Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Archive for the 'Geek' Category

Our Food Plan

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Sarah and I have started a diet … or, as we call it, a “food plan” or simply “plan.” We feel that calling it a diet would doom it to failure, so we don’t use that word. We don’t believe in fad diets or those that involve systematically depriving your body of nutrients, so we’re doing this the old-fashioned way: eating less, eating healthier food, and hopefully, burning more calories than we consume. We’re also not interested in losing a bunch of weight quickly, only to gain it back immediately — so we are going a slow and steady route, and hopefully we can make this sustainable.

Unfortunately, it’s been another low-cycling-mileage week for me due to the weather, so I’m not burning as many calories. Hopefully, it’ll be nicer next week and I can ride more.

Anyway, I attended another Microsoft workshop yesterday in Indianapolis, this one about ASP.NET AJAX and SQL Server 2005. There was a keynote, then two of the three sessions, then lunch. When they started bringing in lunch, I almost died. They hauled in probably 20 pizzas and put them in stacks on a table. Talk about cruel! I ate only salad, and was thankful they had that option, but watching them bring in 20 pizzas and then watching others eat platefuls of pizza, then cookies, was really tough. But I stuck with it.

By the time I got home, I felt horrible. I had a terrible headache, and my stomach was upset. I thought about going to bed immediately, but I knew I needed to eat something. In a strange sequence of events, we ended up ordering pizza, but only getting one thin-crust veggie pizza, which was probably a bit more than we should’ve eaten, but still, we ate a lot less than we normally would have. I still felt terrible, and took a nap. A few hours later, I felt better. I’m hoping it was a lack of sleep that made me feel so terrible, and not having less to eat.

This is the first time I’ve attempted a diet, so I’m not sure how this is going to go. I haven’t even tracked my weight so far, which I should probably do. I do know that small snacks throughout the day seem to help, and I forgot to bring something like that for today. If anyone has any tips, they’d be appreciated.

Why I should be a Luddite

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

I tried to work on some music last night for my band, Spiral Galaxy Collision. For those not in the know, this is a joint project with Van (furiousBall) and Kingo (also of Halaka). We have been inactive for some time, but I think we’re ready to start making music again.

One of the Cubase projects opened fine, and everything seemed to be in order, but the other one — a song that we started a few years ago — was plagued with problems. I had to dig out copies of old programs (soft synths/samplers) to get it to open. I really wish that if you open a project with, say, an Absynth 2 patch, it would just open using Absynth 3 instead, with the same patch data. But alas, it looks for that specific version of the program. I haven’t used Absynth 2 in a long time now, so I had to really dig to find it.

Then, once I got the missing software installed, I realized I was missing some samples. I eventually found them, but realized I had to convert them to another format (a lengthy process, especially given that there are 4 CDs of samples) before I could use them. Now, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that once I have all the samples, it’ll automatically load the right ones. If not, I may never be able to get it to sound exactly like I had it before.

Making music on a computer can be incredibly frustrating when things like this happen. I love soft synths and samplers, and I get some great sounds out of them. However, it’s at times like this when I want to throw my computer out the window, pick up an instrument, and just play it, recording into some kind of simple device when necessary. Maybe I should just buy a 4-track tape recorder. I’m only half kidding.

Seriously, though, the thought of finishing some old songs and starting some new stuff is pretty exciting.

Debugging ASP.NET

Friday, December 15th, 2006

I don’t use the debugger in Visual Studio 2003 all that much. I got used to not using a debugger when doing PHP programming, since PHP doesn’t ship with a debugger. I did use a debugger in some of my computer science classes, but much of the time I just don’t find it necessary.

This means that I make a lot of changes to my system between the times when I do want to use Visual Studio’s debugger, and pretty much any time I try to use the debugger, I find it isn’t working. Whether it’s a permissions problem, a security setting, or something changed in an update, something always goes wrong.

This MSDN article lists some things that can go wrong with the debugger. This blog post and its comments are also useful. This time, the setting I had to change was an authentication one — except that the first time I changed it, things still didn’t work. I tried again a few minutes later, and it did work. The setting I changed was within Internet Explorer — go to Tools -> Internet Options -> Security ->Internet -> Custom Level -> User Authentication and select “Automatic logon with current username and password.”

It’s truly astounding to see the list of problems on that MSDN article. Not only are there a zillion things that can go wrong, the error message I got didn’t match any of those. In fact, the error message I got said I wasn’t in the Debugger Users group, which simply wasn’t true. This is definitely a situation where accurate error messages could make a big difference. I wonder if this situation is any better in Visual Studio 2005.

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