Still alive!

I’m still very happy that I’ve dropped physics. My class load is much more manageable. In Psych we have to do behavioral conditioning to improve something about ourselves, so I’ve chosen to try to reduce the amount of time I spend distracted on Reddit when I’m trying to do schoolwork. For the week before break I kept track of time spend trying to do schoolwork, and what of that time I spend browsing Reddit. This coming week I will record my time usage again, but this time whenever I focus on schoolwork for an hour or more without getting distracted on Reddit, I will give myself a 50% chance of the option to play Minecraft for 15 minutes guilt-free. Let’s hope it works.

I’ve begun to contribute to open source projects that I use. It does require knowledge of source control and communal development procedures, but it’s a great feeling to give back, even though my efforts are relatively small. Also, chmod uses X to give execute/search permissions only if someone else already has them for that file/directory.


I’ve been getting lessons in the importance of calm patience from various sources.  For instance, when I realized that Windows Backup would require too much effort to function as it should, I expanded my Linux backup partition to fill the entire backup drive, with the intent of adding Windows directories to the backup. To do this, as Truecrypt volumes have no official expansion capability, I moved the backups to my home folder, wiped the partitions, created a new LUKS volume, and moved the backups back. The partition operations were insanely easy with Red Hat’s Palimpsest. I put them in the root of the drive, and Deja Dup kept failing a CRC check and dying. My impulse was to freak out, delete the backups, and start fresh, but I researched it instead and ended up moving them from the root of the drive to a directory, and it appears to have fallen back to what it was supposed to do in the event of a corrupt backup which is make a new full one. I don’t yet know which backup was corrupt, I hope it wasn’t the full that the earlier incremental ones were based on, and I’m dismayed to find errors after copying, but I probably should have used rsync instead of Nautilus.

EDIT: It looks like the backups weren’t actually damaged. It may have been that the lost+found directory in the root of the drive was causing problems.

Wolverine Soft

It’s not fun when you have to scroll down to see the last link to a required piece of online homework that’s not done. That monotony aside, things are going pretty well. I’ve discovered that Wolverine Soft is great – I hadn’t really realized how much I missed sitting and coding on a game for a day.


The freedom is nice and simultaneously daunting. There’s nothing to stop me from staying up to 1am, but I have to attend class the next day. The workload, at its peaks, is overwhelming. I’ve found that at least currently, when I don’t have to work, even though I am acutely aware that I should, I have trouble focusing.

Heading Off to College with The Monolith

It’s official: I’m registered for classes at the University of Michigan and I move into the dorms August 31st. Although I’m excited to learn more, go onto another stage of life, and experience what college has to offer, this summer has been excellent, and if I could repeat it or just sections of it I gladly would. I’m rather scared to move on; I think I will be able to handle the independence, though it will surely take time to get used to it. Most of all, I feel going off to college will mean saying goodbye – the phone just isn’t the same as being in the same room.

My cat died – our guess is either a seizure or a stroke. It was very sudden, and marks my second pet to die unexpectedly and swiftly. I’m glad that at least she didn’t suffer long. In a few hours my knowledge went from “your cat is sick and at the vet” to “your cat is dead.” I was shocked. By this point I’m okay, though.

As a graduation present, I built a $1,500 desktop and upgraded to a widescreen LCD.

Phenom II x 4 @ 3.4GHz


1.5 TB HDD

ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB GDDR5

It runs incredibly smoothly. The bottleneck is of course the hard drive. I’d have gone for an SSD if they were reasonably priced, but that day has yet to come.

I’m enjoying my internship at IDV. I’ve gotten to look at both the sysadmin and developer side of things. There’s quite a learning curve to coming up to speed with a new codebase, but I got it. Coding requires long bouts of focus, while sysadminning can be more intense, but frequently stopped by waiting for the computer to complete some semiautomated process. I’ve also done more work on Cavez of Phear.

Keep on keepin’ on

My social life is shifting away from these precious tubes of ours in many ways. Being within walking distance of places I would actually want to go really helps. I find it far more fulfilling to talk face-to-face with people, and the Internet, Reddit in particular, seems to just fill that void with funny captioned pictures and the occasional interesting article. I’ve been keeping a journal of sorts and that’s proven enjoyable. The freedom that the summer and my parents give me is fantastic.

I have an internship at IDV and it’s interesting. I am happy to report that when actually coding, such as in C#, much less so in configuration files, programming techniques are generally applicable. It’s nice after floundering around to have little sections of activity where I actually feel like I know what’s going on.

As a graduation present I’m putting together a monster gaming rig. I was very happy to be notified that this would happen. Once I get the parts and snapped together ordered I’ll put together a writeup on the build.  I’m looking forward to it.

Life Is Being Overwhelming

Finals went well. I have an A now in all classes except for Precalc, in which I have an A-. This is despite getting 97.5% on the Precalc final. Oh well.

It seems I’m trying to do too much between school, homework, robotics, and the oddly involuntary Reddit. I doubt I’ll be able to get enough time for NHS and I may have to quit. That’s too bad, but there’s not much I can do about it. I wonder if in college I will have the same problems with time management. I’m looking forward to college, as I hope to have additional freedoms there, including philosophical discussion, which Morrison tells us is present late at night on college campuses. That might have been replaced with our lovely Intertubes by now, but I hope not. Freedom includes what I see Pat doing, for example, which is getting up at 10 and trudging off to classes at 2. That said, additional freedom also means additional responsibility. As far as I can see, this means I will need to make sure on my own that I get up and make it to classes on time, not get locked outside of my room, and avoid ill-advised parties. That shouldn’t be a problem if I’m able to earn enough ISK to feed my EVE subscription. I’m unclear on how much I will need to buy and how much the magical Umich (How is that capitalized?) card will provide to me. Responsibility has an upside: if I have more responsibility for my surroundings that means I’ll have more power over them. The practical implication of this is that I will no longer be surrounded by piles of things that aren’t mine that I can’t move. I like minimal surroundings, and take pride in the fact that the contents of my tabletop and drawers, with the exception of clothing and a desk lamp, fit in a “small” packing box. I should mention the computer is on the desk, not the table, and furniture is not included. Still, I see it as an accomplishments of sorts. I have managed to avoid excess clutter to an extent. That said, most of the box in question is still unpacked. Perhaps I should throw it out (or recycle it; if I recall correctly it’s mostly paper) as I evidently have no need for it.

Wow, this is turning out to be quite stream-of-conciousness. I hope, gentle reader, that you are able to keep up with my rambling.

Although I still hold on to the hope that my new second semester classes will be interesting, my initial impressions are not very good. I like both teachers as people, but I do not think they have good teaching abilities.

Mr. Olstad should create a video series on how to teach properly.


I found Synergy+! I have a Linux box set up next to my Windows one now, and I can slide my cursor between the monitors of the different machines, and control both with one keyboard and mouse! The Windows machine runs the server. I’m using a stereo Y-cable to connect both machines to the speakers. I’m concerned that it might not be good to connect two sound outputs to the same cable, although there are speakers so it’s not directly between outputs… I really need to learn about electricity!

Synergy+ was surprisingly easy to set up, and following the directions worked without issue. I set up sshd on the server using Cygwin by running ssh-host-config and following the instructions. Running ssh-keygen got me my RSA key for the client, which I copied into ~/.ssh/authorized_keys in Cygwin so that I could have passwordless login. With passwordless login, I was able to add the creation of an SSH tunnel alongside synergyc localhost.  (localhost so that it uses the tunnel.) I also have the server running as a system service.

The end result is that Synergy+ is automatically started and securely tunneled. It’s pretty fun. Perhaps next in my string of projects will be setting the second monitor up on a monitor switch so that I can change between dual-monitor on one machine and one monitor each.

At the end of this break I will have attended no less than five Christmas parties. Too much travel!

EDIT: After accidentally closing Firefox on my left screen by attempting to open a menu on the far left of my right screen, I realized I could start the transfer range between screens at 5% and end it at 95%, making a part of the top and bottom of the shared edge not transfer. Hooray configuration!

EDIT Jan 17 2010: I now use autossh to make the tunnel persistent. Combined with Synergy+’s ability to retry connections, this makes it a lot easier to keep the machines connected between reboots.