Software Engineer

Jason Hancock

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Today, I learned the hard way about character encodings and file conversion utilities. At work, I’m building a system that takes a data dump from system A(a windows server) and imports it into system B(a linux server). System A outputs a file I’m going to call input.txt in utf16 format. System B wants the input in utf-8. At first, I didn’t realize that input.txt was in utf16 format. I looked at the file in vi and saw that the first byte was garbage, then every-other byte was garbage.

I’ve been pretty busy lately. Between my B/W photography class, work, and finding reasons to escape to take pictures, I’ve hardly had any downtime. I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a new domain to host my photography portfolio. I started writting a wordpress plugin the other day. It’s almost functional and ready for alpha release. After developing that plugin, I thought that instead of building my whole site end-to-end from scratch, that I should take some framework and build plugins on top of it to do what I want it to.

nice quote

You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

learning curve

It seems that there’s quite a learning curve to this photography stuff. I thought I was doing well. I had some gear, a light stand, some cheap radio triggers, two flashes, etc. I had filled my head with stuff from the Strobist blog. Now, it was time to see if I was going to be able to put into play anything that I had learned. I started off by inviting Jenny and Eric over for dinner.

whirlwind

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. I’ve been doing a lot of DIY photography equipment projects. I’ll detail some of them in different posts. I have learned more about photography in the past couple of weeks than I have since purchasing my D80. A lot of this knowlege has come from reading the Strobist blog. I’m no longer scared to use the manual mode on my camera as I feel that I have a good theoretical handle on how aperature, shutter speed, and ISO each affect the exposure of the image.

christmas 2008

Christmas was fun this year. I bought Laura a necklace that she really wanted from Tiffany’s. I received a vivitar 285HV strobe flash, a light stand, an umbrella, an umbrella bracket, Call of Duty: World at War for PS3, The Dark Knight on blue ray, a case for my numerous memory cards (I have 3 now that I regularly use and am considering a fourth), a couple t-shirts, some PJ’s, the classic board game Battleship, Band of Brothers on blue ray, an da few more things I’m probably forgetting.

We survived another Thanksgiving. The trip to Sacramento wasn’t bad. We arrived a hair over 5.5 hours after we left. The trip back took almost 9 hours due to traffic and fog. It’s officially time to prep for christmas. For us, that meant packing up the fall decorations, getting the Christmas ones out, and getting a Christmas tree. We got a nice douglas fir for $42. It’s the perfect size for our place.

It’s almost a disservice to coffee to add cream and sugar to bean water brewed in a french press. I’m no coffee gourmet by any stretch of the imagination, but I enjoy a good cup of coffee. It’s 11:35 PM and I have to work late tonight, so I broke out my french press. It’s not a fancy press, but one made of lexan. I originally bought it for camping because I found that I had trouble brewing with a regular coleman percolator.

This is the good stuff! I usually make one batch a year at Christmas. Ingredients: 2 sticks of butter 1 lb of peanut butter (get the 18oz. jar and use it all except a heaping tablespoon)  3 Tbs. Milk 1 Tsp. Vanilla 1.5 Lbs of powdered sugar (I use about 2⁄3 of a 2Lb. bag) 1 bag of milk chocolate chips Melt the peanut butter, butter, milk, and vanilla in the microwave (2 minutes is usually sufficient).