Two interesting things today…

For lack of a better place to write about them:

1) As I was scootering on Hillsdale between Edgewater and El Camino a helicopter went coverhead. This, in itself is not that unusual; we get traffic, police and occasionally executive helicopters a lot – Hillsdale is between (probably roughly halfway, in fact) between SFO and the San Carlos airport.

What WAS unusual is this was VERY obviously not a civilian helicopter. It went by quickly, but it was the narror profile and shape (especially the front and back cockpit) of an attack helicopter. I’m pretty sure it was some sort of Cobra, not an Apache, as it was not angular enough for the latter – though this much is on looking at photos online and not an instant recognition.

Interesting. I’d have needed a much better camera than the one in my phone to get it.

2) We had a fire alarm malfunction at work today. They were supposed to be doing some kind of checking on the sprinkler system, and apparantly they set it off. Annoying.

An interesting night…

  • First, I discover this afternoon that my server has rebooted on an older Kernel and the SATA drives aren’t being recognized. No wonder it’s going so slow; the RAID is running in degraded mode (not inherently slower for RAID0/mirroring, but in practice it’s going to mean that the system does everything much more carefully wrt flushing buffers and stuff.) So I had to rebuild that tonight; the Linux mdadm tool made that surprisingly easy.
  • Second, the phone line has gone tonight. No DSL, no nuttin’ – I host my own server, so I can post this now, but who knows when y’all are going to get to see it. And I think I’m going into some minor case of internet-access withdrawal (no dialup backup, since the voice phone is down too, but at least I have my PDA thing… slow though it is at home.)

30 Things You’d Never Think to Ask (Another silly blogmeme…)

This one from Gareth’s LJ (it’s long, sorry):

30 Things You’d Never Think to Ask

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Nope, nor ever arrested. Stopped in traffic a few times, usually for something boneheaded whether I got a ticket or not.

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coaster?
Usually. I’ve got a touch of acrophobia, though the sensations are fun either way.

3. When’s the last time you’ve been sledding?
I’m not sure I’ve ever been sledding. Not even using cafeteria trays, while in college.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Depends on with whom, but in general with the right company I’d rather not sleep alone.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?
Nope. Nor souls, nor reincarnation, nor any other sort of life after death.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
No, and it frustrates me to no end since I’d very strongly LIKE to be.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
I have no idea, and thanks to the folks who put him on trial screwing up so badly, there’s no way anyone but OJ will ever know for sure.

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie
Jennifer Aniston by default; I find Angelina Jolie to be one of the least sexy famous women this side of Tipper Gore. (As an aside, this same question came up in Russ Lieberman’s recent Interview in GQ

Okay. Real quick: Jennifer or Angelina?

Jennifer? Jennifer who?

Oh, come on, Senator! Jennifer or Angelina?
Jennifer who?

Aniston. [silence] Oh, God. You don’t read the tabloids, do you?
Can I have a third choice? Can I pick Sharon Stone?

…and my own thought was “put as just Jennifer or Angelina I wouldn’t have gotten the question either.” Sharon Stone would not be my pick over Jennifer Aniston, personally but then my tastes run more to Kate Winslet or Roselyn Sanchez.

Much more after the break…
Continue reading “30 Things You’d Never Think to Ask (Another silly blogmeme…)”

I biked to work, once. (so far?)

Have you ever seen the film “Johnny Dangerously”? Not a tremendous film, but a funny one… and the villain in it has this schtick where if someone does something that angers him he says, “You better not [whatever] me, [whoever]! My [family member] [whatever]ed me! …once!”

Right now my back/legs/lungs are telling me “You better not ride to work again, Nate! You rode to the old Kana! …once!” The scary part is I feel about equally beat up now after ~3.5-4 miles (home in Foster City to Guidewire) as I did then after ~10 miles (home in Mountain view to the old Kana building on Woodside in Redwood city.

And therein, I suppose, lies the difference in being 25 and being 30. F–k. I will definitely have to work up to this before doing it again, but I really really am going to try to do it again and repeat until it’s relatively routine.

Hybrid storage to hit the mass market…

While the news that Samsung announces PCs with Flash instead of a real HD is itself interesting, further down they note that:

As we reported last week, Samsung will also start shipping NAND-hard drive combos with 128MB and 256MB of NAND during the third quarter.

The authors go on to note that Intel is releasing it’s own Flash-caching technology, called Robson.

This is very much related to the MRAMFS work I did; I mean, I doubt they read my compression papers, but it’s all based on the same underlying concept. Very cool.

Reminiscences about old computers… part 1

Inspired by a thread on RASFF (I think, might have been RASFC) here are the first in a set of reminiscences about computers I’ve owned. The lengthy bit will follow breaks, so that those of you who are here for humor and/or politics can ignore them.

I got my first computer, a Commodore 64 with tape drive, on Saturday 10/22/1983. My memory for a long time was ’82, but I distinctly remember it being a Saturday – earlier on the day of my birthday party, which was always on a weekend either before or after my birthday – and I eventually found the receipt in my father’s old papers.

Continues following the break…
Continue reading “Reminiscences about old computers… part 1”


That’s a very long day-and-a-half of moving done with, and I am about to be headed to sleep in my new apartment… I’ll miss San Francisco, but I’m not far away (Foster City, about ~25 minutes South along 101,) and being able to once again get to work on Scooty-Puff Jr. in 10 minutes rather than the broad range of 25 (if traffic’s good) to 60 (if traffic’s awful) minutes to get to/from work.

While all the big furniture is here, there is still a LOT of junk left to bring down in the next 8 days. I’m not sure if we’ll have a housewarming once we’re fully moved in.

I’ve got a new job.

I will be starting shortly at Guidewire, in San Mateo.

It won’t be for another few days (*) , but except on the level of exactly which day next week I start, plans are settled and I am looking forward to getting back to a relatively “crunchy” programming position; it seems like a very cool place. More details to follow later.

(* it’s Saturday as of when I’m writing this, and I have to go on Monday to either do Jury Duty or get it rescheduled having missed my original day due to an earlier interview somewhere else…)

The shortage of posts lately… (and a recommendation)

The shortage of posts lately has basically come down to three things:

1) I’ve been busy with the job-search.

2) My home page has been getting a lot of hits from my craigslist resume, and while I’m too lazy to look through the referers, I have to assume some of them are coming here. I don’t feel comfortable blogging about my job search when prospective employers might be reading here.

3) I’ve been kind of reluctant to take up either too much fun stuff, or anything too controversial politically, because it might seem unprofessional. Now, I grant, pretty much this entire blog is “unprofessional,” and it’s unlikely I’d get hired someplace too hung up on such things. I have no idea if political opinions a “protected category,” but I suppose it’s a moot point, since I pretty well broadcast being some variety of liberal/leftist here. But in any case it’s a point of first impressions, and I’d like to avoid making a bad one.

That said, I have been having SOME fun lately, and two of them merit a quick note here.

First, I discovered Questionable Content last night via Steve Jackson’s recommendation in the Daily Illuminator a few days ago. He described it as a “a modern-day romantic comedy,” but I’d call it Soap Opera for the 20-something set. Without any spoilers, if you’re a Robotech fan, think about the Lisa-Rick-Minmei triangle sans any of the action or sci-fi elements (except a single few non-giant robots, one of them taking the obligatory talking-animal role.)

If you check it out, do yourself a favor and start from the beginning; the art does take a while to evolve, but the character development is the fun part – there aren’t nearly the same sort of random digressive plotlines or degree of geeky weirdness that Sluggy Freelance or GOATS have, so I’d imagine it would be hard to truly pick up from the middle.

One warning: there is some minor profanity at times, so depending on your sense of propriety it may not be work safe.

Second, the link I’ve had for a while for the Space Moose mirror seems to have died; fortunately, there are now several findable on google, one of which at “” had a cool URL and appears to have dropped the substitution of the author’s name with a weird one that the old DrunkAndDisorderly site did. While Space Moose uses quite a bit of profanity (and very frequent attempts to be offensive, with or without profanity), it’s really funny most of the time. Do consider yourself warned before following the link, though.

I’m looking for a job.

As of Friday, February 10th, I am no longer working at my old position at USF.

I was am actively looking for a new position – preferably in the San Francisco Bay Area – and appreciate any leads. My resume is available as a pdf
or as html.

There are more versions available here, and further information on my job search and professional interests will be available in a few

This post will remain “sticky” until I’ve gotten a job. In any case, to all friends reading here, please wish me luck, and I will probably keep you all posted about my job search in this space.
Update as of 3/11/2006: This is no longer sticky, as I’ve gotten and accepted a job offer. The resumes are about to be updated but I’ll leave a version up for the curious.

Headed home…

And that’s the end of Marie and my trip abroad… I am headed home in a few hours, although it’s going to be a long trip (especially in steerage on a non-OneWorld airline.. we’ll see if the seats are OK or not). In any event, sorry for the lack of updates/pictures… I’ll let you all know when the pictures are up on sandbox or my gallery, and maybe fill in a travel story or two here.

Til then, be well.

Happy New Years…

My vacation has been very enjoyable so far; after the obligatory family time, I’ve enjoyed my traveling quite a lot. New Years Eve in Singapore is interesting – the noise level since midnight has been constant and very high (it’s 12:45AM here on 1/1; I’m 16 hours ahead of California time right now here) and I suspect if I wasn’t still recovering from jet lag it would keep me up. As it stands, it’s sort of a non-issue since I am dead tired and will be back up in about 3 hours to fly to Thailand anyway.

I have taken some photos, including this one Me, looking silly. of me in front of a statue of some legendary Chinese warrior (which is in turn in front of the Singapore Hilton.) Not as many as I’d have liked – my battery ran out halfway through the Singapore Zoo. Also unfortunately the little camera I’m traveling with doesn’t zoom in nearly as far as I’d have liked for some of the zoo shots – ah well! it’s better, for these parts, than the DSLR just on size and not-getting-mugged counts (OK, the latter is not an issue here in Singapore, but it IS is the less nice bits of other places.)

Overall, I’m quite impressed with Singapore, although with only two full days on the ground(*) it’s hard to really get a sense of the place, a problem I still have with Hong Kong as well. I’ll enjoy it if I ever make it back, and I do hope to.

(* and fighting jetlag, sore feet, and a sore back/shoulders from overhard bed – the latter being nearly universal in hotels – at least from my perspective, although it seems worse in Asia.)

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