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Jeff Szymona [Site] [XML]
Description: my website n'at
Last Update: 00:19:10 11/04/2004

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First Fetched: 00:16:50 01/31/2004
Last Updated: 00:19:10 11/04/2004


Almost Three Weeks
Almost three weeks at the new job, and I think I'm starting to look like one of those guys who are stuck living in a casino because they can't afford the bus ticket home. Naw, not really, I always look like this.
22:47:14 September 30, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Since everyone is harassing me about posting something, since it's been several months, and something interesting must have happened in my life by now, here I am again. Yeah, so yesterday was my last day work. I got a new job starting Monday. It's becoming the trendy thing to do, apparently. It's like an end of an era, since I had been at the same place since moving to Pittsburgh four and a half years ago.
21:47:01 September 9, 2004, Thursday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
What's New
Yeah, so what have I been up to lately? Well, a little over a month ago I twisted my ankle really badly. I had one of those silly aircasts on, and my ankle is still swollen a little bit. It was hideously black and blue at one point. I'm really behind on my bills right now, and am trying to crack down on things and set a budget in order to catch up on everything. Long boring story, but I think it'll work out ok. I'm going to see Rush tonight with Jeff Z. He has a spare ticket he's letting me use gratis. It'll be nice to finally see them, and I imagine this might be their last tour, but then you never know. Ho hum, see you in another three weeks, I guess.
14:41:32 May 31, 2004, Monday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Exercises in Futility
I was thinking of decruftifying my blog URLs. The category pages went smoothly, but individual entries were going to prove more troublesome unless I learned some advanced mod_rewrite tricks. Then I toyed with converting to WordPress, not because the current hubbub about MT 3.0's free version licensing would affect me...just for something different. But I've done so much customization to this setup that I don't really feel like going through the effort to truly convert my site right now. Perhaps I should just worry about adding entries more often in the first place.
21:09:39 May 14, 2004, Friday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
I just made an incredibly stupid mistake, which I thought destroyed my entire website, including ftp and email access. I didn't delete any data, just made it utterly inaccessible. You know what they say, a little knowledge (as in mine) is dangerous. Well, luckily, the support team at Jumpline has more than a little knowledge. Where it looked at first that I'd have to have my account reset, as if it was newly purchased, the support rep discovered that I had only broken a symlink, and fixed it in short order. And notice that it's rather late on a weekend. I am seriously impressed (and relieved). And I would also recommend Jumpline for your webhosting needs, since obviously they know what they're doing!
02:19:42 April 25, 2004, Sunday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
More Origami Polyhedra
I got some new polyhedra done over the past week. A rhombic dodecahedron using a variation of Nick Robinson's A4 Rhombic Unit (I started with a standard square piece of paper, and then folded in the edges to get the proper rectangular shape), and a truncated cube (with a snazzy pinwheel design) from the "Unit Origami" book.
22:43:04 April 11, 2004, Sunday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Polyhedra in Origami
I've started making polyhedra in origami. There are some resources on the net for this, but the definitive source of information is the "Unit Origami" book by Tomoko Fusè. I've only made a few things so far, since it's a little time consuming to make modular origami (the dodecahedron took 30 pieces of paper!). Here's a picture: a truncated tetrahedron (using Francis Ow's 120° module), a fancy cube (from the Fusè book), and the dodecahedron (using James Plank's Penultimate module). [Currently listening to: Fischerspooner - The 15th]
12:28:10 April 4, 2004, Sunday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Goodbye, Vet's Stadium
I saw many Phillies games there, as well as Pink Floyd around 10 years ago.
04:27:41 March 21, 2004, Sunday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
In 3-D!
Z-Ordering polygons is evil. Writing a good old-fashioned algorithm after being spoiled by Java Comparators isn't evil, just kinda funny. Unlike writing algorithms to screw around with records for the purposes of making reports, which is beyond evil.
02:01:10 March 19, 2004, Friday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Woohoo! The power blinked off at a quarter to two today, and the computer is still on! :) This is so exciting! I thought something was funny because my router was in an error-like state, so I guess it couldn't reestablish the connection to the internet properly afterwards. Since you only get three plugs that are on battery backup, I chose the computer and monitor (obviously) and the USB hub (which one could argue is somewhat important for operating a computer, when you have your keyboard and mouse hooked into it). I can't see why you'd want the internet to stay alive in a power failure anyway.
15:17:47 February 26, 2004, Thursday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
TV gets even worse (for me)
Oh great, they're cancelling Angel now. I'm now down to one show I somewhat make sure to watch every week (Stargate SG-1). No more "stop the world" shows left.
08:36:15 February 15, 2004, Sunday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Hidden Track Rip
Well, this was a new and interesting experiment. A CD I got for Christmas, by Dog Fashion Disco, contains one of those hidden "negative" or zero tracks. Ever hear of them? That's where in a normal CD player, you rewind from track 1, and there it is. I've been using CDex anymore to rip my CDs, since they're almost all in practically mint condition, and EAC stresses the drives too much for what I feel is a level of error checking I don't typically need. However, it doesn't support reading these types of hidden tracks, so I tried EAC again, since that lets you rip arbitrary index ranges from CDs. Well, EAC doesn't seem to like by burner for a while now, and it would just freeze up totally. When I tried it with the plain CD-ROM, it appeared to work, but I'd get silence, which is understandable, since not all CD drives are capable of reading these tracks. So, as a last ditch, I downloaded the trial of Feurio, and it worked! I had to manually tell it to read the special index 0, which ...
23:11:38 December 24, 2003, Wednesday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Stay In, Dammit!
I think someone at the NWS needs to lay off the coffee. The current weather alert ends like this: "ANY TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. IF YOU LEAVE THE SAFETY OF BEING INDOORS, YOU ARE PUTTING YOUR LIFE AT RISK." Ok, ok! I'll stay in! Good grief!
02:31:44 December 14, 2003, Sunday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
The Big Squeeze
If you're ever under a lot of pressure, especially at the office, and need to get some relief, you can always try squeezing your prostate.
23:33:21 December 5, 2003, Friday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Pittsburgh Flooding
Holy shit, there's no Point! Various places in da 'burgh are underwater as we speak, and I think the rivers haven't even crested yet. I didn't even realize it'd be this bad. So many times there are flood warnings, it's almost gotten like the child crying wolf. I was shocked to see this! I'm charging up the camera quick, to try and get some pictures on my way to work. More info is at WTAE's website. Shameless plug since I swiped their picture :)
06:10:51 November 20, 2003, Thursday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Concert Soon
In about 18 hours I get another shot at seeing Lacuna Coil. They're playing at Club Laga, which I've never been to. I don't know what lucky stars made them come to Pittsburgh a fourth time (I hadn't heard of them yet the first time, and never heard about the second time), but this is a headlining show, so I'll not miss them from showing up late, and probably get to hear twice as many songs (as I would have had I showed up earlier last time). I assume the opening bands will stink, but they always do, no? Part of me wants to act like I'm half my age and take a CD to get autographed and try to get pictures and whatnot (of course, of Cristina Scabbia, the singer), but I dunno about that. It'd probably be impressive to say nice things in Italian, but I don't know anything other than the more, um, colorful expressions I'd hear as a kid :)
22:14:16 November 19, 2003, Wednesday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
I finally managed to view the karaoke version of "Kayleigh" by Marillion. Double ugh on a stick, as Eric would say. The chorus is mostly right, but the verses are a disaster - I seriously think whoever made the disc had just finished reading Hooked on Phonics, since there are several cases of the words being close but not quite. Home = heart? Hair = hands? Chalk = chock??? Context, man, context! What the hell would "chock hearts" be? Plus, the whole thing sounds like MIDI. Oh well, I'm really glad I didn't waste any money on that tripe. I had heard that Sunfly discs are crappy, but holy shit. Perhaps it's understandable to be so demanding when Sound Choice discs are 99% perfect.
08:38:08 November 8, 2003, Saturday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Mac envy gone too far?
Well, at least I know my page is viewable in Netscape 3 under MacOS 7.5.5! I wish I could just afford a friggin' eMac or something.
01:11:07 November 8, 2003, Saturday (PST) Source: Jeff Szymona
Can't Blog...
I'm too busy re-ripping all my music to AAC's for iTunes! ;) I think I'm going to burn all my MPC's to disc, and any new stuff I'll compress to both types. Just in case an MPC plugin for iTunes comes out in the near future. On the other hand, maybe I should just stick to AAC, in case I ever get a Mac or at least an iPod. AAC seems to have more of a future than Musepack, like it or not. And, so far the AAC's I'm making (with a command line compressor, of course, so I can do high-quality VBR) are passing my crappy hearing tests (which is highly scientific - it amounts to me listening to it and thinking, that's good enough, I'm not hearing the weirdness from the old MP3's). Juggling quality, ease of creation, and compatibility concerns can hopefully only get easier as things settle down, and the "true" successor to MP3 is decided.
12:58:37 October 18, 2003, Saturday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
iTunes For Windows
Time for the obligatory "I downloaded iTunes for Windows as soon as Steve Jobs clapped his hands, and now here's my review." Actually, I practically did, since I had the iTunes web page open, and refreshed every so often until it magically morphed into the new version with the Windows download link. Anyhow, it's good and bad. The interface is great, as I expected. Dynamic playlists are a terrific thing. But, there's no support for Musepack (obviously). AAC encoding, at least through iTunes itself, is stuck as CBR, and even 192 CBR doesn't sound decent enough to me (I'm sure I'll get grief for that comment). And apparently AAC doesn't support gapless? Not sure about that one. I suppose I could revert to using the best quality MP3 (alt-preset-standard). I'm thinking about it. Or, I'm sure there are other AAC encoders out there that I could just use. Using an external ripper (like EAC or CDex) is a good idea anyway, since they watch for physical problems and try to adjust for them, ...
23:11:51 October 16, 2003, Thursday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Good Riddance to Summer
I really liked the weather today - high in the 50's, mostly cloudy...not overcast per se, but lots of puffy clouds with dark undersides blanketing the sky. Yeah, sounds depressing, huh? It's just that I think anything memorable in my life has happened in this kind of weather or "worse." Nothing important to me ever happens in the summer, it seems, whereas late September to February is the sweet spot. So when I feel that chill in the air, and the decreased light, I actually feel some kind of hope that something worth waking up for will be just around the corner. Of course, not every year brings something interesting. Perhaps this one won't either.
22:53:27 September 29, 2003, Monday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Another Enneagram Test
[via Starjewel] Looks like the "conscious self" result is exactly the same as last time. Apparently the "overall self" is a wee bit different, though. Conscious selfOverall self Take Free Enneagram Test
10:44:05 September 28, 2003, Sunday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Doctor Who to Return to TV
[via Slashdot] Yep, nerdgasm indeed. New Doctor Who on TV, and not done by silly Americans at Fox, either! Outpost Gallifrey's news page also has more information, as well as links to other coverage.
16:46:15 September 26, 2003, Friday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Home Sweet Home
Just got back in from a semi-impromptu weekend trip to Hazleton. Long, long trip. Didn't get back in time for karaoke. Did get to eat Pizza Rolls and drink some from-the-tap root beer from Stewart's (no, not the one in New Jersey, obviously...a different one) for the first time in almost 3 years, as well as bring back some Senape's Pizza and Turkey Hill iced tea. Also got to see my old friends Tom and Curch for the first time since I moved. So, things balance out.
22:32:56 September 6, 2003, Saturday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
I just realized something. Right now I'm doing a lil' WAH (work at home), and I'm working on designing something in the hopes of doing it "better," or at least in a way more useful to those who sign my paychecks, than Sun's offering. This seems to be a trend, now that I think of it - most of my work for the past while has been of this nature, extending and enhancing Swing components, and sometimes any ol' Java class. Is this presumptuous? Who the hell am I to question Sun's implementation of things? Am I really doing a better job? Well, I've also done work enhancing a certain third-party component, and I will dare to say that in that case, I did do a better job, because the thing is designed like shit, and if I was around when it were being purchased, knowing what I know now, I would have never allowed us to get it. Anyway, I guess you can look at it this way - the Java class library is really huge and powerful, but sometimes that power comes at a price, which is finding that you ...
23:02:45 September 3, 2003, Wednesday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona
Another Concert, Less Luck
I'm really fucking disappointed now. I went to go see Lacuna Coil and Anthrax tonight at Metropol. Anthrax was really good, much better than I thought. As for Lacuna Coil, the damn reason I wanted to go, um, well, it was a very enjoyable 3 minutes. Supposedly there was a third band, which I've never heard of, so when I was planning on arriving at about 45 minutes into the show, I figured I'd be safe to see all of Lacuna Coil. As I was buying my ticket, I heard them, already on, doing "Daylight Dancer" from their latest album. I thought, oh, good, got here just in time (since I naively thought that'd make a good opening song). Oh no, that was their last song. They actually started about ten after eight. No third band. I just looked them up, and I don't think they're on the tour at all anymore - all their dates are different than Anthrax and Lacuna Coil now. Had I known that, I would have gotten there for eight. The damn Anthrax website still lists these dudes as being with them on ...
22:49:32 August 22, 2003, Friday (PDT) Source: Jeff Szymona