Ch-Ch-Changes

Back when I was at university ~2001 someone in the archeology department decided on a lark to apply for a huge grant of money.

In a totally spur of the moment decision they decided it would be cool if the department had a 3d laser scanner. And since the total for the scanner didn’t amount to the total of the grant and this scanner was going to produce massive amounts of data the also threw in a 1TB file server (at a point when a 30GB hard drive was unbelievable) as joke to store the data from the scanner and maybe the compsci dept might be able to use it (in a totally incongruent example of inter department generosity).

Turns out they were the only ones to apply for this grant and won it by default.

So in a few weeks the department received a high quality 3d scanner and parts for a 1 TB file server. (had to show the people who gave the grant the receipts). As far as I know the scanner was used maybe twice.. and sat in a small room collecting dust….. The file server was a similarly sad tale.

Now put this piece of equipment in a place where us Comp. Sci students could have played with it and we might have had some cool stuff. Instead the scanner collected dust, and the file server well it languished.

It was a Dell raid system in a cabinet that went from the floor to the ceiling, with special raid controllers and some 40 250Gb drives.

And that’s when the politic-ing began. Eventually it was decided that this 1TB server array would be swapped with the current Account storage system, and the archiologists could use the current storage system from the account server, but due to politics and the fact that by this point the term had started and the network guys were a little cagey about it… it was too late to set it for that year. So for the whole year the whole system sat in boxes collecting dust in the server room ( which happend to be seperated from the regular comp sci labs by glass windows next to one of the most high traffic areas on the campus so everyone could see these boxes and boxes of dell equipment collecting dust.

Next year I came back to find the boxes emptied and the 1 TB file server assembled in the middle of the white server room that was in turn encased in glass. It looked like the Obelisk from 2001. Too bad it wasn’t working.

The certified Dell guy had come and assembled the system before term started, but hadn’t been able to configure it for the novel network…. My buddy in the network staff told me he could have done it, but under the Dell Service contract that the server had come with he wasn’t allowed to touch it.

So again the Server sat there collecting dust for another year.

When I eventually graduated they’d yet to hook it up to the network (but I understood the network guys used it as their local storage system).

It was a waste of gargantuan proportions. Computers like food should have a best before date, and this drool worthy piece of equipment had rotted on the vine.

Anyways I’ve now got a digital camera that takes 20Meg Picutres, and contains a 2Gb card. Between the camera and my Bit torrent collection of tv shows and movies from not having TV for 2 years I’ve come to fill the 300Gb drive i have in my desktop machine. At work I have a 500 GB external drive for my laptop that boggles the mind at how small it is…. now I see this: A 1 TB desktop portable drive.

And I’m thinking I might need one for my rapidly expanding collection of “Media”.

And there’s something that makes me feel very old when I look at a drive that’s the size of a large book, that used to stand taller than I was only a few very short years ago.

This shouldn’t surprise me… my first computer had a 20 Meg drive that weighed more than 20lbs. But the 1TB boundary seems like it should be more significant. My Comp. Sci prof from university had a funny story about a 5 MB drive that was the size of a washing machine… He now stores his work on a 1GB USB key chain drive.

Maybe I’m just getting old.

Code Goals…

Not quite a developer challenge, but here’s what I hope to accomplish before Xmas.

Silverlight:
Do a custom control i’ve been thinking about.
Do a website based on the Blue bird data I’ve been hoarding for 3 years now.

Regular:
Do a website based on the Blue bird data I’ve been hoarding for 3 years now.

XNA:
Get off my ass and at least prototype the 2 ideas I’ve had for XNA games. (Fog of war is for suckers… relativity/message delay should replace it)

Oh and in further XNA news… I’ve just gotten an Xbox360. But that was an odyssey/trial/story/blog posting all unto itself.

Tradition…

It’s late (or early depending on how you look at it) and my internal filters that keep me from posting on my blog have dissolved. sooooo here I am…

Time to tell my interesting/embarrassing story for the summer.

A few weeks ago I went out to see if I could see the meteor shower (the Perseids). I drove a half hour out into the country to see if I could find some dark skies at 12:30 in the morning. I drove south of town towards St. Agathe, out into the darkness… I found the darkest gravel road that I could find and turned off the road and drove for a few miles to escape any lights. I didn’t stop until I couldn’t see a light for miles around me.

I got out of the car with my camera, tripod and set up the camera for 5 minute exposures.

I then turned around proceded to close the door to my car on pure muscle memory.

With my keys inside the locked door.

There I was, locked out of my own car and not a light for miles around. After debating smashing my car window for a few minutes I set off walking down the road to see the house I could just see down the long and straight road.

After walking for quite a while I came to the house I could see, and discovered a familly packing it in for the night. They’d been having a campfire and looking at the meteors as well. After explaining my situation to the children I found, they offered me the use of their phone, and I called CAA.

After sheepishly explaining I’d locked my keys inside my car, they agreed to send my a tow truck to jimmy the lock on my car and let me in, as long as they could get an address of where to go. Turning to the family I asked them the address…… They didn’t know.

So I soon discovered that most of the family didn’t speak English that well. The only person somewhat fluent was a 7 year old. The rest of them spoke German with broken English, the amount of English diminishing as the children got older…

I soon explained the situation to the familly and after some finger pointing I managed to convince the Father of the family who spoke the worst English of the bunch to drive me in to town with his son as a translator.

I got to my apartment (again with out keys) and after convincing someone in my apartment to let me in at 1 AM. I managed to get my spare set of keys and then got a ride back to my car from the same German family.

So after swallowing all my pride and paying off the family with cash for the gas they’d used and what I would have spent on a locksmith I arrived back at my car and drove back to town with my tail between my legs

To add Icing to the cake I came within millimeters of hitting a skunk on the drive back.

They say that this type of thing builds character…. It builds something but I’m not quite sure what.

Delays….

I haven’t’ posted over the summer… well because… it’s summer….

(I have precedent to maintain)…

1) We’re still hiring…. (things have been a little crazy around here)
2) I’ve bought some new lenses lately, but haven’t had time to post about them.
3) I’m paying for internet again

Link of the Day:
6,343 CHARS!!!
quote: [this] somewhat pushes the limits of what it is sensible to do with regular expressions
WTF?!?!!?!?@@#?!?!!@?!@!@$##$%%!