Thursday, July 11, 2002

If you've ever wanted to know the ins and outs of modern quantum theory in and haven't been able to find a good resource, have I got a site for you! Here is a well written piece from Richard Feynman, the famous physicist that has written many books that bring complex science down to a merely mildly confusing level. Fun stuff!

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

here is the link to my slashdot post
Word of the Day:
te·mer·i·ty \tuh-MER-uh-tee\ n.
  1. Unreasonable or foolhardy contempt of danger
  2. rashness
I'm so proud of myself! I just submitted a story to slashdot and it actually got accepted! My 15 nanoseconds of fame are here! I have yet to see it actually show up on the page but since the material of the article was not time-sensitive, I can't really be sure when it will appear. I've submitted stories to slashdot before only to have them rejected quickly so this is actually rather surprising. The article I refer to in the post is about the use of LEDs to heal retinal tissues damaged by lasers and a few mitochondrial (didn't think you'd hear that outside of biology class did you?) diseases that affect the eye. I won't link to it here, I'll make you go to slashdot and click on the link in the post so I can feel like people are actually reading what I submitted. Can you tell that today has been a slow day and that I've got nothing else interesting to talk about? :-P

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Word of the day:

ses·qui·pe·dal·ian \ses-kwuh-puh-DAYL-yuhn\ adj.
  1. Given to or characterized by the use of long words
  2. Long and ponderous; having many syllables
n.
  1. a long word
Well, after much trial and error (and error and error and error), I've managed to get the comments working and keep my template from going crazy when I try to edit it. For some reason all of the img and href tags were getting deleted when I tried to submit my edited version of the template. Not Good. But after beating my head against the wall for a few minutes, I managed to copy and paste the whole text of the template file into notepad and edit it there and compare to the stanard template for the parts I didn't understand. Thankfully this seems to have worked and I'm going to be doing all of my template editing offline from now on, thank you. :-P In the midst of all this, I read a rather interesting article by Janis Ian, a singer/songwriter from the 60s and 70s (so most of you will probably not recognize the name). The article is about the artists' point of view on the whole mp3, copy-protection, DRM and file-sharing debate. Really its just the same stuff that all the people who are pro-mp3 and anti-DRM but its nice to see that the artists agree, and she has a few harsh words for the recording industry in general to boot.
This is so cool! I just found a site (Bean Free Library) that offers free eBooks for download in several formats! It seems to be all from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genres and I can't say I've heard of the authors they feature, but its not like its going to cost me anything if I end up not liking what I get! I just like the way the cover images look in the little "library" screen in the (also free) eBook reader software (Microsoft Reader or Acrobat eBook Reader). Both of those programs require registration/activation, but you can just give them an email address to send spam to that you just delete everything from once a week. I've also found eBooks at Bartleby.com but all of their books are in HTML format so you'll have to read them off the webpage if you don't want to go to the trouble of cuting and pasting into a word processor file and of course you don't get the little "library" screen with all the cover art, but you still get to read the book :-D. Reading if fun, damnit!

Monday, July 08, 2002

I figured out what was going on with my if statements in Perl...it seems that in Perl (just like in other languages) you have to use special comparision opperators for strings. Why I didn't think of this as soon as the problem arose is a mystery that may never be solved. It was quite stupid of me not to realize my error right away. I've got my Perl script working as I had originally planned but in the process of getting it there I've come up with several other directions I'd like it to go, and that may require completely starting over. But as they say, "for a well made piece of software, you have to start over from scratch at least once." So now I've got to find out how to get CGI working....the form actions seem to pass the right arguments to the browser but the script just displays the text of the script file onto the browser page....not too useful.
In other (and much nicer) news, I got to spend the four days of the 4th of July holiday and weekend with Jennie in Austin. We watched Halloween, O Brother Where Art Thou, and Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and I liked the last two but the scary movie just wasn't that scary. Now the tricks my mind played on me right before I went to sleep that night are another thing, but thats what I get for having a creative mind; I tend to scare myself a lot unnecessarily. Oddly enough, though I didn't much like Halloween, I am somewhat tempted to see the other movies in the series simply because of the utter lack of plot in the first one. Jennie noticed the lack of storyline too but I don't know if it piqued her interest about the other movies as well. I know that the other movies aren't going to be any more entertaining, but I have an urge to see them anyway. Oh well. When we rented Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, we also got ice cream and hot fudge and bananas and made banana splits for ourselves. YUM YUM!! Jennie has subsequently hiddent the rest of the hot fudge from her family though they did get to the rest of our ice cream when we had blackberry cobbler (also very yummy) right before I drove home on Sunday. This post has absolutely no sense of chronological order. On Saturday we went to Jennie's friend Angie's house for their annual 4th of July weekend party where we ate free food and played board games (disney trivial pursuit - Jennie won; Monopoly - the Sloth lost handily; and Taboo - which I'm no good at but Jennie and I said many things in unison so it was good :-D) and some Ping Pong which we actually didn't do too badly at. Despite not having played in quite a while, we were able to win in the first round and put up a good fight in the second. And if the judges hadn't been drunk, we probably would have done even better :-P. Jennie found out over the weekend that I'm deathly afraid of wasps and other stingy insects, but she thought it was cute so its ok and I don't have to squish the stingy bugs myself :-P. I also went to church with Jennie for the third time and the second week in a row. The members of the Leader Ward are beginning to recognize me and know my name. I of course have to ability whatsoever to remember names so that is somewhat scary when you don't want people to know you've forgotten their name since they seem to know yours. Oh well. I guess since no one reads this (mostly because I haven't told anyone about it, mostly) I might as well make it semi-public that I'm planning to join the Mormon Church. Jennie has, of course, been the primary influence and reason for this decision but I do want to make it clear to anyone (or no one) who reads this that I am going to sincerely embrace the Church and adhere to its principles. Jennie has made my life so much better, in so many ways that I had to at least give the religion issue a fair and thorough look. And, now that I have taken that look, I'm going to take the steps toward joining. I'm still quite scared about the whole process, not because of what's involved so much as simply doing it. But, my mind is made up, I'm going to be a Latter Day Saint, now I just have to get over my fears about calling the missionaries for this area and not knowing how it all works. I hate not being able to know what to expect in The Discussions with the missionaries. I know they're going to be nice guys who will want to help me with this in any way they can, but I'm still scared simply because its all so new to me. Another thing about that that has me a bit concerned is what my brother will do when he finds out about all this. My parents aren't going to have any kind of negative reaction to this but I'm sure Todd will take whatever opportunity he can to use this as fodder to make fun of me and this subject is something that I'm kind of sensitve on since I'm not 100% secure about how some people might view my decision. I know I want to do it; its just that I'm afraid of what other people will think, as always. I have a big problem with wanting to be looked upon favorably by everone I meet no matter if I'll ever see them again or not. Well I think this post is long enough for now, perhaps I shall blog again tomorrow.