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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
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This has been a very busy day. It started early this afternoon. "J" and I went to an appointment in Kirkland. It went smoothly.

The rest of the day was all related to a wedding. We went to a bakery in Redmond to pick up a wedding cake. J and I had volunteered to contribute the cake to the wedding; we ordered on Saturday. Actually, we ordered two cakes: a large one for the wedding, and a small one for the wedding couple to freeze and save for their first anniversary. They looked beautiful: lots of swirls on the sides, and a pair of frosting roses on top.

After the bakery (and a nibble for lunch), we went to a hair salon, where J got her hair done for a surprisingly reasonable price. Next door to the salon, she went to a shoe store and got a pair of boots, also for a surprisingly reasonable price.

From there we went to Bellevue, where we met up with my parents, my brother, and other wedding guests. We set out to the wedding site – a court house – in a small caravan. We went to the building just before closing time and checked in through security. (They wouldn't allow my mother's Swiss army knife inside, so my father had to run it back to their car.) While waiting for the schedule time, guests made introductions and conversation.

The time arrived, and we went into the judge's chamber. I was serving two roles in the wedding: one, as the primary photographer (assisted by J and my father), and two, sharing Best Man duties with my father. The judge suggested a number of types of shots that I might have forgotten, and we took those. The judge even took a group picture of the wedding party and all the guests. The bride and groom signed the marriage certificate, and then the groom asked my parents to sign as witnesses (traditional duties of the Matron of Honor and Best Man).

The judge led the happy couple through the vows. When the exchange of rings took place, I did my share of the Best Man duties, handing the rings to each of them when the time came. I returned to my role as photographer as the judge pronounced the couple husband and wife and invited them to kiss and face the guests. My brother was the groom.

After the ceremony, some more pictures were taken, and the judge excused himself for a few minutes. When he returned, he let us out of the locked court house, and we were all on our way.

Next stop was the reception, in a private section of a large hotel. (It's normally just a section of the hotel restaurant, but there the hotel wasn't so busy that it needed the entire restaurant space, so they reserved it for the celebration.) J and I set up the cake, on a glass cake stand we had brought from home. I took more pictures. We sorted out the seating arrangements at the dinner table.

One of the guests, "M", was a woman J and I knew mostly because we had photographed her retirement party soon after J and I met. (She's a good friend of my brother and mother, who had suggested me for the task.) In addition to M's gift to my brother and his new bride, she had a gift for J and me: a beautiful quilt. M loves making quilts, and frequently gives them as gifts; one of her quilts was the first wedding gift J and I received when we decided to get married. My brother and his bride opened their gift from her too; it was also a quilt, also beautiful, but entirely unlike the ones she had made for us.

Soon after everyone settled for dinner, I noticed that there was a double rainbow out the window of the restaurant. I pointed it out to everyone, and several people suggested I take pictures. I did, then settled back to the dinner table. Soon, the rainbow brightened, and I took a few more pictures. It brightened some more, and I took a few more. At that point, the weather gods decided to stop messing with me, and the rainbow started fading away.

The waiter took orders, a few toasts were made, and conversation continued. When the food arrived, it was delicious. (I had a salmon dish.) After contemplating for a while, my father made a speech honoring the bride and groom (another Best Man duty). I don't recall what he said, but it was a really good speech.

After the dinner, it was time to cut the cake. I took more pictures. The bride and groom fed each other a bite of cake. After they had their cake, the bride's friend took over the cake duties, slicing portions for each of the guests. The cake was just as snow-white on the inside as the outside. (That was a bit of a puzzle for J and me, because we thought we had ordered chocolate on the inside.) It was light and delicious, with a hint of lemon scent.

After the cake was mostly consumed, it was time to adjourn the event. J and I still had some time for the evening, but we mostly relaxed after the ong day.

This morning, "J" baked us a treat: quiche. She has a really good recipe, and it turned out well.

For much of the day, we took turns working on our respective parts of the Wednesday job project. We have made a lot of progress today.

Setting up Gandalf

This evening, J started setting up a new laptop, named "Gandalf", following our convention of naming desktops for Tolkien world places and laptops for Tolkien characters. For a while she avoided setting it up because she didn't want to deal with the annoying user interface of Windows 8 (in spite of the good stuff hidden behind the scenes). Eventually I got around to installing a few utilities to make it look like Windows 7.

The set-up job was mostly a matter of installing the software she uses most. First she installed a text editor named Edit Pad Pro. That was no hassle at all, other than finding her registration code and determining that it can be used for either one user (her) on more than one computer or any number of users on one computer.

Adobe hell

The next task was buying an update of Photo Shop Elements and installing it. That was a mess that made me wonder how Adobe manages to stay in business.

The first problem was just trying to navigate through the Adobe web site, which kept trying to sell her the subscription plan, when she just wanted to buy the current version.

The next hassle was the download. The download page was cryptic enough that J asked for my advice. The page presented us with several options: download the 32 bit version with an Akamai download manager, the 32 bit version without the download manager, the 64 bit version with and without the download manager, and one more with a cryptic name I've forgotten already.

Since most download managers I've encountered have been troublesome in one way or another, I suggested that we choose the 64 bit version without the download manager. It presented with two links marked "part 1" and "part 2", with no hint about how to combine the parts. I suggested that we take our chances with the download manager.

The Akamai download manager downloaded quickly and installed easily. Finally one step of the process was simple – but that piece was from Akamai, not Adobe.

Next, the download manager started to download the 64 bit package. (I forget whether we had to tell it to do that.) A few minutes later, we had a huge executable file. We ran it, and it asked where to extract itself – offering the desktop, instead of the download directory like a normal intermediate step in an installation process.

After we showed the huge executable the way to the download directory, it spent quite a few minutes grinding. Eventually we had a new subdirectory in the download directory. Inside that directory we found a small executable named "Setup". We started it.

"Setup" asked a few typical installer questions, and after we answered it started grinding again for several more minutes – long enough that we turned our attention to something else for some time, and found it almost done when we looked back at the computer.

Were we done? No. Next the program had to ask whether the installation was a demo or paid version. J clicked paid and it asked for her Adobe user registration e-mail address and password. She provided that, and it asked for her registration code: a 24 digit number, broken into six four digit pieces that were separated by hyphens when she got the code, but separated into six text boxes on the form that wanted the code. After the necessary ALT+TAB, CTRL+C, ALT+TAB, CTRL+V, TAB, ALT+TAB, etc., J clicked the confirmation button.

At long last, the program was finally installed. How does Adobe stay in business?

This morning I gave "J" a ride to a meeting, and went to Costco while she was busy. I spent quite a bit less than usual there.

After J's meeting, I picked her up again and we went to an appointment of mine; she waited for me there because we didn't have time for me to drop her off at home in between. She had things to do while she waited, so that was no bother for her. My appointment went smoothly.

This afternoon J worked on follow up from yesterday's business in Lacey, with my help. Then this evening she made some more progress on her part of the Wednesday job project, with my encouragem, but not much other help. It seems like we are close to finishing it   but at times our progress has reminded me of a Zeno's Paradox.

This morning, "J" and I went to a meeting in Lacey. Traffic was fairly light, and the car gave us a very comfortable ride (and great mileage). The meeting was pretty dull, but reasonably productive.

The view of Mount Rainier was beautiful as we started on the trip back toward Seattle, with the mountain and clouds lit by the late afternoon sunshine. We were pretty hungry, and stopped for a take-out sandwich, then continued on our way.

Approaching Tacoma, we encountered some sort of miserable traffic situation. According to the traffic report, it was just a stalled car on off ramp. But the traffic back-up seemed way too much for just that. When we reached the place where the mess seemed to be, we saw no sign of the problem itself – except five or six police cars with flashers lit, stopped on the overpass above us. What happened? It's a mystery.

We continued on our way to our Monday evening class, and traffic the rest of the way was light enough that we were a half hour early, after worrying about how late we would be.

Tonight's class was the first with everyone in attendance: all 15, including the instructor. There's a snack break in each class, and this week's snacks were particularly good: pumpkin spice biscotti, blue corn chips, and guacamole. We had to pay a bit extra for parking because we had arrived early, but we had expected that.

This morning "J" and I had an appointment scheduled with "D", but we both completely forgot about it. Oops! We only remembered it when we got a call from D – to tell us that something had come up and she had to cancel. Her schedule rescued us from a bit of embarrassment.

During much of the day, J and I worked on the Wednesday job project. Sometimes I was working on it, sometimes she was working on it, and sometimes we worked on it together. We made a lot of progress.

This evening I went to the Saturday programming Meet-up group. Ten people were there this week. It was fairly interesting.

This morning on the way to our Wednesday job, "J" and I went through an intersection that is often blocked by people who enter the intersection before there's room for them, then end up blocking traffic in the other direction when the light changes. The problem happens enough that we even went through the hassle of calling the police non-emergency number to complain that it is a recurring problem.

This morning we had a pleasant surprise: a motorcycle cop had three traffic blocking scofflaws pulled over, waiting their turns for a verbal warning, written warning, or citation. (As far as I can tell, the fine is only $42, which is not much of a deterrent. But that's just the state law; city laws may be tougher.)

This looks like the relevant law:
RCW 46.61.202
Stopping when traffic obstructed.

No driver shall enter an intersection or a marked crosswalk or drive onto any railroad grade crossing unless there is sufficient space on the other side of the intersection, crosswalk, or railroad grade crossing to accommodate the vehicle he or she is operating without obstructing the passage of other vehicles, pedestrians, or railroad trains notwithstanding any traffic control signal indications to proceed.

[2010 c 8 § 9067; 1975 c 62 § 48.]

This afternoon, I had an important phone appointment. There were some technical difficulties (my phone dropped the connection more than once before I changed a setting that solved the problem), but I was mostly pleased with how it went.

In the evening, "J" and I went to another session of our Monday class. Attendance was slightly smaller; one guy was out sick. This time we found the class quite a bit more instructive than last week. One of the things we covered last week was surprisingly helpful tonight. J and I need to put in a bit more effort on our homework during the next week, but we're looking forward to next week's class.

Today is J's birthday. Please wish her a good one.
Today I worked on my Wednesday job project some more. "J" and I have partitioned the project, and I think I've largely finished my partition. Now I'm working on a supplementary piece that's relatively simple compared to the main partition.

In the afternoon, I took J to a minor appointment. I brought along the computer I've been using for the Wednesday job project, and got a bit more done during her appointment.

When we got home, I harvested our apples. We have one large Gala apple tree. In past years it was never very productive, because it was in the shadow of an old maple tree. Unfortunately, the old maple was in poor condition, and the power company's tree contractor cut it. As a result, our Gala apple tree is no longer in the shade of the maple; I think this was its first full growing season in full sunshine. It produced a very impressive crop of apples.

We have two smaller apple trees too. I planted both of them soon after J and I moved to this house together. One of them was damaged by a falling branch from the old maple, but – much to our surprise – it managed to survive, but recovering from that trauma didn't leave it enough energy to produce any apples. The other small apple tree, a [something] Mist variety, is still to small to produce much, but we got two apples from it. We shared one this evening; it was delicious.

This evening, I went to another programmers' Meet-up. This one was on the topic of dynamic programming. The example problem started with a simplified case, which was an example of the maximum subarray problem, which was well-suited to the format of the Meet-up group. The full problem didn't fit the Meet-up format very well, however; it would have worked better to limit the problem to memoization. Still, the Meet-up was worth the time spent.

Today I went outside again to harvest even more tomatoes. I picked a bunch of them (and lost a few that were over-ripe), leaving only ones that are still green or mostly green. I think some of them will finish ripening before the tomato plant dies, but some will probably end up as hard green lumps; I'll keep checking up on the plant for more as long as they continue ripening. This year has been really good for tomatoes; with just one plant, that we transplanted into its pot a bit late, and we still have enough that we're able to give away quite a few to friends and family.

This evening, "J" and I went out to dinner at a restaurant that specializes in burgers – and we both ordered salads.

During much of the day, I studied more about the "Shellshock" vulnerability, in case my new-to-me laptop "Mandos" has it. Mandos definitely has the bash shell installed. I ran the test for the vulnerability, and it appears that my Ubuntu Linux installation already had the best available fix installed. Some sources say that it doesn't completely resolve the risks, but I couldn't find any documentation of what might still be at risk about bash after that fix, but no one has clear answers. One possibility I thought of is for machines that are up to date, the fix completely resolves the problems, but the problem hasn't been researched it well enough to say prove it's fixed.

This morning, "J" told me about a news story she read, about the "Shellshock" computer vulnerability. It affects computers that have the bash shell installed: pretty much every Linux or other Unix machine, lots of devices like routers, and even modern Apple phones and computers. I spent some time investigating the bug, to try to find some real details, since I installed Linux (Ubuntu) on my new-to-me laptop "Mandos" just two weeks ago.

Unlike most malware scares, technical details on this one were pretty difficult to find, even in technical media sources that are usually pretty informative (such as Ars Technica). The problem is ancient in computer terms: it was introduced into the bash shell in 1993! No one noticed it until very recently. It appears that there is already a fix for the problem, but some sources say that it's only a partial fix. I'll have to investigate more tomorrow.

I spent quite a bit of the day continuing work on the Wednesday job project, adding a few things on top of yesterday's big accomplishment. I didn't quite get everything done that I had wanted to do, but it was a productive work session.

In the afternoon, I took J to a massage appointment. I did some more work on J's laptop in the waiting room while she was in the appointment.

In the evening, J and I went to the first session of another class. (It's not the same class as the one we started on Monday.) This one was larger, I think 20 students plus the instructor. The instructor in this one is really a talented teacher. She has all sorts of fun props to illustrate the subject matter and keep students engaged in the lecture, and even without the props she'd still be great at explaining the material.

This morning, "J" and I went to our Wednesday job, as usual. I got a lot accomplished today. I was really pleased with my progress on the project that's kept me busy there for so long. J had a productive day too, but some of her progress is dependent on mine, so my work moves her a lot closer to completion of hers too.

In the evening, we got together with a few friends. Our film festival friend "D" had invited a few of his friends (including our Sunday brunch friend "N", but she wasn't able to make it) to his place for the evening, and prepared an assortment of really good food. One couple was leaving just as we arrived (and let us into D's building on their way out the door), so we only got to see them briefly. Another family was there longer; we didn't really know them, but they're nice people. And of course it was good to spend some time with D – and feast on his cooking.

After we got home, I continued work on the Wednesday job project. Today's accomplishments got me close enough to a milestone that I really didn't want to put it aside for the night. As it turned out, I was so close that I was able to accomplish one big goal before going to bed. J and I were both in a mood to celebrate.

This was a really good day for baking, but "J" did all the work. One of the items she baked was banana bread – partly because we had some bananas that were getting a over-ripe, and partly just because banana bread is delicious. The other was a quiche, partly because it makes several healthy meals and we had all the ingredients and partly just because it's delicious.

One of my little projects was to harvest a some more of our tomatoes. In the evening, we took the tomatoes to my parents' place to share the harvest with them. J and I suggested one of our favorite ways to serve really good tomatoes: slice them and sprinkle them with celery-salt.

Most of today was not all that eventful. However, "J" and I did get out of the house for one interesting event: we went to a class together on First Hill. It's actually the second class in the series, but we didn't discover the class until we had missed the first session.

I don't think I got a lot out of the class, but the instructor and all the other students (twelve of us total, I think, plus two more who were absent) seem pretty nice

This morning "J" and I got up early because she had a morning get together with some friends. I gave her a ride and went home again. When she called to be picked up again, I didn't hear my phone ringing. Fortunately, a couple of her friends were able to give her a ride home. She gave the friends some of our tomatoes – the first we've harvested – to thank them for the ride.

This afternoon, we picked some more tomatoes for our Sunday brunch friends. Traffic on the way to brunch was exceptionally light; we had no guess why. All six of the usual brunch people were there. They were pleased with the tomatoes. (I hope they're good; we haven't tasted them yet ourselves.

After brunch we went to Scarecrow to use up the last of our credits there, since the old Scarecrow closes forever on October 8. (The good news is that they will reopen immediately as a non-profit, which should make it a viable institution for a long time.) We rented a couple of movies and finished off our credits.

In the evening I gave J a ride to another get together with friends and, rather than going all the way home, I went to a book store to hang out, wait, shop, and maybe even buy something. The store turned out to be closed (for the evening, not out of business), so I just parked and read, enjoying the nice weather of this final summer evening.

When it was time to pick up J again I was there right away, making up for the morning. A lot of her friends were still around, so I got a chance to see them. They're nice people.

This morning "J" treated us to a tasty breakfast: pumpkin muffins. It was difficult eating anything else with those around as temptations.

Later in the day we ran a few errands. The first was a trip to a farmers' market for a few ingredients she needed for a recipe.

On the same outing we took two dead printers to be reconditioned or recycled, and returning Tuesday's icky computer mouse to the store where I bought it.

This evening, I went to a programmers' Meet-up. This time the primary topic related to database design. It's not exactly my strong point, but I was surprised to find that I knew most of what was important for the Meet-up. It was time well spent, I think.

Today was a big shopping day for us. "J" and I went to Costco, where we spent less than usual. In fact, it seemed like the least we've spent there on a visit together. We got a lot of groceries.

When we got home, I studied an assortment of programming topics – not so much toward a specific goal as just browsing and learning.

This morning, "J" tried out another pumpkin pancake recipe. The previous recipes she's tried ended up really thick, and not completely cooked all the way through. The first one this time was much delicious, but still a bit too thick. She added more milk to thin them down a bit, and I suggested also adding a little extra baking powder, to replace the leavening that was lost by mixing in the addition milk. That was all it took to make delicious pumpkin pancakes. We're not sure whether we've found the same recipe our favorite diner uses, but it's just as good.

For much of the day, I studied code in the Linux kernel. The specific section I studied – the device drivers /dev/random and /dev/urandom – aren't all that important to understand. (They are most important to some of the security features, particularly TLS and SSL, and SSH.) I chose it because I wanted to look at something that was small enough that I could understand the whole thing fairly well in one sitting. I didn't really want to start out with something like ext4; that's a bit too big to use as a starting point.

This morning "J" and I went to our Wednesday job, as usual. It wasn't the most productive day ever for me, but I made some useful progress. J had a good day too.

In the evening, we went to a small party hosted by our friend "D". He cooked quite a bit of food for his guests, without asking others to bring any food. (J brought along the remainder of her brownies from Monday, but that wasn't expected.) Since he didn't want to cook too much, he didn't invite a lot of people. It was a nice, small party. All of his food was good.

After returning home, I spent some more time tinkering with Linux on my new-to-me laptop "Mandos".

Early this morning, "J" and I had an appointment – but the place wasn't ready for us, so we spent some time waiting. Fortunately, we didn't have anything else scheduled for the day, so we were able to wait. Once it was time for the appointment, it went just fine.

I spent quite a bit of the day working with programming tools. I set up Eclipse for Java (the default) on one computer, and set it up for C++ on two computers, and made sure it worked. I set up Code Blocks for C++ on two computers, but didn't really trouble much with testing it. I started to set up Git on one machine, but I'm just starting to use it, and there are a lot of conflicting instructions on how it's supposed to be done, so that's a work in progress.

This afternoon, I got tired of the keyboard and touchpad on "Mandos", and decided to get an external keyboard. I thought I had a spare USB keyboard already, but after searching for it I concluded that J and I must have decided that we didn't need it and donated it. So, I was off to the same second-hand computer store where I bought Mandos on Thursday. The guy at the store recognized me as the buyer of the magenta laptop.

I had hoped to find a split keyboard, but the only ones of those I could find had the round keyboard plug, so I had to settle for a conventional keyboard – but it has a nice feel, and it's light. I got what seemed like a real winner of a mouse: a large optical mouse with two buttons, a scroll wheel, and the "back" and "forward" buttons on the side. Unfortunately, when I got it home it turned out to have some sort of sticky gunk on both side buttons, the trim around the scroll wheel and the front, and even on the cord. I couldn't get it to wash off, so I'll return it next time I go by that store. At least I like the keyboard.

Update: The following was commented out until my parents returned home:

After the keyboard errand, I went to Bellevue to water my parents' plants again. Most of them didn't need any, since we had just been there on Sunday, but they have a tomato plant in a pot, and tomato plants are always thirsty.

(Again I've commented out the part about my parents' place, as I mentioned on Sunday. I'll restore it when they're home again.)

Name: steve98052
Back October 2014
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