Thursday, 23 November 2006

Some people worry about computers being 'too smart'

I've said this before, but computers are just not smart enough.

In particular, I believe computers, or at least my office computer, should be smarter.

In particular, if I'm writing an e-mail that includes the line "I'm attaching to this e-mail a file called 'somefile.pdf'", the computer should be smart enough to attach the bleep-ing file called 'somefile.pdf' to the bleep-ing e-mail.

Or failing that, it should be smart enough to ask "Do you really want to send this e-mail without attaching "somefile.pdf" like you said you would?"

If computers, or in particular my computer, could do this, much valuable bandwidth and disk space could be spared.

And at least in my case, many, many useless e-mails could be avoided.

And before you object: Of course it is the computer that should be smarter. I'm smart enough.

Friday, 17 November 2006

The last time I saw a tumbleweed

The last time I saw a tumbleweed, I was driving in my car across the desert, everything I own in the back, starting an adventure--leaving the relative safety and comfort (or at least familiarity) of LA and off to my post-doc in Madison, WI. I drove the Route 66 route, but on the interstates, because, with everything you own in the back seat, who needs to increase the mileage of the trip by at least three times what it needs to be? So I missed all the road-side attractions and all that. But anyway, shortly after crossing the river into Arizona, there it was, a tumbleweed. Stark, lone, and cliché. Tumbling across the highway and on to destiny.

Well, no such symbolism this morning. On the way in to work this morning, there was a delay at at the Stafford intersection with Pembina highway. A pair of tumbleweeds, or at least roundish dry dead bushy things, was rolling across the roadway, branches locked together in some kind of desperate — no, there was no symbolism. I hadn't had any coffee yet. Anyway, where they came from, I have no idea. They ended up rolling up between some planters outside of a building across the street, and for all I know that's where they'll spend the rest of their days, buried in snow, slowly disintegrating until there's nothing left.

Hey, maybe there's a metaphor in there after all.

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

My favo(u)rite subject ...

… is me, but that should be obvious.

Lately, I've been coming out pretty squarely ISTJ (Inspector/Guardian). For those of you who don't know what that means, I don't have time to explain it. It has to do with the Myers-Briggs personality type sorter, especially as interpreted and sorted by Kiersey. See Myers-Briggs at Team Technology or for more information.

Lately, I've been strongly Introvert, moderately Sensor and Thinker and weakly Judger. I used to be pretty borderline S (occasionally moving all the way to weak iNtuitive) as well as weak Perceiver (rather than weak J). But whatever. I also think I'm less I than I think I am, given how I seem to crave recognition and external validation. Hence this blog. But moving on...

Ennyhoo, I'm always looking for more information about me, and thanks to the internet, there's lots to be found. Some are based on real psychometric research, and others are just goofs. But to the degree that some of these things actually can provide me with insights about myself, they're fun. Included here are links to tests, as well as my results. Just for fun. I've re-formatted most of from the way their authors provided them, because I couldn't stand all the unnecessary code.

From the Political Quiz at

You are a
Social Liberal (71% permissive)
and an... Economic Liberal (33% permissive)

You are best described as a:Democrat

The Personailty Profile folks find that I have low extroversion and conscientiousness,but average agreeableness, emotional stability and openness. Check out my personality profile!

According to the Stupid Test and, I'm pretty smart.

The Stupid Quiz said I am Pretty Smart!

According to several quizzes from Blue Pyramid:

You're Sudan!

Every time you get a headache, you reach for some aspirin, only to realize that
someone destroyed it. That's just how things are going for you right now ... it's
hard to eat, hard to sleep, hard to not have a headache. You try to relax, but
people always jump on you about something that doesn't make sense. If you were a
goat, you'd be a Nubian. Take the Country Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

You're a Dodo!

Awkward and rather unsure of yourself, you can never quite seem to keep up with everyone else. This sense you have of falling behind has only heightened over the years, and you are beginning to wonder if you'll be forgotten about entirely. When they do consider you, most folks think you're rather stupid. What they don't know is that they'll miss you if you ever leave, even though they assume they won't. At the moment, people still don't want to go your way. Take the Animal Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

And interestingly enough...

You're the University of Washington!

A visionary for your area, you truly can see it all. At the same time, you used
to be prone to burning out and trying to do it all. You have to remember that
you're just one person, and can't be responsible for a whole community. But
this is a lesson you've managed to learn long ago and now you rely on all sorts
of people. Many of them really enjoy looking at you. Even though it seems like
an out-of-date phrase, you're a big fan of dubbing things. Take the University Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

And according to Out of, my Star Wars twins are Admiral Ackbar (20th %ile conventionality), Han Solo (13th %ile conscientiousness,Wampas (15th% %ile extroversion), Boba Fett (22% agreeableness) and Leia (18th %ile neuroticism).

Click to see my Star Wars Personality!!

On the other hand, someone at Quizilla thinks I'm Luke. Or perhaps Darth Vader. I'm not quite sure what this result means:

Luke, I'm your father. Not much to say about that. *cough* REBEL SCUM *cough*

Take this quiz!

And perhaps my favo(u)rite quiz of all time:
Who's your greasy-haired manbitch?

Your greasy-haired manbitch is....Henslowe!
Take this quiz!

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Blue Teddy

So that's Blue Teddy. My favo(u)rite bear. The first stuffed animal I thought of as 'mine'. Turns out there was an earlier one, the kind with a music box in his butt, but my sister broke it, so by the time I became aware of 'mine' and 'yours' Brownie (he was brown) (well, beige) wasn't 'really' mine.

Bluey came from a church bazaar, as I recall, when I was really, really little. Four, maybe five, I think. We were in the 'new house', the house I grew up in where my parents still live, so at least four. Anyway, I got him in a game or something. Or maybe someone bought him for me. I don't remember. But he was all mine. And I named him "Blue Teddy" because even then I was so creative no one could keep up with me.

His ears fit perfectly in my little hand, so I used to carry him everywhere by his right ear, which is why it's a little floppy today. His mouth is drawn on, originally in felt pen or something so it has been redrawn several times. The ribbon I added in college. I forget why.

He's gone everywhere with me, and he's still enormously special to me. He lives among a plethora of other blue bears, which I started collecting in Grad School (when it was still very hard to find blue bears). I'm thinking of downscaling the collection, since most of them aren't 'special'. But Blue will always be with me, if I have anything to say about it.

Friday, 10 November 2006

What I do instead of sleep

I was going to go to bed early tonight. And then I started thinking about catching up with stuff. And it took longer than I thought it would.

It's been this way all day. I got into work about 11:30pm, and took care of some e-mail, and some other business. Then I started to prepare a presentation I'm making in a couple of weeks. And four hours later, I was still on slide 13. And it was all text. Usually, when something takes that long, I hit a slide that requires a diagram, or some numbers, or something and I have to take care of that (before I forget about it) before going on. But four slides an hour, all text, and it's not even like I making up the content as I go, is just slow. Even for me.

So I don't get up and go home until after 6pm. I pick up some food on the way home and eat, doing some personal e-mail and watching "Pinky and the Brain" on DVD. More on that another time. And about 9:30, I think I could get ready for bed if I really felt like it. And I do. So I start getting ready for bed. But then I see myself in a mirror and realize that if I don't wash the gunk out of my hair that I put in this morning, I *not* going to be happy tomorrow, so I hop into the shower. And then I have to wait for my hair to dry, so I sit down and start another episode of "PatB". And then I go on line and realize that I need to update some software. And that takes a while. And then I realize I haven't blogged for a while, and I look up the blog and think about all the stuff I meant to do with the blog this week: put up my picture of Blue Teddy, update my links (from the links from my other web presence). And then I look up at the clock and it's midnight.

So picture's up, links are up, and I'm going to bed. Real content of some kind tomorrow.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Caffeine addiction? Me?

The good news is that I'm no longer addicted to caffeine. I discovered in grad school that I was wildly addicted to caffeine, such that if I got as far as about 2pm without having had some coffee, I'd end up with a mind-blowing headache. Often earlier, since I was also working part time at IBM and if I wasn't at school by 9am, I was at work, and probably working on my third mocha by 10am. It wasn't unusual for me to sleep in on Saturdays, only to wake up about 11 with a pounding in my head that would kill an elk. Which would go away within about 10 minutes of my first cup of coffee, or an aspirin laced with caffeine. So I was pretty addicted.

Since then I've been weaning myself off of "massive" doses of caffeine, but always careful to have my 2 cups of coffee in the morning, or equivalent. And lately I've been able to go a day without coffee, but (never let it be said that aversion therapy doesn't work) I always had some coffee sometime, just to avoid the headache.

But this weekend, I went the whole weekend, that is, from about 3pm Friday (when I had some diet Dr Pepper) to about 9am Monday morning (when I had some coffee with breakfast), without a drop. Okay, it helps that I slept most of the weekend, so there were only so many hours a day to imbibe anyway. But no cravings, no headache, no problem. Not much in the way of useful consciousness, but that's not the point, since caffeine-induced consciousness isn't remarkably useful in the long run anyway.

So progress, of a sort, is slowly being made. Yay me.

Thursday, 2 November 2006

This blogging thing is complicated

Well, it turns out I started this blog under a username that I didn't realize I'd claimed. So when I claimed a new username, somehow I created a blog under the old one, and so I couldn't get to it. Which is why I've spent two days not able to post anything. We're off to a great start.

But now we've figured out what the dealio is and I have access to the blog once again. So expect semiregular updates. And eventually some personal information, and a real profile, and a picture of the infamous Blue Teddy, once I find it. No, it isn't an item of intimate apparel. Shame on you, Liz. But anyway, it all seems to work, so we'll se how it goes over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.