search results

The new massive expansion of Google’s site index has increased my web presence even more: over 250 hits. Also, the new Google Blog Search seems quite good; much better than any of the other blog search sites out there, to most of which you have to manually submit your RSS feed. I guess having all that site index data already gives Google a big advantage.

I did a search for “Sage Ross” on the Google blogsearch, and found one very interesting result. Someone is announcing the recent birth of “Kai Sage Ross.” My brother, of course, is Kai Ross, and I used to live in Washington (state). Could there be some connection? It’s a great mystery. Could this child grow up to compete with Kai and me for name recognition? Will he (or she?) usurp our web presence by becoming far more famous?

Also, I found an incoming link from MSN search results. Incredibly, my review of Dava Sobel’s The Planets is the first result for ‘sobel planets’ and several similar queries. It beats out other reviews of The Planets on much more important sites. It’s not even in the first 100 results on Google or Yahoo. Weird. Hopefully that MSN ranking will remain until the book comes out; then I’ll get tons of hits.


Tonight I’m spending the night with my fellow historians Steve and Julia in New Haven. I normally don’t come to school on Thursday or Friday, but this week I have to both days, because of a moved class and a department luncheon. So I figured now is as good a time as any to start taking advantage of their hospitality; in the winter I might have to do it more often, and not just to save gas and driving time.

There isn’t much new to report… I’ve wanted (and had time) to write more, but haven’t had anything to say. I have been doing some more exploring in the woods in back of the apartment, and I have a new bonzai; I haven’t named it yet, but it’s another evergreen with shorter needles than Euler.

Classes are cookin’ now and I really like them. I have enough audiobooks to last the whole semester, I think. We finally have money again, too, although I think I’m still going to avoid buying the course packets for any of my classes. It’s nice that Faith is enrolled at UConn now, because I can take advantage of her library privileges. At Yale, the books I need for classes are very often either checked out or on reserve, but I can also get books from UConn, so I think I’ll be able to either check out or find online all the course packet material. We had been nearly broke for several weeks, because of the move, but last week and this week we the cash flow going again… last week we got our deposit from the old apartment, some birthday money, and over $300 from selling books online, just in the nick of time before we missed our rent payment.

more hits, more Linux

I’m happy to report that Dogpile now lists a total of 51 hits for “ragesoss” on the major search engines, up from less than 10 in the not-too-distant past.

As for the desktop woes, they do indeed continue, but things are mostly OK. Apparently it’s a hardware defect in my processor (the northbridge, to be specific) that is causing my remaining memory errors. But I got some really great advice for free (and pretty quickly) from the Open Tech Support forums. Definitely a site worth checking out when you run into computer problems.

Meanwhile, I did yet another reinstallation of Linux, this time Ubuntu. Definitely the easiest install I’ve had yet, and there are some features that make actually using it quite a bit better than than basic Debian (upon which Ubuntu is based), particularly a graphical installer program that lets you select software to install from a menu. Unfortunately, the networking that worked instantly before won’t work with this installation, despite some monkeying with settings. Overall, Linux definitely has a long way to go in terms of user friendliness before it becomes an acceptable Windows replacement, but from what I can tell it’s closing the gap pretty fast.

I also found out from an IT employee that Yale has a general policy of not revealing the identities of students when copyright enforcers track file-sharing to Yale IPs. They give you a warning, but they don’t stop you from doing it again (and good luck if anyone tries to go up against Yale’s lawyers). And when you log into the Yale Virtual Private Network (which allows access to online journal subscriptions and other secured content) all your internet traffic goes through Yale first. So by using the VPN, a file-sharer can essentially become anonymous. Hypothetically.

School on Labor Day is Yale’s birthday present to me.

School started on Wednesday, and it looks like it will be an enjoyable year… even though it’s hard to say what the final composition of my classes will be people-wise, the ones I’ve been to and the people I’ve met so far seem great.

Unfortunately, I think I might not get into the class I was most looking forward to (Narrative, and Other, Histories) because I forgot to email the professor as soon as I was supposed to, to confirm my interest in it. I thought I had until Saturday, but my memory is kind of hazy on that, and someone today told me they already got an email saying they didn’t make the cut. I still haven’t gotten an email back about it.
[Edit]: I’m in the class… Yahoo’s spam filter decided I didn’t really need that message.

And of course, I’m still fairly depressed about the Horned Frogs debacle, but my second favorite team, Florida State, helped ease the pain a little bit with the long-overdue win over Miami. Any game where Miami gets sacked 9 times is good in my book.

We went to the Congregational church at the corner of the UConn campus on Sunday… won’t be going back. There were maybe 6 college-age people there, and the sermon was one of the most generic I’ve heard in a long time.

Meanwhile, the cats are doing well, and our new neighbors are some really nice UConn undergrads.

problems solved?

I may have solved the computer problems, finally. I took it down to one stick of RAM, and there were no problems, then added another and another, and still no problems. Even now with all the RAM back, I haven’t had any random memory access violations that close my programs. I think maybe having the smaller modules in the first slots was part of the problem, or maybe the removing and adding just cleaned some dust out of the contacts or somethings.

Even more good news, I found that one of the old hard drives actually does still work. So I did my first ever installation of Linux, which earned me lots of Computer skill points. First I tried doing the minimal installation of Debian, where you use a CD just big enough to set up network protocols so the rest can be downloaded. But the downloads were taking forever and occasionally having timeout issues, and the Gentoo CD was downloading at over 300 kB/s (and they have a slicker website), so I abandoned that and started over with Gentoo. As it turns out, Gentoo is for the slightly more advanced techie, and I just wasn’t up to the task. So I got the regular Debian CD, and finally managed to get all the way to having a GNOME desktop. As a surprise bonus, I was able to access the shared folder on my laptop through the Linux desktop, perhaps because I named the domain for that computer the same as the Windows workgroup (the the laptop happens to have the FAT file system). Of course, to switch between Linux and Windows I have to physically switch hard drives, and I couldn’t even figure out how to do something as simple as install Firefox in Linux, but all in good time.

I also installed the TI software and put the newest OS on my TI-89. I think my flash had become corrupted before, but now everything is in working order. As I was going through the programs to find the a periodic table, which I always like to keep handy on my calculator, even though I never really use it anymore, I found that there were a whole lot of different ones that had been released since the last time I was downloading calculator programs. So I gave most of the new ones a try in turn, but they were all downright awful compared to the one program I used to use, this one. So I installed it and was taking a look at the readme file, which indicated that the programmer was (at least as of the last update 5 years ago) still interested in adding to it, should the need arise. I sent him an email about how much I’ve enjoyed the program and suggested that he add elements 110 and 111, which have acquired permanent names and two-letter abbreviations since he wrote the program. And general physical information about the elements is much more available than it was then, so I pointed him to a website with some extra info that might be nice to have in his periodic table. It would be really awesome if he actually responds and updates that program, otherwise people will keep making crappy ones and no one new will discover his program.

Also, a few days ago I added a Flickr badge to the ragesoss and ragesossgeneral pages. Quite nice.

I thought I had all my computer problems solved, but on the new desktop, programs kept random crashing. iTunes and Firefox both would just shut down and bring up the error report dialogue at random moments. I think maybe the network problems I was having (before I upgraded the firmware on the router) may have corrupted some of the XP updates when I re-installed everything. So I formatted it again. We’ll see how this goes. For some reason I can’t get any of the 3 floppy drives I have to work. And I haven’t had any weird crashes yet, but each time I try to download Acrobat Reader, it says there is a checksum error and the download is corrupted.

Other than that, I should be pretty much up to speed by morning, and I have it all networked and print-shared and good to go.

Computers working again, and interesting tech discovered

I’ve had this new Acer laptop for about a week now, and I’m quite happy with it. I’ve streamlined the startup programs and eliminated as many extraneous features as possible, and now it starts up fully in about 20 seconds and shuts down in about 8 seconds… pretty good for a low-end laptop (at least compared to most of the computers I’ve owned in the past). Some of the software I found on this guide to freeware, particularly this startup program and this optimization program helped enormously.

Even better, our new desktop is formatting as I type. Faith’s dad sent us his second-best computer, but when it arrived a few days ago it wouldn’t start. I opened it up and monkeyed around with the connections, screwed in a free-flying video card and hard drive, disconnected and reconnected everything I could see, skimmed the motherboard manual, and checked out computer building tutorial. After all that, it still wouldn’t start. But today we went back for nearly the last load of stuff from the old apartment, including the broken computer (which I fortunately convinced Faith not to throw away). One switched out power supply and the addition of the RAM from the dead computer (and a fan, too), and our 160 GB storing, DVD burning, 1 Gig of RAM having, free computer is up and running.

As an added bonus, on the way back from the Super Walmart (the first one we’ve seen in CT, and it’s relatively close: sweet!) we stopped by a delightful Salvation Army store where, in addition to a stunning pearl-snap shirt, I got an IBM Model M keyboard (1391401). I had just read briefly about how some people like the old heavy-duty clicky keyboards, so I thought at $3.50 it was worth a shot. It totally was, and now that the desktop is running, I’ve verified that in addition to sounding great and feeling great, it works. And it’s only three years younger than me.

With all the free time before classes start, I’ve discovered a few other things on the web that I’ve gotten something out of. First, which led me to the above freeware site from its “popular” page. Second Flickr, which would have been much more helpful before the first computer crash that cost us all our digital photos. And finally, Amazon’s A9 search engine, which is roughly equivalent to a combination of Google, Google Search History, and a blog search engine… the real upside is that you get a 1.57% (pi/2) discount at Amazon if you use it regularly for a while, and it automatically uses your Amazon info so there’s no registration involved. I’m just using it a little each day (not actually switching to it as my default search page), but it uses Google results and has some other decent features without being too ad-heavy, so it’s seems worth it for the discount. The only real downside is that it’s fairly slow.

And with all this practice on half-broken hardware and new and interesting software, I’ve totally leveled-up my Computers skill.

Moved in, mostly

We’re mostly moved in to the new apartment now… the TV and the speakers and hooked up, and most of my books are back on the bookshelves. We even moved the piano into the apartment by ourselves; I just backed the truck right up our grassy hill to the front door and sent the ramp into the living room.

We had to move the cats in a dog cage that had presumably been used by dogs (my friend Lloyd found it in his basement and gave it to us), and they were hissing and meowing for the entirety of the trip. When we arrived, I let them out for a bit, and they seemed OK… they went exploring the new apartment. But I had to put them back into the cage for about 20 minutes until we had the litter box set up, and they really resented that, especially Curie. She found this spot in a dark closet and didn’t leave voluntarily for about 24 hours. But now both of them are back to normal.

Even though this apartment is a little smaller, it is laid out much better and seems bigger. And, we have a garage of basically equal size to the apartment, plus a huge balcony. And there is a Super Walmart nearby, unlike New Haven, where all the nearby Walmarts closed at like 9 and had no food.

Here is Tesla just before the move, hopped up on catnip.

Reading: nothing

Watching: 24 Season 4, Kung Fu Hustle, Sin City

Listening: Weakerthans, Cake, 3 Doors Down

Disaster II, the sequel

Well, the repaired computer didn’t last very long. Last night it froze, and hasn’t been able to get past the bios screen since. And since Faith had to return her laptop to the Physics Department today, we moved our computer buying schedule forward a bit… I have a new laptop.

I think the main problem with the other computer was the video card, which crashed increasingly often before the big death yesterday (though the computer would still run with software rendering). I’m going to try eventually to use what’s left and buy cheap parts to build a Linux computer.