The URI! Zone - 06/2002
Apparently the phrase, "updated weekly", is French for "updated whenever I have time". I'll post a real update this coming weekend, but you can rest assured that nothing of great importance has happened since my last update.
There's never enough time to do all the things you want to do. Since the last big update, I've been constantly on the go, between work and my "during-the-week" residence. I've managed to get a little composing in, but not nearly as much as I'd like. For Memorial Day weekend, I went down to the beach house of the family I'm staying with during the week. Even though it's still under construction, you can really tell that it's going to be a great place to vacation and/or retire. The lot is on a small inlet to the Potomac River (down at Colonial Beach), and is surprisingly undeveloped. The generic "supermarket" was filled with rural folk that some would call rednecks (no doubt, affectionately), and the town is far enough away from I-95 to not be part of a metropolitan area.
Last weekend, I visited my other old roommate who was up for the weekend. Surprisingly, her brother and about five other people I knew from Tech (including my original roommate from '96) now live in an apartment complex just down the street from my house. To make the living arrangements even more incestuous, her boyfriend will be moving there next month, with someone else I knew from band. I finally got around to seeing Lord of the Rings last weekend too. Though on the long side, it did a good balancing job between making a good movie and pandering to the book-fans. The result was an entertaining movie that never quite got too cheesy for its own good. I can definitely see why it won so many art and special effect awards at the Oscars.
This week (after work of course), I saw Insomnia, the new cop-flick by the director of Memento. For a relatively "normal" movie, it was really good, if slower paced. The story was more character-driven than your typical cop movie. The Alaskan scenery was pretty cool as well.
On the computer/work front, I'm learning the JUnit testing framework to perform unit tests on our applications. With the next "code-freeze" coming up, there probably won't be any immediate development concerns, so the focus is cleaning things up and testing. I've been using Eclipse, a free IDE developed by IBM and others, for Java development and really like it. It takes the functionality of VisualAge and gets rid of the ridiculous method-based editing, returning to the classic file-format. If you do any coding or Java development at all, I'd highyl recommond trying out a beta copy. A program this good may even get me back on track with my PRIMA project next year.
Speaking of software, I'm downloading Netscape 7.0 Preview. It's gotten pretty positive reviews so far, being billed as the next IE-killer. After the Netscape 6 fiasco and the infection of AOL, it'll be a pleasant surprise if the preview is as fast and useable as all reports indicate.
Last on my writing agenda: I finally got the real CD of my recital from April 2001 and generally it's very good. Not much effort was put into correcting anything -- rather, its selling point is the high sound quality and mixing. The only problem is that the encore march didn't get onto the recording. However, it should be handy to have good recordings of some of my works.
If you have any news to report, or just want to say hello, feel free to e-mail me with the mail icon to the upper right of this news box. Until next time, this is BU signing off.
The preview version of Netscape is pretty snazzy. It runs fast, and the tabbed-window feature is especially nice.
I've gotten hooked on watching The Sopranos, and I'm halfway through the second season of episodes right now. I watched the very first episode a couple weekends ago when nothing was going on and ended up getting dragged into the story. If you haven't seen it before, it really does match up to all the hype it gets. It's nice that studios are releasing full seasons of episodes on DVD these days.
I'm still using Netscape 7.0 preview edition for all my web needs, and haven't found anything major to gripe about (other than the typical AOL icons and bookmarks that are installed on startup). The browser hiccups a little when loading this page, but a quick Reload usually fixes that. On the web side of things, I probably won't do any major renovations of the site for the next school year, but I am learning how to program Java servlets. It's a technology that won't be useful right away, but will be very useful someday when I'm running my own server.
On the work front, I finished JUnit work and am starting on a redesign of the common GUI architecture that we created last year. I like these kinds of projects best because they're a mix of design and new coding with very few worries about legacy code and "making new stuff work in old limitations". This past week, I also resumed work on PRIMA (see the Coding page for more info). My mention of it in the last news update sparked my motivation, and I've been working on it at night after work. I've created the data structures representing pitches and intervals, and written various algorithms to deal with enharmonic equivalence and key signatures.
Because of this, I didn't do any composing at all these past two weeks. I'll probably pad my schedule at school this coming year as a result. I'll still have the thesis done in the fall, and do any exams during that semester, but I'll hold off on thesis defense and all that good stuff until early in 2003. I already had some breathing room worked into my Spring schedule anyhow, just in case something like this happened.
I finally finished reading A Beautiful Mind after a month of starting and stopping. It really is an interesting book, but its epic length makes it hard to read all at once. The movie of the same name did a really good job of following the real timeline. Of course, things were simplified for the Hollywood audience, but many of the real details were used.
This weekend, I went down to Charlottesville to help my sister move across town. Nothing else to report on that -- it just didn't fit in any of the other paragraphs.
Also, happy birthday to Liz (whose birthday was June 21), happy birthday to Nikki (whose birthday is June 24), and happy birthday to Kathy (whose birthday is June 29). If I were still doing daily updates, I'd give them each a nice little banner, but my sporadic updates seem to be unpredictable these days.
This week in my PRIMA work, I completed the algorithms to allow the computer to recognize all regular pitch orders (modes and scales where the spelling going up is the same as the spelling going down). It can also take a MIDI note number or pitch name and translate it into the appropriate enharmonic, based on the current key signature. I'd post the demo applet I wrote, but so much of the work is under the hood that you probably wouldn't be too impressed by it.
Warcraft III comes out on July 3rd, and the advance hype seems to be overwhelmingly positive. I've got a copy ordered for when I finish off Jedi Knight II, which I've been playing these past few weeks. The first few levels are incredibly underwhelming and tedious, but once you get the lightsaber and can start throwing people around with the Force the fun level goes way up. I've never been a big fan of the Star Wars mythos, and the story is as hackneyed as one of the movies, but the game is still solid.
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