September 2005

Summary: Mom Ryan decides to stay in San Francisco; Visited Galen's new home in Noe Valley; Lunch with Peter, Galen, Mom Ryan, and Patrick at Le Zinc; Bill and Kevin's birthday party; Mom Ryan moves in to her new home on Dolores Street; Folsom Street Fair with Peter, Galen, and Tony A; Skit Night

Dates on this page

Thu Sep 1, 2005

Patrick made breakfast for me and his mom: biscuits, bacon, scrambled eggs. Met with Cindy: performance review, which went well. Helped James figure out how to create a keyboard shortcut to attach files in new messages. I found the answer based on what kclemson posted in "Outlook 2003 tip o' the day" on 2003.0925.1449. Helped Chris update his Treo 650 ROM version from 1.03 to 1.12—the entire process took about an hour. (Thanks, Palm!) Also reinstalled mouse and keyboard drivers for his Oyster setup at home. Chris handed back the shared laptop now that his laptop is working again. I did maintenance updates on the shared laptop: firewall wasn't connecting to the central server so I reinstalled it; SpywareBlaster updates; ran a Microsoft Anti-Spyware Beta scan, Acrobat 6.0.4 update. Built screen snapshot documentation for configuring Norton Anti-Virus 2005 for use with UCSF VPN. (Essentially, you need to disable its firewall feature called Internet Worm Protection.) Started building pages on the ITS website since John K gave me access yesterday. A small problem with permissions at the start which John fixed quickly, but no problems afterwards. They use JSP, which looks a lot like PHP to me. I found no real problems coding for it, but I'm not doing anything terribly complicated. There's one page where I have a simple function and couldn't figure out everything I needed, but I know John has a similar function somewhere else, so I'll just let him fill that part in. I was able to find out the JSP equivalent of REMOTE_ADDR on my own, though. Lunch: a salad. Snacks during the day: 3 bananas. Dinner at home with Patrick and Mom Ryan: leftovers from Lakeside Cafe, leftover biscuits from this morning. Tried setting up the mail server on the Mac Mini using Postfix Enabler which I bought a day or two ago, ran into some trouble, got help essentially immediately from Bernard Teo and it's working now. Mom Ryan went to school with Patrick today. She stayed nearby while he was in class and read or did some walking for exercise. She's reading from a novel called The Alchemist which Patrick recommended. While they were out, two people noticed she was reading it and said, "hey, that's a good book!" I haven't read it yet. Figured out a really easy way to convert DOS line endings to UNIX line endings in vim 5 or later. It goes like this... :set fileformat=unix (Enter) :w (Enter). Thanks for the answer, Sven Guckes! (However, I wasn't able to figure out how to make that permanent for all files. When I added 'set fileformat=unix' or 'set fileformat=unix' or both to my .vimrc, it didn't have the desired effect—existing files still opened with DOS line endings, even after rewriting the file out—why?) Patrick and his mom found out more news about the whereabouts of their family. They're going to figure out a summary of sorts and we'll post it here or on another frankfarm.org page soon. Today they visited Patrick's boss Karen at the LAC—Learning Assistance Center—and Mom Ryan told the story of how she narrowly escaped Hurricane Katrina and how she doesn't know where all of her family members are, and they were all in tears by the time she was done.

Fri Sep 2, 2005

6:50 AM: woke up. 7:00 to 7:40 AM: watched recorded TV news about Hurricane Katrina. 8:05 to 8:17 AM: The 8:08 AM bus 66 did not show up on time. It's cold and a light mist is falling, so I return home to wait for the 8:30 AM bus. 8:25 AM: I go to the bus stop and wait. The bus must have come by off schedule because the schoolkids who were here at 8:08 AM are now gone. 8:37 AM: The 8:30 AM bus 66 shows up. As we turn from Lawton to 9th, I see the other bus 66 on the morning schedule (there's only two). The driver was eating some kind of pastry in his hand while making his turn from 9th to Lawton. 9:00 to 9:30 AM: Breakfast burrito at the cafeteria. 9:30 to 9:51 AM: I get to my office and get a little bit of work done before having to leave for a doctor appointment. I called student B.G. who had called yesterday saying she couldn't log in. I found the problem and called her back to let her know it should be fixed now. Called Rick S to let him know that I got his phone message, that I'm not a Mac guru and I likely cannot fix his Panther iBook which had crashed and now won't restart, and that I'm off to an appointment but will be back in the afternoon to work with him on screen snapshots for VPN. 9:51 AM: In the elevator lobby on the 9th floor where I work, I notice that some of the elevator bell and light indicators don't work. These alert people to the arrival of an elevator car. Since some don't function properly, doors open suddenly without warning and people take several extra seconds getting in to the elevator, often holding the door for the stragglers across the lobby. 9:56 AM: I take bus 6 to 9th and Judah. 10:09 AM: Arrived at Geary via bus 44. At the entrance to my doctor's office at Kaiser Permanente (450 6th Avenue) I press the wheelchair access button to open the door, but it does not work. The button on the inside works, though. There are two elevators inside the building. One is out of service. 10:22 AM: I'm done with check-in. 11:16 AM: I'm on bus 6 heading from 9th and Judah back to work. 2:48 PM: Set up the laptop for James's presentation. Rick S and I spent several hours reworking the ITS web pages to use content I had proposed in May 2005 to make the information clearer and more complete. ITS has had very out-of-date information on their pages, particularly with respect to configuring firewalls to work with VPN. I don't work for ITS, but they are woefully understaffed with no relief in sight, and the work I did will help all the students at UCSF—about 2,800—not just the 500 or so pharmacy students. 5:50 PM: I notify stakeholders that Rick and I completed the project we set out to do. 6:00 PM: I give the office orchids a few quick squirts of water. 6:05 PM: I catch bus 43 from work to 9th and Judah. I'm not certain if I've missed my bus but in case I have being at 9th and Judah is better than being on Parnassus because the next bus doesn't pick up at Parnassus. 6:13 PM: Bus 66 arrives, driven by my favorite bus driver, James. Patrick received a passionate letter from Deborah at the LAC where he works along with a check for a sizeable sum of money to help out his mom who was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and is now staying with us. Mom Ryan received good news today, finally hearing from Harold and Leila. I did some testing with the sushi page—not live yet, but almost.

Sat Sep 3, 2005

Did a little work for Corinna. Tried to figure out plans for a Hawaii vacation for me. (Patrick cannot go since he's in school.) Breakfast: waffles, potatoes o'brien, sliced banana, sliced pluot for Mom Ryan. I had the same but with scrambled eggs instead of waffles. With Mom Ryan's assistance, I quickly put together a Hurricane Katrina web page for Patrick and Mom Ryan listing the statuses and known locations of their family members. Since I know Google might not index the page for another month or so, I tried to see a place on the wikipedia entry for the hurricane I could add a link, but there didn't seem to be a section for that. A lot of sites now have this kind of info exchange set up, so I have linked to the ones I found. Mom Ryan and Patrick took a short walk while I showered. Mom Ryan wanted Chinese food for a very late lunch, so we went to Eric's Restaurant (415-282-0919, 1500 Church St): five taste chicken, walnut prawns, buddha's delight, brown rice, tea. $42.30 after a $6 tip. Patrick's fortune: Financial prosperity is coming your way. Mom Ryan's fortune was the same as mine: You will be a happy recipient of good news. Car wash at Divisadero Car Wash. Grocery shopping at Tower Market. Mom Ryan found out that her food stamps card still works. She paid for nearly the entire $150 in groceries. Patrick did some Chinese homework. I found some great high-resolution photos from NOAA on wwltv.com. The photos were taken after Hurricane Katrina had passed, and in many of them you can see how areas were or were not affected by flooding. The images were great except that they weren't always rotated with north at the top. Within about an hour, switching between Google Earth and the images opened in Photoshop, we were able to determine statuses for Mom Ryan's apartment building (not much damage, seemed to be dry), Dianne's house (probably badly flooded), Michelle's house (looks pretty good), and one of Dianne's offices for her Victor Manning Driving School (dry, and no roof damage, which contradicts earlier reports). Without Photoshop and Google Earth, it's probably really hard for people to get this same kind of results quickly. Mom Ryan and Patrick skipped dinner, but I had a late night meal: leftovers from Eric's. Paid bills. Checked up on the VPN pages from yesterday—they did not go live as expected, so I send an urgent message out to ask others involved to check up on it. If you're reading my journal daily, be warned I still have written notes from some of the recent days I will later go back to fill. I just filled in some for yesterday, but I have a lot more. Just before bed I notice that Google Maps now has some satellite map data of the Hurricane Katrina areas. When I search on "Chalmette, LA" Google includes a pink button labelled "Katrina" and it explains that the imagery shown is from Wednesday, August 31. For example, here's the 17th Street Canal breach. Here is the official Google link to their Hurricane Katrina map resource. Very cool! It's probably only a matter of time before the geniuses at Google figure out how to let people switch from an address search result to a mostly current post-Katrina satellite image with the click of a pink button—that would be much easier than my NOAA+Photoshop+GoogleEarth solution! Bedtime.

Sun Sep 4, 2005

Did work for Corinna. Breakfast: a banana, an english muffin. Dropped Mom Ryan off at St. Cecilia for Sunday Mass. Patrick and I ran an errand to Walgreens. Picked up Mom Ryan. Patrick and Mom Ryan got drinks at Starbucks. I bought tickets for the movies. Sam joined us shortly thereafter. Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Patrick and Sam. Mom Ryan saw March of the Penguins instead because she had already seen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I liked the film a lot. Patrick and Mom Ryan took a nap. Mom Ryan woke up and took a walk in the neighborhood. Took photos of stuff to sell on eBay. Made live the sushi night mailing list on my frankfarm.org home page, sent out a message to all previous invitees of Sushi Night 001. I updated journal entries for August 30 and September 2. Did work for Corinna.

Mon Sep 5, 2005

Did work for Corinna. Breakfast: fruit smoothie (peach, strawberry, banana, blueberry), bacon, eggs, biscuits. Picnicked in Golden Gate Park with Mom Ryan and Patrick. The weather was warm and sunny. We ate sandwiches which I had made before we left. We picked up cold drinks and French Onion Sun Chips at a nearby convenience store. Shopped in the 9th and Irving area. We got Mom Ryan some things she needed: new shoes from On The Run, a new address book from Wishbone. Patrick got a book about Camus's political views from Great Overland Books. Stopped at Walgreens on the way home to pick up some more things for Mom Ryan: a hair dryer. Watched Simpsons.

Tue Sep 6, 2005

Breakfast: a banana. Student computing committee meeting. Staff meeting. Figured out the OmniLock device that Kirk uses to reprogram his door locks won't work for ours, so I put in a request with the lock shop. Coded City Tours page. Checked in with Rick S about VPN for Mac OS 10.4—it's still not available and School of Medicine starts today. Posted final fall schedules. Worked with John K to repair the VPN test page. Found out from Ian that students living at Mission Bay will indeed still need to use VPN. Lucia discovered that she has a duplicate object in Active Directory for herself, so I asked ITS to remove that duplicate object. Lunch: cheddar cheeseburger, onion rings. Home. Did work for Corinna. Snack: a banana. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: battered shrimp and artichoke hearts, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli. Confirmed for Patrick that we don't want to install iTunes for Windows after reading the April 13, 2005 entry on mrclay.org. I got daily backups for the Mac Mini going a day or two ago. Technically, I'm only backing up the website and my home folder so far. I figured out why I couldn't burn to CD-ROM before—it was a permissions issue. I still don't understand why I was forced to go to Console to figure that out. Why couldn't Apple have put a dialog box in the application with the error message? I still haven't figured out how to get Automator to automate burns to disc. I thought Macs were supposed to be easy to use? I must have spent at least an hour trying to figure it out. And Apple Help is No Help, over and over again no matter what I ask it. I ended up getting my backups to work by turning on Windows filesharing and instructing my Windows-based Iomega REV drive to back up the files I want in the shared folder. Still to do: I need to make the tarballs more efficient by refreshing only if files had changed rather than always rebuilding the entire tarball no matter what. I had a strange experience with an ATM machine today. I've used this ATM dozens or perhaps hundreds of times before and never had a problem. However, today, while I was punching in how much money I wanted, I changed my mind at the 4th digit. I saw a button that said CORRECT, so I pressed it because I wanted to CORRECT the value I entered. However, instead of letting me correct it, the machine proceeded to make some funny noises before unexpectedly spitting out the amount I didn't want! It seems to me that OK is a better label than CORRECT in this situation. Fortunately, this did not result in the machine spitting out my entire remaining balance, but it did make me feel uneasy about future experiences with ATMs. "I trusted you! And this is how you repay me?!"

Wed Sep 7, 2005

Pre-breakfast: a banana. Orange juice and a breakfast burrito at the cafeteria. Made live the city tours page. Updated a form for James. Updated the P2 schedule. Researched a campus housing and Internet issue for student JP. Created a document for Cindy. Lunch: salad, a banana. Edits. iPod nano is released. It's beautiful. Snack: a banana. Researched a printer purchase for Lucia. Returned a call from a School of Medicine student: sorry, I can only help pharmacy students. Wrangled with ITS over password resets for LAPS. Yesterday I resolved the error message "Microsoft Visual FoxPro / Cannot locate the Microsoft visual FoxPro support library. / (OK)" which occurs when starting PharmAdMIT 2006. I uninstalled PharmAdMIT 2006, reinstalled choosing to make the app available to anyone who uses the computer. Linkchecking. Tested the voting feature in Outlook. Forwarded messages from continuing students to the entering students Yahoo! group. Home. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan: leftovers. Patrick arrived late from class, ate cheese slices and leftover biscuits. I updated Mom Ryan's Hurricane Katrina page on frankfarm.org. Did work for Corinna.

Thu Sep 8, 2005

Breakfast: orange juice and a breakfast burrito at the cafeteria. Updated a student org listserv for a student. Updated the supp app workshop page for Stacey. Made live the last city tour. Met with student SJ again, we worked with Dreamweaver and her student organization website. This time we were able to connect (ITS fixed the password problems yesterday), but we again ran into problems while uploading files. Afterwards, I discovered that the problem was that the volume where the account is had run out of disk space. I filed a ticket with ITS. Talked with Cindy about the P1 listserv and when it should get populated. Gave some suggestions to Rick S about the download web pages for the Mac OS 10.4 VPN client. Currently, a single link called "Installation Instructions" links to a 124-page PDF file—the VPN User Manual. This is essentially unnecessary, since people don't need to read it to get VPN working (and most won't even try to read it). Responded to a student's question about why he has spam in his inbox. Directed a student who needed to design a website for a course to our WebCT pages. The lock shop person (Danny, x27657) arrived. Double-checked the lock shop's work. Updated all parties regarding the updating of door locks. I walked Ena through setting up staff meetings for the next 15 weeks. Lunch: roast cow and cheddar sandwich from Courtyard Cafe. Computer support coordinator meeting. Helped Chris reinstall Java and troubleshoot problems with the staff portal. Fixed a problem with the interview reply pages. The problem was that when you clicked in a form field on our web page the focus would jump to a different form element. The page validates properly, so it's not that. There was no Javascript on the page, so it wasn't that. I isolated the problem to a combination of Firefox and a LABEL tag. The problem does not happen in IE6 or Opera 7.5.3. When I change the position of the ending /LABEL tag so that it doesn't encompass other form elements, the problem no longer happens in Firefox. Technically, I think it should still work as I had coded it, so I suspect a bug in Firefox. Snack: a banana. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: delivery from Xiao Loong: lemon chicken, combo chow mein, wonton soup, green beans, steamed rice. Mom Ryan received some excellent news in the past 24 hours. Yesterday, using a list of places where Mom Ryan might be eligible for HUD housing, they found a retirement community in the Castro which might be able to take her in. They visited today, and it looks as though Mom Ryan will have a new home by October 1! Normally there's a 3-year waiting list, but Katrina evacuees are now being given top priority. Mom Ryan got the very last spot available! The staff are friendly and helpful, and the building and grounds are well kept and clean. The staff has offered to help her with the Social Security office to ensure that she's getting all the money she's entitled to. But wait, there's more! The staff is also calling Ikea and Macy's to find out if they'll donate some goods! Today, Mom Ryan also went to Citibank to try to get her finances figured out and pull out money. Citibank isn't her bank, but she figured out through something on the news that she could go to any bank, explain her situation, and they would help her access her account. It worked! And before she left the bank, the teller offered to give her some furniture for free! We're all overjoyed with the compassion and generosity she's been offered by so many people since she's arrived. Before today, Mom Ryan wasn't certain that she would stay in California. But now with so many things falling so fortunately in to place, it's decided she'll stay and begin a new life here. It's been emotionally draining these past 12 days for all of us, but we're starting to see a new light out of the recent darkness we've traversed. Mom Ryan did some shopping at Stonestown Mall for more things she needed—mostly clothes, but also something new she's been needing lately: thank you cards. Patrick got an A on the speech he had to deliver yesteday. He was very nervous, but I knew he would do very well—he's an excellent student. Tried to put together a differential tar script but couldn't get it to do what I wanted. Did work for Corinna: note card drafts, round 2.

Fri Sep 9, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. I forgot to mention yesterday Mom Ryan found out from Aunt Maryann who found out from another patient in Tommy's nursing home that there was looting going on in Tommy's nursing home. (This is in Kenner, Louisiana.) Mom Ryan is worried that the looters will go in to her building across the street and steal or damage the urn which contains the ashes of her first son, Perry. Breakfast: a banana. Chatted with Carlos about disk space issues. He got the server down to about 83%, I think. Super. He also noted I had some large files on a different server, which I got rid of right away. Fixed PageMaker for Joel. We had the problem described by Adobe Knowledgebase document 328519 ("Cannot find PageMaker's registry settings"). Solution 3 did not work for me. I used solution #1 instead. Set up the laptop for a presentation (Stacey and James). Reported an Outlook problem to Taylor K at Microsoft regarding Outlook 2003 for Windows (part of Office 2003 for Windows): "Cannot perform the requested operation. The command selected is not valid for this recipient. The operation failed." and "The operation failed." and "Cannot perform the requested operation. The command selected is not valid for this recipient. The list was not fully expanded." and "There was an error while expanding the list. The list was not fully expanded." The cause of these error messages is unknown. The solution to these error messages is unknown. Workarounds: If the distribution list is one that you created (rather than one that appears in the global address list), recreate the distribution list using a new name, ensuring that you have the most current valid e-mail address for each person in the list. If the distribution list is not one that you created and it appears in the global address list, recreate the distribution list locally using a new name, ensuring that you have the most current valid e-mail address for each person in the list. To determine the members of the list, choose Tools > Address Book, right-click the distribution list, then select Properties. Additional Information: One user reported in a web forum that clearing Outlook's nickname cache resolved it for him. To clear Outlook's nickname cache, see "How to reset the nickname and the automatic completion caches in Outlook" at: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=287623 . However this is known to not solve the problem for some people.—Helped Ena create a local distribution list to work around the problem we encountered. Made photocopies needed for Tuesday. Spoke with student JP about door codes. Checked in with a student who had filed a name change. Checked in with Chris about our presentation on Tuesday. Checked in with one of our web hosting providers about how to insert a renewed SSL certificate. I guess I wasn't supposed to insert it on my own—I gave them the info and they installed it. Archived a FedexKinko's brochure which offered 15% off services to faculty and staff. Informed the Student Computing Committee about my talk with Doug S and the staff portal and e-mail addresses. Installed Google Desktop for Cindy. Followed up with students building websites about the server running out of disk space. I forgot to write that yesterday on the bus home a man boarded with a beautiful male Rhodesian ridgeback. I had never seen one before and found the ridged back of it fascinating. A ridge runs along the back and hair grows in the opposite direction as the rest of its coat. It reminded me of Stacey and Tim's dog Emerson whom I had never met. Mom Ryan had an incredible day today. Linda, the social worker from the retirement home Patrick and Mom Ryan visited yesterday picked her up at our place and took her to the social security office and together they explained her situation, completed some paperwork, and now Mom Ryan is getting a lot more money than she was in New Orleans due to the increased cost of living in San Francisco. Before they left, the social security agent felt so sorry for Mom Ryan that she reached into her purse, and handed her a little white crocheted angel because Mom Ryan feared that her angel collection at home was lost. She also got set up with Medi-Cal, so now all her medical care is free. After that, Linda took her to the local Red Cross office and Red Cross gave her a $360 credit card and a $20 Goodwill voucher! Linda also said the home is buying her new linens, towels, bed sheets, and more from Pottery Barn! Mom Ryan chatted with cousin ex-Brother Tony late to relay her good news. I chatted with Sneeper and Tony A today. Did work for Corinna: shipping labels round 1.

Sat Sep 10, 2005

I slept in. Mom Ryan found out today that Morris Lahasky Nursing Home is willing to keep Tommy, so she might arrange for that to be his new permanent home. There's still a possibility that Tommy might be moved out to California instead—they're investigating the possibility of that now. Mom Ryan went for a walk. Patrick did homework and Lodestar work. I cut my hair. I wrote a check to Steven Lu today—he's collecting money before September 15 to donate through his employer, Affymextrix. We're donating through him because Affymetrix is generously matching donations 100%. Until just a few days ago, I had thought all the money we would donate would go to Mom Ryan directly, but now that it seems she has been very fortunate, I feel we can certainly donate more to help others. Ran to the post office, then picked up a few groceries. I notice today that Google has indexed the Katrina page I created—that was quick. After creating a web page and making it findable by linking from a page known to be indexed in Google, it's not certain how long it will take for Google (or any search engine) to index the new page. Sometimes it takes months, but this was only about a week. Now people searching Google on, say, "Esther Callia," will find our page and connect with us to share information and whereabouts. There are only 5 people left that Mom Ryan doesn't know if they are safe. Work for Corinna: shipping labels round 2.

Sun Sep 11, 2005

Just minutes before mass, Mom Ryan found out by making a phone call that her best friend Laverne Parfait is safe and well and staying with sisters at the Rosaryville Spirit Life Center in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. I updated the Katrina web page I had made to indicate that Laverne is safe. We drop Mom Ryan off at St. Cecilia's, then pick her up about an hour later. Breakfast for me. Patrick took a nap, Mom Ryan took a walk, I folded laundry and began Lodestar work. Napped. Did more Lodestar work. We checked out a seismic map on sfgate.com/earthquakes and confirmed what Isabel from the retirement home had said about Mom Ryan's new home—that it was on bedrock and therefore safer with respect to earthquakes. Patrick made chicken with orzo (and mushrooms and bell peppers) for dinner. Mom Ryan told the amazing story of her son Kerry and the elevator. Dessert: peach sorbet. I suggested that we make a list of Mom Ryan food firsts. Now that she's living in San Francisco, she'll be eating a lot healthier than in New Orleans, we think. For example, she's never had an all-vegetarian restaurant meal, and vegetarian meals she'd make at home were things like frozen broccoli ("the good frozen broccoli"), frozen corn, frozen peas, with some buttah on top. Patrick says she hasn't had real sushi, or Korean or Vietnamese food. Maybe we'll take her to Dragonfly soon. Online we watched Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast. I enjoyed all the performances, and it was amusing to see some mistakes in the otherwise very professional and classy show. For example, in one shot, a silhouetted figure ran across the stage in front of the camera. In another, a black mysterious something came down from the top of the frame and went right back up a second later. Patrick noted with interest how many (if not all) of the performers have spoken out against the war in Iraq. For Lodestar today, nearly all of my copy editing is done and sent back to Patrick for review.

Mon Sep 12, 2005

First day of orientation. Started putting together a spreadsheet of current student data. Troubleshot password problems for two students. Scanned in 9 documents for James. Checked in with Stacey about gathering preferred name data. Finalized a printer order for Lucia—we decided on an HP LaserJet 1022. Faxed in the order to Hubert S. Lunch: free leftover box lunch from Orientation: tuna sandwich, a pair of small pears. Met with Susie. Home. Mom Ryan gave me a sweet Mickey Mouse thank you card and gave Patrick a handcrafted paper thank you card. She showed off gifts from AJ's family: snazzy new clothes. She also received a $50 check from the former employer of AJ and Patrick! Bought tickets for a trip to Hawaii—just me coz Patrick is still in school. I'm gonna visit Chris and Nate (and I suppose Mike P as well?), read Harry Potter on the beach, take a bunch of photos. T and D—I'm sorry I didn't get around to doing this sooner! Nine Eleven and Hurricane Katrina and Steve Jobs giving commencement speeches has sort of made me realize that I should plunk down loads of money to do things with my life instead of waiting for more opportune times. I'll never know the Twin Towers in New York City. I'll never know the New Orleans up with which Patrick grew. Joel and I had a conversation about this a few weeks ago. I asked him where he hasn't visited that he would regret if it were destroyed, and he said Dollyland, the Elvis land (I can't remember what it's called—Graceland?), and the arena where his favorite basketball team—the Tennessee Lady Volunteers—plays. I guess I need to make a trip to Tennessee, huh? he said. At least he has seen Liberace's museum. Me: I would regret not seeing my old friend Disneyland again and enjoying an oversweetened Cherry Coke (that'll be five dollars, please) in eighty degree heat while enjoying a pianist belt out Maple Leaf Rag on the nearby upright piano. I would also regret not going to Las Vegas and paying exorbitant sums to see all the Cirque Du Soliel shows one after the other. Particularly O, which many have described as "indescribable." I wonder: did they name the show that because that's what everyone's eyes and mouths are shaped like at the end? What else? There must be more, but I have to think about it. Dinner at home with Patrick and Mom Ryan: leftover orzo with chicken, we also shared a tomato, basil, mozzarella sandwich and Sun Chips and chocolate chip cookie leftover from Orientation. Over dinner, Patrick and I taught Mom Ryan some simple Spanish since she'll be living near the Mission soon: hola, buenos dias, hasta la vista baby, adios. Maybe lesson 2 will be how to order a buh-REE-toe in Spanish. I did work for Corinna: shipping labels outlines. Chatted with Brian Kusler online today about the City CarShare website. I miss working with him a lot because he's so excellent at whatever he's been given to do. When BK is on the job, you know things will get done (or at least there will be a very good reason why they didn't, and he'll have warned you about it a month in advance). Maybe one day we'll work together again... You know it's late at night when the Workrave rest break suddenly kicks in and the unnaturally large breasts on the computer-generated woman doing the neck tilt stretch freak you out. Again. Time for bed.

Tue Sep 13, 2005

Breakfast: a peach, a banana. Did my computer services presentation to new students. Updated the supp app workshop page for Stacey and James. Chatted briefly with Kirk H. Updated virtual tour page to include a panorama that Public Affairs released in July. Updated course listings with course instructors for Cindy. Updated various other web pages. Linkchecking. Met with students JP and JS about computer services. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: tricolor rotelle in red sauce with whole garlic. Patrick studied for his test.

Wed Sep 14, 2005

At work, I spent much of the day summarizing my notes about how orientation and new student matriculation has gone from my perspective. There have been a few good things that worked well but mostly it's problems because: people didn't communicate, people have too many tasks to do, departments are understaffed, and so forth. Compiling the list of issues was really quite draining. I also chatted with Kirk H today—another good chat with him. I also checked in with some students about whether they wanted their preferred names in their e-mail addresses or not. I chatted with Cindy about some of the orientation issues and about her idea box plan. I also helped Chris reinstall wireless drivers because he was getting BSODs in one wireless driver file, but I also broke wireless—couldn't get it to work after I reinstalled. Will fix later and he says that's okay with him. Helped Joel realize that the preprinted Post-It notes which I designed for him and which we received recently were printed incorrectly. He nervously checked the proof sheet he had signed and faxed back to the printer, and...it was correct! The proof sheet did not look like the Post-Its we received. This is good—we'll likely be able to get the order redone at no cost. I think perhaps the frustrating problems at work have made me less tolerant with services I have been using lately. Feedback I sent to rei.com today: "The order confirmation I received on 9/10/05 for order # ******** says that my order will be shipped to zip code 94143-0150. However, the shipping status I received on 9/14/05 says that my order will be shipped to zip code 94143-2205. This 2205 zip code is incorrect and my package is likely to arrive at the wrong location because your programmers made a presumption that was incorrect for my zip code. What can you offer to restore my confidence in ordering from the web again?" Feedback I sent to Hawaiian Airlines today: "Hi Kim, as I have already attempted to reach a human to help me with this request and Hawaiian Airlines failed to make this easy for me the first time around, and since I now no longer have confidence that I can reach a human at Hawaiian Airlines by picking up the telephone, and since you already know what I want—my e-mail address (and for that matter, all contact information) removed from your mailing list so that I don't receive any unsolicited messages which are unrelated to my current travel plans *and* all contact information not to be shared with any other party except as required by law—would you mind calling Web Support at 1-866-442-2778 to resolve this problem for me, then please notify me accordingly? Thank you!" I was surprised to see that rei.com responded within an hour as I write this at 9:28 PM Pacific time. Although speedy, Heather's reply was confusing to me (to restore my confidence in ordering from the web again, she says I can phone my order in next time), so I'm in a wait-and-see mode especially since delivery is expected to be completed tomorrow. Kudos to REI for that fast response, though I do wonder if it's really someone named something like Lakshmi working somewhere in or near Mumbia and she's just pretending to call herself Heather. (It would be about 11:00 AM her time now.) Hey! While I'm still writing this, Hawaiian Airlines returned my inquiry as well! It was only a handful of years ago when 2 business days was the industry standard turnaround time for e-mail customer support responses. (Or was it 3?) How times have changed! This time, it's Brad responding instead of Kim, but, as you might have suspected, he did not place that call I wanted him to place for me. "For security purposes, the HawaiianMiles Service Center must speak with you during normal hours of operation in order to remove your e-mail address." As though someone pretending to be me might contact them to ask that they remove my e-mail address from their mailing list? The REI problem with the zip code actually happens a fair amount. My packages will end up at the Mission Bay campus which is about 30 minutes away by shuttle. Of course, I'd never bother to take the shuttle there just to pick up a misdelivered package—that's easily an hour of my time—not worth it. Dinner at Panda Express by myself: the usual: chow mein, cow and broccoli, orange chicken except eat-in not to go. My fortune: You will be awarded some great honor. I learn today that if you submit a request for help on the Hawaiian Airlines website an account is created for you at hawaiianair.custhelp.com with a default password of (none set). Seriously! The password I tried didn't work, so I clicked the button which said it would send me my password in e-mail, and it told me: "Your login is:: ******@***********.com, Your password is: (none set)" and I have no idea why they had a double colon in there. So I try what it says: putting my e-mail address and I left the password field blank and it let me in! custhelp.com is obviously the company to which Hawaiian Airlines has outsourced at least their web support, and I suspect there's likely no blank password business going on at hawaiianair.com. Since this account seems to be tied only to support, it seems a rather low security risk. Those people who are pretending to be me and calling Hawaiian Airlines to remove my contact info from their mailing list are the same people who are going to be breaking in to accounts on custhelp.com and creating fake support requests, I'm sure. However, if there's someone you know who has traveled on Hawaiian Airlines and you know their e-mail address, I'm sure you could plug that in with a blank password and see what you get. Is Paris Hilton's e-mail address public knowledge? It's not how I'd run a website, but what do I care? I already changed my password.

Thu Sep 15, 2005

Power outage last night for about an hour from 11:00 PM to 12:10ish AM. The 8:08 AM bus 66 did not show up at all. The 8:30 AM bus 66 showed up at 8:39 AM. Consequently, I was unable to get breakfast before starting work, I was 5 minutes late for an appointment, and I didn't have time to pick up drinks for the party today. Met with a student—this one didn't take very long. Learned that today's party is postponed until tomorrow. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Met with two students getting their laptops working with wireless and VPN and other setup stuff. After about 90 minutes trying to get wireless and other things to work, I called the helpdesk and Johnny F answered insisting that there was no wireless on the 9th floor. I told him the map he was using to determine that was out of date. He again insisted that there was no wireless on our floor and that there might be no support for us. He asked me to type up a report describing the issue and e-mail it to him. Furious, I instead wrote an e-mail to the director of his unit who e-mailed someone else who e-mailed someone else who e-mailed a wireless tech who called me back in a few minutes. By this time, the students in my office had to leave for a class, so they left their laptops with me for continued troubleshooting. The wireless tech—Ian Gwin—is super nice. He too spent 40 minutes just on the wireless problem, so I know it wasn't me doing something wrong. Together we determined that the instructions which used to work for wireless at UCSF are not working as we expect. He's not certain what the problem is—he suspects a problem with DHCP. He asked Charles Kohler to have a look and Charles got back to me saying our instructions were incorrect. I asked him why have they been working for us for years and he said he didn't know. I suggested that it might be something introduced with Windows XP SP2 (even though I still truly suspect DHCP) and he said maybe. Rodney stopped by to pick up Chris's laptop for testing. No evening bus 66 from 6:05 to 6:35. I got home at 7:15. Dinner at La Mediterranee with Mom Ryan and Patrick: We started with a combo appetizer of hummus, tabouleh, and (the eggplant stuff). Mom Ryan and I had pomegranate chicken. Patrick had lamb moussaka. We shared a slice of the chocolate cake for dessert. After dinner, we picked up 6 (six!) big bags of clothes which Aaron had gotten his family members to donate to Mom Ryan. The REI package mentioned yesterday actually arrived today, but the TO zip code on the UPS shipping label said 94143-2205! *And*, a second shipping label on the box had a zip code of 94143-99?1! (The question mark indicates an illegible character—the ink was running low, I guess.) The packing slip inside the box said 94143-2205. I learn today that Mom Ryan's move-in date is delayed until Monday.

Fri Sep 16, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Cindy brought in her mom's deliciously moist recipe of Bisquick coffee cake and we celebrated the welcoming of Lucia, the return of Kristina, and the "we're glad you didn't leave" of James. We learned one or two Mondays ago that James declined the job he was offered at Student Academic Affairs because they held firm on their salary offer and James held firm on his. I'm glad he didn't leave because he's extremely valuable to our office, but I'm sad that he seems to be in the same situation the rest of us are in. It confirms my belief that the easiest way to get a worthwhile raise is to find a job outside the University. Drop-in Computing Support and Services session. Kirk and Alan helping. Rick S called in sick. About 30 people—a zoo. We couldn't get wired or wireless to work until one of the students happened to try a wall jack I hadn't seen and got a connection. The TV displaying my laptop's screen blinked on and off inconsistently even though I tried lowering the screen rez, num of colors, or the refresh rate (already the lowest possible for all)—I eventually figured out that the screen freaks out when the current focus is on a windowed DOS box but if I make it full screen it instantly becomes fine. I never encountered that before, and it seems neither had Alan. We just thought the equipment was bad. We managed to get everyone through the process of writing down MAC addresses for registration with the Library's website, and Kirk took them across to the lab next door to do the reg. In all, we tallied 4 successful wireless connections/configurations (2 for me, 2 for Alan). When I got my first one working, I threw my hands in the air and yelled, "It works!" and a cheer went up throughout the room. But for the most part it was a somber affair because we've been plagued by a variety of problems that—I believe—could have been avoided. Near the end, as we got more and more problems resolved, one student told me that she loved me. Late in the session I realized that I accidentally stole the laptop from James who needed it to do his supplemental application workshop. I rushed back to the office, but everyone was gone, so I sent an apologetic e-mail. This week has been so crazy for me I wasn't thinking properly. I hope he forgives me. No time for lunch today. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: non-chilean teriyaki sea bass, mashed potatoes, peas. Work for Corinna: another address labels draft. Today Mom Ryan tried on lots of the clothes donated by Aaron's family and decided which ones she would keep and which didn't fit or she didn't want and could go back to places collecting clothes for other Hurricane Katrina victims. I learn today that Aaron's family (The Vargas Family: Marsha, Jennifer, Jonathan, Alex, and Aaron) gave Mom Ryan a $200 gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond! Mom Ryan also received a $200 check from Family vanDommelen-Gonzalez Gallegas! We are moved to tears over such generosity, and it all helps more than we can measure. I called the Hawaiian Airlines number and immediately pressed zero. Although the automated greeting does not say you can press zero to get a human, you can. It took about 4 minutes to get them to understand my privacy preferences. We watch one of the funniest Simpson's episodes I have seen in a long time: Trilogy of Error. The ending got chopped off because Atomic Clock Sync failed to sync our clock properly (even though it had shown a ping earlier today! When I manually did a ping, it corrected the clock by over 4 minutes!). Grrr! Need to find new clock sync software.

Sat Sep 17, 2005

Mom Ryan, Patrick, and I visited Peter and Galen at Galen's new home in Noe Valley shared with Yuki and Steve. After the house tour, we got brunch at Le Zinc French Bistro (415-647-9400, 4063 24th Street). Service was very good, and all our meals were delicious. Mom Ryan, Peter, and I had the French omelet (bacon, spinach). Patrick had the crab cake eggs and a viennois. Galen had the egg brik. The decor is perfect, French without being overtly so, especially admirable is the color design done in burgundy and creamy yellow. Mom Ryan and I went home. Patrick went to Just Desserts to study. She took a walk. I coded Lodestar. Work for Corinna: brochure draft edits. Archived documents. Just a little trivia: for the period of August 14 through September 7 we racked up 340 minutes of long-distance calls the majority of which went to Louisiana and Texas. It only cost us $14.43—a pittance. That's 5 hours and 40 minutes, and an average of 4.2 cents per minute! Today Mom Ryan received a check from the parents of our friend Amy B with whom Patrick worked at wcities.

Sun Sep 18, 2005

Breakfast at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: eggs, hash browns, sausage, bagel with cream cheese. I went to Bill and Kevin's pool party (we gave them gift cards to Borders). Patrick had lots of Lodestar work to do, so he didn't go. Stopped by my sister's place before coming home. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: Mom Ryan and I made gyoza, mushroom risotto, and broccoli soup. Travis helped me understand EE series bonds. Chris De Lay helped me understand video editing app choices in OS X.

Mon Sep 19, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Mom Ryan received two very large padded envelopes with some clothes from Amy B's parents. Quick lunch: roast pig with mashed potatoes and gravy, side mixed steamed vegetables. Meeting with Cindy. Chatted with John K. Dentist appointment: all is well. Emily did an excellent cleaning job, as usual. While waiting for a bus, I noticed that the front page of the Chronicle had a word misspelled in a headline (the misspelled word was leglislation). Home. Went for a short jog. Mom Ryan received a package from the Vaughan family of Benicia, California—a friend of a friend of a friend: a box full of clothes! I got another e-mail from a stranger (not spam). This time it's someone thanking me for confirming that Sunset Sewing Center has poor customer service skills. Several years after having a bad experience there, the person is still searching for a reliable source of needles and repair expertise. Filled in journal entries for the weekend. Watched Treehouse of Horror 14.

Tue Sep 20, 2005

Bus 66 this morning smelled faintly of urine. Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Lunch at the cafeteria with Joel: sandwiches. Student computing committee meeting with Jonathan Showstack, Bruce Levin, Mark Bering, and the usual suspects. We discussed orientation issues (problems). Met with 3 students today helping them configure their laptops. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: pizza and salad delivery from Seniore's. Delivery was very slow this time—over 60 minutes! And they forgot the salad dressing. Coded Lodestar.

Wed Sep 21, 2005

Resolved broken links for Susie after hearing how she wanted them resolved. Updated the faculty and staff page for Chris. Responded to problems various students had with accounts. Tested sending rich text in Outlook Web Access for students TT and DS. He was trying to send rich text e-mail through a listserv but it would come out as plain text on the other end. I found that if you use Outlook 2003 instead of OWA it would work. There seems to be no way to get OWA to send rich text messages through a listserv successfully. Worked with Robert Hendricks at the Police Department to get digital student images from their ID badges. He's using some ID badge system which takes pictures digitally, but somehow the quality comes out really bad—like JPEG saved at level 3 or 4 maybe. He says it's due to his graphics card, but I doubt it—not my issue to troubleshoot, though. I finally heard from Mario Mercurio at the School of Medicine who notified me that their electives schedule was live. I sent an e-mail to students, posted the link on our site, and posted news on our current students page. Added names to a listserv for student KL. Requested a VPN password reset from ITS. Helped Joel out with the New Student Faire. Met Roz (Tuttle, I think). Attempted to schedule appointments with lots of students to help them configure their laptops due to the recent problems we've had with wireless and VPN. Submitted a ticket to ITS to have one student's e-mail address changed to reflect his preferred first name. Ran into student AJ in the hallway—she confirms that she's able to get in to her accounts now. Reported wireless problems to the student computing committee. Sent suggestions to Rick S and Sean S regarding VPN installation instructions (not knowing that 2 days from now I'd essentially have to rewrite the whole thing for them). Chatted with Mike L, handed off his activation key for Norton AV so he could renew it on his own. Helped Joel understand why Outlook cannot print bcc lines in sent messages. Updated the URL to a student organization on the current students page. Errands at Cole Hardware on Cole Street. Dinner at Thailand Restaurant.

Thu Sep 22, 2005

Breakfast: a banana. Worked on student JP's laptop—tried to get wireless working but couldn't. Met with student SP: laptop config. WebCT meeting: Brian W demoed WebCT 6 and we discussed migration. Met with student MC: laptop config. Lunch: salad. Met with student DE: laptop config. Met with student CL: laptop config. A fine day—all laptop configs were successful. Swapped out a graphics card in one computer under my desk—the fan on it was really noisy and bothersome. Vacuumed in my office. Set up Lucia's new printer—an HP LaserJet 1022. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: delivery from Xiao Loong: potstickers, hot and sour soup, spinach and mung bean thread, Sichuan dry-fried prawns, clay pot curry chicken, steamed rice. Mom Ryan's fortunes: From now on your kindness will lead you to success -and- If you think you can, you can. Patrick's fortune: You will step on the soil of many countries. My fortunes: True happiness must come from within -and- Every wise man started out by asking many questions. Mom Ryan took her first MUNI trip by herself today. Made Lodestar Issue 15 live.

Fri Sep 23, 2005

Finished working on JP's laptop; wireless worked but it just had a weaker range than other laptops with which I've worked. Once I took it over 2 doors down it started working as expected. Lunch: a veggie burrito which Ena had snagged for me from the ASSP Welcome Picnic. I had planned to go but too many things needed to be done. Rewrote the VPN installation instructions for Rick S and Sean S. Snack: a banana. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: leftovers from Thailand and Xiao Loong. Yesterday's publication of Issue 15 of Lodestar Quarterly includes Mom Ryan's story of her Hurricane Katrina evacuation from New Orleans. I would have mentioned it yesterday, but we were just too tired. Watched a really old Simpsons episode, "Some Enchanted Evening." It was weird to see some characters which I don't remember seeing before like the babysitter bandit and the florist. And some of the voices seem different, too, like Homer and Moe.

Sat Sep 24, 2005

From a news story titled "Astronomers discover most Earthlike planet yet" in the UC Santa Cruz Review, Fall 2005 (best read aloud): "All of the nearly 150 other extrasolar planets discovered to date around normal stars have been larger than Uranus, an ice giant 15 times the mass of Earth." I applied caulk today to a squeegee I had bought recently from Cole Hardware. The squeegee is made by Diversified Designs Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. We like this squeegee because it's 12 inches long so it saves us time over shorter squeegees. However, it is problematic because over time water seeps in to the transparent plastic housing the white rubber blade and it becomes moldy. You can't clean the mold out because the blade is sealed in too tightly. Fortunately, the squeegee is inexpensive—only $5. So to make it last longer, I bought a new one and am caulking it to prevent the mold from affecting the new squeegee. I finally advertised my bike on the free stuff section of craigslist.org. Today Mom Ryan and Patrick and I got brunch at Rain Tree Cafe in West Portal. After that Patrick dropped off some clothes at the dry cleaners. Mom Ryan opened a bank account. I got free advice from a financial consultant (very friendly and helpful) regarding a savings bond. (He suggested I take it to Charles Schwab, but Schwab was closed today.) We all went to Bed Bath and Beyond in Colma where Mom Ryan bought some things needed for her new studio apartment. I was so tired I took a nap in the car while they shopped. We browsed for telephones and TVs for her at Best Buy and I found out how much was on the gift card I received from a student—$20. Couldn't think of anything I wanted, though, except they had something I'd never seen before: The Simpsons on DVD, Season 6, for $42. Didn't get it, though. I had intended to meet up with Galen to go to the Loveparade, but I didn't realize how long our shopping activities would take. We got frappuccinos at Barnes and Noble—$10. I bought Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6, 30% off) to read while I'm in Hawaii. Mom Ryan bought a carful of goods at BBB, so afterwards we took everything to her new place. She had gotten the key to her new place on Friday (I think). Today was the first time I'd seen her new home. It's in a former Catholic girls' high school. A grand staircase leads up to a long building 2 or 3 stories tall. Inside, the clean hallways have benches and small tables, high ceilings, and—my only objection—fluorescent lighting. The doors to each apartment include a mysterious door hanger that says "I'm OK" with a thumbs up symbol. (I was afraid to see what the reverse side of the door hanger said, but I flipped one over and it was blank!) Her apartment is a little under 400 square feet, has a small kitchen, and a large bathroom with lots of handrails in the tub and toilet areas. Emergency pull cords to summon help exist in the bathroom and in one corner of the apartment where presumably the bed might go. Her windows look out onto a neighboring schoolyard. We moved things in—it took 2 trips. Patrick unpacked the bathroom cabinet we bought and started figuring out what was needed to put it together. We visited the home's aviary—charming and relaxing. We said hello to her neighbor Gene and to another neighbor in her wing. Around the time we were leaving, Galen had called to say he was done with Loveparade and that he and Peter were headed to the Castro to hang out. We ended up going to the Castro too so that Mom Ryan could get her hair done—something she had been wanting to do for weeks. We took her to It's All About You (415-621-2965, 4051 18th Street). While she got her hair done, I got some toiletries from Walgreens. Dinner at House of Chen (415-861-6868, 335 Noe St): wor won ton soup, ginger fish, mu shu pork, governor's chicken, gai lan with garlic, steamed rice. Galen's fortune: Your future is as boundless as the lofty heaven. Patrick's fortune: Working hard will make you live a happy life. Peter's fortune: You are kind and friendly. My fortune: Every friend joys in your success.

Sun Sep 25, 2005

From sfgate.com today in an article about yesterday's Loveparade titled "Love can close the streets—and hurt your ears": "As tourists lined up at the Powell Street cable car turnaround ogled the passing floats, street preacher Tim Oliver of Fremont competed with the pounding beat for their attention. 'They're not demonstrating anything but their wickedness and evilness. There's no peace without Jesus Christ,' Oliver, 34, cried into his megaphone as an Elvis and a Cleopatra walked by arm in arm. He later admitted he had mistaken the Loveparade for the anti-war march." I did house chores in the morning (laundry, vacuuming, tidying) then met Galen, Peter, and Tony A for Folsom Street Fair. Ran into a bunch of friends and acquaintances along the way such as Rich, Adam, and Glenn. Grocery shopping at Safeway. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: roast turkey, chicken rice pilaf, sweet batard bread and margarine, peach sorbet. Watched The Princess Bride on DVD. Patrick and his mom had never seen it before.

Mon Sep 26, 2005

Breakfast: coffee yogurt (really yummy!), a banana. Met with students almost all day long configuring laptops. Lunch: roasted chicken and mixed vegetables from the cafeteria. Snack: oranges. Patrick and I met his mom at her new place. We brought over a bunch of her things. Yesterday we tried reaching Tommy's new nursing home in Erath because we had heard there was 9 feet of flooding south of Abbeville. We found out that nearly all of Erath had evacuated, and Mom Ryan again doesn't know where Tommy got moved to. We believe from news reports that they are in Alexandria or Pineville sleeping on a gymnasium floor. Our media computer's hard drive crashed today.

Tue Sep 27, 2005

Breakfast: Patrick made French toast and grilled banana for me and Mom Ryan. I broke a pair of scissors today trying to remove a Hi-Viz Lufkin tape measure from its blister packaging. I can never remember when buying products to avoid those that come in blister packaging. Blister packs would be illegal if I were dictator. The scissors I was using had plastic handles and on my third cut into the blister packaging the handle simply gave way completely. It felt like breaking a Milky Way bar in two. Fortunately, I did not hurt myself. I wonder how many probably unreported injuries occur worldwide because of blister packs. Evil! A month ago I had purchased Apple OS 10.4 Tiger for my Mac at work not realizing it would be delivered on DVD instead of CD. After not understanding why it wouldn't install, I finally figured out (I forget how) that it was a DVD. I found a form on Apple's website which permits me to pay $9.95 so that Apple can deliver me the operating system installer on CD-ROM instead. A month goes by because I don't have time or feel like filling out a form in order to get Tiger. Finally I look at the form but it asks me for the sales tax in my area. I'm not a salesperson, so I don't know what the sales tax is. I call the 800 number on the Apple form to ask what my sales tax is and Apple says they don't have that information. They suggested I call my local store to ask, so I did and found out it's 8.5%. While on the phone with Apple I also ask what I'm supposed to do about the proof-of-purchase coupon. In order to get my DVD exchanged, the form says I need to send in a proof-of-purchase coupon. However, when I purchased Tiger, I received it in a padded envelope with no proof-of-purchase coupon. I waited about 8 minutes on hold. The woman returned and asked if I was currently on the maintenance program. I said I purchased the maintenance program at the same time and I didn't know if I had it or not yet. She went away for another 4 minutes before returning to tell me that I didn't really need to send in a proof-of-purchase or even a copy of my receipt. As long as I filled out the form and sent in the DVD it would be okay. So that's what I did. The expected turnaround time after they receive my order is 3 to 7 working days. Got another student's wireless working on her laptop. Doctor appointment. Got another student's laptop working. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: homemade deep-fried tortilla chips and cinnamon krispas, turkey quesadilla. I ordered Mom Ryan's new TV/VCR/DVD after having lots of trouble with my credit card company. I called them to add her address as a shipping address but they said (in a thick Indian accent) "please call back within 20 minutes." I called back after 15 minutes (which was within 20 minutes) and they said, "please call back in 5 minutes." I called back in 5 minutes and they said, "Please call back in one hour." All this time I was afraid my shopping cart web page would time and screw up my order. I called a different credit card and added her address in about 5 minutes then completed the order. Some success with the Mac Mini—I figured out that I can play Shoutcast PLS streams using VLC Media Player. Now that our media computer is non-functional due to a crashed hard drive, it was nice to be able to still get some kind of music. I was unable, however, to figure out how to associate PLS streams with Firefox so that clicking a PLS link would open the player. I successfully burned backup files to CD-RW after failing to do the same with DVD-RAM (the Mac Mini would not recognize the disc) and CD-ROM (the Mac Mini burned files to it once then upon the next burn attempt it said the rest of the disc was not writeable). Unable to buy bus passes today at University Express—they said to try again tomorrow. Lunch today was spaghetti with cow sauce, garlic bread, side of corn off the cob. Moved our printer from the broken computer to a working one.

Wed Sep 28, 2005

Installed scanner drivers on the computer where the printer-scanner is now. Replaced a keyboard for a very apologetic Ena. Prepared a bunch of old equipment for surplus. Prepared updating the intern jobs listserv. Met with four students today, fixed laptops up with wireless, VPN, and Outlook. James introduced me to the camera feature in Excel—you make a cell selection then press the camera button and it takes a snapshot of what you selected for pasting. I'm not sure how it's different than the copy button except perhaps that it copies an image rather than the data itself. A kind of Copy Special command (the inverse of the Paste Special command). Helped Mike L resolve a problem with a distribution list he created in Outlook Web Access. Tried to find a replacement fan for an ATI Radeon 9100—unsuccessful. If I need to use this card again, I'll just set up a fan next to it like item 148-0532 from cyberguys. Mission Bay update meeting with Chris, Cindy, Todd McG, and a handful of students to discuss problems related to their move-in to the new campus housing there. Dinner with Chris at Panda Express. My fortune: You are heading for a land of sunshine and relaxation. His fortune: something like You will travel far and wide. Went to Skit Night, chatted with Steve K about where he can host a course website, sat with James who had never been before. Each year the students put on a show of silliness and craziness to welcome everyone back to school. This year Bob Day sang a song while Don Kishi, Martin Shetlar, and Betty-ann Hoener played backup music on (I think it was) combs. First-year students were filmed while being asked to explain what a dildo is used for in pharmacy practice (condom demonstrations). Tonight is the first night Mom Ryan spent in her new apartment. She spent 4 hours in Ikea today.

Thu Sep 29, 2005

Spent an hour this morning composing a letter to my district supervisor Fiona Ma about the unfortunate state of the mass transit system (MUNI) in San Francisco. Rescheduled an appointment due to the bus showing up and leaving early. Fixed a student's laptop which had gotten some kind of virus or worm or spyware. Upon launching applications or upon opening any control panel item, the following error message would appear: "Windows cannot access the specified device, path, or file. You may not have the appropriate permissions to access the item. (OK)" I removed mswin.pif and cleaned with Ad-Aware and Spybot Search and Destroy and protected with SpywareBlaster, but upon restart the computer showed pokapoka70.exe in Startup Manager. This computer had had SpySweeper installed but it's not clear whether SpySweeper failed to protect the computer. This computer has only Windows XP Service Pack 1 installed. Norton Anti-Virus 2005 said the computer was clean (albeit in Safe Mode With Networking). Research in Google indicated that the laptop was infected by one or more of the following viruses, worms, or trojans: Istsvc-A, Elitebar-A, Elitebar-O, Rbot-AHR. When I tried to turn off System Restore, I got this error message: "System Restore: System restore encountered an error trying to enable/disable one or more drives. Please restart your machine and try again. (OK)" To resolve this, I did Start > Run > services.msc, then found "System Restore Service", then stopped it and restarted it. After I returned to the System control panel, I was then able to turn off System Restore. This issue is currently not documented on the web. Eventually, I was able to clean everything up by putting SAV32CLI and stinger on CD-ROM, running them in Safe Mode With Networking, manually deleting c:\windows\etb, restarting in Normal Mode, running SpySweeper which found and quarantined hundreds of items. Norton finds the spyware but doesn't remove them—it's not clear that Norton isn't supposed to remove them and that it doesn't even try to do so. Did more VPN work—announcing to students the incompatibility of Nortel Contivity VPN 4.86 with Zone Alarm 6.0 and notifying peers of reports of blue screens of death when using VPN. Dinner at home with Patrick: Indian jambalaya. I did some shopping on Amazon and updated my wish list.

Fri Sep 30, 2005

Usual breakfast at the cafeteria. Met with 3 students today. Chatted with Joanie M today about feedback I provided to ITS. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. Watched The Simpsons: Goo Goo Gai Pan.