praising the readynas

yesterday was a big day for me.  two packages in the mail, both of the utmost importance.  the smaller of the two packages was my release day copy of ncaa football 2010 for the xbox 360.  there is a good chance i’ll actually be able to get an online dynasty going with some people this year, and if this happens you’ll be hearing plenty more about this game.  but for now, let’s focus on the bigger package – four 1.5tb hard drives.

between the music obsession and the photography hobby, i have pretty ridiculous storage requirements.  and of course, there is the natural paranoia that any good nerd should have about hard drive failure (note: if you are not paranoid about hard drive failure, you should be).  so a while back, i bought a netgear readynas (previously branded as infrant).  it holds 4 drives, it does dead-simple raid and file sharing, so it basically fits the need of anyone who just wants more storage that is redundant (that is to say, hard drive failure isn’t a catastrophe).

did i mention its tiny form factor?  it has a nice, tiny form factor.  you can stick the thing anywhere with a power cord and a network cord and just forget about it.

my original configuration was goofy.  i had 3 drives in there of varying sizes (1x500gb and 2x750gb) – this limited the size of my raid considerably and wasted space on the larger drives, but whatever, i had no interest in buying a new drive or 2 for a moderate increase in size.  then, of course, the big drives came down in price and the equation changed a little.

i got the 4 drives for $120 each from newegg.  not a bad deal at all.  so i started the upgrade process last night.  this is what i’m talking about when i say dead-simple: pull out tray, unscrew existing drive, screw in new drive, push in tray, wait 5-7 hours (by, i don’t know, playing ncaa football 2010, sleeping, going to work, doing your normal thing because the NAS STAYS ONLINE), and then repeat for the next 3 drives.  then the one bit of downtime comes when you reboot (sleep during this step) and voila, you just turned your 921gb array into a 4.5tb array without losing any data.  and this is in a CONSUMER GRADE device.

i knew all this stuff going in, this is why i picked the readynas and paid the slight premium for it – but man, when it actually comes together in practice, i just fall in love all over again.

life, as one might see it

I watch Bruce Springsteen’s “Making of Born to Run” documentary. The engineer from the album describes a 24 year old Springsteen standing in front of a microphone working on a guitar solo. Every time he finishes a take he turns to the engineer and simply says “Again.” He does this for twelve hours straight. The recording of the song “Born to Run” takes six months. The drummer and the keyboardist quit and don’t record the rest of the album. Thirty years later they asked the drummer how he felt when he heard the song today. He said “I feel like running out into the middle of traffic.” He sort of laughs afterwards, says he was happy to be a part of the album, but you know the day he quit the E Street Band plays over and over in his head like a fever dream.

I want to believe I’m Springsteen but worry I’m the drummer.

there is not much more to say.  i’d teaser and say ‘big things coming’ but i might be that drummer.

computer science sucks

i flew from dulles to sfo today.  6 hours, non-stop on virgin america.  i saw this great country (the parts not covered by clouds), i saw blue skies, i saw clouds (which we all know i love), i saw lights.

but this is not all.

i had satellite television and wireless internet access.  i could play games.  i could chat with my fellow passengers.  i could order snacks.  well, let’s be honest, i did order snacks.

but besides this one little forray into snackdom and a little bit of chatting online, how did i spend this 6 hour flight, this flight full of aerial views and photography opportunities and really quite full of possible nap time?  answer: trying to figure out how the fuck to solve the traveling salesman problem in a non-absurd amount of time.

maybe i should have titled this post “i suck at computer science” – but i think either title is true.

experiences with ubuntu jaunty

my laptop is in the shop (see point 2 of previous post) and as a result, i’ve spent some quality time with my old desktop in the last two days.  i built this thing after graduating college, so now it’s 5 years old but still gets the job done.  i have windows xp on a hard drive in there somewhere, but i’ve been primarily using ubuntu 8.04.  until two days ago, when i tried upgrading to 9.04

the upgrade from hardy (8.04) to jaunty (9.04) sucks.  this suck revolves entirely around the nvidia driver support, and the awkward dance i attempted to get it to work at 3am on friday morning was reminiscent of far too many days in high school, tooling around with this weird linux thing.  xwindows didn’t detect the driver, then it detected it but wouldn’t activate it, then it couldn’t activate it because it mismatched versions with the module in the kernel, and about there i stopped.  i do not build kernels anymore.

i realized when i woke up the next day that i had no reason to keep the data on this machine around, and a clean reinstall to 9.04 would be fine.  and since that realization, things have gone swimmingly.  the install off the jaunty iso was perfect, nvidia drivers were picked up and loaded properly, and i even got in some good customization so that things look pretty sharp to me now.  i find myself impressed yet again with ubuntu.

of course, as soon as the apple store calls and tells me my laptop is ready to be picked up, this machine will go into deep slumber, but it was a good experience, and it reminded me that ubuntu doesn’t suck and that desktops don’t die after 1.5 years of ownership if you build ’em right.

and for the record: new wave theme (built-in), nuoveXT2 icons, and Sdream by *NestR as my wallpaper.

some things that i must say

1. northwest-delta sucks.  shitty planes.  shitty scheduling.  shitty service.  yuck.  i’m pampered, with virgin america flying out of SFO, and i also guess i’m not really bringing anything new to the conversation.  just want to add my voices to the masses.

2. my laptop is having some issues (overheating, dying battery – nothing too exciting) and to repair them i will have to go 48 hours to 5 days without it.  i cannot comprehend how this will actually play out.  i’m actually kind of afraid.

3. related to point 2, it’d be nice if the apple store, upon taking my laptop, would let me borrow one while mine is in the shop.  they could just wipe the whole thing when they got them back, and it’s not like they wouldn’t know who you are when you took one out.

4. fonts that i just realized are awesome: deja vu sans, panic sans, inconsolata.  and yes, i was screwing around with terminal and some programming tonight.

5. up is really, really good.  and the beginning made me really, really sad, so whoever that reviewer was that i saw in passing called it a cold movie can bite me.  wherever you are.  highly recommended, and 3-d is marginally recommended.  make sure you make it there in time to see the short, partly cloudy, which is pretty good.

6. hey look, the lakers destroyed the magic in game 1, game 2 was really close, and game 3 was the one that the lakers let get away.  lakers are a lock to win game 4, and probably greater than 50% to lose game 5 (i forgot about the stupid 2-3-2 in the finals – dear NBA, why do this?)  i’ll be very, very surprised if the lakers are pushed at all in game 4.

7. i used to number lists 1a, 2b, 3c.  but now i’m grown up.  fuck.

8. i thought i liked twitter.  but now i realize i have no interest in using it.  i don’t like the short-form message, even if i say absolutely nothing in either long or short-form.

9. still not taking pictures.  not sure why not.  but i’m not.  maybe this weekend.  maybe.  someone yell at me about this, please.

10. top 10 tracks of all time in my 8 tv on the radio tracks from return to cookie mountain, deftones cover of jealous guy, and a tie between the only living boy in new york and tyler.  my brain is trying to tell me something.  top track of last 3 months?  pick me up by dinosaur jr.  how about that, rhodg?

11. still no idea where that fucking t-shirt came from.

this is peculiar

i get home today and i check the mail.  i see a brown, lumpy paper bag with one end stapled closed.  a printed label indicates that the package is in fact for me (full name and everything) with this return address: “po box 848, grand rapids MN 55744-0848”.  inside i find

no note.  no indication of where this came from, why it was delivered to me, or if it is covered in disease (geoff’s idea, not mine).  and so i googled the crap out of this address and got things like this and this.  mysterious envelopes, unrelated to each other, sent with no reason.  so, i’m a bit confused, bemused (nba live 09 sucks!) and maybe a tad perturbed.  but only maybe.

it goes without saying, but if anyone has any idea where this shirt came from, i’d love to hear from you.

nba finals preview, 2009 edition

my team was downed in the first round.  my adopted team lost in fairly depressing fashion to a more entertaining and probably better team this past saturday.  in between, lots of excellent, entertaining basketball was played.  and now two teams are left, one being the favorite or second-favorite all season long, and the other being a team considered almost gimmick-y.  i’ve had decent luck in the past with these things, so let’s talk about these nba finals.

with the los angeles lakers, you almost know what to expect – good effort some of the time, a general tension between kobe the teammate and kobe the isolation machine (it’s interesting that he is not able to balance this into something generally resembling a good overall basketball player, but this is probably because he’s much better as ‘the closer’ than he is as ‘the distributor’), and at least 3 annoying layup attempts by pau gasol that should be dunks.  when they have the ball, they can be remarkable (see: game 6 in denver) or really lackluster (see: houston series in games they lost).  if something finally came together in game 6, the magic should be happy if this series goes 5, but i have a feeling we’ll see the same disjointed lakers effort through the series, so they won’t be able to close this one out quickly.  on defense, the questions are on pau gasol.  if he can keep howard out of the paint and limit the damage, the lakers defense will cause a lot of problems for the magic shooters, but if howard wins that battle handily, the lakers are going to find themselves like cleveland – a good defensive team that is in a whole lot of trouble.

the magic on offense are a lot like a college team superficially – they shoot a ton of 3s and just have the one freak in the middle who causes problems.  of course, dwight howard is not merely a freak, he’s turning into a pretty darn good basketball player (that sports guy and his idiot readers keep sleeping on).  and also, the magic run a much more varied offense than they get credit for.  hedo generates offense from the top, alston can run the pick and roll with dwight, and sometimes they even post up rashard lewis (who remains so very underutilized).  my continuing hatred of hedo turkoglu might finally bear out if the lakers put someone on him with quick hands who actively will harass his awkward dribble.  if rashard lewis wakes up and realizes he’s still pretty good, that will cancel out any minimization of hedo, but i guess we’ll see if that happens.  as the cavaliers found out though, if the howard can force the lakers to double him, the magic will have open threes, and if there is anything the magic can do, it is hit open threes.

the magic on defense have their hands full, but i think their success or failure, fair or not, will be a reflection of how good the lakers play offense.  the lakers dominated game 6 against denver, scoring at ease against a very good defensive team that had their backs against the wall.  i’m not saying the magic are worse defensively than denver (they are very probably better, though i don’t feel like looking shit up right now), but when that whole lakers team gets clicking, it is pretty impossible to stop.

so i figure the lakers are a stone cold lock to win game 1.  i’ll take them -6 every day of the week.  game 2 is the make-or-break for the magic.  if they win game 2, they can push it to 6, but if they don’t, this will be a lot like that utah series, in which the jazz won game 3 at home, everyone wondered aloud if they were back in the series, but they weren’t at all and the lakers cruised in 5.  so, i guess i give the magic either 1 or 2 wins, but i don’t see how this series goes 7 and i definitely don’t see how the magic overcome a team as stacked as the lakers.

and it begins anew

a couple of headfakes.  desires withdrawn.  and finally, this.  a new home.  after 9+ years of (my first domain name), i’ve finally gone international, creative, and above all, more self-centered.  and i’m on a real blogging platform now.  i used to reject that word, ‘blogging’ – nitin and i used to argue about it in high school.  and now, here i am, accepting if not embracing it, on software made by someone else for this express purpose, in iceland.

it’s an interesting time to start clean and professional-like.  my fiancee is in washington, d.c. working for senator chuck schumer and helping confirm a new supreme court justice.  i’m in california working for a start-up in silicon valley.  we are doing exactly what we want to do, but far away from each other and thus exactly what we don’t want to do.  a summer of introspection is sure to follow.

i hope to mix in the classic elscorcho-style stories with photography, baseball (though not too much, as to keep about90feet afloat), and programming chatter.  when i finally get back to updating it, i’ll have photos on mytheoryontimetravel and in the photo gallery, though photography has taken a backseat recently to work and baseball.  and occcasional video game chatter here too, i’m sure.

(i don’t write that last paragraph for you, but for me – elscorcho lost its way and became stale, and i don’t want that to happen here just yet.)

anyway, here we are, and here i am, and here it goes.