Monthly Archives: November 2006

BANG! BANG!

No, I’m not talking about part of the chorus to “Feuer Frei” by Rammstein — I’m talking about the constant banging of piledrivers right next to College Lodge for the new fine arts center at the corner of Calhoun and St. Philip. It’s been driving many students bonkers, and with the impending final exams, a petition is being sent around by Student Government to put a temporary halt to the construction so that students can study for and take their final exams in peace. Apparently this is drawing a bit more attention outside of the usual student circles. Here’s part of a message from SGA Senator Seaton Brown, sent via the Facebook group aptly titled HELP STOP THE POUNDING!, about some additional press coming SGA’s way on this issue, which can only be a good thing:

Also, Channel 2 News knows about the petition and a reporter from Post and Courier was at Senate tonight- so it sounds like we’re making some news! So tell all your friends and sign the petition! Thanks!

Let’s hope some sanity is restored to the campus for at least a few weeks. The piledriving is hella annoying, and can literally be heard across the entire campus. If it weren’t for the hustle and bustle of Calhoun St., I’m sure I’d hear it from my Ashley Ave. apartment, too.

Kudos to SGA for taking action on this on behalf of the student body — my many thanks to you.

Back to reality

Well I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving break. Mine was pretty terrific: in addition to the video gaming mentioned a few days ago and the requisite consumption of turkey and chocolate pie, I also saw the new James Bond movie with my friend Mark. It was the first movie I’d seen in a theater since Star Wars III in May of 2005, and I must say, it was fantastic. Daniel Craig may not look like past Bonds but he does a fantastic job. Highly recommended!

In addition to my first trip to the theaters in a year and a half, I’ve also made some infrastructure updates; I now have a backup domain controller, redundant DNS, and some limited DHCP failover now on my home network. This machine, known as healer (it seems the latest trend in my naming of machines are early Ryan Farish songs), is a Windows Server 2003 box with a single 733 MHz Pentium II and 384 MB RAM. It’s not bad and will do a great job not only serving in the BDC role but it will also be put into motion as the latest machine to power the weather station — because it is a smaller, quieter machine (literally, an older Dell Dimension), it will fit much more nicely in the back of my apartment versus the giant machine currently there (Nightwind, my Windows 2000 Advanced Server). This switch will occur sometime overnight in the next few days; probably this weekend. After school lets out I’ll be upgrading Nightwind, the primary domain controller, DNS box, etc. from Windows 2000 Advanced Server to Windows Server 2003 Enterprise. Windows 2000 is incredibly reliable but Windows 2003 enables some additional security stuff that will be quite useful.

That was the extent of productivity; though — a lot of time was spent just trying to chill out a bit (for a change). It most definitely was the calm before the storm. To be blunt, it doesn’t get much better from here until the 13th of December, when my final exams will be complete. :) I’ll be airing my plan out into the open here in a blog post in the very near future.

The War on Home Entertainment!

There’s a story making a firestorm across the techie portion of the internets today: that the MPAA is requiring people to register home theaters; failure to do so would result in fines of up to $500,000. I was convinced this was true, too — until I saw it came from BBSpot (currently slashdotted), a fantastic…satire site. So no, the MPAA isn’t that diabolical…but isn’t it an amazing commentary on the state of the entertainment industry that we can believe stories such as these?

Wide Left

Wow. So I watched The Game today, and it was quite, quite impressive…back and forth and back and forth and all that. There were some really sweet plays, like the 295-pound lineman from Clemson rumbling his way 80-something yards for the touchdown; and then there were some really idiotic plays, like the Carolina fumble recovery that was fumbled in the end zone for a Clemson touchback. The thing that killed the Tigers was that, well, they couldn’t throw the ball. Any defense with any wits will eventually stiffen up to the run if that’s all they do, and that’s exactly what doomed Clemson. And then, of course, was the hook to the left on the field goal on the last play of the game.

And so it goes, South Carolina 31, Clemson 28, in Death Valley. Let the bickering, banter, celebration, and mourning begin, all at the same time. :)

Yet another reason why I don’t quite blend in (or: Blasphemy!)

I’m about to make a startling admission, at risk of expulsion from the state, a few of my friendships, and just society in general:

I’m probably the only sports fan in South Carolina who doesn’t really have an opinion on today’s South Carolina v. Clemson game.

Hell, for my first twelve years in South Carolina I didn’t even realize this was going on. I grew up in a staunchly NFL household — Sunday, not Saturday, was our day. It was customary to root for the Chargers and for the team playing Denver (and the then-L.A. Raiders, too). When 1995 rolled around and we finally got a franchise to sort of call our own, then it was root for the Panthers, for the Chargers, and against Denver and the Raiders. So my disinterest toward Carolina/Clemson doesn’t stem from a lack of knowledge of rivalry games; far from it.

When I was younger, college football totally baffled me. Why were there numbers next to the teams on the scoring bug? Why are the hashmarks so wide of the goalposts? Only one foot inbounds? Why aren’t the referees numbered, and why is that wide receiver about to kick a field goal? It perplexed the crap out of me, so I switched away from the game and watched The Weather Channel instead.

With time, I began to figure out most of these things (I still need to run the hashmark rule through The Google) and realized that, well, college is just a different set of circumstances, and I came to appreciate the ways the differences in the rules opened up the game a bit. I’m somewhat rehabilitated now; I did watch Ohio St. vs. Michigan this weekend, and I did manage to at least catch the championship game in January. I think my main issue with NCAA football is still the BCS, though — why can’t they have playoffs like every other sport? What’s with the 50-something day layoff between the final games and the bowl games? Hell, I think two weeks between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl is too long.

So that brings us to Carolina/Clemson. Now, I in my infinite cluelessness (likely induced by watching The Weather Channel all those Saturdays) only found out about the importance of this game four years ago as a freshman at Lander, where it seems the world literally stopped for about three hours while everyone watched this game. Okay, it’s the two big football schools in South Carolina going against each other…big deal. They’re not even in the same conference, and most of the time they’re not jockeying for any meaningful national championship position. But, it’s a rivalry game. It’s very much Carolina vs. Atlanta, San Diego vs. Oakland, or Washington vs. Dallas. The game also gives newspaper editors the unique opportunity to write such perverse headlines such as “TIGERS BEAT COCKS” or “COCKS TAME TIGERS” or something to that effect. Alas, with a lack of real allegiance to any of these schools, I have no weight on which side I should root for. I do hope that the game is clean from start to finish, and that the headlines tomorrow evoke a giggle. I’ll be busy, well, watching The Weather Channel.

Things learned this evening at Ale’s

  • The Nintendo Wii might be the most fun console, right out of the box, ever created. Nintendo has hit a home run with this product, at least in the short term — the key is to keep the games fresh and upcoming.
  • WiiSports is awesome. I am in love with the baseball game in particular. You actually swing the controller as the bat, and the pitching is the same way (overhand motion, though I did some submarine stuff and it was wicked fun). One thing that bothered me through the game was that the “splitter” came out more like a knuckleball (it had very little rotation). The top speed anyone could reach with the fastball was 94 mph, which I’m assuming is the limit (someone can feel free to prove me wrong here). It’s limited to three-inning games, with no extra innings in a tie situation, and for good reason: after three innings, you get TIRED. I wonder when someone’s going to have to have Tommy John surgery because of extensively playing Wii baseball.
  • When surrounded by 22″ LCD widescreen monitors for $200, buy as many as possible. Ale has two now and the setup is just absolutely ridiculous.
  • Freebird is hard as hell to play on Expert mode in Guitar Hero II. It’s absurd. You’re better off just pushing random buttons than trying to follow the song. I’d love to see someone beat Freebird in Expert mode in a reasonable timeframe.
  • I am not any ordinary guitar hero — rather a guitar God. This was my score playing Girlfriend on expert in a duel with Duke, I believe. My left wrist is going to be incredibly painful in the morning.

Good times were had by all tonight…I needed it. It’ll be back to a real grind tomorrow I think, despite the fact I won’t step foot on campus for another couple days yet. It’s That Time of Year in which everyone is stressed to the limit and all that fun stuff — yes, finals week is fast approaching, so expect a bit of a slowdown on the blog front in the couple days unless something happens that’s just really awesome or that really just makes me mad. Hehe.

Does Wi-Fi cause ILLNESS?

Kate Figes in the United Kingdom thinks so, and she’s got a lot of UK schools so convinced that Wi-Fi causes illness that they’ve banned Wi-Fi devices. WTF, mate? We may as well shut down radio stations, other devices on the 2.4 GHz spectrum, the electrical grid, and the sun, because all those cause radiation of some sort as well. If indeed she feels bad in the presence of a Wi-Fi network, might I suggest to Linksys and D-Link that she should be hired to test the effectiveness of their products? Wait, that’s cruel (and quite, quite unusual) — my apologies.

Good news for cell phone junkies!

So the Copyright Office managed to give us cell phone junkies an early Christmas present yesterday, by officially giving consumers the legal right to unlock their cell phones so that they can take them to another carrier. I wonder what this will do to cell phone prices now that the companies have no real legal recourse to keeping someone from jumping ship with the phone they sold at the extremely low price.

Despite this ruling, the really stupid portions of the DMCA (region codes, “illegal” backups, etc.) are still around. Take a look at this bill, the Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act of 2005. Good stuff inside — it makes the DMCA a little less draconian. Let’s hope we can bump the year up a couple notches and convince our representatives to give this a fair shot in the new Congress. :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. We all have a lot to be thankful for; as you carry out whatever your Thanksgiving ritual may be, please don’t forget to take a second to count your blessings. You never know when they might disappear — never take them for granted.

Enjoy your holiday, and I won’t see you at the mall tomorrow. :)

–J