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This last weekend, Jeff and I went to the Tulip Rayle. Think scavenger hunt driving while driving around in the back roads of Mount Verson, Fidalgo Island, and Whidbey Island. There was lots of pretty. Jeff has a nice (long) summary.

Over the course of this last week, Jeff and I got the crazy idea that moving would be a good idea. Our current place is a bit warm, a bit noisy, and a bit pricey for its size. We found a new place over the weekend; we can start moving in next week. The new place is actually only a few blocks away... as the crow flies. Driving it is a bit further because it is on the other side of Highway 99. Fortunately, we will have overlapping leases for nearly a month, so moving should be relatively painless.

Did I ever mention that I am going to be at Google this summer? I will be working on a data processing framework.

In quals news, it will be done. Soon, I hope. I have a draft of my paper written. A draft which, according to my advisor, needs plenty of work. I am going to start working on the presentation soon. It will be nice to get quals done. I have enjoyed this project, but I am ready to move on to something that is really my work.

That was kind of random, but my life has been kind of random lately. Tata!
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Pupils dilated, world bright and blurry. Ack!
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Oh goody! I can get a scary-baby-pictures credit card (Anne Geddes)! I think not.
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For the first time in months, I am caught up with the articles I marked as interesting on my National Geographic feed. Yay!

EDIT: Caught up on Ars Technica too! If only I were getting more work done.
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Ahh, the Metro trip planner. I love it, but sometimes it can be a bit of a pain to deal with. For example, I want to be somewhere around 7:00 tonight. I'm flexible as to when I get there. The trip planner requires me to indicate an exact value for arrival time (or departure time). If I choose 7:00 the the arrival time, it gives me a 45 minute ride with two transfers. If I change that by 15 minutes I get a 25 minute ride with one transfer.

Question of the day, what bugs you about the trip planner and how would you change the design to deal with it?
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Our dishwasher has a knob for choosing the wash setting (e.g., "Normal Wash" and "Heavy Wash"). The user turns the knob to the desired setting and closes the dishwasher; it then starts automatically.

The knob has three problems which make the dishwasher difficult to use. 1) The knob does not click into place at the settings. There is no physical indication that you have reached your setting and nothing to prevent overturning. 2) If the knob is turned past the desired point, it cannot be turned back; it must be turned completely around again. 3) Turning the knob all the way around to the desired setting causes the soap holder to open and release the soap. A not unusual scenario is that a user (me!) will turn the knob too far, turn it all the way around, empty the soap, refill the soap, and start the dishwahser.

The user could change their behavior to prevent this problem. For example, a user could turn the knob to the correct setting and then add the soap. This should not be necessary; the problem can be fixed so easily. Solution 1: have the knob click into place at each of the settings. Downsides: this might require changing the design of the washer because the knob turns as the dishwasher runs, and some settings require going through other settings (e.g. "Heavy Wash" is "Normal Wash" with some extra time at the beginning). Solution 2: allow the knob to turn forward or backwards. Downside: Again, since the knob seems to control the behavior of the washer, this may require changing the design. Solution 3: Make it so the user can pull the knob outward and turn it freely. Downsides: this would probably be more expensive to manufacture. It may also be somewhat confusing to first time users; although the "pull out a knob to turn freely" paradigm is not unheard of, it is also not common. Solution 3: make it so that the soap holder is not emptied when the knob is turned around unless the door is closed completely. Downside: Again, probably cost.

On a note unrelated to dishwashers but related to design, I managed to make this text entry box right justified (Opera), and I have no clue how I did so or how to fix it...
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New Year's gathering at our place? We can see the firework's at the space needle from the rooftop deck of our building. Tell me who's interested.
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Jeff and I bought a gift wrap set this year. It comes with paper, bags, ribbon, and tissue paper. Since it was on sale, it was priced comparably to buying what we needed individually. However, I have discovered something very sad. 4 of the 6 rolls of paper are "poly" which is a shiny plasticy sort of stuff. I assume it is not recyclable. It is also very hard to wrap with because it does not crease well. Ugh, it's terrible. Next year, paper for me!
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The corner in Case. The corner at PL camp. Last Friday at Shawna and Mike's place. These demonstrate the kind of social interaction I enjoy most and miss most. They share certain characteristics. All are casual gatherings. None have just talking as their goal. There are multiple activities going on, and the attitude is that one can join into any of them or none of them. They illustrate the sort of community I want to live in. A community where people are comfortable enough to visit each other and, if they so wish, mostly ignore each other during a visit. A community where silence is not awkward.
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Any local folk planning on seeing The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?
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I like low effort memes! First sentence of first LJ entry for each month of 2005 (comments in italics). Summary, I'm a nerd. =)

Jan: I was noting some clothing the other day and came to observe that the only part of the breast that cannot be shown is the nipple.
Feb: Final word: burn.
Mar: In an email from my advisor:
I remembered a caveat with the Linux version of our software: there's a strange bug in the Linux version of the conservative garbage collector we use: if you run one of our binaries off a local disk, then it quickly seg-faults, while if you run the exact same binary off of a remote (e.g. NFS-mounted) disk, then it works fine.
(syntactically it's all one sentence...)
Apr: I'm alive!
May: Finished The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis.
Jun: I've been programming in Lisp for awhile now, as I am sure you are all tired of hearing.
Jul: Last night, Jeff and I made glazed honey-nut rolls.
Aug: Toothpaste or frying pan? (It's been that long since PL camp?!)
Sep: Adding my tags for this entry made me wish I had hierarchical tags.
Oct: Once again, the Marysville school levy didn't pass.
Nov: This toy is way too amusing. (Referring to the Mr. Potato Head Darth Tater)
Dec: I accidently discovered slrn today.
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Let's get some official planning going for the social gathering on the 9th. Things we need to plan: Who is interested in coming? Where shall it be (i.e., Shawna and Mike, still willing to host it?)? Do we want to make it the first of our regular anime showings?
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It's snowing! Even if I hadn't been outside it it, I would have known since 7 of you posted about it already. =P
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Anyone want to go see the new Pride and Prejudice with Jeff and me tonight?

EDIT: We're going to see it at 3:00 at the theater at 7th & Pike downtown.
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It is done! We submitted the paper, with decent results even. My state of mind was odd during the last couple hours. I was not writing (a) two people writing at a time is plenty and (b) I do not yet have the technical writing skills write quickly and well. Most of the time I was sitting waiting for more changes to be checked in. I was simultaneously bored, anxious, and stressed. Very odd combination. In any case, it is done! And I can sleep! It has been many days since I have gotten enough of that.

The socks I am wearing today are getting quite threadbare (you can see through a good portion of them). In the middle of one threadbare path there is a hole. This allowed me to observe that even threadbare sock is better than no sock. Where the hole is, my foot sticks annoyingly to the shoe. Where there is at least some sock, it does not.
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This is such a difficult time of year jacket-wise. On rainy days I wear my Gortex over my polarfleece. On non-rainy days I wear my grey jacket, which is about equally warm. When I go out in the evenings and am outside a lot, I wear a heavy jacket. It confuses me sometimes. =)
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Who would be interested in some sort of holliday social gathering? Who would be interested in combining this with a large variety of yummy cheeses?
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Any local folks interested in sushi tonight?
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Aterm was just installed on the machines at school. This makes me very happy. Psuedo-transparent terminals make a desktop feel much less crowded than solid black terminals.
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On the one hand, I'd kind of like to go to the Microsoft annual shareholder's meeting, on the other hand, it's at 8:00am in Bellvue.

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Erika RS

May 2012

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