The online home for Greg Leedberg, since 1995.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Back to school...

Well, I'm back at college today. For those of you who don't know, I go to the University of New Hampshire. This will be my senior year. Wow.

At any rate, I move in almost a week before everyone else because of my on-campus job. I work for ResNet -- we provide on-site computer technical support for students. It's a sort-of fun job. However, at the beginning of the year, it takes loooooong hours, with everyone moving in and freshmen who have never set up their computers on a network before. But, this is something I'm good at so I don't mind the 12+ hour day challenge :)

The ironic part, though, is that I moved in this morning, set up my computer, and lo and behold, I can't get online. I checked with two ethernet cables, on two network ports, with two operating systems, to no avail. Turns out that it's a network problem with my housing area, nothing wrong on my end. Still, I'm here to help people get on the network, and I'm not even online myself. :)

You may be wondering, then, how I'm posting this. Well, the three days prior to freshmen move-in is "training" for ResNet people. Basically, we sit in a computer lab and are given presentations on various subjects. At the moment, some people are filling in paperwork while others are watching movies on computers. I am posting here. Call me anti-social.

Actually, the MOST anti-social part is that without network access, I don't know how I'm going to make dinner plans and such -- my primary means of communication is AIM. Oh well, we'll see. Maybe I'll use my new cell phone.

Good to be back at UNH. Will be even better once I can access Slashdot again.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Bye-bye, Meals on Wheels. You will be missed.

Today was my last day being a driver for Meals on Wheels for this summer.

I don't think I've mentioned this yet on here, but, yes, in addition to working on Billy this summer, I've also been a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels. At the beginning of the summer, I was looking for something to do outside of the house. I tried for numerous jobs, but the economy was just working against me -- even the place I worked last summer couldn't take college people back this summer.

Eventually, I saw an ad that Meals on Wheels was in need of drivers. I wasn't looking for a job with the top priority of getting money, so this seemed like a good summer activity. I'd rather volunteer to do something that really makes a difference and is rewarding than to get paid for doing something I hate.

At least at this point in my life :)

Plus, web ads were starting to bring in some additonal money, so I wasn't going to be 100% money-less.

Meals on Wheels turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done in my life. The people who worked there with me were all truly wonderful people, and the people I delivered meals to were all some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life. And no matter how I felt in the morning before doing my route, when I got back in the afternoon I always felt great about everything. It's very rewarding. You're not only helping the homebound people, but you also are helping youself in ways you never imagined you would.

But alas, the summer is coming to an end. I go back to school Wednesday, so today was my last day. I trained a replacement for my route., and said good-bye to all of my deliveree's. It was actually sort of sad.

But at least I know I made a difference this summer :)

Sunday, August 24, 2003

You saw it here first!

I have an announcement.

For a while, I've been talking about re-releasing Billy 2, with source code, prior to the upcoming release of Billy 4.

Tomorrow is the day.

This is, in a way, proof that Billy 4 is going well. I wanted the releases of Billy 2 and 4 to be close, but not too close. I didn't want to re-release Billy 2 until I could see the "light at the end of the tunnel" for Billy 4. You might say I've seen the light, and so have decided that it is time to re-relase Billy 2 to the world.

I had decided to do this a long, long time ago. I said that by the time I made a 4th Billy, there wouldn't be many source code segments from Billy 2 that were still in use. At that time, it would be better to let the world have the source and learn from it, rather than holding onto it just for myself. Even though I came up with this idea back when Billy 2 was still new, it's been a loooong time coming for Billy 4.

Oh well. Check my site tomorrow and relive the classic Billy, and get a peek at the source code. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I see... nothing

My eyesight is.... horrible.

I know this because I just went to the eye doctor today. You know how they have those boards with all the letters, and there's always a huge letter "E" that everyone can see? I can't see it. But I know it's there because... well, it always is :) But yes, my vision is that bad. And up to a while ago, it was getting worse every year. Lately, I've switched to an LCD monitor, which puts less strain on my eyes, and my vision has stabilized... at, like, 20/200 vision. :)

Also, my girlfriend comes back from Texas today, which is good because I miss her very much.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Viruses are bad for everyone

Aaarrgh. I hate computer viruses. I don't even get infected with viruses, but once in a while one still manages to annoy me.

Rant mode on.

The first time I checked my e-mail yesterday, I had over 200 new messages in my inboxes for my two accounts. Every single one was very obviously a virus e-mail (subjects like "Re: Application" and "Re: Details"). Every. Single. One.

I jumped over to Slashdot and found this article about the SoBig.F virus which has been dormant and just activated itself, causing thousands of computers all over the world to send the virus to people in their address book.

Which, in many cases, includes me. That's the problem with having a public e-mail address. Over the course of having websites and releasing software, received tons of e-mail from tons of people -- which I enjoy, in all honesty. However, since most e-mail clients save address that you send mail to, that puts my address unforutnately into many people's address books. Generally, I don't mind. Until they get a virus which gets sent to me. By the hundreds.

Not that I actually get infected with the virus. Most of the time, I run Linux. When I have to be in Windows, I never touch Outlook (the source of most viruses, instead I use Mozilla Mail). And I'm behind a heavy duty firewall and have Norton running with up-to-date defintions just in case. I haven't gotten a virus in over 4 years (and that time it was before I had stoppped using Outlook).

But even if I don't get the virus, I might as well have, considering how annoying it is to have your inbox flooded with hundreds of virus e-mails. My spam detection filters some of them, but many get through, and I can't just mass-deleted everything because I often get important e-mails.

This doesn't happen often, but it shouldn't happen at all. My advice to the world: Stop using Outlook, for the sake of everyone.

Rant mode off.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

A day of making money by spending money

Today was the annual "school shopping" day before going back to college. School shopping always struck me as something kids do for grade school, but it certainly doesn't go away once you go to college -- you just start buying differnent things, like... food and toilet brushes.

Today was also the day Chicago came out. I'm a big movie buff, and Chicago was a great movie, so I bought it today.

Which ties in to the title of this entry. Everything I bought today seemed to be free or nearly free. :) A quick list:

  • When in CVS, I got a coupon for a free sandwich at Chic-Fil-A
  • When buying shoes, I got half off of a pair of shoes I would have bought anyways
  • At Best Buy, I ended up only paying $1 for Chicago because I had a $15 gift card. But the thing is, the gift card was free to begin with because I got it just for buying a cell phone at the beginning of the summer that I would have bought anyways.
  • Also at Best Buy, compressed air was free after rebates, and I'm big on cleaning my computer case so I picked one up.

Good day for me.

In other news, there has been a LOT of progress made on Billy in the past few days. It's coming along quite nicely. The program itself is starting to "gel" into its final form. I couldn't be happier. I was afraid I was going to run into some nasty problem right about now. Maybe I shouldn't speak so soon... ;-) Lately I've been working on the manual, which is a fun part of the process because it's so different from everything else. Writing actual language rather than source code :)

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Allow me to introduce you to Fozzie

My computer seems excessively loud sometimes. Most of the noise, I think, comes from my power supply. So yesterday, I bought a new, quiet power supply. Unfortunately, when I got home, it turned out that my new toy wouldn't fit in my crazy non-standard case.

Oh well.

My primary computer (Fozzie, named after the muppet) was bought in December of 1999. Everything in it was top-of-the-line for that time. I spared no expense because I wanted to prolong its life. Additionally, since initially buying it, I've made sure to upgrade/add 3 components every year, to keep it from falling too far behind the technology curve. It's worked out pretty well, Fozzie runs Windows XP and Red Hat Linux 9, and has been able to handle all the software I've thrown at it.

The current specs are:

  • 700MHz AMD Athlon
  • 384MB PC133 RAM
  • FIC SD11 motherboard
  • nVidia TNT2 Ultra 32MB video card (still more than enough for me as I hardly play games)
  • Sound Blaster Live!
  • 10/100 Accton NIC
  • 20GB Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM hard drive
  • 80GB Maxtor DiamondMax 7200RPM hard drive
  • Pioneer 10x/40x DVD-ROM
  • Yamaha 44x/24x/44x CD burner
  • Logitech Cordless Access Keyboard
  • Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse Blue
  • Samsung 570V LCD monitor
  • HP DeskJet 932C printer
  • Klipsch Promedia 4.1 sound system
  • all powered with my Cyber Power 375SL UPS system

Parts of it are still top-of-the-line, parts of it aren't, but like I said, it meets my needs. Next summer I plan on doing a major renovation to Fozzie, upgrading the CPU, motherboard, and case (also entailing, most likely, RAM and power supply). That should be a fun project.

Until then, I'll stick with my abnormally loud computer :)

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Some amazing things about Greg

Well, yesterday I went down to Massachusetts to see my girlfriend for her birthday. Her birthday wasn't actually yesterday, but she's leaving for Texas today.

So now, you know Amazing Fact #1 about me: Despite being a geek obsessed with computers and programming, I beat the stereotype and actually have a girlfriend. ;-) And we've been together for two and half years, no less.

It was a good day -- went to out to Panera Bread for lunch (great place if you've never tried it), hung around a bit, and went out for a run as well.

So now, you know Amazing Fact #2 about me: Despite being a geek obsessed with computers and programming, I defy the stereotype and actually try to get some physical activity and excercise in my life. It's easier when I'm at college, we have a very nice rec center right by my apartment which is free for students. When I'm home for the summer, I stick mostly to running around my neighborhood, because I heard that in The Real World, people actually have to pay to go to a gym. :)

Then I came home and watched some Family Guy DVDs. Amazingly funny show if you get the jokes. Too bad it's off the air, but I'm glad I found the DVD set.

So, I did no GRE-studying or programming yesterday. It was like a little vacation :) Back to regular life today...

Thursday, August 14, 2003

First post!

This is my first post to my very own blog! Yay me ;-)

Well, what's going on in my life right now? Let's see...

The big thing going on is Billy 4. I've been working very very hard on the newest version of my AI program, Billy all summer. It's turned out to be a huge project, but I still think I can get it done for early September.

Also, I'm going back to college soon, to start my senior year there. College went by much too fast. But I doubt this will be a pleasant year :)

And at the same time, I'm looking towards the future. My plan currently is to go to grad school after graduation. Who knows where, but right now I'm in the process of preparing for the GRE -- and I probably should actually *sign up* for the GRE sometime soon as well.

So that's a snapshot of my life at the moment. Discuss in the message board :)