January 2007

Summary: Patrick and Sam visit New Orleans; Thai lunch with Remi and Jesse; Macworld with Geordie, Michael, and Marc; Remi and Jesse's karaoke party at Jesse's place; Patrick cooks an Italian dinner at home with Mom Ryan, Phil, Danny, and Drew; Crawfish boil with Phil, Drew, Danny, Lauren, Tina, Toan, and Quyen; Patrick cooks dinner at home with Tony Q, Phil, Danny, Drew, and Toan; Mom Ryan cooks dinner for me and Patrick; Dinner at Catch with Patrick.

Dates on this page

Mon 1

Late breakfast at home with Patrick: blueberry pancakes. Yardwork. Tidying, organizing, cleaning, house chores. Snack: cherry yogurt, one Chuao truffle. Afternoon run: 10 minutes. Weight training: hammer curls, front raise. Dinner at home with Patrick: boiled Northern dumplings dinner. Dessert: I had a gingerbread toy soldier cookie from Mom Ryan, Patrick had vanilla bean ice cream with chocolate covered pretzels. Backups. Tweaked my journal code to display HTML more intelligently than in the past. (Thanks, Chris!) Added some image thumbnails to entries for December 24 and 25. It's painful because I code it by hand and I don't know how to get TextWrangler or HTML-Kit to perform PHP's htmlentities function on selected text. If you know how, please e-mail me. Finally I convinced Tina to use Flickr. Woo! And she has some great photos up already. (Give her time—she's still on dialup.) Backups.

Tue 2

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Back to work after 10 or so days off. Web updates and small fixes (mostly news). Created a new SATE poster (lost and found). Acrobat 8 licensing. Answered questions about corruption found in Excel documents for Scott. Active Directory and OS X binding followup with Johnny. Lunch: takeout from the cafeteria: spaghetti with meat sauce, mixed vegetables, garlic bread: $5. Admin privileges reconfiguration. Set up an admin account with a roaming profile. Vista disc burning, research, and testing. Home. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken/shrimp stuffing/casserole, biscuits, steamed broccoli. Worked on Corinna's website: print stylesheets. I feel a little bit of a sore throat coming on. Patrick packed his bags. He's leaving tomorrow morning for a 4-night stay in New Orleans to assist Sam with a visit to his mom.

Wed 3

Yesterday I was caught by surprise when I learned that there was a Windows XP keyboard shortcut with which I was unfamiliar. To open the System Properties control panel, you can press Windows+Pause and you're done. One other (longer) way to do this is to press Windows, then press C enough times to get to Control Panel, then press S enough times to get to System (then press Enter). This presumes that your mouse is not within the area in which the Start Menu appears—when the mouse is in that area, it can muck things up. Another way to do this is to press Windows then press M enough times to highlight (but not select) My Computer then press Shift+F10 (or press the context menu key if your keyboard has one), then press R to select Properties from the popup menu that appears. Windows+Pause is a lot easier. In comparison, OS X doesn't seem to have an easy way for me to assign a keyboard shortcut to open System Preferences at any time. I have System Preferences in the dock, so for right now it's a Ctrl+F3 and a couple of arrows and an Enter key away. Woke up too early, said goodbye to Patrick as he leaves for Nola. I learned at work today that some places document Windows+Pause as Windows+Break. It's been so long since I've had to actually distinguish between using Pause versus Break or Print Screen versus SysRq (what is SysRq used for anyway?) that I really don't know whether Windows+Pause or Windows+Break is correct. Let's go with Windows+Break since that's what Microsoft's documentation says. (I personally think Windows+Break should generate a Blue Screen of Death, however, since the mnemonic works beautifully for that.) Today at work I got a lot of stuff done. Tweaked the SATE poster I created yesterday. Assisted Carol with installing sound themes and setting up e-mail archives—had trouble with both after some time. The e-mail archives problem was resolved (we're pretty sure someone else had a lock on the file) and the sound themes problem worked itself out after some experimenting. Graduation registration form updates for Joel. Administrative privileges reconfiguration. Image processing for the student database project. Installed Windows Vista Business on a spare Dell GX240. Had trouble with the first restart after install—it wouldn't recognize the NVIDIA graphics drivers properly. Had to force a power down and multiple tries getting back in eventually permitted me to start in low resolution—what an awful introduction to Windows Vista. During setup, at least one dialog failed to use standard Windows keyboard shortcuts (tab, spacebar, Enter) and I was forced to use the mouse against my will. I spent a few hours playing with Vista, and my initial reaction is that I'm mostly disappointed. The backup solution it offers sounds promising—I'll have to try it out. And I found two particularly pleasant niceties. One is a new folder option permits you to make selections with checkboxes which is handy for non-expert users who have yet to master Shift and Ctrl used in control with the arrow keys and spacebar. Unfortunately, this feature appears to be off by default. The second one is web-breadcrumbs-style navigation for filesystem browsing—very intuitive, useful, and elegant—I am quite pleased with how Microsoft is evolving this portion of the interface, particularly since Apple does so poorly at it in OS X—e.g., there's still no easy way to copy a full path to the clipboard from within Finder. (The "solution" involving Terminal has already been suggested to me—it works, but it's not easy or elegant, and to me that's essentially an admission that the Finder interface is wanting in this respect.) Much of Vista's interface isn't that much different than XP—just glossier, and of course on this older computer with only 512 MB of RAM it's on the slow side of usable. The desktop wallpapers include a beautiful image from Hiroshige—perhaps the best of the lot. Many of the other wallpapers are surprisingly disappointing—you can easily find much better photography in searches of Flickr and Stock Xchang. The logon screen is really ugly: PRESS CTRL + ALT + DEL TO LOG ON or something like that in all caps in the center of the screen. Tremendously disappointing is the redesigned Start Menu which has significantly different—and worse—keyboard shortcut behavior than XP. The new Start Menu makes it much harder for me to navigate to what I want with the keyboard as compared with Windows XP because it defaults to the system search feature reminiscent of Apple Spotlight or Google Desktop. I can configure it to revert to a Windows 2000-style Start Menu but not a Windows XP-style Start Menu (which is the one I prefer). I'll see if I can disable searching in the Start Menu entirely and rely on Windows+F when I want to search. Ordered a copy of SQLyog Enterprise. Helped Sue set up Outlook for Esther. Orientation web page updates for Joel. Recordings policy work. Remote desktop work. Installed Office 2007 file format converters for our staff. (We're still using Office 2003 Pro.) More administrative privileges configuration work. More recordings policy work. Manual PharmAdMIT backup. Left work late—around 8:30 PM. I was surprised when I stepped outside—the world had gotten all wet while I was working, and the weather report predicted rain for tomorrow but not today, so I had no raincoat or umbrella. I got dinner by myself at You See Sushi—prawn tempura roll special which included eel and avocado roll and 4 pieces of nigiri: albacore, salmon, yellowtail, and (something else). Home. Worked late on Corinna's website. I'm finishing up the print stylesheets—only a few more tweaks to go—and then I'll be ready to send her a summary for review probably within the next week. Weight training: barbell curl, shoulder shrug, push up.

Thu 4

Mild sore throat this morning upon waking. Morning run: 25 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Document scanning for Sue. Troubleshot problems with network scanning (no solution yet). Installed Boot Camp beta onto Chris's MacBook Pro. Sent a new SATE poster to Tiki for review. Helped student MC with questions about handhelds and software. Set up Windows XP SP2 on the MacBook Pro. Error 0x8dddd0001 when attempting to connect to update.microsoft.com. Resolved it using a solution I found on the net—delete all temporary internet files and restart and restart again. Lunch: Panda Express. My fortune: Don't ignore your needs in the area of new challenges. Ran Apple Hardware Test on the MacBook Pro—clean. Installed Clippy for Carol. (She requested it.) Installed Acrobat 8 Professional for Chris's MacBook Pro. Resolved my OS X and Active Directory binding problem but I don't know how—it simply worked and I didn't do anything different. Uninstalled Windows Defender and reinstalled Spy Sweeper for my computer and Cindy's. Labelled my USB drive with my phone number. Dinner at PDD's: Danny's pho. Andy's last night in San Francisco. I helped him secure and clean up his computer. We were thinking of going to Beard Papa, but they closed at 8 PM. We were also thinking of going to Bombay for ice cream, but I convinced them to stay in because it was freezing outside.

Fri 5

Sore throat was at its worst yesterday. Morning run: 5 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Bus to work was too early. I saw it as I was approaching the bus stop, but I wasn't close enough to run for it. I ended up taking an alternate route and realized that I should have just gone home and waited for the next bus—the alternate route wasn't worth it. Today just flew by, and I got a lot done. Gave Carol Firefox tips. Archived data to DVD. Inserted a DVD which I knew had data on it and it showed no data! Took it out and did other things for awhile. Put it back in, and now the data shows up. Reviewed Vista. OS X setup for Chris's MacBook Pro (MBP). No-host bar means you pay cash for drinks. Helped Carol with e-mail archiving. Lunch from the cafeteria: pasta primavera, small potato soup, orange juice. Computer support coordinator steering committee meeting with Rebecca. This is my first CSC steering committee meeting. I wasn't sure if I could afford the time to come to these meetings regularly, but after this meeting I think I can contribute a lot. Chatted with Chris about his new laptop. Dinner at home by myself: leftovers (saffron rice, penne in marinara, one pfeffernusse, one Chuao truffle. Joel sent me a link to the sfgate news story saying how Earthlink, Google, and the city of San Francisco finalized their deal to bring wi-fi to the people of SF by 2008. I told him I didn't think they'd be complete by 2008, and he agreed. I also told him: Heh, I can see it now—in 2 or more years you'll be able to see on your Palm Pilot that 3 N-Judahs in a row will arrive all at once 30 minutes from now—ALL FOR FREE! I don't really believe that, but cynicism surrounding MUNI is hardly unwarranted. James announced today that he's leaving our office for a director of admissions position with UCSF School of Dentistry. I have very much enjoyed working with him all these years and will miss him a great deal. It sounds like his new position will be a great fit and opportunity for him at this point in his career, so I am glad for him. He'll be just 3 floors down in the same building, so it's not entirely goodbye. I think he said his last date is about 6 weeks from now—so generous he is to the very end. I chatted with Melissa briefly today. At home, in the late evening I explored OS X Dashboard widgets and Sherlock. I played Nanosaur for about 3 minutes, then Marble Blast for about 40 minutes. Had some of the port that PDD gave us for xmas—delicious! Trivia: My My Pictures folder says it contains 11,661 files and 523 folders, which account for 17 GB of data. Late meal: leftovers. Sleep.

Sat 6

My favorite breakfast by myself at home. House chores. Oatmeal. Errands. Today I notice for the first time that Walgreen's drug stores are now playing commercials along with music over the store's loudspeaker system. I think this is new—I can't remember hearing commercials before in Walgreen's. When I make my $46 purchase, I mention to the assistant manager that I don't like it—it's distracting and annoying. His response: "It comes from corporate." So I say, "Well, could you please let corporate know that I'll stop shopping here if you keep the commercials?" but I can already tell he's not going to do anything of the sort. I'm in the store already, right? I guess this is another reason to shop online instead. This is just as smart as companies putting pop-up windows with ads for themselves on their home pages. You have your customers right where you want them—don't annoy them or they'll go away! I really like Walgreen's. For the most part, their website works well (no guarantees, though, if you have any disabilities), and I have used their pharmacy services frequently in the past with a high level of satisfaction. The items they stock are decent to excellent, and their sale prices are usually really good. Once at the Walgreen's near Tower Market (or maybe it was downtown?) there was a problematic cash register that started beeping very loudly and the person behind the counter couldn't fix it after a long time (at least 30 seconds). Since I had been waiting in line with Patrick, I was trapped—I didn't want to leave the line and lose our place, but I also didn't want to hear the annoying beeping which to my ears was really, really loud—like a fire alarm. I eventually realized that the noise didn't bother Patrick who was in line with me, so without explanation I dropped all the items in my arms to the ground (hard to do carefully when I had fingers in my ears) and literally ran out the exit door to get away. I waited outside until Patrick completed the purchase and met me there. Aside from that incident, I can't recall any bad experiences with Walgreen's until today. Oh, and the Sony Metreon still plays film commercials. ynotswim had led me to believe that they don't have film commercials before previews, but they do. They weren't as annoying as the audio-only Walgreen's commercials, though. Home. Remi and Jesse were in the neighborhood, so they stopped by. I showed Jesse how to retouch photos in Photoshop using photos from new year's eve which I haven't uploaded yet. Remi and Jesse both took some of the items that Patrick and I no longer need—we've been creating a small pile of stuff we don't need. Jesse took some mint condition black and silver ski gloves I haven't used in 7 years, Remi took the photo negatives safe, and each of them took an air filter we haven't used since we lived in our previous mold-prone apartment. I felt a glow of satisfaction about the ski gloves—you know you made a good purchase when a fashion designer wants your clothes. We ate lunch at the Thai restaurant in Lakeside Village (Remi treated). Remi and Jesse took off. I napped. Woke. Cut my hair. Dinner at home by myself: rice pilaf with toasted almond, grilled mushrooms in olive oil with a smidgen of celery salt. Archived documents. Wrote thank you cards. I dropped my camera today—it was not secure in my pants pocket and fell out. It sounds different now when the lens opens and retracts. But it appears to still take photos correctly. I'm planning to attend Macworld on Friday, January 12, so if you're going to be there on Friday let me know and we'll meet up. There's some free Macworld social event on Thursday night I'm mildly thinking about attending, too. I had a good chat with our upstairs neighbor today about neighbory issues. Finally found time to troubleshoot the printing problems I've been having with our Brother HL-5250DN laser printer. When sending a print job, the printer motor would start up, and the printer would begin to pull paper from the tray into the printer, but then suddenly stop. The printer tray is frozen in an up position—you can tell because the blue indicator at the right edge of the paper tray is frozen in the down position. No paper jams can be found. Cycling power off and then on again results in the same problem. I think what fixed it for me was taking the paper out of the paper tray, cutting it in half (like a deck of cards), putting the bottom stack on top, then putting the paper back in the tray. Quality of paper might also make a difference here. We're using OfficeMax 24-pound paper. My print driver has the paper type set to Thin Paper. And after fixing this problem I turned off default duplexing in order to also reduce the page curl problem. Our newer Brother MFC-845cw all-in-one also seems to be fussy about paper quality—sometimes more than one sheet of paper will feed in when printing, resulting in (for example) one inch of your printout on one page, then the rest on the second page. Organized and labeled stuff. Used Velcro to organize one of our cabinets. Archived documents.

Sun 7

I recently received an unsoliciting mailing from Sony Media Software in Madison, Wisconsin telling me about all the great software Sony makes for handling media. I browsed quickly through the catalog—I've been working with computers for 25 years and I've never heard of any of the titles. I tore off the last page with the intention of calling their customer support number on Monday to ask that my name be removed from their mailing list. The text next to the customer service number says, "World-class customer service and technical support at your fingertips." And it occurred to me that I've been seeing this adjective—world-class—for years without really knowing what it means, so I looked it up. Merriam-Webster defines world-class as "being of the highest caliber in the world." Wiktionary says "1. of a standard that ranks among the best in the world, and 2. of the highest order or importance." But world-class really doesn't mean anything at all because it's unlikely that you can get everyone to agree what world-class means in an objective manner and then accurately measure all those claiming to be world-class. So here's my definition of world-class: adjective, 1. an empty word used as filler, 2. having a claim of high status which can neither be proven nor disproven, 3. being associated with a marketing team which uses adjectives that mean nothing. The same definition can be applied to the term "best of breed." Here's another definition for a word I thought of about 10 years ago: necklacelessness, noun, the condition or state of not wearing a necklace. Example: Her necklacelessness at the soiree caused her hours of anxiety. I don't know why I haven't documented this earlier. Shopped online. Errands. Had a fast but disappointing lunch at a nearby pizza place. Home. On my way out to PDD's for dinner I met a neighbor who is a games programmer for Lucas. Dinner by Danny: steamed rice, pig and chicken in tomato sauce, pig and shrimp in shells, green vegetables. Afterwards we went to Bombay for ice cream. I had an ice cream flavor called Star War (just one war) which was light blue with multicolored marshmallows. The flavor seemed like rich vanilla. I tried to get the man behind the counter to explain the flavor before I tried it, but he didn't seem to know English. I guess the light blue is supposed to be sky and the marshmallows are supposed to be asteroids. Danny had jasmine tea ice cream. Drew had rose ice cream. Phil didn't have ice cream. Back at PDD's, we watched a Simpsons episode which wasn't very funny or satisfying (Marge returns to her childhood island amusement park).

Mon 8

Morning run: 5 minutes. When I arrived at work, I found Chris's MacBook Pro had been on all weekend. I found it in the locked drawer very, very warm—almost hot to the touch. I was unable to wake it with any keypresses or mouse movement. I forced a shutdown and let it cool for a while. My primary computer also would not start this morning. It hung while "loading your personal settings" after logging in. I fixed that with a cold restart. Disabled outicon.exe from startup which is related to Outlook 2003 but I don't know what it is for and I've been running Outlook 2003 for years and never needed it and found only one insignificant result searching for outicon.exe on microsoft.com (via Google, of course). (See tomorrow's entry for a followup about outicon.exe.) Troubleshooting with the MacBook Pro (MBP). Met briefly with Cindy about a request for an HTML e-mail template. Implemented Mike Cohen's lidwake fix. Turned on FileVault for all OS X accounts on the laptop. Helped student KP with laptop problems and questions about posting news to the current students page. Some pages on bookendzdocks.com display with overlapping text in Firefox 2.0.0.1 in Windows XP. Quick fix: disable Javascript and reload the page. Workaround: View the page in IE. Product ordering for Chris. Lunch from the cafeteria: roasted vegetables, plum-glazed chicken, steamed rice. Helped student MK with wireless. Problems with Cindy's computer: opening My Documents takes forever, very slow response from the computer. Computer maintenance for Chris: very low available disk space on C: drive, updates for Firefox and Mozilla, etc. Chatted with Lucia about the HP1040 fax machine. Scanned a document for Scott. Added right-click to the MBP using RH Designs software. Used the Microsoft Files and Settings Transfer Wizard for the first time ever today. It worked and was very useful to migrate Chris's settings from his old laptop to his new one. I've been having a devil of a time trying to figure out if TrueCrypt can encrypt the entire partition on which Windows is installed. The website doesn't make this clear at all, but I've seen some evidence elsewhere that it's not supposed to be done. More laptop setup for Chris. Home. Dinner at home with Patrick: herb-roasted chicken, grilled carrots, skinny french fries. Worked on Corinna's website.

Tue 9

I discovered while browsing the website of the trash and recycling provider for our neighborhood that bones are okay to go into compost, which is the opposite of what I had found in the past on several other websites discussing composting. Morning run: 5 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Student computing committee meeting. Realized that Outlook 2003 failed to start automatically this morning, so I reenabled outicon.exe and restarted and now it works as I expect. outicon.exe must be something Microsoft delivered in an automatic update that is related to startup for Outlook 2003. I don't know any more than that about it. Staff meeting—I received my award for guessing the highest number of applicants without going over—a $25 gift card to Macy's! HTML e-mail for Cindy. Lunch: salmon burger, onion rings ($6.67). Meeting with Marie, Maricar, Cindy, and Joel about the development office's activities. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan and Patrick: broccoli, corn, and rice casserole; biscuits. Dessert: one chocolate each—I had the last Chuao from Tina, and Mom Ryan and Patrick each shared one Godiva from Melissa. Apple announced iTV, iPhone, and a new Airport today. The iPhone user interface appears to be extremely elegant. However, at $500 I won't be buying one anytime soon. And I really only wanted a phone that was just a phone. I don't care about carrying music or TV or photos with me. So maybe just phone and internet. Maybe in a few years they'll have a scaled down version that does what I want. I couldn't tell if the iTV can output to VGA or DVI—I don't have a TV and don't want one but I do have a widescreen computer monitor and might be interested in iTV if it can hook to my (or a) KVM. Backfilled data for January 5. Watched Simpsons with Mom Ryan and Patrick: Homer's Phobia. Mom Ryan stayed over tonight.

Wed 10

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Purchasing research for Chris. Sent Firefox and Outlook tips to new staff. HTML template edits for Cindy. Chatted with Lucia and Alyssa about ordering from The Technology Store. Finished applications training for Carol. Chatted with Susie about the faculty database. Helped student JP with problems starting Word and Excel: "(null) is not a valid Win32 application." Not sure what's going on. I recommended that the student remove and reinstall Office. Also helped with wireless setup and installation of anti-virus and anti-spyware. Installed Acrobat 8 Professional on my computer. Lunch: sandwich from the cafeteria. Installed SQLyog Enterprise 5.2.2. SQLyog setup and configuration. Student database work. Reinstalled Brother all-in-one drivers. Tested network scanning—it works! Chatted with Chris about his computer setup at home. Computer maintenance for Joel. Updated the new employee checklist. Patrick and I checked out the 3D buildings in Google Earth 4. Increased security on home computers by removing admin privileges from the accounts we use daily, mirroring the steps I've recently taken with computers at work. Cleaned Patrick's trackball which had gotten gunked up. He doesn't know how to clean it yet. I also installed a bunch of updates from Microsoft and Mozilla. Installed Adobe Reader 8 for OS X. Lots of account setup configuration.

Thu 11

Morning run: 15 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. More HTML template edits for Cindy. Met with Susie, Lorie, Mary Anne, Marie, and Michelle about the faculty database project. One-on-one meeting with Cindy. We had an interesting discussion about student blogging. www.ucsf.edu recently began linking to student blogs and I think our office needs to determine a policy if students request something similar on our website. Waited outside the library for people possibly coming to the web steering monthly lunch, but no one showed, so I got lunch at the cafeteria: roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn off the cob. Computer support coordinator meeting. Chatted briefly with Geordie and Michael. Tomorrow is Macworld, and I'll meet them and others for lunch at Thirsty Bear at noon. Took in student JP's laptop—it has a virus. Remote desktop troubleshooting. I found a dollar bill on the sidewalk today. Dinner at home with Patrick: penne with sausage in marinara, garlic toast. Upset stomach. While on my way home, I couldn't remember if I logged out of Cindy's computer, so I checked from home—it seems okay but I left her voicemail with instructions just in case. Failed to load the wnaspi32.dll driver! error message when starting CDex 1.5.1. Logging in as admin and starting CDex does not exhibit the problem. Returning admin privileges to the previous account seems to make the original problem go away. So it seems CDex cannot run as a limited (non-admin) user. I suspect similar problems with Iomega Automatic Backup Pro 3.3.0.12. Went to bed earlyish, around 9:30 PM.

Fri 12

Woke up too early—around 5. Got up and checked work e-mail. Went back to bed for an hour. Woke. Usual oatmeal breakfast plus vanilla yogurt. Chatted with Geordie. Prepared for my first Macworld. Reviewed some of sneeper's photos. Yesterday at the computer support coordinator meeting, Steve Lubeski talked about burglaries at UCSF. He mentioned that Kensington cable locks can be thwarted simply by yanking hard—when the device it protects uses plastic at the lock attachment point (rather than metal) the plastic just breaks away. Although this makes sense to me, I feel like I've been had since I've purchased many of those locks for both home and work. It reminds me of those u-shaped bicycle locks which were found a few years back to be easily thwarted by an inexpensive Bic pen. Is it my responsibility to ask the computer or monitor vendor if the lock attachment point is metal or plastic? Our Dell desktops use metal where those locks attach, but I'm still suspicious since the metal is very thin in the lock location. Over the holidays some offices at UCSF were burglarized. He mentioned that the burglars had thrown a fire extinguisher through glass and punched holes through walls in order to gain access. They clearly made as much noise as they wanted and got away with it. In another case, they very carefully removed a glass window from its frame and left the window and frame intact after having burgled by climbing through the window frame. He also mentioned that some students had their laptops stolen when leaving them unattended for as little as 2 minutes, so, particularly in public spaces such as the library, it's important to understand that thieves are sitting nearby watching you and waiting for you to make exactly such a mistake. Left for iPodworld—I mean Macworld. It actually was very helpful that I have no interest in iPods because it seemed that maybe half or more of the vendors were there exclusively to sell iPod accessories: cases, scratch protectors, headphones, locks, speakers, speakers mounted into toilet paper holders, and so forth. I wish that IDG had separated the iPod-only vendors from the rest of the vendors, but no such luck. I learned and saw so much. One vendor had a giant Wacom tablet that was also a screen—he demonstrated a painting app called ArtRage. I had never seen such a Wacom tablet before. Another vendor had document scanning software but I was more interested in the hardware on display—I had never before seen hardware that would convert paper to TIFF or PDF in extremely large quantities. At the Brother booth, I saw a laser printer filled with printed output—its pages curled—and in my mind I rolled my eyes because I have the exact same mostly unresolvable problem at home with my Brother HL-5250DN. At one hard drive manufacturer's booth I asked what happened to the 5-year warranty on consumer-grade hard drives from 10 or so years ago and I got a rather rude, brusque reply: "We've never had 5-year warranties on those drives." Of course, I saw the newly announced iPhone. The Apple marketing geniuses placed it inside a sealed chamber slightly higher than eye level, lit from within—it was like a religious altar. Inside the chamber, the iPhone was turned on, and it sat on a slowly rotating platform. I didn't even bother getting up close to it partly because there were so many other people doing the exact same thing (and taking photos of it—there are probably hundreds of this exact same photo on the web by now) and partly because I think I got a better look at it from the Flash demos on apple.com than I could in person. The Flash demos are really impressive—an amazing amount of work went into them, but they do a great job of communicating how the iPhone works. A great, rare example of when it's right to use Flash on the web. I learned what I wanted to know about Apple TV—can I hook it up to my computer monitor? The answer is no—it was intended to be hooked to a special kind of TV using HDMI or component video, so I can safely say I won't be buying Apple TV because I don't have space for a separate TV. And I won't be buying the iPhone, either. After you accessorize and purchase service, you'll be out more than $700 dollars, locked in to a contract with Cingular for 2 years, and you'll still have conversations such as, "[phone rings, you answer] Hello? ... Hello? ... Sam, is that you? ... If so, I can't hear you... Call me back, okay?" and you'll still receive voicemail messages that people left for you 3 hours ago. At the keynote introducing the iPhone, Steve Jobs is said to have quoted user interface designer Alan Kay: "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware," to which one could respond, "People who are really serious about cellphone communication should make their own communications networks." The iPhone appears to be a great, innovative design, but it currently relies on unreliable cellular communications networks. However, much of the world seems to be quite willing to pay for unreliable cellular services, so I believe Apple has a winner on its hands. At noon, I met Geordie, Michael, and Marc at Thirsty Bear for lunch. We talked about LeapFrog, Fisher Price, San Diego, cellphones, 3D paper models of the iPhone, more. Afterwards we went back to Moscone Center and wandered the exhibit halls through the event's last hours. Mike left us "10 minutes" in to go back to work. I only got 3 tchotckes: a TiVo antenna topper, a ballpoint pen from Maxtor, and, from Belkin, a ballpoint pen that when you twist it the chamber exposes small Post-It flags. I took some photos of some Belkin devices which I thought were particularly beautiful in the visual design sense. It seems every vendor had Macworld deals and special offers—visit their website through a certain date and enter a special code and get whatever percentage off anything. (Let me know if you are buying any Mac hardware soon and I'll see what I can find in my pile of discounts.) MacTank gave away coupons good through Tuesday for a free pizza slice and soda at Blondie's. iStockPhoto gave away 5 free credits. I found a trial cdrom of a drawing program for Chris C who had been wondering what happened to MacDraw. After the show closed, I accompanied Geordie and Marc to Beard Papa where they got a snack and I continued to wait for Patrick. Geordie and Marc took off, and I met Patrick at the Metreon. We had dinner at Long Life Noodle Company, then for dessert we used part of the Beard Papa gift certificate that Phil, Danny, and Drew got me for my birthday. Went to bed very early, around 8:30 PM. Patrick gave me a nice massage before I fell asleep.

Sat 13

Woke up around 1:00 AM. Couldn't get back to sleep. Got up at 4:00 AM. Snack: yogurt. Stifled an urge to create a web page graphic consisting of an object atop a subtlely reflective surface. E-mail. Went back to bed around 7 after Patrick got up. Got up around 10 something. Lunch at home with Patrick: turkey burgers and fries. Photo processing. I'm way behind on uploading photos to Flickr. I still have new year's eve photos to finish processing and upload—almost ready. Stopped at the bakery for some cookies. Patrick and I went to Remi and Jesse's karaoke party at Jesse's place in Portola. The party was a lot of fun—we spent 3 or 4 hours there. Patrick sang People, Smile, Run to You, and Maybe This Time. People and Smile were his stronger songs. Afterwards we went grocery shopping at Safeway. Dinner at home with Patrick: noodle soup with shrimp, mushrooms, and baby bok choy. I chatted briefly with Drew. Patrick and I tried to watch The Da Vinci Code on DVD but the DVD encountered read errors at about 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

Sun 14

Morning run: 15 minutes. Weight training: push up, plank. Shower. Brunch with Mom Ryan, Patrick, and Sam at Boulette's Larder. We came specifically for the beignets after having seen them mentioned in (I think it was) BK's photostream. The beignets were not like those from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, but they did not disappoint. Boulette's beignets were bite-size small and coated with granulated sugar and a little bit of black pepper. The bite was crisp, and the inside was doughy and a little bit wet. Very delicious nonetheless. Mom Ryan had griddle cakes, Patrick had a breakfast salad with pancetta and deep-fried eggs, I had scrambled eggs with wild mushrooms, Sam had the chevre tart. The server brought us a complimentary extra plate of griddle cakes, apologizing for it being rather hectic at the start of service. Each of us had hot tea to drink—mint verbena for me, dragon pearl jasmine for Sam, and english breakfast for Mom Ryan and Patrick. Home. Napped. It's been freezing cold the past couple of days and according to castrocam.net the temperature here in San Francisco has not gone above 53 since around noon on Tuesday, January 9—5 days ago! Last night's low was about 37 degrees, which is too close to freezing for me that at this point I would welcome some global warming. And hurry!

Mon 15

Backfilled data for January 12. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Today's a university holiday. Errands and shopping with Patrick in Union Square. Snack: Blondie's pizza on Powell using free pizza and soda coupons from MacTank. We had never known that Blondie's had downstairs seating which is not very comfortable but at least the pizza is good. Stopped at the Visitor Information Center. Macy's (mens, the cellar, boys), H&M mens, The Gap, Office Depot, the video store, Safeway. Dinner at home with Patrick: grilled chicken boobs, steamed spinach with boiled egg, mediterranean curry couscous, bread and butter. We again tried watching The Da Vinci Code on DVD and again encountered errors. Like last time, the rental DVD failed to play properly in both OS X and Windows. In VLC (OS X), the disc froze again a few minutes into the film. DVD Player (OS X) played the film but with the volume jumping up and down arbitrarily at repeatable points in the film—we've experience this in the past and I have been unable to find a solution for it. PowerDVD (Windows XP) had the same freezing problem that VLC did. I ran a disc scan in Nero's CD-DVD Speed utility and it found many errors on the second line of scanning. I ran a complete disc quality scan at maximum speed and it gave a quality rating of zero—the lowest level. Only then did I think to use Nero's DriveSpeed utility to bring the drive speed down from 12X to 5X. A quick scan of disc quality at 5X found no errors, so on a hunch I ran the film again—by now it must have been 30 or 40 minutes after we had originally restarted the film this evening, but this resolved the problem—hooray! The film is mostly like the book, and I enjoyed it. Is the background behind the story fact or fiction? It really does not matter to me either way.

Tue 16

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Meeting with Susie and Cindy: blogging, faculty database, new person. Followup with student DS about internet service problems and VPN. Helped student CC by e-mail with setting up POP3. Met with student AC about how to build a website. AC gave me a five-dollar gift card to Starbucks—so sweet! Announced website downtime and resolution to all. Updated preview sessions for Joel (reopened March). Reviewed new clin pharm intranet site. Lunch: taco and enchiladas from Carmelina's. Listserv update for student AF. Installed updates for the MacBook. Reported a Boot Camp 1.1.2 problem to Apple: the trackpad fails to move the cursor after successfully restoring from hibernation, restarting the computer works around the problem. Helped student MK set up wireless for a Palm TX—the mac address is printed on the back. Also helped MK find Yahoo Messenger for Palm. Helped Carol with computer problems probably related to not enough available RAM. HTML e-mail edits for Cindy. Finally got a finished version working and tested perfectly in Outlook2003/WinXPSP2, OWA/WinXPSP2/Fx, OWA/WinXPSP2/IE6, Yahoo!Mail/WinXPSP2/Fx, Gmail/WinXPSP2/Fx2001, OWA/OS1048/Fx2001, OWA/OS1048/Safari204, Yahoo!Mail/OS1048/IE52. PageMaker registry problem resolution for Joel. Dinner at home with Mom Ryan, Patrick, Phil, Danny, and Drew: foccacia, salad with pancetta-and-mozzarella-stuffed pepperoncini, lasagne with shrimp and scallop, wine, fruit juice.

Wed 17

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Before starting my telecommute day, I read my RSS feeds while doing my morning run. I didn't know who Louie Anderson was and had to look him up on Google Images. Cousin Jeanne in Malawi says she finally received the cookies which I (checking journal...) made on November 24 and attempted to mail on November 25 and successfully mailed on November 28. I was told by the post office that it would take about a week, and I don't know what caused the delay, but I'm glad she got the cookies eventually. They were wrapped in ziploc freezer bags right after they came out of the oven, and she said they were a little stale but still edible. Finally got around to installing Colibri 17α for Windows, which Victor recommended to me a half-year ago. Will try it out for a fortnight or so. Realized recently that the Apple OS X widgets feature has the following design problem: in order to remove widgets, you need to click on the add button—it took me a really frustratingly long time to figure this out. Weight training: tricep kickback, leg lift. Recordings policy summary work. Dinner at home with Patrick: ramen with fishcake, mushrooms, and shrimp in heirloom-tomato-based broth. Dessert: Häagen-Dazs lowfat coffee frozen yogurt. Chatted with Nate. Cut my hair. Tried to fix Slickr which stopped working recently, possibly due to the demotion of my account from administrator user to limited user—when the screensaver kicks in, all I see is the slickr logo growing and shrinking in the center of the screen. Changed permissions on Slickr folders, didn't work. Changed permissions on Slickr registry keys, didn't work. Removed slickr, restarted, reinstalled slickr. Sent e-mail to Gabriel. Night run: 5 minutes. Weight training: front raise, woodchopper. Snack: yogurt.

Thu 18

Usual oatmeal breakfast. WebCT interest group (WIG) meeting: Brian demoed WebCT 6, aka Blackboard followed by about 10 words (the name of Blackboard's product is really long). Fixed Acrobat 8 Pro and PageMaker 6.5 on Joel's computer. Acrobat no longer worked because there were problems installing Acrobat 8 Pro on his computer and I didn't get a chance to resolve it. PageMaker had the problem described in Adobe Knowledgebase document 328519 ("Cannot find PageMaker's registry settings") ever since I demoted his account from Power Users to Limited User status. I had resolved this previously on September 9, 2005 by giving his account Power User status since solution #3—the registry hack—did not work for me at the time. This time I dug deeper in the registry (search for certain keys with "PageMaker" and modify the permissions) and now it works—PageMaker can run when logged in with a limited user account. Finished apps training for Alyssa. Around noon today I began having sharp pain in the center of my lower back. There was no injury—it just came on suddenly without warning. I had to close my door and lie down on the floor for a few minutes. It was hard to do that without making the pain worse. After about 10 minutes I got up, still in pain, and did some quick searches on Google. No pain in the legs—a good sign. I still had pain 30 minutes after the initial onset, so I made a decision to go home and lie in bed. Canceled appointments, checked in with James who had a laptop setup scheduled for tomorrow, checked in with Lucia who had only minutes ago scheduled a meeting with a student on my calendar for this afternoon. I'll stay home tomorrow, rest through the weekend, and see how I feel on Monday. Home. Slept until about 5:30 PM. Made turkey burgers by myself for dinner. Patrick called from Aaron's place, and Aaron—"the queen of back pain"—gave me advice. HTML e-mail work for Cindy. I noticed something strange about certain keyboard shortcuts in IE7 today. The regular menus from IE6 are no longer visible, but they are not entirely gone. If you press the Alt key, they reappear. However, Alt+F will no longer open the File menu as it did in IE6. To open the file menu, you must now press the Alt key then let go of the Alt key then press the F key. This is annoying for three reasons: (a) it's a change in behavior over IE6 so I must learn a new behavior, (b) Alt+F doesn't do anything else in IE7 (so there's no obvious reason why the behavior had to change), and (c) the new behavior is slower than the old behavior. Lately I've also been very frustrated with trying to get DVDRW media to burn properly in both Windows XP and OS 10.4.8. I can't recall the exact error messages, but one says that it marked the entire disc as read only due to errors (Windows XP, Nero) and another in OS X says please discard the disc and use another one—on more than one kind of disc. I'm buying what I believe to be high quality discs, but it doesn't seem to matter—I still encounter errors. Over the past few years I've been increasingly feeling that local storage is growing less and less reliable, particularly since hard drive manufacturers today don't warrant consumer-level hard drives for more than 1 or 2 years when it used to be a lot more. Actually, ZDNet UK reported last week that Seagate is planning to restore 5-year consumer drive warranties in March 2007 (this after xbitlabs reported on July 26, 2004 that Seagate was planning to restore 5-year consumer drive warranties as of June 1, 2004?), so there seems to be a bit of seesawing going on in the industry. Iomega, as an example, has had a history of providing popular and innovative data storage solutions but its solutions, in my experience, are not always reliable when you need them to be. Let's say we have computers which use no hard drives—only solid-state storage to boot a Web OS (e.g., a modified and "embedded" OS X?)—and all other data is stored on networks. The people who make the OS would then be in a much better position to not simply provide "backup solutions" but rather to provide a level of robustness in personal computing which likely has never existed before. We shouldn't have "backup solutions"—we should have computing environments which don't fail. The existence of a backup solution implies an inherent problem—that your computing environment is not robust. Yes, hard drives fail, but people don't care that a hard drive failed, they care that data was lost. When your hard drives are in a RAID and maintained by professionals, data isn't lost, but this doesn't happen today in every home with a computer. How much would people pay for security like that? What if Google is planning to give that away for free? Imagine if you never had to worry about backing up your data and that you could revert to any previously saved version of a document at any time and that everything you touch is stored forever and that even after a devastating natural disaster you could still retrieve everything? If we presume the OS and its applications have been sufficiently designed to be reliable, the weak links then become the network connection and the hardware. However, we might eventually get to a point where it becomes inexpensive to build robustness even in personal computer hardware or network connections. For example, if you have multiple displays and one fails, there's no reason the OS can't detect the failure and automatically take the appropriate actions (e.g., move windows from that display to other displays, prevent the cursor from entering the failed display, etc.). Or if you have only one display, and that display fails, the OS could announce through a computer-generated voice what had happened and announce your options for continuing your work. ("Press 1 to save all documents and shut down the computer...") Let's say you have the whole kit: Web OS, network storage, redundant network connections and smarter hardware—let all of that mature for, say, 10 or 20 years, and then maybe we humans will have finally gotten personal computing right in terms of reliability.

Fri 19

Spent pretty much the whole day in bed sleeping, getting up only for necessities. My back was feeling nearly completely better by the evening, and we had had dinner plans with Phil, Danny, and Drew so we went. Phil's sister Tina had flown in from New Orleans with her daughter Lauren. They brought with them 20 pounds of crawfish for a spicy crawfish boil. No, I didn't have any because I don't like spicy foods, but I don't like crawfish anyway so it didn't matter—it's too much work for so little food on the inside. They also had Popeye's fried chicken (spicy and mild) and deep-fried shrimp and oysters for poboy sandwiches. Delicious! I had forgotten to bring my camera, so I took photos with Drew's camera instead. Afterwards we ate Patrick's homemade banana nut muffins and watched Quyen's slideshow of photos from his and Dave's recent trip to Malaysia and Vietnam. Toan was there, too, and we gave him a ride back to his home in the Castro afterwards.

Sat 20

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Stopped at Mom Ryan's, saw the new bedspread and matching draperies we bought her for Christmas, helped her figure out some settings with her Toshiba (not Panasonic) TV and VCR, taught her how to program it. Patrick and I ran errands in the Castro. We got a snack at Escape From New York, a box of facial tissue for the car at Walgreen's (I didn't hear any ads this time), an almond latte at Spike's. We took photos of the shop window at That Underwear Store and did grocery shopping at Safevay. Home. I washed the car and did some autodetailingesque cleaning. I found a 10 cent euro coin in the back seat of our car—I wonder from where that came. I helped Patrick make wontons. Dinner at home with Patrick. This is the first time Patrick made a variation of wor won ton soup—it's delicious and it included pork wontons, Chinese bbq pork, mushrooms, spinach, fish cake, chicken broth. I recently discovered that our coat closet contains someone's black leather jacket—we don't know who the owner is, so if you know please let us know. Worked on Corinna's website. I realized today that what I said two days ago about IE7 is not entirely correct. Alt+F didn't work for me on a page that had an accesskey set for F, so it appeared that Alt+F didn't work. On pages that don't have an accesskey set for F, Alt+F does bring up the File menu in IE7. Watched Princess Mononoke on DVD with Patrick. I so did not understand it, so I'll have to get someone to explain everything in it to me. Patrick went to bed, and I researched online backup solutions: mozy, mozypro, carbonite, drivehq, and more.

Sun 21

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Shower. Grocery shopping and errands. Continued online backup solution research. Patrick prepared meatballs for spaghetti tonight. I napped. Patrick cooked dinner for me, Tony Q, Phil, Danny, Drew, and Toan: organic greens salad, garlic bread, spaghetti and meatballs. Dessert: coconut cream pie from Tower Market.

Mon 22

Morning run: 6 minutes. Pre-breakfast at home: yogurt. My favorite breakfast at the cafeteria. Java 5 Update 10 installation for me and Joel. HTML e-mail work for Cindy. Updated listserv for student DS. Took a CDWG web survey. New news for students. Delivered laptop to Carol in a meeting. Resolved a printing problem for Shannon: form fields in Word 2003 appeared correctly on screen but did not appear upon printing. Problem happened when printing to PDF as well. Resolution: In Word, select File > Page Setup > Paper > Print Options and change certain items. (I didn't figure out exactly which checkboxes fix the problem—I kinda turned on a bunch, printed to PDF to test, turned off some, printed to PDF to test, and so forth until I got it right.) New homepage news for Susie. Enabled wireless for Chris. Met with student QT about "Windows Message: The system is not fully installed. Please run setup again. (OK)" Did a second-R repair with the Windows XP SP2 setup disc she had. UCSF logo distribution for Frank M. Computer virus removal for student JP using SAV32CLI. LGBTI visibility committee meeting with Kevin and others. I felt I wasn't very effective at this meeting, which is trying to increase visibility of LGBT and I people at UCSF. I came up with unfocused and inarticulate ideas, and I think I said transvestite when I meant transgender—oops, how embarrassing. Joel should be on this committee instead of me. Recordings policy work for the student computing committee. I didn't have much time for lunch today, and so I ate packaged sushi to go from the cafeteria which was pretty awful just like I expected. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. Drove back to work to pick up large packages which I had shipped to work. Home. Installed Acrobat 8 Pro. Lately I've been reading a free PDF from MailChimp called Designing, Coding & Delivering HTML Email (2nd Edition) and it is easily the best how to I've ever read for creating HTML e-mail. Even when I thought I was doing everything right, after reading it I realized I was still doing many things wrong. Also lately I've been finding that if I print something out there's a much greater chance that I'll read it, either on the bus, or while in the living room chair or on the sofa, or on the can. So much for digital paper, handheld readers, mostly mythical instant-on electronic tablets and lots of other devices people predicted 1, 5, 10, 20, and 30 years ago we'd all be using today to read text. The only thing that doesn't seem right is that MailChimp's website claims that Microsoft Outlook cannot sent multipart MIME, but I believe that is incorrect—that Outlook 2003 can—and I have not yet confirmed it other than what I saw in my own testing. My testing showed that sending HTML e-mail from Outlook 2003 sends as multipart MIME and that it also automatically includes a text-only version of your HTML e-mail as the text-only portion of the multipart MIME message. I put some things for sale online. Unpacked the shipment I received today—a hamper and some after-Christmas sale items from Pottery Barn. The hamper is a little lopsided, but I think we can fix it with felt feet or something like that. It would be too troublesome to return it because it's so large. Patrick has had a nasty cough since last Thursday after drinking cheap wine with Aaron. Not sure if it's the wine that did it, but it sure is convenient to blame it on bad wine.

Tue 23

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Student computing committee meeting with Bruce. Web development with student AC. Recordings policy—sent to JK. Ordered a new monitor for Joel. New news for students. Research for daylight saving time 2007 issues. Linkchecking. Installation of DST2007 files. Manual PharmAdMIT backup. Home. Drove to Mom Ryan's for dinner: Shake and Bake chicken boob, corn off the cob, farfalle in a very light cream sauce, dutch crunch bread and faux butter. Dessert: dulce de leche ice cream. Afterwards we watched a little of American Idol on TV with her. To bed early.

Wed 24

Breakfast on the run: grapes. Walked up to campus with some pharmacy students including CA. Listserv setup for Kendra, Lucia, and Helene. Documents review for Cindy. Set up job posting e-mail template for Cindy. Student computing committee work: EDUCAUSE survey. Five web edits for Cindy. Installed Audition 1.0. Noise reduction and podcast preparation. Ordered computer supplies. Fixed Chris's new laptop so that he can control power options even as a limited user. Filed for reimbursement. Met briefly with students JN and QT. Time zone updates for nearly all office computers. I learned from Rebecca a couple of weeks ago that there's a Year-2000-esque issue coming up in March because the United States government changed when daylight saving time is to begin. Instead of it starting on the first Sunday in April, it's now going to start on the second Sunday in March. Any electronic equipment, operating systems, and software that hasn't been updated might handle this time change improperly. Patches for lots of software already exist—just search Google on daylight saving time 2007. Today my Vista computer would not wake properly from hibernation. Or rather, the display (a Samsung SyncMaster 940T) wouldn't wake up. Manual backups for PharmAdMIT. Made a copy of my Xubuntu 6.06 desktop cdrom. I missed Dane's OS X imaging class, to which I really wanted to go—maybe next time. Lunch: panda bowl from Panda Express with chow mein, vegetables, and mushrooms with chicken. A corny dinner at home with Patrick: organic soft corn tacos, corn chips, corn on the cob. Dessert: leftover coconut cream pie. Watched Heroes episode 12. Early to bed.

Thu 25

Morning run: 7 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. CLS database problem for Ellie. Again tried reaching SF Micro—no luck! Browsed the training website. Sent some staff tips to improve computer performance. (Our computers will be turning 5 years old this spring.) IRC color printer needs a new imaging unit, reported status to Kim. OS X meeting: Dane gave a review of the Macworld announcements—iPhone, Apple TV, new Airport Extreme. Chatted with Sue A about current MSOs. New news for Susie. Student database work. Filed for reimbursement. Prepped facilities management request for the installation of Chris's monitor arm. Enrolled in new training. Retrieved a password for a student organization website for a student who forgot it. Followup with student JP's report of Exchange automatically resending an old e-mail without action on JP's part. Distributed announcement for Philip C. Archived packaging material that came with the Belkin 7-port hub that I got for Chris. Helped student QT with wireless settings, Windows XP validation. Home. I received in the mail my 5-year award from the University of California. It's a small gold lapel pin that says University of California on it with an open-faced book. The pin comes in a small jewel box, the inside of which says HR - Herndon Recognition Company. The pin came with a preprinted card with the preprinted signature of our chancellor, J. Michael Bishop, MD. I am looking forward to my 10-year service award. Evening run: 10 minutes. Weight training: plank. Yoga: downward facing dog. Dinner at home with Patrick: lemon rosemary chicken, mac and cheese, steamed spinach with boiled egg. Chatted with Tina on the phone. Dessert: coffee frozen yogurt. Collected memorabilia for BriKel's forthcoming 10th anniversary, sent BK a 10 MB zip file.

Fri 26

Morning run: 10 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Resolved the problem in which the message: "Microsoft Visual Basic—Compile error in hidden module: DistMon (OK) (Help)" appeared when starting or closing Excel 2003 by logging in as administrator and moving the file called PDFMaker (no filename extension) to a different folder. Student database project. Helped Scott most of the day with admissions interviews. Today we did 50 interviews, and Scott's organization made the event run very smoothly—I was impressed. Many first-year students stopped by to say hello and were disappointed that we didn't have the chat room this year because everything was more structured this year getting students through the day's different sessions. I stopped at the hospital gift shop. Home. Weight training: plank. Yoga: downward facing dog, standing forward bend. Dinner at home with Patrick: tortellini in marinara with grilled chicken breast.

Sat 27

Slept in. Cut my hair. Showered. Cleaned the bathroom. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Took photos of some candy-coated fennel seeds that Patrick found at an Indian grocery in the Mission. Installed our new clothes hamper. (The mule chest needed to be moved over a few inches to accommodate it, and that required taking all the drawers out.) Weight training: plank. Dropped off clothes for alteration. Snack: leftover mac and cheese, grapes. Installed Office Professional Plus 2007 at home. Amputagged a shirt. (This is my name for the process of cutting off a clothing tag and then sewing a small piece of cloth over the amputation to prevent the remainder of the tag from irritating the skin.) Snack: leftovers from last night. Shopping with Patrick: Sports Basement, REI, Injeanious, Body (chatted briefly with Adrian). Dinner at Catch (415-431-5000, 2362 Market Street) with Patrick. Iced teas. Patrick had fried kalamata and sicilian green olives with crumbled feta cheese ($3.50) and catch seafood stew with mussels, clams, shrimp, crab, scallops, and fish ($18). I had the salad special: two grilled scallops atop a butter lettuce salad with (mango vinaigrette?) and my entree was blackened salmon with black-eyed peas and orange mint marmalade ($18). The desserts did not interest us. Our server was Nicholas, and service was good. We talked mostly about buddhism and Steve Hagen's Buddhism: Plain & Simple, which Patrick recently finished reading and which I have just started to read. Watched Superman Returns on DVD with Patrick.

Sun 28

Woke up too early. Read in bed for a bit. Back to sleep. Slept in. Showered. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Worked on Corinna's website most of today—browser testing. Lunch: ramen with mushrooms, baby bok choy, shrimp, wontons, tomatoes, corn. Dinner at home with Patrick: spaghetti with sausage in marinara sauce. Dessert: coffee frozen yogurt. Found an old sheet of paper with notes on it from May 10, 2006, so I backfilled that journal entry with the data (who ate what at Panya, some additional notes). Started using Office 2007 today. Of all the Office apps, Outlook is the one I use the most. I'll give it a few weeks to let it sink in. Chatted online with Drew.

Mon 29

Morning run: 10 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Made a welcome back sign for Joel. Met with Susie, we began creating a job description for a new hire. Goyan image work for Susie and Cynthia H. Listserv review for Chris. Anti-virus and anti-spyware configuration troubleshooting for student JN. Lunch: Subway sandwich. Helped Lucia with questions about Outlook and our spam firewall. Podcast work: prepped images, created new web page, dropped in images and a Quicktime control onto the web page, added links and text, set up local navigation. PHPM requirements updates for Cindy. OS X updates. Linkchecking. Troubleshot windows hang with blue screen (but not BSOD) upon morning arrival for Scott and Lucia, dug through event viewer. Snacks during the day: pretzel sticks, an orange, Annie's cheddar bunnies. Dinner at home with Patrick: pig tri-tips. Installed time zone (daylight savings time) fixes for home computers.

Tue 30

Morning run: 15 minutes. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Weight training: push up. Took a few photos of the UCSF Faculty/Alumni House on my way to work. Tested the clinical pharmacy intranet in OS X for Frank M. Staff meeting: James's last staff meeting. Steaven starts tomorrow as interim admissions coordinator. James will train him through February 16 which is James's last day. Made live PHPM web changes for Cindy. Followup with Frank M about a shared folder he made available. Arranged accounts for Steaven. Lunch with Joel: takeout from the cafeteria. I had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, garlic bread, and mixed vegetables. Student database work (verify all data), legal name change work. Met with Cindy for a one-on-one. Fixed wireless (the Intel wireless manager wouldn't permit limited users to configure wireless, but the Windows wireless manager does) and installed time zone (daylight savings time) fixes for Chris. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover rice pilaf, leftover pig tri-tips, stir-fried baby bok choy. Dessert: coffee frozen yogurt. Worked on Corinna's website: small tweaks to content and CSS, began instructions for first review. Weight training: push up, plank. Home backups. Backed up Corinna's website.

Wed 31

Morning run: 15 minutes. Edited my journal entry of January 30, 2006 because in rereading it today I realized it was unclear about the LC50 monitor—as written it made it seem as if the Panasonic LC50 did not sleep properly, but it does. I still am mostly dissatisfied with the Dell 2005FPW monitor—there was another issue with the driver that I could not recall exactly and which I hadn't mentioned in that journal entry. The driver is essentially very difficult to install—the files you need weren't provided on the cdrom included with my monitor, and I honestly can't recall where I got mine but I am pretty sure it wasn't on the cd. Windows XP does not easily detect the monitor even when searching for drivers online, so installing it is not easy. Indeed, the problem I mentioned a year ago about the poor design of the placement of the lock connection point has made itself evident—occasionally now when I touch the monitor cable the entire screen turns a bright cast of yellow and if I wiggle (or even simply touch) the cable where it is connected to the monitor then the screen returns to normal. This is either a cable failure or the VGA connector on the monitor has worked loose from its connection inside, and my bet is the latter due to what I mentioned a year ago. I'll be sticking with Samsung monitors from now on. I've had problems with Samsung monitors in the past, but they are not the kinds of problems due to poor design and engineering as with the Dell 2005FPW. Today I had to look up what keys people press to access accesskey shortcuts on web pages viewed in Firefox 2.0.0.1 in OS X and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it's simply Ctrl+accesskey. This is better than Firefox 2.0.0.1 in Windows because it's one less key. Windows now uses Alt+Shift+accesskey. This does not mean that keyboard shortcuts are better in everything in OS X. I think I've said it before, but it is worth repeating—even Xubuntu has better system-level keyboard shortcuts than OS X which is far more advanced in functionality and engineering than Xubuntu in perhaps nearly every other way. Windows 3.1 had better system-level keyboard shortcuts than OS X (remember C:\ONGRTLNS.W95?). Also, I think a Firefox 2.0 for Windows bug regarding accesskeys fail to work when the accesskeys happen to be numbers seems to be resolved in 2.0.0.1, but I haven't bothered to look it up to confirm. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Spy Sweeper spot checks—Rob and his staff noticed that our enterprise version of Webroot Spy Sweeper is not updating automatically as we expect, so I did a spot check to determine which of our computers were and weren't updating. Of 11 computers, 3 were not autoupdating properly. This problem can be resolved by uninstalling and reinstalling using the latest installer, but we're going to see if OAAIS can force the problem on the server end and push the updates out somehow. Student computing committee wiki work (electronic calendaring). Jobs listserv updates for Joel. Preview session web page closure for Joel. Chatted briefly with Valerie about SF Micro and computer support provided by OAAIS. Followup with Chris about PHPM reqs and terminology. Student database work: with help from Peter Laursen, I resolved a problem I had with SQLyog involving more rows than expected updating because I was using TEXT data types with a table that had no primary key. Peter's response was speedy and efficient—this Webyog forum experience was a very pleasant and useful one, I thought. I need to find one student's SAA ID and then I think the data will be complete. Next step: set up mirroring and get the live site working. Steaven is back, has really beautiful and shiny new glasses, and helped us stuff folders for interviews coming up. I did a brief demo of Windows Vista for Steaven and Scott. The computer I installed it on has only 512 MB of RAM which really isn't enough for Vista. It would use virtual memory, but it was often unbearably slow. Lunch with Joel: he brought his lunch and I had Panda Express. We watched funny things on YouTube. Fixed a printer jam problem for Alyssa by opening and closing doors and trays on the printer. Fixed a printing problem for Chris by unplugging and replugging the USB cable from and into the docking station. Installed Office 2007 Pro Plus on my computer at work. Susie needed some info from me, so I typed it up and sent it to her. Manual PharmAdMIT backups. Dinner at home with Patrick: quesaladas, corn chips, black beans. We watched Heroes episode 13 (The Fix). I figured out I can make it run full screen by dropping the monitor resolution down a bit. At the higher resolution, it was too jerky. We used my primary computer because I couldn't figure out how to make Firefox 2.0.0.1 go full screen in OS X. (F11 doesn't do what I want, Full Screen doesn't appear under the View menu, clicking the green plus sign doesn't do what I want.) Worked on Corinna's first review draft.