February 26, 2003

Backflipping Blogs...blogflipping?
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

Have you ever used a product or service for eons, and then all of a sudden realized how "incredibly mind-bogglingly useful" (name that quote!) it is?

Such is what happened with Backflip. I'd used it to post my bookmarks online so I can have them anywhere. Then I remembered that it comes with this mind-bogglingly useful feature called 'My Daily Routine'. (even the title SOUNDS useful).

After logging into Backflip, you can set up your daily routine. Add your links in the order you want to visit them (ie. all these daily blogs we love to read so much), and then every morning, you click the 'My Daily Routine' button (I just added it to my links on my browser), and a little frame appears at the top to let you chronologically go through each blog, and any other sites you would like to see.

The timing of this is really funny, because I just read Chris Miller's recent entry about suggestions for an easier way to navigate through the blogs.

Incidentally, the quote is from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In fact, at the moment, this blog is named 42. Why? Whenever Matt and I can't think of a better word at the moment, or a name for something, what else do you use that covers Life, the Universe and Everything? 42.

Yahoo! Boing boing Poomp!
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

Last night on my way home from work, I needed something new to listen to, so I pulled out an old mix tape. "The Tetrisphere Puzzle 96 Mix" (the name was always the most fun to come up with).

The tape was created when Matt, Jay (our old roomate and Matt's best man) and I could spend hours happily playing Nintendo 64. One game in particular, Tetrisphere, had puzzles you could solve. Matt, Jay and I are puzzle/riddle nuts, so naturally we were hooked. One puzzle in particular (96, what a surprise!) took about two weeks to solve.

We'd each try, fail miserably, and pass the controller. Repeat. During those two weeks, we had a select number of songs we'd listen to, among those, Dream Theater's "Trial of Tears", which is one of my favorite songs.

Each side of the mix tape had to have it's own title also, that was very important. For example, my Tetrisphere mix had two sides. "The license to kill side", which is a reference to Goldeneye 64. In between trying to figure out the puzzles, we'd take breaks by pummeling each other in first-person shooter games. We'd get quite noisy, too, until a neighbor politely told us that they could hear us shouting expletives at each other down the building. Whoops.

The second side was the "Yahoo! boing boing poomp" side, which is a reference to Mario Kart 64. Toad is my favorite character to race, and I used to and continue to be made fun of for that... he's just so darn cute!

Anyway, if anyone has an old mix tape lying around, dig it out and play it again. You'll be amazed at how you'll instantly remember what the next song is and why you decided to put it on the tape in the first place.

February 24, 2003

We love rock n' roll...
Posted by Jess in RI Stories

My best friend Cindy informed me this morning that three of her close friends from high school are missing or in RI Hospital in critical condition. Not being born and raised here, I am fortunate enough to have many old friends from out of state rather than RI. However, a reporter from the Providence Journal hit the nail on the head:

{ Quote: }
"But the sad reality is, in this quirky, close-knit state of roughly a million people, it's only a matter of time before most find out that they do, indeed, "know someone." Or, they'll know someone who knows someone. Whatever the case, it won't be a stretch for the fire's impact to hit home.

Maybe Atty. Gen. Patrick Lynch put it best during an interview with NBC's Today show:

"They say there are six degrees of separation in this world. In Rhode Island, there's a degree and a half. The pain rips through this community quicker than any other."

The stories are typical for small-town Rhode Island, where street directions are based on landmarks that are long gone, where advice is handed out with lines like, "I know a guy who knows a guy," and where many simply never leave. "
{ End Quote }

complete projo.com article. I think you have to register though.

I am also so thankful Cindy is still here, being a 80’s-90’s metal band punk high schooler and a frequent visitor of The Station. (Sorry Cindy, I couldn’t resist. I didn’t exactly listen to “Wham” in school either. That’s why we have so much fun laughing together when “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” comes on the radio.).

Cindy and I met in the dorms at URI when a mutual friend invited Matt and I (together at the time), along with Cindy and Nate (also together at the time, high school sweethearts!) to play D&D. Having never played before, I learned that Cindy had recently learned how to play also. We all had so much fun getting to know each other.

Cindy and I learned two very fundamental rules over the years:

1. An afternoon of Dungeons & Dragons and Entenmann’s chocolate cake goes REALLY well together; and
2. When in battle and all else fails, conjure up a tree and hide behind it.

In all seriousness, Cindy, thanks for being my friend. You rock.

February 21, 2003

Most accidents occur close to home….
Posted by Jess in RI Stories

Our little state has suffered a terrible loss today, when a nightclub burned down and at least 60 97 people were killed. Rhode Island is such a small state, that before I moved here, I didn’t even think twice about the state. But what a special place, this is going to affect everyone here. Many people I know are scrambling around calling friends they think may have been there.

Let me give you an example. It’s no big secret why one of the favorite sayings of any Rhode Islander is “only in Rhode Island can you get in a car accident anywhere in the state and know who you hit.

Matt and I had to borrow a friend’s truck to move a futon one day. At a stoplight about 20 miles from our house, a car pulls up beside us, and it’s a mutual friend. He rolls down the window and says “what are you doing in Pete’s truck?”


“Hi guys! Did you get a new car?”


“Whose truck is that?”

But, “what are you doing in Pete’s truck.” Mutual friends, indeed! I’m just trying to paint a picture of the kind of place RI is. My heart goes out to all the families and friends of those that perished in the fire.

February 20, 2003

Domino? No, Dominoes!
Posted by Jess in Day to Day

So Matt and I enjoy playing Dominoes online a lot. Until recently, I had NO idea there was actually a game behind those mysterious little tiles that are so fun to stack and then watch fall down in a really nifty pattern.

History of Domino. History of Dominoes. :-)

Dominoes is a really fun game that involves lining up tiles of like numbers adjacent to each other, trying to get each end to add up to a total of a multiple of 5 (this is one reason I enjoy playing online for you...it does the math!). Interestingly enough, I have NO idea what that has to do with groupware, or why Lotus would name their server engine Domino.

I should stop here. I'm geeky enough (and I love puzzles) to try and figure out all the possible correlations, even though I'm sure a quick search on Google would turn something up. Oh wait, that requires a skill in math!

February 19, 2003

Identity crisis...
Posted by Jess in Announcements

I have another article coming out for E-Pro mag soon. When I published the original one, I was Jessica Spinosa. Now I'm Jessica Stratton. I'm wondering if anyone's going to know I'm the same person. On the Notes.net forums, I seemed to drop off the face of the Earth.

I started thinking about it after my last post about Ed Brill and his BBS discussion. I was the one that said that I have many friends that I only know them by their name, not their face. And here I am, changing my name, the one thing that people have to know me by.

On a good note, my original Italian last name will live on. My future children will be using it to verify their credit card information for the rest of their lives. :-)

February 18, 2003

Everyone's writing about Domino
Posted by Jess in Tech Talk

Everyone's writing about Domino, code in general, and basically just having fun online. More and more I enjoy perusing blogs of those I don't know, but I am getting to know from their writings. I'm putting personalities with names I already knew, mostly from the Notes.net (you can call it LDD, to me, it will *always* be Notes.net) forums.

Let's see, here's some among my favorites to read a few times a week:

The Gutted Geek

Bruce Elgort

I'm enjoying reading this one more and more. Post more pics of Domino, Bruce! ;-)


Ed Brill

Ed always seems to have something interesting to say. I especially liked this one about the BBS being 25 years old. When I was in high school, all us neighborhood kids used to hop onto the local NEC BBS and chat. Everyone realizes the acronyms (brb, rotfl) are convenient, but you have to have been a BBS-er to realize the *necessity* of those acronyms. When someone else was sending a new line feed, you couldn't type anything until the line was done being transmitted. I think it was a screen refresh thing. So at night, when we had 10 people typing, if you weren't a quick typer, you didn't get a word in!

Notes Tips

Jess :-)

New site design...
Posted by Jess in Announcements

In case you've been living in a hole, Northeast US got slammed over the weekend and Monday with a snowstorm. I live on the coast of Rhode Island, so usually this means snow for everyone, but none for us. Not yesterday. We have about a foot and a half, while alot for the area, is still nothing compared to what I grew up with in Massachusetts.

However, it was enough to keep me home from work yesterday, and this enabled me to do a long-awaited site redesign (I never liked the old design, anyway). I still haven't done the forums over yet, those are going to be time consuming. But the rest of the site fits me and Matt's personality a little bit better.

February 14, 2003

Four Year Jet Lag
Posted by Jess in Geek Humor

As a college freshman, during registration I had last pick of the classes I wanted. Stuck with the 8 AM class schedule, I counted the years until I could look forward to getting first pick of the later classes. In between classes, we all jealously watched the upperclassmen head to the registration hall, knowing we had weeks to wait until it was our turn… just long enough to be eligible for the bottom of the barrel.

Not to say that I went to bed early because of this. I went to bed late, after having fun the night earlier. I was just much more tired than the upperclassmen, not getting the privilege of getting to sleep later that morning. When I was in high school, I remember touring the dorms on Saturday afternoon. They were deserted. Quiet halls, it appeared they were empty, as if all the students had gone home that weekend. “Empty? Goodness no,” the tour guide replied when she was questioned about it. “They’re still asleep.”

The semesters passed, and finally it was my turn to get the later classes. I walked out of the registration hall, triumphant at my pick - 11 AM, 12 and 1 PM. That night, I went out just so I could enjoy the fact that I did not have to get up early the next morning. And the next night. And the next. I went from the sublime to the ridiculous. Weekends weren’t really weekends anymore. It was nothing to appreciate. It was just like the week!

All good things do come to an end. The years progressed and the classes became more specialized (and required!). No matter how early I got to register, the odds were against me: sooner or later I’d need to take a class that was only available at the crack of dawn. Twenty years old and still I considered 9 AM the crack of dawn. Oh, I had a lot to learn about the working world, but I wasn’t there yet. “Waking world” was more like it. I didn’t question why I never saw the working class on the road with me on the way to school. They had already been in their offices for a good hour and a half already. The morning show jocks on the radio were like Snufalupagus on Sesame Street. I always heard people talk about them, but by the time I was up to turn on the radio, they were long gone. But I digress. This new, hateful, pesty 9 AM class ruined my chi. It was jet lag that I’ve never known before. At the end of the day, my body was fatigued from walking around campus, while my mind was just getting ready to go.

How quickly the mind forgets! It was only a few years ago that I was up at 8 o’clock looking wistfully at the upperclassmen who magically seemed to materialize out of nowhere on campus hours later. Here I was now, a little older, a little wiser, pining for those days where my body had a sense of normality.

Winter break was the worst. I considered it a little teaser of what was to come once I graduated. As all students nearing graduation, semester breaks weren’t as fun anymore, as working was now required if you planned on keeping the roof over your head until the next semester started. It was then that I realized why work was actually called work. Actually, work was just getting out of bed on time! I’d been up for 5 minutes and I already felt like I had put in a full day. I learned a new appreciation for this mysterious little black drink that these working class homo-sapiens called “coffee”. By the end of the winter break, I was a card-carrying member of the Juan Valdez fan club.

Now that I have been in the working world for a few years, I am totally over my jet lag. Weekends are something to look forward to, not just another day. Coffee is still my savior, but it’s not because I absolutely need it to function. Rather it’s now part of my start-the-day ritual, which, believe it or not, includes listening to the morning show on the radio.

From Pomp To Circumstance, chapter 2

February 04, 2003

History repeats....
Posted by Jess in RI Stories

As the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry over Texas last Saturday, I am reminded of when my parents moved down to Rhode Island and I was going through all my old stuff. I found my old diary, which just happened to be 1986. I was 10 years old. Flipping through it, I was reading all the January entries (most of them incessantly boring, blah blah blah my brother gets to go to bed later than I do, blah blah) but there was one entry that was surprisingly simple.

"The space shuttle was suposed to launch today with a teacher in it, but it exploded instead. It was a horrible day."

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