Yay, It’s March!

Alright, It’s 1 March so it’s time to break out the shorts and tank tops! No? Oh yeah, Ithaca is too far away to get the memo that it’s March so today I looked out and saw all this snow. In fact, it was actively snowing when I looked out the window. When I got in my car to go buy Bambi for my fiancee (it came out on DVD today) and drove to Best Buy, I was taken aback at how beautiful the snow looked. Since it was early in the morning, it hadn’t been soiled by cars driving over it or plows pushing dirty snow around. I resolved to take my camera out with me when I walked to class. It turned out that you just get a very different image from the snow on campus than you do from the snow in the mountain roads leading to the mall. I have decided to include some of the pictures I took today. Enjoy.


Poor seeds...hang on....
These poor seeds remained on the tree through
the whole winter – if they can just wait a few more weeks

Rebel Base on Ice Planet Hoth
Darth Vader, I have found the Rebel Base on
the Ice Planet Hoth. Please don’t make me an admiral…

Ho Plaza
It’s very rare to see something so beautiful and
so depressing at the same time


It’s not a mirage….it never ends

Thanks

I just wanted to say:

Thanks to my family who has been praying for me to get better and a

HUGE thanks to my fiancee who spent all weekend doing everything possible to get me better!

There are few better demonstrations of love than caring for someone when they’re ill.

He’s a dancin’ machine!

Today while talking to my dad about dancing, I realized I really don’t like booty dancing. I mean, I’ve done it before at numerous dances and I’d do it again instead of just sitting around bored, but I just don’t like it. I think it’s too repetitive and, frankly, not creative at all. I don’t know, it just bores me to dance it. Spanish music, on the other hand, I could dance all night long – or until I got tired. I guess I just feel more connected to my partner, for starters. When I’m in the groove I feel like we’re both one organism moving together. We move around seamlessly, without any verbal communication. Additionally, who knows, I may spin her or do another of the hundreds of moves from the dance. It also looks a lot more beautiful. Finally, it’s much more intimate. There aren’t too many social activities that make me feel as close to someone as when we’re dancing a bachata. I feel so connected and that’s why I love it so much.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t go to too many parties on campus. If they have any dance music it’s likely to be hip-hop and I just get bored after about 10 minutes. With Spanish music I could go forever, with a few breaks for water and to rest my feet, that is.

Mario is dead, long live Mario!

This week is National Engineering Week and we’ve been doing some pretty interesting things here at Cornell. For example, whoever could name the most digits to Pi would win a pie. We had a social contraceptive contest to see who could come up with the worst pickup line. But nothing we have done, or will do, here at Cornell, stacks up to what engineers did at this school!. They took a whole bunch of Post-It© notes and created a mural to Mario. I will post some of the pictures here in case their page goes down or is slash-dotted. By the way, if you go to their website you’ll see the reasons for the title of my post.

Mario 1

Mario 2

Mario 3

Another point of view

I have recently had yet another paradigm shift involving my use of the GNU/Linux operation system. Up until now I was treating it like a better, more stable version of Windows. At first I even tried to do everything graphically, shunning away from anyone who told me to use the command line. I figured they were just some diehards who felt that mouse users were below them and considered their advice to be one-sided.

Grugingly I moved to the command line when it was obvious I had to. Up2date, Redhat’s updater at the time of Fedora Core 1 was horrible and always caused my computer to freeze up. I had to go to the terminal and use yum. Yum usage and the little I had learned from my DOS days (how to change directories and other trivial tasks) were all that I did in the command line.

Wireless access on the laptop was the first thing to push me to the command line. Until Fedora Core 3, there wasn’t even a GUI for wireless controls that came bundled. So I was off to the terminal to type in commands to see which wireless routers were available (iwlist scanning) and which I was connected to (iwconfig). From there I began to use it more and more for deleting and moving files around. Sometimes it was just so much more efficient than using the GUI for that stuff.

Recently I neared the completion of my conversion over to the command line when I began launching files from the command line followed by &, allowing me to continue working. I used to think this was just a cool geeky thing to do – launch stuff from the command line while others pointed and clicked away. However, I quickly discovered two advantages. First of all, you don’t have to look through the menus to find the program, just type its name on the command line. If you only knew how much time I wasted sometimes looking for a program in Windows’ Start Menu. Second, by starting a program in the command line, you open up a world of debugging information. Nearly everything you do produces a prompt on the command line. For example, when I started amarok on my slow Pentium 2 machine it gave me this output: “amarok is taking a long time to load. You may want to check if there’s a problem.” If you just started the program from the icon, you’d never see that. It also has the added side effect of geekifying your desktop – if that’s your thing – by having a terminal window open with all this program information flashing by. It looks very “hacker movie.” 😀

Am I ready to completely move to the command line? No, I don’t think that’s a good thing. Too much in any direction is always a bad thing and there are definitely some advantages to doing things in GUIs, epsecially since I’m a visual person. But I have certainly learned the value of the command line and no longer scorn those who recommend it.

drop the bomb productions gets a minor face lift

The website for drop the bomb productions, my indie film studio, has received a minor face lift today. I changed the index page and added some forums for discussion.

For those of you who don’t know, I am into video editing and have created quite a bit of content. The videos currently on the server showcase just a fraction of my work over the past half decade. Of course, I have not added some of my largest productions, including Pao Bhangra, due to current space restrictions on my server. I intend to fix that when I relaunch the server at the end of 2005.

I’ve also got two scripts on the back burner waiting for me to graduate so that I can begin work on them. With luck I can have those scripts turned into my first two movies by 2008 or so. It all depends on how much free time I have and whether I can find some actors. I intend to make the movies freely available online after submitting them to some film festivals, if they come out looking better than an amatuer flick. If not, they will end up being my testbeds.

[1.0] instructions

I’ve decided that from now until I have to shut down my server, I’m going to be blogging with my server’s blog It’s A Binary World 2.0. Amongst other things, it automatically sends to some blog search engines whenever I’ve made a post and has led to 200 visits to my blog so far this month. So, from now on, go there to read my blog until I let you know that I’m going to have to shut down my server temporarily until late 2005.

I’ve made quite a few posts over the last few days so you should have plenty to read.

A few updates and notes

If you go to my main page, you can see where I have added a new section, C code from a class I’m taking this semester. We’re making a lot of really cool designs based upon the Atmel CPU, which is readily available for those who like to tinker. I’ve put up my first project, a reaction time tester. It has the user push a button, waits approximately two seconds plus a random amount to keep the user from guessing, and then displays the user’s reaction time. It also keeps the user from cheating by detecting if they are holding the button down.

I also noticed something today accidentally. In another really awesome aspect of this blogging software, if you leave your mouse hovering over a date in the calendar, it lists the posts made that day. That is really convinient, given a month-long look, for finding a post. Go ahead and try it yourself! I know it works in IE because I tried it in a computer lab and I think it works with Firefox.

Finally, I love comments so don’t be shy. If you have a comment to make, make it.

Youngest Sibling Weekend was awesome

This weekend my youngest brother and my fiancee’s youngest sister (with her best friend) came up to see us at school. It was one of the most fun times I’ve had here at Cornell. I don’t think I have as much fun with too many other people as when I’m with my brothers. We’re usually on fire, just bouncing off each other’s jokes and references.

Eric, Dan, and David
Arranged in birth order and inverse size order

We went to the suspension bridge, a bridge over one of the gorges which happens to have been designed by a Cornell Civil Engineer. I don’t know if it was purposely made to do this, but the bridge shakes as people walk on it. The more people walking or jogging on the bridge, the more resonance. However, supposedly the calulations were done correctly so that the bridge would stay up. David went jumping and galloping along, without any fears. More typical of the first-time walker, Frances was a little hesitant to continue along the bridge when it began to shake. Once we got her on, however, she was joining along in the fun.

Dan and Dave on the suspension bridge
Dave was fearless on the suspension bridge

Saturday we went bowling at the Helen Newman lanes, it was the first time we’d been in such a long time. Most of our friends are usually too busy to bowl. Danielle was impressive at the end with three strikes in a row for her last frame!

Dina bowls
Dina came in second place in bowling

We went to a chimes concert that wasn’t too bad, but was a bit of a dissapointment for Frances. Every song she requested was a duet and there was only one Chimes Master present. It was really cool to hear him play the theme to Disney’s Gummi Bears.

The whole group on the clock tower
We were on top of the world on the clock tower.

I hope we can all get together again in the future. I told Dina and Frances to come for Spring Break…but who wants snow instead of beaches?

Want to subscribe to It’s A Binary World 2.0’s RSS feeds?

What’s RSS? It is a syndication protocal allowing you to get people’s blogs and news websites’ headlines delivered to your email or web browser client so that you don’t need to surf to each and every one of them to read them. You can also save them onto your computer for future reading!

Wow, that sounds great! How do I get It’s A Binary World 2.0 Syndications?
It’s very easy, especially if you are using Mozilla’s Thunderbird. In Thunderbird, simply click on “manage subscriptions” under “news and blogs” and then click add. You want to have the url:

http://www.ericsbinaryworld.com/wp-rss2.php

Don’t forget the http:// or it won’t work, I know if you’re like me the browsers have made you lazy because they don’t require you to type that in.

By the way, if you like not getting viruses or a lot a spam, switch to Thunderbird. You can even check your hotmail accounts if you download some extra plugins.

[1.0] Quotes

“The truth is a hassle” – Mo Rocca

“This is the way I did it and it worked so I didn’t think anymore” – Prof Land

“It’s fun to program in assembler; so manly” – Prof Land

“I majored in the most unmarketable major of all: Sociology.” – Alysha Cryer

More Chrono Trigger Revealed

I wrote a long time ago in It’s A Binary World 1.0 about all of the symbolism in Chrono Trigger. That game was extremely deep for a video game, but Square (now Square-Enix) has been known to have some very intellectual aspects to their games. Before, I spoke of Massamune, the gurus of time, and how certain aspects of the game spoke to racism. This time I uncovered another metaphor in the video game by watching a movie.

Yesterday I saw Constantine. I didn’t know until yesterday that it was based upon comic books. The movie was ok, perhaps 6 out of 10, but I’m not a big fan of movies about the occult. It’s not so much that I find them evil or blasphemous, they’re just not my bag. At any rate, I learned yesterday that, according to occult teachings, Satan has a son. I’ve never heard anything like this at church or even in religous books before. Personally, I find it a bit silly because I think it takes the dichotemy too far. God is good and Satan is evil. God lives above and Satan below. God has a son, so Satan must also? I don’t know, it seems a bit weird to me; a bit too contrived. But I digress…

Apparently Satan’s son is named Mammon. Any devout player of Chrono Trigger such as my brothers and I would have felt something resonate in them upon hearing that name. When I first heard it during the movie I kept trying to remember why that name was familiar to me. At first I thought it had to do with Revalations, but then I remembered that at Gog and Magog. I remained stumped for quite some time. Then it suddenly came to me, Schala was using the Mammon machine to summon forth Lavos’ power. The effect of this on her was to make her evil and, although I haven’t played the game in ages so I can’t remember for sure, demonic. It makes sense now for the machine to be called the Mammon machine because, by summoning Lavos, she was, in effect, summoning forth the son of Satan. It was that event which began the chain of events leading to destruction in 1999, in the game’s timeline.

While I’m at it, I think I wrote about this before, but I can’t remember – it is obviously symbollic that Square chose 1999 as the time for the catastrophic events in the game. I remember even those who didn’t express concern over the year 2000 still having some thoughts in the back of their mind, wondering if 31 Dec 1999 would be their last day. Also, I know there is a creature in the game called a Golem, which I recently found out is a Hebrew mythological creature. Next time I play through the game I’ll have to take notice of what the Golem is and then see how that matches up to the Jewish creature.

Exciting Weekend!

I’m quite excited about this weekend. My fiancee’s sister is up with her friend and my brother flies in tomorrow. We are planning on spending at least Saturday together in order to have a good time and take a break from Cornell. Saturday night is also the final hockey game of the season. It should make for a good game and they usually have a little something special for the last game.

I also have residual excitement from launching a forum on my server for my family and a wiki site as well. I am also excited about the public forums I will be creating for drop the bomb productions surrounding the videos there as well as for general video production topics. I am slowly turning this lowly server into a hub of sites. Fortunately, when I relaunch the site near the end of the year, I’ll be running on a much nicer piece of equipment. The processor will be able to handle a lot more and it’ll have a lot more RAM as well.

Well, I’ve got to get some sleep for the weekend ahead.

Check out this beautiful picture



page17

Originally uploaded by hiromama.


I didn’t take this picture, rather I found it on flickr.com, a cool new online community for hosting pictures. It’s based completely on open source software, which is pretty neat. But it’s a little hard to explain exactly how it works. Basically it links people’s pictures together in a complex network similar to facebook.com does for college students.

They have a neat little feature where I can blog from their site about any picture I find. This saves me the hassle of linking to the picture, loading up my blog, and making a post. It does, however, limit my abilities. For example, I can’t choose when the post will be up on my site or anything like that.

Still, it was worth trying once.

Also! Check out the other post I made earlier today!

“Please See A Psychiatrist…”

That’s what the computer told my fiancee. “You have been classified as having the symptoms of being bipolar,” it continued. A friend of mine had recently taken an online diagnosis using the school’s health website. I felt it was bogus and told him so, but to drive the point home my fiancee and I decided to take the test ourselves.

We answered all of the questions from her point of view, but we didn’t do this in a, “let’s mess with the system” sort of way; we genuinely filled out the answers. I knew the diagnosis would be less than perfect when it simply consisted of multiply choice questions like

  1. I sometimes do this
  2. I always do this
  3. I do this every full moon

I don’t know about you, but when given surveys like that, none of the answers seem to fit me well. I always have to go with the “best fit”. And usually it’s more of a second order approximation. So, anyway, the computer told her she had better see a psychiatrist because she was displaying symptoms of bipolar. No one knows her better than me, except maybe her parents, and if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that she is NOT bipolar. She is definitely consistent in her moods, desires, and wants – as consistent as any “normal” human being.

The important thing to remember whenever you use a website such as www.mayoclinic.com or www.webmd.com to self-diagnose you have to remember that there is no good substitute for a doctor. Look at it this way, a doctor goes to school for quite a number of years beyond undergraduate before being able to open up a practice. Even then, the doctor is mostly guessing at what is wrong with you based on your symptoms. Many times it takes a few diagnosis before the doctor can know what’s wrong with you because nearly every disease has the same symptoms. Take it from someone who’s been a “victim” of these websites, use them only for researching a disease a doctor has told you that you have. Don’t use it to try to see what’s wrong with you or you will go crazy. Seriouly, you could have flu symptoms and it will look like you’re dying of ovarian cancer, even if you’re a guy. 😉 So how could a web page survey do much better at diagnosis? It cannot look for symptoms you don’t know to tell it about. A doctor and observe you and see what’s going on. A web site relies on your answers and biases. If you are a person who believes your are ill you will answer more negatively than a person who believes everything is alright.

And, of course, there are the weird algorithms because none of the answers we entered should have signalled bipolar. They were all consistent and normal.

Bottom line – don’t get freaked out for no reason until you see a doc.