Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Google (temporarily) shutdown my KTUL Weather Gadget

About a year and a half ago I created a Google Gadget that basically runs a slideshow of the KTUL weather images such as doppler radar, forecast, temps, etc. Well, I had sent a link to a few friends of mine, and published it in the Google Gadget directory ( This is one of those gadgets that you can pretty much add to any Google based service (such as the Google IG homepage, GoogleApps, Blogger, etc.) But, I hadn't expected many people to use it...

Well, today I noticed that it was showing an error on my Google IG homepage. So, I decided to investigate. Well, the reason it had an error was because Google had replaced my gadget with a warning that said something to the effect of "This page has exceeded its bandwidth [sic]" Well, I looked up the limited stats on the Gadget in the directory, and as it turns out, there are now about 1,200 users of the weather gadget! Wow.

So, I'm putting some Google Analytics on it for a while to see if that is true. If so, I may just turn over the gadget source to KTUL and have them host it so it can actually stay running. I can't afford to actually buy web-space for this, but I want to keep it running. If that turns out to be the case it'll probably come up with a message in the near future that says something like: "This gadget has moved to Please go there to install the latest version."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

VMWare - Stopped working

How nice. We have just started using VMWare Enterprise edition on an IBM BladeCenter, and today, August 12, 2008, all of our virtual machines stopped powering on. We just got a message:
"A general system error occurred: Internal error".

Well, as it turns out, VMWare apparently created some sort of licensing bug for version 3.0 Update 2. According to the website, any VMWare ESX server running version 3.0 Update 2 will not be able to power on due to this license problem. Here is the statement on the VMWare homepage (
"An issue has been uncovered with ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2 that causes the product license to expire on August 12. VMware will reissue the binaries in the next 36 hours (by August 13, PST). Until the issue is resolved, we advise against upgrading to ESX/ESXi 3.5 Update 2."

I guess we will have to wait until August 13th to turn on any of our newly created virtual machines....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Strange Loops

I recently picked back up the book "Godel, Escher, Bach" which is a look into how math, imagery, and music are all intertwined with each other in very strange ways. On the outset of this book, the author introduces the concept of "strange loops". It is most easily characterized by the very familiar works of M.C. Escher who elaborately depicts impossible loops such as the neverending waterfall, the neverending stairs, or the hands which draw each other.

But, this concept got me to thinking about an "audio illusion" that I once stumbled across called "Shepard's ascending tones". This recording is an audio representation of Shepard's paradox. Basically, the track has the auditory illusion of constantly rising tones. But, in reality, the tones are just repeating the same stair-stepped routine over and over again. Here is a visual representation of the paradox:

The audio representation of Shepard's paradox is available HERE for your enjoyment (and possibly your insanity). You can hear the "strange loop" (it's best to loop it when playing to get the full effect). The book is difficult to read sometimes for a "non-mathematician", but it is a very intriguing look into number theory, language theory, artificial intelligence, the turing machine, and much more fascinating nerd stuff.

Here's a link to the book on Amazon: