A lot has happened since my last journal and I have starved my loyal reader(s?) enough.

Computer maintenance, like taxes, is something long dreaded, yet unavoidable. For years, my main email address has been jjohn@cs.umb.edu. One of the perks of graduating as a Computer Science major from UMass/Boston is that I have an email address for life. As an alumnus, I’m only allowed to log into one machine: alumni.cs.umb.edu. Sure, the machine was a pokey and didn’t have things like ‘lynx’ on it, but who cares. All I needed was POP3 service. Until last week, this is just fine with me. Unfortunately for me, this machine is off this weeking during which time a new alumni.cs.umb.edu machine will take its place. I have no idea if my mail is bouncing (I suspect not), but I can’t check my mail until the new machine is up.


UPDATE: After thinking about the problem more, I found another host that allows me POP3 access to my mail. 61 new mail messages. Huzzah!

Yesterday I went to a career day (i.e. cattle call) that Red Hat sponsored. It was in Westford, MA and getting there from Boston without owning a car was indeed challenging. However, I am a resourceful critter. Despite the recessed economy, I expected only a handful of people to be there. I still consider Linux a minor player in the big scheme of things and I assume that only a small number of people have even heard about Red Hat.

Boy was I wrong.

About a thousand people showed up for 8 positions (not all of them technical). I was just stunned. If it weren’t for the suits and worried looks in line, one might have thought Elvis was in the Building by the size of the line to get into the interviewing area. Although I know I could do the job I “interviewed” for (OS Engineer), I don’t believe I’m going to make the final cut. While it’s true that I’ve been using Linux for years and I’ve used Red Hat in particular for several of them, I most believe that there are at least two programmers in that crowd that will appear more desirable than me. It’s just a question of numbers.

It was a good experience for me, though. It removes the sense of complacency that I’ve developed during my hiatus. Plus, I got to look sharp wearing one of my suits.

On the way to the cattle call I read the Boston Metro, a new “newspaper” that’s given away often near T-stations. One story that caught my attention concerned the recovery of an Indian infant who had his dead twin brother removed from his abdomen. What a freak show! In other news, the Metro also reported that beer can protect its consumers against “heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, diabetes and dementia.” I guess beer won’t make you crazy. Finally, the Metro scraped the bottom of the news barrel with this item “Super-sized = Super Obese.” In what can only be properly termed “a pentrating glimpse into the obvious,” the Metro reported:

Many overweight children and adults get a large portion of their calories by consuming too many sodas and sweetened juices and beverages. Sweetened drinks + “super-sized” meals + the convenience of fast food + a decrease in physical activity = a recipe for obesity.

A believe that the Metro’s message will be better grasped by this year’s Massachusetts students because they ranked 31st in their SAT scores. That’s right: We’re Number 31! We’re Number 31! Take THAT Arkansas!

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]