Saturday, May 08, 2010

Civil Service

My daughters joined me for lunch at The Bagdad today, a rare enough event. I remembered when this had been a video rental store, pre McMenamins buying the building.

We celebrated Carol's successful endeavors at the UN in NYC, welcomed the bright day, despite an abiding awareness of unfolding tragedies. She found some atmospherics to be up beat about. The Russians and the Americans seem to indeed have rebooted their relationship. Now if they could only act maturely around Iran... (that speech was pretty tame, nothing Canada couldn't have said).

Tara took the neg position regarding a two year quasi-universal draft, whereas almost 100% of her peers are taking the aff (aff and neg: shorthand from the Lincoln-Douglas debating subculture, Tara the district champion).

A culture espousing freedom should not mandate mandatory service, was Tara's position. Alexia saw relief from the pressure of student loans as a motivator. I circled overseas service as a possibility for volunteers, but that's not how the proposal had been written (a domestic service only).

Tara enterprisingly asked around and netted a cast-off PCIe card from a friend that solved her computer video needs. This took me almost an entire day to install, between other projects. Getting the dust blown out of her computer was definitely in need of doing. This was no super high end vid card, but beats what came on the motherboard (there's a BIOS setting to switch it over).

Don't apply the same dust blowing techniques to a piano though, I learned in my visit to the warehouse, as you'll just blow off the delicate felt padding (not that I'd done this, was learning from another's long ago mistakes). I was working for food, got to drive a truck and trailer (still haven't tried the forklift though).

My student friend in Indonesia has moved on to XML, is studying elementree.

I need to show Wanderer Bill Sheppard the Console module by Fredrik Lundh. I just tested it on Win7 and it seems to run just fine. Bill is always ribbing me about Python not being able to control a simple terminal window, sort of a basic test of basic smarts in his book (he writes in assembler).

In addition to upgrading the video card, I upgraded the Starling-1 netbook from Jaunty Jackalope to Karmic Koala, the next higher version of Ubuntu. System76 technical support by email was most necessary in getting me through this. I'd lost wireless, needed to upgrade grub, the boot loader.

I'm not some super Linux guru, believe you me, am in awe of some of those I encounter.

Tara has been using the Starling-1 more than I have recently. I mostly use it in meetings, to share pictures or quick takes from the Internet. I find it difficult to use for production work and appear not to have hypertoons installed, so it's hardly CSN-ready.

I wrote about PyCuda on edu-sig when thinking about this new graphics card... not that I've ever used it. PyCuda and its successor give Python coders a way to talk to the GPUs on nVidia cards.

I don't know what the Security+ people have to say about rogue employees milking more cycles out of on-board hardware -- presumably, like skateboarding, that shouldn't be a crime.

Speaking of which, the warehouse I was working in had an entire indoor skateboarding facility, which no one was using at the time. I was reminded of Vilnius.

The Wittgenstein list now has a record of some recent plowing and tilling in the Radical Math domain. I'm collecting recent links to my Math Forum posts in MyBizmo.

This may all seem more like idle banter than high stakes poker, I realize. I live in my own "private Idaho" to some degree.

Nick (GU exchange) reminded me to check out the revamped BFI website. Lets see if I'm can find some old pages... this one (NCTM heart Synergetics), but not this one (my London Knowledge Lab lecture). OK, cool -- the latter was out of date by now anyway.

LinZ is a the UU church downtown at the Ralph Nader lecture, running a table for Laughing Horse.

Alexia: what about those disappearing bees, why don't we hear more news about that? The only environmental cue we're getting is the steadily rising cost of honey.