June 2004 Archives
So tonight I spent about 2 hours doing a focus group for a product under development. I can't say what product it was, or even who's developing it, because they made me sign an NDA. Still, it was fun, we got to see something new and non-public, got to give actual feedback that I know will at least be heard, and I got paid $75 for chatting about music and the Internet for two hours. (Yes, I can say that much--the product has to do with music and the internet. :-P)
I found the focus group by checking Craig's List for the local area, under "et cetera jobs". It seemed like an easy and reasonably fun way to make a little extra pocket change.
A couple of incidentals about the group: There were eight of us, and I was the only one who didn't have an iPod. Of course, as far as I could tell there was only one (maybe two) other person(s) who even downloaded music before buying said iPod; when I mentioned having downloaded the first version of Napster people seemed oddly impressed. Sometimes I forget I'm such an early adopter. :)
As for the product, it seems like a decent idea, something I would actually use, if the company pulls it off well--which I am not completely confident of, but then that's why the focus groups. :)
1. Name a book you love no matter what anybody says.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Say what you will about the thinly veiled Christianity, but my dad read these books to me when I was sick once, as a kid, and they hold a special place in my heart.
2. Name a book you loathe no matter what anybody says.
Can't think of any I loathe right offhand, but J.R.R. Tolkien's Silmarillion is mind-numbingly boring no matter who says it's not. The man had a mind for detail, he was creative as all get out, but damn he should have hired a ghostwriter to make stories out of his material. :) Thank god for Peter Jackson, that's all I'm saying.
3. Name a book you think is undeservedly obscure.
We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families. The true story of the Rwandan genocide, one of the decidedly less shining moments in recent history. Reading news stories about current events in the Sudan--and other places--makes this book all the more painful (and relevant). This is what the U.N. should be for, not running multibillion dollar oil-for-food scams and letting the Syrians write Human Rights resolutions.
4. Name a book you think is undeservedly famous.
Ah, this one is even topical. James' Joyce's Ulysses. This may be something like my lack of appreciation for certain forms of abstract art, but it seems to me that the only thing worth admiring in Joyce's work is the sheer amount of determination it takes to write that much nonsense down. Ulysses is at least more readable than Portrait of a Young Man, though, I'll give it that much.
5. Name a book you think you ought to read.
Harold Abelson & Gerald Sussman, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. Or maybe Richard P. Feynman, The Feynman Lectures on Physics. The list, written in 6-point Times New Roman, probably would stretch to the moon and back, actually.
6. Name a book you think I ought to read.
So it turns out the fact that the server has 4 times the memory and about 6 times the processing power is irrelevant to the problem. Ah well. 500 clients isn't too shabby, I guess.
The problem with the Internet is that just anybody can come along and read whatever you put out there. No, that's not actually it. The problem with the Internet is that too many people know where my website is. (Yeah, like what, six people or something?) ;) I'm kidding, but there is a real point there. Sometimes you want to post about, oh, just random stuff, or rant about something, or what have you. I guess that's why people put up anonymous LiveJournals, eh? (Ah, the completely private LiveJournal entry: the offsite, password-protected journal your little brother/mom and dad can't read. It's every teenager's dream. :) Anyway, nothing concrete, just rambling about the strange sort-of-public persona we all seem to be acquiring these days.
I gave Charlie a bath today; I really think there's nothing more pathetic than a dog sitting there begging to know why you hate them so much. Unless perhaps it's a cat asking the same question at the top of his lungs. ;)
5 more days, plus a bit, until Jenny is back in town and life is back to normal. Been working so hard that I don't have the energy to do much by the time I get home (my current mantra is "just survive until July 17th"), but the imp of the perverse has seated himself firmly on my shoulders -- I can't sleep. I'm just all kinds of out of sorts right now. I guess having work scheduled out until October 11 for a hard July 12th deadline will do that to you, though.
I am at least proud of the work I'm doing. I was running our major application on my laptop today (just a Pentium M with 512 MB of RAM), and it handles at least 500 simultanous clients, each sending commands at random intervals between 0 and 1000 ms. Considering it's all code I wrote myself (in about 3 weeks), I don't know if that's more a tribute to my mad skillz or the ease of developing in C# -- the truth probably being, as it so often is, somewhere in the middle. (I'm so humble it hurts to be me sometimes... ;) ) The only reason the app starts to have issues at 500 clients is that it appears that the Winsock buffers start to fill up (probably due to the fact that 512MB - VS.Net - SQL Server - Outlook 2003 - misc other stuff does not leave massive amounts of memory lying around free) and the socket starts throwing WSAEWOULDBLOCK exceptions.
Anyway, I'll be interested to get the app onto our real server and see if/how far that extends the client limit.
And now back to your regularly scheduled non-programming post. ;)
Actually, I am toying with the idea of starting up another blog just for programming etc, to kind of segregate the content. Of course, it would mean that if I start posting to that more often than this blog Jen would beat me up, but maybe we can reach some kind of compromise. ;)
Okay, brain too fuzzy to write more. Going to try to sleep now.
She says she loves me, but then she celebrated our anniversary by going out to dinner with her parents, and without me. I tell you... ;)
Anyway, I stayed in, watched Miracle, and made one of my favorite recipes from my childhood:
English Muffin Pizzas
Plain English Muffins (2-3 halves per person)
Any other pizza toppings you like
Preheat oven to 350°. Split the English Muffins and toast them in a toaster until crispy. Spread pizza sauce, toppings, and cheeses on muffins and place in middle rack of oven for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Turn on broiler for 2-5 minutes (watch it carefully) until cheese is a nice golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for as long as you can stand it, then gobble them up (half the fun is burning the roof of your mouth ;).
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