Let’s make a few assumptions about Cuil:

None of this changes the fact that their server farm is tits up.

Moral of the story: Brag if you want, but if the only search that doesn’t return “No results because of high load…” is a search for “google”, you will look dumb.

787 Flight Deck Demonstrator

While it’s not a “real” simulator by our standards, it’s close. It is built mainly from parts that are commercially available, and most of the software is the same as what we run on the main engineering flight simulators.

The out-the-window scene is Microsoft Flight Simulator X, but the displays that the pilots use (what we call the heads down displays) are what I helped to develop.

The full article is available at AVweb.

For the benefit of my other readers

So, Facebook has a group for alumni of Choate Rosemary Hall. I joined it, even though I am alumni by technicality and make no claims of being a graduate of the school. Some names and faces I recognize, some I don’t. Well, today a couple of people asked for more background information from members of the group. I obliged, and managed to put the last 17 years of my life into a few tidy paragraphs, so I figured I’d share here:

OK, here goes…

After being “the first person in the history of the economics department to fail economics” according to Mr. Cobbett, I was unceremoniously kicked out of Choate in 1990 and eventually graduated high school in 1992. I spent a couple of years working for a non-profit search and rescue organization, and decided it was time to go to college in 1994. The only school I applied to was the University of Michigan, and I was summarily rejected (something about “grades”).

Getting used to failure by now, but still a stubborn SOB, I went to the nearest community college and discovered the back door into Michigan. By the time I applied again, I had earned a 3.7 GPA (with one A+) *at* Michigan and the admissions department had no choice but to submit to my will.

I settled on computer science to avoid the social stigma of being called an engineer. Since the degree was through the liberal arts college rather than the engineering school, I also managed to get a minor in Russian language, literature and culture. Along the way, I worked on a research project for the Department of Aerospace Engineering, was a TA for a 200-level introductory programming class, and met my future wife.

After graduating in 2003, I got a job with Boeing in Houston as a software tester for the International Space Station. Spending a year and a half as a snowball in hell convinced me to find someplace else to work, so I transferred within Boeing to Seattle. Today I do software development on the 787 Dreamliner for the displays the pilots use to fly the airplane. I spend parts of my day in large flight simulators figuring out why things don’t work quite right, and making sure that everything will work right on the first flight. My wife and I have three furkids (a cat, a dog and a puppy) with no plans to enlarge the family anytime soon.

I’m working my dream job, and for as rough a road as it has been I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything. And yes, I can still sing the school song! Not well, mind you, but at least I still remember the words.

A crappy way to spend Easter

In the past at this time of year, I usually wind up telling a crass joke about the holiday. Well, this year I’ve discovered that there really are worse ways to spend Easter.

Imagine you have had a cough. It’s been hanging around on and off for the past couple of months, but in just the last week, it’s gotten really bad. You go to your doctor, the one who’s been proscribing you antibiotic meds for pneumonia, and you finally convince him to have him run an x-ray on you.

The x-ray comes back finds an anomaly in your chest, and then a follow-up CT scan reveals something awful: you have a large, cancerous tumor in your chest, over 6 inches big, compressing your lung.

You’re young and in good health. You’ve never smoked in your life, and you hardly ever drink. And you’ve just been married for less than 8 months.

How would you react?

Text swiped from a friend of my friend…

Sherwin Chen works as a designer of the flight deck of the 787, specializing in the graphical displays that the pilot uses. I’ve worked with him, gotten to know a bit about him, and have even asked for a personal favor from him now and then. He is, as another friend would say, “good people”.

Finding out on Friday that he now has a drainage tube in his chest and has started four months of chemo hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to leave work early, and even now I spend idle time thinking about it.

On Hold Music, brought to you by… City of Seattle!

Apparently, there is a department in the City of Seattle whose mission statement includes improving the quality of “on hold” music by featuring various local artists.

In case you have no reason to be on hold with the City of Seattle, their hold music is also available as an audiostream, complete with an archive of past hold music mixes. Or if you want to listen to City of Seattle hold music while waiting for non-City-of-Seattle events, (at the bus stop or in the grocery store, for example) you can bring it with you on your iPod by subscribing to the iTunes podcast. There are also links to Amazon in case you want to purchase the music you have just listened to.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think this is actually pretty cool. To my mind, when management talks about “synergy”, this is the kind of improbable scenario I come up with and everyone laughs at. But it works! And now I have a concrete example to point to!

Taking a Breather: Day 1

After working 111.1 hours in 11 days, I decided to take a few days off (with management encouragement, actually). Along with that, as part of the competition for the title of “Best. Wife. Evar.”, macates suggested I take a road trip.

So, I’m here in McMinnville, Oregon about to enjoy a vintage aircraft fly-in as well as the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Tomorrow will most likely be spent in the aisles of Powell’s Books.

On the way down, even though I felt like I was running late, I stopped to take some pictures of a hillside that has been recently logged. The sun was just right, and it made for a rather spectacular view. So, as an attempt as a picture travelogue (travelphotoblog?), here is Orange Mountains Majesty (working title).

Look for oodles of airplane pictures in the near future.

It's pronounced "mick-night"

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