Last night, my laptop got

Last night, my laptop got sick. It was causing all sorts of odd filesystem errors, and e2fsck didn’t like what it found, so I left it running more intensive disk checks overnight. When I came in this morning, I was in agreement with e2fsck: I didn’t like what it had found, either. Definitely time for a reinstall.

First, I ended up getting Chris-at-Velocet to burn somehow-corrupt images of the second and third Red Hat 7.3 discs, though it took far too long to find that out. Then, as I started to slip gently towards success, I found that the 7.3 install really doesn’t like the video card in my laptop. Believe it or not, this paragraph’s fumblings and frustration took almost the entire day.

I finally gave up around 5:30pm and went to meet Hilary for Ultimate. The game was quite fun, the team is quite nice, and even though we lost by a pretty large margin, I played decently; all rather pleasant. Hilary and I then headed to find Tyla at home, showered, and went wandering on Bloor in search of food. (Rob joined us just before we left the house.) We found OK food, and discovered that they’re filming a movie on Bloor. I wonder what it is…

Tomorrow is our anniversary, and I didn’t get out to buy Tyla’s gift today. I think I’m OK, though, because Tyla, at last check, still hadn’t even picked a gift for me. I don’t have to outrun the bear, and all that.

(Reconstructed from notes on the morning of 1 Aug. I didn’t have a working computer at work, etc. Sosumi.)

Alasdair and I were having

Alasdair and I were having a perfectly nice late-night meal at Mel’s, when we saw a mouse scurry across the floor. I’m sure they manage to keep things sanitary, and I’m sure most restaurants have the occasional rodent interloper, but I think I’ll have to spend a little time away. It’s just so hard to get “disease carrying vermin” out of your head while you’re reading the menu!

This morning I got tinderbox reporting limping along for Lustre, and then attended a teleconference with all the other people working on getting MCR up and running, so that we can get on to helping people make better bombs.

Then Tyla and I raced to the office to meet with Graydon and Frances for lunch, after which Tyla wandered off to shop for groceries and furniture, and I spent longer than was really necessary wrestling with my new desk with Ken and other officemates. Lisa doesn’t really like the part of my old, breakfast-nook desk that overhangs the edge of hers, but I’m sure she’ll get used to it. Or she’ll club me silly when I’m not paying attention.

I forgot my cell phone charger in Boston, I think. I hate being dumb.

Now, back to the export-munging stuff, on Peter’s fast-moving branch. I want to get a lot done tonight and tomorrow, because I’m playing Ultimate with Hilary’s team tomorrow night, and then Thursday is our anniversary, which will involve at the least a long lunch at the ROM or AGO, and probably a leisurely dinner. And then we’re off to Blue Skies for the long weekend. Great fun, but not conducive to keeping up with Peter’s breakneck pace.

Tyla’s off seeing more Bostonian

Tyla’s off seeing more Bostonian wonders, and I’m hacking on tinderbox stuff, which makes for a fine Monday morning, all in all.

Phil — who looked quite sharp in his tux, natch — is off to Denver for some meetings. His car — buy his car, Jacob! — had a flat tire, so we had to put the spare on it before the Blizzards could drive us to a nice Indian dinner. (Phil and I really need to get our own “Where To Eat In <City>” pages up and running, I think.)

I find that I have trouble, on re-reading my diary, figuring out when I’m describing the listed date’s events, and when I’m recalling the previous day’s events on the listed date. Given that a major motivation for this whole thing — other than the discipline training that results from writing (just about) every day — is to aid in my personal recollection of my life, this may be a sign that I need a new system.

Chris is going to drive us to Providence this afternoon for our return flight, and then we’ll probably collapse at home. Travel is fun, but it’s always nice to be back home, where I have clothes and stuff.

Later: Chris is such a great friend. He endured literally two hours of sucky traffic to get us to the Providence airport just barely in time. If the flight hadn’t been delayed, we’d never have made it. It was a great weekend, and part of me wished it wouldn’t end, but it’s also great to be back home. Even if we did have to wait for 45 minutes for our luggage to appear on the carousel.

I’m glad to see that the Penny Arcade guys are enjoying the MP3s I sent them (the Neuromancer ones). I think they’re even legal to distribute, or that’s my dim recollection from when I grabbed them off a web site a few years back.

The black-tie affair was an

The black-tie affair was an absolute blast, though finishing the night at Charlie’s meant that my tux smells like a thousand-dollar ash tray. Pictures were taken, and I’m sure they’ll show up shortly.

Phil and I hacked our own separate hacking yesterday, and I was only mildly confounded by Peter’s continuing breakneck pace — much of the code I was working with still operates in materially the same fashion.

Tyla did more Boston-touristing, so at least one of us is getting out to enjoy the city. I had hoped to cheat a little and see some sights with her on Monday, but it looks like I’ll be on the phone and IRC getting tinderbox working. That’s OK, because we really do need something like this in place, and it is, like, my job, but I think Tyla’s a little disappointed that I don’t get to wander around with her. At least she seems to be liking Boston.

We had a nice breakfast

We had a nice breakfast this morning, after a restful sleep last night, and then Tyla took off to see various pretty parts of Boston. I opted to see some decidedly less pretty parts of the Lustre code, and continue on our quest to rationalize export data management. (“Export” is our term for all the state a server component — storage, metadata and lock management — keeps for each client. Right now, each server piece keeps its own list or lists of this data, and we want to put it all into one place.) Every time I touch something to fix it, I have a combinatorial architectural explosion and have to mutate a bunch of other things. Tortoises, all the way down.

Soon, though, I get to dress up all pretty and party with some friends here in Boston (which is, really, quite lovely this time of year). That will be more fun, and less confusing.

Never travel with me. It’ll

Never travel with me. It’ll just end in disaster.

  • Moved Tyla’s wallet on her, causing her to leave it behind in Toronto — totally my fault;
  • Contributed materially to our missing the flight to Providence — got on a flight an hour later to Boston instead, which was basically the best possible outcome;
  • Almost missed the flight to Boston because Tyla and I didn’t interpret “meet at the gate” in exactly the same way — and we’d exchanged passports inadvertently at the Customs pre-clearance, so Tyla had no ID and no purchasing power for a while, with our flight leaving any minute now.

Once we got to Boston, though, fun was had. Chris picked us up in Phil’s car, and then we met up with Jacob and Joe and Nat at Phil’s place. I hacked a little bit, got a ride around the neighbourhood in the Fiat, and munched on some Indian food. We didn’t make it to Harvard Square in time to eat with Chris and Shona at Mr. Bartley’s, but since Tyla and I managed to score some excess concert tickets at cost within 60 seconds of arrival at the Somerville, even the outrageously slow and mediocre food at the joint across the street made for a cheery meal. (This place can’t seem to master a Greek salad, but they advertised homemade — as though that were some sort of endorsement here — crab and lobster tortellini. Uh, pass.)

The concert was great, predictably. Even the opening act was decent, and the Hip didn’t miss the proverbial beat when all the stage lighting died halfway through the show. Lots of Canadians present, of course.

Blizzard fixed an off-by-one bug today, which is really cool, but then he made an off-by-65 error with bus advice that had Phil, Tyla and I going to Dudley Square instead of the nice ice cream shop. Not much of a tourist destination; I think it’s what you’d get if you took our Montreal neighbourhood shopping at the NRA Superstore.

Sleep now, so that I can work a bit tomorrow and then get my black tie on with many cool Boston people.

I have the internet at

I have the internet at home again. I bought an SMC Barricade to replace the aged and crusty FreeBSD box I’d been using as a router for years, but I think I’m going to take it back and get something else. There are a handful of problems with it:

  • I can’t find a way to turn off the address translation stuff, though it may be possible if I turn off all the firewalling.
  • It doesn’t have built-in wireless support, so I need to blow a port on connecting my existing wireless access point, and power the WAP, and…
  • I can’t tell it about a network segment that’s smaller than /24, which is a problem because I have a /29 routed to me by my ISP. (Which is why I want the NAT turned off, etc.)
  • The printer port, which I am quite interested in using, now that I’ve seen that they’re available, is parallel and not USB.
  • It makes a buzzing noise. This should be a completely solid-state device, with minimal power requirements. Not acceptable.

I have to go drop my tux off for cleaning now, and then finish setting up the computer for Tyla’s use. I was thinking about working from home, because the desktop box is a lot beefier than the laptop, and user-mode Linux is quite the workout, but I have some errands I want to run downtown, and I left my cell phone (well, the loaner from Rogers) at the office last night.

Fixed another portion of our interrupt and timeout code today, and tomorrow I start on shuffling our export and connection code around in preparation for some real recovery work. Tyla’s coming to Boston with me this weekend, so I’ll probably get a fair bit less work done, but we might get to see one of our favourite bands in concert, so I’m not too heart-broken about it.

What a paperwork day this was. In addition to getting my learner’s permit (!), I also filled out about a billion forms so that I could get access to the test cluster for MCR. This is my third learner’s permit — old-style Ontario “365″, one from California, and now this G1 — but the first time I’ve ever applied for access to a sensitive computing resource as a foreign national!

A good friend of mine

A good friend of mine — a good friend of yours too, even if you haven’t met her, as long as you’re not really creepy or anything — is in the process of quitting smoking, so my thoughts and pride are of course with her. (“Quitting smoking” is an awkward-sounding phrase, but I’m sure that awkwardness can’t compare to the feeling of having your brain reconfigured chemically over a few weeks. Go Deb!)

Mildly productive day at work, but I have still not achieved total domination over our interrupt and timeout situations. Tomorrow, I will play dirtier, and borrow some of Peter’s brain.

I dropped off my phone and Blackberry for service today. I hope I get them back soonish, because I’m going to Boston this weekend. I should get my tux cleaned, too.

Helped Fixy and Chris make PHP and Squid play happy caching games, to obtain some significant speedups for the World Youth Day web site, or something. Two orders of magnitude isn’t bad for half an hour’s work.

I have some entries for

I have some entries for previous days floating around on the computer at home, but I don’t think I’m going to bother digging them out and putting them up. We were very busy, and I didn’t have internet access, and it’s OK for me to break my months-long streak. Really it is.

The unpacking is going very well, and while Tyla was off visiting her relatives — I was not visiting my mom, though that had been my plan; perhaps next weekend — I was a moving-in machine. Office, bedroom, dining room; none could withstand my deboxing wrath. With Alasdair’s and Madhava’s help, I also got a pile of stuff over to storage and the air conditioner set up and — possibly the most important achievement — the grill fueled and (thoroughly) tested.

If you are planning to become a professional packer for a moving company, I have a little test to prepare you:

  • You are packing an office full of manuals and documents and books and other paper products. At the end of one of the boxes, you find that you have a longish, narrow rectangular space left. Do you:

    1. Fill that space with packing paper, given that you have many cubic metres of the stuff lying around anyway?
    2. Grab a book from one of the other nearby shelves to finish the box?
    3. Stick a bottle of Fantastic in the perfectly-sized space, such that it can damage photographs and manuals when it is inevitably jostled during the move?
  • You are packing that same office, and come across a large envelope that is clearly marked “Do Not Bend”. It is about an inch too long to fit properly in the bottom of the box size you’re using for this room. Do you:

    1. Put it aside for packing with art or other outsized things?
    2. Ask one of the residents, who are sitting around doing basically nothing while they wait, if they would like to take it with them?
    3. Stick it at the bottom of a box anyway, so that Tyla’s nice diploma has a crease in it?

If you answered “C” to any of those questions, please come to my house so that I can stomp on your head.

Some people have been putting up posters in the neighbourhood about the idea of making the TTC free during smog days. This isn’t a horrible idea at all, but, as Alasdair pointed out, who’s going to pay for it? The TTC apparently gets something crazy like 80% of its operating budget from fares, so there’s going to be some serious shortfall action if they toss open the doors a few dozen times each summer. Still, interesting idea.

I’m still happy about the phone-plan switch from the other day, but I seem to have busted the phone in the process. I think it was the part where I got them to replace the cracked case, because I was able to make a call right before that, and ever since I’ve had No Service. Alas.

Anyone want to buy a television?

We had believed that the

We had believed that the kitchen would pose no storage problems for us, because it’s replete with cabinets and drawers and whatnot, but it turned out to be a near thing. The office is probably going to be easier, and likely the next task, but I’m a lot more cautious with my optimism now.

Chester is settling in nicely, but we’re a little worried about his habit of jumping up onto the (smooth-top) range. I’d really like him to learn that it’s not a good idea, but I fear that it’ll take a painful injury for the lesson to take.

My prescription needs renewing, but my Québec prescription isn’t portable to Ontario pharmacies, so I’m going to have to find some walk-in that will just cough up the Celexa scrip without actually forcing me to endure rediagnosis, etc. Maybe I should take a quick trip to Montréal and get a year’s worth of pills.

Tyla’s dad was also critical to the success of our relocation, and I was remiss in not calling attention to that fact in yesterday’s entry. Today he’s taking our chest freezer, spare desk and miscellaneous books and magazines to Kia, back in Ottawa, because he’s a glutton for punishment.

I have to get a new cell phone today, and I’m thinking that I’d like the new Blackberry. I just bet that I’m going to have to break someone’s brain over at Rogers in order to get it set up, though.

If you’re using the Ximian gnome2 snapshots for your desktop, do not update. It’s a total disaster right now, if you want to use the panel or gnome-terminal or stuff like that.

My cell-phone adventure was somewhat successful. After trying futilely — at two large stores — to arrange something that would let me use the new Blackberry when it is made available for non-corporate use in November, without requiring me to buy a completely new unit at non-subsidized retail, I had a brainstorm. Instead, I just switched my current phone over to a Toronto number, while keeping my Montreal one active (it now has a voice mail message telling people where to go, as it were). I also switched to a flat-rate plan for long distance and roaming in Canada and the US, so as to avoid any more $700 surprises after extended trips south. (There are about two dozen cities where I will get hit with $4/min charge if I pick up my phone, but I hope to never need to spend time in any of them.)

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