The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

The tale of the goats

| April 26, 2004

I'm in a hotel in Mass again, and I brought miniatures, except I seem to have forgotten my Red Dwarf DVD, and I'm kind of sleepy, so I'm going to just read and relax for a bit.

But, I figured I would tell the goat story first.

A couple weeks ago, before I ended up spending most of my time north of Boston, I took Liz to Fair Winds (by Crazy Burger). We parked off the street, by the park. Walking to the restaurant, a dog in a parked Subaru started barking. At first, it looked like there were three dogs in the car. However, as we looked closer, we realized that the two “dogs” on the front seat were actually baby goats.

They were still there when we left the restaurant an hour later.

And that is the story of the goats.


| April 26, 2004

So, how many people actually read my LJ? Just throw an “I do” in the comments.

Chris and Liz M., I've already counted you. No need to toss in.

On the road

| April 22, 2004

I'm traveling for a few days. Not far – just Burlington, MA. But, it's a good 1 hour drive without traffic, and with traffic (Boston and Providence), it can be 2 hours plus. So, it's easier to get a hotel room; then I'm not getting up at 5 and getting in at 7 in order to do a 9-5er up there.

Went to the Rainforest Cafe. My boss insisted. Not bad. The waitress got bitched out by a lady 2 tables over about the food and the price of the food. While the lady had a point (Mews is better food at about 25% less), she was especially mean about it. So, I left the waitress a note roughly akin to:
Go home.
Have a glass of wine.
Forget about the stupid blonde lady.

Figured it would brighten her evening.

Of course, I'm up here because a customer is having trouble with our printer driver. The spooler crashes somewhat randomly. and more frequently the more printers that have errors. Only on Windows 2003. Not on 2k or XP. After futzing with it for about four hours, I had it down to one call. Comment it out, everything works. Uncomment it, stuff blows up. The call:


Replace it with: MessageBox(…)

and it all works great.

Conclusion: Microsoft Foundation Class (MFC) dialogs are busted under 2003. They leak memory, go past memory boundries, and crash things.

If I do it the non-MFC way (as the MessageBox-es are done), it works great.

I don't suppose we can bill MS for my time? Hell, I'd be happy if they can just be convinced to fix it.

Alright, time to go do some work.

I'm not quite dead

| April 19, 2004

Sorry folks, I've just been rather busy.

Friday I went out to see Kill Bill 2 with Liz. Definitely a fun movie.

Saturday, I had to work. Not fun. But, then I took Liz out. We were going to go to Crazy Burger (a local Bohemian-type gourmet-ish eatery), but it was packed (as it often is) and so we went down the street to Fair Winds, a seafood restaurant. Very nice, small restaurant. Wish we had a bottle of wine, but such is life. Then, we went to see Jersey Girl. Also a cute movie.

Went to breakfast on Sunday, and then Liz was heading out to see The Graduate with my mother. Simon called me, and we hadn't seen each other for awhile, so we walked around, rescued a damsel in distress (she was trying to carry her very heavy Dell computer), had a cigar, grabbed some Spike's hotdogs for dinner, and just basically caught up on stuff.

Then I came back, and worked on my server. LVM2 is quite cool. Now I'm just moving about 200GB of data which, of course, takes time.

alcohol Booze to compensate for the hard day yt High angle shot. Note the 8 disk RAID controller yt Close up of the disc drives. There are 9 3.5″ hdd’s + 1 DVD-RW yt VIew of the front. DVD + a 120MM fan. office My office full of computers. There are 5 computers in this desk. – The blue one with the RedHat sticker – The small one under the desk (not visible) – The black server case (under the laptop) – The laptop – The humidor pc (on top the hutch next to the white laser printer) And I still have another one that is in the stereo rack. I love computers. My job just finances my technology addiction.

Reiser FS is poop

| April 8, 2004

So, as part of my Gentoo installation, I tried ReiserFS, as opposed to my traditional ext3 (which I have used for over two years; I was one of the early adopters, back when it was a kernel patch). However, there is a slight problem.

My laptop has problems resuming. Every once in awhile, it doesn't come out of suspend mode, requiring a power off and reboot. Now, you'd think that, since the machine was basically idle for over 15 minutes, it should have flushed to disk, right? Wrong. I had some text in an emacs window that I had edited, and saved. Hours ago. After reboot and replaying of journal, the data is gone. I had to re-edit the file. I thought this was a fluke, but it just happened again. With ext3, this never happened. So, I'll be redoing my laptop and doing it as proper ext3 this time around.

Nice, relaxing weekend

| April 4, 2004

Wasn't feeling well on Friday, so I went home and went to sleep. Liz took care of me. Got up and felt kind of blah, so I had some dinner and went back to sleep.

On Saturday, we went to SweekCakes for breakfast. We were going to eat there, except that the little two table cafe was invaded by this family with small kids, so we decided to bounce out and head back.

Then, Liz and Irene wanted to go to the mall, and I didn't feel much like wandering around, so I came back, cleaned up the house a bit, played some video games, hacked on the computer, watched The Fast and the Furious, etc. That movie wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Some happy cars; makes me want a tight little supercharged Japanese sports car. While I'm watching the movie, however, I start to smell propane. So I call maintenance, they come over, check the stove, all is good. Then they tell me that it was probably the propane place next door. Apparently when they're too full, they just vent the propane into the air, and so the smell carries. WTF is that? Shouldn't they just like burn it off? Wasteful and annoying.

When Liz got back, we went out to see HellBoy. Not a bad movie. Exactly what I expected – lots of action, little story. I assume that the best parts were left on the cutting room floor, and that it will be a better movie when the director's cut DVD comes out (if there is going to be one). After that, we went back to Liz's house and watched The Avengers (the new one, with Uma Thurman, not the old one). Nice, relaxing evening.

Today, the weather let up enough for Liz and I to go on to a bike ride. (For those of you who don't live in Rhode Island, it's been raining here for the past week – the roads are regularly flooded.) We took the bike path in to Wakefield, then went to Mom and Pop's used book store. I picked up an armload of Heinlein books, and Liz got an Asimov book. She wanted to get a copy of I, Robot, so she could read it again before the movie comes out. This sparked an interesting conversation about how influential Science Fiction is on real science – it gives scientists something to shoot for.

So, I'm rapidly approaching the end of my lists of “stuff that needs doing”. With the dissolution of the Tuesday night gaming crew, I've had time to do things during the week, so my house is cleaned and vacuumed, most of the dishes are done, and it looks pretty decent. I still need to clean my desk, which I'll probably do tomorrow, while installing Gentoo on my server. This is unusual for me. Usually, I'm stressed, because I have too much to do. I suppose I'll have time to start reading and painting miniatures again. Nice, low stress, relaxed, life.

So, the Gentoo experiment is a success. I've finally switched from RedHat. I've been using it for a week, and I'm still super impressed.

Re: video games – I'm currenly playing Ace Combat '04 for PS2. Completely not realistic, but not a bad airplane game. Very relaxing, but that's probably because I'm good at airplane games. I highly recommend it.

Grrr. That Altovis commercial is on again. It's a drug to “fight fatigue”, and they don't mean just “I don't get enough sleep”, but basically that your life is so stressful that you still feel fatigued even when you get up in the morning. Pah. Too many drugs. Silly things.

I suppose that's it for tonight. Goodnight all.

Website update

| April 1, 2004

Updated my website with pictures of Projects. Maybe more photos will follow, some day. These were made with kalbum, by the way.

My brother came by the other night to borrow some video games. His friend shot and killed himself a few days ago. He was 19. Sad. I wish I could say “what drives someone to do this”, because I know exactly how you get there.

Gentoo continues to go well. I'm super impressed with portage – makes it easy to locate and install software with a minimum of effort. If anyone is at all interested, I highly recommend heading over to and reading the documentation.

Edit: Link works now.