Friday, July 28, 2006

I hear an echo

I just received the following CNN alert:
President Bush says he would back a U.N. resolution, deployment of multinational force, to end Middle East crisis.
Mr. Bush, you already have a war going on in Iraq. Around 4000 troops had their tours extended and more troops are landing in country1. That doesn't sound like we're pulling out any time soon. Is it wise to be thinking about turning it into a multiple-front war?

If the Middle East decides to test your resolve, the ones suffering are the ones already suffering; our troops. You might want to pick up a rifle and walk the perimiter for a few while thinking this through sir.


1 Quick google for "busy deploy troops iraq" will get you a list. Here's one link.

Happy SysAdmin day!

And many thanks to all the SysAdmin's I've worked with over the years. Make sure you check out SysAdminDay.com!
"Let's face it, System Administrators get no respect 364 days a year. This is the day that all fellow System Administrators across the globe, will be showered with expensive sports cars and large piles of cash in appreciation of their diligent work. But seriously, we are asking for a nice token gift and some public acknowledgement. It's the least you could do."
For those of you, like me, who do your own admin work - may I suggest treating yourself to something fitting from ThinkGeek. Something appropriate like PEBCAK, "Damnit Jim!", "SQL Query" or the ever present RTFM.

And no, I don't get money if you buy. I pimp what I wear. (^_^)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fear

The story you are about to hear is true. Although participants have been obfuscated to obscure their identities...


I ran into an interesting fear this weekend. At least, I'm going to call it that, based upon the reaction I saw in the person I was talking with. We were discussing an event that happened at a family gathering and the person I was talking with made the assertion that they felt that all tall people were dangerous as they could "tear him in two".

For those that don't know me, I stand 6 foot 2 inches and have an athletic build. As you know from reading I work out and do martial arts. The combination of which, to me, means I'm working to better myself. It's very rare I've thought of tearing someone in two and I've never gone ahead and done so.

I can imagine the look on my face that caused him to back pedal saying that "well obviously people who know martial arts could [kill someone if they weren't tall]". The whole scene felt surreal. Why would tall people be more dangerous than short people?

Pop Quiz! Define tall.

Seriously. Take a moment and come up with a definition of what or whom you consider tall.

To me it's someone taller than me, so taller than 6 foot 2 inches. People are "my height", "shorter" or occasionally "damn tall". Oddly enough, it's those "shorter" people that I would say are capable of tearing someone in two.

Why? It's all in your perspective. Did your definition of tall match mine? I doubt it. How we perceive the world is as varied as we are. In this case a "shorter" person was telling me how tall people are more dangerous than others. Given his height, I'm not surprised, I would bet most of the population is taller than he is, thus, making it easy to worry about "all the tall people" in the same way I would look more at "all the short people".

Funny how those fears take root when you don't take time to look at why.

Friday, July 21, 2006

World of Warcraft stealing money from the industry?

No, not embezzlement. I wish I could find the original article talking about it (but thankfully I did find another mentioning it). The idea being that the success and draw of World of Warcraft (and I'd argue EverQuest, EVE, etc.) keep people from purchasing other games.
“For retail PC games, I think the biggest problem is World of Warcraft,” Sullivan said. “It is such a compelling MMO game that it sucks up a lot of money and time that would normally be spent on other retail PC games.”
That quote hits the nail on the head. I don't think WoW is stealing money from the industry, rather, the gamers are comparing their experiences in WoW to a $50 purchase that may only last 12 hours as a single player game.

I admit to this myself. I used to buy a PC game a month at the height of my gaming addiction (and I swear there were enough good titles to buy at that point!). Now, I only buy those that really catch my attention.

Give you a recent example, Prey. I thought the game sounded very interesting, so I tossed it up on my Amazon wish list and figured I'd pick it up as my birthday rolled around. The game released and my friends online started posting reviews. So did everyone else on the net, the game has about 8 hours of playable content, fun content, but for $50 I expect a little more than 8 hours.

Instead of complaining that people aren't buying PC games anymore and that WoW has 'stolen' from the industry, it's time to look at why WoW is holding onto gamers. The answer to that will bring things around again.

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

"But you're Strong..."

I was heading upstairs on one of my normal breaks from work. Needed to refill the water glass and defill myself. As I'm heading from the bathroom to the kitchen my son runs up and hugs my legs.

"Up please," he looks up at me from just below my belt. When did he get so tall?

I reached down and picked him up. "Dude, you're getting heavy."

"That's okay Dada, you're strong." He says as if there was no question that I could lift a car like Mr. Incredible.

"Thanks," but before I start saying his name he continued.

"Not like Mommy," he looks me in the eyes, suddenly serious. "Every time Mama picks me up she says 'ugh'".

*ROFL*

Truth is, Mommy does that on purpose because it makes him laugh. I didn't tell him that though.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Tribute

A good week for pass alongs. This one is a video dedicated to all our troops, past and present. They didn't waste words, so I wont either: Watch it here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Some things just need to be passed along

From WeirdTechNewsHub: Top 10 Worst URL Flops we have a list that you have to go look at. Definitely adds one more thing to be careful of as you choose a new domain.
7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always
www.ipanywhere.com

Hmm, which one wins?

Funny how many things we consider normal are paradoxical...

On my town website you get the following pop-up from the electric provider:
[We are] experiencing peak use. While loss of service is unlikely, please conserve energy at this time to help keep electric rates down. Thank you!
Now, from the Weather.Gov website, for the area:
...DRINK PLENTY OF WATER AND TRY TO STAY IN AN AIR CONDITIONED ENVIRONMENT. PLEASE ALSO CHECK ON ANY ELDERLY NEIGHBORS OR FAMILY MEMBERS THAT LIVE ALONE.

* Pardon the caps, for whatever reason, Weather.gov hasn't invested in announcements with lowercase letters.
Since I work from home, do I conserve energy by not turning on the AC and muscle it out or turn on the AC to stay in the right environment? Perhaps I should call in hot to work and turn off the PC. *laughs* Yeah, I can imagine that conversation with the boss.

For what it's worth, I may not have any elderly in the house but the kids have been looking like small balls of mobile condensation so the AC is on until the T-Storms hit.

Come on T-Storms!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Writers block sucks...

Honestly I have been trying to post lately but most of what's been going on has been off limits or things that just didn't click with what I had wanted to write about. I'd love to have put up that I placed at Foxwoods, but that's not yet to be (anyone with suggestions of how to practice multi-table tournaments with the silly bill coming around, let me know!).

Aside from work, things have been quiet. I'm going to have to take a deeper look at what will become newsworthy... got a suggestion, post it!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Finally upgraded my internal network...

I finally upgraded my internal network to a Linksys (Cisco) WRTG54GL. Why so specific? I had been reading about the open source project DD-WRT for a long while now and finally hopped on the bandwagon. You need to make sure your router is supported before jumping in and flashing it.

The article that tipped the scale for me was over on HackAttack and since my allowance was still burning a hole in my pocket I shot over to NewEgg and got the router. Upgrading was as simple as the article said, flash it with the mini version, then the full version, and start configuring.

There are too many features to itemize here. Simple put, my little router went from "oh that's nice" to "thank god that's one less thing I have to chase down later". Geek nirvana in many ways. It was a fun little project. Aside from changing the wireless security, it was plug-n-play for my network.

A very nice upgrade if your in the market.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs

Now that I've relaxed while driving to and from the tournaments I've been enjoying the local scenery. This past trip 3 signs caught my eyes;

I'd love to know why in Connecticut the fine for littering is $219. Not $200 or $220, but $219. I'm sure there is a committee somewhere that knows the answer, but that just cracked me up.
Can't you just see some guy telling his wife; "Aw man, That's $1 over my $218 limit!"

There's a farm selling "Haywood". I'm pretty sure they mean hay and wood as the punctuation was there, at some point in history. For a few miles I sat there wondering what "haywood" as a product could be. New style of Duraflame log perhaps?

There's a reason you should think through renaming things after famous folk. I'm sure Al Gore is very honored by the graveyard, but "Gore Graveyard" just brings the wrong mental images to mind.

* Bonus points if you recognized the song from Tesla (or The Five Man Electrical Band depending upon your favorite decade) for the title of the post.

Nope, didn't place...

Another trip, another few lessons learned. The first of which is that I'm not wearing shorts next time. Man did they have the AC amped in the new Foxwoods' poker room. How bad? When I walked out of the casino (after busting out) into the early afternoon my glasses fogged over. Explains why I was shivering.

I have no complaints on my play, think I over paid on one hand and that loss cost me the rest of the tournament. The two hands I ended up going all-in with while short stacked were, of all things, pocket Queens!

The first time all-in I had the guy, unfortunately, the poker gods weren't smiling on me. The community cards came up, A-3-5-4-2... and the entire table, myself included, laughed.

Second time, the guy who called me was priced in. At 150/300 with 25 ante my "450" wasn't enough to scare anyone away. His K-4 didn't catch one, but two Kings (the turn and river) and I was out. Not sure on where I placed in this one, was a lot harder to 'see' the tournament and I was ready to go after the bad beats with the Queens.

There's always next time.

Monday, July 10, 2006

And what about life?

Life? ...whadda ya mean life? ...i aint got a life.
-Megadeth from the song Captive Honour
It's interesting to me how MMO's like World of Warcraft and EverQuest have become havens for studies on human behavior and interaction. Ongoing studies like the Daedalus Project continue to look at how MMO players reflect what's going on in the real world. Not surprisingly so has the media with news of players that stop eating and end up killing themselves, literally, because they can't let go. To players who are landing real life jobs because of their experiences in game (too bad I can't find the link to that story now! *sigh*).

Having just hit the "end" of the leveling in WoW I've been able to sit back and look around the landscape and there are some very interesting parallels between what the game becomes and things that happen in real life. If I told you that if you dedicated yourself to your job, gave it all your time, you would be rewarded with better things for your home, a new car, perhaps even enough to put a few of your kids through school, would you give up all of your spare time, even time with your family to achieve it?

A number of people would. Think of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, etc. the pinnacle of the US mentality of rags to riches. These are the examples we're shown of how to do it - give up a lot and down the road reap the rewards. If your lucky.

In games, just like life, if you want to be the best it will require you to give up your time to grind out the items and money, virtual in this case, to get those "things". The people who dedicate their time and energy to doing this will have the best "things" in game and will be looked at like the "Bill Gates" of the online world.

Trying to convince your parents and friends that having an uber Tier 2.0 set is cool is rather like telling your friends you can speak Klingon. They're going to question your sanity - unless they're into it to.

Guess this is another of those Art imitating Life ideas; Even in games we need a bit of luck and a lot of time to make things happen and as with real life the ones that will be most appreciative of the accomplishment will be those that have struggled to achieve it - virtual or real. I do wonder, will those people with the dedication in a virtual world translate it outside of it?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Why a week off?

Talking with people about the workout I do always prompts interesting questions. "Are you training for a marathon?" always tops the list, and the rest tend to be from people looking to lose weight or tone up and asking about specifics of what I've done.

No one, yet, has asked why I take a week off after every six. Honestly, it originated with my first workout video who stressed having down time. At that time I didn't understand why, but I really looked forward to that first week off. It was a hard six weeks starting the boot camp videos. No surprise considering that I could do maybe 10 push-ups, no pull-ups and forget the run.

It's been almost two years now exercising and watching what I eat. 50 push-ups is the norm, I'm still working on the pull-ups (closing in on 30) and the run peaks at 6 miles. Even after all this, I still take a week off.

Why? To eat what I want? Run when I feel like it? A little, I wont deny it. I certainly enjoyed the box of Hostess Cupcakes this week, but mostly it lets me refocus on why I'm doing this and what my goals are. What do I want to do with the next 6 weeks? Add more miles? Focus more on the regular workout? Lose weight? Who knows, but by the end of the week I have figured it out and I'm ready to keep going.

I don't believe in going full tilt 100% of the time, you'll burn yourself out. Whether that's work, exercise, or chasing your kids around the block - you need time to decompress and refocus. I did one run this week, six miles, and it felt great and I was very motivated. Compared to last week where I was pushing for every mile because I was mentally "done".

Thursday, July 06, 2006

What's in a firework?

As I stood with my kids watching the show I found my mind wandering to what the meaning of the fireworks really were. The kids saw a beautiful show of colorful sparks that flew through the air. Daddy was sitting there remembering all the troops, past and present, that gave us the gift of being able to sit here and watch the show.

Each flash brought my mind a little further distant from the room, thinking of the men and women who were dodging real fireworks, the kind that were aimed at you instead of away from you. They weren't with their family, watching a show, they were with their units hoping to see their families.

I thought, for a few moments, about telling my kids about this and decided not to. There is plenty of time for them to have to deal with reality - for now, they've been given the gift of innocence, they should be allowed to enjoy it.

What's in a flash?

It's been a long time since I've been able to go and see the fireworks. Mostly, it's been that the kids have been too young to stay up till it was dark or that we didn't have enough people to carry them back to the car if we did push them to see it. It was a pleasant surprise, as I was putting the kids to bed on the 4th, to be able to see the local town show out of my son's window.

My daughter, perched half on and half off of her top-bunk and my son standing on his bed to see over the trees blocking his view, and I watched as the finale unfolded in front of us. My son covered his ears at each report and finally gave up doing that and just kept his ears covered, the whole time his eyes were glued on the horizon watching the colorful explosions.

"Look Dad! A flower!" This time, my daughter, who I didn't know could defy gravity but, once again, proved me wrong, yelled as a nice red one went off over the trees. They were both mystified and intrigued. It was the first time they had gotten to see fireworks and I had lucked out to be there with them.

It was a nice ending to a very tiring day.