Some people have interpersonal drama issues. No matter what they do, or how much they try, they always seem to be involved in some kind of clusterfuck or another. You've known these people: everything they get near turns into a disaster, and no matter how nice they seem, they are best avoided.

Me? I have computer drama issues.

I have completely dysfunctional relationships with machines. The simplest thing, that normal people do every day, starts a big screaming fight. I only rarely find myself in situations where I'm genuinely angry at a person, and yet, computers leave me in a blind rage on a pretty regular basis. It's been worse in the last few weeks, but there have been a couple times in very recent memory where I had to make a conscious effort to close my eyes, breathe deeply and talk myself out of smashing things.

Today was the second time in two weeks that my firewall/gateway machine at the club just lost its mind, and stopped routing whole classes of packets. Like ssh and http connections -- but only 99% of the time. My existing ssh connections were still working fine, and responsively, but I couldn't make new ones. I spent hours reloading rules, staring at tcpdump, and looking at packet logs, and all kinds of things that I have only the most remedial understanding of. Nothing affected it at all. So I rebooted the machine, and it started working again, just like happened three days ago. Three days ago when I booted it, it had been up for something like 290 days, and the ipf rules haven't changed in months.

This kind of shit happens to me all the time. All the time. It's always like this. I don't even get problems that make sense. Am I highly radioactive or something? Did I piss off a gypsy witch who put a hex (adecimal) on me?

And -- let me emphasize -- I do not enjoy this! Oh sure, you say, why do you keep doing it? I don't know. I think I still enjoy writing software, usually. But what I end up spending almost all of my time doing is sysadmin crap. I hate it. I have always hated it. Always. If you made a Venn diagram, there would be two non-overlapping circles, one of which was labeled, "Times when I am truly happy" and the other of which was labeled, "Times when I am logged in as root, holding a cable, or have the case open."

And like the relationship-drama fuckups, I seem to be incapable of just walking away. I finally got it together to leave that cesspool we call the computer industry and what did I do? I filled my nightclub with computers, and with insufficient budget to make them be someone's problem other than mine.

I'll be over here in the column labeled "DON'T".

Speaking of which, the new motherboard and power supply I ordered as a result of last week's adventure arrived today, so that will be my project for the rest of the evening.

I think I'm going to get drunk before I begin, though. It can't possibly make things any worse.

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today is sad screensaver day

Two screensaver defeats in two days! First I wrote one that displayed a few side-scrolling views of its own heap (just converting memory values into colors in various simple ways.) It just looked... kinda boring and dumb. I shelved it.

Then, I poked around and found some medical volumetric data and hacked up a screensaver that would display a rotating head, with progressive slices of it removed to expose cross-sections of the skull and brain. But, the first problem is that the data set (109 slices of 256x256 samples) is 7MB; and, even on my pretty fast machine, I find that if I want a frame rate even as high as one a second, I have to scale the mesh down to 100x100x100, which, though it emits 200,000+ polygons, still looks like hell. It also might be that without either raytraced shadows, or coloration of the data, you wouldn't be able to identify features very easily anyway, even at full 256x256x256 resolution.

I keep trying to come up with more opportunities for using my marching cubes code, but I'm just not hitting anything that is both good looking and practical...


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