Lightning

I think I just got about as close as physically possible to lightning. Of course I was indoors and it was outside, but never mind that. I’m just sitting here minding my own business grading UBT’s and there is this marvelous flash and crack – not the normal delayed crack, but an instant crack like right outside my window. Ok, so that means the lightning was pretty close.

Now, the convincing part is that after this, when I was done shitting myself and could see again, both of my monitors were marvelously gaussed. The one parallel to the window had this effect fairly evenly over the whole thing. The one semi-perpendicular to the window had it much more defined to the side near the window.

I’m not sure how far the magnetic field extends around lightning (I think I actually know how to calculate it if I want to) but I think it drops proportional to the inverse square of the distance so for it to affect one half of my monitor and not the other would seem to indicate that the strike was damn close.

Grading UBT’s

Grading UBT’s is such a long boring process. The more interesting they are the more time I waste just reading them, and the less interesting they are well… then they’re just boring. Its a nice little catch 22. Damn all the CSE students getting 4.0’s, why can’t a 3.0 just be good enough? Overachievers!

Stupid People

I shall now regress to one of my previous rants… the one about stupid people. The main reason I care to go back to this is to relay a quote from a former CSE Student.

I was TAing like a good little grad student and answering a question for these two girls in the back of the room. Part way through the question, a guy in the class walked out the door (this was at the end of class), and girl A comments to girl B “There goes Tarzan” at which they both start half giggling half laughing.

I was slightly curious about this comment and the reaction it inspired and I looked at one of them with something like a “what the fuck is wrong with you” look, which if you know me, could easily be construed for any other unspoken statement since they all pretty much a look of disgust to an inferior life form, but apparently the look was interpreted as “what was that all about.”

Girl A the said something to the effect of: “He’s hot, but working with him is like talking to Tarzan.” Then in a Tarzan voice: “Jane use mouse?” This was quite funny coming from a student, and brings me to my point about stupid people.

This guy was dumb as a friggin rock. Several times over the course of the semester I would be helping him do something and he literally would not move the mouse without direct instruction to do so. At one point he was supposed to use a certain file that we had created in class earlier. I told him to open the file and he asked what it was called. HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT IT IS CALLED, YOUR THE APE WHO CREATED AND SAVED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. I swear, chimps can be trained to do more intelligent things than this guy.

This guy embodied my hate of stupid people. It’s not that he was just not computer smart, he just wasn’t smart. I think it was the steroids and pot based on the dead lifeless look that resided on his face. He took the class, and showed up for class but then used instant messenger during class making stupid comments to his friends like “what up g” and I’m pretty sure they were written just like that. Because of his IM use, it’s safe to say that he wasn’t entirely new to computers, he was just too damned stupid to understand anything more than the basic ‘click on name, type to friend’ that one of his bro’s had surely taught him.

I find it hard to put into words how stupid some people are, but I’m pretty sure everyone has been in a situation where they have met this type of person. This isn’t the casual, driving along and someone forgets to use their turn signal “oh they’re stupid” comment. This understanding comes when one sits down and thinks about what they have witnessed, gives the person the benefit of the doubt that it might just have been an off day, discards any possibility of a simple momentary lapse or simple foolish mistake and realizes that that person is just plain stupid and the best lawyers in the world could not convince a jury otherwise. How I wish there was a cost effective and proven way to keep them from breeding. Not to say that stupid is genetic, I really think it’s more in the raising of a child.

Seriously

Finally Microsoft has realized that office is not important enough that I need to have every application immediately available in my start menu and they created a folder to hold all the office programs. If only adobe would follow suit – how cocky is it of a developer to think that their software is so much greater than the other guys that they will create a folder, but also put a direct link to their program. It makes me want to smack someone and ask them if they just don’t get it.

High Stress

ECE 932 – This class is currently causing me severe amounts of stress… I don’t have a group, a project or a good idea and time to research it for my next presentation on Friday.

My gun broke, the slide catch no longer works… this just sucks, because now I have to spend time going to Gander Mtn. returning it, going back to pick it up, and after all that I still have a fear that it will be a recurring problem.

Summer… yeah, I still haven’t a clue what I’m doing this summer, or next year for that matter. I emailed the right people, but they didn’t email me back. And I can’t really go applying for jobs until I have some clue what I am doing between now and then.

Stereotypes

No stereotype is true all the time, if it were, it would be a fact of life, not a stereotype. Not all stereotypes are bad or wrong either. Lets take an example. I drive to class most days, some days are uneventful, others are littered with people failing to observe the general rules of the road. Now, if I notice that 9 out 10 times that I observe some traffic incident (many of which occur in roundabouts) there is a woman driving, I am going to develop a stereotype that women are bad drivers. Obviously, this is not true because I am sure I pass many women on the road every day whom I pay no attention to because they drive as well as anyone else on the road. But the fact remains, that when I observe a traffic incident there is a 90% chance it is the fault of a woman. Because of this, if I see a traffic accident of some sort, knowing nothing about the driver I’m am going to think it was a woman. Because I am male and I believe no women can drive, or that if it were a man it somehow implies that I’m a bad driver: No. Because statistically, based on my own experience there is a 90% chance that I am correct with that guess and only a fool would go with the 10% option.

Now, the above is entirely fictitious. In the few traffic issues I see, I would estimate that there is equal distribution between men and women, but that’s really not the point here anyway.

So, next time you care to call someone racist, sexist, or any other such label, take a look around you first. If in normal observation, you see a higher percentage of cases agreeing with their view than disagreeing then they may not be prejudice at all, but only logical. It makes more sense to base your opinions on past experience than to ignore that experience in order to be politically correct.

Driving

Ok… I admit, I’m not the most amazing driver ever. The fact that my jeep resembles a huge blue golf ball confirms this. However, I follow the general rules and laws of the streets. Specifically, I can comprehend and abide by the governing principle of roundabouts. And, yes, it can be summed up in one principle – stay in your lane. If you do this, and avoid the obvious, like stopping in the middle of the damn thing, you will navigate the roundabout correctly. Now, what all does this one simple guiding rule imply:

1. If I am in the roundabout and you are in the right lane approaching it: If I stay in my lane, and you stay in yours then I can leave the roundabout at any time without worrying about hitting you.

2. If I am in the right lane and you are in the roundabout: I should be able to make my right turn regardless of what you are doing with out the risk of being broadsided by you, because you stay in the left (middle) lane.

3. If I am in the roundabout and you are in the left lane: If you have room to pull out in front of me, do it. If not, don’t. This works like any other time you are trying to enter moving traffic.

4. CATA busses are the root of all evil, since they do not seem to be capable of staying in one lane when entering or exiting a roundabout. If anyone has the motivation and willingness to bus bomb a few CATA busses you will be my personal hero for a week.

As usual, if everyone does it right, roundabouts are quite efficient and safe. It’s when you get that lone stupid person who disrupts the flow that all hell breaks loose. Other cases where this applies:

People going too slow on highways or freeways – slower is not better folks, you just became an obstacle for everyone else.

People getting into the left turn lane a quarter mile before their left turn – not what it’s for, someone coming the other way might actually want to use that lane the right way, but now your hurdling at them at full speed just asking to cause a wreck.

People who drive while entirely consumed with another activity, for some this can be as simple as talking on a phone – if you can’t multi-task well enough to talk on a phone and drive, then don’t, and if you do, you deserve to die in a fiery ball of twisted metal, just make sure you get in a wreck with a telephone pole or something inanimate.

People who drive when they’re not actually driving – guess what, you’re not giving valuable advice, your a distraction, shut up.

People who insist they know what you should have done if an accident does happen – guess what, looking back everyone can see what they should have done, would you have done it right the first? Odds are against it.

I swear someday I’m just going to hit someone in a roundabout. I’ll see them coming, realize they’re going to cross that nice double line and just keep going in my left lane. Hopefully taking out their front end. Like my jeep couldn’t handle a few more dents.

Speaking of white lines, if you need help with the concept of roundabouts, go look at the one on Shaw Lane and Bogue. The lines apply to all roundabouts, even if they’re not painted on. If you still don’t understand, take another look – preferably as a CATA bus comes through and squashes your head like a bug.

iPods

I recognize that the iPod was more or less the original HDD MP3 and other music player, and I realize that it’s design is wonderfully compact. Given this, I still don’t really like it. Why…
1. I don’t find that ‘wheel’ comfortable to use, and I like some sort of tactile response from a control unit, not just knowing that some internal thing is sensing if my finger moves. Having messed with one, I’m semi-disappointed with it’s accuracy – I did not like how often it jumped two menu items down when I only tried to go one down.
2. I cannot just drag and drop files to it, I must use MusicMatch or iTunes.
3. I must browse my music based on ID3 tag, not by directory and filename. ID3 tags are nice and good to use, but not something I care to rely on.
4. The low resolution of the screen, or at least the poor use of it. There’s space there that could be used for displaying something useful.
5. Lack of a user adjustable equalizer.
6. Too few buttons, I know simplicity is good, but a few more buttons would eliminate my having to guess what one to use for functions. To expand on this, the same 4 buttons with LCD displays behind them would be absolutely amazing since they could have many different functions and the functions could be shown not guessed at, think soft buttons on a phone or calculator one generation more advanced.

One thing I do like about the iPod is that using the wheel to scroll through a list of a thousand songs is amazingly great. The iPod picks up that my finger is moving faster and skips faster through the list, and there’s no delay like having to hit a button and have the device pick up the fact that you held the button and didn’t let it go.

Also, they are still one of the smallest sleekest designs out there for 10gb and up players.

Basically if the iPod would let me mess with my files directly instead of having to use some shit software and if they replaced the wheel with a scroll bar of sorts which scrolled faster as you moved further from center I’d probably have bought that instead of the iRiver player.

Now, as for the iRiver, likes and dislikes on that…

Likes:
1. It lets me directly manipulate files, without any stupid DRM issues or such garbage.
2. Hardware capabilities such as recording from the built in Mic, a external Mic or line in, and optical input and output.
3. It sounds great and has a user settable equlizer.
4. Although not as absolutely simple, I think the menus etc. are much more intuitive to use.

Dislikes:
1. For as great as the hardware is, it’s under-supported by the firmware. I mean it took two updates to get the shuffle mode working reasonably well, for such a basic feature that’s pretty sad. It would be great if someone developed a replacement firmware like was developed for the Archos.
2. The joystick is a little small and slick, it would be better as a cupped d-pad of sorts so one could use it like a joystick but pressing on the sides would not be like clicking the joystick but like pushing it to the side. Yeah, I know that description is about as clear as shit.
3. Using a joystick to scroll through a great number of songs is a pain. It needs some form of accelerated scrolling feature.

Things I Hate

1. Stupid people – and by this, I do not mean people who aren’t as knowledgeable in a specific field as me, I mean people who just don’t get it and probably never will.

2. SUV’s driven by people who never intend to go off road, haul or tow anything. Particularly humorous in this category are the 5 ft. tall women who drive an SUV larger than their house. Not that it’s any worse for a small woman to drive an SUV than anyone else – they’re all equally useless, this case is just funnier to me.

3. People who don’t understand that a double white line in a roundabout is NOT TO BE CROSSED. If I’m making a right turn, I shouldn’t have to wait for anyone except the guy directly in front of me – who’s also making a f****** right turn. People in the circle should be able to exit at any point without worrying about the people making an immediate right turn. You see, that’s how it works, right lane turns right, the left lane circles around until they care to exit (still in the left lane).

4. People who have good jobs in electrical engineering. Because they have one and I want one damn it. Of course, I’ll put off hating you if there’s a chance you’ll help me get a job.

5. Snotty, bratty kids in TV commercials. Spy Kids the movie as also included here because it’s as stupid and annoying as a TV commercial.

6. Useless conversation, this kinds that you know is leading to absolutely nothing that there is any reason to remember beyond the end of the conversation. Many of these take the form of casual greetings such as “Hey, how’s it goin’?.” No, you don’t care so don’t ask. Believe me, I’d rather you not ask than try to make it look like you care, you’re not that convincing of an actor.

7. Insistence on saying he/she, or spelling women as womyn. In both cases, the existing method has been around for years, no-one is trying to offend you by it, get over it already. Changing shit like this doesn’t get your point across, it makes you look like a whiny piece of shit who’s opinion I rapidly disregard – congrats.

8. People who refuse to back down in an argument even if they know they’re wrong due to proof being presented by the other side. Any, no, I’m not talking about complex arguments where many people can have different views and never truly prove themselves or others right or wrong. I’m talking about trivial bullshit that no one really cares about in the first place. Maybe I just need to let it go… that might do me good… but then again, maybe it’s better to keep arguing and watch them be stupid, you never know depends on the mood at the time.

9. Nextel phones and their stupid chirping nationwide walkie talkie BS.

10. People who install every piece of garbage software the some half brained high schooler sends their way, then complain that their computer is slow and infested with spy ware. No shit… you did it to yourself.

11. Phonetic spelling of any sort when used by anyone above age 10. Phonetic spelling of simple words, even when done by kids under the age of 10. Learn to spell and type, it’s not that hard. “where r u?” – now neither ‘are’ nor ‘you’ are hard words to spell or type.

12. People who speak in chat room acronyms… it’s one thing to type LOL in instant messenger, quite another to start saying it to friends instead of actually laughing.

13. People who don’t clean up after themselves. Come on, I don’t like your mess any more than you do, and you’re the one who made it.

14. Anyone who exists in a state of constant excitement. Life can be exciting, but it isn’t always so you shouldn’t be either.

15. Cigarette smoking… yep, it’s still disgusting and I still hate it. Cigars and marijuana are OK though.

16. Explosive devices that don’t work, because then you have a dilemma… leave it for an hour to make sure it’s really a dud, or go get it and see what went wrong – risking your left hand in the process.

17. The fact that CMT plays more artist interviews, and ’40 greatest songs of …’ than actual current, or even not so current country music videos.

18. The fact that BET exists. It’s not music, it’s just a bunch of women shaking their asses. Also, all the women who complain about the spelling of women or the use of he as the generic pronoun… this seems that it would be much more degrading than the use of an ‘e’ vs. a ‘y’. Please consider and redirect your efforts.

19. Useless movies which leaving you feeling that you should have been paid to waste your time in such a fashion. Torque, Matrix III and Wrong Casa rate near the top of this list.

At this point, I’m sure there are a lot more things out there for me to hate, and I’m sure I missed some very important ones but I’m bored of this…