25 Random Things About Me

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

  1. I’m an introvert.
  2. I want to go into space (and visit the Moon, specifically), but probably won’t get the chance.
  3. I plan on getting my EMT.
  4. I plan on getting my pilots license.
  5. I plan on getting a masters degree (although I don’t know in what).
  6. I plan on getting my professional engineers license.
  7. My blood type is O+
  8. I have a website: https://andrewferguson.net
  9. I’ve been consistently blogging since 2003 (2099 posts and counting).
  10. I listen to NPR podcasts when I go to bed (Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me; This American Life; Radio Lab; Car Talk).
  11. My goal is see every single Star Trek TV show and movie, in order, before I graduate college.
  12. So far, I’ve watched 661 Star Trek episodes and movies, I have 116 left.
  13. I enjoy programming, especially in PHP.
  14. I enjoy taking photographs and I want to expand.
  15. I’m thinking about going on a mission trip this summer.
  16. I’ll be working in Seattle for Boeing after I graduate.
  17. Out of all five of the years I’ve been in college, I serously think this year has been my favorite.
  18. I think it’s been my favorite because of the amazing community I found at MERGE and The Annex.
  19. I’m worried about going back to Seattle.
  20. I used to drink rediculous amounts of Dr Pepper. Now I try to limit myself.
  21. I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety.
  22. I used to have lots of panic attacks in school, all the way into high school. I do pretty well now.
  23. I turn 23 on Saturday.
  24. I share the exact same birthday as my mom…only 30 years later.
  25. I think it’s harder to be a Christian and an American than it is to be a Christian and a scientist. I struggle every day.
  26. I can’t put my contacts in using two hands, I have to do it with one hand. I blame my dad for this.

Note: I’m posting this on my blog, which is then sucked into my Facebook Notes.

Why I Won’t See ‘Untraceable’ or What Code Doesn’t Do

The advertisements for ‘Untraceable’ are pretty exciting. Some sick schmuck kills his victims using a web site. The more people visit the site, the faster the victims die.

From movies.nytimes.com:

You may view “Untraceable,” as I do, as a repugnant example of the voyeurism it pretends to condemn. Or you may stand back and see it as a cleverly conceived, slickly executed genre movie that ranks somewhere between “Seven” and the “Saw” movies in sadistic ingenuity.

Here’s my issue though: the concept is fatally flawed from the get go. In short, all our heroine needs to do is yank the DNS entry for the site and the game is over.

I might let something like this slip if technology were more accurately represented on a regular basis, but it’s not.

Matthew Inman has nice round up of the top 10, What code DOESN’T do in real life (that it does in the movies):

From www.drivl.com:

10. Most code is not inherently cross platform
Remember in Independence Day when whatshisface-math-guy writes a virus that works on both his apple laptop AND an alien mothership? Bullshit!
If real life were like film I’d be able to port wordpress to my toaster using a cat5 cable and a bag of glitter.

Psychic Debugging: Why doesn’t XYZ work? It just says LMNOP!

One of the joys of writing programs is supporting them. Actually it really is. I write something that I hope will work, but every once in a while I see a fringe case and have to fix some mistake that I made whilst originally programming it. And I’m really more then willing to fix such things.

However, unlike Raymond Chen, I am not psychic – despite what you may have heard to the contrary.

I received an email sometime ago1 )) to the effect of:
I am using XYZ2, and I have done ABC’s, but in my DEF, it just says “LMNOP”
Can you help me understand what’s going on?

“Well, no. Because I’m not psychic.” That’s what I wanted to say.

Why is this a poorly worded bad question? While XYZ is identified (hey, at least they said ‘I’m having an issue with XYZ’ and not ‘I’m having an issue with your program’), the version number is not. That’s like saying, can you help me with Windows? Well, what version of Windows do you want help with? Vista? XP? 98? (Yes, I know people who still run 98…they are no longer my friends now ;)) Thus, if I were to reword it, I might write something to the effect of, “I’m having a problem with XYZ version 1.1.” An even better rewording would be, “I’m having a problem with XYZ version 1.1 running on PQR version 1.9.”

Secondly, while you say you did ABC, you need to be more specific. Saying, “I clicked the Red button, and then the OKAY button, and typed in some text, and clicked the Enter button” seems like a good start, but what did you type into the box?! If you typed something like, “My Inboxen™”, then I might suspect that entering in a non-ASCII character caused a fart somewhere in the code.

At the end of each email there’s usually a request: “Please fix it!!” or “What did I do wrong?!!?” This emailer actually has a very good request, “Can you help me understand what’s going on?” While there’s a chance that he doesn’t really want to understand, there’s a better chance that he actually does want to know what’s going on (heck, he even asked for more understanding).

In summary: the more information, the better (usually). For debugging WordPress issues, here’s what I think is pertinent:

  • Plugin name and version
  • What version of WordPress
  • Step by step instructions to reproduce the error
  • Anything else you think may be relevant

Here are some things that I don’t particularly care about, but may be of interest in some rare instances (or for metric purposes):

  • Server specs, including what version of Apache, mySQL, etc
  • Other plugins that you have running
  • What you had for breakfast this morning

I received another email from someone else with regard to FlickrViewer for AutoViewer. Here’s literally the extent of the entire email:

Hi, I tried your script but it does not work …. why?

even your gallery that I downloaded does not work?
what is the problem?

best regards

I’m going to be off in the corner banging my head against something.

  1. Read as: anytime between now and 2000 ((This is an arbitrary year I picked 

  2. The program being talked about is not important. It could be my program (which in this case it is) or someone else’s 

Senior Project: (Last Day – 1) && (Last Day)

Thursday we mostly worked on the ME’s Fish Bot. There was a problem with the board they used to program the fish. They could write to RAM and run in debug mode and everything would work fine. They could also flash the ROM, but they couldn’t run out of ROM. After a few hours of testing with the scope, it problem was traced to a malformed 3.3 v wave form. Instead of being a constant 3.3 volts, the fish was getting somewhere between 3 and 3.3 volts. The dip in voltage was attributed to a power converter that could only handle 200mA. The fish nominally uses 300mA. So we added another 200mA power converter and the fish worked! Score one for EE.

Friday was just a massive 7 hour coding spree. The code I wrote is working, sort of. But I have a new idea. So I’m going to pretty much start from scratch next week.

Senior Project: Day 9 & 10 / Lights, Curtain, Action!

I went into the UW on Saturday after rehersals to work on R2 for a few hours. When I got there, Andy and David were outside playing it. Unfortunatly, just before I had arrived, one of the power relays fried and had to be replaced. I replaced the relay and then called it a day.

Today I’ve been working on finishing up the final safety relays. The next task will be to supply 12volts to the GPS unit. And then hopefully I can start writting code tomorrow.

We start our short four day run of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying today. The show runs the next four days @ 7pm. Tickets for today and tomorrow are not quite sold out yet, so there is still time to come!!