Yearly Archives: 2005

‘Tis the season…

Yep, it’s that time of year again. Christmas Eve is tomorrow (today?), and I’m burnt out. I’ve been working a lot, playing little, and according to the way I feel, not sleeping enough. It’s all good though, for the time being at least. Tomorrow I will be able to visit with my mom’s side of the family, and it will be fun and festive, as it always is. I guess that I’m lucky that I have a family that I enjoy being around. Not everyone is so lucky.

After Christmas though, that will be less fun – I’m moving, once again. My current living situation just hasn’t worked out. I’ve never really felt at home here – more like I was just crashing at someone else’s place every night. So, I’m moving on. I’ve secured a two-bedroom apartment in a complex where I’ve lived previously. It has a nice view of a large wooded lot, free of ugly things such as cars, buildings, roads, or reflections in the mirror. The price is pretty good too, so I can’t complain. Not as good as sharing the bills with a roommate, but I’ll take that hit in the name of living solo.

I get the keys on Monday, and I hope to have the bulk of my crap moved by late tuesday. It seems that my parents and I have become pretty good at moving me around, with the many MSU-related moves and all. They both have large vehicles now, so that should help things too, as long as I can keep their gaping maws fed with boxes and furniture and the like. (The vehicles, not my parents…) This should also allow me to move all the crap out of Greg’s basement that is still around from when I lived there. I’m sure he and Carl will be pleased to see my junk go.

I won’t have internet service until thursday at the earliest, so my online availibility might suffer. It’s not like I talk to more than 5 people consistently online anyways… 🙂

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, I’m going to bed.

Whatever you do, don’t open the box

Last week, Mike sent me a link to a cool music service called Pandora. It kind of scared me at first, because the email that was sent was one of those generic “Tell a friend” kind of emails, and didn’t have anything mentioning that he sent it. The email said something about someone creating a stream called “Iron Maiden Radio”, and I happened to be listening to Iron Maiden at the time. I was creeped out, and was partially worried that my workstation was compromised somehow. I talked to Mike the next day, and I was happy to learn that he sent it.

Anyways, what makes this thing so cool is that it can provide you with a bunch of music you may like based upon an artist or song that you enter when you load the page. Entering the artist/song creates a “station” of music that shares similar characteristics to the artist/song you entered. Each artist/song is classified based upon characteristics of the music, and the recommended songs are chosen based upon similarities to those characteristics. For instance, in my “Nevermore” radio station, I was presented the song “Unholy Confessions” by Avenged Sevenfold (which is actually a band I’ve been wanting to check out), “because it features hard rock roots, a subtle use of paired vocal harmony, mild rhythmic syncopation, varying tempo and time signatures, and demanding instrumental part writing.”

You have the ability to tailor each “station” by providing feedback on each song that’s played, so in theory, you can avoid stuff you won’t like. It will only allow you to skip over a certain number of songs per hour, and you have no way to choose exactly what bands you want to hear, but that’s part of the whole “station” scenario. It’s kinda like radio, but it’s much more focused on what you want to hear.

It’s a very cool concept, and I’ll probably use it a lot more in the future. Right now the Flash client that they run on your machine is not efficient at all, and totally makes my browser crawl. Hopefully it’ll get better.

Weak in the knees

Yah, I’m really behind in posting, but oh well, it’s my site, my perogative.

Two weeks ago, I had the eye injection that Dr. Saxe hopes will help bring the stupidity inside my eye under control. It was an experience to say the least. The drug he injected is called Avastin, and it’s normally used in cases of rectal/colon cancer. I’m not sure how I feel about having something injected into my eye that’s normally associated with one’s ass, but hey, if it works, it works.

The actual injection wasn’t that bad, although I must say it was weird to be conscious during the procedure. I was able to see the injection entering my eye, which was very strange. The only parallel I can draw is that it was like looking through a whirlpool from underwater. The fluid was swirling around quite freely, which was very strange since my other eye wasn’t experiencing the same effect. The whole injection process took less than 30 seconds, and seemed to be over just as quickly as it started.

What happened afterwards was quite unexpected though. My mom and I were waiting in the exam room for a while so the staff could take pressure reading on my eye to make sure things were kosher. They said they had to wait for ten minutes after the injection to take the reading, so we were just killing time. All of a sudden, I started feeling lightheaded and queasy, and I asked my mom if she could get me a drink of water. Well, before she could finish standing up, I fainted. I collapsed down in the chair and kind of lurched over to one side, hitting my head on the vertical pole that supports all of the ophthalmological examination stuff. My mom had to catch me to keep me from falling to the floor. Apparently I was only out for about 30 seconds, but because of that I had to stay around for quite a while, just so they could make sure I wasn’t going to zonk out again. I didn’t, and after a half hour of nurses buzzing around I was able to leave.

I went in for another checkup a week after the injection, and everything was stable at that point. My sight had apparently improved to 20/50, but I didn’t really notice a difference. I go in for another checkup in early January, so lets hope things are better by then.

Your IP was logged

Dear Sir/Madam,we have logged your IP-address on more than 30 illegal Websites.

Important:
Please answer our questions!
The list of questions are attached.

Yours faithfully,
Steven Allison

++++ Central Intelligence Agency -CIA-
++++ Office of Public Affairs
++++ Washington, D.C. 20505

++++ phone: (703) 482-0623
++++ 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., US Eastern time

Attachment: list.zip

I don’t really ever get sick of these… 🙂 I get more laughs out of stupid virus emails than anyone ever should, really.

Two steps forward, eight steps back.

In another act of defiance, the funky blood vessels in my eye have once again let me know that they aren’t going to give up the ghost without a fight. I went in for another checkup today, and things aren’t good. My sight in the right eye has slipped to 20/80, which is the worst it has been. The swelling has returned, and there are new formations of leaky blood vessels spewing shit into my eye.

Dr. Saxe isn’t convinced that the laser has been/will be effective in my case, so he’s looking at something different. Apparently there have been a few studies in the past couple of months that have used a derivative of a cancer medication to treat cases of blood-vessel-related eye problems, such as macualar degeneration. Since Coats’ Disease is so rare, it hasn’t been tested there. The basic premise is that the medication blocks a growth factor that promotes the growth of the faulty blood vessels (VEGF if I heard correctly), which helps the condition calm down. I was taken a bit off guard when the words “cancer medication” were said, but the premise seems sound.

If there’s any good news to be had, it’s that I’ll have another cool picutre of the inside of my eye next week when I go in. And by cool picture, I mean a neat looking picture of the carnage that’s taken place in my eye. They took a bunch of pictures today, and the photo technician said that she would print up a copy or two of the more interesting ones. There were a few pictures that totally highlighted all of the junk floating in my eye, which was kinda neat in a way. It would be interesting to get one of those pictures as well.

select quarter(TimeStamp) from Life;

I really don't like this time of year… the light becomes scarce, cold encroaches, and many things die… including my optimism.

Smart ssh’ing using screen

This has probably been done before, but I decided to set up a bash script tonight that would overload the ssh command and manage ssh connections using screen. I set it up so that when a detached screen to the host you’re connecting to is present, it would reattach that screen session instead of making a new one. If there weren’t any detached sessions, it starts up a new screen session by connecting to the host. I also made it name the screens in a somewhat intelligent manner. If the host you’re connecting to is specified by an IP address, it’ll attempt a reverse lookup to provide a more beneficial name than the IP. If the reverse lookup fails, it’ll just use the IP. If you’re connecting to a host based on a full or partial hostname, it’ll just use that as the screen name. I also made another command to shortcut searching for screens – lsscr. If it’s run with no parameters, it lists all screen sessions. If it is run with a parameter, it’ll take that parameter as a search string and show screen sessions matching that search string. And since I dig open source, I post my work here for all to pilfer.

[EDITx2] I’ve updated the functions a few times, and instead of reformatting HTML each time, I’m just going to post it in the wiki. Enjoy. [/EDITx2]

This code should be placed in your user’s .bashrc file (or the server-wide copy, if you prefer) for this to work right.

Goofy Eye

In an earlier post, I tried to mimic the differences between my eyes now that the vision in my right eye has kind of disintegrated. I got bored tonight, and decided to try to mimic things a little better, and try the ‘effect’ on something a little more real-world than a screenshot from espn.com. Well, here’s a picture I took of the Ocqueoc River up north. It has a little more detail, and provides a better effect.

Left Eye:

[left eye]

Right Eye:

[right eye]

I still couldn’t really mimic the overexposure I see, but cranking up the brightness and contrast kinda does the trick. You can also see the distortion in the middle of my vision, and I tried to throw in the large darkish glob I see floating around all the time toward the right side of my sight as well. The edges are a little too sharp, but the effect is there. I also included some of the random dot-floaters. Now, imagine that every time you move your eye, the glob and the dot-floaters move around in the general direction of eye movement. Now you might have a better idea why I have to close/cover my right eye when I read… 🙁

Quick! Hide the booze!

It’s been a while since making alcohol disappear (in the non-drinking sense) has been a concern of mine, and dispite the title, it’s still not really that huge of a concern. However, as I displayed last night, a few beers, a desire to purchase, and amazon.com don’t necessarily bode well for my wallet. Last night I ordered 4 Nevermore albums with about 5 clicks. Damn you Amazon for making it so easy for me to satisfy my musical desires! Well, I can’t really blame them. If best buy had any Nevermore albums other than This Godless Endeavor – which I already own – I would buy it from them. I’ve been looking for a while, but nobody had any of their albums, so to amazon I go. They should be here sometime this week, which is good. I’m pumped to hear more.

Not much else is going on. We found another red-bellied snake wandering around the datacenter, which brings us up to four sub-six-inch snakes in the past few weeks. There must be something in our building that’s much cooler/warmer/more awesome than outside, because this is becoming a trend. The snake exodus has begun!

On other work related news, the new building is coming along quite nicely. The datacenter walls have been framed, and the grid for the dropped ceiling is in place. The sprinkler system is done, and the power system is progressing. The next couple months will hold some very cool things at work, least of which being the choice of where I place my desk in the new building… 😉

WebApp design is fun…

(00:02:19) Matt: you know how you can do header shit, like header("Location: http://www.google.com");
(00:02:26) Matt: to transfer to that page
(00:02:28) Mike: yep
(00:02:39) Matt: ok, is there any way to do something like that, but cause a POST
(00:02:52) Mike: umm
(00:02:56) Mike: what would you be posting
(00:03:19) Matt: variables. i COULD pass thru REQUEST i guess.... but id much rather do POST for security
(00:06:04) Mike: what are you trying to do
(00:07:25) Matt: i need to transfer from 1 page to another (i dont want any output from the first page, just a transfer... its doing some SNMP set things), i want it to transfer back to another page
(00:08:01) Matt: but that other page needs variables such as switch IP address, port number, etc to load up with the correct info
(00:08:11) Matt: and it gets them from a form action=post of another page
(00:08:26) Mike: is this on the same domain?
(00:08:29) Matt: yes
(00:08:35) Mike: why not just use a session
(00:08:39) Matt: hmmm.
(00:08:43) Matt: you're genius
(00:08:44) Matt: lol
(00:08:50) Mike: lol
(00:08:51) Matt: i already HAVE a session going
(00:08:54) Matt: im fucking retarded.
(00:08:56) Matt: thank you
(00:09:02) Matt: =]
(00:09:17) Mike: hahaha

Sometimes the most simple solution evades you until some(one|thing) slaps you in the face with it.