New Phone, New Service

October 23, 2005 at 1:04 AM | Nerd, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

Samsung SPH-A840Very soon now, I shall be retiring my tired, old Nokia 8290. I am actually very surprised that it has lasted me this long, what with the wear and tear that it has experienced over the years… dozens of drops, shattering to pieces on the floor, LEDs fried, sweet & sour sauce dripped into the earpiece, and even lost and left behind in Tokyo… it’s been through a lot. The battery can barely hold a charge anymore, the only faceplate that still works with the keys is missing several pieces, and the paint’s peeling… so yeah, it’s time to move on. I also changed my cell phone provider along with getting a new phone.

And honestly, now’s a good a time as any to switch… I get no signal whatsoever in the building that I work in. They say that it has something to do with the construction of the building or the materials that they used or something. And it’s just that building too, because when I used to work in a different building on campus, I got good reception. I mean, I’m in this building for a good 8 or 9 hours of the day all week, so it really feels like a huge waste to be paying for something that I can’t even use for the better part of the day, when I should.

Anyways, they got Sprint and Verizon to put in repeaters in the building so both of those get good signal inside. I understand that there is some kind of movement to get T-Mobile to follow suit but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I haven’t heard much about people wanting Cingular. Why I’m so skeptical about the prospect of T-Mobile or Cingular making their way to our building is because our company has some sort of deal worked out with Sprint and Verizon. I don’t have all the details but oh yeah, there’s some kind of deal there.

I actually already have my new phone (Samsung SPH-A840), new service (Sprint), and new number set up. But I plan to get my old number ported over to my new phone so I figured there’s no use in getting that number out there. Besides, it’s a dirty Missouri number. I can’t be having that. My contract with T-Mobile ends at the end of the month so that’s when this’ll all be going down. I can’t wait.

“Leonard Needs”

October 21, 2005 at 8:07 AM | Nerd, Random | 1 Comment

Leonard needs our help.
Leonard needs to file a very simple form, the 1040 EZ.
Leonard needs to get out for proper medical treatment.
Leonard needs to see a qualified physician from outside of the prison system.
Leonard needs to lay off the pipe.

These are, of course, the top results of googling “<your name> needs” (with the quotes)… something that I read about on Rachael’s site. I am/was every bit as amused by the results as I had expected. Go on, give it a try.

NB Fan Woes… Again

September 29, 2005 at 10:47 PM | Nerd | No Comments

the usual suspectAs you may (or may not) recall, I reported on my northbridge fan dying on me earlier in the year. I guess I never really discussed the resolution of that problem in too much detail… What I did was order a similar chipset fan (Vantec ICEBERQ CCB-A1C) to replace Abit’s faulty fan. Installation of this fan required that I unhook virtually everything from my motherboard and everything from the PSU, so that I could remove the motherboard from the case, because the little pegs that hold down the northbridge fan can only be removed by squeezing the ends found on the backside of the motherboard. This was a rather painful process. I mean, I like tinkering around with computer hardware and all, but anytime you got to do some shit to the back of a motherboard, you know that’s going to be a bitch. There’s so much work for so little gain. At that time, I needed my computer to do schoolwork n shit and anything more than the simplest of tasks was causing the CPU to overheat. So I set aside an evening to take care of this and when all was said and done, I had solved the problem and all was well again… for the next few months.

Yeah, I guess I should probably explain why I am bringing all of this back up. Well, actually, first I have to admit that I haven’t been keeping you all up to date on all of the happenings of good ol’ DWALLY (because you care, I know)… but anyways, about 2 months ago, my CPU overheated while I was doing some routine CPU-intensive activities (OK, OK… I was ripping a DVD). I mean, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when the alarm went off and the computer shut itself off just like it had done back in February. So I cracked open the case to see if the fan had died on me, since that was my first suspect. The fan appeared to be working just fine.

I knew that something needed to be fixed, but I just didn’t know what. A short term solution that I’ve been using for the past 2 months is software “cooling” using CpuIdle. I say “cooling” because all it’s really doing is preventing the CPU from working as hard when it reaches a certain temperature, which has a side-effect of slowing down the entire system. While this keeps the thing from heating up to the point where the alarm triggers and shutting the computer off, the slowdown is incredibly annoying. And worst of all, the simple task of ripping a DVD became a 4 hour chore. Maybe longer. And you can forget about doing anything else on the computer while that’s happening! Clearly this was not a good solution, but I also have a tendency to procrastinate.

I had my suspicions about what was causing the CPU to overheat. When I installed the replacement fan, I don’t think that I did an adequate job in applying the thermal paste–I think I put too much down. I felt that I had done it kind of sloppily, but since it seemed to work, I just let it go. Alternatively, I knew that I could probably avoid any guesswork by just getting a new motherboard and CPU. But being the cheapass that I am, I owed it to myself to at least try and fix it.

So I set aside another evening to test out my hypothesis, once again going through the process of extracting the motherboard to redo the thermal paste application. I was able to do this so much quicker this time around, now that I was versed in the ways of efficient motherboard extraction techniques. Also, this time around, I wasn’t working in a poorly lit, filth-ridden environment like I was back at the old house on Thurston. Yes, this time, everything went so much smoother and I laid down the best thermal paste job in the history of thermal paste, I put the fan back on and restored the motherboard along with all of the necessary connections.

Seemed to do the trick. Only now I’ve got a problem with not being able to shut down my computer. It’ll shut down, but it’ll instantly start back up. I must have reconnected something incorrectly… I dunno. I’ll have to look into that. I’ll report back in 2 months.

Printing

July 8, 2005 at 7:05 PM | Nerd, Random | No Comments

OK so get this: I went to the library to print off some PDFs last night. I got there and I went to retrieve my files from an e-mail that I sent myself… but it wouldn’t let me open my files! I could most certainly download the file, but I couldn’t open it. I was under the impression that opening PDF files was a pretty common thing to be doing. I mean, I’ve heard of the viruses that travel via PDF files but they require the full version of Adobe Acrobat to spread. But the bottom line is that they wouldn’t let me open my files and they pointed me in the direction of a different library network or Kinko’s.

But first, let me explain why I was going to the library to print things off. Yes, I happen to own a printer. As a matter of fact, it’s a printer/scanner but I only really use the scanner part because I figured that I print so few pages that it wouldn’t be worth it to get ink. Because you know that inkjet ink? That stuff dries up. I know this because I’ve seen it happen. And that ink don’t come cheap. So that’s why I always used to go on campus to print stuff off (they gave us so many free pages anyways). I suppose I could print stuff off at work now, but I figure I’d better keep it professional there. And plus, I needed those files printed off ASAP last night.

The Kinko’s was just down the street so I thought I would check them out. Plus, I didn’t like the thought of signing up for a different library card. Being a copy/printing company, Kinko’s was able to print off my documents in a hurry, full service style. I handed my USB flash drive to the guy working the counter and we go to a computer and I tell the guy what files to print and he did it. And the paper was some hardcore, nice and heavy paper too. And if that wasn’t enough, it cost me less to print at Kinko’s. It was 17 cents at Kinko’s, a phenomenal 3 cents less than what I would have paid at the library to do it myself, on inferior paper.

The guy at Kinko’s who printed my documents off, well he hit the keys on the keyboard and clicked the mouse buttons harder than I have ever seen anybody hit keys or click buttons. He was jabbing them in quick, loud flicks of his finger and it was amazing that some of the keys didn’t pop right out. But, I suppose it’s their computer equipment, so whatever.

But considering that pretty much everything is better at Kinko’s, I’ll be taking my printing there from now on. Now I ain’t doggin on the public library or nothing… hell, I’ll still go to the library if I want to get some books n shit, because last I heard, they’ve still got Kinko’s beat in that department by just a little bit.

No Internet

May 13, 2005 at 7:09 PM | Nerd, Site/Personal | No Comments

Yeah… might not be able to post for a while. Neighbors cancelled their internet service, I guess…

Internet Woes

May 2, 2005 at 12:00 AM | Nerd, Site/Personal | No Comments

You can’t see the titles on my blog yet (something that I’m working on, when I get a new layout set up), but this one is entitled “Internet Woes.” Anyways. I have learned that when you steal the internet, you’re really at the complete mercy of the person who owns the router/access point and pays good money for the internet. So these past couple of days have been rough, because I think they’ve been periodically turning off their router. We’ve never had this sort of problem before… and we’ve been doing this since November last year. But it’s not like we can go over to their house and be like “um… excuse me, could you turn your router back on?” Not just because that probably wouldn’t fly too well with them, but also because, honestly, I simply don’t know whose house the signals are coming from.

But, alas, I knew that these sorts of problems would arise the instant we decided to live this lifestyle. It’s a fabulous lifestyle, by the way; we save so much money doing this. The fact that our wireless internet providers (whoever they are) are completely ignorant of the first thing of wireless security is quite a plus too. The first sign that we were dealing with some non-technology saavy people was by the name of the router. It was left to the default name. So was the password. This is awesome because sometimes you need to go in there and set up port forwarding. At first I was scared to do it… like “oh they’ll find out!” But no, it became quite apparent that these people have probably never touched a singal configuration on their router. So we change things as we please (stuff that wouldn’t get us noticed, anyways). Ohh we’re so bad. So bad and so spoiled. Because sometimes, I’ll jump onto a different wireless network, one where they’ve changed the password so I can’t do port forwarding, and I’m like “what’s this shit?” and disconnect. Yes, there’s just been the one WLAN that’s been nice enough to provide a good signal and freedom to change their router’s settings.

But then, like I said, they’ve been (perhaps unknowingly) toying with us these past couple of days. It fucking crippled us. Well… it’s fucking crippled me, anyways. The internet has such a hold of me, it’s not even funny. A life without internet is as bad as a life without electricity, possibly worse. I’m not sure they realize what they did when they decided to turn off their router periodically. There was (crazy) talk around the house of the possibility of having to get internet for 2 weeks. I was like “who are these people, shutting down their internet with just 2 weeks of school left? There’s still finals n shit.” It’s unheard of.

So there I was, having to move my computer around the room, trying to get a better reception of some of the usually much weaker wireless signals. We usually see about 6 or 7 different networks, only 1 of which has ever been secure. This is a little more difficult than it sounds, this business of moving a computer around the room, trying to tilt my antenna every possible direction to try to pick something up. It’s not quite as easy to move a computer around while it is on and all plugged in, as it is to say, move one of those USB wireless adapters. But yeah, there was a fair amount of computer moving these past couple of days and I’ve felt pretty crazy doing it, like a drug addict trying to that get one more hit. I was like “come onnnnn….. connnnnnnect!!

Now that they’re up and running again, I feel much more appreciative of their services. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, whoever, wherever you are, for all that you’ve given us these couple of months. I’d thank you in person if I could, but you’d probably press charges or call the cops on me or something. Yes, we sure have a delicate little relationship, you and I. Parasitic in nature, I believe, but a relationship nonetheless.

The Busy Day

May 1, 2005 at 1:09 AM | Food, Good Times, KSU, Music, Nerd, Site/Personal | No Comments

You will not believe what happened to me on Thursday, even if I tell you. OK, OK, fine, I’ll tell you. I was coming home from Sutton’s place and as I walk up the steps up to my front porch, I don’t know what happened, but I kind of tripped and out spilled like 6 bottles of beer from my case, which instantly shattered on the front steps. It was like 2:30 in the morning and there wasn’t anyone around who saw that shit go down, but I was still pretty upset about the whole situation. There was all this broken glass and beer flowing down the steps. It’s enough to make some people break down and cry.

The only light that I had to work with was this green light coming from the porch light. Apparently, Jeff had stolen this green outdoors lightbulb (you know those big ones that will fit into ordinary sockets but usually won’t fit because the bulb itself is so big?) and put it into our porch light.

I had asked him earlier that same day “Hey, where’d you get that light bulb?”

“I stole it from some house.”

“Was it their porch light?”

“Yeah.”

I was like “Well, don’t you think it’s gonna look a little suspicious that all of a sudden our house has a green light on our porch?”

“It happens. We used to steal the porch light from these girls that lived across the street back at the other house, and they’d come and steal it back.”

“Alright.”

So, there I was, trying to pick up these shards of broken glass in this crazy green (stolen) light that is probably not the best colored light to be doing something dangerous like picking up broken glass in. And it was kind of sprinkling, too. It made the whole thing that much more dramatic. I was pretty sure that I got all of it.

Friday was pretty busy. It all started off with a presentation of our CIS690 project to these people on some CIS advisory board at around 2:30. One of the first things that I noticed on my way out of the house to give this presentation was the broken glass on the steps. Sure, I had thought that I’d cleaned it all up, but I was mistaken. But I guess, I did pretty well for trying to do in the rain, in the darkness of night, with only the illumination from that green porch light. I found a stick in the yard and kind of pushed the remaining pieces to the side of the steps. “I’ll clean that up later.”

The presentation went pretty well. Then the CIS department threw a graduation reception for the graduating class in the Nichols Hall atrium, where we ate all this awesome food. Like, they had these spicy chicken tender things that were fucking delicious. I’d never felt so good to be in the CIS department. We had the forementioned chicken, fruit platters, cheese/cracker platters, wraps, cookies, and some sort of soda/ice cream float drink… I’m not really sure what it was. But yeah, I ate till I could eat no more. So that went down until about 5 when Zack, Sam, and I headed over to the Union for some funnelcake.

Yes, funnelcake. You see, UPC had this big event going down called Springfest, where they brought in a bunch of bands to play, a giant inflatable slide, sand art, airbrush tattoos, free massages, a funnelcake stand, drawings for prizes, t-shirts, an outdoor showing of National Treasure, and free beverages. The beverages were, however, Pepsi Edge or canned Tropicana pink lemonade. Now, I like pink lemonade as much as the next person, but what was the deal with the Pepsi Edge? Nah, it’s not for me.

Oh yeah, so about the funnelcake situation. We’d read that the first 250 were going to be free, so we figure it’d be a fantastic dessert for the food at the CIS graduation reception. We rolled around the corner and my god, there was a huge line of people waiting for funnelcake. It’d been at least 4 or 5 years since I’ve had funnelcake (which I suddenly thought to be highly irregular, given the events in my life in these past 4 or 5 years). There was probably already 250 people in line, and even if there wasn’t, we weren’t going to stick around to wait for the 248th, 249th, and 250th funnelcake.

Inside, we went past this display outside of the union’s computer store, where they were having a Tiger release party, with pizza. I really didn’t care about the free pizza… because I’d just had all that food, I don’t think I could’ve eaten a slice (free funnelcake on the other hand, I would’ve eaten, even if it would’ve killed me). No, what I was really interested in was seeing the Mac OS X Tiger demonstration, just to see what the hubbub was all about. But as soon as I get over there, they throw this sheet over the computer and I’m like “wha?”, but then realize that they were counting the thing down and they were gonna show it in 30 minutes. Man, I can’t be expected to wait for 30 minutes. I got shit to do.

And that shit that we gotta do is walk around aimlessly in the union, fucking with little kids with laser pens, drinking free lemonade, and checking out the bands playing.

There was this ACM meeting at 6 and then an all-night LAN party starting at 7:30. Both of these activities were going down in Nichols. I didn’t really feel like sticking around for the ACM meeting, but that LAN party sounded like a good time. So I went home to get my computer, but the only thing was, Ben Kweller was playing in the Union at about 9:30 so I figured I’d better sit out the LAN party and wait to go after the concert. I figurd the LAN party would be going on well into the wee hours of the morning. On the way out to my car, Sam and I saw a bunch of these people riding down the street on bicycles yelling n shit, all wearing these orange t-shirts. Apparently, it was the “Tour De Apple.” Funny.

I called up Liz and she was apparently a big fan of the band that played before Ben Kweller, called Ruskabank, this local ska band. You may have heard some of their songs on the radio… it’s hot shit. I’d thought that ska was dead, but I guess I was wrong.

So anyways, we head out to the show early. I told her about the funnelcake incident that we’d had earlier and how long it’d been since I’d had one. I guess she was pretty excited to hear about the availability of funnelcakes and settled that we’d split one. Alas, when we got there, they were just closing up shop on the funnelcake stand. That was twice in the same day that damned funnelcake stand had led to disappointment.

On the way, we saw the people walking around and hanging out in the old stadium for some sort of Relay For Life type deal. It was pretty hardcore of them, I guess, because it was pretty cold. Oh yeah, and I saw this guy on a unicycle across the street. I was like “heeeeeey!” and took some pictures of him. Well, I tried anyways… I guess it’s hard to pose on a unicycle or something. So I ended up with a couple of pictures of this guy falling off of a unicycle. But yeah, Liz was saying that she sees the unicycle guy all the time around her apartment. I told her that I’d never seen him before (as if that wasn’t apparent by my actions). I’m fairly certain that I would’ve remembered if I had seen a guy on a unicycle.

So yeah, we try some of that Pepsi Edge and yeah, it’s not very good. We catch like the last 3 or 4 songs of Ruskabank and they’re pretty good. But that Ben Kweller, he plays some really cool music; I’m really glad that I checked out the show.

I head over to the LAN party to check it out and it’s still going pretty strong. I saw a lot of people playing Warcraft, lot of people playing Counter-Strike, some people playing various other FPS’s. At that point, I was pretty tired so I didn’t really feel like going home to get my computer, and set it up. It didn’t look like it was organized enough… like there were too many people playing different games. And there wasn’t as much yelling as I’d thought there would be. You know how LAN games make people yell out profanities. It can’t be helped.

So I hang around for a bit, check out the happenings for an hour or two, and then head out. There was just so much going on in town today, it was pretty crazy. I’ve still got that glass on the front steps to clean up. Tomorrow morning.

Noisy Fan

April 19, 2005 at 12:07 AM | Nerd, Site/Personal | No Comments

Having worked my fan heavily the night before and foreseeing the need to work it heavily in the near future, I decided to investigate the cause of an increasingly annoying sound that it was making. Because asking me to choose between a hot upstairs or an annoying-sound-filled upstairs is not the kind of dilemma that I want to be faced with, on top of all of the other shit going on in my life right now. Now, I recall trying to find the source of the noise before… but the last time I checked, it appeared that the front of the fan could not be easily detached, thereby making my task more difficult than worth spending my time on. Also, the last time around was probably about a year ago, around the same time of the year when it started getting warm outside. I mean, who’s going to sit around an try to fix a fan when it’s cold outside? So the problem got neglected for many months. This time however, I tried opening it up and to my surprise, it swung open with the greatest of ease. I made the necessary adjustments and closed it back up and now it runs like new, blowing smooth and quiet. Amazed by my own mechanical prowess, I felt for an instant like there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t fix.

Open House

April 11, 2005 at 1:19 PM | Food, Good Times, KSU, Music, Nerd, Site/Personal | No Comments

So Friday and Saturday was K-State Open House. We had our Quake III Dodgeball mod (for CIS690) set up on the first row of computers in Fiedler, so we could have a max of 5 on 5 games. It seemed like it did pretty on Friday. Open House is a 2 day ordeal… I’m not really sure how it works really, but the first night isn’t really as popular–it’s usually more of the setup/test day. I’m not even certain if it’s publicly advertised… Anyways, the College of Engineering cancels classes on the Friday of Open House; maybe it’s only classes after noon, I’m not sure… I don’t have any Friday classes so it didn’t help me in the slightest. I got to bed at like 4:30AM on Friday because I had decided to hang out at Aldie’s, head out to the bars n shit. I had to get up at 8:30AM for setup on Saturday, but I got up like a soldier and did what needed to be done. I found Sam passed out on the couch downstairs on my way out… apparently he’d done something similar. He showed up later at like 11.

One of the last minute changes that we made to the mod was we changed out the texture of the dodgeballs to something that resembled these purple foam CIS department balls that we were giving away to people. Seemed like a nice touch, since the map resembled Ahearn and now the balls resembled these foam balls that kids can take home… details that kept things interesting.

As we found, the mod had some kind of bug that was making Quake crash out pretty hardcore. It was some memory access error that we’d never seen before. I guess we should’ve playtested the thing some more beforehand. Even by the end of Saturday’s Open House hours, it was difficult to figure out what was the cause of the problem, because sometimes it would happen during the death sequence (so we thought it had to do with the teleport code), but sometimes it happened to people floating around in spectate mode… so yeah, who knows.

The CIS department had always set up Open House in Nichols, but it’s so far out from the other buildings that not many people made the venture out to check us out. This year, somehow, we were set up in Fiedler library, amongst the other Engineering displays. Yes, our department is located in Nichols hall. But I’m not sure whether people were aware that by setting up Nichols every year, we were dooming ourselves. Was it pressure from within to stay in Nichols, the building shared by CIS, Theatre, Dance, and other performance arts? Or was it pressure from the College of Engineering, whom I’ve always thought secretly (though not always so secretly) regarded CIS as its bastard child?

The simple change of location made a huge difference. It was busy enough on Saturday that there were times that I didn’t get to play. Kids pouring in the doors n shit… kids love computers.

Er… I should say kids love computer games.

All around Fiedler were a number of other CIS displays, but they didn’t really stand a chance to a 10-computer LAN game, as one might expect. I almost felt bad for some of the people running the other displays. Ain’t nobody running up on them, ain’t nobody checking out their displays. Sad, really. But what can you do.

So all in all, our project (as an Open House display) was a raging success for how incomplete it was, especially on Saturday. I know we still have a number of things to add and fix on it, but for display purposes I thought it was pretty impressive. And it was fun too!

Anyways, we started shutting down around 3 on Saturday. Our particular display was vastly easier to tear down than everybody elses, since we were using the Engineering department’s computers. They were rocking Deep Freeze so all we had to do to clean up was restart all of the computers that we had installed the game on. (It was a double-edged sword, though, because we wouldn’t have needed to come in early to setup if they didn’t use Deep Freeze).

That night, Sam and I attended the Engineering Open House Awards Banquet. Steel Ring members go around during Open House hours, and observe and judge all of the displays. It’s usually ARCHE that wins all the awards. Those tickets to get in were $9 a piece for a student ticket. I’m not sure how much the other kinds of tickets were, but I would have to imagine that they were more. I had gone with Sam the year before too, and I remembered what a fucking sham this banquet was. I distinctly remembered that the chicken that they served was dry as fuck. My god, you’d have to fuck up pretty bad to dry chicken out like these people did. But it’s not like I paid for it, so whatever. I hoped and hoped that this year, they didn’t serve chicken, because they don’t know how it’s done.

Anyways, this was where I got an award for best CIS display last year, for a Java Battleship game (that I worked on with 2 other people in CIS525) that I’d set up a display for, complete with posters, a kickass setup, and an improved version just for Open House. Thinking back on it, the game itself sucked because the game Battleship sucks. It gets so old, so fast. You find it interesting for a little while, purely out of nostalgia, but it quickly fades as you realize why you quit playing that monotonous game years ago. But I guess if Steel Ring thought it was the best display amongst the CIS displays then so be it. That’s not saying a whole lot, though.

The banquet itself is held upstairs in the Union ballroom, where a lot of these types of catered events take place. I used to go to a lot more of these things back before I actually attended K-State. We got there and we were a little early so we had to wait around in the lobby full of snooty engineers and alumni. If there’s anything that I despise more than engineers or alumni, it’s Engineer alumni, for obvious reasons. They had a cash bar going, with like $3.75 for a domestic and more for glasses of wine n shit. They know how to make a buck, I’ll give them that. There really wasn’t anybody there that we cared to talk to, but we found some other CS students, so that was a relief. These sorts of events are designed to be networking opportunities, but not so much for disgruntled CS students. We didn’t give a fuck… it’s not like we would want to network with these engineers anyway.

So when it got to 6PM, we got in line to get in. At the entrance, somebody took tickets and the line split 6 ways into equivalent food lines. The room was pretty full by the time that we made it to the food so I was afraid that we would be forced to split up and talk to some of these people. The food consisted of a salad, mixed fruit, potatoes and gravy, vegetable medley, chocolate cake/apple pie, cinnamon roll, and (not suprisingly) dry ass motherfucking grilled chicken… on a lovely rice pilaf.

Luckily, Michael had miraculously secured ourselves a table. Probably the best table in the house. We were right there next to the exit AND we had a fabulous view of the brass band (plus 1 guy on a banjo) on stage. So we sat down, started eating, having a grand ol’ time. On my way to our table, I’d seen Liz, who was already sitting down. I acknowledged her with a point, smile, and an eyebrow raise (all that because I cannot wink, for the life of me…). I don’t mind her being an engineer at all, because I know her and I can’t stereotype an engineer once I get to know them. She came over and we talked for a little bit–things were a little awkward because of the party last weekend, but I think things are OK now?

So we ate and watched the band, who played these songs in a style from the 20′s (or 40′s?) that for some reason reminded me a great deal of LucasArts’ Monkey Island series. It was fantastic and the food (except for that blasted chicken) was good. In what I thought to be a rather bold (maybe even defiant) move, like 5 of us from the table got up to get seconds… nobody else had done so, and especially not in a swarm like we did. We filed back through the room of round tables seated by elegantly dressed people, with our plates of food back to the table and resumed.

And as if that wasn’t enough, as soon as they got done acknowledging the Steel Ring members in the room, we ducked out of the exit. The whole table. I’m sure people saw us n shit, but I had thought this through. I thought that it would better to leave all at once (despite the attention that it would bring us) rather than to insult everyone’s intelligence by leaving one at a time with false excuses and cheap parlor tricks. At first, I was like, “OK, you call my phone, and then I’ll get up out of the room to quote-unquote take the call… and then shortly after I’ll call one of you and you can leave, and so on and so on…” But yeah, I think that would’ve gotten more negative attention.

So at least we minimized the attention on us by leaving during a moment when everybody was distracted, applauding standing members of Steel Ring. But undoubtedly, some people must have seen our table leave. And of course, some of them must have known that our table consistedly mostly of CS majors. So… of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if our lack of respect for engineers will probably get CS shunned from similar events in the future. But we only did it because the College of Engineering treats us like its bastard child. It’s the classic vicious circle. Classic vicious circle of mutual disrespect.

We walked out to the front of the Union, laughing, high-fiving each other… all in all a great sense of accomplishment. Made some cracks at the engineers for a bit before finally disbanding. The sun was still up. We were in the banquet for approximately 1 hour–just enough time to eat and roll. And man, I was so full. Not Thanksgiving full, but pretty dang full.

iTunes Violates the Golden Rule of GUI Design

March 14, 2005 at 6:02 PM | Music, Nerd | No Comments

When it comes to GUI design, there is really one rule that you should know: don’t make it look like a face. By this, I mean, don’t do things like put two textfields next to each other up top and then put a wide button down at the bottom in such a way that the user can see a resemblance to a face. Anything else goes. Now, of course, this isn’t the entire truth… people have made some wickedly bad GUI designs with or without the presence of a face-shaped GUI. However, nothing is more annoying than using some software and seeing the face looking at you. It takes something away from the experience.

So. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a face looking cluster of GUI elements sitting right on top of an application that I use everyday of the week: iTunes. I only discovered it when I threw it down into “mini-mode” which I hardly ever use. And then I switched it back. There it was on the other mode! I can’t look at it the same way again. Those beady eyes staring back at me. That pig-like snout…

I’ll throw up some screenshots later so you know what I’m talking about. I just wanted to go ahead and get that out there. You know, ruin other iTunes users fun.


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