In the dark
So, about 8pm last night the lights blinked and the lamp in the corner blew out with a bright flash and a loud snap! After that we were all sitting there in the dark. The power was off up and down the road. Ellie was understandably upset.
After a while she started to get into the spirit of flashlights and candles. We read a pirate story by candlelight (The Ballad of the Pirate Queens) and listened to the radio for a while before we all went to bed. The power came back on about 2:30am.
When I got up this morning, three circuit breakers were blown. The X10 controller on the lamp that blew out was fried (it actually makes sound when you shake it) and one outlet didn't work. When I unplugged the outlet, the prongs were charred.
Luckily, everything else in the house seems to work (including the computers). I replaced the broken outlet this afternoon, so I think we're back in shape. I wasn't surprised about the X10 module. My experience with them is that lamp modules are pretty unreliable. All else the same, I would recommend appliance modules for that reason. I've blown something like 3/4 of my lamp modules in the last 2 years. Not one appliance module has failed.
Geeky math stuff
I use software in my calculus class, some proprietary (not my choice) and some free. One of the programs is an application called Octave. I wrote some improvements for it to support our chapter on vector fields, and this week my changes were incorporated back into the main project. It wasn't a big thing, only about 15 lines of program, but I was really pleased about it.
So naturally, I'm working up more improvements to contribute. It'll be great to have them all included. By the next time I teach Calc III, it's likely that all of the stuff we have to do by hand will just be part of the program. Very convenient.