Summer’s Gone

Four days are all that remain of summer. After that, it is back to school, again. The summer internship wrapped up today, hopefully one will be back with that company on a full time/permanent basis next spring. Unlike the previous two summers, one really is not ready to resume classes. Not that one really looked forward to classes before, just now one really does not want to deal with the inflexibility of the U.

What the U did that is bothersome is they moved a Tuesday/Thursday class to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday time slot, with just over a month’s notice. This was in the middle of the summer, and a full three months after one had signed up for the class. Of course, there is a scheduling conflict, otherwise one would not bother complaining.

The lecture was moved to a time that cuts into half of a lab. And, that lab section is the only one open. So, switching to another section is not feasible with anything short of divine intervention. One more or less told the student services person to take care of the problem–they broke it, they should fix it. The only response received was “I’m working on it”. That was two weeks ago. Pretty poor customer service in one’s opinion.

Oh, and shortly one will start the project work log for Pandora–a media recorder/server.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Window 7 Media Center Weather Alerts

The past few days have been quite rainy for the Twin Cities, around four inches of rain have fell in the past 48 hours. Tonight, a storm popped up north of Lake Minnetonka which produced a few tornadoes as it has made it’s way east. Before one actually knew a weather event was going on in the area, the cable internet dropped out. However, Windows Media Center was able to get a National Weather Service Tornado Warning message, and display it over playing video.WMC warning system

When in this “Warning Overlay” mode Windows Media Center will not record live TV, or allow the guide to show up with the arrow keys. Once the warning expires, Windows Media Center removes the overlay and restores normal functionality. It is not clear if this is the intended behavior or not. The apparent intent is to keep the user at the current channel. However, this does hinder the ability of the user to tune to a channel with more weather information if not already on one.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Moab Trip 2009 “The Plants” Photoset

I’ve finally synchronized my camera’s memory with my laptop (now on to the camcorder) and began sorting through the pictures I took on my trip to Moab, Utah in June. Below are some of the better shots of plants in the area. Surprisingly, many of the plants were still green and flowering, or just finished flowering. It’s too bad I don’t have anything better than a Cannon PowerShot SD850 IS with CHDK, getting it to focus on the correct object can be a pain at times (plus there is a caveat with using 4GB SDHC cards (FAT32 format is the culprit) and CHDK where it won’t auto boot).

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

goto code_hell;

code_hell: echo 'Yes, PHP 5.3 has the goto operator';

In one’s opinion, the only people that should be allowed to use the goto operator are expert assembly language programmers (and you are not one). Besides, most things written in PHP are not “low level” enough to warrant the use of goto. However, if you must use the goto operator, please do so responsibly. Use it as if it costs $10,000 per use, and properly document what’s going on.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Windows 7 PunkBuster Revisit

Well, well, well, look what we have here. Looks like Even Balance finally got their act together. Anyone taking part in the Battlefield Heroes Beta will know that DICE now has PunkBuster enabled for it. Amazingly, Battlefield Heroes still works in Windows 7, no false-positive PunkBuster related kicks. Even better, the PunkBuster client for Battlefield 2142 now works correctly on Windows 7 64Bit now as well. One was able to play on four different Battlefield 2142 servers for more than 30 minutes each today without a single kick, therefore the PunkBuster related issues appear to be solved. No hacks, no compatibility mode, no running as administrator, it just works. Hurray for silent updates! Oh wait, they are still a major security risk.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]