Old News

Archived news items from January 1999
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.

Sunday, 31 Jan 1999 [17:01 CST]

I talked to my co-coach today and found out my count was a bit off; our eight competing students received forty-two individual medals. In addition, every student competing received a medal, which is a first for Leander.

I'm still unable to speak much, so I'm going to make an appearance at a Superbowl party and then come back home and sleep. Personally, I hope the commercials win.

Sunday, 31 Jan 1999 [00:42 CST]

We're back. I've been ill since Wednesday and can hardly speak. I'm pleased, though; the kids did very well. We placed second overall and garned over thirty individual medals. We find out early next week if our score is high enough to get us to state.

It was a lot of fun but I'm glad it's over for at least a few days. I need to catch up on some sleep. Speaking of which....

Wednesday, 27 Jan 1999 [22:35 CST]

I'm out for a while. Leaving for College Station tomorrow for competition; be back late Saturday. Wish us luck....

Monday, 25 Jan 1999 [22:53 CST]

Just came up for air for a little bit. It's been an eventful week, and will continue to be pretty hectic for a while yet. Major events of note:

Anyway, I'm out again. I'll update again after competition to let everybody know how things turned out.

Tuesday, 19 Jan 1999 [21:38 CST]

Just finished watching the President's State of the Union Address. A pretty good job, I must say. Two things struck me.

For anyone interested in coming, Lakeline Church is starting a coffee house cafe-type thing once a month. The first is this coming Saturday at 7:30pm. Holy Fire will be there, and should bring in over a hundred groupies (and maybe quite a few more). Lakeline's own worship team will be opening for them, and we'll have a pretty nice set of three songs or so. Should be a lot of fun. Come see us if you have the chance. Head over to Lakeline's web page for directions or more information.

Progress on the voting server is continuing nicely, and should be done within a week or so. (At least, functional beta code; it'll be a while before it's rock solid enough to others to deploy.)

Saturday, 16 Jan 1999 [22:27 CST]

I did not do any coding today. What I did do was narrowly avoid spending $700. I sat down to do some recording for a song were going to be doing at church Valentine's Day on a borrowed 4-track mixer. Now the only microphone I have is a $9 Realistic mic (with an on/off switch; it's that good). And apparently it's broken; it would only send a low hum through the system. So I drove to church to see if I could gank a microphone from there. No luck; we had plenty of microphones but no 1/4 cables so I could plug it into the line in on the 4-track.

So I hoofed it over to Strait Music North (which is about one mile from my place) to get a $20 cable. While there I saw some wireless headset microphones and guitar beltpack transmitters. And so it began.

I didn't really plan to buy anything there because prices are generally pretty high and the selection was very low; only one model. So I just mentally added figures and found that I could get a Shure guitar system and headset system for about $625 before tax. So I thought; hey, I should drive down to Mars Music and see what I can see there.

I spent over an hour in Mars, since I'd never been there. It's huge, and prices were good. However, they didn't carry the AKG wireless headsets (which I really wanted). I really didn't like the feel of the Shure headset they had in stock. Nevertheless, I was very close to buying them anyway. Very. After talking myself down (lucky no "friends" were there to encourage me) I just bought the cable I needed for $15.

But then I decided - what the heck; I'm already down here. Might as well drive down to Musicmakers and see what I can dig up there. Got there and they didn't have any of the AKG headsets in stock either, but they did have an Audio Technica of similar quality, except that it pressed like huge vice grips on my temples when I wore it. No good, there.

So I drove back home and remembered on the way that I had a $12 gift certificate for Best Buy, so I stopped in to check out the CDs. Of course that was a mistake; my $12 gift certificate turned into a $57 purchase as I found several albums I'd been meaning to pick up for some time. Got Dilate and Not a Pretty Girl (both Ani DiFranco), Rage Against the Machine's first, and Paul's Boutique (which I had but was lost in The Purge).

What was intended to be a ten minute trip to the store cost me nearly $70 (almost $700) and over four hours. At least now I know what I'm looking for in wireless systems, and price ranges I can expect.

Anyway. Work on the voting server (which began last night) should continue tomorrow after church. Hope to have something functional by Tuesday morning.

Tuesday, 12 Jan 1999 [21:43 CST]

Been busy teaching the first week back since break. The kids have been a little code-groggy, so they needed a gentle introduction back to C++. We're working with filestreams now, and I'm happy because I'm being able to cover them in a lot more detail than in previous years and understanding is high.

Computer Science II is now looking at binary search trees, and we're sort of bumbling through recursion at the same time. Talk about fun.... They voted to go ahead and get the hard stuff out of the way first thing. It's especially fun for me since I haven't dealt with BSTs at any depth in about six years. Whew.

I completed part 2 of 4 for the voting server/mp3 player monstrosity. Got my stdin/stdout-based command-line interface mp3 player to now deal with play lists (with some help from my sysadmin friend), and the structure is there to be able to easily handle shuffling, etc., though I won't deal with that until all the other major issues are out of the way. All that remains to give me minimal functionality is to write the actual vote server (which I should be able to knock out in a weekend if I actually sit down and code the thing) and to get the GUI client to communicate with the server (i.e. vote).

Then I'll be able to tackle some ease-of-use issues, and start tweaking the voting protocol, especially as I see how students can abuse it. ;)

I've learned a lot coding this thing (as I always do), but I'll be glad when I have something at least functional. Then I can probably turn my attentions to a gradebook; it will be quite daunting to give it the functionality and ease-of-use I'd like from one. Especially if it's going to have a nice Win32 GUI and be able to import/export Excel spreadsheets. I wonder what the chances are I can run across documentation on their file format?

I have a few students that keep threatening to visit my church. So far they haven't made it there, but there's still hope, I guess. Sometimes it is good for students to see you as a non-teacher. Of course, I think probably I have the opposite problem: my students think less of me as a teacher than perhaps they should. Oh, well.

Monday, 4 Jan 1999 [21:22 CST]

Today was a teacher workday. Finished up some grading, polished the ole' chalkboard up a bit, and got ready for the spring semester to start tomorrow.

My page now turns up when you do a web search for my name. On the off chance that someone who knows my name (but not my email address) wants to find my web page, it'll be a bit easier now. Nice to know that I'm now a little more deeply entrenched in the vast collective they call the Borg^H^H^H^H^H Web.

Nothing much else to speak of. Work on the voting software now can resume (since all my grading is done for the short term).

Friday, 1 Jan 1999 [20:40 CST]

Interesting way to start the year. I did a net search for my own name and found no links to my own page (which I'm going to try to remedy).

What I did find, on the other hand, are several other Graham Mitchells, which I've linked here for easy reference. It's always nice and humbling to know there are at least five people with your exact name that are more famous than you.

Friday, 1 Jan 1999 [01:56 CST]

Let me be the first web page to wish you a Happy New Year. Okay, probably not the first, but hey, I'm trying at least. Be God's.

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