Friday, April 27, 2007

Chicken chicken chicken

Doug Zongker's PowerPoint talk at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, demonstrating how important presentation style and digrams can be when, as is often the case, one is presenting information that is utterly without meaning.

If you have difficulty seeing any of the illustrations in the video, you can download a PDF of the "paper" from Doug's site.

My Day Wasn't Like Yours

And your day wasn't like mine.

I can say this without even having the slightest idea what your day was like. I can say it with a reasonably high level of certainty. And I can also say with a reasonably high degree of certainty that you should be glad your day wasn't like mine.

My day started somewhere around 7 due to various alarm clocks going off. I rolled over, checked my email, did some work-related stuff, eventually got up, showered, dressed, and wandered over to the United Nations somewhere around 9 since the day's negotiating would begin at 10.

The morning was fairly typical - well, by my definition of typical. I took a bunch of pictures of diplomats generally not agreeing about anything, got in touch with teammates in Los Angeles and Nairobi to make sure they had flights to Germany next week (one of them will even be on a flight with me!), and stuff like that.

I came back from the cafeteria during lunch with a fruit salad... and found two instant messages waiting for me, both saying to call another teammate who's a retired diplomat from Asia. I called and found out that he hadn't been allowed onto the first of 3 flights he was going to take to get to Africa, because his itinerary involved 2 stops in European countries that are parties to the Schengen visa agreement, and an obscure rule none of us had ever heard of says that if he was flying 
through the Schengen area, he needed some kind of transit visa - arranged in advance - to make more than one stop.

It took me less than an hour to get him a new routing by way of New York and Atlanta. Fortunately, he has a visa for the US! It took another hour to get his original tickets canceled and refunded, during which I got to miss an hour of diplomats disagreeing (the high point of my day, to be sure). Then it was back into the meeting for more photos and all that.

The main meeting sessions went until 5 or 6, then there were some contact groups. I processed photos, wandered around taking more, and so on and so forth. I had the day's web page ready for proofreading by around 9 PM, headed back to the office around 10, set up and configured a network storage device that had been delivered, made some tweaks to the web page, published it, and desktop-published the day's bulletin for distribution tomorrow morning, helping with some editing of the text in the process.

Oh, and lest you think I forgot to mention dinner - no, that happened after work. Around half past 1 in the morning.

Better still, Friday will be the final day of the conference - so there's no telling how late things might go!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

MacBook Wi-Fi Disconnect Problem - Solved!

For the last eight months, my MacBook exhibited the undesirable behavior that affects some members of the species. Namely:

  1. It will randomly lose track of the Internet, despite still showing full Wi-Fi signal strength in the menu bar.
  2. After #1 occurs, turning Airport off and on won't result in it actually finding things again.
  3. After #1 occurs and the machine is rebooted, it may completely forget that it even has an Airport card.
I googled fairly extensively, and have narrowed it down to one of the following:
  1. The Airport card isn't seated correctly
  2. The Airport antenna isn't connected to the card correctly
  3. There's something wrong with the card's firmware
  4. There's something wrong with our Netgear wireless router's firmware
  5. There's something wrong with the software
In other words, I didn't really narrow it down at all. It was either hardware, firmware, or software. The only thing I knew it wasn't was human error. :) Of course, given that another MacBook purchased at the same time wasn't exhibiting the same behavior (knock on black polycarbonate), and given that the firmware and software on the two machines should be identical... hmm.

Anyway, I wound up in New York for a few weeks for some meetings, and made it down to south Jersey to visit my folks for the weekend. Dad and I went over to the Apple Store at Sagemore in Marlton/Evesham on Saturday, but their next available Genius Bar appointment was 1:40 PM on Sunday, so I took that one.

We got there about 1:30 PM, went to the Genius Bar. Chris came out from the back, looked at the laptop, booted it off their network server (cool trick!) and tried some diagnostics, none of which helped. He checked and confirmed that they did have a replacement AirPort card in stock (they have spare parts for repairs) and took less than a half-hour to swap it in... so I'm back on wireless!

It's still a wee bit wonky here and there - it'll show me a network as being available, but then say there was a problem joining it, but then join it just fine if I pick "other" and tell it the name, but then fall off a minute later, but then join it from the available-networks menu. ;) But that may just be some lingering confusion on its part from having just undergone WiFi-transplant surgery!

Why I'm leaving Twitter.

I've stuck it out and continued participating on Twitter while Elon Musk has run it into the ground, made it progressively more inhospit...