My Blog

Welcome to, the home page of Gregory Neil Hill. Please, call me Greg. There isn't a lot to this page, just a blog, a resume, and a portfolio. I may add more sections in the future as whim strikes me. Feel free to browse around, and contact me with any requests/complaints/admiration you desire.

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And then there was silence

Submitted 2/1/2006 10:44 AM

Librarius Metallicus 2.0 has officially launched ( The search works pretty well, but I may make tweaks to it over time. I should probably clean up the design a little, too, but not just yet. Next up is Rachel's photography site. I'll probably finish it up this weekend; there's not a lot to it, programming-wise. Then, some upgrades to the server. Need to move to Apache 2 and upgrade Perl and Mysql to the latest versions. Maybe I'll finally get a better email system going, too. Won't that be nice?

Poor kitty

Submitted 1/19/2006 5:34 PM

So, things have been going pretty well lately. At work, I'm working on a pretty cool project, implementing a homepage builder for the distributor office. It lets them build their homepage with all sort of content choices, and makes use of some pretty cool javascript technologies to ease its use. Good times. My health's been picking up, as well, which is very nice. I still have some bad days, but overall everything's getting better and better. I finally got the video card replaced and my computer's been great since. I'm slowly conquering the world in my Civ game, now that I can play without crashing. I have been slacking on my side projects lately, but I'm finally getting back in the mood again. All I need to do is finish the search function and Librarius Metallicus will be good to go, yet I keep procrastinating.

Rachel's decided to try her hand at professional photography. It's a lot of work, and she's a bit daunted, but she's got some great ideas. I'm going to be building her a website to go along with it. I've decided to utilize some of the newer techniques I've learned to make it very sleek and sexy. We'll see how it all turns out. Anyhoo, I think Rachel will do well with it, but getting things going is always the hardest part.

I've been reading some Philip K. Dick stories lately. They're pretty interesting, especially considering how well he predicted future technologies. For those unfamiliar, he's the one who wrote the stories upon which the movies Minority Report, Blade Runner, Total Recall, Paycheck, and others were based. There's a general theme of being screwed over by technology and altering perceptions of reality, which makes it fun.

Now if I could just finish off the Indians, I would have control of my whole continent, and then, on to America!!

Welcome to 2006, Mr. Anderson

Submitted 1/3/2006 4:26 PM

Yay!!! It's a new year. Why that's so exciting is beyond me; it's just the next week from last year. Big whoop. The holidays were fun; mostly just relaxed and ate tons of food/candy. I'm a bit annoyed at the moment because I bought a new video card so I could give my old one to Garth, but the new one has problems and the company is being slow about getting back to me with a replacement. So, all those cool games Rachel got me for Christmas remain unplayed. It's very sad, indeed. Won't someone think of the games?!!

Rachel's off taking pictures of her cousin's wedding today. She was soooo excited to do photos for free again. Actually, it's motivating her to get more serious about doing real photography work, so that's good. On that note, my next site will be her photography site, not the Star Wars site. It gets relegated to the backburner once more. Still, I have to finish up the search on Librarius Metallicus first. I keep procrastinating that one for some strange reason.

Christmas was great; Rachel went overboard. I got a lot of CDs, some games, a couple movies, and a new keyboard/mouse combo. It's just a newer version of what I had before, but it's got some nicer features (like being able to turn the mouse off when it's not in use to conserve batteries). Got some other things, too, but that's the highlights. We celebrated early with the family, as mom was leaving to go to Heather's. Then we had dinner with Garth and John on Christmas day.

New Year's wasn't super exciting; we went to a party with Garth and some of his friends. Played some games and what-not. I'm in kind of a weird mood this week; I think I need more sleep or something. That's about all from here.

Hooray for drugs, part 2

Submitted 12/22/2005 12:23 PM

Ah, new drugs. My doc prescribed a new anti-inflammatory that seems to be working quite well. I think it's kind of sad when I'm happy just to be able to walk without constant pain. But I'll take what I can get. Things are pretty slow at work since we're pretty well done with the new site, just waiting on content. Plus, being a few days nigh of Christmas doesn't help ye olde motivatione. I must be the only person in the department who didn't bring goodies in for everyone. We have so much junk food piling up at home; it's insane. I wouldn't mind so much if I hadn't put on 15 pounds since I got married. Having medication that makes your stomach feel empty doesn't help, either, but oh well. Maybe once the inflammation is gone, I can start going to the gym again. Maybe :)

Now that I'm feeling decent again, I'll probably get back to finishing up Librarius Metallicus. The problems with the server seem to be permanently solved now, so that's good. Search engines aren't fun to write, it turns out. Then again, I suspected as much when I told the interviewer that I wouldn't ever want to write one. Alas, I still have to. I'll probably finish it up before the new year and start 2006 out with a bang. One positive side effect is that with indexing all of the pages, I can see some bad links in the index and figure out where they are to fix them. I've fixed several bugs that way. I'd really like to get started on the Star Wars site again. I have some sweet ideas.

Merry Christmas and all that stuff.

Free at last, free at last

Submitted 12/16/2005 2:58 PM

With the click of a button and a sudden swooshing sound of funds evacuating my account, I have completed my Christmas spending extravaganza. I finally thought of something good for mom, and bought John one of his requested items. With that, and ordering the last piece of Garth's computer via funds from Heather and mom, I am done. All rejoice and sing praises and yadda yadda. I seem to be getting worse each year about getting done early. A few years back I'd have been done weeks ago. Alas, I guess that's to be expected. I'm thinking of adding a 'Rants' section to my page, where I can rant on whatever topic is pissing me off at the moment. At this moment, it's invasive copy protection schemes. But I'm sure I could come up with dozens more.

Oh, big news, I finally figured out one major possible cause of the memory problems on my server. It was something in my code, but you could only cause it by typing in a bad url. I found a few of them in the log after discovering the possibility, so it seems likely that it was the cause. It wasn't a security issue, it just tried to load 10 of thousands of records into one page, and that bogged everything down. Anyhoo, I've plugged the hole and will be re-thinking some things on the core code relatively soon. Glad to have discovered that; it was a constant headache for weeks. And bah humbug to the morons who manually typed in bad urls. I swear, and I shouldn't, but people like that make me.

Life's good, except for my hips, which have decided that the new medication is not good enough and are giving me constant grief. Rachel's excited for the company Christmas shindig tomorrow 'cause she gets to dress pretty and make my coworkers jealous. Oh wait, that's why I want to go, not her.

And on that note, Merry Christmas.

Hooray for drugs

Submitted 12/8/2005 11:57 AM

So, this new medication my doctor gave me makes my joints feel great. However, it does make me more susceptible to getting migraines. Really bad migraines; the kind that include vomiting and motion sickness. I stopped taking it for a couple days and went back on ibuprofen, but it just doesn't cut it any more. So, I'm back on the new medication. I'm hoping if I maintain a consistent eating and sleeping schedule that I can avoid the migraines, because erratic sleeping or waiting too long to eat seems to trigger them. Anyhoo, wish me luck.

Rachel's enjoying working at Target, though she admits that she'll likely enjoy it more after the holidays are over and it's not so insanely busy. It's been too cold and icy for her to drive her Vespa the last few days, so I've been driving her to and from work.

Christmas is coming too fast; I haven't bought anything for my family yet. I've got ideas for most of them now, so I just have to go buy the stuff.

I killed my linux box at home by leaving a search crawler running too often for a few days. I've reinstalled the OS now, but I still have to reload all the old code and get everything configured. It's a bit of a bummer 'cause it is delaying the re-launch of Librarius Metallicus several weeks past when I had hoped to have it done.

Can't think of anything else. Happy holidays.

Happy Turkey

Submitted 11/28/2005 1:01 PM

The drive to Fallon was a bit hard on my hips, but after a few days they seemed to recover. Meanwhile, we had lots of fun with Rachel's family. Two of her brothers and their families came out as well, and several cousins/uncles/etc were over at the grandparents' house across the street. All in all, there were 30 or so folks at Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the rest of the time we spent being lazy and/or playing games. I finished "Invisible Monsters", which was the last Chuck Palahniuk book I hadn't read. I'll spare the details of the plot since you might want to read it, and there could be children reading :)

The return trip wasn't as hard on me, so I'm feeling pretty good today. This new medication my doc gave me is a lot better than the ibuprofen. I can actually walk pretty normally again, which is nice. And even when I'm stiff, it's not as painful as it was for the last few months. Our cat was glad to see us home again; I guess she got pretty lonely after 4 days alone. But Garth checked in on her at least once, so she can't complain too much. Christmas is fast approaching and we're mostly ready. We've even got a tree! Ok, we borrowed it, and the decorations, but still. Turns out Heather won't be coming out after all, so mom's gonna fly down there Christmas Eve. I guess we'll have to try to make it out sometime before they leave for Germany. I haven't seen those kids in a couple years now.

Well, that's all for now. Time to go eat some lunch.

Is there a doctor in the house?

Submitted 11/18/2005 4:05 PM

So, I'm finally going to see a doctor about my joints. So, I'll officially get a diagnosis and can start getting prescriptions. What's funny is my joints have been getting better since I scheduled the appointment. The same thing happened a few years ago when I had migraines. By the time I could see the doctor, they were gone and haven't come back, except for an occasional minor one. I guess if my arm gets chopped off, I'll just schedule an appointment so it can start growing back.

And in other news, our house is being invaded by small, obnoxious creatures called kids. Ok, maybe obnoxious is a bit mean, but you get the idea. My wife is having all of her nephews and neices over for the night as a Christmas present to her siblings. So, I'll be forced to play a crapload of Nintendo with them. The horror!! I tease; it'll probably actually be fun. I'm hoping to get at least a little time alone, though, so I can program the search function for Librarius Metallicus. I need to get that going.

Tomorrow we're going to see our first real hockey game. It's likely to be our last, as neither one of us is a huge hockey fan (or sports fan in general). But we figured it might be fun to try it out once. Plus, we're gonna eat at Jason's Deli, and I can't possibly turn that down. Their potatoes are like the best thing on the planet.

Christmas before Thanksgiving

Submitted 11/14/2005 1:00 PM

My wife and I disagree about when it is appropriate to begin celebrating the Christmas season. I can see her point that if done in the true spirit of the season, beginning early is actually a nice thing. But, as it is, the over-commercialization of the holidays, combined with the fact that each year stores start doing Christmas stuff earlier and earlier, makes me wont for the old days when people cared about Thanksgiving. That's not to say I haven't already started Christmas shopping; I have. But I try to think of it as planning ahead :)

I finally caved and ordered my wife the Power Mac. It should be here soon. It was worth the extra $$ to me to have some potential for upgradeability. Anyway, now she can play Warcraft online with us :) Oh, and her photo/video editing will be much faster, too. I guess that's the real reason for getting it.

Everything's going really well. Work's good, albeit sometimes I feel like I'm being underutilized. Librarius Metallicus is done. We're adding data and reworking existing stuff with new features before we officially launch it. Google doesn't want to index it beyond the home page, and I'm not sure why. I was planning on having google do the search for me, but it looks like I'll have to write my own search code now. Oh, what fun. And to think I didn't get a job because I said I wouldn't ever want to write a search engine. Ironic.

Rachel's begun the Christmas decorating. We borrowed John's tree and mom's ornaments. It's coming together, but is not finished. She also got a job at Target; she's at training/orientation today. I'm looking forward to that employee discount :) Yesterday was the anniversary of the day we met. We totally spaced it, so I guess we'll celebrate tonight. Funny that we remembered last week and today, but not on the actual day.

What else? I plan on revisiting the Star Wars site next, afer I finish this search code and rework some of the internals of my site-building framework. I've learned so much since I started it that I have to change some things. Hopefully, I don't break anything :) I'm gonna really show off my skills with the Star Wars site, so look forward to it.

Oh, we're going to Rachel's parents' house for Thanksgiving. And it turns out that we won't be the only ones. I think 3 of her siblings are coming with their families. And her grandparents live across the street, and several aunts and uncles and cousins are going there. So, I'll be up to my ears in Huntzingers for a few days. Should be fun.

I have a bad feeling about this

Submitted 11/1/2005 4:36 PM

Star Wars: Episode 3 came out on DVD today. I'm stoked. Gonna watch it tonight with the wife, and possibly some other folks.

We saw 'The Weather Man' over the weekend. 'Twas good; made you think and all that stuff. Rachel dug it a bit more than I, but I still enjoyed it. Wallace & Gromit is by far the best movie of the season, though. Just good, clean fun times.

I've been researching Macs 'cause we want to upgrade Rachel's aging iMac. I'm simply dumbfounded at how Apple gets away with doubling the price of everything. It's insane. For example, to add 2GB of Ram to a Power Mac G5, it costs $400 from Apple. If I simply went over to and purchased the exact same Ram, it costs $175-200, depending on brand. That's less than 1/2 the cost!!! I wish I could just buy a barebones system and add my own video card, hard drive, DVD burner, and RAM. I could save at least $500, probably more. But no, Apple likes it's insane profit margins. Anyway, I've never more seriously considered using the pirated Mac OSX for Intel that's floating around the net. But it's still buggy at this point, from what I read.

I got back to working on Librarius Metallicus finally. I am still working on the lineup editor, but I made a lot of progress last weekend. I should have it done by Thanksgiving, or so I am hoping. Wish me luck.