Thursday, November 21, 2002


My wife Melissa and I had our first baby on Tuesday, Nov 19 at 2:18 pm. It's a girl, Emma Grace Lokovic. She weighed in at 7lb 12 oz, and is 20in long. 24 hours later,
mom and baby were given clean bills of health, and so we're all at home now.

Incredibly, after only one sleepless night in the hospital and one evening at home of semi-inconsolable crying, things have settled down nicely. Now that we all know one another, Emma is amazingly well-mannered. (She knows what she wants, and now we do too, and as long as we go along with it, everyone stays happy.)

I'm taking three weeks off from everything other than the baby (including work). I expect to be incognito for most of that time. Wish us luck!

3 min after birth

1st bath, 1.5 hours later

At home next day

Friday, November 15, 2002

In his film debut, Mule-Drawn-Cart Willie.

From Copyfight, it seems Mickey Mouse is actually 700 years old.

I'm willing to buy the coincidence theory (it doesn't look much like Mickey, really), and the copyright claims in the article are just wrong, but it makes me happy when it's hard to tell the difference between real life and The Onion.

Monday, November 11, 2002

I... I got charts.

I've had my laptop (Sony Vaio FX-220) for about a year now, and have run it almost exclusively on AC power. This is mainly because Linux support for power management is sketchy, and so (until recently) I couldn't throttle the CPU back or dim the LCD (both vital for reducing power consumption). Windows does these automatically, of course, but I excised Windows from my life, remember?

Anyway, recent kernel upgrades mean I can now throttle performance to make the laptop's mediocre battery life slightly more useful. Faced with the prospect of actual mobile use, it occured to me to make some graphs of battery charge, so I can get a sense of how various features affect battery life.

One graph, which I thought would be very straightforward, turned out to be quite surprising. The graph on the right is one complete charge cycle: the battery starts out nearly empty, is charged to full, then is unplugged and discharges almost completely. (The vertical axis is fraction of full charge, and the horizontal axis is minutes. Yes, the battery life sucks.)

The first thing you might notice is the little upward and downward spikes. Those are measurement error, not sudden changes in charge. I don't know if the Linux driver has a bug, or if the Sony hardware that reports battery level is really that unstable. Either way, ignore those errors for now.

The real surprise, of course, is the kink in the graph that makes the graph look like Half Dome in Yosemite. Around 0.6, as it charges, the slope of the graph changes suddenly. As it discharges, there's a kink at 0.6 as well.

My first theory was that the battery might have multiple cells, and might switch from one to the other at some point.
Based on his experience with handheld devices, though, Noah thinks it's more likely that Sony is artificially fiddling the how-charged-is-the-battery function as reported in the BIOS. They might do this, he says, to make the function look more linear with respect to time. The irony is that the discharging function, which it seems would otherwise be perfectly linear, suffers significantly in the process.
I, for one, am much more interested in battery status when the laptop is discharging than when it's charging, so it seems strange that they'd screw with things in this way.

I'll run more tests if I get a chance, but does this behavior look familiar to anyone? Anybody know why you might want charge functions to be distorted like this?

Monday, November 4, 2002

Good to know some of it is still unpaved.

Via LawMeme, an environmental project seeks to photograph the entire California coast by helicopter, to serve as "before" pictures in cases of illegal and controversial land usage. Very cool.

Whatever you do, don't surf for internet porn on <i>that</i> machine.

My favorite thing in the world, this morning, is local cable channels that broadcast Windows error dialogs on top of their regularly scheduled text slideshows. This happens, presumably, because they broadcast their Windows displays directly, and so when their slideshow software crashes,
the error dialog is there for all to see.

I know this is nothing new, but this morning (as I channel-surfed for mainstream pseudo-news to accompany my mainstream pseudo-breakfast), I saw one in which the error dialog itself seemed to have crashed. The dialog was blank gray, with no distinguishing features except the telltale Windows border.

Someday, I'd like to get a license to broadcast and provide the world with a "It is now safe to turn off the computer" video feed, twenty-four hours a day.