August 29th, 2006

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12:18 am - When infrastructure meets ingenuity
My new company is going through some growing pains. We've THOROUGHLY outgrown the small downtown office we're in now, and we've got land and plans for a nice big building, but we won't be there until probably February at the earliest.

Which means, when all the engineers and field teams are in at once, finding a spot to sit can be a stone bitch.

Take today for instance - I finally managed to catch Trey's drafting table behind his desk as a spot to sit down with my laptop... but nowhere to plug it into the network, and the company doesn't have wireless. However, one of our neighbors left the wireless router attached to their cable modem unsecured... and hey, half the point of building my fledgling database app with a MySQL back end was for a light network footprint, right...?

So, 10 minutes later, I've built a VPN tunnel from my laptop, across my midnight-requisitioned wireless internet connection, and I'm plugging and chugging away, productive as can be. But when I hit a stopping point, I stopped a minute to think about what I was doing - and ran a quick traceroute, and started laughing my ass off. When Trey asked wtf I was on about, I explained that I'd routed through a neighbor's house two or three doors down, to Atlanta GA, to Washington DC, to Raleigh NC, to Greenville SC, and finally back here to Columbia... all to work on the server less than 20 feet from my desk.

In unrelated news, I have a sneaking suspicion that students are gonna start dropping like flies in my MSCI/GEOL 580 class. The instructor's got a heavy Indian accent, talks like you get bonus points for finishing sentences early, and flashes through slides FAR too quickly to take notes. I feel okay with it, but the folks who DIDN'T already have a good grasp of the basic concepts of active vs passive sensing, and what you can do with either of them, and in general thinking in terms of orbital mechanics and interesting ways to use the EM spectrum... well, I was hearing actual sounds of panic from a couple of the folks in there. Heh. They shoulda read more hard sci-fi, is all I have to say about it...

Current Mood: cheerful
Current Music: Talib Kweli - Listen

(2 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture] From: marys_second
Date: August 29th, 2006 - 11:38 am
You'd think one of them packets could have picked you up a snowglobe or something. Damn.

From: (Anonymous)
Date: August 29th, 2006 - 01:17 pm

[User Picture] From: jimbojones
Date: August 29th, 2006 - 01:33 pm
Ha. One, you don't remember correctly, and two, "hard science fiction" is science fiction based on actual science rather than just shit getting made up as you go along.

For example, Larry Niven writes hard science fiction: there are devices and technologies that we don't have yet, but they make sense and are based on real phenomena and principles - in his story Ringworld, he not only postulated an artifical world consisting of a ring whose diameter was a habitable planet's orbit, he actually calculated the tensile strength necessary for the floor material.

For a counterexample, there's Star Trek: it's full of unexplained "magic crap." Like the alien Q, or like Dilithium crystals (wtf is Dilithium?) or like the way you can apparently fix ANY climate problem on a planet by shooting it with the ship's phasers.

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