Tuesday, October 31, 2006


This morning I finally got the last item I needed for my Dr. Strangelove halloween costume: The wheelchair.
Andy indicated that he thought strangelove had a power chair, but watching the related scenes did in fact show that he pushed it under his own power.

Tonight is the singles ward party. I should do quite nicely as Dr. Strangelove. Now just to work on acting like my right hand has a mind of its own...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Living in Officespace

One of the companies I work for moved a couple of months ago. Until this happened I didn't fully appreciate how bad cubicles can be.

I remember a day when I had an office (shared) with a door that could be closed. It was beautiful. I could close the door, listen to music, and concentrate.

Those were good days... Days where you wern't privy to adjacent telephone conversations. Days where serious thinking could get done.

Mind, that isn't to say I can't concentrate now. Just the other day I managed to concentrate on something for a full 10 minutes before being interrupted. Not by a direct question. No, it was just a near by distraction.

With a little hard work at night maybe I'll be able to get one of my KCS projects to a point where I can start charging for services. That would be a fine improvement over the multiple jobs I have.

Winning the war

Browsing reddit I found a link to an article called Why Bush Thinks We're Winning.

The main thing that jumped out at me was this quote at the beginning:

"Absolutely, we're winning," Bush said. "As a matter of fact, my view is the only way we lose in Iraq is if we leave before the job is done."

Has it ever occurred to anyone that our president may not be using the same metrics we are to determine success?

If the goal is to make them free; every day we stay gets us farther from that.

If the goal is to put them under our control and keep them there even after we leave then if we leave now we lose.

It is impossible for a man who takes away so much freedom at home to provide freedom elsewhere.

Instead he gives the people of Iraq a myth. A myth because that's what's left of the freedom we had. We raise our flags and talk of freedom while we wait for our government to do what's best. We support our parties so that the other guys don't mess things up.

But, do we ask? Do we ask what parties have done for us? Do we ask how we can do things ourselves? De we ask why it's so hard for good people to win when running for office? Do we ask how a candidate will vote instead of how much money he has raised? Do we vote for the one who will do a good job or do we hop on the bandwagon of someone who can "win it for the party"?

Bush may be winning his war, but sometimes I wonder who his war is against.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pumpkin Pi

Last night I had a date. We carved pumpkins. As I sat looking at my uncarved pumpkin I pondered what kind of carving best matches the flavor of nerd that I am...

It was of course the Pumpkin Pi.

Bob tells me he's going to be carving more this weekend in preparation for a ward Halloween party. I may have to refrain from making a Pi out of one of them if he calls me for help.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Mr. Lappy goes to Texas

Today I packed up Lappy for RMA. I'll miss it while it's gone. Oh the fun I've had... Writing code, checking email, balancing my checkbook...

Now I'll only have my Linux box, my PC in the living room for DDR and DVDs, and my little machine I'm planning on doing embedded erlang development with.


One horse town (if that)

Friday I drove to Duchesne to pick up a friend with a dead engine. Apparently when parts come out the side of the block it's a pretty bad sign.

I had a cheese burger at the local diner while I waited for him. I have a soft spot in my heart for small town burger joints.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

QC Movie of the day: Goonies

Ever since the move the QC department has been doing lunch movies.
Today it was Goonies.QC is still waiting for cabinets and tables in their lab space. Until then we have movies for lunch time entertainment.


Lappy shows its age...

My laptop's hostname is Lappy486. It has served me well for a while, but aparently the power adapter plug has issues on this model. Sunday I opened it up to see what was wrong with it.
You can't see it in this picture, but the solder connection on the little power board has gone bad.

I got out the soldering iron and tried to fix it, but it doesn't look like the metal wants to bond with the solder.On the upside this is aparently a known issue with Averatec 3200 series laptops and they will still fix it for free on machines that are out of warranty. The downside is that they won't just send you the part so you can fix it yourself.

I'm going to have to say goodbye to my old friend the lappy for a little while so it can get fixed. It's going to have to be soon. The RMA number is only good for 30 days.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Win!!!

It started with sarahbellum.

Then Rob Miller picked it up.

I may not be one of a kind, but I sure am close!

LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I was a little curious so I looked someone else up. I always thought there was something funny about Bob... Almost like he's not from around here.

LogoThere are:
people with the name
Bob Aagard
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Blog Profile Photo

Have you ever noticed that there is no way to directly upload a picture for your blogger profile photo? I think it's silly.I guess instructions are instructions...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

New projects need new stuff

Yesterday morning when I was configuring a new phone system for my cousin I noticed something. There were many times when I would type something on the keyboard, but not all the letters would come out. All the keys still work, but they only seem to work 90% of the time.

It probably doesn't sound too bad, but when you type as much as I do and you find yourself correcting errors every couple of minutes in things that you know you typed correctly it gets old. This isn't a new problem. It's been a little funny for a couple of years, it's just that I haven't worried about it. I didn't use my Linux box that much.

Yesterday, I was having trouble with the Enter key. That's just not cool.

While I was out for lunch I stopped by CompUSA and picked up a new HP multimedia keyboard.

It was surprisingly hard to find this. All I really want is a classic 105-key keyboard. With the home, insert, delete, etc... buttons in the right place. I really don't like those ergonomic keyboards. Don't even get me started on remapping the function keys with the F-Lock.

I've been using computers long enough to remember my family getting a 386DX with 4MB of ram and thinking that was a great upgrade. I know what I like. With any luck vendors will continue to produce it.


PS: Before the 386 we had the IBM AT. That was fun...

Erlang DNS Proxy

Last weekend I started learning erlang. I mentioned that I wanted to make a DNS proxy that can do filtering. Right now I have the proxy running. It doesn't modify packets, but it does print them on their way back. You've probably never wondered how names on the internet get resolved to addresses. Either way, this is what a DNS packet looks like.
Packet: {58634,
[{<<"shaunkruger.com.">>, -- Domain name to resolve
{64,20,38,170}, -- Internet address for shaunkruger.com is here

Last time I wrote this in C I had to spend time doing thread synchronization, writing queue abstractions, and making the datatypes I pass around agree somewhat.

It's good to be writing this in erlang. I'm not sure I would be able to do it as well in Lisp. I could possibly do it in C#, but then there is the problem of binary manipulation for parsing the packets. That's never been fun in C#.

For anyone who isn't so into my technical posts, I'm having a fondu party on thursday. I'm pretty sure I'll have something interesting enough to write about from that.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Erlang = Awesome

Ok, so I'm no Erlang hacker yet. It's only been a month since I declared my intention to learn it. I have now made my first effort. It's a small program that watches for DNS requests and prints them on the screen.It has taken me about 4 hours of reading documentation and trying things out at the command line to get to this point. Granted, I didn't really know how to read or write erlang when I started so I think I'm moving along quite nicely.

As for what I intend to build... A few years ago I wrote an internet filtering daemon for a small company. It was a DNS proxy. Basically it would catch a request for name resolution (to find the real internet address of something like blogger.com for instance), pass that request to a real name server and check its records to see if the request should be granted. If it is supposed to block the site it would change the internet address returned when the DNS packet is sent back to the requesting client.

It took a bit more C code than I would have liked. The thing that has me writing this in erlang is that many of the things I tried to do with difficulty in C exist as easy to use language features in erlang. Binary parsing , concurrent processing, and error handling are the first to come to mind. One bad pointer reference and a C program crashes (Illegal Operation in windows speak) while erlang programs can be more easily written to catch such crashes and respawn whatever parts have died.

In server programming high availability is key. Erlang seems to be a tool that can help me design for it.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

FHE Hoedown

Family home evening in the singles ward this week was a hoedown. The only shame of it is that I'm not much for dancing.

I took social dance in high school and enjoyed it. I can still swing dance well enough to be convincing. Since then however I have lost interest.

Though, rumor has it that Bob can dance...

Here we have Ben. He's new in the ward and practices just the right sort of nonsense. He was also at last Friday's shindig.

I have a few more pictures, but I'm still figuring out the proper use of this camera so none of them really look very good. I'm working with a Canon Digital Elph that I just got from my local Kentos...

For those of you who weren't around last January, Kentos is my insane friend who kicked a crocodile in central america. Yeah, he really is nuts.

(Kentos stock photo provided by unerased memory card in recently obtained camera)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Looking around again I found this blog post called Wanted For Treason. Reprinted for your convenience.
October 3rd, 2006

Wanted For Treason

Do you know the whereabouts of any of these senators? TheyÂ’re all traitors and they must be brought to justice and dealt with accordingly:

Alexander (R-TN), Allard (R-CO), Allen (R-VA), Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO), Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Burns (R-MT), Burr (R-NC), Carper (D-DE), Chambliss (R-GA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Coleman (R-MN), Collins (R-ME), Cornyn (R-TX), Craig (R-ID), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), DeWine (R-OH), Dole (R-NC), Domenici (R-NM), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Frist (R-TN), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Gregg (R-NH), Hagel (R-NE), Hatch (R-UT), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Johnson (D-SD), Kyl (R-AZ), Landrieu (D-LA), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Lieberman (D-CT), Lott (R-MS), Lugar (R-IN), Martinez (R-FL), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Menendez (D-NJ), Murkowski (R-AK), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Roberts (R-KS), Rockefeller (D-WV), Salazar (D-CO), Santorum (R-PA), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Smith (R-OR), Specter (R-PA), Stabenow (D-MI), Stevens (R-AK), Sununu (R-NH), Talent (R-MO), Thomas (R-WY), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Voinovich (R-OH), Warner (R-VA).

Each one of those senators voted for the TorturersÂ’ Protection Act (S. 3930) last Thursday. They have thereby violated their Oath of Office:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against ALL enemies, foreign AND DOMESTIC; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Because of the new law they voted for, these traitors, if caught, can be held without trial and tortured until they confess. CouldnÂ’t happen to nicer people.

This post was inspired by Kvatch at Blognonymous. HeÂ’s doing a series of posts on traitors in the Senate. We should all be doing this.

I am very sad to see both of my senators on that list.

I have had to come to grips with the fact that I am no longer free. My government is running away and abusing power. If we read and understand how the Weimar republic turned into Nazi Germany we will see we are on the same path.

If you or someone you know becomes labeled as an enemy combatant I wish you luck.

Irony 451

Today I found a story on reddit about a man who wants Fahrenheit 451 to be banned from use in his daughter's school.

Read it in the Houston Community Newspaper.

If someone reads Fahrenheit 451 and only comes away with dirty language complaints then they have thoroughly missed the point. I never read it until I was well out of high school and I consider it to be a very good book with some highly valid warnings.

Besides, I'm mighty partial to books.