Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Set Nerd Alert Level To Mauve

I started working with the Emac today, at long last. I have to say, I'm thrilled with it. The first thing that strikes me about it is how compact it is: the CPU is housed in the same case as the monitor, so you can basically pick it up and go. Paul helped move it to my cubicle today. Incidentally, no one's indicated a desire to kick me out of the cubicle yet, and I asked Gretchen about it... basically she told me to go ahead and get comfortable because there's no use keeping it bare just because I might be moving out soon. Besides, they might never ask me to move, which would be sweet. I'm bringing in my Transformers in tomorrow... they'll be assigned to guard duty on my left cabinet. Those pesky Decepticons won't bother me now.

Anyway, the Emac is great. I don't know how much muscle the cpu has, yet, but it seems like a speedy little machine. For some reason, Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 is installed on it. Paul doesn't know. I don't care. I might spend a couple of evenings goofing off with it after hours. But the most fun I had today was definitely with the app they have me using: Eggplant. Yes, it's named after a vegetable. A good vegetable at that.

What it does: Eggplant remotely connects to another box (either a mac or pc) and lets you write scripts to perform a series of actions on that box. What sets Eggplant apart is that instead of saving screen coordinates (so that it remembers where to click, etc), it saves an image of the portion of the screen you manipulate. That makes it a lot more flexible than apps that use screen coordinates. Or so I'm told. I don't know. This is the first time I've ever encountered anything like this. We'll be using this to create test scripts to debug the NetLearning software (which I'm not going to talk about, because that's business). No I don't know why it's called Eggplant, and apparently neither do they.

So, I had the Emac set up, and Jay had already given me some Eggplant documentation to look at, so I decide, what the heck, lets see if I can mess with my laptop from the Emac. I get VNC installed on my laptop (which makes all that remote-accessing fun possible) and start it up. Then I tell Eggplant what its IP is, and surprise, surprise, it works the first time. I'm not used to things working the first time... maybe it's a mac thing. After I gotten over the complete dorkiness of controlling my laptop from a mac, I started writing some scripts for it, which wasn't too hard. In about an hour I had my laptop open Explorer, go to the NetLearning demo website, access its software, enter my user id and password, and log me into the system... all with one button click from Eggplant! I was in dork heaven.

Aside from that, I think I've found the place I want to live: I decided to step away from the Fort Sanders area a bit and checked out a place called Washington Ridge Apartments, which is 2 miles off Broadway, and about 5 miles from NetLearning. It was a pretty neat place. Spacious 1-bedroom apartments, 3 to 12-month leases, exercise facilities, pool, jacuzzi, lotsa trees... There was a small lake, with geese. With their little baby geese. I was sold. But I'll keep looking, just in case... still got a month after all. It's about $530 per month on a 12-month lease, which isn't bad compared to some of the places I saw in the Fort. Incidentally, it's pretty close to where Brent and Marci are going to be, so I can still harrass him conveniently.

Yup, I think this is the place.

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