Saturday, September 24, 2005

Case Spartans Football Fun

This weekend is Family Weekend at Case. My Mom, Nana and Mom's boyfriend are coming over to visit me tomorrow. We're going to make quesadillas, have tasty snacks, and watch the Case Spartans Football game against Wooster from our suite window:

Case is 3-0 so far this season, which doesn't happen very often. It should be a fun day! I also need to get some work done on my EECS 426 homework and I definitely need to put in some lab time this weekend. I've got a big list of things to accomplish, and it won't happen if I hang out in the dorm all weekend. :) Oh, and I have a statics test on Monday. I guess I ought to study for it... meh...

Today was also the EECS Welcome Back Picnic on the Quad. That's always a good time. I got Quiznos with Jamie tonight, too. We used some of the $2 off coupons that they flood the Case campus with all the time. I tried the new Cabo Chicken sub and that's a DANG good sub. I'll have to do that again soon!

Gosh, I Hate Cisco VPN!

Hey all! I am on a roll this week for fixing my own computer problems! You would think that a PerceptIS tech would have his computers running in tip-top, perfect condition at all times. Heh, I thought so too. But, I think I finally have everything in order.

So, here's the background on this one. Last year, I used Remote Desktop on my PC pretty often. Since we have such an insanely fast gigabit LAN here at Case, it is trivial to go to a computer lab on campus, RDC to my PC in my room, and use it as if I were connected locally. This is nice because I now have all of my settings, programs, bookmarks, and so on available to me wherever I go. I also don't leave a trail of websites I visit on the public machine I'm logged in to. In general, it's a Good Thing (TM).

Over the summer, I was on a cable modem at home with a dynamic IP address, so I didn't use RDC at all. When I got back to Case this fall, I tried to use RDC and it wouldn't work. Strange, but surely I could fix it easily. Well, it gets weirder. From the PC, I can connect to any Internet resource that I want, be it web sites, file transfers, our local DC hub, and so on. But -- I can't connect to my PC on any port remotely. No ping, no response to port scanning, no WinShares... you get the picture. And the best part is that it was still "invisible" even when the WinXP firewall was turned completely off. I tried all the usual (and unusual) tricks to get it working again, including rebuilding the TCP/IP stack, reinstalling all the network software components, changing hardware NICs, repair-install of Windows, and about 10 other things that the other techs and I thought up. Nadda.

I eventually lugged my box in to the local PerceptIS walk-in-center to see if a bunch of us nerds could all poke at it together to get it fixed. Two hours later, we decided that it would have to be formatted, because there was no hope. We verified that it was a software problem since booting from XPE allowed the machine to be pinged. But was there no other option?

On a whim, the next evening, I uninstalled VPN, which I had installed over the summer to connect to the Case network remotely. Viola! It was working. So, yeah. Cisco VPN is not my friend. Apparently, a lot of people have incredibly strange problems with it. I just wish I'd tried uninstalling it a month ago!

Friday, September 16, 2005

Live Like Doc

Anyone who had a class with Doc Oc knows just too well what a world-class guy he was. Unfortunately, he passed way this summer from a sudden heart attack. Case students can now remember Doc with Live Like Doc memorial bands. I think it's a nice gesture. Doc's memorial is coming up on Saturday, Oct. 8. You can register to attend online. It'll be in Amassa Stone Chapel, so seating will be limited.

Video Game Pianist

I went to see the Video Game Pianist perform last night at the Rough Rider Room here at Case. It was an excellent show! I captured the whole thing on tape with my new-ish Sony DV Handycam DVR-HC20. Once I get it edited, I'll try to get it posted somewhere, possibly with as a Torrent file. You can see several other videos on Martin's website linked above. I'll try to encode this one in a higher quality format (maybe Xvid or MPEG-4). I might also extract just the audio from the recording as an MP3. This all as time permits, of course. If you want to help with editing and have a fast connection to grab the uncompressed DV files, let me know and we can work on it together.

This is also a good opportunity to plug the Freedman Center in KSL at Case. It's free to all Case students, staff and faculty - and they have everything you need to put together a mean multimedia presentation. It's almost as nice as owning your own Mac!

Life without a calendar...

The last two weeks have been an unintentional experiment. Ever since coming to Case waaaay back in 2002, I've use Apple's calendaring program, iCal to plan out just about every day of my life. This is not just classes, assignment due dates, meetings and club events. No, I actually allot time for studying for each of my classes, completing homework and reading assignments, time to eat, time to go grocery shopping and numerous other things that most people wouldn't put in a calendar. It's also a very nice interface because I can drag and drop entries -- so if something takes shorter than expected, I can shrink down that entry's time and bump everything else up - it's very dynamic in that respect. This way, I actually get free time (with a free conscience!) from time to time.

Well, for the past two or so weeks, iCal has been crashing immediately after being launched. This resulted in deleted entries, duplicate calendars, blank entry titles, and numerous other annoying problems. So, I found myself not using it at all. I have been incredibly inefficient during this time. If I don't have all the things I need to do plotted out in great detail, I find myself wasting time because I think that I don't need to be doing anything. Then, when deadlines approach, I am not prepared and I go into panic mode. I'm not used to operating this way. So, I needed to do something about it.

I tried all the usual fixes for misbehaving Mac software - deleted the application's preferences, disabled 3rd party system extensions, and even rebuilt the calendar files by purging out all my old entries. Nothing did the trick. Until yesterday -- I discovered that the problem was related to Apple's online synching program, iSync. I used to sync via .Mac but I had some problems with data corruption and discontinued using it to sync between my desktop and the Campus Rep PowerBook. Anyway, the problem must have been more severe than I thought. I disabled all syncing via the iSync application (this in addition to already disabling it in the .Mac control panel - apparently two independent controls), and reset all sync data from the iSync preferences window. This finally did the trick! Now I can use iCal again.

This was a very abnormal experience for a long-time Mac user. Generally, Apple's software works wonderfully together... but I've had nothing but problems with iSync. Of course, I've had much worse experiences troubleshooting the Palm Desktop sync system - maybe syncing data is just an inherently difficult task. Whatever the case, it has cost me a lot of time and energy to get straightened out. But now -- I'm on the path to success with my trusty iCal up and running again!

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Here's a picture of me taken recently by my friend Dan. Hello!

Bradley, September 2005 Posted by Picasa

First Post - Woot!

Hello! I'm going to start posting to this site in the future instead of my old webpage that's currently hosted on my computer, Brad Farnsworth on the Web. Hopefully this will work out well for me. If it's a lot easier to post, I might update more often. For now, I'm just getting this site in place and not really publicizing its existence. What do you think, should I switch to this format?