Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Free dumplings

Did a thirteen hour day at the office. Successfully got the Suse 64 bit build to work using AutoYast, and resolve all the Oracle dependencies. At least work paid for dinner (dumplings and wonton soup!).

Wish there was more to talk about, but like I said, I spent the whole day at work.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Let the fun begin

Spent a good portion of the day trying to get an AutoYast install working on 64 bit Suse. Think I just about figured it out, although trying to move files across an NFS mount from within a VMWare image is very painful.

Had a good talk this evening with Naomi on IM. Looks like she's starting to get over me.

Went to Home Depot tonight in Manhattan to see if they had the tile I liked. Watched 24.

Did some more work on trying to get the new homepage working. Found out the hard way that Yahoo Geocities support absolutely sucks. Not only do they not have phone support for their paid service, but the web page that you are supposed to use to contact them with problems is broken. How on earth are you supposed to report problems if the problem reporting page throws an error when you try to use it? So I shelled out real money and I can't even get the thing to work. If I don't hear back from them I'm calling my credit card company to dispute the charge.

I have an interview candidate who is not going to show up tomorrow until 5:30. Not only that, he's there for the test so it is likely I won't get out of there until 8:30 if I'm lucky. Crap.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lesson learned

Don't try to walk home from the hardware store with a heavy item and two large awkwardly shaped items. Also don't try it in the rain.

Just got home from Home Depot with a 20 lb box of 12x12 floor tiles, and two sets of mini-blinds. I'm sure onlookers found it entertaining.

Sleepy Sunday

So yesterday was quite busy. Met up with Kyle in Princeton, walked around. Got my favorite treats from Thomas Sweet. Lunch/Dinner at Applebee's. Went to Old Navy and Target to buy some new jeans. Got home at around 10:30. At 11:30, Ben woke me up from a slumber to tell me that he had forgotten to email me with the details of his party in the city. So I went back in to Manhattan at midnight and met up with him and coworkers by 12:30. Drank/hung out until 3:00am. Then most of us dispersed. Ben, his wife, Patrick and I went to a diner at 33rd and 9th. As an odd coincidence, it was the same diner that Naomi and I went to on our first date, and I had never been back there since.

Woke up this morning late (10:30), and been doing some web surfing, email until now.

Working backwards, on Friday I installed Suse on a VMWare session and successfully got Dagent to run. Debugged a really nasty problem with the generic routines to read stdout and stderr when running a subprocess. Turns out there was a problem with handling SIGCHLD, and it only occurred when the process life was VERY short. Basically it only happened with my routine that reads the name of the Operating System, which is why it nailed me when I ported to Suse. As a result of the bug, output was being arbitrarily truncated about 1 in 15 times. Did I mention I hate race conditions?

Perhaps will do some more couch shopping this afternoon. Also, I would really like to get over to Home Depot and buy the rest of the mini-blinds I need for the remaining windows. The new ones in the kitchen look so good that I have decided to shell out the cash and do the other windows. Will also buy the cheapest set of drill bits I can find, so I don't have to torque the screws in by hand.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mundane Monday

Not much to report. Went to work. Interviewed a couple of candidates. More cleanup work on patching.

Got a haircut tonight. Five different people all told me to go to the same place on Astor Place. It was cheap, quick, and I'm pretty happy with the result.

Called Vikki to see if she wanted to grab dinner but she was on her way back from New Jersey. She said to call her tomorrow.

Deposited Naomi's check for the car. Need to call the insurance company tomorrow. She called tonight seeking an explanation on why men are so annoying.

Watched 24. Picked up laundry.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sunny Sunday

It's a beautiful day out today. The sun is shining and there is no sign of clouds. Wohoo!

Vikki emailed me Friday night. We went to a German place for lunch in the Village, and then Dean and Deluca for coffee. Went back to her apartment and spent the afternoon talking. As it turns out, she lives only eight blocks from my office. It was really good to catch up with her, and I hope to be able to hang out with her more regularly.

Today did some cleaning. Went to Home Depot and bought new mini-blinds for the kitchen (which I am in the process of hanging now). The old ones were pretty gross, and they were about 12 inches too short for the window they were hung in. Also, the new ones are white whereas the old ones were cream colored. I had to buy custom cut blinds because I couldn't find anyone who sold out of the box blinds that are more than 64" in length. Since I had to get custom blinds anyway, I had them cut to the exact width required for the two windows (28" and 27.5"), so they fit really well and the difference in the size of the two windows isn't obvious.

Note to self: either bring back the drill bits the next time you go to South Jersey, or buy a really cheap set to keep in the apartment.

Also went to a couple of places and looked at couches. Nothing that jumped out at me as fantastic. Will have to continue the search. I did straighten out the living room so I am all ready to receive the new couch (once I buy it).

Naomi's Mom is meeting up with me this afternoon so we can close the deal on the car. I am hoping to get together with Patrick later for dinner. And perhaps will watch the West Wing with Dan tonight.

Naomi's IM away message says "Holding hands is indeed a simple pleasure in life." Admittedly kind of curious who she is holding hands with...

I'm doing an experiment to see if the generic versions of Claratin-D are as good as the real thing. I've bought five-packs of two different brand generics. If they work as well, this will save me about 30%.

Ok, back to hanging my blinds.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sick and tired

Woke up this morning and felt like crap. Perhaps it was the chili from the night before. To everyone's shock at the office, I called out sick. But I was feeling a little better by mid-morning, and made it into the office by 12:30. I still feel run down, but I'll be ok.

Lots of cleanup work on patching. Also killed a couple of hours and reviewed resumes. I'm all caught up now and have around five interviews in the next week. I'm also now screening candidate resumes for a SysAdmin position (because I don't have enough to do already).

Did an hour's worth of training for the Systems staff. Things like what does the company's network topology look like and what sort of documentation will be expected of them. I don't remember being the manager of the Systems group.

Got an IM from Naomi while at work this afternoon. She wanted to know how the car title was coming along. She then gave me an in depth description of a problem she was having with getting the insurance in New York (she might have to get the car registered in MD since that is where she lives). She had said she wanted to get it straightened out before I settled up on the car. When I told her that the two were independent issues, and that she could register the car in whatever state she needed to once I had given her the title, she accused me of, and I quote "I am trying to be friends with you and all you want to do is talk business. It's like all you care about is getting the money, so why should you care what happens once you get rid of the car?". Or something to that effect. I really need to work on my communication skills, since I wasn't trying to be antagonistic.

Got home at around 8:30. Watched CSI.

Quote of the week:

"There is a land called Passive Aggressiva, and you are it's queen."

- Grey's Anatomy

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chili night

Work went ok. Systems people continue to annoy me. The best was when one of them had to ask how to concatenate two text files together.

Dan and I went out for a working lunch, where he outlined how things were going to be restructured as he is returning to the Clarity project. Mostly good things. Looks like my life will be easier in that he will be taking over again most of the management issues. It's hard though not to feel a bit like its a demotion.

Went to Eric's after work for Chili with a bunch of his friends. The pot aside, it was good to hang out.

Just got home a few minutes ago.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Patching, Part Deux

Demonstrated today that the Patching system works with Opatch (after fixing a couple of bugs). That's upload, stopdb, patch, startdb, verify. Also did a bunch of cleanup. Need to put together a list of remaining work items and switch over to auditing.

More adventures with the Systems group: Between the two of them, they were asked to get lynx installed and running on the customer system since it was down. An hour later, I stepped in and did it in five minutes.

Chan is supposed to start developing on Clarity tomorrow. As if I don't have enough to worry about babysitting the Systems people, now I have to find something for him to do which won't keep him in my hair for the next week.

Worked until 9.

No House tonight. American Idol was on instead. Dammit.

Did some reading tonight on Perl6/Parrot/Pug.

Monday, January 16, 2006


Benny and I gave the first demo of patching to Shamoun today. He seems quite happy. Still have a couple of things to clean up over the next few days, but the heat is off for now.

Left work at a reasonable time (7:10). Met up with Carter for a drink. Then went back to her place and finished the movie from Saturday. Came home and watched the second half of the season premiere of 24.

I was on the subway home, listening to my iPod. I was smiling. Just thinking about the fact that I'm here in the big city, and I'm making it.

It was a good Monday.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Had a pretty slow day. Had a headache, so I took a nap this afternoon. Met up with Dan for dinner at Uncle George's, and then we went back to his place and watched the West Wing. Afterwards we watched the season premiere of 24. I had not seen it before but now I'm hooked. Crap.

Came home and watched Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy.

So in other words, all I did today was watch TV.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hot Chocolate, MoMA

Had a pretty good day. Got some hot chocolate from Starbucks, went into Manhattan and worked at the office for a couple of hours. Then went to the Museum of Modern Art. Saw the Pixar exhibit on computer animation, among other things. Had some more hot chocolate. Got caught in the downpour without my umbrella. Went over to Carter's with dinner from Burger Heaven, and we rented a movie. Now I'm home and ready for sleep.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Patching system works. Wohoo. Even got home before 9pm tonight!

Went to the Acme Underground for lunch today with the CEO and 12 others. Buffalo wings, Po' Boy chicken sandwich. Not bad.

At around 8:00 tonight, Caeli told me to "go home". I asked her what was at home?

Having some concerns how effectively the new Systems person is coming along. Why can't we find a Systems Genius? Where is Patrick? How come I know more than all the Systems people? How come they spend three hours trying to figure out what the hell is going on, and I give them the answer after looking at it for like 30 seconds?

Debating what to do with the weekend. The title to the car didn't show up, so I won't be meeting up with Naomi's parents.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The scent of Kool-Aid

Back at the office. Went out for drinks with some people from the office. Shannon spilled some sort of fruity drink on me.

Waiting for software to compile. Dave Matthews on the iPod.

Making more progress on the patching project. Sat in on a meeting for the Sales Demo. It's interesting to see the differences between what Sales is selling and, you know, Reality. High expectations from Engineering.

Talked to Mom. She's plugging along. Wants me to help her get the digital camera setup so she can start doing Ebay again. Perhaps I will see her this weekend (if the title doesn't show up for my car [in which cases I need to get together with Naomi's parents to exchange it for the money and license plates]).

Ok, compile done. Back to work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Work and drinks on hump day

Worked. Gave the Clarity overview to the new Systems person. Figured out that LILO doesn't work on our blades because the old version packaged with Red Hat doesn't support Major 67 for SCSI devices. At least now I know what was happening. Also fixed the bug mentioned yesterday with file descriptors being inherited across fork(). Now my agent doesn't crash. Go me.

Making more progress on patching. For the first time I was able to use Benny's GUI to call my installation engine. Very nice. The target is to demo at the end of the week.

Afterwards, Dan, Morris and I went out to Reservoir for dinner/drinks. Then on the cab ride back to Astoria with Dan, Matt called and we met him, Alana, and Jeff for drinks at the Broadway station. Now I'm home and tired and ready for bed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Second Patent

Oh yeah, and I found out yesterday from Reggie that my second patent got issued. If anybody cares, it can be found here:


Plugin' along

Turns up the meeting with Cathryn (the VP or Corporate Dev / HR) was just a typical "what do I do here" meeting. So I gave her the schpeel. She had a bunch of questions about management style and what people in the group are thinking. In particular, there were a bunch of questions on my take on what people thought of Shamoun's management style. Also, she indicated that they are in the process of looking for a Director of Engineering. I mentioned that Dan is already the DOE (at least in title), and she said that he doesn't really want to play the management role (he's always been more if an 'in the trenches' kind of guy). She had said that she kept hearing all these good things about me and therefore wanted to find out more about what I did in Technology. All in all, a good lunch.

Found a fun bug tonight. Apparently when the agent spawns processes, it doesn't close any of the file handles after the fork. I found this out when I couldn't restart the agent because the Oracle Cluster Manager was controlling the listening socket for Dagent. I told Matt, and he said "That's such a rookie mistake!". I couldn't agree more. It's funny though because I found the same bug in Netilla's software several years ago. I feel like the old man who's seen it all before.

Patching is coming along. I found out that Naoum's perl-DBD-Oracle module didn't work because he didn't do the dynamic linking properly. He fixed it today, but it's a bit of a hack. It's good enough for now but I should take a look at some point. Also found out that when he imported Xerces last week that he didn't static link it. Unfortunately I discovered this when I installed the latest version of the software on my box and the agent crashed because it couldn't find the library. Converted the node monitoring tools over to the new transport, so we don't rely on SSH anymore for it. Also Naoum started learning gSoap so I can hopefully get him to convert the NodeConnect message to SOAP.

New episode of House tonight. Very exciting.

I was thinking about my car earlier. I wish I had taken a picture before they took it away. It was such a beautiful day on Sunday too, so it would have glistened in the sun.

Sunday, January 8, 2006


Yesterday went down to South Jersey. Had lunch with Grandma/Lauren/Jen. Got the recall fixed on the Saturn. Went to Jen and Jon's house, got cake and played "Star Wars, Lego Edition" on her X-Box. Yes, somebody combined Star Wars, Lego, and video games all in one. It is quite addicting.

Left Jen's at 11:30pm. Got home at 12:45. I was surpised that I was able to get all the way from Jen's in Freehold to my place in only an hour and fifteen. Quite speedy when there's no traffic. As it turns out, I live right off the BQE, so I was on the highway the whole time until the last 1/2 mile.

Today I putzed around the house. Cleaned. Had breakfast at the diner. Got some hot chocolate from Starbucks. Naomi's mom and sister came by to pick up the car. Called up Patrick and had dinner at Pizzeria Uno. Now I'm watching West Wing, Desperate Housewives, with Grey's Anatomy coming up.

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Just another Manic Thursday

Day was relatively uneventful. Benny and Eric broke the news to me today that they won't make next week's deadline. Now I have to do the same to Shamoun tomorrow.

Went out to Dewey's Flatiron for a couple of drinks with some of the guys after work. Strange how six people can rack up a $267 dollar bill in a couple of hours. Of course, I had two Sprites, so my share was about four dollars.

Afterwards, went back to work. Now I get to play PHP developer since we are behind schedule and my stuff is working. Holy 2001 Batman!

Ok, off to bed soon.

Wednesday, January 4, 2006


Feeling kind of lousy tonight.

Most of today's progress got stalled because it turns out the build was not really ready for Oracle to be installed. Unfortunately I somehow thought Patrick had gotten further than he really had before he left the company, and found out the hard way when Eric came back with a huge list of problems.

And I feel lonely. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to hang out with. Ick.

I tend to find that if you want to maximize productivity of your engineers, give them good tools.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Progress is a good thing

Making steady progress on the patching system. It is now able to access the job database and install patches in parallel on multiple hosts. Wohoo. Still need to be able to collect the results, but this is a milestone if I ever saw one. Also wrote a simulator and a forking CGI so that Benny can call it directly and write the front-end, even though the backend is unfinished.

Came home, had dinner, watched House. Finally some new episodes.

Got caught up on some reading. Debated playing with Mono a bit, but decided I've already got enough balls in the air and should avoid the temptation/distraction.

Dan Cohen sent me an interesting commentary on hiring good software developers and how Java makes it hard to distinguish between good programmers and mediocre programmers:


Ok, off to bed.

Monday, January 2, 2006

New Years

Went to Jen and Jon's for New Years Eve. Suzy, Sam, Lauren, Kevin, all came over for a while and we played a board game.

Sold the car. Will deliver it next weekend. Have to get a certified check out to GMAC in tomorrow's mail.

Earlier today I was comparing this New Years Eve to last year. It was quite a step down from celebrating it in Times Square. And I certainly didn't get my picture on the front page of the New York Times either.

The fact that I resorted to spending it with my family made me feel like I didn't have any friends. Otherwise I would have gone to somebody's party.

Came back from South Jersey early this afternoon. Spent the afternoon alone. Went out and got a hot chocolate from Starbucks.

Yeah, I'm starting to feel all lonely and sorry for myself again. I had thought putting myself in New York City would alleviate the feelings of isolation. I thought I would make new friends and have people to hang out with. It makes me wonder why I gave up what I had with Naomi, but deep down I know that I would have been with her just so I didn't feel alone and that wouldn't be right.

The next two weeks at work are going to be Hell. I have to write the entire patching backend for the Clarity product and have it in test by the 12th. Ick.

Going to get to bed relatively early tonight. Have to get to work early tomorrow.