Medsphere

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So I went out to California the last two weeks to start my new job, and I got to finally meet Cesar from #mono. Anthony Taranto, Peter Johanson, and Brad Taylor also work there. It was a really fun trip, everyone was fun. I almost went to see SoaP with the rest of the company, but my plane left too early on Friday so I missed out.

Upgrading to Dapper

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I’ve been running on Ubuntu Dapper for quite a long time now, and my mom has been using the previous version, the Breezy Badger. So I figured since the official 6.06 release is final, I’d upgrade her machine to Dapper.

I ran into a little bit of a hiccup, and it seems that somewhere along the way her Python 2.4 install had been corrupted. Since stuff like that doesn’t usually “just happen” I filed a bug report on Ubuntu’s Launchpad. It was fixable without too much trouble, by just manually installing the latest python24 package from Dapper. After that the upgrade finished without a problem.

Nobody else has run into this issue that I’m aware of, which is very peculiar. I got a response from one of the Ubuntu hackers trying to get some more information, but by that time I had already forced the upgrade of python24 so it was too late.

Dapper is released!

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Exciting news today, Ubuntu has unleashed the Dapper Drake!

Xgl goodness

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So, I’ve installed Xgl and compiz here and the results are really beautiful, although not entirely stable yet. But this is software still in development, so I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect yet. It seems to also be missing support for Xinerama X extension, because now my gdm login screen and my panel stretch across both monitors.

I’ll try to make some videos of the desktop running compiz sometime. It’s really nice looking.

What I’m up to

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Everything is finally getting started here. I’m playing a piano quintet, but we’re not sure which one yet. Either Brahms or Shostakovich. I went out to Sarasota a couple days ago to audition at the Florida West Coast Symphony, and they put me on the sub list. I might also start playing with a couple orchestras around West Palm Beach. So that’s cool.

I’m not usually all that into anime stuff. I liked Cowboy Bebop though, and I got into Inuyasha for awhile. But now I found some newer show called Bleach that’s not out yet in US and I’ve gotten totally addicted to it, pulling down the new episodes from BitTorrent whenever they’re available.

Updates

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I’ve been setting up a new Scratchbox/Maemo environment on my new Ubuntu partition. I had it setup under Fedora, but I killed my Fedora partition and replaced it with Ubuntu Hoary. I had some problems installing Hoary on this system using the 5.04 ISO, and ended up having to use the previous version, 4.10 Warty, and then upgrade the system to 5.04 Hoary using Synaptic.

Amela came back from Albania recently and had lots of photos, but for some reason couldn’t get the photos off the CD that was given to her. She thought there is a virus on the disc or something, so I took the disc and pulled the images off of it for her. It looked like a fun trip.

Lesley has moved to El Paso. I talked to her before she moved there and she was very excited about it. I keep meaning to call now that she’s been there a couple weeks and find out how it is. She’s teaching violin and viola and helping Ben Loeb get his new chamber orchestra started, as far as I understand. Sounds exciting!

I moved out of Baltimore around the same time Lesley was leaving Santa Barbara, but I haven’t reached my final destination yet. I took a break to hang out in Texas with some friends and family right now. I’m leaving for Florida next week to get back into music more. I’m pretty excited about that. Ralph is teaching here now, and that was what made me interested in going there. So I’ll be preparing for orchestral auditions with Ralph, and doing some chamber music and orchestra stuff there.

I’ve been reading through some chamber music stuff with Amirosh and Kelly a little bit recently, and yesterday we read through a Brahms piano quartet with Elena Tsvetkova. We’re thinking about maybe doing a concert here in December sometime. Amirosh and I are also interested still in trying to do another concert around that time

A Feast for Crows

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I’m a big fan of George R R Martin’s fantasy book series, A Song of Ice and Fire. I’ve read the first three books in the series and I’ve been looking forward to the fourth book since like 2001 or something. Well, it’s finally finished!! I’m so excited.

If you’re into fantasy style books, this is it. Obviously, it’s unfair to try to compare it to Tolkien or anything. But I’ve read some other series and nothing else compares to this. I tried reading Robert Jordan’s stupid-ass Wheel of Time series. What a sleeper! It started out very promising, but the thing has dragged on for like 11 books and for the past three books it feels like nothing much has happened. In fact, after reading the last book I can say most assertively that nothing happened during that book. The plot did not advance.

While Martin’s series is becoming long, I trust him. He originally said that there will be six books in the series, I think, but he recently extended that to seven. Okay, I’ll give him that. But it means something to me, as a reader, that he actually has an end in mind and that he’s not just writing some damned soap opera book series that can go on indefinitely. His plots are actually interesting, and I find myself being surprised by what he writes; this is something that nobody does anymore!! Seriously, nobody actually writes plots that really surprise you. Sometimes, in books or movies or whatever, you don’t necessarily know what’s going to come next but you’re still not surprised when it happens. Martin actually manages to surprise you. You’re sitting there calmly reading your book and drinking some tea when, bam! he goes and does something crazy like killing off the person who appeared to be an essential protagonist.

How many people has Jordan killed off in his series? I don’t know exactly, but I know that they were all “bad guys”. Yippee.

Anyway, seriously.. I’m very excited about FEAST being finished finally. I’ve been waiting for this so long. For awhile, I remember Martin would post stuff on his website about some nasty people bitching at him about taking so long. I wrote to him and told him, “Take as long as you need to. Just make sure it’s as good as the previous books.” I want consistency. I remember reading The Death Gate Cycle by those people who wrote that shitty Dragonlance stuff years ago when I was in middle school. Death Gate was so awesome…. until the end, when it was completely and utterly ruined. Then again, I was in middle school.. maybe if I went back and read that now I’d find that the whole thing sucked.

Okay, I’m done talking about this today. It’s probably hard to tell by reading this, since I’m ranting about other series more than talking about Martin’s series, but I’m really, truly very excited.

GDC

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Well, I’m back. I went to GDC in San Francisco, and it was pretty cool. I went to a couple of the sessions, walked many miles around the downtown San Francisco area, heard the San Francisco Symphony do Mahler 7, and met shaver, vlad, pavlov, and another Mozilla guy named Brendan. I also managed to get a moment to meet Mark Healy from Lionhead Studios and I saw his demo of Ragdoll Kung-fu in the “experimental gameplay” session. That was really cool. I had been talking with him in email last summer about the possibility of porting that over to Linux and MacOS for him. I’d still like to do that after it’s released, if I can.

Then my company went out to Mammoth ski resort. Fortunately it was only for a couple days. I did try to go skiing, but I didn’t really enjoy it. From there we drove down to Los Angeles and flew out of LAX.

Off to San Francisco

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I’m taking off today for San Francisco. I’m going to be at GDC 2005 for the whole week with the company, then we’re going on a ski trip somewhere. I don’t even know where. I sort of don’t care.

Saying I sort of don’t care is a little more than an understatement. I’m so disinterested in the skiing part of this trip. I wish I could just take an earlier flight than the rest of them and come back home a few days sooner. I’ve never been skiing, and I just have no interest in it right now. Even more than that is that I’d rather just be back home either practicing or hanging out with my friends. Or renting a car and driving down to Santa Barbara to hang out with Lesley. Or going up to New York to hang visit Carolyn. Or something. But no.. I’m going skiing.

Actually, I’m not. I’m sitting in my hotel room, probably reading the new GPU Gems 2 book, while everyone else goes skiing.

I also found out Sunday that I need a ski jacket, ski pants, some sort of really heavy extra-long ski socks, and who knows what else. How much does this stuff cost? A couple hundred dollars. Am I going to spend that kind of money for a damn ski trip that I don’t even want to go on? Hell no! If you’ve seen how I dress, you know that I desperately need to go out and buy new clothes that I’ll actually wear more than once. I think I have exactly one piece of clothing right now that I got within the past three years, and that’s a t-shirt that Hiroshi Iizuka gave me when I was visiting him one time. Spending any amount of money at all on some clothes I’ll wear once? I’m too cheap to do that, even if I wanted to go skiing.

Blimpie

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Cameron and I decided to go to Blimpie last Saturday for dinner. There’s a Blimpie over close to his house near Hopkins campus, so I decided to walk from the monument to there. It’s about a 2 mile walk, but I was cool with that. The store closed at 9pm, so we arrived by 8pm. My mobile phone said 7:58p, actually. Anyway, the store was closed when we got there; most of the lights were out, the door was locked, and the girl inside was packing up all the stuff behind the counter.

Almost as soon as we get there, the girl starts yelling at us. “I’m closed!!” We look at the posted hours.. it says closing time is 9pm. I look at my telephone’s clock, and it says 7:58pm. The girl sees our hesitation, or at least notices the fact that we don’t immediately leave, and keeps yelling at us that she’s closed. We try pointing out that closing time is posted at 9pm, and she starts getting pissed!! She’s yelling like, “If the lights are out and the door is locked, then that means I AM CLOSED!!” So then we’re trying to ask if the hours have changed, or if this is just something on this day.. but she keeps yelling that she is CLOSED. So I ask something like, “If you’re not going by the posted hours today and you won’t tell us whether this is normal, how do we know when to show up in the future?” Then she gets freaking crazy mad and yells that if we don’t leave right now she’s calling security on us! I was so pissed. So yeah, we left and told her we’d never come back.

I went onto Blimpie’s website and reported the store, but I don’t know if it will do any good. I didn’t find this particular store in the little “store finder” feature. But if you’re in Baltimore near Hopkins, then avoid the Blimpie at Hopkins Square if this evil chick is working behind the counter. I suspect anyone who has so little concern for their job as to scream at and threaten customers is also not likely to do other aspects of their job well. Who knows what she might be baking into the bread.

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