Saturday, August 20, 2005

Battlestar Galactica

I just finished watching season 1 of the new Battlestar Galactica series. I recommend watching it if you haven't already. It definitely follows along the same lines of Firefly as a drama that happens to take place in space (and if you haven't seen Firefly, stop what you're doing right now and rent it). Also like Firefly, the story focuses on the characters and the interactions between them instead of the technology. I didn't quite like it as much as Firefly, but it was still good. I was surprised that religion played a fairly large part in the subplot of the story, as most sci fi that I've seen doesn't really have any stronly religious characters. However, there were some fairly strong religious overtones in the show. The cylons, especially Number 6, did a lot of preaching in a couple of the episodes about how we needed to accept god's love and all that jazz. I definitely shared the sentiments of Gaius (one of the characters who was preached at all the timee), when he told Number 6 he was bored to death of all her talk about god. Seriously, there were some scenes that could have been shown in church as part of a sermon. However, if you can look past that and/or ignore it, it's an entertaining show. I plan to watch season 2 as soon as I can find it.

2 Comments:

Blogger staticfoo said...

A candidate for netflix?

8/22/2005 11:38 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

It would be if I didn't have high def tv rips of it sitting on my fileserver.

8/23/2005 9:08 PM  

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Why I Hate The Visual Studio Designer

The title's not entirely fair or accurate. After all, the Designer saves me a lot of time and effort when I have to make visual changes to a GUI. For those who don't know, the Designer lets you change a graphical user interface by clicking on Controls (buttons, icons, and the like) and moving them around graphically. The Designer itself takes care of the code writing. The Designer and the Control Outline plugin is a godsend combination when an interface needs to be restructured in some way. Unfortunately, the Designer has this nasty bug where it deletes all the Controls in a Window. It has happened to me countless times in the course of working on my app at work. I'll be writing some code, switch to the Designer to change something, and poof. All I see is a blank Window. No buttons, no tabs, nothing. Scares the shit out of me every time it happens to me, even though it is fairly trivial to recover from the deletion.

My point is that a GUI designer (or any application, for that matter) should NEVER, under any circumstances, make code modifications unless explicitly given the command to do so by the user. Hell, I'll take it one step further. A computer should NEVER, under any circumstances, write a single line of code unless explicitly told to do so by the user. And even if the application breaks the above two rules, it certainly should NEVER, under any circumstances, delete the entire graphical user interface for an application. Doing so completely defeats the purpose of using the Designer, which is to save time. Hopefully they fix this bug/remove this feature in the next release of Visual Studio.

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Working In The Lab

I discovered today, as my 10-hour work day dragged on, that I feel a lot less mentally exhausted when I work in the ScanScope lab instead of in my cubicle. Although it's physically less comfortable than my cubicle (where I have a comfortable chair and can rest my legs on the desk), there's more interaction with other people. It's a noisier environment which, strangely, enables me to work harder than I otherwise would. Plus, I get to work with actual ScanScopes instead of the demo Controller that runs on my workstation. I swear, I must've made at least 50 scans of that damn demo slide image (which is an ugly black and white image that scans into a blue test pattern). At one point, I had 18 gigs of test pattern images stored on my workstation. As an added bonus, I think working with the real scopes helps me find more bugs. I seem to have fewer problems when I use the demo Controller, probably on account of there being no actual hardware involved. If I can find a free scope to work on, I'll probably start spending more time there in the lab

2 Comments:

Blogger Luke said...

You lost me at discovered...

8/19/2005 10:00 AM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

Well then allow me to break it down for you
Today: The current 24 hour period of time that begins at 00:00 and ends at 24:00.
ScanScope: The thing the company I work for builds. To overly simplify things, it's essentially a digital camera mounted to a microscope.
Lab: The place where the ScanScopes are assembled and tested.
Cubicle: A mini-office with short partitions instead of walls. I work in one of these.
Controller: The piece of software that controls the ScanScope.
Demo slide: A very ugly black and white image of a microscope slide. The goal of the demo Controller is to emulate the operation of a ScanScope without the need for an actual ScanScope
Test Pattern: A very ugly blue pattern that simulates a microscope slide scan.
18 gigs: A very large amount of data, especially data that is entirely the above mentioned ugly blue pattern
Hopefully everything is now crystal clear

8/19/2005 8:51 PM  

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Weddings and Birthdays

So this past weekend I headed up to Hanford for Katie's wedding and Lucas's 21st birthday. Apparently we're getting into the schedule of a wedding each August, though I have to wonder who plans on getting married next August. But anything can happen, I suppose. Had you asked me if I thought Katie (or anyone else, for that matter) was going to get married this August, I would have said no. Anyways, the wedding was nice, though it did feel a little weird. I was also disappointed by Katie's wedding vows, where she promised to be submissive to her new husband and accept his leadership of the family. It saddened me that she was so willing to go into the marriage as an inferior, but I guess it was her decision to make. I was pretty upset about this a couple days ago, but I guess time and drink have calmed me down some since then.

After the wedding, some friends and I headed over to Matt's house to play some Halo and eat some dinner. As I don't usually play Halo, I got my ass handed to me.

Sunday was Lucas's birthday party. Unfortunately the party started at 4:00 and I had to drive back down here, so I couldn't stay too long. But I did stay long enough to give Lucas his 90 proof peach schnapps and win some booze of my own by playing some kind of dice rolling game. Good times were had overall. I had a chance to meet with my friends one last time before I had to come back down here.

Well, I don't know what else to say other than to wish Katie and Ben the best with their marriage and move to Chicago and wish Lucas a happy belated birthday.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Summed Up In A Sentence

I was talking to my mom over the phone this morning, and she said something that I think gives a pretty big clue as to why we don't always get along too well. She called to see if I was successful in talking to the engineering advisor about some questions I had. You see, for the past 4 days, I've been trying to get a hold of the advisor to no avail. She wasn't there on Thursday, she was at a meeting on Friday, and she was busy Monday and never called me back. This morning I got the same line about her being too busy to talk to me, so I was a bit upset. I told my mom that I wasn't going to try to call them anymore since they apparently had no desire to talk to me. (The advisor actually did end up calling me back, but it was during our monthly company meeting, so I wasn't able to talk to her. When I tried calling them back at 1:00, I got their answering machine. Go figure.) Anyways, my mom told me to pray about it. When I reminded her that I don't pray, she said, One of these days we're going to have to sit down and find out who did this to you. (or something to that effect; I don't remember the exact wording).

She seems completely unwilling to believe that I am capable of making some of the decisions I've made. She blamed Victor (friend from home) and Jay (freshmen roommate) for my drinking, and I don't know who she blames for my decision to leave the Christian faith. I'm quite adamant when I say those decisions were mine and mine alone, but she doesn't seem to want to listen to that. When I hear her try to pin my choices on someone else, it makes me think she doesn't respect my judgment or think I'm capable of living my own life. And considering many of our arguments are at their core due to disagreements over something I want to or don't want to do, I think quite a bit was said in this one sentence.

4 Comments:

Blogger staticfoo said...

Remind me to not bring up my atheism when your parents are visiting then...

8/10/2005 7:08 AM  
Blogger Luke said...

i'd blame it on peter griffin ;)

8/11/2005 12:05 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

Yeah, you'd be better off not mentioning that to her

And the last thing I need is to blame Family Guy. She hates that show enough as it is. "Jesus loves me, he loves me a bunch. Cause he always puts skippy in my lunch."

8/11/2005 9:43 PM  
Blogger staticfoo said...

But Family Guy always shows God and Jesus as existing!


... and lighting bars on fire...

8/12/2005 12:31 AM  

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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Party Of One

Although I've done it several times this summer and prior, I still haven't quite mastered the art of dining alone in a restaurant. Dining out at its very core is a social activity. Consider that much of the time spent in a restaurant is spent sitting at the table waiting for the food. A long period of time sitting at a table; there's not really anything else to do but socialize. When eating alone, one is pretty much left at the table with their thoughts, which isn't bad except it gets kind of boring after a while. I've been trying to come up with something to do to pass the time, but I've yet to be successful. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them.

Oh, and I also discovered today that I don't have the same appreciated for paintings that I do for photography. I went back to Balboa Park today, this time with my camera. I checked out the Museum of Art for the hell of it, but it just didn't do much for me. I guess It's because I can't draw or paint, so it's difficult for me to determine what's good or not. I've taken lots of pictures, a few of them decent; so I at least know how hard it is to take a good picture and have an idea of what one looks like when I see it. But I apparently have no idea what a good painting looks like. A lot of them look like something a 5 year old painted, and yet they're considered great pieces of art. So fuck it; I'll stick to photography.

4 Comments:

Blogger staticfoo said...

Write code?

8/08/2005 5:49 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

Every once in awhile I'll go to the Taco Bell in Reedley on my lunch break, and since I always go alone...I just bring my trusty Onion book along with me. I get the occasional strange look from other people wondering why the hell I'm laughing, but I don't care. Reading while eating is awesome when you're by yourself.

8/08/2005 5:09 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

I like the book idea. If I can find a good book, I'll have to do that. Writing code sounds too much like work. Considering I usually go out to eat because I'm too drained from work to want to cook dinner, I think I'll pass

8/09/2005 5:40 PM  
Blogger staticfoo said...

Ahh yes. That would make sense. I'd probably read, come to think of it, but I tend to not eat in restaurants alone.

8/10/2005 5:18 AM  

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Day At The Park

Today I headed down to Balboa Park based on the recommendation of a friend of mine. I got down there a bit late, so I didn't get a chance to look around as much as I'd have liked to. Plus, for some very stupid reason, I didn't bring my camera. Which was a bad idea considering how picturesque the place is. I'll probably have to go down there again to look around some more and bring my camera. I checked out the Museum of Photographic Arts that they have there, which was pretty cool. Some of you may be surprised that I went to an art museum voluntarily. Well, I do have my moments of culture, and I can appreciate art, especially photography. They had a bunch of pictures from the Gigapxl Project on display. For those of you who don't know what the Gigapxl Project is, they take pictures using custom camera bodies and ultra-high resolution film originally developed for military satellite images, then scan the negatives using high resolution drum scanners. The link above gives you some idea of how much detail is in these images, but they really have to be seen in person to be appreciated. On display were several panoramas, including one of Pittsburgh and one of San Diego. They didn't look like pictures; it looked like you were looking out a window. Maybe better than that. The museum had magnifying glasses available to use, and I was able to read license plate numbers off cars in the San Diego panorama. In the Pittsburgh panorama, I was able to read the phone number off a semi parked across the river. Truly unreal. If you ever get a chance to see these photographs in person, I highly recommend it.

They also had a collection of photos by Steve McCurry, who is probably most famous for this photo which appeared on a National Geographic cover in 1985 (I didn't know who the guy was either, but I knew I saw that picture before somewhere). It's really an awesome photo when blown up and viewed up close. Those eyes truly make the picture what it is. There were some pictures of women in full burkas, including a picture of the woman in the above linked picture wearing a burka. She's apparently now married (she was 13 when the original picture was taken) and can no longer be seen by anyone except her husband. It saddens me that people still think and act this way, but there's not really much that anyone can do about it. The culture has to evolve on its own. Tis a different world, I suppose; but perhaps one not so different than our own. After all, it is still common and socially accepted for a wife to vow obedience to her husband. OK, I'm going to stop before I begin to rant uncontrollably.

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