journal for 2003-09-23


I have an ipod.

By Thursday night, it had left Chicago and the site was predicting delivery for 2003-09-19. On Friday, I saw that it had arrived in Allentown at seven in the morning, and I wasn’t sure whether I believed that it would really be sorted and sent out. Contrary to my expectations, though, it went out for delivery around 10:15. I became even more impatient than I had been and was all but pacing around the office. Finally, as I sat coding and refreshing my browser, I saw “Delivered” show up in the status. I ran (well, trotted) to the shipping dock and said, “Where’s my package?!” Our receiving clerk said, “Huh?”

It wasn’t there.

It had been signed for by someone who doesn’t work at my company.

I called Airborne. They had to call the driver. Two hours later, they confirmed that it had been delivered to Circuit City and that the driver would go back and get it to me within the hour. Two more hours later, I had it.

Apple and Airborne will get letters explaining this whole ridiculous situation. At least Apple credited my shipping.

The iPod, anyway, is great. It took me ages to get it loaded with music. I generated a quick and dirty playlist and hit sync, then wandered off for dinner and Front Mission 3. Little did I know that only minutes after starting, iTunes stopped and waited for me to OK the omission of one song from the sync. Somehow, I had a song ripped as MP2 instead of MP3. The iPod can’t play MP2 – who knew? I set it back to syncing and went to see Secondhand Lions. When I got back, it was still syncing. It finished overnight. Updates to the library have been much less painless.

It’s smaller than I had remembered, which is what I expected, since every time I saw it before, it was smaller than I had remembered. The packaging was totally sweet, as I expected. It gets warm when in use, which I like. It’s not annoyingly warm, but it’s around body temperature. Once again, Apple hardware seems sort of alive. I’ve encountered a glitch or two, but nothing that a quick reset hasn’t fixed. It sometimes takes a while to bring up a list of songs or albums, but that seems reasonable, since there are some nine thousand songs on there.

I’m not sure how long the battery will last under normal use. I’ve been skipping around a lot; I’m using it to set ratings on my songs, which should help me to create better playlists, which should cut down on the skipping around I do. I’m sticking with a previous claim: iTunes and iPod will really help me enjoy my music more than I have previously been able to. I can listen to the stuff I like more easily, but also to the stuff I don’t listen to often. I’ve discovered some real gems hidden in there, including some songs that I really like but had forgotten about.

In short, the iPod is awesome.


To clarify: LaTeX, not latex.

I wanted to write down some ideas I’ve had about an RPG I might run for some friends in the not-incredibly-distant future. I asked some fellow IRCers if there were any decent formatted-text editors for X, and someone suggested TeX. It was like a bolt from the blue! Why hadn’t I thought of that before? John R. suggested I try LyX instead. I looked at LyX on MacOS, and it filled me with annoyance. It was exactly what I didn’t want. I’ve always thought that word processors take the worst aspects of text editors and desktop publishers but leave the good things behind. LyX was like that, only moreso.

I had to install TeX and LaTeX to make LyX work, of course, so I decided to just look at those. So far, it has been blissful. Now that I understand the basics, I’m going to start writing some documents and see how it goes. Even though I can’t imagine I’m going to be writing many equations, I think I’m going to like it. In thinking about my pending Letter to Apple, I found the letter document class. Oh yes!


Work on the new finance system is getting close to a close. I’m nearly done doing the stuff I need to do (I think), and once we go live onto the new system on October 1st, I’m done for quite some time. I spent nearly all day today trying (and failing) to extract simple inventory data from our old system. Yesterday, I spent hours importing data into the new system; I would simulate the import, which would take an hour. I’d get some errors—but the errors don’t specify what caused the error, just a line number. I’d try to diagnose and fix the error, and then wait another hour while simulating the import. Ugh! Who writes this stuff?

I’ve got a few good bugs to fix in MASH. I’m looking forward to getting back to real work.


I went through another burst of Farscape watching. Although quite a few of the episodes disappoint me overall, I really like the series. It has an overarching plot and things actually change from one episode to the next. We’re really watching a long story told in installments, not just interchangeable episodes of a TV show. Even most of the disappointing episodes have a lot of good bits. I’m told that Season 4 is going to suck, so I’m not in too big of a hurry.

Mostly, I’m hoping that John and Aeryn will settle down and live happily ever after. That would be OK.

Written on September 23, 2003