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Subject:plan for weekend renfest
Time:10:30 am
So - the older daughter is going to MD renfest this weekend with friends. It's kids' weekend (sprouts under 12 enter free). My car is going into the shop.

In the logic that is our world, this implies that the Rothman family (all of usn's) are piling into the van, dropping my car off at the shop, and proceeding to MD for the renfest, including the 9 and 11 yr-old, and delivering the 13-yr-old into the tender clutches of her peers.

we'd be glad of any company in our renfestery - given the understanding that this weekend is rug-rat infestery renfestery.
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Subject:quick update - camping in Maine
Time:08:59 pm
Lori and the kids and I, my sister and neice, all went up to Maine camping for a few days. Very very cool. We went up during the Pleides, and saw volumes of shooting stars.

Also, while we were up star gazing, I had a sky map, and reference for constellations. I finally figured out how to find several constellations in the summer sky that I hadn't previously - including particularly Cygnus.

Good fun was had by all. No injuries were incurred, mild exercise and fresh air was had. None of the children incurred injurious degrees of wrath - despite the antagonizing singing of the Phantom of the Opera.
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Subject:memage
Time:11:36 am
Train Horn

Created by Train Horn


But my 12-yr-old, currently down with flu, did pass though. makes me feel old.
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Subject:most personally influential books
Time:12:57 am
Alright all - my daughter is now 12 (and a HALF). She's a mature young lady, and it's about time to start hitting her with the heavy books and stories that can starkly influence your life in your early teen years. As an unrepentant and non-reconstructed geek, I have a small list of materials that really hit me at around that age (though probably a couple years later). I'd also like to prod the audience for books/ideas/memes that had a significant impact during their formative years.

My list:
1) Stranger in a Strange Land (Heinlein) [though now I might replace/supplement that with 'To Sail Beyond the Sunset']
2) Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) [also potentially 'Fountainhead' - too bad I didn't get to that one earlier - I have more identification with the architect's imperative than the rail magnate's...]
3) The Naked Ape (Desmond Morris)

More lately I think I'd add
4) Guns Germs and Steel (Jared Diamond)

I'd probably also add a movie to this - though almost more as a 'topping off'
5) Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988)

and from the music genre
6) The Wall (Pink Floyd)
7) The Who Collection [OK, I've lost track of particular albums... Baba O'Reilly, Who Are You, Won't Get Fooled Again]
8) Rush [again, I'd have to review albums, but definitely The Trees, Subdivisions, Tom Sawyer..]
9) Thick as a Brick, Songs from the Wood (Jethro Tull)

All thoughts and suggestions welcome!
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Subject:It's Zeekar's Fault
Time:09:11 pm
So.. I'm coding like hell on my Advanced AI term project. Going like the dickens.

Sunday night, my code blows up. Badly. Running out of memory.

OK, says I, must be a memory leak. Hook up the memory profiler (open source freeby - how cool is that?) and find the offending widgets. I found the offending widgets, then started through my code with a tooth comb, looking for circular references and poor exits from routines - I figure I've got some sort of leak that's giving the garbage collector fits. And I do this for HOURS. I've got really cool disassemblers on about 1/3 of my object classes now. Doesn't help. I wire up timing-based invocations of the garbage collector - maybe it missed my objects because it wasn't looking at the right time? no joy.

Then I step-step-step through my code, looking for the place where things are getting built and disposed (on-the-fly call tree analysis - more freeby open source - how cool is that?). I really start looking at the things I'm building and destroying. Turns out the 'dynamic and adaptive' nature of my code was killing me.. some long-term recursive-like aspects of my code were causing allocation of larger and larger and larger objects. So I went back into the algo, ensured my 'grow' and 'shrink' were balanced statistically, then installed some hard gates (if it's too big, or too small, dispose of it and try again..). Problem fixed.

So why is it zeekar's fault? Because a while ago (few weeks? few months?) on LJ, Mark started a great thread about some of the issues with garbage collection in Javascript. OK, I'm not Javascript'ing, I'm straight-up Java'ing, but the discussion stuck in my brain. So my immediate intuition was to jump straight to try to resolve issues in my code that might cause Javascript to blow a gasket with its garbage collection. Wrong leap of intuition. But I blame Mark for the hours of debugging in the wrong direction. :)
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Subject:quick cold, quick trip
Time:08:22 pm
Our household is just recovering from a quick summer cold that came through. I think I actually brought it home from work . I believe we've cleared it though, and despite the little buggies' best efforts, we managed to keep them from lodging in either sinuses or lungs (sinusitis and bronchitis being recurring issues in the Rothman household).

I also just took a quick trip to San Diego for work - out Monday PM, back red-eye Wed PM/Thur AM. Good prodeutive work, but not much by way of sight-seeing. I ran into some of my old crew from the Collaboration Management Office - apparently this week was the annual chat conference Lorraine holds out there. Who'd have know'd it?

So a quick story from San Diego... I got into San Diego Monday evening, and pulled into my hotel there about 9:00. I was a bit tired and wrung-out, so I decided to grab some food at the hotel, and then turn in. The dining room was closing, but the kitchen was still open - I convinced the waiter to seat me out on the deck. While I was eating, I stopped the waiter to ask what the fireworks were for, and he casually said, "oh, that's just Seaworld. How is everything?"

"How is everything?" I responded. "I'm on a deck by a swimming pool - 70 degrees, low humidity. Overlooking a marina. The hotel next door has an outdoor jam band with a really good sax player. The food is quite good. Now Seaworld is making fireworks just for me. You know - I think I'm doing all right."
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Subject:Holy Fire - pure expressions
Time:02:35 am
After Doctor Who, PBS runs a couple of music/concert shows, with a fascinating variety of different styles. Tonight the cards turned up Bonepony that I'm really enjoying. Aside from the fact that I really like their particular blend of traditional folk, bluegrass, rock, and a bunch of other eclectic influences, and the fact that they're amazingly talented (guitar player Nick Nguyen - wow...), there's a component that really goes past that. These guys play with joy. Pure, unadulterated, lovin' every minute of what they're up to.

This put me back in mind of Bruce Sterling's novel 'Holy Fire', and what he expressed in there as the glaringly dangerous, consuming pursuit of the thing that fires you up and rewards you with deep joy. It's dangerous because it can draw you in, make you neglect everything else. It may be maddening, and frustrating. It may be teasing and demand blood and sweat. But if you get it right, if it's the thing for you, swallowing the flaming thread, filling yourself with holy fire, can cause you to do things beyond what you imagined you could do.

Right now I don't have it. What I'm doing at work doesn't even touch on it. Work is going to give me ulcers in pretty short order. In my last gig I was trying to force it - I knew the collaboration area had a core of inspiration, but it wasn't mine to tap into. I'm still pokin' around the doctoral dissertation thing, and I'm still lacking inspiration. Unfortunately, passion and professionalism often masquerade as true inspiration, but they're not the same. There are topics in security and command and control that I'm passionate about, particularly some that are blatantly broken, particularly ones that chap me regularly. There are also areas that I recognize that are important and in need of fixing/improving/work, which I recognize I have unique insight into (DoD does not tend to generate or reward abstract thinkers - there are about 4, maybe 5 of us I know of in DISA...).

I'm going to make myself crazy if I can't find a real source of holy fire before long. Marking time at work, and working my way the slow, standard, and risk-free way through my academic program is starting to get taxing, and pushing me quickly to that 'haven't found my font of greatness' mid-life crisis pretty inexorably.

But for the moment, participating vicariously of Bonepony's holy fire is very enjoyable.
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Subject:Doctoral Qualifiers - Passed!
Time:01:26 pm
Current Mood:gratified
well. okay. it was exciting for me. :)
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Subject:meme age
Time:08:43 pm
Following the popular meme, here is a list of places I spent the night in 2007:

Sterling, VA (home!)
Atlanta, GA [1-night for work - FORCECOM]
Orlando, FL [grandad's 90th b-day!]
Oak Ridge, TN [work, Oak Ridge Labs]
Suffolk, VA [work, JFCOM]
Hurley, NY [Lori's folks - Xmas]
Poughkeepsee, NY [my folks - several visits]
St. Louis, MO (well... IL side of the river) [1-night for work, TRANSCOM]
Raleigh, NC [skellington's wedding!]
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Subject:just one more...
Time:10:53 pm
Tonight was Operating Systems. Boy am I glad I just had that class last semester and knew what was on tap... nasty test... it doesn't likesess usss..

Tomorow's networking. It'll be mystery meet - I haven't done any networky stuff at GMU yet.

Sample question from tonight's exam:
(2 hr exam. question was 1 of 4, worth 25%...)
3 classes of accessors to a shared resource: searchers, inserters, and deleters.
- each deleter must have exclusive access
- only one inserter at a time may access, but that access may be shared with many searchers
- many searchers may concurrently access the resource, and may share access with inserters (well, the one allowed inserter).

write pseudo code for concurrent searchers, deleters, and inserters. You have no knowledge of how many searchers, deleters, or inserters may present themselves (no maximums). Use only semaphors for concurrency control.
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