The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Didn't think of that …

Well, that didn't work.

The battery in my watch is dead and I haven't bothered to get a new one yet, so I couldn't use it for the alarm function (which is all I really use the watch for) to remind me that it was time to pick up The Kids (since I would otherwise be preoccupied and not notice the time). I have an alarm clock, but it's in the bedroom where Spring was currently sleeping, so that meant I would have to move it, meaning unplugging it, resetting the time, then setting the alarm, then remembering to move it back into the bedroom …


I think there's some form of alarm function under Windows XP but I don't know enough about the system to know where to look for it, nor do I know if it makes sufficient noise to act as an alarm, since I would be away from the computer.

But Linux has the at command. Used to issue a command at a given time. So I quickly coded up the following script:

while (`true`)
	echo ^G

which prints over and over again the bell character which causes the computer to beep. I let that run, went into the other room where I would be occupied and yes, I could hear the incessant beeping; it was just loud enough that it would eventually grow annoying enough to warrant my attention (so with that, I allowed some leeway into what time I was going to set it for).

So I set the script to run at the appropriate time.

It didn't matter since I was finished with what I was doing before it would have gone off anyway. I was still out of the Computer Room when it was supposed to go off and when I did come back, the computer was silent. I didn't think much of it, other than it either worked and for some reason stopped running (it shouldn't have) or it didn't work at all, but I didn't care at that point.

Now, about four hours later my Linux system is acting just a tad sluggish. Check the load aveage and it's running over 1 (which for this system, is highly unusual). I start peeking around, and lo, there is my script, running, issuing a stream of beeps that aren't making it to the speaker. I stop the program, and I get the email output of my script, which consisted of over 15,000 bell characters, all preserved in their text bound existance.

Silly me … it didn't dawn on me that any output would be saved to a file and emailed to me.


Koyaanisqatsi, Part II

Koyaanisqatsi came out in 1983, and I remember that Siskel and Ebert both gave the film a thumbs up dispite having no plot, no characters, no dialog (follows from the “no characters” bit) and thematically a bit confusing, since koyaanisqatsi means “life out of balance” and the film tries to show the conflicting nature of man and nature but all the visuals are simply too beautiful to convey this meaning.

Still, it seemed an intriguing film, but one that I didn't get around to watch until the late 80s.

I'm at FAU sitting in “Music Appreciation Class” with my friend Bill when the professor walks in pushing a cart with a TV and VCR and announces that we're watching a movie called Koyaanisqatsi because the score was written by one Philip Glass, a modern composer. He slips the tape into the machine, presses “Play” and turns off the lights. I sit back expecting an interesting film.

Ninety minutes later, we wake up.

It's a soothing film. Flowing visuals. Flowing music. Coma inducing if you aren't prepared for it. Koyaanisqatsi may be this great film, but my feeling is that it makes for a great background experience, not a forground one.

That is, unless you've got a major caffeine rush going.

Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

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