Monthly Archives: August 2004

Binary watch

Oh, I forgot to mention- I got my binary watch today. It’s bulky, and much harder to read at a glance than my binary clock (‘cuz this is real binary where you have 6 lights to represent 0-59 [well, technically 63] instead of some weird decimal-binary hybrid where you have 3 lights for 0-5 [7] and 4 for 0-9 [15]). Additionally, it is clearly designed for presumably larger geeky men because I had to add two additional holes to the watch strap.

It’s blue, and cool. Since thinkgeek is sold out until who knows when, I ended up buying it from ComputerGear. Which makes me something of a hypocrite ‘cuz I also complained to the FTC about this very same item (not only do they call it ‘exlusive’ [which it isn’t] but they charge $10 more for it).

So I’m a picky, complainy, hypocritical loser. At least I’m a picky, complainy, hypocritical loser with a cool (if not heavy and hard to use) watch.

Hot CPU suckiness

Well, I bought that thermal compound I mentioned yesterday and installed the faster CPU for my dad. The only problem is it seems to be running overly hot…. I ran seti for 10 minutes or so just to see what would happen and the temperature got up to like, 80°C (when I shut down Seti the temperature started going down again).

A bit too hot for my liking, though this may help to explain why the original CPU that came with this computer died suddenly a few months after we got it (that one was quite a bit faster than this CPU, using the same heatsink [which I don’t believe can really handle this CPU]).

Movies: Shaun of the Dead

I just got back from seeing Shaun of the Dead. If you’ve been paying attention to movie trailers (at least the ones at the beginning of the subpar AVP) you may be puzzled, because you probably know that this movie doesn’t come out in the US until the end of the month-ish. Well, it’s good to know people who know people who can get a bootleg copy of the UK version on DVD, isn’t it?

Anyway, this movie rocks. It is one of the best zombie movies I have ever seen, which is saying a lot, as I’ve seen a lot of zombie movies in my time (that probably says more about the overall general quality of zombie movies than anything about this particular movie, actually). The movie has all the good elements of zombie movies, along with humour (without making things too much of a farse). The movie website calls it “A romantic comedy. With zombies”, but don’t let that throw you- it’s still highly enjoyable. It’s funny yet serious enough to really draw you in. It’s really quite brilliant.

I’d say this movie is easily as good as the recent Dawn of the Dead (which I also raved about– I’m noticing a pattern here…) or 28 Days Later, though the style is also reminiscent of movies like High Fidelity.

Anyway, if you like romance, horror, zombies, or comedy, go see this movie when it comes out. I’ll probably see it again- I’m curious what they’ll change in the U.S. bastardization :)

On vacation && Ren. Faire && Movies: AVP

Why is it that whenever I go on vacation, stuff at work needs to get done yesterday? Bah. I’m still not doing it ‘cuz my vacation is hectic enough as it is :)

On saturday, Beth, ctl, Mike, and I went to the Renaissance Faire down here, which is still my favorite out of all the faires I’ve been to. Surprisingly, I ran into someone I knew, who I tend to run into whenever I go to geeky events between MD and NY. I have pictures, but not as many as I should since one of my CF cards got corrupted so I lost half of them :(

You may have noticed that my website disappeared for a day or so on Saturday-Sunday….. and you can probably tell that it’s back now. The cable company screwed something up…. hopefully I didn’t lose too much email.

Other than that I have spent a lot of time simply hanging out around here. I brought my dad my old CPU so I could upgrade his computer a bit, but of course I forgot the heatsink compound so that will have to wait a day or two until I can get some more. I also did stuff like go to movies and go bowling (2 games; 48 and 77 [which beat Bobby’s second score]).

Oh, last night I saw Alien vs. Predator…. if you like bad movies you might want to go see it, ‘cuz as far a bad movies go, it’s a ringer. The use of ‘Bullet time’ should be banned from all movies, save movies involving superhuman powers (except comic book movies, which shouldn’t have it regardless).

Am I mad about this?

Well, the zaurus is, in actuality, a SL-5000. Which explains why I was having problems installing OpenZaurus on it using the SL-5500 images.

What’s the problem? The problem is that I won a 5500.

Oh, and it’s missing its display protection cover, too.

I dunno, I stll think it’s cool, and if they had been selling a SL-5000, I may have bought it anyway… I just wouldn’t have paid quite so much for it, is all.

I’ve already emailed the seller about this. The ball is in his court now, I suppose.

Got my Zaurus

I’m blogging this from my Sharp Zaurus 5000 (which I received earlier today).

How Geeky.

I’m still figuring this thing out, so excuse the lack of links, explanation (save for the fact that I wanted something to SSH with from the palm of my hand to easily check my email on the go), or backstory (all you need to know is that it was relatively cheap).

Local Editor of Alternative Ithaca Newspaper Fired for being NON-Republican

I don’t know how true the events told below are, and they seem rather one-sided (and slightly implausible, given the locale), but if they are true, they are worth talking about.

Of course, the spammish manner in which the original email was received tends to remove some credibility from the original author (I received the mail three times, each time it seemed to be sent to a random assortment of To:, CC:, and [presumably] BCC: Cornell addresses).

Subject: Local Editor of Alternative Ithaca Newspaper Fired for being NON-Republican
From: Matthew Peterson <>
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2004 07:08:12 -0700 (PDT)
X-Spam-Status: No, hits=-3.9 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_00,FORGED_YAHOO_RCVD,HTML_MESSAGE autolearn=no version=2.63

[– Autoview using lynx -force_html -dump ”/tmp/mutt.html” –]

I, Matt Peterson, have worked at the Ithaca Times off and on since 1997 (two years as a staff reporter and nearly three years as managing editor). During all that time I never received a single reprimand. On Monday, August 2, 2004, I was released from my position. At around 6 p.m., after I left work for the day, I realized I needed to call my supervisor and get some closure on a few key issues (my supervisor had been on vacation and there were some loose ends floating that I knew I would not be able to resolve on Tuesday, the Times deadline day). I called my supervisor at the office to talk about both an issue surrounding a key employee and to talk about an upcoming cover story that he was pushing concerning the Republican National Convention. In July I had been asked to secure press passes for both his son and one of his sons friends so they could attend the conference and on Monday my supervisor asked me and another staff member for help in coming up with a story angle – a story that would essentially discuss what it means to be a Republican. After first discussing the employee issue, my supervisor was clearly agitated and when pressed about the Republican story and my uneasiness in getting involved with a story and a party I do not believe in, he became very irate and started using profanity with me. At first I was stunned that he was suddenly calling me names and asked him to stop. At that point he used the same vulgar term with me once again. I expressed my discomfort with his attitude and his approach and he told me that I was fired and was not to come back to work.

   Matt Peterson

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I’ve kept the mail intact (at least the way mutt displayed it) except for the To: and CC: headers, and the extremely long yahoo URL (which I truncated).

Cornell: First day of classes

Today was the first day of class, and it’s amazingly crowded around here. I actually went to that Genectics course I mentioned, and was only 10 minutes late. Impressive! I’m still not registered yet, and should really figure out how to do that soon, before it’s too late.

Unfortunately (?) I won’t be around Ithaca next week, as I’m spending some time home in NJ for my vacation, and my Dad’s birthday. So I’ll miss the next two classes, which will let me start off nicely behind in the course. :/

The class itself seems ok. We started off with the basics of Mendelian genetics, which I’ve already covered several times in highschool and at Rutgers. Of course, this class did more in an hour than any of those courses did in weeks, so hopefully I don’t get too lost by missing next week :)

Planning my future….

So I’ve looked through the Cornell course catalog, and have found a handful of courses that interest me (though I only really looked in the Comp. Sci. department). I have no idea whether these will help me to get a masters or not, but since I can take them for cheap, I think I’m going to try and take as many as I can.

# Biology

BIOGD 281 Genetics
        A general study of the fundamental principles of genetics in
        eukaryotes and prokaryotes.  Discussions cover gene transmission, gene
        action and inaction, gene linkage and recombination, gene structure,
        gene and chromosome mutations, genes in populations, and
        extrachromosomal inheritance.  Aspects of recombinant DNA technology
        are discussed.  In the laboratory, students perform experiments with
        microorganisms and conduct an independent study of inheritance in

# Computer Science

COM S 482 Introduction to Analysis of Algorithms
        Techniques used in the creation and analysis of algorithms.
        Combinatorial algorithms, computational complexity, NP-completeness,
        and intractable problems.

COM S 513 System Security
        This course discusses security and survivability for computers and
        communications networks.  The course includes discussions of policy
        issues (e.g. the national debates on crypotgraphy policy) as well as
        the discussions of the technical alternatives for implementing the
        properties that compise "trustworthiness
        in a computing system.  Mechanisms for authorization and
        authentication as well as crypotgraphic protocols are covered.

COM S 611 Advanced Programmin Languages
        A study of programming paradigms: functional, imperative, concurrent,
        and logic programming.  Models og programming languages, includin the
        lambda calculus.  Type systems, polymorphism, modules, and other
        object-oriented constructs.  Program transformations, programming
        logic, and applications to programming methodology.

COM S 626 Computational Molecular Biology
        Problems and algorithms in computational molecular biology.  Topics
        include sequences (alignment, scoring functions, complexity of
        searches and alignment, secondary structure prediction, families, and
        function), the protein folding problem (lattice models, lattice
        searches, the HP model, chemical potentials, statistical potentials,
        funnels, complexity and model verification, global optimization,
        homology, threading), and the dynamics of complex biosystems (the
        Molecular Dynamics method, long-range forces, statistics of flexible
        systems, reduced models).

COM S 676 Reasoning about Knowledge
        Knowledge plays a crucial role in distributed systems, game theory,
        and artificial intelligence.  Material examines formalizing reasoning
        about knowledge and the extent to which knowledge is applicable to
        those areas.  Issues inclue common knowledge, knowledge-based
        programs, applying knowledge to analyzing distributed systems,
        attainable states of knowledge, modeling resource-bounded reasoning,
        and connections to game theory.

COM S 677 Reasoning about Uncertainty
        Examines formalizing reasoning about and representing uncertainty,
        using formal logical approaches as a basis.  Topics: logics of
        probability, combining knowledge and probability, probability and
        adversaries, conditional logics of normality, Bayesian networks,
        qualitative approaches to uncertainty, going from statistical
        information to degrees of belief, and decision theory.

COM S 681 Analysis of Algorithms
        Methodology for developing efficient algorithms, primarily for graph
        theoretic problems.  Understanding of the inherent complexity of
        natural problems via polynomial-time algorithms, randomized 
        algorithms, NP-completeness, and randomized reucibilities.  Also
        covers topics such as parallel algorithms and efficient data

So, what do you think?