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August 30, 1998

Good things are happening. I have a new job. I like to get stuff going, and darn if I didn't get some stuff going. Read on.

I have left WestLake Solutions, where I have worked for the past 2 1/2 years. I put a lot of myself into the job, and I got a lot out, but not as much as I think I should have. There are some other issues that led to my departure but I don't think it's proper to publicly moan about them. I'll just put it this way: I left voluntarily, and we are still on good terms. So it went pretty well, I think.

And the new place I will be working, is NetResponse. I will be working as a Senior Software Engineer. The role I told them I wanted was as a development team leader, and I am pretty sure they understand that and were looking for someone to do that sort of thing. I start on September 8th, so I'll find out exactly what's up starting then... anyway I have high hopes.

I am now in between jobs, and no that is not a euphemism for a frantic job search, since there is a specific job waiting for me already. What it means is, 10 day vacation! So I have time to deal with all sorts of domestic stuff, side projects, and (hopefully) to find a local band and get back on track as far as musicianship is concerned (I have not been in a band since December 1996 - not enough time!).

I had a party this past Friday, to celebrate my new job. A bunch of people came over; a good time was had by all. Fiid gave me a going-away present which was a joke gift based on the BBQ incident - a cannister of long-handled fireplace matches.

Since Kim went cuckoo at the grocery and liquor stores, we have lots of snacks and alcoholic beverages left over, so we will probably throw another party this weekend to use it up. Plus some people didn't make it, so we want to give them a 2nd chance.

I also have gotten a lot of stuff working lately. The phrase that Fiid turned me on to, "I like to get stuff going", applies big time.

I got Astarte's "Toast" CD-R software working, which was just a matter of plugging in the CD-R and the regular CD reader in at the same time. I had previously thought it wanted me to replace the CD with the CD-R, and that didn't work well at all. So I was able to archive my documents from work that were on Zip and Jaz cartidges, onto CD's. This is good since the Jaz drive didn't belong to me and I had to give it back before I left! So I burned a bunch of CD's and now I have lots of blank Zip's again.

I also got that 8.4GB IDE drive working - standard IDE bullsh*t: I just had to swap the drives so that the CD-ROM is the IDE Slave device, and the hard disk is the Master, and it worked. Why? I don't know, who cares, IDE sucks rocks, I knew that already. Fortunately since Linux is not WinDOS, it doesn't have the ludicrous BIOS/FAT32/NTFS capacity limitations that require WinDOS geeks to chop big drives up into a bunch of little partitions. No, this is one big honkin' 8GB partition (plus 400MB reserved as usual for out-of-space emergency work by the root user).

There is a problem with AppleShare and the big drive: the Mac only sees 2GB, not 8GB. I am pretty sure I read that this is a fixed problem, but I don't really feel like downloading the new AppleShare client right now. It might be netatalk but I doubt it, I could swear I saw something about this before... more news on that later when I try to fix it.

August 21, 1998

This weekend I got netatalk working, finally. If you want to see my notes you are welcome to.

You may also note that it's the version patched by that guy who calls himself "asun", so it's the AppleShare IP variety, meaning it's Mac file sharing over TCP/IP instead of AppleTalk DDP. Which is fine with me.

So yesterday I swung by the CompUSA in Tysons' Corner, and nabbed me an 8.4GB Maxtor IDE drive for $249. Not too bad. I have yet to convince the kernel that it exists, althought the BIOS sees it. It looks like some fun IDE fiddling is ahead of me. Whoopee.

I should also mention that I have recently become utterly fed up with POP mail's limitations, and I switched to IMAP. In case you don't know, POP is the usual mail grabbing protocol that Netscape Messenger, Eudora, M$ Outlook, etc. use to get your mail off a server. Well the problem is, they remove the mail from the server, so if you ever want to read it again you have to go back to the machine you read it on originally. Or, you can leave it on the server in a giant inbox, but that can get really slow really quickly. IMAP lets you leave your mail and your mailboxes on the server, so you can use any old IMAP client (or several of them) and your mail remains accessible to all of them, from anywhere you go.

The problem is, Netscape Messenger really sucks at IMAP. First, it sometimes forgets to check your mail, even when you click the button that says "Get mail". It says "nope, no mail, better luck next time" but if you quit it and restart you find 20 messages, some timestamped hours ago. Arrgh! Plus, its really slow - I stuck my 68MB of mail from the last 2 years on ourmail server at Westlake (yes I know I need to clean it out but that takes time which I don't have a bunch of right now). Then try opening the last message in a mailbox with 1,500 messages filed into it. It takes about 35 minutes to read 1,500 mail headers, or at least over 64K ISDN it did. I really don't think it should take that long. Sometimes it decides to re-re-reed all the headers in the whole mailbox for no apparent reason. Also, try sending a message, and while it's doing that, read another or file a messge from your inbox to another box. Chances are it will get confused about one of the operations and will fail in a yucky way. Not acceptable.

This week, my colleague Fiid was looking into Linux IMAP clients and came across a not-for-Linux IMAP mail app called Mulberry. Well I have been using it for a week and it totally rocks. I used to use Eudora so I have pretty high expectations about the user interface, and Mulberry is really nice. It could be better, but according to the feature list in 1.4b1, it already is better in every way I could think of. Sadly it's not available for Linux yet so that search continues. But for the MacOS machines I use most of the time, it's killer!

August 2, 1998

I went shopping today at CompUSA. I really dislike consumer retail. Not a SCSI drive in sight, although there were some cheap IDE drives. More on that later. Anyway, I got a UPS, an Ethernet hub, and 2 ethernet cables. All overspec'ed, of course, so I won't have to go buy better ones 3 months from now. The UPS may seem excessive if you don't live in Arlington, but honestly the power goes out during the day about once a week if not more often, and that annoys my ISDN terminal adapter which then requires some TLC before it will give a dial tone on a handset. That is really annoying to have to do weekly so I got a UPS and that will never happen again.

I looked at video cards to see how much they were - holy cow, PC video cards are cheap. Matrox Mystique 220, $49 with rebate. The best price I could find for a Matrox Millenium for Mac was $189. Also, they had EIDE 16.5 GB hard disks for $469, and 10GB hard disks for $299. I have not been looking at the low end - my heart is set on a Seagate Cheetah 9GB 10,000 RPM Ultra-SCSI drive, but that costs $900. Maybe I can put up with inferior IDE technology for a while in the name of stashing my stuff in one place?

The gotcha is that only my Linux box has an IDE interface - the Mac does not (it was one of the last SCSI only models). So perhaps I will get AppleShare running under Linux and see how nice that is, and then I will decide whether a 10GB IDE drive is OK after all.

August 1, 1998

I found an image of an Integra exactly like mine: Here.(new window) No modifications, but it still looks great and of course drives well (although the image can't convey that). Wash mine and it looks like that; most of the time it's not as shiny and so it's not nearly so glamorous.

Thanks to Chauey (new window) for this image of what I plan to be driving within 3 years: an NSX (new window). Yes I am serious, do you know how much programmers are worth these days? The market rate (annual salary) for what I do is about $75k, which is higher than the price of an NSX ($55k-$70k), so it's only a matter of financing and priorities. I like sports cars. So, now that that is settled... :)

I saw the movie "Polish Wedding" recently and liked it a lot. Kim didn't really buy the characters and their motives but I did, and I found it quite amusing. I highly recommend it. Brief synopsis: "Dynfunctional immigrant family goes about its dysfunction while the father figures out what is going on behind his back and tries to fix things before it's too late."

I saw the Babylon 5 movie "Thirdspace" recently, with high hopes since I am a big B5 fan. Disappointment. It sucked. The plot was derivative of every bad sci-fi movie and show I can think of, and that is a very major departure from the excellent writing I am used to in the B5 series. Has JMS lost it? Possibly; after the pathetic "Byron" martyr saga in early Season 5, I have to wonder... but the season finale was excellent, so maybe he's just trying to find new viewers with a predictable, tidy, plotless, fluffball of a movie?