December 2007

Summary: Bruce and Mike's yin and yang party; I'm sick for pretty much the entire month of December; brunch at home with Scott, Andy, Ryan, Jason, and Patrick; bought an iMac; French Christmas Party; Phil, Danny, and Drew's New Year's Eve party

Dates on this page

Sat 1

Late breakfast. Caught up somewhat on e-mail. Worked on materials for Danny's spa. Lunch at home with Patrick: leftovers. Dinner at home with Patrick and Tony Q: roasted chicken with white wine and thyme, roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus and carrot. Tony brought a beautiful and delicious mango mousse cake from Schubert's Bakery—definitely a pleaser! The mousse tasted so light and airy that I had to have a second piece. Afterwards I helped Tony put purple and gold colors on his website. Went to Bruce and Mike's yin and yang party—dress in white or black or some combination thereof. BJ and Carlos dressed identically in black with white ties and won the prize for best dressed (or best costume). I dressed in a white polo shorts and white shorts, both from H and M. (I did not have white long pants.) I thought this party was lots of fun. New people I met: Joel, Ric, Brad, Somsack, Jorge, Andrew aka gogo (of Andrew and Phil aka lips).

Sun 2

Breakfast at home with Patrick: french toast, low-sodium bacon. Worked on materials for Danny. Processed photos. Flickrd. Snack: shells and cheese. Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops with leftover vegetables. Unpacked the new sewing machine. Chatted briefly on the phone with Tina about Aperture and Preview.

Mon 3

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Self study work. Met with Carol to discuss the career research page. More self study work—burned the final master. Learned today that OS X 10.5 does not appear to support the burning of multiple sessions to DVD±RW discs. Argh! Hardware inventory. Lunch: leftovers, read from Michael Tolliver Lives (borrowed from Nate and Chris). Snack: frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles. Dinner at home with Patrick: teriyaki cow, steamed broccoli, rice with bits of seaweed in it (this has a name but I forgot it and Patrick has gone to bed). Worked on Danny's website: added 2 new hand and foot treatments. Turns out that J used up all his employee discounts, so I instead ordered my new iMac through sneeper. He even figured out how to do it so that it uses my name and payment info for the order and it gets shipped directly to me—perfect! Made accessory purchases. Everything should arrive within the next 10 days, I'm guessing. Woo! When holiday break comes, I'll be spending a good chunk of it reconfiguring computers—installing the new one, migrating data, and possibly pulling out the old ones if the new one is working as expected quickly enough. This will be a major reconfiguration of the rackmount. Eventually, two 4U pc cases will come out, a hub will come out, a switch will go in, new metal shelves will go in, equipment will be shuffled up or down in the rack, some equipment hanging out on top might be stuck inside, the network will be slightly reconfigured, and the entire rackmount will be moved to the right of the desk and the desk moved flush left against the wall.

Tue 4

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Rainy day. Archived data. Spent the whole day on the student diversity communications project. Lunch: enchilada combo from Carmelina's. Dinner at home with Patrick: teriyaki cow, steamed broccoli, cous cous. Watched Heroes episode 210 (season finale) with Patrick. Patrick guessed how it would end several minutes before it happened.

Wed 5

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Spam firewall maintenance. Spent the whole day on the student diversity communications project. Lunch: pork chile verde over brown rice, steamed carrots, dinner roll, Promise. Dinner at home with Patrick, Chris, Nate, Danny, Drew, Phil: osso buco, salad. For dessert, bing cherry pie from Upper Crust.

Thu 6

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Dropped off padlock key #4 with Rodney. Spent the whole day on the student diversity communications project. Home. Worked on Danny's website. Dinner at home with Patrick: apricot teriyaki chicken, steamed rice, steamed peas.

Fri 7

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Reinstalled Sophos for OS X because it wasn't working. Installed Flash 9 for OS X. Got a replacement UCSF ID card since mine was old and faded. has been down since yesterday around 1:00 AM. At first I thought it was related to our router not working properly, but Patrick restarted that and the website was still down even after he got internet connectivity back. I had him restart Apache, but that didn't fix the web server. When I got home yesterday, I did some investigating and it seems there are problems with the hard drive. I didn't have time to troubleshoot—will try tonight. I have been learning some interesting things about keyboard shortcuts with Parallels (currently using Parallels Desktop for Mac, Build 5160, September 11, 2007). At work I have been keeping both a Mac keyboard and mouse and a non-Mac keyboard and mouse plugged in at the same time to my Mac Pro. Every day I still encounter keyboarding problems and other Parallels problems that I don't know how to solve. One is that when I'm in OS X and press Windows+H or Command+H to hide an application, the application hides as expected, but after that Parallels brings itself to focus and opens the Start Menu in Windows. Parallels isn't supposed to come to focus and open the Start Menu. It doesn't matter what OS X application I'm in—this is consistently reproducible. One of the interesting things I have found is that when you have Parallels in focus in Coherence mode and you press Windows+M or Command+M to minimize all Windows windows, you actually still have keyboard access to the Windows desktop even though you can't see it. For example, if I have a folder on my Windows desktop called "foobar," with a Parallels window active I can press Windows+M or Command+M, then type f o o b a r and press Return (Mac keyboards) or Enter (Windows keyboards) and the foobar folder will open. Another interesting thing I discovered is that sometimes the contextual menu key (which appears to be missing from Wikipedia's Keyboard (computing) entry), aka Shift+F10, appears to take effect even though you don't see the popup menu appear. This means that you can still activate items on the contextual menu with the keyboard even though you don't see the menu appear. I haven't yet figured out the exact conditions which permit this to happen. One example is if you select an image file in Windows Explorer, press the contextual menu key (or Shift+F10), then press v—the image opens (sometimes) in Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. Also, I realized recently that Windows XP has long had an image browsing interface that is remotely akin to Apple's Cover Flow. Most people don't know about it because Microsoft hides it well; it only appears under certain conditions which are unknown to me. The feature is Windows Explorer's Filmstrip view. To activate it, in Windows Explorer open a folder with images. Open the View menu. If "Filmstrip" does not appear, get properties on the parent folder (go up with either Backspace or Alt+LeftArrow, right-click the folder, select Properties), select the Customize tab, and in the What kind of folder do you want? section, select Pictures (best for many files). Optionally select the checkbox called Also apply this template to all subfolders, then click OK. Reopen the folder, then select View > Filmstrip. In filmstrip view, the currently selected file (image) is show large at the top while you see smaller icons representing other files (images) in the same folder below. You can use the arrow keys to navigate, just like Cover Flow. You can maximize the window and the previewed image gets larger, just like Cover Flow. It's certainly not as visually beautiful as Cover Flow, and it doesn't handle as many file types, but this leads me to believe that Cover Flow had a well-established but primitive and relatively unknown predecessor. I have mouse cursor problems in Photoshop CS3 for Windows when running Parallels. Occasionally the mouse cursor won't let me access certain portions of the screen. For example, I'll move my mouse right and the cursor will begin to move right, then disappear and reappear 200 or 300 pixels to the left. Restarting Photoshop CS3 makes the problem go away temporarily, but it eventually returns. I don't know what causes this. I also have screen redraw problems in Parallels at various times. Sometimes Alt+Tab followed by Alt+Tab makes the screen redraw problem go away, and sometimes not. Once I had to restart the virtual Windows machine because a line of screen corruption wouldn't go away—it stayed on top of whatever window I was working on. Picked up a copy of the final self study cdrom from Kim. Dinner at home with Patrick, but I can't recall now (2007.1209.2221) what we had. Attempted to fix my web server. Chatted briefly online with Greg C.

Sat 8

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Grocery shopping at Mollie Stone's with Patrick. Snack: I got a crumby blueberry muffin and a hannukah cookie and hot water at Creighton's. Brunch at home with Scott, Andy, Ryan, Jason, and Patrick. Patrick made fruit salad, pancakes, bacon. Scott and Andy brought 3 bottles of champagne (!) and two half-gallon cartons of juice for mimosas (thanks!). We talked for a while afterwards about (not in order) China, writing, Orson Scott Card, Philip K. Dick, Ubik, webvan, kozmo,, webcams, Seattle, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Diego, Mountain View, Indian pizza, Microsoft Surface, iPhones, simple iPhone hacks, Webkinz, personification of animals in film, gaming, programming, Firebug, Firefox plug-ins, web development, Apple hardware rumors, home buying. When 2 of the 4 iPhones got pulled out and tapped upon, I decided I needed a photo of them all. Sneeper and Jason helped me figure out why my web server wasn't working. My dynamic IP address had changed. I changed my DNS service to point to the new IP address. Napped. Web server problem confirmed solved after I awoke. Thanks, sneeper and Jason! Patrick's homemade chicken noodle soup. Watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on DVD at home with Patrick.

Sun 9

Spent the whole day at home, partly in bed. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Leftover dim sum and fruit salad. Canned soup. Leftover chicken noodle soup for lunch. Ravioli and garlic bread for dinner at home with Patrick. Today I finished reading from Armistead Maupin's Michael Tolliver Lives, on loan from Chris and Nate. I liked it a lot, and it it reminded me a bit of Dan Savage's writing. Watched Ratatouille on DVD with Patrick.

Mon 10

Didn't work today due to my cold. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Canned soup. Watched the instructional DVD that came with the sewing machine. Sewing has gotten a lot easier since I was a kid. I think the video is telling me that I don't need to use a foot pedal if I don't want to. And pretty much every step of basic sewing has been streamlined from what I remember using my mom's sewing machine. I just need a few more items before I can start my own projects. Canned soup. Dinner at home with Patrick: cow stew, irish soda bread with raisins. For dessert: sliced strawberries with cool whip lite. Watched 1 hour and 27 minutes of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon commentary on DVD with Patrick.

Tue 11

Still sick, but luckily it's not getting worse. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Drank hot water all day long. Leftover beef stew. Measured shirts. Leftover beef stew. Measured shirts. Dinner at home with Patrick: frozen deep dish pizza, butternut squash soup. Cold is still about the same, maybe a bit better than yesterday. Watched the remainder of the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon commentary from yesterday.

Wed 12

Another sick day. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Pruned bookmarks. Egg and ham sandwich at home with Patrick. Leftover beef stew with rice.

Thu 13

Worked from home today. Still got gunk in the lungs but sore throat and headaches are mostly all gone. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Got a lot done for work. Fixed the news index page. Caught up on 3 days of e-mail. Chatted with Susie about HTML e-mail. Posted and announced updated draft schedules. Prepared a response to Kensington. Began coding a new page discussing spam—our computer services section of the website is overdue for a data refresh. Canned soup for lunch. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken soup with Chinese transparent noodles. Turned on Flickr stats. Woo! Love their mid-1990s "under construction" graphic you get when you turn it on. Visited the webkins home page out of curiosity. Read the 2007 zeitgeist linked from Google Blog. Learned about picnik, a web service that enables you to edit photos in your web browser. I like that it seems to work with a bunch of photo sharing providers. I especially like that in a lot of places you have a lot more keyboard control than you expect from a Flash interface. For example, when your focus is on a slider you can use the arrow keys to increase or decrease the slider value. You can press Tab to move among controls. You can press Spacebar to activate a button that has focus. This kind of control is missing from most Flash applications, and picnik has done such a great job here following standard UI design that I immediately felt comfortable. The Create tab in the picnik interface has a bunch of cool features like Holga-ish and HDR-ish to create special effects. Perhaps best of all is that you can try it out without giving them even your e-mail address. Click the Get Started Now button on the home page, then click one of the demo photos, and immediately you're editing! If I had had to sign up I most certainly would not have bothered, but the demo photos made it two-clicks easy to see what they were all about. There's lots to like at picnik, and I'll be keeping it in mind when a need calls for it. There's an Auto-Fix button on the main interface which didn't work well for me, but there's a second Auto-Fix button under Exposure which worked better for me on the demo Seattle Pike Place Market photo. I don't know why there's two different Auto-Fix buttons with different algorithms, but there you go. On a separate note, I'm looking for an HTML/CSS debugging tool that works like this: I hover over text with my mouse, then a tooltip appears with the name of the typeface used for that text. It doesn't have to work exactly like that; something like that would be sufficient. I asked the geek squad on Saturday (Ryson and Scandy) but even though they all had iPhones and were clearly geekier than me they didn't know of exactly such a tool. Yes, tools exist that let you examine the CSS easily, but you would still have to dig to get the name of the typeface. Often I just want to know what font is being used because, for example, it renders poorly in my browser and I want to avoid it (I suspect but have not confirmed this happens when designers use a specific font (Helvetica?) for web pages on a Mac and don't realize that it looks awful on a standard PC), or I want to create a Photoshop mockup using the same font. If you know of such a tool, please let me know. Continued composing some thoughts on the problem of e-mail spam and sending URLs in electronic communications. I had started this months ago, never finished, and picked it up again today. I'll post it here when it's ready.

Fri 14

First day back at work since last Friday. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Today after logging in to OS X I started Parallels and my day went downhill from there. Parallels notified me that a new version (5582) was available to be more compatible with Leopard, so I said Yes to download it in the background. Windows XP was about to start, however, so I attempted to shut it down, but Parallels hung with the beach ball of death and after several minutes I force quit because there appeared to be nothing else I could do. I installed the new version of Parallels, and now when I launch it it hangs. I attempt to restart in Boot Camp, hoping I'll see different behavior, and I do: blue screen of death, UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME, STOP 0x000000ED. I restart in Safe Mode with the Windows installation (not Parallels—tho I am not sure what the difference is). I log in successfully as local admin. I request scandisk, then restart so that the scandisk will run. I restart as before (Safe Mode with the Windows—not Parallels—installation), and it appears to hang while loading drivers. Caps lock key doesn't toggle as expected. Cold restart. Keyboard stops working after several seconds at the Windows Advanced Options menu. Cold restart. Started as before (Safe Mode with the Windows—not Parallels—installation). Appears to hang while loading drivers. Cold restart. Started Safe Mode with Command Prompt with Windows (not Parallels) installation. Appears to hang while loading drivers. Booted into Recovery Console with my Windows XP cdrom (hold the Option key while booting with the cdrom in the drive). Ran chkdsk /r. chkdsk completes successfully, fixing 1 or more errors on the volume. Restart normally. Blue screen of death, UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME, STOP 0x000000ED. Restart into Recovery Console. Ran fixboot. Restart normally. Blue screen of death, UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME, STOP 0x000000ED. Restart into Recovery Console. Recovery Console hangs while attempting to start. Cold restart into Recovery Console. Ran bootcfg /rebuild followed by fixmbr. Restart normally. Windows starts and a disk check has been scheduled. It says I can press a key to skip the disk check, but I press a key and nothing happens. Disk check runs until I leave work shortly after 6:00 PM. When I return to work on Monday, I'll find out if my 8 hours of work today was worth anything. On Eric's computer, he too said that Parallels gave him the beach ball of death but because I told him of my experiences he was able to exit Windows before the download. I think it's safer to get this update manually from the Parallels website than to use their autodownload mechanism. Consequently, I got very little done today—thanks, Parallels! I still love you anyway. While waiting for chkdsk and scandisk, I cleaned up my desk some and also did a bunch of computer maintenance: Fx and QuickTime 7.3.1 updates. Lunch today was Panda Express. The black pepper chicken is too spicy for me even though they say it is only black pepper. Joel had a taste and said it was too spicy for him, too. I suspect they also throw in a little bit of white pepper that's not easily seen. My fortune: Versatility is one of your outstanding traits. (!). Many of the items I ordered for my new computer at home had arrived while I was out of the office due to illness. (I deliver to work since it's easier for me to receive packages there.) So I asked Patrick to pick me up in the car to haul it all home. It's like an early Christmas, for me anyway. Patrick doesn't understand what all the excitement is about. He doesn't know the joys of an 8-port gigabit switch or 4 GB of SO-DIMM or Parallels Desktop 3.0, but I bet he'll enjoy the new iMac that is yet to be unwrapped. Thanks again to sneeper, who made the Mac purchase possible. Dinner at home with Patrick: leftovers. I had leftover homemade chicken noodle soup. He had leftover chicken curry. For dessert, we each had a butter pecan cookie that Joel had so generously made—perfectly delicious, buttery and crisp! To bed earlyish.

Sat 15

Couldn't sleep due to coughing still from the cold I've had all week, so I got up at around 2:30 AM and computed. Archived documents, drank dayquil and hot water. Yesterday's big news at work was the resignation announcement of David Kessler, dean of UCSF School of Medicine. His announcement made it clear that his resignation was not voluntary, and it made it seem as though the university was responsible for some financial wrongdoing (Kessler very politely says "financial irregularities") that had occurred before he arrived. The story is being covered so far by USA Today and bizjournals and the San Jose Mercury News, but with few details beyond what he said in his own announcement. UCSF Today provides the university's opinion of the matter. The manner of this departure is particularly unusual for a person at his level in the university hierarchy. It will be interesting to see reactions from the other deans at UCSF and from other related bigwigs, though I would not be surprised if there is nothing but silence—the university works in strange ways sometimes. The university has not had a stellar reputation lately, so I am currently inclined to believe Kessler's claims that he was forced out and his implication that there's a larger story still waiting to be told. I'm sure the San Francisco Chronicle is working at least that angle right now. It's hard to believe that Kessler could have a motive for creating false allegations or that he was mistaken about them. I find it interesting that the reports mentioned in the UCSF Today story do not seem to be readily available (no link?). Wait and see. Presuming Kessler's announcement was all honesty and truth, it was as elegant as one can get for someone in his situation. I learned yesterday that I need to update my Google Analytics code snippet on all my tracked website templates. This wasn't clear to me when Tony Q and I chatted about it a few days ago. He had just signed up and his code to paste in looked a lot different than mine did, and I had signed up a long time ago. A blog I stumbled upon recently informed me that Google updated the code snippets (tracking code) one is to paste in to accommodate newer features. I wish that Google Analytics would have made this more apparent when I logged in to my account recently—it's not obvious at all unless you look at your tracking code page, and I didn't because mine was still working for most of my sites. Recently one problem I had with Google Analytics is that it would not detect my site as having the code even though I did everything correctly. The message I received was "Tracking Unknown (Last checked: 2007-11-25 4:38 AM PST.) The Google Analytics tracking code has not been detected on your website's home page. For Analytics to function, you or your web administrator must add the code to each page of your website." There appeared to be no way to contact Google for support, so I just waited and a few weeks later when I logged in to Analytics again it was working, so to me this means that the service is sometimes flaky. I've been using Photoshop CS3 at work and noticed that the Ctrl+Spacebar keyboard shortcut to zoom no longer exists—grr! 5:30 AM. Did some labeling. Recently I also added more velcro to our bathroom medicine cabinet. Updated Google Analytics tracking code for some websites. Updated validation footers for some websites. Did a lot of work for websites hosted on 5dollarhosting regarding their migration away from NaviSite. On my Mac Mini, when I open iTerm and enter the clear command, I get this warning message: "terminals database is inaccessible". If I try to use the man command (e.g., man man), I get this warning message: "WARNING: terminal is not fully functional." I tried deleting as one web page suggested, but that did not fix the problem. TERM is set to xterm-new. To resolve this problem, in my home folder I edited .bash_login (you can create it if it doesn't exist) and added this line to it: TERM=xterm-color. Now iTerm works as expected. Installed Flickr Uploadr 3.0 for Windows. Did some party prep. Chatted with Nate on the phone. Installed the student version of Sygate firewall on one of my home computers to test it out before I announce to students that it's available. Late dinner: leftover noodle soup for me. Snack for Patrick: grits. Late snack: canned soup.

Sun 16

I noticed yesterday Safari 3.04 on my old 1.42 GHz Mac Mini with 1 GB of RAM is dog slow compared with Opera. For example, I am unable to multitask at all in Safari whereas Opera lets me open other links in tabs and load them in the background and switch among the tabs as they are loading as I expect. If I do the same with Safari, it gives me the beach ball leaving me waiting for it to complete an operation. Opera shows me more of the page as it loads whereas Safari seems to wait until it has downloaded all the page's items before displaying anything. In setting up for our holiday party today I realized a great idea which I don't think is on the market yet: flat paperboard coasters with one side a Thanksgiving design and the other a December holiday design. We bought Thanksgiving coasters for our celebration last month, and it would have been super for us to pull the same ones out again and simply flip them over. Or the same thing but with December holiday and New Year's Eve designs. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Party setup and housecleaning. Patrick baked an almond christmas cake, and the smell of it is intoxicating. Used Flickr Uploadr 3.0 for the first time to upload party setup photos. Sweet—you can now prepare multiple batches for upload while your first batch is going up. The postupload web page is also great. The party went well, and the big surprise of the evening occurred when Conrad appeared—we hadn't seen him in years, and I guess others hadn't either. Nate made a gourmet plate of cookies for us and I shared them with everyone. (They were so good I think Patrick wanted to have kept them for himself!) Melissa brought two plates of delicious and festive cookies, having just gotten out of a holiday cookie exchange. Many others brought drinks. Sneeper and Scott brought a green tea liqueur which I found interesting.

Mon 17

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Friday's work attempting to repair the Windows side of my Mac Pro was unsuccessful. I began reinstalling Windows, not realizing until later that I needed to reinstall Boot Camp. After I got a working installation, I then realized that Retrospect cannot connect to OS X to write to the Windows volume since it's read only to Retrospect and OS X. I restarted in Boot Camp and was able to do a dirty copy of existing files. I had only backed up documents, not apps, so after that I began reinstalling applications. School holiday party. Listserv maintenance request for Jorge. Continued rebuilding Windows. I learned new restaurant recommendations: L'Osteria Del Forno (415-982-1124, 519 Columbus Ave, San Francisco) and Antica Trattoria (415-928-5797, 2400 Polk St, San Francisco). Dinner at home with Patrick: pork chops.

Tue 18

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Continue reinstalling applications. Met briefly with Cindy about the diversity project. Office holiday luncheon at Zuni (415-552-2522, 1658 Market St, San Francisco). We had arrived early, so we waited in Caffee Trieste across the street for about half an hour. I had creamy potato and sage soup, beef tagine, and hot water. All the food I had was delicious, and I believed with one exception everyone was pleased with their food. Lucia's pizza was disappointingly soggy in the middle, and there were a number of other small problems (both front- and back-of-house) which I made no mention of while dining in keeping with the festive spirit of the season. However, for the record: At 11:25 AM the staff at Zuni made us wait five minutes—in the rain—before letting us in when they officially opened at 11:30 AM. This seemed rude, as the large windows make it pretty obvious we are standing right outside the door, but I should have known, given their extremely rigid reservations policy of not accepting reservations more than exactly 1 month in advance. 1 month and 1 day? Call back tomorrow when we open. In any case, there is no foyer, and the awnings outside are not sufficient to protect you from rain—just fyi. In other words, if you arrive early, you will suffer—there is no comfortable place to wait. If you arrive late, you will suffer—they may give your table to someone else. If you arrive exactly on time, you will be received with pleasure, and no suffering is necessary. My fork had a bit of dried food on it and after I requested a new fork the water server left behind the dried-food-fork and gave me a clean salad fork. I just wiped the dried food off with my napkin after he disappeared. For the second course, our food did not arrive at the same time. 2 pizzas arrived first, several minutes passed (and our waitperson seemed to have disappeared), then 5 other dishes arrived, and then a long time—perhaps 5 minutes or more—passed before Lucia's soggy pizza arrived. When the second courses first arrived, the deliverator did not know who ordered the 2 pizzas she was carrying—she had to ask us who ordered it before setting it down. When my pot of hot water became empty, no one offered to refill it. When I requested for it to be filled, I received a glass of cold water instead. When I got up to go to the restroom, my cloth napkin was not refolded and placed back on my chair as I had expected. Despite these minor disappointments, I still had an enjoyable time. Earlier today Joel had told me, essentially, that Zuni wasn't anything special, and when he said that I had thought differently, but now I think I'd have to agree especially considering my experience 1 month and 2 days ago making our Zuni reservation. From what I could tell with this lunch menu, the food is still mostly excellent, but I think there are much better overall dining experiences elsewhere. Zuni has a lot of work to do if they are to regain my trust. Shopping, partly with Scott at Macy's. I picked up some socks. Looked at H and M boys but there was nothing new. I guess I need to get in the habit of returning only once every 6 months. Doctor appt. Dinner at home with Patrick: chicken korma with steamed rice. For dessert: marionberry pie with whipped cream. Processed photos, chatted online with BK lateish, and he made me laugh a lot—I used LOL a lot and meant it.

Wed 19

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Continued reinstall apps and updating them. Today we had our office gift exchange, and it was fun. We had a ton of food: vegetarian quiches, grapes, raspberries, clementines, muffins, stollen, chocolates, and more (most of it from Trader Joe's). I received a mistletoe-scented, 50-hour Yankee Candle brought by Alyssa. Joel brought a rectangular, white serving platter and also took it home. Alyssa received a silver oval serving platter and a little tapas cookbook brought by Cindy. Cindy received Crate and Barrel floating star candles brought by me. Lucia received a Borders gift card brought by Carol. Carol received a sherpa blanket with carrying handle brought by Scott. Eric received a tea pot set with flowering teas and 4 mugs brought by Lucia from OfficeMax. Scott received Teance tea and a tea holder brought by Eric. Many things went wrong for me today in the process of rebuilding my Windows XP installation. When deleting items I now get an error message saying the recycle bin is corrupted. I attempted some solutions involving the registry and deleting RECYCLER from DOS but they didn't resolve the problem. Mozilla Firefox was problematic—sometimes when opening it it would immediately begin repeatedly opening new windows. Once I started noticing this, I tried to log out, but it was too quick for me, even with keyboard shortcuts. I typed even faster: Win, L, L, Win, L, L, Win, L, L, repeatedly until finally I got it to log me out. I don't know what caused this behavior, and I'm not certain that my attempt to fix the problem has worked. (I deleted the Mozilla profiles that I suspect were corrupted, though I don't know how.) Once while attempting to wake OS X from screensaver it refused to wake. This has happened to me before, and I don't know what causes it. I changed to a different screen saver, but I don't know if that will help. Parallels froze on me again, this time while attempting to shut down Windows. I let it sit at the ending Windows screen for over 30 minutes, but it never closed. The more this happens, the more I'm thinking I might need to try out VMWare Fusion, and I mentioned as much to Eric. The geek squad (Ryson and Andott) told me that VMWare seems more stable. Worked on the spam section of the website. Other minor website updates. Restored mail archives. Began sorting through mail—I need to recreate all my rules - wah! Lunch: burrito from Carmelina's. Computer maintenance. Reconfigured Retrospect to back up all files. Stayed at work late working on the selected appendices for the self study. Recently while reinstalling apps for my poor BSOD Windows XP situation, I installed RealPlayer 11 and noticed it was a lot more polite than version 10, as though the entire company rethunk its relationship with its customers and decided, finally, to be more respectful in a lot of different ways. Some people might be wondering why I'm installing it at all, and the only reason is because I'm told that our students use legacy video content that was originally created in Real format. If you thought using Real was crazy, the unit at UCSF that does a lot of video work (IRTS) has standardized on Envivio player. I hadn't even heard of this player until I was told someone in my office needed it installed to view something related to work. The Envivio plug-in installation is not very user-friendly, either. Dinner at home with Patrick: cow tacos. For dessert: more marionberry pie with whipped cream.

Thu 20

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Prox lock followup. Met with Carol about pharm sci resources pages. Built the self study selected appendices final pdf and sent it out for review. Small pharm sci website update for Carol. Digital asset library hire followup with Susie. Posted final winter schedules for Lucia. Helped student KL with a question about Outlook. Diversity project work and followup for/with Cindy. Barbara approved the self study selected appendices, so I sent a final PDF to Judy. Lunch: roast turkey dinner with dinner roll and Promise.

Fri 21

Usual oatmeal breakfast. Helped student KP with a question about computer viruses. Student leadership group photo page work for Cindy. Linkcheck assistance for Eric. Worked with Susie on some minor changes to various pages (students versus PharmD students, current students, etc.). Graduation filing changes for Cindy. Scott approached me to check that our interview reply links are functioning properly, and we went over it and he tested it and all seems in order. More changes to the self study selected appendices, so I made more revisions and sent a new final to Judy. Updated the self study website for Barbara. Licensure and examinations updates for Cindy. Met with Eric. Left work around 4 PM.

Sat 22

My nose ran all day today, and I'm exhausted. Lunch: canned soup. Dinner: canned soup, deep dish pizza. Watched Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were Rabbit on DVD with Patrick.

Sun 23

Due to the recent webhost migration of, I realize today that the mail settings I changed on Monday last week were not correct and I haven't been seeing any mail—nor getting any errors. I had been getting some mail because more than one address routes in to my account, but not a lot, and I attributed the slow traffic to people doing their own things during the holidays. Today, though, after Patrick said he sent me messages I didn't receive, I investigated further and found the problem with my mail settings. I had over 700 messages (mostly spam) over the past week! Watched Wallace and Gromit Curse of the Were Rabbit with commentary on DVD with Patrick. Eustachian tube problems, steam breathing treatment.

Mon 24

More eustachian tube problems in the middle of the night, woke around 3 AM, steam breathing treatment. Began reconfiguring the network and setting up the iMac. There will be occasional downtime for Set up the new gigabit switch and the iMac and migrated data. The 24-inch iMac is amazingly large, and the screen is much brighter than the Dell monitor I had before. Patrick's first words when he saw it: "Wow, it's so big!" and then later: "I can't wait to watch Baraka on that." Installed RAM purchased separately. I am surprised that Apple didn't design a way for the RAM modules to be secured; anyone with the right screwdriver can steal an iMac's memory in about 60 seconds. This seems an obvious oversight, a swinging too far of the pendulum after people likely complained that upgrading RAM was too hard in older Apple computers. (I still have my Mac Mini putty knife collection.) Late lunch: leftovers. The iMac is working beautifully. All hardware tests passed testing with no problems. Patrick and I watched movie trailers in Front Row on the iMac.

Tue 25

I slept in while Patrick took his mom to the airport; she'll be in New Orleans until January 8. We opened presents (only a few this year), Patrick took a nap, and I continued setting up the iMac. I didn't encounter any problems with my new iMac until after I had installed Parallels. I should have known, having had problems with Parallels in the past at work. Upon launching Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac the very first time, it quit unexpectedly. I relaunched, and it started as expected. But later it hosed my Boot Camp partition because hal.dll was missing. I had seen this problem at work before, and I once I had seen this message again, I restarted into OS X and uninstalled Parallels on the spot. I've now lost perhaps 8 to 24 hours of work due to Parallels. I figured I would just restart into Boot Camp and uninstall Parallels Tools and then be done with them. I had some trouble getting started into Boot Camp again, but I finally figured it out. But when I attempted to uninstall Parallels Tools, a message appeared indicating that Parallels Tools would only install when running as a virtual machine. I restarted into OS X, reinstalled Parallels from cdrom, and it again unexpectedly quit upon launch. I reuninstalled Parallels, threw away the Boot Camp partition, then reinstalled Windows XP from scratch. Ugh! No more Parallels for me! I'm anxious to try out VMWare Fusion now. Patrick has indeed started to get sick as he suspected. And I think I'm out of the worst of my illness. It's hard to say whether it was one really long cold or two overlapping ones. My nasal passages are clear now, but I still have lots of congestion in the lungs. Coughing is dying down, but still occasional. Late lunch: leftovers. Patrick made bread pudding and took a bath. Attempted to download an evaluation version of VMWare Fusion for Mac, but when I clicked the link, I received the following error message: "Proxy Error. The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server. The proxy server could not handle the request GET /go/tryfusion. Reason: Error reading from remote server. Apache/1.3.29 Ben-SSL/1.53 Server at Port 80." Dinner at home with Patrick: canned soup, a bagel. Attempted to build Wine (software) from scratch and failed. The instructions provided at did not work for me even though I followed the instructions and installed X11 and Xcode beforehand. I suspect the instructions provided are either inaccurate or not current. Installed Skim 1.0.1 (v19), a PDF viewer for OS X. It seems to work alright. Installed Thunderbird, decided that I'll start using it for home e-mail.

Wed 26

More the same as yesterday: illin' 'n' chillin', setting up the computer. Watched Notorious C.H.O. on DVD with Patrick.

Thu 27

Cut my hair. Lunch with Chris and Nate at Cafe for All Seasons (and toy shopping at Ambassador Toys). Shopping at Stonestown, helped Chris and Nate pick out some clothes. Beverages from Hot Dog on a Stick. Gave Chris and Nate their presents, including bread pudding that Patrick made. iChat and video iChat with Tina—it was surprisingly difficult to get iChat to do what I wanted. Even Patrick watching over my shoulder said, "Aren't Macs just supposed to work?" Sneeper helped and we eventually got a 3-way video iChat working if he initiated it so maybe there's some bandwidth issue. Dinner at home with Patrick: shake and bake chicken legs, annie's macaroni and cheese. I am still coughing up phlegm from my lungs—yucky.

Fri 28

I'm still not fully recovered, but today I felt well enough to get some errands done, as Patrick has had more cold symptoms over the past 2 days. Late lunch: leftovers. Returned a video to the rental store. Shopped for computer supplies but neither Best Buy nor Circuit City had what I was looking for. Dinner: leftovers. Dropped off bread pudding for Phil, Danny, and Drew. Chatted with Drew, Danny, and Tina (Phil's sister) in the foyer for a few minutes. Danny served me a glass of hot water and a delicious lychee oolong tea.

Sat 29

More of the same as yesterday and the day before. Performed some migration steps for Patrick. Previously he was using Microsoft Briefcase to synchronize data on his laptop with another computer in our house. Now, he's using a custom XXCOPY script that I put together that backs up data one way to the new iMac. Signed up with Netflix today. Watched some instant video through Netflix: Watched Ghost Train from Amazing Stories Season 1 and Sundance shorts from 2007. Der Ostwind and One Rat Short were particularly good. Chatted with Tina on the phone briefly and with Emery online briefly. Placed an order for some cables and computer parts I need. Further refined the plan to rearrange computing equipment. We decided we can instead move the old Dell monitor and DVD player into the bedroom so that we can watch movies in bed. I can run the Mac Mini with remote desktop from the iMac. This means I might be able to do away with the KVM I have, but it might be nice to keep around just in case. I still won't have all the cables I need for reorganizing everything, but tomorrow some of the rearranging will take place.

Sun 30

Woke up at 4 AM, blew my nose and did some coughing. Couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and webbed for a while, then went back to bed until noon. I didn't say much about our Netflix sign-up experience from yesterday. The signing up part and adding movies to our queue was pretty simple. We worried initially about adding anything to our queue because we wanted to control what we received first. "Oh, no—don't add that one first" and "Maybe lets have this one be the first." We thought that 2 seconds after clicking the Add button under a film title a robot arm in Los Gatos would have the movie in an envelope and tossed into a mail bin for delivery. After finally settling on what would be first (The Line of Beauty), we decided to investigate the instant play feature. We got excited when we saw all the material available for us to view instantly. We spent several minutes looking over the choices and made a decision: Amazing Stories. I clicked Add and eventually we reached an error message saying that our computer did not have the requirements to play the video. Apparently, Netflix supports only Windows and not Mac, so the brand new 24-inch iMac running OS X is incompatible with this Netflix feature (I think they call it Instant Play), and of course they don't say that anywhere before you sign up. No problem, I thought, I'll just restart into Boot Camp. (I don't have VMWare Fusion installed yet—still haven't been back to their website after it gave an error while attempting to download a trial version of Fusion.) After Boot Camp started, I again opened up the Netflix website, manually navigated back to the same place, and this time we got a different error message about the system requirements. Netflix doesn't work in Firefox, only in Internet Explorer. I rolled my eyes, copied the URL, opened IE, quit Firefox, pasted the URL, hit Enter. And then we got a different error message which reminded me that I had not bothered to install Windows Media Player in this installation of Windows, because who uses WMP anymore, and isn't it enought that I have Flip4Mac installed on the OS X side? So I downloaded WMP11 and installed it. Back to Netflix. This time another error—something about a missing codec and it pointed us to a download page for the installer. I install the codec, and I think at this point it finally worked. By golly we were determined to watch crappy quality video with crappy sound just like the Netflix focus group and marketing team said we would. In setting up file and folder sharing in OS X 10.5 Leopard yesterday, I realized that something is screwy in the way Apple is handling Samba. After configuring some shared folders, I went back in to System Preferences to look at my settings and one folder was missing from the list even though I clearly saw on a networked laptop that the share still existed. I restarted the service through the System Preferences GUI, and it did not reappear. I even went so far as to attempt to manually troubleshoot Samba directly, which reminded me of frustrating times with an old Cobalt Qube 3 I had, but not only was the conf file very difficult to find but it also did not seem to contain any of the settings which I knew were currently in effect. I did not want to dig any deeper. Later, after a restart, I returned to the System Preferences and the missing share had reappeared. The other way I know that Sharing is not reporting data correctly is that I ended up seeing multiple versions of the same file share, e.g., Music, Music-1, Music-2, possibly because of repeated attempts to readd what appears to be a missing share. This is screwed up, and I am hoping that 10.5.2 fixes it. Yesterday I started a second brown paper grocery bag to hold the facial tissues after using them. Since February 6, I think I've had to blow my nose about 300 times. Actually, since I used each tissue for multiple nasal exhalations, you could also view this as about 1500 to 2400 nasal exhalations involving mucus. Something else screwy about OS X: sometimes I double-click a text file and TextWrangler starts but then the opening of the file fails and the screen blinks. Later, I think after a restart, it works again as it had before. Grocery shopping. Mailed a package to Tina. Napped. Stopped in at work to pick up some software I need to install at home. Dinner at Chris and Nate's with Chris, Nate, Jen, Phil, Danny, Drew, Tina, Paul. Chris and Nate made 3 homemade pizzas and a garden salad with assorted build-your-own toppings. For dessert, Paul brought a sans rival, but different than the one we tried from Ron and Fonsie. PDD brought a bottle of wine and a bottle of port. I brought creamy burgundy champagne.

Mon 31

Still sick. Usual oatmeal breakfast. Set up an rsync between the iMac and the Mac Mini. I initially tried to do this with Automator, but Automator didn't seem to have an option for a synch like rsync—I could copy files, but deleted files or folders on the source would not be deleted. In Automator, I could have had it wipe out all the directory contents, then do the copy, but that would be very inefficient. Just use rsync. Learned how to use RsyncX, but realized after generating my script that I didn't really need it. One problem I had setting up Apache on the iMac was that I needed to chmod a+x the root folder of the website. Without that, I got the error message "Forbidden - you don't have permission to access / on this server." Thanks to Geek Boy (Peter Clark) for providing on July 17, 2007 the answer I needed! I had planned to rearrange computing equipment yesterday, but it didn't happen—not enough time. Instead, it begins now, and there will be some downtime for Removed and reorganized computers. Much nicer now. Napped. Showered. Went to Phil, Danny, and Drew's New Year's Eve party. Afterwards Patrick and I had a pretty lousy meal at Sparky's. It was 2 AM on New Year's Day, and let's just say Sparky's was not operating at its best.