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Tuesday, April 29 2008

It’s the last week of classes here at Hopkins, and this semester, the end can’t come quickly enough. This isn’t merely “senioritis”– I find myself much more burned out by the semester than usual. Soon, however, classes will be over, then finals, and I’ll have some days to just sit and play games before my parents come and I have to do the whole “graduating” thing.

However, that doesn’t prevent me from (when I have a few spare cycles) playing with fun new things:
<ul><li>New Apartments – yes, apartments. I finally got my housing nailed down for the summer in San Francisco– I’ll be just half a mile away from Six Apart, in the middle of San Francisco. Should be awesome. I’m also getting rid of my roommate in Baltimore, and moving a couple blocks south on Charles St. in the fall; I’ll actually be right upstairs from Shannon, and even closer to campus. (Before, I was only across the street from the freshman dorms, but a whole two blocks away from the Engineering quad– what an awful walk! :-) Now I’ll be straight across the street from the Engineering quad. And also pay less rent.) Life is good.</li><li>New Phone – I just realized that this never got blogged; right before Grand Prix: Philadelphia, my contract with Verizon was up, and so my brother and I got iPhones. It works amazingly well. I spent three hours in the Apple Store before buying it, learning how the Great and Wonderful Apple could Change My Life. (So it’s a bit of a cult. :-) ) At the end, I was convinced– and not just about the phone (see below). So I’ve had it for a month, it seems to be holding up to me well, and I’ve enjoyed it a lot; one has to understand that before the iPhone, I didn’t own an MP3 player. I once did– back when they were brand new, I owned probably the first one in the state of Montana. A whole 128MB of capacity. It rocked, but then Dad took it for running, and now it’s been put in a drawer since he has an iPod Shuffle 2G. So I’ve been really liking having my music travel with me– and just recently, I’ve discovered the Podcasts in the iTunes Store, and so now I can listen to Car Talk or Talk of the Nation when I’m wandering around the campus at 2AM. (Yes, you can mostly download them from their websites– but iTunes does it automatically, so I don’t have to remember to check, much like Google Reader checks my 35+ feeds so I know I’m always up to date.) Awesome.</li><ul><li>You have to realize– I’ve hated Apple since I was six. Seriously. They were always the broken, crappy computers when I was at school, and they never worked with anything else, and nothing ever went right for them. Even OS X didn’t seem to be improving that– sure, it said it was more UNIX-y, but it still wasn’t particularly compatible with anything. As of Tiger/Leopard (and really, as of the Intel switch), however, this has apparently changed– and I was blown away, standing and playing in their store. I also got to enjoy a nice blue Kool-Aid while I was there– they’re so friendly!
</li></ul><li>New Computer – having gone to an Apple Store for three hours to experience an Awakening, I got tired of dealing with Vista’s incredible number of crashes for no reason. At the same time, my laptop started really heading down the road– since my deadbeat laptop company won’t even return my phone calls to fix my laptop (recall its untimely injury in November), this isn’t good. Now, however, I’ve handled the problem with a vengeance, and my new ultra-powerful Mac is tearing up my apartment, resplendent with ZFS support and shiny “whoosh” graphics whenever I do something. I even have enough storage on it to finally put my various servers’ worth of stuff onto one RAIDZ’ed system– which makes the whole effort much nicer.</li><ul><li>Of course, switching to OS X does come with some annoyances– why does Home go to the beginning of the document, as on precisely no other computer ever? Why are you so obsessed with the silly Apple key (or Windows key on my keyboard– my wrists won’t let me use that non-ergo (but very shiny) Apple Keyboard, so I’m using my (wonderful) Microsoft Natural 4000 still)? And why is there still no release of Java 6 for all the Apple products? Extraordinarily silliness. But a lot of it I can work around, one way or another.
</li><li>And, of course, I’m still dual-booting to Windows– which is only for DCI Reporter (the tournament tabulation software for Magic tournaments) and games– the latter being much more a hope that it will one day be relevant, than any reflection of now. I don’t actually go there that often, but on occasion it’s necessary. (I’m struck by how many things are really available for OS X though, now that everyone uses x86.)</li></ul><li>New Analytics – at long last, I was given access to the Woopra beta, so I can have live statistics, and watch visitors as they click around my site. (Not that I couldn’t technically have done this before– this just makes it much nicer.)</li></ul>Now, however, it’s time for me to get back to work; a project due on Thursday, another on Monday, and then reading period starts. I’ll sleep, no doubt, when I’m dead.

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