Monthly Archives: November 2014

How to Commercialize Thanksgiving (Humor)

Following the conversation mentioned in this post, me and my friends started (jokingly) trying to see what it would take to commercialize Thanksgiving, because it appears that no one else really has. First we thought of lights, like Christmas and sometimes Halloween, then maybe fireworks like 4th of July or New Year, but they didn’t feel like they’d work. (What would you do with brown lights or fireworks? Yuck.) Even candy, which so many other holidays have monopolized on, doesn’t quite work. But then we struck gold when we thought about Easter: We need to start doing Egg Hunts. Turkeys actually lay eggs (unlike a certain animal I could mention *cough cough*), so it’d be perfect! However, as mentioned before, candy doesn’t fit quite right, so we were stumped until someone thought of another brilliant idea: Pie! (After all, everything is better with pie; don’t pretend that you’ve never heard that before, I’ve heard it at least ONE time before writing this post) (Yes, indeed, that one time was myself saying it, but that still counts!) Thus, the Pie Hunt was born! You could manufacture some sort of egg-shaped pie and special plastic eggs that are Thanksgiving themed, then promote things like Church and State Pie hunts, run Pie Hunts in your own backyard/neighborhood, get it into the newspaper, etc. Do that for several years in a row until it starts catching on. Later, while everyone else is trying to catch up with the Pie Hunt trend, you’ll already be raking it in (whatever “it” is, probably leaves ; ) ), and then you’ll be your own millionaire or something.

Up next: Groundhog’s Day!

~ George

Interesting Observation: Thanksgiving isn’t a Money Holiday

Recently I was talking with a few friends about the fact that stores are selling Christmas supplies long before Thanksgiving even started, when one of them pointed out that Thanksgiving isn’t really a money-making holiday. Apart from the famous Turkey and other foods, along with pilgrim supplies, there really isn’t much for the stores to sell you. Easter has eggs and candy; Halloween has costumes, decorations, and candy; valentines day has cards and chocolate; Christmas has decorations, gifts and candy; even 4th of July has fireworks. Thanksgiving has none of those; it is perhaps one of the more “pure” of the widely celebrated (national) holidays, that is, it is not a commercial holiday. Just thought this was something cool to think about.

~ George

(Later the conversation turned more humorous with us discussing ways to make Thanksgiving into a money holiday. You can see my post on that conversation here)

Awesome Job Idea: To Be Awesome

What if a millionaire sponsored someone to simply be awesome at stuff? Although, unlike usual, the guy wouldn’t stick to one thing, he would simply spend all of his time finding and learning things that interest him. Then, whenever he’s ready, he’ll perform/teach for his employer. In retrospect, it sounds less like something that someone would pay for and more like something that someone who is extremely rich would do for himself.

~ George

Change Log of November 1-17, 2014

Note: I haven’t made a change log in a long time, but I’ve started working on one. Hopefully I’ll be able to get one out again.

Every few days I make a post that highlights all the changes and/or posts that have been made since the last change log. This way I can update previous posts and actually have the changes be found, plus readers will be able to get easy access to all the new posts without scrolling down too much. Note: Since this post may be the last thing I post on a given day, it is less likely to be properly cleaned up, as I will be rather tired at that point

New Posts:

    • George’s:
    • World Idea: No Passing This Point – Instead of categorizing all my “story ideas” as just “story ideas”, I decided to specify it a bit; in this case it’s a “world idea”, meaning that the main thing I touch on is the setting rather than other stuff
    • How to do tan^1 on a calculator is based on my reply to someone asking me that very question. As I am prone to do, I got in much more detail than I think the asker intended, but in this case I think it was better to over-explain than under-explain
    • Rose’s Birthday Gift: Lyrics Book brings one of my real-world projects to the blog; as said in the title, it contains a download of what I printed off and gave to Rose for her birthday
    • Steve’s:
    • How to pass-through connections on an intermediate Riverbed SteelHead is Steve’s thorough and understandable (to those who know what a Riverbed SteelHead is) answer to the title’s question

Major Changes:

Minor Changes:

    • I changed the description text of this change log to make reference to the fact that I won’t always be posting a change log the day of an update to the blog, because it’s hard enough to write 100 words a day without making a change log for everything I post.
    • I fixed some typos in wish two of The Ultimate Wish: Part 1 of 3 – The Wish

Of Special Note:

    • Just wanted to mention that I am now 10 weeks into the 100 words for 100 days activity! As of now I written over 10,000 words for this blog in the last 9 weeks 🙂

Certified Brilliant:

~ George

Complete Amnesia

What if someone completely forgot everything, and not just memories but also words, images, tastes, everything. How would someone with this “Complete” Amnesia describe the world? They wouldn’t know colors or textures, verbs or nouns. They wouldn’t even know what colors, textures, verbs, or nouns were or that there even was a such things. What if that person tried to describe what he “saw” in a book? Over all, I think it’s be pretty interesting.

~ George

Rose’s Birthday Gift: Lyrics Book

Rose just had her birthday, so I needed to come up with a birthday present. About two 2 months ago I realized that she likes singing all the time, but rarely knows more than a few spots of a song. So thus the idea of a lyrics book was born. I copied the lyrics to 28 songs that she enjoys singing into a single document, categorized them, and added page numbers. I got almost all the lyrics from, although a few of the lyrics are from other sites. If you use it, I’d recommend printing it in booklet form (or at least double-sided) if your printer has that function, otherwise you’d use a huge amount of paper. Also, there are some known errors in the transcription of some songs, so it is likely that most of the lyrics aren’t 100% like the actual lyrics of the song, but in general they are correct. Here’s the download: Song Lyrics

Also, here’s the Table of Contents (copied from the first page of the document):



“Happy” – Pharrell Williams – page 2
“Demons” – Imagine Dragons – page 3
“Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons – page 5
“Really Don’t Care” – Demi Lovato – page 6
(feat. Cher Lloyd)
“Brave” – Sara Barielles – page 7
“The Monster” (Clean version) – Eminem – page 9
(feat. Rihanna)
“Counting Stars” – One Republic – page 10
“Roar” – Katy Perry – page 12

“Somebody” – page 14
(performed by Bridgit Mendler)
“Determinate” – page 15
(performed by Bridgit Mendler & Adam Hicks)
“Here We Go” – page 17
“She’s So Gone” – page 19
(performed by Naomi Scott)
“Breakthrough” – page 21



“Shake It Off” – page 23
“Our Song” – page 24
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – page 26
“You Belong With Me” – page 27
“Love Story” – page 29



“Little Talks” – page 30
“Dirty Paws” – page 32
“Mountain Sound” – page 32



“Where’d My Wood Go (500 Chunks)” – Element Animation – page 33

“The Saga Begins” – “Weird Al” – page 35
“Everything Is Awesome!!!” – Tegan and Sara – page 37
(feat. The Lonely Island)



“The Melody Within” – page 39
“The Curse” – page 39
“The Melody Within/The Curse” – page 40
“April Child” – page 40


~ George

How to pass-through connections on an intermediate Riverbed SteelHead

The Riverbed SteelHeads (SH) is a platform that, simply said, speeds up connections across the wide-area network (WAN).  Riverbed solutions improve network performance and thus user satisfaction and productivity, enable storage and server consolidation into the data center by making application performance across the WAN feel like the server or storage is still local in the remote office, and provide a visualization platform for applications needing to remain in the remote office while still being managed centrally, all while lowering ongoing operating expenses by avoiding bandwidth upgrades and requiring fewer managed devices.

One Riverbed customer had a question about how they could integrate two Riverbed optimized networks; one they control (A&B) and another, the do not (C&D).  They desired to keep the Riverbeds from each set of networks separate.  My response was posted to a technical forum but I also include it here since I found it very interesting.  It assumes technical proficiency with the Riverbed SteelHead platform, so unfortunately it will not be appropriate read for those not familiar with the workings of the product.

Using their diagram, let’s take a look at some of the technical requirement around how this would work:


In this scenario, networks A and B are optimizing via auto-discovery by Riverbed A and Riverbed D.  Networks C and D are being optimized by a fixed-target rule on Riverbed C pointing to the out-of-path Riverbed B.  The question was asked, if we don’t control networks C and D, what needs to be done to ensure that Riverbed A does not participate in optimization between network C and D.

If optimization is indeed occurring between clients on network D and servers on network C via a fixed target rule on Riverbed C pointing to Riverbed B, no peering rule is necessary on Riverbed A to avoid participation in optimization since peering rules are not invoked unless an auto-discovery probe is received.  Fixed-Target rules do not initiate such an auto-discovery probe since fixed-target rules hard code the Riverbed to peer with.  Furthermore, the optimized connection created by that fixed target rule from Riverbed C to Riverbed B is made on TCP port 7810 which is included in the default pass-through rules on Riverbed A for Riverbed protocols.

However, if we want to make sure that Riverbed C never peers with Riverbed A (due to sizing constraints for example), since both are in-path and may auto-discover each other, we will need both a peering rule and an in-path rule on Riverbed A.  Riverbed C may be configured not to perform auto-discovery, but unless we have visibility into its configuration, you can’t be sure.

To handle inbound connections from network D to network C, we would put a peering rule on Riverbed A, matching Riverbed C’s in-path IP address.  This ensures that a connection coming from a client on network D to a server on networks B or C would not be optimized.  In essence, the peering rule on Riverbed A says to not respond to auto-discovery probes from Riverbed C for any networks behind it.  We can also be more selective in the peering rule by using networks’ subnets instead of a peer IP.  For example, we could allow connections from clients on network D to be optimized (by Riverbed C and Riverbed A auto-peering) for network B but not network C.  We can think of a peering rule as answering the question, “what do I do when I receive an auto-discovery probe from another Riverbed?”   If we don’t want optimization from network D to network C, but we do want optimization from network A to network C, the peering rule on Riverbed A would be specific to a peer IP address of Riverbed C.  If we don’t want anyone auto-peering with Riverbed A when going to network C, the peering rule would use a destination subnet of network C.

Now, for outbound connections being initiated by clients on network C, due to the way server-side out-of-path works, outbound connections from network C will never be seen by Riverbed B. However, they will be seen by the in-path Riverbed A and thus will receive an auto-discovery probe. Other Riverbeds will respond to that probe and thus cause those connections to be optimized.  So, for a connection being initiated on network C going to network D, a probe would be generated by Riverbed A and that probe would then be seen by Riverbed C and they would optimize that connection.  Thus, if we don’t want Riverbed A and Riverbed C peering up for connections from network C to network D, we must put an in-path rule on Riverbed A to pass-through connections from network C to network D.  If we don’t want Riverbed A optimizing any outbound connections from network C, that in-path rule would just match the source address of network C.

In summary,  if we are just trying to keep Riverbed A from peering with Riverbed C, all we need is:

  1. An in-path rule on Riverbed A passing though connections to network D.
  2. A peering rule on Riverbed A passing probes from the peer-IP of Riverbed C.

This scenario still allows optimized connections from network A to network C or from network D to network A.

If we are instead trying to prohibit all optimization when networks A or B communicate with networks C or D, it is a little more complex.  To do that we need:

  1. An in-path rule on both Riverbed A and Riverbed D passing through connections to network D
  2. An in-path rule on Riverbed D passing through connections to network C.
  3. A peering rule on both Riverbed A and Riverbed D passing through probes from network D.
  4. A peering rules on Riverbed D passing through probes from network C.



Deeper Movies

Have you ever watched a movie and thought that even if it was good, it was very shallow? For example, most real villains don’t do evil for the sake of evil. Something that I thought would be interesting would be if someone took a simple movie and made it a lot deeper. For example, they could show the villain’s back story, have the hero not be able to take down 20 ninjas by himself, have there not be 20 ninjas in the first place when they can use guns, etc. Just get rid of all those “that would never happen” things and replace it with something more interesting. Maybe retroactively make the movie into a book, since they say “the book it always better than the movie” (not including those little movie picture books for children and the like).

~ George

How To do tan^-1 on a calculator

First off, I’m assuming that your calculator has three things: a “tan” button and a “tan-1” button. You do not have to know where the “tan-1” button is, but if it is a scientific calculator then it probably does have it. I’m also assuming that you know what the “tan” and the “tan-1” buttons do, so this will not explain that.
Your calculator should have a button labeled “tan-1”, although usually you have to hit the “2nd” key and then the “tan” key. If you are using the calculator that comes installed with Windows 7 (at least I’m pretty sure that’s where it comes from, if someone could verify that please) and already have it set to scientific calculator (hit the “view” button in the top left corner then select “scientific”), then you hit the “Inv” key (short for “Inverse”, I think) and the “tan” button will turn into “tan-1”.
Also, make sure that the calculator is set to degrees (or radians), because it is extremely frustrating to get the wrong answer and have no idea why. To set that there is often a button that says “DRG”, with which you can cycle through degrees, radians, and gradients, using arrow keys if your calculator has them. On the Windows 7 calculator there are three buttons in the top left, beneath where the output is shown. Click the one labeled with what you want.
Finally, if you already know how to get the “tan-1” button but don’t know how to type it in, most fancy calculators (the $10+ ones) require you to input the items in the order that you would write them (e.g. type “tan-1” then “500” then “/” then “1001” then “=”). However, almost every other calculator that I use (including the Windows 7 one and calculator apps) do it similarly, but certain functions (such as square root, log, and tan) are done after you finish typing the expression (e.g. type “500” then “/” then “1001” then “tan-1” then “=”).
Of course, all of this also applies to the “sin”/”sin-1” and “cos”/”cos-1” buttons, but I was specifically asked about the “tan-1” button, so that’s what I went with.
 ~ George