Archived news items from February 1999
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.
Tomorrow, well, really later today, we leave for Beaumont, TX for Academic Decathlon state competition. The level of difficulty will be cranked several notches from region though I still expect our kids to do well. I'll be out of pocket and almost certainly unable to update until we get back late Sunday.
I'll let you know how we did as soon as I'm able.
By the way, I'm missing church for the first time since being hired for this, which doesn't excite me tons. Mad props to Wilson for agreeing to lead worship for me and to Wayne Hall for singing. Hopefully God will show up without me. ;)
I finally downloaded and played through Half-Life Uplink, the demo mini-mission of Half-Life. It was superb. Once I had to quit playing because I got rattled, and the ending scared the daylights out of me. I just knew I was going to die. This is not your typical first-person shooter.
This game is easily the best game of 1998, if you're even remotely into first-person shooters. Go out and buy it right now. Or if you're hesitant or just don't trust me, download the demo and then go out and buy it.
Also, I finally got my classroom involved in the distributed.net RC-5-cracking effort. I have been personally involved with this for over seven months, but now all the computers in my lab are contributing. Fun stuff. They're not fast machines (P-75s), but there are a lot of them. I may get some of the other teachers in the business department to sign on as well.
Finally got a chance to update my email address at the bottom of the page, so those should be live now. Not sure if outside email is making it into to school district (I think it is - eventually), so if I don't reply it's probably because I haven't received it yet.
Clay Cafè was cool last night. I got to open for my friends Big Noise in America and catch up with them. I would have advertised the fact that I was opening a little more, but I didn't know until yesterday morning, and I was too busy to update the web page yesterday.
I must give a little commercial for a book I just finished, Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb. It's probably one of the most piercing books I've read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to deepen their relationship with God. Here's a blurb from the back of the book:
You don't have to pretend you've got it all together... when you don't. You don't have to pretend your best relationship deeply satisfies... when it doesn't. You don't have to pretend your struggle with sin is a thing of the past... when it isn't.
"Only Christians have the capacity to never pretend," says Larry Crabb. That's because real change is only possible when you face the realities of your internal life and let God mold you into a person who is free to be honest, courageous, and loving.
Anyway. Just wanted to give that book a plug, because it has helped show me some areas where God needs to change me. Pretty exciting stuff.
My computer just had a virus.
There is an worm virus which is sending itself as an email attachment called Happy99.EXE. If you receive an attachment by this name in an email message, delete it without running it. Note that this is not what some would incorrectly call an "email virus" and that you cannot be infected unless you actually run the program.
This particular worm propagates by hooking into wsock32.dll, and is really pretty clever. Your favorite anti-virus software should be able to detect and remove this virus if you download the most recent list of virus definitions. If you don't have a virus scanner, get one and use it. You foolishly risk major system damage if you don't.
I did not personally infect anyone else with this virus except myself.
For more information about this virus, see this warning at NAI's AVERT labs.
Just was reminded by a friend that the email links at the bottom of these pages are no longer valid, for two reasons. First, we aren't getting outside mail inside the school at the moment (though they're working on it) and secondly, when they redid the email accounts (in an attempt to fix other problems) our email addresses changed. So, in case our email starts working sometime soon, my new address at school would be Graham_Mitchell at leander.isd.tenet.edu. Not very obscure, is it?
Right now the students are off as we teachers attend seminars at our annual Continuous Improvement Conference. These are always a lot of fun, and I get to hear ideas from teachers I might not ever talk to otherwise. I really enjoy the district I work in.
Been playing around with Linux kernel 2.2 at home and school. At the moment we've got the school machine routing IP and IPX pretty well, for such a slow processor. I'm having difficulty getting the PnP soundcard to work with the combination of the 2.2 kernel and RedHat 5.2 configuration tools (which were intended for the 2.0 kernel series), but other than that, it's a big improvement. Offers lots of features that've been missing for a while.
I get great joy out of recompiling the operating system. I won't be doing that with COMMAND.COM anytime soon, I can tell you that.
Got my teeth cleaned today. This is an appointment that I made back in August. Let me tell you, that's too long. I need another dentist.
Anyway, it seems I'm slipping on the update schedule. Sorry, but I don't have that much to report at the moment. I'll try to make up something interesting before next weekend, though. Maybe I'll tell you about the fantastic book I'm reading...
Health watch: I feel completely well, with no fever symptoms or anything. My voice is back up to about 90% and getting stronger every day.
I spent all day at a UIL meet today. The bus left the school at 6am, and got back around 5. It was fun to hang out with the kids and such, so it definitely wasn't a wasted day. The lack of preparation of my kids (for the Computer Science competition) is starting to show; while my students improved their scores from last time, many of the schools we comfortably beat at the beginning of the year have now passed us by a lot. They really need more coaching from me and not just sponsorship. Anyway.
Also ran into an old friend of mine from college at the meet, who was home for the weekend to help with the debate proceedings. I hadn't seen her for six months, so it was good to talk a bit, though she was too busy running things to talk much. Still good to see her, though.
My computer science students are working on their six weeks projects. Most notable this time around is the Huffman tree encoding/compression project for computer science II. It relates to binary trees (which we just finished learning), but may have been a bit ambitious. I wrote one in college, but it has been way too long, and I'd forgotten about a lot of parts that add complexity. Still, I'm handling some of the more peripheral sections for them, and we should be able to get it done in time.
About to head out to see an old roommate of mine, who's in town this weekend. Later.
The laryngitis is slowly getting better. I still didn't have a full voice today, but it was better than it has been. I actually felt well enough to have some salsa when I got home from work for the first time in over a week. Hopefully I won't regret that in the morning.
I just received a call from a telemarketer, which is the first of those since the end of December. Again, I'll recommend the anti-telemarketing script from junkbusters.com to make those go away.
Got a little more detail on the win again today. Our score was thirtieth in the state, though our score was not dramatically different from teams scoring as high as thirteenth. Our actual cumulative point total was 38550, just behind Bryan, who had 39010. Yet it was far behind first-place winner and perennial champion Katy-Taylor, who posted a score just shy of 48000. (Ack!) State competition is at the end of this month, which will cause me to miss two more days of school and a day of church for the first time. Oh, well. I'm sure God will be able to handle things without me.
Got the statewide scores in today; we are going to state! More later.
archive index (for dates back to August 1998)
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