Sorry that I dropped off the radar for more than a week. The holidays always seem to be such a busy time for me, both at work and at home. My diary writing seems to suffer accordingly.
So what have I been up to? Well, a few different things. My blood pressure has been higher than I like it to be because of happenings at Company O. There's an old principle in software engineering known as "bit rot". Simply put, it is the idea that software is more likely to fail after it is used, not used, and then used again. The bits are thought to rot on the hard disk or in memory and the software fails "even though nothing has changed", as they say. I'm attempting to collect experimental data using equipment and software that I could not touch for about three weeks, and I'm seeing an inexplicable three percent failure rate where any failure rate above zero is suspect, if not intolerable. That failure rate has turned a straightforward one week data collection activity into a frustrating debugging session with no end in sight.
This does not mean that the last two weeks have been all work and no play, however. If anything, I played a little too hard at a couple points during the last two weeks. Friends had another wine/food pairing party (similar to the one back in April) with the same sad results: I drank too much red wine early in the evening and got sick. Likewise, I went to a party to do a Secret Santa gift exchange with my in-laws on Sunday and was feeling a littl hungover yesterday. There have also been lots of gifts, both for my birthday and Christmas. Alcoholic misadventure excluded, it is a blessed December this year.
Speaking of gifts, I must comment that my parents seem to be a little overboard with the gift budget this year. As a case in point: I got a Sony SACD/DVD player as a Christmas gift. I put it on my Amazon wish a couple weeks ago when I saw that SACD players had dropped below the $200 price point. (For those who don't know, SACD is a successor to the CD standard that allows digital music to sound about as good as audiophile vinyl.) It was certainly something I did not expect to get for Christmas; it was more a placeholder for when I would have the money to get one some time in 2006. But no, my parents decided to get it for me for Christmas... plus a $60 DVD set for my birthday, plus a scanner for Mrs. Geek. My family has never been into "big money gifts" before... and I'm wondering why they suddenly changed their minds.
Holiday plans are otherwise in hand. Gift shopping is now more or less done, with many already in transit to the Land Of My Birth in preparation for our arrival there. We're finishing up our annual Christmas card mailing tonight. As we will be spending the holidays with my parents this year, there aren't too many other holiday preparations. Mrs. Geek and I are both saddened by this, because it means no Christmas tree. We collected some interesting Christmas tree ornaments in the last year, and I suppose we'll have to wait until next year to display them.
As we depart for the Land Of My Birth on Thursday for a ten day stay, I don't know how much I will be updating over the next week or two. If I don't get a chance to update here again before Sunday, I want to wish all my best wishes and blessings of the season to all my readers. Let us all hope that 2006 will be more peaceful and sane than 2005 was.
on 2005-12-20 at 2:08 p.m.
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