getting the things that one wants.

Geoff wins the award for most novel gift (or at least the most novel delivery). He bought me MegaMan 9 and Lost Winds for the Wii. He paid the points and had the games downloaded to my console on Christmas morning. I've played Megaman 9 a little bit since then and am markedly terrible at it. I can't tell if my platforming skillz have substantially degraded since the 90s or whether 9 has a so much higher a difficulty level then some of my favorites (2, 3, and 4) did.

Dana's mother, always the consumate gift-giver, got a bunch of small but useful things for me. I picked up a few new CDs for the long commute, a few good technical books, and a few videogames. Dana and I have spent the last few days playing Guitar Hero 3, Wii Fit, and the new Mario Kart. I'm sure I'll write more about some of the books I got in the coming weeks as I read through them more and start applying the cool new things I learn.

Lazing around is great since I've been a little bit under the weather, with a fever and swollen glands and the whole works. Tomorrow isn't as lazy since we have Dana's family coming over for lunch and we have to clean the apartment. I haven't done any work on Wikibooks or Parrot this weekend, which is a little bit unusual for me. I usually manage to fritter away a few hours each weekend on one or both of those projects, but I guess I just needed the time off. Instead, I've been catching up on old episodes of Questionable Content, a fun webcomic that I've become completely addicted to. I've spent a few hours reading from episode 1, and I'm already up to episode 720. Only about 300 more episodes to get through until I'm completely caught up!

No idea what we're going to do for New Years, I'm sure I'll have something to post about it as we get closer.

Friday, December 19, 2008


So I completely garbaged up my computer today. Here's what happened, I warn you that this is going to be computer-oriented and boring:

When I first bought my computer, I didn't realize it was 64 bit. It didn't say so in the advertisement or on any of those annoying stickers that they put all over new laptops. You really have to look to find the information, and I simply didn't look. I've never had a 64-bit computer before, so I just assumed it was 32. I was wrong.

So the first weekend I had it, I set up a dual-boot situation with Ubuntu. I downloaded the ISO image, burned it to CD, and installed it on a new partition. What I didn't know at the time was that the default download for Ubuntu was 32 bit, and the installer didn't give any kind of notice or warning that I was trying to install it on 64-bit hardware. I realized the problem a little while later, but stuck with it, no sense going through some kind of messy upgrade if I didn't have to.

But then I had an epiphany: Let's crank this baby up to a triple-boot system, and add a new 64-bit OS on yet another partition. So I download the new ISO, write a new CD, and install the system. I test it out a little bit, but there isn't much difference from my 32-bit partition but all my settings were missing and I couldn't mount the other Ubuntu partition for some reason. I looked on google and the prevailing wisdom was that to uninstall the new OS the best and easiest way was just to delete the partition it was on and reallocate it for something new. GRUB existed in the MBR I was assured, so I didn't have to worry that it would get ruined.

But it did. I deleted the partition and restarted the computer. GRUB Error 22. Great. Deleting that partition did ruin my MBR so it wouldn't boot. I had my Ubuntu install CD so I booted into the Live version, and followed some instuctions I found on the internet. It wouldn't work, GRUB couldn't find my HDD, and so I couldn't repair it without reinstalling it. I found a tutorial online that said I could reinstall Ubuntu, but instead of reformatting the drive I could mount my old partitions instead, so I decided to do that. But when I got to the partition menu, it said that there were no existing partitions to be mounted: my old Ubuntu install was gone forever. Good.

I took the opportunity to convert over to the 64-bit version for good. Most of the afternoon so far has been spent trying to get all my settings back in place and all the necessary software installed (and trying to get hiveminder to stop sending me reminders to write more blog posts!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Many little things

So many little news items to report, so little time.

  1. Dad's back from the hospital. I haven't been checking in too much (probably not as much as a "good son" should) but I hear he's doing good. I hknow that health deteriorates as people get older, but it's still sobering to see people who seemed so healthy be rendered so helpless in a hospital bed.
  2. Dana's been sick these last two days, and stayed home from work today. The weather has certainly not been helpful in this regard. We went from like 20 degrees F one day to barely-above-freezing rain the next two. Quite miserable, if you're a white blood cell.
  3. Sold my first book! At least, the first book that wasn't sold to me. Erik Moeller, wiki volunteer extraordinaire, bought a copy for the WMF bookshelf. He found a lot of the same bugs that I have already reported, and wants to buy an updated copy when those get resolved. It helps to show the development progress of the feature.
  4. I'm the release manager for Parrot 0.8.2 which is coming out on Tuesday. I've been practicing the release process, and should be ready to go with it when the time comes. Updates will come!
  5. I've also got a new version of my Book Designer gadget at Wikibooks coming out this weekend. I got a lot of good changes made, but still have't gotten drag'n'drop working on it. I'll post another update about this when I release it.
  6. Got a few other great pieces of news to report, but they aren't finalized yet and I don't want to jinx anything. Look for updates in the coming days.
That's some of what's going on in my life. I'm sure I'll be posting a lot of updates in the coming weeks ad days.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Long weekend recap

It's been quite a long weekend. This was the weekend when we were supposed to go up to Geoff's graduation. It's quite a long trip up to Lockhaven, but Dana and I were willing to do it for Geoff. Plus, we had a hotel room up there, so we wouldn't have had to do the round-trip all in one day.

Those plans went out the window on Thursday. I got the call from my mom that my father was in the hospital. I'm not going to go into all the details (smells like a HIPA violation to me!), but the whole weekend changed. My parents decided not to go up to the graduation, so Geoff basically put a nix on the whole thing. He and Kara still went up for the weekend to see some friends, however.

Last night the weather came in, and we got a few inches of snow. Dana and I met my parents at the hospital for a visit. With the snow as bad as it was, mom couldn't drive her little car home, so we brought her home and stayed the night. We took her back to the hospital in the morning, said our goodbyes, and came back to the apartment for the rest of the day.

I spent the rest of the day doing some shopping with Dana, doing some Javascript work at Wikibooks, and some idle browsing through the Parrot JIT code. Working on dinner now, and then it's sleep and work through the week.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I told Dana that she had to wait until December to start decorating the apartment for Christmas. I personally would wait until the week before and "decorate" by putting a string of colored lights somewhere where they were visible but didn't cast a glare on the TV. Dana pushes the christmas spirit pedal to the floor, however. We have a tree up with all the fixins, little decorationhomes here and there, and wrapping accoutrements strewn all around the living room. Dana's been spending time writing out holiday cards, and getting wedding pictures printed out to stuff in them.

I got my new laptop as an early christmas gift. Dual core, super-mamma-jamma laptop. It's fantastic. Dana got a super-hot digital camera. The only other thing I want for christmas is some time to get down and use the laptop. I've got code to develop, books to write, people to interact with.

Last night I had a great conversation with Cormac Lawler, Pete Baker, and Patrick O'Shea using Skype. I finally have a computer that's decent enough to use Skype, so this was a cool experience. Naturally, we all talked about Wiki, and a few other things that I'm not ready to talk about just yet. More details to come, I hope!

Probably have more to write about, but can't think now.