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11/27/06

Permalink 02:44:55 pm, by millercommamatt, 239 words   English (US)
Categories: General

Printer Transformation

Christina, my fiancée, had one request for a Christmas gift this year: she wanted to be able to print from her laptop to my printer. I have a Dell 1700 black-and-white laser printer connected to my desktop computer via USB. My initial idea to meet this request was to buy a print server which would allow me to connect my printer to the computer network in our apartment and allow all computers on said network to use the printer. However, standalone print servers were either very expensive or very lacking in memory and features. By chance, my researching (i.e. shopping on eBay) yielded an alternate solution. Dell made an alternate version of my printer, the 1700n, which had a built in network card ready made for a networking environment. My eBay search found a replacement card for a Dell 1700n which just so happened to be the only component that was different between a Dell 1700 and a Dell 1700n. Thus, through the purchase of the card, the transplanting of the new card into my Dell 1700, and some driver reconfiguration, my Dell 1700 is now, in effect, a Dell 1700n. The network printing features work great and Christina is able to print from anywhere she can pick up our wireless network. She has been very pleased and I'm happy that I was able to upgrade my printer to a superior model with a more than $100 difference in MSRP for around $30.

11/21/06

Permalink 03:58:35 pm, by millercommamatt, 240 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

Meteorological Poems?

For any student of meteorology, there is a poem, written by Lewis F. Richardson, that they are sure to be exposed to:

Great whirls have little whirls,
That feed on their velocity,
And little whirls have smaller whirls,
And so on to viscosity

-L. F. Richardson

This poem describes the nature of energy cascading from larger to smaller scale circulation features until it becomes dampened by viscous forces. Richardson's poem is educational, but it is also a parody of a poem by Jonathan Swift.

So, the naturalists observe, the flea,
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite 'em;
And so proceed, ad infinitum

-Jonathan Swift

Augustus de Morgan wrote a poem bridging the Richardson poem and the Swift poem in terms of content and structure.

Great fleas have little fleas
Upon their backs to bite 'em
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
And so ad infinitum

-Augustus de Morgan

Today, I was talking with a visiting professor and we were discussing the nature of research and the evolution of scientific knowledge. In the middle of our discussion I was reminded of Richardson's poem and I came up with my own little version. I present it here with apologies to Richardson, Swift, and all the great minds that came before me.

Little questions lead to big questions,
Fed by curiosity,
And big questions lead to bigger questions,
And so on to philosophy.

-Matthew Miller (2006)

11/02/06

Permalink 12:51:09 pm, by millercommamatt, 240 words   English (US)
Categories: General, News

Net Neutrality Rant

I read this article today: Videotron lobbying for Internet "transmission tariff".

This stuff is really starting to piss me off. To quote the article:

He [Videotron asshat] called it unfair for studios and companies like Apple and Amazon.com to use that extra service without cost — which he compared to free shipping.

“If the movie studio were to mail a DVD . . . they would expect to pay postage or courier fees,” Depatie said.

“Why should they not expect a transmission tariff?”

To me, it's clear that people who say stuff like this are lie-spreading bastards. Apparently, someone forgot to tell them that internet content providers do pay for the bandwidth they use. It's not like there's this magical plug in the wall at Amazon.com headquarters that spits out free internet. These companies pay for internet access just like you and I pay for internet access at home. In fact, many of these companies use so much bandwidth they're paying millions of dollars per year if not per month for internet access. Now, there are greedy telecommunication companies that want to charge them for something they're already paying for. To make things worse, they're lying to the American public and to legislators to get law changed so they can get away with it. Everyone out there should tell their local legislators that they are in favor of net neutrality legislation. These kind of corporate lies can't be allowed to go on.

10/30/06

Permalink 12:07:30 pm, by millercommamatt, 409 words   English (US)
Categories: General

IPWG - Home At Last

I'm home and back to work. The last day of the conference we went on a nice outing. We visited an animal sanctuary north of Melbourne. Christina and I got to see a wide array of Australian critters. We saw dingos, wombats, emus, koalas, kangaroos, and even a platypus or two. I always imagined a wombat to be about the size of a guinea pig. It turns out that they are much bigger. They're round, furry, and about the size of a medium-sized dog. Koalas and stupidly cute as is the duck-billed platypus.

After visiting the animal sanctuary, we went to a winery for dinner. The vineyards were very pretty and we had a great view of the Yarra Valley countryside. We were able to sample all their wines, most of which were very good. Dinner was very nice. I had lamb with a nice glass of shiraz.

The trip home was another interesting affair. Christina and I left early Saturday morning after breakfast and checking out of the hotel. Our flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles involved a stop in Auckland, New Zealand. In Auckland we had to get off the plane, pass through security twice, just to reboard the plane to get back in our very same seats. It was silly if you ask me. The flight to LA was long, but I managed to survive. From LA we flew to Atlanta and then to Raleigh. Once again, we arrived at our final destination ahead of our luggage. I filled out the forms necessary to have the missing luggage delivered to my apartment once it arrived. Long story short, Christina and I finally made it to bed just After 2:30am Sunday morning. We slept in until 4:00pm that afternoon. We did some grocery shopping, made dinner, and just enjoyed being home. However, thanks to waking up so late, we had a hard time going to sleep. We ended up staying up pretty late last night. However, we were both up this morning and we both went to work. I'm at work now. Dr. Yuter and I caught up and we discussed my trip and we're starting to plan the next few phases of my research.

All in all, my trip was interesting and worthwhile. It was by no means a vacation, but I did find some time to have fun along the way. One day I'd like to go back and see all the things I missed.

10/24/06

Permalink 10:34:12 pm, by millercommamatt, 237 words   English (US)
Categories: General

IPWG - Day 3

I gave my talk this morning. The response wasn't what I expected, but it seems to be mostly positive. I was expecting more surprise from my results, but people didn't seem to be shocked. To me, that means that people don't have a lot of faith in the quality of the data returned by the instruments I'm studying or that they know about these problems and they just don't share the information with the user community. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have my talk behind me. It's a big source of stress that's now gone. If only I still didn't have to attending the other talks. I might be able to go out and see more of Melbourne if I could manage to escape.

As for Melbourne, I haven't seen too much of it in the daylight hours. Christina has taken me to places that she thinks I'll like and that have good places to eat. For those wondering, my luggage arrived Monday afternoon and all was well. The airline covered the cost of Christina and I getting emergency clothes and supplies with little fuss.

Lunchtime is approaching soon here in Melbourne so I'll wrap this up. I will say that I'm curious to here a little more about the impressions my talk left on people here at the conference and I'd like to hear what my advisor, Dr. Yuter, will say once she hears about the response.

10/23/06

Permalink 12:11:47 am, by millercommamatt, 331 words   English (US)
Categories: General

IPWG Melbourne - Day 1

Today is the first day of the IPWG conference in Melbourne. I've just finished lunch and I've found that I have some time to post.

My trip to Australia was an interesting adventure. First, I spent more time on an airplane confined to a seat than any human should be subjected to. My trip was extra long because my flight from LAX to Melbourne was diverted to Hawaii because a passenger was ill. The most annoying thing so far was that the crappy LAX luggage handlers didn't get my luggage transfers from my connection in time. Christina's luggage suffered the same fate. I'm supposed to get my luggage this afternoon if everything goes well. A good thing was that the airline gave Christina and me a AUS$100 allowance each to get anything we needed. So, we spent yesterday afternoon buying a change of clothes and some toiletries so both of us had something clean to wear today. Shopping in downtown Melbourne made that an expensive task, but we managed to come in only a little over budget.

As for the conference itself, it's been interesting. I've already seen a few presentations that I've been interested. I don't know anyone yet and people scatted at lunch so I was unable to introduce myself around to people. Thus, I had a solitary and lonely lunch. At least the food was good.

Christina, I assume, is running around town seeing some sights. It's a little annoying that she and I are out of contact during the day. I trust she is having fun, but I'd like to be able to do something like eat lunch with her if I find I have the time. Also, it’s difficult for either one of use to change plans since we can't contact the other.

All in all, the trip has been a positive experience so far. I'm presenting Wednesday morning. I plan on posting daily updates as time allows, so check back tomorrow for an update.

10/20/06

Permalink 11:11:56 am, by millercommamatt, 63 words   English (US)
Categories: General, Meteorology

My Trip Begins

Hello reader(s)! I'm leaving for Australia to make a presentation about my research at the IPWG conference in Melbourne. I'm wheels up at 7:00pm EDT. I'm leaving from Raleigh and flying to Melbourne via LAX in Los Angeles. I'll post updates about my trip along the way if I can. Wish me luck and safe travels! I'll return home late Sunday(10/29) night.

09/12/06

Permalink 11:50:15 am, by millercommamatt, 68 words   English (US)
Categories: Harry Potter, Fan Fiction

More HP Fan Fiction

It's been a while since I posted my list of my favorite Harry Potter fan fiction. Instead of listing the stories I found recently, I'm just going to provide a link. Fanficauthors.net is an invitation only writing community featuring the best writers in the genre. Many of the stories I've listed before can be found there along with some new ones. Happy reading!

http://www.fanficauthors.net/

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This is where I rant about whatever I want. Here is where I share my thoughts, dreams, strange ideas, and general commentary on my life and the world around me.

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