Monday, December 17, 2007

What is the universe trying to tell me?

Winters in New England are always an adventure. After the last two storms we have a good foot and a half of snow with a 3/4" thick ice ridge. So far, we've already had one ice dam result in a leak. Rah. Think I found that one.... Still, after it rained in my cellar (looked like one of those displays from the mall on my wall) a few years back I've been paranoid. When we found the leak, out I went to clear off the snow around that vent and fix it up.

No problem. Well, except for falling down the stairs. Icy they were ow. Up and cleaned, no problem. Then the universe dropped another storm on us. Ugh.

Okay, I can see the dams forming I'll go up and clear them off. Off I go. Have I mentioned I hate ladders? Took me years to realize it's not a fear of height I have, it's a fear of control - or lack there of. Ladders worry me as they aren't as stable as I'd like them to be. Still, up I went. Got through all the tough stuff and up onto my deck where it's only a few feet....

Does it count as falling off a ladder if the ladder slips on the slick deck causing you to evaluate gravity's focus on the way down? I landed with my legs pinned under one rung and around another - no breaks. Never hit my head, banged my arm, which I'm guessing is where I slapped out on the ladder.... Damage? Nothing major, I'll heal. And that blur of motion was all of my training going out in a woosh.

Still, job done.... but two falls in three days. Universe is telling me what exactly? *shrugs*

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Remembrance 2008

Please excuse that this is linked to any presidential candidates campaign - it's the message that had me in tears.

It would be the greatest gift to our troops to allow them all to have this reunion.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

When did you get so old?

After Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas and before the kids were all in bed, my son announced that he was ready for his own room. I knew this because as I came upstairs with the laundry my wife was busily reorganizing the playroom to make room for the bed that was partially in the hallway.

I knew this day would come. My eldest daughter had convinced my son, much before he was ready to move out of "the kids room", that he wanted to do this - it lasted an hour. This was his idea though - it might work.

I watched as my wife did her imitation of a bulldozer through the messy floor of the room that used to be the toy room. I helped move the box-spring out of the "girl's room" and get it settled in the cleared space in "the boy's room". My son settled it, only wanting to trade his small stuffed tiger for a much larger Sully (from Monsters Inc.). I let him have both, some rules can be broken on special occasions.

We said good night, and closed his new door partway. Unlike the room he's been in he had no clock night-light, so the only light was that leaking in from the other rooms. I went downstairs to ponder when he got this old. As my wife came down she let me know that two of the cats were on his bed, keeping an eye on him.

And he slept through the night, no problem. I feel like I missed something, or, maybe, I'm just feeling like a parent.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Glad that's over....

Bad days suck. Bad weeks, rarer, but suck even more. Bad months? Yuck. I'm glad to see November pass into the history books. Even with the wonderful holiday, the rest of the month was an exercise in creative diplomacy. Work. Home. Hobbies. It felt like anything that could go wrong did - and loudly so.

What do to during those times? Run? Withdraw? Start Drinking? Nah... tough it out. My father-in-law once told me during a rough patch that life is a pie made of 50% of the best pie ever, and 50% $h*t. You will eat the pie, but the choice is yours what you eat. Sometimes, you get to eat 100% $h*t for a few days, or weeks. It's hard to stay focused that it will come around, but it will. Giving up is what dooms you to it.

My other favorite quote during these times is from Winston Churchill: "If you are going through hell, keep going"

Stopping only leaves you where you don't want to be. Still, I'm glad it's over. Building some muscles sucks. I'll leave it at that.
In other news, my youngest daughter is convinced that there is only one thing to say to someone when they are a bad driver...


lol.... No idea where she got that from.

Welcome to December!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A new blog, some new fun!

No, not me. I've stumbled across Dumb Little Man - Tips for Life and am enjoying it. The post that got me today was How to Spot Myths or Old Wives Tales from a Distance. If you are like me, and since your reading this you probably are, you get your share of questions and forwards from folks that you know is complete trash, and yet, people forward to you as refined internet gold.

Normally I'll push back gently and teach folks how to use Snopes (and kudos to those of you reading who now use it as a litmus test before forwarding!). Normally though, it takes years to drive a good Snopes spike through the myth vampire. It hadn't occurred to me that people may be being misled because of a lack of information on how to spot these scams. With that in mind, a few snippets of wisdom from Dumb Little Men!
3. Is the source reliable? Who is telling you this information? Are they likely to know the truth about the subject? More importantly, if they are just passing on information, is their source reliable. A classic old wives tale will start with the phrase, "They say that...”. This is an attempt to sound authoritative without the onerous task of actually being authoritative.

When someone tells you "They say that 60% of businesses fail in their first year and 95% of online businesses don't make it past 6 months" your alarm bells should start to ring. Who are They? Why don't they have a name? Can I contact them or refer to their research to see if their claim is correct?

4. Does it match with reality?
Sometimes there are opportunities for us to test Old Wives Tales in the real world. This happens when we can compare the claim with what we observe for ourselves.
"If you let a baby cry itself to sleep, it will develop separation anxiety"
Look at a few cases of children that have been allowed to cry themselves to sleep and see how they have developed. If you see examples that have grown up into well adjusted children, then you know the Old Wives Tale isn't as water tight as it sounds. A dozen cases cannot conclusively prove an old wives tale correct, but just one or two might disprove it.
Check out the article for all 10....

Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 Child's Play is up!

The 2007 Child's play charity drive is on. Go make your donation! ;)

Since 2003, over 100,000 gamers worldwide have banded together through Child's Play, a community based charity grown and nurtured from the game culture and industry. Over two million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children's hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.

This year, we have continued expanding across the country and the globe. With over 45 partner hospitals and more arriving every month, you can be sure to find one from the map above that needs your help! You can choose to purchase requested items from their online retailer wish lists, or make a cash donation that helps out Child's Play hospitals everywhere. Any items purchased through Amazon will be shipped directly to your hospital of choice, so please be sure to select their shipping address rather than your own.

When gamers give back, it makes a difference!

Friday, November 02, 2007

There's a blanket in the freezer....

If you ever wonder how your kids are going to turn out, I can clue you in; They will be as weird as you, their parents, are.

Last night we were putting the kids to bed and having a bit of the "I forgot my...". Normally the rule is, if you don't remember it, you can forget about it - this was an exception night, so I went off to find my son's blanket. The one he has had since he was too young to know he had it.

I couldn't find it. Thus, I used the innate magical abilities that are granted to Fathers everywhere and cast my spell of searching; "Wifey? Have you seen Kyle's blanket?"

"Yes. It's in the freezer."

Come again? "Uh. Ok." I may not understand why, but I know a "I'm sure I know" tone when I hear it. In the freezer, above the frozen veggies and below the frozen meats, was one semi-frozen blanket.

"I put it in there once over the summer and he loved it," she explained. Anyone tell him it's November and not August?

I brought it back to my son who quickly turned it into a pillow/wrap.

"Dude, that's cold." I said with all the wisdom of my position as Father.

"I like it that way!" He said, and rolled into it a few more times for good measure.

Odd, but how often is that likely to happen? Being weird myself, I went into the freezer this morning for some ice and there his blanket was cooling for tonight.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

An interesting view of the web....

This one is too big to post. I do like how the "Eye of Google" (Sauron) sits between OpenSource and Microsoft.... Requires some decent geek knowledge to decode. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


For every great man,
there is a woman behind him
rolling her eyes.

From Bruce Almighty

I couldn't stop laughing... so true.

Monday, October 29, 2007

That's how....

I've written here before about trying to teach patriotism or honor. These concepts don't lend themselves to a board book from Dr. Seuss. How do you tell? I found an answer this weekend.

Our local paper had an article talking about how some students a town over were working to get one million letters for our troops overseas. They had gotten the local bank to put donation boxes up where people could drop off letters for the troops.

My wife mentioned this to the kids. The eldest went over and grabbed paper and pencil and started drawing a picture and writing a story for them. The other two, seeing this, started in as well. In the end, we had three "letters" (with a lot of parental closed captioning for the younger two) that were ready to go.

.... and that's when I realized how you tell if you "got it right".

Thursday, October 25, 2007

5 Stages of WoW addiction?

Caught this interesting "5 stage" image over on WoW Insider talking about a post over on the Daedalus Project. It's interesting to think about where members of our fledgling guild (Disciples of Delusion over on Kael'Thas) are in that progression. Some are clearly in Entry, others in Mastery/Burnout.

Oddly enough, we have a few that are in a stage pre-entry, not quite engaged fully, but enjoying the game. Others are hitting Burnout, but not on what's listed, rather on the "I need a group to hit Instance X and my luck with PUGs is < 0%".

I guess I should read the article! *laughs* Weighing in at 9 pages of webcontent, I made it a few in and like the graph best. ymmv.


At what point do you cross from fan hobby to director? BloodSpell is a feature length movie shot in the Neverwinter Nights world. Although a machinima in nature (and nicely built on a chapter basis so you can watch part and return later), it has taken me a good week of casual viewing to see all of it.

It's a good story, and I'll leave the summary to the creators:
It is a story of a world where men and women carry magic in their blood, and spilling it can unleash terrible power.

Where these "Blooded" hide in fetid slums from the Church of the Angels, commanded by their divine masters to "cleanse" the Blood Magic.

Where choices are fraught, alliances rarely safe, and blood is all.

A young monk named Jered flees the Church when his own Blood Magic is released. Now he must survive the pursuit of the Church, the gladiatorial pits of the Blooded underground, and the hidden truths of the ancient struggle. The choices he makes will tip the balance of the war between Church and Blooded, and change his world forever.

Mixing a vivid world with fast-paced action and punk attitude, we think BloodSpell will be like no film you`ve ever seen.

Thinkgeek ftw!

I admit it, I am a ThinkGeek junkie. How can you not be? T-shirts and gear that are current and continually changed at internet pace to keep up. Yeah, they may be simple one liners on a fixed color background, but I wore my "Lag" shirt into the ground. Today's ThinkGeek RSS feed drops this fun one; "Your ringtone sucks"

Amen reverend! It's an epidemic! Something in the gene of mobile phone users lately. A good 80% of the ringtones I'm running into are the retro-analog-telephone ringing. It's like watching prairie dogs pop up looking for hunters every time I hear that tone - all the people with it grasp for their phone.

There's a reason for this folks: Your ringtone sucks!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Memorable quotes...

When I started with U.S.Robotics, before it was acquired by 3Com, my manager had a poster of quotes up on his office wall. To this day I can still remember going in and seeing it, even if I can only remember one:
The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
I was reminded of this quote when I ran across this old Apple ad. I had forgotten that Apple had run this. It's old enough that they still had the multicolored Apple logo.

Sometimes, perhaps being a little more unreasonable is an option - as long as your doing it to nudge things in a better direction.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

They have a new album!?

A nice piece of machinima using aspects of L70ETC as well as an interested advertisment for Nightwish. A very dark story, you've been warned.

I got turned onto Nightwish thanks to a Pandora station that I created. A nice fusion of many of the aspects of music I like, but don't find often enough.I didn't know Nightwish released a new album last month! Damn iTunes, now I own it. Too easy to buy music now *laughs*

Latest arrival....

This is [soon to be named] a 6 week old kitten that joined our zoo family yesterday. She joins our 3 kids, other 2 cats, and dog.

Thus far, she's still a little shy. She prefers to stake out one spot and watch. She has, however, much like her eldest cat sister, shown the 75lbs dog that the 1lbs kitten can hiss and claw with the best of them. One hiss now, and the dog backs up!

Doesn't stop the foolish pup from coming back in for more though - he's dense that way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No dialog and you can still tell a story....

An excellently done piece of machinama done in WoW, but not needing Wow to understand. Enjoy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Summary of WBCOOP....

My best showing to date, I lost it in the 3rd hour. Good lessons learned, and cheaper than learning them at Foxwoods. Still stings that I was 20 places out of winning *something*. There is always next year!

My performance in the WBCOOP over the years.....
2007: 101 out of 1324, played 4 hours.
2006: 1653 out of 2247, played less than an hour
2005: 360 out of 1471, two hours

Sunday, October 14, 2007

WBCOOP Tournament Notes and Reviews.....

The game started at 3pm eastern with 1324 players, and a 10k stack of chips. Top 80 places get prizes. I manage to win the first hand with a raise preflop and a small pocket pair. Already, 30 minutes later, I can't remember what the cards were.

My first table bounce was 24 minutes later and we were down to 1268. My first table was pretty tight, the largest stack was ~12k. This one, multiple players with 20+k. I'm still bouncing around the 10k starting chips.

I finally broke into the 12k range with pocket 8s after floping a set. Didn't go past the flop. Soon followed by my Q-10 beating up on one of the chip leaders with Q-9 for an 8600 chip pot. He took it back soon after though. That's poker, back to my 12k from 16k.

1st break. I am 443/952. Average stack is 14044, I'm ~1k below that. Not bad so far. We lost 372 players in the first hour. Largest stack is 104650, smallest 375. 100k? talk about right place right time. Break is over, and in we go!

We are now 200/400, at the 5th blind level. Rapidly find the 933 placed player as his pocket JJs lose to QQs. Thankfully, not me. Although I stupidly played back at a tight player and lost 2k *sigh*

Down to 902 players, Q7 lost to QQs. Haven't seen many hands recently, still around 10k.

Another table bounce. I'm on the low side here. A few 40+ and 30+k stacks. Down to 880. 800 more to go before anyone is in the prizes.

Ick, down below 10k now.... blinds are still 200/400, no ante. At this table, though, I'm a good looking snack. Doesn't help I'm the short stack at 9k. Hmm..... I go all in with AK (16:24) ... and I'm up against... AK. We split. Rah. Long way to split the blinds.

16:27 my first kill, My AJ knocked off a K-low. Back to 14k, and still short for the table.

16:33 up to 28k, out of the young lunch zone. My A8 (two pair) bet up on one of the big stacks 10-5 (two pair). Down to 729 players, another short stack at the table gets eaten alive.

16:42 and down below 20k we go.... a few bad plays, and a few outplays. Getting interesting now. Large stack at the table is 58k. Pushed it with top pair, K kicker. Back over 20k.

16:50 I have 50k! I just tripled up with my pocket 2s. 2s full of jacks on the river. Sadly, I thought he had me beat with trip jacks! Doh. I'm now 2nd in chips at the table.

17:01 another kill and I'm over 60k, barely. He went out in 468th. My A-J beat his A-lower. Two more deaths at the table we we're down to 459 players total. I'm still 3rd largest at the table.

17:08 just laid down pocket Js preflop. Would have lost my shirt too. 67k pot before it got to me.

2nd break; I am 40 of 415. Avg stack is 32k, I am at 63k. Stack range is 161k to 675.

Back now 500/1000 ante 75. I get pocket 10s on the button. Sadly, nothing comes of it. Something didn't feel right, bailed out after the flop.

17:22 down to 45k. Let pocket 7s beat up my 6s. Doh. Back to 50k by 17:26.

17:31 down to 347 players now. Large stack at the table is 80k. I'm back to 55k. Wow, we have an admin watching the table. Wonder if he's blogging about us?

17:47 Wow, back to 2nd largest stack. The 80k imploded down to 30k. Getting expensive now. 750/1500 with 150 antes.

17:51 down to 264 players, observers are talkative now. Getting down to the "interesting" time.

17:58 broke 70k as my flopped straight turned into a flush with a straight flush draw. Down to 238 as another player dies.

18:02 99k stack landed at our table. I have pocket Ks. I doubled through him, 143k. He had pocket Qs. He's now down to ~20k and says it's his 2nd or 3rd bad beat to cost him the 6 figure stack. Now 1000/2000 with 200 ante.

3rd break I am 15 out of 188. Average stack is 71k, and I am about double that. Stack range is 263k to 5k. Not bad at all.

And we're back 1250/2500 with 250 ante. AJo to open. Nothing much happens.

18:31 down to 179 players.

18:34 I just killed another. Up to 180k, I liked that guy too. Bloody P. I'm second stack at the table. Two of us around 180k. 170 players left. Seeing empty seats, and slow to fill kills. Getting down to the wire.

18:47 Have our first official "I'm waiting for the money" perma-sitting out player. Ick.

18:48 down to 134 players.... over 200k now, my pocket Js worked out against the other live leading stack.

18:53 down to 150k, gotta stop playing medium hands against that guy. Now 2000/4000 with a 400 ante. And I thought my blinds got ugly...

18:59 down to 125 players.... 81 is where the first prize is. I have 155k still. 4th largest at the table now.

19:08 down to 100k in stack. Ouch. Play is getting vicious. Now 2500/5000 with 500 ante.

19:11 losing more cash on being in hands where folks go all-in around me. Alive though. Barely. Haven't seen much in the way of hands, and have played them poorly. Ouch indeed.

19:14 bad call, down to 50k. Shoulda let it go against the new guy. Kicker wars, he won.

19:15 sucked out the river, back to 100k

And finally out in 101st place..... Very close.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Now that, I didn't see coming....

First, Radiohead allows their fans to choose their own price for an album, causing an interesting to watch storm of PR. Then Nine Inch Nails dumps the recording industry in total, going away from the mainstream. Today? Madonna.

As a fan and a techie I've been watching this battle since Napster rocked the boat and iTunes changed the world. Even Amazon now has MP3 downloads - what a shock, we were right, digital downloads were here to stay. Seems everyone but the RIAA realized that.

I wonder how the landscape will change if/when more bands and major stars push for a change. Will the RIAA start suing Madonna as well as 85yo grandmothers for file sharing?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Nintentdo "giving away" Wii remote jackets...

No, this isn't a spam note. If you own a Wii head over and get your Free Wii Remote jackets. The idea is another layer of no-slip protection. Heck, it's free and the kids drop the remotes... I'll take it!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

WBCOOP 2007!

Finally! Was wondering when/if this was going to go off. Time to go find out how I do this year. No matter what, it's always fun!

Texas Holdem Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7833286

Friday, September 28, 2007

Very Apt.....

Muddy Road

Tanzan and Ekido were once travelling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

"Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

From 101 Zen Stories. Minor editing on my part; the original "do near females" didn't make much sense.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Pavlov was right....

Man, it's easy to not realize how well you respond when the bell is rung. Lately I've been exercising some long dormant management and team lead skills. Lets face it, sitting for five years in your basement only IMing with one or two people, and working on one project at a time isn't a high stress environment. Great for grinding out tough tech problems, lousy for social interaction.

Also lousy for recognizing bad habits. Lately I've caught myself mentally gulping when I converse with my new manager. I hadn't put 2+2 together until this afternoon; each time I had had a similar conversation with my old manager, he had found a way to prove how everything was my fault. After five years of that, when the IM bell rung, I knew I was about to do something wrong - even if I hadn't.

Another bad habit outed and about to be squashed. How many more? Probably a few, but they will all get squashed. Good to be back to abnormal again.


"Do you expect me to use emacs?"
"No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to vi!"

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007


Yes, I bought one, before the $200 price drop. Why? I'm not a Apple fan boy, although I have become a convert after my Mac book Pro. Still, I was looking longingly at the iPhone before that. Honestly? I have no good reason. For once, I chased the Jones'. No matter what the reason, it was a definite upgrade to my phone and a supreme class enhancement from the Craptop.

It's been a month now, what are my impressions? I'm hooked, most people I show it too get that "omg I would so get one if...." look, and it's amazing how much it silently integrates into your life. And no, I'm not going to show the Miss Teen USA clip again!

I haven't been bit by changing from Verizon to AT&T. The call quality is the same, if not improved in many ways. Yes, the edge network sucks, which is why I set up WiFi when I'm at my friend's houses. Everything else works, camera, calendar, etc. and it all sync's nicely with the Mac (sorry, haven't bothered to try it on the PC).

Can you do most of this with a decent phone? Sure. Does it have the Apple iPhone ease of use? Not yet, give it time though. I can see people getting infected. When I hand people the phone and start showing them how to interact with it, they are instantly hooked. It's much easier to deal with the touch screen than it is to navigate through the various click-menu's on a given phone.

Enough rambling, so one anecdote and out; I sit down from time to time and browse reader on it - a smaller version of what my Dad used to do with the newspaper. Only now my kids crawl near me, surround my head so they can see, and start asking for videos they know exist on YouTube (everything from ROFLMAO to Little Bear).

As long as it isn't Miss Teen USA again, they win. My daughter's comment when I'm browsing Reader is "Ugh. Too many words."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oh the pain!

Looks like "Military Intelligence" has a new challenger!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

For the WoW folk....

Here's what my UI looks like after all the addons...

Told you I'd get around to posting it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

Sorry, that field can only contain....

Too funny. I was reading the headlines in Reader this morning and ran into this headline:

I realize that Gateway hasn't been doing well, but $710 seems low - they could get more than that on eBay. This minor levity brought to you by the headline field in Reader that says ~32 characters ought to be enough for anyone.

For the curious, the full article is 'Acer to acquire Gateway for $710m'. Now you have to wonder if Acer is being over charged.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Exactly HOW?

From a young age I've grown up around firearms. I've yet to see one jump up and kill someone, but as we all know from the media, "Guns kill". Well, this paranoia has taken the next illogical step forward. Check out this article in the USA Today entitled "Ariz. school suspends boy for sketching gun", here's part of the article:

School officials suspended a 13-year-old boy for sketching what looked like a gun, saying the action posed a threat to his classmates.

The boy's parents said the drawing was a harmless doodle and school officials overreacted.

"The school made him feel like he committed a crime. They are doing more damage than good," said the boy's mother, Paula Mosteller.

The drawing did not show blood, bullets, injuries or target any human, the parents said. And the East Valley Tribune reported that the boy said he didn't intend for the picture to be a threat.

Italics added by me. Drawing a gun is a threat that can get you suspended? Zero tolerance indeed. We've lost track of creativity as well. I used to draw huge war scenes.... I'd hate to see what that would land me if I went back to school.

At what point do we realize that all the paranoia in the schools isn't going to help - you need to fix the families, the parents, who aren't involved.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dear Verizon....

Dear Verizon,

I would like to thank you for your generous offer to have me come back to the most reliable network provider. Your $25 off of a phone offer certainly gave me reason to consider returning my 8gig iPhone. After all, getting another LG that drops more calls on your most reliable network is most compelling. Still, you can read about that on your tech support calls, so I wont rehash it here.

I would also like to congratulate you on how fast this offer got to me. I have had my new iPhone for 5 days and you have already put in your counter offer. Where was this speed and agility when my wife broke her screen on her Verizon phone? That was when you told us we had to buy her an entirely new phone as replacing the screen as just as expensive. At that point I wanted to deal, and I offered you a 2 year commitment for 2 new phones, if you could wave the 1 month left on our "new every two". You said no. Oddly enough, had you said yes, I would be locked into a contract with you instead of AT&T.

After 10 years I believe I have figured you out: You promise a reliable network, and you never promise good customer service.

I'll take my chances with AT&T.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The sad thing is....

I'm with him! I won't ruin the punch line. ;)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Geek am I

That's what the wife keeps calling me after my latest purchase. I have no reason or excuse other than I "wanted one". I never bought an iPod, but I did buy the iPhone. Trust me, it's an upgrade to the craptop.

Still playing with it, but already hooked. Setup was a little murky in that I had to go to an AT&T store to get a confirmation code, but I think that the credit check used your existing payments from iTunes, for which I had none, so nothing to check against. Once I had the code, it was all good.

I suppose the truly geeky thing would be to say that this post came from the iPhone, but I'm not that bad . . . yet! *laughs*

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The End. Lessons Learned...

The Craptop has passed into the hands of another. I can't help but feel that I've been playing a game of Jumanji and I just handed the curse to someone else. Still, they got a deal so hopefully it wont irk them as much. Perhaps it'll even work now that it's been "repaired".

I doubt it.

If you do ever eBay as a seller here are my tips;
  • Don't respond to the spammers - You can be flagged as one too!
  • If your auction ends, and the winner is invalid - Report it immediately. If you don't your auction will likely be canceled.
And, oddly enough, all of the "Nigerians" (my appologies to real Nigerians) I met were scam artists. I wonder if "Nigerian" is the new "Hells Angels" name on the 'net. A gang instead of a country....

Sunday, August 12, 2007


This is one of those blogs you've either heard about, or not. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground. I'll let the latest video speak for

Friday, August 10, 2007

There was one Patriot in the audience

And people wonder why I'm trying to teach honor and patriotism to my kids.

The Saga continues....

Nothing bad this time... the laptop still hasn't been shipped out of my cellar, and the auction hasn't been blown away by eBay. That much is okay. I'm in the midst of sending out second chance offers to those bidders that "didn't win" but did bid. Sadly, half of them list their shipping address as Nigeria reducing the number of potentially real buyers.

Cross your fingers!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

We're not dead yet!

I'm starting to understand the eBay algorithms, I wonder if I can write a book and.... anyway. The last auction is still live, even with 3 of the bidders being scam artists. Instead of my auction being deleted, like the last few, the invalid bigs are being deleted.

The difference? I sent one email complaining that my winning bidder violated the terms of my auction and that I wanted him removed so I could issue Second Chances to those folks who didn't. While eBay responded to that, other bidders in my queue were deleted, but not the auction.

Keep your fingers crossed that one of the buyers still wants it! Second Chance #1 times out in a few days.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The eBay saga continues....

Another 5 day wait, another auction completed, another person who wants me to ship it to Nigeria. Uh, guys, "Only ships to the USA" means what it says. eBay feels like a candy shop for scam artists. I'm waiting for eBay to look into my winner, declare my auction a bust, and then I'm going to try a different site. 20 days so far on eBay, 3 completed auctions, and no humans to be seen. I've wasted more time waiting for things to be tossed out than I have trying to get it sold.

This last one has the winning "yeah right". The winner listed themselves as living in the US, but when you go to invoice them, an entire address in Nigeria. I have to ask these people using Nigeria as a scam location - knowing that the moment most web folk see the word Nigeria in an email or auction they figure its a scam, you'd think you'd use a different country? Anyway, so I write to the winner and say "This auction stated only shipping to the US. Please retract your bid" and I got back "please its just your help that i needed i will explain later to you." [sic].

Right. Sorry, not going to give you my bank account so you can send me millions of dollars that you need to sneak out of the country but that you'll split half with me. Ugh.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

eBay should hire me....

I am a magnet for scam artists.

To no ones surprise, not even mine, the 3rd listing was finally canceled. The owner of the account that sent me the "Please ship to Nigeria" had bid on at least a half dozen other items, and tried similar scams judging by their feedback page. What a jerk.

At least this time, I could see the scam in action. Thus far, 3 listings, two "completed" auctions, and still the item hasn't sold. Even worse? I had an interested real buyer that got screwed by the scam jerk too! I can't even contact them to tell them I put up another auction. Complete pain in the @$$.

And people make a living on eBay? I can't say I see how......

Monday, July 30, 2007

And the saga continues...

The Auction completed and I have a few bids. You'd think I'd be happier. Unfortunately, the first buyer now wants me to ship my "I only ship to US" to Nigeria. He even sent a quick payment via PayPal and changed the shipping to include for overseas payments.

All good, if you skip the "only to US" part of my auction. Oh, and that I can find no record of the PayPal transaction on PayPal, only in his email (no, I didn't use his email to verify it - seen enough URL scams to know better).

I've put it back into eBay's hands. We'll see what they say. I'm hoping we can drop this bidder and move onto another one and not have to relist it for a 3rd time.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

George Patton speaks out on the war on terror.

I'm sure he can speak for himself.

Sadly, I will be telling the grandkids I sat on my @$$ and blogged about it. Lesson there kids; the consequences of a choice, will be with you your entire life. Make the one that suits you best -- often, that may not be the right one.

Who's home are you improving?

I was talking with a friend this morning about the book Improvised Lock Picking. The word book is a bit strong for what I had. The book was short, bound together with paper slightly thicker than the pages and was more a review for someone who already knew what to do. Honestly, you needed real lock picks, I'm not McGyver. As we were talking I went to see if Amazon had lock picks for sale and the results cracked me up.

Lock Picks are a Home Improvement!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lvl 70 ETC....

I've been enjoying this video from Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftan. If your not into WoW, you may not get the reference.

"I am Murloc"

And the winner is....?


The auction completed yesterday afternoon, for a decent bid. I started into the final steps, sent out the invoice and shutdown to get ready for Martial Arts. The universe blessed me with some free time after dinner before class began, so I went down to play video games.

I checked my email. eBay informed me that one of my bidders reported that they lost control of their account. The auction has been deleted and all activity expunged because of the invalid account bidding. "Sorry" said the email. Somehow sorry didn't make it any better. Another 7 days down.

I've put auction v3.0 up. Here's hoping this one can go off without a hitch. If not, [expletive deleted] eBay, I'll go take a shot on Craig's list.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cross your fingers!

Today is the day that my eBay sale of the craptop completes. Thus far there have been 3 bids, from two different buyers. Two real questions, and 8 scam attempts (is nothing safe? yeesh.).

Is the saga over? Or is this the next chapter.... we'll find out this afternoon!

Friday, July 20, 2007

This could be the end of the world.....

... of warcraft.

Not really.

The episode is up for an emmy for Outstanding Animated Program. If you've managed not to see it, go check it out (the jump is funky, it'll come up). Even my non-WoW playing friends enjoyed the episode, and those of us who play still quote it all too often. Seeing the SouthPark friends babbling in Elwynn still cracks me up.

Time for a Pandora plug....

It's been awhile! Really. Unless you recently started reading you know I love Pandora. I have many stations tuned to everything from "my normal music" to things I didn't know I liked until it popped up on another station. This morning I was reading the Pandora blog and it was talking about instrumental only stations... silly me, I hadn't thought of putting in an instrumental tune I like and tweaking the station to play only instrumentals.

After a few seconds my Instrumental Rock station was formed. Been on all morning. Currently it's playing a tune by Joe Satriani. Gotta love it when you learn new tricks.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

eBay v2.0

The auction for the craptop is back up and running. Not sure exactly what I did to trigger eBay's fear rules. I was "restricted", not suspended. The difference being all I had to do was jump through a few automated hoops based upon my personal data and I was back and running. Mostly. The auction was shutdown and I had to restart it. Doesn't look like eBay charged me for the aborted auction though - that's a plus.

There is already one bid out on the craptop. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the end to this saga. The optimist in me is hoping to get enough from the sale to get a new iPhone (okay, shoot me I said it) and a Wii for the family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ongoing Story of the Crapware....

Finally got off my tail and rebuilt the crapware and put up an entry on eBay. I seemed to get some interest, at least, if the interest wasn't spam. I answered questions, etc. and then eBay took my listing off and is requiring that I validate my account.

Even when I'm not using the laptop it causes trouble! If anyone wants it, $600+s/h and you can have it!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

WoW Addons...

Here we go!

These are the addons that I use while playing WoW. All links will lead you to

Adds a "sell all the junk" button to vendor windows. It only sells gray items, and you can configure it from the defaults. Makes chasing "where did that junk go" much easier.

Instead of 5 different bags (or worse in the bank) this mod condenses all your bags into one "space", allows you to search it, and view your other characters (including banks!).

Helping answer that "should I roll on this BoP?" is EquipCompare which brings up your current item (or items) next to this new item. Got a new BP and not sure if it's good? View it, and next to it will be your current one so you can compare the stats.

Very nice mod when everyone has it. Allows you to see the healing/damage/etc. that your group is putting down. Still the most fun at the end of the night to show that it was the mage that required the most healing, not the tank. *evil grin* Allows for syncing of multiple data sources so the entire party's view of the battle is taken into account.

Helping you to realize that if you cast one more spell the 70 elite is going to come and squash your clothness is the Threat Meter. Like DamageMeters, works best when all members have it.

I recently started changing how my default UI was laid out. As a hunter, I wanted to do a few things that the default layout wouldn't let me do. Bongos lets you customize, tweak, resize, and generally break a lot of "rules" you thought were fixed for button bars.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I am a Mac.

Suppose I could be riding the wave here, but with all the iPhone talk I figured I'd chime in with the "okay, what ya been doing?" answer... At my new job I now work on a Mac book pro. Yup, as far as Bill Gates is concerned I've gone to the dark side. Of course, there are a few tools that I would recommend when you land your new Mac - especially if you are coming off of Windows.

Adium is Trillian for OS X - a one stop IM application that can aggregate all your IM contacts into one place. I have friends on AIM, ICQ and MSN. No problem. Adium had a few IM protocols I had to go look up!

I had been using Launchy on Windows, which was inspired by QS. Both applications search, and index information and applications on your HD. You can then launch QS, key in a few letters, and bring up anything from your favorite website to an application. QS wins where you can now take it a few steps further. You can chain QS commands into actions. So I can say, take this file, and move it to, this directory. And it's done. No Finder, no drag and drop, just keyboard.

On Windows I had been using jEdit and Notepad++ for text editing. While the built in Apple text editor was okay, I missed having tabs for editing (I'm not a multiple-window guy) multiple files. TextWrangler filled that gap and does very nicely. I haven't tried it for code, I still fall back to VIM - don't bother selling me on Emacs, it wont work.

There are a few more that I'm playing with to get things settled, but nothing worth mentioning till I get more into them. And yes, if you ask me about the Mac, "It just works." If you haven't tried it, you wont believe me. I can see why the catch phrase is so overused.

But is the RIAA listening?

I've been saying this for years, glad someone up the food chain has a similar view:

So who killed the record industry as we knew it? "The record companies have created this situation themselves," says Simon Wright, CEO of Virgin Entertainment Group, which operates Virgin Megastores. While there are factors outside of the labels' control -- from the rise of the Internet to the popularity of video games and DVDs -- many in the industry see the last seven years as a series of botched opportunities. And among the biggest, they say, was the labels' failure to address online piracy at the beginning by making peace with the first file-sharing service, Napster. "They left billions and billions of dollars on the table by suing Napster -- that was the moment that the labels killed themselves," says Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of management company the Firm. "The record business had an unbelievable opportunity there. They were all using the same service. It was as if everybody was listening to the same radio station. Then Napster shut down, and all those 30 or 40 million people went to other [file-sharing services]."
I added the emphasis. This is from a Rolling Stone Article entitled "The Record Industry's Decline". The store of the recording labels is one for any entrenched business model - at some point you will be obsoleted and trying to push the genie back into the bottle wont work. You will be left behind.

Anyone want to tell the oil industry about that?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Come again?

Interpretation left up to the reader.... I'd be curious to see the committee that approved that one.

New B5 movie in the works!

Check out the preview over on the Official site.

Times change. Dangers remain. 10 years after he became President of the Interstellar Alliance, Sheridan prepares for a fateful Babylon 5 reunion that could prevent Earth’s impending doom…if he will also compromise his core principles. Meanwhile, commander Lochley confronts an unexpected interloper on the way station – a being whose presence makes the B5 freeport the crossroads between heaven and hell.

A little more digging and you find out that it will be a DVD release available July 31.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sounds and noise....

It's been busy. Mostly because I've been back to putting in a real days work, which is a nice change, but hasn't left me the time I'd like to do things, like, well, you know.

I'm sitting here listening to the soundtrack for Pirates of the Carribean 3. There is a scene where all our major characters meet for parlay and as they walk to meet each other we go from the normal orchestral pirate themed music to.... ready? A western.

Yup, you could as easily of pictured the Stranger walking into a town to this music as much as Jack, Elizabeth, Will and Davy Jones. I loved it, awesome change.

Ah well, back to work. Pick up the soundtrack if you like the movies. See the movie if you haven't.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It's all connected....

"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system."

This has become known as Gall's Law and can be found in the book Systemantics: How Systems Really Work and How They Fail.
This is from The Poker Shrink's latest article over on PokerNews. What struck me, is that my first though wasn't about Poker, it was about work and how true this was. A simple system, that is grown into a complex system (and I mean intentionally!) works nicely. A system built complex from the start inevitably fails too meet some of its goals.

My last job had a few systems like this. Our original product was "built in two weeks" by my former manager. It was still living when I left the company. I worked with it for 5 years, and it had close to 10 years on it before that. It was a simple system that was grown to be overly complex and needed a redesign. It worked, but it failed to meet a number of its goals.

I wrote, during my first year, a complete replacement for it. The replacement failed, it was too complex. We had lost that simple system that made the original so good. The complexities that plagued the elderly version weren't replaced or lost, they were brought forward and modernized. So we got a modern elderly version wth the same problems.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I agree!

Off on my normal tour I ran across a piece from NPR: "Top 10 Secrets They Don't Want You to Know About the Debates". Most of this you should already know, or at least, not be surprised by. But this one comment had me doing a "Yes, we do."

(7.) The secretly negotiated debate contract bars Kerry and Bush from any and all other debates for the entire campaign.

"Under what I call the Debate Suppression and Monopolization Clause of the contract, it is illegal for the candidates to debate each other anywhere else during the campaign," Rice says. "We need a new criminal law for reckless endangerment of democracy."

I added the color emphasis. She's right. We really do need a law that punishes for reckless endagerment of democracy. I can see a number of politicians that would have enough of these on their records to make "hardened criminals" look like petty thieves. Go one step further though, receiving one, only one, excludes you from holding a public office.

Somehow, I don't think our leaders would let that one through.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New schedules

I had been reading a post (too bad I lost the link *laughs*) about how to "add days to your year". The author was advocating getting up early, getting moving, etc. It's nothing new, and I'm sure you had heard about this idea before. With the new job I had been giving it some serious thought.

For the past few weeks I'd change my alarm to different times depending on if I was commuting to the office, working from home, or heading to class. It was annoying. This week I decided it would be set to one time, and left there. I now get up before most of the house does.

Today was the first day where I didn't have my commute to work but was up. I moved onto "Week 6" in my training schedule from last year and started the day with a 2 mile run. Managed to put my best per-mile time up for the year thus far.

The world at 6am is quiet. There are a few walkers, some people driving, and not much of the ambient noise I'm used to when I run. That and it was cold, relatively speaking. It was 60 instead of 90. All total, made for a nice start to the day.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

ut-oh, I recognize most of these....

Browsing the blogsphere today lands me at "15 (Painfully) Unforgettable cartoon themesongs". Hmm, I must be getting old. I look at most of these as "Yeah, I remember watching that".

Transformers? He-Man? Tiny Toons? Animaniacs? TMNT? Batman the animated series?


Enjoy. The links, after the jump, are to YouTube (mostly) for the opening credits.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why not!!!?!?

Took the weekend and rebuilt all the software I lost when my ill-fated $100 linux box revealed why it was only worth $100. Starting Friday night and continuing through Saturday morning, evening and Monday night, I rewrote all of the software I had. Thankfully the "done it once already" rule applied and a lot of it was remembering some tricks in XSLT that I had to overcome.

The fun, as it turned out, was getting the PERL XML::Checker module working. More precisely, getting Cygwin to compile it. There are some assumptions in the CPAN module that make perfect sense in most distros - but in Cygwin it's more minimalist - you only get what you want/need. And GCC isn't one of them and the errors thrown by CPAN's makefiles don't make it intuitively obvious.... but after a few hours of "wtf this should work" I finally saw the one line, amidst 100s, that said "gcc not found" and off I went.

Friday, May 18, 2007

They're not coming for energon this time....

There are a few movies I'm really curious to see this year. We're taking the kids to see Shrek the Third tonight. It'll be there first opening night at the movies. I hope Dreamworks doesn't let us down, but it doesn't really matter as the kids will have fun. Then, we have Pirates of the Caribbean 3 coming out - I want to see how they tie off the story. None of those have really grabbed me as much as Transformers (new previews on Yahoo!).

I was, and have been, a big fan of Transformers (well, all but the last one on Cartoon network - the rework of the first release in an anime style missed, imo). When I saw that they were doing a movie with human actors, not a cartoon, I was very skeptical. That lasted till the first preview.

From the previews this looks like the people from Terminator 2 and Godzilla got together and decided to take on the story of Cybertronians. Although, this time they're not trying to go home, it looks like they are trying to take over. Decepticons attacking the world, Autobots defending it. Sounds like a good 4th of July movie to me!

I can't wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Code of Silence

def Code
print "of silence...."

Been getting the "what's up with the new job" and "have you stopped blogging?" questions a lot. The new job is going well. Between that, and sorting out the new schedule around it, I have been busy enough to forget to post. I wish there was a quick way to stuff ideas into the queue for later, but aside from booting up, getting to blogger, and editing a draft all my ideas lately have died at the "I have to boot the computer?" stage.

This is my first post being written on my new Mac. As part of all the changes for work, this is the really big one. I'm still OS agnostic, but I'm getting really hooked on having access to all the open source tools I want as well as a very solid default set from Apple. Quicksilver rocks.

The rest I'll have to write up later. For now, back to work!

P.s. If you get the joke, well, you have proven your geekness for this week.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pain helps learning?

For Christmas my wife got me a "play system". One of the many things being tossed around was a $100 server good enough for a home linux system. I have been running Ubuntu and a few toys on it since. I trusted it enough, and had backups of the main files that mattered. Nothing went on there that wasn't recoverable.... or at least that's the thought.

The HD crashed. Okay, where are the backups? I had backups of the files I needed from before I moved them to the laptop, small changes mostly, no big deal.... um.... where are the backups? Oh, thank you Norton, when you backup the C drive of one system and the C drive of another system and place them into the same directory you get..... yes, one file. As in, last one in wins. Ouch.

Guess that was lesson one.

Lesson two; If your linux system drops the filesystem into readonly mode run backups before restarting. Ouch is the lesson for that one. I had access to the files I needed, but "assumed it would reboot" as it always had. No such luck, the partition information (looks like logical sectors 0 and 2 got smoked) is gone and although I have found some tools to rebuild it, I can't write it back to the disk!

Seems that dd_rescue is able to copy it off so maybe I can get lucky. Once I find a disk to copy it to... I don't think it'll all fit on my 1gig flashdrive.... although I'm going to find out.

Tools to remember....
testdisk by CGSecurity -- Found my missing partition information. Can't write it back because the disk is fubar.
dd_rescue - a better dd command, it'll keep running even with errors.
Knoppix live CD -- has bailed me out more than once, and did again. Comes loaded with testdisk and dd_rescue. Knew I kept this live CD around for a reason.

*back to praying....* I knew M$ would get even with me for having more than M$ OSes in the house!

Monday, April 23, 2007

It's not snowing!

Ok, I do live in New England, and it's still April, so I should really say; "It's not snowing today!" I'll take it. It wasn't a bad winter but I've been sick of snow since Mother Nature started her menopausal bursts in January. 20, 80, 30, Snow, shorts.... ugh. Pick a temperature!

It was a very nice weekend. Almost tempted me to break out the summer clothes. The pattern for this year though is chaos and snow wouldn't surprise me. Got some nice spring cleaning done. Grass seed and patch is done. Garage is completely reorganized. Windows are open. Life is good.

And only 5 days left at work. When the opportunity for my new job hit I was surprised more than anything, I hadn't expected what I found. Then, as I got the hard sell to stay from various departments, it got me thinking about why I was really leaving. They were right, even to my ears, the answers I was giving didn't add up.

It took awhile but I realized that I've been "staying with it" for a long time now. Perhaps it was a little Stockholme Sindrome. Who knows. Whatever term you'd like to apply, it was a challenge I had to understand and overcome. I feel much more like myself than I have in a long while, and that's a good thing.

If you find yourself in one of those positions were "it's not all bad", "I can deal with this", "It's only a temporary thing", take some time to figure out if that's true or if your hiding a deeper problem. No matter the answer you find, you'll be better off for it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Yeah, me too....

I've been hooked on Desktop Tower Defense for a couple weeks now. I couldn't give you a good reason for it, it's just fun. Simple browser based flash game with very simple rules and a really growing community.

Here's the blog post that finally got me to admit my addiction *grins*. As many authors have said, if you have the right personality you are going to want to avoid this game. It gets very addicting trying to survive the final few waves.

You've been warned! lol

That's worth linking too...

An interesting read. I'll give you the opening paragraph and you can go read the rest:
When did America become a nation of frightened wimps? When did we cross the line from courage to cowardice? Was it sometime in the 1990s? After the Oklahoma City bombing? After the Columbine shootings? After 911?

I should really write when I have the ideas....

I think the worst thing is realizing the number of ideas I've had to write about and forgotten the substance of by the time I sat down to write. I am understanding why writing teachers pushed you to keep a journal, a few notes on an idea would really help.

There have been a good half dozen stories I have spaced on. Perhaps I should steal the craptop from the wife when I need to write some notes or *gasp* use some paper. Heh, lesson learned.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Better Lesson

As reported over on Snopes:
In September of 2005, a social studies schoolteacher from Arkansas did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, she took all of the desks out of the classroom. The kids came into first period, they walked in; there were no desks. They obviously looked around and said, "Where's our desks?"

The teacher said, "You can't have a desk until you tell me how you earn them."

They thought, "Well, maybe it's our grades."

"No," she said.

"Maybe it's our behavior."

And she told them, "No, it's not even your behavior."

And so they came and went in the first period, still no desks in the classroom. Second period, same thing. Third period. By early afternoon television news crews had gathered in the class to find out about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of the classroom. The last period of the day, the instructor gathered her class.

They were at this time sitting on the floor around the sides of the room. She said, "Throughout the day no one has really understood how you earn the desks that sit in this classroom ordinarily. Now I'm going to tell you."

She went over to the door of her classroom and opened it, and as she did 27 U.S. veterans, wearing their uniforms, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk. And they placed those school desks in rows, and then they stood along the wall. By the time they had finished placing the desks, those kids for the first time I think perhaps in their lives understood how they earned those desks.

Their teacher said, "You don't have to earn those desks. These guys did it for you. They put them out there for you, but it's up to you to sit here responsibly, to learn, to be good students and good citizens, because they paid a price for you to have that desk, and don't ever forget it."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The color of the day is Green.

Rather apt for a spring post. Now if Mother Nature would stop dropping white on us. Seriously though, I passed my belt test. The fears, like my blue belt, are in the past. It was a fun test. You know you've hit a new exercise plateau when you are running laps going "Good. This is easy."

More of a mental test for me this round. The physical, as you probably guessed, was "easier" - that's not to say I wasn't completely physically fragged, I was - but I was dealing with other aspects of growth that weren't muscle related.

I'll post more details when I get some more time. It's been a busy few months. Lost the pony tail, new belt, and now - new job! I think that covers my "things come in threes" for this year.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

It's all in the accounting...


Question; I'm guessing we're talking about the Christian/Catholic (sorry I still can't tell them apart) King James Bible here, which doesn't chronicle Satan's activities. So is this really a fair graph?

Lies. Damned Lies. And Statistics.... yeah.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Every time you install, or even open, a piece of software you are likely accepting the cryptic terms of a EULA. There are all kinds; GPL, Creative Commons, and so on. Some are more or less restrictive than others, but all tend to say the same thing: "If we broke it, it isn't our fault. If you found a fault in it, it's your fault."

Into this comes the WTFPL license. I'm going to reproduce the license exactly as it appears on the source website, if you are easily offended (and think the real meaning of WTF is 'what the fluke' or some such) you might not find this as funny as I did.

Version 2, December 2004

Copyright (C) 2004 Sam Hocevar
14 rue de Plaisance, 75014 Paris, France
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim or modified
copies of this license document, and changing it is allowed as long
as the name is changed.



That would be one license that I'd have fun reading when I installed the software. I wonder how many filters would/will block its text due to the colorful metaphors.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The News

I've been a fan of JibJab since their 2004 "This Land" skit (here's hoping for another good one in 2008). This one is dead on as well.

Without further ado, JibJab's "What we call the News"!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Facing the Demon

My next martial arts exam is a little over two weeks away. This exam has grown in importance to me. As part of my training for this rank I was able to confront one of the demons from my childhood; my fear of letting go.

I stand 6' 2" and have an athletic build. I have no problem picking up an adult and tossing them into the air. I've always been strong, and it has always worried me. I have many memories of "not using much strength" and hurting someone inadvertently.

Superman summed it up well;
"I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always taking constant care not to break something, to break someone, never allowing myself to lose control, even for a moment, or someone could die."
It's a demon that has always haunted me. I have always tried to be in constant control. I always visualized it as trying to keep a demon in a box. Problem is the demon is always looking to get out. It presses against the box, finding the smallest crack and lashes out.

Truth is, in bottling it up I made it worse. What happens when you place a sleeve with specific weak points over an explosive? When it explodes the weakpoints collapse first channeling the shockwave. Instead of an occasional "oops" with a normal kid tweak, I would try to push the explosion back through the weak point and then repair the box. I imagine now that the box looks like it was marked fragile and sent through ACME Mailers.

That all changed as I worked toward this rank. I had to learn the real lesson; that control is being able to consciously choose what you do. The difference between the explosion choosing a random weakness and you channeling what you need of it to do what needs to be done.

Even knowing how much I have learned I am nervous worried scared ... I am going to face this demon head on in that test. I will be mentally and physically tired and I will stand up and face it. I will learn exactly what I have learned.

I'm still afraid that I will break some cardboard.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Yeah, that about sums it up....

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bawls + Pepsi = .....

A Monday? Or you can go and see how much Caffeine you've been sucking down over at The Caffeine Database. Originally I remember this list being a lot of fun to look at and compare who had the better caffeine drink, with this release there is a calculator so you can go and see that if you have chugged a Bawls and a Pepsi (regular) you are Alert and have consumed 118mg of caffeine. If your looking for a comparison, that soda intake still hasn't caught up with a cup of coffee - and you coffee drinkers wonder why you can't get started without that addiction! *laughs*

Thursday, March 15, 2007

You're kidding, right?

It was a very nice day yesterday. Nicely in the low 70s, the sun was out and only those wispy clouds you associate with a nice blue sky were present. On my run everything had melted to the point where I was annoyed when I ran across a section that hadn't melted as most everything else had. I put on 3 more miles and watched the people that were also out enjoying the warm spring day.

And tomorrow, it is supposed to snow. Doh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

And so it begins...

First two miles of this year! I felt less sore yesterday. Finally got out to take advantage of the weather and (re)start running. Between the weather and my own reality, I hadn't been able to get out and run. It was good to get out again. Not too bad for the first run either.

"I'm not dead yet!" *laughs*

Monday, March 12, 2007

Always off by one...

Welcome to the modified DST. If you are stuck with it like we are you had to make this past weekend. Overall it went well, although I am glad we've had some warm weather lately. I forgot one clock in the house - the one that drives my space heater in the basement. Thankfully it was only 59F when I got down here. Not too bad.

Seriously! Last week, even with the heater, the day would start around 55F. Warms up quick enough, but those chilly weeks make it interesting typing.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Odd for me, but....

In a chain-email today I found an interesting tag line. I'm sure a few of you will be shocked I post it... which is a good thing. *grin*
And remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American Soldier.

One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.
I think our souls are pretty safe, lets hope our soldiers are dying for our freedom and not something else.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

(In)famous quotes

The kids are in high gear on the funny quotes department today. The first one will take a little background. At my martial arts class there are a few of us that are singled out to "received old school training" - in other words we get a bit more abuse than the average student. Where a regular student will only feel the wind from the strike, we'll feel it. Honestly, I consider it a gift - if you learn to fight but never take a hit, how will you survive that day that you are forced to use what you have learned and do get hit?

During February vacation my Daughter and I went to class early to help out. As part of that class she earned a free individual lesson for winning one of the contests in class. She's scheduled to take advantage of that individual lesson this weekend and she and I were talking about what she might learn.

"Perhaps you'll do more of your stick form," I said smiling. "Or perhaps [our master] will just beat on you."

"Yes," she said without looking up from the work she was doing with the refrigerator magnets. If you turned on your universal translator you'd realize that she meant "either sounds good".

"You can tell we go to the same school," I said between chuckles to my wife.

Odd thing to be proud of? Not at all. I am very proud that my daughter has overcome her fear of our instructor and now looks forward to practicing with him. She will learn how to punch and kick, and that will serve her well. Learning to overcome her fears will serve her even better.


The second one goes to my youngest later in the day. We are the landing zone for my wife's brother's first child when they need to go to the hospital to have #2. Since the little one hasn't slept over our house before, we scheduled some time for her to come over and get a taste of it before the big event.

I walked into the kids room to see my wife and youngest playing. I noticed that the portable playpen had been set up and couldn't resist bothering my daughter.

"Do you sleep in there?" I asked her, motioning toward the playpen.

"No," she gave me her already-patented-at-3-years-old 'Dad are you nutz?' look. "That's for crying children."

I couldn't stop laughing...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


To really understand this story, you have to realize that the music I listen to is mostly "hard stuff". Metallica, Guns'n'Roses, Creed, Godsmack, and so on, you get the idea. Not surprisingly, my kids have grown up around it.

The first hint of this was a few years back when we were in the car and the kids were having an overtired-meltdown. My wife put on a omg-why-are-we-listening-to-this channel of soft, slow tunes. You know the stuff, it's what a typical cartoon or movie puts on when they are lulling the antagonist to sleep. It didn't work on our kids, they were still screaming. I gave my wife a look and slapped in a Metallica CD and turned it up. Within a couple minutes they were asleep.

Yeah, I laughed too, mostly at my wife's "Huh?" expression. Our kids grew up around Metallica, not Barry Manilow, they're used to sleeping through it. Lesson learned, and a trick we use when we need everyone to calm down.

Last night as I was changing out of my gi I hear some Metallica in the background. I thought I had left the radio on in the living room, but as I started walking toward the living room, the music got quieter not louder. I walked back toward the music and it led me into the kids room. I had wondered where my Metallica S&M CD ended up! It was in the kids room, playing on their radio - with all of them soundly asleep.

Monday, March 05, 2007

You're kidding, right?

I got the crapware booted up last week, started patching and doing all the stuff you have to do when the company reformats your HD after a motherboard upgrade. Rah. Nothing unexpected. I get the patching done, shut it off, unplug and get ready to carry it upstairs when I realized I needed to add a few more quick things. So I try to power it up.

Yes. Try to power it up. It wont power up - no LEDs either. Now, by this time I had had it plugged into the AC for at least 12 hours to charge the battery. Nope. Looks like the battery is dead.

Call up Alienware: "Batteries only have a 1 year warranty." Oh, and their tech's saw the bad battery during their inspection of the system and did not tell me. They are willing to send me a new one, in 4-5 days, for an addition $100+S/H! My cost.

I put the rep on hold and walked around to calm myself from going "Drill Instructor" on him as he would likely hang up. Mentally I reviwed the fun: I bought the 3 year on-site agreement that sends has sent no one on-site. I've sent the system back for repairs 4 times, each time taking two to four weeks round trip. Between two of those trips was a half dozen OS rebuilds, by me (remember on-site didn't send anyone on-site) before it was diagnosed as a memory issue and sent back. And, after all this, they wanted to charge me $100 for a battery.

The end result after I refused to pay and wanted to go up the food chain? The battery is being shipped out for free, "only this time". I had hoped they'd take me up on my idea of buying the laptop back and letting us both go our separate ways - no luck there. I guess they figure after the warranty is up (next year) - I can't bother them anymore.

They've got that right: I only make mistakes like this once. They wont get another purchase out of me.


That was one busy week. Held three events last week at our place, then took a small break, and my eldest Daughter and I did a martial arts demonstration with our school to end it all. The family now needs a weekend. Too bad it's Monday already.

Since it is Monday, I'm sure we could all use a small smile. Go check out Drug Dealers vs. Geeks. A simple comparison between Drug Dealers and Geeks.

All I can say is; Damn! Damn! *laughs* Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Science vs Faith...

Obviously, from a scientists perspective... ;)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

And we replaced....

The FedEx guy was just here and dropped off the "fixed" Alienware. I haven't booted it up, but reading the tech's report is fun...
  • Duplicated your problem
  • Diagnosed additional problems
  • We replaced your Motherboard ...
  • ... and your memory
Sounds about right, I think the PS was integrated and if it did indeed implode I'm not surprised that it shocked (bad pun?) the memory.

Through it's not quite 3 years of life the following has been replaced:
  • The screen, a week after I received it.
  • Memory, twice. Once last year, and again this year.
  • Motherboard, this years adventure.
In other words, if we add a case, a few fans, and a keyboard they've ended up building me a new laptop. Ouch.

Shall we take bets that the motherboard was faulty and caused most, if not all, of the problems I've encountered? We'll find out.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pics on the new system...

Finally got around to uploading the shots of the new rig.

"Look Ma! It's a geek puzzle!"

"Thank God I didn't frag the CPU."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Status on the Craptop....

This is a lot funnier now that I have the new rig in place. Here's the timeline for the latest repair of the craptop. In cronologic order, otherwise the irony would be lost...
  1. Feb-07: RMA approved after proving to the tech that I indeed have a clue and a broken laptop.
  2. Feb-13: FedEx shows that they have delivered the craptop
  3. Feb-14: I get an email from Alienware telling me I have an RMA and I should ship my laptop. Um.....
  4. Feb-22: FedEx sends me an email telling me that a package has been shipped to me
  5. Feb-22: Email from Alienware saying that they are working on my laptop. Um....
  6. Feb-23: Email from Alienware saying that they fixed it and will be shipping soon
Not sure which is the more ironic: That FedEx communicates the status of Alienware better than Alienware or that I still don't know what they did to "fix" my craptop. Guess we'll find out next week. After all, I paid for an on-site 3-year agreement that must have been what guarantees my fixed laptop is always shipped ground. After 16 days, what's another 7-10?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Inspector Gadget, Beverly Hills Cop...

It's more confusing when you don't see the embedded video coming up. Check it out. I wont ruin it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A positive quote on Generalists...

One of the things I've struggled with during my career is lack of being a specialist. It's not me. I don't evangelize a language, platform or concept. Some folks I've worked with were "C or nothing" for the language, "Windows only" on the platform, and "I can Manage anyone!" - you get the idea. That's never set well with me. Why lock yourself to one set of ideas when your best defense of it is "because". My kids attempt to use that one word excuse - it doesn't work for them either.

Unfortunately, from my experience, our culture thrives on Specialists, not Generalists. So it was very interesting to me to run across this quote over on Bob Sutton's blog.
Generalists, people with moderately strong attachments to many ideas, should be hard to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have weaker, shorter negative negative reactions since they have alternative paths to realize their plans. Specialists, people with stronger attachments to fewer ideas, should be easier to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have stronger,more sustained negative reactions because they have fewer alternative pathways to realize their plans. Generalists should be the the upbeat, positive people in the profession while specialists should be their grouchy, negative counterparts (page 526).
It's left me thinking, hope it does the same for you.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Friday "Santa" visited. Sorry kids, he didn't really come in February - but it felt like it for me. While the craptop is still stuck in Florida confusing techs, my new system is up and running! I had a fun Friday night building up my new rig. I'll post some pics once I get the camera back (birthdays win priority over blog posts!).

Until then, this is the first post off the new system. Why the heck did I ever buy the craptop.... oh, when asked to name my system I found there was only one good choice...

... Lesson

And a well learned one at that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Reactions to the haircut...

My ponytail wasn't 3 feet long and if you didn't look, or go behind me, you probably didn't notice it. I've been into more than one meeting with customers where you could watch their emotions go from "Ah. Nice, suit, haircut. I'll forgive the lack of tie." to "Ponytail?!" and finally to "But he has a clue, okay, never mind". It's been similar having cut it off. Many folks assumed it was there until someone said something or they crossed behind me.

Here are some of the fun ones:
  • "You cut your hair?" *incredulous look*
  • "Turn around!"
  • "NO! YOU DIDN'T!" Two of the girls my daughter takes Martial Arts with were a bit miffed at me.
  • "You look more like your son now." Yeah, he has a short haircut too. We still looked alike.
  • "Why?" This question is not just asked by your 2yo now.
  • "Lose something?"
and my favorite so far....
  • "I hear you cut your hair and you are building a computer?!" My brother-in-law after a mutual friend, and blog reader, let him know. *laughs* Thanks, made my morning today.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I pulled the trigger on the new PC. Everything, winter weather not withstanding, should be here for Friday and I can have some fun putting that puzzle together. Should be fun, I haven't built a system since the one that my kids (and I right now) use. Always fun seeing how things have changed. Geek am I.

The Alienware arrived at the main office a few days back. I got an email saying "Here's your order status. Please ship us your laptop". Not sure what kind of Two-Face style message that is. I did try to call this morning - went through 3 levels of menus to get to "We're closed". I'll try again later. I honestly doubt they've looked at it yet.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Enough Mystery....

Most folks have seen me by now or are asking "what are you talking about?!" after my earlier post. No, I didn't shave my head, but the ponytail is gone.

I had been asked when I had it "Why" and many folks are asking the same question now that I cut it off -- interestingly it tends to be the same people asking. Anyway, I never had a real answer for "Why". I could never answer the question myself. Sure, I found answers that people could understand; "I'm 1/3 Native American", "Why not?", and for the guys "Don't worry, I'm sure your wife will tell you size doesn't matter" (man did that irk some). Truth is, I didn't have an answer. It was time.

I don't have an answer for why I cut it off either. It was time.

Interestingly enough, I had the ponytail for 1/3 of my life at this point. Cosmic causality perhaps?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Building a new desktop...

I'm sick of wondering if my craptop is gonna startup, how long it's going to work for, and since the warranty runs out next year I'm screwed when it does implode next year. Yeah, a little pessimistic but since it has had at least one major error per year since I got it, there's no reason to expect otherwise - unless they send me a brand new craptop after they look at it (don't hold your breath).

Into building systems? Check out the build I have for my new rig (link is to a NewEgg wishlist). If ya got an opinion, be glad to hear it!

Never an easy riddle

I have been asked for 10 years, Why? Truth is, there was no single reason. I didn't consciously go out and decide to do it, life led me that way and events collided and it happened. Similarly, the end of that era (wow, 10 years!) has a similar answer. There is no single reason, it's time.

Feels weird though. I wonder if Samson had a similar reaction.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Almost made it a year...

Two months short. If you've read my rants on this particular PC and peeked at the keywords you know what's coming; My Alienware laptop is on its way back to Florida. My $0.02 says the power supply decided I was playing WoW too much and gave up.

Yesterday evening I was playing along and I started smelling "something wrong". Those of you who have experienced this know what I mean. It's not smoke, but the melted plastic smell is unmistakable. I quickly powered down and checked the fans. Nothing wrong.

This is where you can tell I worked in IT. Upon booting up I immediately backed up my system. While the backup was running I noticed the "charging" indicator for my battery was on. Odd, as I was running on AC power. I watched as the battery discharged while "charging". I'm willing to bet when it hit Zero is when things ended. The system clicked off and nothing I could do to bring it back to life.

I know I've said it before, and I'll say it again; Never, never, will I buy another Alienware. I've tagged all my posts, at least one problem per year since I bought it. What a pain.

Oh, and if you buy that extended "3 year onsite" warranty - ask when (hell, if) they would come onsite before purchasing it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A neat overview....

I dislike the "Web 2.0" name, it doesn't say what is really going on. This video does.

Enjoy. I found this over on DownloadSquad.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"What are your thoughts on Vista?"

Part of being a tech is fielding these types of questions when the next release of a Microsoft product comes out. Thankfully, I have developed one simple rule that has worked for me since Windows 3.1:
If the version number ends in .0 don't install it!
Vista SP1 is already in the works and is rumored to be set for a release later this year. This is why I do not run and install new Microsoft releases. There will be one major patch before it is stable and by that time we'll know exactly what we're getting into.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Feature or annoyance?

There are a lot of birthdays to track for our family. The current webpage I use has 76 friends and family on there. For the techies, it's a javascript page that dynamically generates those birthdays coming up in the next 3 weeks so we can keep track. There's been a random bug that's been driving me nutz, every so often birthdays would stop showing up.

Today is a good example, there are 7 birthdays in the next 3 weeks, and none of them are being listed. See if you can spot the bug:
birthDay = new Date();
dateInfo = birthdays[idx][1].split("-");

// Internal JS representation is 0-11 not 1-12!
The birthdays array contains two items, a name and a birthday represented as MM-DD. Everything is well formed in the source data and loads properly. However, on days like today it fails. Take a minute, I wont make you suffer long...

If you figured it, skip the following explanation;

It has to do with the Date class in Javascript. As it turns out, Date will not let you set a new month into it such that the existing day in that Date object is invalid.

In the code above, when the object is created it gets today's date; Jan 29 2007. When you try to do the SetMonth for February, it fails as February of this year cannot have 29 days. However, it does push the month to March, which can. Not sure why it pushes to March, but it does. This resulted in all the February birthdays I had "mystically" going away for a little while, then coming back.

The fix? Do a birthDay.setDate(1) to force it to a day we know all months have and everything works as expected.