April 1, 2008

The lucky folks back home in Cincinnati appear to be having a snow day in April, according to my self-aware program that automatically updates Planet Xavier to reflect the latest school closings. (pX is a blog aggregator for my high school.)

For Tuesday and Wednesday, St. Xavier is closed. See the school website for more details.

Normally, I’d be quite skeptical, but it snowed a ton there last month, and plus, this program is seriously smart. It even deduced (from the school’s event calendar) that some events would have to be postponed or canceled, so it added a helpful link to the school website for details on schedule changes.

(By the way, you should see what my alma mater’s doing for the 1st of April!)

So pX is back to normal now, though I’ve archived the prank in case you feel like getting a catchy song stuck in your head today. As for me, this little experiment in inane Internet memes is definitely over. Ah, sanity.

February 12, 2007

Caution: High Toilet Water

I suppose we’ll see plenty more where this came from:

Two Edgewood High School students were arrested Thursday and accused of hacking into the school district’s Web site to schedule an unplanned – and unauthorized – snow day.

I think it’s crossed everybody’s mind about forcing a snow day at some point, but the method usually involved having everybody flush their toilets at 7 PM sharp. (The theory went that, if enough people flush, the excess water would overflow into the streets and freeze, thus creating inclement driving conditions and forcing a snow day. It’s actually not that bad of an idea – if you naïvely assume that the sewer system has such low capacity – because frozen roads are so much more hazardous than snowed-over roads.) I guess today’s high schoolers are a lot more sophisticated. And more foolish: if everyone flushes, it’s not like they can give every student a detention for using the bathroom.

Anyhow, you can always count on Planet Xavier to provide accurate St. X snow closing information. Just don’t count on it being the least bit up-to-date. I cooked up a neat little script for my computer that yells at me whenever St. X is mentioned in the school closings, but because I’m three hours behind and there’s no way I’m getting up at 3:30 in the morning just to let you know you’re off school, you’ll have to turn to a less reputable source, like the local TV stations.

By the way, I just love how Channel 9 has a red breaking news banner urgently announcing “10+ Closings As Of 1:54 a.m.” Most of them, like the Appalachian Festival Meeting and the plug for Ultimate Doppler 9, aren’t even school closings.

Thanks to Dawn Kawamoto of CNet for the scoop, via the Finnish antivirus company F-Secure. It’s great how these two blog posts explained the concept of a “snow day” to their Californian and Finnish audiences, respectively.

I’ve been informed that the method for getting a snow day nowadays entails turning around once after flushing. To which I must ask: clockwise or counterclockwise? It makes all the difference.

November 4, 2006

While upgrading Planet Xavier to run on Planet 2.0, I finally got around to fixing a bug that’s reared its ugly head at the site for the better part of a year: entries were timestamped anywhere between five and nine hours ahead, so the latest posts would actually be from a few hours in the future. So, sorry, pX will no longer predict the future for you. But since Planet is no longer in beta, maybe I’ll stop pulling a Google and actually bring pX out of “β” testing. Or maybe not.

Now if I can just do something about the recent dearth of blog posts from current St. X students. Hopefully it’s just because everyone’s on Facebook now. If that’s the case, maybe I can use the Facebook API to syndicate their Facebook “notes” as well. (You’d only be able to see Facebook notes if you’re currently logged into Facebook, of course. Facebook has enough stalkers; we don’t need any lurking around pX too.)

  1. Snow?
  2. Mom, I canceled class today
  3. No more time travel
  4. Shut down
  5. So that’s what that was.
  6. Almost done
  7. Planet 1.0 patch 9
  8. Scooped
  9. Playing catchup
  10. Now it’s a problem…
  11. Losing a little personality
  12. An end to procrastination
  13. One problem
  14. Two problems
  15. Back from St. Augustine
  16. Chronology
  17. On the fly
  18. Not alone
  19. Seniors on Planet Xavier
  20. Going Out: Making a point
  21. Relevance and priority
  22. … shame on me
  23. Working out the kinks
  24. Old stuff
  25. More waste of space
  26. Pardon the sawdust
  27. Coming attractions
  28. Inspector General (or current resident)
  29. Surveying the populace
  30. In agreement
  31. Dropped
  32. A little early
  33. My notes, now encoded
  34. Planet Xavier