Old News

Archived news items from June 2002
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news from July 2002

Saturday, 29 June 2002 [20:52 CDT]

I had lunch at Chuy's on Wednesday, and discovered when the check arrived that I was unexpectedly $16 low in my wallet. I'd had a $20 bill from tutoring Monday night, and had spent four dollars for movie rentals Tuesday night. Yet my wallet was empty. As it turned out, Blockbuster hadn't given me my change the night before. I was bummed.

I went back to Blockbuster Wednesday night to return the Jay and Silent Bob flicks, and brought my receipt. I asked, "By any chance were one of these registers $16 over last night?" One was. I showed them my receipt and told them I was pretty sure I hadn't been given change. They agreed, and gave me $16 cash, just like that. A pleasant surprise.

I returned the favor by buying a pre-paid rental card. For $25 I get one free rental a week for ten weeks. For DVDs or new releases, that'd come to just over $40. And in addition to the rentals, I get a free copy of the Lord of the Rings DVD when it comes out in August. To keep, not just a rental. Given my intention to watch quite a few movies this summer, I think that's a pretty good deal.

To break the new card in, I rented Brazil, a just plain weird flick from Terry Gilliam. IMDb says, "A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state." A reviewer does it more succinctly: "Orwell with a Python twist." In any case, it was odd. I watched this one by myself. (Well, John was in for the first hour or so.)

I continued my movie-watching exploits last night by going to see Amélie at a midnight showing at UT's Dobie theatre. It's a small venue but very cozy, and the movie was good. This one's in French with English subtitles, and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film this year, though it didn't win. It's a romantic comedy about a shy girl and her "stratagems" to effect her own peculiar sense of justice in Paris. Oh, and she falls in love, too.

Four movies down, nineteen to go.

Today I put my new CD burner through its paces and made a full backup of all my personal data. I burned the Red Hat 7.3 CDs, and then wiped my hard drive and did an install from scratch. Finally, once things were up and running, I copied over all my files from the backup. No problems.

Red Hat 7.3 isn't much different from 7.2, except for new versions of the bundled software. The new KMail looks pretty cool, though I can't tell that it offers really any more features than I'd had before.

Wednesday, 26 June 2002 [18:32 CDT]

Been a comparatively uneventful few days (though the length of this update may seem to indicate otherwise). Still no action on the Mario front, which is probably healthier for me. I've continued to be up at the church every day to learn stuff, and now that the announcement has been made to the church at large, I can explain why.

Bob Carlton, the worship leader at Lakeline Church for the past (nearly) two years, is leaving to pursue other opportunities. This decision was independently initiated by both Bob and pastor Brian (unbeknownst to each other) last Sunday evening. God has made it clear through several conversations over the past few months, some months of prayer and some recent peculiar "coincidences" that this is His will and His timing.

It is often otherwise when a staff member leaves a church, but this is not a case of him getting a better job offer (he still doesn't know where God wants him to serve next), not a "moral failing", and not a case of conflict with other leaders. (As a matter of fact, Brian and Bob's relationship has never been better.) This is just a case of a realization that Bob ought to be serving somewhere different, and that Lakeline ought to have someone different in Bob's place.

Personally, I will miss Bob a lot. He's really taken worship at Lakeline to the next level, and put a lot of good systems in place. Bob has asked me to act as worship leader at least through the remainder of the summer, and I have agreed to do so. I start trying to fill Bob's very large shoes on (my birthday) Monday, July 1. Last week and this are a crash-course internship to try to learn as much as I can.

Whether or not I continue serving as worship leader once school starts again depends on how things look by the end of the summer. In any case, I'll still be teaching full-time at LHS. That is still clear.

All that has been brewing since evening on Father's Day, and so I've been having lots of meetings with lots of people since then, but haven't been at liberty to discuss it until the worship team was informed (Thursday night) and then the church at large (this past Sunday). As far as other things that have been going on since my last update....

My Dad informed me on Saturday afternoon (as I was watching the end of the ball game at their house) that he'd decided to buy me a CD-RW drive for my birthday. He got me the SCSI Plextor Plexwriter 12/10/32 from my wish list, which came in the mail yesterday, and which I got installed today. I've only made a single one-track audio CD so far, but as far as I can tell, everything is working properly. Which is good. So later tonight I'm going to try to back up all my personal data (which hasn't been done in nearly ten months). Then I'll try to burn the Red Hat 7.3 ISOs which I downloaded nearly two months ago and probably wipe my hard drive and do a fresh install from scratch.

I've also put together a list of twenty or so movies I want to see before the summer's over. I showed the list to the vocal team after practice last night, and Andrew was nearly offended that I hadn't seen most of the "Jay and Silent Bob" flicks. So we rented Clerks and Mallrats last night and Kendall, Kristin, Andrew and I watched them both back-to-back. They were both enjoyable. My roommate John was also in for some of the first movie, but unlike the rest of us, he had to get up for work this morning, so he bailed relatively early.

Speaking of roommates, I've decided to live by myself again next year, so I've been apartment hunting. The current housing market in Austin really favors renters right now, so I've found a lot of places I like in my price range. I've got it narrowed down to two places at this point, and I'll almost certainly have all the offers and counter-offers settled by tomorrow and sign a lease on the winner. I'll be moving at the end of July, so all you Austin-area readers should keep July 27 free.

I became eligible to give blood on Friday, so I went down to the blood and tissue center Monday and donated again. The intern doing the blood draw took one look at my veins and called me a "phlebotomist's dream", so things went smoothly as usual. I think I'm up to about a gallon and a half now. Though I don't get another coffee mug until five gallons, I believe.

I finished Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire a couple of days ago, and am now working on Walking on Water, by Madeleine L'Engle (who's better known for her Wrinkle in Time series). It's an interesting treatise on art and faith from the point of view of a "Christian artist". Highly recommended for all artisans, especially ones who call Christ their Lord.

Saturday, 22 June 2002 [21:23 CDT]

I went yesterday up to Longview to see my brother and his wife in their new apartment. We stayed up late playing Canasta and Grand Theft Auto III last night. (How's that for an odd combination?) Briefly saw my parents on the way up there and the way back. Mom was suffering from a little stomach trouble, but on the botulism front, she has pretty much fully recovered. (Except for the continuing physical therapy.)

On the way back I listened to the baseball game on the radio, and got to watch the last inning at Mom and Dad's house. Today the Texas Longhorns beat South Carolina 12-6 in the college World Series. Very nice.

My friend Tony weighs in with an article he ran across about the many confusing names of Mozilla.

And finally, can you get music that has the flexibility you need without breaking the law? It illustrates how broken the current system of music distribution is that I couldn't get 100 points in several tries.

Wednesday, 19 June 2002 [23:09 CDT]

By the way, at Chuy's today I was given a handful of Father's Day bumper stickers: "My Dad can eat more than your Dad." Let me know if anybody wants one. I've got lots.

And I've started reading (again) Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala. Good stuff.

Wednesday, 19 June 2002 [22:03 CDT]

Got to see Mr. Deeds last night at a special sneak preview. My friend Andrew has enough connections at movie theaters that, although he's never worked at one, he probably hasn't paid for a movie in a couple of years. The movie was entertaining and worth the drive, at least. Plus, it had Winona Ryder in it, who I'm fond of.

And other than two trips to Chuy's this week, I've been hanging out at the church just helping out Bob. I figure I can wait for a phone call from a potential employer there as easily as at home, and I can at least learn something. For example, today I helped edit the video of interviews we filmed last Sunday.

No mario update; the Nintendo 64 is gone for the week.

Monday, 17 June 2002 [19:12 CDT]

Chase was in town this weekend. His brother, his wife, Tony, Slamhound lead guitarist Stephen Foster, myself, and various others got together Friday night, made fajitas, played some blues, and just generally hung out. We got started late and so things didn't wind down until nearly 3:00 A.M. I slept until after noon on Saturday.

Then Saturday afternoon I got together with the rest of the Haiti team to make tie-shaped sugar cookies to hand out at church on Father's Day. We baked, iced, bagged, and attached notes to around 200 cookies in about six hours. Mostly I made and colored the icing.

The "this site is mozilla 5.0+ compatible" guy finally understood what I was saying and corrected the Beyond 3D site. As you can see, it's not just some ten-hits-a-day operation.

Been playing a bit more Mario. Am now up to 78 stars.

And I just (like fifteen minutes ago) finished reading Cryptonomicon. It was very good, though the ending seemed a little abrupt. I highly recommend it to any of my CS-2 or CS-3 students (though others are welcome, too).

Thursday, 13 June 2002 [23:43 CDT]

Speaking of Mozilla, I'm now using version 1.1 alpha, which is slightly less stable than 1.0 (it crashed on me today, for example), but has lots more features. As a matter of fact, it's accrued more than a dozen major new features since 1.0 was branched off the main tree nearly two months ago, and incorporates over 1700 bug fixes.

The big changes for me are the changing of the order that tabs close in (now left to right rather than right to left) and an improved sort order for the autocomplete in the address bar, but some of the other features are probably more important to most folks. Like the integrated download manager, or image blocking in the Mail program.

Carolyn Wonderland was great last night. She was already going when I got to the Saxon Pub at 11:40 or so, and played until after 2:30. Guy Forsyth made an appearance at the end and did a song with her, as well. Much to my chagrin, though she's been a regular on Wednesday nights, she leaving Austin to tour the Pacific Northwest for three months, so won't be back until September. Sadness.

So I got in pretty late (3:00 A.M.) and couldn't even fall asleep to stay until nearly 5. Ick. And like some insomniac I got up at 8:30 this morning. I went to school and reset all the BIOS passwords in my room and generally got the machines ready to be waterfalled out to teachers. You see, we got the TIF 10 grant and so my lab is getting upgraded. To 1.7 GHz Pentium 4s. With 15" flat-panel displays. Coolness.

I played some more Mario today, mostly working on getting some of the castle secret stars. I finally did get that freaking pyramid star and then in short order finished the rest of the stars in that world. I'm now up to 62, all told.

We went to Chuy's after rehearsal. We talked to our server (Jamie) about her rescued kitten with one eye. Mmmm, Chuy's.

Wednesday, 12 June 2002 [11:17 CDT]

I've been having an exchange with a guy who put "this site is mozilla 5.0+ compatible" at the bottom of his web pages. This is a major site, which gets (at least) thousands of hits a day. He just didn't understand that there's no such thing as "mozilla 5.0". So I did some research and hammered out dates for every release of Mozilla ever. Which I might as well repeat here.

22 January 1998 - Netscape announces plans to release the source code for Netscape Communicator under a free software license. This is a huge moment for free software.
31 March 1998 - the Netscape Communicator source code is made available for download. The code is downloaded over 100,000 times in two weeks.
26 October 1998 - the "momentous" decision is made to reset the Mozilla project around a new layout engine (called Gecko), a cross-platform front end, and a scriptable components architecture.

From that point on, there aren't any really big decisions made, just a lot of coding. As with any successful open source project, the motto is "release early, release often." So here are the release dates:

Release Date Notes
1st release of Gecko7 December 1998 a.k.a. Milestone 1 (M1)
2nd Gecko release 31 January 1999 ? a.k.a. Milestone 2 (M2)
Milestone 3 19 March 1999  
Milestone 4 15 April 1999  
Milestone 5 5 May 1999  
Milestone 6 29 May 1999  
Milestone 7 22 June 1999  
Milestone 8 16 July 1999  
Milestone 9 26 August 1999  
Milestone 10 8 October 1999  
Milestone 11 16 November 1999  
Milestone 12 21 December 1999  
Milestone 13 26 January 2000  
Milestone 14 1 March 2000  
Milestone 15 18 April 2000  
Milestone 16 13 June 2000  
Milestone 17 7 August 2000  
Milestone 18 12 October 2000  
Mozilla 0.6 6 December 2000 became Netscape 6.0
Mozilla 0.7 9 January 2001  
Mozilla 0.8 14 February 2001  
Mozilla 0.8.1 26 March 2001  
Mozilla 0.9 7 May 2001  
Mozilla 0.9.1 7 June 2001  
Mozilla 0.9.2 28 June 2001  
Mozilla 8 August 2001 became Netscape 6.1
Mozilla 0.9.3 2 August 2001  
Mozilla 0.9.4 14 September 2001  
Mozilla 31 October 2001 became Netscape 6.2
Mozilla 0.9.5 12 October 2001  
Mozilla 0.9.6 20 November 2001  
Mozilla 0.9.7 21 December 2001  
Mozilla 0.9.8 4 February 2002  
Mozilla 0.9.9 11 March 2002  
Mozilla 1.0 RC1 18 April 2002  
Mozilla 1.0 RC2 10 May 2002  
Mozilla 1.0 RC3 23 May 2002  
Mozilla 1.0 5 June 2002  
Mozilla 1.1 alpha 11 June 2002  

As you can see, it's been a long road. You can also get some idea why Netscape 6.0 was so buggy: notice the time lapse between when Netscape thought the code was ready for a major release (December 2000) and when the Mozilla hackers thought it was ready for a major release (June 2002). That's a seventeen-month difference.

I've been using Mozilla as my primary browser since at least 0.7, and I think I've been using it off and on since Milestone 14 or so.

So that's that. Hope to see Carolyn Wonderland at the Saxon Pub tonight.

Wednesday, 12 June 2002 [00:49 CDT]

Actually late Tuesday night....

Looking around my room today, after the seven-and-a-half hour computer part troubleshooting/researching/purchasing/building session yesterday, I notice that it looks like a war zone. Various bits of computer viscera are strewn about the room, with little piles of packaging, manuals, screws, and tools dotting the carpet. I'm reminded of a conversation with Chase one time about an average person's impression of a normal operating room scene.

"Gosh, doc, is he going to make it?"

"What do you mean? Everything's going wonderfully!"

"But there are guts all over the place!"

"Sure, but I took them out on purpose, and I know where they go back."

Anyway, I also should mention that after nearly four-and-a-half years in the making, version 1.0 of Mozilla has been released. This is Netscape's attempt to leverage the power of open source software to produce a browser that would beat out Internet Explorer. It's been my browser of choice for over a year now, and has several killer features. (Tabs! Pop-up blocking! See What are the ten most interesting features of Mozilla? for more.) Anyway, you can get it for Linux, Windows, or Macintosh, so I highly recommend it.

After vocal rehearsal, Kendall was bored, so she came over and we watched Twelfth Night, which I'd never seen. Unfortunately, we kept leaving the room to look up the actors and figure out what other movies they'd been in, so I didn't catch a lot of the dialogue, but it was still good. The tape had been lent to me by tutoree Jesse, a Shakespearian actor in his own right. I'll probably watch it again sometime this week, to pick up the parts I missed.

I now have 49 stars in Mario 64. I'd have fifty if it weren't for that freaking star on the pyramid. "Shining Atop the Pyramid," my booty.

Monday, 10 June 2002 [20:39 CDT]

Okay, my computer is now back up. After debugging I still couldn't figure out whether it was the power supply, motherboard, or chip. So I went to Fry's, and unfortunately, their prices on all three were comparable to what I'd have paid online. So I bought all three, giving my computer it's first "horsepower" upgrade since my birthday two years ago. What's new:

If I feel like it, I can spend a bit more later and upgrade to a faster processor on this board - up to a 2 GHz Athlon, I think.

I still need a working CD-RW, so if you feel like giving me a birthday present, head on over to the wish list.

Monday, 10 June 2002 [13:55 CDT]

Saturday my brother got married. They are currently in Hot Springs for their honeymoon. I was the best man. The service was nice.

I drove up to Palestine Thursday, and spent the night there. Then Paul and I got up early and drove to the church so he could hit his premarital counseling appointment. I spent most of the afternoon hanging out with a couple of the bridesmaids. Once Paul got done with counseling and we rendezvoused back together, we all went out to lunch and then checked into the little summer home the groomsmen were going to be staying in.

Rehearsal practice took a little longer than expected, but we got things ironed out, and then had El Chico-catered fajitas for dinner. Paul and all the groomsmen then headed back to the house, where we watched some episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast and Sealab 2021, played some Game Cube and generally just hung out.

Wimps that we are, we were in bed by midnight and slept until around 9:00 the next morning. Got up slowly, played some music (all but one of us play guitar) and eventually headed over to the house of the bride's parents, where we had lunch. Then to the church, got dressed up, took pictures, and then the wedding and the reception. Then Paul and Julie were off, and we changed clothes back to something more suited for a hot Texas summer afternoon, and I rode home with my parents. Ate dinner at their house, and then left for Austin. I got in a little before 11:00.

It appears that my computer is broken. For the past several months it's been having trouble booting, which I've resolved by just trying over and over again until it finally boots, and then letting it run for a couple weeks at a time once it does. Well, I foolishly shut down my computer before I left for the wedding, since I was going to be gone for almost three days, and now it won't boot up at all.

Today I plan to try and figure out exactly what's broken on it (probably the motherboard, power supply, or chip), and I'll probably head out to Fry's once I get it figured out and buy some replacement parts.

Fortunately, my little router is still running fine (it would have over 100 days uptime if I hadn't accidentally unplugged it yesterday while trying to diagnose my other computer). So I can still check my email after a fashion and update the web page.

Other than wedding joys and computer woes, the past week I've been sleeping late, riding my bike, reading Cryptonomicon, and playing Super Mario Bros. 64, which is a fun game that I never really played back when it was new. Since it's not my cartridge, I didn't get a chance to create a new character from scratch, but I took one that only had five stars. I'm currently up to 38 stars and enjoying it a lot.

Oh, and last weeked I had oysters on the half shell for the first time. They were okay and didn't really gross me out, but they weren't so good that I'll get them again. They're not worth the health risk, IMO.

Saturday, 1 June 2002 [15:11 CDT]


All this week I've been attending "Intermediate Java for A.P. Computer Science Teachers", hosted at Round Rock High School and taught by the illustrious Leon Schram. I didn't really learn much Java that I didn't already theoretically know, but I became much more comfortable with it. It's also always nice to get to talk shop with other CS teachers, and Leon also gave us a fair dose of his philosophy of teaching.

That's been getting me up early, so that I haven't been really able to feel like I was on summer break. That'll start Monday morning, I guess.

By going back up to the high school after the Java workshop was over for the day, I was able to finish my gradebook and such and get officially checked out for the year on Thursday. So now I technically don't have to return until the middle of August, though I'll probably be up there from time to time all summer.

As I mentioned in the last update, Mom is out of the hospital. She went home a little over a week ago, and a physical therapist comes to see her three days a week. To quote Dad yet again, "She's walking, talking, dressing, cooking (well, a little), reading, and doing most other Activities of Daily Living." The main things still affected by the paralysis are her pupils, which stay dilated (though they work better than they did a week ago), and her salivary glands. She doesn't have much saliva now, but she is able to eat non-soups at this point (Friday's dinner was pinto beans and cornbread). Dad's back to work full-time (which means he gets home at 3:30 rather than noon).

The main prayer request which has been answered is that she'll be able to walk herself down the aisle for Paul's wedding, which is one week from today.

The blessed Internet connection got hooked up again on Thursday, May 23. I got a pretty good deal with Earthlink. For $41.95 a month, I get a cable modem contracted through RoadRunner. Installation was free, and the first month is free. There is no contract, so I can cancel at any time. And the speed is just as good as the old cable modem.

Of course, for me, changing ISPs doesn't affect my email address, web address, or anything like that.

I still haven't heard anything from Chuy's, and I don't think they're going to hire me, even to be a host, for the summer. Last night I applied to be a waiter or host at the little mexican food place next door to the church. They're a lot more likely to hire me if they have any openings, and it's certainly more laid-back and convenient. So we'll see.

Finally, about a week ago I dropped by Half-Price Books on the way home from Leander's graduation ceremony and got some CDs:

That about sums up the last few weeks. Be reminded that my birthday is coming up in a month, so you should all buy me stuff.

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