Sunday, March 30, 2003

An old school web service that provides a simple, valuable, though possibly outdated service is the PURL service, where PURL stands for Persistent Uniform Resource Locator. In a sentence, they provide allow users to create URLs that redirect to specified sites. When PURLs began to operate in 1996, Google wasn't the main resource for locating sites on the web so it was important to have short, succint URLs. In this respect, PURLs may have outlasted their usefulness. On the other hand, they also serve to provide a persistent link to sites that may change location. In that respect, PURLs should never become outdated.

An unintended use of PURLs is to make short URLs for, say, CMS sites whose pages are referenced by lengthy addresses. Other sites, like Make a Shorter Link have taken this to be their sole function. But I still use because of its solid seven year history, and the thoroughness of its documentation and functionality.

A few examples that I maintain, edited to show possible variation:

Friday, March 28, 2003

Filed my income taxes today. I believe this is the first year I file as an independent earner. Result:

This is your adjusted gross income: $ 5929
This is your refund: $ 373

This year I dumped tele-File for e-File, done over the computer. e-File can't be done by individuals, but there are companies like E-File Tax, Inc who will serve as an intermediary. I didn't know whether to submit a 1040, 1040A or a 1040EZ; luckily they had a choice of "let us choose which one", and it ended up being the EZ form. For incomes over $20k they charge $9.95 for Federal tax returns, while measly incomes like mine are free.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

A picture of this page in Netscape Navigator 4.7 (57k PNG).

Yes, a very good day. Prof struck the essay-half of our midterm tonight, and assigned it for homework.

Having a good day so far: subbed for third grade at my mom's school, and she is set to request me for a sub job in her class tomorrow; received an acceptance from the Center for Chinese Studies at U. Michigan. Two hours of tutoring, three hour econ class at Fullerton College, and I'll be done for the day.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Random observation: on the weblogs I read, every post that starts out "I really didn't want to write about the war..." ends up being a very long post. Notice the clear dearth of war-related posts on either of my weblogs. You're welcome.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Music I downloaded last night:

  • Haddaway - What is Love
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Traditional Sufi Qawwali
  • Dragon Ash - Communication
  • Eminem, Dr Dre, Snoop Dog- Freestyle Medley
  • Al Green - Let's Stay Together

A band named Koa played at Borders tonight; they were pretty decent.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Maybe if I write down the dumb things I do, I'll be reminded not to repeat them.

On Thursday night I sat down at the computer to send a couple of e-mails before hopping in bed with a book. An e-mail turned into a visit to, which reminded me about a program I wanted do download, which turned into an all-night computer customization fest. The worst part of it is that I knew I had a sub job for the next day. So 6 AM rolls around, and I'm still at the computer typing away. I realize that I'm in deep trouble, but I manage to take a shower and make it to school on time. I woke up a bit by then, what with the sun stimulating me to churn out awake-chemicals.

The class I was assigned to was Earth Science, mostly freshman, well behaved and still disciplined to work in class. I make it through most of the day, then sixth period rolls around and my eyes start to droop. It's OK, you might think, since I was going home after that period. Well I've neglected to mention that I actually have a full 8 hour shift to work at Borders from 4 to 1 AM. I leave the school at 3 PM, take a ten minute catnap at home and head to La Habra.

Zombily, I work my shift and actually do a pretty good job. We actually finish tidying up the store by 12:30 and get to leave a little early. It has been a very long day, and I've eaten very little. And yet still, I have time to download a few mp3's and write this note.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to pay a visit to the OCLUG (Orange County Linux Users Group) monthly meeting at Cal State Fullerton to see if I can get some advice on a graphics card and hooking the computer up to a TV. Then I tutor for a couple hours, and another 4-1 AM shift at Borders.

Friday, March 21, 2003

A couple of letters came in the mail today: a "thanks but no thanks" from Tufts, and a "Congratulations" from George Washington. I'm still waiting to hear from Georgetown (not holding my breath), American (not excited about it anyways) and UMich. There's a few people I have to thank, Dr Douglas and Dr Wei for writing recommendations, Kartik and Ted for reviewing my essay, and Lauren at Caltech for the encouragement. It's nice to have at least one option open now.

Gotta hit the hay on time tonight because I have a sub-job tomorrow at 7:30 AM.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Since she doesn't have a weblog (yet) to announce it, I will have to reveal that a different Sittig beat me to the East Coast for college. Actually, come to think of it we may be leaving at the same time. But I digress; Laurel received her acceptance letter from Grove City College this week. Grove City college is located in Grove City, Pennsylvannia. Not only that, let me brag a little more. Laurel is in the dance troupe at the high school, is the school mascot, plans the rallies, is active in the church group, works on the newspaper, and got straight A's all through high school. Congratulations, sis.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Every night is a new project, when you've got a new computer running Linux. Last night and today I upgraded the gphoto2 libraries on my system to support my sister's dinky little RCA CDS1005 digital camera. Now I can download the pictures I take and start posting to my foto weblog again. In fact, I've got two new pictures on there right now. And if you're interested (and have a high speed connection) you could choose to look at a few screenshots of the operating sytem (RedHat Linux) in action. Fight the Power.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

A good read is the New York Times' If the U.N. Were Being Created Today....

Not every Caltch grad goes on to be a scientist.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

This is hilarious, because it pretty much sums it up. Somebody should collect all the Caltech-related love-hate literature and publish it.

A frustrated student rubs his eyes and groans, surrounded by countless books, notebooks and calculators.  The caption: Caltech, when your best just isn't good enough.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Just for the record, I went to my sisters' Jr Performing Dance concert tonight. I echo the sentiments of one of the kids I tutor at the high school: "How is she valedictorian, performs in dance productions, is the school mascot, has time to be semi-popular and doesn't go crazy?" My answer was that she doesn't waste any time at all, every single second of her day is spent doing something productive. She gets it from my mom. Who does it to compensate for my dad. Which is where I draw from. Ugh.

I finished reading All The President's Men recently, so stopped by Blockbuster tonight and picked up the VHS. Behind the counter was Kristen Dennis, so we made small chat. She still hangs out with Brooke Bain. Coolness.

Welcome to Linux on the Shuttle. Still ironing out some wrinkles, but with the addition of a new modem which I strong-armed out of Fry's, I'm on the net and surfing like a pro.

Gratuitious screenshot (large file, 154k).

I subscribed to Slashdot today. It's worth five dollars to stay informed.

Some of you may remember that I recently bought a new computer, a Shuttle XPC, a very small and cute PC. As part of the package, I also bought a 56k modem. Now, from the start I had intended to make this a Linux-only computer, so I purposefully went out and bought the Pragmatic I56LVP-F3 controller-based modem (based on the Lucent Venus chipset), a modem which handles all signal processing in hardware on the chip. Modems that pass this work off to to the motherboard are known as software modems, or winmodems and require the user to download and install special drivers. I knew by looking online that the I56LVP-F3 was a hardware modem, so no worries. I installed it, and set up the configuration files. I spent the last *two weeks* trying to get it working; I was sure that it was a controller-based modem and that it didn't need any special driver. I tried everything, messing with IRQ settings in the BIOS, trying all possible variations on the setserial command, and finally modifying the pcitable (because it was identifying my modem incorrectly as a PCTel HS56). That last one was the crucial clue, because when I opened up the case last night I found that the modem wasn't the same model as shown on the box it came in: it is, in fact, the Pragmatic I56PSP, a winmodem, based on a PCTel chipset. Which means a trip back to Fry's this afternoon.


Wednesday, March 12, 2003

People who have visited this weblog in both older web browsers like Netscape 4.x and newer ones like Mozilla or IE will know that the layout of this page changes depending on the browser you use. For newer ones that support the CSS import statement and randomly sized empty DIVs, I serve Bruce Lee on the right side facing the center of the page, and the text flowing down around him. In older browsers, Bruce Lee appears on the left-hand side, but also faces the center of the page. In fact, it's a completely different image file that gets served up as the background. Once I get my Shuttle PC online, I fully intend to make the right-facing Bruce have a comic-bubble extending from his mouth and say NN4 sux!.

Me picking out another Linux distribution yesterday was a blind lashing out aginst a pig-headed operating system: completely the wrong way to handle the problem. Today I spent several hours Googling my way around the web on the iBook, taking notes and then exploring the innards of my own computer; I learned a lot about serial ports and modems, mostly because Linux lets you play with the fundamental bits and pieces of itself. I still didn't get the darn modem working but I feel like I'm a few steps closer.

Daniel Libeskind's World Trade Center Design Study text.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Tonight I went through the long and tortuous process of picking out a Linux distribution to install on my computer as an alternative to Red Hat 8, which is not detecting my modem (other people have had the same problem with their Pragmatic I56LVP-F30 56k internal PCI modems). After seriously weighing the eliteness factor of Gentoo and checking with other webloggers, I chickened out and decided to go with Mandrake 9. Actually, what I really want is a distribution that doesn't install a million and one games/applications/utilities that I'll never use. I'd really rather have a bare-bones install that I can customize, and selectively download the software that I think I'll use.

The Turkey Club.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Because it seems I'm getting so many people looking for the Japanese drama Home & Away's theme songs, I should probably note that I've made them available for download from a directory at my Freeshell site.