July 2007

Summary: Dinner with Travis at Andalu. Fourth of July with Jonathan and Adrian. Camping and whitewater rafting with Steve and Travis. Dinner at AsiaSF with Tony Q, Chris, and Nate. Repaired Aaron's laptop. Repaired the Mac Mini. Variously explored San Francisco with Chris and Nate. Patrick meets Mom. Dinner with Chris and Andy. Up Your Alley with Patrick and Nate. Chris and Nate move in to Showplace Square.

Dates on this page

Sun 1

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Prepared packages for Tina. Tidied. I got a lot done today. Mailed packages for Tina. Stopped at REI and bought small plastic containers. Checked out drinking bottles but decided I didn't really need a new $12 water bottle. Used my $2 dividend coupon. Bought boots at Stompers because the Doc Martens I've had for a while don't fit very well I only recently realized. Lunch at Bistro Burger in San Francisco Centre. It took a really long time to get the food, but once I did it was delicious. Bistro chicken sandwich, frings, Nantucket Nectars half and half. The plate was so full of food I could not eat it all. Bought shorts and socks at H&M boys. Met Julie B at The Mint for karaoke. Patrick showed up about half an hour later. I was hoping that Patrick would sing, but he had a headache and could not. Also at The Mint was the extraordinarily funny comedienne Marga Gomez who sang a duet with someone—some song I hadn't heard before. We left after an hour or so. Walked back to the car and got headache medicine for him, visited briefly with Mom Ryan, walked in the Castro. I bought a pair of shoes on sale at De La Sole. Met Travis for dinner at Andalu. We had a very delicious tapas meal.

Mon 2

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Met with Susie over the phone. Listserv rotations. New computer setup and configuration. Lunch: salad from the cafeteria, put money on my cafeteria prepaid card. Drafted new supp app, sent it for review. Susie said I could get a new computer at work, so I started shopping and configured a Mac Pro. Acrobat crashed every time I tried to print to PDF. The problem happened both in Firefox as well as Internet Explorer, so I'll have to figure out the problem later. Prepared a reimbursement filing. Printed a new binder cover. Organized e-mail and e-mail folders and filtering rules. Worked late. Chatted with Nate briefly on the phone. Late dinner at home with Patrick: boneless ribs, matchstick french fries, corn off the cob, garlic clove bread. Chatted with Tina briefly on the phone.

Tue 3

Prepped reimbursement filing. Troubleshot slow computer problems with the spare computer which I'm using for HTML e-mail testing. Archived receipts. Mozy Pro proposal and confirmation and review. Prepped new news for Susie. Lunch: manila at Pomelo. New hardware recommendations for Susie. A woman from Dell called me today, unsolicited, presumably from India, to ask me to pay $170 to extend the warranty of a laptop I purchased 2 years ago. At first I couldn't figure out why they were calling me. The laptop had not been serviced recently, so there was really no reason for them to call and mention that laptop specifically. The laptop was purchased with a 2-year warranty which was expiring, and they asked if I wanted to spend $170 to extend the warranty to 3 years (one additional year). I told them no, because at this price it's not worth it to me. The woman continued to try to sell me on other things—accidental damage coverage, security software, and so forth. She was really annoying because she did the sales thing that they are taught to do—to continue with a new sales pitch after the road to another one ends. She also had this unexplainably strange cadence to her speech and a way of slightly laughing between phrases that was disconcerting and mildly amusing, but it was not my place to make fun of her for that. I asked her to indicate in my account that I don't enjoy unsolicited phone calls and would you please not contact me in this manner in the future and eventually I closed the discussion. She ended by saying, "Thank you for using Dell!" and I had to wonder what the marketing people at Dell were thinking when they hired and/or trained these people to annoy existing Dell customers in this manner. Tina called me from the Apple Store on an iPhone today just to say hi. Small PHPM sample schedule change for Carol. More hardware recommendations for Susie. Archived data to DVD. Server defrag. Attempted to create a new ghost image of the server's c: drive using Ghost for REV but we no longer have the REV drive installed, so it hung up I think while looking for the REV device. I guess I'll have to buy a new copy of regular Ghost. Attempted to set up a test shared calendar in Exchange but didn't know the difference between internet calendar and published calendar and the other kinds of calendars in Exchange. Will need to do some research. Learned a new way to scan a document. Well, I had known about it before but just hadn't used it very much. The way is you open Acrobat first and then use File > Open and select your scanning device. This method is good only when you don't need to straighten or otherwise clean up the scanned image in Photoshop before turning it into a PDF. Acrobat Professional will also do OCR on the scan and turn it into searchable text within the PDF. I scanned at 400 ppi (dpi) because that's what I learned years ago when working with Acrobat Capture that you needed a resolution that high in order for the OCR to be accurate. I don't know if that has changed, but scanning at 400 seemed to do what I want. I was also surprised that the file size wasn't huge—only 57 kilobytes for a one-page receipt from The Technology Store. Mostly just words and some lines. Chatted briefly on the telephone with my mom. Patrick and I were planning to go to Rich's potluck and pool party, but he got the writing bug and really wanted to stay home to write. I didn't want to go alone because I'm not good at driving long distances, especially after working a full day at work. So we stayed home. Dinner at home with Patrick: linguine with chicken in marinara, peas, bread and Smart Balance. Caught up on blogs and photostreams. Flickred. Installed Perian for OS X at psychobauble/Chris's recommendation. It reminded me of this sentence which I heard in my technical support days at Adobe from a customer who was talking about Adobe Type Manager: "I do not know what it is, but I know that I must have it." Almost caught up with Flickr photo uploading. Today Heidi sent me a $10 Starbucks gift card inside of a beautiful and fragile greeting card from Papyrus to thank me for sending her feedback about OAAIS—a thoughtfully sweet gesture of appreciation. I found it funny that the back of the Starbucks gift card holder says, "To find your nearest Starbucks Coffee location, text your zip/postal code to MYSBUX (697289) or log on to www.starbucks.com. Standard text message rates apply." One of the smart-n-sassiest things I've read in months was posted by bosco in a comments thread on macobserver.com: "I just checked Software Update, and they have Web 2.0.1 available tonight. It claims to fix critical errors in judgement and patch up misunderstandings." More flickring.

Wed 4

I tried configuring an iMac for home the way I wanted it and it turned out to be $3,030 after the university discount. Yikes! Then I configured a Mac Pro for home and it turned out to be $4,381 after the university discount (or $3,582 without the 23-inch cinema display). I suppose I could do the iMac, but I think we can wait until Leopard is out. By then, the rumored new iMac should be out, and I can have the latest and greatest. I'm looking forward to the webcam to chat with Tina and show her how to do new things with her MacBook by taking temporary control through iChat A/V, and I'm also looking forward to the silence and the energy savings and the freeing up 6U of space in my rackmount and the getting rid of the Dell 2005FPW monitor that fails to sleep properly and has a Kensington lock connector in a location that's too close to the VGA connector. The printer and telephone might then both fit inside the rackmount, leaving the top open for plants that like warmth (orchids?) or something else. The Mac Mini I bought in July/August 2005 is still going strong, and I've had very few problems with it. I think it should still have at least 2 more years of life left—possibly longer since it's used mostly as a web server. Today's the fourth of July—a holiday. Slept in. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Chatted on the phone with Nate. House chores: washed garbage and recycling bins, cleaned in the bathroom. Archived documents. Cut my hair. Set up Patrick's new USB sound card. (More later on that.) Began investigating problems with Aaron's laptop. Patrick and I drove to Mom Ryan's. We picked her up and then walked to Jonathan and Adrian's for a potluck fourth of july dinner with Alona, John, Todd, Mark, Jason, Ryan, Paul, Carmen, Jonathan, Adrian, Yuki. Adrian's parents were in town visiting from Sydney. All the food was very delicious. Hot dogs, bbq chicken legs, cheese and crackers, seasoned peanuts, bbq corn on the cob. Jason and Ryan made a spinach salad with cranberries, blue cheese, and bacon. They also made a ginger-peach-strawberry cobbler. Patrick made macaroni and cheese. I brought 3-layer (red, white, blue) cupcakes with white frosting, red stripes, and blue stars. Mark brought pecan pie and peach pie from Sweet Inspirations. We saw some fireworks from the balcony but the big show in San Francisco was out of our sight range so we went indoors and watched the fireworks on the television only realizing after it was over that we had been watching San Jose's fireworks instead. We had plenty of fun nonetheless—it's always a good time at JY and Adrian's.

Thu 5

Usual oatmeal breakfast. I brought extra cupcakes to the office. Listserv maintenance. Redirected a request for help from a resident. Hiring followup. Followup with ordering Ghost. Lunch: Panda Express. My fortune: You will enjoy a trip to Asia. Student PT was supposed to meet me but didn't show. Patrick picked me up in the car. We met Chris and Nate at Peet's. I keep forgetting that MSO stands for management services officer. Dinner at Thai Chef (415-551-2433, 4133-18th Street) with psychobauble/Chris and Patrick. Aaron's laptop encountered a blue screen of death—STOP 0x000000ED UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME BSOD—so today I began investigating it. Spent the evening trying to migrate files off of Aaron's BSODed laptop, a Dell Inspiron 700m just like Patrick's. The Mac Mini at home crashed unrecoverably while copying files from Aaron's computer to the Mac Mini. You could say the Inspiron 700m put the Mac Mini in a coma. I don't know what caused it—OS X is not supposed to crash. The 700m was started up in Bart PE since I was troubleshooting a BSOD. I connected successfully to the 700m from the Mac Mini over Samba. I had to reset some permissions on the 700m in order for the Mac Mini to see the files, but I was successful at that. I began copying files and part way through the screen went completely black and neither keyboard nor mouse made it respond even after several minutes. Upon restart, I got a blank gray screen with the spinning indicator. This went on spinning for a long time and eventually I got a gray screen with a tiny blue folder OS X faces logo icon. I got photos of this and will upload them to Flickr. The Mac would simply not start up. I was not given a TechTools cdrom with this Mac—I guess my Mac is too old—but I know I have an extra one at work I could bring home to use. I had my original cds and started off that, but whenever I tried to access anything from the menus (like disk tools from the Utilities menu) I'd get the spinning beach ball and it would spin for several minutes with no response. I shut the thing off—it's no good now without some kind of startup cd I can start up into and run disk tools. My web server and bookmarks page will be down for at least through the weekend since I leave for camping and whitewater rafting with Travis tomorrow. So the bad news is that the Mac Mini is comatose for now, but the good news is that Aaron's data appears to be safe. And in the process I learned how to install network drivers with Bart PE—I had never done that before and it is simple as Bart claims once you know how. Began packing.

Fri 6

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Finished packing. Archived documents. Organized the food cabinet. Travis, Steve, and Matt picked me up. We're going camping and whitewater rafting on the middle fork of the American River this weekend. This rafting trip is rated at Class IV (Class 4) with one Class V rapid and one portage. Two nights of camping, one day of rafting. Travis and Steve picked me up at my place and then we picked up Matt downtown. Matt and I napped for the drive up to Auburn. The KOA campground was really easy to miss. We actually missed the first driveway and we were going to do a U-turn but then the GPS said to turn right so we did—onto the old dirt road which we believe at one time had been the main road in a long time ago. We drove across a bumpy and dusty road, crossed a small wooden bridge, and within a minute or two arrived safely at the campground. Travis and Steve checked us in. I think in general people enjoyed the campground. Our area was near some streetlights which never turned off at night, and the campground is near an airport so some of us awoke to the sound of small planes taking off at 7:01 AM. We did get to see some interesting, old propeller planes, though. Before night fell, we took a test drive to locate the grocery store parking lot which was the meeting place for tomorrow morning. I think we bought some groceries.

Sat 7

Breakfast at camp. Drove to the grocery store parking lot where the rafting people picked us up in their van. On my previous rafting trip with Mariah the campground was right on the water and we put in to the river right from camp. At the end of the trip, there was a long bus ride back to where we put in. On this trip, we were picked up in their van and we drove for a long time to the put in. This van was air-conditioned, which made the ride very comfortable. The road was harrowing—one lane in each direction along mountain cliff roads. Sometimes there was only enough space for a single lane and we had to share the road with oncoming vehicles. During the drive one of the raft guides described in detail his experiences with having intercourse with farm animals. This was both amusing and somewhat uncomfortable at the same time because we could tell he wasn't making it up. We put in to the river. I can't remember the name of our guide now, but she was excellent. She had been rafting for 6 or 8 years, and she gave us excellent instructions which prepared us well for the rapids we would be encountering. The water was cold our entire trip, but despite the common knowledge that there was less water now than in previous years, I didn't notice any problems with water levels, and we were told it was a good time to raft as there would be less water in the coming months. As the day warmed, we hoped that the water grow warmer, and it did but not by much. Others took a dip during some quiet parts of our trip, but it was still too cold for me. Although Mark and Brian had to be rescued after taking a swim and drifting somewhat close to rapids, there were no serious injuries or other catastrophes. We got back to camp and everyone was exhausted from the day's exertions. We rested, took showers, snacked, and drank cool beverages. After a shower, I swam in the campground's 5-foot-deep pool, which was the perfect temperature in the afternoon. Steve cooked chicken, Korean beef, and more. Matt joined me for a bit in the pool then left. I returned to camp, then returned to the pool. Brian, Josh, and Timmie were there swimming and got out not long after I arrived. Marck joined us. We all went over to the playground and played on the swings, monkeybars, seesaw, and tetherball court. Near sunset I walked a bit around a small, nearby lake. As night fell, we sat around the campfire roasting marshmallows, making s'mores, and talking.

Sun 8

I woke up really early—around 6 or 7 AM. I started a campfire, thinking others would be waking up, but everyone slept in until much later. Steve cooked a pancake and sausage breakfast for everyone. Steve and Travis drove me home, and I think I spent the rest of the day at home relaxing.

Mon 9

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Forwarded a job posting request from Peter A to JWG. Followup with Paul C about how to remove my name from the CDW Advisory Board mailing list. Followup with student YW about wireless. Helped Susie and Jamie with a logo request. Sent an order for more DVD+RW discs and a Bluetooth receiver/transmitter. LGBTI viz meeting. Submitted my order for more Dell computers. Followup with ordering Mozy Pro. Followup with ordering Ghost. Lunch with Joel at Cybelle's. Tried helping Steve K with an Acrobat installation—could not help him since he has a Motorola Mac and we only have licenses for Windows. Helped Joel find the transit reimbursement website. Chatted with Susie. Made live the date for the next White Coat Ceremony for Cindy. Linkchecking. Helped student DP with a question about setting up rules in Outlook. Followup with Garrett about promoting his computer offers to entering students. Started troubleshooting the comatose Mac Mini. TechTool Deluxe 3.0.4 is finding lots of errors on a surface scan. Processed and uploaded more camping photos. Dinner at home with Patrick: lemon chicken, steamed vegetables. Weight training: various exercises.

Tue 10

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Gave Sue and Susie feedback about the draft of the strategic plan—I liked it a lot. Student computing committee meeting. Staff meeting. Julie reminded me to send out an RSVP request for the websteering lunch this Thursday, so I did. Created a new 1-question survey for Rebecca. Lunch with James at Crepes on Cole. We both had a half sandwich with soup and potatoes. SCC meeting followup. Phone calls. Followup with OAAIS for student YW. Reported the biosystems website down to Susie. Supp app followup for Joel and Cindy. LGBTI viz work: followup with Shane. Linkchecking. Dinner at Eiji (415-558-8149, 317 Sanchez St at 16th) with Patrick. Gave Tina advice about how to resolve her two Flickr accounts—one for work one for personal. Set up the new radiant space heater. It's much larger than I thought, so it's going into the bedroom rather than the bathroom. Took apart Aaron's laptop, removed the hard drive. Discovered the probable cause of his BSOD: he had spilled something into his laptop—there was evidence of a large watery stain on the hard drive. Bought a replacement hard drive online. Prepared for tomorrow's potluck. Processed and uploaded more camping trip photos. Worked on Tina's website: portfolio.

Wed 11

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Faxed our Mozy Pro order to the money people. Met with Susie and Cindy, then met with Susie, Cindy, and student AP about a diversity communications project. Steaven's going away potluck: Joel brought cold pasta salad and some type of bread. Scott brought chocolate cheesecake with strawberries. Carol brought fresh fruit. Alyssa brought wild rice. Lucia brought hummus with crackers and veggies to dip and raspberry button cookies. I brought cheese and crackers. Cindy brought flowers for Steaven and juices. Joel brought packages of waxedpaper-wrapped brownies tied with yellow ribbon for everyone to take home. Updated, printed, and distributed the class years cheat sheet to the office. Minor web edits for Joel and me. Ordered supplies: USB desk stands. Followup with Rex R at Mozy Pro. Binder covering. Archived a packing slip. Patrick went to the post office today to complain because we frequently receive mail that's not ours. Mail is delivered to our mailbox from one street over, dozens of blocks away, and sometimes even the house number doesn't match—it's totally illogical. We suspect also that our mail is ending up in other people's mailboxes. Flickrd. Chatted on the telephone with Danny. Installed Adobe Flash and KeePass updates, checked that Windows Updates were successful.

Thu 12

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Set up Outlook 2003 on the spare computer for testing. Flash updates for the office computers. Windows updates for the soon-to-be-deployed new computers. Supp app followup. Met with Cindy one-on-one. Coded an HTML e-mail announcement for entering students. I was late for web steering lunch. Took photos at UCSF Parnassus. Chatted with Erik W on the shuttle ride over. Lunch with Julie B, John K, Michele F, and David H at The Pub. It was the first time some of us had eaten at The Pub and we were surprised at how good the food was. I had iced tea and grilled halibut special with green mashed potatoes. Took photos at Mission Bay. CSC meeting in Genentech Hall. Took photos at Mission Bay. Said hi to Fred on the shuttle ride back. Chatted briefly with Susie and Nate on the telephone. Beat back the inbox, did some organizing of e-mail. Unpacked computer supplies. Ordered Ghost Solution Suite 2. Chatted with Drew on the telephone.

Fri 13

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Steaven's last day at the OSACA. He brought in bagels and cream cheese from Katz to share. Organized tasks in Outlook. Archived receipts and other documents. Unpacked USB extension balls, set one up for Scott. Unpacked Bluetooth adapter. Organized filings for reimbursements. Linkchecking. Chatted with someone at surplus about selling equipment—we're not allowed to even if we return the money back to the unit. Configured a new computer for me, sent it to Susie for approval. Lunch: salad from the cafeteria. Flickr group management. Began coding an HTML e-mail to our entering students. Migrated Carol to her new computer. The old one was a Dell Optiplex GX240 (1.5 GHz Intel Pentium 4). The new one is a Dell Optiplex 740 (2.6 GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+). Set up Carol's new computer. It took about 90 minutes. The hardest part was that Microsoft Files and Settings Transfer Wizard did not pick up Firefox settings and bookmarks. When I tried using MozBackup, it wouldn't work—it appeared to have problems saving to a network drive and there is a consistently reproducible problem in which one must force quit MozBackup in order to keep working with your computer. MozBackup is amateur and buggy; I uninstalled it immediately. Hand-migrated Fx bookmarks as well as ForecastFox settings. Photo shoot with student TD. Met with student PT to review orientation web pages.

Sat 14

Weight training: shoulder shrug, front raise, lateral raise. Archived documents. Processed photos. Usual oatmeal for breakfast. Post-breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, hash browns, hot water. Refilled a butane lighter. Organized with Velcro. Cut my hair. Showered. Picked up Chris and Nate, walked around the Upper Haight, had brunch at Magnolia Pub & Brewery (415-864-7468, 1398 Haight Street). I had a niman ranch burger (medium) with cheddar, fries, hot water. Chris, Nate, and Patrick had Blue Bottle Coffee Company coffee. We walked through Japantown. Chris and Nate had been here once a long time ago. Dropped them off. Home. Napped. Flickrd. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover jambalaya.

Sun 15

Brunch with Patrick and Mom Ryan at ?

Mon 16

Made live HIPAA training changes for Cindy. Met with Susie. Tweaked backups. Updated the org chart. Voicemailbox troubleshooting, handed it off to Alyssa. Made supp app live. Orientation registration web pages and form work. Submitted new e-mail address request. Entering students letter and web page work. Helped Scott with a problem with screen rotation and viewing hidden characters in Word 2003. Lunch: salads. Mid-afternoon meal: leftovers from last night. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops, shells and cheese, steamed broccoli.

Tue 17

Checked on Carol using her new computer for the first time—all is well except she reported a recoverable BSOD similar to the BSODs we have had in the past—blue screen upon arriving in the morning, force cold restart fixes it. Checked on backups. Installed Bluetooth for Joel's new computer. Ordered a 12-inch 10-pin internal usb to external usb female port cable so that the Bluetooth adapter can be locked inside the computer. Filed reimbursement requests. Entering students web page and letter work. Orientation registration form work. Lunch: leftovers. Helped Alyssa with a problem with an applicant printing form E. More sysadmins: QuickTime, Microsoft, and Java updates. HTML e-mail testing. Removed Scott's now-broken printer from his workspace. More HTML e-mail testing. Took RAM from Carol's old computer and put it in Scott's so that he'll have slightly better performance until his new computer is ready. Helped Susie work around 1.8 GB limit for PST files. Prepared items for surplus. Updated the inventory chart. Removed the radio from Alyssa's workspace in preparation for setting it up in the back work room area. Checked on Carol's computer: made sure that Retrospect service was running, make sure the computer did not sleep since it appears that Retrospect 6.5 cannot wake computers over the network. I'm evaluating STOPlock from the stoptheft.com people who make the STOP plate. Dinner at AsiaSF with Tony Q, Chris, and Nate.

Wed 18

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Prepped for Joel's new computer setup. Lucia, Scott, Carol, and I helped Alyssa celebrate her birthday with a slice of cake (from the cafeteria), a birthday card, a sign, and the happy birthday song. Helped Jamie with logo approval. Helped student GL with web development on a Mac. I called for an office fridge defrost. Unpacked one of the second batch of computers. Late lunch: salad from the cafeteria. Took away Joel's old computer. Took away James's/Steaven's old computer. Took down James's/Steaven's old monitor. Tidied Joel's new office space somewhat. Set up Joel's new computer and his old monitor. Computer administration. Yesterday Aaron's replacement hard drive arrived. I had ordered from upgradebay.com. Not long after I had placed my order, I received a call from them asking if they could substitute a different product than the one I had ordered—they insisted it would be the same specs. I had had some difficulty finding the right hard drive and the right place from which to order it, so as long as it was a new drive and the same specs I didn't much care. One recent pricegrabber review of upgradebay indicated similar behavior, and the reviewer gave them a bad rating because of it. I agree vendors shouldn't be making substitutions like this, but if they must at least this one called in advance to get an approval first. One problem I did find with upgradebay (aka Upgrade Bay) was that they failed to use the address I provided. They used a truncated version of my address, perhaps because endicia.com wouldn't accept it, and my order was not delivered as accurately as it could have been. When I received the hard drive, it turned out to be 50% larger than what I had ordered, and indeed otherwise the same specs. I can't be certain that it was new (the date on it was 2005, so I doubt it), but we'll see how it tests out. Home late. Dinner at home with Patrick: Chinese chicken salad, pizza. Replaced the hard drive in Aaron's computer. Began reinstalling Windows XP on it. Proofread the first 2 chapters of Patrick's new manuscript, a fictional martial arts story beginning in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana.

Thu 19

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Restored network shortcut for Carol. Restored e-mail archives for Joel. Chatted with Hubert about Mozy Pro followup. Backed up Joel's old computer. Troubleshot permissions for Joel to the admissions network folder. Troubleshot a problem unprotecting a document which had been protected in Word 2003 (Office 2003) and we were unable to find a way to unprotect it in Word 2007 (Office 2007). Worked around it by reopening in Word 2003, unprotecting it, then opening in Word 2007. Printed a binder cover. Steaven showed up at noon to help Joel with understanding some of the admissions coordinator tasks that Joel is now taking on. Backed up Steaven's old computer. Lunch: panda express to go, sat in Saunders Court to eat. My fortune: Your thoughts are highly regarded. CSC steering committee meeting—I showed up a few minutes late but the room was empty. I waited a few minutes and no one appeared, so I left. Archived a packing slip. Began setting up Mozy Pro. Uninstalled Acrobat Pro 8 from Carol's old computer. Backed up Carol's old computer. Prepped equipment for surplus. Patrick picked me up in the car after work. I bought a pair of drywall joint knives at the hardware store in Cole Valley. Drove to the Mission. We got a peach smoothie at a cafe. We met Chris and Nate at Borderline Books. Nate had wanted to check out bookstores to get reading material for Caltrain, and there are a couple of interesting bookstores right around 20th and Valencia. After Borderline we wandered upon dinner at Regalito, which we enjoyed. After dinner we went to ? and then to Dog Eared Books. Drove Chris and Nate home. Drove home. I continued setting up Aaron's laptop. The new hard drive installed successfully. I ran an initial disk test using Dell diagnostics, and all is well. Installed Microsoft updates. Ran the Fujitsu disk tools, but it didn't detect any drive in the laptop. Ran SeaTools. Flickrd. The Vantec SATA and IDE to USB 2.0 adapter I ordered arrived, so I'm just waiting now for the hard drive, and I can begin operating on the Mac Mini to restore my web server.

Fri 20

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Tweaked backups. Checked on Mozy Pro - something isn't configured properly, tweaked it. cdrom building. New hire space planning followup with Eamon. Minor web fixes for Carol. Lunch with Joel at L'Avenida. Rodney let me borrow a spare monitor for our new hire to use, so today I moved it into the new space. Created a postcard for Carol. Set up Lucia's computer—it took exactly 90 minutes just like I had expected. Sysadmin: Java and Firefox updates. Uninstalled Acrobat 8 from Lucia's old computer. Backed up Lucia's old computer. Tweaked backups. Installed Bluetooth for Joel's new computer—it failed this time and I couldn't figure out why. Posted new news for Susie. Troubleshot a problematic supposedly passworded PST file for Joel. Minor web fix: org chart. Posted latest schedules for Lucia. Final edits for the entering students letter: techstore. Home late. Dinner at home with Patrick: sausage, curly fries, corn off the cob. Continued setting up Aaron's laptop. He didn't seem to have a copy of Microsoft Office, so I gave him OpenOffice 2.1 instead. Linkchecking for home websites. Small edits to fix broken links on Tina's site. Archived car documents.

Sat 21

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Continued setting up Aaron's laptop. Set him up with mozy.com which provides 2 GB of online backup for free. This covers Aaron except for his music files and a subset of his photographs. House chores. Lunch with Patrick at Noriega Teriyaki (415-664-7766, 1755 Noriega Street) which I liked because the restaurant was cleaner and tidier than most Asian restaurants and the menu had a lot of small photographs so you could see what you were getting. I had beef teriyaki and the quality of the beef wasn't very good (gristly) but otherwise the meal was prepared well and tasty. Shopping at Stonestown with Patrick. Got a non-fat, no-whip, grande iced white mocha at Starbuck's. Bought the new Harry Potter book at Border's. Patrick has already started reading it. This evening I discovered the safest place to observe the crazy and homeless in San Francisco. On suggestion from Quyen delivered via Drew, and after adding Chris and Nate to the list, Patrick and I had dinner at Farmer Brown with Phil, Drew, Danny, Chris, Nate, Quyen, Dave, and Steve. Farmer Brown is on the northeast corner at the intersection of Mason and Turk, very close to Market Street. It's close to Hallidie Plaza and on the edge of the seedy Tenderloin District. The exterior foyer is nearly completely enclosed by metal bars, and while we waited for the others in our party to arrive we were politely but frequently accosted by many of the city's needful inhabitants. They didn't reach through the bars (even though I expected they would). One asked for a quarter, another shouted unintelligible gibberish, and so forth. It makes Farmer Brown feel like the kind of place that's not safe for children or elderly, and that's unfortunate because the place has a lot going for it. At dinner, dim lighting and candlelit tables set an intimate mood for an industrial-influenced interior design using primarily copper, steel, and wood materials. Our hostess was extremely generous in gracefully accommodating our party of 10 despite having no reservation. Patrick found the food to be very close to authentic soul-food cuisine. Jalapeno mini muffins and butter was provided. We started with shrimp creole poppers for the table. Patrick had fried chicken with collard greens and mac and cheese as well as a taste of the gumbo. I had meatloaf with mashed potatoes. For dessert, Patrick had a slice of the pecan pie. I didn't take any photos because the restaurant was so dimly lit. We enjoyed ourselves a lot, and we'd like to return here with Tina one day. Today Patrick found an old movie ticket stub under the driver's seat in my car for The Green Mile playing at Loews Cineplex Redmond Town Center theatre #4 at 8:50 PM on January 14, 2000, adult price was $7.50 (tax $0.35). Patrick took Harry Potter 7 to bed with him.

Sun 22

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Brunch with Chris, Nate, and Patrick at Cove Cafe. Nate had stayed up to read Harry Potter through the night and finished. In Cove Cafe, we saw a couple sitting at a table waiting for food to arrive. One was reading Harry Potter 7, and the other was reading Harry Potter 6. Drove downtown, parked at 5th and Mission Garage. Chris and Nate took off for home. Patrick and I attended the 4th Annual San Francisco Theater Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens. We saw at least one man reading Harry Potter 7. Stopped at the grocery on the way home. I napped for a long time. Patrick read from Harry Potter 7. Dinner at home with Patrick: sausage, broccoli, and tortellini in red sauce. Packed up a Honeywell heater for return. It had stopped working mysteriously, and it's still under warranty, so we're sending it back to Memphis for repair or replacement. Chatted with Nate on the phone. Archived documents. Fixed some broken links on Lodestar. fantasticsmag.com is perhaps the first magazine I've enjoyed reading online. It really only works well in portrait mode, and I'm more impressed with the web execution than anything else, but on the whole it's still quite well done for an online publication without a great deal of web technology sophistication. Technology humor: Slimming photos with HP digital cameras. The landlord fixed our back yard fence today. It looks very nice.

Mon 23

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Chatted briefly with Eamon in the hallway. Entering students update HTML e-mail prep. Mailed the entering students update HTML e-mail and made the web page live. Filed reimbursement requests. Set up Scott's new printer, an HP LaserJet 1022—same as Lucia's. Chatted with Susie, then with Shannon. Lunch: salad. Orientation web page edits for students NT and PT. Installed Opera for Lucia. Archived documents. Uninstalled and reinstalled Sygate to see if it fixes the 100% CPU problem with the server. Midafternoon meal: chicken piccata, steamed broccoli, brown rice, berry slushie. Dinner at home with Patrick: lemon chicken, baked potato, corn on the cob. The replacement hard drive for the Mac Mini arrived today, so armed with my 4.5-inch Hyde Red Star drywall joint knives (aka putty knives) I took it apart and over the next 3.5 hours began reinstalling OS X from scratch. I didn't think of this until later, but I should have taken photos of the process. It is indeed not easy for a person inexperienced with opening computers. For me, not too bad. Flickrd.

Tue 24

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Student computing committee meeting. CD-ROM building. Computer maintenance for Chris: lots of updates, installed PharmAdMIT 2007 and Mozy. Chatted with Doug from stoptheft.com, placed an order for the new STOPLock product. Carol's computer shut off unexpectedly. Not sure why—all plugs are firm, feet not known to have been in the cable/plug area. Started some services which might needed to have been running, but that's still really weird for a brand new computer to just shut off by itself. More computer maintenance for Chris. Chatted with Chris about proximity locks and his old laptop. Lunch by myself at Pasta Pomodoro: healthy chicken. CD-ROM building. To resolve the problem in which when starting Firefox 2.0.0.5 the following dialog appears: "Software Update Failed: One or more files could not be updated. Please make sure all other applications are closed and that you have permission to modify files, and then restart Firefox to try again."—close Firefox, delete updates.xml, active-update.xml, and the updates folder from C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Local Settings\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Mozilla Firefox (where [username] is the account name you're logged in as), then start Firefox. Both Carol and Chris's computers had this problem today, and in our case it was not a firewall problem as suggested in numerous places on mozillazine.org. Prepared CD-ROM build for review. Melissa H stopped by the office to chat with me and Joel for a while after her office downtown lost power. She's living two doors up from Squat and Gobble in the Castro, but only for another 2.5 weeks I think she said. Computer maintenance for Chris. Chatted with BK online for a few seconds about a power outage, and I didn't realize until much later that this outage was the same one that caused Melissa to leave work early today.

Wed 25

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Telecommute day. Tested the CD-ROM on my Mac Mini (PPC). Tested the CD-ROM in Windows XP. Found some problems, will need to finish the draft tomorrow. Updated the computer security guide. Lunch at home by myself: leftover turkey meatloaf, butternut squash risotto, strawberry and banana smoothie. Linkchecking and web edits. Made live the supp app workshop page for Scott and Joel. validator.w3.org is having problems today. More web edits: computer reqs. Continued work on building an RSS news feed for the school. I think it's almost ready. Dinner at PDD's. Restored website data to the Mac Mini. Haven't set up the webserver yet, though.

Thu 26

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Canceled meeting with Eamon—nothing to meet about just yet due to other issues pending resolution. Chris reported loud grinding noises coming from his MacBook Pro and handed it in to me. Upon start into OS X, no noises. I installed all software updates from Apple. I upgraded Firefox to 2.0.0.5. Upon start into Windows (Boot Camp beta), no noises. I ran Disk Cleanup then defragged. CD-ROM build edits. QuickTime licensing followup. Org chart work. Handed off school logo to Jeff C in Public Affairs. Web edits: set up outlook, e-mail. CD-ROM duplication paperwork, prep. Organized equipment for surplus. Chris's MacBook Pro followup—Chris has instructions on handing off for service. Helped student WJ with logging in to WebCT. Lunch: chicken burrito from Carmelina's. In the 10 minutes that it took for me to walk downstairs to the food court, I forgot to use the 10% off coupon that I had clipped. They win! Helped Alyssa resolve a paper jam. From a few days ago somehow I had archived some e-mail messages inside a PST file and the next time I tried to open it I found that it thought there was a password. Thanks to Nir Sofer's PstPassword 1.01 password recovery tool I was able to open it again. The first password suggested by PstPassword did not work, but the second one did—I was surprised at how easy it was. Nir Sofer explains on his website how weak the password protection is in Outlook. I commend Microsoft for including this weak password protection in Outlook, which makes it easy on me as sysadmin to work around password protection when I need to using PstPassword. Legal name change followup for a student. More work on restoring the Mac Mini. While fixing, I interestingly ran across my journal entry of August 16, 2005. Watched Heroes, season 1, episode 5 with Patrick. Home backups. Okay, for those of you still watching my RSS feed and haven't given up on me, frankfarm.org is back and the journal is mostly back up and running but right now only through RSS. The display of the web pages relies on mod_rewrite and every time I set up my web server I have trouble with that part, so browsing the website directly from the web does not work for the journal yet but it does work for the rest of the website. What happened was that I was salvaging data from Aaron's laptop to the Mac Mini which runs the web server and by an amazing coincidence the Mac Mini hard drive crashed while I was copying the data over. It took me a while to figure out what had happened since one does not expect a Mac to crash when copying files to it from another computer over the network. And since I was in the process of helping Aaron fix his computer, I had that in the queue before getting to fixing my Mac. Aaron's laptop was no further affected by the Mac Mini crash, and I was successfully able to copy his data to one of my Windows computers, which permitted me to complete his hard drive replacement and restoring all of his important data as far as I could tell. Downtime for my Mac Mini and frankfarm.org: 22 days (and counting, since the journal is not yet completely fixed). Loss of data: none. If you want to catch up on days missed, start on July 4, 2007 (but remember these links won't yet work until I fix mod_rewrite—use the RSS feed for now). I noticed that the tar.gz files I had been creating for backups have not been properly saving my symlinks (or maybe I didn't restore them properly, I don't know). I'll have to figure that out. Over the past few days I've been running my Dell 2005FPW in portrait mode at 1650 × 1080 and liking it a lot. Outlook works particularly well that way when you set the reading pane to bottom. And web browsing is much more productive, particularly with those many websites which use a fixed-width layout—they scale poorly to landscape widescreen monitors. Also, in OS X, when viewing the RSS visualizer screen saver, you see some very interesting graphics that you don't normally see in landscape orientation. However, I've had to switch back to landscape on the Mac Mini because its graphics drivers don't seem to be optimized well for portrait orientation—screen draws are comparatively very slow. In Windows, it's rather nice except on one computer the display is not as clear as it should be and I'm not certain whether it's a hardware problem with the monitor, a hardware problem with the graphics card, a software problem with the graphics drivers, or something else. It's really too much to troubleshoot, no one working for those companies will ever listen to me if I should bring it up, and it honestly doesn't bother me that much. The condition actually makes it appear as though everything drawn on the screen has a subtle reflection as though sitting on a pane of glass, so it's both cool and scary in a Web 2.0 kind of way like that. That would really be scary, I think, if Microsoft or Apple or Linux included something in their operating systems to make it really easy for software developers to add these subtle reflections automatically to whatever they wanted. It's also making me think twice about buying the forthcoming new iMac since the current model does not permit screen rotation or even vertical height adjustment. The current model has—I believe—only a single pivot point for monitor adjustment. I want, if possible, full adjustment features and a handle for easy carrying. Is that too much to ask? Given Apple's success with iPhone's portrait-landscape instant switching, would it be too much to ask Apple to extend that idea to the iMac? Maybe even without touchscreen CoverFlow goodness, I'd still be happy if they were able to bring back the good old days of the Radius Pivot. I still remember marvelling at using the Radius Pivot when I had a brief temporary job at West Marine headquarters in Watsonville, California doing page layout, editing, and installing IBM OS/2 onto giant supertower computers using the kazillion floppy disks required for the installation. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the Radius Pivot in the early 1990s was a full screen monitor (old TV-tube style CRT) and when you rotated the display it detected that you turned it, and it automatically changed the screen's orientation accordingly. Graphic designers loved it. Today, no monitor manufacturer I know has the same capability. You can rotate monitors today, but you must manually instruct the operating system to rotate its display as well—a two-step process. The iPhone has automatic switching, but it's not a full screen monitor. After Radius went out of business, it seemed no other monitor manufacturers decided that feature was needed or wanted. Please, Apple, please fulfill my wishes with the new iMac! Portrait mode is really very, very useful! I've been doing a lot of weight training lately but haven't been bothering to record it. While posting comments on Chris's blog today, I received the following error message: "Sorry, you can only post a new comment once every 15 seconds. Slow down cowboy." So I wait several minutes and click Submit again and I get the same error message! Grr!

Fri 27

Usual oatmeal breakfast. OAAIS ticket followup. Inventory work. Minor website edits. Chatted with student orientation leader PT about city tours edits. Made live stylesheet changes I had had in the queue for a long time now. Our website now (finally) is using just a single stylesheet. Inventory work and surplus prep. Archived documents. Cleaned the top of the cabinets over the kitchen area. Lunch with Ena and Joel at L'Avenida. City tours edits and prep for review. Made city tour pages live. LGBT viz work. Updated class schedules for Lucia. Stopped at Radio Shack to drop off a battery for recycling. (I normally do this on campus in the Millberry Union bookstore but forgot.) Chatted briefly with Sue on Irving Street. Met Patrick at Starbuck's. Dinner at Park Chow with Patrick and my mom. She and my dad are in town for a night or two, and I agreed to have dinner with them but dad declined to join us once again. Dinner and introducing Patrick both went well. She asked a lot of questions about him and they even talked in Chinese a little bit. Home.

Sat 28

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Chatted with Nate on the phone. Flickr admin work: invited lots of photos to Fatal Website Errors. Fixed display problems with my journal and documented it for future reference. Downtime for my Mac Mini and frankfarm.org: 24 days. Whew! Lunch at home with Patrick: leftover cow stew with steamed rice. Napped. Dinner at home with Patrick, Chris, and Andy: organic herb salad with deep-fried rolled bacon, heirloom tomatoes, artichoke hearts, grilled mushrooms; Sicilian lasagna with mortadella, proscuitto, and boiled egg; Italian rustic bread; olive oil with oregano and balsamic vinegar; Red Dragon Somerdale cheese; Trader Joe's chocolate celebration cake topped with dark red chocolate covered cherries from Neiman-Marcus. Wine: Spanish Venta Mazzaron 2004 and two other wines. We talked about China, Anchee Min, landscaping, Short Bus, Harry Potter, microchips, good places to buy wine, Lassen Volcanic National Park, nude beaches in Hawaii, television, Food Network, British humor versus American humor, Medaglia d'Oro instant espresso.

Sun 29

Cut my hair, showered. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Patrick and I met Chris and Nate at Starbuck's Chinatown Gate. We ate dim sum brunch at Kan's—Chris and Nate's first dim sum in San Francisco, I believe. Chris went home and did some napping and other things. Patrick, Nate, and I went to Up Your Alley Fair (aka Dore Alley Fair), which was pleasant. I was surprised that I didn't run into anyone I knew. Patrick left the fair early and did some shopping downtown. Nate and I stayed on a bit longer. We observed with amusement a woman with a ball gag valiantly attempting to give directions to two other people—you sort of had to be there. After we left the fair, we got a snack and drinks at a Starbuck's and sat for a bit talking. We met up with Chris and Patrick again at Sutter Stockton Garage where we all hopped into a City CarShare car for an exploratory trip to the East Bay. It was the first time in a City CarShare car for all of us. I was impressed with the many video panel controls of the car, a Toyota Prius. Chris said the feel of the car seemed like a normal car except that the brakes seemed to seize up a little as the car neared stopping—a negligible annoyance, I thought. We browsed stores on 4th Street. We drove to Shattuck and just before eating dinner at Beckett's we ran into Wilson, one of our recent graduates. We chatted briefly and I introduced. Nate and Patrick each had fish and chips. Chris had the sunday special—a meat pie something. I had roast chicken with mashed potatoes. Too dark inside for photos. On the way home, we ran into and chatted with Bucy. To bed early.

Mon 30

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Recycled old floppy disks that Patrick no longer needed. Checked in to work. Closed some city tours for student NT. Rode the shuttle to Laurel Heights. Sketched out style guide ideas for LGBT viz while on the shuttle. Met with Susie at Laurel Heights. Took photos at Laurel Heights while waiting for the shuttle. Picked up lunch and bought Muni passes before going back to the office. Teleconference call with Susie, Tara, Patrick, (Janet?), Helene, and Marilyn: website review; we're about 2 months from launch. Lunch: Panda Express during the teleconference call. My fortune: Your luck will soon be at a high point. Minor web edit for Carol. Name change followup for a student. Closed a city tour for student NT. Fixed "Software update failed" problem in Netscape for Lucia. Sophos for Vista followup with Heidi. Checked in with Tara about domain name reg for the Partners in D website. Updated an org chart. Finalized and submitted a surplus pickup request to Alyssa. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftover lasagna, salad, and bread and olive oil. Showed Patrick how to Flickr, he bought a pro account and started uploading photos from his last China trip. Recovered data from the damaged Mac Mini hard drive using ProSoft Engineering's Disk Rescue II 1.1.1 which worked very well. Archived documents.

Tue 31

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Closed some city tours for student NT. Web review and testing for Partners in D. Domain purchase for Partners in D. Staff meeting. Cindy brought angel food cake, orange juice, apple turnovers, and fresh cherries for a late celebration of Alyssa's birthday. Resubmitted surplus request now with signature. Began setting up new computers batch #2. Web edits for Cindy. Lunch: sandwich from Subway. Optical disk organization. Computer setup and staging. Patrick picked me up after work and we drove to Chris and Nate's new place in Showplace Square. They had just moved in and had some furniture set up. Nate prepared a platter of fresh grapes, cheeses, and crackers. They opened a bottle of chilled champagne. We took a tour—it's a big place by SF standards. Phil, Drew, and Paul arrived, followed by Jen. We appetized for a bit then headed over to Grand Pu Bah (415-255-8188, 88 Division Street) for dinner. I enjoyed it very much, and on the way back we returned via a different Myst-like path through the building complex—fun!