Friday, July 30, 2010

Slow down there, big guy!

Today I biked from our new home to my new job for the first time. According to Google Maps, the route I took was 5.1 miles, which isn't terribly far, but the terrain is very hilly. A lot of ups and downs. I was planning on it taking about 45 minutes, so I allotted an hour, but managed to make it in about 30 minutes. Not nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be.

Of course, it was overcast, calm, and a cool 65 degrees, but even when we get to the hot summer weather it shouldn't take longer, just be more uncomfortable. (Mostly for my coworkers, since they'll have to smell my sweat.)

A few blocks before the office, there's a giant hill. As I approached it on my bike, I glanced up to the snowcapped top, where I could see wispy clouds and giant condors slowly circling. (I might be exaggerating: they were probably just vultures, lying in wait for hapless bikers foolish enough to challenge the hill.)

Anyway, I was halfway up the hill, in the lowest gear, barely going fast enough to keep from falling over, when I saw one of the giant snails that I've been noticing since we moved to California. I kid you not, my first thought was: "At least I'm going faster than him."

Pretty sad.

P.S. I called the snail "him" because only a guy snail would be stupid enough to set off on a trek across four lanes of traffic when your top speed is 6 inches/hour. He wasn't even at a crosswalk.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Sorry about more geek humor, but this made me laugh.

Today I was on an airplane, browsing through some third-party computer code looking for a particular programming function (a block of code that performs a given task). In the file I was looking in, all the functions manipulated strings of characters functions, so all of them were prefixed with "str," short for "string," and pronounced "stir."

I passed such functions as strcpy (copy a string of characters), strcmp (compare two strings), and strlen (get the length of the string), then I came across another one: strfry.

The description of the function? "Sauté string briskly."

It was so out-of-the-blue in the staid programming code that I started laughing. Even though it obviously wasn't the function I was looking for, I had to do a little more digging to find out what the function did. Apparently it randomizes the order of the letters in the string. Apt.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Open Source Software

I love Ubuntu and open-source software. I love that I can download and install an entire operating system and a comprehensive suite of half an hour. For absolutely free.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

5th of July

Yesterday, Child and I went to my brother-in-law's family's land to relax a little. While there, Child took Ash out on an inner-tube for a little casual floating around the pond. The water was freezing cold (so I heard; water isn't my thing, particularly freezing cold water), so most of the kids stayed on the inner-tubes.

Of course, the problem with that was that when Child started floating downstream, she could either get into the ice-cold water, or end up in the Gulf of Mexico. Due to logistical reasons (I was holding an iPhone) her husband was unable to save her, but fortunately my brother-in-law swam to her rescue.

Friday, July 02, 2010

TCPlease make up your mind

Sorry about the geeky post. People not interested in network protocols can skip it.

I was trying to figure out which network protocol (UDP or TCP) a robot was using, but I wasn't getting much help from the robot provider.

Email: Communication will be TCP/UDP (Can be TCP/IP if you prefer).
Documentation: Robot Control uses a standard TCP/IP protocol.
Code comment 1: This controller opens a TCP/IDP connection
Code comment 2: Waiting for data on port UDP

Half those statements don't even make sense. I finally had to look at the actual code to figure out that it was, in fact, using UDP.