Andrew Hitchcock's Website
Introducing Mach Block
2011-05-15 23:56:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I'm very excited to announce that my friend Jeff just released his first iPhone game. Mach Block is available today in the App Store.

Mach Block is an arcade-style puzzle game. Each of the 50 levels contains platforms, jump blocks, and enemies. You must kill and then collect all enemies to move on to the next level. You can only shoot enemies on the same platform as you, so you must use the two types of jump blocks in order to dash around the map. After you've shot an enemy it is stunned for a short while, during which time you have to move to the enemy in order to kill it for good.

Jeff designed and implemented Mach Block all by himself, including conceptualization, programming, artwork, music, and sound effects. I've been talking with Jeff since he started and it was interesting to watch his progress and see how much work it really takes to produce an iPhone game from scratch. Indeed, I felt the first beta he gave me had many cheap deaths, but after some gameplay tweaks it really improved and I only died when I made mistakes. Jeff wrote an extensive blog post about the development of his game. It gives a behind the scenes look at the making of the app.

Beyond the arcade-style killing enemies, the game also has a puzzle aspect. Later levels start to introduce mazes and moving platforms which make the game even more challenging. The mazes require you to dash around the map in order to reach a platform right next to you. The routes can get complex and it takes many plays before you start to learn how everything connects and how to efficiently reach every platform. This increases the challenge because you have a limited amount of time to reach a platform that a stunned enemy has landed on. You better learn the maze quickly (or get lucky) because those enemies will respawn before you can reach them!

I beat the game a few days ago after many hours of play. In addition to just proceeding to the end, you can also challenge yourself by going for new high scores. Queueing up attacks and quickly collecting enemies gives you bonus multipliers so skilled players can rack up a huge number of points. In addition to bragging rights, points also lead to extra lives which come in handy on the later levels.

Mach Block is fast paced and always entertaining. Unlike many of the "top 10" iPhone games I've played, Mach Block never felt tedious or slow. You must be engaged at all times and success is more determined by skill than randomness or the subpixel alignment of a slingshot. Once you complete a level you are never more than six seconds away from starting the next; there are no intermediate score screens to slow you down.

In addition to one player mode on the iPhone and iPod, Mach Block also supports two player cooperative mode on the iPad. This is built into the app at no additional cost. Two player mode is more forgiving by providing infinite respawns, as long as one player remains alive. The high score is determined by the lesser of the two players' scores, to encourage both players to contribute equally.

Mach Block is priced at only 99¢ and provides hours of challenge. It is also one of the few games that doesn't try to charge an iPad premium, everyone gets the entire package. I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you are a fan of classic arcade-style games.

Creating An Amazon IAM User Who Can Access A Single S3 Bucket
2011-03-26 16:53:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

This article will show how to create an AWS IAM user, grant them access to a single bucket, and allow them to access that bucket using the AWS Management Console.

I have a friend who is trying to start a small website using Amazon S3's new static website feature. Since their site is likely to be a rounding error on my AWS bill I offered to host it and avoid them the hassle of setting up an AWS account and learning how to use everything. I wanted to give them access to a single bucket under my AWS account and nothing else. AWS IAM fits this use case perfectly, but can be a little tricky to set up. Since it took me a few hours to get everything working I thought I'd document this for myself and others to benefit from in the future.

Tooling

Since IAM doesn't have a Console page you'll need to use their command line tools. After downloading the tools there a few steps you need to perform to set them up. First, copy aws-credential.template to aws-credential and fill it out with your account keys. The tools also require some environment variables. Since I'm on a Mac, I added the following lines to my .bash_profile:

export AWS_IAM_HOME=/Users/Andrew/Downloads/IAMCli-1.2.0
export PATH=$PATH:$AWS_IAM_HOME/bin
export AWS_CREDENTIAL_FILE=$AWS_IAM_HOME/aws-credential

Source the your bash profile and you should have access to all the IAM tools.

$ source ~/.bash_profile

Create User

Now that our tooling is ready we can start setting everything up. First I created an S3 bucket for my friend using the AWS Management Console. Then I created a user with the IAM tools.

$ iam-usercreate -u username

Since they will only be accessing S3 using the Console they didn't require a keypair. If they want to use other tools such as S3 Firefox Organizer or s3cmd you can add a -k to that command and a keypair will be created.

Create and Grant Policy

Next we have to create an IAM policy and grant its permissions to the user. I used the AWS Policy Generator to get a sample policy that was similar to what I wanted and then edited it until it fit my needs. You can go this route if you want custom settings, but if you only need to grant a user a permission to a bucket you can just copy mine.

{
  "Statement": [
    {
      "Action": [
        "s3:ListAllMyBuckets"
      ],
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::*"
    },
    {
      "Action": "s3:*",
      "Effect": "Allow",
      "Resource": ["arn:aws:s3:::my-bucket", "arn:aws:s3:::my-bucket/*"]
    }
  ]
}

The only thing you need to change here is the name of the bucket. Replace all occurrences of my-bucket with the actual name of the bucket you created. The policy states that the user can list all buckets (necessary to use the AWS Console) and they have full permission to their own bucket.

Save your JSON policy to a file and then issue this command to grant permissions:

$ iam-useruploadpolicy -u username -f policy.json -p usernames3

There are three arguments here. First is the username, obviously. The second is the path of the file where you saved your policy. Finally you have to give the policy a name. I named the policy after the user and appended "s3".

Accessing the AWS Console

In order to let the user access the console you'll need to create a password for them. Run this command, substituting in the appropriate username and password.

$ iam-useraddloginprofile -u username -p password

If you need to change the password at a later time you can use the command iam-usermodloginprofile. If you delete and then re-add the profile you'll have to wait a while for the changes to propagate, so prefer the modify command instead.

Now that you've created the user they can login using a special URL. In order to access the S3 console, you can use the following URL:

https://012345678901.signin.aws.amazon.com/console/s3

You'll need to replace the number with your account number. The account number is found at the top right of your account credentials page. Remove all hyphens for it to work. Another gotcha: you can't have a trailing slash at the end of the URL or it won't work.

Now give your new user the special URL and they should be able to login to the AWS Management Console. They'll be able to see a list of all buckets for your account, but they'll only be able to access or modify the one you gave them permission to.

Tech Interviews Demystified
2011-02-20 18:52:45 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I encounter a lot of misconceptions about interviewing for software engineering positions at large tech companies. I’d like to spend a little time trying to debunk and demystify the tech interview for people outside the industry. I’ve interviewed at a few large tech companies and have performed interviews while working at Amazon. This article presents my own opinion and does not represent the views, opinions, or beliefs of my employers, past or present.

There have been a few articles in the mainstream media talking about the incredibly difficult interview practices of large tech companies and the bizarre questions they ask. It is natural that people who’ve never experienced a tech interview find them bizarre and intriguing (“they make you write code on a whiteboard!?”). Just as I have no idea what a non-tech interview is like (having never done one), most people have no idea what actually happens in tech interviews. Note: Some of the details presented only apply to large tech companies (such as Amazon, Google, etc.) and not small companies or startups.

Background

Before we begin I need to explain a little bit about the tech industry. The tech world has a high degree of meritocracy. There is a huge range in ability of programmers and this range has to be taken into account when hiring.

There is a vast range in programmer ability. Good programmers can be many times more effective than bad ones. In fact, bad programmers can have a negative productivity because they slow down the rest of the team. Also, the difference between good and bad programmers isn’t a matter of speed. There are some problems that mediocre programmers would never be able to solve given all the time in the world, or their solution would be too riddled with bugs to be useful.

Companies receive many more resumes than they have open positions, but most of these people are unqualified for the job. This is exacerbated by the fact that good engineers will almost always have a job and when they want a new one will selectively apply for the few companies they are interested in. On the other hand, bad engineers will be sending their resume to dozens of companies in the hopes that one will hire them. Even after receiving more applications than positions, companies will still be left with open positions because not enough applicants met the hiring bar of the company. You don’t want to hire people that will make your company weaker.

The Process

Interviewing is very expensive, so the overall goal of the interview process is to eliminate unqualified candidates as quickly and cheaply as possible. The secondary goal is usually selling the engineer on the company. Talented engineers will often have multiple options of where to work, and the interview process is one of the most direct means engineers have of evaluating the company before joining.

The tech interview process generally begins with phone interview, often referred to as phone screen. These occur after the resume pool has been narrowed to remove the undesirables and blatantly unqualified. The goal of a phone screen is to narrow the candidate pool even further by eliminating candidates who are unlikely to pass the onsite interview. Phone screens tend to involve a brief discussion of past experience, followed by a few technical and coding questions, and finishing with a brief Q&A with the candidate (letting the candidate ask the interviewer questions about the company, etc.). The answers to the coding questions are either read over the phone or written in an online collaboration tool like Google Docs that lets the interviewer watch as the candidate types. A phone screen usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour.

After one or two phone screens the company will have enough confidence to bring the candidate on site to be interviewed, meet the engineers, and see the office. If you are from out of town they will fly you in and put you up in a hotel. The candidate will meet with one or two engineers at a time, for usually between 45 - 75 minutes. This is a full-day event, with somewhere between four and eight meetings. During this the candidate is asked to code on a whiteboard.

All of the interviewers (both phone and onsite) write up their feedback to exchange thoughts. Depending on the company, either the original interviewers or a hiring committee will review the feedback and make a hiring decision. The hiring committee will want to reach consensus on a candidate. Interviewers with a strong opinion on the candidate one way or the other will try to convince the other members of the committee. It is not at all uncommon for members to switch their preference during the course of discussion. If a member is unsure or on the fence, they should fall on the side of not inclined to hire.

Goal Of The Interview

The final goal of the interview process is to determine whether a candidate should be extended an offer. The decision is made by assessing the candidate on a number of attributes, such as knowledge, experience, and intelligence. The question becomes: how do you quickly assess the candidate on these criteria with a high degree of confidence?

Questions are designed to be open-ended in order to give the candidate a lot of room to show their ability. Programming questions in particular will often have multiple solutions, ranging from a relatively easy and straightforward one to perhaps several that are trickier but better. The candidate is encouraged to start with the easy answer, which they should get fairly quickly, and work their way toward the better ones. Along the way they might go on small tangents. Throughout this, the interviewer watches for signals that indicate strengths and weaknesses. These signals can include knowledge of a certain class of problems or the tendency to get stuck on little details that are irrelevant to the problem at hand. Dead ends and false starts don’t necessarily reflect badly on a candidate because they allow the interviewer to see the candidate’s thought process.

Interviewing is a very inexact process and there are many things which can throw off an interview. The candidate might be jet-lagged and under-caffeinated, or the interviewer might be in a grumpy mood. Interviewing is expensive but hiring the wrong person is even more expensive, so companies tend to fall on the side of caution when hiring. It is much better to have false negatives than false positives. This uncertainty prevents a precise ordering of “good” companies or “good” candidates. You might get an offer from one company and then not get an offer from the same company a year later. Engineers shouldn’t take it personally when they are not hired, because there are any number of factors which could lead to a negative.

The Questions

In my experience, tech interview questions tend to fall into three categories. The first category are coding questions, where the candidate is given a high-level specification and is asked to write the code that implements it. This is usually done on a whiteboard or piece of paper in the language of the candidate’s choice. At the simple end is a question like FizzBuzz where the interviewer tells the candidate precisely what the program should do, and the candidate must write the code to do it. Side note: The FizzBuzz question is somewhat famous because it is super simple and easy to explain, but many programmers absolutely fail when trying to answer it.

The second type of question involves algorithms. The interviewer gives the candidate an abstract problem and asks them for an algorithm that solves it. For example, given a list of numbers in sorted order, determine whether it contains a specific number. These questions will often overlap with coding questions, where the candidate must first find the algorithm for a problem and then write the code that implements it. Sometimes the interviewer will ask the candidate to think through a couple possible algorithms before asking for the code.

Finally, some interviews include design questions. The interviewer will describe a very high-level problem and ask the candidate to explain roughly how they would solve it. For example, the interviewer might ask the candidate to create something like the Facebook news feed and the candidate would have to describe the components they would use to implement it and how they interact with each other. This might include a database to store all recent status updates, a means of updating statuses, and a way of seeing all of your friends recent statuses (perhaps weighted by some relevancy metric).

If a candidate is going down the wrong track, the interviewer will often give hints about in the direction of the solution. There is no value in watching a candidate struggle with something that will never work. On the other hand if a candidate is helped out of a rut you can watch to see how far they get and where they start to struggle again. The goal of an interview isn’t to stump the candidate but to observe them.

Articles in the mainstream media often give supposed sample questions from tech companies as an illustration of how crazy and bizarre tech interviews are. They tend to attribute the questions to the current tech company media darlings (in the ‘90s that was Microsoft, in the early ‘00s Google, and more recently Facebook). The questions listed are often wrong or inaccurate. No one asks brainteaser questions like “Why are manhole covers round?”. If you get asked that in an interview, that should be a strong indication that you shouldn’t work there.

On the other hand, one article I read gave the following question as an example of the types of “bizarre” questions tech interviewers ask. “I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 1000. How many guesses would it take you to find the number I’m thinking of if I can only tell you if my number is higher or lower than your guess?” This is not bizarre at all and is actually describing a fairly basic computer algorithm called binary search. This is covered in introductory computer science courses. The way you solve this is by always guessing in the middle of the possible numbers, so the first guess would be 500. Every guess decreases the number of possibilities by half, which means the answer to that question is the base-2 logarithm of 1000, or slightly less than 10. Determining the running time of an algorithm is called complexity analysis and is an important skill for good programmers to have.

I could give examples of some of the more challenging tech interview questions I’ve received, but I’m going to decline out of respect for the companies I’ve interviewed with.

My Experience

It turns out I don’t actually have that much interview experience, but I have interviewed at some of the large tech companies that are often discussed in the media. Here are the companies I’ve interviewed with in roughly chronological order. Bold indicates that I was extended an offer.

While I only have a 50% success rate, I feel all of the interviews have been interesting and rewarding experiences. Each company has a different interview culture. I’d say my Google interview was the most technical and well organized. I’ve heard lots of Google horror stories (mostly from a few years ago), but my experience was mostly pleasant. Amazon also asked interesting technical questions. In my opinion, Apple and Facebook generally asked the easiest questions.

In terms of length, Apple was by far the longest at a grueling eight hours (including lunch). Google and Amazon tied at around 4 - 5 hours and Facebook was around 3 - 4. The worst organized was my original Facebook interview a couple of years ago. They had much improved when I interviewed there again recently.

Conclusion

I hope I was able to demystify the tech interview process. It really isn’t that weird, at least for those of us within the computer science ghetto. In summary:

Thank you Will and Jeff for reading drafts of this article.

AirPort Extreme IPv6 Tunnel
2010-05-05 21:02:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I recently set up a tunnel from my AirPort Extreme to Hurricane Electric so I can access hosts using IPv6. I had done this previously using m0n0wall and documented it so others could follow in my footsteps. This post does the same but for AirPort Extreme.

The first step is to create an account with Hurricane Electric's Tunnel Broker service. From there select Create A Regular Tunnel. Enter your IP address and then submit the form. Once the tunnel is created click Tunnel Details. The page should look something like this.

Screenshot of Tunnel Details

Now open AirPort Utility and go to Advanced ➔ IPv6. For IPv6 Mode select Tunnel. From there you want to change Configure IPv6 to Manually. This will give you a couple of text fields which you can fill out using values from the tunnel detail page. Here is my configuration.

Screenshot of AirPort Utility

In other words, here is the mapping from Tunnel Broker to AirPort Utility.

Server IPv4 address ➔ Remote IPv4 Address
Client IPv6 address ➔ WAN IPv6 Address
Server IPv6 address ➔ IPv6 Default Route
Routed /64 ➔ LAN IPv6 Address

To make this even more useful, Hurricane Electric runs a nameserver that supports Google over IPv6. If you set this as your nameserver you will receive AAAA records for certain Google properties. To enable this, in AirPort Utility go to Internet ➔ TCP/IP and under DNS Server enter the address found in Tunnel Broker's Anycasted IPv4 Caching Nameserver field.

To test that everything worked you can try pinging Google.

$ ping6 google.com
PING6(56=40+8+8 bytes) 2001:470:e822::21f:5bff:fe32:7fc9 --> 2001:4860:8005::63
16 bytes from 2001:4860:8005::63, icmp_seq=0 hlim=55 time=8.619 ms
16 bytes from 2001:4860:8005::63, icmp_seq=1 hlim=55 time=9.442 ms
16 bytes from 2001:4860:8005::63, icmp_seq=2 hlim=55 time=9.336 ms
16 bytes from 2001:4860:8005::63, icmp_seq=3 hlim=55 time=8.963 ms
Aunt Rosie — Google Wave Translation Robot
2009-10-10 15:58:10 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Google Wave used to have a realtime language translation robot named Rosy Etta. Unfortunately it isn't currently available, so I had to write my own. I named my translation bot Aunt Rosie after my aunt and as a tribute to the original Rosy.

If you include a special keyword, Aunt Rosie will reply to your message with a translation in the language you specified. Watch the video for a demonstration.

To get started, you should add aunt-rosie@appspot.com to your contacts. Now invite her to a Wave.

To begin translation, type "/translate:xx" in your blip. The XX is an ISO 639-1 code which specifies the target language. Chinese is the exception. Use "zh-CN" for simplified Chinese and "zh-TW" for traditional. Note: Aunt Rosie is in beta and still has some bugs. As such, you need to add a space and a newline after the language target. Rosie should appear as soon as you you type in this keyword. If she doesn't, then you might be doing something wrong.

Rosie automatically detects the language you are writing. However, this means you'll need to type enough text for her to recognize the language. Usually it takes 5-6 words before she starts translation. If you are using short words or proper nouns, it might take even longer. Try not to put too many proper nouns in one sentence or she'll get confused.

Aunt Rosie uses Google's machine translation software as her backend. She speaks all the languages Google supports. She is written in Java and runs on Google's App Engine.

Update 2009-10-13: I just finished making Aunt Rosie a lot easier to use. Instead of having to type special keywords and remember two letter codes, Aunt Rosie will automatically insert a language drop down into your blip when you've typed enough for her to recognize your language. Select the language you'd like to translate to and she'll reply with the translation. Easy as pie.

Update 2009-10-23: Occasionally the bot stops working due to a bug in Google Wave. I've mirrored the bot at webmaster@appspot.com, so switch to webmaster if Aunt Rosie is broken. You can track bug 278 on Google Wave's developer site

Update 2010-07-19: It took a long time to get work approval and then I was lazy uploading it somewhere (and in the meantime I switched to Git), but the source code is finally available on GitHub.

New Features in Hadoop 0.20
2009-04-28 01:41:33 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Hadoop 0.20 was released on April 22nd. I was curious about some of the changes in 0.20 so I did a little research and decided to blog about what I found. These are the changes, features, and improvements that were interesting to me. For a full list of changes, see the Hadoop 0.20 changelog.

My first impression was that 0.20 is less ambitious feature-wise than 0.19. That is not a denigration of Hadoop's committers, but an artifact of Hadoop's quarterly release cycle. You can read about Hadoop 0.19's features in Cloudera's excellent write up.

Context Object For Mapper and Reducer
The biggest change in 0.20 is a large refactoring of the core MapReduce classes (HADOOP-1230). The commit message lists the changes best:

  1. All of the methods take Context objects that allow us to add new methods without breaking compatability.
  2. Mapper and Reducer now have a "run" method that is called once and contains the control loop for the task, which lets applications replace it.
  3. Mapper and Reducer by default are Identity Mapper and Reducer.
  4. The FileOutputFormats use part-r-00000 for the output of reduce 0 and part-m-00000 for the output of map 0.
  5. The reduce grouping comparator now uses the raw compare instead of object compare.
  6. The number of maps in FileInputFormat is controlled by min and max split size rather than min size and the desired number of maps.

An example of the changes can be seen in map's method signature (before and after):

void map(K1 key, V1 value, OutputCollector<K2, V2> output, Reporter reporter)
protected void map(KEYIN key, VALUEIN value, Context context)

OutputCollector and Reporter can both be accessed through the new Context object.

This is a large change, so Hadoop added the classes in a new package at org.apache.hadoop.mapreduce. The old classes have been deprecated but can still be found under org.apache.hadoop.mapred.

This feature will allow Hadoop Core to quickly iterate and add new features without breaking end user code every release. This is an important milestone on the path to stability as Hadoop approaches 1.0.

Vaidya
Hadoop 0.20 also includes a new performance tool called Vaidya (HADOOP-4179). Vaidya scans your job logs using a collection of rules to identify potential performance issues. For example, if it notices that your Mapper is writing a lot of data to disk, it'll suggest you create a Combiner. It reminds me a bit of Fortify or FindBugs (or if you're feeling less generous: Clippy) in that it suggests improvements when using bad practices (although, not using powerful static analysis like the aforementioned software).

BloomMapFile
HADOOP-3063 gives us BloomMapFile, a fast-failing implementation of MapFile. MapFiles don't seem to get much attention, although having used them for a project in my CSE 490h class with Hadoop 0.7.2, I appreciate the addition.

Removal of LZO
Finally, the last change that caught my attention was the removal of the LZO compression codec in HADOOP-4874. The LZO code was infected with GPL (I hear that's been going around recently) and thus had to be removed. However, the LZO code lives on as a side project on Google Code.

Modern Day Witch Hunt
2009-04-13 20:51:08 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Last week it was #savejon and this week it is #amazonfail. What do these hashtags have in common? They were both markers used in modern day witch hunts.

The basic pattern is similar. Someone posts an unsubstantiated claim on the internet. Thousands of "twactivists" repeat and forward the claims creating an internet swarm. They write outraged blog posts and send angry e-mails to the supposedly offending company. The few people that actually possess critical thinking skills e-mail the company for more information or start doing research on their own. Eventually the big, slow moving company responds to the issue, but by then all the low-attention span sheeple have already moved on to the next big drama.

In #savejon's case, a guy named Jon claimed claimed a stock art company had stolen his art and was now suing him. Turns out that was all a lie.

With #amazonfail, Amazon stopped giving sales rank to some GLBT books. People thought they were pressured by the religious right to remove the books from the sales charts. This was a perfect example of confirmation bias because people would search for other gay books and see that they didn't have a sales rank either. It is easy to think it only affects GLBT books when you are only searching for those books. Additionally, people searched for [homosexuality] and only got books by anti-gay authors. Of course they did! Gay people usually describe themselves as gay not homosexual!

Google has encountered similar issues with their automated ranking algorithms. A few years ago searches for [Jew] returned an anti-semetic website first. Since people don't understand how search engines work, Google had to post an explanation. There is no ulterior motive, big complicated systems can produce wonky results sometimes.

Hack journalists who think they know computers know that this could never, ever be a computer glitch. No, computers and software always work perfectly. Most people don't realize how hard it is to maintain large ontologies and sets of metadata, especially when that data comes from publishers, third party sellers, and users.

What's even worse is that some people still refuse to believe it was a mistake. These people are as bad as moon landing conspiracy theorists and 9/11 truthers. They maintain their beliefs no matter how much evidence or logic you throw at them. Some people just need to feel persecuted.

I find it interesting that this has happened twice in as many weeks. I'm a little worried about the reactionary witch hunt mentality that people are showing. Instead of taking some random internet claim with a bit of skepticism, people automatically assume the worst. Whatever happened to giving someone the benefit of the doubt or innocent until proven guilty? Drop the persecution complex and just chill, okay?

Kindle Reader for iPhone Released
2009-03-03 20:21:09 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I'd like to offer a huge congratulations to my friends over in Digital who just launched the Kindle Reader for iPhone (iTunes). This app was highly anticipated—bloggers have been requesting it for months. To Kevin, Ian, Cody, Rudd, Guido, and others, congrats, it looks great.
Andrewhitchcock.org 2008 Year In Review
2009-01-14 22:47:26 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

At the beginning of 2008 I made a resolution to write one blog post a week. I fell short of my goal and only clocked in 21 posts. Nevertheless, I'm going to highlight some of the posts and provide a recap of what I've been up to here in the last year.

I wrote a couple of posts about cloud computing. For earth day, I talked about the potential environmental and economic benefits of using cloud computing. This is relevant given the recent attention paid to datacenter infrastructure by the popular media and the often incorrect studies they propagate. Microsoft launched Photosynth as Software + Services, which I wasn't too fond of. Finally, I explained Microsoft Azure to some ignorant slashdotters.

Speaking of cloud computing, I wrote two apps for Google App Engine. The first was a BigTable-like RESTful web service. It was intended as a joke, but it gets a fair amount of traffic (the website, not the service). I also ported my album cloud mashup over to App Engine.

I completed one of my life goals by finally getting IPv6 set up. Afterwards I wrote a HOWTO on configuring an IPv6 tunnel using m0n0wall. Hopefully it'll help a few people connect to the future of the internet.

And of course, anything I do wouldn't be complete with rants… lots and lots of rants about Leopard, Safeway, Photosynth, bailouts, slashdotters, and the auto industry.

Here's to a great 2009.

Thoughts on the Auto Industry
2008-11-19 11:25:27 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Recently there has been a lot of talk about bailing out the automobile industry. I'm against bailouts in general and for the auto industry in particular. They've resisted market changes and are being punished for it, deservedly so. They also seem to be inefficiently run.

People have been rationalizing the bailout on a number of grounds: "The banks got a bailout!", "A million jobs would be lost!". First, the American demand for automobiles isn't going to magically drop to zero (as much as I'd like it to). If one company completely disappears, the demand for cars (and the jobs that accompany it) will be picked up by the other manufacturers. Politicians talk about preserving jobs, but what goes unsaid is that they want existing jobs protected at all costs. Heaven forbid a job be created at a competitor, or that the new efficiencies that made that job obsolete go on to create a new job in another field or industry. A job in and of itself is not worth anything. Keeping someone employed who creates a net negative on the economy is not sustainable. If we improve the operating efficiency of these automakers (at a cost of jobs), then new jobs would be created in other areas with the newly found savings.

Also, I'm tired of people saying manufacturing jobs are important because they "make something". Service oriented jobs make something too, its called wealth, have you heard of it? Just because there is a physical product at the end of the day doesn't mean the job has more value than a service based job. Someone at a financial company that deals with money all day also adds value, if they are improving the efficiency of their business and the economy, otherwise no one would pay them. I work in the service industry, I write software, and judging from the average salaries in my field, I'd say companies believe we add value. If you are creating wealth as part of your job, you are a positive contribution to the economy.

The notion that we, as a nation, don't produce goods is inaccurate. Just because we no longer make cheap steel and other raw materials, doesn't mean we don't make things. There is little money in basic raw materials, which is why we let others do it where the labor is cheaper. America makes advanced and expensive products, such as jet-engines, airplanes, and train locomotives. Intel and IBM have fabs in the United States and a whole green manufacturing industry is popping up in Silicon Valley. We make stuff, alright?

Finally, a bankruptcy could be good for these auto companies. It'd let them restructure themselves and lower costs. If we just keep propping them up with money, they'll keep burning through it and won't improve. By taking money from efficient, profitable businesses and giving it to the automotive companies, which is effectively what would happen, we are removing efficiency from the market and making us all that much poorer.

Thoughts About Google's Mobile App for iPhone
2008-11-18 23:53:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I just installed the updated version of Google's Mobile App for iPhone because I wanted to test out the voice recognition search. My experience with speech recognition (excluding systems that recognize only a small subset of English, such as digits) has been spotty at best. I know Google has been collecting data using their 411 service for a while, so perhaps they can improve.

I had no faith that the first query I chose would work. Google surprised me when it properly interpreted the query: [can has cheezburger]. Not only did it get the first two words correct, it also used the correct spelling for "cheezburger", even though that word exists in no dictionary. If I just say "cheeseburger", it figures out the correct spelling for that too.

[can haz cheezburger] query in Google Mobile app for iPhone

This is one of the reasons I'm so excited about Computer Science. A product like this couldn't have been created even a few years ago because of the vast amount of data that is required to power it (data such as a web corpus, search logs, and 411 voice samples). In fact, in this day and age, data is perhaps more important than algorithms. By throwing enormous amounts of data at the problem, Google's voice recognition algorithm can perform better than any of the best algorithms that don't utilize data. This has only been possible recently because of the affordability of processing terabytes and petabytes of data. I recommend Programming Collective Intelligence for a quick introduction to some of the algorithms enabled by massive amounts of information.

So what's next? I think Google should hook up their excellent voice recognition system with their best of breed machine translation software and create a universal translator. Imagine an iPhone app where you select an output language, speak into the phone, and get back a text or voice translation in the target language. It is still a pipe dream for now. For one, they'd need to port their voice recognition system to other languages, or it'd be a one way conversation. Actually, port is probably the wrong word, "train" would be more accurate. Algorithms created using data—and not code—are language independent from the get go. Instead of writing a whole new algorithm for each language, the system would just need to be trained on an additional corpus, with perhaps a few tweaks to improve precision and recall. To make a truly Star Trek-worthy translator, they'd also have to work on reproducing human speech. Considering how far we've come in the past few years, I don't think a universal translator would take more than 2-4 years to come to fruition.

The Cloud Explained
2008-10-28 00:12:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I'm sick and tired of people making stupid comments when articles about "The Cloud" are posted. If you don't understand the topics on which you speak, then please don't speak! I finally got fed up and replied to a discussion about Microsoft's Azure. Here's the meat of my reply:

"This offering from Microsoft isn't about a web based office suite or webmail, it is foundational web services that allow businesses and developers to build websites and services while offloading the heavy lifting (such as writing distributed systems or load balancing). The primitives Microsoft is offering are similar to those Amazon already has: storage, database, compute, queueing. In general, you don't access these through your browser.

"This isn't some new AJAXy Web 2.0 website. "The Cloud" is about outsourcing the building blocks of software—database, storage, compute—to someone else and paying for exactly what you use. Instead of buying your own machines, managing the fleet, and building or buying scalable software, you pay for a service and someone else takes care of all of that for you.

"It is like the transition to the electric grid. Instead of paying for a generator and diesel upfront, you just pay for what you use from the electric company, and benefit from their economies of scale. This is utility computing."

Disclaimer: I work for Amazon Web Services. However these opinions are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the opinions of Amazon.

Robert Hui, RIP
2008-09-25 01:04:39 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Robert Hui

My heart goes out to those affected.

Where's My Bailout?
2008-09-23 01:20:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I'm getting more disgusted by the week, as the government nationalizes one company after another. I'm being punished for the reckless actions and mistakes of others. I looked into buying a house last summer but decided against it because I thought the market was too shaky and because it would significantly limit my freedom for years to come (for example, the freedom to create a startup).

Now we are faced with an enormous government bailout that will cost each taxpayer thousands of dollars. And this couldn't have happened at a worse time. Since the election is almost upon us, both candidates are veering even more towards populism in order to win votes. They are both blaming the free market for getting us into this mess. However, the government has been engineering this crisis for years by keeping the interest rates low and propping up Freddie and Fannie so people with low income can buy houses. Not only did the government cause the crisis through their policies, but now they are going to exacerbate it with even more broken legislation.

I didn't make irresponsible investments or take out a loan I couldn't afford, but I'm being punished for other people's mistakes. This is an outrage. I want my bailout.

Apple Takes Inspiration From American Apparel With New iPod
2008-09-10 00:59:06 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Today Steve Jobs introduced a series of new iPods, including a redesigned nano that comes in seven bright colors (and two drab ones).

Apple's nano-chromatic new iPod

It seems Cupertino may have looked south to Los Angeles for color and branding inspiration. The iPod's "nano-chromatic" branding is eerily similar to the thermo-chromatic sign that has recently appeared at my local American Apparel. The iPod nano colors also map well to those of American Apparel's t-shirts.

American Apparel shirts in the same colors as the iPod nano. (Also, one of these is not like the others.)

If I had the money, I'd get a shirt and matching nano for every day of the week. It is the ultimate accessory.

I should note, this wouldn't be the first time Apple has taken "inspiration" from others for use in advertisements and branding.

Wonderful Photoshopping provided by Jeff Hitchcock.

Photosynth: Killer Demo, Poor Execution
2008-08-23 22:40:03 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I've been excited about Microsoft's Photosynth since I first saw their demo. Photosynth recreates 3D scenes based only on photos of the location. It was created with technology from the University of Washington and Seadragon Software (who Microsoft acquired). On Friday, Microsoft released the first version to support user-created Synths.

I was excited to try the app, but it was having trouble handling the launch day load. I figured the load would die down that night, but it persisted all the way through Saturday night as–apparently–the employees were desperately searching for more hardware. My first successful Synth didn't happen until Sunday afternoon. On Friday, I tried creating a large Synth, but it kept having trouble connecting to the servers and uploading the images. I tried a simpler one on Saturday, and it made it all the way to the end, but it failed on the last step (publishing). Sunday afternoon I made an attempt with a different dataset and it worked. I went back and successfully redid the first two, which was their third attempt each.

I wonder, though, what was so tough about keeping the website up? From what I can tell, most of the heavy lifting is done by the users or Limelight. The client software appears to do all the feature detection and scene creation. Limelight handles the distribution and perhaps (I'm not sure about this last part) ingestion as well. From what I can tell, their servers just handle the management of synths.

I'm a little irked with this whole "Software + Services" thing. The way it was done, I got none of the advantages of "the cloud", but all of the disadvantages. Even though I was uploading the data to Microsoft, my machine had to do all of the transformations and calculations itself. The whole point of shipping my photos off to a datacenter is to let them handle the heavy lifting. And this brings me to the disadvantage: I had to max out my upload for 24 hours to create my big synth. The time would have been shorter had I not been required to upload the meta data and image pyramids as well. Of course, it would have been fastest if I could just run the software and viewer locally. That would only take about 2 hours.

The annoyance of having the servers down was magnified by the bad handling of failure cases. When something went wrong, you would see typical Microsoft error messages such as "A000000B" or "A0000009". Additionally, when one of my Synths failed during publishing, I tried to recreate it with the same title. However, it gave me an error message because of the duplicate title and closed the creation window. It is very frustrating to have to reenter the tags and license info and then wait for 500 image thumbnails to be regenerated before you can try again.

Now that it works, it is a lot of fun to play with, but this launch has left a bad taste in my mouth. Microsoft coupled what could have been great client software with unnecessary "+ Services". Photosynth doesn't take advantage of offloading computation to the cloud, so the "+ Services" is wasted and just ends up adding extra complication and—as the launch shows—unreliability.

Update 2008-08-24: I forgot to mention another opportunity lost because of Microsoft's implementation of Photosynth: group synths. One advantage of forcing users to upload their photos to a shared service is that different users' photos could be combined into one synth. I have some photos of the Forbidden City and Chichen Itza that—by themselves— aren't enough to create a synth, but that I'd love to donate to a community synth. However, this isn't possible with the current implementation, and the architecture of the service prevents it, since all computations are done client side.

Cloudy Pass Photosynth
2008-08-23 15:29:39 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

After much trouble and delay, I finally made my first successful Photosynth. Here is a my Synth of Cloudy Pass:

Configuring an IPv6 Tunnel With m0n0wall
2008-08-19 02:32:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

About every year or so for the last few years I unsuccessfully attempt to set up an IPv6 connection for my home network. Today I tried again—triggered by Slashdot's article about IPv6 adoption—and this time I succeeded.

For a few years I've been using m0n0wall as a router on one of my old computers. It provides advanced features such as a stateful firewall, VPN endpoint, and QoS traffic shaper. I'll show how to configure a Hurricane Electric IPv6 tunnel with m0n0wall.

In my latest attempt to configure IPv6, I noticed that m0n0wall recently released a beta that supports tunneling IPv6 over IPv4. If I could set up the tunnel such that it works for all computers on the network and not just my desktop, that'd be great. If you are coming from the 1.2x series, make sure you upgrade to 1.3b7 before 1.3b13+.

For the IPv6 tunnel, I went with Hurricane Electric's tunnel broker. They offer a free /48 to anyone with an e-mail address who is willing and able to set up the tunnel. After registration, confirm your e-mail address and login. Create a tunnel by specifying your IP address and the closest endpoint. Once created, you'll be presented with the tunnel detail page. You only need to remember the "Server IPv4 address", "Client IPv6 address", and "Routed /64" fields.

Now return to your m0n0wall installation. Click Advanced under System and then check "Enable IPv6 support".

Screenshot of enabling IPv6 with m0n0wall.

To setup the tunnel, click WAN under Interfaces. Halfway down the page you'll see the IPv6 configuration. Select "Tunnel" for IPv6 mode. The IPv6 address is the client address you saved from the tunnel detail page. Leave the drop down as /64. IPv6 gateway is greyed out, so continue down to IPv6 tunnel endpoint and fill in the server IPv4 address you saved from the tunnel detail page.

Screenshot of configuring IPv6 WAN settings in m0n0wall.

Now move up to the LAN configuration. Set the IPv6 mode to static. The server IPv6 address I was given ends in ::1 and the client address ends in ::2, so I used the same prefix and ended this address with ::3. Enter the "Routed /64" from the tunnel configuration as your IPv6 address. Check the box that says "Send IPv6 router advertisements". Click Save. It'll want you to restart the router, but that can wait for a minute.

Screenshot of configuring IPv6 LAN settings in m0n0wall.

Saving the LAN settings disables the DHCP server. If you need DHCP like I do, click on DHCP server under Services. Check "Enable DHCP server on LAN interface" and then Save. Finally, you need to add a firewall rule to allow traffic through. Go to IPv6 Rules under Firewall and click LAN. Add a new rule with Action set to "Pass", Interface as "LAN", and over any protocol. Save it and then delete any default rules that may have already been defined. Now you can restart the router using the Diagnostics menu. If everything worked, you should now have a functioning IPv6 tunnel.

Google's IPv6 Website

Update 2008-08-26: A reader contacted me after having trouble with the instructions. It turns out I had forgotten to include the step about adding a firewall rule to let traffic out through IPv6. Also, he corrected me about the IP address to use on the LAN configuration page, it should be the routed /64. I've update the post to include the new information

One Year of Amazon
2008-06-25 20:18:06 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today was my one year anniversary of working at Amazon. On Monday, I became the person who has been on my team the longest. Also, I'm no longer the youngest person on my floor. There are two interns who are younger than me, but I still might be the youngest full time SDE (that I know about). Finally, my friend Justine from college is interning on my team and started Monday.
Album Cloud On App Engine
2008-06-20 13:14:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just finished porting my album cloud to Google's App Engine. It should be faster and more reliable now. Go check it out!
How Not To Treat A Customer: A Lesson From The University District Safeway
2008-05-22 16:30:44 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I just got back from the Safeway in Seattle's University District where I bought one of my favorite foods: Amy's Refried Beans With Green Chiles. I went to the shortest checkout line. I didn't realize until I was already being checked out that I had had this man before.

He asked me if I knew how refried beans were made. "Uhh, no…". He explained, "They use lard. Do you think they used organic lard while making these beans?"

These are vegan refried beans, so no lard was used. I didn't really care, so I let it slip. However, he continued, "Do you think it is right that they charge more for organic food? Don't you feel like you are being taken advantage of? I mean, I don't think that is right."

Oh shit. I remember this guy. He's the asshole that tried to convince me last time that I was being swindled by the organic food industry.

I was tired of his shit and pissed off at his poor customer service. I replied flat out with the truth, "If anyone is taking advantage of me it is Safeway." I pointed to the beans, "This is cheaper at Whole Foods." I was infuriated and didn't talk to him for the rest of the transaction.

Seriously, I don't know how they let people like this into retail. You shouldn't comment on someone's purchases, but if you must, you don't insist they are getting scammed. The only reason I shop at this Safeway is because of the convenient location, otherwise their prices are high and their produce is disgusting.

Maybe it is because Amazon has drilled being customer centric into my brain, but I find this unacceptable.

Cloud Computing's Green Benefits
2008-04-22 20:44:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

In honor of Earth Day, I'm going to talk a little bit about why these new utility computing services (or "cloud computing") are good for the environment (and business too).

One of the tenets of cloud computing is that you use what you need and you pay for what you use. Amazon S3 and Simple DB and Google App Engine all charge based on storage, bandwidth, and CPU time. Additionally, these services run on shared infrastructure, so you don't have separate physical boxes serving your traffic. This allows Amazon and Google to run at high utilization knowing that—statistically—not all of their users will be hammering the service at once. For a detailed discussion of these statistics, read Power Provisioning for a Warehouse-sized Computer [PDF]. I guess you could say the same thing about Dreamhost (or any other shared server provider) since they cram many people on a box and run at high utilization, but they don't provide the same level of scalability as Amazon or Google (you are limited to a single box).

Why does utilization matter? If you can do the same amount of work on fewer computers by having higher utilization, you save the environmental cost of building those computers. Additionally, computers use lots of energy idling. Even though you increase single-computer power usage when consolidating, net power decreases as you take other systems offline. For a concrete example, imagine you have two computers that use 100W idling and 200W at full load. If each machine is one-third utilized, it takes 266W to perform your work (133W for each computer). However, consolidating this onto a single machine results in a total draw of 166W, or a 37% savings. Now… imagine running a datacenter at 80% or more load.

In the second paragraph I didn't mention Amazon's EC2. EC2 differs from S3 or GAE because you do pay for what you don't use. EC2 charges based on how long you have a computer under your control, not by the utilization of that computer. However, this is still a much more granular level of control than colocation, since you can scale your fleet up or down as needed to meet load. When you return a machine, someone else is free to grab it. The end result is high utilization, because people won't hold on to a machine they are idling, and will thus reduce their fleet size to compensate.

In my opinion this makes Hadoop the killer app for EC2. Users can spin up a cluster, run their job at full bore, and then return the computers back to "the cloud". Companies such as Powerset and the NY Times have used EC2 for this very reason. This is a triumphant example of the market's ability to reduce energy consumption and resource usage (in the form of unneeded computers), because it directly translates into monetary savings—no heavy handed government mandates required.

Let me use an example of my own usage of S3 for backups. All the numbers will be based on those in the power provisioning paper mentioned above. I have 20 GB of data backed up in S3 and I want it to be available for instant access. This necessitates a constantly spinning hard disk. If I were to do it myself, I could just add another hard disk in my computer and stick a copy on that. Power usage of hard disk: 12W. This is cheap and easy, but doesn't give me offsite backup in case of a disaster. For the storage server—using the numbers from the paper—we have 200W base power plus 12W for each disk. Giving the server eight disks results in a total draw of 296W and 8192 GB of disk space. Let's double that to take into account battery backup and air conditioning in the datacenter, so 592W. Since the server is shared with others (we are aiming for high utilization, remember?), I'll have to figure out my usage as a proportion of the total. Before I do that, I should take durability into account. Distributed file systems store multiple copies of each file because hard disks and computers constantly fail in large systems. The industry standard seems to be three copies—judging by GFS and HDFS. Three copies results in 60 GB dedicated to my backups. Adding this all up results in the follow equation: 592W * (60 GB / 8192 GB) = 4.33W. As you can see, even with all the additional overhead and infrastructure, using S3 saves two-thirds the power versus having an extra spinning hard disk in my own machine. Plus, my apartment is no longer a single point of failure.

Hopefully this article has provided you a new look at utility computing. Next time the media tries to make a fuss over the growing power usage of datacenters, think back to this and realize they might actually be saving energy. Happy Earth Day, Andrew.

Announcing A BigTable Web Service
2008-04-14 22:54:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Last week, rumors started to surface that Google would be releasing BigTable as a web service for developers. While open source clones are being created, so far only Googlers have had access to the real BigTable. This announcement would have also been the biggest competition to Amazon's Web Services to date. The actual launch was App Engine—hosted middleware on Google's platform. App Engine runs on BigTable, but doesn't expose all the nitty gritty details of BigTable. This makes it simpler but less flexible, and despite all the comparisons to AWS online, the two offerings are quite different.

I registered the night App Engine was released and soon got my invite. I then came up with the crazy idea to offer BigTable as a web service using App Engine. It would be an infinitely scalable database running in Google's datacenters. I spent my weekend learning Python and hacking together an implementation. Now I'm happy to present the BigTable Web Service. It models the API of Hbase—a BigTable clone. Now you can have simulated BigTable running atop App Engine, which itself provides an abstraction on top of the real BigTable.

The site describes the API of BigTable and gives examples of how to call it. I've also included a Python client for writing software against it. You must register for an account and create tables using the site, but everything after that is done through pseudo-RESTful service calls. I'm allowing free, unlimited access of the service… up to the limits imposed by Google.

Third Annual Fucking Hills Race
2008-02-28 21:36:03 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Last Sunday was .83's third annual Fucking Hills Race on Bainbridge Island. I met my hobo friends under the Alaskan Way Viaduct at the ungodly hour of 8:45. I registered with Derrickito and got my paramilitary-styled pirate flag made with scraps from OR's dumpster. After registering, I ate the breakfast of champions: half a donut and a swig of vodka. We swarmed the ferry, paid our dues, and lined up to board. We were the first on, but unfortunately the cars disembarked before us.

On the ferry I had a cup of coffee and sausage, egg, and cheese muffin. My heart is still thanking me. I almost got stuck in a swarm of squids while finding .83's seats. Fortunately the spandex allowed me to slip right past. Apparently the Chilly Hilly was scheduled for the same day? Odd. I also ate some stale Clif Shot Blocks for dessert.

Kevin

We gathered in a pullout after getting off the ferry. Derrick said we couldn't start until we finished a bottle of Evan Williams. Ben the Angry Hippy–owner of said bottle–complained and lifted the requirement. And then we were off! I wore the same outfit as last year: a pair of blue jeans and my Bob Marley jacket. Fortunately the weather was nicer, so my pants didn't get soaking wet during the journey.

Knowing the approximate route made the ride go faster because I didn't always think the end was right around the corner. Even though I was out of shape, I was still able to ride at a fairly quick pace. I don't know where all the energy came from.

The advantage of being a second year rider is that I knew where the finish line was located. I placed about 25th. Fortunately, they had plenty of chili this year. I had two bowls of that and then went for beer. While waiting for people to roll in, I ended up drinking four Mongoose IPAs. My friend Kevin eventually rolled in sporting his Amazon.com jersey. I selected a cool Cadence t-shirt for my prize, which I had been eyeing for a while.

While waiting for the ferry, a few of us went to a coffee shop and I had a piece of coffee cake. I had a corn dog on the ferry back, in true .83 fashion. I eventually made it home–sore–and took a shower.

This year's FHR was great. They had plenty of chili, I got a cool prize because I didn't stop to drink a beer on the way, and the weather was amazing. Thanks to Derrickito for organizing, our sponsors for the great prizes, btah and Kalen for manning the finish line, and anyone else I'm forgetting. See you next year!

I Lost My Virginity Last Night
2008-02-03 19:01:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

More than a decade after first watching the movie, I finally made it to a live midnight performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The show was put on by The Vicarious Theater Company at the Admiral theatre in West Seattle. The price was right at only $5. My friend Martin organized the outing and brought the requisite rice, newspapers, and (Amazon.com branded) playing cards.

The devirginizing was mild and painless. They were overwhelmed by first timers and so–unfortunately–didn't have enough supplies for all of us to partake in the food-based rituals.

The average age of the audience skewed younger than I expected–I was probably older than more than half of the audience. Still, many of the youngsters and first timers had impressive costumes. The audience was very enthusiastic with feedback and everyone partook in the Time Warp. Some of the quips were quite clever, but the part about Brad being an asshole got old. I'd definitely go again, I just wish the location wasn't so inconvenient.

Is Google Afraid of the Big Bad Microsoft?
2008-02-03 18:35:27 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Earlier today Google posted its opinions about Microsoft's bid for Yahoo on its blog. I must say, I'm disappointed. In the post, Google not-so-subtly asks for government intervention in the takeover. Google claims they want this in the name of openness and innovation, but what freedom? Specifically, the freedom from government intervention in private business. The software industry is healthy and prosperous with minimum government contact. Allowing government interference would result in corruption, cronyism, and inefficiency, just like every industry it touches.

Regarding the purchase, neither are majority players in search or advertising–likely the main reasons for the acquisition–even combined. Contrast this to Google and DoubleClick at the time of that purchase. Demanding the right to buy DoubleClick and then asking the government to restrict Microsoft's purchase of Yahoo smacks of hypocrisy. Last year Microsoft tried to prevent the DoubleClick acquisition, but I expect this sort of hypocrisy from Microsoft. Now it seems Google is trying to pull the same thing. You have let me down Google, I thought better of you.

Anyway, I don't see what they are worried about. Google should be happy about the acquisition, the merger will more than likely result in a clusterfuck that drives more users away from Yahoo properties. I know that if Microsoft starts fucking with the Yahoo services I use, I'll jump ship.

Microsoft Buys Yahoo? Ugh.
2008-02-02 00:50:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

"Holy crap" was the first thing that came to mind this morning when I read the news about Microsoft's bid for Yahoo. Then I immediately thought about Flickr, del.icio.us, and Hadoop and what this would mean for them. Flickr already went through a painful migration to Yahoo's login service, would that have to be repeated when they move to Passport? Fortunately, del.icio.us has come out mostly unscathed, so I'm not too worried about it. Hadoop is open source with a large number of contributors, but losing the Yahoo employees would definitely slow progress. Pig would also take a big hit.

To be honest, I don't see how this could possibly work. Integrating two companies of this size would be a nightmare. Have we learned nothing from eBay/PayPal or AOL/TW? From my outsider perspective, it seems the two companies have fundamental cultural differences. Yahoo is a fairly large contributor to open source and seems to support web standards. Microsoft is the anti-thesis of web standards. Does Microsoft expect Yahoo to move away from their current operating systems (which I assume are some sort of unix) to Windows? That worked oh so well for Hotmail. I believe any value Microsoft sees in Yahoo would probably be destroyed as part of the transition (even if it is just the customer base).

Finally, Microsoft is still having branding issues with their internet properties (MSN Hotmail redirects me to mail.live.com… WTF?) and now they want to throw Yahoo into the mix? Yikes.

Google Party
2008-01-21 22:05:02 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

On Tuesday, Google celebrated the opening of their new Fremont office with an open house. When I received my invitation, I reflected on the open house they had for their Kirkland office, over three years ago. It is impressive to think how far they have come. The last open house was right before the release of Google Maps, which has made impressive strides itself.

Google Bus Advertisement

The day of the open house, I saw a Metro bus modeled after their master plan whiteboard that was advertising the new development center.

The open house was quite the party. It was much larger and hipper than Kirkland–matching the neighborhood, I guess. The office was completely illuminated with colored lights and there was loud dance music playing. The drink glasses contained a glowing liquid, like a giant glow stick that flowed when used. I subsisted on free beer and tapenade. They had a demo area with Googlers demoing their projects. I already knew about all the products, but I wished the Reader team was there so I could complain about Reader's 30 day memory. I thought it was funny the Webmaster Central group was using Matt Cutts' blog for their demo.

The party was a veritable who's who of the last three years of my life. About a half dozen of my former professors were there, along with nearly all of my CS friends. I met with bike hobos and coworkers (intersecting groups, mind you). I ran into Amanda Camp–who ran last summer's scalability conference–while getting my massage. Jeff Dean and Alan Eustace were there. Fortunately, Robert Scoble was absent this time.

In my opinion, the party was great. It was the closest I've come to a true VC-funded San Francisco dot-com party. Two days later I met some Yahoo! recruiters and not-so-inconspicuously hinted that they should have an open house for their new Bellevue offices. I made sure to slip them my card so I'd get an invite. We'll see if anything comes up.

Leopard Pet Peeve #1: InstaDictionary
2008-01-14 22:53:53 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Tiger introduced a really neat feature that gave every Cocoa app an instant, inline dictionary. Holding cmd-ctrl-D while mousing over a word causes a pop up to appear with the definition. If you keep holding down the key combination and move the mouse, any word you hover over is displayed. If the word wasn't in the dictionary, it would say so. However, often times this feature would just downright not work. I'd hold down the key combination while moving my mouse around and nothing would appear. At least it was easy to tell when it was broken. Leopard's dictionary lookup is faster and more reliable, but unfortunately takes a step backwards and no longer tells you when it doesn't recognize a world. Instead, it just doesn't display the pop up. In these situations–having been trained for the last few years on the shoddier Tiger implementation–I'm siting there with my mouse hovering over a word like a dumbshit waiting for it to load. Grr.

Note: Titling this entry as "Pet Peeve #1" doesn't necessarily mean this is my biggest peeve with Leopard, nor does it imply future entries in the Pet Peeve series.

I'm Back
2008-01-07 22:18:03 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Happy New Year everyone! It has been far too long since I last blogged. I'm away from my computer now (posting from iPhone), so I'll keep it brief. In order to actually keep this thing updated, I'm going to make an effort to post once a week. Today is the 7th, so it is my first deadline and first post in months. See you soon, Andrew.
You can't be too thin. Or too powerful.
2007-08-21 23:21:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I've long been a fan of Apple's advertising and copy (even though their best advertisements are often copies). A few weeks ago, I was delighted by the tagline for the new iMac.

Amen. If I can't play my marimba ringtone on your exposed ribcage, you aren't thin enough. Of course, some bulimatards had to come along and force them to remove it. Oh well.

Copy and Paste on the iPhone
2007-07-06 00:36:31 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

There has been much debate about the lack of copy and paste on the iPhone. Some people think it is a desperately lacking feature, while others believe the phone creates a new standard in UI design in which copy/paste is unnecessary. Either way, here is my idea of how copy and paste could be implemented:

Copy: Position the text cursor as you normally would, by pressing in a text field until the loupe appears and then moving your finger to the correct location. Once you have navigated to the correct location, release your finger and then immediately tap and hold. After a second, the loupe will reappear, but this time moving your finger highlights the text between the initial location and your new one. To complete the selection, remove you finger. A dialog will pop up prompting you to Copy, Search, or E-mail the selection.

Paste: To paste, navigate to the correct location using the loupe as normal. Now, release and briefly tap the screen (without holding). The software could paste the text immediately, or prompt you to either paste or cancel. The correct behavior would have to be determined by user tests, to see if spurious taps result in unwanted pastes or if the dialog box is unnecessary and cumbersome.

There is still the problem of selecting text in an area where holding your finger drags the view. Perhaps if you immediately move your finger after pressing the screen, then the view moves, but if you don't move after a short delay, the loupe appears. However, I often find myself touching the screen for a few seconds before I pan, so this would likely need some refinement.

Okay, Who Took Down The West Coast?
2007-07-03 18:10:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Fess up, who was running third party apps on their iPhone? A large part of ATT's EDGE network was down yesterday, so someone must have been.

Blogged from my iPhone.

Seriously Reconsidering iPhone
2007-06-12 01:38:16 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

With the recent news from WWDC and other developments, I've gone from wanting to be the first on the block with iPhone to sitting on the fence, taking a wait-and-see approach. Here are a few things that irk me:

Dual Boot and Unbox Rentals Don't Mix
2007-05-19 15:56:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Amazon's Unbox is having a sale this weekend where you can rent movies for 99 cents and I thought this would be a great opportunity to test it out. Last night I booted into Windows on my MacBook and installed the Unbox software. Initially it had trouble configuring my system, but restarting Unbox fixed that right up. I rented Casino Royale and it began downloading. The downloads are pretty quick, and you can start watching after a minute or two. I was impressed with the quality of the videos (it should be high quality since the download is over two gigabytes!). I watched half the movie and then went to bed. I did some work in OS X this morning, and then restarted into Windows to finish the movie. To my surprise and dismay, Casino Royale was gone! I quickly realized why: sane operating systems store the time on hardware as UTC, but Windows stores the local time. This results in my system clock being wrong every time I switch between Windows and OS X (at least until they contact a time server). For a few minutes, Windows said it was 22:30, which caused Unbox to believe my 24 hours had expired and delete my rental. Fortunately, Amazon provides phone service for Unbox, and in a few minutes I got a one time re-download. However, now I have to wait a long time (in Windows no less) for the download to reach halfway so I can resume playing where I left off. If you are dual-booting Windows and using Unbox, be careful!
Andrew's Fabulous Guacamole
2007-05-13 19:01:57 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I'm a big fan of foods that can be eaten just using chips (such as beans, guacamole, or salsa). Here I'll present my guacamole recipe. I intend to publish more recipes in the future, so keep an eye out.

Andrew's Fabulous Guacamole
  1. Cut the avocado in half, put your knife into the seed, and twist to remove. Scoop the innards into a bowl. Mix in the lemon juice and combine.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until it is roughly homogeneous.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
IX CCXLIX XVII II CLVII CXVI CCXXVII XCI CCXVI LXV LXXXVI CXCVII XCIX LXXXVI CXXXVI CXCII
2007-05-01 23:55:35 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
The MPAA likes to show their movie copyright date in roman numerals, making it a pain in the butt to read. Well, lets see if they recognize this number.
iTunes and EMI Launch CRAP-Free Music
2007-04-02 21:39:53 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

All I can say is, "About fracking time!" The existence of DRM on iTunes tracks has limited the number of songs I purchase, so this will result in more sales (and those sales will be for more money). Here's how it works: the current tracks all stay the same, but there will be a new offering where you can purchase a 256 kbps version with no DRM for $1.29. Albums are the same price, but use the higher bitrate and lack DRM.

Since DRM is usually cracked, I wouldn't pay more for a DRM-free copy. However, the price increase also comes with a doubling of the bit rate, which is worth a little bit more money. I think it will be difficult for Apple to know why people are buying the higher priced songs, because they are changing two variables and there is no control. But, I guess the reason won't matter if they are making more money.

This is not the only new feature. A few days ago, Apple introduced "Complete My Album", which allows you to buy a full album and get discounted the price of the singles from the album you already purchased. This is a smart feature to have, but I am disappointed that it only works on purchases that are less than 180 days old. Sometimes it takes me a while to discover I like more than one or two songs on an album, and I am less likely to upgrade to the album if I can't get the discount, so they are still hurting themselves here.

Something they don't have, but I would like to see, is a feature that allows you to buy the music video for a song you already purchased for just $1. Right now, you can buy the music video and song for $2, but if you've already purchased the song, you are out of luck.

Something's Not Right
2007-03-18 00:10:33 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

What's wrong with this picture?

worst. week. evar
2007-03-16 01:44:53 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Marty Stepp

Wow, what a week. I"ve been coding (or reading about coding) for about six days straight. It is hard to believe it was that long, since it is all a blur of for loops and parenthesis.

I spent most of my waking hours last weekend in the underground labs at the Allen Center working on CAMPS, my 403 group project. We developed a campus mapping system that is all AJAXy and feels like Google Maps. I was responsible for the controls on the left side of the page, and I was also in charge of the client/server protocol. As part of that, I wrote this really neat JavaScript that does autocomplete when you type text. I am proud of it not because of its technical merits necessarily, but because it behaves very much like a desktop drop down and does what you'd expect. Anyway, I'd link to the hosted demo we have, but the server is going to wiped in a few days, at the end of the quarter. However, at least a few of us are going to continue to work on this in our spare time and hopefully we can get it hosted somewhere permanently.

So, not only was I busy all weekend, but my sleep, that precious me time, was cut short by those jokers in Congress. The DST change happened the weekend before finals week, which is just great. I'd like to do some data analysis to see how the grades suffered because of that (I would not be surprised to see a dip in normalized grades (versus past years) on Monday exams that is slowly erased as the week goes on). I'm mainly upset because I had an 08:30 final on Monday.

As soon as that final was done and we presented our 403 projects, I immediately started reading about Core Data. I had a Computer Vision assignment due this week where we had to write a content based image retrieval system (or CBIR). The program had to be able to save and load data and we get extra points for having a GUI. I had been wanting to try out Cocoa and Objective-C again, so this sounded like a perfect opportunity. I knew about Core Data, but none of the details, so I quickly read as much as I could about it to see if it was feasible. The last time I tried delving into Cocoa (it has been about two years now, so longer than I've officially been a CS major), I was overwhelmed by all the unfamiliar terms and large number of classes. Now that I've learned more and have a better understanding of the concepts (and no longer call methods functions), it wasn't all that challenging. My GUI was pretty basic, just listing essential information and allowing you to perform queries, but it was better than a command line interface. I had lots of ideas about how to make the UI better, but I didn't have time to play around with that.

Okay, enough about CS and CBIR. I wouldn't mind seeing some beer myself, but alas I missed the .83 ride today. Oh well, I just have to wait about 22 hours…

Ranked Voting For Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement
2007-02-19 21:16:25 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
There are lots of opinions about the best option for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I wanted to get a more accurate representation of people's opinions than a one-vote system allows. I created a page that allows people to rank their choices for an AWV replacement. The poll closes at the end of the month, so be sure to vote!
When It's Cold I'd Like To Die
2007-02-13 19:49:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This is likely to be the only quarter of my undergraduate career in which I take only CS classes. I was looking forward to this quarter, but it has fell short of my expectations. No class is living up to its potential. I don't want to get into details here, other than to say I'm slightly disappointed. I wish more people took pride in their work and strived to improve themselves.
Servers Hammered and Fortunes Made/Lost As Steve Jobs Announces iPhone
2007-01-10 02:19:52 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

San Francisco, CA — The innertubes were nearly full today as millions of geeks self flagellated while watching Steve Jobs announce the iPhone.

Servers were hammered with the release. News of the iPhone quickly became the most dugg story of the year and currently has over 17,000 diggs (with almost 1400 comments). The Flickr photo linked to in the article has over 101k views. Nine of the top ten stories on Digg today were related to Apple's announcement.

Additionally, Apple's market cap rose approximately 6 billion dollars as the stock skyrocketed over 8%. Owners of Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, weren't so lucky, as RIMM shed over 2 billion dollars of market cap and fell nearly 8%.

It was very difficult for those of us trying to avoid spoilers (I wanted to watch the Keynote video without knowing any of the new products). Nearly every website I follow carried the news (even non-tech sites). A Burger Place, where I had lunch, was tuned to a station showing Apple's new gadgets, but my TV-B-Gone took care of that. It was especially difficult to avoid spoilers, as Apple's own website added a new iPhone tab and the website for the stream mentioned the iPhone. Bastards.

It is funny, I had an iPhone premonition on Monday. I said to my brother over Jabber, "It'd be cool if Apple released a PADD: a big screen iPod/iPhone device/PDA." I thought the PADD would be neat, but I didn't actually expect it to get released.

I was surprised that MWSF07 didn't include any info about the new version of OS X or any news about updated iApps (iLife and iWork). However, fortunately, Steve Jobs wasn't retiring as some folks were predicting (or perhaps worrying).

Ladies of .83 Calendar
2007-01-07 21:33:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
That's right gentlemen, .83 (pronounced "point eight three") just released the 2007 Ladies Division Calendar. The calendar was conceived and created by Molly (Miss May) and is available to you for the low, low price of $20. For an extra $5, you get the calendar delivered to you by one of the calendar girls! All girls are pictured with their actual bikes.
A PVC Christmas
2007-01-03 01:27:18 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Being a Pastafarian, I'm not huge into Christmas, but I do enjoy seeing the extended family and wearing funny sweaters. In honor of pagan rituals co-opted by Christians and eventually turned into an excuse for excess consumerism, I decided to whip out the ole PVC and attempt to play a few festive jingles. I couldn't convince my brother to play with me, so there is no accompaniment. Additionally, I was rushed while recording both of these pieces, so I didn't have as much time to practice as I would have liked, which inevitably leads to me dragging in parts as I try to remember which notes to play (muscle memory hadn't completely kicked in at the time these were both recorded).

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

I chose the easier song first, in order to have it posted on YouTube before the family Christmas dinner. A few days after Christmas, I decided to tackle one of my favorite Christmas songs—Carol of the Bells. I was never able to get all the way through the song without messing up (I was short on time and this song required wild gesticulations), so this audio file was created by snipping the different parts of the song together (which is why there might be funny delays in parts). I think this song sounds particularly cool on the PVC.

More Reliable Hosting
2007-01-03 00:56:27 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
The Pacific Northwest had a large windstorm in mid December. The wind knocked out power at my "data center". Unfortunately I was on vacation for much of the storm and wasn't able to move my servers to a location that had power. This resulted in an unprecedented downtime of 6-7 days for my website and e-mail. The first thing I did when I returned home was move the servers to a new "data center". The new "data center" will cost me more money to run the machines, but it is definitely worth it. This new location didn't lose power for a second during the large windstorm. Note: I wasn't the only one affected by the storm, the local papers were not able to print and even Valve's Steam servers were taken down for a while.
What The Fuck is a Bar?
2006-12-08 16:11:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Another pet peeve of mine is when people refer to their cell phone reception in bars. What the fuck is that? Is bar an IEEE standard? There are three possibilities that I see.

First, bars have a standard meaning in decibels. In this instance, saying your bars is a perfectly valid method of stating reception. I highly doubt this is the case. Different phones have different numbers of bars, so this is unlikely.

Second, the max receptions on all phones are equal and represented by full bars. I don't believe this is the case. However, if this is how it works, then comparing bars is still completely useless unless you state your reception as a fraction, including the total number of bars. This would let others know that 3/5 bars means 60% reception.

The third and most likely explanation is that bars mean jack shit and are only valid for people using the same model of phone (and same software/firmware revision).

However, there is one valid definition of bar as a unit–which Chris pointed out during our discussions today–and that is a unit of pressure. I don't think cell phones measure reception in terms of pressure, but I can play along. From now on I'll say, "I'm getting approximately two atmospheres of reception." Or, even better "My reception rocks, I'm getting over than 2250 mm Hg."

Well, that is the end of my rant. I should leave now because the coffee shop I'm sitting in has horrible reception, I'm not even getting 100 kilopascals of signal!

Upgraded Gallery
2006-12-03 13:30:33 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just updated to version 2.1 of Gallery, which I use for my image gallery. It has so many nice features and the transition was mostly painless, although a little time consuming. All previous URLs and links should work and redirect to the new URLs. Check it out!
Zune Thoughts
2006-11-26 12:03:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I touched a Zune for the first time yesterday. The first thing I tried to do was use the "scrollwheel", before realizing that they were just four buttons. That's a design flaw: don't mislead users about using the interface. If they are just buttons, make sure I notice that at a glance.

Unfortunately, there were no other Zunes around, so I couldn't try the infamous squirting feature. I imagine this will often be the case in real life usage as well.

I have mixed feelings about the Zune coverage and reviews. One on hand, as an Apple shareholder, I'm glad to see that the much hyped Zune is no threat to iPod. However, I also feel a little sorry for the Zune team at Microsoft. There are a lot of people who I'm sure put a lot of hard work into making this a reality, only to have it ridiculed in nearly every review. Although, what did they expect by making it incompatible with PlaysForSure and requiring users to buy Zune points?

This is just another example where Apple Gets It™ and Microsoft is too tied to their special interests.

One of my pet peeves...
2006-11-08 18:34:49 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I order most of my CDs on the internet (that's right, I don't pirate music), and there are few things I hate more than having to take the god damn "security sticker" off of every one. Some of them have as many as three stickers! Grr...
我的衣服
2006-11-07 01:04:49 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
我很挑剔。我只穿Giorgio Armani或著Kenneth Cole,非買最質量不可。我需要給別的人印象我是重要的人。無論認識不認識我,你們都知道我有很多錢。我的衣服,像牛仔褲,毛衣什麼的,都的價錢是三百多塊錢。我來到購物中心,於是售貨員爭論誰跟我說。你難道覺得我該圖便宜的衣服嗎?這是便宜是便宜,可是不好看。
Google Gadget Hosting and Translation
2006-11-06 01:08:31 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This weekend I put the finishing touches on a website I have been developing and now it is ready for launch. In order to make it super easy to publish and translate your Google Gadget, I've created a site for Gadget hosting. The site keeps track of all the message bundles and locale tags for translated gadgets, making it really easy to have your gadget translated. It has a number of useful features, like keeping the stable version and development version of your gadget separate. I'm going to use it for hosting my own gadgets, including the Alexa Gadget, which has been partially translated to Chinese.
Album Cloud Supports Last.fm
2006-10-05 23:55:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, I was in the groove today and I couldn't help but continue working on the album cloud. This evening, I added support for Last.fm. Now it works with two competing music recommendation services, but Musicmobs still has the prettier URL :). As an example (and to seed GoogleBot), you can view my friend samesong's album cloud.
Album Cloud Update
2006-10-05 16:27:06 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I finally sat down and implemented some new features for the album cloud. I had been planning many of the features, but a few were requested via user e-mails. I also created this nice overview of features which is displayed when no username is entered. It is now much easier to embed the album cloud in your own site.
Some Updates
2006-10-03 18:22:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

It's been a while since I've posted, so I thought I'd give you an update. I wanted to have one last adventure before school started (which happened last week), so on September 22nd, I rode my bike to Vancouver. I got to visit my brother and finally get a tour of UBC. I enjoyed visiting Vancouver, but was disappointed by their liquor store's selection of beer. Fortunately the on-campus pub had a good selection.

In other news, I've gotten a part time job helping with content over at Programmable Web. The website is based in Seattle, but I get to work from home. I think it is a good match because I am very familiar with the space.

In computing news, I've switch from using Safari to Firefox. This is big news because I've used Safari as my main browser on OS X since day one. Well, more precisely, I've used Safari since hour one. I switched because I don't have much free hard drive space on my computer anymore (I keep acquiring music), and Safari was wont to consume hundreds of megs of space. I switched about the time FF 2.0b2 came out, which was part of the reason for the switch. Some of the new features are really nice (like rearranging tabs). Each tab now has its own close button, which is how Safari has always done it. I do miss the integration with the rest of the system and being able to use some of my favorite commands (ctrl-cmd-d), though.

By switching to Firefox, I no longer had frequent access to my RSS feeds. Fortunately, not too long ago, Google released a new version of Reader. I dropped all my original feeds (which were created just to play around with Reader) and put in my current reading list. Hopefully it'll be good enough that I won't have to switch to something else for a little while (I've already noticed that it is slow at picking up new stories).

Lastly, I've started working on a presentation about carfree cities. I was inspired by the success of An Inconvenient Truth, so I started creating a Keynote slideshow in the style of Steve Jobs. I'm imitating Steve Jobs because he is one of the best speakers I've ever seen. I've discovered it is way more difficult designing simple, concise slides than I anticipated. As I near completion of the slideshow, I'll post some of the slides and perhaps other information.

Facebook Backlash
2006-09-07 00:22:43 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Sample of Facebook's feed feature showing my friends joining an anti-feed group.

Facebook recently launched a "feed" feature which lists every public action you or your friends make, including changing your profile or relationship status and RSVPing to a party. I don't like the feature because instead of just having the information public (in which case someone would have to be dedicated to noticing changes in my profile, which is okay by me), it is now being advertised to every single friend. It is also really unpopular among my friends (which I can tell because of the new feed feature). In fact, there is now an anti-feed group in Facebook with over half a million users. Time has a really succinct article reiterating my complaints about Facebook's new feature. If I wasn't getting free music because of Apple's partnership with Facebook, I'd probably have deleted my account.

.83's Tour de Dumpster
2006-08-27 23:11:17 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

I've had many great bike adventures this week. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I go on a bike ride with Point 83—a bike group with a drinking problem. This Tuesday's ride was a lot of fun and a prime example of what happens on these rides. After meeting at Red Square at 19:00, the group decided to head down to Georgetown. To make the ride longer and more interesting, we rode through Fremont, up Nickerson St, and across a bridge to the other side of the Interbay train yard. We followed the path through the train yard and Myrtle Edwards Park, where a number of hippies were still stoned and lost from Hempfest that weekend. We biked along the waterfront for a few miles before turning left towards Safeco Field, where we could hear the Mariners playing the Yankees inside. After climbing the elevated roadway, we turned right onto 4th Ave and continued deeper into SODO. Folks were hungry, so we decided to go to Stellar Pizza and Ale. Along the way, I almost got in an accident with Daniel Featherhead—who recently got back from a bike ride to Nova Scotia. I was riding behind him and close to the sidewalk when he turned in front of me to get on the sidewalk. I'm not sure how either of us managed to stay up, because my front wheel went in between the spokes of his back wheel, but we did.

At Stellar, some people ordered beer (they sell a pitcher of PBR for $4 on Tuesdays) and I decided to split a pizza with a few friends. It was my choice, so I ordered the Corson Classic: "Sliced Yukon spuds, gorgonzola cheese & sweet white onions". The pizza was slow to arrive, but I passed the time drinking Arrogant Bastard Ale and PBR. The pizza was great, but a little expensive. Once the drinks were gone, we decided to hit up all the important South Seattle dumpsters. First on the list was the infamous chocolate dumpster. The employees just happened to bring out some espresso chocolate as we arrived, so it hadn't even hit the dumpster yet. Everyone had their fix and Abby kept the extras (as it turns out, I ran into that chocolate again at a party on Saturday). We continued zig-zagged through Georgetown, hitting up the juice, bread, and bagel dumpsters. I got a large bottle of orange juice at the Naked dumpster, which I drank throughout the week and volunteered for screwdrivers at Mike's house. It retails for $6. We finished by riding through downtown and then headed towards our respective neighborhoods.

All in all, it was a great ride. We put in a fair number of miles and I ate good food, got free stuff, and hung out with cool folks. This was one of many bike events this week, but I thought it was notable and gives a good introduction to .83. Also, this post is foreshadowing something I'm working on, but I'll talk more about that later.

Heathrow Experience
2006-08-14 16:47:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Today I had the good fortune to experience flying out of London's Heathrow airport on a US-bound flight. Sarcasm aside, I was lucky that my flight wasn't canceled.

My dad flew out last Thursday when the plot was revealed and the airport chaos began. The rest of my family assumed he was spending the night in London. A day or two later we checked our e-mail and discovered he managed to get out with only a four hour delay.

On the BBC the morning after the plot was revealed, I was aghast to learn passengers were allowed only the vital essentials (passport, napkins feminine hygiene products (curiously, I don't think pocket knives and space blankets were part of the airlines' ideas on 10 essentials)) in clear plastic bags. If this is the future of air travel, I want no part of it. Alas, I still had to get myself and my valuables home. I loathed the thought of sending my laptop in my checked luggage, and I don't have any faith in FedEx.

This morning I went down to breakfast in our B&B and turned on the telly. The BBC was talking about the relaxed restrictions. I did a little dance, but was disappointed when I learned that the airports weren't going to adopt the new practices until tomorrow morning. Blast. Nevertheless, I still had to fly home and I knew there was nothing I could do.

After saying goodbye to my brother Jeff at Paddington station (he is continuing on to see more of Europe by himself), my mom and I caught a train to Heathrow. I was curious about the whole ordeal, but still not looking forward to the chance of delays and not having any entertainment on the flight. The conductor of the train told us to head toward arrivals instead of departures. The directions stopped once we backtracked to baggage claim. We asked one of the many uniformed employees and were directed out to the parking lot and up the elevator. There were large numbers of people sitting around at the top floor of the parking garage. There were a few large tents set up employees had food, water, and blankets on hand. I felt like a refugee. After asking, we were told we should stay in the area until two hours before the flight when they would call our flight. We waited until the time came near, and then moved down to Area B, where our checking was located. Once you flight is called, you were allowed to cross the pedestrian bridges and enter the terminal. Not seeing any signs, we asked another employee where we should go. They directed us to a line in Area B, but someone soon came buy asking for our destination. It turns out we were in the wrong line and would have to head to Area A.

Walking the short distance to Area A, we passed a number of, presumably, BBC correspondents. One man was discussing luggage size, and demonstrating how standard carry-on luggage wouldn't fit the new restrictions (he was using a hastily constructed wood box painted white and emblazoned with "BBC"). A woman was interviewing a passenger and later doing a monologue in while walking past the line.

We waiting in that line for over an hour. About halfway through, employees starting asking people destined for Washington, DC (and later Vancouver and Montreal) to come to the front of the line for expedited processing. Eventually they asked for everyone destined for Seattle, and the first two and a half switchbacks raised their hands. At this point the plane was supposed to depart in 55 minutes. It was ten more minutes before we reached the front of the line, and the majority of Seattle bound passengers were still behind us. Note, the bottle neck here was completely the fault of British Airways. The actual check-in procedure was quite quick, despite the fact that I reached into my bag for a few items while at the counter. Only one third or one fourth of the stations had staff, so the process could have easily been sped up.

Upon entering the terminal, I saw passengers carrying non-essential items in their plastic bags (including Pringles). After inquiring, I learned that magazines and even laptops were allowed. I was still skeptical, so I delayed removing my laptop until the last minute before checking the bags. I triple checked with the check-in agent before removing my laptop and headphones.

After checking our luggage, we made our way to security and, presumably, more queues. My mom commented that she felt naked without her carry-ons and I agreed. At the entrance to the security area, where they checked our tickets and passports, they had one final garbage collection (a godsend in a country with a conspicuous lack of rubbish bins). The security line was quick, and would have been even shorter had we not been ambushed by a government surveyor asking about our traveling experience in England (in an attempt to gauge the economic benefit of tourism in the UK). At the x-ray machine, they had me remove my laptop from a clear plastic bag (filled with just two magazines and my headphones) and put it in a clear plastic bag by itself. I also took off my relatively new belt because I remembered it set off the alarms in the States. Upon navigating the arch, I was frisked by a male attendant. I had caught a glimpse of my mom with the female attendant, but had assumed she was being wanded. The boy was thorough, I'll give him that. He went quick, and even felt around the waist of my jeans. I was afraid they might drop, since I was missing my belt. The security check was amazingly quick—contrary to everything I had been hearing—and it took more time to just get dressed again.

My mother looked for lip balm for sale in the inner sanctum, but all shops were sold out. We eventually made it to our gate and got in line to board the plane (which was already in progress). Walking down the walkway, we passed a final inspection point which seemed to be only interested in Muslims. People boarded relatively quickly, an advantage of not having any carry-on luggage. We taxied for a little while before stopping… for an hour and a half. Finally US immigrations gave us the A-OK (which garnered much applause in the plane) and we took off. I'm currently above Canada's Ungava Bay.

Surprisingly, the delays were not caused by security, which I presumed and the media reported, but by the lack of employees checking-in luggage and the extremely long delay getting approval from US immigration. The delays were not inherent in the level of security checks, but by the apparent incompetence in planning and execution by the airlines and mysterious delay from the US (perhaps based on increased background checks on passengers?). Assuming those two problems are resolved, I see no reason why service can't return to normal. I don't know what the situation is like at the domestic terminal, but if it is anything like that at the international terminal, then BA need only hire more people to work the baggage checkins to increase throughput. The domestic flights aren't slowed by US immigration, which was the main cause of delay for our flight.

Riya 2.0 (Partially) Launches
2006-07-29 01:07:17 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Riya, a face recognition turned image search site, recently held a homepage redesign contest, in order to get a website that better represents their new focus on image search. My brother and I entered at the last minute and the results are in... we won! Today their website was updated to reflect the new design, but not all the new features are live. The CEO of Riya provides an overview of new features on his blog.
Let's Do a Monitor Chain
2006-07-17 22:15:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
andrewhitchcock.org 3.0
2006-07-12 13:24:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

About six months ago I felt my website design was starting to get a little old and that I should probably get rid of the puke colors I lifted from ThinkGeek over four and a half years ago. Also, I wanted to make my page more accessible and truly separate the content from the design. The design should be much more flexible now, and the content comes before the navigation, which helps those people using screen readers.

I was originally playing around with blues, but the page always looked too cold. I found this online color wheel which helped me pick a color scheme for my website. I found some colors that complimented each other, and then I got their pastel versions to make it more pleasant. I spent a lot of time rearranging colors to see which worked well in which area. I settled on the tan for the title to make the page warm. I had trouble working in the purple, so I saved that for visited links.

The text size and color variety really adds to the page and makes it more interesting. Also, the website has much better SEO features (like using the title of posts as the link, instead of "Permanent Link"). The page feels a lot more modern and I'm glad I'm finally able to roll it out. The old version is still available if you want to compare.

Update 14:59
I forgot to mention, the script now properly throws a 404 if you request a page that doesn't exist, instead of just showing the design with no content.

Search Engine Usage At Search Companies
2006-06-22 02:22:17 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
You may have heard about the page I created that shows search engine, OS, and browser usage in various companies. I posted the link to the Google Blogoscoped forum, where it was picked up. Someone threw it in Digg, where it hit the front page, sending a swarm of visitors to my website. TechWeb wrote a story about it, which was quote around the internet, including in The Inquirer. And now, tonight, Slashdot ran an article about it (although, they didn't link to me (which might have been for the best)). I've had so many visitors the last few days, it was pretty crazy. When it finally calms down, I think I'll create a post about the experience and the things I've learned (and I'll include some traffic graphs).
This Post Is Illegal
2006-06-16 17:31:57 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello, my name is Andrew Hitchcock, and this post is illegal under Washington state Senate Bill 6613. Here is a website where you can play online poker. This is my small act of civil disobedience, if you live in Washington state and have a website, I suggest you do the same. Not only are the lawmakers turning Washington into a nanny state, but now they are trying to nullify the first amendment.
Google Spreadsheet Sharing Test
2006-06-06 12:32:50 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I got my Google Spreadsheet invitation this morning. Yesterday I was watching the story unfold over at Google Blogoscoped and Dan posted a link to the Spreadsheets tour and sign up form (before it was even live). I quickly put my e-mail in the queue, so I imagine I was one of the very first (just minutes after Dan posted). Google Spreadsheets allows you to share your calendars with an unlimited number of people and I like pushing the limits of online services: when I first got Gmail, I started a conversation with my brother that has reached 451 messages (before they capped conversations at 150 messages). I'd like to do the same thing now and see how many people we can get editing one spreadsheet. If you have access to Spreadsheets and would like to join the test, send me an e-mail and I'll add you.
Google's Most Popular Queries
2006-05-10 16:37:07 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today Google held their second annual Press Day. The introduced Google Co-op, which allows you to create your own OneBox that people can subscribe to. I subscribed to Digg and Gapminder, in addition to the defaults, so it'll be interesting to see what starts showing up in my SERPs. However, my favorite new feature of the day is Google Trends. Now you don't have to wait for the Zeitgeist and hope they choose to show the query you are interested in. Trends allows you to plot graphs of the relative popularity of up to five queries. Additionally, you can narrow the graph by year (the data goes back to 2004), month, or region. Along with the graph, Google will also show related news articles, and a breakdown of popularity by city, region, and language.

For a long time, Google has claimed that their most popular query is [britney spears], but I didn't believe it. I mean, come on, [porn] has got to be way more popular than [britney spears]. With Trends, I plotted them on the same graph, and sure enough I was correct. Hmm, is there anything more popular than porn? I tried some other generic queries. The most popular query I could find was [de]. I wonder, though, this must include instances where de is a subset of the query, and not just queries for [de]. Can you anyone find a query that is even more used than de?
V7ndotcom Elursrebmem for Celiac Charity
2006-05-09 23:47:43 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hey everyone. I've been a little busy recently, but this post is important, so I'm squeezing it in here. We are currently in the final stretch of the v7ndotcom elursrebmem SEO contest (less than a week to go). If you haven't already, you should link to V7ndotcom Elursrebmem for Celiac Charity from your website. The guy that runs that site will donate all winnings to charity (except the iPod, which will be raffled away to one of the people who linked to him, and who have PageRank 6 or higher). The days are ticking down, so the longer you wait, the less likely your site will be spidered by Google before the deadline. While you are waiting for the contest to end, you can watch the Hulk and control some gadgets via webcam.
Google Finally Corrects For Misspelled Define Queries
2006-04-17 22:21:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Oh man, finally, this is something I have wanted for a long time. Whenever someone from Google asked for feedback, I always told them it should attempt to correct spelling when using [define:], so you don't have to delete the define:, search again, click the corrected result, and add the define: back. I had heard this was highly requested from within Google as well. Today I mistyped a word while looking for the definition; it loaded before I could hit escape and Google offered the correct spelling! Yay!
I'm A Huge Nerd
2006-04-07 02:35:37 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Not only do I pause lists, I also transcribe them and post them on the internet.
iTunes Frustrations
2006-04-01 18:35:36 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I've finally taken the time to write up all my complaints about The Daily Show on the iTunes Music Store. I spent a bunch of time taking screen shots and writing about what is technically wrong with the episodes. My main goal is to get Apple's attention so they'll fix it (since e-mailing didn't work), but in the meantime, it'll serve as a warning to others who might want to buy an episode. BTW, this is not an April fools joke; it's just because I had some free time today.
TiVo Thinks You're Gay? Google Thinks I'm Into Bukkake
2006-03-27 17:32:16 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Screenshot of Google Search History TrendsWhen Google updated Search History with Trends, the related queries function wasn't very relevant; I got a whole bunch of random queries that seemed very specific (like obscure people's names). It has improved quite a bit since then, and now shows queries that are very relevant. In fact, they are so relevant that I often already know about the topic and don't need to perform the search. It is this extreme relevance that worries me about one of the recent "top gaining queries related to your searches". Item 6 has been in my list for a few days now. I wonder what that says about me if Google thinks I'd be interested in a [bukkake hotline].
iTunes Music Store and Google Finance
2006-03-22 00:27:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I think the iTunes folks got tired of my constant e-mails (I would reply every time they sent me an offtopic form letter), because they sent me a customer satisfaction survey. It was pretty long, but I filled it out, including my complaints about The Daily Show aspect ratio. Hopefully they'll finally pay attention.

In other news, Google released Finance. The dynamic graph is cool, but it doesn't show as much detail as the Yahoo graphs. Also, Yahoo still has many more options and presents a lot more information. I'm going to stick with Yahoo for now, at least until Google supports transactions in their portfolio.
Asshat Customer Service at Apple
2006-03-18 14:08:46 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I filed a complaint about the aspect ratio of the most recent The Daily Show episodes using Apple's customer service pages on their website. Here is the response I got:

Dear Andrew,
Thank you for your interest in iTunes videos. iTunes videos are optimized for playback on Apple's new iPod. While all videos look great on iPod, some videos may look blotchy if you play them on your computer or HDTV. I recommend enjoying your purchased videos on Apple's new iPod.

With customer service like this, I am seriously reconsidering buying a new iPod when my old one finally dies.
Unacceptable (TDS on iTMS)
2006-03-16 13:07:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Now I'm angry. The first two episodes in my Multi-Pass were encoded correctly (I skipped the first two released which weren't done right), but the third and fourth episodes of my Multi-Pass are back to the incorrect aspect ratio. This is unacceptable. When the store was released a few years ago, Steve Jobs kept talking about the guaranteed quality and how you wouldn't have to spend hours looking for a good copy of a song on a file sharing network. That's kind of funny. Over two years ago I was downloading high quality copies of The Daily Show without commercials and without any encoding problems (or advertisements for "The Motherload") for free. Now, two years later, there is finally a legal way for me to download The Daily Show, but they can't figure out how to get the aspect ratio right. Right now it is doubtful I will buy another Multi-Pass.

Out of the six Colbert Reports published, only the episode from March 13th is encoded correctly. Out of six Daily Show episodes, only March 9th and 13th are encoded correctly. March 7th, 8th, and 14th are all encoded at 320x208 and March 15th is encoded at 320x216. If anyone from the iTMS team or Comedy Central reads this, the correct aspect ratio is 320x240!

I encourage anyone who is considering buying a Multi-Pass to not do it. If you have already bought a Multi-Pass, go to Apple's video feedback page, select "My video looks bad", and tell them what the problem is.
TDS on iTMS (Update)
2006-03-11 18:52:06 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I asked on the AppleInsider forums to see if anyone had bought a Multi-Pass, so I'd know what the behavior is with regards to past episodes (see previous post for details). "Texas Flood" quickly responded with his experience. I went ahead and bought a Daily Show Multi-Pass, and sure enough it only downloads the most recent episode (so the shopping cart behavior is just a bad UI). Now... here's hoping they don't encode it incorrectly in the future. BTW, I got a response back from Apple about the encoding problem. They sent an unhelpful reply directing me towards the iTunes feedback page. Thank god there is an Apple Store a mile away, if I had to use the online tech support, I'd probably kill someone.
The Daily Show on iTunes Halfway Fixed
2006-03-10 19:54:02 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
The most recent Daily Show posted to iTunes is correctly encoded, but The Colbert Report is still broken. The previous episodes from both shows are still incorrectly encoded. I went to buy a Multi-Pass for The Daily Show, but I ran into some weird behavior. The description says, "This Multi-Pass includes the most recent episode (if one is available) and the next 15 new episodes of The Daily Show." However, when I add the Multi-Pass to my shopping cart, it puts an arrow next to the Multi-Pass, which I can press to get a list of episodes. The list includes the three episodes released thus far, implying that those will be downloaded as well, which is not what the above statement claims. I don't want those episodes because they are broken. Fortunately, I have all weekend to find an explanation before the next episode is released.
The Daily Show In iTunes Has A Major Flaw
2006-03-08 17:03:13 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I recently mentioned a problem with Google's widget page, which has since been fixed. Now there is an Apple problem that is time sensitive (because if they don't fix this error, they are likely to make it every day, and every day this isn't fixed is another day I won't buy the product in question (you can't purchase back episodes with the Multi-Pass, so they really are lost purchases)). I'm trying to make as much noise about this as possible, in order to make sure Apple knows about the problem and other people can put pressure on them to fix it. In the picture, the top image is from a clip online and the bottom image is from the iTunes Music Store clip. Notice the difference in head shape. Here is my open letter to Apple:

Good afternoon.

I just heard about The Daily Show being released on iTMS and I was planning on buying it using the new Multi-Pass, but then watched the preview and was shocked to see that the video is using an incorrect aspect ratio. The video content itself is 4x3, but it was encoded in widescreen, effectively stretching out everything.

Apple puts such a large emphasis on quality, so this video with the wrong aspect ratio stands out as a big oversight.

Sincerely,
Andrew Hitchcock
User and Shareholder
What's Andrew Up To?
2006-02-26 03:01:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Just a couple updates on my whereabouts. I took an extended vacation last weekend, flying down to Las Vegas on Friday. When we arrived in the terminal, I noted that it was the fifth time I had been in there in six months. Saturday I had dinner with my Aunt and her friend, and then we all saw Kà, which is probably the most impressive theatrical show I have ever seen (much of the action takes place on a 25 by 50 foot, 300,000 pound moving platform). I've been listening to the soundtrack, which has a number of beautiful songs. On Sunday we went to The Gun Store. I was hesitant at first, but it was only a short drive and once I got there I couldn't help myself. My brother and I both shot an AK47 and Glock 17. That night we had dinner at the Venetian with my mom's friend Jan and her daughter, and then partook a Blue Man show. I was very happy that Brett was playing, but didn't recognize the other Blue Men. Afterwards I talked to Brett briefly who said Phil and Puck were there that night helping introduce a few changes (most notably to TV Heads). We stopped in the gift store and I bought some badly needed kitchenware: a Blue Man shot glass. On Monday, Jan and we went to Red Rock Canyon followed by Sonic burger (which, has no veggie options, so I had onion rings). Later, we went shopping in the Forum Shops where I picked up two pairs of pants and two shirts. We had dinner at Chinois—which was also lacking in veggie options—and I had a delicious salmon in citrus soy sauce with peppers dinner. Salmon is fairly healthy in moderation and has all those wonderful fatty acids. I also sampled Jeff and Mom's 餃子 and chicken dish. Having my first meal of the day, and after just shopping for a long time, I stuffed myself with the salmon, rice, and dessert (which was a delicious, crunchy praline chocolate mousse). Tuesday I flew back by myself and had dinner with Dad at Jalisco on 65th. I was starting to cook dinner Wednesday when I stupidly cut myself. I went to the ER and had three stitches (now my finger looks like Frankenstein). That night I had him take me to Minnie's for dinner, because almost everything else was closed. On Friday I had dinner with my dad and Aunt Katherine at Cafe Flora (interestingly, Dad read my mind about restaurant choice both Tuesday and Friday). Unfortunately, there have been no parties this weekend, so I'm somewhat bored. I did go to Chaco Canyon for some juice on Saturday, though.
Musicmobs Album Art Cloud
2006-02-12 23:06:26 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Example album cloud.I just put the finishing touches on a new Musicmobs goody. The artist cloud I made does an adequate job, but has the same drawbacks as all other text clouds (namely, that longer tags (or in my case, artists) get more visual space that doesn't accurately represent their popularity). The newest cloud uses fixed sized objects that are much more visual than text: album covers. All the album covers provided by Amazon are the same aspect ratio (1:1), so the size accurately represents the popularity. However, there is a major drawback: currently, Musicmobs doesn't have links for the majority of album art, so your cloud is only a sampling of your top albums. If you want your own cloud, sign up for an account at Musicmobs.com.

Every successive little tool I create becomes more advanced behind the scenes. I figured there must be some easy way to cache information in Perl, so I Googled and found Cache::Cache, which this tool uses (with very little modification). In addition, the last two tools have used XML::DOM for parsing XML, instead of reading the file line by line and running a regex on the text (which was fast, but not as reliable or sexy). Eventually I'll back port things I've learned, but not yet.
Quality Rate No More
2006-02-10 19:29:10 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well... I am now officially unemployed. After 12 months working for Google, I have to take a three month hiatus (so I don't become a permatemp and sue their asses :) ). I'm hoping to get an internship this summer... so we'll see how that goes. If you need a CS intern over the summer, perhaps take a peek at my resumé.
Zillow
2006-02-08 01:47:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I believe this is Paul Allen's house informationA Zillow.com employee (that goes or went here) sent an e-mail to the CS list looking for employees. The site is kind of interesting: it shows estimates of home prices in the area of your choice. I looked up my family's house and learned some new information :). I also looked up some friend's houses just out of curiosity. It was interesting to move around the map and see the price gradients. The interface was a little quirky in Firefox (it didn't move as I expected... when I released the mouse button, the map still moved) and doesn't work in Safari yet (although, they do have a nice error message which informs me that they at least know about Safari, which earns them some props). It would be nice if they could speed up the rendering of the map with overlaid price information, however.
Superbowl Thoughts
2006-02-06 01:05:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I don't normally watch the actual Superbowl, but since the Seahawks were playing, I had to. This was the first football game I ever enjoyed watching (well, mostly enjoyed). I must say, that officiating was worse than anything I had ever seen in the NBA. While it is true the Seahawks made mistakes themselves, I am convinced the referees killed their mojo and set the Steelers up for plays that would not have been possible otherwise. I can't believe how ridiculous the calls were. Every time the Seahawks made an amazing play (like Jackson's touchdown or, even more so, the blocking of Roethlisberger's faux touchdown), the referees made a call in the Steelers' favor. I mean what the hell? I'm not even a football fan and I'm angry about this.

As for the commercials: somewhat disappointing. I'm especially upset over the Kermit and other hybrid car ads. There were three companies advertising 'green cars', which is the biggest misnomer in common use. I cringe every time someone says green car because cars are orthogonal to the environment. Emerald Nuts was pretty lame and I was disappointed to see more GoDaddy ads.

Some of the commercials were winners. The Bud "Magic Fridge" ad was hilarious and their Wave commercial was clever. The Ameriquest Ad with the electrical paddles provoked laughter in the Hitchcock home. The MacGyver ad was entertaining, since you can't go wrong with MacGyver.
Seahawks Fever
2006-02-03 17:31:17 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Seattle has gone Seahawks crazy. When they won two weeks ago, I soon heard joyful yelling coming from the Ave. I'm going home to watch the SuperBowl (so I can see it in HD), which, unfortunately, means I'll miss any crazy happenings in the U-district. The other night, the Safeco building had a football and a "12" projected on the side of it. Today I walked by and the lights were inside the lobby. You know something is going on when even the computer science building supports the Seahawks. Of course... it is the Allen Center, so I guess he is just trying to use his pet projects for a little cross promotion. I now expect that he'll raise a CSE department banner at the Superbowl.
V7ndotcom Elursrebmem
2006-02-02 21:58:56 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Sometimes I make temporary modifications to my website for good causes. Since I don't want some lame SEO to get any money, I'm going to have a link to V7ndotcom Elursrebmem for Celiac Charity on my page navigation until May 15th when the contest ends.
Andrew on Google in China
2006-01-29 14:44:31 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
As you may have heard, Google recently opened their Chinese search engine. In order to guarantee reliability, Google is blocking results from many websites that criticize the Chinese government. This is a pretty hot topic right now, and there are no easy answers. From what I've heard, accessing Google.com from China is pretty hit or miss, because the Chinese firewall routinely drops the connection when 'sensitive' material is returned. Currently there is a huge blogger backlash against Google. People are canceling their AdSense accounts and claiming Google has unarguably entered the domain of evil. I can't begin to guess the motives of Larry, Sergey, and Eric, but the other Googlers who I've met and talked to, or whose blogs I've read, do seem to have benevolent intentions. Here is the argument I will put forth: Google did not turn evil this week.

If you believe following unethical laws and censoring results, in order to do business in that country, is evil, then Google has been evil for years. First some background. After the horrors of WWII, some European countries felt it was necessary to block nazi and other hate material. When the internet came around, things got complicated. In 2000, there was a highly publicized case where France ordered Yahoo! to block Nazi memorabilia auctions from being accessed within France. Similarly, this page highlights examples of hate websites blocked by Google in France and Germany. As you can see, Google has been censoring European results for years. When does this get wrong? Is blocking hate speech okay, but blocking websites critical of governments not? Even in the US we have results blocked by the DMCA. I believe many bloggers are being influenced by the type of content being censored and the reason for censorship: criticizing the Chinese government is considered righteous while hate speech is despicable. If you believe in free speech, you must believe in free speech for all, no matter the content.

Some of the most vocal critics are American and European bloggers. Many have accused Google of going after the almighty dollar, and working with 'the enemy'. However, I have seen a few posts that claim to come from Chinese citizens or people who once lived in totalitarian regimes. The overwhelming opinion, from what I've seen, is that of support for Google. These people know what their government does, and they don't have any choice in the matter. They'd rather get censored results than no results at all. Google provides the best results, and it helps them in their studies. If they aren't searching for controversial topics (which would likely put them in danger anyway), the censorship doesn't affect them much. For example, I doubt many results about using Java classes are banned. The benefit to the average Chinese citizen is often overlooked, yet is perhaps the most important of all.

While Google's motto of "Do No Evil" is admirable, I believe it is impossible to follow. Ethics and morality are subjective, and as such, someone will always believe Google is doing evil. As long as freedom is being suppressed somewhere in the world, global companies must do evil (by directly or indirectly doing business with them).

I haven't written the code to support reader comments, so if you have a response, e-mail me or blog about it and send me the link. 恭喜發財 Andrew
BigDaddy's Larger Index
2006-01-29 01:57:16 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I recently noticed that Philipp Lenssen's Google Page Count widget was showing a much larger number than usual. When I refreshed the page, the count was back to normal. A search for [* *] on BigDaddy returns 25,270,000,000 results, but the normal servers still return the previous numbers (either 9 or 11 billion). It looks like Google's BigDaddy update has more up its sleeve than just canonicalization.
Google's Web Survey
2006-01-25 00:21:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I don't believe many people know about Google Code, so this is my attempt to help spread the word. I just submitted this to Slashdot, but since you never know what'll show up (my story might get dropped so they can post for a fourth time about how quickly people judge websites), I thought I'd 'blog' it: In an effort to help the WHAT working group, Google Code has released a survey of over one billion pages. Compiling statistics on elements and attributes, the survey provides such interesting tidbits as, "More pages use the completely worthless <meta name="revisit-after"> than use the <em> element!" and "Of the top twenty most-used attributes on body, fourteen are purely presentational... Of these top twenty attributes, nine are completely invalid, and five have been deprecated for nearly eight years, half the lifetime of the Web so far." It is an interesting read and will hopefully get people to fix their markup. The pretty graphs require an SVG capable browser.
Google Modules
2006-01-17 22:46:49 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Neat. My Alexa widget is now in the official Google Modules directory. I got an e-mail from a Googler the other day. He wanted to include it, but I had made a mistake which prevented it from working in IE. I was using the standard command for a body onload, but I was supposed to use Google's method so that it would interact nicely on a page with lots of JavaScript from other people. Anyway, I fixed it and now it is in the directory.

Something interesting about that page: Google is hot linking to all the images. I find this is a little odd. First, Google has bandwidth up the wazoo and second, everyone knows the danger of hot linking. What if someone were to switch their image with a certain hello.jpg? Not that I would, I value my widget's placement and I want to keep open the possibility that I might work at Google in the future.
Andrew's Christmas Music
2006-01-09 02:18:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I didn't ask for much this Christmas. I have almost everything I want (within reason), so I didn't need much, and I didn't want to contribute to rampant consumerism. At one point Arrested Development was on my list, but I removed it because Fox is fascist. The only things I asked for were music or food related (including food, kitchenware, and recipe books). Since Christmas, I have been enjoying The Long March EP, Plans, and More Adventurous. I was also given the Hedwig soundtrack, but it was for the theatre version and I prefer the movie version, so we had to return it. I have also been spending a fair amount of money on the iTunes Music Store (helping them reach record online sales). You can see the fruits of some of my purchases in this dance/trace playlist.
QFC's Plastic Fetish
2005-12-22 11:49:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
WTF? I can't take it any more, I was trying to restrain from posting this (like my brother was suggesting), but since it happened twice in a row, I have no choice. Here's the thing, if a customer asks for paper, give them paper. If you don't ask, start using plastic, and they notice and ask for paper, take the products out of the plastic bags and move them to paper. The worst possible course of action is to put the plastic bags in a paper bag... that doesn't do anyone any good. Two days ago I was at QFC (it is the closest grocery store by a long way) and they started using plastic. I noticed and politely asked for paper instead. I went around to help unpack the plastic, but they just grabbed the bag and stuck in a fucking paper bag. The whole reason I wanted paper was to not use petroleum based plastic bags which are perhaps one of the ugliest creations ever. I didn't say anything at the time, but complained the whole ride home and the rest of the day. Today my brother and I walked up to Starbucks, but stopped at QFC to get a few things. I asked for paper at least twice. The person packing must not have heard me (and the person scanning didn't relay), so they put our bag of chips in plastic. I spoke up and asked for paper. What did they do? They put the fucking plastic bag full of chips into a paper bag! I couldn't believe it. I took the paper bag from them, sat it down a few feet away, pulled out the chips, took the plastic bag off, and put it back on their counter. What the hell is wrong with QFC? Since this happened twice in row, I can only assume that QFC trains its employees to give away as many plastic bags as possible. When arriving at the front of the line, you are often asked, "Is plastic okay?" I can't imagine why QFC wants to default to plastic bags... they are a scourge on the landscape. The only conclusion I can make is that QFC is in bed with the petroleum industry, otherwise it doesn't make sense. I can't wait for my cloth bag to arrive from the power company (from when I signed up for green power). In the meantime, I'm going to avoid QFC as much as possible (more than I already do).
Trends Redux
2005-12-21 03:21:57 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just checked trends again and they updated the similar search list. Before I had ten results including names of (I assume) non-famous people. Now I'm only getting three results: "itunes gift card", "borland developer studio", and "aperture review". That seems much more relevant than some random names and some Firefox search. I wonder if they added a filter to strip out names, to prevent privacy concerns. As I said before, it'll be interesting to watch this list in the next few days as it updates.
Google Search History Trends
2005-12-21 00:01:14 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Frequency of my searches over the course of a day.Google finally added some cool stats to search history. Search History has been one of my favorite Google features, but most people don't know about or use it, including many of my nerdy friends. I saw the potential for neat stats when they first released the product, so I'm glad they are finally getting around to it. The Trends are somewhat limited at this time, but it is a very good start and the graphs look very nice. As you can see from the image above, I'm most 'productive' after midnight, and I'm almost never awake between 07:00-08:00. The most intriguing stat, in my opinion, is "People with searches similar to yours also searched for". My brother and I overlap on two of the terms in that list. It is a cool stat, but I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of it; my searches cover a huge range of topics. I'm also curious to see how often that list churns.
Musicmobs Stats/Info Box
2005-12-19 10:24:06 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Yesterday, on the Musicmobs mailing list, Jerry asked if Musicmobs had one of those little box things that could be put on the side of a blog to show that user's music stats. It didn't, so I thought about it briefly and decided I'd hack one together after I worked (work where I get paid) and ate. Some of my other scripts that manipulate Musicmobs data (like the user clouds) use horrible, horrible hacks to get the data out of the XML format. I'm convinced the CS department would kick me out if they saw what my code was doing (although, my version was probably pretty fast because it didn't convert the XML data at it all, it just treated it like a text file). After checking out my options when using perl, I decided on XML::DOM; I'm familiar with that model from my work with Javascript. After a few problems with escape characters, I got it working. Now you can add a Musicmobs box to your blog or website. If you have any feature requests, just send me an e-mail.
Alexa Widget
2005-12-17 03:18:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just finished my second widget. I had lots of trouble coming up with an idea... I wanted to make a Homeland Security terror meter widget (like I have for Dashboard), but I don't think I can use the images from that widget and I don't have the artistic ability to create my own. However, I eventually came up with an appropriate idea: Alexa Widget! If you have the widget point to a URL (instead of hosting the code yourself), it'll pass the user preferences to that URL using a GET. The Alexa graphs are generated through variables in the GET request. I had hoped that it would be as easy as defining user preferences with the names that Alexa takes, and then just pointing it to the Alexa URL. However, the widget API prefixes "up_" before the variable names, ruining that idea. However, it wasn't hard to generate the URL by hand and then post an img link into the <div>. The biggest hurdle was trying to figure out why the browser was claiming that the <div> didn't have any properties (namely the innerHTML property). I tried using Mozilla's javascript debugger, but that was very unfriendly and didn't really help me. I eventually realized that the javascript was being called before the <div> was being rendered, so the browser didn't know about it yet. I don't have a lot of experience with Javascript, so I'm learning all these little quirks as I go. I don't really like Javascript, it is kind of a pain to use, so I'm gaining much respect for the Google developers that created Gmail and Maps.
Google Widgets Directory
2005-12-16 19:28:02 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Since Google has yet to accept any widgets into their directory, and I didn't know of any other site listing available Google Widgets, I decided to make my own list. Go here if you are looking for Google Widgets. I populated it with some widgets I found on the internet. They are still hard to find, so if you have a widget you would like included, then e-mail me.
My Musicmobs Google Widget
2005-12-14 06:42:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Screenshot of Musicmobs widgetGood morning! About 13 hours ago Google announced the release of an API to build your own widgets for Google's personalized homepage. I stayed up all night working on one for Musicmobs. If you plug this URL into the personalized home, it'll put up a little widget that spits out music recommendations and gives you links to playlists. I'm a little biased, but I do think it turned out well.
My Recent Musicmobs Playlists
2005-12-13 00:40:33 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I've had a little bit of free time now that my hardest finals are over, so I've been working on a few playlists. Here are some of my favorites: Great Soca is a collection of my favorite Soca music listed by descending playcount. Now that I finally have Bonnie and Clyde, the list is approximately complete (until Soca Switch 12 comes out). The other day I quickly put together a list of Essential Bob Marley songs. It wasn't very hard, I already knew which songs I liked and intended to add. Finally, tonight, with the help of Elena and Tyler, I worked on a playlist titled simply "Essentials". This playlist is intended to be classic songs that everyone should own. It'll probably be mostly songs from the 1960s and 1970s. Only the best songs will make it on here... I considered adding some disco (like Disco Inferno), but shied away. I still have to add some Buffalo Springfield, Johnny Cash, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, amongst others, but I'll first have to acquire their songs. Also, with regards to the Soca and Bob Marley playlists: some people may call me a poser because of my dreadlocks, tam, rasta-colored Timbuk2 bag, and Bob Marley jacket. That's fine. However, for a white guy from Seattle, I am familiar with fair amount of Caribbean culture.
我說一點兒中文。
2005-12-10 18:03:10 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
你好。昨天Mikey跟我去Elisabeth家,她做晚飯,我們都吃晚飯。她做飯做得很好。我們都看Eddie Izzard的電影。我回家以後學中文。今天我有中文考試。中文考試以後在Chaco Canyon喝hemp-nog。再見。
Microsoft Massage
2005-12-09 12:59:48 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Whew... that hit the spot. As if I didn't have enough reasons to love the UW CSE program, now I can add one more: today Microsoft donated massages to CSE faculty and students. I just got out of my free 10 minute chair massage provided by Infinite Massage. In light of how my week has been going, it was very appreciated. It no longer feels like I only got 4.5 hours of sleep last night! The invites were sent out yesterday morning, and the limited spots filled up quick. I like this line from the Microsoft recruiter's e-mail: "There are no strings attached, no one has to come work for us or do our bidding for accepting the kings cursed ShillingJ." Hahaha, I love how they just admit it.
A Few Apple Complaints
2005-12-06 12:52:13 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Even though their stock is stratospheric, I'd like to mention a few things that have have been hurting my user experience as an Apple user. I'm overwhelmingly satisfied, but since Apple is known for their great user experience, little problems really stand out. First, while Dashboard is a fun tool and easy to develop for, the widgets often have quality problems. The biggest offender is probably the stock widget. It often lists the wrong prices or change in value. Sometimes it is just wrong and has random numbers, and other times it duplicates the price for a couple of your stocks. In the screenshot you can see the widget incorrectly claim GE's price and change are the same as AAPL's. Pressing F12 twice will fix this, so it isn't catastrophic, but it does tarnish the image of the widget.

I'm glad they included an RSS reader in Tiger, but it also has some frustrating problems. On some of the feeds, it gets the date wrong about 25% of the time, so you have to scroll down the list to see where it stuck the latest entry. I've checked the source of some problem feeds, but it all looked okay. Also, Safari RSS very occasionally says I have new posts, but the entry turns out to be blank (and the feed hadn't changed). I'm not sure how these bugs crop up, but they are somewhat annoying. I have filed a bug report for this.

Also, Apple added a bunch of new shows to the Music Store today. I was excited to see Conan O'Brien, but upon investigation, I became disappointed. Currently they only offer six videos from Conan. Four of them are just short skits (from 6.5-12.5 minutes in length) being offered for the standard episode price of $1.99. All of these skits seem to be at least 4-5 years old (back in the Andy Richter days). They also include two hour-long special episodes of Conan, but these are $9.99! $9.99! Whoever set these prices really dropped the ball. I would have considered buying some Triumph videos (he is hilarious and I would be glad to support the ones I like), but these prices are kind of outrageous. I don't know who's to blame, Apple or NBC, but this shouldn't have happened.
And on the 1502nd day, Andrew created Tags
2005-12-06 02:36:35 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
After taking a four hour nap, I updated this website to includes tags on posts. The other day I wrote a script to make it easy to tag posts, and then I went on a mad tagging spree. I didn't specify an ontology when I began, so there are some irregularities about which posts contain which tags. I'll clean up the name space and perhaps add a few more tags in time, but it works for now.
Destra's Laventille
2005-12-05 16:27:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, since yesterday was filled with bad news, it is only fitting that today was filled with fucking awesome news. After getting back from Safeway, I checked my mail (I've been doing it every time I use the elevator, and even some times when I don't) to find a slim package from the Virgin Islands. I was so giddy going up the elevator. When I got to my room, I dropped everything, ripped open the package, and started playing the CD. Finally, after more than a year of waiting, I have a high quality of Bonnie and Clyde. I'd especially like to thank Parrot Fish for actually having the CD in stock. I was doing semi-weekly search for Destra on Google and I ran into their website. On a whim I decided to e-mail them to see if they really had it in stock. I had e-mailed Rhyners, who said they had it in stock, but then they sent me the wrong CD (and shipping was too expensive to return it), so I was keeping my hopes low. Larry replied back with a very informative answer and said that, yes, they had it in stock. I was very impressed that he took the time to provide details and help me with my quest, above and beyond what I asked. The CD cost less than $17 shipped and it arrived in less than a week (since they are in the Virgin Islands, they just used USPS). I was very impressed with their service and I'll be using Parrot Fish for all my future soca music purchases. Thank you!
Wow... who would have thought?
2005-12-05 12:57:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I was very unsettled for much of yesterday, because I learned that one of my best friend's mom, Shelley Day, is going to jail for defrauding a bank. I was really hit by this line: At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly called her "a sophisticated, educated person setting out to defraud anyone to reach her goals." I've known her since I was in seventh grade when she drove Jeff Q, Travis, and I on a field trip, and I know her fairly well (for a friend's parent). I have talked about her in this blog before: she was how I was able to meet Steve Francis, and a year and a half ago I was happy to have her at our July 4th party. In fact, IIRC, I talked to her very briefly on the phone when I was hanging out with her son just two weeks ago. I always thought she was a capable woman, so I can't imagine why she would do this. She was always friendly to my family and me, but now I'm wondering if that was honest, or just a facade. I'm not angry at her, but I am very disappointed and my trust in other people has greatly diminished. I'm not going to say too much more until I have a chance to talk to Travis and get more information. I do wonder what will happen with Chelsea (Travis's girlfriend), though. She had been living alone with Shelley in Renton and attending Bellevue Community College.
Google Analytics; Yahoo! Jealous?
2005-11-29 12:38:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Google has stopped new users from signing up for Analytics and is preventing current users from adding more websites. While drastic, this has allowed them to finally catch up with demand. My stats are usually no more than 12 hours behind. About 3/4 of my hits are from Google. About 1/3 of users are on Firefox and 10% use Safari. I've even had hits from Iran! I might write a website/script to display the queries. I'll have to hide it from search engines (robots.txt) to prevent that from affecting my SERP rankings.

In related news, I was looking through today's stats and I got a referral from Yahoo!'s corporate Wiki. It looks like Yahoo! is discussing the competition. BigTable has a really interesting, powerful design, but I imagine knowing the design/behavior wouldn't be of much use. The real value is probably in Google's implementation. It is easy to say like, load balance the chunks, but much harder to actually code it to the requirements and make it scalable.

In other news, I've traded e-mails with a music store in the Virgin Island and I may have some good news soon (as in, news that makes my month/quarter).
Bills... and Green Power
2005-11-15 14:36:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I got my first power bill. Excluding the setup fee, it cost me $13 for 55 days of electricity. I'm only using 3.34 kWh/day. I expect this will be a good deal higher next period, because I've turned on my baseboard heating a bunch in the nearly two weeks since the billing period ended, and it will only get colder. I am also enrolling in Seattle City Light's Green Power program. The system is a little unfair toward us little guys, though. Here's the breakdown: $3/month for 25% of your power becoming green, $6/month for 50%, and $12/month for 100%. I enrolled in the $6 service because it seemed like a reasonable amount to pay when I consider how much I am earning, and because that level alone nearly doubles my power bill. The $12 is kind of insane because that would triple my bill. Years down the road I will probably move to the 100% plan, but by then I'll likely be using more electricity, so the percentage increase won't be as large. I encourage everyone to enroll in a Green Power program, you'll be doing the environment a favor and no one should be offended because the system is opt-in.
Google's Watching You
2005-11-15 12:47:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Yesterday Google released Analytics, their web statistics and tracking software. Analytics is Google's rebrand of Urchin, which they bought back in March. When I first tried yesterday, I wasn't able to login, and when I finally was able to, the website crawled. I managed to get the code, put it on this website, and activate tracking, but nothing has appeared yet. They told me to expect the first data to trickle in within 12 hours... yet it has been 25. Hopefully they'll throw some more machines at it so we can actually start using the software.

For the last few years I haven't been keeping logs because it was a hassle managing them and if my hard disk filled up, Apache would stop responding to requests. The only thing that really bothered me was not knowing which search queries people used to find my website. Although, it'll also be nice to see the break down of browsers and operating systems.

Before long, it seems Google will know about nearly every web request. Think about all the ways they can track you: AdSense, Analytics, Web Accelerator, and eventually through free wireless access points. Not only that, but they are already hosting a large amount of content: Blogger, Print, Video, and soon Base. It is interesting to ponder a Googlenet: everything hosted by Google and ran through Google's pipes; sort of like what AOL was doing for a while. I know it will never reach that point, but it could make some interesting science fiction.

With any other company, I'd be very afraid of what they would do with this power, but I have more faith in Google. Some may think my faith is unfounded, but I do have some reasons. Google was started with the idea of providing a great user experience while not taking at advantage of users ("Do no evil"). A lot of people trust Google, and Google has a lot riding on that trust; if they try to sneak one past the users, people will find out and it will seriously hurt their reputation (Google Print is on the edge of that for many people... I wish Google would tread a little more carefully with Print). Also, Google has hired a number of open source programmers/gurus, who — almost by definition — are optimists. Off the top of my head, there are three people who I had known about from the open source world and then later learned they moved to Google (in addition to the people from Google that I've learned came open source projects). Also, Google gave approximately a million dollars to college students to work on open source over the summer, and another million to the projects they worked on. At this time, Google does not show evidence of doing evil. However, I am slightly worried that in 20-30 years, or when the founders retire, their corporate philosophy will fall more toward the evil side, and that is when we will have to become worried. You know what they say about absolute power.
Philmont Pictures
2005-11-10 18:29:01 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Andrew on a horse.I've been performing some updates on my website today: adding content here and there. Also, now that everyone that attended the Philmont Expedition has reached the age 18, I've unlocked that image gallery. Flipping through it provided some nice nostalgia and reminded me how tubby I used to be. I also had amazingly short hair back then. The photos were all taken on film, so the EXIF information isn't that useful. Also, the image order is all messed up, but at least the pictures are available.
Musicmobs 2.0
2005-11-09 14:21:14 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
After a couple of months of beta testing and some intense development, Toby has just released version 2.0 of Musicmobs. Using Musicmobs you can upload your play counts from iTunes and get recommendations. The new version also allows uploading of playlists. Here is a list of my playlists. The site has an all new design and a much cleaner and more modern interface. An API will be released soon, which will allow people to write their own views, like a cloud or gradient.
Findory Reviewed
2005-10-31 23:42:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Findory ScreenshotI found an interesting news website recently: Findory. Findory was started by Greg Linden, a fellow Seattlite (so it gets bonus parts already). The concept of Findory is very simple: display a list of news articles and blog posts with snippets and links, and then personalize that list for each user. The first thing you notice is the simple clean design. Even Google News (my other favorite news site) feels cluttered in comparison. The page isn't cluttered with text, and the contrast makes it easy to differentiate between titles, the body text, and different entries. After clicking on a news entry, you get your second surprise - the website's functionality doesn't require registration. It seems every website requires registration these days, so it is nice to find a site that works perfectly well for the casual user. If you do decide to register, it'll keep your current clicks and now you can use it on multiple computers. I don't believe it required an e-mail address to register. As soon as you start clicking on news or blogs, Findory customizes the main page and tries to give you content you'll like. This has advantages and drawbacks. I like how it is being trained to give me tech and finance news. However, sometimes it seems to have a one track mind and will keep giving me the same story rehashed on news sites or blogs. If you are not careful, you might find yourself in a glut of news, as the website focuses in on only one of your interests. It seems like, after a while, it might be hard to find information outside of your interest. What if an interesting story about health pops up? I probably won't see it because my results are very customized. Despite this drawback, Findory is still an amazingly simple and useful website. I recommend you check it out. I now check Findory about as often as Google News... that is high praise.
4 Year Anniversary
2005-10-27 20:00:14 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today is the four year anniversary of my website. I've got some more posts in the queue, I just need to find some time to write them.
Personalizing Direct Mailings
2005-10-26 01:15:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I have nothing against advertisements in theory. However, in practice, I have two big gripes: advertisement overload and un-targeted advertisements. In the first group we have things like flashing banner ads on websites, websites where it is hard to find the content amongst the ads, political signs uglifying our streets, and 20 minutes of TV commercials before movies in theatres. All these forms of advertising are obnoxious and not really the discussion of today's post. I would like to put out a request for more targeted advertisements (to an extent). I get way more mail in my apartment then I ever did at home or in the dorm. Every few days I find myself recycling the latest mailing. Fortunately, the task is quick and easy: "Cheap lube jobs? I don't drive and I loathe cars. Discount on basic cable? No thanks, I'm trying to get away from corporate generated media and the boob tube. Meat coupons from your local grocery chain? Okay, that goes straight into the recycling, I'm not even going to check the inside." I think the grocery store coupon books are the funniest. About half of the front and back cover of the fold out are covered in coupons for meat. It is the same for all chains, they all feature big pictures of raw meat prominently on the outside. By not targeting their mailings, these stores are losing money and wasting my time. With targeted mailings, everyone wins. The consumer would be inundated with less junk, the coupons would actually be useful, and the companies would save money on marketing (yielding a higher ROI). Perhaps the only loser would be the postal service, because they wouldn't send as much mail. There seems to be a large cultural shift away from waste and towards a higher quality of life. It surprises me - now that I've experienced more of the world and have had a few jobs - just how inefficient and wasteful the whole economy is. I look forward to the day I receive an advertisement for cheap bike tune-ups or organic grains on sale. Actually, who knows, maybe I am getting targeted ads, but the last tenant was a huge carnivore.
Changes Coming
2005-10-22 16:58:07 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some changes are coming to my website, but first a little history. Originally my website was just intended to explain my t-shirts to classmates. I didn't even have a domain yet, so you had to go to 24.20.153.67 on some funky port to even get there. A few months later I bought a domain name to use for e-mail, and then a few weeks after that I switched my website to my domain. I started adding more content and I used this blog area (I called it 'news' back then) to announce the new content. After a while I started posting boring life stories. I always liked the idea of a journal, but I could never stay up to date. I type a lot faster than I can write, and the website was an easy place to store the information, so ended up just using this as a public journal. Now, however, I find that my past e-mails and IM logs are a doing a good job archiving my life and day to day activities. Plus, now that I have Spotlight, I can easily search through past IMs to find what I'm looking for (although, Spotlight could use snippets). Anyway, since my website was made from scratch, I have to write all the features I want. At one point I decided I needed RSS, so I wrote a small RSS script. That created another problem, because then I needed a way to link to posts. I was lazy, so on the huge page of past posts, I just added a little anchor text to each entry and linked to that. When someone would click to read more in their RSS reader, they would have to load a huge page which would then jump to their post. It wasn't ideal, but it worked for the time. Now, my quest for more readers and in-links has spurred me to make more site improvements. Tuesday, in preparation for the BigTable talk, I updated my script to allow links to individual blog posts. I had to remember how my big, uncommented index script worked, but that was easier than I anticipated. I also changed the links in my RSS feed to point to the new page. It worked. I've gotten quite a few links to my overview of the talk (including from the official Google Reader blog). I also got rid of the music albums that were on the right and the random quotes at the bottom of the page. Now, the page should be exactly the same every time someone visits... unless I have actually changed content. I figured I should give Google and other search engines a little hand by removing it (although, I'm sure they have ways to differentiate between content and excess stuff like that). Also, with less random data, their BigTable database should compress slightly better. I recently read about the most common weblog mistakes and so far I've fixed two of the five I was violating (that list prompted me to add the new About Me page). A few more violations will probably be fixed in time. I have a few more updates planned, but some of the ideas require a bigger overhaul of the site (which is probably a good idea). Keep an eye out for more small, evolutionary changes in the near future.
Microsoft Products
2005-10-21 16:18:15 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, I take back some of the bad stuff I've said about Microsoft recently. Yesterday I attended a tech talk about Visual Studio 2005. Unfortunately, only about one quarter of the talk was about Visual Studio; the rest was the story of one guy's journey through Microsoft. Come on guys, if you are going to advertise a talk about Visual Studio, you need to spend more time talking about Visual Studio (however, I was lax from the free pizza, so I didn't protest at the time). They demonstrated the extensible build system, which didn't interest me that much (I don't have much use for it right now), but I was impressed by the unit testing system. After running a test, it shows not only whether the test passed, but how much of the code was touched during execution. You can then click on the unit test and it'll show you the code it didn't test. I haven't used a large number of developer environments (only Xcode, Visual Studio, and Eclipse), so I don't know whether it has been implemented before, but I thought it was really neat. At the Google open house in November 2004, I believe I overheard a Microsoft employee talking about the tools they were developing to automate testing (especially for games). I wonder if this is related to that. As for Office 12, the only features that have piqued my interest are the visualizations. For example, if you have a column of values, you can set them to display little bar graphs which change colors based on their values. I don't often use spreadsheets, but I imagine this would come in handy for scanning large amounts of data for peculiarities. The problem isn't that Microsoft isn't developing cool new features, they are, it is that they don't promote the stuff I find interesting. I hear about these cool Office and Visual Studio features through random blogs and tech talks, not through official Microsoft channels (not that I follow those closely). Microsoft makes a big push for tablet computers or media center PCs, but I don't really care, I want to know about little features that will make my life better or easier (and no, new toolbars and a new theme do not make my life better). Also, in addition to the free pizza, I also won a free hard copy of Visual Studio 2003 Academic (an electronic version is available on the CSE website for students). They are also going to send me a copy of Visual Studio 2005 when it is released. Now I'm actually interested in testing out C#.
Google's BigTable
2005-10-18 18:35:35 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Today Jeff Dean gave a talk at the University of Washington about BigTable - their system for storing large amounts of data in a semi-structured manner. I was unable to find much info about BigTable on the internet, so I decided to take notes and write about it myself.

First an overview. BigTable has been in development since early 2004 and has been in active use for about eight months (about February 2005). There are currently around 100 cells for services such as Print, Search History, Maps, and Orkut. Following Google's philosophy, BigTable was an in-house development designed to run on commodity hardware. BigTable allows Google to have a very small incremental cost for new services and expanded computing power (they don't have to buy a license for every machine, for example). BigTable is built atop their other services, specifically GFS, Scheduler, Lock Service, and MapReduce.

Each table is a multi-dimensional sparse map. The table consists of rows and columns, and each cell has a time version. There can be multiple copies of each cell with different times, so they can keep track of changes over time. In his examples, the rows were URLs and the columns had names such as "contents:" (which would store the file data) or "language:" (which would contain a string such as "EN").

In order to make each manage the huge tables, the tables are split at row boundaries and saved as tablets. Tablets are each around 100-200 MB and each machine stores about 100 of them (they are stored in GFS). This setup allows fine grain load balancing (if one tablet is receiving lots of queries, it can shed other tablets or move the busy tablet to another machine) and fast rebuilding (when a machine goes down, other machines take one tablet from the downed machine, so 100 machines get new tablet, but the load on each machine to pick up the new tablet is fairly small).

Tablets are stored on systems as immutable SSTables and a tail of logs (one log per machine). When system memory is filled, it compacts some tablets. He went kind of fast through this, so I didn't have time to write everything down, but here is the overview: There are minor and major compactions. Minor compactions involve only a few tablets, while major ones involve the whole system. Major compactions can reclaim hard disk space. The location of the tablets are actually stored in special BigTable cells. The lookup is a three-level system. The clients get a pointer to the META0 tablet (there is only one). This tablet is heavily used, and so one machine usually ends up shedding all its other tablets to support the load. The META0 tablet keeps track of all the META1 tablets. These tables contain the location of the actual tablet being looked up. There is no big bottleneck in the system, because they make heavy use of pre-fetching and caching.

Back to columns. Columns are in the form of "family:optional_qualifier". In his example, the row "www.cnn.com" might have the columns "contents:" with the HTML of the page, "anchor:cnn.com/news" with the anchor text of that link ("CNN Homepage"), and "anchor:stanford.edu/" with that anchor text ("CNN"). Columns have type information. Columns families can have attributes/rules that apply to their cells, such as "keep n time entries" or "keep entries less than n days old". When tablets are rebuilt, these rules are applied to get rid of any expired entries. Because of the design of the system, columns are easy to create (and are created implicitly), while column families are heavy to create (since you specify things like type and attributes). In order to optimize access, column families can be split into locality groups. Locality groups cause the columns to be split into different SSTables (or tablets?). This increases performance because small, frequently accessed columns can be stored in a different spot than the large, infrequent columns.

All the tablets on one machine share a log; otherwise, one million tablets in a cluster would result in way too many files opened for writing (there seems to be a discrepancy here, he said 100 tablets per machine and 1000 machines, but that doesn't equal one million tablets). New log chunks are created every so often (like 64 MB, which would correspond with the size of GFS chunks). When a machine goes down, the master redistributes its log chunks to other machines to process (and these machines store the processed results locally). The machines that pick up the tablets then query the master for the location of the processed results (to update their recently acquired tablet) and then go directly to the machine for their data.

There is a lot of redundant data in their system (especially through time), so they make heavy use of compression. He went kind of fast and I only followed part of it, so I'm just going to give an overview. Their compression looks for similar values along the rows, columns, and times. They use variations of BMDiff and Zippy. BMDiff gives them high write speeds (~100MB/s) and even faster read speeds (~1000MB/s). Zippy is similar to LZW. It doesn't compresses as highly as LZW or gzip, but it is much faster. He gave an example of a web crawl they compressed with the system. The crawl contained 2.1B pages and the rows were named in the following form: "com.cnn.www/index.html:http". The size of the uncompressed web pages was 45.1 TB and the compressed size was 4.2 TB, yielding a compressed size of only 9.2%. The links data compressed to 13.9% and the anchors data compressed to 12.7% the original size.

They have their eye on the future with some features under consideration. 1. Expressive data manipulation, including having scripts sent to clients to modify data. 2. Multi-row transaction support. 3. General performance for larger cells. 4. BigTable as a service. It sounds like each service (such as Maps or Search History) have their own cluster running BigTable. They are considering running a Google-wide BigTable system, but that would require fairly splitting resources and compute time, etc.

The talk was very interesting and it contained lots new information I had never heard before (I haven't seen a BigTable paper yet). This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but if you see a mistake, please e-mail me. I wonder what the next Google talk will be about... I can't wait.

Update 2006-08-31
Google has finally released the official BigTable paper.

iTunes Video Store
2005-10-14 13:26:17 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
As I'm sure you have heard, Apple held a special event on Wednesday where they announced the iPod capable of playing video and a new video section of the iTunes Music Store. As an Apple, iPod, and iTMS user (as well as HD junky), I have some thoughts on this. First, what the hell where they thinking upping the version number again? iTunes 6? This is one of the worst examples of version number inflation ever. Wasn't that one of the complaints of AOL?

Anyway, I think this is a big step forward. Steve had already mentioned the $1.99 price point of music videos when he said they were going to sell TV shows. I was very afraid that they would price the TV shows too high. Fortunately, TV shows have the same $1.99 price. At this price you could buy seven shows per week and it would still be cheaper than cable (I believe). What about shows that air almost daily, like Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Daily Show? At this price, it would take $30-$40/month to watch them. As they expand their service, I hope they take this into account.

One of the biggest advantages hasn't been widely published: no branding. These days, it is despicable how much content is lost in the audio and video. We have the permanent channel brand, the more and more common rating brand (aka, TV-14), and the annoying as all hell advertisements. The branded advertisements have gotten out of control; they can take up to a 1/3 of the screen at any time with distracting animation and many have audio! What the hell is this? They are destroying our content. Finally, there are the occasional scrolling public service announcements. Branding is a big reason I'm not getting cable in my apartment. Even though I'm not getting cable, I don't plan on using the TV show store in its current form at all. Why? Resolution. I've been wishing for HD optical discs for a number of years. My mom mentioned that she tries to avoid SD content these days, because it looks so much worse than HD. With a huge shift to HD in the coming years, I don't plan on buying content that is 1/4 the resolution of SD content. These postage stamp sized videos are 1/27 the resolution of what I want to be watching. You can call me elitist, but I enjoy the HD. Hell, before most content was in HD, I'd watch boring shows just to enjoy the high definition. In the beginning, I even resorted to the local news!

Front Row looks pretty neat, but is somewhat limited on the computer screen. My parents (who will likely be buying an iMac this weekend) do not want to watch movies or TV shows on the computer. Since you can't burn your purchases to DVD, they can't watch it on TV either (without having the computer in an awkward spot near the home theatre). What Apple really needs now is a new Airport Express that supports video (high definition, of course) and can forward the remote control back to the computer in another room. I'm convinced my family would buy that.

I may seem critical, but I think this has lots of potential and I want to see Apple get it right from the beginning. I love the idea of buying and downloading TV shows, but the resolution just isn't there yet; I'm still sticking with DVDs. Finally, I'm really impressed that Disney has signed on to this; this is a show of good faith by Iger. Hopefully this is the first sign that Disney has reached a turning point after Eisner left.
Google, Yahoo, Speakeasy
2005-10-11 18:22:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, it appears the new Search History does work in Safari. I don't know if it was some bad code on their end or a network error or what, because it wasn't working when I first tried (but it did later in the day). Also, I just tried out Yahoo's My Web 2.0 and imported all my del.icio.us bookmarks. It seems pretty cool, I'm surprised I hadn't heard of it before. However, it doesn't seem like it is taking off.
In other news, no internet until Saturday :(. I thought it might have come today, but I guess Speakeasy's e-mail was misleading.
Google, Serenity, Las Vegas
2005-10-10 19:32:17 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Google updated Search History today. They added the ability to star results (like a bookmark) and add tags. It feels a little bit like a personal del.icio.us right now. Unfortunately, starring doesn't work in Safari for some reason, so I have to star with Firefox for the moment. I've only starred two results, because they were the only two I could think of off the top of my head, but it'll be interesting to see what it looks like later when I have more entries.
In other news, I saw Serenity again on Saturday. (potential spoiler) The first time I saw it I thought people would be confused when Inara showed up, but later I realized that she was given an introduction (associating a face to her name) in the little video Kaylee filmed. It was still good the second time, and we saw it in the exact same theatre. I also watched the first nine minutes online on Friday. In the room with River, there was a Pyxis SupplyStation. I looked it up online and it is a real thing! I guess Pyxis has some staying power if they'll still be around 600 years in the future.
Oh right, I haven't mentioned my Las Vegas trip, which, BTW, was friggin' awesome. Some words of advice: be wary about which airport shuttle you take (some are fucking slow). Other than that, the trip was great. I saw lots of friends again and I even met Chris and Phil! I posted pictures in my gallery.
Serenity Review
2005-10-01 01:05:02 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, I finally saw Serenity. Cinerama did not show it, unfortunately, so we had to go to Meridian 16. Fortunately, there seemed to be lots of nerds in attendance. We arrived not long before it started, so we had to sit fairly close to the screen. The projection was good, but the sound was a little lacking (it didn't seem like a flat EQ). Also, we saw the Doom trailer. I was laughing when it first started because it was the cliche mars action/adventure opening. As soon as I saw the first FPS clips, I thought it was sweet, and then realized it was Doom. Hilarious. Finally, Serenity started. The rest of this message will be ROT-13ed to prevent spoilers. To read it, you have to break the encryption ;).
V pna vzntvar Wbff Jurqba orvat naablrq orpnhfr guvf jnf gur guveq gvzr ur unq gb vagebqhpr gur punenpgref. Ur qvq n avpr ybat vageb sbe gur cvybg, ohg fvapr Sbk jnf n ovgpu, ur unq gb jevgr arj punenpgre vagebqhpgvbaf sbe Gur Genva Wbo. Naq abj, fvapr Freravgl vf tbvat orsber n ynetr nhqvrapr, ur unf gb qb vg ntnva. Guvf gvzr jnf qvssrerag, gubhtu. Fvapr guvf jnf n zbivr, gurl unq gb znxr n zber pbzcyrgr fgbel naq pbhyqa'g yrnir nyy xvaqf qrgnvyf bhg. Bar qvfnccbvagzrag jnf gur dhvpx erirnyvat bs jung unccrarq gb rnegu. V cersreerq va gur frevrf jurer gurl whfg ersreerq gb vg nf "rnegu gung jnf". V ubcr gurl qvqa'g erirny gbb znal frpergf, va pnfr gur fubj pbagvahrf. Gurl qvqa'g rira zragvba Oyhr Fha ng nyy, fb gurer vf n cbffvovyvgl gurl zvtug znxr na nccrnenapr. Gur Oyhr Unaq Tebhc jnf pbafcvphbhfyl nofrag.
V qvq yvxr ubj gur zbivr jnf fgvyy snveyl tevggl. Vg unq vagrerfgvat pnzren jbex, ohg vg qvqa'g obhapl nebhaq nf zhpu. Gurer jnf na rkpryyrag mbbz va gur zbivr. Nyfb, V'z tynq Wbff Jurqba 'jrag gurer'. Ur xvyyrq bss gjb bs gur punenpgref. Nyy gur punenpgref unq na vzcbegnag cynpr gb cynl, naq V'yy zvff obgu bs gurz. Va Fgne Gerx, gurl xvyyrq Qngn, ohg gura oebhtug uvz evtug onpx, juvpu jnf irel ynzr. Ubjrire, V jbhyq unir yvxrq gb urne zber nobhg Obbx'f zlfgrevbhf cnfg. Vs gur frevrf qbrf pbzr onpx, gur qlanzvp jvyy or irel qvssrerag. Gurl ner zvffvat gur cvybg/pbzvp eryvrs (nqzvggrqyl, nyy punenpgref unir gurve pbzvp zbzragf) naq gurve pbafpvrapr (nygubhtu, Obbx jnf nyernql bss gur fuvc va gur zbivr). Cyhf, abj Xnlyrr naq Fvzba ner gbtrgure... va gur ovoyvpny frafr. V gubhtug gurl fubhyq unir xvffrq evtug orsber gur onggyr, jura vg frrzrq varivgnoyr, gung jnl jr jbhyq unir frra gur svefg xvff (OGJ, V ybir Xnlyrr'f pbzzrag nobhg ure argure ertvba). V jbaqre vs Evire vf pherq, orpnhfr vg jnf uneq gb gryy sebz gur zbivr. Gur ynfg fprar znxrf vg frrz yvxr fur vf bxnl abj, juvpu vf n yvggyr qvfnccbvagvat orpnhfr gung pbhyq unir orra n ovt fgbel nep naq vg znxrf sbe vagrerfgvat gvzrf jura fur trgf gurz va gebhoyr.
V jvfu gur zbivr jnf ybatre. Vg jnfa'g fhcre fubeg, ohg vg frrzrq irel fubeg pbzcnerq gb gur fgbevrf gung lbh pna qb va n GI frevrf. Ba GI, lbh qba'g unir gb jbeel nobhg vagebqhpvat gur havirefr nyy ng bapr naq lbh unir ybgf zber gvzr sbe punenpgre qrirybczrag. V nyfb tbg gur srryvat gung Jurqba jnf gelvat gb jenc hc ybgf bs ybbfr raqf, juvpu ubcrshyyl qbrfa'g zrna guvf vf gur ynfg jr'yy frr bs Freravgl. V'z phevbhf gb frr gur obk bssvpr ahzoref. Lbh pna'g gnxr gur fxl sebz zr.
Apple Repents, New Apartment
2005-09-24 02:17:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
What's that? *rumble* *rumble* *BOOM* "OHHHHH YEAH!" It's the Kool-Aid guy! Our laptop is about to get blown by Rita, and they might not even have any TiBook parts left, so they are going to give us a 'new' laptop. I put that in quotes because I'm positive it will be an AlBook, but it might be a refurbished one. My mom called me today to get stats for the old computer, so the Apple store would be able to replace it with an equal or better machine. We'll see what happens, but I'm tempted to drink from the Kool-Aid man.

In other news, I slept in my freakin' dark room tonight. I think it'll be lighter tonight with my alarm clock. Early this afternoon I visited Will and worked for an hour from Brian's desk (who arrives tomorrow). I ate dinner at Hillside Quickies (my first food of the day, unfortunately), and then went and visited Mike's house. I'm on a neighbor's wireless right now (VPNed to home), and the reception is pretty good. I did order my Speakeasy DSL today, but that won't be here for two weeks at least, so hopefully this connection lasts. Tomorrow I think I might attend the anti-war rally (if for no other reason than to say FU to Bush) and then mom and I are going shopping and getting food for me.
Apple Woes, Coming Events
2005-09-22 23:15:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Fuckity fuck fuck. Well, tomorrow is the one month anniversary of our laptop being in service. Somehow I don't think we are going to see it any time soon. My mom talked to the people at the Apple store on the phone and, of all places, guess where it is... fucking Texas. The Apple repair facility is being evacuated for Hurricane Rita, so who knows when we'll see the bugger again. I'm angry. Grr, Andrew smash!

In other, happier news, I've moved into my apartment. I'm writing this while standing and the PowerBook is resting on one leg. I, unfortunately, don't have internet here yet, which is why I am forced to do gymnastics to surf the internet. Some more cool news. Early next week, like Monday, The Presidents and Smoosh are playing at the UW. I missed Smoosh at Bumbershoot because the line was too long outside of EMP's Sky Church, and I'm always happy to see The Presidents. My brother also saw a hint that Serenity will be playing at the Cinerama, but when he went back to the website (MovieTickets), it was no longer listed. Hopefully the tickets will become available soon so I can snap up some for opening night. Unfortunately, I'll most likely have to skip Critical Mass. However, more good news, the next day I fly down to Vegas!!! It'll be my second trip to Vegas this summer, but I just couldn't resist. The founders (Chris, Matt, and Phil) gave 100 tickets, split equally between a rehearsal show and a preview show, to the Blue Man Library for dispersal to the fans. I got my hands on one, so I'm going on a 24 hour journey to the Blue Men. This will make up for the fact that I missed the fan meet. Thanks founders, you rock. Also thanks to eternallyblue and rotcav for distributing the tickets.
Alaskan Way Tunnel
2005-09-18 23:55:39 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
After five months of delay, I finally finished my post about the Alaskan Way viaduct replacement. I thought I'd link to it here so more people would see it and I could try to increase the PageRank of my blog (which is currently 2 (yet none of the pages are in the regular Google index)). I think the tunnel would be a huge mistake, and I'm afraid that that won't be realized until it is too late.
Untitled Post
2005-09-15 18:23:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Apple better send some more Kool-aid up here to Seattle because there are a few of us that are losing the faith. About a month ago the left hinge on our late-model TiBook snapped. I had seen it on other PowerBooks, but I didn't think it would happen to ours because it is so lightly used. We turned it in to the Apple store for repair on August 26th, which will make it three weeks tomorrow. On August 29th they put a hold on it because they are missing a part. There has been no change in the status since then. Last Sunday we went to the store and asked them 'WTF?' They said they would put an escalation on it on Monday, when Apple Care opens again. I called them yesterday to see if they escalation had actually been put in place. They said they'd give me a call back, but it never happened. Today I called again, waited on hold for a few minutes, and they said that it had been escalated, but the part still wasn't available. This is ridiculous, the computer should have been back a long time ago. I wonder if the PowerBook hinge problem is more widespread than Apple anticipated, so they are having trouble getting enough replacement parts in stock. I am normally a big Apple fan, I think they are doing some great stuff, but this is unacceptable and puts a black mark on their otherwise fairly clean record.
Untitled Post
2005-09-10 03:09:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Two short items. First, Google Search History has been fairly flaky when it comes to picking up my clicked links. Sometimes it takes me a dozen clicks before it finally registers on their servers. I love the idea and the implementation is really nice, except when it doesn't work. Second, I've finally broken down and put out a call for help. If anyone can help me, I'd be much obliged.
Untitled Post
2005-09-06 23:52:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Preview of clouds in musicmobsI've been playing with a lot of blog monitoring websites recently. It is interesting to see trends in the 'blogosphere'. I also search for myself, in order to feed my ego. While playing with technorati today (perhaps for the first time?), I discovered I was on Matt Westervelt's blog roll. I'm honored... hi Matt! :)
In other news, Musicmobs is working on a beta and I'm working on a few hacks that might make their way to the site. Clouds are nothing new, I've seen them on Flickr and even Amazon has them now, but this was my first time creating one. It wasn't too hard and the whole perl file to make that page is really small (most of the time I spent creating it was just refreshing my knowledge of perl).
Untitled Post
2005-09-01 00:06:03 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
That was a fun extended weekend. Let's see. Well, Friday was critical mass of course. It started fine, but then we headed up to Capitol Hill like always. I was tired of riding down Broadway, when there are so many other interesting roads (and last month we had a police escort), so I tried with some others to get the group to turn left. Other people ruined it and we continued straight up to Broadway. Sure enough, we were met by a number of bicycle cops and soon some squad cars. They were uptight and gave us a hard time. Right before the big downhill toward the U-District, Jeff and I split off to ride back to the park and ride. Mike was going to drive and meet us there. All three of us were slower getting to the Park and Ride than anticipated. We arrived at The Old Firehouse 20 minutes late, but fortunately no one had started playing yet (there are advantages to have clubs always be late). Anyway, it started with The Catch, whose lead singer, Carly, is also in United State of Electronica. USE rocked, despite the technical difficulties of the venue. While they were working out some of the problems, Jason went over and started banging on some drums while Jon worked the hi-hat (well, I think that is what was happening, I couldn't see very well). The set seemed shorter than normal (perhaps due to the technical problems). They played Dance With Me and K-I-S-S-I-N-G, but not Umbrella of Love, Night Shift, or Takin' It All The Way (IIRC). They played Gimme Mo, which excited me because I've seen the live show enough (I don't know where else to listen to it, they haven't played it on KEXP) to know some of the opening words to that song ("All my life! I never thought it would happen."). They didn't play So Tired of Fucking Around, which I've only heard a few times (no more than two or three, I imagine). I'm very excited for their next album. At the second Vera project show I attended, Jason said they were thinking that it might come out by the end of the year. I'd love to get my hands on it, but if I have to wait for the album to be perfected, then I'd rather wait. Blue Man Group's Complex album was delayed and it turned out wonderful. Anyway, after the show I gave Noah a hug (I talked to him briefly before the show) and said hi to Jon. I was surprised to find Jessica Gawryn there (she was in my grade in high school and is apparently "Cool Aeople"), so I approached her and we chatted briefly. That night I showed Mike some funny Daily Shows on my computer and then packed.
Saturday we flew into Las Vegas and, after checking, got right to work. Jeff, Mike, and I quickly split away from my mom and started showing Mike the neat hotels. We headed out of the Luxor through Excalibur to NY, NY. We explored there and checked out the Cirque du Soleil gift shop (we would hit them all by the end of the trip). I asked if they had a Zumanity soundtrack yet and the nice woman explained that they have a 'based on' album, which does a disservice to the show, and that they should be replacing it with a true soundtrack eventually. By being honest, they lost a potential sale, but kept me a satisfied customer; one more likely to go to their shows in the future (I haven't bought stuff from ThinkGeek in over three years because I felt I was mistreated as a customer). We headed to the MGM, then down the strip. We did the Aladdin mall loop thing, visited Paris, and then went to the Forum Shops at Caesars. The Forum was less confusing than last year, because all construction was completed and I saw the new, three story shopping area (with spiral escalator). We met my mom and her friend Jan at Terrazza. We made reservations there because its menu featured lots of veggie options. Half of the pastas were veggie. In fact, Jeff was the only one who ordered a dish with meat (well, besides our calamari appetizer). I had Gnocchi di Patate. The pre-meal bread was also very delicious. That night we saw Mystére, which was beautiful. I was afraid I would be disappointed because it is a fairly old show, but that was not the case at all. I have never been disappointed by Cirque du Soleil. We got a ride back to the Luxor. Before bed, the three of us headed over to Mandalay Bay, looked at the restaurants, Rumjungle, and then got nachos at Raffles. They messed up our first order just slightly (they put sour cream on it), so they gave us a second one for free.
Sunday we went to more hotels. We started at the Venetian, and then worked our way down through The Mirage, Caesars, and Bellagio. That night we watched the Blue Man Group show. The zoetropes worked, but the rocket launchers on the backpack tubulums ejected prematurely, blowing their load all over the stuff above stage. Confetti hung from the ceiling for the rest of the show. Of the Blue Men, I only recognized Brett, and I think he recognized me, which was great since I hadn't seen him in a year (and have only seen him perform three times). At the very end of the meet and greet, Jeff and I got kisses from him. Later that night, all four of us saw an IMAX show about Fighter Pilots.
Monday we took the monorail down to the Hilton for lunch at Quark's. The ride cost $35, which is insanely overpriced (especially since you only get to go on each one once now), so we didn't do that. We explored the Wynn and finally took our seats at Avenue Q. The show was more hilarious than Mike or I anticipated. I had tears in my eyes during parts of the show.
Tuesday I came home. I met Will, Elena, and Tyler at Uwajimaya and then we walked to the baseball game where the Mariners beat the Yankees. All in all a very excellent (and expensive) weekend. I'm anxious to see Blue Man Show when it moves to the Venetian, but I'm sure I'll come to love the changes.
Untitled Post
2005-08-26 02:12:49 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Oh shit, oh shit. I just checked my e-mail and learned there is a U.S.E. show tomorrow night! Oh jah, this rocks... four shows in four nights. Everything is finally sinking in and I'm not sure how well I'll be able to sleep tonight. BTW, this is my 200th post.
Untitled Post
2005-08-26 00:34:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I've known Taylor Odegard since he was in my kindergarten class. Let's just say we haven't always gotten along. He went the route of soccer player and 'jock' while I eventually became a nerd and later hippy-nerd. Most of the flames were thrown in elementary school and middle school. I can only recall one encounter in high school. One day, must have been sometime sophomore year, I was chatting at the nerd corner when he came by with a girl. He said something rude in order to impress her and walked away. Between sophomore year and the end of senior year, an amazing thing happened: he matured. On the bus to the senior party (technically after high school) he complimented me and acted very civil. I didn't seem him again until a few weeks ago at QFC where he said hi and was nice. It seems Taylor Odegard has finally become a friendly person and I commend him for this. There are a few people I know that could learn a lesson from Taylor.
Untitled Post
2005-08-25 23:54:44 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Good stuff happening. I had a craving today for some guacamole, so I rode my bike to store for the makings. When I got home, I made a big plate of nachos (not much cheese, since the chips would be used for dipping), guacamole, and one can of beans. I ate all the beans and nachos, and a bunch of the guacamole. Yum... food. Tomorrow will be a good day because it is that certain time of the month. Critical mass! Mike is going and I'm determined to get my brother to go. That last bit of good news for now is that from Saturday through Tuesday I'll be making my annual pilgrimage to the land of pure capitalism. While there, I will partake in the Mystére, Blue Man, and Avenue Q. It will be Mike's first time to the holy land.
Untitled Post
2005-08-22 18:43:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I was talking to Toby from MusicMobs last night. As I was going to bed, he sent me an invite to Pandora. The concept behind Pandora is really interesting. Instead of just using algorithms to recommend music, they have musicians analyze the music and take notes about it, and then use those characteristics to recommend the music. I've entered a bunch of my favorite artists into it and now it is randomly playing music I might like. Currently it is playing Trenchtown Rock (Live) by Bob Marley and it thinks I'll like it because it features "reggae roots, mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, extensive vamping, and prominent organ". I may have entered too many reggae songs, because while typing this, it switched to 54 46 That's My Number by Toots and The Maytals. Ack! Two more reggae songs! What have I created? If this gets stuck on reggae, I can always create a new station. You can taylor each station to have a certain feel by entering songs and/or artists from a specific genre. Maybe I'll try creating a C89.5 or 107.7 copy.
Untitled Post
2005-08-22 00:25:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
My friend Max Silver is working on starting some biodiesel goodness in Spokane. His website will be appearing soon at Bioleco.
Untitled Post
2005-08-17 19:58:45 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Holy cow, small world. I was talking with Danny Naylor on my hiking trip, and I believe it was him who mentioned how his brother will be sharing a house with a guy who created the website Poker Facebook. Yesterday I learned about the website BlogPulse, which allows you to monitor trends in blogs. I tried searching for my URL and found some interesting results. Then, on a whim, I searched for The Face Book's URL (just to see if there were lots of college kids blogging about it) and I ran across this blog post talking about bumvertising. It mentions Poker Facebook. I thought that was odd, could it be the same thing? Nah. But I was downstairs just now looking to order a pizza and I saw the Reporter sitting on the kitchen table. I moved some letters and saw on the front page "'Bumvertising' earning attention". It continues, "A 2001 Mercer Island High School graduate and determined young entrepreneur, Ben Rogovy has found himself in the midst of a firestorm about the way he is advertising a new business." Holy shit! Talk about a small world. Sure enough, all three of these stories are related. I'd link you to the Reporter piece, but since it is a small time paper, it doesn't have a great website and the story isn't up yet.
Untitled Post
2005-08-17 01:17:18 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Has anyone else noticed what I'm dubbing Google Quick Links? For certain queries, along with the main result, Google will provide some shortcuts to other parts of the website that it deems helpful. This feature comes and goes, so it must be in testing phase. Please e-mail me if you have seen these or have anything official to add.

In other news, there were two new appliances waiting at home when I got back from my backpacking trip in the Cascades with my former Boy Scout troop. I've used the washer and dryer a couple of times and I'm mighty impressed. It has a touch screen interface that allows you to select from dozens of ways it can use to determine how the clothes should be washed (based on fabric or type of garment, for example). It also automatically senses how full the load is, in order to use just enough water. Finally, the washing machine talks to the dryer and tells it about the incoming load. I swear, those things are smarter than I am. They are so nice to use compared to the 22 year old machines they are replacing. And of course they are energy star (where as our old ones figuratively needed the energy of a star to run with all those inefficiencies).
Untitled Post
2005-08-04 17:58:02 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
That may have been the best 3 minutes and 43 seconds of my life. About 15 minutes ago I bought Screamin' Rachael's Don't Make Me Lonely from iTMS and listened to it. I've been waiting for that song for forever.
Untitled Post
2005-08-02 23:29:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Wow, I have the worst farmers tan ever. I did some surveying today on Bainbridge Island, so I was out in the sun all day. I worked for 11.5 hours. Also, my lunch and dinner consisted of a vegan pan bagna which I made myself last night (from a recipe in my Teany book). I estimate it had 1.5 megacalories. I get to hang out with Travis Thursday. I haven't seem him in forever. In other news, on August 10th I'm going on another backpacking trip through the cascades. It has been two years since my last.
Untitled Post
2005-08-01 23:29:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
An article I wrote, which started life as an e-mail, has been posted as the featured story on New Colonist. Check out what I think about teenage car culture.
Untitled Post
2005-07-31 01:22:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Man, it is tough being a gourmet. I've ridden perhaps 80 km in the last two days and I got home at 23:00 tonight. I talked to my dad for a little while and then I got hungry, so I decided to make some nachos. I spent around 20 minutes making some very yummy nachos. It had chips, two types of fresh grated cheese (Cheddar and Pepper Jack), onion, jalapeño, and lots of fresh cilantro. Oh man, it was good. I cooked it in the microwave and conventional ovens. Being a good cook (and a modest one at that ;) ) has its drawbacks because I often don't want to settle for the easy option. A curse and a blessing, I guess.
Untitled Post
2005-07-22 21:53:38 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I got into the CS department.
Untitled Post
2005-05-28 23:59:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
So damn hot. Yesterday my cluster finished watching Firefly, including all the special features (not commentary, though). Mike got really pissed at Fox for canceling it :). See, this is why we need to move away from the current television distribution paradigm. Quality shows get abused and cancelled to make way for more schlock, leaving lots of viewers disappointed. We need a system in place to bypass the networks and bring more options to the viewer. I believe the ideal system is DVD. The distribution network is already in place, it has a huge installed base, the quality is higher than TV, there are no commercials (well, there shouldn't be), and it is permanently time-shifted. I heard Futurama might come out with new episodes direct to DVD, and this could be a big win for fans. No more preemptions to make way for Star Wars II or the latest sports event. There are a lot of expectations for Serenity, so I hope Fox didn't try to control it too much (like they did with the series). I also hope they won't spend too much time introducing characters or give away all the mysteries in the story. I'd like there to be lots of room left open for more movies or another TV series (preferably direct to DVD). Fuck Fox.
Friday was super hot. It got up to about 34° C, setting records and resulting Seattle's first heat warning. What did I do? I exercised, out in the sun, more than any other day this year. In the morning I biked to my dad's office downtown to pick up my passport and he helped me fax some documents. I rode back, took a shower, and put on some shorts. After classes, I rode to Seattle Center to watch this year's Pan Jam, which was held at Folklife. I met up with Mikey and we hung out there. After the bands were over, and I decided I didn't want any food (just a mango lemonade), I said my goodbye and biked to Westlake. I haven't been writing about Critical Mass much, but this was the best one yet, so I have to say something. We didn't leave until like 18:10, but when we did it was great. We had a group of at least 100 people, I'd estimate. I'm not very good with numbers, but the group was huge. It was also the fastest, most aggressive cycling yet (aggressive as in tackling fairly steep hills). We started heading south on 2nd or 3rd. We turned onto Yesler and went over the bridges. I was in the back for most of the trip, and this was a lot of fun. I watched as the group was circling around for one or two blocks ahead. We filled the road. Next we turned right and did a loop onto, I believe, 4th. We headed downtown, and then turned and went through Pike Place. Unfortunately there weren't many people there and having a largely aluminum bike without shocks is not the best on bumpy cobblestones (I just didn't sit down). After getting through Pike Place, we headed down Western. This road was only two lanes, and didn't have much traffic, so the group swelled to fill up the whole road. We headed all the way to Yesler, and then continued on 1st, getting claps from bar goers the whole way. Even the waiters we clapping, I guess people love a spectacle. We turned onto Jackson for another aggressive climb all the way to 12th. We continued going north until we hit Pike. At this point the group waited for a little while. The back of the parade was perhaps 3/4 of a mile back, so the group paused to catch up. We turned west on Pike and then north on Broadway. As we continued on 10th Ave E, some people turned around. The group was thinning, but still quite large. It was hard for the unicyclist to keep up with us when we went downhill near 520, but he managed to keep up. We went down Harvard, across the Eastlake bridge, took a short jaunt across NE Campus Parkway, and then went north on the Ave. I turned off at 50th and came down 15th before finally returning to the dorms. It was a long, great ride. One guy was hauling a trailer playing loud reggae. Awesome. In the end, I probably rode at least 40 km today. That night we put out lots of fans to cool off the cluster, and finished Firefly.
Today I went with Mike to Chaco Canyon. On the way we passed a frat that was playing what sounded like soca. I didn't believe my ears from a far. As we got close, the light turned green and the cars overpowered. Finally the cars died down and I could hear that the beat was in fact soca. I believe I also heard that in the lyrics, although I wasn't sure. Very awesome. At Chaco, we both got a mocha madness, and I got a hummus-cucumber sandwich to go with it. Mike surfed the web while I read the Times and PI (whichever sections looked interesting at the counter (the papers were already disassembled, I didn't do it)). After visiting Uncle Edmund in the hospital, I came home and mowed the back yard with a push mower (I ran around with that thing; fun times). I got my mom's bike into working order (inflated the tires and made sure the chain wouldn't pop off again after it did when I started). I took the bike to QFC to get some produce. It was a lot of work getting up the hill in the hardest gear. It was fun riding around that really old bike once (and only once). I made a soup of onions, parsnips, and broccoli mostly myself... it turned out okay.
Untitled Post
2005-05-24 02:49:15 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
So, how are things? Good? Glad to hear it. Enough about you, now to talk about yours truly. First, I went out on the balcony a few minutes ago and I must say, the moon is very beautiful tonight. It is big, bright, and pretty low in the sky. I don't see it much anymore from my dorm, so seeing it full was a pleasant surprise. BTW, I see Dashboard is predicting Thursday will be 28°... quite a scorcher. Of course, it has often proved to be bad at long term predictions.
I'm happy to say I've gotten half my cluster addicted to Firefly. I watched the first episode with Mike late last week and now we have watched the first six episodes. Brian and Will watch them too :). The first hit is free. Speaking of my clustermates, I have acquired some pictures from Mike that I'm sure I'll regret if I ever become rich and famous. I'm in the minority of the pictures, though (well, I'm in a bunch, but only a few are compromising).
Today I went to get some shots with my family at the UW Medical Center's travel medicine department. I got two shots and three prescriptions and we took home lots of reading material. Apparently we are already up to hepatitis G. I find it amusing they name these the same way they do computer viruses. Dude, did you hear? Jimmy caught HS.Hepatitis.G@mm. Oh, really? That sucks. Afterwards we ate at the new Blue C because I was super hungry. After that we got a peppermint plant for Andrew. I planted it when I got back to the dorm. Hopefully it'll grow up big and strong so I can pick its leaves for tea. I felt like crap earlier today because I got really dehydrated (I'm sure the shots didn't help). I drank a bunch of water and my arm feels better, but I still didn't feel like doing work today.
Untitled Post
2005-05-06 23:55:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, there is not much new stuff going. I've been really busy with school. Good news on the biodiesel front. Due to recent tax breaks (which I can't agree with, but oil gets even bigger subsidies), biodiesel at Dr. Dan's is down to 3 $/gallon (down from 3.4 (both prices are for 100 gallon purchases)). Before it was a good deal when you factor in the political, social, economic reasons for using it, and now it is down right cheap! The price premium for biodiesel has gone from about 1.4 $/gallon to .25 $/gallon in only one year. It is now a better time than ever to check this stuff out.
On Wednesday I went with my brother to the Moby concert. I wasn't surprised to find lots of vegan and PETA advocates. The opener wasn't too good, but the Moby concert was a lot of fun. I thought the bass might have been a little too loud (it sounded overwhelming... I'm a fan of bass, but it was a little much). I really liked the slow rendition of Natural Blues that they played. I didn't eat before hand (because I wasn't very hungry and there were no bagels at 8), so I had my brother drop me off on the Ave and I picked up a hummus sandwich at Aladdin Gyro-cery. The sandwich was good, but the hummus was a little bland. It hit the spot, though.
This morning I stayed up until 05:00. I woke up at 10:30 (Brian would get back from class at that point, so I asked him to wake me up, but the little bastard tried to wake me up at 10:27 when I explicitly said 10:30; I showed him by falling back to sleep for the last 3 minutes) and quaffed a Starbucks mocha frappuccino thing. Elena soon came over and I talked with her until 11:30. I studied a little more and added a few more equations to my chem notes. I went to my math class, which had very low attendance, and looked over my notes while the teacher went over Wednesday's midterm. Then I went to chemistry and took /that/ midterm. I feel fairly confident about it, though; none of the problems stumped me and I was able to finish all but just a small part. My way home had a couple of perfect timings. I got to the bus stop like 90 seconds before the 71 arrived, arrived at the next bus stop just as my other bus arrived, and was dropped off at the parking ride just as my mom was driving up. I made excellent time getting home!
Untitled Post
2005-05-02 21:48:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Let's see. I guess I'll continue where I left off. That Sunday (the 24th) I watched two episodes of Eyes of Nye. The first one was about sports and many of the athletes were from the UW. I wish it would have been heavier on the science, though. At some point they gave pseudo-equations about hitting a baseball and they told you to go online to learn more. I would have preferred they just used the actual equations in the show. The second episode I watched was about sex. The episode started off with Bill Nye on the Ave right in front of Shalimar! Sweet.
Wednesday evening I rode my bike to the Experience Music Project for a lecture on Bob Dylan. It was really interesting and I'll try to go to all the lectures in the series that I can make. I know I can't go this Wednesday because I have a Moby concert.
On Friday Tiger was released. Will's copy arrived in the mail, so he installed it, then Brian, then Mike. Everyone installed without problem. Brian got really mad at Will for installing so slowly (like admiring the box for a minute or two before even opening it). Everyone in the cluster ordered a copy (well, all Mac users), but Will's was the first to arrive. That evening was critical mass. It had rained, so everything was really wet. I stopped at the first stop sign outside my dorm and nearly wiped out. I started fishtailing and my front wheel went at extreme angles, but fortunately I recovered. I made it to red square safely (but not without other scares), but everyone had already left. I debated whether I should go, since it was so wet, but settled on going. I made it there just before the scheduled time, but for some reason we left like 10 or more minutes late. We didn't go to pioneer square this time. Instead we rode toward Seattle Center. We were on Denny going toward lower Queen Anne, but for some reason we cut through a gas station and then headed north on Broad. We had a little confusion before going through the underpass, but we all ended up back on Broad again. We then went up Eastlake to the UW. We rode up the Ave, and then down 45th. It was fun riding down the tall bridge :). We then road through University Village where I cut off to go look through the Tiger line. My clustermates weren't there, but as I was passing the front of the store, someone said hey. It turned out to be my CS TA from last quarter. I asked her if she was getting Tiger and she said maybe. I caught up with the rest of the group as they were turning onto 25th Ave NE. While on Montlake Boulevard, I was near the back and this crazy woman accelerated through the group, in the middle of two lanes, and nearly hit a number of people. She kept powering her way through the group, but we caught up with her and surrounded her. Unfortunately, when the middle lane divider disappeared, she zoomed past using the other lanes. We turned right onto Pacific and then I split from the group going north on 15th. I went back to the cluster and relaxed there for a while. Eventually my brother got out of H2G2 and picked me up (with all my laundry).
Saturday I got home and did a bunch of laundry. After everything dried, we went to Jalisco and then they dropped me off. By the time I had all my laundry put away and had a little bit to drink (water, I was thirsty), Mike and I headed to the Theta Xi frat. We walked up 18th looking for the house. It was pretty easy, since it had a distinctive drum machine beat emanating from it. It was a little odd, it being my first frat party, but it was well run. USE ran sound check and then disappeared while an opening band played. After they were done, it was time for USE! When they came out, at least one CD was thrown into the audience. It whizzed past my head and I think hit Mike in the face, before falling to the ground. He picked it up and we realized what it was. Now we both have the physical CD. The show rocked and didn't get nearly as hot as the Vera shows. Most of the lights came from stuff on stage, so it was hard to get pictures, but Mike took a few (I reminded him to bring his camera). We were slowly moved toward the back of the group, but that was okay. After the show we shook hands with Peter, and talked and had pictures taken with Noah, Jason, and Jon. Too bad there isn't a USE show every weekend! Now I have to wait two full weeks for the next one!
Untitled Post
2005-04-23 00:12:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Whew. I've been really busy with school recently. I haven't been able to attend any biodiesel meetings lately or really anything else that I have my finger in. Last weekend I had so many activities that I didn't even go home for the weekend! I know! I was really excited Friday, because I got to see USE again! I went there by myself on Friday, and it was my first time at the Vera project. They have a really nice space. The stage is small, but it can fit lots of people around it. I had a great time. The next day Mike and tried to go taste some tea at this place on Queen Anne. We got a late start, and the Queen Anne hills really beat us up, so we didn't make it in time (but we came much closer than we realized). It was nice getting some exercise, though. That night I went with my brother, Mike, and Will to see USE again. This show may have even been more fun than the previous night's! I talked to more band members than I had before, and I was sure to thank all of them for the great performances. When I went with the group, all of us except Will got on stage (although, I consider it a victory just having him come to the show). I had never done this before, and I didn't know how many more chances I would get (they are quickly gaining popularity, so they might not be in such small venues in the future). The place was packed both nights. The second night Strength played before USE. I really enjoyed them, and they even played Could You Be Loved (although, it didn't seem many other people recognized it). USE will be playing at Operation Husky Stadium, so less than a month until I see them again. Excellent.
This week went by fast as well (when I'm busy with school). Yesterday I went on a tour of the recycling center on campus (well, where they sort the paper) and Merrill Hall. Both were interesting, but I loved the Merrill Hall tour. It was probably the greenest building I have ever been in (well, besides a tent, but that doesn't count). The inside smelled great (like a very light straw smell), it was well lit, had smoothing colors, and was very eco-friendly. I couldn't have asked for a better Earth Day, it was beautiful today. I walked through the Quad on the way back from chemistry (slightly out of my way) to check out the booths, and there was a steel drum playing (I believe it was the UW's). I got my stuff together and took the bus downtown. After reading about street food in the Stranger the night before, I got a craving for a sandwich from Zaina (on Cherry between 1st and 2nd). I had been there once before and absolutely loved it. This time I got a quick, delicious falafel sandwich. Yum. I didn't eat outside, even though perhaps I should have, but there was someone smoking right there, which would have ruined the atmosphere (a cigarette, not a Hookah, which are located all around the restaurant, which I wouldn't have minded). I went uphill, got some Starbucks (it wouldn't have been a day in Seattle without that), cashed a check, and walked with my mom to Capital Hill to pick up her car. It was a nice walk, once we got away from the hospital and onto some smaller, foliage-covered streets. At home I immediately opened my window, it was too nice a day not to. Now, as I sit here, it smells absolutely delicious, like the outdoors! One of the reasons I had to come home this weekend was to eat some homemade food for once. We got another basket of produce on Thursday, so we made broccoli and delicious garlic mash potatoes. I think they potatoes could have used a little more garlic, though... 'cause I love garlic.
Untitled Post
2005-04-10 21:08:27 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some updates on life. On Thursday I rode my bike to the Seattle Center. I didn't want to risk the railroad tracks on Valley or the high speed of Broad Street, so I took Fairview to Denny and took that to 5th Ave. Denny was completely blocked for a few blocks, but since I was on a bicycle, I could slip right past all of the cars. I locked up my bike and ate with my mom at the Mediterranean Kitchen. After dinner, I quickly headed to EMP (after getting the light off my bike, so it wouldn't be stolen) to go to this electronic drum event. It was half performance, half sales pitch, but at least I got free drumsticks out of it (now... to get some drums).
On Friday, Mike and I road our bikes to Gasworks. He had never been and I wanted to take some pictures since it was a really nice day. On the way, we saw the duck tour car/boat thing getting out of the water. It was windy there, but still very nice. There were a lot of people there, including a few flying kites. While on the top of the hill, my mom invited me to the Sonics game (since my dad wasn't going that night). We ate at Roti (which I was unable to find in Google Local) and I stuffed myself silly (it was good, though). The Sonics were dominated, which was unfortunate, but at least I got to see Reggie Evans dance.
I woke up fairly early Saturday (as early as any weekday, around 10:30) so Mike, Brian, and I could go downtown. We went in a few department stores as they looked for fancier clothes. Unfortunately, Brian was too small for most of the clothes. Afterwards we wen to Pike Place and I had a really delicious sandwich from one of the places there. It had grilled eggplant, grilled green veggies, pesto sauce, and mozzarella. This was all in a big bun, which they then proceeded to grill in a Panini grill. It was delicious (Mike and Brian agreed about their sandwiches as well). We went back to the dorm, had a green tea party on the balcony, and then I packed up and headed home. Once home, I saw all the food that came in our box of produce. For dinner, we made parsnip and broccoli soup, a salad with yellow carrots, some kind of lettuce, and tomatoes, and a homemade vinaigrette from my Teany book. Most of the food was organic and locally grown. After dinner we brewed some rooibos tea and I put the tea bags on my eyebrows to try and help with dryness. The hot tea bags felt nice.
Today we watched Boondock Saints and the first two episodes of Eyes of Nye. I thought it was good, but I have some reservations about the Nuclear Energy episode. I don't think he accurately represented just how bad the coal we currently burn is. Not only does it pump lots of waste into the atmosphere, but much of the particulate matter is radioactive and/or contains really, really nasty chemicals. Later that day, we made guacamole with the avocados, the other onion, one of the lemons, and some more roma tomatoes, all from the produce box. Now I'm back in the dorm where I snacked on half a bag of mini-carrots and got a few hundred percent the RDA of vitamin A :).
Untitled Post
2005-04-05 23:08:01 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today Mike and I decided to go on a bike ride. I managed to get Brian to come as well, so we had a nice little group. After getting all our gear on (they needed jackets, ha!), we proceeded. I led the way since I had been on this route dozens of time before. We rode through campus and then took a nice trip to South Lake Union. I took one wrong turn to get off Eastlake, but it was a few streets to early, and we ended up having to ride up a big hill. Oops, sorry guys. Once we reached Valley, they decided we should turn around, so we did a little u-turn and rode back. Near the top of Eastlake (the highest elevation) we were stopped at a light and I was slowly moving, so I didn't have to take my feet off the petals. As soon as it turned green, I launched out of the gate and was racing the cars down the hill. They were only slightly faster than me. After a little ways, I got nervous about cars turning onto the street and hitting me, and I decided I should wait for the others to catch up. We were gone for maybe 45 minutes and it was a really fun ride. Maybe we'll do it again on Thursday. It is fun to have partners.
Untitled Post
2005-04-05 01:42:13 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I went with Mike down to recycled cycles to get his new bike (well, it is used, but new to him). It is a pretty nice Trek commuter bike and the price was definitely right. We rode back together. Personally, I was amazed at how much better my bike was riding. I'm not sure what caused it, the clean chain or the recently inflated (with my new pump) tires, but the bike was silent while riding and was much easier (I could feel my input being directly translated into forward motion, with negligible loss). I must say, it was a great feeling to get back. I'll have to clean my chain more often (and now I can pump the tires up to higher pressures more easily). Excellent.
Untitled Post
2005-04-03 22:41:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I forgot to include this in my post describing finals week: On the Tuesday of finals week, after I got back from downtown, I was in my cluster a little while before I decided to bike to gas works. To my dismay, the playground was all blocked off and the climbing tower thing was all rusty and didn't have any handles on it anymore :(. I rode my bike up the hill, and as I crested a peak, a seaplane flew right overhead. A couple took off while I was there. I then road back and studied for CS.
Anyway, not to continue where that post left off. Friday was Thomas Diesel's birthday. I got dropped off at the high school frisbee practice and played with them for a while. I practiced with them, but my mom arrived to pick me up when the scrimmage started. We went to the U-district and walked a short distance to Chaco Canyon. We were the first ones there, since we were a few minutes early. It was by reservation only, since it was the Spring Equinox dinner. It had a number of courses (including palette cleansers) and was surprisingly filling. It was really delicious and I was completely satisfied. Of course, I had a mocha madness to go along with it. We walked down the Ave and I waited with her at the bus stop for a while as we chatted. Kenneth walked by. Finally, I left to go to my talk. While we were there, two cars with biodiesel stickers passed. I went to my talk and someone tried to give me a biodiesel pamplhet. The talk had a number of people (include Mayor Greg Nickels), but it was mainly for Svend Auken, someone from the Danish government. He was really entertaining and gave a good talk. One thing I learned: it is relatively easy to get things done in a small, socialist country. Afterwards I went to write down some of his quotes and pick up stuff I forgot.
On Saturday was the NW Biodiesel Forum. It was a who's who of local biodiesel folk. It was packed and very interesting. They even had a truck there so anyone could fill up with biodiesel (saving me a trip down to Dr. Dan's).
Not much to talk about the next few days. I worked on my assignment for Google. I did a lot of cooking. I was at the grocery store nearly every day over break. I'm really quick at picking up certain items, because I use them so often in cooking (like basil, tomatoes, bread, and pine nuts). Their (organic) basil is getting progressively worse and every time I go it is even more withered. It makes me look forward to our first produce box from Full Circle Farm (we pick it up next Thursday). I also tried making a mocha madness at home. The first time it worked fairly well, but the second two attempts weren't as good (the second sucked). The biggest problem making it myself is all the preparation and clean up (for both the expresso machine and blender). I'll stick to Chaco Canyon for now.
Wednesday I rode to frisbee on my bike. Mikey was there and we had a great time (while they practiced, Mikey and I would just toss the frisbee). I had improved quite a bit from last Friday (at which point I was rusty). I hadn't really eaten much on that morning, and on the way over I really ripped up my lungs from the cold, polluted air on Island Crest Way, so I stopped at Starbucks for some carbs (potato baguette) and complimentary water. After getting off my bike, I had some more energy and had fun playing. I rode home on West Mercer (stopping at QFC on the way back for bread to go along with our summer vegetable stew (yum)). Friday I rode to frisbee (and was sure to eat lots of carbs that morning). I wore shorts too, so one of the frisbee coaches gave me a hard time (since I didn't normally where shorts). After frisbee, I rode to the bus stop and caught the bus downtown. I participated in Critical Mass, which wasn't too exciting this month (I think I was too preoccupied hoping my tires wouldn't pop), but still fun. We rode around downtown a bunch of times, then went through the international district and started down Rainier. Once we got to the bike path, I pulled off and headed home. I forgot my light, so it was a little weird going through the empty bike trail in a very dark night. The bridge was lit, fortunately. I did call my brother to pick me up, though, since I didn't want to try to make it home in the dark with all the dangerous motorists.
Saturday I went to the bank and then caught a bus over to Rainier. I waited at Burger King for like 20 minutes when Michael Town picked me up. We went to BioLyle's solar party. I had my doubts about solar in Seattle, but he showed me. He gets hot water and electricity from solar (the solar hot water heater is 70% efficient and can work in below freezing temperatures). He also has machine that splits Oreos. I tried to convince my parents to get solar, but no go... for now.
Sunday I went home. Then I went through my week. My classes are okay. I have a shit load of reading for English, unfortunately. I like my math teacher. I also realized that physical chemistry is physics, which made me sad :(. Friday my parents picked up the new The Decemberists CD for me and then picked me up. Waiting for me at home (it arrived a day or two earlier) was my new Moby CD and Teany book. Saturday we went to *shudder* Bellevue. After eating lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, we went to the bike store for a pump, and I also picked up some spare inner tubes and chain grease. We headed over to the mall so I could go to The Body Shop. Not only did I pick up more hemp moisturizer, but we got Jeff some tea tree face wash (which I use) and I got some shaving cream stuff. I was elated to find my new hemp clothing waiting for me at home. I took a shower and tried on one of the shirts. Very nice. We made dinner and watched some HDTV (and a Queer Eye in SD). Today we celebrated my dad's birthday (which is tomorrow). We went to dinner at Yea's Wok in Newport... which is always packed. They dropped me off at the dorm (well, I dropped myself off, since I was driving (to get more fuel efficiency in the VW)). After unpacking a little bit of stuff, I cleaned my bike and chain. The chain really needed cleaning and I'm glad I did it. I'll have to do it more often from now on. Now I'm hear listening to Moby's Hotel (disc 2, the ambient stuff) and writing about the last two weeks. So long.
Untitled Post
2005-04-02 12:32:19 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, I've been busy the last day. As you should have known already, April 1st was the one year anniversary of Gmail. Well, to celebrate, they doubled the storage to two gigabytes. But here's the thing... it's still growing! They've just slowed the rate of growth. I was wondering if they might do something like this. Anyway, I can't compete. Google, you win, this is the last time I'm going to try to fill it up. 32000 messages will be deleted automatically in a few days, so I did this while I could, but now my spirits are broken; I can't beat infinity + 1.
You are using 2045 out of 2051 megabytes
Untitled Post
2005-03-31 13:15:56 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
RIP Mitch Hedberg.
Untitled Post
2005-03-18 01:14:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Line graph with upward trend, courtesy of Yahoo! FinanceApple stock price, or Andrew's blood pressure from last Friday through Monday? Either one would probably work; the weekend was pretty stressful. On Saturday I toured a bunch of on-campus apartments. One group was too far from campus and little too suburban for me. I also toured some directly north of University Village (right near OmniGroup), but that was down hill from campus and on the not as cool side. I would rather be near the Ave where things happen! I also toured the Commodore Apartments which were built around 1930 (and are across the street from the main campus). It would be really nice to live there (the building had lots of character, and an an elevator a cage for a door), but it is fairly expensive, and they only have studios and one bed room apartments. The apartments with the bedroom were really beautiful because they had french doors separating the bedroom from the living space. The sound isolation was also much better than the new apartments and it felt sturdier (even if it might not be as earthquake sound). Sunday was mostly spent studying. Around 16:00, Mike, Brian, and I went out to toss the frisbee. The Quad was packed people enjoying the cherry trees, so we went to the HUB lawn instead. We played for a good while and had a nice run at the end. We came back and I studied more (as well as finished my math homework). That night I stocked up at Ian's Domain for the next day of finals.
Monday was a bitch. I had to get up at 07:50 for a math final that started at 08:20. I had a frappuccino (one of the glass containers that you can buy in a store) before the final and two Honest Teas afterwards (which I picked up on the way back). Then I continued studying for my chem final, and then took it, which only took about 45 minutes. After a little while, I went for a walk and ended getting a real frappuccino. After getting back, I had two or three glasses of mint tea. I was so wired on caffeine that night, I was flying around the cluster. The next day I was free, so I headed downtown. I went to the original Starbucks for a grande soy no-whip peppermint hot chocolate. I slowly walked down the stores looking at food, since it wasn't very crowded. Next I picked up a vegan cinnamon roll and ate that while standing near the flying fish place. I also went to Tenzing Momo for some dreadlock gel. I had seen it on the internet, and I wanted to try it out. Some of my dreads are stubborn and parts won't dread, so I thought this could help. I was a little skeptical, but I've used it a little bit and it seems to work well. I'm thinking of washing my hair tomorrow or maybe this weekend, and I'll put a bunch in my hair after I get all the salt, wax, and possible mildew out. The gel smells nice. My mom was busy at work, and my dad had already left work, so I then took the bus back. I did some studying for the CS final the next day.
I got up Wednesday and looked at last quarter's CS final. That made me feel confident, since it didn't seem too hard. I was bored and anxious, waiting for the final at 14:30, but then I remembered that my chem final was graded, so I got my iPod, put on the Allegria soundtrack, and walked down to the chem building. My TA was eating lunch when I got my test. I did fairly well, and got a pretty good grade in the class (a little better than last quarters chem grade). It was windy and rainy when I entered the building, but more calm and sunny when I left. It was if the weather was representing my mood! I went back to the cluster and waited a while. Then Mike and I went to the HUB so he could get some soda, and we headed to the final. I sat next to Mikey while Mike sat in the row behind (since there weren't two seats together). I had a dream a few days ago that Hal would just lecture during the time, but it wasn't true and we did have a final :). I was very careful during the final. My grade was just posted and I did well on that one too. Now I'm just waiting to hear about math. That night Poon, Seth, and I hopped on the 44 toward Ballard and Freemont. Those busses were old! I've been spoiled by the new hybrids on the 550 and the various 70s routes. We bought some cheap sushi (cheap, but good, so I guess I should say inexpensive). While waiting, we walked up and stopped at QFC. We were going to finish the trek at the Erotic Bakery, but we turned around because we didn't know how far it was and how long until our sushi would be ready. As soon as we got the sushi, we ran across the street and caught the bus, just as it was arriving (yay for jay walking!). I stuffed myself silly with the sushi while listening to Futurama (it was on TV, but I was facing away). Later, while listening to the O soundtrack, I packed up some of my clothes and other stuff. I also recycled a bunch of papers.
Today I woke up at 10:30 and finished putting the last stuff together. Mom came around, maybe, 11:30, and I put my stuff in the car (it only took three trips). I waved goodbye and went back to my room. I got my bike stuff together, but was slowed because the guys were watching MacGyver and I couldn't break its grasp. I finally got ready, but then I remembered that I hadn't given my mom my pump, and I had no backpack. After pumping up my front tire, I taped the pump to my bike. I finally headed out. I quickly tired because I hadn't really eaten any carbs this morning. My throat also got sore from breathing in all the polluted air, but I pushed on. I road down Lake Washington Boulevard, across I-90, and then to downtown MI. I stopped at the Starbucks for a grande carmel light frappuccino. I got cold because I was in the shade the sun was behind clouds. I think Starbucks is experimenting with computer vision or something. I was wearing my Bob Marley t-shirt today and three Bob Marley songs played over the in-store speaker system while I was dining. There was only like one other person in the store the whole time, so their cameras must have recognized my t-shirt (it says Bob Marley on the back) and played the music. Or, another possibility, it might have seen my dreads and correlated using that information. Anyway, after finishing, I road around downtown looking at the new housing developments. It is crazy how all this construction just started on the island at once. I continued riding home, which was painful at times, but I really pushed myself. Eye on the goal, Andrew. I decided not to stop at Georgio's on the way back (maybe tomorrow). I arrived at a toasty home. It was 19 degrees inside the house, and I was burning, so I turned off the heat. I called my mom to tell her I made it, all 21 or 22 kilometers. I then rested for a little while, before starting on my birthday cake. Dad soon arrived home, and Uncle Keith stopped by for a little while.
Before making my cake, I rode to the store to get some vegan stick margarine (the kind my parents got had whey). That probably wasn't necessary, since we went to the store later before making the frosting (which that was needed for). I turned the oven on when I started, because that is what the instructions said, but it took me like an hour before I put the cake in. Anyway, the vegan cake had lots of healthy (well, healthy as far as cake goes) ingredients including whole wheat flour and raw sugar. Nothing refined or processed here! I called my mom about 10 times during the process, asking little questions about pan size or where I could find certain ingredients. Hopefully she actually managed to get work done today :). I cooked the cakes and then took them out. My mom and I were thinking on the same page for dinner: tomato-pesto linguine (also vegan). While my mom dropped a jacket off at the dry cleaners, I went into the store and started getting the items. I get nearly the same stuff every time (organic artisan bread, pine nuts, black and green dark chocolate bar, organic basil, tomato), so I was almost done shopping when my mom reached me (I rushed through the store). We made dinner, and then ate it while watching The Incredibles (go Pixar!). During the movie, we paused to make the peanut butter frosting, and then paused a little while later to frost and eat the cake. It was really good, and really dense. I put took some stuff upstairs while waiting for my brother to get home from his play. We ended up watching two episodes of Arrested Development because that show is hilarious and Mikey had said the "next on" previews were always fake, which I wanted to check out. After talking to my brother a while, here I am. Coming up soon: frisbee tomorrow, NW Biodiesel Forum Saturday, ?????? Sunday and more! Stay tuned.
Untitled Post
2005-03-10 17:47:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Coming back from Hillside Quickies today, I walked through the Quad and looked at all the beautiful white cherry trees and beautiful white headphones on iPod owners lounging on the grass.
Untitled Post
2005-03-07 03:00:55 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Not much to talk about, I've been pretty busy with school and school activities. I've been to a bunch of talks and I've met with Toby Padilla from MusicMobs a few times. On Friday I went with Mike to Hillel for Shabbot. The service was interesting, they had djembes to go along with the prayers. After service, we went downstairs for dinner where I met lots of nice, fun people. After dinner and dessert, they sang some more, and then a group of us headed to the park on Ravenna. We were there for a few hours and I had a good time. I enjoyed the spontaneity of the group. Someone mentioned the game human knot, so we quickly decided to play. The first round went well, but the second round left us with a knot we couldn't untie, and the third round left us with two interlocking rings (it was a big group). Afterwards, most of us headed back to the dorms. We stopped at McCarty for a while because another group was there and a bunch of people wanted to chat. After that, Mikey, Elizabet, and Jess came back to our dorm where we had tea and hung out for a while. They were actually there for quite a while, and I went to bed soon afterwards. It was a good time, I expect to be doing it again in the future.
In other news, I've started a separate blog for politics and other stuff like that that interests me. I must say Blogger has a really great interface and some awesome designs. Anyway, you might want to read my thoughts on the revitalization of Mercer Island.
I Filled Gmail
2005-03-04 12:55:09 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
1002 megabytes, 294 days, and exactly 32000 conversations later, I've finally done it.
Gmail Screenshot "You are currently using 1002 MB (100%) of your 1000 MB"
Untitled Post
2005-02-21 01:49:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Here is a great article about cities, suburbs, and exurbs. I consider this a must read about why we should be wary of building more city destroying exurbs, malls, and freeways. Personally, I've spent more and more time in Seattle and its neighborhoods and I now dread having to go to the Eastside for errands or events. If I can't get there easily on bike or bus, is it really worth it?
Untitled Post
2005-02-18 23:15:33 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I was riding on Eastlake yesterday, back from visiting my mom downtown, when I was stopped at a red light. Behind me I could hear the soft clunk of a late model diesel. Hmm, I wondered, could it be a VW? I turned my head and sure enough, it was. Hmm, could it be running biodiesel? No, that would be too awesome. However, when the light turned green and it passed me, it had a Dr. Dan's sticker on it! Whoo. I wanted to wave and give him a thumbs up, but that would be a little weird and I don't think he would have understood why I was doing it. This morning Ravi sent out an e-mail linking to two PI articles. I didn't realize how neat that was until I was walking around and saw the articles on the front page! Wow, two large articles in the PI about biodiesel, awesome. Biodiesel article one. Biodiesel article two. Also, the JavaScript map thing I was working on was for the NCBC - National Collegiate Biodiesel Consortium which Ravi started. It will help link together biodiesel research projects at universities across the country.
Untitled Post
2005-02-15 18:38:07 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Wow, it is like 80s flash back here in my cluster. Mike just got an NES delivered and it is plugged into our 80's TV. I occasionally hear the clicks from the duck hunt gun and Lewis was playing Super Mario Brothers a little while earlier. Now I'm listening to Beat It by Michael Jackson (back when people still released music with dynamic range) on my headphones first released in 1985. But, but, I thought the 80s were the worst decade! Well, maybe not. Of course, I did leave out some stuff that makes this less retro (like how I'm listening to Michael Jackson on my iPod (well, it is a third generation iPod, which is kind of retro these days)).
Untitled Post
2005-02-14 20:45:14 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, well maybe I didn't go back home that one Wednesday, I can't remember (see the previous post). Anyway, it has been a pretty good weekend. On Saturday, I met up with the biodiesel crew at Scott's house and we worked on improving the area. I helped clean out the dehydration barrel as well as a large number of small bottles that had been holding samples. There had previously been a ton of samples that were from who knows when, so we emptied most of them out and got them cleaned up. Ravi worked on installing some lights over the reaction vessel. Afterwards, I had my mom come and pick me up in the biodiesel powered VW. I didn't really want to take the bus home because I had a bunch of stuff and I hadn't gotten somewhat wet riding back from Scott's. Back at home, we made a recipe from the vegan Mediterranean cookbook that was like a pie with polenta crust and vegetable stew insides. Mom made some asparagus and I made garlic bread. While eating, we started watching a show in HD about Washington. Well, it was mainly a scenery show (flyovers of lots of areas of Washington). It was hilarious how the announcer personified everything. It was actually pretty old, since it included the Kingdome. We had to stop watching temporarily to go see Fuddy Meers at the local high school. My brother was doing the lights, so he always got mom to go and watch. I was sort of curious, since I hadn't seen a high school play since around elementary school. It was a little weird since I had only been back to school once since I graduated (while dropping Jeff off on the way to the Google Open House, I entered and used the bathroom). Surprisingly, Tim Versdahl was there in line for tickets. How unexpected. I also saw lots of adults I recognized (a bunch from Boy Scouts). I probably recognized as many adults as I did children. The show was surprisingly enjoyable. I am a fan of live theatre, so I guess I should support it at all levels. That night I worked on some JavaScript for the NCBC website (more info on this later).
Sunday morning, I watched some SuperBowl commercials with my family. Later in the day I watched some more on the internet (the ones I missed because I had to leave). Pepsi had some good ones this year. I think my favorite of all was the Pepsi "Staying Alive" commercial featuring Carson from Queer Eye. That was hilarious. Ameriquest also had some good ones. See, companies, if you make short, entertaining commercials that I don't have to watch that often (no more than twice a day), then I will be more likely to watch them. Commercials are so annoying that I block them out of my mind and fast forward through commercials. A few companies make entertaining commercials (Apple, IBM, maybe a few others) and I am willing to stop fast forwarding to actually watch the commercial. Google ads are also unobtrusive and I'm much more likely to click on them. Anway, after that I was driven back to school to meet up with Ben to work on the NCBC website. We got quite a bit done and integrated my JavaScript thing with his design.
That night, Jeff came and we had dinner at World Wrapps. In honor of Carnival, I had the Caribbean wrap thing. Also, I've been looking online again to order some CDs, but I haven't had too much luck. Right now I want to get Soca Switch Eleven and Destra's Laventille, but both are hard to find. I want to find them together so I can save on shipping. One CD is like $12.50 to ship to the states. Anyway, we ate dinner, picked up Mike, and then headed to Capitol Hill to see U.S.E. at Nuemo's. I hadn't really been to a club like this before, so it was interesting. It wasn't the best organized, because it took forever to get in and they didn't control the lines very well (there was supposed to be one for people who had tickets in hand and another for those who didn't). Everyone eventually got in, so I guess it turned out okay. It seemed pretty small, but had some nice big speakers on either side of the stage. There was also a balcony on one side where drinks were served. I was surprised to find that smoking was allowed inside. I don't know, I guess I didn't expect that to happen in a crowded theatre, I know it happens in bars, but I didn't realize it would here. It wasn't too bad, except for a few times when people were smoking right next to me (and it was only the cigarettes that bothered me, not the... /other/ smokes). I was pleasant inside, but Mike didn't get warmed up until U.S.E. started. The first guy to play was okay. It was just him, a guitar, and his CD player. However, then U.S.E. started and the fun began. It instantly became a few dozen degrees warmer and many magnitudes louder. The show rocked and I we were fairly close. Jeff migrated away after the first song, but Mike was behind me for the whole set. They played a lot of their newer songs in the middle, with the classics at the beginning and end. After the show, Jeff and I purchased some merchandise. He got a shirt (which I think are new) and I finally got my hand on a U.S.E. wrist band :). We decided to head out after that since we had gotten our moneys worth and it was a school night. My ears were like cotton for quite a while afterwards.
Just a few more things to get out of the way. First of all, if I remember correctly, the people I rode the rides with in Ohio were named: Matt Swanston, Aaron, and Jose. Also, I've said some harsh stuff here on the past. I believe stuff shouldn't be removed from the internet, so I'm leaving it here. But I would like to add that I don't necessarily feel that way anymore (well, except maybe about cars ;) ). In the past, it has been maybe a few individuals that pissed me off, but I wrote about my feelings in broad generalizations. However, times change and I am no longer around these certain people, so I no longer harbor this animosity. Also, I've met a lot of people that break the generalizations. I'm mainly referring to stuff I've said about my fellow Americans. Determining the offending posts is an exercise left up to the reader.
Untitled Post
2005-02-09 23:57:08 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hmm, it has been a while. Let's see where to begin. Well, on 2005-01-22 we got a new car. I was kind of wondering if there would be a car waiting at home as a surprise, but my mom ended up calling me on the bus ride up the Ave to Scott's house and telling me the news. After spending a few hours at Scott's house working on biodiesel, mom picked me up, I got some stuff from my dorm, and then we headed to the VW dealer. It was ready when we got back. The lady selling us the car asked what I thought and I replied with, "Well, it's not really for me." I think that came out wrong :). What I meant to say was that I wouldn't be driving it much. She probably didn't want to know my real opinion on cars. However, for a vehicle, it is pretty nice. I drove that home and it was a pretty good drive. I doubled the miles from 16 to 32.
That week, my hemp sweater arrived. My mom was telling me how it was sort of see through (very loose knit) so I should take a look at it in case I wanted to return it. Since it was a fairly nice day on the Thursday, I rode my bike downtown and met her in the parking garage. She showed me the shirt and it wasn't as bad as I had imagined. If you are just holding up, you can see light coming through it, but when you are wearing it, it is barely noticeable. Anyway, I put that on and wore it on the ride back. Considering I hadn't ridden in a long time, I was surprised how easy the journey was. It felt really good to get out and about.
Friday was critical mass, so I was really about that. I had to finish up and turn in my CSE assignment, so Mike and I worked on that for a while. He had to leave, so I cleaned up a little bit of unnecessary code and added a few last Javadocs. I quickly turned it in and got my bike ready. I rode to the bus stop and caught the bus right before it left. This took me to Westlake and I was about 10 minutes early. We started out, went down past Pike Place, rode through Pioneer Square, and then came back through downtown. We continued in Belltown and then turned east and continued on Drexter. We took the last onramp onto Highway 99 before the bridge. We stopped at the stop sign for about a minute, creating a plan. Once we were ready, we waited for a gap and pedaled like hell. We quickly, safely, and successfully merged onto the Highway and took over the three northbound lanes. Let's just say, there were a few people who weren't too happy about that. It was pretty neat seeing the road nearly empty as far as we could see. There were a few cars in the right lane that had entered in the gap we created. We were riding at a steady clip, but about 1/3 of the way down the bridge, one car really got angry. They were honking up a storm! As soon as we approached the end, we took the first off ramp. A few of the cars that were directly behind us followed us off. This one Subaru stopped behind us and a woman got out of the passenger side. She was irate and was screaming, "What the hell do you think you are doing? Do you think you are rebels or something!" Crazy woman. After waving at a few of the cars, we continued up Stoneway and stopped in a parking lot. We got in a big circle and discussed the results. It was very successful for our small group, we managed to do it safely. I got a chance to ride one of the weird bikes, one guy was using another bike from to connect his front wheel to the bike. It was really hard to ride (especially at the slow speeds I was going). Another guy was on a double decker bike. A large group of us (including the double decker) continued up Stoneway and turned right onto 45th towards the UW. We went north a few blocks on the Ave before I split off. I entered the main entrance of the UW and saw my clustermates walking back from dinner. I barreled at them and stopped at the last minute. Mike's sister was there, so I got to meet her. After a little while, Mike, his sister, and I went to get bubble tea (I think this was the first time I had it).
Monday I went on a bike ride as well. I started going south on Eastlake, turned onto Harvard Ave, continuing on through 10th and to Broadway. I think I turned left at Pike to check out where the Capitol Hill Block Party was held. I then headed toward Union to check out an interesting building, which turned out to be the home of Fleurish. I went onto Madison, turned right on Broadway, and headed back.
The next weekend my mom told me she bought (well, would be renting) a DVR from *shudder* Comcast and Microsoft. On Saturday, I over viewed the installing of the DVR. Once again, Comcast gave us a bad installation experience because the software server was going really slow and the guy had to leave because it would have taken like two hours for the software to install. I must say, I was pretty impressed and I'm glad they got it. The user interface is kind of bad and slow, but the system performs well. You can record to HD shows at once and watch another. I tried pausing HD, which was hot. I was playing around with it while watching an IMAX movie about Dolphins on one of the INHD channels. So far, I've used up the most space on the box because I've recorded a bunch of HD shows. Just tonight we watched on about the Maya. Also, the first day we got it, I accidently recorded the short film "George Lucas in Love". I had seen it before, but not in a long time. It is a really fun film, and looks great in HD! Also, while at home, I watched the clips of Karl Fielding on The Price is Right. He didn't get much air time, but it was fun none the less. For some reason, I went home on that Wednesday, but I can't remember why.
The next Thursday, 2005-02-03, Jeff picked me up to fill the Jetta with biodiesel (for the first time, it came with a full tank of nasty petrol from the dealer). We bought one hundred more gallons, and then ate at Chaco Canyon. On Thursday I got up early (like 11:00) and attended the Xcoder programming class. Mom dropped off the car so I could drive to the building. It was fairly easy to find and pretty quick. I stayed there for seven hours learning. Even though I had run through Currency Converter before, I still learned a lot. At $15 including lunch, it was a great deal. I drove back and left the car at University Village. I went to the Apple Store to check out the iPod shuffle. While I was there, I played with iMovie HD on a Mac mini, which was great fun (it looked so good and performed surprisingly well). Sunday I went home to do laundry :) (and I ended up watching a short HD show about Space)
Monday I went to a talk about "Techniques for Sustainable Design" in the architecture hall. That was interesting, learning about the steps they went through when designing a few new buildings for a small college in San Jose. On Tuesday I attended a fascinating talk by one of the CSE professors on "Location Estimation for Activity Recognition". Machine learning and data mining really interest me, so this was a wonderful talk. My CS professor attended as well. I wonder if I can get a copy of their software :). I want to see how it works for my daily travel schedule. Today was really nice (clear skies, semi-cold, but sunny) so I stood around the HUB lawn between classes eating bagels with Mike and the Jews. I know a few of the people already, and the rest seem really friendly. After classes, I took the bus downtown with my mom and got some stuff notarized. We headed home and I went to the store to buy some yummy ingredients for another vegan mediterranean dish. I cooked that nearly all by myself (I think the only help I received was having my dad cut a few small potatoes in half during my crunch time). I also made some garlic bread to go with it. I drank red wine and ate some chocolate as well. Good times. I can't wait until I have my own place and can eat like that every day :). Mom took me back to the dorm, but we stopped at Kinkos on the way to fax some stuff. We made a copy of a voided check, costing $0.09 USD, and charged it onto my mom's Visa card (since it was either that or a copy card thing). Then we faxed the paperwork for my future temp work for Google, which is where they made the money back. $1 per page and we had 13 pages :(. Next time we should scan it at home and then fax it using my computer (never done that before).
Untitled Post
2005-01-17 21:27:18 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, it has been a movie filled weekend. Mike rented a projector, so we have been watching a lot of movies in the cluster lounge. Mike hooked up his laptop and Brian hooked up his speakers. On Friday we watched Clockwork Orange and Red Hot American Summer. On Saturday I watched Fat of the Land in the HUB auditorium, followed by Boondock Saints and Equilibrium. I need a cell phone camera! When I was leaving the HUB, I saw one of the computer kiosks had a sign under it that said, "Powered by Gateway Technology." The screen above the sign wasn't booting and said something like, "Please restart and select a valid boot device." Hehe. On Sunday I went to Pike Place with Mike and Brian. As soon as we arrived I ran into Josh! I met his finance and her brother(?) and I mentioned that I had watched his video. That was an interesting coincidence. After we were done, I departed them as they went back to the dorms and I headed home. For dinner Jeff and I made the open faced bread pizzas like we had before. I think I made a little too much of the ingredients, because they were overflowing with onions, broccoli, and (on mine) olives. They were still really good, though. The person we were going to ski with today called while dad was at the Sonics game and old us the weather forecast (warm and rainy). Jeff and I watched two Stargates, but I fell asleep a bunch during the second (and even had him pause it for a few minutes so I could take a short nap :) ). Afterwards, I took a half an hour nap. I went downstairs and watched Family Guy when my parents came home. I told them about the message and dad called the person. We decided not to go. We watched an Enterprise, I wrote a check to Kip Kubin for the Songs for Superheroes CD, and mom drove me home late at night (thanks!). Back at the dorm, Brian was playing a bunch of comedy videos (Pablo someone and Lewis Black). Today I had a headache, so I took some medicine, and worked on my computer science homework.
Untitled Post
2005-01-13 02:42:20 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
So yeah, I'm sure you've all seen them by now, but the new Apple products are hot. I've been wearing my Apple shirt since Sunday night because of the Keynote excitement. My friend Will and I have been talking about it non stop since Tuesday. Practically my whole day Tuesday was spent talking about Apple :). I tried to sell my mom on a Mac mini, but she said she would rather get an iMac G5, so I won't argue :). Today Jeff T and I went to the AES meeting (where I met Will's dad) where we watched a very interesting presentation by the main inventor responsible for optical digital recording. It was quite fascinating. At the end, I looked some of his pictures and he even had a transparent piece of glass with curved rows of dots on it. The glass, recorded in 1973, contains an early optical digital video recording. Take that DVD! BTW, the Apple earnings conference call was today and they rocked. I just looked on the Yahoo! Finance site and AAPL was up 11% in after hours trading! Yikes! It shall be an interesting week for AAPL.
Untitled Post
2005-01-10 17:16:15 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Teh huge teh suck. Well, it turns out the rumors were right, there will be no live broadcast of Steve Jobs' Keynote in any form. The web stream, my usual method, won't be online until 18:00 tomorrow night. I just asked at the University Village Apple Store and they aren't even doing a satellite feed to their stores tomorrow :(. This is the first time I would have been able to watch in a high quality satellite feed, but it was canceled! Damn. I wonder what is the actual reason for this. Perhaps they know they are going to have razor thin margins on the rumored box released tomorrow, and don't want to waste any extra money. Another possibility (although doubtful since this is advertised as one of the main features of Tiger) is that they are delaying the feed until people have a chance to download a new version of QuickTime to play H.264 streams (which would have to be released during the Keynote tomorrow). Whatever the reason, I died a little inside. I guess I should be happy as a shareholder, but some things are better than money.
Untitled Post
2005-01-08 17:37:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, I finally got my room change request fulfilled. I got the e-mail on Thursday and immediately went downstairs to fill out the form. They gave me the new keys right there, so I went up, unlocked the door to my new cluster, and went in with a big grin on my face. Everyone was just going about their activities and asked how I got in... I held up my keys. There was much rejoicing. I kept quiet about it that night, but after school on Friday I started moving stuff. I had Matt and Brian come back to my cluster to help move the TV (they were eager to bring that over). Someone was playing XBOX on it, so we asked them to save and when he did we started unplugging all the wires. We carefully brought it down the hall to the new room. It was a pain in the ass since there are five auto-closing, auto-locking doors between the two lounges. Then I started going back and forth moving stuff. I didn't realize how much stuff I had :). I am leaving some stuff that I plan to take home, like my speakers and steel drum (I didn't use them enough to justify the space they take up). Once Rae arrived, we all went to dinner downstairs in 8. When we were leaving, I ran into Tyler and he asked if I was moving out. After dinner I moved some more. It is mostly cleaned out now, I just have a little bit left. There were a bunch of people hanging out in the cluster last night. For quite a while there were eight of us in my new room. I also saw the final SNL Celebrity Jeopardy (never seen that before).
I haven't done much today. I got up, took a shower, and decided to go to Starbucks to try the Chantico. I learned about it on Wednesday while checking out Starbucks headlines on Yahoo! Finance. I arrived at their new Ave store and not many people were there (no one in line), I guess it isn't as popular on non-school days. Sure enough, Chantico had a fairly prominent place on the menu. I smiled and ordered it slowly, not sure exactly how it was pronounced (I often have that trouble as there are some things I talk about more on the internet than real life, so I never hear the common, accepted pronunciation). He said I was one of the brave souls. I asked if it wasn't selling well and he said he didn't think many people knew about it yet, I agreed. In the three hours he was there, I was the fourth person to order one. It came in a small container and I can see why they don't offer it in multiple sizes like the majority of drinks. That stuff is strong! I took little sips and it was very strong, but good. I think I might have preferred just slightly less sugar, though. I sat in the store drinking it for a while. I eventually got up and made my way back to the dorm. By the time I got back, the little Chantico I had left was room temperature. I know I won't have Chantico every time (it is pretty high in calories and fat), but it will make a nice little indulgence once a week or so.
Untitled Post
2004-12-05 16:07:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This has been a good Thanksgiving weekend. I did a lot more stuff than last year, where most of my weekend was spent creating my dreads (thanks mom!). Yep, I've had dreadlocks for a full year now. They are still a work in progress and not yet quite to where I would like them (in terms of how dreaded and locked they are). They'll get there eventually. I can't change my haircut now, as people will no longer recognize me.
On Wednesday afternoon, I got my stuff together and bicycled to the bus stop. It was kind of scary since the roads were wet and slick and there are a lot of cracks in the roads around here (not good when you have thin tires with almost no tread). I took the bus all the way to the Park and Ride (switching buses at the Convention Center bus tunnel stop). I didn't realize how fast it gets dark, so I had to call my dad to pick me up with the suburban. I picked up Starbucks on the way home and then called Jeff T to come over. He rented a theatre calibration disc and LA Confidential. While he was coming over, my dad and I made the pie crust for my vegan pumpkin pie. My mom cooked a tofu dish and I helped a little with that. Jeff arrived just before dinner, so he ate with us. I can't remember exactly when, but at some point I made the pie filling and cooked it right after my mom's non-vegan pumpkin pies were cooked. The calibration disc also had content, so we watched some of that and then calibrated some settings. About the only thing we accomplished in the three hours of calibration was getting all the sound levels equal. There was a noticeable difference (for the better) in the rear channels. We tried fixing the video, but some of the settings were hidden in hard to reach service menus. We eventually found the controls to get rid of overscan, but it screwed up the color alignment. We would have to go to every point and readjust the settings for alignment. We didn't know where this was at that point (I do now, though) and it would take a long time, so we settled with just adjusting the sound. We then watched LA Confidential. I showed Jeff a few songs from the Blue Man Complex DVD-Audio (surround sound music). Jeff and I talked and hung out until he left at 04:00.
I was hoping to cook on Thanksgiving, but that was kind of thrown out the window since I didn't get to sleep until really late. Apparently my mom tried to wake me up, but I was completely incoherent. I eventually did awake and was sent out for ice a few minutes before the party officially began (I saw Uncle Keith on the way to the store). The person in front of my had two bags of ice and the person behind me had one (I believe it was someone who was in my graduating class, although I didn't know her name). It turns out Starbucks was open, so I got a grande soy peppermint hot chocolate and headed home. A number of people were there and more quickly arrived. I ate the appetizers of smoke salmon, smoke salmon dip, and really good nacho-like dip. Dinner was soon ready and we ate. Afterwards everyone sat around the table digesting, I was really full. Eventually we all had dessert and a bunch of people tried my vegan pumpkin pie. Reviews were mixed. For the first year, Jeff tried normal pumpking pie and he liked it! After dinner, Hallie came over and the hole family watched an episode of Family Guy she brought. Then we headed to the basement and Jeff, Hallie, and I watched Not Another Teen Movie. We watched some more Family Guys and Hallie and I hung out. For the first time I wasn't the one who didn't have to drive home, since she brought her mom's car.
Not much happened Friday morning. Well, I think I slept in until noon or so, so not much could happen (the earliest I woke up this weekend was 10:30 and even then I took a nap in the afternoon). Mom and I went to Gregg's in Bellevue to get a bicycle light. All the bright ones were expensive and heavy. I picked one with five LEDs that was small and sleek. Just after 16:00, I headed out in the suburban (*shudder*) to the park and ride to take the bus downtown. I got all my gear on (since it was pretty cold) and borrowed my dads wind breaker. I put the light on my bike, which was difficult because the thing doesn't fit very big bars. I took the bus from MI to the Convention Center stop where I unloaded my bike. I thought the bus driver mentioned a mess downtown, but I didn't know what he was referring to (I should have guessed since nearly everyone got off at Westlake and I was the only one left). I put my gloves, helmet, and blinker on and started to ride. The first thing I noticed were the three helicopters just hovering in the sky (I rarely see them hover in Seattle, they are always moving). I hopped onto the road to Westlake and I witnessed a huge sea of people at Westlake Center. I rode the few blocks very quickly and fell in line behind a guy on bike with a Critical Mass sign. I walked my bike through the crowd some, but it was too dense. I also learned at this point that it was the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Great timing :). I make my way out of the crowd and ride around another block (there is a huge section of downtown that was shutdown for this). I see some bikers where I expected people to meet and I head toward them. I stand around for a while, overhear some things, and decide that this is where I want to be. Slowly people start to arrive. One guy didn't have a bike (he was from out of town), so he decided to run with us. At 17:30 I expect us to leave, so I ask someone, but it turns out we meet at 17:30 and leave at 18:00. Darn. I wait another half hour. A little after 18:00 (the crowds are slowly leaving after the tree was lit) people start circling around the large group of bicyclists that has formed. I am anxious to go, so I join in and eventually the hole group is riding in circles. Once we were mobilized, some people lead the way and we enter the street! Now, since our riding style wasn't the most legal, I won't go into details, but I'll just say I had fun! It was a fairly large group, considering how dark and cold it was. I'd guess maybe 30-40 people were there. I'm not good with those kind of numbers. Anyway, we rode around downtown a few times, in circles, and then headed to the U-district. Since the theme of the ride was Buy Nothing (since it was the day after Thanksgiving) we decide to ride around University Village. It is an open air mall, but with pedestrian walk ways in the middle, so it was an interesting ride. A few stores were on the corner and had a door on each side, so one guy quickly rode in and out of the stores :). We group up, congratulate each other, and split into groups based on our destination. I had to meet Hallie (I was already late), so I didn't go to the after-ride dinner and party. It was raining by the time we got to the U-Village, and it rained all the way back to Seattle. The group I was in eventually widdled down until it was just three of us and finally just this guy named Ryan and myself. We watched each others bikes as we took turn using the Starbucks bathroom, and then we split paths. I caught the 550 back to MI. That night Hallie and I watched some more Family Guys. She's addicted.
I didn't really do much Saturday morning, either. In the afternoon, I went with Jeff and picked up Hallie and we all went to Hillside Quickies. Hallie didn't really like the spaghetti she had there last time, but I encouraged her to go again and try a sandwich (which are made fresh and amazingly good). She loved it. I don't think Jeff minded his either. Hallie also drank an Honest Tea and we split a large chocolate cookie. Actually, we were running a little late since I got pulled over by the po-leece back on the island for having a burnt out tail light. I drove us to Wallingford and it was being cut close. We had a little bit of trouble finding the neighborhood center (partially because I copied the directions wrong (didn't help that I was being bugged by two little higher schoolers while copying it down)), but eventually arrived. It was probably past the time they save your tickets for, but there was still a steady stream of people entering and at that time there were plenty of seats for... Dana Lyons! Yay! As we were sitting around waiting, I noticed my chemistry professor. Crazy. I later said hi to him during the intermission and he said, "See, I do do other things." Dana Lyons put on a great show and I think Hallie enjoyed it. I got to hear some songs I had never heard before and was very happy to hear WTO Disco (parody of YMCA). It was awesome, some of the songs required audience interaction, and the audience was very receptive. For The Tree, a little girl from a school somewhere around here did the song in sign language while Dana performed. Jeff and I each bought a t-shirt (as did Hallie) as well as the Turn of the Wrench CD. Afterwards we had him sign it and we talked to him a little. Hallie was surprised at how nice and friendly he was. I told him we first saw him at the show with Dr. Demento a few years back. He noticed our t-shirts and commented, "For a peace-nik, I sure do have a lot of shirts with guns on them. I try to hide them when I'm around Jane Goodall." After the show we headed to my house, dropped off Jeff, watched the Arrested Development she missed (while eating semi-fresh salsa my dad made), and then went to her house to hang out for a while.
Sunday was kind of lazy in the morning. For lunch, I experimented with recipe creation by sort of imitating the sandwiches from Hillside Quickies. First I put some Canola oil in a pan and heated it up. I quickly grilled two pieces of wheat bread and put them aside. I added a little more oil in a clump and plopped a whole slice of onion on it (I didn't pull it apart, I just cut it up and placed it in there). While the onion was cooking, I poured some Caribbean Spice Sauce (actually made there) on the onion (in hindsight, I could have added a little more). While that was cooking, I spread fake mayonnaise on the bread and some kind of whole grain mustard. I then added some fake ham slices and put cooked them with the onions (mixing it all around now). Once those were thoroughly cooked, I put all of it on one slice of bread, added lettuce, and put the other bread slice on. The ham was a little plain, so next time I'll look into using smoked or cooked tofu. It was pretty good, though, considering. That night I watched an episode or two of season seven of Stargate. It had been a while since I watched Stargate. My brother and I ordered pizza with dessert sticks, which were so unhealthy :(. Oh well, I can splurge occasionally. That night, I believe around 19:00, I began riding to the Park and Ride. I was in a t-shirt (short sleeve) and jeans (and biking gloves), and I knew as soon as I reached Lakeridge that it was going to be a cold ride. My ears were really cold. I managed to make it to the Park and Ride just fine (about 6.5 kilometers away), but since the bus was going to come in 15 minutes, I didn't want to get Starbucks and risk missing my bus (can you take drinks on the bus? probably not, and even if it was, it would be hard to load my bike while holding a drink). I relaxed as it took me downtown. I got off on one of the downtown exits where other people were getting off. I didn't know what street I was on before I got off, but I soon recognized my location. I was a few blocks away from Westlake. I rode down to Westlake and headed one block west to where I would be able to catch the busses to the University District (which have tons of capacity and are always in use). As soon as I arrived at the corner, a bus was already there. I went around front, put my bike on, and got on board. At the UW, I got off and rode through campus. Even though it wasn't a long ride, I still got really cold. I checked the weather a few hours later and it was like 2 °C.
Well, that was my Thanksgiving weekend. It took so long to write that (and I delayed a bunch during the week), that it is now a full week later! Yikes. Not as much happened this weekend, so I probably won't say anything. Andrew out.
Untitled Post
2004-12-02 20:04:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Interesting. I just learned that someone now runs andrewhitchcock.com. The domain name appears to have been purchased on 2004-11-07. That is neat, now I have some competition :). Just be careful about e-mailing me.
Recent Events
2004-11-22 00:26:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
It has been a fun time since I last posted. On Thursday I went to the Google Open House at their new offices in Kirkland. I saw some people I knew, met some new people, and overall had a great time. I also got a neat Google shirt with the Space Needle in place of the 'l' and Mt. Rainier in the background. On Friday I went with my parents to the opening of the Bob Dylan exhibit at the Experience Music Project. We also listed to Highway 61 Revisited, a Bob Dylan cover band. On Saturday I went with my family for photos downtown. I hurried back home and went to Nick Jakubik and Tyler Given's Eagle Court of Honor (for which I was in the Honor Guard). Afterwards I picked up Hallie and we hung out at my house. Some of the extended family was over for the Apple Cup, so we made a bunch of homemade pizzas. I put spinach, olives, and onions on mine (although, I would have preferred to have pineapple instead of onion, but my dad used them all up!). I also drizzled some Canola oil on it. My brother, Hallie, and I then drove to the REM concert at the (relatively) new opera house. That was a really fun concert, but it didn't end until 23:30. We quickly headed home so Jeff could get to his cast party. Fortunately, the set was still being struck, so he didn't miss much (Jeff did the lights). Hallie hung out at her house and watched Family Guy. Today I was mostly lazy around the house, but I got some stuff done. I did laundry, filmed myself playing the PVC, and washed my hair. Yep, that is right, I finally did it. It had been over two months (since before I moved into the dorms). That slimey stuff that comes out of my dreads (probably wax, dandruff, and salt)? Well, this time it was green! Don't ask me why, but it was. Even I thought it was kind of nasty. Now my hair feels so light. Weird.
Untitled Post
2004-11-17 19:57:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
When I first put up my website for extractbuddies, I set up a Google Alert to notify me when Google indexed it. Sure enough, a little more than a day later, it has been indexed. Wow.
Untitled Post
2004-11-16 16:55:55 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I spent a bunch of time yesterday writing a program to get the buddies from iChat and save it to a format that BuddyZoo supports. I figured I'd have to use AppleScript, so I looked online and quickly learned enough to get the buddies (it was very easy). I tried calling this small AppleScript with Objective-C, which worked, but then I couldn't figure a way to get the retuned list out of NSAppleEventDescriptor. After much searching, I got frustrated and looked for ways to finish the script in AppleScript. It was pretty easy, and I got it done fast. However, it turned out I needed to also include the users screen name in the file, but I couldn't find a way to get that from iChat. Next, I set out to create a user interface in Interface Builder. I followed an example to built one and imported and slightly changed the AppleScript, but I couldn't get it to run when the user clicked the button. Finally, today, I looked for ways to make dialogs in AppleScript. This was really easy and I quickly finished the program. Now it prompts you for your screen name and the file name you want to give the output (which is automatically saved to the desktop). It is very easy to do stuff with AppleScript. I created a short website for my program, named extractbuddies.
Untitled Post
2004-11-11 03:13:12 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hmm... lets see. Well, you can all probably imagine my opinion on the election, so I won't go into that. That said, I didn't vote for either of the 'big two' parties. Not like it would matter either way since Kerry was guaranteed for Washington.
I'm at home tonight since I like to get away from the dorm as much as possible. I'm trying to get my room switched to a cluster in the north hall (same floor), but, like most bureaucracy, things take time. I can go home, but my roommate can't, so I can never just hang out alone in the room. I'm starting to get really annoyed with my clustermates. It isn't that they are mean or rude, it is just they are obnoxious and inconsiderate. I have an idea, don't talk to me or make noise, and I won't shoot you bad looks or poison your Kool-Aid (not that I have done either of those, mind you, I don't even know anyone that drinks Kool-Aid). My biggest complaint now is that my and my roommate's schedules don't mesh. He multi-hour long naps during the day, but then stays up until 04:00 or 05:00 in the morning. Luckily I got to bed and feel asleep last night before he got back. My other complaint is the noise. David is probably the worst offender with the loud talking and techno. The thing that gets me, he talks loud (aka, I can hear him through my closed door even if he is down the hallway) while he is awake, but then immediately expects people to be quite when he goes to bed at exactly midnight. Also, the whole cluster doesn't want to hear your techno, even if it is BT. If you didn't listen to techno so loud, maybe you wouldn't have to have Family Guy blaring when your face is 12 inches from the screen. Oh no, I don't have any animosity towards any of them.
Mmmm, soca. With the gain in popularity of Kevin Lyttle's Turn Me On, I have become re-addicted to soca music (soca being soul calypso). I have listened to my Soca Switch 10 CD a bunch recently, and I just purchased Soca Switch 4 for $2.40 (shipped). I'm still looking at getting Destra's Laventille, as I really want a high quality of Bonnie and Clyde (any song that uses part of the Take On Me tune deserves props). As an added bonus it comes with other cool songs like Carnival. I need to strap a ghetto blaster to my back and ride my bike around the city (or possibly Bellevue) playing loud music (maybe soca). Take that rice rocket!
Untitled Post
2004-10-30 01:12:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Andrew here. I'm up in Bellingham with Travis and Jeff Q. Travis and I saw U.S.E. again today (my fifth time!). Woooo! It was great. I talked to John E. Rock and he recognized me. It was one of the best times I have seen them. Surprisingly, a lot of people up here knew the lyrics and were singing a long. The signal to noise ratio was the highest I have seen it and everyone was partying. Wooo! Good times. I was rocking out! It was crazy! Afterwards Travis, Jeff, Ryan (their friend), and I went down and bought a 26" pizza. That is about 3.6 square feet of pizza.
Angry Rant
2004-10-28 02:08:20 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I don't know, maybe I'm just pessimistic tonight because I'm tired and my fucking clustermates won't shut the fuck up, but I'm losing faith in America. Well, not America, but Americans. I've heard people criticize people who vote for third party candidates, "If all those damn Nader voters had voted for Kerry, we wouldn't be in the mess with George W. Bush." You know what? If all those damn Bush voters had voted for Kerry, Bush wouldn't be president. What makes you think one of those comments is any more valid than the other? I'm tired of people assuming that, if I was a Nader fan, and Nader wasn't running, that I would automatically vote for Kerry. FUCK NO! I'm not voting for either of the corporate parties. You know what? It is near impossible for a 3rd party to win presidency because of how the electoral college is set up. We need major electoral reform and we need it soon. The problem? The very people that can change it are the people who are most likely to be hurt by it. Most people never hear about third parties (Badnarik? Who the fuck is that?) because they aren't allowed in the major TV debates. Debates funded with PUBLIC MONEY! I'm amazed I-872, which is such a hindrance to third parties, actually made it to the ballot. It seems this is turning into a very political entry, oh well, it shall continue.
I can't believe so many Americans let themselves be misled. They are too busy watching a midget eat dog shit on his wedding day to a gay goat (coming soon to Fox!) to pay attention to the news. Americans are fed talking points about Kerry's flip flopping and they eat it up. Of course, I think I see the reason for this. Most news media in American sucks the major. People don't want to go out of there way to look for correct information, and the news (especially TV news) isn't helping. The only purpose of news is to sell advertising. The best way to get American eyeballs is turn everything into a scandal and spend all your time talking about asinine subjects and barely cover the important issues. We make a big scandal about showing a breast on TV during a live event, but Jimmy Swaggart says he wants to kill gays and I hear nothing. All the news media is owned by a few powerful companies and people who have vested interests in what they air. That is why you barely see coverage of any third parties on the news, because the third parties will hurt the news media (and at the same time help the people). This brings me to my next point. Have you seen Jon Stewart on Crossfire? If not, I recommend you go to iFilm or somewhere and watch it. I have a copy on my computer and I have seen it four or five times now. Watching that clip makes me so happy and sad. I'm happy that Jon Stewart takes time off from being a funny man to get serious and point out a serious problem with the news today and that he completely chewed them out. It saddened me because everything he said was true and all these 'news' shows are just theatre, and they are hurting America. All these points are interrelated, so I have trouble organizing this paragraph, but I'll throw this last point on the end. I've been reading a lot about the election from electoral-vote and some of the things he mentions are pretty scary. In the last few days he has talked about how people in the Bush camp have a /very/ skewed view of the world and believe anything that is spun at them. He also points out that richer white voters are voting for Kerry, while poorer, more rural voters are voting for Bush. Why the reversal of what you would expect? People seem to be ranking the candidates based more on their 'ethics' and 'morals' than on their economic policy. It seems to me both parties should flip their economic viewpoints. Kerry should become more capitalistic and economic freedom oriented, but that would bring him into the territory of the Libertarians. Bush should adopt the policy of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, since he is starting to win over the poor. Then we would end up with straight thinking, well-off urbanites voting for freedom (or should I say Liberty?) and a bunch of religious fundamentalists who want the rich urban people to finance their church schools were evolution is heresy. I still can't believe more people don't vote Libertarian, it seems like a system most people would benefit from. Well, except for those that want to impose their 'morals' on others.
Coming back to Jerry Swaggart, I can't believe he has fans and makes money. Can people be so closed minded in this era? I guess so. I met Travis' youth group friends when I visited him in California and it amazed me. They didn't live in San Francisco, but pretty close to it, so I figured at least some liberalness would wear off on them. That said, it doesn't seem to have affected them much (unless my view of liberal is skewed way left from growing up in the northwest). Even the most liberal of the bunch still seemed homophobic. That was the /most/ liberal, it scares me to think the most conservative have going on in their head. I didn't hear the worst of it (according to what I heard talking to Travis after I got back), but I did hear one guy talking about how he thinks his teacher is a lesbian and that makes it hard for him to concentrate during class. What a fucking douche. I saw the movie Saved! last weekend. I would have preferred to watch A Mighty Wind, but the movie was already rented, so I didn't have much choice in the matter. It wasn't bad, though, and I found it amusing making parallels between the movie characters and the people I met in California. There was a pretty good correlation between each character and a person I know. Maybe I'll talk about that in another post (or by private e-mail with friends on the off chance that one of the Californians read this).
Another problem with Americans that I've talked about before and is a big issue with me: obesity. It isn't that people can't lose weight, it is just that they don't fucking care. Once again, I'll exclude people that truly have disorders from this discussion. I have a friend of a friend (FOAF) who is seriously obese... lets just call her, say, Hannah. It isn't that she can't lose weight, I believe she can, it is just she is fucking lazy and doesn't care. Let me give you an example or two. For one thing, she is a high school student, lives less than a mile to school, and refuses to walk. We have moderate weather here year round, I see no reason why she can't. Hell, I rode my bike for the second half of my senior year, with no thought to the weather. Instead she gets her 'friends' to drive her. Second example: I wasn't there for this, but it came from a reliable source that I trust. This obese girl, "Hannah," was making some ice cream when someone suggested she put a banana in it. "Hannah" said, "No way! Those are healthy." There is something seriously wrong with you if you refuse to eat something on the relative healthiness of it. If you refuse to eat something tasty that is bad for you, that is fine, I do it all the time (how else can I keep my womanly figure?), but refusing to eat something that is healthy, based solely on the fact that is healthy, is seriously fucked up.
Finally, I'd like to talk about America's future, children. Well, we aren't exactly children anymore, but many of us are still learning in college. Actually, I exaggerate, that last phrase should have been, "but many of us are still attending college." I'm not sure how much learning is going on for many of these people. I've heard it is somewhat hard to get into the UW, but I'm still surprised by all the people that do. I don't really think they are dumb, no, it isn't that, it is just that, again, they don't care. These people sleep through their _sole class of the day_ because they stayed up too late playing Halo. Sure, if it was a subject they were an ace at and were only taking to get some prerequisites, then it wouldn't be a problem, but most of the people I see skipping are also struggling in the course. These very same people are the assholes that prevented me from sleeping tonight. I went to bed at 22:00 because last night I was up until 04:00 (don't worry, I am quiet at that time). However, I woke up at 23:00 and again at 00:00 because of all the fucking noise in the cluster. Quiet time is 22:00 people. I was telling them to STFU, and one guy blamed me for going to bed at 22:00, "How can you expect us to be quiet?" Oh great, more of that blame the victim crap. I'm tired of these assholes. Next year I'm definitely not living in a dorm. People are too inconsiderate. My roommate is still up studying, since he spent much of the day hanging out away from his study materials. If these are the people that will lead America into the future, then <diety> help us.
Untitled Post
2004-10-14 21:34:28 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Haha, our dorm made the college newspaper: Too much 'Tequila' for McMahon Hall residents. Like most news media, it over exaggerates, so I have some comments. "The greatest issues here were... the group mentality," what the hell is wrong with group mentality? "Robinson, a first-year student, was in his dorm room studying when he was alarmed by the trumpet playing." The red coats are coming! The red coats are coming! Who the fuck is intimidated by a trumpet? I just figured it was some drunk bandies coming back from a party or game or something. "Several instruments were spotted among the 11 floors of the McMahon Residence Hall, including a saxophone, trumpet, three violins and a miniature conga drum." The three violins were on our balcony, but they forgot the viola that was out as well. Also, it wasn't a conga drum. "What was thought to be in the spirit of good fun grew out of control as the overall mood of the crowd became rowdy and disorderly." Uhh, yeah. I never saw anyone being rowdy, from my view it was all in good fun. I didn't see anything thrown, so I have no comment about that. It was crazy... almost like flash mob (but those became over hyped /very/ quickly).
Untitled Post
2004-10-06 01:51:43 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello. I'm trying to watch the vice presidential debate on C-SPAN's website, but BUFFERING...( 2%) ... (5%) ... (32%) ... (76%) fuckBUFFERING...ing Real BUFFERING... can't BUFFERING... coBUFFERING... (13%) ... (27%) ... (99%) ... (95%) ... (96%) ... (98%)pe.
Mt. St. Helens Erupting
2004-10-04 13:09:18 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM

Come on, I'm waiting. Level 4 baby. To quote Dubya, "Bring it on."
Untitled Post
2004-09-25 02:00:32 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hmm, so I guess it has been a while. I'm listening to Animal by Dana Lyons right now. I got it a few days ago and it is autographed 20 out of 1000. I'll make this update fairly brief because I'm tired, I move into my dorm in a few hours, and I'm lazy.
First, on September 11th, I went with Hallie and my brother to a biodiesel picnic. We were late, but it it turned out well. There was a tire toss, oil derrick piata, biodiesel car show, and scavenger hunt for WMDs. Afterwards we headed over to Scott's garage to again work on making biodiesel. Hallie and Jeff got a tour of the garage. There were a lot of new folk, but a lot of regulars as well. We got the heating element installed in the reaction vessel. Some people helped make soap out of the glycerin, but I haven't seen it yet. I heard it was a little basic ("wow, my hands are so slick," hehe). Next meeting we will actually begin production. In related news, our car experienced a huge loss of power coming home from the airport on Saturday. On Monday we had it towed to the dealer. They claim the biodiesel broke some filter thing, but I don't think I believe them (they didn't even know what the biodiesel was when they first saw it). Also, someone on the Biodiesel Now forum says they have the same filter thing (some oxidizer/catalyst) and have run 5000 miles on biodiesel. We'll see how it turns out.
Last Wednesday through Sunday I was in Ohio. We flew in, got our rental car (and go figure, they didn't have the fucking thing we asked for; we had to wait like 20 minutes for them to get one), and headed toward Cleveland. It was nasty, all the big diesel trucks and busses spewed black smoke... while idling! It was even worse when they moved; and it smelled bad. Anyway, after a few wrong turns, we finally made it into the city. We follow the directions they gave us, but you can't turn left on most of the streets. We end up circling through downtown Cleveland in a big pretzel shape trying to get to our hotel. We finally made and enter. The hotel was in a really neat old indoor mall thing, built in the 19th century, I believe. The only problem was our room was next to an air vent, so it was real loud during the night. After settling into the room, we headed down to the stadium to watch the Indians play. We arrived before it even opened, so we walked around looking for food. Nothing looked super appealing, so we delayed eating. We entered on the far entrance, so we could circle the whole field. After seeing a few classic food stands (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.), I expected to see the same stands repeated around the field. However, unlike Safeco Field, the food was good there. I ended up eating a crepe. Yes... I had a FUCKING CREPE at a baseball game! Probably the only thing our field does better is the garlic fries. The fries at the Indian stadium had like garlic powder or something on them. Instead of getting fries, my mom and I split nachos. I know what you are thinking, but these nachos had real cheese! They were so much better than any liquid cheese nachos could ever be. We finished eating and the game soon started. We were a little beyond the third base. I thought the seats would be bad and it would be hard to follow the action, but I was wrong. We were only eight rows back and I think their field is smaller, because it seemed like we were real close. A few balls whizzed past and hit near us; that was exciting. The Indians end up winning in a fun game. I was amazed at how few people were in the stands, though.
The next day went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The bottom floor is huge. I spent a lot of time in the first few hundred feet because of all the informative touch screens. There was one display that went through top songs by decade and told you the history of the song. We viewing that when mom noticed we only had like 2.5 hours left. Fortunately, we later learned they were open another four hours today because of the Gravity Games. We walked through the rest of the museum, had a little lunch there, and checked out the gift shop. There were tons of arty guitars outside the museum (and around the city). While we were inside it rained pretty hard and had some lightning. We headed back to the hotel for our car and then drove towards our theatre. We got lost because the roads that were parallel in the city quickly split apart. We eventually found the theatre, but there wasn't much non-fast food around it. We ate at a little deli and I had a veggie burger. Next we went to the theatre where I was one of two young people. I was getting a lot of looks. I don't think many of the old, theatre-type people in Cleveland have seen many white guys with dreads (or anyone with dreads for that matter). "Look Martha... they'll let anyone in the theatre these days." We watched Leading Ladies, which was a funny play about two out of work Shakespearean actors who cross dress to try to con an old lady out of her inheritance. I enjoyed it. I had trouble sleeping that night because of the vent.
The next day we took a cool boat tour up the river. There are tons of bridges there! It was informative and I found all the industrial plants interesting. Afterwards we went out to the suburbs, past the theatre, to a restaurant named Tommy's. It is like the only veggie place in Ohio :). I had a great vegan Italian 'meatball' sub and a peanut butter vegan cookie. And guess what! They had Ginseng Up! Mom missed it, so she freaked out when I ordered it, "They have GINSENG UP!?" Hehe, it was funny. We took four bottles of it home. We stopped at the record store next door and I bought a Bob Marley shirt. They didn't have The Complex DVD-Audio, so I purchased that yesterday in Bellevue (at like the only store that had it). Anyway, after all that, we headed west to Sandusky and Cedar Point. We played Bob Marley on the way and I was starting to fall asleep. When we arrived, I realized they were right about Cedar Point... it is way out on a narrow peninsula! We entered the park, and drove around the whole place to get to our hotel. We passed an impressive wood coaster named Mean Streak and I saw the infamous Top Thrill Dragster. We check in, put our stuff away, and head into the park. We miss the hotel only opening and arrive about the same time as general admission. We ride the first coaster at the back entrance since it didn't look too big. I guess size is relative. It was pretty fast and I realize I need a glasses strap. It felt a little dorky at first, but it kept my glasses in place and it was required for TTD. Not all the rides are open, but we get a good number of rides in on the ones that are. The lines were so short! I didn't realize how nice that was until Saturday when the lines got longer (but still short for the park, so I heard). Mom wouldn't ride Top Thrill Dragster, so I went in line myself. While waiting in line for the first time, I hear some guys behind me and one sang part of Kitty by the Presidents. They amused me, so I readily accepted when they asked if they could pair up with me (the ride sat two per row, I was by myself, and they had three in their group). I talk to them for a while, but split ways after the ride (which was intense). I ended up running into them once more that night and twice more on Saturday.
On Sunday, we checked out of the hotel (as it was shutting down for the week and we had a flight). We were going ferry to this island to see a tower thing, but we didn't have time. We saw it from the shore, and then headed to a yacht club to grab some lunch. I had a 'carbdown' turkey wrap. I would have rather had a 'carbup-meatdown' wrap, but what can you do? After lunch we headed back and caught our plane. That was about it. Now... I get in line to move into my dorm in five hours. Better get some sleep!
Untitled Post
2004-09-08 02:41:50 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I went to Sky Captain and the Wold of Tomorrow. I know what you are thinking, "But Andrew, you hate movie theatres." That is true, but this was a rare exception: it was the Cinerama, the tickets were free, I had heard about this one a while ago and thought it had a cool premise (I love retro futuristic), and the director was there after the movie talking to us and taking questions. I really enjoyed the movie and the audience was good, but it was full of nerds. I've recently found myself becoming more distant from the nerd crowd. I don't know what category I can be be grouped with now. Anyway, I'm off on a tangent, time to talk about Bumbershoot.
On Saturday, my mom, Hallie, and I went to Bumbershoot in the early afternoon. We got some food and headed to the main stage in Memorial Stadium. We sat until we finished eating, and then headed to the crowds. I enjoyed Seal, even though I didn't recognize most of the songs. I especially enjoyed the three I know (Waiting For You, Loves Divine, Kiss From a Rose) and even Hallie mentioned liking Kiss From a Rose. After that my mom went to some Blue's shows or went home, I can't remember. Hallie and I walked around, and went to Unwritten Law. It was an indoor show and I didn't want to get that close. I said I'd wait for Hallie if she wanted to mosh (because I didn't), but she it was okay and we left. We went to see AllGoRhythms next, since it sounded interesting. It turned out to be an Indian band, which was interesting. After that, we bought some taffy, sat by the fountain, and finally headed to watch a short portion of the Fourthcity Laptop Battle in the EMP Sky church. The laptop battle was fun (nearly every performer had a Mac) and I wish we could have stayed longer, but we needed to head back to the main stage to see Puddle of Mudd and Nickelback. Metal isn't my type of music, but it was enjoyable. The crowd really fit the shows. The people were irritable ("Get outta my person bubble!"), it was really crowded, people moshed and crowd surfed, and people put up 'devil signs' and middle fingers. Between shows we sat down near the concessions as my back was a little sore. Nickelback surprised me because they didn't have any gear set up when their time came. Surprise, surprise! The drumset rose from the stage and the guitarists just walked on. Where were the amps? I don't know. After those concerts, we headed to Hallie's house and hung out for a while.
Sunday was mostly relaxing. That night I again went to a meeting of the French Fry Fuel Fools. I forgot to mention it, but I went as Thursday as well. We are a soon-to-be biodiesel club at the UW. We met at a guy's house to use his processor. He's been collecting waste vegetable oil from places like Orange King and we will soon make a batch. We are also trying to fix the broken batch that is currently in the processor and run a small test batch with some of the oil. Unfortunately, I think we screwed up the test batch because we had a thermometer on the outside of the reaction vessel, so it measured a lot less than actual. We ended up boiling off a lot of the methanol and I'm not sure if it is salvageable. You don't really want to boil methanol because the stuff will make you go blind if ingested. I put a fan on a spare oil barrel to blow the fumes out of the garage. It is fun, though, because this is organic chemistry like I'm doing next quarter, I get to learn how to make biodiesel, and it is just plain useful chemistry! I'm excited for September 11th (Saturday), because there will be a biodiesel picnic.
I went back to Bumbershoot on Monday because I wanted a fix of Reggae. I was too late for Show Brazil!, but that didn't bother me too much because I didn't really care about it. However, I was sure to be there for the Toots & Maytals. The Stranger said they would likely be good, but they weren't my favorite of the day. A bunch of their songs ended with a sped up tempo, and I'm not too big a fan of fast reggae. During their show, Lou called me, so I got some food and sat with them for a while. The crowd for this show was a lot different than the metal bands. There appeared to be more people, but it was hard to tell because they were all spread out. People smoked the ganja at the other shows, but there was a lot more that day. At one point, about one in ten people around me were smoking. I probably got slightly high off second hand smoke. There were a few people walking through the audience selling ganja cookies and brownies. Even though hippies seem like nice, honest people, I didn't want to risk eating one. The crowd was spread out, even real close to the stage. A lot of people were dancing and no one cared if you were next to them. It was a great audience and I ran into Luke! After Toots finished, I moved up close to wait for the Marley Brothers. The Stranger gave them a bad prereview, but I really enjoyed them. They sang some of their own stuff and some of their dad's songs. The brothers all had perfect looking dreads... I was envious. I was dancing, as were most other people (even in the stands lots of people were dancing). They finished with Could You Be Loved, which I had stuck in my head for the rest of the day (I'm not complaining, though). After the show, I picked up a wood frog thing for Hallie and headed back to my car in downtown. When I got there, I checked the time and saw I only had ten minutes before I was supposed to meet my dad at the Park and Ride. I gave him a call to pick up my jacket before he left, but he was already there and waiting (and Aunt Rosie and Uncle John arrived as I was talking to him). I told him to stay put and I'd be there soon. They decided to drive there and John parked in the Coast Guard place. All of the healthy food at the stadium sucked, so I got some chicken stir fry (which wasn't too good either, but the cock sauce helped). During the game I ordered a 'strawberry lemonade' but turned out to be strawberry lemonade /slushy/. Damn them and their false advertising. It wasn't too good (very sweet and sticky), but when I finished I used the cup to get free water. Of course, I had to get some garlic fries, which always stand out as a pinnacle of baseball game perfection. Fuck Crackerjacks, give me some garlic fries any day. On the topic of food, I got a small, free sample of a Carmel Frappuccino (they didn't have any of the creme Fraps) during the Reggae shows. I liked it, so I decided to get a Carmel Light. We, against my will, left at the end of the 8th inning as we were down 4-0. I guess we didn't much (except traffic) because we ended up losing 5-0. What happened to our good team?
Today was the first day of school for my brother and Hallie. I, unfortunately, slept in until noon. I didn't have much time to eat, shower, and watch Pitch Black before heading to Hallie's house to great her after school. At her house, we watched Detroit Rock City. I was picked up around 17:20 to see my third movie and that was my day. Now I have to get up in 4 hours and 20 minutes so my brother can drive me to Hallie's house to pick up my bike before school. Hey, at least I'll get a head start on the day and hopefully do some stuff I've been putting off (like strength training).
Untitled Post
2004-09-04 00:34:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Howdy. My ears feel like they have cotton in them. I just got back from the first day of Bumbershoot where I saw U.S.E. (rocked), Death Cab for Cutie (blah, I sat in the bleachers), and The Presidents of the United States of America (rocked). I got back from California on Tuesday and am in the process of writing a huge story, but it isn't done yet. On Wednesday I went to Dr. Dan's and bought 40 gallons of biodiesel (and pumped 10 into the car). My brother was with me and afterwards we went to PCC and bought a bunch of food (most, if not all, organic and vegan). We came home and made a good baked pasta with fake ricotta cheese made from tofu and fake mozzarella. On Thursday Hallie and I hung out for a while before heading downtown on the bus. We ate at Westlake Center and then shopped at Urban Outfitters where I saw Michael Fleming. I bought three shirts totaling $35. Today I rode my bike to the north end (where I ran into Philip from Boy Scouts) and went to Bumbershoot.
Adventures in Vegas
2004-08-26 10:27:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, I'm here in Vegas in my room over looking the strip. I've been adding pictures to my website as I take them and I already have 204 images from Las Vegas. I've seen five shows so far: Blue Man Group, O, Blue Man Group, Zumanity, and Penn and Teller. I have hung out with Hallie a lot as well and a little bit with Devin Kato. It has been a pretty crazy trip!
Untitled Post
2004-08-20 19:03:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, time to finally finish the epic story I started a few days ago. It is 2004-08-19 and I'm sitting in the SeaTac airport because my flight has been delayed. I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to post this.
When I left off, it was the Saturday of the Capitol Hill Block Party and I was just leaving the house. I picked up Hallie, then Travis, and then headed toward Steven's house (which is next to the Park and Ride). Since I'm pulling into the Park and Ride, Travis tells me I should just pull into his apartment building. I ask why and he tells me so Steven doesn't have to walk as far. We head toward the bus stop and it hits Travis that we are taking the bus to Capitol Hill (hehe, silly Travis). I think someone calls Steven, because he meets us at the bus stop. The bus finally came and we headed to the International District to eat Dim Sum at the House of Hong. We get a large table with lazy susan and we order some food. Steven already ate, but I try some new stuff. I guess I over estimated our need, because we didn't eat everything we bought (most, though). We head back to the bus tunnel and ride it until the end. We walk up the hill and it puts us right at the party. On the way, someone asks Travis if he wants 'green bud' :). We walk through some booths, political activists, and 'artists.' We end up near a Jones Soda booth and stand around thinking about where to go and what to do. There is a woman there sitting on the ground, with some paint on her face, dolls on strings, dolls in her pants, and she is slowly moving around and playing with the dolls. We are all fascinated by the sight, since she seems to be nothing useful and making no statement. Travis and Steven seem especially tranced. She is also surrounded by a small group of people that appear to be with her. We circle around the block, passing by all stages. I find where U.S.E. will be playing, and we head toward Broadway. Somehow Travis learned of the Underworld S&M shop, so we walk down Broadway in search for it. I don't want to be out too long because I've waited a long time to see U.S.E. and I don't want to miss them again. We finally get there, head upstairs, and enter the store. Steven and I were the only ones old enough to legally enter, but Steven forgot his I.D. We enter, the woman says hi, and we look around. She doesn't hassle us or anything. The store isn't very big and it has some interesting items. We head back downstairs and outside to get back to U.S.E. On the way I sign a form to get Nader put on the ballot. I want to get back to the show, but Travis and Steven keep talking to the woman there. It was funny, she was telling Steven how she didn't want to see us kids get put in the military and sent overseas. Umm... a little too late for Steven. We finally escape and I quickly walk back, faster than everyone else. On the way back, a guy asked me if I'm going to Hempfest (which is this weekend), but I told him I'm busy that weekend and will be in Vegas. He asks if I smoke and I'm like.... "Uhh... no comment." He tells me not to worry, he's not a cop, but I continue down the street :). We reach the street of the block party and I convince to Travis to come into the 'theatre' with us because it would be more fun. Steven, however, didn't want to pay $10 to see them, so we say goodbye and heads down toward the bus tunnel. We get to the 'theatre' where Hallie, Jeff, and I give them our tickets and Travis buys his. We get wrist bands and head as far forward as we can easily manage. While waiting, I see Ben Chester and David Zhang. I like how the tent above the stage is displacing some street lights (they are just resting on the tent) and the whole setup is still running, despite the lack of traffice. After a while, U.S.E. finally takes stage. There isn't much introduction before they begin. The first song was one of my favorites, Open Your Eyes, but unfortunately we could not hear the vocoder. After the second song, someone yelled "turn up the vocoder!" and it was repeated by one of the band members. The third song was Emerald City and they finally got it working a little ways into the song. It sounded a little weird at first, but then everything was good. It was friggin' hot that day, so the band was throwing water balloons into the audience. One of them accidently hit a light and it started steaming. Towards the end of the set, they were throwing lots of water balloons (I managed to pop one), bottles of water (one hit Hallie in the head), 'gold' coins, and bead necklaces (Jeff caught one, and he didn't even have to flash anyone). Someone was also walking around with a hose and spray nozzle. It was hot, but they kept us sufficiently wet. During the last song (I believe It Is On!), lots of audience members hopped on stage and the whole stage was packed. The band almost had trouble playing. We made our way out and were walking away (Travis didn't want until 22:00 for Sir Mix-a-lot) when we ran into Jake and Kalen. They didn't have wrist bands, and we were leaving, so we gave ours to them. Kalen even had glue which he used to put Travis' (which had been ripped) back together. On the way back, Jeff gets some a Jones soda and a t-shirt from them, but doesn't say anything when they give him wrong change (like 6 bucks too little, grr). I'm walking a long when I see ClearChannel. I backtrack and see it is an anti-ClearChannel t-shirt. I think about it for a short time, but then decide to buy it. It says "ClearChannel, Stealing the airwaves, one station at a time." It came with a free anti-Bush speaker. Speaking of anti-Bush sentiment, there was tons if it there. No Republican dared making themselves known. Travis thought someone should have had a sign saying "Kerry is a Ferry." Although, in this neighborhood, that probably would have gave him an even stronger following. The Libertarian party also had representatives. We check out some veggietarian/vegan clothing. I like the one with the pig saying "No, I don't have any spare ribs" and another that read "Praise seitan."
Okay, I'm on the airplane in the air now. We were the absolute last party to board (yet still not the last in their seat), and on the way a guy in first class said, "Venus Hum!" I looked over, not really believing my ears. I said, "Have you heard them?" He kinda looked at me funny and so I thought maybe I mis-heard what he said, but then he continued, "Yeah, I saw them before the Blue Man. It was awesome." Sweet! Could he be going to the fan meet? I know there are some other big Venus Hum fans in Seattle. Anyway, back to the story. We left Capitol Hill, but were surprised when the bus tunnel was closed. I don't think it was even time yet. We asked a bus driver on the street, and then headed down to like 3rd. We waited around for a while, and then boarded a weird little bus, with insides like an airplane (air and lights and stuff). I was surprised because I was used to the 550 being a huge articulated bus. At some point during the trip, I noticed Grady Gratt was sitting near the front. When we exited, I said hi. It turns out he is working at the Science Center. We also saw and chatted with Danny Sotello. He didn't remember Travis' name (even though they sat next to each other for much of the year). We gave a ride to his house (since he lives near Travis). Travis did some stuff real quick, and then we headed back to my house to watch Starsky and Hutch. We hung out in my basement for a while, then cruised around with Jeff Quiesser. After cruising, we all retired at our homes.
The next day I went no a huge sailboat with my family, Uncle Edmund, and a bunch of his friends and family. It was fun, we sailed around Lake Washington. After a while I started getting sleepy, so I went to the Captain's quarters and took a nice nap on the big bed. On the way home, I was dropped off at Travis' house. We hung out for a while, and since he wanted to go on our boat, offered to help me do a test run of it (my dad wanted me to practice). On the way to my house to get it ready, we saw Hallie and Hannah downtown. Hannah of course wanted to drive his car. On the way home Travis damaged his car to the tune of like $800. He signed up for AAA on the spot and had to pay what he called a "nuts-in-a-vice charge" for people that sign up when they already need help. We walk home (not very far) and start getting the boat ready. Right before we are about to head out, Travis gets a call from the tow truck. I take him back to his car, but it turns out the guy was at the wrong place. Travis and I split up for the night, and I get some practice driving the boat and backing it up. We leave the trailer attached to the suburban (since that was one of the hardest and most time consuming parts) and call it a night.
The next morning my brother and I get up, get ready, and head to the suburban. I give Hallie and Travis calls to confirm the plans. Jeff and I get to the launch fairly quickly, and since there is no line, begin launching the boat. We get it in just fine, and I am parking the truck and trailer, when I see the rest of the group walking down (Caitlin, Travis, Hallie, and Hannah). I arrive at the boat dock first and then soon follow. It takes a while to put all the stuff in the boat and get it organized (there were a lot of people and a lot of belongings. We eventually get the boat going and head toward Bill Gates' house. People then started riding in the big two person inner tube. We head toward Hannah's old house and Lake Union. A cop gives us a hard time because we are going to fast (even though I looked and looked for a speed limit sign) and I decide to turn around. Travis gets in the tube and wants me to knock him off. Once I get away from land, I start going really fast and making big turns. I don't think he lasted a minute before flying off over a bump. I circle around and he gets back in. We headed to Maydenbauer Bay to anchor and Travis takes the wheel as we enter the bay. He goes real fast, despite the objections of Hannah and Caitlin on the inner tube. We arrive, anchor, and most people get in the water. Eventually, Caitlin needed to leave, and other people were sort of getting tired, so we docked the boat and started putting it in. Dad called at one point to ask our status and decided to come help us (even though I said it was fine). It turned out good because he brought the Mercedes with him. As we were draining the engine compartment, a whole bunch of nasty white stuff came out. Dad opened the engine and it was covered with it. I explained to him how the boat felt less powerful today (which I originally contributed to the extra load). We switched cars and he took it to the boat shop. Hallie, Travis, Jeff, and I headed to Seattle to eat at Buca de Bepo's. Hallie and Travis both praised it. We were about an hour earlier, so we decided to head to the closest Starbucks I knew (near the Cinerama). It was a good walk, and we saw the Jones Soda head quarters on the way. We were walking and I got a call from my dad. It turns out the boat was totalled because the engine head got a crack (which caused the white stuff, it was oil mixed with water). It would cost $8000 to replace. Darn. Later my dad found someone who may have a refurbished engine we can buy, so we might get it repaired on the relatively cheap (although that is still being worked out). We got our drinks and Hallie burnt her tongue on hot apple cider. We walked back, passed a Starbucks (oops), and were no more than 10-15 minutes later than the opening. They took us to the far back corner and the waiter in training explained how everything worked. We decided to get the baked sampler, a small version of the daily special, and an appetizer of garlic bread(?). It was all very good and very large. It was the first food of the day for me, I think, so I was still hungry. The waiter gave us a small sample of one of the desserts, but we decided on a different one and got the small size. The meal was 1.5 days worth of food, because I was not hungry for half of the next day. We headed home, hung out for a while, and then went our separate ways.
The next day was fairly tame. I slept till noon, stained some more of the playground, and exercised. However, Wednesday was interesting. I went to dinner with Hallie and Jeff at Zeke's pizza. It took a long time to get there because of traffic, but the dinner was good (and relatively cheap, I think). On the way to the restaurant, I got a call from Jeff T with a job offer. Remedy (his temp agency) said the place he was about to work for would be fun with a friend, so he called me up. I said sure, and talked with him a little. I got up early the next morning, and drove with Jeff T to Remedy so I could sign up to work through them. I got there at 08:00 and had to be at LightingUniverse.com by 10:00. We didn't have enough time to search for the biodiesel place in Bellevue, so I filled it up halfway with petro. We arrived at LightingUniverse early, and they set us up with (the bomb?) some computers in their wherehouse (since they were low on office space). We called manufacturers all day checking on the status of purchases and putting them into the computers. After work we searched for the biodiesel place (which took a lot of effort since I miscopied the directions). Eventually we found it, and pumped some biodiesel out of a container in the back of a pickup. It was expensive at 4.20 $/gallon, but I was only getting half a tank. We headed home and I dropped off Jeff T. The next day I didn't dress up as much, and took the beamer instead (so we could have air conditioning, music, and so the alarm wouldn't go off while we were driving). That night I attempted to see the Village with Hallie and a bunch of other people, but I was getting angry and a fire alarm during a critical part in the movie pushed me over the edge. It is a long story that I won't go into here, but Hallie and I left, getting a refund, and headed home to watch Lost in Translation with my brother. Jeff T called me one of the days that weekend to tell me they didn't need me on Monday (we got a lot of work done). Monday ended up being his last day.
Wow, I've written all this on battery power and I'm still at 73%. It estimates I've got 4:22 left, so I'm happy. This laptop gets great battery life. On Sunday I rode my bike to Hallie's house. Nick Giftai picked us up and we all headed to Seattle. I gave him directions and we parked near Seattle Center. We zigzagged to the waterfront and I learned where the Millionaire's club was (which happened to be where Jeff was volunteering that day). I already had been there, I just didn't know its position in Seattle. We walked along the waterfront, and then headed up when we got to Pike Place Market. We walked around there, looked in a bunch of stores, and got some food at a bakery. Nick was selected by a street performer and became part of a human table. I forgot to check out the world's first Starbucks. We went in some interesting shops, including another spice/herb shop with lots of interesting books and other things. Afterwards, we all continued down to the new library so Hallie could see it and they both could check stuff out. Hallie signed up for a card, and we all began exploring. It was fun to go back and I got to check out the music section (which was small, but they did have a CD from a past Panorama in Trinidad). They also had some sheet music resources, which I thought might be promising, but also seemed scarce. There was one huge book of movie theme songs, though. They both checked out stuff, so I got to see the cool RFID checkout system. You scan the barcode on your card, put your books and CDs one level thick on this white pad, they appear on the computer screen, you click okay if they are all there, and then repeat as necessary until all your stuff has been checked out. It was a very awesome system for self checkout. We walked all the way back through downtown and eventually made it back to the car.
On Monday I again slept until noon. I road my bike some, going about halfway down this hill towards East Mercer. I got going really fast (along a curvy road), but didn't want to have to pedal up, so I stopped halfway. That night I made an almost vegan Fettuccine and Pea Alfredo. The only thing that wasn't vegan was the parmesan cheese, since we couldn't find soy parmesan. I thought it was really good but not everyone did. The sauce was made with soy milk, some other stuff, and, I believe, silken tofu. It was a lot healthier than normal alfredo, that's for sure.
Well, there you have it. That was the huge news post I had been delaying. Oh, hey, today I burned my first DVD (despite owning a burner in our PowerBook for like 1.75 years). It wasn't very big, but I put my drumbone assembly video and pictures from when I addressed up for Halloween on it. I started the process burning maybe 15 minutes before I ride was to arrive. I was surprised that it went though three and a half really long (at least compared to the size of the DVD) preparing steps before it started burning. Our driver arrived and it was still going, so we unplugged the computer and took it into the car. About half way up West Mercer it finally ended and the DVD popped out. We logged out of my account onto Jeff's, popped it in, and tested it out. It looked great. I just hope it works in a stand alone player. It was all very easy, but not very fast at all. It is now 20:27 and I'm sitting next to a dark airplane window. I am at 69% battery life still. I'll post this as soon as I get internet, which will hopefully be at Greg's house. See ya! Andrew
Okay, I'm here at my Aunt's house using her internet. The fan meet is tomorrow and I'm so excited!!!
Untitled Post
2004-08-13 23:50:39 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I found a new use for the cans of compressed air. Travis brought one to my birthday party a number of years ago and we had lots of fun turning it upside down and numbing parts of our skin with the cold stuff that comes out. Today there was a huge ass spider up stairs. I just ignore little spiders or get medium sized spiders with a tissue, but this one would require two tissues and it would probably scurry off before I could get it. Then I had an epiphany, why not use the can of air on him? I ran down the stairs to the den and brought it back up. I turn it upside down and, keeping my distance, sprayed him on the ceiling. At first he started moving from the cold and blowing, but then he curled up a little bit and stopped. I didn't want to reach up and get him (he could fall in my hair, which would be a big mess), so I just left him there, hoping he was paralyzed. I showed my brother, who immediately tried to pull him off the wall to bring to me. The spider was stubborn and kept sticking and fighting back. Jeff gave up and the spider returned to its original resting spot. I grabbed the can of air again, blew it, and the spider fell to the ground. I then sprayed a continuous burst for a few seconds until its body and legs were covered in frost. I grabbed the tissues and squished it, feeling a bunch of cold matter in the tissue. I ran to the bathroom and flushed it. That spider won't be causing me troubles again.
I've done a lot of bicycling recently. I had about a week of downtime from my oral surgery, but on Wednesday, I felt like I needed to get out of the house. It was the first time I had exercised in about a week, and I had a surprising amount of energy (probably because of the tortillas (for carbs) I ate an hour or two before hand). Before I went, though, I finished building the final three notes on my PVC. Now I just need to glue six of them and I'm done (for now). Anyway, I rode up East Mercer Way, saw Ryan Baca, through North Mercer, over to Seattle, through the bike tunnel, and down to Rainier Avenue. Downtown was still a ways away, so I had to make a decision. Either I turn around here, or head to Seattle and hope my mom is still in her office (so I can visit her). I think the breaking point was my thirst, and there was not a Starbucks in sight. I headed up Rainier, down through the International District (almost taking a spill before an intersection because of the bad roads), and back up a blocks through downtown. I was sufficiently sweaty when I arrived. Fortunately, the people in the information booth let me use their phone. I called up to ask her floor number, and grabbed a frappuccino on the way. We later both came down and I got a cinnamon roll. After hanging out for a while, resting, stretching, and saying hi to her friend Jan, I return home along a similar route. I follow behind other bicyclists through the International District and then again across the bridge. However, I go down West Mercer this time. I arrive home and take a shower. The whole trip took about three hours.
That night I went with Hallie and Hannah to this new housing development near the Newcastle golf course to watch the meteor shower. It was the biggest green spot I could find on a local map, but unfortunately the housing development (despite the fact that most houses didn't even have foundation) had street lights throughout. We found an area between streetlights and sat on the wood structure of a new house (the area that would become the first floor). At the beginning it was a little disappointing and I only saw one small one. We did see lots of satellites, though. However, we were looking up at one point and saw a huge fucker. This thing had clear width to it and left a stream of quickly fading sparks through the sky. It was very bright and very impressive. It also made me feel a little vulnerable laying out there in the open :). Right before we were about to leave we saw another of similar magnitude. After those two, I was very satisfied.
Yesterday my brother asked if I wanted to go to lunch at, say, California Pizza Kitchen. I asked if would be bike with me and he was like "no way!" However, after an hour or so I eventually got him to change his mind. We headed up East Mercer, across the other bridge, down one street, down Bellevue Way, and then to the restaurant. There was an H2 parked right in front, which, of course, got quite a birding from me. I locked my bike up and got us a seat outside (since it is freezing inside). Jeff joined us and we ordered. After lunch I was in a hurry to get to my oral appointment (to see how I was healing), so I left while Jeff took care of the bill. I headed, I believe, through the train bridge, and then down Richard's Road. I arrived at the office in Factoria just in time. Nine minutes later I was out (most of that spent sitting in the lobby) and heading home. I took a leisurely pace home. I stopped to say hi to Hallie, stopped at Starbucks and chatted with Derrick Poppy, and finally made it home. It was a good two days of biking. Today I lounged around the house and didn't eat anything until our homemade pizza dinner.
Finally, I need to mention that my 12" PowerBook arrived in the mail yesterday. I've rarely used my desktop since then. I had just woken up around 10:30, went to the bathroom, and took my Advil (for the sore mouth) when I saw a FedEx truck stopping across the street. I walk downstairs, open the door, and see the guy walking toward our house :). I push up on my tippy toes a few times in excitement. I get the package, sign his padd, he asks me my last name (probably because I can't write worth shit on those things), and then I head inside with the package. I open the shipping box, call Jeff down, and proceed to unwrap the Apple box. So cool! I take it upstairs and I have been using it since. I'm going to borrow Jeff T's StarCraft CD (since mine doesn't have the Mac software required) and use the recently released OS X installer to play it. I just installed Warcraft III as well. Fun, fun, fun. I'm glad Blizzard decides to support us Mac users :). They get mad props from me for that.
Untitled Post
2004-08-09 16:32:18 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, some good news today. I stopped taking Vicodin slightly over a day ago and I feel much better. You don't realize how much that stuff fucks you up until you stop taking it... damn. I'm taking Advil now and it works just fine (without the nasty side effects). If I had known this, I would have stopped taking the Vicodin earlier (or even not at all). I am a lot more coherent now, so I will probably write the rest of my long update in a few days. Also, I finally finished a 278 megabyte download from Freenet. It took five months and one day. Granted, Freenet and FUQID weren't running that whole time, but it is still a long time. Most of it was downloaded in the last few days (since I left my computer (and Freenet) on the whole time I was recovering). Actually, I set my own personal Freenet uptime record for having it up over two days.
Untitled Post
2004-08-06 23:43:25 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I had my wisdom teeth pulled this morning. It wasn't as bad as I was anticipating. It was the first time I had been put under. I've had three smoothies today and I had mashed potatoes for dinner. Hallie came over today (and brought Jello) to keep me company. Right now I'm laying on the fold out bed in the basement, typing on the PowerBook, and watching someone sing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" on KCTS in HDTV.
Untitled Post
2004-08-03 02:48:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Wow. I just upgraded to the latest version (1.4.4) of Gallery and it is insanely faster. The really big directories (like my recent Trinidad collection) see the most speed up, especially in the higher number pages. The main page of the gallery is kind of slow right now, but that is because not all of the subalbums have been upgraded to the new album format. It'll get faster in time (I don't want to upgrade them all at once myself, because I want to see how long it'll take them with normal usage).
Untitled Post
2004-08-03 00:26:37 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Wow, lots to talk about. This'll probably be split up over few days. On Friday, after posting the news item, Traivs and I decided to hang out. I drove him and his mom downtown and we parked in my Dad's old building (free parking with pass). We then ate at the Rock Bottom. I picked up a copy of the Stranger on the way in, looked at it during the meal, and then put it back when I left. My meal was almost vegetarian, having a veggie pizza, but I did eat a few pieces of chicken on our appetizer nachos.
After eating, Travis and I met up with Thomas. After a while we headed to Caitlin's house. It was originally mostly graduated seniors, but younger (more immature) kids showed up later in the night. Thomas left fairly early. I, of course, stayed sober, but many people didn't. Throughout the night, Travis and I kept an eye on the more inebriated people, to make sure they weren't taken an advantage of. I realized just how predatorial some guys are. Later in the morning, most people had left (around 03:00). Travis and I sat outside talking when Caitlin joined us. We talked for quite some time, while another guy slept inside. When the sky started getting brighter, we headed inside. Travis and I started making some scrambled eggs with sausage and cheese for the three of us still awake. Caitlin fell asleep before we finished, so we woke her when we finished, but she fell back asleep again, so Travis ate her portion. We cleaned up the house some (to make up for eating the food), turned off the lights, and headed to a Starbucks. I was surprised how many people were there at around 05:45. I picked up another copy of the Stranger and looked at the information again (as it was now the day of the Capitol Hill Block Party). The Seattle Times guy arrived while we were eating. When we finished, I put the Stranger away and we headed over to a grocery store so I could pick up a caffeinated beverage. I bought the cheapest energy drink, which tasted like shit, and sipped it on the way back to Travis' house. I checked my mail and, while playing Dustbowl, discovered how Valve completely butchered TFC. Travis fell asleep while I was playing. I turned off the monitor and, with Travis' permission, hopped onto the free part of the bed.
I woke up maybe four hours later at around, I believe, 10:30. My dad woke me up when he called my cell phone. I called him back once I cleared my head and then drove home. We watched the Tour de France for a while. Once it ended, he finally got the materials ready so I could begin staining our now deconstructed playground (a task I was forced to do). We only did a little, because I soon had to go to the block party (and I was being called by friends). I got dressed, quaffed some energy drink, and headed out. I'll talk about the rest in another post.
Untitled Post
2004-07-23 16:28:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Oh man. It is too damn hot to do anything today. It is 30.5 °C in the hallway and probably even more in my room next to my computer. I was hoping I could exercise today, but it just isn't worth it. Instead I've sat around all day and uploaded my Trinidad photos. Also, in an effort to stress test Gmail more effectively, I signed up for the Linux Kernel mailing list. I may sign up for a few more as well.
Untitled Post
2004-07-23 00:59:57 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Sunday was Hallie's birthday. My dad took his friend and his friend's son out on the boat for about an hour. After that, Hallie and I met my dad on the dock at Luther Burbank. We gave him the car and we took the boat. We first headed to Bill Gates' house. Then we turned around and went to our normal alcove where the water is calm for swimming and it is shallow enough to anchor. We ate our lunch and swam a little. Mostly we floated on the inner tube thing, though, because I didn't want to get my too hair wet. After we got bored in the water and the weather was starting to looky iffy, we decided to head back to the boat launch. When we approached, I called my dad to come help us. Since we still had some time, I sped around the lake down to Travis's old house. I used to not like going fast in the boat, but it was fun this time. I went in a few tight circles near his house before speeding off back toward the boat launch. I brought it in and we had a very successful loading of the boat onto the trailer. For dinner, Hallie and I went to the Bamboo garden and had vegan Chinese food (well, everything except the fortune cookies). After dinner, we went with her mom to see Anchorman at the *shiver* Factoria theatre. Oh well, one movie every six months is acceptable.
I believe it was Monday when my dad and I had a Stargate marathon. I personally watched five episodes (I think). I had tasty been burritos for dinner. That night my mom and brother came home from the Stargate convention in Vancouver. Jeff showed us all the loot (well, almost all), and mom told us lots of interesting stories as well.
On Tuesday was my summer advising session at the UW, a required event for all incoming freshman. I didn't expect it to be very fun, but it wasn't that bad. I got to meet some fellow potential CS students, I saw seven people I know from school, and I registered for classes. Also, I saw Peter Abrahamsen (someone I knew about through Seattle Wireless) in Mary Gates Hall. I will be taking Math 126, Chem 223, and CSE 142; I'm taking all math and science :) !!!!!111oneone After the session, I drove over to Freemont to Dr. Dan's Fuelwerks. It was a little hard to find (didn't look much like a gas station), but he was nice (and had dreadlocks) and even gave me a bulk discount because it was my first order. I was a little nervous about putting biodiesel into the car, but it seems to work fine so far. It makes an interesting smell, but doesn't really smell like food. It doesn't produce nasty blue smoke anymore, though. It was expensive at about 3.4 $/gallon, but it is probably worth it. It pollutes a /ton/ less than petro diesel. That night I read up a whole bunch on biodiesel and learned about Seattle Biodiesel, a company looking to produce biodiesel locally (instead of like the midwest). Last night I sent him an e-mail asking about the status of the operation and inquiring about job opportunities, but haven't heard back yet.
Yesterday, I rode to Hallie's and we rode to Luther Burbank to pick blackberries. We got a whole lunch box full and we went our separate ways. I went home, grabbed my wallet, went back to Georgio's for dinner, and then went home again. My brother insisted we watch the Atlantis premier (he probably just wanted to show off by pointing out the places he had been and the things/people he had touched).
Today, I tried transfering files via floppy from one of Hallie's computers to another, but when we tried to turn on the Dell again, it wouldn't boot. I spent like an hour on the phone with Dell as they had me ripping out all the components (or at least unplugging them). They even had me remove the processor, but it didn't work out like planned. I first had to remove the heatsink, of course, but the processor came out with it! The heat compound they use is /very/ sticky. I'm sure it wasn't good for the computer, because the socket was still in locked position, yet the processor just popped out. Hmm. Once they ran me through every script they had, they tried transferring me to another department to setup a repair appointment, but I was on hold forever. I eventually gave up and we left for ingredients. I found a recipe in my cookbook that I thought would be best adaptable for blackberries, so we set out to make vegan blackberry pie. We found all the ingredients on the island (we had to make a compromise on the shortening because Albertson's was out of Spectrum). We made the pie with some help from my brother and cooked it. Blackberries are juicier than blueberries (what it originally called for), so we probably had too much liquid. It solidified fairly well, but still broke down when we cut it. That didn't matter, though, because it was delicious anyway. I was suprised at how flavorful it was. I watched an episode of Nip/Tuck with her (or as she likes to call it, Yip/Fuck) and then drove her home.
Untitled Post
2004-07-18 00:51:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Earlier this week my vegan dessert cookbook arrived. I wanted to make something from it soon, so on Wednesday I went on some errands. I first visited the Apple store to ask about jobs, but I doubt I'll be able to get hired there; they have tons of applicants for every position. Although, speaking of the beleaguered Apple, they had their quarterly conference call on Wednesday. After reporting tripled profits (and sales of 860,000 iPods), the stock jumped nearly four dollars in after market trading. Anyway, next I headed to Freemont to shop at PCC. I searched for stores in Seattle that sell vegan food and it was one of the results. I remember my mom pointing it out one time, so I would know how to get there, and I like Freemont, so I decided to shop there over some of the other options. I discovered that it had underground parking, so I parked and walked up into the store. I first noticed that it seemed much easier to find stuff than at QFC. Also, many of the customers seemed to be hippies (well, you know, different from the norm (well, different the soccer moms and trophy wifes I'm used to seeing at grocery stores)), which was cool. I got all the needed ingredients for the cookies: barley flour, canola oil, vegan chocolate chips, and maple syrup. When I got back to my car, I pulled a biodiesel slip out of my door handle. Normally this would piss me off, but I am interested in trying out biodiesel. Actually, I wanted to get some earlier in the year, but I thought I would just ride my bike instead. However, I came to realize that I can't ride my bike everywhere (even though I did dramatically cut down on the miles driven), so I might as well get biodiesel. I'm sort of hoping it'll smell like french fries (although I doubt it).
I believe it was Thursday when my new CD arrived: Emotional Technology by BT (bought used). I had been getting the mail every day since Monday. When I saw the CD package, a big smile came across my face and I quickly grabbed it. Even though I was straddling my bike, I still managed to do a very primal happy dance. That night I had dinner with Hallie and her mom at the Cheesecake Factory.
Yesterday (Friday), I went to the By^Hite of Seattle with my dad and Hallie. I had a veggie piroshky, a few garlic fries, and half an elephant ear. Today, in the early afternoon, I rode to Hallie's house and then we rode to Bellevue. We didn't go to downtown, but we crossed the bridge and rode around the suburbs. I left my bike at her house and went to my cousin Pat and his girlfriend Hanna's open house. It was all the way up in Lynnwood. Afterwards, I rode back home from Hallie's house. I saw (and waved to) two more steel drummers (although, two I had already seen before). However, I did see a new one (or unique impression, in web stats terms) a few days ago bringing my total to 13. Tomorrow, if the weather is good, Hallie and I will go boating. I plan to swing by Bill G's house, but unfortunately the camera is in Vancouver at Gatecon with my brother, so there will be no pictures for iPod lounge.
Just a little Gmail news. First, I had to end the Gmail Test thread after 427 replies because it just wouldn't load anymore. I was able to get into it just once in week long period, so I posted the last post, copied the e-mail addresses, and yesterday started Gmail Test 2. Secondly, I have 24 spams in Gmail now. It is averaging about one a day now, and it seems to catch them all (with no recent false positives). No more new invites, though :(. I heard those were just to drive down the price of invites on eBay.
Untitled Post
2004-07-13 03:44:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I woke up at 11:00 and learned my brother and mom we having lunch downtown. I got myself invited and started getting ready. We met my mom at on the lid (above the freeway) so she could drive us into town and park in her garage. As we were getting onto the collector divider, I saw a sign that said { FIRST 10 DIGIT PRIME IN CONSECUTIVE DIGITS OF E }.com, which got me really excited. They were discussing this very advertisement on the Mersenne mailing list yesterday and today. Apparently it is in other cities as well, like Silicon Valley (of course). If you go to the answer, you find another puzzle that directs you to Linux.org. You use the answer to that puzzle as the password for account Bobsyouruncle and, when answered correctly, it'll take you to a page on Google to apply for a job in the Google Labs. It is a very neat recruiting technique, but people, of course, quickly discussed it on the internet, ruining the challenge. Anyway, for lunch I had a Tofu and Mushroom Teriyaki wrap with a fruit smoothie (my brother had the same smoothie). Then, I was happily surprised to learn we were heading to the new Seattle library. It wasn't as confusing inside as I was lead to believe, it is a really neat design. It kind of reminds me of an Apple store (it even has the same smell). It looks deceptively small from the outside, but the inside is huge! Also, there are a ton of computers spread throughout the building. For dinner tonight my mom, dad, Hallie, and I made calzones. They were very filling and delicious. You can fit a huge amount of filling in each calzone. The first one had red and green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and some sausage. The sausage in that, and a few pieces I had separately, was the only meat I ate for the day (aka, not much). The second was canadian veggie bacon and pineapple... also good. The third was like the first, except with veggie pepperonis instead of sausage. The last one was saved for Jeff, having veggie pepperonis and canadian bacon, onions, a little bit of mushrooms, and one square each of red and green peppers. That was my day.
Untitled Post
2004-07-12 01:11:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Yay! Apple just sold the 100 millionth iTunes song a few hours ago. I hadn't gone to the counter for a few days, so I decided to check it out around 22:20. It was about 99.992 million at that point, so I thought it would update at least once more before rolling over. I went to the PowerBook, updated the credit card information, and checked out apple.com just in time to see it switch to 100 million... darn. Oh well, I bought a song anyway.
On Friday I applied for a part-time web designer job for someone at the University of Washington. Yesterday, I went to the Battle of the Bands with Hallie and Hannah. Unfortunately, I arrived in the middle of Random Fact's set, only getting to hear two of their songs. We stayed for Gestalt (which stars Luke!) before walking around the park. We found some ripe blackberries and I ate a whole bunch. I used Hallie's umbrella to reach the ripe ones way in the back. We occasionally headed back to watch more bands, but we could hear them from most of the park we visited. We went back near the end and chatted with Mikey for a while. The One Inch One-ders played, but I wasn't too big a fan of them. They reminded me of Blink-182. Finally, Luke played again in the band Groundless (I believe that was the name). They were pretty good. During one song they all switched instruments and Luke sang lead vocals. In one song the guitarist played with his teeth. I thought they would win for sure. Random Fact came in third, but neither of Luke's bands placed. WTF? Also of note, I saw three more unique steel drummers (and two I had seen before), bringing my total to 11 since school ended. That is nearly half the class.
Today, I was blessed to wake up to a Starbucks hot chocolate and "giraffe turds" (what my brother calls these little banana or apple muffins we make (with lots of oats as well)). They are really good. After watching some TV with the family, I headed to the gym to workout. I didn't realize how little time I had, though, so I was only able to lift a few weights (I had like 15 minutes). Then I rode my bike to a park on the north end to go watch some live music (Dance Factory - warning! very scary website). I had plenty of time because the sound check took a while. I walked down the street looking at the vendors. The ones closest to the park were mostly food and souvenirs. They became less product-oriented at the far end, including the democratic, GOP, "Jews for Jesus", Baha'i, and DARE (anti-drug) stands. I headed back, seeing my brother on the way. I said hi to him, grabbed a cookie, continued back to the stage, and then listened to their whole set. I headed home on my bike and had reached the highest point of my journey when a car in the left lane whizzed by and honked. I looked at them as they pointed toward the sidewalk, telling me to get over. As a bicyclist doing nothing wrong (bicycles are supposed to be on the roads) I was offended by their callous actions toward their greener little cousin. In response, I birded them for about 30 seconds while they zoomed down the road. Most people don't give me problems when I ride my bike, but there are always sour apples.
Untitled Post
2004-07-09 02:45:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I'd like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey of iPod stories (name that reference). First of all, I've noticed they are real popular in the gym where I workout, especially so in the cardio room (the eliptical/bike room, versus weight room). One day I was in there and 4 out of the 7 people (including me) were using iPods. I find listening to U.S.E. really helps when 'running' on the eliptical machine, because most of the songs are around 140 bpm and have a steady four on the floor. My favorite song for exercising is Open Your Eyes [MP3] because it usually occurs in the middle of my regime (so I'm energized, but not tired) and for some reason just gets me to give it my all. In my eNews for Education e-mail from Apple, they mentioned the new Cram and Jam promotion. For educational purchases, you can get a $200 rebate when you purchase most laptops with a 3G iPod (not the iPod Mini). This is great timing because I was planning on getting a 12" PowerBook Real Soon NowTM. It'll be nice to get my very own Mac, my very own laptop, and a chance to play with two Macs on a local network (Rendezvous, here I come). Plus, I think my brother might want an iPod.
I've seen a lot of my fellow steel drummers outside of school since it ended. If I recall correctly, I have seen eight people from that class (I just saw Campos today). That is about 1/3 of the class! Meanwhile I have seen no one (outside of my friends) from weight training and only a few people from physics.
Finally, I'd like to share some finds from the Extropy mailing list. First, the Matrix is real in one lab. It is really fascinating what they are doing. They have a small culture of neurons on a grid of electrodes which has outputs to a computer and inputs back from it. The output enters the computer and controls an "Animat" in a software program that has to navigate an environment. The input comes from the Animat in the computer and is fed back into the culture. In essence, this culture of rat brain is living in its own Matrix. Also, here is a good read about the future of agriculture and other good stuff. It talks about how the population is going to level off around 9 billion people (don't believe the 20 billion by 2050 the stupid environmentalists claim), how to feed all the people while decreasing agriculture space, how suburbia is not too sprawled but rather too dense, and increasing the standard of living for everyone. I had a summary written up in one of my Gmail threads, but it keeps timing out, so I'm doing my best to remember the article (which I read a while ago).
Untitled Post
2004-07-08 02:36:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Howdy. Hard to believe it has been a week since my last update... and school has been out almost a month! What have I been doing this whole time? Don't worry, I'll tell you. As everyone knows, the 4th of July was a few days ago. However, Americans know this as the day we "celebrate the independence of [our] nation by blowing up a small part of it." I had a pretty good day. I hadn't lit off fireworks in two years because last year I was in Utah (which is too dry for fireworks). I left the house around noon or so to pick up Jeff T and Hallie. We stopped at the fireworks stand before continuing on to Travis's house where we met Steven and Travis. We then headed to Homestead park and Travis drove Robert to Best Buy to pick up his car. No fireworks sign. The Man had put a sign that said we weren't allowed to set off fireworks there (even though we did it two years ago with lots of others). Steven and I drove to a park near Jeff T's house. Travis and Robert headed back to Travis's house and became angry when they learned we went somewhere else. While they were trying to find our current location, we set off some... umm... "reservation fireworks." They were of dubious quality, so I wasn't surprised when one made a small arc and landed on the ground before exploding. Unfortunately, the grass was very dry (something we noticed when we first arrived). I carefully the spot where it landed and after a second or two noticed heat shimmers over the landing zone. Steven and I ran over to the spot and I started stamping out grass fires. Steven helped by pouring some water on it. We went back to the picnic table and concluded that maybe we should not light off anymore here (something we knew would piss off Travis even more). Travis and Robert arrived so we were about to set off a few more fireworks when a cop car rolled around the corner and down the street not far from us. Robert was starting to put the "reservation fireworks" behind his back when the cop yelled out telling us we weren't allowed to set off fireworks on city property. He was surprisingly polite and we didn't want him coming over here and see our stash, so we complied. We were going to head to my house, but Robert volunteered his dock. Robert's dock Robert sat around playing guitar while Steven and Travis got to work (they ended up setting off most of the dock fireworks). For the most part we just sat around on the dock and watched the fireworks. It was cool seeing bottle rockets shoot underwater (leaving little trails) and hearing the concussion come from the nearest water. They also tossed some mortars as far as they could (they float) and watched them blow up in the water like little mines. Robert and Travis watching a mortar explode in the water As the time went on, they became more creative. One of the more interesting experiments was cramming the bottom of a mortar tube full of chopped off bottle rockets (no sticks), putting a mortar on top of them, and then lighting it. The mortar would shoot up and then a bunch of little rockets zoomed off in all directions and popped. After the dock, Hallie, Jeff Tyrrill, and myself headed to QFC to split a sandwich (it was getting late and we didn't want to ruin our dinner, yet we were still a little hungry). I dropped Jeff off so Hallie and I could hang out until people arrived at my house for the BBQ.
I was showing Hallie some of our drumbone videos when Travis and Jeff T showed up. In between videos, Travis would read entries from his third grade journal. It was funny hearing little Travis mix swear words ("poopy head mother fucker") and talk about the progress of Wing Commander 4 (which his dad was working on at the time). We headed down for dinner and I was (happily) surprised to find Travis's mom had joined us too. Steven showed up soon as well. We talked outside for a while before heading in so I could show off the PVC. Travis and I (with the help of Jeff H) played Drumbone on the drumbone. Andrew twirling a sparkler. We set off fireworks for a while, then Sam Ghods arrived, we set off some more, some neighbors I had never seen before arrived (I asked if they were from out of town), and finally the show was over. People headed home and I dropped Hallie off. It was a good day.
The next day I watched five hours of Stargate! The whole day wasn't wasted, though, I was actually pretty productive. I managed to find the problem with a customer's computer (which I affectionately call the devil computer). A week or two ago my mom helped me set up an older computer desk in the basement with a decade+ old computer monitor and keyboard. It makes it a lot more convenient to work on computers. Well, one computer down, two to go. Anyway, the CPU was fucked and unfortunately out of warranty. I was going to meet Nick Jakubik on the sixth to chat, settle old business, and get him to split the cost of the new CPU (since this was a joint venture), but unfortunately he shipped out 2004-07-06 14:00, so we didn't have time to do anything. I'll get him eventually. Good luck Nick.
I was on the Terraserver website today to get my geo coordinates in order to update my FOAF. Anyway, I searched for my house and was surprised to see it in high resolution color! What is this new evil? I wondered if USAPhotoMaps supported these new images (since they were beautiful). I checked the website, saw that it did, downloaded it, and cautiously installed it (I didn't want it to erase the 2+ gigs of photo data I had already downloaded). Apparently I got lucky in discovering the new USGS "Urban Areas" because they were just uploaded a few months ago and Seattle was one of the first cities to get an update (probably because Microsoft hails here (or should that be heil?)). So, I spent much of today checking out all the cool new color map data (at .25 meter resolution (resampled from .3 m)). I looked at a few other cities that have the new data and was amused when I saw that the roof of the White House and the roof and court yard of another building next to it were all blanked out or mosaic. I headed over to the Capitol Building and was surprised to see the whole fucking thing mosaiced! Jesus! See what we resort to in the name of homeland security? Unacceptable... I felt like I was watching a Girls Gone Wild commercial (except less sleazy). Anyway, back to the point. This new data was taken in 2002, so it is neat to see the changes between then (≈1990) and now. My favorite might be comparing the Kingdome versus Seahawk StadiumQwest Field and Safeco Field.
Untitled Post
2004-07-01 02:29:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Oh shit! It's already July. Anyway, I noticed that all currently displayed news items (when I wrote this) start out by talking about Gmail, well no more of that... damn! Well, since I accidently continued the Gmail streak, I might as well say something. Gmail has been performing like crap the last few days. It is always timing out, preventing me from logging in, or not accepting posts to the Gmail Test thread (now at 388 posts, with a few from Jeff T as well!).
I, for the first time in two months, washed my hair today. It took a long time and now my scalp is a little sensitive (it no longer has its protective layer of dandruff). However, it is frizzy and therefore knots with itself easily. I've been able to get rid of a lot of loop anomalies that made the dreads look funny and uneven. I'll probably spray them with salt in a few days to help them lock in the position I want. I've even stopped replacing rubber bands because the ends of the dreads are sufficiently locked. My hair is looking good and sexy. I can't wait to show it off at the Vegas fan meet! Less than two months away!
Travis asked me to go see Michael Moore's "Celsius -17.3232323" with him, but I politely refused because Moore is a douche. Of all movies to see in the theatre, that would be near the bottom of my list. I don't even know if I would watch it at a party if it was free to me (it would only be free if my time was worth nothing ;) ).
I was in *shudder* QFC the other day and I discovered the organic section. Very cool. I picked up a quart of organic, vegan, chocolate peanut butter ice cream from Turtle Mountain. This stuff is really good and relatively healthy. It doesn't taste as good Hagen-Dazs (which, BTW, is a pain in the ass to find in Google; you think they would know what I'm looking for when I type Hagen-das and give me a recommendation, but no), but it still tastes really good and it doesn't leave the guilt of other ice creams. Here is a quick nutritional comparison: kilocalories: 150 vs 360; fat (saturated): 5g (0g) vs 25g (11g); cholesterol: 0% vs 33%; and sugar: 12g vs 24g. As you can see, it is much heathier... much (both serving sizes were 0.5 cups). I'd suggest you look for Soy Delicious next time you are at the store.
Untitled Post
2004-06-30 01:53:52 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hmm, got another Gmail invite today. Did one expire or are they slowly ramping up invites again? They shouldn't do it too fast, though, because Gmail is having lots of scaling problems, it seems. I had lots of trouble loading the Gmail Test conversation (which now has 366 messages) and then later this evening I couldn't load Gmail at all. Crazy.
In other webmail news, I just upgrade Squirrelmail to version 1.4.3a, my first upgrade in over a year. Lets hope it works well, because it was a little bumpy upgrading. Some parts seem faster (like the options menu, but maybe that is the placebo effect). I think it would be cool if they added some GMail like javascript (like for collapsing folders on the left side), but apparently they are sticking with straight HTML (what I read in the config script).
Today Hallie, Nick, Hannah, and I played Clue (I won as Mr. Green) and went to Luther Burbank park to swim in the lake. It was the first time my hair really got wet in two months. In the car ride to lunch, I was twirling the base of my dreads and the nastiest shit you have ever seen from hair came out. I can't explain the texture, it was unique, but it smelled very strong (like my normal hair times 100). It was some weird mixture of wax, salt, lake water, and a two month buildup of dandruff. I'm planning on washing my hair for real tomorrow (well, today).
Untitled Post
2004-06-28 00:55:19 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Blah. I've gotten no more Gmail invites recently. Lame. In order to see how Gmail handles with lots of data and e-mails, I wrote a series of shell scripts to send large (165 kilobytes of text) e-mails to my account. The original script sent the e-mails to my local SMTP server to then forward onto Google's SMTP server, but (as you can see in my mail graph's spike) that caused a large spike of unnecessary traffic. I changed it to use Google's SMTP servers, but then it didn't work, so I found out what was wrong and was able to send them directly.
In other news, I went to Capitol Hill ("We love it!" (sorry, I have U.S.E's Emerald City [MP3] stuck in my head)) with Hallie, Nick, and Jake. We took the bus downtown and walked up the hill. There were rainbows everywhere, since it was the day before the Gay Pride March. We checked out a number of interesting stores including one of Hallie's favorites named Metro. We also went to a very aromatic herb/spice store on Nick's quest for a job. Up until this day Capitol Hill was off my radar, but after exploring it and learning that it is Seattle's densest neighborhood, it is now among my favorite neighborhoods (along with Belltown and to a lesser extent Freemont). I had a great time and I hope to return before the Capitol Hill Block Party.
Untitled Post
2004-06-25 22:11:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Odd, I got one Gmail invite today. What happened to my normal six every day? I see two possibilities. First, Google may have decided that they have beta users for now (which would make sense considering the problems they had a few days ago) and are going back to the previous rate of invites. The other possibility, which I just realized is very similar, is that one of my invites expired because it wasn't redeemed, so Google gave me another. The invite came in the middle of the day, which supports the second theory. Maybe I'll get six more tonight. I'll keep you posted ;).
Untitled Post
2004-06-23 00:50:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Another six invites, bringing the total to 40. At this rate, it will only take a day or two to finish off the queue (since I only have six addresses left). Gmail seemed to be having trouble the other day, but it is all smoothed out now. A number of people who I invited were unable to login for a while, though. Also, at the Apple store yesterday I saw on the computer that someone didn't log completely off Hotmail (or Hotmail is really insecure). Either way, I saw their inbox was full to the brim. I made a note of their address and e-mailed them last night asking if they would like an invite. The message bounced because they didn't have enough space. I sent another one today and have yet to receive a response or bounce.
I've been out of high school for a week.5 and have already been to a reunion. Today I went to my kindergarten reunion. A few of the kids moved away and a few were unable to make it, but it had a pretty good turnout (lots of parents as well). The teacher, Mrs. deKlaver, looked nearly exactly the same. She has a very similar haircut (the exact same length), but is darker (tanned) and is wearing modern clothes. Surprisingly, she was able to recognize everyone. I looked at the pictures and in some of them I had pants that resembled those of McHammer's backup dancers. We had a picnic at the beach club, but were unable to see Mt. Rainier (due to smog). Many pictures were taken. I couldn't remember much of what we did that year, but a lot came back to me listening to other people talk. We used to sing "Four Hugs a Day" and once we had a Pizza-Pajama-Pillow Party where we came in after school (a big deal at the time) to have a party. I had a good time. People were already planning the next reunion. Apparently, it will be in four years (so, when we are done with college) at the Roanoke (a local bar).
Yesterday, after eating at Qdoba with Jeff T, we stopped at Trader Joe's to pick up some sea salt. I made a solution (of unknown molarity) with the salt. It was poured into the spray bottle and much was applied to my hair. I put some more on after coming home before putting my hair sleeping device on. Hopefully it will help lock up the ones that are coming loose and prevent frizzies.
Untitled Post
2004-06-21 03:04:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, last night I got six invites. Tonight I got another six invites. Geez, Google is really ramping up service. This brings my total invites to 34. I'm almost done inviting the queue of people that contacted me after my slashdot post. Also, our Gmail Test thread is up to 219 comments.
Hey, interesting coincidence. Last Thursday I went to the gym to work out. So ,I was laying there listening to the U.S.E. CD on my iPod when Travis and Thomas walked by in the hallway. They didn't see me, so I ran after them before they got to the bathroom. We ended up working out together and I spent more time there than I would have otherwise. My arms are still slightly sore from the workout.
Along the same lines, but even more interesting: Today Travis, Lauren, and I left a party to go eat at Mini's in Seattle. I didn't realize it until we arrived, but I had been there before. I hadn't eaten there before, though, because it was too smoky for me. The three of us were talking and I am looking around the room when I do a double take of the table next to us. I turn to Travis and tell him that guy looks familiar. I tell Travis he should ask him if he went to our high school. We look over and he looks at us, so now we are hooked. Luckily, Travis asks him. He pauses for a moment and seems kind of confused, so I got scared, but fortunately he is like yeah, stands up, and walks toward me. I introduce myself and his name is Ben Chester. Now I am sure it is that guy. After talking for a minute or two we come to the conclusion that we now each other from my original Boy Scout troop. Travis is talking with him as well, and Ben says he goes to Western, which is where Travis is going. They talk a little about that and Ben goes back to his table. I thought it was really neat because I hadn't thought about him in years, but I was able to instantly recognize a familiar face and with a little bit of help, remember where I met him. That right there shows you the power of the human brain. Incredible. Travis and I end up splitting a tall stack of cheddar cheese pancakes (with butter and syrup), but it ends up to be way to much and both of us end up full. It was surprisingly good, though (and cheap). Andrew.
Untitled Post
2004-06-19 11:49:10 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hey. I forgot to mention. A few weeks ago I had my Eagle Court of Honor. It went pretty well, the biggest problem was I wasn't notified of the speech I had to give, so I had to write a speech in the 45 minutes before the event started.
On Tuesday I went to a sneak peek of the new Science Fiction Museum in Seattle. The next day /. posted a review of the place. I quickly added my comments and thoughts. Yesterday we went to a presentation by the author of, and about, The Physics of Star Trek. I dusted off my old Star Trek: Voyager shirt which I hadn't worn or washed since middle school. Lets say it has an interesting smell.
Yesterday my mom informed me that there was a U.S.E. concert in a park downtown on Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately they didn't mention it in their e-mail list, so I guess I'll have to wait until the Capitol Hill Block Party to see them (and then again at Bumbershoot).
I also picked up the new Modest Mouse CD from Easy Street Records. This CD rocks! They are a local band as well, hailing from Issaquah. Issaquah is pretty famous now, what with having Nullsoft birthed there and the guy who discovered M41 living there. The CD was supposed to come with a t-shirt, but unfortunately they were all out.
Finally, I got five more Gmail invites yesterday, bringing my running total to 16. I quickly gave these out to the top of a queue of people that e-mailed me in response to one of my /. comments.
Untitled Post
2004-06-16 12:48:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Oh yes, I have some Gmail news. On the 8th I got three invitiations to Gmail. I invited 27 from Vegas, my brother, and Steffen from steel drum. I e-mailed the guy who e-mailed out of the blue looking for an account, but he never sent me a response. Then, I got three more invitations on, I believe, Monday! Not only that, but my brother got the invites as well (even though his account was a week old). I wonder if they will be giving out invitiations on a weekly basis now. They must be nearing production.
Sicne it is beta, I've decided to do a little testing to see what happens with huge conversations. There are six of us in a little group that have a long running thread, although only three of us are really active. Everytime we send a message, we hit reply all. The conversation has reached 76 messages and there are a crazy number of carrots ('>') near the bottom. It is beginning to increase my used space at a large rate, since the messages grow every time. It is almost like a little chat room. If you are a Gmail user that wants to be included in the discussion, send me an e-mail from your Gmail account.
Finally, I've gotten five spams in the little over a month I've had Gmail. One got through and there have been no false positives. I just changed my slashdot signature to my address, though, so I wonder if that will change.
Untitled Post
2004-06-16 03:19:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
It has been a long time, so I'll try to keep each item short. On 2004-05-28 I went to Folklife with Hallie and Laura. For a while we met up with Nick, Jake, and Russell (I can't remember everyone's last name (or spell for that matter), so I'm not going to try). There were lots of interesting people there, from juggalos to punks and from hippies to goths. Lots of interesting smells as well, including marihuana (the spelling used in Reefer Madness). We spent a lot of time exploring the booths and I had African food for dinner. Laura left before dinner, so Hallie and I checked out Easy Street Records nearby. I bought the USE CD and browsed the t-shirts. We then went home and watched Kill Bill.
The next day my family and Jeff T went to see NASCAR 3D at the IMAX theatre (meaning we had to traverse folklife). While I don't like the 'sport' much (and disagree with its main objective... burning fossil fuels), I do appreciate the design and power of the engines as well as the behind the scenes operations that run these events (one megadollar of tires used over the course of a weekend!). After the movie Jeff T and I went to try Qdoba (there is no 'u' after that 'q!'). It was pretty good, but Jeff T said he tasted MSG in our dipping sauce, which isn't good. We had dessert as Dairy Queen.
On Sunday Hallie and I got up early to get to Folklife to see Dana Lyons perform. It was a rotation with other musicians, so he didn't get to play the full time, but he did play Ride the Lawn, My Country, Cows with Guns, Lubricate the Red, White, and Blue, and Turn of the Wrench. After that we met up with Jake and friends to finger paint. I just did a little bit of work on scraps of cardboard, but the other people were really good. We saw Dana Lyons again later, but he repeated Lubricate the Red, White, and Blue. Before we left I bought some tasty vegan donuts. Hallie and I both got sunburnt.
The next weekend I practiced my sticking so I could perform Drumbone at the assembly. I also did my Pyschology final. Monday night all I dreamt about was the upcoming assembly and they were all nightmares of things going wrong (actually, it never got to the point of us actually playing). On Tuesday seven people on the island were arrested for drug charges, as I mentioned in my last post (well, I've learned more details since then). The four people arrested in high school were expelled, yet the two seniors will still get their diplomas. That evening we had a steel drum concert where we performed one song, Fire Down Below. On Wednesday I skipped first period in order to practice, but Austin couldn't make it. I went to weight training and physics. I waited at Luke's house until I had to leave for the Pysch final. Fortunately, it was easier and shorter than I thought it would be, allowing me to return quickly. We all began converging on Luke's house and I helped him move drum stuff to the gym. My dad arrived with another set of blue gloves and then he started helping us apply makeup (actually, he did most of the work). We finished about five minutes before the assembly started (fortunately we weren't the first act), so we snuck in the back of the school. You can see the video of our drumbone performance in the senior assembly. It went well, in my opinion. None of us cracked under the pressure :). Thursday was graduation and after that the senior party. Friday was sleeping during school hours and then relaxing in the evening. On Saturday I went to another steel drum gig (despite the fact that I graduated). We played at the north end of the island near a bike trail. It was just a small group of us and, since it was on the island, I rode my bike. I got a little sunburnt again that day. We didn't have to unload the truck, because we had a gig on Sunday as well. We played for the Seattle Yacht Club. The people requested Margaritaville and Tequila, to give you an idea of their mindset. After the gig they gave us the left over food (which was delicious). We sat around telling stories while eating and Habs had some good ones. I rode with Elliot on the way to the gig and he was playing (a little too loudly for my taste) Modest Mouse on the stereo. I know because I asked him the band name. I listened to them again on iTunes and I think I'm going to buy the CD because they are pretty good. Today I went to the opening of the SciFi musuem in Seattle, which I may decide to talk about later. Now I sleep.
Untitled Post
2004-06-08 12:06:43 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Picture of police car that [underage Mercer Island student] is likely in. This picture was taken by Arnold Kim at approximately 10:20 this morning. While there is normally a police car at school, there aren't usually vans and dogs. At 10:14, I was sitting in Physics playing lowlife with five other people when the room got quieter. I thought the noise change sounded a little odd, so I looked up to see AB being handcuffed by two police officers. The grabbed his bag and led him out of the classroom. The room was silent for a second as everyone looked at each other, and then nearly everyone burst out laughing. I didn't, however, because I don't think someone's life should be ruined for drug charges, but that is a different story. Anyway, about a minute later a cop came in with his bag and told us that everything is okay and there is no security threat. That seemed kind of obvious, I didn't expect it was a security issue. Mr. Noble then said, "Well, that was a non-trivial event." Most of my table folded from the card game (including me) because it was too hard to concentrate. It is funny, though, because apparently (I didn't witness this) about two days ago AB was bragging to his whole class in an oral report(!) that he got away with a lot of cheating (like companies or something) and his friends really enjoy his 'baked goods.' Looks like his hubris finally caught up with him. John Dixon (I believe) told everyone to tell the most ridiculous rumors they could invent about the event and even Mr. Noble helped in the crafting. He wasn't the only one to be taken out in handcuffs, though. Apparently (I didn't witness this either), a girl named [underage Mercer Island student] (the one from my steel drum class last year?) and a freshman named [underage Mercer Island student] were also taken away. There were reports of drug sniffing dogs, but I didn't see them. Walking around the halls after class, I was amazed at how fast the information was spreading. That sucks for AB… just two days before graduation, but I guess he had it coming. Anyway, it was indeed an interesting day at school.
Untitled Post
2004-05-28 00:14:26 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Ack, how could I forget? Yesterday, after eating lunch and fixing my bike, I played DDR for an hour. I hadn't played in at least six months, but the slashdot article about DDR reminded me of how fun it is. I pulled the pad out from under my bed and loaded Stepmania. I played for the whole hour straight and, despite my haitus, managed to rack up some new high scores. The weight I've lost and improved leg muscles makes it that much easier.
This past week my hair has become more aromatic. Maybe it is because I haven't washed it in at least a month. It smells very unique, so I can't describe it. It doesn't smell like the beeswax or salt that comprises it, but it doesn't smell bad. It is, in my opinion, a comforting smell, like an old friend. Also, I ran out of salt solution, so I need to buy some sea salts to dissolve and spray in it. Anyway, today Travis told me something about the time I met some of the Houstin Rockets (see this post). He wasn't there, but he heard from his mom who heard from CC who heard from the trainer of the Houstin Rockets that the players were talking about my hair on the ride to the airport in their bus ("Hey, did you see the guy with the dreadlocks? Those were neat."). However, with that many levels of abstraction, you have to take it with the amount of salt found in one of my average sized dreads. But hey, a girl can dream; it would be cool if they were actually talking about my hair. Take that Colpepper and Agnew (you dreadphobes).
I just got the latest USE e-mail update. I learned that they will be playing at Bumbershoot with the Presidents of the United States of America and another band. Yay! Two of my favorite bands playing in what appears to be the same show.
Hallie told me I talk about food a lot on here. Well, what can I say? I love food. Today we tested our new breadmaker and it made some really nice dough. We made two pizzas and we even had a little bit of dough left over. The first one was my famous spicy chicken (with hints of Chinese flavor) and the second was a delicious Hawaiian with oregano and parmesan. I should change my name to Wolfgang Andrew :). Tomorrow I'm going with Hallie (and some of her friends) to the Folklife festival. Afterwards we might hang out with Travis and some other people, so she can meet my friends. I'm listening to Ride the Lawn right now, another great CD from Dana Lyons. I bought it without ever hearing it... now that is trust. See ya.
Untitled Post
2004-05-26 23:22:56 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, just a short update. I looked at the new inner tube they sold me before I made the long journey to Bellevue. When deflated, it was the right size, so it was my mistake all along. I put the inner tube in the tire and inflated it a little to hold it in place. I then tried putting the tire onto the rim, but I popped the inner tube. Damn. Okay, I'll try this one more time before giving up. I left the tire and most of the inner tube in place, pulling out just a small area near the hole. I applied the patch and let it sit while I went to Georgio's again. I couldn't resist, I had to try this new "One Heck of a Pizza Sub" (that is the correct name of it). Here is how it is made. You take a 15.25 cm piece of bread and cut it in half to make two open face pieces. Then, you squish them down real flat (to make a crispy crust when cooked). The ingredients are pepperonis, another type of meat (the kind that goes on the normal pizza sub, maybe salami), the chicken fajita chicken, olives, jalapeos, pepperoncinis, onions, green peppers, pizza sauce, provolone cheese, parmesan cheese, and oregano. This is all sent through the oven and makes a delicious sandwich. Mmm. I wasn't the only one that tried it; the two people behind me in line got the same thing. I think Jeff has a hit on his hands with that thing. Anyway, while the sandwich was being prepared I talked to Jeff about the unfolding drama at the middle school (since he interacts with lots of middle schoolers throughout the day). I came home to check my tire and was happy to find that the patch was holding. I slipped the inner tube in between the tire and the rim and carefully put the tube on. It appears to be working now.
Untitled Post
2004-05-26 01:26:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I am up later than I would like to be, but it hopefully won't be a problem because of my long nap today. Well, we lost the staff versus student frisbee game on Friday. Go figure :). The final score was, I believe, four to eight. The turnout was terrible, though, both on the teacher's side and the student's. We had a little potluck after the game. Mikey brought his infamous chicken and I brought some banana mini-muffins that I made earlier that day at home. The muffins seemed to be popular, but I still probably ended up eating the most (they are healthy and tasty).
Saturday was prom, but I didn't go. In the afternoon I went over to Hallie's house while her and Cat were preparing for their concert that night. We watched Rocky Horror. I left just before 19:00, but came back about three hours later because their concert was canceled. We ended up playing board and card games while Dude! Where's My Car was playing on the TV. We played Battle of the Sexes, which turned out to be a pretty fair match. I got all the cooking questions while they got all the beer questions, so it all evened out :). After hearing the prom stories, I'm glad I didn't go. Getting wasted in a hotel room and dry humped by a horny, drunk SG isn't my idea of a good time.
Sunday was real lazy on my part. My mom, brother, and myself watched an episode of Stargate and three episodes of 24. They went to see a movie at the film festival, so I was on my own for dinner. I wanted to make a pizza so I could try out our new breadmaker, but it was 20:30 before I looked at the instructions and it takes 1:30 to make the dough. I am looking forward to using it, though.
Monday was senior skip day, but I didn't hear about it until two thirds of the way through my day. Oh well, I wouldn't have skipped anyway. After high school I rode my bike to BCC, watched a few Psych videos after class, and then headed back to fix Hallie's computer. It was mostly a matter of uninstalling a couple of programs from Claria, I mean Gator, I mean Spyware, Inc. and then running AdAware. I also gave her a little tour of Phoenix, I mean FireBird, I mean FireFox. Unfortunately, the unthinkable happened and when I was about to leave, I realized I had a flat. That night Travis invited me to a 'BBQ.' We had a little bit of trouble, but eventually arrived an hour late. It wasn't as much a BBQ as people hanging out eating pizza (actually most pizza had already been eaten). This is where I heard the prom stories. I split a slice of pizza with Travis (I had given up on going to the BBQ, so I had already had dinner). More people slowly arrived and when it got dark we started a fire. It was a fairly random group, but everyone seemed to mesh well.
Today I managed to get up for school (unlike last Tuesday) and enjoyed what was apparently my last steel drum block. I had to ride my old bike because I was too lazy/busy to try and fix the flat tire. It was hell riding that thing; I miss my Trek. I also wore sweatpants to school, the first time since probably elementary school (well, outside of weight training). You know what, screw it, I'm graduating in a few weeks, I don't need to look good for anyone, why do I even still shower? One of the reasons I wore the pants was so I could workout after school without changing. I did a few arm exercises, but the main reason for going was to get some cardio. I did Gluteal 2 on an elliptical machine for 20 minutes (because you all care so much :) ). I was hungry, so I grabbed a 30.5 cm fajita sub from Georgio's. I noticed the Hubbard Club special was replaced by a new pizza sandwich (I wasn't the only one to notice). Anyway, I'll have to try that next time (wow, writing this feels like I'm on a LiveJournal, I apologize). I went home, did some stuff on the computer, turned it off (*gasp*), and passed out. I ended up sleeping for three hours. It was one of the best naps I have taken in a while, but I still woke up groggy. I imagine that is because I woke up near one of the nadirs of my circadian rhythm. Anyway, then I headed to Gregg's to buy some tools and parts for my bicycle. I came home and tried to fix my tire, but I royally fucked it up while trying to put the outside layer on. It is really tight and hard to get onto the rim, and I ended up puncturing the inner tube in my efforts. I put about three massive holes in that tube. Damnit. I tried using the replacement inner tube they sold me, but it was the wrong size. Now I'll have to go return it tomorrow and get a couple in the correct size. Another day of the old bike, this sucks.
A little random Google news. Today I got my second Gmail spam. Two in eleven days... well, it is still better than prattboy. Also, I am the fifth result for pan jam on Google. Bam! I rock.
Untitled Post
2004-05-20 17:12:20 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Mmm, I just made a really good calzone for lunch. It took quite a while to make, but it was worth it and now I'm stuffed. It had vegetarian pepperonis, onions, garlic, oregano, 'pizza cheese,' and parmesan cheese in it. I loosely followed one recipe, but made up the ingredients as I went along.
It appears the random calls to my cell phone have stopped. For about a week I was getting calls from people speaking Spanish. Also, the numbers didn't show up on my phone (CallerID). It was real weird.
One thing I forgot to mention is that my Gmail account returned to normal size. I knew it wouldn't last, but it was funny. I wonder if I really had that much space available or if it was just a typo. Another funny thing about Gmail, under the sponsored links when I'm reading the 419 spam, it lists an ad for Expedia asking if I want to travel to Nigeria. Hahaha, that is great.
Tomorrow is the staff versus student Ultimate Frisbee game. The students have never won, so I'm not expecting much. However, one of our coaches is injured, so that helps. Another coach was injured for a while, but unfortunately he is now better (well, good for him, bad for us).
Untitled Post
2004-05-20 00:08:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
According to Regina (who is an ASB officer) we made it into the senior assembly. If that is true, then this should be fun. I've put our Drumbone audition video online for everyone to see. While you are here, check out my new PVC pictures and Pan Jam 2004 pictures.
Untitled Post
2004-05-18 22:47:55 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hmm, this may be long, we'll see. After three attempts, the CMU face detection thing finally tested my submitted photos and sent me the results. The first one is a picture of Jeff in the Astor and I was surprised it found the blurry guy in the background. The second picture included a Blue Man, which it recognized, but also has a false positive on some tubes.
This Gmail is really cool. The conversation grouping doesn't pick up everything, but usually works pretty well. I submitted a request for having extra features when working with a mailing list that gives the x-list headers (I think that is what they are). One weird thing, though, all of today it has been saying I have 1000000 MB of free space instead of the usually 1000. Hey, if they want to give me a terabyte of e-mail, who am I to complain? But yeah, I'm glad I got this so I could feel safe posting my e-mail to the web. I was surprised at how many things I've gotten so far. In the four days since posting my address, I've received one Nigerian spam, one random request from someone looking to score a Gmail account :), and one online friend looking for help with PHP. I wonder what I missed in the long time before I posted my address. I am amazed at how fast Gmail is, though. My Squirrelmail account crawls because of all the e-mails I have in it (maybe 300-400 megs). Gmail flys (it is fast even considering that it contains only a few e-mails). I imagine they have to store all the messages in RAM (well, at least a RAM drive) since they give you previews of the messages and allow you to search the bodies at high speed. Very impressive I must say, mad props to Google.
Yesterday was good, today sucked. Yesterday I rode my bike to BCC, but overestimated the time it would take and I ended up sitting around for 40 minutes rolling my dreads. After that I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned. I like going to the dentist, as long as they don't pull teeth. Unfortunately, I saw my arch nemesis outside the dentist office and then again not 20 minutes later back on the island where I parked my car. Stalker? Anyway, I headed home and met up with friends to practice Drumbone and PVC IV for our audition video. We decided to drop PVC IV since we had to film the video that night (and it was only our second day of practice), but we recorded Drumbone and it rocked. We did all this with minimal pissing off of neighbors (hey, man I put up with your guys' crap all year, with dogs, parties, mowing your lawn early on the weekends, etc. give me a fucking break once, okay?). Actually, one neighbor seemed to enjoy it and they gave requests. Surprisingly, no one requested Freebird :). It was good to get that wrapped up and off my radar. Now we just have to see if we made it. Oh, BTW, we played on my new and improved drumbone. I'll get video up in a few days (hopefully). Today I missed steel drum because I accidently slept in. This made me depressed the whole morning. Fortunately, racing past cars stuck in traffic on the way to frisbee made me happy, as did frisbee itself. The BCC ride of yesterday really wore me out, as I was a lot slower than normal and my legs just couldn't cut it. Time to go drink some protein I guess :). Actually, my mom made a good Chinese dish the other day that I just call 'protein' ("I ate the leftover protein for lunch today"). It consisted of tofu pieces and soy beans. That is all I can remember off the top of my head. I guess I won't be getting to bed before 23:00 tonight :(. Oh well, 'night.
Oh shit, I almost forgot. Actually, I did, but I remembered within the 12-24 hours I give myself to correct these things. Anyway, the 41st Mersenne prime was discovered by GIMPS a few days ago. I was very surprised because it is soon after M40 was discovered. Lots of new members joined us for M40, and I'm hoping even more will join us now.
Untitled Post
2004-05-14 19:15:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Yesterday I began construction of the high octave PVC. I built the frame and designed (but not glued) five notes. It is really fast construction because all the notes are so short. I use straight connector pieces as supports so the tubes don't fall through the holes (since they are no longer resting on the ground). I couldn't build all of them yesterday because I needed some more of those connectors. Tuesday is the audition, so I talked to Mrs. Edwards today to get the details and permission to submit a video tape (since our instruments are huge).
Today we had assemblies (class elections for the other grades, graduation stuff for seniors + a large senior picture). I played cards during the assembly. After school, I spent a few minutes debating whether I should go home and drive to Bellevue or ride my bike. I needed to be back at school in time to sign up for the bus to the senior party, but I decided to risk it and go for the bike ride. I drove down Gallagher again, which was much less scary. I wasn't sure how to get to Bellevue, so I followed a bike path which wasn't the most efficient method (as I later learned). After getting pissed off at riding on the sidewalks (I was riding there because the road has a semi-high speed limit), I waited for a break in the traffic and switched to the road. I continued past the mall to Wendy's where, after circling for a place to lock my bike, I ate lunch. I then backtracked a few blocks and headed down a road that crosses the freeway. It was crazy driving on the overpass (despite the fact it has many lanes and is large) because parts of the pavement were all worn off in antici... pation of repaving, I had to ride in one of the middle lanes because the right lanes went to the freeway, and because there was lots of construction going on. I successfully made it across and saw a white H2, I didn't bird it because there were too many cars around and I was focusing on riding. On my way back, I forgot to find the H2 dealship so I could drive by, birding it the whole way. Anyway, I went to Home Depot and became one of the few, the proud, that ride a bike to a hardware store. I was about to lock my bike up to cart return thing, when an employee told me they had a bike rike behind some pillars. I went to them and didn't see it. I looked and looked, walking around, and finally found it behind a huge display of potted flowers and plants. Thanks Home Depot, I appreciate the support you give to us green folks </sarcasm>. I bought the five connectors I needed and headed out. It took me about 35 minutes to get back to school, including climbing the dreaded Gallagher hill. When I was nearing the top, I saw a number of students driving around and some people yelled at me (to get my attention, not insults or anything). In hindsight, that may have been the signal that lunch had just begun (seeing teenagers in cars). Upon turning left at the top of the hill, Dana said hi to me from her car. I then bicycled to my usual parking spot and was happily surprised to see lunch still in session. I signed up for the busses, then talked with Mikey for a little while. We headed outside to play frisbee with Kenneth. I didn't realize he meant in the courtyard, with all the people around, on cement, so, after a few tosses, I said my goodbyes and headed home. Of course, I stopped at Starbucks on the way home for a refreshing beverage.
This afternoon Mikey sent me an invitation to Gmail (thanks Mikey!) and I signed up. It won't be my main mail, but I did want to try it out (and reserve my name). I've known for a while that I should add some contact information to my website (some people have had trouble, many more have probably had trouble and never were able to contact me). Now that I have Gmail, I can let Google deal with all the spam I am sure I will receive by posting an e-mail address on the internet. So, if you want to contact me, e-mail me: adpowers@gmail.com. I am now uber. Maybe I'll use this account for reading the Freenet Devel list, as Gmane no longer remembers what messages I have read. Plus, it will allow me to quickly test out the conversation features. My first invitation will be going to Travis, so I can finally get him off Hotmail. Any future invitations will be traded for sexual favors (having nerdy connections pays off). Now I will probably go work on my instrument, as I have been a bad boy and not worked on it all day. I think I'm going to try to improve the reed on my drumbone first (because cardboard sounds like crap). See ya later.
Untitled Post
2004-05-11 00:05:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello. On Satuday I went to the Pan Jam at Seattle Center. I enjoyed it, but I don't think many of my classmates did. It was interesting how many songs the different bands play in common; I guess the selection of pan music isn't very large. Another band was nice enough to help us move pans and lend us some of their kitchen (various percussion) when we realized we left ours at home. I was near the front on the left side of the stage (from my viewpoint). Unfortunately, I couldn't see nor hear the other basses, making it difficult to play Fire Down Below (a long song with lots of complicated parts). Speaking of Fire Down Below, the majority of the class doesn't like it, but it is one of my favorites because it is most like the songs I heard in Trinidad.
After returning the pans to school, Nick Jakubik and I went to 24 hour fitness to play some racquetball. We stopped at my house so I could change and then went to Nick's house in Mordor to switch to his beater/souped-up (sort of a paradox) Volvo. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and I had a veggie enchilada. We never got around to playing racquetball (they didn't have rackets), so we lifted weights and went on the elliptical machine. I did a bunch of reps (with respectable rests in between) of this arm excerise with free weights and damn, I haven't felt this sore in a while. I am still a little sore now. There really is something to be said about free weights versus machines. In this case, not just the arm hurt, but lots of muscles nearby. Along the same line of thought, I got some protein supplement powder today. I need to increase my bench in order to get an improvement grade for weight training class. Also, my biking gets progressively slower throughout the week as I become tired. Hopefully this extra protein will help me both recover faster and lift more. With my recent veggie/vegan tendencies, I don't think I was getting enough protein. It kind of makes me nervous, though, because the nutritional/supplement market seems very sleazy. Some of the products look like the stuff you see advertised in cheapo TV commercials and spam. Because of this, I'll keep a close eye on whether the extra protein actually helps or not.
Ahahaha... hehe... ahahahaha!!!!111oneone. Today was the "Day of Service" *salutes flag* at my high school. I didn't go because my college classes overlap with it... yeah, that it's it. On my way to class, I saw two groups working in the rain within 1.3 kilometers of my house. I did go last year, BTW. IIRC, the weather was great last year. I sat in the downstairs of Crest erasing stray marks from standardized test booklets, watching Jerry Springer, and eating all the staff's chips and dip. Good times.
Note to self: Make sure CPE works before attempting onsite installation. Yeah, that was definitely my own fault. As you may know, I am infamous for my amazing ethernet crimping skills (well, at least infamous in my head).
nigritude ultramarine
Untitled Post
2004-05-06 23:55:52 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
As of today, you are looking at... err, well, reading the website of an Eagle Scout. That is right, I had my Board of Review today, passed, and officially became Eagle. Yay!
I road my bike to school Monday through Wednesday this week, progressively getting slower, more tired, and sick feeling when I arrived in the morning. Fortunately, I had to drive today (that hurts to say). This allowed me some much needed rest. On Monday (I believe) I rode around on 84th near QFC and around the local neighborhoods. I got going pretty fast on 84th, but that was wimpy to what I would wind up doing Wedneday (semi-alliteration). I needed to print some pictures of Eagle Scout project for the board of review, so I rode my bike to Factoria. I circled the school heading towards Gallagher Hill. I began the ride down Gallagher by applying some brakes. I didn't push to hard because I felt that might make me unstable. I went down the first drop at reasonable speed. The second drop was insane, though. My braking wasn't doing much, so I thought screw this. I let go of the brakes and just winged it, holding on for my life. I picked up speed and went crazy fast. I have no idea exactly how fast it was, but I felt like I should be wearing leather in case I fell. At one point a gust of wind came and titled me a little, but it didn't last long. Man... words can't explain how (as Mr. Faix would say) INTENSE that was. Wow. Anyway, Factoria is really bicycle unfriendly, they have almost no bike racks and there is a huge f'ing road down the middle of the 'urban' area. I ate at Cucina Presto (since ours was shut down so the lot can be demolished) and printed the pictures. I got a yummy Frappuccino at Starbucks on the way home and a little boy touched my bike. Damn kids.
It is sad how lazy my life is right now. Tomorrow I'll get up, ride to school, play some steel drums, lift weights, and then go to physics. Who knows what will happen in physics; today we watched Bill-Bill-Bill Bill Nye the Science Guy. He used the Gyroscope of Science. Haha, what a good series. Anyway, back to my schedule: I'll ride home, possibly stopping at Starbucks on the way home to get a hot chocolate and mingle with the other fine people who hang out at Starbucks at 11:30 on a Friday. There are always people doing like interviews or something. Maybe I'll see some more of Paul Allen's employees and someone might even try to talk to me, Jah forbid. After that I'll come home, surf the internet for a while, maybe take a nap, maybe build my instrument, who knows.
Ooo, Saturday should be fun. We don't have frisbee that day, so that means I am completely free for the Pan Jam at the Seattle Center. We are playing at around 16:00, so come check us out. I get a free t-shirt; $tshirts++. Perhaps I'll take along my camera, put the pictures on my website, and see if it'll increase my Google rank. Oh wait, I'm already number one for "steel drum pictures" (with or without quotes) *evil grin*.
Untitled Post
2004-05-03 01:16:16 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Woohoo! I got a new bike today: the Trek 1500. I had been wanting one for a while and my parents were going to get me one as a graduation present, but there was a big sale at a local bike shop, so we took advantage of it. I had been having trouble deciding which bike I liked the most of all the ones I test road, since they are all similar. I knew time would not help me make up my mind, so I decided to just get one. Also, the bikes were all so similar and any bike would be a big improvement over the 25 year old bike I was riding. Oh man, it is so nice. I took it out for a test ride when I got home, riding around the neighborhood and then down a straight stretch of road to the middle school and back. It accelerates well and goes so fast! And the light! Oh so light! Okay, now that you have heard the wonderful news, you can decide whether you would like to read my long winded account of the weekend or move onto something else. You've been warned.
We went out for dinner on Thursday before the play. We couldn't find the restaurant we were looking for, so we went for our second choice that we easily found. It was a nice little Italian restaurant near Queen Anne; the name escapes me. I had Tortellini Al Prosciutto. It was a delicous combination of prosciutto and ricotta in tortellini with a creamy gorgonzola sauce. It didn't look like much food when it arrived, but it was very rich and filling. After dinner we quickly headed to "It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues" at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. I was surprisingly entertained considering I am not a big blues fan (not that dislike it, I just don't listen to much). They went through a rough history of blues by singing songs of the time. There was a surprising number of innuendos in the music. I didn't realize the blues were so explicit :).
Oh man, Saturday was a long day (good, but long). In the morning I went to Starbucks but realized I forgot some frisbee gear at home, so I had to forgo my pre-frisbee hot chocolate. We waited for a while at Crest for people to show up, but only five of us did, with no girls. We called around and got two more guys to meet us there, but that still left us with no girls. Since the league rules require all teams have at least three girls on the field at all times (versus two last year), we had to forfeit both games. We still played scrimmages with both teams, however. I played horribly in the first game (I blame it on the lack of my lucky hot chocolate). About three fourths of the way through I decided to eat the brownie I brought along (despite it being a frisbee game and me being a frisbee player, it was not that kind of brownie). In the next game I played better, so it might be the chocolate affecting my play. Anyway, we lost the first scrimmage about 4 to 11, if my memory serves me correctly (of course, I was tripping on chocolate, so we can't be sure). The second game was much better, though. The team we played had about the same record as us (no wins). One of our players left between games and they had three girls, so we played six on six with one girl on each time and one girl sitting out at all times. This is my favorite team so far, since they are pretty casual like ourselves. They were from the Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, or some big long name like that. After the game, instead of creating chants, we played a game called Cowboys and Princesses. I lasted until there were just three of us left, but, when princess was called, I was too slow jumping into Mikey's arms and was therefore disqualified.
Later in the day I headed to the middle school to play steel drum at a Ridvan festival for members of the Baha'i religion. I was pretty sure it started at 19:30, but I wanted to arrive at 19:00 just in case. It actually didn't start until 20:00, so I had plenty of time to follow Plan B: Starbucks run. I rode my bike to Starbucks where I saw Jeff from Georgio's (where I had had lunch) standing outside his store. We chatted for a little while before I headed into Starbucks for a refreshing Frappuccino. I ran into some fellow steel drummers, one behind the counter and a few sitting around drinking and chatting. As I sat listening to Moby on my iPod and drinking my beverage, I saw the omnipresent Robert. He must be hanging out at the gas station, so a few minutes later when I left, I slowly rode past the store where he spotted me and motioned for me to come over. We chatted for a while outside the station before Bart got mad at us for possibly making people think they were still open. I headed back to the middle school and learned that it didn't start until 20:00 (until then I thought it started at 19:30). I headed back to chat with Robert for a while and, upon hearing about the religious festival, wanted to check things out. I followed his horribly inefficient Mercury Marauder on my infinitely more efficient bicycle. I entered the band room, finding a seat away from the rest of the group. Robert followed me in and declined an invitation to play percussive backup. While the rest of the group discussed mundane things, I sat rolling my dreads. We decided to do something fancy for our entrance: having each group enter just before their part begins during Jump in the Line. This, unfortunately, didn't leave me with much time to find the music after walking on stage. This problem was compounded when my book wasn't on the drums (my fault for not being able to make it to setup). These books were alphabetically sorted while mine was chronological. Also, the main book I was using didn't have like two of the songs. Also, a seperate problem was that there were only two of us basses present. None of the tenor basses and only us two basses could make it. He was on the other side of the drumset, so I felt like I was playing by myself, yikes! We played our short set and then quickly cleared the stage. I double checked to make sure we were meeting at the high school and Haberman expressed a little concern, making sure I wouldn't get hit by a car (as it was dusk). I told him it would be no problem, but thought to myself, "Eh, I'm nearly killed every week, nothing new." I knew it was more dangerous at dusk, so I rode without iPod and used the car headlights to my advantage (I would be able to see cars coming in from side roads). I blasted off behind one car, but ahead of most. The steel drum trucks passed me just before I exited Island Crest Way. I was afraid of arriving after everything was already done, so I continued my furious pace. It seems easier to ride in the dark because hills don't seem to pose as much of a challenge (since you can't see them). When I arrived I was surprised to see the trucks still backing into place and the other students walking (lead pans in hand) through the parking lot. I got a few compliments and people seemed surprised that little ole Andrew was a m@d b1k3 r1d3r. While returning pans, I got a call from my mom who wanted to pick me up since it was now night (probably a good idea). I hestitantly accepted. Later one of the students offered me a ride home. This helped cement the persona I try to represent: a green, iPod listening, bike riding, frisbee playing, dreadlocked, hippy.
Today was pretty relaxed in comparison. I slept in late, had a large brunch (since my dinner last night was the Frappuccino), and picked up my bike. My dad got me some vegetarian pepperonis for pizzas :). I didn't use it tonight, though, because we still had a lot of turkey pepperonis and canadian bacon. Those veggie pepperonis are (according to the nutritional information) mostly fiber and protein. Right now I am listening to Ride the Lawn CD (I had only heard about half the CD until now). I laughed at the namesake song Ride the Lawn because of all the hilarious sound effects. What does cracking whip have to do with riding your lawn on a lawnmower? I don't know, but it is still funny. This is what Steve Jobs would call good Karma music. I have spent a long time writing this entry and I am too lazy to check it all, so I apologize if I screw up any spelling or grammar, or on any homonyms.
Untitled Post
2004-04-29 16:44:12 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Last Saturday we had another round of frisbee games. The weather was great. We lost the first game 0-11 and lost the second 5-11, so we are making progress! The first game used the cup defense on us, which our team managed to defend against pretty well. The problem was that they didn't advance it very much and the other team had lots of players, so when the cup got tired, they would just switch them out.
It was nice in the morning on Tuesday, but by the time frisbee practice began, it was cloudy. We saw rain off in the distance and then came lightning. When the electrical storm got closer, I left practice. I am not a fan of those storms. Yesterday, however, it was a different story (as is today). It was really sunny and there was almost no wind, great weather for playing frisbee. Jeff M and I stopped at Baskin Robbins when I was taking him home because he heard they were giving out free ice cream. It didn't start until 18:00 (a half an hour after we got there), so we went home. Then I had Travis come over to show him PVC IV (since he is incapable of doing what I ask (there is a reason for him to learn it, BTW; I'll say more if anything comes of it)) and teach him how to play it on the PVC. The mid-octave PVC has only three notes left, w00t! Then we both drove to Baskin Robbins and met his mom there. We got saw Jeff and Rafi there and got our free ice cream. Travis went home to watch Smallville, so I hung around for a while with Jeff and Rafi when Chris showed up. After he got his ice cream, the four of us headed over to the Bellevue Baskin Robbins for more free ice cream (singing Bohemian Like You on the way over).
Oh, before I forget, it was WASL testing (for sophomores) this week and last, so I have very little school. Today I had my physics final. The lowest grade I can possibly get on it (if I answer 0 questions) is a 70%. On, I believe, Monday, Mr. Noble showed us a video of what happened at his house over the weekend: sheep shearing.
iTMS celebrated its one year anniversary yesterday. In the year it has been open, I have bought 99 songs (some in the form of albums). I was pleased to hear that they are giving away free songs every day this week (plus more at a less frequent rate later). Even though I might not listen to them much, they were free, so I had to download them! Today I grabbed the free Avril song (you don't have a choice in which song you get) and redeemed our sole winning Pepsi cap for Seal's Love Divine. That was close, as the Pepsi give away ends tomorrow.
That is everything interesting I can remember off the top of my head. Tonight I am going to a play about the Blues (support live theatre, screw Hollywood) and on Saturday our huge spree of steel drum performances begins with an evening gig at the middle school.
Untitled Post
2004-04-21 23:08:33 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Good stuff all around. Yesterday I built the stand for the mid range PVC. Since then, I have completed five notes! These ones go so fast, especially since the majority of their length is in the first downward stretch. The only problem (I kind of expected this) is that, since the pipes don't extrude a couple of feet along the ground for support, the thing tends to tip forward. I'll have to get some more wood to make it balance out.
My friend got a gmail account, neat! Since I don't want that one sentence to be the whole line, I'll include another anecdote relating to e-mail. Early this morning, after a tip from Jeff T, I joined the Extropy mailing list. Extropy: "Critical Thinking about the Future." It'll allow me to build up more knowledge about life extension, cryonics, mind uploading, etc. Indeed, very exciting stuff.
Finally, I got Dana Lyons's new CD, Riding the Lawn. It is signed and numbered (mine being CD #100).
Untitled Post
2004-04-18 23:49:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some cool stuff happening as Spring break winds down (just 24 minutes left until Monday :( ). Three days ago I finished my bass PVC. I kept having delays (running out of turn pieces and cement, having it rain on our efforts, and a brother who refuses to help me), but I finally (with some help from my dad) finished it. I got some music from Nate's PVC site and began testing it out. Fortunately, all of PVC IV can be played on one octave. The last few days I have been jamming to PVC IV, figuring out timings, and thinking about what each octave should play (once they are all finished). PVC IV rocks and it is cool being able to play it on an actual instrument (versus listening to it on the CD). I'll make a video of myself eventually.
Two days ago I went to restaurant kitchen supply store with my mom and brother. We picked up a pizza stone, which my brother and I made dinner on that night (while my parents were at Emerald Down living the high life). We tried two pizzas. The dough on the first was really hard to spread out and make it look right. I eventually spread out to enough area to make a successful pizza. We used the margarita pizza recipe, but since my brother doesn't like tomatoes (and I don't think we had any) we replaced them with pepperonis. We didn't use any sauce. The second pizza was very similar. The dough turned out better (I think the first water we mixed with the yeast was too hot (or we didn't let it sit long enough)) and my brother made me use tomato sauce on it. It turned out well, and it allowed us to leave some for our parents to try. I can't wait to make some more pizzas from our pizza recipe book. Maybe I'll have a pizza party like they did on Queer Eye.
Today I went to the Mariners game. We won. I like how baseball games are more relaxed than basketball games (they let you bring food in; it is quieter). What I didn't like is that they had two (versus one at basketball games) propaganda songs... er, excuse me, "patriotic anthems." The only other thing I didn't like about the game was that the veggie dog I bought was super tiny. Grr.
Untitled Post
2004-04-14 16:33:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, not everything went as planned. Yesterday my dad was busy, so my brother and I went to California Pizza Kitchen and Home Depot. We bought thirty-some more 90 degree turn pieces. I had to drive there :(. Today I slept in late, so I was late to Frisbee practice and no one was there. So, I quickly went home, picked up my brother, and went to have sushi with my dad. The sushi was okay, which is all you can expect when it is that cheap.
A few other things I forgot to mention: I ran into Robert Monday night coming back from the Sonics game. He was in a car with Bart and some other people. They pulled up next to us (after we honked and waved), so I rolled down my window and said hi. Robert was surprised to find that it was me and asked if we wanted to race. My mom teased them by accelerating a little and they shot off :). Also, early that day, I was at Georgio's and saw Paul Allen's housekeepers (a full time job, I imagine).
I've also added some more pictures. Andrew's PVC instrument. Pictures from the Sonics game. Finally, I took a picture of my iPod in front of Paul Allen's driveway. At first I rode down over his private bridge, but I didn't take a picture of his house on that bridge because of all the scary signs and video cameras. I would not have had a very quick getaway up the hill on my bike if the security guards decided to chase me.
Untitled Post
2004-04-13 02:00:12 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, I imagine this will be a huge post, so be prepared. First a few random comments, then I'll get to a chronological description of the last week. I was telling Jeff T about my naive Bayesian Spam filter (after he was talking about his recent increase in spam). He didn't think mine would work very well, expecting a lot of false positives. It usually works pretty well; it's accuracy is currently 94.0006%, but that is unaccurately low. Two things make that low: I turned on Auto Learn before I had much spam, so the corpus wasn't very large, and when I first got a big surge of the e-mail worm back in February, it guessed on a bunch of them before I had a chance to add a few to the database, creating a lot of false negatives. The other quick news item: My Apple stock has doubled since I bought it, as of today (+100.72%). Sweet. It is slowly dragging my portfolio out of red, kicking and screaming.
Over a week ago on a Friday, I went for a facial at Gene Juarez in Bellevue (*shudder*, Bellevue). I decided to go because Kyan is always praising facials and spa treatments. I thought, "What the hell, lets give it a try." They first led me into the locker room, which is many orders of magnitude better than the high school locker room. I had a robe, shorts, and sandals/slippers waiting for me. They apparently expected me to take off all my normal clothing, but whoa, I've never done this before, I'm going to leave one item on ;) (I don't know whether this will be a 'rug and tug,' as my uncle puts it). Next I walk into the waiting room with fountains and stuff. My feet are placed in a bowl of hot water, I'm given some ice water, and they hand me a wicker baskets of magazines. I flip through real fast and find none that interest me ("What! No MacWorld?"). When I realize how long this might take, I grab one that looks promising. I spend the next more than five minutes flipping through over forty pages of advertisements. I guess that is normal for fashion-type magazines. I read an article in which the author claims he doesn't want to live 100+ years. It depresses me when I realize I might not reach the Singularity (which is high on the reasons why I am getting in shape now, to try to reach it). Anyway, to get my mind off that, I read a more uplifting story about how Crystal Meth is the new drug of choice in Hollywood. Apparently, by watching what drugs are represented in movies, you can follow the evolution of the California drug scene. I was unfortunately not able to finish the article before Shelby came up to me. She cleaned the water and foam off my feet and poured it below the couch I was sitting on (I didn't even notice there were water spouts and drains below me). We then walk through some hallways to the private room. First, as my mom told me would happen, she puts lotion on my hands and then I dip them in parafin wax and put them in little plastic baggies. I then hop in a soft bed and begin the process. She puts a headband around my head above my forehead to keep my knatty hair out of the way. Then begins the barrage of creams. I have no idea what most of this stuff is. She applies some stuff for exfoliation and then points a steam machine on me. Even though no scrubbing is involved, I can still feel that slightly painful peeling. After coming back, she uses a warm rag to wipe of the remaining stuff. At some point she removes the wax from my hands and puts lotions down my arms, shoulder, and neck. Also, at some point, I get a face massage thing. Before the end comes more creams. Then she leaves and says she will meet me outside the room with water. I put the robe back on and continue the journey. I get product recommendations and then return to the locker to return to civilian clothing. I buy the recommended product (a really good moisturizer, as it turns out) and leave. I look at my face in the car mirror and see it is all shiny (shiny as in what MTV uses to capture its audience, not as used in Firefly).
That Saturday we had an Ultimate game. All of us seniors take Rafi's(?) car (so we aren't tied down by the young'uns) and listen to Less Than Jake (I believe that was the music). Rafi tells us about a CD set he borrowed from the library that contains four CDs meant to be played from four stereos at once. We lose both games 11-3, but I consider that a success. The second team was very athletic, but not very versed in the strategies of Ultimate. They teach us how to play a ninja fighting game (instead of doing cheers). I was satisfied with my playing; I managed to maintain energy and not get exhausted. It was also a beautiful day.
I can't, off the top of my head, remember anything worth mentioning that occured on Saturday through Tuesday. Of course, that may be because I am high on pseudoephedrine hydrochloride. Wednesday, however, was a fairly good day. Well, except for when I had a close encounter with a car on Island Crest Way. People need to look before blasting through a crosswalk (even when they have a stop sign). On Thursday we started pickleball in weight training.
On Friday, I got really pissed. I was coming south on the sidewalk on Island Crest Way; I slowed down at an obstructed view road (where drivers are often careless). Fortunately I did, because I would have likely been killed. Right before I entered the crosswalk (I would have been in it had I not slowed), a huge delivery truck came racing through the crosswalk up to the side of the road. I looked at the driver, but he didn't look right once, not once. He then, without looking right, pulled out into the road. The driver did not see me the whole time, despite the fact that he nearly fucking killed me. This pissed me off to no end. As I promised myself on Wednesday, I would now enter the "FUCK YOU CARS" mode. I quickly peddled to the crosswalk near Island Park and slammed the button (previously I would wait for cars that were near the crosswalk to continue through). I sped across the crosswalk and got in the southbound lane on Island Crest Way. In my mad fury, I began peddling at a furious pace. Unfortunately, my bike is down to only five gears (the front gear control transfer wire thing broke), making it hard to go too fast. I was so angry, I ignored the tired signals from my legs and I continued up the hill near QFC. I headed to Starbucks to cool my temper (with a hot chocolate, none the less). I was a little calmed when the Barista related his recent experience to me. He was considering uncapping his cable modem (just for fun), but quickly canceled that plan when he read about some people that had the FBI come knocking for doing the same thing. After finishing my pastry, I grab my hot chocolate and continue riding home... on the roads (versus sidewalks). From that point forth, I vowed to only ride on roads. That way cars will be more likely to see me. What? You don't want to have to worry about passing me on one lane stretches? Well maybe you should have thought about that before NEARLY KILLING ME! Jesus Christ, people should get an annual aptitude test before they are allowed behind the wheel of a three ton, penis envy, death machine. If one of these "soccer mom"/"balding needle dicks" prevent me from becoming transhuman, I'll be pissed.
On Saturday, I helped Geoff Ma with his Eagle Scout project. That was a good 4.5 hours of community service while hanging out with friends.
On Sunday, my mom and I went to drop my bike off for service at a store in Bellevue (employed by two of my classmates). Unfortunately, they were full at the time, so we'll return in two weeks. However, it did provide us the opportunity to see some of the current bikes so I can get an idea of what to ask for for my graduation present (even though I don't think graudation is a big deal, I'll still use it as an excuse to get stuff :) ). These new bikes are amazing compared to the 25 year old one I am riding now. Lets name some differences. They are a lot lighter, with the cheapest using aluminum (I believe mine is steel). They have a weird ass gear shift where you use the brake handles to shift (removing the need to take your hands off the handles). Also, they are 27 speed versus my current 10 speed (five if you consider that it is broken). The cheapest road bikes are kind of expensive, but man, I can't wait to get one. After that, we picked up my brother and headed to the Museum of Flight to see the Concorde. I'm always amazed how they manage to get the coolest planes (like an old Air Force One).
Today, after going to my BCC Pysch class, I worked on my PVC with my brother. We made the C#, the second longest note. It is one of my favorites so far (the design is neat and near perfect). Plus, it allows us to play the main part of Time To Start (C#s, Bs, and As), albeit much slower because our paddle is nearly destroyed. Then I went to the Sonics game with Travis's mom. He would have joined us had he not gone to California. The seats were a little far back (row 17) and slightly obstructed, but it was a fun game. I got some of the inflatible clappers and turned them into inflatible talking clappers (like the talking drum). By squeezing harder, you get a higher note. Unfortunately, I made a hole in one of mine. After the game, thanks to Shelley's connections, we were able to get "Locker Room" passes from Keith Jones(?) of the Houston Rockets. Though we did not enter the locker room (I didn't think we would), we did get to hang out behind the visitor's bus where all players (of both teams) must pass to exit the building. I met Steve Francis, but didn't get my picture with anyone. I did take pictures, which I'll put up in a few days. Big Lo was there and he had a huge pile of big shoes, pratically all the players gave their shoes to him.
Anyway, that is a recap of the week from what I can remember at this early hour. Right now I am listening to my iPod and trying not to doze off (I've got stuff to write!). Tomorrow I'll likely head into Seattle (using only a bike and/or public transportation, mind you) and have all I can^Hre to eat sushi with my dad and brother. Good day!
Untitled Post
2004-04-01 22:56:46 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, I admit, Google fooled me. Google released a press release about their new Gmail e-mail service which appeared to be an April Fool's day joke because of the casualness of the text, the odd date format, and because they were giving away the amount of free service not seen since the heyday of the dot-com bubble. I once used a now long forgotten (the name slips my mind) website where you could upload three gigs of your own MP3s to stream when you were at work or on a different computer. That service was unsustainable at the time, but I guess storage space has dropped in price enough and Google has good enough ad algorithms to make this worthwhile. Anyway, many of us on /. didn't believe it. However, I became suspicious when they announced jobs at their new luna facility. It didn't feel right, this would be the first time they had two April Fools jokes in one year and Gmail wasn't as obviously fake as the others. I guess I was wrong; I am very impressed with the promises Google is making. If I didn't host my own e-mail, I'd definitely switch to Gmail. Who knows, maybe they'll use their PhDs and the massive amounts of spam they are sure to receive to come up with a new anti-spam product (subscription service for businesses?).
In other news, the progress on my PVC is slow but steady. We currently have the F, C, G, D, E, and A built (in that order). Unfortunately, the futher we progress, the slower the progress becomes because we are spending more time playing tunes and less time building :). We are finally getting enough notes to do some interesting stuff. I can't wait until we finish the sharps, which the Blue Man Group makes a lot of use of. Speaking of BMG, I saw them last night (technically, this morning) on Leno in HD. You can see the appearance at the Blue Man Library. They played I Feel Love again, but with the Diner theme continued from the music video.
Untitled Post
2004-03-30 12:14:27 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
On, I believe, Saturday, I watched three Stargate episodes in a row with my brother and mom. That is probably watching at the same rate as Jeff. I am not going to turn into a Stargate fanatic like my brother (right now he is planning his costume for the convention in July), but one thing is for sure, it is better than Enterprise :). We also ended our spree of watching movies about cross dressers and transexuals. We watched Finding Nemo, a Disney (HISS! BOO!) and Pixar (YAY!) film. While I don't like supporting Disney, at least I didn't watch it in theatres where they would have gotten a lot of money.
I have come a long way on my PVC, I tell you what. Luke and my brother helped me over the weekend, but we still have a long way to go. We are working on the bass PVC right now, so we have the frame built and four notes completed. Four notes down, 29 to go. However, we have been streamlining the process and the notes get smaller as we go. It is looking pretty good, in my biased opinion. The thing I like about it, versus some I have seen, is that it has a good mix of straightaways and crazy turns. I've seen some that are a big mass of curvy pieces and others that have almost no bends. I think ours has a good balance.
I just saw that they are opening up the Statue of Liberty this summer, grr. We were about half a year too early.
Just a reminder about the Maestro program. They released some new datasets yesterday, which you can download from my torrent site (or from the other mirrors on the official site).
I think I'm going to buy another domain soon, so keep checking back.
Untitled Post
2004-03-25 22:17:09 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Here is a Tech Eye HipTip (sorry, I just finished watching an episode of Queer Eye): If you don't want the shreds of your important documents looked at, don't use them as packing material. Eventually, you will send a package to the mom of a paranoid, Lone-Gunman-wannabe nerd who will begin piecing together credit card reciepts. Instead, use a shredder that cuts horizontally (as well as vertically) and then burn the scraps. If you must use them as packaging, then at least mix it all up so the receiver doesn't have enough pieces to build whole documents.
The last two mornings, I have woken with a cramp in my right, um, leg. Like my hamstring or something. I think my mad bicycling spree has put a lot of stress on my leg muscles. Luckily, there is no frisbee this weekend and I can't think of anything I need to do, so I'll just relax, take a hot bath, fix some computers, hack some more on the PHP scripts my brother and I are writing, and maybe, just maybe get started on my PVC instrument. Unfortunately, it has been raining the last few days and I want to build my PVC instrument outside (for the extra room, the ventilation so I don't get high on PVC cement, and as to not displace the cars in the garage).
With the eagle project and application behind me, the physics test that I dominated, and having the server work again (*knock*), I am feeling less stressed out.
Untitled Post
2004-03-24 07:28:15 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Oops, some things I forgot to mention: On Monday I went to the Sonics season ticket holders party (in place of my mom). I spent more time doing the science things than hunting down players or cheerleaders (because it was at the science center). Tonight I'm going to the Sonics game with Travis.
Yesterday, I helped Nick Jakubik with his eagle scout project again. We went to the different work sites to film people. Before leaving the island, though, we stopped at McDonalds so Nick could get a fix for his munchies (he's "trying to bulk up for the Navy"). I had one of his Aryan chicken nuggets (100% white chicken meat) and some fries. While driving between sites, we blasted random music (well, mostly blasted bass). We listened to Hurricane by Bob Dylan with the bass turned way up, that was fun. That is all.
Untitled Post
2004-03-23 22:14:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some more updates, I'll try to keep it short. Last Wednesday (the 17th) I turned 18. That means I can now be in porn. We made a vegan chocolate cake and I have been using the left over soy milk in hot chocolates. On Friday I got a new 10 year passport (no, not from Microsoft). I love how the picture turned out; because of it I am sure to be flagged by the TSA. Also on Friday, using my birthday money, I went to the AAPL store and got some new in-ear headphones. I was a little hesitant because some people have had problems with them, but I got them at a discount (because they were used and returned, and supposedly cleaned). It turns out they work pretty well, and block out a ton of sound. I am listening to some of my recently purchased Bob Dylan music at a really low volume and it still overpowers my computer fans. Jeff T, of course, gave me a hard time when we were having lunch yesterday. He said I was an Apple whore and I should have gotten this particular brand of in-ear headphones. I asked him how much they were and he replied "$150-$200." Yeah, I'm going to buy those. Thanks Jeff. The only problem with mine is they come slightly loose when bike riding. Speaking of bike riding, I rode to True Value after school (downhill at high speed :) ) to buy a saw blade and some PVC cement. I'm going to continue making my PVC instrument Real Soon NowTM. Finally, today someone asked me how much Linux costs. Hehe, I guess he didn't realize that Linux is free and Free.
Untitled Post
2004-03-15 00:22:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Last Wednesday, I went about my daily activities and only rode in a car once. I rode from home to school to BCC to Cucina Presto on the island to school to frisbee and back to school. My parents put my bike in their car and gave me a ride home (it was dark and I was exhausted). I got so much exercise, though, I spent much more time exercising then I did in school (although, there was a bunch of overlap). I never thought I would bike ride that much in one day. I got stopped at a crosswalk in Factoria and this weird guy kept talking to me. That was the downside of the day. The coolest part was going really fast down hills and not having to walk through the BCC parking lot. I'd rather ride my bike a bunch of kilometers than walk a few hundred meters :). I also brought my laptop to school and used it to pass the time during breaks in my schedule.
On Friday I rode to school only to learn that my first period was canceled and there was going to be an assembly. Well fuck that, I was already planning on skipping weight training. I'm not staying at school for three hours or whatever to get about 35 minutes of classtime. About ten minutes after arriving, I had talked to some people and decided to leave. I rode home, stopping at Starbucks on the way. As usual, I ate my pastry in the store and took my hot chocolate home. Unfortunately, I think a car was following me and refusing to pass on the street my house is on. I was going slowly down the final stretch of hill and I spotted a broken planter in front of me. I didn't want to move into the street in case there was a car, so I tried to go on the inside between the planter and the neighbor's lawn. I was riding with one hand and breaking as hard as I could, so I couldn't stop or steer very well. I knew nothing good would come of this, so I aimed for the lawn with the goal of saving my hot chocolate. My bike hit a sprinkler, I kept goint more, my feet stayed with the bike, so I landed on my knees. Some hot chocolate splashed out the little hole, but most survived. With minimal injuries, but lots of dirt, I walked my bike across the street to my house. I came out of that as good as could have been expected.
On Saturday, my mom, brother, and I went to Pizza π, a Vegan pizza restaurant in the University District. Searching for their website URL to link to, I also discovered you can submit your order online, cool! The three of us ordered the Hawaii 5-OHH and a custom made thing with onions, garlic, and faux pepperoni. It was interesting when the pizza arrived because the 'cheese' wasn't melted, the pepperoni looked cold, and there was no grease. However, upon test, it was indeed quite warm, and quite good. I split a slice with Travis later in the day and even a meat-loving guy like him enjoyed it. I think I should make it my goal for this summer to ride around (on my bike) to all the local Veggie/Vegan restaurants in town. Coming home, we were easily able to find the offices of Omni Group, a Mac software company. They are right off a popular bike trail near the University of Washington. I've been looking at them for a possible internship. It even comes with a massage every other week :).
Today my family continued its spree of weird movies by watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It was a pretty neat movie. It stars a transsexual transvestite from East Germany that has an 'angry inch' left over from her sex change. She is following around Tommy Gnosis because he stole her songs. I only know about this movie because Marcus, a blue man in Las Vegas, starred as Hedwig in a live production of the story and Cyn talked about it.
Finally, today, my brother and I started working on a series of PHP scripts. It is my first encounter with PHP, so it is slow going. I was, however, able to design the layout of the scripts and the logic that it will follow. Once completed, we will most likely be releasing it on Sourceforge under the GPL. It comes in response to the increased censorship on the school network. This website is blocked for 'gaming' of all things. They might be able to block the outgoing connections, but their printers are still announcing the presence of their admin pages to me using ZeroConf :). I guess it all evens out in the end. I can laugh at their insecurities and they go to hell for causing blindness in a whole generation of youth (and I'm not talking about masturbation). It is too bad the government and influence groups are scared of a free flow of information. That is why I run Freenet.
This is the 'Silent Pimp' signing off.
Untitled Post
2004-03-10 00:31:36 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I swear, this isn't a blog. Anyway, some updates. On Monday I woke up and noticed all the light entering the house from outside. I figured it was either going to be a nice day or the sun had gone supernovae (the two are mutually exclusive). It was a little foggy, but I knew it was going to clear up. It was great riding home from school. I even went slow a few times just to enjoy it. In fact, I even sat outside for a while and read a book! I know! Today was a different story, however. Lets just say, it was not raining when I left! By the time I arrived at school, I was practically soaked. Oh well, it was refreshing and made sure I was awake for school. Although, I'm not really sure I need to be awake for steel drum block ;). After BCC I went to Interlake High School with Nick Jakubik to help him with his eagle project. I filmed him interviewing people in the Special Ed department for a documentary thingy he is making. For dinner I went to Applebee's with most of the Lost Boys patrol. We didn't accomplish anything, really, but we had a good time. Tomorrow I have a steel drum performance at the Fine Arts Showcase and I plan to ride my bike the whole day, from home->school->BCC->school->frisbee->school.
Speaking of steel drum, I brought home some music today. I practiced for a while and I am able to play a recognizable part of three of the songs (in other words, a familiar part of the song). These include The Hammer and Rant and Rave, two songs we will be playing tomorrow, and two of my favorites. Another good one that I have been practicing is Both of Them.
One thing I forgot to mention before: I watched The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert over the weekend with my family. I didn't realize that it is ten years now. Also, since I hadn't heard of him at the time, I didn't realize Hugo Weaving was in the movie. That is right, you can watch Elrond/Agent Smith in drag.
Okay, I have been building up inside and I think it is time for some politics and rants. If you don't care for that kind of thing or are pansy-assed (err, excuse me, "easily offended"), then you probably don't want to continue reading. An interesting thing to point out, I just did a Google search for pansy-assed (to make sure I was spelling it right, hyphenating it correctly, etc.), and I got this pansy-assed story. Interesting because it is local and Seattle has just begun giving out marriage licenses. Anyway, that gives a good segue (no, not Segway) into my discussion on all this gay stuff going on right now (stuff, of course, meaning rights and marriage). I personally don't see any reason for a constitutional amendment. You have to be joking me if you want to remove human rights from the Constitution (what, do you want gay prohibition?). Who exactly is Bush trying to have rally behind him? Anyway, if he wants an amendment banning gay marriage, why not black marriage as well? I mean, they had as much choice being black as gays have about being gay, and it is discrimination all the same. In fact, why don't we define marriage as a holy bond between two straight, white, Christians? I mean, they are the only people that matter, correct? Sorry, I'm a little cynical.
Okay, now that we have the gay issues out of the way, lets talk about something that has been on the mind of every heterosexual male for the last month or two: Janet Jackson's breast. I told myself I wouldn't talk about it, but I feel I must (although, this will be broader than one woman's breast). First of all, I'm outraged. I'm glad I don't have kids because I would be horrified to have them see on TV the same thing they sucked on for the first 18 months of their life.</sarcasm> Honestly, what is the big deal? This is another thing I can't understand and CBS and the FCC are just pissing me off by cracking down on 'offensive content.' I'm not offended, so why crack down? Why is there fear among many Americans over sexuality? Our Euro cousins don't seem to have any problems. If there is anyone in this country that saw a breast for the first time on the Superbowl, then I say they have more problems than seeing a breast on TV. This goes along with Howard Stern's show. I don't watch the guy and I probably wouldn't enjoy the show, but don't censor the man. "Censorship causes blindness" is what my school likes to say (how hypocritical of them). Everytime someone is censored, a bunny dies.
Next issue on the agenda: obesity. There were some articles on Google News a few hours ago about how obesity is approaching tobacco as the number one preventable killer. I also read about how 1/3 of all Americans are obese. Okay, where the fuck are they? Looking around school and my daily acitivites, I don't seem to find many obese people. When I go to a fair, well, that is a different story. But where do they go when fair season is over? That, my friend, is a quesion I can't answer. I don't see how people can let themselves become obese. Sure, some people have glandular problems and I exclude them from this. I was a little chubby when I was younger. I didn't enjoy it, so I decided to take charge. I started watching what I ate and no, I'm not talking about Atkins or $fad_diet_of_the_month. I cut back on unnecessaries, cut back on total food intake, cut pop out nearly completely, and exercised. I feel great now. If you don't get enough exercise, then buy an iPod and take it to the gym, for a jog, or on a bike ride. That is the Andrew diet (I believe something similar might be the "Hacker's Diet"). Another thing I have noticed. Everyone in the country has an eating disorder, either too much or too little. How many people are actually "ideal weight"?
Finally, I'll touch on abortion. I saw a bumper sticker today that read "It's a child, not a choice." I interpreted that as an anti-choice (aka, pro-life) viewpoint. I wanted to ram that car, oh well. How do anti-abortionists explain their killing of doctors? Do they claim they are saving lives by killing someone who takes lives away? Well, using the same logic, we should be able to slaughter anti-abortionists. They (unfortunately) kill plenty of doctors. Hmm, now that I think of it, that's not actually a bad idea; it does have some merit. Hmm, I'll be back...
Untitled Post
2004-03-07 22:43:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Last Friday I finally finished my Eagle Scout project! My dad and I rented a "rotohammer" which is sort of a cross between a drill and a jackhammer. We used it to break through the concrete; it went through like 'buddah'. It is nice to make that worry go away.
On Thursday, I went on iTunes and bought a bunch more music. I bought 16 songs so I could burn another CD. I had it within six seconds of 80 minutes (the size of the disc), but it wouldn't let me burn it. I figure it had to have a little more space for the lead in and out information. So, I had to remove a song before it would continue. I still have two songs that aren't on a CD yet. Today or tomorrow I'm going to buy some more. The next CD will probably have some dance music, Green Day, Marilyn Manson, Enya, Bob Dylan, and more. As my mom pointed out, I have a very eclectic taste in music. Oh, I can't forget the Polyphonic Spree, put some of that on there too.
I bought all this music recently because I fixed something on the laptop that was preventing me from buying music (well, not physically, but I didn't want to buy any until it was fixed). All I had to do was create a symlink, which was amazingly easy. The problem was actually preventing me from updating my iPod, so that was the first time I had updated it since back in December. It was good because I was finally able to put Switched on Christmas, 18 B-sides, and the USE EP on my iPod. It was nice listening to all this fresh music on my way to school (on my bike no less).
Speaking of my bike, I rode to frisbee on Tuesday. By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I aborted my plans of riding to the BCC on Wednesday because I was too tired. Anyway, back on subject. I arrived at frisbee on my bike listening to my iPod with my dreads. Mikey mentioned how I was multiple stereotypes rolled into one. Excellent. One of the girls suggested I dye my hair, which I have considered. I only have two dilemmas about that: which color to get (green? blue? orange?) and what will it look like in a year when my hair has grown another six inches? Maybe I should get each dread done in a different color; either green, gold and black or red, green and gold. I'll think about it.
Finally, speaking of USE, I noticed that they are coming back for a show in Seattle on March 16. That will make an excellent birthday present to myself. Now, just have to convince Travis or someone to come with me.
Untitled Post
2004-03-04 07:28:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I ran a few errands yesterday. First I went to the bank and deposited my CD MAP class action lawsuit check. Now I'm taking money away from the labels :). I was looking on the website and it appears that I cashed it exactly one year after the form to get the check was due. It took a while to be sent out, but when it finally arrived, I was sure to put it on my New Year's resolution page.
Also, I stopped at the post office to pick up two packages that the post office was unable to deliver (no one was home). Could it be? I got there right when the correct mail truck was being unloaded. When I saw the post office person wheel a cart around with a big circular package in it, I started to smile. It was a little awkward carrying a circular container, but I managed to get it to the car safely. The wrapping on both packages was really beat up, with holes all the way through one. They were also plastered with tons of stickers for customs and other things. I went home and immediately opened them. I set up the stand and then whipped out the Steel Drum. Yay! I went upstairs to get my sticks and a music book (which has the notes) so I could begin practicing. I'm going to try to get some music for it tomorrow.
Last night I had my Scoutmaster Conference. Now I am so close to getting Eagle. Less than two weeks to go :).
Untitled Post
2004-02-29 17:14:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some new things to report on. First of all, I went to Trinidad for a week over mid-winter break. We left just as Carnival was starting, but that was okay because we still got to see lots of steel drum stuff. I have pictures but I haven't put them on the website yet. It was really interesting there, which I'll hopefully write about later. A lot of people thought I was rasta. Also, they had some good music and we bought a compilation CD of this year's top soca hits.
I'm still working on my eagle project, but I can't get through the damn wall in the Boys and Girls Club. It is really frustrating us that we can't attach the table to the wall.
Also, I've been getting a lot of computer work the last few weeks. First, the computer I built with Nick Jakubik. Unfortunately, the filesystem managed to magically disappear. I think Nick is fixing that problem. Today I went over to my Aunt and Uncle's boat to fix their computer. I brought the latest NAV virus definitions on a CD. They had MyDoom and some of its derivatives. Finally, Mr. Radow, a teacher I had two years ago, called with some questions about installing OS X on his Mac and some upgrades.
Yesterday, I turned off our cable modem before I rode my bike up to get lunch. Unforunately, I forgot about it and didn't end up turning it back on until after I ate lunch and watched this show about sandwiches (so, over 1.5 hours later). Fortunately, it worked and we are running at 3.0 mbps. I ran a speed test and it reported that speed, however, unfortunately, none of my downloads have gone that fast yet.
One of the reasons for the slower downloads is probably because I started up Freenet again. I went to their website a few days ago to see how the progress was coming and they had just happened to have released a new stable build which includes a new rate limiting system. I was getting pretty good results last night and this morning, but now it doesn't really seem to be working.
This is sort of a three day weekend. I have BCC tomorrow, but at high school we are having a 'day of respect.' There is, of course, no way in hell I'm going to that. It is a whole bunch of speakers and presentations. There aren't even any classes that day. Yay! I get to sleep in yay!
Finally, I was getting diesel on the way back from the computer appointment and it is 1.96 $/gallon. There is no fucking way I am paying that much for gas. I filled it up halfway, just enough to get me through until the prices drop again. I ride my bike to high school, but BCC is still a long way to ride. Maybe I'll try riding there tomorrow. You know, if we had a car free city...
I'm jealous of the NY Blue Man fans. Those that went to the fan meet last weekend got to have a drum circle in the Blue Man studio with two of the Founders. You can find some cool clips from it on the Blue Man Library. Also, it exclusively has the I Feel Love music video. It was first shown to the fans during the fan meet and they were given it on VHS to add to the library.
Untitled Post
2004-02-08 23:44:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This weekend was mostly dominated by my Eagle Scout project. I am building a train table for the local Boys and Girls club. Yesterday we painted a bunch of stuff. Today we assembled the pieces and painted. Thanks to everyone who came (why I am thanking them here? I doubt any of them read this), especially Geoff Ma who came both days and brought a bunch of Key Clubbers (better than baby seal clubbers). It turned out better than I thought it would, it seems very sturdy, but is a little heavy. Thankfully, one of the volunteers is in AP Drawing and Painting and was able to help with the mural.
Yesterday in the evening I went to a Star (Trek || Wars || gate) convention. I wasn't able to go during the day, because of the project, but I went to a Voyager Vaudeville thing that night. It started with Ethan Phillips (Neelix, happy birthday!) and Robert Picardo (the Doctor) performing a play they wrote. It is based on Voyager after they return to earth. Then, while Tim Russ (Tuvok) was limping to the stage (he was in crutches), Robert Picardo sang two songs from his latest CD: Extreme Bob. Then Tim Russ, played some songs from his CDs. Ethan Phillips was also injured, he hurt his wrist (he said it was from TiVo'ing the Jackson breast over and over). They guy who played Dr. Chaotica was also there.
Some loser on the NHS list got like MyDoom or whatever, so I'm getting spammed with both bounces from forged e-mails from me and the virus itself. For some reason, the virus is using my secondary mail server, so all e-mails are being stripped of the virus by Eric's MTA. Fortunately, it didn't take long for my bayesian spam filters to be trained to move the viruses to spam and leave the bounces alone. Jobs, I love Bayesspam.
I finally had another job this weekend. I went over to a dad's (from Boy Scouts) house. Nick Jakubik and I were going to help them install Age of Mythology on their external hard drive and install a new graphics card. Unfortunately, their computer was a Pentium II with no AGP slot (and they had an AGP video card). I didn't want to sound like sleezy computer salesman, but Nick and I felt the best option was a new computer, especially if the kids were planning on playing future games. I didn't feel it would be worth it for him to try and upgrade the computer; at some point you just have to stop and get a new computer. I went on NewEgg today and spec'ed out a super Athlon machine (sans monitor and graphics card) based on the Shuttle XPC series for $558.98. Man, what a little money can buy you these days. This computer will be as good as mine (excluding peripherals like monitor and speakers) for a lot less. However, it won't run prime95 as well ;) (no SSE2).
Right now I'm listening to Rose Tint My World and feeling pain from inside my head right behind my eyes. I think it is time to quaff some NyQuil and call it a night.
Before I go, I need to mention that Venus Hum Fans was launched (a sort of sister sight to the Blue Man Library). They have William's Last Day at Work which I quickly downloaded. However, I think I should delete it until the CD comes out so I don't get tired of it before I get the high quality version. What am I saying, I can't get tired of it! Go download it yourself! Also, after reading about the Superbowl on the Blue Man message board, I learned about a few more places Blue Man could be heard. Since we didn't record the pregame show which featured Time to Start, I had my parents point the tape to 0:51 left in the 4th quarter. During the highlight thingy, the song Above can be heard. w00t! I had to hop up and air paint drum. I can't help it, I automatically start air whatever'ing whenever I hear a Blue Man song. Is that an airpole I hear? No? Okay. Finally, it looks like the Vegas fan meet is set for the weekend of August 21st. I'll have to clear up my summer and convince my parents to pay for it :). They'll hopefully pay for the plane and Blue Man tickets, but now I have to convince them to get me tickets to see Zumanity ;). Trippingblue was asking if anyone wanted to see it with him that weekend.
Okay, I'm ending the message for real this time. I'd just like to say I love Love of Strings. 'night
Untitled Post
2004-02-07 15:25:50 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I have just released my whole website under a Creative Commons license. By whole I mean everything that was created by me. I had been delaying and trying to decide how I should license my copyrighted work. I felt this was the best and easiest option. To see the details, scroll to the bottom of this page.
Also, this is my 100th post! Yay!
Untitled Post
2004-02-03 22:10:06 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I have a sore throat, like the feeling you get before getting sick. I remember seeing a suggestion by Grandma Moby, so I went back and found his instructions. I brewed a drink with ginger, garlic, and cayenne pepper. I am trying to drink it now, but it is really slow going. That cayenne pepper is really strong. Whew.
Today was the first scout meeting since the snow camp. One of the adults gave me a double print of a photo that I am in. One of the adults said I looked like an Eskimo Bob Marley. Then, before the night was over, I saw Mr. Ma, who I hadn't seen in a long time. He asked if I was getting ready for the homeless weekend :) (one class at school has to spend a weekend on the streets of Seattle with only like five bucks).
Time to get back to quaffing the crazy concoction.
Untitled Post
2004-02-03 00:46:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
We are Viet Cong resistance fighter. We kill American. An interesting thing happened this weekend, why not.</zoidberg> The snow trip actually started out pretty badly. I was all ready to leave on Thursday, sitting at home waiting to be picked up, when th phone rang to tell me that the road to Paradise was closed that day. Well, damn, now I'll have to get up real early and go with the plebeians, err, younger scouts. We arrive at the base, but the road is still closed. We decide to camp at, I believe, Sunshine. It only had an inch of snow, really lame. I heat some hot dogs up in a wok for my patrol and then we get into the van to play cards. There is nothing to do here, but we get bored after one hand. We sit around and talked for a bit, all the while fogging up the windows. Then, of course, we had to make the Titanicesque hand smears. We all find a place to lay down in the car to take a nap when the adults bust in and tell us we are heading up to longmire. I wasn't really tired before, but I passed out very quickly once we started on the car trip (a relatively short ride as well, maybe 20 minutes). Arriving at Longmire, we look around the national park building and then play in the snow. There is a lot more snow here, maybe five feet. We have a younger scout vs older scout snow ball fight; the adults later joined our team. I got a quick bloody nose. While I was hopping around like Smeagol, the adults put chains on their cars. We drove back to camp and soon started dinner. We made Ma Po Dofu. I went over to see what the younger scouts were eating: macaroni and cheese with broken hot dog pieces. I chat them up for al ittle while, give a few samples of our food, then head back to our table (shared with the adults). My patrol gets in the tent and we are all in bed going to sleep by 18:15. Yeah... early. I have a bunch of dreams that night. Between the two nights, I had probably at least eight unique dreams. This includes dreams about controlling a robot, breaking a finger, being in prison (and freaking out because I should be in there), seeing Josh at Lakeridge, and having the ber-pass to the NYC subway system. I had a few more, but you won't hear about those ;). At one point I went to throw away some trash and Gatorade bottles. To my surprise, they had a garbage and three... three types of recycling cans. I was in New York two weeks earlier and had trouble finding any recycling cans. Here, in the middle of nowhere, where a bunch of recycling cans. I guess that is one difference between here and there. Anyway, the next morning we have english muffin sandwiches (with egg, cheese, and turkey bacon). We are lived the high life. The road didn't open until 10:45 and we didn't get to our spot until about 12:30. Nick, Eric, and I went our own special way to the campsite, blazing a new trail. We ended up a little high on the hill, so we went down just a little and around the hill some before finding the perfect spot. It was a steep incline on an out of the way hill. We immediately began working. I took off my jacket and one of my gloves (you get hot quickly). Nick worked on the main hallway and I worked on the kitchen. Danny, Derrick, and Derrick's dad had to leave at around 14:30-15:30, so we lost a lot of labor. It was down to Eric, Nick, and I, but we pushed on. Also, it was becoming more ineffecient as we had to throw snow higher to get over the ever increasing walls. Plus, the further underground we pushed, the more throws we had to make to get the snow out of the cave. By the end, while digging out the sleeping area, we had to throw each shovel full at least three times. Around 16:00, during my break, I made grilled cheese sandwiches in the wok. Eric and I had three while Nick had two. By then we had finished the kitchen, putting a green tarp over it (high enough to stand under). We continued work digging out the sleeping quarters, which was the least efficient part. We eventually had to whip out the flash lights and continue in the dark. We didn't get it done until well past 19:00. We should have had two full days of work, but we did pretty good considering we only had about half a day. We put a huge green tarp in the cave, which was way too big for the space. Oh yes, we knew our hallway was far enough down when we hit ground :). Our sleeping quarters were uphill from that, and the sleeping platform was just slightly below the mantel piece. Nick dug a small hole in the side of the main hallway for our bathroom. We forwent dinner, instead opting for instant sleep. It wasn't for the claustrophobic, we had over six feet of snow above us. Plus, the lid of my bivy sack and the green tarp kept falling on my face. The next morning I cooked scrambled omlets made with frozen eggs. The task of destroying the cave was almost as challenging as creating it. It didn't take as long, but we exerted a lot of effort. Nick went inside the cave and dug up while I dug down from the top. Eventually his shovel pocked through. Being stubborn, he refused to use the normal exit. He insisted Eric and I pull him up through the hole we made. It took quite a bit of work, but eventually managed. We finally left our cave and campsite as the sun was coming out for the first time. It was the first time I saw the mountain the whole weekend. I passed by the younger scouts igloo remains, the first time I had been to their little city. On the way back we listened to some of Jake's obligatory bluegrass music on XM radio. We stopped at fast food (which I didn't eat). Nick, Eric, and I crossed the street to the Wendy's. Being the smooth operator I am, after jay running across the street, I slipped on sidewalk gravel, cutting my hand and putting a small hole in my pants. Sitting in Jake's Jeep waiting to leave, Nick pulled in front of us. As Nick bobbed his head to music in his tricked out Volvo while wearing World War II style tank goggles, Jake told us that is why they don't allow scouts to ride with other scouts. After a disappointing start, we made a really neat snow cave in short order. Too bad we didn't have much time to enjoy it. In case you hadn't noticed, this year we named it after the Viet Cong. Two years ago it was named Tora Bora 2. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to dig a Saddam spider hole. Finally, after arriving at home, I performed some much needed Andrew maintence (I didn't have time to complete all of it that day). Then we headed to Blue C sushi with my Mom's friend from Nebraska. Afterwards we watched the Superbowl commercials. There were some good ones. The Pepsi/iTunes one sucked, but the giveaway is still doubleplusgood. I spent the whole show anticipating a certain Monster.com ad. When it finally aired, I jumped up and started air tubulum drumming (since it featured I Feel Love by Blue Man Group featuring Venus Hum).
Speaking of snow caves, iPods are freaking everywhere! I guess that is what happens when you sell 700,000 in one quarter, the largest chunk of the market of any manufacturer. I saw a bunch in NY. In the beginning of my weight training class, I was the only person with one (that I knew about), but by the end, there were three of us. Finally, the three of us that slept in the snow cave all have iPods.
The other day in school I saw a sign that read something like, "Be tolerant of people in other clicks." Does that include people in the unable-to-tell-the-difference-between-click-and-clique clique? This is why I wish I had a little digital camera, so I could take it with me and take pictures of all the funny things I see. That is the only problem with my current camera, it is too damn big. Another example I would take a picture of was at the Sonics game today. They were advertising (on the big screens) having Squatch "deliver you personal valentine." Did they get Reggie Evans to write this shit? I keed, I keed, I love Reggie.
Finally, for about a month(?) now I've been off pop. It feels great. However, I made an exception last week. My brother got some Jones soda and I had a green apple (the flavor of soda). I think I will make an exception for the occasional Jones soda. It is almost like dessert soda. The reason I'll make the exception is because it is, I believe, caffeine free, it doesn't feel caustic in my mouth, and doesn't leave a nasty after taste. Screw nasty Coke or Pepsi, go out and try a Jones soda. Support the underdog. Free Kevin. Free Mickey. Free Goatse. Hug a tree. Screw Comcast. Save the planet. Need I go on?
Untitled Post
2004-01-27 23:24:35 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Lots of good stuff happening. The weekend before last (1.5 weeks ago), I went to New York with my family. Here you can see Andrew's New York pictures. Already one of them has been used in a photoshop by my friend for his CSE class. The trip was great fun. We left on Thursday night and took the "red eye" flight there. The whole weekend was busy, but I won't talk too much about it now. I'll try to get a more detailed write up written later. However, I will say that I got to meet BlueJoe, Riddler, and LaL, some NY Blue Man fans. You can see a few pictures of the four of us on page 14. I went just in time, because I think the Astor show has already started changing!
As you may know... well, you probably don't know. Anyway, Goatse got its domain taken away. Apparently some woman complained and the Nic.cx people took the domain away, citing their AUP. This sucks! As you can see from the banner I have added (which is on every page generated by this index script), I believe we should "Free Goatse." In my opinion, someone should start their own top level domain, .gts, and give domains away for free, on the condition that all sites display hello.jpg on their front page. I'd do it. It truly is a sad time.
On a happier note, I had no high school today. Hobbs announced on Monday that we didn't have to come to our steel drum final, which was the only class I had today. There are some disadvantages of not having steel drum, but it was nice sleeping in. Tomorrow all I have is weight training and I'm planning on riding my back. I need to do that more. I used to be a bike riding machine in middle school, but that stopped quickly once I was able to drive (and also, the high school is a lot farther away (hence harder to bike to)).
I was listening to the radio yesterday (because iTrips and tape adapters sound bad and I don't have a 1/8" audio in plug in my car (because I am not willing to pay 300 bucks or whatever for a stereo that has a plug which should be standard)) and I heard All Things twice. Excellent! Unfortunately, I have still only heard Somnabulist once (which I have yet to buy on the iTunes Music Store).
My friend Xyzzy invited me to Orkut the other day. I played with it that night, but it was down the next morning. I believe it is still down for maintance and to fix a lot of bugs (and security holes). One of these holes allowed users to delete other users, and I believe mine may have been a casuality. This is unfortunate because I had entered all the data I wanted. Plus, I had founded a few communities (like the Blue Man Group community). We'll see what it is like when it comes on again. I'd also like to see what becomes of this project once more people start using it.
Today I got my acceptance to the UW. It was expected, but I am still relieved to get it.
On Thursday I am leaving to go on this year's winter campout. I can't wait to build a huge snow cave. The food should be good as well. If possible, I may bring some stuff for sushi. Man, I'm excited, we are going to build a huge complex (the complex we would have built last year had it not been raining (yes, rain and now suck; thank Linus for the women's bathroom)).
That is all for today. The next update will probably be after the snow camp. See ya!
Untitled Post
2004-01-16 12:14:39 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello from Soho Apple Store. Picture one. Picture two. Picture three.
Untitled Post
2004-01-14 21:32:51 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some good news recently. First, I helped my dad adjust the temperature on the hot water heater so now we have plenty of hot water in the morning. This morning was the first time I had taken a hot shower in months. I have taken warm showers, but it hasn't been this hot in a long time, even after giving it a long time to recharge.
Next, I just finished my college apps today!!!!111oneoneone Most were submitted online and my mom and brother are driving to the post office right now to drop off a signature page. I was actually surprisingly satisfied with my essays, they are distinctively Andrew. I mean, how many other people do you include phrases coined by Steve Jobs in their college essays?
Today in Weight Training I did 34 sit-ups in 30 seconds. Plus, I got two extra "hair points." I was trying to pace myself in the beginning, because I wasn't sure if I could keep up the rate of sit-ups. However, this turned out to be unneccessary because I didn't really get tired, so I made a large push in the last few seconds to get a few more in there. What I am not looking forward to is the push up test. More good news in Weight Training: I learned that there will be both a Martin Luther King assembly and a Link Crew meeting on Friday, the day I am missing. "School! You've just been Lee Harvey Osw0n'd!*" The reason I am missing school is because I am taking the 'red eye' flight Thursday night to New York. Lets just hope I'm not marked "RED ALERT" by the government. It should be fun, though. I'm going to see the Blue Man Group on Sunday. It will be the first time I have seen Tubes; and just in time, too, because they are changing it in February. I am also going to visit teany, Moby's restaurant. I'm hoping to try some yummy Vegan food.
Finally, I am still girlfriendless. Do you think you have what takes to be my girlfriend? Take the Andrew Hitchcock Mate Compatibility TestTM and find out. Don't worry, I'm open minded, guys can take it to (in fact, the results are mostly from guys so far anyway). Be warned, however, this test is not for the easily offended. Be careful before googling any of the terms you are not familiar with. Finally, spread the world :).
* coined by Robert Hui.
Untitled Post
2004-01-04 11:08:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Something I forgot to mention in my New Year's Eve post. At one point, while we were watching Maktub, the screen behind him went black (it is always turning on and off doing something, so that isn't unusual). However, you could then see the pre-OS X Mac menu bar at the top of the screen and some dialog was being displayed on the left hand side. It wasn't too noticeable because it was at the very top, but I thought it was funny. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera.
Untitled Post
2004-01-04 03:43:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Woohoo, Alexa finally added a screenshot to the Related info page for my website. Unfortunately, it was taken one day before my new design was launched.
Also, I sort of became the unofficial Bit Torrent tracker for the Maestro program (released by the JPL). Their website was slashdotted, but I managed to grab one of the releases, so I made a torrent out of it. Another guy was able to grab the Linux release, so he used my tracker too. I was talking to one of the guys through e-mail and on IRC and he thanked me. I also may serve as the Bit Torrent tracker when they release updates. The real cool thing about being the tracker is getting to look at all the neato stats. The software is pretty cool, actually. It is the same software used by the scientists working on the current Mars probe from NASA. Right now it comes with some demo data, but they will upload some actual mission data in a week or so, once they have accumulated enough. Just be sure you have a metric arseload of RAM (because it is written in Java, for one thing).
Finally, I got my tickets to see Blue Man Group at the Astor Place Theatre in New York. I have never seen Tubes before, so this should be a lot of fun.
Untitled Post
2004-01-02 04:28:57 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Woohoo! Every week or so I try to do a search on some terms that I associate with myself, just to see how well I am doing on Google. I believe this is the first time I have ever beaten the lawlink website in a search for Andrew Hitchcock. Unfortunately, though, a few weeks ago I noticed that adpowers is trying to be hijacked by a porn site. I've changed my /. signature to be adpowers which links to my website, so hopefully that will help. Also, now that I have mentioned adpowers on here, Google might rank it better.
Untitled Post
2004-01-02 01:37:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Robert and I were on the internet a few days ago looking for New Year's parties. I knew about the LAN/dance party at Nathan Hale High School, but we concluded that it would likely be filled up with scrawny/fat, smelly nerd guys yelling, "1 @r3 pW|\|z3|) j00" across the room. Luckily, I found that EMP would be having a New Year's party in the Sky Church. United State of Electronica and Maktub were the bands that would play. I went to the USE website and downloaded their audio and visual samples. They are a local electropop band and the concert video looked fun. I asked my friends if they would want to go, but everyone was either out of town or their parents made them stay home.
Now, onto New Year's Eve. It was snowing the night before, but I woke up early (10:00!) to find the snow was lame. Also, the street had already been plowed. We had been planning to go the Museum of Glass in Tacoma; the snow proved to not be a problem in reaching this goal. We listened to some Moby and R.E.M. on the way down. After arriving, we headed straight for the Cafe. My brother and I were hungry, so we split a sandwich (which turned out to be just fine because the sandwich was huge). Next we went into the huge space capsule like thing sticking off of one side. To my surprise, it was empty! I imagined it would contain a gallery or something. The entire thing was hallow with a bunch of furnaces at the bottom. We entered and took a seat to watch the "House Team" work on blowing some glass. I have always thought blowing glass was cool, so it was enjoyable. After watching them complete their project, we headed to the exhibits. They had a lot of other types of art besides glass (like some resin sculputres and photos). We then headed to the roof to a pedestrian overpass to view the glass by Chihuly. We also went to this other building (which was closed last time we checked) to see its glass, but it is a government building and was therefore closed to the public due to CODE ORANGE!. However, we did step in and peak around from behind the security station. That concluded the trip and we headed home.
I didn't really want to stay at home, so I convinced my brother to come with EMP with me. My mom called asking about tickets and learned they were sold out. Damn. However, she said they might release some at 19:00, so we had dinner and then headed over. We paid 10 bucks for parking(!), which I believe is more than normal (because they wanted to make a killing, being next to the Space Needle on New Year's). I was like, "Fuck, we better get tickets, else we just wasted 10 bucks." Luckily, despite arriving just before 19:00, the line was really short. There were only like eight people in front of us. We easily managed to get tickets, so we headed into the museum to play around in the Sound Lab. We did a jam session and some other stuff, but we got too hot and had to take our coats to the coat drop off. We jammed a little bit more, then watched part of a video that was playing in one of the main hallways. We finally checked out the video control panel for the Sky Church (like we do every visit ;) ). This time, however, I noticed that they were using BeOS on one of the computers. It was very heterogeneous (much like my home network), consisting of Windows 2000, BeOS, a pre-OS X Mac, and some other computers which were unidentifiable. They also had a laptop sitting on one of the consoles blinking down to the new year. We headed down, but didn't know what else to do. We talked to one of the employees for a short while, who suggested we head over to the theatre soon (because it was about to open). We were right next to the theatre at that point (in fact, I could see much of it from there), but we still had to walk down some stairs, through the gift shop, get in line, then climb some more stairs before getting into the theatre through entrance proper. This was around 20:00, the concert was supposed to start at 21:00. We sat down in the back (it wasn't very crowded yet). There was a DJ there playing Rap/Hip-hop/R&B type songs. I was neutral to most of them, a few were good (one by Michael Jackson and another by Bob Marley), and only one really bugged (one that I had heard on X104 during weight training; X104 that plays the same damn songs every day). We stood up right after 21:00, expecting the show to start. We stood standing for another 20 minutes before deciding to go look at the DJ and reserve a spot up front (as it was getting crowded). It was just like the DJ section in the Disco exhibit they had a while back. It was interesting to watch. We reserved our spot a little to left of the DJ: just to the left of the subwolfers, under the speakers, and near the keyboarder. As we were waiting, I noticed the keyboard had an Apple sticker on it. Cool! Also, two guys dressed in full snowman outfit entered the crowd and were dancing with people. One of them, like Marilyn Manson, did the face-to-crouch dance (however, it was probably less emotional damaging than Marilyn Manson's would be).
The band finally came out at 21:30. They didn't talk much and got right into the music. It was just like the videos on the website and a lot of fun. During one of the songs, a mosh-like group was formed, I considered joining, but decided to just continue doing Rock Concert Movement #3 from where I was. I did lots of RCM #1, 2, and 3 that night, but I didn't attempt #4. This was the first time I had ever seen someone crowd dive in real life. The drummer dived and was successfully returned to stage. Near the end, the glitter and silly string was brought up a notch (some of the band dancers had been doing it all night, but only in moderation). I got tons of glitter thrown on me and a little bit of silly string. I had never felt silly string before, it is much more moist than I imagined. "Crap," I thought, "I'll never get this glitter out of my dreads." I still don't think I have gotten it all. When they finished their set, we headed to get some water at the fountain (the only areas to get drinks were bars). The DJ came out for another half hour (until 23:00). Jeff and I sat in the very back to rest and get away from the crowd. Once Maktub came out, we walked up closer. We stayed near the back for their performance. The lead guy singer told a story about one of their songs: there was a huge chain of communications when they were creating it. One person was in the bathroom, talking to the guy in another room, talking to another guy over the phone, who was chatting with the final guy (in LA) using iChat on the Mac. Another Apple reference! That was two in one night; plus, I was wearing my University Village Apple Store t-shirt.
Around 23:48 we headed outside. The line to check out coats was real long, so we just went outside in our t-shirts. I found a spot on the stairs next to EMP. It was hard to navigate because there were so many people. Finally, the spark things went off on the sides. We couldn't see the elevator rising. Then, a few seconds before midnight, roman candles cascaded up the sides and BAM! it was the new year. There was a lot of cheering. Everytime a bunch of fireworks went off or someone yelled "Happy New Year" there would be more cheering. This was the first time I had watched the fireworks in real life. A few guys behind me were smoking in the new year, and I'm not talking about cigarettes. The rest of the night my hair smelled rank. Also, being down wind of the fireworks, we were rained on by ash. I don't think any big pieces hit me, but I could feel little tiny ones hit often.
We went back inside and the USE merchandise stand was gone. Luckily, it said they would return (I assume they were watching the fireworks as well). We watched the concert until 00:30. On the way out we picked up the USE EP. Four songs for three dollars, that is better than iTunes! We picked up our jackets and left. I was hoping the delay would also let the traffic clear up before we left. Unfortunately, walking into our parking lot, we saw that our whole section was a traffic jam. After searching around for our car (that happens when you don't park in the usual spot (we were actually closer this time)), we hopped in and turned on the radio. I didn't bother turning on the car until the ones around me started moving, which would be a while. There was a guy in a car about 20 feet away who had his window rolled down and was singing. We could hear the "No's" coming from a girl in the car, who was slouched down trying not to be seen. We moved a little, but then it was stopped again. Finally, finally, the traffic started flowing consistently. While we were waiting, a bunch of police, fire, and medical vehicles entered the lot. As we were leaving we saw them over near a white truck, but my brother couldn't make out what was going on. We arrived at home a little before 02:00. Overall, a very good day.
Untitled Post
2003-12-29 17:33:12 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
YAY! I got a new design. Welcome to andrewhitchcock.org 2.1. A big "shout out" to the guys over at Glish for the "3 Columns, The Holy Grail" CSS layout. I had tried to implement something like this myself a while back, but it turned into a horrible mess that looked like shit on IE and Opera. The CSS for the new layout is much cleaner and it should degrade nicer on dumb browsers (*cough* IE *cough*). Since this was only a small update, I made it into .1 release. You can still find the old version 2.0 of andrewhitchcock.org.
In other news, my dad got Uru for Christmas, so we created an account today. Since the guys over there are dumb, they wouldn't allow us to use the username hitchCOCK. We couldn't figure out why it wouldn't let us use hitchCOCK, thehitchCOCKs, or hitchCOCK.org. We looked at the requirements, none of which we were disobeying. Oh, but there is no profanity allowed in usernames. Since they wouldn't let us use our last name (BTW, we weren't capitalizing 'cock'), we went for 'hitchgenital' instead. So, if you see hitchgenital in Uru Live, say hi. Now I am off to send them a nice little letter complaining that I can't use my last name as a username and that their registration doesn't support Mozilla.
Andrew Hitch<censored>
Untitled Post
2003-12-28 00:44:01 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I was getting caught up today on the Venus Hum forum. That is how I learned that Kip made their Switched on Christmas album available for download. This is just another example of why Venus Hum is cool.
Untitled Post
2003-12-21 14:14:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I was on the W3 site making sure my site still validates (after adding the latest entry) and I saw this as one of their helpful hints. For those of you who think I write the date weird, read this page on the ISO 8601 date format. Thanks to Jeff T for introducing me to this format.
Untitled Post
2003-12-21 13:56:57 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
On Wednesday we got the LotR:TTT DVD in the mail. My brother and I wanted to watch all the extra scenes before we went to RotK the next day. My parents were at the Sonics game and left us some pizza makings for dinner. However, we had no toppings. I looked around the fridge and freezer and found some frozen chicken. I asked my brother, "Wanna try something?" Since I was too lazy to defrost it, I started cutting up the chicken while it was still ice. Have you seen the ice cream commercials where the ice cream is served with a spoon and it curls around in a tube shape? Well, that is what the chicken was doing. My left hand became numb by the end and my right hand bled a little from the sharp upper edge of the cleaver. Anyway, that got cut up while my brother was preparing some green onions. I had my brother crush some garlic while I got some pre-cut pieces of ginger. We fried that up in the wok for a few seconds before adding the chicken. Once the chicken was cooked some, I added soy sauce until it looked good. Then, I added a dash of sesame oil. We put the chicken on the pizza, then cooked it for half the time. We pulled it out, added the green onions, and cooked it for the rest of the time. It was suprisingly good; even my brother liked it!
I am letting the server sit for a while to make sure it is stable. I don't want to move any of my Mission Critical services over to the server and have it crash or something. It has been up for a little over three days now. I am using it heavily for data storage, but not much else at the moment (I'm storing my 9.36 gigs of Daily Show episodes on it ;) ). I also downloaded the 2001 MWSF Keynote at about 800 megs. I set up OpenLDAP this morning, but I couldn't figure out any good use for it (I was too lazy to try to figure out how to set it up for address books, especially since I couldn't find any excellent documentation). I did this during my bizarre sleep schedule this morning. Yesterday I stayed up until 04:00 because I was over at Travis's house. I then slept until 13:xx (ack!). So, in an attempt to get back on schedule (and because I was tired), I went to sleep at about 22:00, only to wake up at 01:30. I laid in bed for another hour, but couldn't get back to sleep. I turned off my computer, but that didn't help. Screw that, I got up and started doing things. I ended up watching three Daily Show episodes, listening to two albums of music, and configuring OpenLDAP. I went back to sleep at 06:00. I woke up again at 11:30 to smell of Starbucks hot chocolate. Anyway, I haven't yet got Apache working, but I haven't tried since I last mentioned it. I did talk to Jeff M and he suggested just compiling it myself (versus an ebuild). I'll have to try that over break. Also, I picked up a PCI->PCMCIA adapter at Fry's, so I'll have to (finally) set up the internet router box with wireless.
I saw LotR:RotK on Thursday. I came home and wrote about it for 1.5 hours Friday morning. However, this was in a personal e-mail and therefore has to be edited before I can post it. Actually, the majority of the e-mail was about the day's activities and waiting in line (because we got there four hours before the movie started).
Finally, Travis introduced me to a good music radio station (not some ClearChannel owned sludge or NPR (which is good, but can get old sometimes)). It is a high school radio station called C89.5. I had heard about it before, but never listened to it. I think I saw the URL on a website once, but it was missing the 5 and therefore took me to the portal of a domain squatter. Anyway, it is much better than my crappy high school radio station (which plays rap/hip-hop/R&B). As I was coming home from Travis's house at 03:30 one morning, they even played the Queer Eye theme song.
Untitled Post
2003-12-17 18:25:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Blah, it is taking longer than I would hope to get Apache 2 configured on the new machine. I was originally going to use Apache 1, but the Gentoo team wants to push Apache 2, so I guess I'll have to use that. I have been trying to configure the virtual hosts, but I keep getting forbidden errors. There are, I believe, only two problems right now (only one of which is a blocking error): the Apache forbidden error and I'm not able to login to the home directory shares with Samba. Once I get Apache working, however, good stuff will happen. I'll finally have room to upload some images that have been delayed, hopefully SSL will help secure the password protected areas, and Squirrelmail and image uploading will be faster. I've now used up 55 Gigs on the server, or about 4% :).
Untitled Post
2003-12-15 11:35:04 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
gandalf root # df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda3             1.6T  5.0G  1.6T   1% /
none                  442M     0  442M   0% /dev/shm
//Me/Public            32G   31G   51M 100% /mnt/smb
Untitled Post
2003-12-11 22:53:44 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Who is this sexy guy?
I had lunch with Josh yesterday. He showed me around the elementary school where he is working now (including their Xserve). Then we headed out for some pizza. It was good to catch up with him. While we were eating, Sina (someone else he knew from middle school) showed up at the pizza place and said hi.
Last night I peformed in the winter performance of our steel drum band. It was fun listening to the beginning band because they played Clocks by Coldplay (which I had really been wanting to hear; I download a short clip of Clocks on steel drum from a website and it sounded really cool) and Follow the Sun (my favorite song from last year). Tomorrow we are going to play at a holiday party in a zoo. Should be interesting, especially since we will be playing a bunch of Christmas songs (and some of us wearing holiday decorations).
Untitled Post
2003-12-09 15:42:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Andrew's log, stardate December 9th.
This has been a good week for Prime95 Team Hitchcock. In the last seven days, we have turned in 14.268 P90 years worth of work. That places us around 30th out of all teams this week.
Last Friday our steel drum band played in the assembly. We only played like three or four songs, so it wasn't worth the set up time. I didn't lift weights at all in weight training because I had been moving basses all during 1st. I then had to move all the basses back during 3rd (missing physics). My hands cramped up and it made my arms sore the next day.
This week should be fun. It is finals week at BCC, but I only have one test. Tomorrow I am having lunch with a friend who I met when he worked at the middle school. I don't get to see him often (even though he now works less than half a mile away), so that'll be fun. I also have the public steel drum concert tomorrow. On Friday we are going to one of the zoos around here to perform at a Holiday party. We are learning a bunch of Christmas songs.
Finally, time to pimp an article for someone. I know I have mentioned this before, but it has fallen off my front page. Read this article to learn more about free, legal music downloads.
Andrew out.
Untitled Post
2003-11-27 22:53:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some more website news. First, I fixed lots of stuff to make this page XHTML 1.1 compliant. I mentioned this to my family tonight at Thanksgiving dinner when they asked what I have been up to; they didn't seem impressed.
Second, I upgraded to the latest version of Gallery. Version 1.4.1 has lots of cool new features, so check it out.
Finally, I unblocked AOL users. AOL still sucks, but I'll give the users another chance.
In other news, I managed to get tickets to LotR: RotK. Tickets were supposed to go on sale at 12:00, so I checked continuously from 12:00-12:04 and they weren't on sale. I had to go to math, and when I got back (after visiting Travis who just had plastic surgery), the tickets were already sold out for the first day. I purchased tickets for the Thursday 19:45 showing. My clock was set to the correct time, BTW. Grr.
Untitled Post
2003-11-26 00:08:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
The tickets aren't available yet, fucking 12 hour time. I guess I will try back in 12 hours. Man, 12 hour time is so unclear, especially when it comes to the 12:00s. Is it midnight or noon? If it is midnight, which day is it? Grr.
Untitled Post
2003-11-25 23:54:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Dear Diary, today I have lots of small updates.
First, this month is the two year anniversary of the last time I had a hair cut. However, some hair products arrived in the mail today, so I won't be sporting the same hairstyle for much longer.
I was driving home today and I had to stop to let a horse cross the street. This is the first time I realized it, but that is a little weird. It never occured to me before because I've lived here my whole conscious life. I live in a suburb surrounded in all directions by city, so you wouldn't expect horses.
I went to the Sonics game tonight and I saw Steve "My name is Neo" Ballmer at the game. He was in the same seat as the last time I saw him. I waved to him, but I am not sure if he saw me (he may have, but just chose to ignore me). I wonder if he has been to my website; I think some Microsoft employees have because I have a screen capture of my server-status with hits from tidexx.microsoft.com. Unfortunately, the Sonics lost horribly.
Finally, at the Sonics game, I had the first ice cream in like 1.5 months. It was mint chocolate chip and it was great. It took me forever to eat it, though.
Andrew
PS: Time to grab some LotR: RotK tickets.
Untitled Post
2003-11-23 16:30:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just modified the script that generates the random album you see at right (or, in the middle of this text if you are using internet explorer). Now it uses new caching code I wrote (before it was just using a caching module). I replaced the old code because I wasn't sure it was actually being cached and this new one makes it faster.
Last night I tried creating a new stylesheet for this website to make it look better with inferior web browsers *cough*IE*cough*. It looked and worked perfect with Mozilla with one exception. I couldn't figure out how to move the quote block to the very bottom of the page like it is now (this happened in all browsers, not just Moz). It still looked okay in IE, but it acted better than it does now. However, it looked like absolute shit with Opera. I need to test it in Safari to get a fourth opinion. Personally, I could care less if my page looks good in IE, but I do want it to work well with Safari, Opera, and others.
Untitled Post
2003-11-22 23:33:40 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just got back from seeing George Carlin (who, by the way, was elected as the alternate in case my third period class's ASB representative couldn't make the ASB meeting) in concert at the new Opera house. It was hilarious, "Here is another group of cock suckers that deserve to get an inoperable tumor at the base of their spine." "They are coming out with enema's on the internet now. E.nema.com. Some guy at home sticking a mouse up his ass. Probably a Mac user, too. We're always ahead of the curve." Hehe.
Also, I saw a link to Music Mobs from a post on slashdot. You sign up for an account and upload your iTunes XML playlist. It will parse the file, counting the number of times you have listened to the songs and getting your ratings for each song. Then you can browse through links finding other users with similar tastes and see what music they listen to. Right now it is basic "this user also listens to this artist." It would be nice if they created some algorithms that would correlate users to each other. That way you could see who shares your musical interests in a more advanced fashion. Anyway, you can see my user page.
Untitled Post
2003-11-20 20:35:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I've finished writing some scripts to interface with Amazon.com's web services. On the right side of this column you can see a picture of a CD that I like and, if applicable, a link to its iTunes Music Store page. I stole this idea from Wil Wheaton :).
Untitled Post
2003-11-18 23:45:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
A little earlier today I modified this index page to have anchor tags. Then, I created a script to print a dynamic RSS feed for this website.
Untitled Post
2003-11-18 16:20:36 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Time to finish what happened over the four day weekend. I saw the Matrix at IMAX which was cool. Beforehand I had some friends over to watch Reloaded and the MTV parody included on the extras disc. It does look better than the normal movies, but not as good as native IMAX films. I had seen Reloaded at the IMAX theatre in the Luxor. I liked Revolutions, despite what most people seem to think. I will have to view it again when it comes out on DVD.
On Tuesday I went with my steel drum to the Treehouse off of Rainier Ave. We stopped at Starbucks on the way. While there, we performed two sets. I saw all three of the mascots for the Seattle teams and the Mariner Moose was in our conga line. They had a list of benefactors at the entrance. On the top of the list was Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, followed by Steve and Connie Ballmer. Bleck.
This weekend I saw Santana, watched Dark City, watched a bunch of the early episodes of CSI, and tried to see ASIMO. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see ASIMO because you needed to arrive when the place opened to get the free tickets, which I never saw mentioned anywhere. Grr.
Today was a busy day, but in a good way. I woke up this morning to discover that the power had gone off during the night. I raced through my shower. Then, I told my brother to remove the 128 MB RAM chip from his old computer. I quickly installed that in the server (which I had been meaning to do for like a year) and then turned it on. I headed to the kitchen for a granola bar and soda, no time for a real breakfast. I went up stairs, SSH'ed into the server, and started going to work. I needed to start all the services that aren't started on boot and make sure everything is running okay. I had a little problem with getting MySQL to run, but I eventually narrowed it down to the fact that I was trying to run under user myql (instead of mysql). My brother and I quickly headed out for school. I drove through huge puddles on Island Crest Way to school. Leaving my backpack in the car, I went directly to steel drum and started packing. The people I was driving walked to my car and I carried one of the lead pans with me (because there wasn't enough room in our truck). I followed the truck to the freeway. 405 had caused a backup all the way onto Mercer Island. Nearly my whole trip on I-90 was spent idling (and moving without using the acclerator). Once we got on 405 things sped up slightly and I headed over to the express lanes. I had to get out, though, because there was an accident in the express lanes (which was also causing the backup on 405). Anyway, the truck was going slow, so I went to pass, but at around 50 or 55 mph, we started to hydroplane for short bursts every few seconds. I could see why the person crashed, so I slowed down and got behind the truck. We eventually made it to the elementary school up in Kirkland and had to quickly set up. My car was first to arrive and the other people came even closer to show time. First were the younger grades, and they had really high pitch cheers. After them, we played to the higher grades. On the second song, they whole audience was standing up and bobbing around. I was suprised how involved all the kids where. They were more into the music than I was (I do like the music, it just doesn't make me dance, especially when in front of 200 first through third graders). Before their assembly was over we were already packing up. We raced back to school where an ass confronted me telling me not to park where I was and threatening to close the entrance gate. Hoberman said we could park back there and I told the guy it was for steel drum band. He was stubborn, so I left. When I came back to the car he was gone and the gate was still open. I got permission to leave early so I could be less late to my BCC classes. I was about 12 minutes late for math. After finishing up my Political Science test, I stopped at Starbucks on the way home. After finishing my peppermint hot chocolate and pumpkin scone, here I am writing about my travels.
Untitled Post
2003-11-08 13:06:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well, yesterday was a good start to a 3.5 day weekend (I have an hour long class on Monday, so not 4 day). I went with my parents to the Sonics game against the Portland J^HTrailblazers. We arrived right before it began because we had to pick my brother up from drivers ed. It was a close game at the beginning, but we pulled into the lead later in the game and eventually won. Right before the end of the third quarter, the buzzer was used. It got quiet and sounded funny, then sounded normal, then it got quiet again. One of the buzzers got stuck on and they were trying to unstick it. They tried toggling power to the huge hanging scoreboard, but that didn't work. Meanwhile, Shultz and his son were down on court holding their ears (it was louder the lower you went). Shultz walked off after maybe 5 minutes and the audience applauded. Very soon after, the entertainers from halftime came out. They do lots of flips, Lenny style. Shultz almost got wiped out by a guy doing some flips on his way back. Sasquatch also came out with paper on his ears and around his head to hold it on. Finally, they shut off the power to the whole scoreboard and the noise stopped. The tried turning it on again, but if beeped, so it quickly went off. Some people brought stopwatches to the official timekeepers and they kept talking to the refs. However, it didn't come to that because they managed to bring the timers above the baskets back on. They also experimented with how to sound that the quarters were over. They tried hitting the microphone on the desk (at least, I assume that is what they were trying to do), which made a really nasty sound. Eventually they got it all worked out and we watched the score on the advertising ring around the 200 section. After the game, I quickly walked over to section 128 to watch the Presidents of the United States do a concert. I didn't know they were going to be there before hand, so that was a pleasant surprise. I got a seat in the 2nd row (courtside). It was about the same place I was last time. Fortunately, not as many people came into the first row as last time. It was a good concert, I enjoyed it. They even played Supersonics (they didn't last time). Chris started it off by saying they are going to time travel back to 1996; back in the day of Shawn Kemp, Big Smooth, Detlef Schrimpf, etc. He said sing along if you know the words, I do, so I did :). Someone had a sign that said "Supersonics oo-yah." The songs they play included: Tiki God, Supersonics, Kitty, Lump, Peaches, Dune Buggy, We Are Not Going to Make It, Back Porch, and Video Killed the Radio Star. They also played two new tunes, I believe that was all of them. With the delay of game, concert, and late start, we didn't get back to our car until 23:22. It was good though. Today I am probably just going to relax. Tomorrow I am seeing the Matrix at IMAX (no Cinerama :(). I have no idea what I am doing Monday, but I have math at 12:30. On Tuesday I am going to perform at the Treehouse(?) with my school's steel drum band.
Untitled Post
2003-11-01 23:11:53 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Friday was halloween and, like I hoped, I dressed up as a Blue Man. Some people didn't get the references, but others did. Unfortunately, there was a lot of misinformation, which it wasn't possible for me to correct (because I was in character). This was kind of upsetting. There is no 4th Blue Man, we have never been on Letterman, and we are the Blue Man Group not Blue Man Crew. We made a few babies cry, oh well. Also, we scared some middle/high school age girls just by silently walking up. I didn't understand why they freaked so much. They must have some kind of blue aversion Cyndrome :).
Today we went to see Houdini's Water Torture Chamber. It was fancy and nice looking. As we were driving away, I saw my cousin and his girlfriend driving into the brewery next door, so we turned around and said hi. It took him a few seconds to realize who it was driving slowly next to him on his way to the door.
Finally, this morning I took the SAT II. Blah, I hate standardized tests. It was at Newport, a school that sort of smelled like space camp in Alabama. Oh well, that is all for today.
Untitled Post
2003-10-29 21:51:02 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Okay, I got tired of waiting to put my new video up. I kept telling people that I know over the internet about it, but almost no one had Bit Torrent. So, I just decided to put it up on my website. I am still going to try to get it in the morning announcements, though. Here you can see my first iPod ad parody. Please download with BitTorrent if you have it.
Also, today my mom fished out my blue man gear. If I can get some Mehron before this Friday, I might dress up as a blue man for halloween!
Untitled Post
2003-10-28 21:30:50 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Howdy. I just renewed my domain until 2006-12-04 05:20:17. Also, by renewing for 3 years, I saved $1.50/year by using GKG.net. I highly recommend them :) (if they are good enough for Jeff T, then they are good enough for me).
In other news, I saw someone in my math class (at a local community college) with the same shirt I have.
Untitled Post
2003-10-27 00:01:18 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
On Friday I went to the University Village Apple store to pick up my copy of Panther. My brother and I had dinner at a Pizzeria nearby. Unfortunately, it was slow, so we weren't able to get in line until five minutes before opening. We waited in line for an hour, but that was okay. There were nice people around us and we had my iPod to listen to. People often approached the line asking what it was all about. One time, the guy in front of me answered, "We are here to buy a an upgrade for some computer software." She looked away and tightened her face in an effort not to laugh. Their reaction was pretty funny. When we got in, we got in the checkout line and grabbed a box that was within arms reach. After we purchased that, we looked around a little. The first thing we did, of course, was chek out Expose. Unfortunately, I tried to test it on an eMac which didn't like having you open all apps at once :). The dock was like a slide show. When I realized that it was thrashing beyond belief, I went around looking for a G5. My brother and I tested it out on a G5 with a 23" Cinema Display and another display (15/17" flat panel(?)). Very cool. We also got some goodies: iPod stickers and bling bling dog tags. Then we headed home and installed Panther.
Second, I have (with my brother) been working on some new videos. They are under wraps right now, but will be released in a week or two. We created them with Final Cut Pro 4 (all legal), which allowed me to learn a lot about that program while getting started on a simple project. Actually, I am making three short videos. One has already been completed and (with the knowledge I gained) the other two should be completed shortly. I'll put them on my website as soon as they are made public. I'd like to thank Travis for helping star in the videos.
Untitled Post
2003-10-22 21:35:38 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I had to go to a college admissions presentation. In order for us to see the trouble admissions officers have to go through, they gave us three different example applications to review. All had their strengths and weakness. We had to pick one to accept, one to wait-list, and one to deny. One of the people wanted to be an astronaut. She mentioned how she'll never forget sitting in class when she learned that Challenger had been destroyed. Hmm, I thought, she applied for college 'last year' but remembers Challenger. I looked at her birthday and it said she was born in 1984. Hmm, she remembers sitting in class at age two when Challenger was lost. When I brought that up with our group, we decided to instantly deny her; we don't want any liers attending Mt. Olympus University.
Oh BTW, Gator is spyware. I await your cease-and-desist.
Untitled Post
2003-10-20 11:05:25 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
For those of you living under a rock and haven't heard, iTunes for Windows came out this past Thursday. People have already downloaded over a million copies and over a million songs have been purchased since then. Go AAPL!
Also, today in Physics we had elections for class ASB officer (the person that represents our 3rd period class to the ASB). On our first vote we had a three-way tie between Matt, Alex, and George Carlin.
Finally, there is a new Segway for sale now, the p Series. It kind of sounds like an IBM server. Here is an information page on the new Segway. I submitted it to /. as a story, but they didn't take.
Untitled Post
2003-10-06 22:25:24 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I went back to the Geocache with my brother and found it in about a minute. It is so much easier in daylight. I took some stuff and left some stuff. My first Geocache!
The other day I set up some mail statistics for my server. Now you can see all the e-mail traveling through the server.
Untitled Post
2003-10-05 14:58:15 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
A week ago last Friday I went to the opening of the Apple store in Bellevue. We arrived 1.5 hours early to stand in line. That was the highest concentration of iPods I have ever seen. The employees came out with forms to win some free iPods. When the store opened, I was among the first group. We ran in and got high-fives from about 10 employees. They were blasting "Get This Party Started" and playing visualizations on the theatre screen. We quickly got in line at the counter and bought AppleCare for our PowerBook. Then we wondered around. I was finally able to see the internals of a G5 in real life. Also, they had a keyboard (of the music variety) connected to a computer with some music software on it. I can't remember what its name was, but it emulated a full rack of actual music, um, boxes. We sat in the theatre, whipped out our PowerBook and chatted with some people we found with Rendezvous.
On Monday I stopped listening to my Venus Hum CD and BMG's The Complex CD so I wouldn't get burned out before the concert Friday. The days grew longer and longer in anticipation of Friday. Friday finally comes and I go through about every emotion I can think of. First, in the morning, excitement over the concert. Then, during PE, Travis and run five laps around the track instead of our normal four. Now I am tired. Next, Travis and I sneak in the back way to the assembly so we can claim our seats in the very back before other people arrive. This year all the assemblies are after 2nd period so I can't just leave (because I have to stick around for Physics), grrr. I sat threw that brain numbing assembly and experienced boredom. We had a homecoming speaker like every year. This year it was a lawyer and he was very boring. You know what, I'm not going to be a lawyer and I don't need to hear your stupid stories about "putting 40 couples into the back of [his] mom's station wagon." I need to film one of these assemblies some time so I can show people why I hate high school so much. Next, I push my way through all the people and quickly walk to the science hallway to wait for the physics classroom to be opened. Then the fire alarm goes off! Jesus Christ. I hang out with Luke, Slava, and another guy whose name I can't remember. We start off in the back of the school, but start walking around when we get bored. We were at the front of the school with the masses for a while before heading around to the other side. We stayed here for a little while longer before the school opened again. I got to Physics and was there for eight minutes before class ended. If I had known we would only have eight minutes of 3rd period, I would have said screw it and left before the assembly. Instead I waited around for about two hours longer than I needed. By now I am fuming. I drive home, go up stairs, and pass out. I took a 1.5 hour nap so I would be rested for the concert. When I wake up, my aunt and uncle are over, so I start getting everything ready that I need to bring. You can read about the rest of my experience at the Blue Man Group Message Board.
Yesterday was homecoming. Boring. So, I got together with Jeff T and Travis. We went to get some Japanese food for dinner. Jeff T had some Sake and they didn't even card him. Then we looked for some geocaches on the internet. Using my flash light and Jeff T's cellphone/GPS (which I don't think ever got a GPS lock) we went searching. We only knew where one was, but we couldn't find it. We were at the mossy rock and we looked all around, but nothing. Robert joined us for the search as well. I guess that is about all. The geocache search and dinner was more fun than it sounded, though.
Untitled Post
2003-09-16 12:13:45 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I can't take it any more, I have to rant. Since this weekend, I keep getting more and more pissed.
Lets start with Comcast. On Saturday they sent someone over to install digital cable in our basement (so we could watch Mariners, Football, Blue Man Group on Leno in HDTV). Note: We already had HDTV over antenna for almost two years, but the reception sucked. However, they screwed up a bunch of stuff. First, (I wasn't there during the install, so I don't know how this happened) the color was all way off. It was lacking lots of reds and the green looked yellowy/brown. We eventually found out that one of the component cables was unplugged. Second, our surround sound no longer worked. We rented two movies to watch over the weekend, but we couldn't watch them without surround sound. That one took a little longer to fix. For some reason, the Comcast person was messing with settings on the receiver and screwed up which speakers to use. This caused me much frustration, lack of sleep, and emotional damage. However, I am not the only one that had problems with Comcast this week. My friends Robert and Travis also had a bunch of problems with their Comcast service and service representatives.
Verisign. Verisign, Verisign, Verisign (sorry for sounding like Ballmer). Anyway, this assholes think they are the gods of the internet. They made it so that domain names that don't exist send you to their servers (instead of not resolving). This is similar to what Microsoft does with IE when a domain doesn't resolve. However, now this affects every internet user and it can't be turned off. They even have the nerve to state in their Terms of Service that if you don't agree to their ToS, then don't use the service. Well, it isn't like I have much choice is it? Now, they can make all this money by selling search results and they are harvesting any e-mail addresses that connect to their server. Note to people: be very careful about typing e-mail addresses. If you type the domain wrong, it will connect to the Verisign server and they will now have your e-mail address. Lets hope Verisign gets smacked down.
AOL hasn't really pissed me off recently, it is more of a long term hate relationship. It first started when they blocked my mail server from sending e-mail through them. So instead, I now have to forward all my mail through the Comcast SMTP server (increasing load on that machine). They wasted a few hours of my life while I had to troubleshoot why AOL was rejecting all the e-mail. Next, they blocked all links to their homepage.aol.com server that have a referer from the Live Journal website. Hey AOL, thanks for breaking the internet. AOL is sending the signal that they don't want to be part of the internet, so I decided to help them. I blocked all AOL users from accessing my website. Unfortunately, I still allow e-mail from AOL, but that is only because I have users that have AOL acquaintances.
Finally, on to Valve. I used to like Valve; Half-Life is a great game, but now it is fucked. With Steam, I have started to hate Valve. Steam reminds me of BuyMusic.com, whenever you want to use your product, you have to be connected to the internet to confirm that you have the right to use it. This is the great thing about Apple's iTunes Music Store: they give the user broad fair use rights. BuyMusic and Valve screw their customers over. There are lots of problems with Steam, so I'll just link to this Kuro5hin article. Finally, there is only one way in which this would be useful to me. First, they would have to allow it to be installed on at least three computers (like iTMS) with the option to deauthorize a computer from using it (iTMS) and it shouldn't have to connect to the internet (iTMS). However, if it doesn't do that, then it should be less than half the price to buy the Steam version. Normally my brother and I share our games, so in order for the Steam version to be cheaper, it would have to be less than half the normal price. However, since Valve introduced internet-powered-DRM games to the consumer, I will probably boycott them anyway to show that changes like this are not wanted by the consumer.
Untitled Post
2003-09-15 23:50:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Why I don't plan on buying Half-Life 2 or other Steam games.
Untitled Post
2003-09-11 21:23:08 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some other interesting stuff going on today. First, in my physics class, the teacher was trying to get a DVD play on his Dell Windows XP laptop (connected to a projector). He couldn't get WinDVD to do something. It reminded me a lot of that one Apple commercial because people were yelling out suggestions (the commercial where a guy is giving a presentation, but it doesn't work). I stood by my position that they should use Macs, but all the other students are dumb.
Second, I had an e-mail conversation with my friend Josh. He got another job at a school near me, so it will be more convenient for us to meet up and/or go out for lunch. Yay!
Untitled Post
2003-09-11 11:58:23 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Woohoo! I'm in a mostly good mood. First of all, school started a week ago Tuesday. It can be kind of boring, but luckily I don't have much of it yet. Since I am taking Running Start, I only have three classes at the high school, and only one is academic. They are: Advanced Steel Drum, Weight Training, and Physics AP. Unfortunately, I couldn't work 3rd year Mandarin into my schedule. I only have two hours of school on Monday and Tuesday, three on Thursday and Friday, but Wednesday drags on with four hours.
On Tuesday night I saw Weird Al at a local fair. I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fair person. Too much fried food (I'm trying to stay away from that as much as possible now), shoddy looking rides (If my beloved Big Thunder Mountain can kill people, I will never trust a fair ride again), etc. The show was great though, I always like seeing Weird Al. The crowd (at least up at the front) seemed really into it. My favorite part had to be the quote from King of the Hill. Bobby got in trouble in school. Bobby, "All I did was sing a song parody I wrote, just like Weird Al." Hank: "Don't be stupid son, Weird Al blew his brains out in the late eighties when people stopped buying his records."
In other music related news. I've bought The KLF's White Room CD (used) and Venus Hum's Big Beautiful Sky (from iTMS). I wouldn't have known about either of these bands if it wasn't for Blue Man Group. I am getting really excited for October 3rd because I get to see Venus Hum and Blue Man Group again.
Finally, thanks to weight training class and outside work, I will hopefully become more physically fit. This will help both with ultimate frisbee and any backpacking I do.
Untitled Post
2003-08-24 21:18:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Well I think I have finally given in to reality TV. The chances are that in an ocean of stupid shows, there should be at least a few good ones. I'll occasionally watch Monster Garage, Monster House, or American Chopper. However, I have started watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy regularly. It is a really funny show with helpful hints. I even made one of the meals they had on the show for dinner one day. I recommend you check it out on Bravo.
Second item: I have recently been downloading and listening to a lot of music through iRATE. iRATE provides over 46,000 free legal music downloads (have to increase its PageRank). It has some bad music, but I also have found some real gems (just like with signed musicians). It is supposed to use collaborative filtering to find other music you like based on your current ratings. However, the program is still an early beta with a small user base. But, by using it you increase the user base and improve the accuracy of the filtering mechanisms. Some of the great bands I have found include: Phil's Finest Hour (a piano rock group from Australia), Straight Furrow (a UK celtic band), and Ian Bjornstad has a really cool song called Gramophone Theory.
Untitled Post
2003-08-23 19:43:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Good news. A few days ago it was announced that the Blue Man Group is coming back for a third leg of the Complex Tour! I've got my tickets: Section 2 Row 9. Unfortunately, no general admission this time. I was considering going down to Portland to see that show as well, but we decided against it.
More good news. Viruses, worms, and trojans have been running rampant on the internet the last few weeks. You know what I think? "Hahahahaha." I've never been infected by any of them. People should really learn to secure their systems and put them behind firewalls. Unfortunately, though, if that happens then people won't have as much incentive to ditch Windows. Haha Windows, what a joke. I hope eventually a Warhol worm comes along with deadly payload. Something that, after spreading itself quickly throughout the internet, would do something malicious like format hard drives or corrupt tons of files. Then people would finally learn how insecure Windows is and what is the real TCO.
Untitled Post
2003-08-23 01:31:09 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Update time. First of all, I went on a 50 miler a few weeks ago. We left from Darrington and ended up at Holden Village. It was a fun hike. We had great weather and made excellent time. We made such good progress that we skipped one campsite and went halfway through the next day's hike to get to a better campsite (one that didn't have bugs). Since we stayed an extra day this year to do a conservation project (for the 50 miler), we got to be there on a Monday night. On Sunday when we arrive, everything is closed (this place is very religious), but on Monday the party starts. The whole village is circa 1940s. The four lane bowling alley actually has pin setters that you load yourself. After the hike I had a day of rest. My feet were very sore. Then my brother, mom, and I headed down to California. I looked at some colleges. We had a free day in LA and we decided to go to Disneyland. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to pick up a white search and sketch out a Free Mickey image on it. However, thanks to some helpful hints from Jeff T, I was able to maximize my 16 hours in the park. Even though it was a Saturday, I was able to go on most rides (plus tons of Indianna Jones and a bunch of Splash Mountain too) by abusing Fast Pass and taking advantage of the single rider lines. I remembered from a year before when I read about where you could see Tinkerbell land after coming off the Matterhorn, so I went there before the fireworks show. Some other people came up and one said, "Are you here to see Tinkerbell crash too?" I had a good little laugh at that. In the end there were like 10 of us there. We all applauded after it happened. We also checked out Hearst's mansion while we were down there.
You have probably heard of flash mobs by now, unfortunately. I was trying to organize a flash mob in Seattle with some people, but the e-mail conversation I was in with them abruptly ended (who knows why) and they never e-mailed me to announce the event. The fact that I missed the event, they had two like a week apart, and after reading the article in USA Today (provided at our hotel), I decided that flash mobs had spread too fast and Seattle joined too late. Now they are too publicised and common. That fad went by fast. Next time an internet phenomonem comes out, I better jump on it faster.
Finally I'd like to make two statements about National SecurityTM. First off all, I discovered while flying out of SeaTac that the chemical detectors they use run Windows 9x! Oh great, I feel safe! Second, they didn't let me bring scissors on a plane (I had completely forgotten about them, they were way in my binder and I had just brought my whole scool back pack with me) or nail clippers, yet they let people bring fucking knitting needles or a pocket full of pens on a plane. A big thanks to the geniuses at the Department of Homeland security. I feel save that no one can clip their nails on a plane now!
Untitled Post
2003-07-29 13:22:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
It has been a while since I last update my website. I seem to be slower at updating during the summer (I went like 6 months last summer without an update). Anyway, about two weeks ago I got back from my two week trip to Utah. It was mostly in Utah, be we also had side trips to New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. We flew in and out of Las Vegas. We saw lots of cool stuff there: Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Four Corners (these are just off the top of my head). Also, in less than two months, I quadrupled the number of times I have seen the Blue Man Group. I saw them on June 1st in Seattle (on their Complex tour). Then I saw them again on June 28th and July 12th in Las Vegas performing Live at Luxor. The June 28th performance was extra special because that was the day of the BMG Message Board fan meet. A bunch of people met at a house and we had a three hour party starting at 18:00. Then we had an hour to get to the Luxor and we met in the Blue Man lobby. I finally got a chance to hear the bathroom song in the actual bathroom! At 22:00, our show started. After our show we went to the meet and greet and then we got a very special tour. There were 27 of us at the show taking up over two rows. It was great (although I think the HP/Ingram Micro people behind us got kind of angry when we kept standing up and/or raising our hands up). I have pictures up from the Blue Man Group shows, but unfortunately, due to space constraints, I wasn't able to upload the rest of the trip pictures. Hopefully that will be fixed in a month or so when I get a new server :). Also, yesterday, I made a daring trip into the heart of Mordor to pick up 330 feet of PVC pipe. In the following weeks I will be building some more PVC instruments.
Untitled Post
2003-06-19 17:02:09 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Darn, I lost my uptime record. The server had been on over 170 days, but today we had a power outage. Oh well, this will give me an opportunity to install the extra RAM.
Untitled Post
2003-06-07 23:29:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Those fuckers at Dell finally shipped my iPod. Assholes. Twice I have ordered from them and twice they have treated me like shit. That is the last time I order anything from Dell, no matter how much discount they give.
In other news, exactly three weeks from today is the Las Vegas Blue Man Group fan meet which I will be attending. Unfortunately, though, I got myself stuck having to perform the Yatta dance.
Untitled Post
2003-06-01 22:35:28 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Whew, I just got back from Blue Man Group's The Complex tour. Wow, that rocked. I was right up in front, about eight feet from a row or 20 subwolfers. It was what I have come to expect from the Blue Men: stobe lights, black lights, and lots of tribal drumming. And I even came home with a free souvenir, some shiny confetti. As always the live wire men were fantastic. If you have a chance to ever see the Blue Men, I highly suggest you act on it. Now, lets see, only about 27 days left until I see them again in Las Vegas!
Untitled Post
2003-05-18 16:30:19 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
One of my neighbors works for Amazon.com and is allowed to borrow the office Segway when it is available (to take it home for the weekend of whatever). I had seen him on it before, but it was out of batteries, so he couldn't give us a ride. On Monday we saw him again and, fulfilling his promise, he gave us a ride on it. You can see my pictures here. It was really neat. Some may think of them as a lame scooter for fat people, but I think they are an awesome technological feat. If I had five kilodollars to spare, I would buy one.
On Friday, a bunch of my friends came to my house after school to watch Equilibrium and The Matrix. We ate pizza and immediately headed out to see The Matrix: Reloaded. We got in line three hours before the movie was to start. We were lucky to arrive when we did because we were in the first 15 feet of the line and were able to take cover under a large tarp someone brought, since it was rainging hard. The people in front of and behind us were watching the original Matrix (one on a laptop and the other on a portable DVD player). BTW, this was at the Cinerama (pictures). When we were allowed to enter, there was a mad dash up the staircase to find good seats. I quickly ran down to the front of the theatre using the first aisle, and then dashed up the next aisle. My plan succeeded and were able to get four seats in the sixth row and three seats in the fifth row (both in the center of the theatre). The movie rocked. The bass was intense. Today, I went back with my family. Arriving one hour 30 minutes before the movie began, we didn't get as good a place in line. However, we still ended up with good seats (in my opinion, the rest of my family doesn't like sitting in the front part of the theatre). It was good again today as well. I can't wait for Revolutions to come out. I will try to get tickets for the 20:00 showing on the first day (the quickest to go).
Untitled Post
2003-05-03 00:54:26 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
If you are running Internet Explorer, click here (doesn't work on IE for Mac).
Untitled Post
2003-04-29 16:11:45 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Way to go Apple! In case you hadn't heard, Apple released the iTunes Music Store. It is just like the rumor sites described it. 99 cents per song. So far, I have downloaded 6 songs (5 the first day of service). We should have had a service like this long ago, but we are talking about the recording industry hear, so what do you expect? Anyway, you can always leave it to Apple to get things right. Hopefully I will buy an iPod soon (just have to make sure I have enough money).
Untitled Post
2003-04-15 22:05:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
On Saturday a website was created called BuddyZoo. It is a college students attempt to analyze social networks on AIM. If you have an AIM screenname and are using the official client (it doesn't work with Trillian, etc.) then visit BuddyZoo.com and upload your Buddy List. It only takes a few minutes, but it allows you to see how "popular" you are based on how many people have you on their buddy list. You can also see buddies that you and your friends have in common. Lastly, it automatically creates cliques. When I first went there, they only had 12,000 screennames, but after being linked to by /., they now have over 840,000 screen names in their database. Very cool, I suggest you check it out.
Untitled Post
2003-04-09 23:04:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Rock concert movement number 1: the basic head bob. Ready go.
Rock concert movement number 2: the one armed fist pump. Ready go.
In a moment it will be time to execute rock concert movement number 3: the up and down jumping motion. Here are your instructions:
Step 1: Bend your knees and then jump into the air.
Step 2: Let gravity bring you back down, and upon landing, rock your head forward.
Step 3: Repeat. Ready Go.
Rock concert movement number 4: the behind the head leg stretch. Ready Go.
Untitled Post
2003-04-08 16:37:44 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Two cool things have happened recently. First, my server has been on for over 100 days! Check netcraft if you don't believe me (although their graphs are always a few days behind). Also, I fixed the problems with my page validating. It is now perfect HTML 4.01 Strict!
Untitled Post
2003-04-08 08:49:39 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Only two more weeks until Blue Man Group's The Complex is released! My copy is preordered, set to arrive on the 22nd. You can, for the time being, hear the whole album here. I have also ordered tickets to their concert. I picked up eight tickets as soon as they went on sale.
On Friday, my family had a suite at the Sonics game. My mom won it, so we used it to celebrate my Dad's birthday. I have already stitched the panorama, I am just waiting to post all of my Mexico panoramas first.
Untitled Post
2003-04-02 22:50:49 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
When I am out driving, I try to maintain a constant speed, in other words, I try not to stop-and-go. I figured this would help my gas milage because I am not constantly accelerating and breaking. Well, I found this website today and I see that there are other benefits as well. The guy who wrote that has sometimes single-handedly removed traffic waves. It was an interesting website and now I can't wait to go driving again. I am going to try his techniques and watch to see if I improved traffic behind me. I am glad someone created a website about this, in order to help educate others.
Untitled Post
2003-04-01 00:18:04 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just added a bunch of panoramas from my trip to Mexico over winter break. I also added one from our campsite at summer camp (I was previously having problems with the stitching, until I learned how to manually align the images). Don't expect more too quickly, though. They take a long time to make, in part due to the fact that they use up all my memory and my computer has to continuously use the swap file. I have gotten worn out making these things (and practically rendering my computer useless during the time), so it will be a while before I work on the China panoramas. Also, I tested my website in Safari and it looks great!
Untitled Post
2003-03-29 22:49:59 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Welcome to andrewhitchcock.org version 2.0. This whole week I have been working on a redesign with a rewritten backend. Instead of using tables for layout, I use CSS. I rewrote the perl file that generates this page to include some error checking. It is much cleaner and will be easier to maintain. I have tried to write this page with standards compliant HTML; however, I still have one error that I can't figure out. If anyone knows what is wrong, I would love to hear it. This page is also Javascript, Flash, and GIF free :) (however, in 3 months it won't matter if I have GIFs). My website was written to HTML 4.01 standards, not Netscape or IE standards. I have looked at this page in IE, Mozilla, and Opera (I haven't yet had a chance to look at it in Safari). IE is the only browser that has given me problems (since it doesn't comply with the latest standards). I have yet to see a version of IE that renders this page correctly. If you would like to see what it is supposed to look like, use a better browser. Finally, since I believe that nothing should ever be deleted off the internet, I have moved version 1.0 to a new address.
Untitled Post
2003-03-29 18:23:35 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Last night, after the Sonics game, there was a concert by The Presidents of the United States of America. I managed to quickly make my way over to the east side of the arena and get a seat in the second row of courtside. I managed to take some pictures before the first row filled up with dancing people. I enjoyed myself.
Untitled Post
2003-03-18 23:20:55 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Looks like an attack on Iraq is imminent. I like AdamB's (of appleinsider.com message board) suggested name for the war, "Operation Nukular Strategerie." Sounds very Bush-like. Or maybe curiousuburb's suggestion, "Dubya Dubya III."
Also, I think the security at basketball games is directly proportional to the "terror level." During yellow they just do bag checks, but with the heightened level of orange today, they did individual metal detector scans. I'm afraid that if the level is elevated to red, we'll all be getting full body cavity searches. Actually, I just found this press release/advertisement on their website.
今天晚上我看见了姚明。 我要跟姚明一样。
Untitled Post
2003-03-11 22:43:07 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just got back from the Sonics game. People (Howie, Travis, the Sonics fan e-mail) keep telling me that the trade was good and I should give it time, however, I just don't see it happening. Sure, we won a bunch of games after we got Ray Allen, but we've fallen back into a losing streak. It's just like what happened at the beginning of the year. We won a bunch, but then we become bad.
Anyway, I saw the Dark Lord himself at the game. He was with Paul Allen, the owner of the Jailblazers.
There were a lot of Portland folk at the game (just like there are a lot of Seattle folk when we play them in Portland). A few weeks ago I actually went to the game in Portland. Anyway, at least 75% of the Portland fans were annoying and they were probably drunk as well. At Portland games, they have people in jackets that say "Alcohol Monitor" on them. I was very tempted to say to the annoying Blazer fan in the row behind me, "We don't normally have Alcohol Monitors at our games, but I think we should make an exception when you guys come to town." I mean jesus fucking christ, have some respect when you come to our town and watch a game in our arena. I didn't get drunk and roughty when I was in Portland (I am underage, but that is besides the point). Thanks to the fans at tonights game, I will be prejudiced in the future about Blazer fans that come to our games. I may not mean to, but it will happen.
Also, it was funny, someone at the game had a sign that said, "Raw-weed Wallace."
This is Cinerama
2003-03-06 00:04:19 by Andrew Hitchcock G+

Today I saw my second Cinerama movie, "This is Cinerama." It was the first movie made on the new process and is just a showcase of what Cinerama brings to the theatre (7 channel sound and a huge, super-wide screen with three projectors). We arrived about an hour before the show started and we were able to walk right in. I was afraid we were too late to get good seats, but luckily we were able to sit in the second row. About a 3 dm behind me and one 1 dm to the right was the X that marks the "sweet spot."

My mom, brother, and I went up to check out the balcony. On our way down, we noticed the door to one of the projection rooms was open, so I snapped a few pictures. The nice projectionist (from the middle booth) noticed our interest and offered to take us to Projection Booth Beta (the center one). I happily agreed and followed him.

In the main room, we saw an old backup 70 mm projector, the film for our movie, and the Boeing digital projector with anamorphic lenses. We also saw the servers that hold the approximately 60 GB movies and a DLP chip. Along with the four projectors and three racks located in this room was a bathroom. He may have noticed our interest and my reasonable amount of knowledge about film and digital projectors, so he offered to take us to the Charlie booth, where another Cinerama projector and the Cinerama sound reels are located.

When the movie started, I was very, very happy to see that it was kept authentic to the original showing because they only opened part of the screen during the introduction. After his history of motion and movies, the man said (I had wanted to see this part of this movie for a few years), "Welcome to CINERAMA!" The curtain opened to reveal a huge screen (it was big during How the West Was Won, but I was sitting a lot farther away) and we were taken on a roller coaster ride.

As the presentor mentioned, Cinerama is in anagram for American. If you have seen any of the movies (This is Cinerama and How the West Was Won (the ones I've seen), especially), then you can really see the patriotic influence. For example, in HTWW they say stuff like, "let's get us some Injuns." You could also see the influence of patriotism in this movie. They dedicated half the movie to America (and American water-skiing babes) and they played songs like God Bless America, America the Beautiful, and a whole bunch of religious songs I don't know the name of. They also had a section in the beginning showing a singing church choir, located in a "place that we are all familiar with," yeah right.

During the tour of the United States, they flew around Mt. Rainier *applause*... and they flew past the "weird coast of the Pacific Northwest." In the first half (I am splitting up half based on the intermission), they took us on a trip around the world, and by world I of course mean Europe (this was the '50's, Asia hadn't yet been discovered yet, right?). After the movie was over, I went up to check out the screen (because other people were showing interest in it and I wanted to see what was so special). The screen is made up of about 2000 venetian blind-like strips, which prevent one side of the screen from reflecting light onto another (I guess that would be a problem when it is so damned curved). I could see a few vertical black stripes during the movie, but I didn't realize it was because the screen was actually in pieces.

Check out the rest of my photos.

Update 2009-01-24: Edited post to improve grammar, sentence structure, and flow. Also added paragraphs and fixed broken links. See the original post at Archive.org.

Untitled Post
2003-03-01 23:40:05 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I saw How The West Was Won at the Cinerama. "Whoop dee doo" you say, "a movie made in 1962?" Well, it was filmed in Cinerama format. There are only 3 theatres left on earth that can show these kinds of movies. It involves three projectors and a massively curved screen. It is the first Cinerama movie I have seen, but I'm going back in a few days to see This is Cinerama. Also, the person sitting in front of me was an extra in the movie. You could usually tell where the projectors crossed, but the effect was minimal. I was also surprised by the quality and color of the film. If you ever have a chance to see a Cinerama, jump on it.
Untitled Post
2003-03-01 00:57:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Wow, a few hours ago I got back from the best Sonics game I had been to in a long while. We may finally be playing well again. It was a great game against the Lakers (we won 107-90). My friends and colleagues may know that I hate the Lakers. Not dislike, but hate with a passion. Especially Shaq and Kobe. Shaq is an asshole (those comments he made to Yao) and Kobe is overrated. I'll admit that one of the reasons we won is because the referees were amazingly unbiased for a Lakers game (there were only about five completely horrible, Laker-biased calls (which is low for a Lakers game)). Kobe's "amazing" scores are, in my not so humble opinion, a direct result of the horrible calls made that advantage him.
Untitled Post
2003-02-27 22:04:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I have been called a bastard by a few people for blocking IE from this page (actually, all pages served by the script index.pl, it doesn't affect the subdirectories). Here was my response: "eh" (for those of you that couldn't tell, that is indifference). I could careless if you can't reach my site with IE. If you really cared that much, just download another browser or spoof the browser ID field.
Anyway, the other day I tried restarting Apache to update some virtual hosts and it didn't work (way to go urpmi). I decided that this would be a good time to try and upgrade Apache so I would have the apxs file to build DSO mods with and then I would have the source for Apache to update like mod_perl. I am happy to say, after much work, everything appears to be going okay. I am running the latest version of everything (of the versions I am comfortable using, 1.3.x series of Apache and 1.x series of mod_perl). Go here to see what versions of the software I am running and my uptime. That is another think, the other day I passed the 60 day mark for uptime. This computer will stay on until the power goes out. Unfortunately, I don't have a UPS. I will soon have some extra memory for the server, but I won't be able to use it until the machine's uptime is broken :(. Oh yeah, I also upgraded to the latest version of MySQL. Viva la Open Source Software.
Untitled Post
2003-02-08 12:38:25 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
My New Year's resolution this year was to donate as much or more money to good causes (open source, freedom protecting organizations...) than I do to evil, rights restricting corporations (RIAA, MPAA...). I have set up a page where I (and others) can keep track of my progress. Click Here to view my New Year's resolution's progress.
Untitled Post
2003-01-17 23:42:03 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
From here.
Walt Disney corp ,n8B8B8Bn,
oration is a gr .8B8B8B8B8Bb
eedy parasite -8B8B8B8B8B8Bnd8P-''8g,
e on the publi 8B8B8B8B8B8B8B ` _` `'-\. .n.
c domain. The `Y8B8B8B8B8B8B. / _` |-\\ (8"8b
y are hypocr ,nnn.. 8B8B8B8b.` | `\ \m\|8B8BP
itical in t ,d8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8Bb. \8b|.\P- -P8-
eir use of- 8B8B8B8B8B8B8B8P--_- `8B_| ` ` `|
public doma -8B8B8B8B8-'8' ` d8. ` `- ` ` `_/
in material .-Y8B8BP' -\ | |-|-b,_. _.---
and antagonistic to the ri .\`\_/ _./-
ghts of american citizens. Th \_--
ey care nothing for the Constitution, except
where it suits them. The founding fathers, were
they alive today, would be publically burning
Mickey in effigy.

Hollings Sucks
Also, check this out.
Untitled Post
2002-06-27 00:51:29 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Some of you may have noticed that the server was down the last few days (since Monday afternoon). Actually, no one probably noticed. Anyway, the reason for this is I upgrade the server.... to Linux! So now, this is running on my Linux boxen. You might notice (although I doubt anyone cares) that the load times have decreased a lot. Also, with the new freedom Linux gives me, I installed an image gallery. That should make it easier to search through the images. Also, the images should load faster, because, instead of the 16 KBps upload rate I had before, I now upload at about 22 KBps or more. Score! Take that AT&T! Fight the Man! Also, I will hopefully be getting a digital SLR camera soon. If that is the case, then expect to see a lot of new pictures. Also, that gallery will come in handy when you can view thumbnails instead of having to download the full 2.5 meg (or whatever) file. I have some more images I might upload with comments (like from my Las Vegas trip (where I met Frank Klepacki!!)) If I think about it, I might still write that Episode II review. Anyway, I'm off now. I bid you adeu.
Untitled Post
2002-05-24 15:57:42 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I would like everyone who is reading this to take some time out of their day to Fuck Microsoft. Also, I later I will put up my story about seeing Episode II at the Cinerama.
Untitled Post
2002-03-22 23:05:11 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello all. The website was down some today while I upgraded to Apache 1.3.24. Also, I previously signed up to go to the Sonics game vs Houstin with some other fellow Boy Scouts as part of a scouting event. I payed 8 dollars for the seat. My parents were making fun of me by saying that they would get me Kleenexs for when my nose starts to bleed All the while they would be in their season ticket seats. They went in before we Boy Scouts got our tickets from will call. I looked at the tickets and it said section 125, so I thought, "hmm, that isn't the upper bowl..." I then looked at the price and they were 90 dollar seats, I pointed that out to everyone, and I was happy. I couldn't wait until my parents heard about this. I got a lot of stuff for 8 dollars: 2 free Chalupas (we won 112 to 82), 1 free Desmond Mason bobble-head, and 1 free 90 dollar seat. It was a great game, Drobnjak made some good plays and I got to see Ben Simon. I've got pictures that show the loot I got. I have awful lighting in my room. One bulb out of the two in my overhead light is burnt out. And it happens to be the one that is on the side where I took the pictures. That is why Desmond Mason's bobble-head looks so dark.
Untitled Post
2002-03-20 21:42:30 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today I got Pump It Up in the mail. I had to, of course, invite Jeff T over to play. We played for a few hours in the basement, connected to the TV and sound system. The floor is also right above cement, so we don't shake the house when we jump. I put up pictures here.
Untitled Post
2002-03-20 15:53:49 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Wow, it really started snowing today in World History. This weeks weather:
Saturday: Snow followed by rain.
Sunday: Sunny.
Monday: Snow followed by rain.
Tuesday: Rain.
Wednesday: Snow, lots of snow.
Crazy weather.
Untitled Post
2002-03-17 22:42:21 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello. If you want to see pictures from my families trip to Yellowstone, click here. Also, if you want to see some information about this webserver, click here. It is the Apache server-status page. It shows some interesting stuff (like uptime, currently at 6 days 4 hours). Oh yeah, I turned 16 today.
Untitled Post
2002-03-16 10:28:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Geez, it is snowing again! Not as hard as last week, though. I have put up some pictures taken from my room. The ones that look like the color isn't as good were taken at a higher 'shutter speed' (it is a digital video camera and therefore doesn't have a real shutter speed) so I could get a picture of the snowflakes without them being a blur. Also, some pictures look like a scan or pixelated, that is because I was taking the picture through a window screen.
Untitled Post
2002-03-12 21:02:32 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I did another panorama today. It is of the upstairs hallway.
Untitled Post
2002-03-11 19:33:41 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
After talking with some guys at the most recent SeattleWireless meeting, I was finally able to get my Sony Memory Card reader working (it came free with our DCR-VX2000). Anyway, I put up a QuickTime VR of my room. I used the camera to take the pictures. The lighting in my room sucked at the time and the program I used to make it made the pictures all grainy looking.
Furbeowulf Cluster
2002-03-03 22:01:52 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Today /. had an article about some MIT guys putting a 5 port switch into a teddy bear. Well, that made me remember the Furbeowulf Cluster project. It is a little old, but still funny. My favorite picture is the second from last. That made me crack up.
Untitled Post
2002-03-01 08:27:34 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I have added a new poll about Indiana Jones. Remember, you need to register and log in before you can vote. You can change your vote by clicking on another option and pressing submit again.
Untitled Post
2002-02-15 00:04:54 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Congratulations CmdrTaco
Untitled Post
2002-02-12 22:05:20 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I have just finished working. Now my website has a voting system! Anyway, go here to see the polls. You have to be logged in to vote. I wanted lots of people to vote, so my first poll is something controversial: abortion! I will add a new one when I feel like it (like tomorrow during programming).
Untitled Post
2002-02-12 16:33:01 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello. It seems that a lot of people know about my website, since I have added my hate list and stuff. Anyway, I updated the stats for the first time this year (I think), so you might want to check them out. I have almost reached 100,000 404 error messages (mostly people trying to run IIS exploits on my website).
Untitled Post
2002-02-08 20:37:20 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This just in: Hwee-Jo Sucks
Untitled Post
2002-02-07 15:32:10 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Last weekend I went snow camping with my boy scout troop. On the way we listened to this one song. I forgot about it until Steven reminded me about it. Anway, it is called I Hope You Die, click the link to see the lyrics. Man, I love that song.
Untitled Post
2002-02-06 19:44:19 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I just added a random quote display bar at the bottom of the page. Hopefully in the future I will be able to let users add quotes also.
Untitled Post
2002-02-04 15:38:44 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello again. I was talking to people today at school and they thought that having a rating system based on 10 positive and negative ranks would be better than 3. Anyway, I have updated it, so if you have already voted, please change your vote to reflect the new system. Also, I found out a problem in the HTML on the vote page and it should work now on browsers that are more picky about HTML errors. I also corrected an error in the perl script's SQL request.
Untitled Post
2002-02-04 08:46:26 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Friday night and last night/this morning I was updating my perl scripts to automatically generate hate and like pages. It also allows users to register for an account so they can also rate my hates/likes. Right now Mr. Davis is talking about the ACM code of conduct. It is kind of funny, because Friday he was talking a lot about Micro$haft and today he is talking about making sure your software is secure; he hasn't mentioned M$ yet. Also, he was talking about not getting into personal/confidential data. Someone asked how we can't violate privacy but the FBI can with carn^H^H^H^HDCS1000. I was like, "score, lets see how he gets out of this one." He replied with some patriotic crap about how it is for national security. I couldn't help myself, I had to disagree, I said if someone is going to plan a terrorist attack, they are going to use encryption. He said that 128 bit encryption is illegal outside of the US (wrong, its not illegal, you just can't export it, although there are loopholes). He also said that 128 bit encryption can be cracked (distributed.net has been trying to crack a 64 bit code for a long time, which is 264 times smaller than a 128 bit code. Also, I use a 4 kilobit code, that will not be cracked in my lifetime using conventional computers [aka, not quantum computing]). </rant>
Untitled Post
2002-02-01 09:05:47 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello. I am in the middle of Mr. Davis's class and he is giving a stupid, boring lecture about computer ethics, with a huge bias towards Microsoft. So, I decided to add a page for my bergeek shirt instead of listening to him.
Untitled Post
2002-01-23 15:46:50 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Hello all! I haven't had updates in a little while because I have been busy making a website for my boy scout troop, having a flame war with Slavia over Perl vs. ASP, and, oh yeah, it's finals week. Anyway, I put up this page to tell people about my old website.
Untitled Post
2002-01-14 22:38:58 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
With this new database I have, it is really easy to add pages. So, I have two new t-shirt pages running. The first one is my perl shirt and the second is my Slashdot shirt. Enjoy.
Untitled Post
2002-01-14 17:45:25 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I have tried getting Perl to work like three times already. Well, over the weekend and today, whenever I have had free time, I have been writing scipts, debugging scripts, restarting apache, and I have finally got everything working. So, as you may notice the address bar says index.pl, that means it is a perl scipt. Yes, my website is now dynamic with a mySQL backend. Also, as I already mentioned in my last past, PHP is installed on my server, which allows you to access the bulletin board. I encourage you to post there with comments, questions, whatever. You do need to register, but your e-mail is only used to send you your password in case you forgot it. If you find any problems (you very well may, because I haven't thoroughly tested everything), then please e-mail me.
New Bulletin Board
2002-01-12 14:01:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Last night (and early this morning) I installed PHP and was finally able to get Perl working. Yeah! Happy Day! Anyway, I now have a PHP bulletin board system up. You can only post if you have an account (to prevent abuse and stuff), so go sign up and use it.
Updated 3D Pong and More T-Shirts
2002-01-11 16:53:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Geez, its been a long time since an update. I hadn't realized it was a month since my last 3D Pong update. Anyway, I updated the t-shirts page to include info on my got root? shirt. Hopefully I can update the t-shirts page with the shirts I got for Christmas soon.
PGP and Stats
2001-12-16 01:05:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I finally figured out how to export my PGP key. Also, if you don't know how to get my program to work (aka, you don't know how to unzip it) then you can e-mail me. One more thing, ever since this website was started I have used two programs (Analog and ReportMagic) to generate statistics pages from my Apache log file data. You can view the stats now. They have always been online but I have never given out the link publicly.
Updated 3D Pong
2001-12-11 16:46:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
New version of 3D Pong! You can grab it here and view the readme here. Remember, if you have any suggestions, comments, or bug reports you can e-mail me.
Updated 3D Pong
2001-12-09 01:23:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
The latest nightly build of 3D Pong is out (okay, so I don't have nightly builds). Anyway, you can grab the latest release and view the changelog.
Updated 3D Pong
2001-12-07 06:37:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
I forgot some important things in my release of 3D Pong. You can download the new program or view the changelog.
Bought My Domain Name and Added 3D Pong
2001-12-06 23:05:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This page was taken down on 2001-12-01 when my cable went out. I got it back on 2001-12-02, but I didn't bring the website back until 2001-12-05. On 2001-12-03 I bought my domain name andrewhitchcock.org which is where this website is now located. I also released my first program today: 3D Pong v0.1.0. It is far from complete, but if you have any suggestions or problems with bugs you can e-mail me here.
More T-Shirts
2001-11-17 10:35:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Added a page for my bergamer shirt. I also hope to be adding my programs soon, keep an eye out.
Untitled Post
2001-10-31 22:23:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Removed the Goatse link from my links page. How did that get in there? cough
Another T-Shirt Added
2001-10-28 17:22:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Added a new page for my Geek shirt.
Updated T-Shirt Page
2001-10-27 12:16:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
Added a link to my Bin Laden shirt at Tshirts.
Website Launched
2001-10-27 11:43:00 by Andrew Hitchcock G+
This website is deployed.
View Last Five
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.