Saturday, December 18, 2004

'Tis the season

Every day in high school, on the last day of the fall semester, I wore a red and green outfit. Usually this meant red pants, a green sweater, and whatever other red and green clothing I could find -- possibly red socks, or green socks, or a red shirt under the green sweater, or a red vest. So in the continuation of that lovely tradition, today I shall wear the same thing. Some people think it's dumb, but I like it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Make a Web page

During winter study, in addition to interning in a seventh-grade math class at Mt. Greylock, I will be teaching a Free University class on making a Web page. I am teaching it in pure html, while Seth Izen, the coordinator of the Free U, is teaching Dreamweaver. I wonder which of us will get more people to sign up? And who will have more people come? And if anyone will sign up or come at all? And if anyone actually still exists that doesn't know how to make a Web page yet?

I compare a Web page made in Dreamweaver to a cake made by Sara Lee: Sure, it looks like a real cake, but when you read the ingredients, it has so many twenty-letter words that you don't know what you're eating anymore! (I have actually never eaten a Sara Lee cake.) Likewise, when you look at the source code of a page made in Dreamweaver, there is so much useless junk there that you have to scan down and down and down until you find something that actually affects what the page looks like.

For instance, the Free U description book is a whopping 215k. I bet that if I were not frantically studying for an art history exam and attempting to learn 2500 years of architecture in the next 12 hours, I could create the same page in a tenth of that. Dreamweaver may be convenient, but it is so inelegant. Though this blog is published by Blogger, I weeded out all of the useless junk out of the source code when I began, and so only that which is essential remains. When you make a page with Dreamweaver, you have to spend a long time weeding out the useless stuff if you want to have an elegant and efficient page, and that's just no fun.

But my Free University course -- that's fun!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Seth Izen '08 made a blog post bemoaning the fact that the Estro-Gym is always full of girls and he feels weird being the only guy there.

So I suggested that if they want more men to go, they should change it from the Estro-Gym to the Testoster-Zone.


I still think that's really funny.

This is a nicer poem. I wrote it.

Some people procrastinate on the Internet.
I procrastinate by writing rhyming poetry.
Inspired by 'Twas the night before finals:

Twas the night after finals

'Twas the night after finals
And all through the college
The students had purged
All their last-minute knowledge.

All the papers and tests
Wait for profs, to be read
And a term full of knowledge
Drains out of my head.

The bar down on Spring Street
A prime place for drinking,
As students rejoice:
A whole month without thinking!

And back in the dorm
I am free from the pacing
Of my brilliant suitemate
When his mind is racing.

Now his eyes are wide open;
Great joy frames his looks
As he cries out in joy:
"A whole month to read books!"

No more late-night coffee
That never stays hot;
Now I can sleep soundly,
And also a lot!

I'll burn all my notes;
I'll forget how to study,
'Cause now 'tis the season
To sing with a buddy.

Away from this cold place
Where the wind makes me shiver;
And back home to the hearth
With some gifts to deliver!

This month shall remind me
That life's not that cruel
And I might just survive
Despite bad grades in school.

And finals are over!
So swallow your pride,
And look for a chimney
With Santa inside!

Perhaps you'll be lucky
And find such a fellow
With a nose like a cherry
And a tummy of jello.

And if you do, well then --
What was all the fuss?
Who says that the teachers
Know more life than us?

If Santa exists,
Then who needs exams?
Just ask for a good grade
And while everyone crams,

You can be smug
'Cause your answers are right
And besides, you'll know Santa
Does come in the night.

Composed and copyrighted by Diana Davis
approximately half an hour ago.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Diana's Running [B]log

Please note this lovely addition, which you can see in a convenient link on the sidebar. I am currently training for a spring marathon, and intend to post my training progress there. This will be my third marathon, as my first were Boston (2003, 3:38) and Vermont City (2004, 4:19). I hope to be able to train significantly more this year than I was able to last year. Today, for instance, I ran nine miles.

I am generally following a training schedule that appears in Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger, which I received as a "gag gift" from Megan at the cross country banquet. I only wish I had some way of measuring the distance of my runs, but someday I may have a vehicle and will thereby be able to ascertain, after the fact, how fast I have done these runs. Check it out!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Mozilla Firefox

I have this program called Ad-Aware SE Personal that scans my computer for spyware. Whenever my computer is making "thinking" noises when I am not actively using it or running any programs, I assume that it is some spyware program collecting data on me, so I run Ad-Aware SE Personal. On Monday, I ended up running it three times within the space of about 10 hours because my computer just kept making noises when it shouldn't have been doing anything. The first time, it found 24 spyware files. The second time, it found 2 spyware files. The third time, it found 11 more spyware files.

Enough! I have heard about the security holes in Internet Explorer, and how wonderful Mozilla Firefox is, without ever feeling the need to switch over, but Monday pushed me over the edge. I now do not use Internet Explorer at all (except for the fact that I suppose my desktop runs on it), only Mozilla. Good riddance, IE.

And do you know what? Mozilla Firefox is better! First of all, when you download it, it imports all of your settings from IE: Bookmarks, Google toolbar, status bar, home page, hyperlink underlining style, even icon sizes. Most people probably didn't know that all of those options existed, but I have customized my own enough to appreciate the fact that Mozilla kept my customizing intact.

Additionally, it has these wonderful things called tabs. Instead of opening up a new window every time you need to go to a new page while keeping your current page up, you just open a new tab in the same window. Then your taskbar doesn't get clogged, and you can switch back and forth very easily between Web pages. Additionally, if you are working on two things at the same time -- reading Google News and opening those links, plus researching something and looking at multiple articles at once -- you can have one window for each project, and multiple tabs within each for the related pages, thereby organizing your online experience.

Wow. Mozilla Firefox rocks -- no wonder it has 10% of the market share. You can download it here.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

This morning, I took the first half of the Putnam exam. The Putnam is a competition consisting of two three-hour sessions, where you get six problems in each session. Each problem is some kind of difficult proof, and if you prove it flawlessly, you get a 10. If you do lots of good work towards a solution, you get a 1. Otherwise, you get a 0. So scores range from 0 to 120, with a median score of 0.

I worked on two of the six problems, and got a relatively satisfactory proof for one, with a not as good pseudo-proof for the other. But it was fun. I don't think I'll go back for the second half, though, because it's probably not worth it. I was told this morning, "don't even go -- you'll get a zero no matter what." Ha. Nonetheless, I went to the first half, because it is better to earn your zero than to... oh wait, no it's not.

I also found it funny that if you are female, you put a red dot sticker on your exam to indicate that you want to be elgible for the prize that goes to the highest female scorer. A red dot, indeed.