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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NWS, dunnhumby

Got a callback from dunnhumby, which I'm excited about.

Somone finally responded to my request for NWS help on the R mailing group. Turns out it was an inconsistent capitalization issue. Resolving this got it working fully on the Ubuntu machine, but only partially on the Cygwin machine. IE: I can now send commands and have them executed, but I can't get the values returned to the server. The only error I'm getting on the client machine is "No NWS server found;" which is odd because its the client and you'd think it doesn't need to have the server software running on it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Where did my pictures go, blogger?

Looks like half my pictures have spontaniously declared themselves forbidden. Hopefully the issue will work itself out.

Had a telephone interview with Discover (the credit card/ banking company) for an Analyst Leadership program in Chicago this morning. It went reasonably well, but it was significantly more difficult than the other interviews I've had recently, asking some pretty pointed technical questions. I was able to give good answeres for most things, but there were a few that I couldn't answer at all. It sounds like a great position and I'd love to do it, so I'm optimistic.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jobs and bikes and Rachael

Had an interview with Macy's today, which I'm excited about. I had given my resume to a representative at the career fair on the third, and they called me yesterday to schedule an on-campus interview. It went very well; I was confident and enthusiastic, had good answers and examples for every question, and the position is a good one. It's a two-year rotational "leadership development" program, where they spend 8 months in three different departments, then go on to be an analyst. He couldn't go into much detail about the nature of the projects that the analysts work on, but he mentioned things like modeling new store openings, which could be cool.

I'm glad I went into the interview with a positive attitude; I had a pause when I saw what they had posted on their website. The representative at the career fair had suggested I go online and take a look at the "capital planning position," but the only thing with such a description I found was something where the requirements were "highschool education or equivalent." I was afraid that was the position they were interviewing for, and we were going to have an awkward moment where we realize that we're both not interested. Happily, this was not the case. The position is attractive, and I'm interested in doing it.

Here's some cool pictures! Sorta like how having a certain model of car makes you suddenly notice how many of the same model there are on the road, having a sweet bike has suddenly made me aware of all the other sweet bikes on the road. Like these:

In roughly decreasing awesomeness order: The first one has actual flannel covering the tank, which I must say is an excellent gypsy touch. The second one is actually in good shape, and the third is just cool cause its big and black.


On my own bike, I think I may have some vibration issues. The super-sweet origninal badge has apparently vibrated itself to pieces, along with the license plate:
How will the curious onlookers determine the engine size and make once it's shattered? Woe!

Here's a picture from our birthday trip to Columbus, with Rachael pointing to a photo containing excellent advice.

We had lots of delicious beer, for example:
From the first (and best, beer-wise) pub we went to. Sadly I can't remember the name of it; nominal aphasia being something I apparently have. [Rachael reminds me that it was called "Barleys," which is a pretty straightforward and memorable name. We also went to a place called Elevator, and one other place who's name escapes me (but had good pizza). IT WAS AWESOME.]

Rachael also solders like an angel:
No seriously, she's really good. I showed her how to do it, we both made some globby solders, then she figured out how to get them machine-perfect. Really. I've never seen hand soldering so good. Anyway, she showed me her angelic technique, and we proceeded building the Evil Mad Scientist Bulbdial clock. I was happy to have found something geeky and machine-y we could do together, having failed to arouse her enthusiasm with my "sand and paint my headers" project.

Here's Rick and I deepening my mom's worst fears and pretending to share a shake. Except its a week-old guiness that the bartender pulled out of the fridge, and Rick has become a guido.
It started off as a joke, but it turns out that week old Guiness is really quite pleasant. So I finished it.

And I didn't feel the least bit bad about it.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Phone interview with Discover in Chicago on Friday!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Distributed computing, elections, and house of leaves

My earlier moaning about how easy it would be to implement the NetWorkSpace parallel computing architecture on a *nix system has proven to be less than well-founded. I set up a couple of Ubuntu machines and put the software on them. Initially I was trying to use my Mac as a master, but there were issues in the path naming still. I tried from a second Ubuntu installation, and NWS doesn't run properly from it. I've got an open (perhaps overly verbose) posting on the R mailing list, and Revolutions politely let me know that they make their money from support and thus can't help with the open-source stuff. Also that they don't support Ubuntu. I've all but decided to bail on the NWS package and try to implement MPI. It's apparently the industry standard, but also more difficult.

Yesterday was election day, and I was happy to see Libertarian candidates for all offices except for the Senate (where I voted for the only independent). I'm pleased to see that we'll at get a split government, that should at least tie them up and prevent them from doing too much more damage for a while. But it also precludes repealing the health care bill via legislation. Hopefully the courts can do something about it.

Rachael and I have started reading House of Leaves. I almost put it back on the shelf when I saw the back cover said something about "postmodern delight," but XKCD made a joke about it, so I'm willing to give it a chance. It's been engrossing thus far. The "unsettling" part of it is how effectively it erodes the fundamental assumptions you rely on for interpreting reality. I think the non-standard typesetting is aimed at least in part at assisting the narrative in that regard.

Of course, undermining one's grasp on reality might be a really unhealthy thing, but it also might help get rid of some ungrounded assumptions one might have. As long as you reassemble what you deconstruct.

Or maybe think of it as "Refactoring."