November 2007

Summary: Dinner at Modern Thai with Chris, Nate, Danny, Drew, Phil, Quyen, and Dave. Lunch at Spoons with the Honmas. Patrick returns early from Handan, China. Lunch at Park Chow with James and Joel. Creole Thanksgiving at home with Tony Q, Chris, Nate, Phil, Drew, Danny, Shain, Remi, Jesse, Ted, Emery, Sam, Dave, Quyen, Dong Yi. Dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House with Chris, Nate, Jen, and Patrick. Triangle Martial Arts Association self-defense course. Thom W's farewell party at Solstice.

Dates on this page

Thu Nov 1, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Took photos of the clinical pharmacy and OSACA hallways and bulletin boards for Susie and for archival purposes. UPS issues with Eric. Added Partners in D link to our homepage for Susie and Mary Anne. E-mail problem troubleshooting for Chris: "Cannot start Microsoft Office Outlook, Cannot open the Outlook window. The set of folders cannot be opened. Errors have been detected in the file [filename]. Quit Outlook and all mail-enabled applications, and then use the Inbox repair tool (Scanpst.exe) to diagnose and repair errors in the file...." Resolution: rename the offending OST file so that it has a .BAK extension. Restart Outlook while connected to the network so that the OST file is rebuilt using data stored on the server. Problem solved. Acrobat and RealPlayer updates for Chris's laptop. Began ensuring that Windows Firewall is turned off for all computers on which we have Sygate firewall installed. Handed off the original Mac Mini to Eric for the digital asset management project. Error when attempting to copy Firefox 2.0.0.8 into the Applications folder on a MacBook Pro with OS 10.4.10: "The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items." Probelm happens both while domain admin and while local admin. Logged in as local admin, ran Disk Utility, repaired disk permissions. Solution: Delete old Firefox from the Applications folder first, then copy the new Firefox in. Error when attempting to burn files to dvdrom using InCD within Parallels: "CD Writing: Windows does not support this CD-RW format. To use this disc, choose the task "Erase this CD-RW", which will format the disc so that Windows can use it. Archived data to dvdrom. Restarted into Boot Camp beta to try dvd burning. While attempting to copy files to the DVD (via InCD), I received: "Error Copying File or Folder: Cannot copy [filename]: Files on this CD-ROM drive are read-only. You cannot copy or move files over to this CD-ROM drive." Workaround: I copied all the files already on the dvd to a temporary folder on the hard drive on my computer. Restarted in OS X. Erased the dvd. Burned the files onto the dvd using Burn in OS X. Lunch: roast turkey dinner, soda. Met with Cindy 1-on-1. Met with Eric and we upgraded my Mac Pro to OS 10.5 Leopard. The process took about an hour. Most everything went smoothly except now OS X won't let me log in to either my limited or admin domain accounts. I can log in to OS X only as local admin. If I start into Boot Camp, I can log in to Windows with either my limited or admin account. Binding OS X to our campus network has always been problematic, so I don't think this is a Leopard problem specifically. This problem is currently unresolved, and the workaround is to log in as local admin in OS X. Dinner at Thai Chef with Chris and Nate. Bought q-tips, i mean cotton swabs, from Walgreens. Nate leaves tomorrow for Oregon to visit parents for a few days.

Fri Nov 2, 2007

Small web edits for Susie including the about funding pages. Met with Susie, Ashish and Cindy. I think it was yesterday a student gave me a huge box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates to thank me for helping her with her laptop. Restored the user AppleScripts that went missing due to the installation of OS 10.5 Leopard. Computer maintenance: Firefox 2.0.0.9 installations, more RealPlayer updates. Mike L dropped off an old computer and picked up a mouse. Resolved the Active Directory login problem that was caused by OS X 10.5 Loepard using a tip that psychobauble sent me. Lunch with Joel at L'Avenida. Dinner at home by myself: leftovers. Went to bed very early (9:30 PM) because I was exhausted.

Sat Nov 3, 2007

Woke up at 4:30 AM. Downloaded and installed Adium on the old Mac Mini because Trillian has been crashing a lot upon startup and I don't know how to fix it and I'll eventually be switching over to Mac. Looked at Halloween photos that Phil, Danny, and Drew sent out. Learned what LOLCODE is after seeing a comment of jowie's in bk's Flickr photostream. LOL! Caught up on blogs. My e-mail is inaccessible because my webhoster is doing a big server migration this weekend. That also means that some home websites are temporarily unavailable—e.g., tinaluu.org and lodestarquarterly.com. Breakfast: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer creamy vanilla cocoa; orange juice; hash browns; low-fat pig sausage; diced granny smith apple, brown sugar, and cinnamon in oatmeal. A modern-day irony: When preparing the granny smith apple for oatmeal, I washed it with green apple-scented Sun Light dishwashing detergent. Somehow Google isn't finding my entry of January 15, 2003 when searching on "natasha anne lee" so I'll provide an update of my rave review of Better Living Through Dentistry, which is the dentist office of Dr. Natasha Anne Lee, DDS (415-731-9311, 1317 9th Av at Irving). Since my first visit to Dr. Natasha A. Lee's office nearly 5 years ago, the office has grown in staff but the gracious service, tasteful decor, and attention to detail has remained. Indeed, after 5 years you might expect a certain wear and tear to the walls, equipment, waiting room couch, perhaps something slightly rusty in the restroom, worn carpet, or touch ups on the walls, but upon my recent visit the office I didn't notice anything amiss—it still looks essentially brand new, which I find amazing. Dr. Natasha Lee, DDS no longer does my cleanings herself now, but those she employs and entrusts to the task are either other dentists or otherwise fully qualified to do so. What's still striking is the genuine calm and relaxed pace. In other offices, I've often felt as though the office was in such a hurry to turn over customers that a certain respect for the customers' time and comfort was missing, and to me that represented a kind of greed which I didn't want to reward. Also, in other offices, they cram about 3 or 4 patient chairs into the space that Dr. Lee puts 2 private spaces, and I've always appreciated the concern for privacy shown by this arrangement. I work nearby, so it's an easy walk to her office, but it's also on the N-Judah and bus 44 lines as well as close to bus lines 6 and 66. The neighborhood at 9th and Irving just outside her door has plenty of nearby manicure salons, restaurants, shops, pubs, hair salons, and manicure salons for distractions before or after a dental appointment. Put in a photo and link to my Halloween costume from October 27, 2007. I've decided very recently that it is now impossible for Apple to rectify the situation with keyboards and keyboard shortcuts that has gone wrong for so many years, and virtualization has only made the situation worse. Yesterday I was using OS X 10.5 Leopard with Parallels running Windows XP. I was working with text in a dialog box in Windows XP and typed Ctrl+LeftArrow expecting to move the cursor back one word and instead my screen switched over to a new space in Leopard's new Spaces feature. I instantly knew what had happened, of course, having seen after Leopard setup what keyboard shortcuts worked with Spaces when I turned Spaces on, but then I disabled Spaces for now and also started thinking more about keyboard shortcuts and Apple and Windows and Parallels and realized that there is now too much complexity for any single person to easily comprehend or even fully document or understand the dynamics of the contemporary situation of keyboard shortcuts in scenarios like these. Installing Leopard screwed up my swapping of Command and Alt—I had to play with the settings to get it to behave more properly but I don't even know that it's behaving the same way as before—there are too many layers involved. Does the fact that I have both a PC keyboard and a Mac keyboard plugged in play a part? (The Mac keyboard is plugged in all the time but used only when I need to press either Option or Eject.) On PC keyboards for desktops I'm looking for the eject button which doesn't exist. On Mac keyboards for desktops I'm looking for the context menu key (Shift+F10) which doesn't exist. And Alt on PC keyboards doesn't let me choose the startup volume like the Option/Alt key on Mac keyboards does. On Mac and PC keyboards for desktops I'm looking for the Fn button which only exists on Mac and PC laptops. Shift+F10 never works reliably anymore, the context menu key isn't always available depending on what keyboard you're using at the moment, sometimes I hit one of the two keys left of the spacebar and realize that I hit the wrong one and there's a second or two of dancing while I correct the error. I realize that OS X and Parallels and other applications let you remap keys, but then you remap them and weird and unexpected things happen. For example, I remapped "switch to fullscreen mode" in Parallels to Ctrl+Shift+F and when I used it Parallels switched to fullscreen mode as expected but then in Windows a new search dialog appeared (the keyboard shortcut for which is Windows+F). Press Esc to make it go away, and now your newly mapped Ctrl+Shift+F has become Ctrl+Shift+F+followed+by+Esc. Some people swap Ctrl and CapsLock because the key left of A is easier to reach than the key in the lower left corner. Some people who switched from Windows to OS X swap the Command key with the Alt/Option key because on PC keyboards Alt is one key to the left of the spacebar and on Mac keyboards Alt is two keys left of the spacebar. Some people (I think) swap the Control key with the Command key because in Windows commands like copy are Control+C but on the Mac the same command is Command+C. All of these differences and problems are only a tiny fraction of everything that's wrong today. For all this presumed virtualization productivity, this is, to me, a great price to pay. It's almost enough to make hardcore keyboarders like me want to go back to having separate computers and a KVM. What's needed is for the keyboard to be reinvented entirely from scratch now taking into account these kinds of scenarios. It needs to be adaptive to changes in technology and truly platform agnostic. It needs to provide every key I might need. It should, for example, detect when your current focus is Windows (either in Parallels or Boot Camp) and switch to a Windows-appropriate keyboard layout and, instantaneously, switch to a Mac-appropriate keyboard layout if, for example, you switch out of Parallels and into OS X. As far as I understand, no keyboard can do this today. I see Apple as being largely responsible for this mess because as designers of both the hardware and operating system software that all Mac users use they have all the power to rectify the situation, and they've had this power since 1985. If anything can be done to save this, I believe only Apple can do it (but I'm not holding my breath given Apple's history of input devices). It needs to just work. Data gloves, large multitouch screens, I don't care. Someone just fix this—please! House chores. Closed a bank account. Bought gifts for Patrick at the drug store. Took the car to the car wash. Sunbathed in Dolores Park—it was very hot and sunny today, just like a summer day. Visited with Mom Ryan. Bought groceries at Mollie Stone's. Picked up Chris for dinner, ate at Chow on Church. He had either smiling noodles or garden noodles. I had pork chops with (broccoli rabe?) and polenta. For dessert we shared an order of ginger cake with pumpkin ice cream and whipped cream. All the food was delicious and the wait staff was friendly and mostly efficient. We liked this experience, and Chris particularly liked the dessert. Walked around the Castro. Dropped Chris off. Home.

Sun Nov 4, 2007

Yesterday I installed Adium at home on the Mac Mini and since the Mac Mini is the only computer at home that's on all the time (because it runs the web server) I forgot to log out of Adium. However, I figured out how to configure Adium to say I'm away after 2 minutes and offline after 3 minutes. I also unplugged the Mac Mini audio so that its audio comes out of its internal speaker because the amp isn't always turned on but I have not yet figured out what sounds mean what in Adium. Chimes sound but I'm not always looking at the Mac Mini screen so I have no connection between the sound and what action is occurring. It would be helpful for the Adium preferences panel to have a Test button for each event so that one could create such associations at any time. If it has such a feature, I could not find it. While chatting with Mom Ryan yesterday, she said her doctor told her that all food from China has lead in it. At least that's now Mom Ryan's perception after having spoken with her doctor. I hadn't heard of this before, so I did some investigating. The New York Times reported on the day after Mom Ryan visited the doctor that the Chinese government barred exports by 750 toy makers due to safety concerns such as lead poisoning and that earlier this year other similar concerns arose regarding Chinese exports of tainted pet food ingredients, toxic toothpaste and seafood laced with harmful chemicals. There appear to be significant concerns, but to say that everything exported from China has lead in it is a knee-jerk reaction. I forgot to mention that on November 1 when having dinner with Chris and Nate I made us all laugh by telling my story about the vandalism I found in wikipedia. Changed a clock. Breakfast at home by myself: Aidell's mini chicken apple sausages, eggs scrambled wet with green onions, wheat toast with Smart Balance, fat-free hash browns with ketchup. Changed more clocks. Chatted with krisno3 online. All my 5dollarhosting websites are down since roughly yesterday. I haven't been able to send or receive e-mail from my primary account since sometime Friday or yesterday. Details can be found at 5dollarbackup. Go to the end and read backwards; it's pretty interesting. The nutshell version: Alabanza bought by Navisite, Navisite screws up in a huge way. Already people are predicting Navisite stock to drop precipitously tomorrow morning. Before Patrick left for China we purchased Avery 8879, glossy clean edge business cards for ink jet printers so that he could make new business cards to take with him. These cards do not feed properly into our Brother MFC-845CW. The pages are not picked up properly, and sending them in singly (nothing else in the tray) helps but only sometimes. I have not been able to try these in another ink jet printer, so I am not certain if this is a problem with the Avery product or with the Brother product. Eventually we got a set of cards to print, but it was not easy. I remember it was very frustrating and I was about to give up. Read Google Blog. OpenSocial sounds promising, and its success depends primarily on how cleverly it is structured and how well Google and the other partners communicate to build it. I am hopeful; it's something that is sorely needed. I've never been a fan of closed content, so although I might have an account at Friendster, MySpace, FaceBook, or other closed content social networks, I don't actively use them because they by default do not permit people to see all your content without signing up. You might say that my RSS reading habits are closed to closed content, so that means I don't read MySpace blogs or FaceBook blogs even though I know some of my friends have them and I would enjoy reading them. It's almost the same reason why I don't read The New York Times or any other newspaper that requires registration. (Does NYT still require registration?) I might respect those newspapers, but I don't respect the limiting of their content on the web. These concepts are simply not in the spirit of the web up with which I grew. I just read an old post by Paul Stamatiou that says that on a PC keyboard connected to a Mac pressing F12 for 2 seconds will eject a cd or dvd. Will have to test that when I get back to work. Discovered NaBloPoMo and kind of rolled my eyes to be honest. The current landing page for Adobe Photoshop has a new Flash interface which is groundbreaking in web development in that it effectively brings a very rich, personal, one-to-one, human element to web communication which I've never seen before. It's not perfect; it feels repetitive after you view a couple profiles, and although there is an attempt at accessibility with the provided captioning it is still very inaccessible in a lot of ways. But aside from these complaints it's very well done. Congratulations to the team that put it together. House chores, web surfing. Late lunch: cashew chicken, steamed rice. Chatted with Patrick online. Watched Serenity (2005) on DVD borrowed from psychobauble and Nate. At 22:27:21, all my base are belong to Navisite. Still.

Mon Nov 5, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Spent most of the day designing a trifold brochure for Cindy. Lunch: chicken piccatta, mixed vegetables, brown rice, gravy, dinner roll and Promise. Dinner at home by myself: grilled rosemary chicken medallions, harvest grains, steamed broccoli with shredded 4-cheese blend. Stumbled across Google Image Labeler, which at first glance appeared to be a competitor to Dymo or Brother products, but no—it's a clever way to create useful data where none existed before.

Tue Nov 6, 2007

Brochure work for Cindy. Prepared for vacation scheduling. Purchasing work. Copied the outreach presentation. Web edits. Updated the P1 winter draft schedule for Lucia. Presentation template work. Reported problem of shared calendars disappearing in Outlook 2007. Diversity project work (research). Reported problem "You do not have permission to send to this recipient" when sending mail from Outlook 2007 to certain outside-of-UCSF e-mail addresses. Prox lock followup. Lunch at Cybelle's with Joel. Joel had a large garden salad with chicken and lemon wedges and no dressing. I had a chicken burger with minestrone soup. Afternoon snack: frozen yogurt. Fixed a problem in OS X 10.5 Leopard in which certain Windows file shares (aka shared folders) were read only whereas before Leopard they were read-write in Tiger. The fix I used is the one described at tinyurl.com/3y4ko5 and it involves using attrib -r on certain folders which Windows has the read only flag set for some special folders it creates. It is believed to be a Windows problem, but since this worked in Tiger it appears to be a Leopard problem. The fix described at the aforementioned URL suggests removing the read only flag recursively but that seemed drastic to me, particularly if you use that flag for a specific purpose, such as ensuring documents such as document originals are not accidentally modified. When I used the solution, I did not do it recursively and it still worked. Just -r and +s the special folders at the top level. More purchasing. Listserv maintenance for student AP. Today I received a number of unusual phone calls from (I think) Monterey, California at my office (work) telephone number. The first was around 09:15 from 831-622-9505 and was a fax machine. The second was at 10:00 from 831-658-3693 and I let voicemail pick it up (but no message was left). The third was at 10:23 from 831-624-5311 and I let voicemail pick it up. I could tell these calls weren't really for me because I hardly ever receive calls at work. I never did figure out why I was receiving these calls. I figured it was faxspammers or telemarketers.

Wed Nov 7, 2007

Listserv maintenance for student AP. Placed hardware orders: external hard drives for the digital asset management system backup, new UPS for Eric. itssrv1 cleanup prep work. Faculty web page edits for Susie. Darik-boot-and-nuked 2 old computers to be surplussed. Lunch at Pasta Pomodoro by myself: healthy chicken with the whole wheat fusilli option, hot water. Picked up my new night guard at the dentist's office. Mailed a package to Tina (rawr). LGBT viz work. Archived old class websites that are going to be deleted soon. Web edits followup with Eric. Helped Shane S with permissions problems in her website. Checked with Alyssa about archiving files found on a floppy disk. Prox lock paperwork organization. Today I received the Kensington MicroSaver replacement notebook lock. Excellent! Prepared old computers and hardware accessories for surplus. Dinner at Danny, Drew, and Phil's with Danny, Drew, Phil, Chris, Nate, Mom Ryan, Fonsie, and Ron. Beef stew, catfish soup. Ron and Fonsie brought for dessert a sans rival, a filipino cake which is described variously on the web as such things as a meringue crusted cashew nut cake or a napoleon layered cake. The cake was surprisingly light and airy, with very sweet frosting on top and between the layers. After dropping Mom Ryan off at home, I bought gas. About 10 gallons at $3.619 per gallon (89 octane) = $35.00. Why can't humans combine a gas pump and an ATM machine into one transaction?

Thu Nov 8, 2007

Class website followup with student DS. Self study followup with Barbara. Hooked Eric up with an account to the student directory. Surplus pickup prep. Lunch at Nan King Road Bistro with Julie, Ed, Eric, Ricki, John K, Rob. Computer support coordinator meeting. Computer maintenance: QuickTime 7.3. Just before leaving, Joel tells me that after synching his Blackberry to his computer calendar it somehow one-wayed instead of synching and now all his calendar items are gone. Just between you and me, this is the reason I don't own a PDA and you couldn't pay me to have or carry one. I know stuff like this happens, it always can happen, and I believe it to be frequently unfixable when it does. I am willing to forego any possibility of added "productivity" to ensure this never happens to me, and my solution is to never carry a PDA. Resolved a weird problem in which Parallels would not start by reinstalling Parallels. Resolved a weird problem in which my network connection would not be seen properly in Boot Camp by using the Anakin Skywalker solution. Dinner at home by myself. I followed instructions I had written for lemon chicken with diced mushrooms, green bell pepper, and fingerling potatoes, but it took forever (90 minutes) to cook and I don't know exactly why. Every time I cut into it at 30, 45, 60 minutes the juices still ran red. It was a timing disaster somehow, and when I finally ate it I had it with leftover harvest grains. For dessert a Breyers blueberry lemon ice cream bar. Recently my mom sent me a small box 7 inches square. I thought it was a bomb inside, but instead I found: one 4.23-ounce package of arare rice cracker mix, one 7.7-ounce container of peanut crunch, one chinese-labeled 150-gram container of ginseng peanut candy, one 5.3-ounce package of Bali's Best Espresso Candy (center-filled coffee candy made with real coffee), and one 15.4-ounce container of Brown and Haley's Almond Roca. Of these, the Almond Roca is my most treasured, as I remember eating them when I was a kid and they are delicious. However, this container is probably enough to last me the rest of my life, as I don't have much of a sweet tooth. One Almond Roca every couple of years or so is enough for me. My birthday is coming up and people are wondering what to give me. They don't believe me when I say I don't want or need gifts, and I understand that need to give anyhow. Nate says he and Drew have been planning to take me to dinner somewhere, and that sounds like a nice plan to me. Today I switched my modifier keys in OS X on the Mac Mini at home back to default because using Parallels at work has trained me to use the default OS X modifier keys for OS X, so I might as well be consistent, especially since I anticipate having Parallels and an Intel Mac at home within the next few months. Now that I've switched modifier keys back to default, it's really hard to navigate in TextWrangler; I expect it will take a few weeks to retrain myself. I can do it; it will just be frustrating for a while. Chatted briefly with Patrick online. He's leaving Handan today and off to Beijing until Wednesday when he returns to San Francisco. He's not sure if he'll have Internet access, but you can still leave him messages as his Skype number or send him e-mail. I'm looking forward to having him home particularly so that he can prepare the lemon chicken instead of me.

Fri Nov 9, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Troubleshot a problem in which network connectivity no longer works in Parallels after installing OS X 10.5 Leopard. Found a web page describing a fix, but I got green instead of red and had to send a problem report to Parallels so I did. Lunch: beef stroganoff with dinner roll and Promise from the cafeteria. Met 1-on-1 with Eric then went over to his workspace and we completed some admin activities for his computer. My brother sent me 3 bottles of wine from Blackstone Winery—a very nice gift. I took one bottle with me to dinner tonight. Dinner at Chris and Nate's with Chris and Nate: spicy mozzarella on fresh toasted bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil with fresh bread, breaded and baked bscbs, fried green green beans and yellow green beans and pancetta, dessert assortment from Patisserie Phillipe. Napped at their place briefly before coming home. Chris says he has a fix for the networking problem in Parallels. Shane S gave me a bunch of gift certificates today to thank me for helping her out with a website problem that took about 2 minutes of my time—very sweet.

Sat Nov 10, 2007

Computer maintenance: RealPlayer updates—not sure if the October 2007 patch had installed correctly, so in RealPlayer I choose Help > About > Check for Updates and install "RealPlayer 10.5 plus Harmony with all current updates" or something like that to get the world's most complicated software version identification in history: "RealPlayer (tm) (win32) Version 10.5 Helix Powered With Harmony(tm) Technology Build: 6.0.12.1663 Distribution: RN31PRM." I sure am glad that it's helix-powered, though. I don't know what I would do without the helices making everything go. I've been submitting suggestions to everyone else who makes software for my computer that maybe their products should be helix-powered, too. Weight training: reverse incline dumbbell press, front raise. (I have been neglectful in recording weight training activities lately.) Cut my hair. Showered. House chores. Light rain today. Archived all 5dollarhosting (Navisite) websites. Mom Ryan called me on the telephone to sing a song to me. Went to the auto parts store but they didn't seem to have the wiper refills I needed. Home: late lunch: leftovers. Shopped downtown for clothes, bought some clothes at H and M boys. The day was rainy, and I got a slice of pizza at Blondie's. While hiking up to California Street, I saw various pedestrian disasters. A man's Macy's shopping bag tore open unexpectedly, and his many brand new dress shirts flew out onto the wet sidewalk. The sidewalks were crowded, and other pedestrians stopped to help him pick them up. In another, a woman slipped on a metal plate in the sidewalk and fell forward onto the wet sidewalk. She luckily caught herself with her hands, did not suffer a severe impact, and instantly got up, mostly unperturbed and still looking her best. However, the young boy who was holding her hand did not fare so well. Since he was holding her hand, her fall forced the boy's hand to the ground and he did not catch himself at all and started bawling like a young boy. I stopped long enough to ask the woman if she was okay, and she said yes, so I continued along. I waited forever on California Street for a cable car to come. Four or maybe five cable cars headed toward Chinatown had passed before one heading toward Van Ness appeared. No agent on the cable car collected money or even checked to see if people had a pass. I stopped at Recharge Spa to relax and to wait for Danny to finish work. He runs the spa very well; a staffperson was always available to help customers along their way toward relaxation and their next event of the day. I hadn't been in a few months perhaps and it was nice to see many new changes and improvements. For example, walls in the rear room have been erected to create private spaces for massage, waxing and other medispa treatments. While I waited they served me a hot and delicious tea. I was impressed with how well the entire staff treated all the customers. When customers left, they all had smiles on their faces. Around closing time, Danny handled an emergency nail repair from a woman who had just done some shopping downtown like me. I didn't think broken nails where you didn't see blood counted as health emergencies, but now I've witnessed it myself. It took only a few minutes, but when Danny was finished it looked like any other normal nail—amazing! We chatted about Oracle, the Oracle event happening downtown now through Thursday, websites. Before she left, she gave us a quick peek at the knee-high, fur-lined beige boots she had bought which were just as gorgeous as she was. Afterwards Danny and I walked to Modern Thai (415-922-8424, 1247 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109) where we met Drew, Quyen, Dave, Chris, and Nate and ate a delicious meal. (Phil was in Las Vegas.) The service was very good. Chris and Nate gave me a gift: a digital photo frame. (Thanks!) We went to N'Touch where it was dead, presumably because of the underwear party happening across town. Quyen and Nate played a game of pool. The rest of us watched the video screens, half of which played footage of Brasilian men frolicking on a beach and rowing in a rowboat in speedos and the other half of which played The Wizard of Oz from cable television with subtitles. We left and met at Danny, Drew, and Phil's where some of us chatted and some of us watched The Manchurian Candidate. Chris and Nate drove me home.

Sun Nov 11, 2007

Wow what a beautiful, clear day it is after yesterday's rain. Sunny and low 60s. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Recently I pressed some keyboard combination in OS X and started getting Greek characters whenever I typed and I didn't know how to turn it off except for logging out and logging back in again. I couldn't even go to Google to search for an answer because I could only type Greek characters. Visited my sister's family. They took me to lunch at Spoons, and then we went back to the house. Melissa stopped by to join the fun and also brought home-grown apples and persimmons to share as well as more than 20 ounces of gourmet chocolates for me—dark-chocolate-covered blueberries, dark-chocolate-covered orange, and a huge 10-ounce bar of dark chocolate truffle filled with marcona almonds. Thanks, Melissa! We played UNO Attack! and Monopoly Junior Shrek. Melissa had studying to do and took off. I fell asleep on the couch while the boys played Playstation 2 games. When I awoke, my sister had small, precious desserts from (Sugar, Flour, Eggs?)—a nearby specialty bakery or dessert shop. Hazelnut torte, pumpkin mousse, chocolate something—all very delicious. I stopped at Whole Paycheck to pick up fresh grapes and sliced fresh pineapple ($13) and apple cider ($2) for the bbq. Bryan's bbq: people played cards and watched The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, and Ratatouille. They couldn't find the blue hoodie that I had forgotten last time. Those on the Australian coral reef diving trip are leaving later this week. I think Matt said it would be 21 people (!).

Mon Nov 12, 2007

Holiday. Usual oatmeal breakfast. House chores. Brunch with Phil, Drew, and Chris at Canton Dim Sum & Seafood Restaurant (415-495-3064, 655 Folsom Street, San Francisco). Chris and I drove along the Embarcadero and witnessed a sidewalk crowd gathered around an (eagle?) that had downed and was guarding a (presumably killed) pigeon. We hiked up lots of steps and then took an elevator to visit the top of Coit Tower ($4.50 each to ride to the top). Chris got a Coit Tower souvenir penny flattened for $0.50. We drove down Lombard Street, then got coffee at Peet's (iced gingerbread latte for me, peppermint mocha for Chris) on Chestnut Street. Walked Chestnut Street a bit. Chris bought peanut butter cones from a gourmet chocolate shop. Drove back to Chris and Nate's—Nate had just gotten home. We all went to dinner at Goat Hill Pizza, which has a special pizza night on Mondays: you pay $9.95 for all-you-can-eat pizza and salad. They come around to tables with various kinds of pizzas announcing the flavor and you can choose to take a slice or not. It's kind of like Espetus or dim sum except it's pizza. It's a nice idea, and I liked it. At around 6:00 PM we waited about 20 minutes for a table. Days later Joel tells me that Michele had read my blog and discovered that we had likely eaten within meters or minutes or both of each other—they had been to Goat Hill Pizza around the same time this evening. Home. Laundry. Chatted with Tony Q and helped him change his website from a single long home page to a short home page with multiple children pages.

Tue Nov 13, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Closed a preview session for Alyssa. Student computing committee meeting. Staff meeting: Cindy brought bagels and juice to celebrate my birthday. Diversity profile edits for Cindy, Susie, and Ashish. BSOD troubleshooting for Chris's laptop. page_fault_in_nonpaged_area (stop: 0x00000050) after attempting to HotSync with a Palm Treo 755. Also: terminal_server_driver_made_incorrect_memory_reference (stop: 0x000000cf) after remotely restarting the computer via remote desktop. Problem points to either bad RAM or a problematic driver. TechTool Pro Deluxe 3.1.1 passes all scans except surface scan which it doesn't do by default. Listserv maintenance for student AL. Generated two highres LGBT posters for Kevin. Late lunch: dos pollo enchiladas from Carmelina's. Chatted with Lucia and Scott over lunch. Scott participated in a San Francisco scavenger hunt this past weekend and I offered to help him next year doing remote answer searching. Joel borrowed $2 from me and left for Los Angeles. It took me a long time to figure these 2 things out, so I'm documenting it here: (1) How do I run memtest86 on an Intel-based Mac? Answer: Use Matt Johnston's version of Memtest86+. (2) How do I start up from a cd or dvd when I have Boot Camp installed on an Intel-based Mac (ours is a MacBook Pro)? Answer: Hold the Option key while starting the computer and while the cd or dvd is in the drive. After a few seconds you'll get a light gray screen with 3 choices: Mac, Windows, and your cd/dvd. Use the arrow keys to select your cd/dvd, then press Enter to boot from it. Holding the C key, which is a correct startup-to-cd keyboard shortcut in certain situations, does not work in this scenario, nor does Cmd+Option+Shift+Del which some web pages led me to believe would work. If the Option key does not work for you, try booting your cd in a different computer that is not an Intel-based Mac—perhaps it's not really a bootable cd or perhaps the cd is damaged. More BSOD troubleshooting: Memtest86+ 1.7.0 passes with no errors. Ran short and extended tests in Apple Hardware Test 3A115—"no problems found." Diversity profile edits for Cindy, Susie, and Ashish. Worked on Tina's website. Chatted with Tony Q online. Patrick has a long layover in Tokyo and returns tomorrow.

Wed Nov 14, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. A few days ago I reported this problem to our helpdesk: "In about the past 2 months, 2 staff members have reported that shared calendars in Outlook 2007 occasionally disappear. They are using Outlook 2007 in Windows XP SP2 with all Microsoft Updates current. For example, Alyssa might be given permission to view calendars of Joel, Frank, and Cindy. She opens these calendars and can view them as expected, but some days later she starts Outlook and the calendars no longer appear. Sometimes this problem is resolved by closing and restarting Outlook 2007, but sometimes not. If not, the calendars must be manually readded, which is time-consuming when many shared calendars have been set up. I could not find anything particularly relevant on the web except from an Outlook MVP saying that this problem happens when Outlook does not close properly. I shall continue to gather information about this problem including whether Outlook was known to have crashed or otherwise not closed properly recently before the problem happened, but any information you might have would be helpful. Okay to close this ticket for now—I just want a record of this behavior stored with you." Telecommute day. Calendar updates. Other web edits. Conference call with Susie and Eric. Patrick returned from China, and he's doing well. Lunch: pasta with red sauce and green bell peppers. Dinner: turkey burgers and oven roasted potatoes. Watched Heroes 208 on the web with Patrick.

Thu Nov 15, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Student HW gave me a ride to work after seeing me waiting for Muni. Holiday luncheon restaurant decision management. Purchasing: kvm and cables for Eric. ECAP trifold work for Cindy, Susie, and Mitra. Updated the BPS website to include a mission statement for Susie. Helped Carol with cd burning. Helped Joel with questions about Excel 2007. Reviewed surplus process with Alyssa. Lunch at Pomelo by myself: lentils and brown rice with grilled chicken boob, hot water. CSC Steering Committee meeting with Erik, Fred, and Dan. Web team meeting with Susie and Eric. Made live the out map that Tet M coded for the LGBT viz project. Self study work. Dinner at home with Patrick: lemon chicken, green beans, corn on the cob. Worked on Danny's website. I received birthday presents from Steve M today—thanks Steve! Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge and Flower Drum Song on DVD.

Fri Nov 16, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Self study work. Lunch: Panda Express. My fortune: Today is a good day for being with a companion. Today Patrick used the persimmons that Melissa gave me on Sunday. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork loin with diced persimmon, steamed asparagus. Dessert: Patrick baked a cinnamon persimmon coffee cake. Delicious! Lately I've been wondering why OS X people have to repair disk permissions when things go wrong. It's kind of like defrag in Windows—you shouldn't have to do it, but it's there, you do it when a problem happens, and—sometimes—things get better. To me, repair disk permissions in Disk Utility goes against the "it just works" principle (aka recent marketing message) of Apple and OS X. I see this as a stain on the reputation of Apple that, apparantly, cannot easily be washed away. It also reminds me of restarting with extensions off in Mac OS 9 and earlier in that that was something that computer users shouldn't ever have to do if everything is designed properly. I don't believe that Microsoft claims that XP or Vista "just works"—and I respect them for that much. Computer maintenance for Patrick. Downloaded and installed Flock 1.0 for Patrick and me. I stopped using an earlier beta because of a big problem with bookmark importing. Now that 1.0.1 is out, I'll give Flock another chance.

Sat Nov 17, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Brunch at Slow Club with Chris, Nate, and Patrick. Slow basic for Chris and Patrick, Slow turkey hash for me and Nate. Hot water for me, coffees for everyone else. Coffee is very strong here. About $26 per couple after tip. Nate introduced us to Center Hardware which appears to be a very well run hardware store. Chris and Nate left to run errands. Patrick and I went home. Preparations for Thanksgiving. Online shopping. Archived documents. Organized stuff. Painted touch-ups for the walls. Lunch: grilled chicken and pesto sandwich with pickles for me. Patrick's stomach has been sensitive ever since he returned from China 4 days ago, so he didn't eat. Dinner at home with Patrick: spaghetti and meatballs, dinner roll and Smart Balance Light. After Patrick got back from China, he returned my camera to me, so I'm now taking pictures again. I recently uploaded my first photo to Flickr in about 3 months. I never did buy the new camera I wanted; I guess I don't really need it now that Patrick has come back early. We thought of a new name for the persimmon cinnamon coffee cake at brunch today: persinnamon coffee cake.

Sun Nov 18, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Called Zuni (415-552-2522, 1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA) to make reservations for the office holiday luncheon. The customer experience I had making this reservation was terrible and my eyes rolled so many times I got dizzy. First, last Friday, I visited their website—zunicafe.com—which is not really a website, only a placeholder home page. With as much money as you know Zuni is bringing in every day, you would think they could hire someone to build them a professional website. Come on, Zuni—your current "website" is from 1993! (Most especially the part that says, "The Zuni web site is currently under construction.") Online reservations link to OpenTable, which told me that Zuni does not accept reservations for parties of 8 online. It's not terribly clear on either Zuni's or OpenTable's website, but you can make reservations for parties of 8 (and presumably larger, but again it's unclear) if you call. I called last Friday afternoon asking to make reservations. The man who answered the phone hemmed and hawed about whether I could make the reservation or not because it was 2 days before 1 month before the day we wanted to eat and their policy is to only accept reservations 1 month in advance. He placed my call on hold and I waited. A minute or two later, a manager (I think his name was Joe) instructed me to call back on Sunday morning when they open at 10:00 AM to make my reservation—he would not take it right now. He also warned me that they typically get 30 calls within the first half hour for reservations. Some corporate talk track about "this keeps it fair for everyone." (I notice that the website says they open at 11:00 AM on Sunday but he said to call at 10:00 AM.) I wait until Sunday. At 10:00 AM exactly, I call. The recorded greeting says they are closed. I hang up and call back immediately. The recorded greeting says they are closed. I hang up and call back immediately several times over with the same result. I feel like I'm calling a radio station desperate to win the latest Icicle Works vinyl record or tickets to see Matchbox 20. I imagine rich people all over San Francisco trying to reach Zuni at this same moment except I'm at home and they're all driving somewhere downtown in their Porsche Cayennes looking for free parking close to Union Square and any Starbucks. I feel a connection with all the other people desperately trying to get in to Zuni, and it calms me. The recorded greeting says they are closed. I hang up and call back immediately. The recorded greeting says they are closed. I hang up and call back immediately. The line is busy. I hang up and call back immediately. The recorded greeting says they are closed. I hang up, wait a few seconds, then call back immediately. At 10:05 AM, a woman answers and asks me to hold. I'm on hold. I think for a few seconds that this isn't worth it and I can just hang up on her then make a reservation at Slanted Door just to spite them. Before I can do so, however, she returns. We talk a few minutes, I give my name and credit card number, and the reservation is made. In my opinion, no restaurant, Zuni included, is worth this much trouble. Zuni has a reputation for snobby customer service, and my experience today does not win them any points with me. Why would anyone who runs a restaurant choose to put their customers through such misery? Patrick and I drove to Ikea to pick up some supplies for Thanksgiving. Lunch at Ikea: open-faced shrimp and boiled egg sandwich, chicken fingers and french fries, hot water for me, lingonberry juice for Patrick. For dessert: almond cake. Before Ikea we stopped at JoAnn and I picked up some sewing supplies. And before that we stopped at the car parts store and I bought a replacement rear wiper. We picked up milk on the way home. I changed the rear wiper. It fits and works. Dinner at Chris and Nate's with Chris, Nate, Patrick, Phil, Danny, Drew: homemade lasagna, green salad, garlic bread, chocolate cake.

Mon Nov 19, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Reimbursements paperwork. Self study work. Handled a request for 24/7 access to the library at Mission Bay. Computer maintenance for the shared office laptop: Installed 1 GB of spare SO-DIMM, Windows Updates, installed Leopard. Helped student JM with disappearing e-mails. Lunch at desk: salad and soup and fresh fruit from the cafeteria. Leopard Active Directory joining and Parallels network issues with the shared laptop. Downloaded and installed Panic Coda 1.0.5. The trial version runs for 14 days, and the price is $79. I admit Coda is a very elegant application, but its disappointing weakness is its editor. There are a lot of things I like about Coda. Many tools I need are in one place. For most people it will be very simple to set up. It knows what I need—e.g., I love the upload permissions defaults dialog. It's fast at uploading. However, there appear to be very few default keyboard shortcuts and no way for me to create my own. I will try to find out if there are ways to get these keyboard shortcuts, but I have low expectations about that because OS X itself is not very keyboard accessible and Coda is an OS X-only application. Unless there's something huge I'm missing, I feel that any productivity I gain from Coda is lost when trying to write code. For example, in HTML-Kit, when my cursor is sitting on an angle bracketed element (tag), I press Ctrl+T and the entire tag is selected. Coda appears to have no way to do this. In HTML-Kit, while the cursor is on a tag, I can press Ctrl+Alt+Home and the contents of the tag is selected. Again, Coda appears to have no way to do this. In HTML-Kit, I can create a macro so that pressing a keyboard shortcut spits out a commonly used string of text. Coda appears to have no way to do this. In Coda, there appears to be no way to switch between the various views—editor, terminal, etc.—using only the keyboard. Syntax color highlighting was difficult to set up; I couldn't get it to behave exactly the way I wanted. Maybe TextMate will be a better option for me. Set up a limited admin account for Eric. Password management. Active Directory administration. Restored Retrospect config65.dat file from backup because it disappeared again (second time now). For some reason Mozy didn't back up the version I needed, so I used Retrospect to restore its own configuration file. During the restore I wondered if it had an idea that it was doing brain surgery on itself. I'm storing a copy of the config65.dat on my usb drive from now on because I can't afford to lose that file. Eric and I had a telephone meeting with Susie. Helped Joel with a laptop setup emergency. Dinner at home with Patrick: green pepper cow with steamed rice.

Tue Nov 20, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Listserv maintenance. Self study work. Set up archived missions for Susie. Helped Joel with a default printer problem with PharmAdMIT and Microsoft Word. Lunch at Park Chow with James and Joel. Part D followup meeting with Susie and Eric. Susie and Jeff gave me a ride back to Parnassus. Photo editing: diversity project and another photo for Chris and Helen. Stopped at the bookstore on the way home to do some holiday shopping. Dinner at home with Patrick: herbed, deep-fried thai chicken fingers with steak fries and corn. Flickrd some. Wrapped Christmas presents.

Wed Nov 21, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Sophos has recently failed for my computer at work—white X on red circle—and would not update when asked manually. I uninstalled it, restarted, then reinstalled using the latest version of the campus-provided installer—works now. Did the same for Cindy's computer since she's out this week. I suspect all other office computers will need updating and create a computer checklist for this admin task in my 3-ring binder called Other. Self study work. Work room cabinet organization. Computer maintenance for the student affairs coordinator computer. Student class website followup with student DS. Met 1-on-1 with Eric, saw his new chair, did some maintenance on his Boot Camp partition. More computer maintenance: fixing broken Sophos installations. Retrospect troubleshooting. Checked out Alyssa's printer which had started to have a burning smell when warming up and it also encountered a printer jam. I've decided it's no longer worth fixing, so she'll be getting a new printer soon. Dinner at home with Patrick and Mom Ryan: pizza delivery. Prepared for thanksgiving feast tomorrow. Made creole thanksgiving food cards. Installed OS X 10.4.11 at home on the Mac Mini.

Thu Nov 22, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Cut my hair and showered. Began setting up the apartment for thanksgiving feast. Set up the paper lantern we recently bought at IKEA. Snack: shared a slice of leftover pizza with Patrick. We rented tables, chairs, and chafing dishes from a party rental supplier. They delivered and picked up for an additional $75. Patrick has been cooking for the past 3 days and nearly everything turned out like he wanted, so he was very pleased. After eating, everyone fell variously into different stages of food coma. People hung out chatting until about 9 PM. Mom Ryan was unable to attend due to some back and stomach problems, but we sent Danny and Drew home with a package of food for her. In attendance: me, Patrick, Tony Q, Chris, Nate, Phil, Drew, Danny, Shain, Remi, Jesse, Ted, Emery, Sam, Dave, Quyen, Dong Yi. We would have invited lots more if only our home would have seated more and perhaps had a larger kitchen. Here's what everyone brought: Ted and Emery: cabernet sauvignon; Tony Q: flowers; Quyen, Dave, Dong Yi: honey baked ham, gourmet mustard, pineapple-ginger chutney; Danny, Drew, Phil: a bottle of Knob Creek and a bottle of wine; Chris and Nate: pumpkin-cranberry tart, a bottle of white cranberry juice; Sam: chocolates and assorted gift baskets; Remi and Jesse: chocolate cake, ice, ice cooler to borrow. Someone unidentified brought a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape (!). The menu: bourbon cranberry sauce, southern pecan pie, bacon & sweet pea soup, bayou chocolate bread pudding, shrimp-stuffed merlitons (only one each please), sweet potatoes with pecan & marshmallow streusel, green bean & mushroom salad, herbed butter parsnips, cayenne-lime corn on the cob, spiced iced tea, creole roasted turkey with giblet gravy, honey-baked ham (brought by quyen, dave, and dong yi), pumpkin cranberry tart (brought by chris and nathan), pull-apart bread (brought by nathan). Photos to come.

Fri Nov 23, 2007

I slept in while Patrick did laundry. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Lunch: leftovers. Watched Hereoes 209 with Patrick on the web. Patrick napped while I ironed. Prepared an old 3U rackmount PC case for sale. When it came time for dinner, I didn't want to eat thanksgiving leftovers again, so we decided to go out, but we didn't count on a number of our choices being closed and we didn't want to spend a lot of money. Time was running out to meet up with Chris and Nate, so we had dinner at a McDonald's in SoMa: chicken burgers, fries, sodas. Ugh! Watched the unaired-something-or-other pilot for Heroes with Chris and Nate.

Sat Nov 24, 2007

Wrapped Christmas and birthday presents. Pulled the christmas wreath out of storage. Processed photos. Housecleaning. Uninstalled Trillian and installed Pidgin 2.2.2, which after using for a few minutes I like pretty well. Brunch with Drew, Phil, Shain, Quyen, and Patrick at Tangerine. Errands in the Castro. Chris's birthday dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House (415-673-0547, 1601 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco CA 94109) with Nate, Jen, and Patrick. Dinner and service were both excellent. Our server was an Asian woman named 712 Maureen. Petite filets medium rare all around except for Chris (filet) and Jen (stuffed, roasted chicken). Appetizers: calimari, onion rings—both excellent. The calimari was especially tender, and the onion rings were unusually light and crispy. Dessert: lemon and raspberry sorbets, vanilla ice cream, creme brulee. Patrick and I got him a caffeine molecule t-shirt and a Doctor Who t-shirt. A fine evening.

Sun Nov 25, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Restored Patrick's Amazon wish list which you can find as a detectable RSS feed from the frankfarm.org home page. His old wish list disappeared somehow. Worked on Danny's website. Napped. Errands: hardware store. Met Julie, Jeff, Thom, Chris, and Nate at Home Restaurant for brunch. Afterwards we went to Castro Theatre for Sound of Music Sing-A-Long, which was a lot of fun. We were among the first 500 people in line, so we received a free gift bag which included: a sprig of plastic edelweiss, a fabric swatch representing curtains, an invitation to the Captain's Ball, and two cards to hold up during the song about solving a problem like Maria. I had never been to a Castro Theatre sing-a-long before, and it's a very different experience. Audience participation of both singing and not only singing is not only encouraged, but it's a key element of the show's entertainment.

Mon Nov 26, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Self study work. Key management. Inventory management. Digital asset management hiring process followup. Lock management. Surplus work. Diversity project work. Adobe LiveCycle Reader Extensions ES research. Remounted the network box which had come loose from the wall because 3 years ago the network installation people mounted it with double-stick mounting pads rather than screwing it to the wall. I attempted to screw it to the wall and then discovered the problem they did—there was concrete just past the drywall. I used a solution Eric suggested: 3M 06384—automotive acrylic plus attachment tape. It's essentially super-strong double-stick mounting tape, intended by 3M for mounting automotive body side moldings and other exterior trim. When I used a small amount of it for a previous project it didn't seem to hold super-strong, but this time it did—maybe it was a difference of quantity (I used a lot more this time) or mounting surface. Self study work. HTML e-mail work. Lunch at Pluto's with Joel. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers plus.

Tue Nov 27, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Self study work took nearly the whole day. Lunch: tostada from Carmelina's, chatted with Eric in the work room during lunch. Dinner at home by myself: chinese chicken salad.

Wed Nov 28, 2007

Telecommute day. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Did a little bit of work on the self study, but spent pretty much the whole day recoding the dean's html e-mail template. When Office 2007 was released earlier this year Outlook 2007 switched from using its own HTML rendering engine to using the HTML rendering engine from Word. This change in behavior caused many HTML e-mails to display unexpectedly in Outlook 2007. We simply stopped using our HTML e-mail templates until I had time to recode them, which turned out to be now. I was going to just take my latest template and try tweaking it to work with both Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 and then start testing other clients, but after some investigating, I ended up starting with a MailChimp template and reworked it to achieve the results I needed. MailChimp is hands down the best place on the web to learn how to code HTML e-mail correctly. If the dean's office didn't send so few HTML e-mails (we probably send fewer than 4 per year), I would sign up with them immediately. One of the new things I learned today when coding HTML e-mail: including a space character before the period in any class definitions that start a new line in <style> improves compatibility in certain situations. Bun bo xao dinner at Danny, Drew, and Phil's with Danny, Drew, Phil, Chris, Nate, Mom Ryan, Paul, and Patrick. After dinner, we helped PDD trim their new, artificial Christmas tree.

Thu Nov 29, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Self study work. I couldn't figure out how to quickly and inexpensively make an autorun.inf file autorun a Word document that had spaces in the filename. Documentation from Microsoft is unclear on what does and doesn't work if you have spaces in the filename. Some web pages says to enclose the filename in quotes (aka quotation marks) but I tried this and it did not work for me. I ended up asking if they would accept an 8.3 filename and the answer was yes, so that's what we did. Burned and distributed cdrom masters for review. Lunch: Panda Express. My fortune: You are next in line for promotion. Worked a little on HTML e-mail. Downloaded and uploaded photos for Chris from the office camera. Modified a surplus pickup request. Participated in a free self-defense course provided by Triangle Martial Arts Association which I learned about through the LGBT mailing list at UCSF. Mike P and Jamie F presented a variety of topics over 2 hours, and it included some physical defense techniques. Mary S from CHI was my terrific class partner. The class was very good, and I would recommend it to others. Late dinner at Nan King Road Bistro by myself. I ordered the marco polo dish and it came with the worst scallops I've had in a restaurant in years. They were very opaque instead of semi-translucent but they weren't overcooked—they just tasted awful like they were extremely low quality. I picked them all out and enjoyed the rest of the dish. The shrimp were very tasty. I've had good scallops at this restaurant in the past, so I don't know what's going on.

Fri Nov 30, 2007

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Overslept some and missed a meeting in the moring—rescheduled. Hardware inventory work. Eric Rick Rolled me today, but he didn't know you were supposed to disguise the link. I didn't know about rick rolling before this, but—of course—it's on wikipedia. Investigated how to get a replacement UCSF ID card. It's not clear on the WeID website, but I was told that I needed to call my HR person. There is currently no paperwork I need to fill out. Made live the Pharm Sci Career Research page for Carol, Fran, and Dick. Today I learned a new feature that I've never used in Acrobat Pro 8. With our self study, we needed to collect all our appendices in one PDF—that was easy and took only a few minutes. They were already in PDF, so I simply used the combine feature in Acrobat. One PDF file, an org chart, had XML forms data included with it and couldn't be combined unless I created a "package" which I didn't want because I wanted the greatest amount of compatibility with older versions. I separately opened the problematic PDF in Acrobat, resaved it as PDF (it sounds silly, I know), and then it was able to combine with the others without error. I was told that we also needed to number the pages in the PDF sequentially so that in a printed copy people will have those to quickly reference pages they need. In the past, a request like this would have been impossible or you might have required a special plug-in or third-party application. Our documents originated in Word, Excel, and other applications and many had their own page numbering, sometimes excerpted from larger ones. Others were received 2-up. Acrobat Pro now (I have version 8) has a feature to add headers and footers to a PDF file; I don't know when the feature was introduced. I was amazed at how fast and easy it was to add the page numbers I needed. We decided that by adding "Appendix: Page XX of XX" to each page we didn't need to remove pre-existing page numbers—people will figure it out. Lunch: cheeseburger and onion rings from the cafeteria. Linkchecking. HTML e-mail—worked on the unsubscribe page to which we'll link from the HTML e-mail messages. I got it all working but now I just need a representative, unnecessary image or graphic for the top left corner of the page to add visual interest. The UCSF Technology Store has recently switched over at least part of their website to ColdFusion, and now it's not as easy as it was in the past for students to find the current computer configuration we recommend, so I sent an e-mail to Garrett about it. Today I learned how to put Darik's Boot & Nuke on a USB drive and boot off the USB drive to wipe drives. The reason I needed to do this was because I had a Dell Latitude D800 and a CMS backup hard drive that plugs into the modular bay of the laptop. I needed to wipe both drives. I had figured out how to wipe the laptop's built-in hard drive using a cdrom with DBAN on it—that was easy. But it's not as easy to wipe the CMS drive because you can't take the cdrom drive out after DBAN starts—for some reason it still needs to read from the cdrom while it runs. Since I didn't have an easy solution I was going to just abandon the drive by sending it to GreenDisk. But then I later learned that I can't yet send the equipment away—it still needs to be handed off to someone else but it needs to be securely erased first. I didn't have an external or modular bay floppy drive, but I did notice that the BIOS supported starting from a USB drive. I spent a long time trying to figure out how to create a DOS startup disk on a USB drive. Windows XP SP2 could not do it—the option was grayed out. I ended up using a huge (~45 MB?) HP utility that everyone on the web said worked, then overwrote the HP installation with a simple operation I found in the FAQ for DBAN. I'm not sure I needed to do the HP installer part, but I got it to work. The laptop started from the USB drive and it erased both hard drives at once. (The main hard drive was already erased, but I saw no easy way to have it erase only the CMS drive.) Was going to deliver the finished laptop to Rodney, but he had already left for the day. Chatted briefly with Eric, let him borrow a keyboard to set up his KVM hotkey. We suspect that the USB hub in his Apple keyboard prevented his Avocent SwitchView DVI KVM from receiving the default hotkey of ScrollLock (aka Scroll Lock) correctly. He plugged in a Dell USB keyboard which had no USB hub, switched the hotkey to a different key using the instructions provided by Avocent, and now it works. Today is the last day of finals before winter break for our students—you can feel the relief and joy as they walk by. I stayed a few minutes late to accept some paperwork that some students were supposed to turn in by 5:00 PM. Took the shuttle to Mount Zion. Walked to California and Divisidero where I got a small skinny almond latte from Martha Brothers Coffee. Went to Solstice for Thom's farewell party. It's his last day at Public Affairs and a bunch of others mostly from Pub Aff were there to celebrate his contributions to UCSF and wish him well at Golden Gate University where his new job is. We're going to miss him. People I knew there: Jeff M, Julie B, John K, Tony T, Kirk F. I met Laura S and Nada. The coffee from Martha Brothers earlier upset my stomach—probably too acidic. Dinner at Pasta Pomodoro on Market Street with Patrick. I learned today that mafaldine is ribbon pasta with wavy edges. I had a small order of mafaldine with hot water. Pollo alla griglia and iced tea for Patrick. Walked in the Castro afterwards. Home. Watched Heroes 210 on the web with Patrick. I arranged with my Apple-employed cousin to purchase an iMac for myself—thanks, J! It's time! Years after Apple's Switch campaign, I'm finally a switcher after having switched a few others in the previous year. Tina used to be on Mac, switched to Windows, then I switched her back to Mac. Our office has two Mac laptops now where before there were none—one MacBook and one MacBook Pro. (Both just run Boot Camp, though.) My computer at work is a Mac Pro, and our new web developer Eric has both a Mac Pro and an iMac. (Eric appears to be a longtime supporter of Apple—no switching necessary.) I'm using OS X and Parallels on a daily basis now. I am no blind follower of Apple—I follow toward the rear of the pack and then off to one side and still am not convinced that everything Apple does is the right thing (FileVault corruption? lack of keyboard shortcuts? keyboards without keys I need?). But information technology professionals cannot deny the general excellence coming from Apple on many fronts in, particularly, the last several years, and I'm not talking about the iPod, iTunes, or the iPhone even if they have contributed significantly to Apple's bottom line. No one else makes computer hardware that can run Windows, Linux, and OS X. Three years after its introduction, still no one else makes a desktop computer that is as small, visually beautiful, quiet, and energy-efficient as the Mac Mini. (Have Dell and Gateway and other PC manufacturers even been trying? I have to wonder.) OS X is faster to market than Windows or Linux with some very useful features that work better than anything else available. Apple's excellence in (mostly hardware) design is what's winning me over, and it's the small details that make a huge difference: magnetic power connector, ambient light sensor, integrated webcam, shake sensor, being able to view the path to a folder in the Leopard Finder, and so forth. I'm sure that soon after this iMac purchase Apple will release the touchscreen Cover Flow iMac with a stand that permits 360-degree landscape-portrait rotation with something analagous to what Samsung calls (but does not clearly promote) AutoPivot and height adjustment and more easily accessible USB ports at the same or nearly the same price. It's all in the long tradition of buying computer hardware that becomes obsolete the week after. To all my friends and family who work at Apple, here's my (monetary) contribution to your company's success, and thanks for the iMac and Leopard. Keep up the mostly great work! It does indeed just work. Most of the time. And sometimes after a little bit of research.