Tim Hatch

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Spongebob....Squarepants! 30 Oct, 2004

Yes, the song just played. One Spongebob song vs. 10 Jeopardy songs. The sad part is that it (Spongebob) had the most crowd participation that any song has had all day. There’s just something about the day before Halloween, everyone just seems out of it. I have an excuse, lots of stuff due in the near future, like, oh, a german presentation, a vague music assignment, and a processor design due on Tuesday for CS 3100.

TEACH's lonely robot

At DC BEST 2004 30 Oct, 2004

Today is competition day for my brothers’ robotics team. They're getting on deck to run their last match as I type this. They’re ranked 18th out of 20 at the moment.

I love Eaglenet. Kind of.

Robotics team competing

Ted driving

Carrying the robot

TAMS is 13th, which is the one that Brandon & Co are on (and started their robot a week ago Thursday, completely skipping the first four weeks for building).

TAMS making last-minute changes

Rosen vs Lessig 28 Oct, 2004

In a contest of greed versus theft, I suppose I chose greed as the morally superior position.

How I Learned to Love Larry (Wired.com)

Google Scanning for Weird Files 28 Oct, 2004

I've lately noticed that Google is crawling my pages a lot more. I'm sure I didn't help things by changing the subdomain on it while it was actively perusing (but I think the 301 content-moved-permanently redirect should help, as time goes by). However, the weirdest thing is that it just requested rss.shtml which does not exist. It was linked only for a little while, about 4 months ago.

Kind of like Matt noticed, it's doing weird things. I wouldn't expect it to crawl an old page such as that, that didn't actually exist at any point.

I've also noticed (yes I am a total nerd) that some of the google bots use HTTP/1.0 yet others use HTTP/1.1 — I have no idea why. Apparently some programmers are using their own homebuilt crawlers instead of one unified “Google Crawler Framework” (which I find a bit interesting). My best guess is that one or more programmers have splintered off a test project on the GoogleBot servers to crawl for something. What makes it different, though?

After looking through the logs a bit more, I noticed that the user-agent strings are different:
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html) vs
Googlebot/2.1 (+http://www.google.com/bot.html)

Pages crawled as HTTP/1.0 (by 64.7, 64.35, 64.36, 64.145, 64.178)

  • /
  • /robots.txt
  • /album/apple-oct18/DSCF8504.htm
  • /ark/2004/10/27/eras-practice-day-dc-best
  • /album/apple-oct/DSCF8442.htm

Pages crawled as HTTP/1.1 (by 66.19, 66.79)

  • /robots.txt
  • /rss.shtml
  • /assets/8/dcbest_pano1.html
  • /assets/8/dcbest_pano3.html

Further Reading:

  • http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=381
  • http://www.pidster.com/archives/000081.html
  • http://www.searchengineposition.com/info/Articles/GoogleTestingSpider.asp

The Wired CD 27 Oct, 2004

I heard earlier today about The Wired CD, which is something like a whole day late in Internet terms. I’ve done my part in mirroring the contents (320kbps, from LegalTorrents [and, coincidentally, ripped using iTunes]) here. Use the Torrent link if you’re not behind a firewall, as I got nearly 800k/s off it (compared to ~200k from this server).

It’s 16 tracks, ~143mb as ripped. It includes the likes of the Beastie Boys, among others. Pretty neat. Oh, and perfectly legal.

Via Nixlog

Era’s Practice Day (DC Best) 27 Oct, 2004

My younger brother’s robotics team for DC Best went to Era today yesterday to practice for their upcoming match (on Saturday). The robot is somewhat operational, and by that I mean it doesn’t explode. Much. Pictures to be forthcoming is below.

This post reminds me that categories should be created so you can view the whole saga, should you care to. Another use of categories/tags would be once the Japanese exchange student comes next summer, so all of the related information can be kept in one place.

A few members of the team, hard at work

Happy Holidays...in October?! 26 Oct, 2004

Here at UNT, we start “The Holidays” in mid-October. At least the bus sign programmers do.

Happy Holidays on bus marquee

W — America’s Ketchup 25 Oct, 2004

The next step after handbags branded “W — The President” is, quite obviously, ketchup. See this article on their site for the full “scoop”: wketchup.com/news/040924.php.

It’s a conspiracy! No, I didn’t buy it.

W - America's Ketchup

Joni Mitchell’s Vocal Cords 25 Oct, 2004

On my way to music class today, I saw this flyer advertizing a concert of the “Music of Joni Mitchell.” The credits just crack me up. Too bad I couldn’t go.

Ooooh, SASSY!

Grand Openi— no wait, For Lease. 25 Oct, 2004

There's one storefront about four blocks from my house that seems to have difficulty keeping a permanent tenant. The last one didn't even bother to take down the “Grand Opening” sign when they left. This picture is just across the intersection from The Elephant which was there for a travelling circus this past weekend.

Grand Opening / For Lease

Livejournal hates me. 25 Oct, 2004

It is now a proven fact that I’m very good at breaking things. It's like the golden touch but not nearly as fun, nor profitable.

Screenshot of Livejournal Error Page

DC Best Mall Day 25 Oct, 2004

Over the weekend, I went to DC Best’s Mall Day event. DC Best is a program for high school students to build a robot using a predetermined list of parts, in six weeks or less. I participated several years ago, and now my younger brother is too.

Although six weeks are allowed, from start to finish, in reality it's the last two weeks of crunch time when actual work gets done. Mall Day is held one week before the competition itself, in order to let the teams try out their (partially completed, of course) robot on the real playing field.

My brother's team working on the robot

We also noticed a couple of hoodlums from TAMS there, who seem very confident that their robot is completely going to work. So much so, in fact, that they juggled instead of figuring out a strategy.

Brandon and Tom juggling

David hat Geburtstag 22 Oct, 2004

David had a birthday party tonight. I learned a valuable lesson: 12 year old boys don’t leave any time in between presents and cake, so if you fill up a camera’s memory card during “presents,” you won’t have any time to download the photos before “cake,” and the candles are already blown out before the USB 1.1 card reader you brought gets done transferring stuff. Yes, this was discovered after the aforementioned event occured.


Gmail...unavailable? 22 Oct, 2004

Um. Gmail is down. Here I was in the middle of a “conversation,” and it goes down. It’s funny, but I actually end up having more of a back-and-forth with people over gmail than I do with traditional email. I wonder if it’s due to the “threaded” view by default. Anyway, you know who you are, and here’s my reply that Google didn’t think was meant to be.


Gmail Unavailable

Random Walks on Campus 21 Oct, 2004

Sometimes on my way back from the research park, I find weird stuff. Today, I found a squirrel playing hide-and-seek, and what looks like a swarm of bees at the top of the physical plant.





Web Developer Checklist 20 Oct, 2004

This list is aimed at the new COBA employees, but I’m hoping to keep it up so I can refer to it in 10 years an laugh at how simplisitic we were then. Anyway, here goes:

All Platforms


  • Dev-PHP
  • PNG2ICO (coupled with save-as-paletized-png from Photoshop, this does a nice job at making favicons.

Mac OS-X

  • skEdit (Yes, I've registered it.)
  • NetNewsWire Lite
  • Quicksilver

October 18 Apple Meeting 20 Oct, 2004

After Kate mentioned the link to the latest Apple photos, I figured I should too. They’re online at my site until I finish the (promised) UNT-Apple Photo Manager.



October 4 Apple Meeting 20 Oct, 2004

Yay, more apple meeting pics. I also just noticed that I’m finally a tag at Bryce’s site. I guess that means I'm famous.



Interesting Art 20 Oct, 2004

I saw this “thing,” for lack of a better word, at the Campus Chat in the union today. It's a bit interesting because the aspect ratio is 2:1 and it has images of things from both sides of the freeway. As best I can tell, it is a panorama, albeit stylized. A lot.



Now Reading: The Psychology of Everyday Things 05 Oct, 2004

I picked up the book Psychology of Everyday Things from half.com a couple of months ago, with the intention to read it after hearing much praise from Dr. Steiner's Human-Computer Interaction class. This book has ended up being a very interesting view of offbeat things, which we have to deal with every day. Take weird doors, for example, that you never know whether to push or pull. Got it covered. Fade front-to-back controls on radios that move left-and-right. Got that too.

One thing he mentions that jumps out at me very quickly is a reference to Murphy's Law (or more precisely, Finagle's Law):

If an error is possible, someone will make it.

Psychology of Everyday Things, Page 36

DCLA Site Design Writeup 05 Oct, 2004

One month ago, I was contacted by the Denton County Livestock Association to begin work on their website. Until tihs year, they had no website whatsoever, and spend exorbitant amounts on printing the fair rulebooks, then had to limit the amount of books that each club could have. Now that the rules are online, the incremental cost for someone viewing the entire book is something like $0.001, which makes this medium perfect for a high-volume distribution, when compared to the incremental cost of $3 for the physical book.

One design consideration I had was that many of the target users would be using modems as their only means of access, so I needed to keep the page design lightweight. However, by using Web Standards and a shared Cascading Stylesheet, I was able to provide a lean page with minimal graphics, structural markup, and nice typography while keeping the overall markup very streamlined.

Advantages of Stylesheets

The decision to use structural markup with CSS was a no-brainer for me. Putting all the style rules in a central location is simply logical. The stylesheet is around 4k in size, which is 4k of code that doesn't have to load for the second and subsequent page loads, which is a win-win situation for us and the user.

Structural XML

Each file for this project is actually stored as a structural XML document, which allows the viewer script to perform some neat tricks on the fly, such as clickable permlink headings, and handling the If-Modified-Since header in a common function.

In addition, working with such XML+Template systems results in nice urls when used with mod_rewrite, and can make it easy to set up a custom 404 page, as I've covered in a previous article.

My One Gripe with Fire.app 05 Oct, 2004

Weird service icons.

It took me several days to figure out that this yellow icon which looks like a hangman game is actually the AOL icon - the running man, except for the minor issue that he’s not running. See Figure 1.

[figure 1 here]

Notice how one is recognizable when tiny, and the other is just sort of “blah.” Therefore, I've remidied this issue with a set of replacement icons, in your choice of a Fire theme, or a copy-these-files-to-this-spot type affair (which I must admit is more fun).

Before and after