Archives: January 2004

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Welcome to my new website. I finally decided to get off of my lazy ass and get myself some webspace. Luckily for me, it was pretty much free. You see, there's this place called They are currently offering free web hosting for 3 years with nothing to pay (you don't even need to give them a credit card) as a promotion. Apparently they are a big company that used to do hosting for larger corporations. Now they are trying to get into hosting for the everyday Joe like you and me. In order to get their name out, they are running this promotion. Yay for free stuff!

Unfortunately, they only offer web hosting for free. The cost of a registered domain name is $5.99/year. Still, this doesn't seem very expensive. Hey, for only six bucks a year, I can get 500mb of hosting (and 5gb of bandwidth a month), plus many other things (like FTP and SSH access, 99.9% guaranteed uptime, 50 POP3 e-mail accounts, etc.). It seems like a really good deal to me.

Anyways, the main reason why I wanted to start my own website is not to create a blog or Xanga that nobody will read, but rather so I could post a gallery of my photograpy. You see, for about 7 months now, I've been trying to get away from the simple point-and-shoot approach to taking pictures and am trying to become an artistic photographer. Call it a new hobby, if you will. Last June or July, I purchased a second hand digital SLR camera (Olympus E-10) and I've been trying to improve my skills since. Within the next few weeks or so, I hope to post a gallery of some of my work. Of course, this will also include some random point-and-shoot shots as well. As a full-time grad student, I just don't have as much free time as I would like to perfect all my photographs.

Although I did learn basic HTML some seven years ago, much has changed in the world of the internet and the world wide web (god, I hate that term). Web pages are no longer coded in simple HTML. There's XML and CSS and a whole lot of other languages that I don't know. I just haven't been keeping up with the changes. As a result, I am actually stealing (not really stealing, but borrowing) CSS code for the layout of this site. I found this cool sight called that has a CSS layout resevoir of sorts. That page has a few layouts that can be used royalty free for use by random people like me. I took two of them and combined them together to get the layout you see here. Below is a little disclaimer/warning/nutritional information from the guy who runs BlueRobot:

"Much effort has been made to ensure that the layouts in the BlueRobot Layout Reservoir appear as intended in CSS2 compliant browsers. The content should be viewable, though unstyled, in other web browsers. If you encounter a problem that is not listed as a known issue, I am most likely not aware of it. Please email me a heads-up. Your help will benefit the other five or six people who visit this site."

In addition to combining two of the CSS layouts from BlueRobot, I made some modifications of my own. Since I've never had any experience with CSS before today, this proved to be interesting, to say the least. I've spent many hours trying to figure out what the hell stuff does and I'm sure I still don't know what everything does. If it looks good to you, just consider it an accident. :)

If you want, I've made the the CSS I'm using for this page available so you can see what it's like. If you decide to use it, please credit the folks at BlueRobot as well as me in your code. Thanks.

::  View the CSS  :: 

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 ... take 2

Just a new box for testing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Holy crap it's cold outside! Right now it's 0 degrees. That's Fahrenheit, not Celcius. I really hate Ithaca winters. A few days ago it was actually warm. A whopping 33 degrees F. Of course, that's over 30 degrees difference, so it was relatively warm. Still, it's too cold here. And to top it all off, the window near my desk is drafty so my feet are freezing right now. Rawr.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday. I've been developing the layout of this site using Mozilla 1.5 which is compliant with CSS2. I have no idea how well IE or Netscape or any other browser will render the layout. If it doesn't seem right to you, let me know. Or you could just download Mozilla. It's far superior than IE anyways.

Thursday, January 15, 2004 is up and running! Woohoo!

Damn you Canada! And your stupid Arctic cold! Argh!

Yup, you guessed it, it's insanely cold, yet again. The entire Northeast is wrought with "extremely dangerous" cold weather. There have been reports from Boston, MA of wind chills of -45F!!! Right now, it's noon and a balmy -2F here in sunny Ithaca (it's weird, I know, but it actually is sunny right now). Wind chill is somewhere around -17F. Temperatures like this can cause frostbite in about 15 minutes if you're not protected. This is just insane. I blame Canada. We should build a huge wall, several hundred (maybe several thousand) tall along the border of the US and Canada so we can keep all that Canadian Arctic weather out of the US. That'd be cool.

In other news, you've probably heard that President George W. Bush announced a plan recently for an increased budget for NASA and hopes to send peole back to the moon and soon Mars. I personally think this is a great idea, though I think he's going at it the wrong way. Under his proposed plan, NASA will get a budget increase of only $1 billion and another $11 billion will be shifted from other NASA projects to the new exploration project. Hello? Is anybody in there? This doesn't really seem like nearly enough money to do anything useful. This only amounts to a 5% increase in budget every year. That's not much. Back in the 1960s, NASA spent $24 billion to put a man on the moon. The year after President Kennedy announced his goal to put a man on the moon, NASA's budget doubled. The year after, it doubled again. Action like this is what will be needed to put somebody on Mars. Unfortunately, with the current situation our government is in (economy, war on Iraq/terrorism, etc.) that's probably not going to happen.

I really wish there was a good way to get NASA the money because I'm all for space exploration. While we do have problems down here on Earth that need to be dealt with immediately, we can't just keep on putting off space exploration. Sooner or later humans will over-populate the Earth and we'll all have to go somewhere. If we just sit on our asses now and not start the space exploration process, we'll be royally screwed when the time comes and we need to vacate the planet (most likely b/c we fucked up the environment or had an atomic world war or something). Unfortunately, since I'm not an economist nor a politician, I have no proposed plan of getting NASA the money it needs without sacrificing all the other stuff our government needs to deal with now. Unfortunately, NASA is pretty much in a bind. They tend not to have successful missions because they don't get funding, but they don't get funding because they aren't successful. It really is a catch-22. Sucks, I know.

If you want to read more about Bush's new space exploration proposal, click here and here.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Google rocks. 'nuf said.

Google rover logo

As many of you should all know by now, the NASA Mars rover Spirit rolled off it's landing platform today and is now on the surface of Mars with all six wheels. It will soon (if not already) start it's geological survey of the martian surface. Way to go JPL and NASA! I wanna work for JPL. Really, I do.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Well today was actually quite warm compared to recent days. It actually broke 32F today. As such, I decided to get my car washed. Now it's all nice and clean! I have some pics online, but I haven't set up the galleries yet. For now, you can find the pics here.

Also, let me tell you, Dell sucks ass. I ordered a hard drive from them back in September of last year but decided to cancel the order. But because of their ineptitude with auto-reply e-mails, they thought I wanted to keep the order after they said they would automatically cancel it due to not honoring rebates. So, they sent out my package before I could cancel it. In short, I had to send it back and ask for a refund. They claim the refund was issued on October 21, 2003, but my credit card company says otherwise. It's been almost three months now and the credit card company says there is no indication of a credit refund. Now I have to file a dispute with the credit card company so I can get my money back. It seems like the only thing Dell is quick at doing is taking people's money away and screwing them over. I used to like Dell Customer Service. Now I hate it. Grrr.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Yay! I'm one step closer to getting my naturalization now. Today I skipped class so I could drive up to Syracuse and get fingerprinted. I ended up getting there late b/c of two things. The first was b/c my car got stuck in a foot and a half of snow in my parking lot this morning. The second was b/c I forgot to bring the directions to the USCIS office (the INS is now the USCIS). I managed to get there only 20 minutes late and had to wait about 15 minutes for my turn. Now the USCIS is using digital fingerprinting machines. No more ink! Hopefully by September, I'll be a citizen. Woohoo! Now all I need is a job (too bad my field essentially requires citizenship and clearance).

OMG! It's the bottom of the page! Whatever shall I do?!?!?!?!?!