Not much to report today. Most of the day was spent debugging C++ code. (if there was a bed here at the office, I’d never need to go home!) Programming in Perl can spoil you really quick. It takes a lot of C or C++ code to do what Perl can do in one or two lines.
The SETI@home server was down for several hours today and, unfortunately for me, the downtime coincided with the completion of about four work units – which apparently got sent to the bit bucket. This caused me to fall back to 7th place on Team Slashdot. I’m confident that I’ll regain 6th place tomorrow though, as I have upgraded the three Windows machines to run the new CLI client instead of the tediously slow GUI version. This change should help them keep up with the Solaris and Linux boxes and provide a gain of several work units per day.
Okay, things got better as the day progressed. After working most of the day, Susan and I went to the Dallas Symphony. The program tonight consisted of Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 in B-flat Major, the Concerto for Flute and Orchestra by the Dallas Symphony’s composer-in-residence, Lowell Liebermann, and one of my favorites, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E Minor. If you’ve ever seen Andrew Litton conduct, you’ll know that he is a particularly animated conductor. At the end of the third movement of Symphony No. 9, he finished with a violent movement of his arm that accidentally sent his baton flying into the audience. It was caught by a man in the second row who walked to the front and returned it to Mr. Litton just in time for the fourth movement. Definitely not something you see every day. Upon returning home, I checked my SETI@home stats to discover that I’ve moved from 7th to 6th place on Team Slashdot and have now exceeded one year of CPU time.
Yes, saturday is off to a good start. This morning our router developed, as the good Dr. would say, “a spot of bother in its solar stack”. I came in this morning, got things working again, and now have to get back to work on our latest behind schedule project. If I can get about 3 weeks of development work done over the next few days, we might just manage to pull this off.
The CD of the week is We Are Not DEVO on the centipede records label. It’s a tribute to Devo’s music by a lot cool bands whose members grew up listening to Devo. Among the more interesting selections, you’ll find Uncontrollable Urge played by SNFU, Don Knotts Overdrive performing Snowball, and a bizarre Spanish version of Mongoloid (El Mongoloido) done by Possum Dixon. Other bands on the CD include The Aquabats, Voodoo Glow Skulls, The Vandals, Jughead’s Revenge, Lagwagon, and One Hit Wonder. This really brings back the memories of the good ol’ days when we used to listen to real music, not that mamby pamby stuff they play on the radio these days. So, buy it, throw it on the CD player at your office, put down your keyboard for a few minutes, and Pogo with a friend.
Maybe I spoke too soon on the Optibase card. I got a call from a Dallas Optibase rep today saying they’d have a card for me tomorrow. We started playing with the Sigma Designs card today and it’s pretty cool. Once we evaluate them, there’s still a ton of coding to do to get this project done on time. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks…
The UPS guy just dropped off a Sigma Designs NetStream 2 card. We’re evaluating MPEG 2 cards for a project that’s got to be completed in the next couple of weeks. An Optibase VideoPlex Xpress card may be in the running too if they can get it to us in time. Unlike Sigma Designs who offer evaluation units and cheap pricing through distributors like Tech Data, Optibase appears to be a much smaller operation. They didn’t have any eval units handy and their products aren’t carried by any major distributors. Also, Optibase is a Microsoft-only company and refuses to develop or allow others to develop Linux drivers. Sigma Designs has working beta version Linux drivers and isn’t afraid to release the technical details required to do driver development. You always have to wonder what’s being hidden when a company won’t tell you how their product works!
Okay, time for an amphibian update. If it’s 3am and you think you’re hearing Chorus Frogs, you’re probably hearing Gulf Coast Toads. They don’t sound even remotely alike so you have to be really tired to make these sorts of mistakes. Anyway, the Gulf Coast Toads sound like this. If your browser can’t play aiff files, try saving it to disk and using some other sound player.
At the Meyerson last night we listened to lots of Beethoven including the Fidelio Overture, the Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major (sorry, I just never quite developed a taste for Piano stuff, though it was fun watching the antics of the pianist), and the Symphony No. 3. Afterwards we managed to get ourselves lost in the parking garage but eventually found our car before we were asphxiated from exhaust fumes. I had received a call from Germany about some urgently needed spreadsheets just prior to the concert so next we went up to the office and crunched numbers until about 3am. While we were there we noticed the chorus frogs at the pond behind the office were unusually loud. When we walked out to hear them, the noise level was easily 60 or 70 decibels. I tried unsuccessfully to catch one and we found the whole experience very amusing (but at 3am just about anything is funny)…