Archive for July, 2009

It’s a City!

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Purposed Skyscrapers Rendering It’s a city, where else do you put skyscrapers! The Massachusetts environmental secretary recently decided that two skyscrapers purposed for the Boston waterfront are “too tall.” This ruling supports a bunch of winy brats who are worried about the buildings casting shadows on the greenway in the mornings. Ok, look you dumb people! There is a guy who wants to spend a whole bunch of money and employ a whole bunch of people to build two beautiful new additions to the Boston skyline. All you have to do is let him do it and everybody wins. If you don’t like tall buildings, don’t live in a major city! There are some other concerns the state has, that may be valid, but luckily the developer plans to press on and employ some more lawyers so that the state may eventually let him employ construction workers.

June 2009 Visit

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

About a month ago, my Mom, Aunt Kathy, and Cousin Jill came for a visit. This was smack dab in the middle of the extra rainy June, but it was still a good time, and we made some spectacularly lucky weather choices. Here’s a map of what we did.

View June 2009 Visit in a larger map

RIP Jeff Goldblum

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Following the tragic death of Jeff Goldblum this past weekend, I feel now is the time to share a small revelation I had this weekend while watching one of his greatest works.

This past weekend I had to work on Saturday. We are trying to get some test flights of a new airplane based radar I’ve been working on in amid the rain showers. Don’t ask me why, but they don’t like to fly in the rain. This has been difficult and no sunny day can be wasted. I was not scheduled to fly originally, but following a flight on Friday in which no data was collected for mysterious reasons, the powers that be decided I should fly, with 2 coworkers because we were the ones who wrote most of the software involved. If we flew we would be there to diagnose and solve the problem on the fly, if needed. Everything worked perfectly on the flight so my presence was not particularly needed, but it could have been. I also did manage to get a little air sick while sitting on the floor, out of my seat, but in a position to see the control screen.

Upon returning home I found my room mate Sriram about ten minutes into the film Independence Day. This film, long one of my favorites, possibly my favorite action film of all time, is an oddity among my usual tastes in movies. Now, it does have, quite possibly, the best speech in a movie by an American president, but the events of last Saturday shed some more personal light on why I enjoy the film so much. I remember seeing it on July 3rd (or 4th) in Louisville, KY with my family the year it came out; I was 12 years old.
That same year, 1996, was also the year in which I first learned how to program, in qbasic with my buddy Greg.

In the movie Jeff Goldblum plays an MIT educated cable/satellite guru who looks into the alien television disturbance and finds something no one else bothered to see. Later, he creates a virus for the alien computer and flies up to the mother ship with the Will Smith character to deliver it, despite chronic air sickness. Why did he have to fly? He explains in the flim, “If anything goes wrong I’ll have to think quickly, adjust the signal, who knows?”

Now, my air sickness was nothing like his, and its all a different scale, but that’s essentially the same reason I was flying. Upon landing, while I helping to preparing for the next flight, some of the binary files used to setup the flight were found to have errors, errors so sever as to crash the program using them. I encounter problems like this, that require manually examining difficult to read binary files on a frequent basis at work. I enjoy it. Despite having a call in to the person who created the files, I couldn’t help but dive in and find the problem myself. Now that was easy, because I had the rubric for how the file was laid out. Goldblum’s character didn’t have that. I really wish there was more of a need to reverse engineer stuff like that at work. It is so much more challenging when one is not provided with a key.

This may also help explain why upon much self analysis, I consistently find myself thinking that if I go back to school, the only place to go, where it would be worth my while, is MIT (or possibly Harvard if I decide to go back for an economics degree). Clearly, everything in my life so far has put me on the path to become Jeff Goldblum’s character in Independence Day. At least, that is one way to interpret the facts.

June is Done

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Boston fog

I was reminded by the woot podcast song today that today is July 1st and that means that June is over. But somehow it is still raining in Boston! It has literally been raining for the entire month of June, and somehow I, and everyone else thought that July 1 would be like the second coming of the sun and our collective depression over a summer wasted would be relived. I can’t find an updated article, but just last week it was reported that the so far June 2009 was the least second least sunny June recorded in Boston since 1885. Only 32% of the daily possible sunshine actually reached the ground for the month. The lowest record was in 1903 with 25% and the highest was in 1971 with 77%. Average is apparently 55%. All of that and more can be found in the fancy chart on the story.

It seems like bad form to complain about the weather, especially to dedicate an entire post to it, but this is seriously a 100 year lack of sun event! Anyways now that it’s July and its not sunny I feel totally justified. That said, I just picked up some cheap Red Sox tickets for Friday from someone who apparently decided they didn’t want to bother going it if was expected to rain, which it is. Although, these days 30% chance of thunderstorms is starting to mean the sunniest day of the week.

This just in: Also from the Boston Globe, How to Build an Ark in five steps.

Updated stats:from the Boston Metro on the lack of sunshine. Who said that rag wasn’t good for anything. Also from the Metro, how it is making us feel. I certainly think that “reading and writing about the bad weather” should be added to their list of things people are doing after this much rain that don’t help a darn bit. At least the Globe ended their bit with a rainbow, even if it is a painted rainbow hanging in Cooperstown.