Archive for December, 2009

Happy 2010!

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

You could say that this year was the year of the hippie. I gravitated with increasing intensity towards all things natural and less wasteful. Everything from becoming mostly vegan at home (with the exception of cheese, which I still haven't found a great substitute for yet) to using handkerchiefs instead of kleenex and only natural cleaning products. Even Lola eats vegan dog food.

I harvested my first crops from the yard (tomatoes, onions, spinach, and peppers were the big winners) and Joey and I are still eating seasonal local produce from spud. I eat many more vegetables now, like eggplant, squash, and carrots - which I'm sure is hard to believe for those who knew me even just a few years ago.

A big change for me is that I started working 80% time at work (4 days a week, 80% of the pay). This has helped me find a better balance between work and home and I feel much more relaxed.

Overall, I feel this past year has been very productive and I've become more aware of my actions. I hit about 70% of my goals, though I didn't do as well on the few I outlined in last year's post. Here were the specific goals from last year:

  • explore more 3d art projects - I completely failed at this this year. I started taking an art class, but then dropped it because it wasn't exactly what I expected.
  • get a six pack - Well, the six pack isn't there! but I am in much better shape than at the start of the year. I feel pretty healthy, so I'm not going to worry too much about the fact that I didn't accomplish this. I'll still keep dreaming though.
  • volunteer and donate - I wanted to start giving back and this went very well. I gave blood and volunteered at a community farm near us. Joey and I researched many charities and donated to the ones that we believed in. This was an increase of infinity percent given that the year before we didn't do anything, and I believe we made smart choices.
  • keep working on the house - This goal, well, it feels like it is ever present. I know we made progress, but I still don't feel satisfied. The yard needs a lot of work, but recently Joey and I have been making a concerted effort to get this done. (Sounds like what I said last year... hopefully next year will be the winner!)
  • camping/backpacking frenzy - We did indeed go on a frenzy this year, which Lola loved. I had never been backpacking before and we went three times, culminating in a week long trip. Our hikes and runs have been more regular and we've now explored all of the dog friendly open spaces close to our house. We even had a tick adventure.

Highlights from next year's resolutions:

  • start an additional hobby - Time for something new! I am already very into gardening, cooking, reading, puzzle-ing, and such like that - so none of those count.
  • grow more food - Since October I have been keeping track of all of the food that Joey and I purchase. I'm going to continue doing that for a year to figure out how much food we consume, and thus how much I would eventually like to grow. This year I have 96 sq ft of veggie space, so I want to harvest a lot more than I did last year - and keep track of it!
  • floss more - I know this is common, but I've never made this resolution before. My trick - I'm going to allow myself to floss during the day instead of only at night.
  • run a marathon or hike 30 miles in one day - To me, these are fairly equivalent in terms of effort. Hiking takes longer, and usually involves a lot more hills, but I find it a lot less boring than running. We'll see which one wins.
  • volunteer and donate - I want to continue in this category, especially in terms of giving my time. I hope to contribute to several organizations this year.

This is the year of turning 26 - hope it goes well.

Mirroring LayoutEditor

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I've previously written about LayoutEditor, a cross-platform application for designing lithographic masks with an emphasis on MEMS. There are other, commercial programs like L-Edit that are available at Stanford but I like LayoutEditor because of its macro support. The icing on the cake of course is that LayoutEditor is free. Or at least was until recently. In late 2008 the creator of the project decided to take it commercial to make ends meet. That's great, and I'm sure the software has improved greatly since then because of the decision. And it didn't affect any of the pre-commercial users because the free versions were still available on SourceForge.

But sometime in mid-2009 all of the free versions (at least post-2007) were scrubbed from the SourceForge files page. This was a bit of a problem, because I was pretty sure at the time that I would need another fabrication run (and reticle layout) to finish my PhD. And I'm sure that I'm not the only student who would be more than happy to use old but free software if it were available.

But the free version of LayoutEditor was still available, there just weren't any direct links to it. The URL format on the new downloads page is easy to guess, so when I noticed that the SourceForge files were gone I started poking around. When I found the 20080925 version (the latest and greatest free version) I downloaded copies for a few different platforms for insurance. A neutered free version was available on the updated LayoutEditor site, but it didn't have my beloved macro feature amongst many other essential features.

I hadn't thought about it again until I came across the files while cleaning up some backups the other day. I poked around on the site again and all of the files I had previously downloaded were gone. So even if someone was desperate enough, there was no trace left of what was once free software. I want to emphasize that there are probably great features in the post-commercial versions of the application and you should support it if you can, but that doesn't change the fact that the software was once free (and sporadically open source). Which is why I decided to mirror what I have:

layout-20080925-win32 (installer)
layout-20080925-win32 (source)

layout_20080925_xUbuntu_8.04_amd64 (DEB)

layout-20080628-win32 (installer)
layout-20080628-win32 (source)
layout_20080628_xUbuntu_8.04_i386 (DEB)
layout_20080628_xUbuntu_8.04_amd64 (DEB)
layout-20080628-Fedora_9.i386 (RPM)
layout-20080628-Fedora_9.x86_64 (RPM)

You can see in the license file that the software is free to copy and distribute, so don't be shy to mirror it elsewhere for redundancy. If you are running 32-bit Linux, I can say that the 20080925 Windows version runs great under Wine at least under Ubuntu 9.10.

So there you have it. Hopefully this is will be useful to someone out there working on a class or research project.

Update (09/24/2010): Here are some additional copies of the source code courtesy of Timothy Joseph. These would be especially useful if you're using a Linux distribution other than Debian or Fedora, and need to build from the source. Thanks Tim!

layout-20080925 (source)
layout-20080628 (source)
layout-20080419 (source)
layout-20080205 (source)
layout-20071204 (source)
layout-20071204 (linux source)

Classy Secret Santa

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

Wrapping is fun