Archive for October, 2009



Darwin Clown

The hat stayed on!

Today is Halloween. Hooray costumes and candy!


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Unix Mail


Glad I did not need to sort these.

I had a departmental computer account set up for me, or at least I asked the IT guy to set one up for me. After I asked I never heard back about it.

Three weeks later my professor mentions something he showed me but he never did. He looks at his e-mail and he did send it to me, to my departmental e-mail address. I did not know that I had this e-mail address.

Turns out that I had an e-mail account and computer account set up but I was never told about it. Once I found this out I hunted down the IT guy and got the default password for the account. I then figure out how to set up forwarding.

However I noticed that I had about ten messages that I could get too, I know this since there was an error file with the names of the e-mails. Hoping a solution would turn up I continued on my way.

Today I logged onto my friends linux machine through SSH and saw a line at the top that I have never seen before “You have mail”. Odd I thought. I did not know what to do with this, so I blindly typed ‘mail’ and there it was. From here I could access the mail on my departments unix machines and finally read those e-mails.

I just could not forward the existing e-mails to a better e-mail account.

An important aspect of figuring out computer problems is knowing how to fiddle without breaking things or causing irrecoverable damage.

To get those messages I could probably use a modern mail client, I reasoned. I started up OS X Mail and tried to set up a new account based off my department server. Strangely it worked quite easily. I set up a temporary POP account, downloaded the messages, dragged them to an IMAP account and deleted the POP account.

It would have been nice if I knew I could do that from the beginning.

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Seattle Metro

A castle is rarely late.

Dear Seattle Metro,

Thank you for having the 11:20pm bus not arrive. I appreciate the opportunity to wait fifty minutes at night for the 11:50pm bus to show up. If I had known that you decided to not send that particular bus I would have walked home and made it in less time then the consequent wait and ride time.

Also I appreciate your concern in regards to wanting to raise the price of quarterly bus passes to $250, that is such a great idea that I could buy a decent bike each quarter and ride it in instead of taking an overpriced, unreliable bus system.


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My UC diploma with a certain someone's signature.

My undergraduate diploma finally made it to my parents house a week ago and the only part I wanted to see was the signature of the President of the Regents.

I am glad that I have that name on my diploma.


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Starfish Prime


Safe and Away

Safe and away.

Twice in one day I have heard references to Starfish Prime. First in my plasma physics course and second in a paper on electromagnetic resonances in the earth-ionosphere cavity.

So I looked it up.

Starfish Prime was one in a series of high altitude nuclear tests. This particular one was detonated over 400km, well into the ionosphere. The EM pulse wiped out many low earth satellites, it destroyed electronics in nearby Hawaii¬†and lunched a bunch of radioactive particles into space along the earth’s magnetic field lines.

The one good thing it did was introduce a lot of radioactive tracers into the inner radiate belt, thus allowing for the lifetime of particles in the belt to be measured.

Otherwise the thought of high altitude nuclear tests is a bit worrisome.


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Phone Photos



Delicate camera controls.

Sometimes I see a great photo opportunity but do not have my camera, especially when it is raining out. So I fall back to my phone if it is not raining that hard.

When I do I immediately remember why I bought a DSLR. In the above photo I could have gotten it right with a few more photos except it was raining fairly consistently on my phone. I am also always surprised at the wide angle of phone cameras.


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Hybrids are probably better for traffic then my car.

Hybrids are probably better for traffic then my car.

A sudden revelation came to me while sitting morosely in traffic: traffics are compression waves!

This thought made me want to simulate traffic in a 1D or maybe 2D particle model. The cars on the road have a given linear density of car and so the rate at which braking is propagated back is much higher then the individual car velocity.

The best time to see the traffic compression waves is approaching an uphill slope at night, then the brake lights can travel down the line of traffic eventually to your own car.

Maybe some more time stuck in traffic at night will help flesh out the model of traffic waves.

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Easy to set up.

Easy to set up.

Windows 7 is finally all set up on my Macbook Pro through both Bootcamp and Parallels.

A few thing that caught me up in the installation:

  • Partitioning a large part of the hard drive could be difficult if you have large files that are frequently used, for me my XP Parallels files prevented me from partitioning my main hard drive.
  • Use the Bootcamp Assistant to start the installation process, otherwise everytime the installer restarts you will start to boot in OS X.
  • If installing the Student Upgrade edition it will only accept the License Key if the install detects a previous version of windows when it initially starts up. Install Windows 7 once then install again over it to get the product key to work (I had to wipe my XP Bootcamp before installing).
  • An “Untitled” Bootcamp partition can be renamed by changing the name of the C:/ drive on the Windows side.
  • Backup everything. After a clean install of Windows 7 is working use WinClone to back it up.

My only real complaint about Bootcamp and Windows 7 is that the trackpad tap to click is much more sensitive then in OS X.

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Greenlake sunset.

Greenlake sunset.

A post-rain sunset.

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Installing Windows 7

Windows, more then seven.

Windows, more then seven.

I downloaded Windows 7 Professional 64bit Upgrade last night using the student discount. I tried to get it to work today. It has not been easy and it is not working yet.

The current problem is that I want to repartition my OS X hard drive but it won’t let me create a partition past the 40GB point and I want a 60GB partition. So i will need to reformat and reload the hard drive. There were other issues such as created the ISO and the CD-Key which I hope that I found solutions for.

Now I am leaving it for the weekend because I need a steady computer for tomorrow and some Matlab code needs to run overnight.

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