take a break


So I did a little playing around with the masthead over the weekend. There is a little bit of a story behind that masthead.

We live just down the street from a private school. We also live on a corner. The corner is convenient because if kids from the school come down the street and take a few steps around the corner they can't be seen from the school. And not being seen is very important when you are in high school, in a private school and you are smoking. So the kids from the school smoke beside our house (because we are on the corner).

Smoking in and of itself we don't have too much of a problem with. What we do have a problem with is the garbage that gets left behind. So we have tried various methods to get the kids to stop smoking there. Mostly involving asking them nicely not to smoke there. That works for about 10 seconds. Then we tried yelling at them. We got about another 10 seconds out of that. Then we started yelling at them and calling the school. That got us about 12 hours worth of results. Pretty good but not quite what we were looking for. Then one Saturday evening a couple of weeks ago there were some students smoking beside our house and m called the school. The Headmaster answered. M gave a description of the kids that were smoking and assumed that would be the end of the smoking. The next Monday evening we looked out the window and there were 5, count 'em, 5 kids out there smoking.

Now we had to get serious. M picked up the phone and started calling the school. I went upstairs and got the camera. I went outside, walked up about 3 meters from the smoking kids (which were down to 3 now) and snapped a picture. The auto focus lamp went on for about 2 seconds and then the flash went on. Of course the kids noticed the flash and were confused about it. I heard one of them say "Whoa, what was that? Just after that happened M had gone out another door and started yelling at the kids. "I HAVE CALLED THE SCHOOL; I DON"T WANT YOU KIDS SMOKING THERE ANYMORE AND I WANT YOU TO CLEAN UP THOSE BUTTS". M didn't know that I had just snapped a shot of them.

We both went back inside, and laughed about how scared those kids probably were. M said that if she were in that situation as a teenager she would be coming to the front door and apologizing to the homeowners. About 5 minutes later the doorbell rang. It was the 3 boys that were smoking when I snapped the picture.

"Sir, we're very sorry for smoking, we cleaned up all the butts and we won't do it again."
"Ok, thank you."
"We didn't know we weren't supposed to smoke there, we've never done this before, we didn't know the rules. We'll never do it again."
"Yeah, ok. It's January, you have been going to the school for at least 3 months and you don't know the rules? If you say so."
"We're very sorry. Could you tell that lady that we are sorry."
"Yes, I will let her know."
"Umm.... Could you please not send that picture to our school?"
"The picture didn't turn out very well so I wouldn't worry about it if I were you. However, if you are smoking here again I will continue to take pictures so you should know that there will be a good picture in the future. You can also tell your friends that we are taking pictures now."

We haven't seen any kids smoking there since. Now they smoke on the other side of the street. Works for us.

So the masthead above is made out of bits and pieces of the picture I took that night. Once I looked at it I knew that I would be using it for this site. The stop sign was the most in focus part of the picture, which the more technically savvy readers will recognize the significance of for this site. On an Intel x86 processor an interrupt three (int three) is the interrupt used for a debugging breakpoint, usually labeled in a debugger with a stop sign.
category: General posted on Monday January 31, 2005 at 08:33:30 by: 0xCC

Busy, busy...

Ok, so I didn't get to what I wanted to get to with respect to Race Analyzer and the PHP stuff that I wanted to do over the holidays. Those holidays were just too short! We had a couple of rounds of family over and there was the mandatory cleaning that went along with that which took up a bunch of time. Anyway, I didn't get as much done as I had hoped but I am trying to get back into it now.

I have been trying to take a look at Boa Constructor. I have it installed and working on my work system and I have tried to get it running on my home development system but it isn't playing nicely with the version of wxPython I have installed. I tried to fix that but ran out of time before I got it totally resolved. I wanted to take a look at Boa Constructor because I am currently running into a bit of a brick wall with what I am trying to do with Race Analyzer. I just want to be able to have the UI set up so the user can drag the boundaries of colums left or right to line up the colums from their race results. I guess it is pretty similar to tab stops or margins in Word. I know there is a way to do it, I just don't know how yet. That is the next hurdle I need to jump over with Race Analyzer.

Also over the holidays I bought a couple of new toys. The first one is a new stationary trainer for our bikes, The Tacx Flow. I have used it a couple of times, m has used it once. The main reason for getting this trainer is that it has power settings/display. Training with power on the bike allows you to do some fairly specific workouts as well as measure progress accurately. I need to educate myself a little more on power training but so far it as been pretty interesting. You can set a power level (in watts), get up to speed at a given gear, and watch your heart rate stay within 2-3 beats per minute as you ride along at that power output. Increase the power a little bit (resistance increases) and within a couple of minutes your heart rate goes up a little bit. It is pretty neat and I think it will be a great training tool.

The other new toy I got is this little gem. My current bike is about 5 years old so it was getting close to time for a new one. I got a bit of a deal on it because I went with the 9-speed Ultegra instead of the 10-speed. It would have cost me about $400 more for the 10-speed version. I can wait until the next bike for that. I get fitted for and pick up the bike this afternoon. Of course, now I can't wait until spring gets here...
category: General posted on Thursday January 13, 2005 at 10:11:06 by: 0xCC