sylvar: (Default)
Three things I accomplished today:
  • Had a healthy breakfast (Kashi and light soymilk)
  • Found a better solution to a potential loss of data
  • Threw out the old bed in preparation for receiving the new one tomorrow (the mattress is on the floor)

Three things that made me happy today:
  • Floatpoint (rich, poignant, and easy-to-play interactive fiction; WELL worth installing the small program that runs it.  First time I've ever misted up while playing a game.)
  • Being asked for permission to be quoted in an Information Today NewsBreak article (forthcoming) about the issue I mentioned here (I said "sure, though I'm not speaking for my employer, so 'systems librarian and blogger Ben Ostrowsky' would be most accurate")
  • Informing the executive director that my blog would be quoted -- and getting quiet applause, a thumbs-up, and "I think you put it very well."
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that made me happy today:
  • Finding a queen memory-foam mattress that feels great and is in very good condition, on clearance.  (A floor sample, made less than a year ago.)
  • Having dinner and soft drinks, and sharing dessert, for about $10 before tip -- at a sit-down restaurant.  Without a coupon.  (We tipped $4, though; the server still worked pretty hard keeping our glasses full.  Cracker Barrel's "kids of all ages" menu is great.)
  • Discovering that there's a way to hook up my GPS to Google Earth, even without an omnipresent net connection (2GB database cache, as long as you prepopulate it in the areas you'll be driving)
Three things I accomplished today:
  • Spent most of the day getting some new overall structure (<div>s instead of tables, for example) onto the SunCat 2.0 development server.  It's not pretty yet, but I haven't run into any problems yet that I couldn't solve.
  • Went shopping for a mattress.
  • Went to sleep at a reasonable hour.  (Here's hoping.)
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that I accomplished today:
  • Used smokeping to help convince our vendor that there was a network problem.
  • Explained to a totally unrelated vendor that now was not a good time for his call; hung up.  Then, two minutes later, explained to the same guy that we were about to bring our entire network hard down for emergency maintenance and I needed to call all of my customers to notify them before it actually happened.  (He got the subtle hint that time.)
  • Drove to the airport post office to send last-minute applications (and a few bills, some of which were overdue).
Three things that made me happy today:
  • Hanging out with Jodi, Jon, and Suzanne after dinner.
  • Cheap-ish chocolate in an after-VD sale.
  • Getting a free day off for tomorrow (now why don't I have an emergency fun plan?
sylvar: (Default)
Quoted from a post I sent to our internal blog:

This afternoon at 1pm, we thought it was fixed.  For half an hour, we had absolutely no dropped packets.  I announced to our customers that we had fixed the problem.  And now we're back to regularly dropping 5-10% of the pings, which renders our database system pretty much unusable.

And tomorrow morning is our regularly scheduled meeting with our library-automation customers.  I can't imagine they will be as supportive as my bosses, who have been thanking me, literally applauding me, telling each other on the record how lucky they are to have me, and talking about possibly giving me an extra paid day off.  But who knows?  I'll just have to show up and find out.  
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that made me happy today:
  • Seeing Jodi crack up as I read her bits of I Like You: Hospitality under the Influence by Amy Sedaris.  (And cracking up when she said "Oh, is that a comedy book?  I thought it was real.")
  • Getting complimented by the big boss (cc: to my boss and his boss) on handling a messy, frustrating problem at work.
  • Being able to log into our webmail server with no delays tonight, which makes me think the ISP might have finally solved the aforementioned problem.
Three things I did right today:
  • Avoided being rude to the totally unrelated vendor who called to ask me (repeatedly within one phone call) about the settings for a few machines, even though I explained to him (repeatedly ditto) that we were having a major network problem and none of the settings, even if I had them, which I didn't, would mean anything until I could get off the phone and solve the major network problem.  (Not that I ended up being able to do much more than call people and make sure they were still aware that, yes, we have a major network problem.)
  • Cleaned out the fridge, taking nasty stuff to the skip immediately.
  • Went out to get Jodi some junk food around 11pm, despite the fact I'd already taken off my shoes and socks and had just opened a beer.  (That is Valentine's Day for you.)
sylvar: (B5: Sheridan: Big Damn Hero)
Three things that made me happy today:
  • Resigning from both chess games with honor, and realizing that I enjoyed them enough that it didn't matter that I lost.  I'll probably return to those boards in a few days to analyze them.
  • Having an early VD with Jodi (dinner and a movie)
  • Specifically, watching Sweet Land (about which more later, probably in a day or two) and talking about it afterward.  For now, I'll just quote without context: "Hallo, hems."  And I want an icon of Brownie's "Have more pie" line.
Three things I accomplished today:
  • Configuring the assistant director's new Treo smartphone to connect to the Exchange server
  • Taking some pretty good photographs of one of the new employees, for our website
  • Finding a supplier for custom compounded medication for Pied, and then finding an even better supplier after she started drooling, Turner and Hooch-style, following the administration of 1mL suspension p.o. (apparently the fish flavoring is what did it; the better supplier makes their own fish flavoring from scratch)
sylvar: (Alton Brown: Mine is an evil laugh)
Three things that made me happy today:
  • Since my opponent didn't play 12. Kf1 Nc2, I stayed alive in this game.  I'd probably have resigned at that point.  I've also stayed alive against [profile] whispersessions.  I'm not claiming I'll even draw either game; I'm just happy to still be in both games.
  • Getting compliments on the enchilada lasagna  and guacamole dinner I made.  I didn't see dried chipotles at the store, and I plumb forgot to pick up a jalapeño, and I used celery instead of a cup of the onions, and somehow this was pretty much exactly right.
  • Getting ++ed for my jokes in #code4lib.

Three things I accomplished today:
  • Identified the source of a Java error in our vendor's product, despite the fact that I don't know enough Java to write hello world.
  • Cleaned the catbox
  • Got to bed before midnight
sylvar: (Default)
Three things that made me happy yesterday:
  • Finding out that some of my PaperBackSwap books have arrived in their new homes
  • Reading a Callahan's Crosstime Saloon short story ("Dog Day Evening") to Jodi
  • Learning how to use Google SketchUp (work-in-progress below)
Three things I did right:
  • Got a virtual SunCat 2.0 server up and running, made a few CSS changes, and set up Programmer's Notepad with ProggyTiny
  • Cooked curried sweet potato roti and golden basmati rice for dinner
  • Set my alarm properly in order to take the car in for a brake job this morning
sylvar: (Default)
My coworker Ellen, who was a cataloger at TBLC when I joined the staff, and who is now a manager, is showing off her new engagement ring in the staff room.  She says it came as a surprise.  She's marrying the best friend of our coworker Diana's husband, so they'll have plenty to discuss when they all get together.  (And if the librarians decide to talk shop, the non-librarians will be able to entertain themselves.)

In less exciting news, I wooted a USB 2.0 hard drive enclosure ($17.99 + $5 S&H; note to self, transfer money from my personal mad-money stash to cover the expense), and my car is still in the shop, waiting for a radiator or something.  I'm told they'll install it late today or sometime tomorrow, then wash the car before I come to pick it up.

And I think I may finally have a virtual server ready to start testing my XSLT hacks on.  (Which means I'll finally be able to start writing them.)  
sylvar: (Library Nut)
I'm adding opening lines to a database to be selected randomly for the new library catalog.  I'm not planning to spend lots more time on the opening-lines database, but if there are some you'd like to suggest, please go ahead.

See the quotes here: http://bernie.tblc.org/suncat2/demo/
sylvar: (Default)
Oh, how I wish there were a wireless headset system like the Plantronics CS50 that lit up like the Plantronics CT12. If you know of any wireless headset system that we can use with our Norstar phones that lights up in some obvious way when the phone is in use, please let me know.
sylvar: (Library Nut)
I've decided to highlight my professional blogging by creating a separate place for it. This will let the library technology world do as they will with my relevant musings without cluttering up the feed with stuff they don't care about.

http://benostrowsky.wordpress.com/

Don't worry, I haven't been dooced, I'm just namespacing.
sylvar: (Default)
has a neat service that will tell you what ISBNs are associated with other editions of a given work. For example, if you ask it about the ISBN representing the hardcover edition, it will tell you the ISBNs for the paperback, the large print edition, the Braille edition, and so on.

I have a database that contains a slice of our database. It includes every in our catalog.

Today I wrote a script that goes through a list of all the ISBNs in our catalog and asks the server what other ISBNs are associated with each one.

Then it compares each resulting list of ISBNs to the ones already on our system. It assigns a group ID to each cluster so that I can later write a script that does a sort of localized xISBN query on the cached results. This way we can get only the ISBNs relevant to our catalog so that we can generate an Amazon-like list of references to other versions in our catalog. In fact, just for the sake of standards (and bloody-mindedness) I think I'll write an xISBN interface for our little cached slice of the world.

Our , 's , is reasonably customizable, but I think this goes beyond what they planned for. So, following 's advice, I'll learn some AJAX to inject the links into the catalog's web page.

To paraphrase Zippy the Pinhead: Are we yet?

I've started the script. There are approximately 500,000 ISBNs in our system. This will take a while. I'm going home. , pray I haven't messed something up.

Oh, and just in case... the main contact for the xISBN service has my cell phone number.

Stylin'

May. 1st, 2006 03:59 pm
sylvar: (Breakfast Club: Brain)
With #code4lib's help, I've now got an XSLT stylesheet that lets browsers turn the existing RSS feed into something resembling HTML. This is a big step for all of the work I'm planning to do, since it means I can apply that knowledge to all the rest of the XSLT stuff.

Huzzah! I really need to cacheize the script so I can share the URL with everyone. I've gotten a lot done today and I'm proud of it.

From an email to the stakeholders (hey guys, put those stakes down, I haven't even got my game face on):
A letter to the webmaster, my boss, and her boss )

Technorati tags: , , , , ,
 

Success!

May. 1st, 2006 01:24 pm
sylvar: (B5: Sheridan: Big Damn Hero)
My Perl script returns valid RSS for items added in the last 7 days at any given SunCat library. I need to make it cache results and use the cache, or else I can't share the URL without getting our database slammed by broken RSS aggregators querying once per minute. But I've got valid RSS, which is a good start.

Next parts of the project:
  1. Get a scratch PAC working so we can monkey around with it.
  2. Cache-ize the RSS script.
  3. Add more useful information; currently it's only displaying an ISBN and an image.


Technorati tags: , , , ,
 
sylvar: (PUTV: Dirty thought in a nice clean mind)
Around midnight last night, I gave up on bagging all the food before the termite-tenting began. I set my alarm for around 3:15am. Amanda apologized for the noise she made during the few hours that followed, but I never even heard her.

I woke up, got ready for the day, and by 4:30 the three of us left for the airport. Once Jodi got to the security gate, Amanda and I went back home (stopping at Einstein for a quick breakfast) and bagged up all the remaining food that wasn't already in airtight packaging. Then we grabbed the cats, and while they complained loudly, I dropped Amanda off at Stately Segnboraweth Manor (the home of [livejournal.com profile] segnbora and [livejournal.com profile] tregoweth, natch) and took the cats to the boarding kennel.

I managed to get to the office a bit early, but soon realized I was pretty tired and didn't want to stay until five, then get stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to Sanford (on the far side of Orlando, up the under-constructionest bits of I-4). So after a meeting, I called it a day and took a little road trip.

After a fuel-efficient but pokey 55mph journey without air conditioning (I'm still not used to the idea, but it hasn't killed me yet), I got to my family's place in Sanford and discovered that the freezer's icemaker was broken in a way that resulted in an inch-deep puddle behind the fridge, plus seepage involving the padding under the laminate flooring and the carpet in the bedroom behind the wall.

One and a half washing machines full of towels later, the floor was finally dryish and I'd found out how to turn off the icemaker's water pump. It was about this time that I realized I had left my suitcase in the apartment, which was by then full of poison gas.

So I headed to the thrift store and found khakis, a shirt, and other necessities at a combined price cheaper than one pair of pants from Wal-Mart. I did get one pair of socks on clearance from Wal-Mart for 50 cents. Later I found out that they were size clown, but I'm not hiking in them, only walking while I launder a better pair.

Finally, showered and in clean clothes, I came here to Starbucks for an Internet fix, and to plan out some geocaching for tomorrow. I might also see a movie tonight, but I might just be too tired. Fortunately, it's still 18 hours before Matt will arrive for some brother time, so I'll be able to get lots of sleep no matter what I do this evening. (NTN trivia and a beer at Pizzeria Uno's bar? A haircut? Reading a library book? Truly, the nerdy possibilities are infinite. Countably infinite, probably, but still...)

Despite my fatigue, this has been a pretty good day. Or maybe it hasn't, but I've enjoyed it anyway, 'cause I'm stubborn like that. And hey, new icon from Pump Up the Volume, so how can you go wrong?
sylvar: (Florida: America's Wang)

Life In Retail

Captured at Walgreens on the way to the office. If I ever complain about TPS reports, show me this photo.

sylvar: (Default)
My employer was kind enough to ask me to take any parts I wanted from some servers that we're no longer using and don't want to keep around. If you'd like a VXA-1 tape drive, some PC2100 memory, or up to ten 36GB U320 SCSI drives, feel free to check out my eBay auctions. If you'll be at the party in Miami or want to meet me in Tampa, you can ignore the bit about shipping fees.
sylvar: (Default)
I'm back at the office. I've got a painful cough, but the fever is gone, I'm mentally sharp enough to work, and (which is most urgent) I'm out of sick leave. I've still got over 40 hours of personal (vacation) leave, so even if I can't always work late to compensate for medical appointments, I can still get the care I need.

The Exchange server's mail file grew to 16GB, causing it to be slow yesterday and dead last night. With a phone call to our consultant, we got it back up within an hour. I'm satisfied that this problem has been nailed, but I'm not going to be a happy geek until we install some sort of NAS for a convenient, fast, and thorough backup. And besides, weren't these "good morning, the mail server's down" days supposed to be over when we shut down the homebuilt PC and 'chose an enterprise-class solution', i.e. drank the Exchange Kool-Aid?

Ah well. At least I can still laugh. And you Unix geeks will laugh when you realize what I just typed in order to confirm that there's really a user called sis (Suncoast Information Specialists) on our web server. Or at least you'll laugh if you're as dirty-minded as I think you are. Béni soit qui mal y pense. (And can any French mavens tell me if béni would have been an acceptable participle in the 1300s?)
sylvar: (Oh purr!)
Warning to non-geeks: this post will make no sense.

Half an hour ago I was going nuts trying to run MacSSH or NiftyTelnet on Jodi's iBook without Classic support installed.

15 minutes ago I was going nuts trying to get RealVNC to work.

And five minutes ago, on my way out the door to run home and log in from there, I realized "Hey, this is Unix!" God bless Unix. I found Terminal, ran ssh, and I'm in.

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