Sunday, September 25, 2005


Today was our one-year anniversary. Last night we went out to celebrate.

This was a one-kid weekend. Beth and Laurie watched Will for us. He seemed to really like it, and so did they. Apparently he was really well behaved, too.

We went out to dinner. I wanted to find a nice little cozy little place. Wifey wanted fish though, and there aren't a lot of cozy little seafood places in Madison. I looked at Ocean Grill and The Blue Marlin, but both are on the Capitol Square. That would mean hellish parking and bar-crowds to deal with, which neither of us wanted to put up with. So we just went to Red Lobster. It ended up being really nice, though.

Then we went to see Lord of War. It was good, but not what I expected.

It was so good to get out of the house and get a little time away from the kid(s). We're both so very busy lately, that we don't get to do that very much. Because of that, we're all a bit high strung a bit more often than we should be.

This last year went by very fast. So busy, all of us. But it's been a very good year.

Lily started kindergarten. Her teachers seem to be really impressed with her. She's starting to read and write. A few days ago, I found her spontaneously copying writing from her toys.

Will has started walking, running, climbing. He's started picking up words, and even some phrases.

Melissa has started school. It's something she's not bored out of her skull doing, which is good. The jobs she's tried this last year have been totally unable to hold her interest. She seems to be really enjoying it.

And I'm still doing what I'm doing. I've got about three semesters left on my MS, then I'll probably start in on my PhD. I've picked up another job maintaining the website for my department.

Here's hoping for another year just like this one. And then another. And another.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Karl Rove

There's been quite a bit of buzz in the media about Karl Rove. Much of this buzz is political in nature, and not that I have no opinions on that front, but another aspect of this has really struck me.

Much of this discussion involves going through email records and electronic memos. This makes me wonder: does the media know nothing about protecting the security of electronic records? Why weren't all of these emails and all of these memos PGP encrypted? Why weren't they stored on a system like StegFs, or even EFS? Why did they still exist at all? Why hadn't they been wiped in accordance with a document destruction policy?

This isn't just about the news media, though. Anonymous sources should be aware of tools like Invisiblog and anonymous remailers (like mixmaster).

We have phenomenal tools for maintaining the anonymity of sources. Why does nobody use them?

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Some time ago, my wife convinced to get a kitten. A friend of a friend had a brand new litter, and was giving them away. I've never been a cat person, so I wasn't entirely sure it was a good idea. However we did want a more interesting pet than a fish, and our apartment doesn't allow dogs. So we got Oscar The Cat:

We got him when he was only five weeks old. So he was very hyper. Being a kitten, he likes a bit of rough play now and again. We asked the vet how we might get him not to do that with the children. Her suggestion was to get another cat. I wasn't convinced that having two misbehaving animals would be better than having one. So that idea was nixed.

Since then, we've cat-sit for friends a number of times. And Oscar really was better behaved when he had another cat around to play with. So we started looking for another cat.

As luck would have it, one of Melissa's co-workers had a pair of black cats that needed a new home. Their previous owner was allergic, and none of the cat allergy medications really helped her. We picked them up last Thursday.

So now we have Missy:

She took a while to warm up to the new humans, but when she did it was like flipping a switch. She went from hissing at us to make us go away to hopping onto laps demanding that we pet her.

And here is her brother:

The picture doesn't really show it, but he is a giant cat. He's still not sure that he likes the new people at all. He spent a very long time hiding in our basement, and only came out after we calmed him with catnip. If he's not calmer by Wednesday, we might be going to the vet to get him some kitty drugs.

His previous owner called him "One-Claw" because when he was declawed, there was one claw on his left paw that the vet missed. I'd like to get him a better name than that though. I'm leaning toward Claude, but it needs the approval of the executive committee (i.e., my wife).

So that's what we've been doing for entertainment the last few days. We're turning into a bunch of cat-ladies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Updates: Fink Stuff

I'm up to 23 fink packages. I know that's nothing compared to some other maintainers, but I'm still pleased with myself for it.

I've decided that just editing my packages from inside the CVS tree is too error-prone, especially in terms of keeping packages for several differing trees in sync.

Simply keeping a sandbox around with a master copy of the .info and using 'install' or similar to copy the master copy into the appropriate distributions would squish changes from upstream. That would be bad. I settled on using emacs' ediff-mode to handle this.

And as long as I'm automating this process, it would be nice to automate generation of ssl and non-ssl versions for packages that need this. To do this I settled on using a little bit of perl-fu to change the name of the package appropriately, and then a bit of magic with the Variants system to handle the rest.

Here's a snippet of the Makefile (insert tabs where needed) I'm using:

SSL=perl -pi~ -e 's/(Package: (?!%N)[^%\n]+)(%type_pkg.+)?/\1-ssl\2/'

#Fink unstable for 10.3

define merge
diff -q $(1) `basename $(1)` || ( touch $(1) && mv $(1) orig && emacs --eval "(ediff-merge-files \"orig\" \"`basename $(1)`\" nil \"$(1)\" )" && rm orig )

define check
fink -v validate $(1) | grep "looks good"

# libnasl3 #
$(call merge,$(F103u-lib)
$(call merge,$(F103u-lib)libnasl3.patch)
cp libnasl3.patch libnasl3-ssl.patch
$(call merge,$(F103u-crypto)
$(call merge,$(F103u-crypto)libnasl3-ssl.patch)
rm libnasl3-ssl.*
$(call check,$(F103u-lib) && $(call check,$(F103u-crypto) && cd /sw/fink && cvs ci 10.3/unstable/main/finkinfo/libs/ 10.3/unstable/main/finkinfo/libs/libnasl3.patch 10.3/unstable/crypto/finkinfo/ 10.3/unstable/crypto/finkinfo/libnasl3-ssl.patch

So far I'm quite pleased with it. But we'll see how it turns out as I use it for more things.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Another Year Another 365.242199 Dollars

Time flies when you're running about all the time.

Classes last semester went well. I didn't get straight A's, but there's always next semester. It's nice though in that I did more than well enough to be rid of the academic probation that I was admitted on. One tanked semester can be annoying to recover from. One of these days I need to update my webpage with updated course information for last semester.

The progress of research has been somewhat brisk of late. Our group has been using the vacation time to catch up with our timeline for last semester. I've been spending quite a bit of time in my subterranean lair. Good thing that it's a nice lair. Of late my task has been integrating an ingrowth routine into our growth simulator. I now have one that does something, but as yet it is unvalidated. As Knuth says: "I have only proved it correct, but not tested it."

Will is walking now. Sometimes he's practically running. Lately his thing has been to run around in circles around people. Usually screaming. It makes me wonder what the neighbors think we're doing to him. We think he said "Kitty" a while ago, but we can't get him to do it again.

Christmas was busy this year. We went to the in-laws on Friday night, my parents came to us on Saturday, and on Sunday we went to both grandparent-in-laws. Sunday was a lot of driving. I got a copies Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon and Jon Stuart's America: The Book for christmas. So far I haven't gotten very deeply into either, but both seem quite good. I also got FF: Chronicles. Now I've got FF4-11 (and 10.2). The family got a digital camera. I'm sure that makes my wife happy; she's a shutterbug.

We had a nice, calm new year's. We rented some movies (Resident Evil: Apocalypse and The Manchurian Candidate) and stayed home. Living away from campus is still a bit new for me, I was pleasantly surprised that it was quiet outside.