I had a summer student a year or so back who is now a data analyst here at stacy. We're currently working on turning his work into a paper, but it's slow going because everyone has other, higher priority, work.

He apparently has a review tomorrow where they're going to ask him about his progress and one of his goals was to have this paper done by now. At a meeting today, he asked my boss, "What should I say about the fact that the paper isn't done?"

I love my boss's answer, "Blame me. Scientific work never gets done on time, so just say you have a collaborator who's being impossible to work with and changing everything."


Death throes

To complement the MIA superdrive, now half of my keyboard is toast, too.  So, I think it's time to put Charlemagne v2.0 to pasture, and upgrade to Charlemagne v3.0.  I'm looking at getting one of the "previous" generation macbook pros, for about $1600, whenever the stock here finally goes on sale.  Sure, I could get the new spiffy macbook pro, for more money in just a short while, but I like the look of the old one better.  And, well, it looked like there's no old (slow) firewire port, and Traveler isn't getting updated anytime soon.  That'd be my iPod.  Yes, I still have my iPod USB connector, but mostly, I just don't like the look of the new macbooks, and I like the discount on the older generation.

Bonus points to anyone who can find the subtle joke in this post.  Hint:  it's about the pasture.



Apparently, I don't know enough MIT lore to know about Smoots, but there was an interesting news story yesterday discussing them.

The basic story is that, as part of a frat hazing ritual, \(\) measured the length of the Mass Ave bridge using their shortest pledge, Oliver Smoot. It's 364.4 Smoots long.

The article

The hidden gem in the article comes in the middle, "The original Smoot, who later became chairman of the American National Standards Institute..."

Did he already have an interest in measuring things or did being used for a measurement cause the interest? It's odd serendipity.


"Missing" DVD drive

Yes, I'm still typing away on my 12" Aluminum Powerbook G4.  I haven't used the dvd drive in a couple weeks, and then put a burned music cd (created on a macbook) in.  It spun for a bit, but eventually stopped spinning and never loaded.  It's still in there.  Holding the eject button doesn't work, rebooting and holding down the mouse button doesn't work.  I've tried resetting the PRAM, NVRAM, and I've done a reset-all in Open Firmware.  The drive does not appear in the System Profiler, nor does it exist when using the eject cd command in Open Firmware.  However, every time I boot the system or open the lid to bring it out of sleep, I hear the drive spin the cd for a little bit, then give up.  I've confirmed the disk is indeed spinning by putting a business card in the drive and slowly applying pressure to stop the disk from spinning.  This doesn't eject the CD either, nor does moving the business card to the side to trigger the eject button.  I hear what sounds like the eject mechanism activating, but the disk doesn't come out.  WTF?  Is there anything I can do short of tearing out the drive and replacing it?  All I know is that September 18th, it worked just fine when I burned a back-up of my photos, and it didn't work when I put the CD in on Oct. 1st.

Mood : distressed  Music : nothing but crickets, from my DVD drive